Feeling 22, Ready for 26.2

DSC_0005Yesterday as I was sifting through one of my notebooks during an office meeting, I found a list of my goals for 2014. Crafted at the start of the new year, I made a list of things I wanted to achieve and get in a habit of doing. In the midst of trying to cook three times a week (fail), read two books a month (some months were a fail), and heading to California (I made it kind of close), I wrote “Fall Marathon.”

And here I am, four days out from checking off that item.

At 22, I’m going to run a marathon. Continue reading

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The Day I Beat Mother Nature

IMG_1681.JPGLast week I was in major fight with Mother Nature.

Monday signaled the beginning of September, the unofficial start of fall. Time for sweaters, pumpkin lattes and apple cider doughnuts. Yet Mother Nature did not get the memo. Or she was ignoring it.

Monday of last week was Labor Day. With the day off, I figured I could wake up alarm-free and set out for my training’s scheduled seven miles. That didn’t happen; I blame the weather. By the time I woke up by 8:00 AM, it was already over 75 degrees outside. Add in the humidity, and it made it easy for me to decide to stay in bed.

Unfortunately, by skipping Monday that meant I had to make up for it the other days of the week. Tuesday had the group scheduled to run hills, but as I stepped outside to catch the bus, the wind picked up and all I could think of was Winnie Pooh saying, “Tut-tut, it looks like rain.” Sure enough, a half hour after I turned around to go home it poured. Decision justified.

But while I managed to avoid the rain, I couldn’t avoid a run that kept me from looking like I ran my miles in the shower. This week’s humidity was unbearable, even at the early hours of the morning when I needed to run before work. When it’s still dark outside and the humidity has the feel-like temps hovering near 80 degrees, the miles feel endless. This was especially the case on Saturday.

Saturday had 16 miles on the schedule, and I will admit that I had plenty of anxiety going into the run. The finish of the 16-mile SLR would mean achieving a new PDR, but it was not without its challenges. When my alarm went off in the morning, already the temperature hovered at 75 degrees, and the sun had not even risen yet. Fortunately, our route along Beach Drive in D.C. and Maryland provided plenty of shade cover. However, that didn’t keep the sweat from dripping.

IMG_1688.PNGSaturday’s run was by far the most physically and mentally challenging run I have ever done. While refilling our water bottles a shortly after our 10-mile mark, my running mates and I noticed that our clothes were literally soaked to our skin. Drenched, and we still had six miles to go. Our bodies’ way of keeping us cool, the sweat would have felt like it was weighing us down, but it was actually what allowed us to keep going. As the salt escaped through our pores, staying hydrated and focused became the run’s mission. It was grueling and just as mentally fatiguing as it was physical.

Nevertheless, we made it back, just shy of two and half hours after we started. The 16 miles were the farthest I ever ran straight, a new personal distance record; adding on my warmup, and I finished Saturday with 17.52 miles under my belt. All I wanted afterwards was a huge bagel slathered in cream cheese. And a nap.

While I hunger pangs existed, thirst dominated. Throughout the day, my body kept reminding me how drained it had gotten from the morning and how it needed hydration, and lots of it.

Despite Mother Nature’s extension of summer for a little longer, I didn’t allow it to let it interfere with my training. In the end, it’s these types of runs that make you stronger, and all the more ready for that all important race in just seven weeks. My countdown has started.

My Alternate Workout

Back from vacation, resuming a schedule that involves an alarm clock and the necessity to prepare my own meals has been a difficult adjustment. Not only did Monday signal my return to the office after a 10-day hiatus, but it also meant the return to intense marathon training.

Out of taper mode, Monday called for seven miles.

Now seven miles are hard any day before an eight-hour work day, but factor in the end of a vacation and it being a Monday and those miles did not happen. Sometimes you just have to let the alarm go off as late in possible.
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Yet Monday wasn’t a total exercise loss. Instead of a pre-work workout, I used my office gym to knock out three miles on the deadmill and a short interval workout on the elliptical. Thanks to a buddy, the looming seven miles will get done during a Thursday early morning running date. Continue reading

How Far Can I Go?

20140804-085409-32049430.jpgSo I did something this weekend I have never done before:

I ran 15 miles.

The Saturday long run officially had the group doing 12 miles, an out and back to Gravelly Point near National Airport. With a 1.5 miles to the store, my warm-up was done before the 7 AM start. By the time we finished shortly after 9 AM, I still had some energy left in me and decided why not go for the PR and take my cool down in stride, literally.

So I did it.

Before 930 AM on Saturday I had completed 15 miles. And I felt great. Continue reading

Up, Down, Repeat

On Tuesday I was told to stop smiling. So naturally I couldn’t help but grin bigger.

I was running up and down hills and yet there was a smile on my face. As someone often told to do opposite, to look happy and just smile (something no one should ever tell a woman), that I was being told, albeit jokingly, to stop looking like I was enjoying one of my toughest workouts summarizes how much I do love running.

After leaving work Tuesday afternoon, I jetted off to Georgetown to teach an hour-long spin class at the university’s gym. As the warm-up to the evening’s hill workout, I jumped, climbed and peddled through the class with an enthusiastic bunch, including one woman who called me a “4′ 11″ Mighty Mouse”  that has been attending my classes to be whipped into shape for her beach wedding next month. Post-class, I was off again, this time to Fleet Feet for an hour literally spent running up and down one of the city’s most infamous hills: Calvert. Continue reading

Drinking for Daze

Day Two is complete.IMG_1464

How do I feel? Exhausted.

I have so many thoughts about this experiment, beginning with the fact that I underestimated how difficult it would be. Having to drink every two to three hours is itself a challenge. The tonics are not bad tasting, but they are not something you want to drink down immediately either. On average, it takes me about 30-45 minutes to finish a whole tonic, which means that it’s only another hour and half or so until I need to drink another one.  Continue reading

Why I Hate the “Deadmill”

Yesterday on the training agenda: three miles. While it sounds like nothing when compared to the 26.2 miles to come, there is little to be excited about running even that short of distance first thing on a Monday morning after a three day weekend that included more red, white and blue cake and sangria than one wants to remember.

So rather than setting an alarm clock even earlier for a Monday, I slept “in” and decided that my three miles would have to be completed in the second worst possible way: on the treadmill.
Continue reading