Custom Search

Friday, October 26, 2012

Feed me your protein and fitting it in.

Trying to fit these extra miles into my busy schedule feels a little like me getting into my high school jeans...I can do it, but it feels like I really shouldn't.
I know I shouldn't complain, since I have no kids to worry about, but I work between 45 and 50 hours a week and have a very inflexible schedule, so it still feels tough. Four days a week I'm at work 9 to 6; Sundays I have church; Wednesdays my schedule is dictated by meetings and conference calls, and I have obligations on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. So it's actually not that easy to fit extra running in.
I realized Wednesday night that I had 14 miles on the schedule for the next morning. That's a lot to fit in and still make it to work at 9:00 am. The first step to fitting it in was to shorten it, duh. That approach won't hurt my fitness at all. But I reasoned if I cut it to 13 miles I could get up at 5:45, leave at 6:15, and still easily complete 13 by 8 am. That mostly worked. I ended up snoozing the alarm once (9 minutes - we have the world's longest snooze on our alarm) and getting out of the house a little late, but I still made it back before 8 am. But so did David, and he had the shower, so that was a set the time I rehydrated (please, please, please God, take the humidity away!!!), packed a lunch, showered, dressed, and put on just enough make up for it to look like I hadn't given up entirely, it was 8:33 and I had to GO. Notice anything missing? Yes, it's my breakfast. Luckily I packed a very substantial lunch, which in fact should not be called a lunch at all since it includes copious snackage as well, but I still came home starving.
I had a delicious dinner planned - chick pea and vegetable curry on brown rice. But I wanted nothing to do with it. I just wanted a big piece of protein, and the idea of vegetarian fare was nowhere near as appealing as a hamburger. However, I stuck to the menu since we're going out of town and all my produce needs to get eaten. It was a good dinner, but it didn't hit the spot. I sat around all night considering making a pork chop, but luckily snack mix came to the rescue. Lots of protein, and the chocolate isn't half bad, either.

One way to fit all my running in and still get breakfast would be to get up earlier. Somehow, this just isn't happening. I normally get up at 6:00, only setting my alarm earlier if I have over 10 miles to run. It takes me so long to wake up when I'm tired that getting up early doesn't always work for me. I might set my alarm for 5:30 but still be groggy by 6:30. Part of the problem is my bedtime: I am supposed to go to bed by ten, but I usually end up in bed at eleven instead, and even then I spend about a half hour reading. I do know I really need to start getting some sleep, though, so this has to change!

I'll leave you with a quick crazy pharmacy story from yesterday. I have a customer who insists that "her stalker" - no one she knows, just a stalker she assumes she has - sneaks into her house, opens all her capsules, fills them with poison, then sneaks back out. She told me that she knows this phantom stalker has keys to her house since he locks up after he leaves. This woman routinely discards perfectly good medication because she believes it is tampered with and buys a whole new bottle. The best part of this story is that this crazy lady is a manager at the hospital. She is all kinds of cuckoo and is in charge of a rather large department. Hilarious.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Please can we have some fall?

My top is completely saturated!
This morning I ran 12 miles, the first six easy and the last six "moderate". I started out at about 8 min pace and ended around 7:10 pace. It was disgustingly humid. Besides one little week of real fall weather, we have had sunny, humid 80's here since the beginning of October. I came home completely sweat drenched (probably partly due to my late wake-up; since Wednesdays are my short day at work I tend to sleep in a little and get started around 7 am).
I'm really ready for some cold weather, but luckily we'll get some next week...because we're going on vacation! We rather last-minute decided to go to Paris for six days. I can't wait to laze around in cafes and get art-drunk at the Louvre. I do intend to keep running while I'm there, but I swapped this week and next week on my calendar (this week should have been a post-race easy week, but it will have to wait). Next week should be nothing worse than 8 or 10 easy miles.

I definitely need a vacation. I'm at the point at work where one little thing will set me off, and since I work closely with lots of doctors and nurses I need to make sure I don't offend anyone with a brusque answer. Already yesterday I hung up on a rude caller - yeah, stellar customer service skills here. But this dude was really a nut job. He was trying to get a controlled substance filled early and was angry that he couldn't ... but the clincher is that he wasn't even my patient. He uses another pharmacy! I have no idea why he called me to rant, but at one point 15 minutes into the conversation I just told him, "Look, I have sick patients I have to take care of. I can't spend any more time on your problem, because there is nothing I can do. Please call your doctor or the pharmacy where you are actually filling your medication." Click. That was that.

What is so stressful about work besides drug-addict patients? I've gotten very busy, which = successful. I opened my pharmacy April 2011, so my first fiscal year results came out in September. I absolutely smashed my corporate-assigned goals. In fact, I beat my projections by so much that I received a second incentivized bonus for the year for being the highest percentage over goal volume in the district. That's nice, and I like the decreased stress of good performance (nothing worse than feeling like you are doing poorly at work!), but the truth is that to continue these results I need help! I've been trying to hire someone, but I guess what everyone says about the job market is true: the jobs are out there, but the skilled workers are not necessarily available.

So now I'm off to work to rapidly train the pharmacist who's substituting for me while I'm on vacation. There's a lot to teach her and only 6 hours to do it in!

Any must-do Paris items for my list? 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Runners to watch

Sometimes when I read a running blog, I notice talent that sticks out. I thought you might want to read about it, too, so...
Here are some talented runners you should keep an eye on!

1. Tia. She's pretty as a picture, has a big lovely family, and has crazy fast turnover. She was a collegiate athlete; now she's hitting new PRs and I expect to see a half under 1:25 from this lady in 2012 or 2013. She broke 19 in the 5k recently and I don't even want to speculate how low her 5k will go!
2. Katie. Obviously this speed demon will be well under 3 hours in the marathon this fall after a few tough marathons in the spring followed by multiple nonchalant wins at shorter distances. Lightening fast, very talented at all distances! It doesn't hurt that she's also a gorgeous, hilarious, down-to-earth writer with a wise shoe sense (she recommended to me my current favorite running shoes).
3. RoseRunner. I  can't act like I discovered this lady since she's one of those old-school, tough, fast chicks who have been beating me for years. But I am excited to watch her right now, because this is the year she comfortably breaks 3 hours in the marathon. She's injured right now, but she's just resting her smokin' body to come back faster and stronger. Plus she's fun to watch for her no-nonsense attitude and complete toughness.
4. Kyria. I started reading Kyria's blog years ago for her fresh photography. But she picked up running and improved incredibly quickly, qualifying for Boston in 2013 just a year after her first marathon. Watch out for this one - she's improving by leaps and bounds!
5. Kris. Here's another one that we ALL saw coming, but if you aren't reading Kris' blog, you might miss her running Olympic trials time in the marathon! And it isn't far off: she just ran a PR 2:50:50 at Twin Cities (Yes, that first number is a two!). Not many girls run that fast and very few do it while self-coaching.

Who's inspiring you lately?

Lakeshore Classic 15k - I'm *not* back!!!

This Sunday I had my first race back since injury. I realized I totally forgot how to race. Because racing is different from "running fast". You should be running fast while you're racing, but there's more to it than that. There's strategery.
The race started at 8:00 am and I had church at 10:00 am, so I was on a kind of tight schedule. I left the house at 7:00 am, not worried about time since the race page said there was ample parking right at the start. It was chilly at my house, so I wore a long-sleeved shirt. Well, I got to Lakeshore Drive, location of the race, and...the road was already blocked off. The race didn't start where the map had indicated, so I had to park on a cross street and run to the start. I was about a mile and a half away. I didn't realize it was that far, so I planned to pick up my shirt and number, return to my car to drop the shirt off, and head back to the start. I didn't have nearly enough time, so I ended up leaving my things under a volunteer table. I also ditched the long-sleeved T I'd worn. The shadeless lakefront area was warm and humid - surprisingly so.
Lakeshore Drive

I am so out of race practice that I didn't remember to put my timing tag on until we were singing the national anthem! We started, and by the time the 5k split off (pretty much right near where my car was parked!) I was second female. Here's where I forgot how to race. I dreamily hung on her shoulder for miles, not aware of my pace, until I looked down and realized she'd slowed a lot. We were at 7:10 pace. I quickly passed her right at the half-way point, and led the race...for two seconds until my speedy friend (and queen of negative splits) Celeste passed us both in one move! I couldn't catch Celeste - she negative split by almost four minutes, crazy lady - but I tried to be a little more cognizant of my pace to the finish. But the damage was done - it was a slow race for me. I ran a 1:04:12 clock and felt like I had a lot of energy I didn't tap into. But unfortunately I also had a serious shooting pain and locked hip right at the finish - so the injury is still lurking.

I hauled butt after finishing the race, got to my car, and managed to pull out right in front of a police car. He was heading my way, so I couldn't go even a mile over the speed limit the whole way home. I did a speed-shower and yes, we made it to church on time!

So, dumb things I did for this race:
1. I ate before the race. I had bad stomach cramps the whole way. I can't believe I thought I needed to eat for this distance! I've skipped breakfast before marathons before and been ok! Terrible idea.
2. I was very unaware of pace.
3. I forgot how to run hills and believe it or not this course has hilld, in the form of overpasses and bridges. I was positively braking on the downhills.
4. I wasn't in race mindset. I should have realized that Celeste was easily the fastest girl out there, and raced her, ignoring the other girl. Celeste has a great negative-split ability, and I do not - so to beat her I have to build a large, early lead. I didn't do that at all.
5. Oh, and I'm a lot slower than I should be. Good thing it's still early in training!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Back to low miles...

After a brief two-week experiment with miles in the 60's, this week I am back to fewer than 50 this week. Part of that is because I actually have a race this weekend and the marathon plan drops the miles pre-race, but it's also because I cut a run short and took an unscheduled day off.
It happened like this: Wednesday I was supposed to have 15 miles easy, but I went home at 11. I felt positively ill - hot, dehydrated, tired, and grumpy. I'm not sure what went wrong, but I ran a fever for the rest of the day and had a bad headache. Either my body was fighting some infection off, or I got overheated on the run. That's possible. It was in the 80's, lots of sun, later in the day than usual, and I didn't plan my water stops well. Whatever the reason, I looked at the slow miles I'd been running and decided to take a day off.
I ran short on Thursday but took Friday off completely. Hopefully, if the problem is too many miles too soon, backing down will cure it. I'll see how I feel once I return to higher miles and decide then if I want to cut back for the remainder of the plan. The reason I'm second guessing the miles is not just one bad run, but because I've noticed that all my "easy run" miles have been a lot slower than my easy runs normally are. If I run by effort I've been going much more slowly than I think I am when I try to run an easy pace, ever since I started this plan. Am I tired out? Or is this normal? My pace on Wednesday was close to 8 min/miles, and it felt like 7:45. Strange.

So anyway, that race I mentioned.
I looked at my marathon plan and on Sunday I had schedule a 10k or 15k race. Lo and behold, there's a 15k race in New Orleans on Sunday. So I had to do it! That's too coincidental to pass up! Besides the Four on the Fourth race I ran totally injured and out of shape, this will be my first race since injury, so I don't have high hopes. I'd love to keep my pace under 7 min/miles, but lately that has seemed really difficult, so we'll see.

Anyone else racing this weekend?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My new friend

I bought this online: foam roller, foam roller with ridges, and massage stick all in one. It was cheap-o, $30 including tax.

It's my new friend. Believe it or not I'd never used a foam roller before. But after the Publix marathon I borrowed my friend's set like this to use the massage stick. Hers wasn't all bendy like the Marathon Stick I owned, and I liked it better. I've been dreaming of it ever since, so when I saw this set I bought it.
I'm loving the foam roller (I have found new sore spots all over; I even rolled my lower back and it felt so good!) but I'm also enjoying this stiffer massage stick. I just could never get a deep enough massage out of the flexible Marathon Stick, especially on my hamstrings. So now the Stick goes on Ebay.

PS - I am now a real runner. I have a marathon plan and I own a foam roller. Bam!

Do you foam roll? Or use a stick, or tiger tail? Or just make small children walk around on you while you lie on your tummy?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Marathon training plan

Last week when I mentioned that my first week of marathon training was 61 miles, a few of you asked if I was using Hudson.
I am, sort of. I have Brad Hudson's book "Run Faster", which I intend to finish at some point. I started it, but it's a little technical and was less than encouraging to read when I was injured. But it has race plans in the back, so I picked the most advanced looking marathon plan and photocopied it. Because that's how you bounce back from injury!
I think the plan was supposed to be 20 weeks, but I didn't have enough time until my race, so I jumped in at week five (perhaps this is why it was already 61 miles).

I picked this plan because:
1. It is high-ish mileage. I probably won't actually hit the suggested mileage, but the next plan peaked at 56 miles, and I don't think that is enough (these plans are divided by weekly miles instead of "advanced" or "intermediate"). I run 40 miles a week if I'm not even training; I think for a marathon I need to increase that.
2. It has a lot of variety. I don't want to get bored, and this plan has many different types of running. Hopefully I won't fall into the "7:30 rut" of mile after mile at the same pace.
3. It works with my schedule. Plans with too many days off end up with too many miles on the other days. With my work schedule I can rarely squeeze in 12 and 15 milers on weekdays.

I had to make some modifications, of course.
1. I shifted days so my long run could be Saturday, not Sunday. Too hard to fit in before church.
2. I am totally ignoring Monday's workout and doing whatever Varsity Sports does at track instead. Yes, that's bad - Monday has very race-specific workouts. But I like running with others and I think it will benefit me just as much to run with the group, even if it isn't as tailored to the marathon distance.
3. On weeks with mid-week high miles (over 10) I moved it to Wednesdays, when I can go in a little later, which totally messes up the schedule.
4. I will be throwing some rest days in - this plan has none! - or perhaps cross training.

This will be the first time in a long, long while I will actually follow a training plan (really, since my first marathon). I've printed them out before, but never stuck with them. Now I'm determined to do so, just because I think my injury taught me that I don't know a lot about running. I need advice! Plus for me, my goals are supremely lofty. For others, the times I'd like to run might be a piece of cake - but for me and my non-athletic self, they will take work. I can't just wing it: I need a detailed plan to run a faster marathon!

How about you? Swear by a published plan or make up your own? Or just run by feel?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Church change

I mentioned before that David and I were in the process of switching churches. Sometimes you just have to make a change.
We've attended the same church since before we got engaged, but that was right after Hurricane Katrina hit our area, closing dozens of churches and scattering congregations. It was slim pickings, but we found a church we liked on the West Bank. It was a half hour drive, but it was worth it then.

As the years passed, the church changed. The pastor resigned and moved away; during a year-long hunt for a new pastor the congregation shrunk. Military families were transferred and young people found jobs and moved. By this summer, the congregation was half the size it used to be, and the average age was about fifty! Besides that, the city had been changing, too. Churches reopened or sprung up closer to us, and we started looking around.

We found a church we're happy with, and get this - it's less than a mile away on St Charles avenue. When the weather was (briefly) cool and nice a few weeks ago, we walked to church. Going to church in our neighborhood has had a huge impact on our quality of life - but it has also fostered a sense of community our last church lacked. We were too spread out. This group is a bunch of neighbors, and I like that.

I must say I love having my Sunday mornings back thanks to a closer church and later start to the service. This Sunday I was doing hill sprints on the levee at 9:00 am. By 10:00 am I was in a pew! Now that's something to say hallelujah to!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Death to quads

This Monday our "track" workout was notable for three things:
1. We saw Drew Brees in the park and congratulated him on his new record.
2. Kelly brought cookies. Yeah, baby!
3. I can't walk now.

The workout was...unique. We warmed up running about a mile to the park (or 2 miles, if you ran from home like I did), then ran a 2 mile loop: first mile at 5k pace, second mile "whatever you have left". Then we ran back to the track. So far, so good. That's when it got weird. The next part of the workout was a set of five laps: 300 meters hard, then hurdles, lunges, and side hurdles (going over alternated with ducking under). Then a 100 meter jog and repeat.
(I found these images of over-under hurdles, which is just like what we were doing except the hurdles were all the same height)
Ever since then I have been basically useless on my feet! My quads are on fire and running at any speed is painful. The morning after the workout I eked out ten miles that I could barely manage under 8-min pace. This is the kind of workout that I realize I must need (based on how sore I am after!) but not the kind I want to do anywhere near race day. I'm practically lame.

Now I'm going to go upstairs and shower, then spend ten minutes figuring out how to get back down to the first floor. Fun times.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Running long

This weekend was apparently a fantastic running weekend. Tons of friends and bloggers had great races and I've been loving the recaps! There is nothing quite like a race recap to get me in the mood to run. It's almost as good as spectating - maybe better, since you can get up later.

Saturday I ran my first long run of this marathon training cycle (which will be just that this time, no "marathons as long runs" and such crap this time) and the longest run since the Boston Marathon in April! Insane! What a long break!

My loose plan called for 16 miles, last 20 minutes hard, whatever that means. The last 20 minutes of all long runs are hard, right? We were actually in Bay St Louis, Mississippi this weekend for a visit with our godchildren, so I had an entirely new place to run. The only problem was that I forgot my Garmin! Luckily, I was able to borrow my husband's GPS so I could gauge distance.
Bay St. Louis bridge. Top Right: bridge after Katrina. Top left shows wide running/biking path. 

I decided to break the run up into segments that would allow me to pass the house for water. I don't like carrying a water bottle, and Audubon Park's public fountains have me spoiled. I ran a 4-mile route over the tall Bay Bridge onto the beach in Pass Christian, then turned around to make an 8-mile loop that landed me back at the house. The bridge has several raised sections that gave me some rare hill running, and the area on the beach is always beautiful but very windy. At the house I grabbed some water and half a gel. I wouldn't normally have gel for a 16-mile run, but it had been so long since I'd run this sort of distance that I wanted to play it safe. I ran back on the bridge for a 5-mile loop, then grabbed another sip of water and the rest of my gel and headed to the road along the bay for a fast final three miles. I figured 20 minutes was close enough to 3 miles for my purposes, and I gave myself a break from the inclines of the bridge and most of the wind by running along the bay. It was still very windy, but it was tail and headwind instead of relentless side wind, so it seemed easier. I ran a 6:41, 6:51, and 6:49 (guess which way was the tailwind?!) and wrapped up with a 7:22 average pace. I liked that, but even better, limiting my water stops meant I ran for 1:58 but I was only out of the house for about 2:02. Sometimes I get a little water-stop crazy and waste tons of time.

That run, plus an 8-miler on Sunday, put me at 61 miles to wrap up week one of training. Couple of thoughts on that:
1. I skipped a day and I still hit 61 miles. Who wrote this plan, Caballo Blanco?!
2. I think I'll start thinking of my weeks as Monday to Monday to match Dailymile, my running tracker, instead of Saturday to Saturday like my plan is written.
3. I feel fantastic minus injury pain and weird calf soreness. The calf pain I'm attributing to running further in flatter shoes than I'm used to. My plan for this cycle is to get my miles up there and keep them there - it seems like the injury is bothered more by inconsistency than regular high miles.
4. I might end up cheating on this plan. I realized it has no rest days. What the heck! When am I supposed to sleep in? I skipped Thursday last week and it felt lovely.

Thoughts? Should I build in a rest day?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Foody Friday: Basic granola bars

I like to make these granola bars to bring as snacks to work. I wait for dried fruit to go on sale, then I buy a ton. I really scored last week: bags of dried cranberries were on clearance for $1.14 instead of $5.99!
These are the easiest bars to make...but also to eat. This is the last bar, so all you get is this crappy picture before I eat it up:
About to be history

You need:
1 1/3 C old fashioned oats
1 C quick oats - or whatever combination you have. I mix in some quick oats to make the bars less crumbly.
2/3 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C sugar (I usually use less depending on how sweet the fruit is)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
dash of cinnamon if you want - I add about 1 teaspoon if I'm using apples and walnuts, otherwise I tend to omit it
1 C nuts of choice
2 C dried fruit, mixed - raisins, chopped apricots, etc. If you use a sweetened fruit like dates or Craisins you'll want to adjust the sugar or leave it out entirely
1/2 C honey
1/2 C oil
1 - 2 Tbs water as needed.

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the dry ingredients. Stir in the fruit and nuts. Add liquids and stir to combine. Should be pretty crumbly.

Grease a 13x9" pan and press the mixture into it. Rinse your hands in hot water and press down to pack the dough in.

Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool almost completely before cutting into bars; wrap individually in plastic wrap.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Wednesday was rough

1. A dog jumped on me and bit my foot when I was running.
2. Then my shower as ice cold.
3. Because my water heater was broken!
4. And I had to run out of the shower dripping wet to get the phone when security called me because my pharmacist set off the alarm.
5. There were 18 people in line at the post office.
6. And there was an earwig in my swiss chard at dinner.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I have started a new sport. It's called kipping, and it's a sport in which you run races Kip Litton has run. For each race, you get a point; for each race Kip registered for but didn't run you get half a point.

My total is 1.5: Kip and I both ran the Thunder Road Marathon, and Kip registered for Boston 2012 (audacity!) and didn't start.

Don't know who Kip Litton is? Read this article. But get a cup of coffee first: it's long and interesting and you'll want to curl up and enjoy it.
Snapshot of questionable races from this blog

What's your Kipping score?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Marathon training commences!

Yes, I know I'm still injured. And no, I don't have lofty goals. But I signed up for the Louisiana Marathon back in January, almost a year before the race, so I am tentatively training for it.
The race is mid-January, so I have four months to get healthy and get into shape,
(If you don't know I've been treating a groin injury since May).

I spent September gradually building miles from zero to 40 per week (except the one beautiful-weather week when I accidentally ran 50 - oops) and continuing my stretch and strength exercises (my self-prescribed physical therapy). I told myself that if I remained at my baseline level of pain by the end of September, I'd go for the marathon.

The pain has not gone away, but it remains low level and easy to ignore: much like it was all last year before I ever saw a doctor. However, most of my running this month was slow and easy, and as recently as last week I experienced a sharp pain anyway. So I'm going to have to be reasonable. If I start feeling pain again when I add speed (assuming I still have speed...) I will have to back off and either quit or adjust goals, depending on the severity.

Speaking of goals, I have nothing exciting to report on this front. I just want to run a reasonable race, maybe a 3:30 or 3:20, and not be in pain. That's for now. If I start feeling amazing of course that will change. And if I start feeling horrible, that will change, too!

In closing please don't ever do anything I do. This is probably a stupid decision. Runners do some crazy things, what can I say?