Thursday, September 25, 2008

The loneliness of the long distance runner

I spent the morning doing PT school research, fueled by my amazing chocolate chip pancakes/sausage breakfast and a cup of strooooong coffee. I think this process is going to be the death of me - for one, dealing with the fact that every damn school has different prerequisite courses, different ways to apply, different essays...not to mention the fact that once I do get in somewhere (hopefully...) then I have to figure out where I'm going for the next 3 years of my life. One of the deciding factors in whether or not to apply to some schools is that they start in the summer...I just can't handle packing up and moving across the country in May, sorry. So far the places I'm applying are alllll over the map...Wisconsin, University of Washington, Boston University, Pacific University in Oregon (maybe), Lacrosse....I think that's all I've got so far, but you get the idea. I'm just glad that most of my classes this semester don't really take up much time, because at least if I'm stressed about applying to schools, its not like I'm going to be studying for 4 exams at the same time.

But that's where running comes in...regardless of whatever I'm stressed about, running is the one time of day when I don't worry about anything. I love running through the trails in the Arb and not seeing anyone...yesterday I was back there and I was thinking about how sometimes when I'm on some back trail and there's no one around and all I can see is trees I feel like I'm the only person in the world (of course, the instant I tought that yesterday, one of the guys from the UW team came running by. But I'm willing to share my secret trails with good runners...hah.) Its just amazing to be able to disconnect from the real world and everything in it even for just an hour or whatever, especially now that going out for a 7 mile run isn't hard for fact, its incredibly refreshing and I feel awesome when I'm done haha. And I'm going to hit 50 miles this week and its not even wearing me out...and that is AMAZING. I could probably run a half marathon right now and beat my time from last summer...ridiculous. I really hope I see this come through the next time I race....because I'm obviously stronger than I ever have been, and its time to show it. I'm ready for a breakthrough.

ps - There's an Iron Maiden song called "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"? And its actually about running? Impressive! I mean, there's nothing particularly profound there, in fact I probably could have written better lyrics haha, but its still kind of sweet.

run on and on
run on and on
the loneliness of the long distance runner
i've got to keep running the course
i've got to keep running and win at all costs
i've got to keep going be strong
must be determined and push myself on

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hell? Nope, just cross country

So I'm ridiculously sore, mostly as a result of this weekend, but also maybe because this has been my highest mileage week EVER, coming in at 48.2. If I hadn't taken Wednesday off I would have made it to 50 easily and that just amazes me. I feel like what's made the difference this year is that my short runs are longer because I just feel lazy if I go less than 5 miles, and once I go 5 I figure I might as well go 7...and on it goes. I've been kicking September's ass though...136 miles already and there's still another week to go. ROCK ON. I was laughing at the race on Saturday because I was wearing my conference shirt from senior year that says 255 miles and counting because that was how far we ran the entire season...and now I'm going to be at like 180 in a month. Talk about badass....sometimes I just love being a runner.

Anyway, on to the race...well, I can't decide whether I'm happy or not. I ran faster than last year but didn't quite break 22 which was what I was hoping to do, not to mention I felt like absolute death doing it. But I feel like this race has given me a LOT of motivation to train my ass off the next 3 weeks so that by the time I'm running at Ripon and LaX I'm dropping time like crazy. So first of all, it was HOT. Most normal people probably woke up on Saturday and were like sweet, its going to be 80 and sunny, this is gorgeous, I can't wait to go outside! Yeah that's great..if you don't have to race a 5K. Seriously, it was not my kind of racing weather at all, especially since heat seems to affect me worse than other people sometimes. And as if that isn't enough, we're racing at Parkside...aka, the first 800 is completely uphill, and from 1.5 miles onward is these rolling small hills that make your legs feel like they're going to collapse from under you...and since hills are basically my least favorite things about running, Parkside doesn't rank real high on my list of favorite XC courses. Buuuuuuut whatever, I did enough whining about all of this at the race haha.

So because we aren't a real college team, we got this ridiculous box on the far right side of the start...we had to cut SO far to the left to even get onto the course, otherwise we would run into a 4-wheeler and some spectators and all sorts of awesome stuff. Well, the gun went off, and being my idiotic self as usual, I completely let the adrenaline get the best of me and absolutely sprinted off the line. The only people from our team ahead of me up the first hill were Tali and Katie, and I would say about 4 other people belonged in front of me, except oh wait, I'm going to be a kamikaze. Anyway, by the time we got up the first massive hill, I was already spent and starting to get concerned that disaster was probably not too far away. I went through the first mile in 6:45 which is ABSURD considering how much of it is uphill...then Claire passed me at her standard 10 seconds after the mile mark (I seriously think this has happened in every single race we've ever run together haha) followed by Laura soon after, and then Taylor a little later. A LOT of people passed me after the top of the hill, and it was not enjoyable. I hate getting passed, especially when I know I can't go with the people passing me, and since I was already dying by like 1.5 miles, things were not looking good. Then to make matters worse, I hear Nicole come up behind I love Nicole but I've been running longer than her and I honestly told the BF the night before the race that the worst thing that could happen to me would be for her to beat me. I passed the second mile in 13:57, so I really hadn't dropped off too much, though I had a bit. It was actually slightly funny looking back, because Nicole loves running up hills and they are pretty much my idea of hell, so every time we would go up a hill I would hear her come up on me, and then as soon as we got to the top I would try and shoot down the other side and lose her, which was usually successful haha. Seriously though, I can't remember feeling much worse than I did the last mile of that race in any other cross race, besides maybe Loyola my sophomore year. I was dying and there was nothing I could do besides try to hang on and turn in a decent this point I assumed I was going to run a horrible time. So I finally passed the 3 mile mark and turned into the big open field where the race ends...and I hate that stupid field, because that's where time stops. Your legs aren't moving, your arms are flailing, you want to throw up, and the finish is so close but you don't seem to be moving anywhere, and you're trying to kick but the signals just don't seem to be reaching your legs. I could see the clock with the seconds ticking past 21:45 as I got towards the line and I tried to reach down and pull out one last burst of energy, and I can't say that I didn't give it absolutely everything I had, but I have to say its frustrating to miss what you wanted to run by 4 seconds - I ended up at 22:03. Still, its 8 seconds faster than I ran at this meet last year, on a day when a lot of people were running worse, especially with the heat, and its definitely a good place to start. Our freshmen/sophomores did AMAZING - Katie and Tali were at like 20:30 and Laura was at 20:45. Then came Claire and Taylor around 21:48, that's the pack I want to try and hang with the next time we race, because I really think I can if I figure out my pacing. Jade and Nicole were both about 20 seconds behind me. Overall, a pretty solid showing for our team! I'm kind of sad to have to go 3 weeks without racing now, but like I said, now's the time when I can put in the work, and no one will be ready for me when I reappear on the racing scene. ;)

Anyway, my legs were pretty much trashed after the race. My calves KILLED! They still do actually, but I'm sure that the 10.5 mile run on an insanely hilly trail in Kettle Moraine state park today didn't help. A bunch of the club went camping after the meet, and it was so much fun just hanging out and goofing around...and of course going on a long run on Sunday morning. Its stuff like this weekend that makes me want to stay in Madison for PT school...I'll miss cross country so much. Not even track so much any more...there's something about XC that you just can't explain. Its such a love-hate relationship, but its so much more love than hate.

50+ mile weeks on the horizon? I think so....its business time.

UW Parkside Midwest Collegiate Invitational - Kenosha, WI
5K Cross Country
22:03 (7:06 pace)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I hate Thursdays, because it means that I'm forced to do the workouts by myself in the morning because I technically have lab until 6:30, even though today lab got out at 4:30 but I'd already done the workout...oh well. The workout was Picnic Point intervals, which is actually a workout I've never really liked much because for some reason it always seems to take forever and just be generally more painful than other interval workouts. Today was really no exception, but something sweet did happen. I was trying to psych myself up for my first interval and mostly paying attention to this guy with these two gorgeous greyhounds, when all of a sudden this guy comes running easily by. I did a double take, and suddenly I was MATT TEGENKAMP...aka, Olympic finalist in the 5K. Annnd that was when I decided to start my interval. I ran behind him the entire interval, and I basically didn't think the whole time because all I could think was "omg, I'm running in the same place as an Olympian!" He turned around at the point and as I stood there gasping like an idiot after running a 5:05 1200, and he nodded and said "Nice job!". Annnnnd I've been validated as a runner. I pretty much stood in disbelief for my whole rest period, and then it was time to go again...blah.

The rest of the workout went well, I ran 5:00, 5:06, 4:58 for the last 3, which was miles better than the last time I did this workout. I was feeling pretty good about that...until I found out the fast group of WTC girls ran mostly 4:40s at the workout. SICK. We have a lot of fast freshmen, including some who were possibly going to be on the UW team, so I can't feel too bad about myself, but I can't help but miss my spot up in the top 2 or 3 of our team. I guess all I can do is trust my training and hope that I'll run well for me on Saturday...Parkside...eek! I'm shooting for sub 22...last year I ran 22:11 at this meet and I'm feeling more prepared this year...I think. Damn you,, for losing ALL of my workout info from last season! Boo. Its always nervewracking to race for the first time of the season, because you forget how much it sucks. But I'm still pumped and ready to go!

My legs were also dead today because we did Topping Hill on Tuesday...a 12.5 mile total workout, and 4 times up the biggest death hill I know starts out ok, and then you hit halfway and all of a sudden its like, whoa, KILL ME NOW. It's incredibly steep and not at all fun. My legs are still pretty sore from that, and I'm feeling a little beat left knee has been bugging me today, and my ankles aren't thrilled either. Then again, I've run 27 miles in 3 days of running this I'm not surprised! Easy 4 miles tomorrow, for sure, and hopefully I'll be able to remind myself that easy means EASY...not tempo or cut-down run. I'm an idiot sometimes.

The best part about this is that I've been working through lectures for my online class this entire time. Online classes win! Although I have plenty of other crap I should probably do tonight, too many of my classes involve too many damn writing assignments! And I suppose I probably shoudn't be spending my ENTIRE weekend at the meet/WTC camping trip...but hey, whatever! Back Sunday night, hopefully with an awesome race report from the Midwest Collegiate. God, how is it possible that this is my 3rd year at this meet? I feel to ice the knee...

Thursday, September 11, 2008


my legs hurt. they feel awesome, but they hurt. and they're asking me why in god's name i decided it was a good idea to do 4 hard workouts in 4 days. it was a complete accident, i swear. i didn't mean to run a 7 mile cutdown run on monday that ended up averaging out to 7:08 mile pace, SERIOUSLY! or a 6 mile tempo run at 7:19 pace yesterday. those were supposed to be my "easy" i had better start running with the team again because otherwise i'm going to kamikaze my legs into oblivion. i can't run slow when i'm by myself. i can't! the only time my average pace ends up being over 8 minutes is when i'm running like 10 miles, and that's only because i crash the last 2 miles. anyway, my legs are not happy. my feet are completely ripped up and my quads/butt are just vetoing life right now. but i feel good. i feel in shape! its kind of a miracle. i think running and i have reconciled our relationship since track season, and that's a good thing. all i have to say is, i had better run a PR, or at least a PR for the course at parkside next weekend, or i'm going to be an unhappy and confused camper. there's no reason i should be able to run this well day after day and then not be able to do it in a i'm banking on the fact that what i'm doing right now actually represents the shape i'm in. only time will tell.

running is pleasing me a lot right now. it takes a lot of effort to get out there sometimes, but once i am i feel great. i feel strong, i feel competitive, and i just feel so completely calm and unstressed while i'm running. i love being able to feel like i'm awesome. it was great fun running up bascom this morning and getting some ridiculous looks from passers-by. i feel like when i'm running i'm better than average. i know i'm not that great when compared to other college runners, and i'm not even the best in my own club, but the fact that i know i'm better at this one thing than a big percent of the population just gives me that extra push to run hard. i think i need to go read once a runner now, haha.

i have no desire to read or learn about bacteria right now. i would much prefer to do what i did last night, which was watch both ghostbusters movies with andrew and then pass out at 11:30. i'm so awesome. i also think that if i have to learn about research methods one more time, my head is just going to explode. i think my HDFS class is the...5th? 6th? class where i've learned about correlational studies and random group assignment and blah de blah. and its even more awesome because research is in no way involved in my future plans...alas.

eh, back to bacteria i suppose.

Monday, September 08, 2008

energize and maximize!

the ironman is pretty much my favorite thing, ever. not only because watching people bust their asses all day somehow makes me want to do the same someday, but also because volunteering at it scored me a whole lot of sweet stuff. like 6 liters of gatorade endurance, 3 boxes of powerbars, a box of gels, several oranges, bananas, and a sleeve of gatorade cups. sweeeeet deal. and seriously, watching people run a marathon AFTER biking 112 miles and swimming 2 or whatever makes my 8 mile run seem completely lame.

i also hit my highest mileage week in quite awhile this week...46, and the best thing is i did it without even really trying that hard. i can see myself getting up over 50 by the time we're into the midst of the season, which is pretty sweet and makes me feel cool. unfortunately we haven't had too many new girls show up at practice yet. i guess in a way this is good because its always demoralizing when we have a bunch of amazing freshmen appear out of nowhere, but at the same time i'd really like our team to get bigger and to the point where we're more like the guys. oh well...maybe free pizza will lure some people in next week!

other than that, i've been my usual failing at life self. i managed to make an idiot of myself once again at saturday's game, and lost my camera in the process. (i'm holding out hope that maybe its still at the stadium but that's a pretty long shot). i did get a free brewers tshirt out of the day though, so i guess it wasn't a total loss...also i made some pretty phenomenal chocolate chip pancakes. thank you, dollar tree spatula.

me = failboat. oh live, you learn. and then you eat more than a single pancake before spending the morning guzzling beer.