Archive | August, 2011

Missing: Running Mojo

31 Aug

Last seen here eating 15 miles for breakfast. If lost, please return to Gidget. Reward.

No, seriously. Where did it go? My 15 mile run was amazing. The next day I got a random, spur of the moment invitation to New Orleans (which was amazing! Thanks, sister!). I ran a couple of times while I was there – including a long run that made me think I was actually going to die. I know that those runs sucked because my spoiled So Cal self isn’t used to suffocating, soul-crushing humidity. I totally get that. Logically anyway. But ever since then, all of my runs have felt sluggish. I just can’t seem to get my head in the game. My legs feel ok with the exception of some weird knee pain that I’ve been pretending isn’t there. But everything else about my runs has been craptacular. My lungs feel like they’re burning, I can’t catch my breath, I have a perennial stitch in my side and my head is just NOT there. Every time I take a step, I want to stop running. No bueno.

I’m hoping I just need a few days’ break. I have 18 miles on schedule for this weekend but I’ve already made the executive decision that I’ll be ok with anything over 15. I don’t want to beat myself up and scare my running mojo away. I figure if I keep pretending everything is sunshine and rainbows, I can make it so. What, it doesn’t work that way? Psh.

Where do you go to find your running mojo? Anyone have any to spare?


Long Run Fail

27 Aug

I was supposed to run 16 miles this morning. I made it 4 and every single step my knee hurt. I’m trying really hard not to panic. I’ve been icing and rolling and ibuprofen-ing. I may or may not try to make up the rest of the miles. Part of me thinks it might be better to rest it for a couple of days and see what happens.

REALLY trying not to panic.

Oh, Hello …

26 Aug

There’s a solid chance I’m the worst blogger ever. I’m cool with that. You’re probably asking yourself, “Where have you been all summer?!?”

Wait, you weren’t asking yourself that? Too bad, I’m answering it anyway, suckas.

I have been taking the California Bar Exam all summer. In case you were wondering, bar studying sucks. Seriously. Sucks. I spent about 12 hours in the library every day (on a good day), trying to memorize massive amounts of information and having an average of 14.2 panic attacks a minute. It really sucked. Have I mentioned it sucked?

I also kept up with my running much better than I expected. I found that running after a long day at the library helped me to really decompress. It let me leave studying at the library (or as much as that was possible). I ended up doing a lot of my longer runs at night when I got home from the library. Sometimes it was great, but there were definitely times when it wasn’t so awesome. I certainly don’t live in a bad neighborhood, but when you’re on mile 12 and it’s 11 pm, you start to see things in the shadows. Or at least I did. Because I’m crazy.

So what am I doing now, you may ask. Oh, wait, you didn’t ask that one either? I’m answering it anyway. My blog, my rules. Now that the bar is over, I’m in in hardcore get-a-job mode. Seriously, doesn’t anyone want to hire me? I’m great. And snarky. That’s got to count for something, right? Apparently not.

I’m also nearing the end of my training for the Long Beach Marathon. Um, eep much? As this lady reminded me, the marathon is just over 6 weeks away. Yikes! I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about it. I’m definitely in the best running shape I’ve ever been in. I felt really good after my 15 miles a couple of weeks ago. I missed a 16 miler last weekend (my sister surprised me with a trip to New Orleans and there was no way I was running that far in 132% humidity. I did manage the sweatiest 3 miles I’ve ever run. Champion.). I’m scheduled to do 12 this weekend, so I may just add on 4 more? Maybe? I haven’t quite figured that part out yet.

So, that was my summer. Or, lack of summer. How was your summer? Anyone else out there running Long Beach? I heard there might be beer.

Going Long

15 Aug

NOTE: I am working on an “I’m back, here’s what I’ve been up to!” post but I really wanted to put my thoughts about my run this weekend on “paper” before I forgot the details. So let’s pretend that that one comes after this one. Awesome? Awesome.

Marathon training has been … interesting. I feel like it is both Week 47 and Week 2 all at the same time. When I was studying, I was getting the runs in but I wasn’t really focused on them. I finished and that was it. All things considered, I only missed 2 long runs (the weekend before the bar & the weekend after). Certainly not ideal, but much better than I thought I would do.

I had done a couple of 10 milers and they had all felt pretty good. After the Half That Shall Not Be Named, I started to get a little concerned about hip pain. Running on concrete causes some pretty not awesome pain in my hips, particularly the right one. Most of my training runs have been/will be done on concrete. This is because of a combination of weird issues I have with certain trails around LA, a general lack of access to running paths and my laziness – I like to be able to run right from my apartment. A friend of mine has issues with her knees and she switched to a run/walk plan which she said really helped her. She suggested it might help with my hips.

Now. I have mixed feelings about this. I would love to one day run an entire marathon without walking. In fact, that was my original thought with Long Beach – that my goal would be to just run the whole thing, no matter how long it took. But my hips were hurting so much after my “long” runs, that I decided to try the run/walk plan. I run a mile, then walk for 45 sec. to 1 min. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s been pretty phenomenal. I’ve been finishing my runs with almost no pain in my hips and I don’t feel like I’m going to die at the end of every long run. I’ve only been using this plan for my long runs – anything less than 5 miles, I run the whole thing. Anything less than 10, I take my walk breaks every 2 miles. So far I’ve been really satisfied with it.

Yesterday, I had a very scary 15 miles on my schedule. I knew this would be the farthest (furthest? farthest? this is why I wasn’t an english major) I’d ever run. That right there made me exceptionally nervous. I’ve also been running a lot faster than I used to and, in the back of my head, I though about the idea of checking my half marathon time. I’ve never run a “good” half. My first I was super injured and my second Shall Not Be Named. But I’ve been running really well lately, and I was curious to see just where I was. So I had all of these issues running in the back of my head.

Spoiler Alert

There’s also a ton of planning that goes into running 15 miles. Did you know that? I didn’t. At least not at first. But as I was eating my carb-y delicious mashed potatoes on Friday night, it occurred to me that I might have some problems. I couldn’t find my “long run socks” (because yes, I have “long run socks”). On last week’s 10 miler, I noticed the beginning of some chafing at my sports bra line that I wanted to stop before it started this time. And, most importantly, I was worried about hydration. I have an awesome hand held that I’ve been using that’s been getting my through my 10 milers, but only just. I’m completely out of water by the end and I didn’t want to have to run my last 5 miles without water. Because I just run on city streets, there aren’t any water fountains.

Then, genius struck (I’m not just pretty, I’m humble too). I plotted out a route that hit my gym at mile 9.5. That way, I could refill my water bottle and regroup if I had to. See, genius! Sure, there were some super monster hills that I would have to tackle in the last 3 miles, but if I absolutely had to, I’d just walk up them.I headed to bed feeling really nervous about the whole thing.

When I woke up, I had 1/2 a bagel thin with peanut butter and 1/2 a cup of coffee. I grabbed my Garmin, Vaseline-d my sports bra line (TMI? maybe.), popped in my mp3 player and headed out. It was overcast and cool, always a good sign. My first 3 miles were part of my standard weekday route, so they were nice and comfortable. I hit the first hill between miles 3 and 4 and powered up it like a champ (see, humble). I stopped at mile 4 and had my first Gu – strawberry banana. In general, I really don’t care for strawberry banana as a “flavor” but my mom sent it to me in a care package and I wasn’t about to turn down free anything. It wasn’t awful and I couldn’t taste the banana at all (which is generally what I don’t care for).

I ended up having to go under 2 freeway underpasses. The first one was fine, the second was a little unnerving. I generally don’t have a fear of “bad neighborhoods” – growing up in one will do that to you. Still, there’s something about overpasses that make me a little nervous. These were definitely my fastest miles. I also encountered a ton of yard sales that basically took up the entire sidewalk, forcing me to run in the street. I was running on Venice Blvd, a pretty busy street, so this made me really uncomfortable. A couple of years ago I was hit by a car and ever since then I’ve been a little skittish. Note to self: start earlier or pick another route.

I took my second Gu a little late – the start of mile 9 because I had completely forgotten about it. I stopped the gym at mile 9.5ish and refilled my water bottle, then headed on my way home. Several interesting things happened in the last 5 miles. I had planned on taking another Gu at mile 12 but my stomach wasn’t loving me. I decided I’d rather just power through rather than try to force anything down. At the same time, my mp3 player died. I think it got wet from all of my exceptionally attractive sweat. Regardless, it appears to be officially deceased. Sadface. I definitely didn’t like the idea of running the last 3 miles without my mp3 player, but there wasn’t much I could do about it.

I also remembered to look down at my Garmin as I hit 13.1 and saw that I was just over 2:24. I was completely flabbergasted. That’s an almost 30 minute PR. I knew I was in much better shape, but that was an amazing feeling. Seeing that number gave me the burst I needed to power up my last hill and finish as strong as possible. Sure my last 5 were way slower than the first 10. Sure, I lost the chafing battle (no low cut shirts for me for a while). Sure I dealt with weird stomach issues for the rest of the day (I wasn’t hungry at all. weird). Didn’t matter. I was so proud of myself for what I had accomplished that it was all worth it. This feeling is why I run.

And that, dear friends, is the saga of my longest run ever. How was your weekend run?