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Let the Taper Begin …. Again!

20 Oct

I finished my final “long” long run of the training cycle last weekend. 20 miles miles in a little under 3:40 which should put me nicely on pace for a sub-5 hour (I really just want to finish, let’s not kid ourselves).

Starting my second round of tapering in the same training cycle is a weird feeling. I’ve already experienced the taper tantrums once and to be honest, I’m not looking forward to another couple of anxious weeks where all I do is worry about whether I’m going to be able to finish. I’m still not entirely convinced I can run a marathon – me, the girl who used to make up every excuse in the book to get out of gym class, who was the only girl in my sorority who didn’t love the gym. If the me from 10, even 5 years ago could see me now, I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t recognize herself.

The only good thing about doing this a second time is that I know what to expect. I know the little voices in my head and I know what they’re going to say. I just have to stay positive, trust in my training to get me to mile 20 and trust the adrenaline to get me through the last 6.2 miles.

And if I hate it, I never have to do it again, right? … Right?

Product Review: Nuun Electrolyte Tablets

27 Sep

Now that I’ve been running longer and longer distances, I’ve found that just drinking water on my long runs isn’t quite cutting it. Here’s my problem – I really like water and I really dislike sugary drinks. I don’t drink a ton of soda or juice. And I REALLY don’t like Gatorade. By itself it’s tolerable, but when I’m running, it just makes me want to throw up. I’ve never really used it during training at all. I accidentally tried it during the PCRF 1/2 Marathon with disastrous results.

But I felt like I needed something extra during this season’s training. I was running more in the heat and it felt like I was drinking obscene amounts of water that didn’t seem to help at all. So I figured I’d give Gatorade another try. Maybe if I cut with a lot of water, I’d like it more. Nope. I went all the way down to 1/4 Gatorade and 3/4 water and I felt like I was gagging every time I drank it. It left a syrupy taste in my mouth that I just couldn’t get rid of. But I did notice that having SOMETHING did seem to help my runs a little (although it’s definitely possible it was all in my head). Enter nuun.

Hello, Lover

I had heard about nuun all over the internets [I follow a bunch of the ladies on their Hood to Coast team among other things]. I loved the idea that nuun doesn’t contain sugar. I also loved that I could carry them in the little pouch of my water bottle – that meant that I could drink regular water, a nuun-filled bottle, and then more regular water. Excellent.

Still, though, I am very poor. Being very poor, I refuse to buy anything that is not on sale. While shopping at REI with a friend the other day, I came across a sale on nuun. How awesome! I grabbed 2 packages – Strawberry Lemonade and Tangerine Ginger. I tried the Strawberry Lemonade flavor after my 5k on Sunday (I really wanted to try it out and I was too excited to wait until an actual run). It had a very, very light taste to it. I was worried that because it had no sugar, the nuun would have that diet soda flavor to it. Luckily, it didn’t at all. It tasted really light. I was a happy, happy girl.

The real test came when I tried it out on my last long run. It was great! I know I don’t drink enough water when I run (largely because I’m afraid if I stop running to refill my water bottle, I’ll just stop). During my last few long runs, I’ve noticed that my fingers have gotten pretty swollen. I was hoping that by adding electrolytes, I could avoid that. Well, mission accomplished! I started with a bottle of nuun, switched to regular water and then finished up with a bottle of nuun. 15 miles later, no swelling. Success!

Overall, the nuun was fabulous! I’m seriously thinking about carrying it with me on race day. How do you hydrate on long runs?

And don’t forget to vote for our Ragnar team name!

Name Our Team!

27 Sep

All of your amazing suggestions have been compiled and we’ve thrown the Top 10 into a super awesome poll. Head over to Sarah’s blog and vote!

Our lives [ish] are in your hands!

Aren't we fabulous?

New York State of Mind

12 Sep

Life update alert!

Remember that fancy schmancy, practically perfect super exciting job I told you about? Well, its so fancy that I need security clearance for it (aka they need to make sure I’m not a crazy person or a criminal). That means that it’s going to take a couple of weeks before I get to start actually working. I spent a while trying to decide what I should do with this time. Continue funemployment [which actually stops being fun when you run out of money]? Try to find a part time job? Join a traveling circus?

It just so happened that all if this coincided with the end of my lease. I had originally decided if I couldn’t find a job by the end of my lease I was going to head back to good ol’ NYC, camp out on my parents’ couch and figure out what to do next. But now, I HAVE a job – just no money and no start date. As much as I really like LA and I’m really excited that I’m going to be working here, I still really wanted to go home for a little. I haven’t been back to NY since March which seems like forever ago.

So that’s what I’m doing! I packed up my apt last week, moved everything into my friend’s garage and myself onto her couch. On Friday, I’m leaving on a jet plane and heading back to the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. How long am I staying? Not quite sure. Some time between a week and Long Beach, depending on when my clearance comes through. While I’m there I’ll be running, reading, eating, sleeping and enjoying actual seasons – we don’t really get “fall” here.

And there you have my very exciting life update! Anyone in NY wanna play while I’m on the East Coast? Any awesome running routes I need to try?

All Gave Some, Some Gave All

11 Sep

To say that life has been hectic lately is a bit of an understatement. I interviewed for and was offered an amazing, awesome, made for me job – that’s unpaid. After frantically trying to figure out how I was going to pay for it, I discovered that my school will offer me a small stipend. Not quite enough to live on but enough to let me take the position. Now all I need to do is get my security clearance and then I’ll officially be part of the workforce again! Woohoo! Add to that moving and couch surfing and it’s been emotionally & physically exhausting.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my life would be different if I had made some different choices. But I never really think about the things I didn’t do – the things I had no say in. My father is a 30 year veteran of the FDNY. He was at the World Trade Center 10 years ago. He came home that day, but 343 of his brothers didn’t. Whenever I am tired or stressed, nervous or excited, happy or miserable, I call my Dad. I cannot imagine what my world would be like without him and I am thankful today and every day that he came home that day.

In honor of today, I participated in the LA County Tunnel to Towers 5k out in Pomona today. I haven’t run a 5k in 4 years and to be honest I wasn’t sure I knew how. I always start my runs slow because I live in constant fear of burning out halfway through a run [seriously, constant]. Obviously,that’s not how you run a 5k. I figured I’d shoot for a 10 min./mile, since I’ve been doing my long runs at a 10:30/11ish pace.

Well. I spent a solid chunk of the first mile weaving in and out of slower runners/walkers. It was a fairly small group and I probably ended up starting a little too far back but I didn’t want to be one of “those” people the speedy Gonzaleses (s’?) complain about. I hit the first mile at 10:04 and thought, “I can go faster.” So I did.

Moral of the story: Every mile was faster than the one before, there was a hill around mile 2.5 that I powered through like a champ [if I do say so myself] and I finished in 29:11. I’m super pleased with it. I was completely drained last night and very seriously contemplated not running. I called my Dad and he persuaded me it might be exactly what I needed to clear my head and refocus my energy.

So I ran. I ran because my Dad told me to and I ran because he’s still here to tell me to.

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.