Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In the immortal words of NSYNC: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

My home internet connection is basically schizophrenic (ie, it tells me it is connected and not connected on the same page), but I got online just long enough today to discover that apparently one of my letters of reference didn't make it to the University of Puget Sound. ONE. I submitted 4 different references to PTCAS, and 4 references are marked "completed" on the page, not to mention this application only calls for three. So someone please explain to me how in the hell one of these letters managed to not make it? THEY'RE ONLINE! How hard is it to email a freaking letter? Seriously? I sent a rather unfriendly email to the PTCAS help department who I know will probably not get back to me until sometime in 2009, by which time I may or may not have located the PTCAS office and burned it down. In all seriousness, this could screw up my chances of getting into 3 out of the 6 schools I'm applying to, and I refuse to let that happen because some moron at a clearing house forgot where the enter key was. AGGGGH.

Rant over. I went on a glorious run at the Pettit today, slightly over 4 mile tempo at 7:12 pace. Yesssss! I love running at the Pettit. The whole 450 m track thing is awesome because it tricks you into thinking you're running less than you are, it's absolutely the perfect temperature, 50-55 degrees, and the fact that it's an Olympic training center for speed skating generally makes me feel badass when I work out there. Good workouts = happiness, and since my workouts over break are always questionable, its good to make the ones I do get in count.

So tomorrow is Christmas Eve, probably one of my favorite days of the year. Time to bake cookies, eat a lot, and enjoy hanging out with my family. Here's to peace, happiness, and love...and lots of fast running. :) Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

7 x 7

7 x 7 laps around the Shell = 7 miles...it also equals me being bored out of my MIND. Indoor running and me don't get along so well, but then again neither do "-9 feels like - 30 degree" weather and me, so I was stuck inside after work. The laps actually passed pretty quickly - my strategy is pretty much to count to 7 and then start over again, not thinking about anything except the current lap/mile. I ended up running 7 miles instead of my planned 5, so I guess it worked out...not to mention though I was running pretty slow (7:56 pace) I was so ridiculously consistent and didn't stop or slow down at any point...I guess monotony has it's benefits.

I've definitely hit the winter running doldrums. With over a month since my last real race and a month to go before my next one, no team to train with, and the weather outside complete crap, eating and staying in bed are much higher on my to-do list than going for a run. I've been getting better the past couple of weeks, and I had better keep the motivation up over break because once indoor starts I'm going to be regretting being lazy. Either way, I'll probably be ahead of where I was last year after my IT band problem pretty much eliminated any chance of training over break. Hopefully I can get some speed work in in the next few weeks before I actually have to RACE! Although who knows what distance that's even going to be...oh well.

This semester has absolutely flown. I can't believe Christmas is in 4 days...where did that even come from? Ridiculously enough, in a semester where I put in virtually no effort whatsoever, I'm probably going to have my highest GPA of college. It still terrifies me that I'm entering my last semester of undergrad...wasn't it just yesterday that I was partying at the grandma house and going to Ed's at 2 am? A lot has changed since then, running wise and otherwise, and I like to think that the majority of it is for the better. I'm happy, I'm in love, I'm running like I could never have even imagined freshman year, I know what I want to do in life, and overall I'm just really pleased with where I'm going. Yay. It's also good to know that I'm going into a field that's fairly stable even in the midst of this horrible economic situation...though my own finances are in the crapper, at least I know I'll have a job when I finally get out of school...yipee!

And on a completely miscellaneous note, my glorious house has invented a drinking game called "Pointsetta" which resulted in a group trip to the OP to buy 40s, toasts to the freshmen who funded our beer, walking to Brother's in a snowstorm completely wasted at 9 pm, and no one remembering how we got home. A great end to the semester? Yes, I do believe so. Did I run the next day? You better believe it. ;)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How far will you go? As far as you can.

Awkward triple post today, but I found this on another blog and I just had to put it up. Its apparently from a Nike ad (running shoe brands tend to do such a good job of putting into words what I for some reason can't):
You pretended the snooze button didn’t exist. You dragged your butt out of bed while other slept. While other ate their pancakes. You had a feast of protein, glucose and electrolytes. You double-knotted. You left the porch light on and locked the door behind you. You ran. 5ks, 10ks, 26.2 miles. Some days more, some days less. You rewarded a long run with a short run. And a short run with a long run. Rain tried to slow you. Sun tried to microwave you. Snow made you feel like a warrior. You cramped. You bonked. You paid no mind to comfort. On weekends. On holidays. You made excuses to keep going. Questioned yourself. Played mind games. Put your heart before your knees. Listened to your breathing. Sweat sunscreen into your eyes. Worked on your farmer’s tan. You hit the wall. You went throught it. You decided to be a man about it. You decided to be a woman about it. Finished what you started. Proved what you were made of. Just kept putting mile after mile on your internal odometer. How much farther will you go? As far as you can.

I also really like this one from New Balance...so true:


"You didn't even look back!": Jingle Bell Run Race Report

Well that certainly didn't go according to plan...it went way, way better.
So I finally dragged myself home from the library at 6 am Saturday morning, fell headfirst into bed, and woke up at 8:45 (45 minutes before I set my alarm, may I add) ready to go...I'm assuming it was something similar to when I was little and would just laugh for hours straight at idiotic things because I was so damn overtired...that was the kind of goofy energy I had. The weather forecast was actually looking pretty good - it was supposed to be 36 or something, so I went with my running tights under my (amazingly badass) orange race shorts, underarmor, and my (free!) Mizuno cold weather top. BF made fun of me because "orange and purple don't match", and just for that I tied an orange ribbon in my hair. Sweet.
So I met up with the other WTCers at 10 and we got our bags and things and went off to warm up. I ran around with Nicole...when she asked me how fast I was going to run this, I said "just like we're going for a run in the Arb.

We got to the starting line and apparently there was no starting gun, no announcements, no nothing...suddenly someone said go and everyone started running. We went through the first mile at the leisurely pace of 7:50 and were talking about Christmas shopping and just basically treating it like a normal run. Except for the one small fact that I always forget when I say I'm not going to try in a road race: if I have a number on, there's no WAY I'm not racing. So right after the first mile mark, Nicole dropped behind me a bit and I started passing people...really not putting any particular extra effort in but if I was close behind someone, I'd try and pick up my cadence a bit to just get past them and then fall back in. Apparently I did pick it up though, because my second mile was 7:25. The 3rd mile of this course is my least favorite of all time, including a long, steady hill for probably half a mile up Manitou Way...usually when I run the Arb I run it the opposite was as they race it so I get to run DOWN this hill...its damn tiring to run up. Hence my 7:43 3rd mile. Still, I passed at least 6 or 7 people on the uphill and I was happy with my situation at that point. When we turned the corner into the Arb I looked behind me and saw Nicole was probably 10 seconds back...I figured she'd probably catch up on the hills in the Arb but to be honest...I didn't really feel like worrying about it at that point. I was on pace for a PR, so my race strategy (run lazy) had changed.

As I passed the 3 mile mark, 2 older guys behind me who I had just passed were yelling to eachother "Let's go! 3 mile race now!" I figured they were going to pick it up and if there's one thing I hate, its being passed back, so I focused on an older man and a girl who looked about my age who were probably 10-15 seconds ahead of me. I caught up to them both and passed the guy, then the girl. A few minutes later, she passed me back on an uphill right around the 4 mile mark, which came up a lot faster than I remembered...gotta love those downhills. I finally got ahead of the girl, who I think ended up being the last person I passed. The race spread out a LOT in the last 3 miles...I had my sights set on "guy in red shirt" and got pretty close to him, but he pulled away a lot at the end. I was getting really tired...I'm sure that whole fact that I didn't sleep the night before had nothing to do with that...and I was starting to feel sick, which tends to happen when I race. But now that I knew that girl was behind me, there was no way I was letting up - I was NOT going to let her pass me.

We finally turned out of the Arb and passed the 6 mile mark...I was verrrry excited to be almost done running, and also pretty pumped because I knew a PR was coming my way. I also knew that the girl I had passed earlier was most likely gaining on me, and when I heard some people yelling for her at the finish, I knew there was only one thing to do - KICK!
It was probably the best kick I've had all year, and I beat her by 2 seconds.

Nicole came in about a minute later, and she wasn't too thrilled with me. Which is totally legit, since I was all "oh I'm not going to try, blah blah blah" before the race. And I wasn't PLANNING on trying, but when I found myself in decent position and feeling good, I figured there was no point in not going for it. The weird thing about the race was I never felt awesome, but I never truly felt bad...it was like the quote "it hurts up to a point and then it doesn't get any worse". Overally, I was pretty damn happy with my race and overall time. I got even happier when I got home and found the results online - 8th overall female out of 126, 2nd in my age group out of 49, with the girl right behind me being 3rd...SCORE! I got 39th/266 overall. And that is why I love road races...because in cross country, you can run your best time EVER and get 204th, but in a road race you beat a TON of people. I also like 10Ks at Vilas Park because I know the course sooo well....I've run the Arboretum loop a million times. Weirdly, I also really liked running with the jingle bells they gave us on my shoes, because it seriously made me get into a really good cadence. And I also had the Manheim Steamroller version of White Christmas in my head almost the entire time...very random since its a pretty slow song, and I haven't heard it in awhile...but whatever! So in the end, I'm really glad I did it, even though at 5:30 am it seemed like pretty much the worst idea ever. Not to mention, this made me a lot more motivated to get out and run knowing that I'm not completely out of shape despite being in kind of a slump lately. PRing after an all-nighter...that is just plain ridiculous. WIN.

Jingle Bell Run 10K - Vilas Park, Madison, WI
46:30 (7:29 pace)
Splits: 7:50, 7:25, 7:43, 7:17, 7:22, 7:25
39/266 overall
8/126 women
2/49 AG (19-29)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Shoot me?

Its 4:20 am. I have no intention of going to bed anytime in the next several hours. My current home is a corner on the 3rd floor of College Library.
Oh, did I mention I run a 10K at 11 am.

I am an idiot.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

That was a final?

So I just took a final at a bar.
No, you didn't read that wrong. I just took my Kinesiology 615 (Lab Techniques in Exercise Physiology) final exam at the Blue Moon, while drinking a delicious Capital Amber provided by my professor. I also tried some tasty Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, which I actually really liked and thus completely changed my opinion that porters and me don't get along, and also some Spotted Cow and Winter Skal. It was absolutely ridiculous...basically, I'm pretty sure everyone in that class is getting an A, and my professor kicks ass. We had a lot of fun just hanging out and drinking and talking, I actually feel kind of bad that I don't know a lot of people in my kines classes as well as I should. After all, we basically take ALL the same classes for 2 years...so you'd think I'd at least know their names by now. So it was kind of nice just hanging out and talking...although, we've spent a lot of time doing that in this class anyway...haha.

I also went on a pretty decent 5.3 mile run...ran into Nicole over by the VA which was kind of funny. I've been really unmotivated when it comes to running lately, partially I think because this stupid cold has been sucking out my energy and I've just wanted to sleep. But it was good getting out their today, and drunk or not I'm planning on doing the death circuit tonight...in between drunkenly studying for my microbio exam tomorrow....yeaahhh....senioritis like whoa.

I can't believe that exam just happened...just more proof that this semester is beyond ridiculous.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Proof that humility still exists in sports

US sprinter Shawn Crawford gives silver medal to disqualified runner Churandy Martina

I'm absolutely blown away. To see that kind of sportsmanship, especially from a sprinter, who are typically thought of as some of the cockiest athletes, is incredible. I saw the race, and the disqualification of Martina was completely unfair, since he ran out of his lane on the outside (therefore actually running extra distance, not less) and not impeding anyone else. Crawford apparently said that he felt that the medal didn't belong to him, and that he was beaten fair and square by 2 other athletes. Regardless of whether the IOC officially awards the medal to Martina (there is a hearing scheduled for January 15), I think its pretty awesome to see something like that between fellow athletes, especially in this day and age when the top stories are about drug cheats.

Also, I suck at school and I have a cold that's sucking away what minimal motivation I do have. Running today was very unpleasant and I'm hoping that these freaking zinc cold drops that I spent $4.99 on will help me...they did before nationals, right? We also just got a boatload of snow dumped on Wisconsin so running outside kind of sucks right now...and I'm really regretting signing up for the Jingle Bell 10K especially since pulling an all-nighter Friday is the only way I'm going to catch up on the 11 online lectures I haven't looked at before my exam Sunday...sweet...

But on the bright side, all 4 of my recommenders got their PTCAS letters in! By Christmas break, all I'll have to do is sit and wait and wish for those acceptance letters to start rolling in...

I'm not terribly religious, but replace running on a beach with running in the snow and this pretty much sums up how I feel when I'm out there, alone, on a freezing winter day when no one but a crazy person would be outside and the snow just sparkles, and I can look back at my lone line of footprints stretching off into the distance and think about how far I've come.
"It's elevating and humbling at the same time. Running along a beach at sunrise with no other footprints in the sand, you realize the vastness of creation, your own insignificant space in the plan, how tiny you really are, your own creatureliness and how much you owe to the supreme body, the God that brought all this beauty and harmony into being."
- Sister Marion Irvine, 2:51 PR and 1984 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier

Sunday, December 07, 2008

12, feels like 0, snowing...

Ahh, winter in Wisconsin. I've been a piece of crap about running since Thursday, but today I decided that I NEEDED to - I was going to go early this morning, but my bed was just too comfy, so I went out at about 4 planning on going to the Shell and running in circles until I wanted to die. I got about half a mile before I saw one other dude out running and I was like...screw it, I'm hardcore, I'm running outside. So I actually ended up running out to the beltline and back on the bike path, 7.5 miles in all. It was snowing almost the whole time but the footing actually wasn't too bad...although I think my legs hurt more afterwards because I was sliding around. And yeah, it was COLD. Its funny because I was wearing a sweatshirt, which I usually hate running in because its so bulky, but it actually was ok today. And I have to say, its pretty cool running in the snow at sunset. I may whine about running in the cold, but to be honest I'd definitely pick it over running in the heat of summer! So in the end, I'm glad I didn't go to the Shell...running in circles for easy/long runs is overrated.

The rest of this weekend was pretty awesome. Yesterday the BF and I went to the Capital Brewery tour, which was a lot of fun...and of course, beer samples!! We got these cute little 3 oz mugs and sampled Island Wheat, Rustic Ale, Wisconsin Amber, Special Pilsner, Winter Skal, and Autumnal Fire (aka, one of my favorite beers). We ended up coming home with a 6-pack of that and a mix-match 6 pack with 2 Winter Skal, 2 American Pale Ale, and 2 Special Pilsner...delish!

I forgot to mention that Thursday after our usual easy/tempo run, we did what I am going to call the circuit of death. Seriously, I haven't done anything like this since high school cross country, and I had a serious case of jello legs after. We did this circuit twice:
20 x lunges (10 each leg)
20 x calf raises
20 x squat jumps
20 x 1 leg squats
20 x step ups
20 x hamstring raises
20 x burpees (uggh.)
20 x squats
20 x star jumps
Can you say pain? I was limping around pretty extremely on Friday and even into yesterday...obviously I need to work on my strength a bit. But hey, if we do this even twice a week into the season, it won't hurt as much, right?

I also played St Nick to my roommates this weekend - nothing says festive like a stocking filled with chocolate, candy canes, and a Christmas shot glass...hooked onto a bottle of Rolling Rock. Red & green...get it?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Random commentary..

From an editorial from the Badger Herald completely unrelated to running, this is an awesome comment nonetheless:

"For those of you who don’t know, cross country is a sport that involves running as fast as possible for a distance most could not drive without stopping to stretch their legs, until the participants cross a finish line, at which point they stop running, collapse and try not to vomit from exhaustion. In other words: It’s a lot of fun!"

So true. So true.


A slightly belated Thanksgiving post...

I'm thankful for running - the good days, the bad days, PRs, every glorious cross country course everywhere, the Arboretum loop, spikes, intervals, tempo runs, exploring, pasta parties, road trips, living in a city that's full of beautiful places to run, long runs with the girls, lapping people at the Shell, feeling badass, finding my true passion in distance running, and having the most incredible team in the world to share every mile with.

I'm thankful for my amazing boyfriend, who loves me, understands me, lets me be my ridiculous self, and lets me love him right back, and who doesn't mind when I leave him for hours or days at a time to embark on my ridiculous running ways. I'm thankful to have not only a boyfriend but a best friend in him and I'm thankful for kegstands, without which we never would have found each other!

I'm thankful for my amazing family - my sister and her ridiculous stories, my mom even when she's driving me insane, my grandma for inspiring me every day, my dad even though I pretend I'm not, and the rest of my crazy and wonderful extended family - I don't know what I would do without their support and love.

I'm thankful for my friends - new and old, and for being able to come home to them no matter how long its been.

And now that the cheesy parts are out of the way: I'm thankful for good beer, coffee, living in the greatest college town in the nation, ice cream sandwich pie, underarmor, digital cameras, facebook, being 21, puppies (and having a job that involves playing with them), hope for change with our new president, microwaves, being able to watch House and The Office online, Subway $5 footlongs, the OP, and so much more...

Most of all, I'm thankful for love. In every form and aspect of my life, love is what keeps it all together. And currently, I'm thankful that its finally the Christmas season! :)