October 20, 2010

thank you

I want to say thank you to all of you who followed my running adventure - supported me with advice, hugs and motivation and especially to Jacob who woke up at 5:30 to drop me off and met me at 13 with food and a smile and to Ryan who probably had the hardest job of all and rose the occasion with flying colors.

Till next time :)

October 16, 2010

The Play by Play

I will be honest. I had doubts of running all the way up to when the gun sounded for the start. What on earth was I thinking?! But here's the deal: I FINISHED! I ran my first ever marathon in 4:33:59!

Here's the Recap:

I woke up around some ungodly hour (probably around 5:30ish). I saw that it was raining and thought out loud, "there's no way". I gave a little laugh but decided I'd head to the start line anyways. I brought a large black plastic bag with me (thanks to some helpful marathon tips) and wrapped myself inside of it to protect against the early morning chill and rain. When I got the start area, there was a buzz. Like the buzz of electrical lines, people were nervously excited. Some were jogging back and forth (no thank you - I will be running enough today as it is), some were huddled down, most were in line for the toilets. I was running alone and got into the 3:50 pace group. I figured I might as well aim for a decent time, hell - if I even finished at all.

I stood around patiently, listening to music and awkwardly standing watching other people warm up. I tried to not think about what lay ahead or have any expectations. When it got closer to the gun... I could feel my stomach tie up in knots. I always get nervous in situations like these. Eventually, the crowd slowly started to move forward to the start line... what a sight it must have been from above! I felt better moving though - like one way or another, this was going to happen and I was a little closer to it being done with. I ditched my garbage bag and prepared to get wet (though a lot of people would run with their bags the entire way - there was no way I could have done that). It wasn't long before the crowd began to walk faster, then jog, spaces opened up, the crowd created space and then - GO GO GO!!! We were off...

With every race, people tend to fight at first to find their pace, fight for the space on the road that they want and fight their own competitive spirit to reign it in so you don't putter out in 10 minutes. The first part of a race is always the most emotion-filled. As we started to go, I fell into a groove. I easily slide in-between slower runners and moved ahead of the group. It was around mile 5 that I needed to go to the bathroom - badly. The first line of porta potties that I could spot had a line 12 deep, but I needed to go and there was no debate that stopping was mandatory. I pulled over and quietly watched as people I had passed now passed me. The line took forever but I was determined to remain calm and collective. I had a long way to go - these 5 minutes waiting were nothing. Eventually I was given my turn - after having watch the 3:50 pace flag, 3:55 and 4:00 flag pass me by. Shit.
After my pit stop, I hit the road. I was warmed up, my legs were feeling strong - the music was keeping my pace up. I decided to make up some time and run a bit faster than planned. I wanted to catch back up to my 3:50 pace flag. It took me about 6 miles, but right near the 1/2, I caught up the pacer. And then I passed him. I was feeling so good and my boyfriend Jacob was waiting at 14 mile marker with shot blocks and a killer smile... I could keep going strong.
When I did see him - what a sigh of relief! He didn't see me until I ran up in front of him and then we continued on together. His plan was to run with me for a mile or so then turn back (he's not a runner). I was so happy to have shot blocks... those little blocks of goodness was exactly what I needed at the half. Marathon food is NOT good. Besides the water, I didn't take anything else - especially that gold crap they kept trying to push on us. While I ran with Jacob, I took off my headphones - which was a bit of a heartache for me. That music was keeping me in pace and to ditch it for conversation felt like I was running uphill. Nonetheless, I was grateful for his support. He turned around near mile 16 and I was left to tackle the bridge by myself.

Headphones back in - I pushed onward. While many people took to walking up to the St John's Bridge - it was against my moral conscious to do so. I never walk uphill. Downhill - sure - why not? I probably earned it. But up hills have always been a personal goal for me. I passed a ton of people on that hill and fueled my motivation to push on. My roommate Ryan was waiting for me at mile 22 and would help motivate me to the finish. I just had to do the long stretch to mile 22.
By the time I met Ryan, my legs were starting to waver. He had more shot blocks for me and a ton of enthusiasm - so onwards I kept! The hardest part at this point was the rain. I was soaked - so much so that my outer shirt weighted about 3 pounds more than it should have. I eventually gave it to Ryan to carry since I felt as though I was getting slower. After a certain distance, you can start to feel the posture in running. You can either run forward - more on the balls of your feet, or you can run more sitting back - heal striking the ground. After running in one position for a mile, I'd have to switch it up to the other form just for some relief. At one point Ryan said, "you didn't want any beer?" after having just passed the Widmere brewery beer station. I must have been in the zone as I said, "What?! Beer?! Where??". I turned around and ran the 10 yards back to the table for a glass of beer - "carbs" I told Ryan. Whatever - it tasted like the best beer in the world.
The last 1.2 miles were HARD. Ryan was pushing me hard, motivating me, yelling at me to keep going. It hurt. Every joint in my body hurt like hell. Switching from forward running to heal running occurred every few steps now and it was noticeable changing between the two postures. The 26 mile marker couldn't come fast enough and when it did - the 0.2 felt like 10.
Running in towards the end, you are oblivious to the cheering - all you focus on is the big timer at the finish. You focus on who is around you and who you could feasibly beat. Or you focus on not letting anyone behind you beat you. You focus well past the finish line, to the food, the water, the ride home. You focus on a warm shower after running in the rain for 4.5 hours. You focus on what you just did. Wait - what did I just do? That's right - I ran my first marathon. I was so overcome by the end I felt every desire in me wanting to cry for joy. But there's no time for that at the end - they shuffle you past space blankets, flower girls, food, t-shirt pickups, photo opps... there's no time to sit back and contemplate what I just put my body through. And truth be told, if I stopped walking - I did not believe I'd be able to make it to the car. So I kept walking until I could lay down on the couch for an indefinite amount of time.

What an adventure.

October 9, 2010


It's near to deciding time folks. Do I run 26.2 or not? I haven't been training seriously since June... weather is forecasted to rain... it all looks very iffy at this point in time. I have a running mix on my ipod, my clothes picked out, my game plan ready. But I'm still on the fence.

My plan as of right now is this: to stretch tonight, wake up and gear up - check the weather and if feeling motivated, head to the start line. If I decide to run - great, I'll take it step by step. Perhaps I will bail at the 1/2 (or sooner) but either way - it's going to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of decision.


September 17, 2010

Running with my gnomies

So completely off cuff, a group of friends and I decided to run the warrior dash - a fun filled 5k obstacle course out in the boonies of Oregon. And if we were going to do it - why not get dressed up for the occassion?! We all wore our best Sunday garden gnome outfits for the event - and boy were we a sight!

There's no way you can compete on this course for speed - the obstacles and lines to get to them slowed you down far past any personal best. And little did we know just how difficult this course would be with bellies stuffed with towels, beards that soaked up mud and pointy hats!

I'll let the photos do the talking...

September 7, 2010


Okay - the Portland Marathon is just about a MONTH AWAY and I haven't really been running more than 2-3x per week 3-4 miles each run. How am I possibly going to run 26.2?!?! Suffice to say, I am starting to wonder if I will be able to pull this one off.

This last weekend I was in NYC for a friends wedding. NYC is simply beautiful in the fall. Reminds me of Vermont (minus the skyscrapers, traffic and grid system). I stayed with a friend who lives literally 1 block away from Central Park and the urge to get out and run the loop was too great to resist. It was gorgeous. The leaves were turning, the air crisp but warm, the road blocked off to traffic and hundreds of people jogging and biking throughout the park. You almost forget your in NYC. I was surprised to find out that the loop was a bit more than 7 miles... it felt more like a solid 5. Even so - the marathon date is looming ahead of me and I am starting to freak out.

August 31, 2010

H2C... driving

I was originally cast to run in a Hood to Coast team - one of the larger relay races and a rather unique event in Portland. The relay consists of 12 people broken into 2 teams (or for the professional teams, commonly 6 runners who kick some major running butt) who have to run from Mt Hood to the Oregon Coast. The two teams leapfrog each other and start on a Friday afternoon, arriving in Seaside sometime on Saturday.

I wasn't feeling confident in my ability to pull my weight on the team. My injury is still persistent with any longer runs and even with smaller runs, I wasn't sure my hip would last running three legs of 4-6 miles each. So I gave up my spot and volunteered to drive the van instead.

It was an interesting experience driving the van. I desperately wanted to get out and run. Just seeing my friends run, getting pumped up, and celebrating a leg's finish made the running itch come out bad. I have decided it sucks to be the driver to an event that I would otherwise have been participating in. It's like being invited to a party and not being able to have any cake.

At one of the major exchanges. I must admit, it's hard to not be excited for everyone else... but still. I hate being a bystander!

August 24, 2010

Gotta give it a Tri

I simply LOVED participating in the Portland Triathlon! My two friends - Rebecca who is a superb runner and Rachel who can swim like a fish convinced me to do the cycling portion of a marathon triathlon (40km). I've been biking but nothing hardcore... so I wasn't sure how I'd fair in the race. All I knew is that I had to give it my all and that it'd be over with in just over an hour. I researched times from past relay teams and figured that if I could complete 40km in 2 hours, I'd be doing well since the results for the female relay bike portion ranged from 1:23 to 1:54.

We had a bit of a hiccup when Rachel couldn't find me coming out from the water (I later found out she had puked en route)... so our transition time lacked; however, I felt strong taking off and was confident we could make that up. The route itself is interesting - a slight uphill for 1/2 with a steep incline right before a long descent. The rain held off but I was well aware of any man-holes (= slippery surfaces) going around turns. We then had to loop back to the start and take off again on the same circular route. For the marathon, I had to go 3 times around. By the 3rd loop, that steep incline felt like it was ripping every muscle fiber I had in my quads. Oh the relief to finally hit the descent!!

When I finished, I frantically looked around for Becca - the runner. I later learned that the rest of the team had gone to breakfast as I cycled thinking it would take me well over 2 hours. They were shocked to see me pulling into the exchange corral and Becca had to run frantically behind me to catch up! She undressed as quickly as she could considering the circumstances and then took off for her run. I was amazed to discover that I had finished 40km in 1:21:41:022!! This time was 2 minutes UNDER the first placing team in 2009. Maybe it was all the running I had done this summer or maybe it was the break from running in the last couple of weeks that gave my legs a refreshing break - but I have to admit, I'm quite pleased with myself!

We ended up finishing 2nd for female relay... super happy and pleased with our superb efforts!

August 8, 2010

no running = fewer posts :(

So the pain is still there. I've talked to tons of people in the sports / massage / chiropractic world and I think it's a sprain. The only answer I got in terms of recovery is to stop running for the time being and hope it heals fast. The disappointing punch to all this is that I had just rounded off the middle of my training. And now I can't run.

So in the meantime, I've filled my time with other things - volleyball, tennis, cycling, hiking. I have a relay triathlon coming up to which I've been assigned the biking portion. Since I haven't really been training for that (besides my daily competitive commute with unsuspecting bikers heading home from work), I figure I can focus a bit more on strengthing my legs for that.

Otherwise, I did attempt to climb McNeil Point 3 times so far. This photo is the winning hike where we actually found the top - only to discover it was completely fogged over!

July 2, 2010


And so it happens. Perhaps it was the 13 mile run I pushed my body to do or perhaps I just went too hard, too fast. Regardless, I have a terrible sharp pain in my right hip that starts around 5 miles and won't disappear. The pain is so sharp that I literally cannot run. Walking only mutes the pain.

I am going to have to focus on cross training to stay fit but the only thing I seem to find for injury recovery is to keep from running for the meantime.

Super disappointed right now.

June 23, 2010

Windsor is where exactly?

My work trip took me to a place I would unlikey visit otherwise... Windor, Canada. It's right across the river from Detroit and to be honest, doesn't offer up much in the ways of cozy cities. I was fortunate to have a work schedule that allowed me to explore a new area and admitedly, they have a nice pathway along the waterfront. Otherwise, it was a bit sketchy getting there from the hotel.

I love running on sidewalks. I used to be a big side-of-the-road runner (enter in Vermont where sidewalks are reserved for downtown spaces only). However, in some research about road running and gaining perhaps a bit too much information on the engineering of roads - I suddenly begin to feel the "tilt" that all roads have for stormwater drainage. No one ever likes to change the way they do something - especially if they enjoy doing it. Running on the road felt like a source of empowerment. I was brave enough to take on cars and leave the pedetrains their little slab. But now - with a desire to not injure anything, I have taken to running on sidewalks. Besides the odd bump or two or the occassional driver who recklessly backs out of their driveway without looking both ways, I have found sidewalk running a nice distraction from running. There are so many things you have to watch out for - uneven surfaces, other people, junk in the walkways, cars, the curbs from street to street... it keeps me engaged in my running and in the present moment. Sure - I like to drift of into my thoughts but when that is proving hard to do, I have started to welcome the distraction of those uneven walkways.

Got in some good miles this past weekend. The parentals are coming to visit soon and I can't wait to run with my dad. He's been a long time runner and much to my frustration, can still beat me at a 5k.

June 13, 2010

It's all mental.

I've been rather frustrated with my running as of late. Frustrated enough to vent to my roommate about it. No, work is fine, life is good. What was bothering me was my lack of enthusiasm to tie up the laces and hit the road. In the last two weeks, my running has taken a plummet. Am I physically tired? Am I getting enough nutrients? Is it a mental thing? Am I just sick of running? 

My training at this point (if I'm following a local running store's PDX Marathon training schedule) is to be 1/2 way to my goal - meaning that this weekend most people did a 1/2 marathon called the Helvetica Half. Considering over the last two weeks, I've probably run about 13 miles total... I was not feeling optimistic about being on target with my training schedule. I find that an unintentional short break can lead to a very intentional long break and results in a cascade of emotions... frustration, annoyance, guilt, anger... all directed commonly at myself. 

I don't know what led to the slump in my running - frustration with the 24/7 rain perhaps and an overall slump in mood. Well, talking with my roommate allowed me to at least get my frustrations out. Really the only solution was to run. Saturday called for highs of 70's and clear sunny skies. Portland has had about 4 straight weeks of overcast and rain. No joke. So I think the whole of Portland was anxious for some rays. When I woke up around 8, the skies were still freakin' overcast. I mean, really?! Jesus! Never mind - I needed to get a run in. I didn't map out my run prior to ensure I was doing an exact distance. Instead I went out with the mentality that whatever I did was good enough. My goal was to reach the St. John's Bridge - roughly 6 miles into North Portland. I started slow wanting to ensure I had enough juice to get me through the entire run. I didn't eat or drink prior to the run (which I find generally helps me). As I set out, the skies cleared and the beautiful sun in all it's glory came shining down. Thank you thank you thank you Sun God. 

To make a long story short, I reached my goal. I got to the St John's bridge and then turned back around and headed home. Towards the last 1-1.5 miles, my body was screaming profanities at me. It felt like the bottom half of me was going to fall apart. Luckily, my limbs stayed intact and I finished the run - albeit very sore. After mapping it out, it turns out I did 13.36 miles. Not bad! To top it off, I then hopped on the bike and added another 12-15 miles on the bike to go to my friend's graduation. My energy levels were sustained throughout the day and I have to say, the aftermath wasn't so bad. I'm a touch sore today, but nothing that doesn't feel slightly gratifying.


I leave for a work trip this week and I will now struggle with getting in some miles while on the road. Guess what the weather forecast is for where I'm headed? motherfuckingrain. It's all mental and I have to rise above...


June 9, 2010

A wee bit of a break that one...

I had my whole weekend planned out. A bike ride, a distance run, yoga. The weather was calling for sun... it was the perfect trifecta of physical activity. The problem, I learned, is that when you have high expectations of doing all these things, it's easy to get disappointed in their ability to take shape. Last week I managed to get in over 20 miles - but my 55-mile bike ride was scheduled for Saturday morning and realistically, I didn't think my legs would stay with me had I forced them 13 miles of pavement pounding. So I planned for a Sunday run instead. 

The bike ride was amazing. Despite three flat tires (think beginning, middle and end), I had a pretty damn awesome time at the Pioneer Century. It was my first bike event and boy was I ever a novice. No spare tube (I used it on the first flat), no pump, no CO2 canister, no patch kit and above all, no cell phone (I left it in the car thinking fate would get through the race without hiccup). A kind gentleman by the name of Patrick repaired my second flat tire at around mile 38, though he made sure to point out my shortcomings in regards to equipment. I conceded to being a bit of a novice and vowed to get all the necessary tidbits for the next event. Luckily the 3rd tire didn't deflate until right around the finish line... 

The scenery was amazing and reminded me a lot of Vermont - rolling hills, pastures, farmland and the like. The sun felt amazing and I now sport a very sexy bikers tan on both the arms and the legs. Photos of the event below. 

As for running, come Sunday my body won in the lazy factor. It was raining heavy - kind of in-between the rain right before a tornado and the rain that you don't stand a chance in staying dry in. I napped - napped some more and then - yup - napped (and read a book...). So my distance run was non-existent this weekend - something I will need to make up for on Saturday. I didn't run on Monday either due to work conflicts. In truth though - I wasn't even in the mood. It felt like I had gotten bored of running. Perhaps it's just the routes - they are all in my neighborhood and perhaps starting in a new location could be a good distraction. 

I ran 4.6 miles today - even though all I longed for was a nap. It felt good to be back running.

June 3, 2010

rain, rain. oh my rain.

I've started to get used to running in the rain. It certainly doesn't stop me like it once did before. That said, the consistent overcast skies and downpours do start to have a negative effect on one's mood despite all those nifty little endorphins created by running. This past week I have not necessarily been "slack" about my running - but it has tappered.

My run on Saturday was a worthy 9.35 miles at about an 8:40 pace. It felt okay - not stellar. Sunday I was off with the exception of a yoga class that I sure as hell felt the next morning. Did my arms not have any muscle to them before??!!Monday I decided to take my wheels out for a spin and did a 30 mile bike loop that included a triumphant climb up Mt. Tabor (really not as bad as I exepected) followed by a noteworthy yoga class. Tuesday it was clear my dog needed to get out of the house, so I relented and took him on my run. It was a paltry 2.5 miles at a slower pace, but it felt good to get out. Then came yesterday...

The skies parted and for the remainder of the afternoon the sun shined down on soggy Portland. It was amazing. It was beautiful. And I was utterly stumped about what to do. Bike ride? Dogan to dog park? Run? It was sunny - for the first time in weeks and I had the hardest time getting back out of the house. But run I did. My legs were calling for it. So I decided I'd do the 5 mile loop with hills. My rule of thumb was that if I ran down a hill, I had to sprint back up it. The sprints weren't so bad but for the remainder of my run, I was out of sorts. My shirt was too big (when did that happen?) making me feel clumsy and large, my clicking ankles annoyed me, my nose was running something fierce, my knees started to bug me and I had a slight cramp. Not fun. But I didn't give up. Goddamnit, I was going to get back home. It was freakin' sunny.

So that brings us to today. I still have no idea what I'll do. The Celtics are playing LA. The rain is holding off. It's First Thursday Run at Fit Right and there's yoga at 7:30. Decisions are not my strong suit.

Friday is my day off before a physically demanding weekend - a 55 mile bike ride event followed by my Saturday (now Sunday) long run and yoga to smooth my body out afterwards.

Also - congrats to Em and Tom McMannamy for completing their first relay marathon! Tom was my early days running partner back in Boston... and continues to be an inspiration :) Congrats guys!
YAY! Congrats!

Portland is down there... somewhere

June 1, 2010

hello body

This weekend my Saturday run tapered a touch - with 9 miles scheduled I referred to a previous route. 9.31 miles at about an 8:30 pace... not too shabby! I also forced down a Shot Blok chew half way to see how my stomach would react. I didn't notice much from the shot blok - for some reason I always envisioned those little jelly cubes to be like that turbo button on those fancy car movies... but alas, I just kept running as per normal.

The other thing I did differently was I made sure to drink in carbs / proteins in a Odwalla shake within 15 minutes of running. I can say that I didn't feel my post-run slump as quickly as I normally do and my knees didn't hurt at all after thumping it out on the bitumen for 9 miles. I felt great. Not only that, but I followed my long run with a most excellent massage at Root Body Down (amazing). My back and I have a newfound friendship.

I took Sunday off and on Monday I decided to do a 30 mile bike ride instead of a 5 mile run. It felt great - especially because I tackled the hills like a superstar. At one point, coming down off of Mt Tabor, I had that surreal feeling of glee. It's a feeling I normally experience when traveling in far off distant lands... it felt great. After 30 miles, I felt amazing - no soreness, no tiredness... just happy. Happy with strawberries.

I've also been supplementing my exercise with yoga this week. So far, the practices have been amazing and I've left feeling more limber. I've also experienced soreness from using those muscles that haven't been worked recently - upper body, arms and abs. I am hoping I will see a difference in my running as well.

This week I incorporate speed training! :)

May 28, 2010

mental notes.

So there are many things running (haha) through my head.

- I am now addicted to reading running blogs. Reading about other people’s experiences, the tools they use, recommendations, even down to music lists – they are all very inspirational. One in particular that I cannot get enough of is the No Meat Athlete blog. Being a veggo myself, I feel a lot of the information written pertains to my situation.

- The more reading and research I do, a few key concepts keep coming up…

o Speed training. I’ve been putting in the mileage but if I’m being honest with myself, I haven’t been putting in the hard work – the sweat, the tears… the aches and pains. I run – slowly more often than not. I realize I need to start stepping up the workouts – incorporating more hills, more speed work, more stretching and cross training. I am going to do more hills and start incorporating Yasso 800s into my weekly workout (this will replace a run).

o Diet. I have noticed that my appetite has soared but am probably not eating enough of the right foods to have sustained energy levels. Upon a recent trip into GNC, I was lectured about the importance of fish oil, multivitamins and protein powder for recovery. I didn’t purchase anything because I want to do more research on the matter, but after reading numerous blogs, I am realizing what I put into my body within certain time frames of exercising is crucially important.

 Pre-Run… I hate eating anything before I run. My run last night (though a really terrific run), was uncomfortable due to something sloshing around in my stomach. That said, perhaps if I am eating the right things, I’d have more energy throughout my run.

 During-Run… As of yet, I haven’t taken anything (even water) during a run. To start getting used to carrying something as well as routinely eating something every 6 miles or so would be beneficial. For this weekend run, I’ll take a shot blok with me to see how it reacts to my stomach.

 Post-Run. The recovery. Typically I treat myself to an egg breakfast; however, within the first 15-40 minutes, I should take a liquid protein / carb drink to help supply my body with the nutrients it needs (otherwise my muscles steal from other parts of my body).

Yesterday’s run was fantastic. I set out with a mind to do 4 miles with a few hills. I ended up incorporating hill sprints into my run and overall ran 5 miles – at what felt like a strong pace (I didn’t actually time myself). After two days off, my legs were thanking me. This weekend’s run is down a few miles – so I’ll aim for between 9-10 miles. I also scheduled a massage for later that day simply because I think I need to work a few knots out.

Bring the pain.

May 27, 2010

this will be me the night before the marathon...

May 26, 2010

may showers

Exhibit A

Exhibit B


May 24, 2010

Clothing Malfunction

I decided the Dogan-Pre-Run is a good little exercise in preparation. I say this because today I discovered it's a good way to suss out the clothing situation. See today, after killing it on the bike by passing a group of yuppie cyclists (think latex, clip ons and jerseys... oh wait - I'm becoming one of them!) at 21mph, I tossed on the running shoes and set out with the dog. I was half considering trying to push Dogan through a 4-miler when... shit... major wedgie. The underwear were those girls brief shorts and the wedgie was unstoppable and unfixable. I dealt with it to the dog park but decided to avoid major injury and walk the rest of the way home. I'm the type of person that once I set out, I VERY rarely turn back. Had I left for a run, I probably would have dealt with the impending wedge up my ass - but luckily the Dogan-Pre-Run allowed me the chance to change into wedge-free shorts. Crisis avoided. 

Today I ran 6.11 miles (roughly 10k). I felt a bit sluggish on parts and I tried to shorten my stride to avoid injuries later on in the week (meaning my knees). That said, I did pass two girls which felt pretty damn good. Today was also an i-pod day - so my pace naturally quickens pending on music. I iced my knees when I got home which only seemed to stiffen my joints even more. It's now 9:26, officially dark outside and my eyelids are struggling to stay awake. 

Volleyball tomorrow - so likely no run. 

I like the Cliff Cran-Razz shot blocks. Perhaps a little too much...


These charts are one of my major motivations to getting my tukkus out the door. I LOVE (e.g. LOVE) entering in my numbers every day.

Week 6... Still not following a set pattern!

Runs overall - I got my own chaotic pattern I guess!

May 23, 2010


Last week was hard. I started the week strong with a 7 and 6 mile weekday run - in good time too. But it took a toll on my knees and I started to experience soreness in everyday movements. As a result, I took Thursday and Friday off from running. At a certain point, running becomes a drug. Whether it's the endorphin high, self-image or even the justification for that pizza the other night - without it I start to become frustrated. It's a void in my daily routine that if prolonged, can start to effect my attitude. 

My days off plus shit Portland weather equaled a very resistant-to-running-Beth come Saturday morning. Saturday my goal was between 11-12 miles but unlike last weekend, I wasn't amped up, I wasn't excited and to be honest, I was coming up with every excuse to post-pone until Sunday. Regardless, I geared up in my sweats, tied my laces, opened the door and.... promptly shut it again. Pouring rain in 50 degree weather. Not a drizzle, a light wafting of water in the air - downpour. So I called my inspiration hotline (aka Becs) and told her of my woes. 

Her advice? The hardest part is getting out the door. Just get out there and start and you'll start to feel better. Also to not consider the run as 11 miles, but rather than <2 hours of running. I can do anything for two hours... within reason. So after the rain subsided, I dug out my Boston Red Sox baseball cap and headed out. For the first 6 miles, I did feel good. No knee pain - no rain. Hell, I even took off my long-sleeve shirt. It wasn't until around mile 9 that I started to feel my tibias tighten up. A few times I stopped to stretch out - which felt amazing until I had to start running again (at which point my body started to scream very foul things at me). Amazingly enough it didn't rain on me the entire time I ran - but as I started to come to the final stretch, I could see the pregnant impending storm clouds. It was motivation enough to get my ass back home in decent time; however, when I mapped out my run I was terribly frustrated that I was just shy of my 11 mile goal. That said, within 2 minutes of arriving home, the clouds broke open with rain.

Sure, 0.21 of a mile isn't much - but after I had put in all those miles prior - it still felt like a let down. Oh well - it's behind me now. I look forward this upcoming week, getting some good distances in and making sure I'm taking care of my body (yoga practice starts up again this week!). 

Route: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3751109

May 20, 2010

i thought it was may...?

Been doing longer runs this week (7+ and 6.2) and they've felt good though my right knee is starting to become consistently sore. Not good I think? Will take it easy on today's run and ice afterwards. I want to hit my 12-13 mile goal this Saturday, so perhaps some rest will do it good.

Not sure if you've seen Portland's weather forecast recently, but it's wet, cold and miserable. Gotta push through it though - mind games go away!

May 19, 2010

Bay 2 Breakers 2010

Week 5 challenges included preparing for a weekend of fun and frivolity - and very little anticipated running. I got my major run in on a Thursday - which threw out of whack my normal running routine. I combine my 6.2 loop and my 5.5 loop for a grand total of 10.45 miles. Come the weekend, I was happy for the break.

Friday was spent traveling, basking in the sun on Stanford campus, eating delicious food and getting tipsy on expensive scotch. Needless to say, a Saturday run was not in the cards for this one! Sunday was the famous (infamous?) Bay to Breakers race - a unique San Fran 7-mile event from the Bay on Howard Street through Golden Gate Park to the ocean. Not knowing quite what to expect, my synopsis on the race is this: you either run it seriously and get as far front of the race as possible, or you dress up, grab a beer and party. It's hard to do both (which is what we did) because you are not running for time and you're not having nearly as much fun as those cheering you on in the wings (or on the course for that matter). I think out of the 7 miles, we probably ran about 3 in total. We did run up the hill (the only one on the course oddly enough) and it felt good to move after 2 days of drinking, eating and lazying about. I couldn't do any additional running on Sunday when I arrived home (though the weather was tempting!) to due to sheer exhaustion. That said, I start week 6.

Photos from the race...

I like to sport different colored hair for races...

This was just on one of the side streets - we weren't even on the race course yet...

These were the other variety of "runners" - the taunted us with their beer and shouting

There was a lot of this - walking, pointing and laughing...

Doesn't seem like it - but we're at the top of the big hill!

What's a race without a few leaps and bounds?

Happy to be done! In record time too! 2:19:20!

May 13, 2010

tick, tick, tick

So - as it turns out, I am not made for the mornings. I love them - they are beautiful and I have a sincere appreciation for them. I simply can not get out of bed to go running in the morning glory. So my run was switched to this afternoon.

Today's run was, up to this point, the furthest I have ever run. It felt pretty good, though I will have to start carrying some fluid around with me as I felt parched most of the way. 

So the ticks? My ankles. They won't shut up. I remember in high school having to creep up the stairs to turn off a hallway lamp - it was how my mother knew I got home okay. I remember not worrying about the steps creaking but my clicking ankles giving me away. I am a human metronome. The plus side to being so noisy is that pedestrians up ahead of me usually quickly turn around upon hearing my clicking ankles - as though some thing is approaching them from behind. It helps to clear the way for me to maneuver through them. I did some internet reading on it and the general consensus is that if it doesn't hurt, don't worry about it. I don't even want to think about what inside of me is actually making the clicking noises... I would just prefer to run and think my ankles are helping me keep rhythm.

The most exciting part of the run is the douche bag who nearly hit me while pulling out of his driveway. I think I scared him more than he did me. Fuckwit. Look both ways before pulling out douche! 

That said, 10 miles (10.45 to be exact) was a bit of a struggle. I read to have a few images stored in my mind for moments that get tough - I think about the happiest runs I've been on... I think about finishing the marathon. What actually did the trick though was thinking that I didn't have 1 mile left of 10 - that last mile was mile 25.2 and I had one more to finish. Surprisingly enough, these mental images do help and I revisit them often along my runs. 

Right now I'm exhausted, slightly achy and sore and ready for bed. This weekend is bay-to-breakers though the only corral we could get into was dead last (DFL). So I doubt it will be much of a race if we are able to muster a run at all - but it should be good fun and at the very least provide some humorous photos.

Today's run: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3724442 

May 12, 2010

5 am or pm?

My goal - my aim - my desire is to wake up at 5 am and run 10 miles. The reality? Likely that I shut my alarm off which plays pretty soothing music to me and roll over and I have to run the 10 miles at 5pm - which is tough considering it's after a long day, the dog still needs walking and I need to spend 2 hours running? This will be a challenge. We'll see what I'm made of tomorrow. 

Running with a side of life

Last year when my friends were training for the marathon, they were lame. They went to bed between 9-10 on Friday nights and running seemed to take over their life - the weird thing is they seemed to enjoy it.

Last night I played volleyball with my team and rather than go out for a few social beers afterwards, I tightened my laces and ran the long way home. I thought, "running is a very solitary activity... better be careful to not become a recluse or after the marathon I won't have any friends left". That said, I was far happier to be running than consuming a pitcher of beer on a Tuesday night (though that has its perks as well). This week is one of those weeks where I am struggling to balance the two. I'm headed to San Francisco this weekend and as a result, don't think I'll have much time for my Saturday run. A friend suggested I alter my schedule and do the long run on Thursday.

I've been trying to put in the miles prior to Thursday (still unsure of when I'll fit in the run on Thursday as well), but it's been difficult with the dog and other miscellaneous stuff that comes up (apartment viewing, volleyball...). I think the killer is the dog. It might be a good warm up run, but it also takes 30-40 minutes to take Dogan out and I can't begrudge him that - he's been cooped up in the house all day. Arg.

Needless to say, this week has been a struggle and will continue to be a struggle into the weekend. Perhaps I'll sneak out early Sat morning for a quick run...

Long run this week is supposed to be 10-11 miles. Updates to come soon!

May 9, 2010

Lucky # 9

I feel like I've kept to a good schedule this week - though weekday runs tend to be less intense perhaps than what they could be. Mind you, I start my runs after commuting to work by bike. I am nearly all trained up for a triathlon minus the swimming...

This weekend my goal was to run 9 miles. I was excited, pumping myself up the entire week and feeling positive about the distance. I mapped out my route prior to Saturday. I've never run straight south past Fremont before so I was curious how far I could get with 4.5 miles (there and back). As it turns out, I could run from Killingsworth to Division (almost exactly 4.5 miles). If you're not familiar with Portland, Killingsworth and Division are the north and south boundaries of being considered "close-in" to the center of the city (more or less). Except if I ever had to drive to Division, I would consider a major pain in the ass. Anyhow... back to the run.

The first 4.5 miles were easy - slight downhill the entire way. I thought to myself while running, "shit, I wonder what the incline will be coming back (I was taking a different street back). Well what goes down must come back up! The run back was pretty good - a bit slower than the first half, but I felt strong. In total the run was 9.33 miles and I felt like I could have kept going... which is good because next weekend is 10 miles! 

Might be time to start running with a group! 

Saturday's Run: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3713161 

May 6, 2010

The Wednesday "hump"

Impending storm clouds over Portland
It so happened that I was able to carpool with my roommate yesterday, so I was able to run home from work (luckily this time without a backpack and the subsequent shoulder pain). Yet it seemed everything that could, went wrong. First off, I had to carry my phone, a few cards and my keys. The cards and keys were not such a big deal, but the weight of my iphone smacked across my ass (it was in the pocket of an extra fleece tied around my waist) and was thoroughly distracting.
Beautiful greens and blooms on an upward climb

Not even 1/2 a mile in, it started to downpour. Not a little sprinkle or mist - a complete soaking downpour. On top of it, I was in downtown Portland, so I had to keep stopping at lights. Eventually it let up, but the damage was done - I was wet with a smacked ass and no running groove. When the rain did stop and the sun came out (it's a miracle!), I put the phone in my palm which was much better. I trucked onwards and eventually got home... when I mapped it out later that night, it was actually 4.5 miles - which was a surprise because it only felt like 3 or 4 at most. Not my best run, but at least I put in the miles.

Today's Run: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3704652

The oddest photo - it's the cap to my hat... but I'm not there!

May 4, 2010

Bay to Breakers 2010

Registered and excited. Now I just need a costume!

May 3, 2010

whoa - week 4

Starting strong in the week...

Ran 4.87 miles today. I decided that my runs with Dogan won't count toward my daily total anymore. Even though I am jogging - it's too slow and too stop / start for me to really get into a groove. They are excellent warm ups though and range between 1-2 miles.

Tonight's run was beautiful - the weather gods helped to keep the clouds parted for the duration of my run - even though a slight sprinkle and daunting clouds were pregnant with rain on all sides of me. I was a bit slow to get into the groove but the many thoughts wandering through my head helped to distract me. By mile two I was coasting - not thinking about the run at all. I wandered straight up 21st - a street I haven't yet been on - and it was beautiful. Gorgeous large houses with huge overhanging trees. The sun cast bright yellow light on the leaves and contrasted by the dark rain clouds, the sky was alight with color. By the time I got home, it hardly felt like I had run just under 5 miles. It felt more like 3. I fancy this running thing is getting easier!

Today's run:  http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3697478

I've carefully planned out my meals for this week to ensure that I am getting enough carbs to keep my muscles going all week long. A few weeks ago I did a 3-week cleanse diet and my weight went from 138 to 130. Since I've been teetering between 130-132. Now with all the running I've now dropped to 128. Though I don't miss the now-gone weight, I do need to have enough food to sustain me on my runs - hell to sustain me through the week. With running in the evenings, I've also done a bunch of meal prep to help ease the stress of cooking a big meal after a long day. I've steered towards cleanse-friendly foods, but have made a few exceptions (because life is all about exceptions after all). Tonight's dinner was spelt noodles with pine nuts, onions, garlic, black olives and feta cheese.

Ahh - sleep.
Week 3 (x=day y=miles)
My runs are in orange. I'm starting to follow a pattern...

May 1, 2010

Saturday 8 miler - check.

On my run today, I kept thinking to myself, 8 miles in a marathon is just the warm up Beth - better start getting used to it. The weather was cooler, partially sunny, slight breeze and overall a very comfortable running climate. I ran at around 8:30 (it was hard getting up this morning despite Dogan's best efforts). Around mile 3 I could feel the outer thighs start to get sore (or perhaps the right word is tight?). So I paused for a few moments to stretch them out before continuing. They didn't start hurting again until around mile 7. There are 2 things I think I need to do next week for my long run - 1. change up the route (e.g. neighborhood) and 2. run with a group that has pace setters. I think it would be good for me and perhaps provide that extra motivation to keep going strong in mile 9.

The highlight of this run: the dude who clapped me on from his porch - thanks clapping dude.

This week's 8 miler route....

Week 3
Total Mileage this week: 19.86 Longest Run: 8.44

April 30, 2010


Week 1 & 2 graphed against 2 marathon training guides - Nike Marathon Coach and Portland Fit...

Week 1
Vertical Axis: Miles Horizontal Axis: Day
You can see that over the next couple of weeks that the two programs have a repetitive schedule, with slight mileage increases per week. I was definitely not on target for week one - even though I did most of the mileage. 

Week 2

This week I put in more miles but still off target. It's not always easy to run every day assigned and run the exact mileage when I have to do a "warm up" run with the dog first. Hopefully I'll start getting into more of a pattern over the next couple of weeks. I do think the important part is the long distance run on Saturdays. Tomorrow is the 2nd 8-mile run... going to pick a different route so as to keep things interesting.

April 27, 2010


My first non-running related injury!

I've suffered some pretty good knee bruises as a result of volleyball (no, I don't wear the knee pads and yes, a select number of my pants have holes burned thru the fabric), but tonight I landed oddly right below the knee - for what seems to be the patellar tendon and upper tibia. It was a great save and thankfully we won the point, but fuck it hurts (sorry, language). So I took a photo pre-bruise. Mind you, this happened about 30 minutes ago. I bruise easily so I am just waiting for a good black and blue to shine through. Walking is a bit painful right now, but I've noticed after a warm up, the pain lessens. 

No running today as my volleyball schedule didn't accommodate it, so I'll have to pack on some extra miles tomorrow.

8 and onwards

 On Saturday I ran the longest distance I've ever run. Eight miles is probably a small number to most, but for a recreational runner, it's a distance I could never be bothered with before. My 10k run around the neighborhood is a great easy flat run - so I decided for my first 8 miler I would simply tack on 2 more miles. It was a great run - I started out at my normal pace at first but reminded myself to take it easy as it would be a longer run. It wasn't until the last mile that my legs - specifically the outer upper muscles of both legs - started to ache. Clearly my body is not used to anything above a 6.2! Regardless, I pushed through and finished strong - totaling around 8.5 miles. As I continue this training regime, I know I need to listen carefully to my body, it's limits and it's weaknesses. I don't want to run the risk of an injury nor do I want any lasting pains like many of my runner friends. I'm not training to get a great time, I'm training to finish. I need to keep that in mind as I push further with my weekend runs.

Today I had to endure what I hate most about running - running in the rain. I've never liked it for some reason, though today gave me reason to adjust my views. Having biked home, I was already wet, so I grabbed a baseball cap, tied my house key to my shoelaces, grabbed the leash and the dog and set out. Running with Dogan is frustrating and I try my best to be patient - he has been inside sleeping all day after all. I can tell when Dogan is struggling because he'll suddenly stop, look up at me and pretend to sniff some bushes. At that, I decided to turn around and head back home. Once he knew of our general direction (e.g. towards dinner), he was more than happy to pick up the pace. Once he was dried, fed and watered, I set back out for a real run.

I have loads of thoughts run through my head when I run...how pretty the leaves are, what a great house, what a dump, wonder what I should make for dinner tonight, this is easy breathing!, wonder if I should tack on some more blocks to increase distance - want to hit the hill on 18th, I like this top a lot - its so soft, that smells good - wonder who's coming to dinner, volleyball tomorrow - wonder when I'll fit in a run, perhaps after? And so on.

I realize that running is perhaps the most exemplary case of individual sport ever. Every person has such a unique running style - the way they strike their foot, the way they hold their arms, the clothes they prefer to wear, the time of day they prefer to run, the type of weather they won't run in, the music they listen to as motivation... really all runners have in common is a forward propulsion towards a distance goal.

Running in the rain does have a few benefits - namely, fewer runners are out for their evening jog. Don't get me wrong, I like runners - but I also like having the road to myself. And besides, I feel way more hardcore being one of the few in the rain. Yeah, that's all I can think of!

April 26, 2010

8 miles up ahead...

So it’s been a long week. My legs have had that dull ache to them all week – never seeming to fully recover. I commute by bike to work, so in essence, I am cross-training by default. It’s an easy ride in, but I usually push hard on the ride home and it’s mainly uphill. So the biking in combination with the daily runs has exhausted me. I took today off to rest before I do my first 8-miler tomorrow. I’ve never run more than 6.2 on my normal runs, so tomorrow it will be interesting to see how my body reacts the added mileage. I have noticed in the past my knees and feet start to get sore towards the end of the 6.2, so this will be the first of many physical challenges I will have to learn to deal with.
I’ve heard from people who have trained with groups before that marathon training takes away the frills of Friday night. Rather than be out on the town, you catch up on needed zzz’s so that you can wake up and run long distances at insane morning hours. Though I probably won’t start running till 9 or so, I am headed to bed early as the long week has worn me out both physically and mentally. Not to mention the list of about 20 things I need to cross off tomorrow.
To bed!

Falling In Step

Tonight was one of those nights were I could have easily made an excuse to not run. Legs were tired, busy day, dog needs attention… ugh – do I really want to lace up and run? There are a few motivational thoughts that go through my head if I am teetering back and forth – and they usually are enough to kick my ass out the door. The first is the physical benefit… yes, I want legs like Fergie, yes I want to feel fit, yes – I want to be in amazing shape. The second is, what else are you going to do? Watch tv? Nap? Lame. Don’t be lame Beth. Lastly, I think of all the ways I am keeping track of my running – this blog, my excel spreadsheet that graphs my runs compared to training programs and a far-reaching goal my sister set for herself that I am trying to keep up with (320 miles in 23 weeks). I have such pride when I open up the excel spreadsheet and put my number from the day before in… the overall total goes up, the distance remaining goes down. It’s a small satisfaction, but it’s a big part of my motivation. Besides, I’d be lame if I had a running blog and didn’t run!
My run was in 2 parts today – the first with my dog who makes frequent piss stops but does speed up when he spots a cat in the distance. The distance was 2.8 miles and it was a great warm up. The weather was overcast, cooler (high 50′s?) and windy. The second part was solo with a distance of 3.55 miles (days total 6.35). There was a moment between dropping Dogan (the dog) off at the house and before going for my run that all those excuses could have come into play. And if I didn’t have such far-reaching goals myself, those excuses probably would have won out. In a marathon coaching book that I read, one thing stuck out in particular and that is that there can’t be any excuses. Regardless of the conditions, state of mind, physical being – anything – it simply does not matter. So what? It’s raining… can I not run in the rain? My legs are sore – but don’t I like that feeling of a good workout? I’m tired – so what?
And the 2nd run was great. I got into that state where my legs found a rhythm, my breathing fell into a steady pattern – my body was functioning perfectly and at that moment, my mind is left to wander at it’s content. The thoughts that go through my head are as sporadic as they are weird. “It’s time to take this necklace off”, “Remember to write her back”, “That house is funky”, “Where the hell is that chocolate chip cookie scent coming from?!”. It’s a beautiful state of mind and partially why I think people get addicted to running – it helps clear all those thoughts.
After my run, I did some wall-sits to help strengthen my quads, drank water, enjoyed dinner and am now about to pass out to do it all over again. I feel great :)

Personal Best (so far!)

My race results came in! I ran an 8:08 minute mile, finished 88th out of 1310 and finished 4th in my age group! Kinda proud of myself, ain’t gonna lie!

Runner's Knee

Running is a high impact sport. Every time my feet strike the ground, my body absorbs a force about 3-5 times my body weight. That’s a lot of impact considering I am increasing mileage every week. Today as I started my 4-mile run, I noticed my right knee was feeling a bit “off”. I can best describe it as discomfort… nothing sharp, nothing major and it slowly went away with the distance. I started to take note of how I was striking the ground and I adjusted my stride so that it didn’t feel as uncomfortable. It got me thinking though – there are going to be various injuries / physical ailments that I am sure to encounter as I start training for a marathon. In the book, “The Non Runner’s Marathon Trainer” by David Whitsett et al, he says that the reason for slowly increasing distances is to allow the body time to adjust to the impact (much like allowing your body to acclimate to higher altitudes). Makes sense. I graduated in Biology for undergrad – my brain just naturally tends towards the side of science. So as my knee started to ache, I thought – I need to include injury analysis in my blog. It starts with runner’s knee.
Runner’s knee (also known as chondromalacia patellae or patellofemoral stress syndrome) is when the kneecap starts to rub against its sides due to one of two factors: weak quadriceps and improper footwear. Running strengthens the hamstrings more than it does the quads, so when the two are out of balance, it can be enough for the kneecap to pull and twist to the side.
You know the song, “the hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone…”? Well, it’s kinda true. Through a series of connections, the knee will end up where the calcaneus is when the foot strikes the ground. Here’s a step-by-step visual of the problem: your foot strikes the ground > you pronate (flatten your arch) > the lower leg below the knee internally rotates > the upper leg externally rotates > this causes a twisting pressure on the knee > the kneecap (patellae) become irritated and painful. It’s a biomechanical problem and luckily it has biomechanical solutions.
The shoes I currently use are Brooks. I was given the 5-step test by an athletic store that watched my stride and matched me with a shoe accordingly. That said, after reading “Born to Run” by David Whitsett I am curious to attempt running in shoes that don’t overly-cushion. Many of my friends have invested in the “barefoot” shoes – little rubber sock things that look like Avatar feet. The concept is that our modern day shoe has actually destroyed our natural stride and increased the probability for injury. I don’t think I’m ready to run barefoot, but perhaps I should re-evaluate my shoe to ensure I’m not over compensating in either direction. I also think that perhaps some quick quad exercises immediately following a run could help lessen the disparity between my hamstrings and quads.
Problem: Discomfort and irritation behind or around kneecap.
Diagnosis: Runner’s knee
  1. Ice knees for 15 minutes directly after running
  2. Take an anti-inflammatory but only with a meal and never before a run
  3. Before bed, put a heating pad on your knees for 15 minutes
  4. Ensure you have the proper footwear
  5. Be conscientious of how you strike
  6. Do not overdue it on the runs. Rule of thumb is you don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% and the longest run of the week should not be any more than 50% more than your longest run in the week
  7. Run slower and on softer surfaces
  8. Warm up and stretch before your run, especially the quad and ITB using a stick or foam roller to massage and elongate those tissues

Bridge to Brews

26.2 miles is a daunting distance for someone who hasn’t run over 6. There are heaps of training resources (see links) and groups that assist with training the body to endure the impact that a marathon entails, but I am hesitant to join the most popular Portland Fit group simply because they run early on Saturday mornings. I am not a morning runner. Not at all. Don’t
PDX from the sky
get me wrong, once I get going I really do appreciate the quieter streets, watching the sun rise, feeling the morning heat up and having the bulk of my exercise for the day behind me so early… but it is SO hard for me to get out bed in the morning.
Fist race during marathon training
I mean trying to give up smoking kinda hard (for smokers). I also enjoy running in the evenings – seeing the sun turn to a bright orange behind the hills, the scents of the flowers, the cooler air slowly creeping in… anyway, I’m getting off the point. The point being is that I want to test myself to see if I’m able to train myself to do a marathon – of course with some guidance from books, online resources and friends.  
I started running to the Nike Marathon training schedule; however, this week has thrown some of the distances off for me and I feel as thought I haven’t started properly. I did, however, accumulate around 17 miles last week and started this week with an 8k race called Bridge to Brews. I don’t know my time yet – but I felt good throughout the entire race. I started closer to the start in the chute and was able to keep ahead of the main field the entire way. The start of the course had a few little hills but the actual bridge was a small incline and easily run (not to mention the beautiful views). The B2B race is unique in that it’s the only PDX race that you can run over the Fremont bridge, a multi-level / lane highway that connect NE to NW neighborhoods. Coming down off the bridge was easy and I loved running past all those cars that were probably like, “what the fuck?”. After coming off the bridge, it was around a couple of blocks in PDX before heading up Broadway bridge. At some point, the 8k and the 10k merged and I started passing more and more people. The last leg included one sneaky little hill right before turning into
Running the Fremont Bridge
a downhill finish. The entire time I was running some older guy who looked like Mr. Miyagi from the Karate kid. You don’t get much more inspiration than that! Finial time yet to be posted. 
At this point, running 2 miles to me is kinda pointless – that’s just when I start getting warmed up and into my run… so I might extend that to 3 -3.5. Eight miles will be my first 8-miler and I think I need to plan out a route to ensure I cover the entire distance.