Archive | June, 2011

Just Call Me Cinderella

30 Jun
Only one week left in the challenge and I am loving it! I think I may end up extending it at least through the bar. Who knows, maybe I’ll become one of those streak runner!

After my run on Monday my right knee started bothering me. It didn’t hurt exactly but it definitely felt weird and it was eerily similar to the feeling I had right before my IT Band flared up last fall [why yes, I do have a way with descriptions. Ask me about “that sick feeling in the back of my throat” some time]. There were a lot of things that contributed to that injury, including upping my mileage way too quickly but one factor was definitely my shoes. I’d been wearing them for about 2 years because I kept telling myself that I wasn’t active enough to actually wear through a pair of sneakers. Well, turns out, I was. When I actually looked at my shoes, I realized that not only were the soles almost completely worn through but there was a hole in the toe of one shoe! How I didn’t notice that one is beyond me. After some trials and tribulations, I discovered that the Saucony Progrid Guide 3 were the shoe for me.

My first loves

Then, a couple of months ago, I had a Groupon to the running store my sister goes to in NJ (the name of which completely escapes me). I was looking for a lighter shoe – not necessarily “minimalist,” but something that could potentially lead there in the future. The guy who worked there suggested these Mizunos.

Flashy!

I really liked them not only because they were bright yellow but also because the felt incredibly light on my feet. I tended to use them for my shorter runs. However, they were the shoes I wore for The Half Which Shall Not Be Named and now they have a really attractive blood stain which for the life of me I can’t wash out.

A couple of weeks ago I spotted the Sauconys on sale on Gilt Groupe and snatched them up, figuring as I got into Long Beach training I’d need to retire my old pair. Well, that day came Monday. When my knee started acting up, I took a look at my shoes and realized the sole of the right shoe was worn down way more than the left one. Crossing my fingers and hoping my running shoe hoarding would pay off, I threw on the new pair and headed out.

I kind of want to make out with these shoes.

Running in new shoes was like running on clouds. I was shocked at how much cushion they had (and how good that cushion felt!). No knee pain during the run and no knee pain after the run. Glorious! My love of buying shoes on sale totally paid off! I definitely felt like a very sweaty, tired, slightly smelly Cinderella. Now if only magic shoes would cure my I-can’t-focus-on-studying issues …

I’m a big sentimental mush, so there’s a solid chance I’m going to keep the old pair as my “These Shoes Got Me Through A Very Painful 1/2 Marathon” shoes but I think their running days are over. Once upon a time I used to be a big flashy heels girl but since I rarely put on real clothes these days, sneakers are definitely my footwear of choice.

What shoes are you loving lately?

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23 Jun
I had a whole post written yesterday about how I have no self control and then I magically lost it. At least it wasn’t my bar outlines? Still, sadface. Hopefully I will be able to resurrect it this weekend. In the meantime, enjoy a super awesome bulletpoint list of my very exciting life [please note the sarcasm].

  • I hate bar studying. Seriously. Hate it. You’d think someone who loves color-coding and flashcards as much as I do would jump at a summer to do nothing but that. You’d be wrong
  • My running has been a little hit or miss lately. I’m getting my miles in, but I’m definitely struggling through some of them. I read somewhere that running performance can tend to decrease the week before your Aunt Flo comes to town. I’m going to chalk it up to that? Yeah, that sounds good.
  • I’ve run more miles this month than any other month since I’ve started logging my miles. Awesome sauce.
  • My diet sucks lately. Not as in “I’m gaining weight,” but more in the “I’m not eating enough and the things I am eating are crappy.” I know this, I just can’t seem to fix it. It’s not necessarily that I don’t have time to go grocery shopping, it’s that I don’t have the inclination. By the time I get home from studying for 10 hours a day, it’s just so much easier to order in or eat a random hodgepodge from my fridge. 
  • I’m casually thinking of joining a running club of some sort. I really like the idea of running with other people and I really like the idea of making friends who are runners but I’m not social enough to just meet random people on a running path and trying to be friends with them. So, if you live in LA and you want to run slowly, I’m your girl.
  • I’m in Week 3 of my training for Long Beach Marathon training. I’m super excited. I would love to try to get a half marathon in at some point this summer [after the bar]. Currently taking suggestions for cheap halves in either SoCal or NYC in August/September.
  • I’m getting sick. Or getting over being sick. I haven’t quite figured it out. Tuesday night I went to bed with sweaty eyes [aka a fever] and a sick feeling in the back of my throat which makes no sense to anyone but myself. Wednesday I woke up with a baby fever and a sore throat. I spent all day yesterday chugging OJ and Theraflu [nectar of the gods] and soup. By last night, my fever was gone so I hopped on the treadmill for 4 easy miles that felt amazing. No fever today, but a little bit of a sore throat still, so I’m becoming best friends with Vitamin C and “doing work” in bed. And by that I clearly mean “watching 4325 episodes of Hoarders.”
What are your favorite sick day activities? Any suggestions for a late summer/early fall half?

Archnemesis

15 Jun
Last week was my first week of training for the Long Beach Marathon. I was originally nervous about trying to follow my marathon training plan while trying to finish up the challenge. I had planned on just adding the long runs and not worrying about any speed or hill work until after the challenge. But since I was feeling so good, I decided I’d throw in a speed workout once a week. Once that felt good, I thought maybe, just maybe, I’d throw in a hill workout.

Now. Contrary to what one might think from my general snarky/judge-y attitude, I don’t hate a lot of things [or people, for that matter]. Coconut, rain and Angelina Jolie [don’t ask] is pretty much the extent of the list. But I HATE hills. Hate them. They are my archnemesis [which, ps, spell check tells me isn’t a word. lies.]. If hills didn’t cause my IT Band problem, they certainly exacerbated it. They make me feel like I’m running backwards underwater wearing a clown suit [read: they’re hard]. I hate them. Hate.

But I know they’re good for me. I know that they will help make me strong and even though Long Beach is relatively flat, I know they’re essential to my marathon training. So, last week, I hopped on the treadmill and did some hill sprints [you didn’t think I was actually going to run hills outside, did you? where people can see? pssh.]. Were they awesome? No. Did I like them? Heck no. BUT – Did they eat me? No. The next day, I ran my easy 3 with no problems. Moral of the story: I still hate hills, but I may downgrade them from archnemesis to mortal enemy. Coconut, though … that’s a different story.

What’s your least favorite part of training?

Ruh-Roh

8 Jun
I’m on Day 12 of Danica’s 40 day challenge and I’m really loving it! I’m prone to overuse injuries, so I was a little nervous about hurting myself [my IT bands and I are just barely on speaking terms again], but so far, so good!

That does not, unfortunately, mean that I’m not injured. Ish. Maybe. Yesterday I did speed intervals for the first time in a long time. It felt awesome, but I figured I’d feel it today. My hips/hamstring/awkward under-butt muscles have been really tight lately, so I made sure to ice them after my workout. I went to bed feeling ok and thinking maybe, just maybe, I’d be fine.

Fast forward to this morning [when I woke up way late, but that’s a different story]. As I scrambled to get out the door I realized that my legs felt totally fine. A little heavy, but not sore at all. Then it happened. I reached up to grab something in my closet and I felt a weird pain in my lower back. A couple of years ago, I was hit by a car [long story, not fun] and I had some lower back issues for a while after that, but I haven’t had any real back pain in a long time. This pain didn’t feel quite the same, but it’s located in about the same spot. It feels a little bit like a pulled muscle. It only hurts when I stretch or move in certain directions. I don’t think it’s because of my running – it didn’t bother me at all last night. If I had to guess, I’d say I twisted funny in my sleep.

I threw a Salonpas patch on it and it felt a little better, but it was still kind of twingey. I decided I’d test out running and if it hurt at all I would stop. 3 miles later and it didn’t hurt at all, but I was very aware of the way I was twisting my torso. I tried to keep my upper body as straight forward as possible. So, really, my quasi-ish injury is totally helping my form. Score! I’m a little annoyed that I was trying so hard to NOT get a running injury that I ended up with a non-running injury. At least it doesn’t seem to be hampering my running.

Have you ever had a non-running injury slow down your training? I don’t even like it when colds get in the way!

Some Random Thoughts on Week 1 of the 40 Day Challenge

2 Jun
1. I’m officially in love with this challenge.

2. I am nowhere near as sore as I thought [assumed] I’d be. In fact, I don’t feel sore at all. Did I just jinx myself? Probably.

3. I need to get more running clothes or be a grown up and do laundry more often. So, buy more running clothes then.

4. I have found the PERFECT way to stretch my hips/hamstrings/whatever that weird thing that hurts on the side of my leg is called. Here’s the problem: It involves awkwardly draping my leg over the side of the treadmill. I’ve definitely gotten my fair share of “what on earth are you doing” looks. Embarrassment I can deal with, the real issues is that I don’t have anything that’s the same height in my apartment. But don’t worry, I haven’t given up. Yes, I throw my legs over random surfaces in the apartment. Yes, my roommate thinks I’m out of my mind. It’s cool.

5. Have I mentioned I love this challenge?

6. I have a really hard time just running – not playing with the speed on the treadmill or trying to make the next mile faster than the last. I don’t want to push myself too hard too early because I know I still have 31 days left of running. But it’s really hard not to try to go just a little faster. This might come back to bite me in whatever that awkward muscle is called.

7. I’m really lucky to have such a super flexible [read: completely self-imposed] schedule so I can squeeze my runs in whenever I want. I’m not sure I’d have the time or the energy if I were working a regular 9-5 job. Yay bar studying?

All in all, I think this has been a really positive experience so far. It’s definitely helped to keep me on track with my training and motivates me to get moving every day. I think it would be very easy otherwise to get so caught up in studying that I never left my apartment. I’m already thinking about what comes after the 40 days and I’m so pumped for Long Beach training!* Starting next week, I’d like to try to add more weight training in, particularly working on my upper body.

Anyone else doing the challenge? Have any awesome arm exercise I just HAVE to do?

*NOTE: Ask me again in a week and I may have an entirely different opinion =)

You Only Live Once, But If You Do It Right, Once Is Enough

1 Jun
I do not want to run today. I certainly do not want to study. I want to lay in bed and cry. My life’s been pretty [read: really] not awesome lately. I’ve had a six month stretch of bad luck and bad things and bad people. It’s not something I talk about often here, but it’s been really, really hard. There are days when it takes everything I have to get out of bed and pretend to be a functioning adult.

I can’t even pretend today. Yesterday, I found out from my Dad that my Aunt Chris was in the hospital, that she was unresponsive and they were moving her to a hospice. This afternoon, he called to let me know she passed away. I didn’t know she was sick and I’m not sure how to react. My Aunt Chris wasn’t really my aunt – I still question the elaborate story my grandmother tells about how she’s related to us. My grandfather’s cousin’s wife is, I believe, what she finally settled on. But she we were all so close it didn’t matter. She was a little younger than my grandmother, her son a little younger than my dad and her grandchildren both older and younger than my sister and I. Her family lived up near Albany and every summer we’d visit at least once.

Aunt Chris was a ridiculous person in the best possible sense of the word. She was Italian (the rest of us are Irish) and loud and an amazing cook. She had an internal compass that told her what was right and wrong, what was fair and what wasn’t. She believed in hard work and she believed hard work should be rewarded. She loved having fun and laughing. Even when she was older, she would sit Indian-style on the floor for hours playing with children. She never stopped going – she was a hairdresser and was working until the beginning of last week. She drank Budweiser out of a can [never Bud Light – If you tried to give her a light beer she’d say “What is this crap?” in her great upstate New York accent. Even before I could read, I knew Aunt Chris got the red can, never the blue one]. When she would visit my grandparents at the beach, she would get up at 5 am, march down to the water and sleep in the sand for hours. No blanket, no chair, 9 times out of 10 no bathing suit. She’d come back to the house as the rest of us were waking up with more energy than a woman 20 years younger [certainly more energy than me]. I never saw her with a hangover. We would run the same 5 mile race every year – well, she would run, the rest of us would walk. She taught me how to play poker and left/right/center and bocce and how to bet on a horse.

But most importantly, she taught me not to care what other people thought. You work hard, you do the right thing. You love the people who love you. You value nice things, but you never let them own you. When we were younger, she’d give us orange juice in Waterford crystal tumblers with breakfast and my grandmother would hold her breath every time we picked up the glass. My cousin dropped one once and it shattered. I remember the whole room gasping and waiting for someone to yell. But Aunt Chris just said, “I’ve got more in the basement, watch your feet.” That was it. Most importantly, you do what you want when you want. You want to lay on the sand with no towel? Lay on the sand with no towel. You want to drink beer and play poker? Drink beer and play poker. You want to run a 5 mile race the day after? Do that too. She lived such an amazing, rich, full life, it’s almost hard to be sad it’s over. Almost.

So starting today, I’m going to be more like my Aunt Chris. I’m going to work hard and do the things I have to do. I’m going to do the things I want to do. And most importantly, I’m not going to do the things I don’t want to do anymore.

I’m going to do flashcards and my outlines and my multiple choice because I have to. I’m going to run my 3 miles because I want to. But on the way home from the library, I’ll stop and grab a 6 pack of those red cans. And give a silent salute to a lady who did it right.