Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some kind of happiness is measured out in miles

It's night, mist is hanging heavy over the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, the lights of the BC stadium seem extra bright reflecting across the water, against the haze. I'm wet but not cold in the least, and I'm flying along the reservoir with "Born To Run" blasting in my headphones. I haven't seen a single runner out tonight, even though it's 5:30 pm, usually a rush hour of runners up and down Beacon Street after work. But not tonight...tonight the reservoir is mine. I cruise along, finally stopping at a baseball/football field, abandoned at the moment but blazing with lights for some reason, a brilliant square of light. For some reason I'm totally caught up in the joy and awesomeness of having this field all to myself - I want to spin in circles with my arms out like a little kid, giddy in the rain. But instead I do the next best thing - I stride across the field as fast as I can, kicking up mud and leaves and rain, soaking my shoes through, half-tripping in holes and slipping on muddy patches. I'm just completely caught up in utter joy and this running, this crazy thing, that makes me feel more alive than anything else I can imagine. Rain flies off my face as I sprint down the field one last time, and I know this: I can have this, these moments of pure freedom and happiness, and I am infinitely grateful.

I don't mean to write a cliched "oh it's Thanksgiving, so I'm thankful for..." type post. There are more incredible people and things in my life than I can count, along with the less incredible it goes for most people. But tonight as I was running, and thinking of how Thanksgiving is tomorrow, all could feel was the overwhelming emotion was that I am so thankful for this.

I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving...I am looking forward to cooking more food than the BF and I will ever be able to eat. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An open letter to my left knee + earliest run ever!

Dear knee,

Honestly, for the most part, you've been very good to me. You've gotten me through many, many, many miles with nary a complaint. You got me through some intense cross country and track seasons, and even training for a marathon with not an effing clue what I was doing, without making a peep. 65 mile weeks and you were totally cool with it. Sure, there were days when you were a little cranky with me, but we always managed to make amends. So what's changed, knee? Are you mad at me for only running 5 days a week lately? Were you not happy with the 5 days off I gifted you with after the marathon? Or are you pissed off that I'm trying to get my mileage back up to a respectable number after a month of crap? Because lately, knee, you've been acting like the lyrics to the song...

You're hot then you're cold, you're yes then you're no, you're in then you're out, you're up then you're down. You're wrong when it's right, it's black then it's white, we fight, we break up, we kiss, we make up.

Seriously though knee? What's going on? We've had some really great runs the past couple of weeks. When you were hurting a while back, I gave you your space. I gave it a rest. I worked my way back into your heart slowly, and you seemed cool with it. Things were just getting back to normal, knee. So where did I go wrong? Suddenly you're hurting me again, and that's just not fair. Knee, I really don't think our relationship is in a good place right now. This just isn't right. So please, for both our sakes, get it together, man up, do whatever you have to do. Because I'm getting sick and tired of pampering you and catering to your every need at every hour of the day...and I especially dislike doing this when you pick 4 miles into my run to start screaming at me. I will not tolerate this, knee. I will roll and stretch you and the muscles connected to you until you and I start to see eye to eye. Because seriously. Not cool, knee. NOT COOL.

Lovingly yours,

So yeah, I'm not real happy with my knee at the moment. I've been virtually pain free for the past 2 weeks, and now suddenly - BAM, flare-up. For now, I'm going to blame the 3 days in a row I took off while I was attempting to adjust to my new up-at-6am-hour commute-work for 7 hours-hour commute-want to sleep schedule. Yes, folks, I have rejoined the land of the employed, which is great for my bank account but not so great for my running. Because apparently my only marketable skill involves pampering puppies, I found a job at a dog groomer/kennel, which is awesome, except for the fact that it takes ~an hour to get to via a combination of 2 different trains and a bus. But then I realized something magical: the reason it takes so long to get to this place by public transportation is because it's not a straight shot - you have to go downtown and then across town and etc. Straigh there, it's a little over 6 miles. Sooo the wheels started turning in my head - obviously it would take me less than an hour to run 6 miles...get my run in AND skip a long & boring commute? Um yes please!

So I put my plan into action today and ran to work, leaving a little before 7 am. I'm pretty sure that's the earliest I've ever headed out for a run in my LIFE! And it was awesome! I think I'm really a morning person at heart, I just have to get used to going to bed early enough that I get enough sleep to not be cranky in the morning [aka, I've been going to bed at 10-10:30 lately...LAME I know but's not like I would be doing anything at that time of night besides stupid things on the computer or whatever]. Plus, the idea of killing two birds with one run is just so enticing to me - one of the things I hate is getting home from work [when it's 4:15 and practically dark out already] and knowing I have to go for a run, in the dark, on a lame street that's lit, and I'm tired and I never want to. Especially after coming home from a job where I'm standing, squatting, bending, reining in crazy dogs who want to jump off the grooming table, and other active things all day. This way it was like...woo hoo! I'm getting to work AND my run is done for the day! That's just pure awesome right there.

It also didn't hurt that the route to my job happens to be randomly gorgeous! Some things I get to run past included: 3 different ponds, parks, the Arboretum [yes, I FINALLY found it, so next time I go on a 20 mile adventure I will turn the correct way :)], a really pretty parkway with some cool woods [and possibly trails which I may have to go exploring at some point?], another trail running along some woods...freaking amazing! Apparently there are a bunch of other parks in the vicinity so I will most likely be checking those out at some point. Hello, new marathon training routes! Unfortunately, my knee started getting cranky around pond #2, and by the time I hit the pretty parkway it was screaming at me. At that point I also thought I might be lost so I wasn't too happy about having to keep stopping to stretch and rub my leg when I wasn't even sure where I was. Luckily I was not, in fact, lost, and I somehow made it to work on time despite my crying knee. Whatever this thing is [and I still can't figure out if its IT band issues, tendinitis, or some other mystery problem], rest doesn't seem to help AT ALL. If anything, it seems to make it worse. However, running through pain like that doesn't seem like a great idea either, so what. the. effing. crap. am I to do about it? I sort of neglected my stretching the past few days, and I think that was bad, since stretching did seem to help today during my run...sooo...let's just say I will be making sure to stretch a LOT in the coming days and see what happens.

Well, the good news about the run was that aside from the poopy knee, I felt great! Morning runs may very well become a staple of my running schedule...and I think I'll like it that way.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fall frolickings

This past weekend my beloved Wisconsin Track Club raced at NIRCA XC Nationals [NIRCA being an organization for collegiate running clubs that is pretty sweet]. The boys repeated as national champs [woot woot!] and the girls got 4th, which is pretty awesome considering that last year we got 9th. It's CRAZY business though how much faster that team is getting, last year at nationals I was the 6th runner on our team [granted, in a mind-blowingly awful race in which I ran a minute and a half slower than my PR...but yeah] after generally hanging out around the #4 or 5 spot in the earlier part of the season. This year? My previous PR would have put me 10th on our team. Holy crap, my friends are FAST!

I really do miss cross country - both the team aspect and just the races themselves...running fast over hills and through the mud and was just so cool and badass. I kind of missed out on the XC season at Franklin Park here because I was in marathon mode, and something tells me that next fall might be more of a return to the trails instead of marathon madness. I didn't really think about it or miss it until after I finished the marathon, when I saw all of my teammates busting out these amazing times and I couldn't help but wonder...if everyone I've been running with for 4 years is kicking ass now...would I be doing the same? Would I be dropping tons of time too? Or would I be getting left in the dust? It was weird looking at the results and thinking "oh, well if I ran in the same spot as I usually do...I would be PRing by a lot!" Obviously I was committed to a much different goal this season, and only one of those teammates has run a marathon [and she's way better than me in all distances anyway :)] so it doesn't really bother me, but it's just kind of...weird. As I think I said at some point previously on this blog, this is the first time my life hasn't been measured in track and XC seasons, and it's sort of strange not having all these races to improve upon throughout the year and instead just having this one BIG race. I'm thinking that for my Boston training cycle, I'm going to try to include more races in my training, because they're a good stimulus for me to run hard and not slack off, plus they let me keep my sanity a little bit. :)

So, I must have been thinking about running fast when I went on my usual Chestnut Hill Reservoir loop today, because I ran the fastest I ever have on that loop...I'm calling it an "unintentional tempo run" - 5.8 miles at 7:18 pace. It was such a gorgeous, crispy, sunny fall day, and I really got into a great rhythm for the first time in what feels like a looooong time. How has it been a month since the marathon?

On Sunday I actually sucked it up and ran 9.5 miles which was...interesting? It was super humid which didn't help my situation, but I was kind of sad at how exhausted I felt. Then I realized that my longest run in the past month had been 6 miles [once] and I didn't feel so bad anymore. I did keep a 7:49 average pace so that was pretty good, my life probably would have been a lot easier if I would have just slowed down but we all know that's not how I roll. :) Seriously though, I think it's time for this girl to get back into the running groove! My knee is still a little questionable at times, like at the end of todays fast run it was definitely tight and cranky, but I'm keeping an eye on it and stretching and doing strenthening exercises like a mofo...and I think as long as I'm not an idiot and completely overdo it, it will be OK.

I also decided...finally...that this winter, I am going to start doing ABS again! My core could definitely use some work, and it's been so long since I did any ab/back exercises...too long! My new ab workout is called...POWER HOUR ABS! It's kind of like 8 minute IS 8 minute abs, but I keep track of the time using a playlist I made for a power hour a couple years ago. Exactly 1-minute songs that are all fun and get you excited to do some crunches? Heck yes! I'm also going to try to start working some pushups and other arm stuff into my routine because I am a weakling when it comes to my arms! And I figure, any kind of increase in strength anywhere is bound to help my running one way or another!

Well in non-running related news, I had a fantastic weekend. On Friday night the BF and I had an impromptu Mexican fiesta with a couple friends, complete with a couple Coronas with lime and Chipotle-style burritos the BF and I cooked up...yum! Saturday we headed to The Baseball Tavern and watched the Badgers kick the crap out of most-hated MICHIGAN so that was pretty sweet. We decided to go to the aquarium after the game because it was rainy and crappy, and being members, we get in for free whenever we want! They have a really cool jellyfish exhibit:

Cool sea nettles

They also do a lot with bigger sea animals like seals, sharks, and [my personal favorite] SEA TURTLES!!

Myrtle the turtle!

This one is my personal favorite! His name is Bandalier and he's just a little guy...the aquarium does lots of sea turtle rescues around this time of year when turtles get stranded as they head south and get shocked by the cold. I'm a total sucker for random animals [llamas, goats, penguins...] and I think sea turtles may have been added to the list of ridiculous animals that I just love for some reason. :) [Also, I really like the name Bandalier for some reason, and I decided that when I finally get a road bike, that's what it's name will be. Just FYI, I like planning ahead on these things haha]

And finally, I just have to share the dinner I made yesterday....I was really excited about it haha. Being poor grad students/college graduates, the BF and often survive on such delicacies as mac & cheese, ham sandwiches, and black beans & rice...all delicious, but not much fun or excitement, and no real cooking involved! So occasionally we entertain ourselves and come up with something fun, delicious, healthy, and reasonably cheap to create. Last night I got the idea into my head that I really wanted some acorn squash with brown mom always used to make it in the fall when I was younger, but I definitely haven't had it since going to college! I went to Whole Foods [which conveniently and somewhat horribly] is located like a block from my apartment, and picked up some squash, brown sugar, and some things to mix into pasta. The squash was super easy to just throw a little butter and sugar into and bake, then I threw together some pasta [I really like those curly ones, they're fun] with sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and olive oil. Add a Saranac Maple Porter to top it off and...ta da! A delicious fall dinner!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Hump Day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

TIART: Favorite Race

So here I go, jumping on the TIART bandwagon! I'm actually kind of excited about this too because I'm sure it will give me more awesome blogs to yay for that! So the question of the week is from Yummy Running, whose blog I haven't checked out yet, so I'm putting that on the to-do list! The question is:
What is your favorite race? Do you live for the marathons or crave a 5k? Would you rather race in the morning, afternoon, or at night? Do you like big races with tons of people and encouraging crowds or do you prefer the smaller hometown races?

Hmm...the more I think about this question, the tougher it gets for me to answer it! Well, lets start off with what ISN'T my favorite race: the 10K. I don't know...I just don't dig the 10K. It's too long to be 5K fast, but still short enough that it's kind of just painful...yeah, it's just not my style.

While I don't hate the half marathon, and I definitely think my time to break 1:40 is coming soon, I wouldn't say it's my favorite race either. HMs hurt a lot. I wouldn't say I've ever had an "amazing" HM race. They're fun, and I like that they're more of an endurance race, but favorite? Ehh, you'll have to earn that title, 13.1.

So that brings us to the opposite ends of the spectrum: the 5K and the marathon. I love them both for different reasons. The 5K is FAST. You can run it on a track, or cross country...and boy oh boy, do I love track and cross country. Training for the 5K on the track and actually achieving my goal of breaking 20 was one of the coolest experiences I've had as a runner, and the feeling of running FAST is pretty amazing. I also love the fact that outside the college running circuit, you can pretty much jump in a 5K whenever, without really having to specifically train or think about it. If your "A" race doesn't go as planned, it's highly likely you can find a new "A" race the next weekend, and I like that a lot about the 5K. I also get very, very competitive in this race, probably due to my background with it on the track and in XC. 5K, I LIKE you!

Buuut then there's the marathon...which I'm a little afraid to say I may be slightly in love with. Maybe it's because I was lucky enough to have just a magical first marathon experience, but something about the marathon...I love it. I think the fact that training for the marathon is so much of the journey is what makes me love it. The marathon is amzing too because just doing it, and doing it well, is an accomplishment by itself, whereas if I run a 5K and it doesn't go well, I just feel cranky and like I failed.

And obviously, I'm bad at making decisions! I almost think I like the 5K and the marathon equally because they're opposites - the 5K is like "run fast until you puke" and the marathon is like "run slow until your legs want to fall off". So maybe the answer is that I like races that are really painful, but so incredibly gratifying when you're done. :)

Well, I think as far as size, I like a medium sized race - one enough that there's still competition and excitement, but not so huge that you get totally lost in the crowd. Even though I like doing runs/workouts at night, I like racing in the morning...something about getting up super early is half the fun! And there is NOTHING in the world like a cross country race...hundreds of people flying off that line...that's one thing I really miss, and I'd love to find some open XC races out here.

Anyway...that's about it! Happy Thursday everyone!

The beginning of the Boston plan...and birdwatching!

First things first: I found this as I was mindlessly surfing blogs the other day, and I got really excited [again] about Boston even though it's months away...gotta start with some inspiration!

I mention this because today I got my special postcard that says "Yay, you're officially running Boston!" [ know...something to that effect :)] Getting mail is exciting enough by itself these days, since the mailbox is usually empty or maybe if I'm lucky includes a Brookstone or IKEA catalog addressed to the previous resident, so when I opened the box and saw a letter with the return address of "The Starting Line, Hopkinton, MA" [yes, that's really what it says, which is AWESOME in my opinion] I was just like...eek! Yay!

Anyway. So even though I have a month and a half before I have to get back into hardcore marathon training mode, I've been starting to look at my Baystate training cycle and try to figure out what I liked, what I didn't like, what I think worked, what I don't think worked...etc. I put all my workouts and paces into a nifty little Excel file and have been kind of looking at how it all lays out. Here are some of the most basic stats I came up with:

# of weeks: 16 [technically, my spreadsheet is 22 weeks, but it's pretty obvious when you look at it the first 6 I wasn't really in training...well, I was in training, but I was in training for a TRIATHLON. Not a whole lot of hard running going on there.]

Average weekly mileage: 46.8 miles [when I take the week when I went up north and only ran 19 miles out, the average goes up to 48.2 which is probably a more accurate representation]

Highest mileage: 66.8

Easy run pace range: 7:16-8:22 [hmm...yeah, we'll talk more about this later :)]

Long run pace range: 8:01-8:45

Average workouts/week: 1

Long run progression: 11, 14, 16, 16, 18, none, 13.1, none 21, 22, 18, 22, 13

So, what things do I like about this? Well, I think the 16 week plan was just about perfect. If I start on January 1 for Boston, that gives me 15 weeks, which I think is fine since if you take my 19 mile week into account, I really only had 15 weeks of official training anyway. I think keeping my mileage between about 50 and 60 is pretty solid, although I wouldn't mind upping the miles even a little more this cycle. I could see myself topping out maybe at 70 this time around, although we'll see about that.

I consistently took 1 day off a week, and while it sure is easier to get 70 miles into 7 days than it is into 6, I'm keeping my day off, and I think I'll continue to do so in future training cycles for any running-only event. Having a day when I don't have to run at ALL really kept me sane, especially when the mileage got pretty big and I was doing a 20 mile long run, an interval workout, and another 10 or 11 mile quality day in the same week.

As far as long runs, I think I could do a little better in that area. Mostly I don't want to have essentially 3 weeks with my longest run being 13 miles. I liked the 3 20+ mile runs, and I think I'll keep that pretty much the way it was - the timing of them seemed pretty good too, with the last one close enough to the race that it was just a huge confidence boost. Basically my plan is to be up to 10 or 11 miles before I actually get into "training" and then after that my long runs look like this: 12, 14, 15, 16, 16, 18, 16, 18, 15, 21, 22, 18, 22, 13 [notice a similarity in the last 5 weeks from this past cycle? Yeah, yeah, I'm a little superstitious, and now that I didn't do an exactly 20 mile run in this cycle, I'll always do more than 20, never exactly :)]

OK, well I'm sure anyone reading this is probably terribly bored by now, so I'll unveil the other parts of the plan later [paces and plans for workouts, hehe] One thing I will say is that I plan on trying to work on running at "marathon goal pace" obviously that meant I actually had to PICK a goal pace. So as of right now, I am setting my goal at 3:35, which is an 8:12 pace. 10 seconds per mile to take off is a lot, but who knows. So that's the idea for right now...

In other news, my knee finally seems to be getting back to it's old self! My hamstrings and glutes are still pretty tight, but stretching a lot combined with running more actually seems to be helping rather than hurting. Yesterday I was thrilled to actually be able to run 6 miles with no problem...WOO HOO!! I think I'll just be hanging out in the 30-40 mpw range for awhile, but I'm just happy at the moment to actually be able to run for 45 minutes without my knee exploding. The only thing that's still a little weird is having to kind of conciously think about it while I'm running - I guess in a way it's good to be more in tune with my body when I'm running because half the time I'm totally in my head and just kind of cruising along. But since my knee problem, I have really actively been thinking about things feeling tight, aches, pains, and sensations as I'm running and just being a lot more aware of what's going on.

Today's run was just another example of why I LOVE fall in New England! It was a crispy 50 degrees and pretty windy, which was a little irritating to fight but I hardly noticed after awhile. The leaves are such gorgeous colors right now, and I was very happy listening to them crunch on the sidewalk as I ran through. I went to my other "go-to" reservoir, the 1 mile loop at Brookline, and saw some ducks, geese, and a fun new duck-like bird I had never seen before called a hooded merganser...if you check out the picture, I was able to ID it because of the huge white spot on their heads. :) I don't go "bird-watching", but I do have a field guide and it's kind of fun to look it up when I see a bird I've never seen before...there are plenty out here that I hadn't seen in Wisconsin!

OK, so I decided that I want to start doing Take It And Run Thursday because I like the idea and so many of my fellow bloggers do it's always nice to have guaranteed something to write about! BUT I am going to do it in a separate post, because this one is looong. So you can read them separately if you want, yay :)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

show me your he♥rt

I tried to do this little game thing like a month ago, but couldn't get the formatting right...but I decided in honor of 2 awesome years with the BF, I would try to make it work today. :) the name of the game is:
with as much creativity as you can muster, show your he♥rt in: a picture, poem, a song (or piece of music), a phrase (or quote), an item of clothing, a place, and (just for fun) a disney princess. we go!

This pic was taken ~2 days after the BF and I started dating, and to this day it's still one of my favorites of the two of us. I worked a little photo editing magic on it last year so it brings out the other heart in the picture...Badger red!
"The Song of the Ungirt Runners" by Charles Hamilton Sorley
We swing ungirded hips
and lightened are our eyes
the rain is on our lips
we do not run for prize
we know not whom we trust
nor witherward we fare
but we run because we must
through the great, wide air

The waters of the sea
are troubled by the storm
the tempest strips the leaves
and does not leave them warm
does the tearing tempest pause?
do the treetops ask it why?
so we run without a cause
'neath the big, bare sky

The rain is on our lips
we do not run for prize
but the storm the water whips
and the wave howls to the skies
the winds arise and strike it
and scatter it like sand
and we run because we like it
through the broad, bright land

Song: "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey [at first I thought this one was going to be hard, and then I realized it was a TOTAL no brainer! :)]

Quote: "Every passion has it's destiny." ~Billy Mills

Clothing: My Wisconsin Track Club jacket that I designed and distributed out of my dorm room as a freshman...such a ridiculous undertaking, but I adore that jacket. And the WTC! You can also just ignore how ridiculous I look in this was at a very cold XC meet...

Place: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI

I decided to make this one NOT involve running...there is nothing in this world like BADGER GAMEDAY!

Disney Princess: Jasmine! Mostly just because I was her for Halloween...and she's pretty badass :)My friend's cat was "Rajah"...the BF was Aladdin...obviously :)

So there you have it...that was fun! Anyone who actually reads this blog and hasn't done it already...go ahead, it was a good time. :)

In other news, I ran for 35 minutes today with NO KNEE PAIN!! After my endless frustrations the past couple of weeks, I decided to take a few days off, and then just start running every day and adding on a little time each day, seeing how much my leg would take. I also vowed to STOP if I started feeling any pain at all because obviously that would just make things worse. I started out with 20 minutes, when that was cool I moved up to 25, then today I mean to go for 30 minutes but it...uh...*accidentally* turned into 35. I took it pretty easy but I was thrilled that I had zero signs of the problems I've been having lately. I'm still cautiously optimistic and am going to try to rein in my glee this coming week and keep things to 45 minutes or so and easy...but I think as far as I can tell...I'm Back! With a stretching and massage regimen to add to my training fun. :)

I was actually thinking about it, and I realized that the last time I had IT band problems, it was in a similar situation - right after XC season ended, so I had just finished a pretty hard training cycle with a lot of miles, and I was just running suuuper easy...then it flared up! From everything I've read on it, ITBS generally flares up when you increase mileage too fast...not decrease either I'm some kind of mutant or my body just really, REALLY loves running lots and lots of miles...I think I'll take the latter. :)

I was lucky enough to celebrate 2 years with the BF last night and it was just perfect. Last year we went out for dinner at a super expensive restaurant, but obviously this year we're slightly poorer haha. So we decided to go out to dinner at the Sunset, which is a bar/restaurant that we've been to to drink [cuz...ya 500 different types of beer!] but never to eat. We got dressed up even though it's kind of a casual place and had just a wonderful time sampling a couple of beers [including a blueberry ale that came with real blueberries in it...YUM!], eating, and then coming home and just hanging out and watching some episodes of Lost. Pretty low key, but wonderful.

I've generally been in a much better mood this week than the past couple...finally starting to get over this injury has helped a lot...seriously, being able to run does WONDERS for my personal happiness. :) I'm also excited about the gorgeous fall weather that we've been having...I LOVE crispy weather between like 40 and 55 with the leaves falling and just that fall smell! I feel like I've taken so many stupid internet surveys over the years that ask "what's your favorite season?" and I could never decide, but I think I can definitively say now: I LOVE FALL!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! :)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

AG awards for a half marathon walk?

So today I got my official confirmation of acceptance into the Boston Marathon! [And they said verification would take 3-5 weeks? That sure was fast! Maybe you get extra credit for running a race in MA? Haha :)] A little bit a little giddy when I saw my name on the "official entrants" list.

But anyway, since [*sigh*] I still have nothing new to report on the running front, I had a couple of random things that I was thinking about commenting on for awhile. I found it kind of funny that right around the time of my first marathon, that NY Times article came out questioning whether slower runners have a place in marathons. There's been quite a crazy debate and I guess I thought I would just share my opinions on the subject since...well...I want to!

In general, I really disagree with the article. Honestly, if you trained for the race, worked hard, and work as hard as you can during the race itself, you deserve to be there, whether you're running for 2 hours or 8. Are there certain cutoff times that I would consider reasonable? Yeah...I mean, the story of the people who stopped at a restaurant to eat lunch in the Honolulu Marathon...ok that might be a bit much. But basically - if you're giving it your all, I couldn't care less how fast you're going. Does it really affect any of the people who are going to run a faster time what the person who comes in last runs? Not really, unless they try to start at the front of the elite corrall or something dumb like that. Frankly, I think it's pretty cool to see people trying to push their limits regardless of what those limits may be.

But the one thing I do have to say is this: fundamentally, a marathon or half marathon is something that you should have trained for, and it should be an accomplishment for you regardless of what level you're at....and this brings me to the actual point of my rambling. I've never really seen this happen in a marathon, but a half marathon that I raced in last year has decided to institute a specific half marathon WALK. Not only that, but the walk division includes age group awards. Ummm...yeah...not so sure how I feel about that one.

I'm totally cool with the walk division in a 5K or 10K, because there are people who walk for fitness and it's awesome that they're able to participate in races/fundraisers and enjoy themselves that way. But I feel like a half marathon is kind of on a whole different level from's a pretty major endurance event that people train hard and put in a lot of miles for. The thing that just confuses me is that, its not like the race was ever EXCLUDING walkers...there is something like a 16:00/mile pace cutoff that's not terribly strictly enforced and I'm sure if anyone just wanted to walk the majority of the race that would be just fine. But age group awards for a walk? I feel like that just kind of undermines the achievement of the people who ran, walk/ran, jogged, or, basically, really worked hard to complete that 13.1 miles. I'm not saying that walking 13.1 miles would be easy [although, I can't imagine why anyone would want to!] but I don't know...a race just doesn't seem like the right setting for it. IF they really wanted to have a "fun walk", I doubt the people who would sign up for such a thing would want the competition of awards...because if they did, they would be signed up for the actual race. This race also has a 1/4 marathon event, which it seems to me would make a lot more sensible distance to add a specific walk event's not like the half marathon was their shortest race, and the directors felt they needed to cater to walkers somehow.

I guess what it comes down to for me is this: a race is a race. If you want to go for a leisurely walk, or even a walk that is some kind of test of endurance [ie, walkathons, multi-day charity walks, etc]...that is AWESOME. I'm all for physical activity of any sort. I just don't think that creating a separate division in a race scenario, especially in a distance like 13.1, is really where that kind of thing belongs.

Hmm...well I hope this doesn't come off as incredibly elitist or anything - because really, I'm not that kind of person at all. I guess I just don't like to see people half-assing things just to check something off a list or say they did it. I don't care how fast or slow you're going, as long as you're giving it 110%...and that's what I feel like any race, especially a long-distance one, should really represent.

Annnnd rambling over. :) I ventured to the library today despite the crazy crowds of people with political signs and picked up a new book to read while "resting" [Ken Follett...World Without End...I liked Pillars of the Earth, so hopefully this will be equally good!] I have been stretching and Sticking out of control, which seems to be the thing that is helping my questionable IT band the most - after some combination of those two, my leg feels much less tight and achy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that with this combination + a couple more days of rest, I'll be able to kick this stupid problem! I'm totally blaming the weather on marathon day for this...I think the cold + rain made my muscles much tighter than they would have been, and that combined with the stress of, ya know, running a marathon, just kind of took its toll.

Finally, belated shoutout to lindsay for rocking it out in NYC this past weekend! Oh yeah, and Meb know, for being the first American to win the thing in something like forever. Awesome!

Monday, November 02, 2009

It's not all bad..

Today wasn't that great of a day, but there was one thing that got me pretty excited about life....

114th Boston Marathon
Dear Audrey:

Your entry for the 114th Boston Marathon has been received, and your credit card has been authorized for payment in the amount of US $130.00. You may notice a pre-authorization draft on your credit card statement. This authorization will be removed in approximately three business days. The actual charge will not appear on your credit card until your entry has been verified and accepted. Entry verification and acceptance can take four to five weeks depending on how quickly we receive the official results from your qualifying marathon. Please make note of your Submission ID #: 20016338.

You will be notified of your acceptance by email and first class mail. Your notification of acceptance will be sent as soon as we verify your official results from your qualifying marathon. When you are accepted, your name will be posted in the Boston Marathon section of the B.A.A. website,, under "Entrants."

Please contact the B.A.A. registration office at 508-435-6905 (or send an email to with any questions regarding your entry.

We look forward to your participation on race day!

Boston Athletic Association

I may still be on the DL for anything over 3 miles at the moment [and...frustrated as hell, but lets not go there right now] but I AM going to be running I guess I've got that going for me. :) As I told my grandma earlier..."If someone had told me I would run 2 marathons before I turned 23, I would laugh in their face." Who's laughing now? I can't wait to get my verification postcard. :)

Well, my knee is still not laughing. 3 days off with ice and ibuprofin and Sticking like crazy and stretching [ok, so maybe my Halloween spent as Cuddy from House in 4 inch stilettos wasn't so great for my legs...but whatever] and today I made it 23 measly minutes before things went down the crapper and I had to call it quits. Now, 23 minutes is better than 0 minutes...but ahhh it is such a TEASE!! Like, oh yay for running, remember how much you love running, boy oh boy this feels amazing....buuuuut now you have to stop. Wah wah. As I said before, if I could just make my way to a damn pool or something I would be infinitely better off...I am just sooo not content to sit and watch all my fitness disappear when I was just in the best shape of my life. Argh!

It is better to take time off now than keep going and injure myself worse. I have 2 months before I really need to start training. I should probably repeat those two sentences over and over again to myself until they're ingrained in my brain. If I really want to take a shot at a PR at Boston, I'm going to have to train even harder than I did this time around, and in order to do that I NEED to be healthy and not have any silly injuries lingering around. So...I rest! Bah. Anybody know any cardio that doesn't involve your knees or a pool?

Well, in non-running related news [since all my running related news mainly involves bitching about my stupid knee], Halloween was quite fun. The BF and I went in costume as House and Cuddy to the Badger game viewing which was great - Badgers won 37-0, we played some drinking games with a few friends, good times overall. Later on there was a "fishbowl" that I created in a pumpkin trick-or-treat bucket...if I ever make one of those again, it mayyyybe should be shared by more than 2 people...hmm. ;) Overall, it wasn't exactly Madison Halloween [and I highly doubt any in my life will compare again] but alas, I'm not in college for a "real-world" Halloween, it was pretty fun.

Off to bed, I'm sure with visions of running dancing in my head...