Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jun 30


Crashed last night at 7:30 expecting to get up after a nap, woke at 2:30, worked 3-5:45, did laundry, went for a run, expecting to be back to shower and get ready for my first meeting at 8:30.


Debated for a while whether I should run.  My heel's been a little swollen the past couple of days.  I felt it walking around, but it feels completely normal all of a sudden sometimes.  So I decided to work out.  Almost decided to go biking in the gym, but it was so cool outside, and I wanted to take advantage of it.  My legs were feeling decent, too.  I decided to give the NB 858s another try – this time, without insoles.  That worked magic.  The combo of overpronation insoles in an already super-stiff stability shoe probably overcompensated, which is why I really didn't like running in the 858s before.  This time, with the insoles that the shoe came with, it felt good, and I couldn't feel the plantar fasciitis at all.  Overpronation is supposed to be a risk factor for plantar fasciitis. 


So off to the run at the park.  I forgot my Garmin, but I have a good idea of the distance per lap now.  The run required a good bit of strength and effort, even though I wasn't going particularly fast.  Don't know what that means. 


4.5 in 35:44, 7:56 ave.  Not bad, I guess.  It was exceptionally cool for a summer run, but I was on uneven grass in a slightly hilly course.


Splits> 6:22, 5:59, 5:59, 5:57, 5:52, 5:34.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jun 28

Thankful just to be able to run.  My PT buddy diagnosed my left heel issue as plantar fasciitis, which can last for years in certain cases.  It seems to be manageable for now.  I can still run on it, and it feels mostly normal sometimes.  Never had this issue before, at least that I can remember.  I'm supposed to stretch my achilles (feels good to do the wall stretch), do cross-frictional massage, and do a towel stretch to dorsiflex.

The thing that's bugging me a bit more is my right ankle, which I rolled 2 days ago on my last run.  The left outside ligament or tendon is tender.  I'm compensating for the issue on one foot by modifying my gait on the other foot.  I think the legs' respective issues are screwing each other up even more, so I tighten up.  My right lower back got tight on my run today.  I feel mostly fine, though.

I don't regret running today.  I needed it for mental health, and I felt like my body was ready for it. Crazy couple of weeks work hour-wise.  Will be like this definitely through the end of the week, and maybe through the end of October, haha.  That's my life.  I always say "it'll get better after X", where X is usually a month half a year away, but by the time I get there, there are new projects, and X just keeps getting pushed out. 

4.5 in 37:06, 8:08/mi, 376 Cal.  Not bad.  I felt like I was slow, from the way the muscles that lift the knees were feeling.  They were a little sore or tired or something, so I was surprised each time I looked at my splits and saw a decent time.

Splits> 6:36, 6:19, 6:19, 6:06, 6:03, 5:40

Probably need to stretch out to make sure I don't stay tight anywhere, which would screw me up even more.

I'm building a dream playlist for running.  Here's what I have so far...
Chariots of Fire Theme (i've run to this as the red sun was setting.  i've also run to this [by singing it] on a group run with my ultimate frisbee team, which was also very cool)
Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland (good for the morning of a marathon when it's still dark outside or as the sun's rising, because it's epic and solemn and glorious)
Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night by the Black Eyed Peas (good pump-up song at the beginning of a race)
Remember the Name by Fort Minor (good for the last few miles of a hard effort)
Olympic Fanfare by the Boston Pops Orchestra (good for when you're driving to or from the race)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Jun 26

To help my knees stop having issues, I did a second weekly strength session yesterday.  A run would've probably been counterproductive anyway, since my legs were still recovering from the previous day's run.  I didn't mind somewhat toning down the number of reps a bit, since it was a double.  I'll probably do a video at some point so show you my weekly strength exercises, but for now, for those of you who are new to the blog, I'll list last night's exercises here.  I do mostly the same routine weekly, hitting all muscle groups.  Weekly seems to be a good frequency for me.  Longer than 1.5 weeks, and the next session becomes harder because I lost some strength.  2 per week would be doable, but I'd be able to do less at each one.  Since I'd rather be running, I'll go about as long as I can without losing any strength, so 1/week it is, normally.

375 crunches per side (front, left, right) - normally, I do 400-475/side.
2:30 plank - normally, 3:00
105/115 adductor/abductor leg lifts
15 divebombers - normally, I do ~30 pushups instead
60s 6 inch leg raise - normally, I do 90s
1:00 straight-arm side planks with 20 hip dips - normally, I do it on my forearm, not my hand
2x60 single-leg quad dips off a raised step (20 each with my dangling leg in front, side, and  back)
Elastic band exercises for my arms in multiple directions
95 lower leg extensions (foam roller under my upper leg)
25 tricep dips
Elastic band exercises in 4 directions for my legs
Pullups (only managed halfway pullups b/c I haven't done them in months)
45 superman (legs lifted, arms do a breast-stroke kind of motion 45x)
100 dead bug with a 8lb dumbell (like crunches, but with legs and arms sticking straight up)

It takes about 55 minutes to get through.   The quads make me sweat.  The rest, not really.

Today's run...
Managed to get up at 5:30 after going to bed at 1:00ish.  I felt kinda bad about waking up my roommate a little bit with my alarm ringing twice this week when I had considered going on AM runs before work and then ending up snoozing through.  So I was going to do it this time.  After the alarm rang, I shifted to the couch to leg rest a little more while my HR started picking back up and blood started circulating.  Wavered in my resolve a bit, but decided to do it.  Had a small breakfast of tofu chocolate cake (the healthiest cake there is - tofu, WW flour, cup of milk, vanilla, baking soda and powder, and agave is about all there is) with Oreo insides as a frosting + skim milk.  Suited, up, then off.

Got to the park at around 6:30 and put on's podcast.  My new favorite.  Two incredibly funny Brits who are serious runners and so much fun to listen to.  It was their recap of the Comrades Marathon (26.2 x 2).  Some runners get angry when people ask them how long their marathon was, but I think it's a valid question, if something called a Comrades Marathon is really an ultra-distance.  Anyway... before the run at the start line, they played the theme to Chariots of Fire, and at that point, I was running up a slight grade with the red sun rising in the background, and it was magical.  It gave me chills to hear that song while running.  I may need to get it for my Shuffle.

Other special moments during runs... forgot to mention on my last post, there was someone playing the bagpipes at the park on Friday.  They were only around for my first lap, unfortunately, so by the time I got around again, they were gone.  It was cool and gave me a boost.  Also on Friday, as it was getting dark, there were Lightning bugs.  I've been calling them Fireflies in my mind for the past few days... seems like a more suitable name... but they were lightning bugs.  There was a candlelight run in my town recently, with candles lining the sides, but this is pretty cool, too, with them dancing in front of me in the trail.

So today's run... fairly cool, since it was early.  Rolled my right ankle this time, twice.  Second time was more serious, but I ran it off.  Gotta be careful.  Took it easier, picked it up gradually naturally.  Good run, felt great.   A nice way to start the day.  Refueled with pureed bananas (frozen, from the post-race food I got)... very sketchy looking, but no stomach issues.  They weren't very ripe, so I couldn't make banana whip with it.  Just used it as pure fuel, since there's not all that much going for it in the taste department. 

6.0 in 50:19, 8:18/mi, 490 Cal.
Splits> 6:51, 6:27, 6:19, 6:17, 6:11, 6:08, 6:08, 5:56.

I ran out of pages in my 2011 log book, which I got free from a Publix giveaway at a race expo.  Time to start another one (I have 3 other Publix log books)!  I'll just add, this starts the week on a Sunday, which is all messed up for someone trying to really measure weekly exercise, since you need the weekend days together on the same week, since you'll likely shuffle runs between the two days all the time.  I'm having to use a Moving Average in my excel spreadsheets to get weekly mileage, since the numbers are so inconsistent when I do Saturday runs sometimes and Sunday runs sometimes.  So that's something to look out for, if you ever create your own log or buy a log.

Good run.  Mmmm... I eat miles for breakfast.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Jun 24

Back on the road again today.  I had to take most of this week off from running b/c my legs have been acting up for the first time in a while.  My knees and the surrounding muscles and ligaments and tendons have been hurting a bit here and there, and I think it's due to weak quads.  I don't know why they'd be weak all of a sudden.  I did take 3 weeks off of strength training, which I normally do once per week, but that was a couple of weeks ago, and I had 2 sessions since then.  I also haven't done long runs in forever.  Probably the strength thing.  In addition, the left pad of my heel feels like it has a bruise or something in it.  It's bigger, and it hurts to walk on sometimes.  It's at its worst in the morning, medium during the day, and best at night  Who knows.  May have to ask my PT buddy about that one.  I can check some of my books, too.

It felt good to be back out.  The stress and sleep deprivation of this week has wreaked havoc on my face... super acne.  There are many causes for that, but I'm sure sleep and stress don't help.  Yes, good to be out again.  While I'm running, I don't notice the heel thing much.  The business of work, making exercise hard anyway, made me feel better about missing out for a few days.  I need the rest anyway.  May need to add an extra PT exercise session to supplement my weekly strength session, to build my quad strength back up. 
Today's run, outside, on a cloudy day = cooler.  Yes.  Ran the same number of laps as the last time I did this park, but the Garmin counted 0.2 mi more this time.  This guy is probably the outlier, but I'll still record it as-is.  Good run.  Legs felt okay, thankfully.  Went out much faster than I have been going, too, since it was so much cooler today.

5.3 in 41:21, 7:47 ave, 434 Cal.  Splits> 6:07, 5:51, 5:56, 5:52, 5:53, 5:55, 5:45.

Finally retired the remaining oranges.  There were only about 5 left.  I had eaten 25 oranges and 7 bananas in a little over a week and a half.  No scurvy for me.

After the run, made banana whip for the first time.  They serve it at Bent Spoon in Princeton, but you can make this good for you yet incredible tasting dessert yourself so easily!  So easy a Jen will cook it.

RECIPE: Banana Whip

2 frozen bananas (freeze it only after it gets very ripe)
1 summertime run
2 knees that need icing

1. Run 5 miles, go home hungry with knees that wouldn't mind icing.
2. Remove 2 frozen bananas from freezer, ice knees for 10 minutes or until bananas are no longer icy hard.
3. Peel bananas and place in bowl.
4. Use immersion blender to whip up the bananas.
5. Enjoy this creamy, cool, sweet treat that you can't believe could be so good even though it's just bananas.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jun 20 - p

I wonder if the oranges are starting to go bad... coming up on 1.5 weeks now.  I'm up to 20.5 two-fist-sized oranges.  They weren't little ones.  We'll see how tomorrow goes.  I don't have all that many left.  I froze half a giant box, and I have half a box left, so I ate a box.  That's a lot of oranges.

Also in fueling news... It's interesting how post-run, I crave high-quality, nutrient-packed foods.  Fruits, and sometimes veggies.  Sometimes protein powder.  At the end of the work day or right after work, it's the opposite.  I want junk-style food.  Not terrible, but carb+fat combos, like chips or goldfish and cheese.  Salt and crunch.  Strange, that after sitting all day, that's what I want.   After running, I want the opposite... juicy & sweet & light.  Oranges hit the spot, even though I had one at dinner and one at lunch already. 

Halfway planned on waking up at 5:30am to run outside again this morning.  Did not happen.  Slept at 1am, so didn't quite work out.  Woke at 7:00 instead.  A groggy start to the day getting ready, but lots to do at work.  Got a good bit done today.  Busy week ahead, but I should be able to get a good chunk off my to-do list by Independence Day.  That list has been growing and growing.  I wack off an item every now and then, but 3 usually grow in its place each time. 

Anyway, got the run in after work.  The outside thing wasn't going to happen... 95 degrees at 7pm, 92 degrees at 8pm or something like that.  Since I couldn't get the muscle activation variation on the grass, I wanted hills on the treadmill. 

3 x [0.5 @ 1 degree, 0.5 @ 5 degree] @ 7.0mph, followed by two miles of stretching out my legs with some speed.  Hard to hold at the end due to mechanical issues in my legs, but I compensated for the jarring forces on my legs by swinging my arms more and made it through.  Dunno what it is.  I need a deep tissue massage or something.  I've been stretching and rolling, but I may need to get in there and dig around a bit to work out the trouble spots.  Last 2 miles were at 7:59 and 7:32 pace @ the usual 1 degree (after 3 miles at 7mph = 8:34). 

I had been crying a little right before the run.  Family issues.  Tough when you just don't know what to do.  Feel helpless.  The run helped, though.  It clears your mind of everything, all the junk.  So that you have the mental capacity to deal with it and try to help.  After the run, I felt like "okay, I can take it on now".  It's like a battery getting re-charged or a cup getting filled.

5.0 in 41:15, 8:15 ave.

The hills weren't that tough.  I think it was mostly just the minor kinks in my legs. I can do something harder next time.  Even a little bit of speedwork or hillwork will help, though, so this was good.  It's good to ease into something new, in any case.  This is just the second hill session, so don't wanna jump into it too quickly or recklessly.

Oh, by the way, while it's possible (based on that one comparison) that the treadmill doesn't factor pace into its calorie count, it seems like incline may be factored in.  In this 5-mi run, it counted 425 Cal, vs. 405 like the other two 5ers.

Ooh, just checked and saw that 7.0mph @ 5 incline = 7:19 pace.  Not bad.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jun 19 - p

 Meet my shoes...
They make my front door hard to open on my apt-cleaning days when I stack them so that I can sweep the area.  I rotate between 1 pair of shoes at work (the brown ones that look like a black hole in the middle of the pile), but I have tons and tons of running shoes.  Girl's gotta have her shoes, right?  On my recent trip to Mexico & Pton, I packed 5 pairs of shoes!!!  1 work shoes, 1 flip-flops, 1 Steeplechase spikes, 1 clean walk/run, and 1 light but good pure run.  That's a lot. I'm a pretty Spartan person, so that feels a little excessive, but a Spartan's gotta have good equipment to work with!

It's always satisfying to kick off your shoes after a run and to see a good layer of mud along the sides and back edge.  It means you did some work.  I wore the pink ones in the front today for my AM run.  Yes - AM.  I've wanted to use lateral motion and hill-activated muscles, instead of repeatedly pounding the 1-degree treadmill muscles, so I went out at 6:30am to the park to get in a run before church.  That's the coolest part of the day @ 72 degrees.  It was still warm, but much better than the full-sun, full-heat part of the day. 

It's interesting how as the run progresses, just going naturally, your times drop as you get into the groove.  I started off much slower than usual, but by the end, the times were clicking by faster with the same amount of effort.  I normally always run at night (9pm), but with the need to keep my legs and mind happy, I may have to do some more of this outdoors AM running.  Running outside is so mentally refreshing.  Running inside is, too, but you get another dimension of happiness by being out in nature.  We'll see.  Since I'm not that experienced with outside running, it will be interesting to analyze all of the potential datapoints and training observations of how my body responds differently in the morning.  Takes longer to warm up, probably.  When I first woke up at 5:30am (after going to bed at like 3am - strange... I normally don't have trouble falling asleep even after long daytime naps), my legs still felt a little recovery-ish... you know that feeling when you feel like your legs are a little sore or growing or something?  Not something you really feel like running on, but as you get moving, the feeling goes away.  I wonder what the physiology is behind it... human growth hormone doing its repair/buildup work?  Muscle repair & bone repair that only happens at night? 

Anyway, went out.  Enjoyed the run, listening to podcasts.  Right knee a tiny little bit yoinky today, but nothing I'm concerned about.

5.1 in 43:50, 8:31 ave.  434 Cal.  NB 1224s w/ Oxysox and Sofsol arch supports.  No visor or shades really necessary in the relatively low light.
Splits> 6:47, 6:29, 6:20, 6:15, 6:10, 6:04, 5:41.  
0.734 MI/LAP.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jun 16

Yesterday, a crazy storm hit, coming on very suddenly.  It started pouring, and the wind was super strong, bending the big pine trees many more degrees that I thought possible without them snapping at the root.  The power went out for about 7 hours.  It was a reality check on how dependent we are on power.  No internet, no lights.  But it turned out to actually be kind of nice, since my roomie (of 2 weeks) and I got to just talk for a few hours.  It was fun.

Still Yesterday...
At 11pm, I decided that it was about time for my workout.  I had been planning on running outdoors, but that wasn't going to work, so I did plan B - the weekly-ish strength session.  It was different this time.  I wasn't feeling strong like I normally do.  It was more like just going through the motions.  I did the usual reps/intensity for the mot part, but I felt somewhat unmotivated and energyless.  I wonder if it's the onset of the overtraining syndrome.  I haven't been doing all that much.  Dunno. 

My balance was pretty off, too, for the one-footed exercises.  I think that may have just been because I was working by a single candlelight, so the flickering moved shadows, screwing up perception like crazy.

Time for the outdoors run.  After realizing how the repetitive impacts of treadmill running could lead to overstressing certain sections of muscles/joints/ligaments, I really wanted to go out and get some grass time.  Since my roomie was playing Ultimate for a rec league, I went to the park with her to run laps around the 4 fields.  1 lap = 0.735 miles. 

It was 6:30pm and very sunny.  The morning was cool because of the storm, but it was probably "feels like 86" during the run.  Hotter than I normally do.  It just saps you of speed.  My quads were having trouble just lifting my legs, as if they had no energy or blood flow or something.  My first outdoor acclimatization run of the season.   Boo heat.  Maybe I'll get used to it, though.  I think I read recently that it could make you faster if you could acclimatize and then switch back to normal temp running?  Dunno. 

Legs (knees) were edging on poundy.  I don't know what's with me this week.  Hope it's not something chronic. 

3.7 in 31:13, 8:27 ave.  Splits> 6:15, 6:07, 6:11, 6:17, 6:08, then a few seconds more to make it a round 3.7.

I think a rest day will do me good tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Jun 13 - p

Eye Candy:

I saw these cars at this weekend's race.  I would love to do the same to mine, except it may depreciate the value of my car, and it may not look very professional if people at work see me drive around in it.  So cool, though... I just have a 13.1 and a 26.2 right now.  I have some stickers I could add if I ever decided to, though.

Wiped out from work today... just wanted to shut down mentally afterwards.  Recovered by around 9:30pm and ran at 11pm.  Ran in the dark b/c it was after-hours, plus I like saving electricity.  I had planned on doing hills, but once I got started (it was a slow start - 6.6mph, going to 7.0 at the end of mile 1), I kind of just wanted to cruise.  It might've been a little risky keeping good footing at varying inclines in the dark in any case.  Felt good.  I need to shower now, though.

Cranked it up during the run.  I was listening to podcasts, like I often do, and it brought up a good point... the reason I always do treadmill runs as progression runs is b/c I NEED to crank up the speed to keep my legs from developing pains.  The podcast - an Aussie one I'm trying for the first time and really like - talked about doing LRs on treadmills and how it can be a bit risky for some who are used to the roads, since without the road camber or hills or uneven trail, your body gets impacted the same way repeatedly.  So that's why I need to speed it up - to stress different muscles and give myself different impacts!!!

My right leg is still a little iffy from yesterday's bike session - always is.  Manufacturing defect in my bike or in my leg or both.  Anyway, it always gets better quickly, as long as it was a relatively short (45 min-ish) bike session.  Anything longer, and I could suffer for days.  I would like to be able to do LRs on bike, but not on this bike.  I think I'm able to ride evenly on other bikes, at least stand-up ones.  So dunno if it's the recumbent nature of the bike, or if there's something uneven about this particular one that does it.

Oh yeah, I didn't blog about yesterday's bike session yet... 45 min, took it easy and read Running Times - no intervals.  I sweat way less on my arms yesterday than I usually do for whatever reason.  Very strange.  It was 77 degrees.  Maybe the lack of intervals?  I wasn't taking it THAT easy.  Dunno.

Back to today...
6.2 in 50:36, 8:10 ave.
Splits> 8:44, 8:23, 8:14, 8:08, 7:58, 7:37, 1:28 for 0.2. 

Not a bad start to the week.  Craved chocolate milk afterwards (for me, = skim milk, big spoon of cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and sun crystals which is like stevia).  Then, another banana that I got as leftovers from the race.  I haven't mentioned it yet, but I got scary quantities of bananas and oranges.  I've had 6.5 oranges and 5 bananas so far in three days, in addition to the usual onions and carrots and tomato sauce that I also eat.  I subbed my usual mixed greens for carrots this week b/c my fridge is so full of oranges, that I can't fit another box of salad - I have to keep the volume down.  Seriously, my fridge and freezer are full of frozen oranges and bananas.   No space.  hahahahaha.  oh man.  it's ridiculous.  I'll have to show you a pic on a future post.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

RACE REPORT: 2011 Sunrise Run 8K

Feeling good right now.  
At 6:30am, I ran the Sunrise Run 8K (sunrise was at 6:15).  It was "feels like 69ish" and decent at the start, since the sun wasn't shining and making it feel a lot hotter.  I woke up at 4:30, drank decaf+cocoa+vanilla extract + stevia, took my warmup shower, and had soymilk and cereal.  The fuel was good for providing energy, but 1hr before the race is too late to be drinking.  Although I did use the bathroom 30 min pre-race, I would've liked to go again right before the start but logistically couldn't, so I had to wait it out for 5 miles.  

This was the first time I've raced an 8K, so I wasn't too sure what to expect.  I didn't check McMillan, but I figured that if I could do a 6:45 for a 5K and a 7:22 for a half marathon, the sweet spot would be somewhere in between, assuming ideal conditions.  Let's see... McMillan (I should've checked this before)... says 6:52/mi = 34:22.  Anyway, without checking that, I figured that a 7:00/mi pace would be good, and it would give me a nice, even 35:00.  Since paces reported by my bulky Garmin would've been skewed by hills, satellite signal, and turns in the road, I opt not to race with it.  I went  by feel.  So... I ended up gong out at 5K pace, slowed down a little (not necessarily intentionally), and then crashed at about the 4 mile mark.  I was slipping before then, but that's where it hit.  Poor pacing.

In the last quarter mile, I was about to be passed by someone else.  I was just going to let her go and hang on.  That last mile was tough.  It was getting hotter, and I was just spent from going too fast earlier.  I decided to turn it on anyway and see what would happen.  The other girl, who had run side-by-side with me for a while and mentally helped me a lot  by pulling me along (thanks, whoever you are!), didn't chase.   So I finished strong and went faster for mile 5 than for mile 4. 

Splits> 6:48, 7:02, 7:07, 7:29, 7:14.  

It was a course with rolling hills.  The first part went through downtown Simpsonville, which was nice to see.  The second half went through residential areas.  One house created a sprinkler for us with their hose, and it felt great.  I'm certainly weak on hills compared to others.  I get passed on hills.  Rather save my energy for the downhills and go for even effort.  I think that's most efficient, but who knows.

I went with my Saucony Fastwitch, since it has a small medial post, giving extra support for this slightly extra-distance run.  I decided not to bother with shades or a visor, since there wouldn't be much sun.  Good choices. I normally run with my Corporate Shield company singlet at these races, but I forgot today.  I prefer to run without a singlet.  But this was a dual open and corporate shield race anyway.

At mile 4.2, I got passed by a girl I quickly recognized as Lindsay from  Finally got to meet up with her in a race!  Even after having some cardio issues and being in an ER earlier this week, she still ran an amazing race (although she can do even better), beat me, and won her age group!  Guts.  This is the last year we'll be in separate age groups.  I won mine, but it will be trickier next year, since running gets a lot more competitive in the 25-40ish age group.  I don't know why 20-24 isn't faster.  I guess competitive college athletes aren't allowed to run (or at least win stuff) due to NCAA rules?   I'd think that being single, people would want to or have more time to run than as a married people.  I dunno.  I guess for longer distances, it takes a while to mature and get the endurance built up.  But for 5Ks?  HSers can beat me, I'm sure.  Maybe after competitive college runners finish, they need a break, then they get back into it later when they realize how much they miss it.  Oh well.  In any case, it'll be tougher starting next year. 

Went on a nice cool-down run w/ LD afterwards where we got to talk about running and life.  Running buddies = instant friends.  It was fun chatting, and I bet the cool-down was good for me.  I never do cool-down runs, but today, I was able to run a second 5 miler a few hours later (to get in more miles for the week - I only had 1 run this week prior to the race), so it must've helped. 

Poor pacing, since I went by feel.  Not sure what to do next time.  I guess 6:48 is close to 6:52, the ideal-condition time.  So maybe that'd be okay it was cooler.  Good run, though.  And glad I got to finally meet Lindsay. 

5.0 in 35:40, 7:10/mi. 

Post-race run:
I debated whether I should run or bike.  The bike would save my body from a bit of pounding, and I would've enjoyed just reading Runner's World while cycling.  But I felt decent enough for a run, and I had only banked 10 miles for the week.  So I ran.  It turned out pretty well.

Splits> 8:29, 8:19, 8:14, (25:50 5k), 7:56, 7:35.  My right knee was a bit twingy during the last half-mile, but I felt like if I was careful and kept good form (even if it required extra energy), that I'd be okay, so I kept it up.  I wanted to hit 5.0 so that I'd have three 5.0 runs for the week.  I was also curious whether the calorie counter on the treadmill took into account pace, since going at a faster pace would burn more calories.  It was about the same (405 Cal) this time and last time.  I went 40s slower this time.  So I guess it doesn't adjust for pace.

5.0 in 40:33, 8:07 ave.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Jun 7

Back into running.  I've really wanted to run outside the past 2 days, but it's been too hot and dark to run outside.  The heat is okay, but the darkness, I can't do much about.  I've been spoiled by getting to run outside all last week.  I could've run inside on the treadmill, but somehow, my body/mind was too tired for that, but not too tired to run outside.

The treadmill run was good tonight, though.  I started out slowly, as my legs are still recovering a bit from the speed session 3 days ago, but soon, my legs were ready to go faster.

5.0 in 39:52, 7:58 ave.  Splits> 8:28, 8:13, 8:02, (25:32 5k), 7:50, 7:16.  I pushed fairly hard that last mile.  My legs wanted it (at least at first), and I was ready to finish up.

I was tired today.  I've been sleeping at 1am the last couple of nights, since I have a roomie now, and I've been unpacking and trying to keep my apt tidy.   We'll see how long that lasts, haha.

I made a nice pizza for a post-run meal.  Sprouted grain tortilla + marinara + leftover Subway bell peppers, banana peppers, red onions, olives + garlic + 75% reduced fat white cheddar.  Started baking it in the toaster oven during the run, and I finished the second round of baking while showering.  Yes, I may now start to shower after I exercise.  Again, we'll see how long that lasts, haha.

MMMMM...  and to wash it down, water + instant decaf + cocoa powder + Stevia + vanilla extract + cinnamon + ice.

Mmm... good workout.  Legs needed it.  They missed running (after a 3-day drought).

Oh man, I had considered a little bit running at dawn, since I did it in Pton, but I found out that there's a 45 min difference in the sunrise time here vs. in Pton... 45 min!!!  5:30 vs. 6:15... that's a HUGE difference!!!  I had no idea!

The gym was a record toasty 82 degrees, although it felt fairly normal.  I would've thought it was the usual 75ish if it wasn't for the thermometer.  Wore the bulkier new 1224's again, after 2 weeks of going in the Paramounts, Kinvara, and Steeplechase spikes.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Jun 4 - v - p

BM pyramid!!!

It’s one of my favorite workouts. 

0.5 mi warmup (4:37), dynamic stretching & striders  35:27

4x100              (100m jogs after each rep)
…3x200          (200m jogs after each rep)
……2x400      (200m jogs after each rep)
………1x800  (400m jogs after each rep)
……2x400      (200m jogs after each rep)
…3x200          (200m jogs after each rep)
4x100              (100m jogs after each rep)


I’ve only managed to finish this workout maybe 4x ever.  It amounts to 5.25 mi of running, 2.25 of which are sprinting. 

5.2 in 40:04, 7:42 ave.

Certainly, track workouts are physically tough and always causes a few butterflies in my tummy before I pull the trigger and start the session.  You push yourself to the pain zone repeatedly.  But it’s also mentally tough.  In a normal out-and-back run or a single-loop course, there’s less of a temptation to call it quits, because you have to go back anyway.  At the track, you can pull off to the side and call it a day when the going gets tough.   I’ve done a few half-BM pyramids and first-few-steps pyramids (see June 1) in my time.  It’s especially hard in hot weather, or when you push a little too hard in the first few steps and burn yourself out.  So if you can make it and correctly control the effort so that you can make it, keeping it hard enough so that you’re tempted to quit, but smart enough that you don’t need to stop completely, it does a lot for your mental game (as well as your physical game).

The workout is named after my super fast friend Beth Massey, who learned this from her HS coach.  In college, this workout never failed to knock down my mile time by like 5s each time.  Pretty sweet, huh?  Just do the work, get ‘er done, and see your times drop.  

I wonder... with a 6:04 this week in not cool temps, when I could’ve given a bit more, pre-BM pyramid, what could I possibly do next week, if I had ideal conditions?  I think I could definitely PR (sub 5:59), but the goal (sub 5:50)… iffy.  Yeah, I’m probably in 5:57 shape now.  I dunno.  Who knows.  And unless I find a Mondo track and had decent temps, I don’t think I’d try.  Well, there are a series of track races in town, but I don’t know how big the heats are.  We’ll see.

Sooo… Not too many stats from this run.  But I do know that the second 400 of the 800 was done in 1:43.  Not bad, I guess, considering my single 400 typical split is 1:30.  That was the slower of the two laps, too.

I’ve never done Yasso 800s before, where you can predict your marathon time based on the ave time of 12 800s.  I don’t know if  I could handle 12x3:20, but I think 3:22 is about my ideal condition, perfect buildup marathon time, based on the charts, which are accurate in the other distance predictions for me.  I guess it depends on how much rest you get between each 800.  6 miles of sprinting must wear on your legs, though, so I don’t know.  Maybe I’ll try some day, if I do find that Mondo track.

Anyway, I had some good runs this week in Pton, despite the severe tummy issues.  The mile was better than expected, the LR was slow due to the tummy but completed, and the full BM was successful.

I also got to play around a lot, taking pictures and video, trying the water pit, and finding over 2 shoes worth of spikes.  Lots of fun, like a theme park to me.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jun 2 - p

June 2, 2011

Soo… back to Sunday, the day after I returned from Toluca, Mexico (sick in the tummy), which sits at 1.65 mi in elevation…

When I was in the ER, I got some tests run to figure out what was wrong with my tummy.  I love analyzing stats.  Anyway… almost everything was normal (thank goodness), but one number was a little bit high… a normal Red Blood Cell count is 3.73-5.09 M/cumm.  Mine was 5.16.  I don’t know how many standard deviations that is from the mean, but it’s interesting that this one was high.  The test results don’t say “HIGH” or “LOW” for any number outside of the listed typical range, so I guess they just put those if it’s a certain stdev outside of the norm.

I looked it up at

A high red blood cell count may occur because:
·                                 Red blood cell production increases to compensate for low oxygen levels due to poor heart or lung function
·                                 The kidneys release too much of a protein (erythropoietin, or EPO) that enhances red blood cell production
·                                 The bone marrow is producing too many red blood cells
·                                 The oxygen-carrying capacity of red blood cells is impaired
·                                 Red blood cell production increases to compensate for limited oxygen at higher altitudes
·                                 The loss of blood plasma, the liquid component of blood, creates relatively high levels of red blood cells

Cool, huh?  If only I knew how high my RBC normally is… 

The only other abnormal result that got a “HIGH” or “LOW” was that I did have low Na levels, but it was just 134 mEq/L instead of 135-145.

Low sodium levels are uncommon and most often occur as a side effect of taking medicines that make you urinate more, such as diuretics. Severe diarrhea or vomiting or heavy sweating may also cause low sodium levels.

So maybe my salt loving is justified.

I did my LR today.  7am.  Kinvaras w/ Feetures socks.  Got a blister from yesterday’s steeplechase shoes (Nike Jana), so I wore a band-aid.  Ended up carrying, but no using my singlet or visor or the 2 100-Cal Clif bars in my Shadowpak (had 1 Clif bar for a mini-breakfast boost).  Did use the Shades and the Shuffle.

Ran, figuring I’d go to the bridge, which was about 11 miles away.  I haven’t run long in 3 weeks, so I couldn’t over-do it.  11 is actually the longest LR I’ve had in 2 months.  It wasn’t hard physically, since I took it easy, but my legs were feeling it on the way back from the out-and-back.

So I went out, no issues.  At the bridge, I took some pictures.  Saw some animals in the first couple of miles on the way back: Canadian Goose, Mallards, Heron, Turtle, Deer, Squirrels, white Pidgeon.

About 0.5 into the return journey, I started having tummy issues and needed a restroom, so I just had to endure the discomfort for 5+ miles.  That was quite a challenge, but I made it. 

Now, I just want salt and bland calories (bought a Whole Grain loaf from Panera) and salt (bought Gatorade).  Couldn’t handle the thought of food for the first hour afterwards, but then the 11.5 mile hunger started kicking in, and I wanted pretzels but went for the healthier bread option and sprinkled heavy doses of salt on it.  Even better than pretzels.

11.5 in 1:42:23, 8:54/mi.  853 Cal.  Slower than I used to run this course.

Oh man, I don’t know if I remember all of my old landmark abbreviations…
Splits> 10:40 t (tow path), 4:39 p (pebble tree), 9:02 b (bridge… I got distracted by another runner when I was on m – minihill), 5:10 x (crossing), 3:10 w (walmart), 16:28 d (Delaware Raritan bridge), 0:36 midpoint of the bridge, 18:02 w, 3:19 x, 5:28 b, 4:55 m, 4:39 p, 4:40 t, 11:29 dillon.

Sooo… comparing the out and the back… t to p 4:39 vs 4:40… good.  For the rest of it, though, I slowed down, due to tummy issues.  My legs were tired, too, but I think I could’ve pushed them more if I didn’t have to fear what my tummy would do.

A good run otherwise.  Now, I’ve refueled and re-salted and re-hydrated myself and am ready for a nap.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jun 1 - v - p

Crossed something off my bucket list!!!  But more on that later…

It’s good to be back “home”.

Ohhhh man…
Friday, my last full day in Mexico, I had my usual breakfast, but this time, it didn’t sit well with me.  Lunch was okay.  However, dinner was when the real trouble began.  It could’ve been the ice (expected it to be made out of bottled water, since it was what should’ve been a nice hotel), but it could’ve been the salad, washed in the tap water.

Saturday, I woke up at 3:30am EDT to get ready for my shuttle to the airport, plane to Atlanta, plane to Philly, and 4 trains later, PRINCETON.  It was about 14 hrs of traveling.  The tricky part was that by the end of the day, I couldn’t keep any liquid or food in me for long.  I woke up Sunday, and the issue was still there.  After a few days without keeping in liquids, there could be a problem, so I contemplated getting a morning flight back home so that my parents could help me take care of this.  But I ended up going to the ER instead to see what they could do.  They gave me IVs, ran tests, and told me to just try to eat and drink and let it run its course. 

Glad I stayed.  So my reunions wristband for 2011:

Fireworks, a cappella reunion, baccalaureate (Michael Bloomberg), step sing in Blair Arch, class day (Brooke Shields), PEF senior dinner clean-up crew, commencement, reception… and I still missed a bunch of events from Thursday-Saturday evening.

This morning, went to the track, to run for the first time in 6 days.  I was going to run on Monday, but with some serious rain and an already tight schedule for my friend, we called it off.  Tuesday, too much going on already, and it was hot and humid by the evening.  So today, finally got to go.  The morning is the time to go.  I had 2 meetings for work scheduled for the morning, so it worked out well that I woke at 6:30 to get the cool part of the day.  I went down to the track, so that I could stay on campus, but also to get in speedwork while my legs were still fresh.  I may do an LR or at least a famous Wholefoods mid-distance run later. 

I started with the mile.  My PR of 5:59 was from 2 yrs ago, so I would’ve liked to renew that membership in the sub-6 club.  I did a half-mile warmup, then a bit of dynamic stretching and 2 striders.  Coming up to the starting line, I was fearful.  How would I do?  How much was it going to hurt?  I paced around a bit and just prayed that the run would glorify God, no matter what.  Whether I reached my goal or not, I would give it everything I had for him.  Then, off.

Ohhhh yeah… the shoes… as far as track shoes go, I only packed Steeplechase shoes, so that I could play with that this year.  Its built-in spikes (metal ones can be added as required) raise up the toe part, so it’s like a negative-drop shoe, the opposite of normal running shoes.  The spikes are there to grip the beam, which is important for the water pit jump.  It felt different but okay during the warmup (0.5 in 4:08).

Ok… so off.  The first lap felt like the second lap… a bit too difficult.  The warmup in those shoes, which require extra muscle activation of muscles that I don’t normally need to use as much, maybe took a little power out of me.  Beyond that, I hadn’t had breakfast (nor was I particularly in the mood), which may not matter much, although a little sugar probably would’ve helped, I hadn’t run in almost a week, which could go either way in terms of help vs. hurt… maybe a little bit of hurt, I probably lost a little bit of weight (lean muscle, and maybe some of my normally high hydration status) from the tummy issues, which helps as long as the lean muscle was excess for running purposes, and I may be slightly malnourished right now, which hurts energy-wise.  In summary, I guess most things balance out.  It was relatively cool for a summer day, but it was humid.

The first lap of the mile, you do a little bit extra to round out the mile, starting from the waterfall.  So when I saw the 1:33 split, at first, I was like… noooo… not my day… but then, I remembered that I had done a bit extra… not 3s extra, though.  But I went on.  Second lap, I was still off-pace, so I knew that I’d have trouble… 1:33.  Third lap, I guess I wasn’t pushing as hard as I normally do, since I was not in significant pain.  I was still feeling okay… giving a good effort, but not pushing too hard… 1:32  Maybe it’s good, in that I was pacing well, or at least not burning out, which is to be avoided most of all.  Final lap, I was still not pushing (over-pushing) yet, so I could speed it up.  Definitely far less painful than it usually is.  Kicked a bit more with 100M to go… 1:27. 

6:04 final time.

I think I could’ve given it more.  Negative split is the way to go.  The max I could do for a lap is 1:17, which is the fastest time I’ve done a single 400 (I’ve only timed myself once), so I can’t expect too much more from that last lap.  Cooler temps and a sugar rush would’ve helped.  So hard to say. 

Maybe I can try again later this week J

Afterward, since the big job was over, it was play time.  Doing the steeplechase water pit has been on my bucket list for 2 yrs, and the timing and the shoes I brought worked out this time.  And I videoed it. 

The pit was intimidatingly deep and long for someone as short as me.  But, you just have to dive into it.

It was actually okay… no falls.  I got farther in the pit than I thought I would, since jumping from the beam gives you extra distance.  I usually stepped onto the beam with both feet before jumping (for stability, I guess), although you’re not supposed to.  I also landed with two feet, since I don’t really have the strength to land with one and go on running.  It was fun, though.  So I went a few times and got pretty wet. 

Then, I did part of a pyramid… only the first quarter of it… 4x100 w/ 100 jogs in between, then 4x200 w/ 200 jogs in between.  It was a good opportunity to let the wind dry my clothes and my shoes off a bit. (1.5 mi in 10:37).

Then, I discovered that I wanted pictures, and not just video, of my steeplechase attempt, so I got wet again.  I got some nice shots.

Then, a little more playing around.

Like a little kid in a million-dollar playground, I was having soooo much fun.

Total mileage & time… 3 mi in 4:08 + 10:37 + 6:04 = 20:49, 6:56/mi, non-continuous.