flashes

Jan. 29th, 2013 03:29 pm
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
The last week has been busy but mostly good. We had friends over to brew, saw live jazz at KC Peaches where I should just live from now on, played games with friends, oh and my improv class continues to be the best thing ever.

I'm back in the swing of running more regularly, after a bit of a break last November and December. It feels really good even though the weather at the moment includes things like strong winds whipping half-frozen rain into your face. But last week something bizarre happened, where I went on a nice group run, got home and sat down for 20 minutes to eat dinner and watch Parks and Rec, and got up to find I had intense and localized pain in my lower back, on one side of my spine. I hoped it would go away overnight but got worse the following day, which was alarming since I wasn't even sure what I'd done exactly to cause it. I kept flashing back to the last few weeks of high school swimming, where I suddenly got some sort of back injury while at dance team, which didn't get better for weeks, all while I was trying to qualify for state competitions in backstroke. Finally some "alignment" from an off-hours chiropractor my coach knew seemed to instigate my back getting better, but the whole thing was confusing and frustrating, and having sudden inexplicable back pain just took me back to that time! Fortunately it seems to be getting better, having improved a fair bit after two days of no workouts but plenty of ibuprofen and ice, with only a slight relapse when I did my weekend long run.

Also, pre-live-jazz I walked around Tradfest with some friends, this festival with a bunch of traditional Irish music on various stages. It was pretty cool, at least in places, and prompted me to look up more about uilleann pipes, the bodhrán, and the history of harps in Ireland. But also they had some dancers for some of the reels, and I just had such strong flashbacks to the last times I saw my grandmom, and the Riverdance DVDs she was always watching. I wish I could have talked to her about coming here.

run clon

Nov. 12th, 2012 02:24 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
Approximately a day after deciding that I didn't want to do any running races for awhile, I was asked if Ben and I wanted to go along on a weekend trip to Clonakilty and maybe run one of the Clonakilty races there. Another road marathon sounded not fun, but a road half along rural roads and beaches, plus a weekend of hanging out with people in lovely west Cork, was too good to pass up. So I'm running the Clonakilty half in a month, with no goals whatsoever, to bringing my yearly race total to some ridiculous multiple of every previous year. I'm excited!

I've also been running to work with Ben some, and sometimes he runs to work without me and I do other runs... this is awesome because I've wanted to run with him for awhile. We were supposed to run to work together on Friday, but didn't end up doing it, so on Saturday we ran along the Royal Canal to the quaternion bridge, then walked on to Ashtown, caught a train back to Dublin, and had a nice late lunch at Brew Dock which is one of the good craft beer pubs here. I like running on my own plenty, but it's also a nice thing to share.

I do want to do more weights and swimming, though! If only the Trinity gym were less full of undergrads at all hours.
clevermynnie: (mask)
I've been trying to expand my trail running repertoire by finding some new routes, especially anything with a lot of elevation change. I've had mixed success, though, thanks to the worst things about trail running in Ireland: lots of false trails, gorse and blackberries, and golf courses everywhere nice. My legs have been covered with little cuts for several weeks now, because of 'let's check out this new trail!' efforts that have ended with me pushing through brambles and thorns in shorts, cursing the rapid growth of such mean plants. What should happen eventually is what happened with Howth, though, that eventually I will find nice routes and then be able to stick to those. I've scouted the beginning of the trail that goes up the Little Sugar Loaf and Sugar Loaf mountains, down by Bray, and also done the first part of the Wicklow Way out of Marlay Park. The only downside to these routes is the travel time, though, which is a lot more than the travel time to get to Howth. But for the next couple months of training for Causeway Coast and the Dublin Marathon, I am willing to put up with some travel time in order to do challenging new trails.

Also, incidentally, I am really enjoying Fitocracy and trying to drag anyone and everyone over there. I don't want to be spamming about my workouts everywhere to people who may not care, but having a site just to talk about workouts is kind of awesome, and doing quests/achievements/leveling of any sort really appeals to me. It's also pretty fun to read other people's workouts, humbling and inspiring and great. Perfect for getting excited about sports!

And this is way too early, but I have a tentative spring race schedule for next year. I want to run the entire Mourne Ultra (instead of DNFing with 39 miles as I did this year), and I'm planning to go to a conference in the US in April so it would be great to snag a new state (for 50 marathons in 50 states) while I'm there. So I'm thinking of doing the Hells Hills 50k (33 miles, Texas, April 6), Brecon Beacons (40 miles, Wales, May 11), and then the Mourne (52 miles, Northern Ireland, June 8). I think it sounds like a great run-up to finishing my first 50+ mile race... though we'll see what happens between now and then!
clevermynnie: (and then?)
I spent June recovering from the Mourne Ultra, and then had that great half-marathon at the beginning of July which seemed to indicate that I was ready to step up my activity again. So I had been thinking about what to aim for, both in terms of workouts and in terms of races, and then after following the Hardrock 100 last weekend and thinking wistfully about whether I'll ever be able to run it, I felt motivated to sign up for some races and make a plan.

First, I'm hoping to keep weights and swimming in my regular schedule, rather than drop them when races loom as I usually do. And I think that'll be easier with a workout schedule. Also, since Ben has expressed interest in running to work, that'll give me the chance to do more short runs and get my overall mileage up. We ran to work together this week! It was pretty awesome, the first time I have actually run with Ben. And it's extendable mileage-wise, since I can run on the grass track once I'm here, or do yoga or whatever seems reasonable. So here is my weekly plan from here on out:

Monday: Run to work, yoga
Tuesday: Weights
Wednesday: Group run
Thursday: Run to work, yoga
Friday: Swimming
Saturday: Hike or bike
Sunday: Long run

This week I'm doing as much on the schedule as I can, at least before we have weekend houseguests... which means I had sore glutes for two days from restarting deadlift, and then still have sore glutes because of the tough group run. I love my running group, but the pace really challenges me and I didn't go at all in June. Hopefully by the time August starts this schedule will feel alright.

And, I signed up for races! I love signing up for races. It's exciting and gives me a solid goal to work toward. I'm doing the Causeway Coast Ultra in September, 39 miles which I now know I can complete, and then the Dublin Marathon in October because it's local, flat, and for the life of me I can't stop wanting to break five hours for my marathon PR. In between now and then I'll do a mix of long runs on trail and flat, and I've actually already put all my long runs with distances and locations on my calendar. It seems anal-retentive, but it's giving me a good idea of what weeks I'll have to work around travel and such, and hopefully it'll eliminate last-minute surprises where I schedule weekend activities only to find I forgot I was supposed to spend 5 hours running. (I am remembering a long run in Philly where I got home, took a very fast shower, and then ate a sandwich in the car on the way to D&D where I was quite tired.)

We'll also see how my body does with this. I was a little wary of doing two fall races, because the last time I did 4 marathon or greater distances in 7 months, I ended up with plantar fasciitis. But I have done all sorts of things to try to prevent that from happening again, plus I am noticing a trend where I never have the same problem twice with running as I level up my muscles, bone density, and form, so hopefully that will not happen again? In any case I will of course be listening to my body and trying to optimize its function. And hopefully this will lay some groundwork for doing a 50-mile race next year.

I'm really excited!
clevermynnie: (smile)
I ran the Clontarf Half-Marathon this morning and PRed, with a final time of 2:07!

I had sort of forgotten about signing up for this race, but it's right in my backyard and I thought that it would get me back on the horse, so to speak, after my ultra adventures in early June. So I didn't really have goals, or training, or tapering, I just showed up to see how it went. If I ran it slowly then I could always blame it on the Mourne ultra! Since it started less than half a mile from my house, I went to registration early to pick up my number, and then headed back home to relax and put on sunscreen and use my own bathroom. This backfired a little as I belatedly realized that my timing chip was not with the race number, and I had to speed over to the start and find a race official who would give me a timing chip, but that all got sorted out okay pretty quickly. This race was organized by the same people who do the Wicklow Half, which I ran in March, and that went off without a hitch just as this one did.

The course was very flat, along the Clontarf waterfront and then the beach, very easy out and back along paths that I run a lot. I tried to just focus on having even splits, since there was not really any terrain or anything. And I was really pleased on that front; I started out getting 9:30-9:45 minute miles, pretty fast by my standards, and after 3 miles or so I started to wonder if I'd slow way down from overreaching, but that didn't happen until nearly the end and even then my slowest mile was only 10:19! That is really good for me, and I was surprised by how natural it felt. Here are my mile splits, because I am proud of them:

Mile 1 9:24
Mile 2 9:27
Mile 3 9:37
Mile 4 9:47
Mile 5 9:41
Mile 6 9:35
Mile 7 9:28
Mile 8 9:46
Mile 9 9:43
Mile 10 9:54
Mile 11 10:02
Mile 12 10:19
Mile 13 10:05
Mile .1 1:02

Even though I slowed down near the end, I was feeling really good because I knew I had at least a slight PR, and in the end I came in 7 minutes faster than my previous PR. Yay! I am now sold on the concept of signing up for random races close to home. Great start to the weekend!

half

Jun. 28th, 2012 04:05 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
After the Mourne Way Ultra, I was sore for a few days and then spent a few days on vacation, and didn't do any exercise other than lots of walking in that time. Then I had a few days with weird chest and back pain, and then I went for an easy swim and finally an easy run and was thinking, two weeks on and I feel pretty good! Time to get back into exercising a bit, nothing too strenuous...

Then I got an email about the half-marathon I'm signed up for next weekend!

I hadn't really forgotten about it, but I thought it was farther off; this race is very close to my house, and most of the course is on the route I run most frequently. I signed up for it because it sounded easy and close and like it would get me back running a little after my big race in Northern Ireland. But, heh, now it seems very close! I did my first weight training in months this week, and another run, and will do a couple hour run this weekend, and then a slight taper next week and hopefully that'll do it. I mean, obviously I am ok to go the half-marathon distance, but running three times that distance a month beforehand is probably not the recommended training and I'm in recovery mode now. The course is flat and for most that would mean fast, but who knows what my legs are going to do. I won't push it, so it should be a nice morning. Hopefully.

run run run

Mar. 2nd, 2012 12:45 pm
clevermynnie: (smile)
The last few months have probably been the most consistent running that I have experienced! I didn't run much at all last summer, because of the foot pain I was having, the rigors of thesis-writing, and the horrible summer weather which made swimming a lot more appealing. But once we got here, and I had time to run but no gym access for swimming or weights, I started slowly ramping my running miles back up. I think this has actually been the most conservative I've been with adding miles, because there was no rush and I could be methodical. I was doing speedwork consistently, because my running group is pretty fast and I ran with them weekly, and I also started doing trail runs consistently because they are so accessible from where we live. And of course I did a long run every week and very slowly ramped that distance up as well; I feel pretty lucky because there are a lot of beautiful long runs from our house. I can run through dunegrass, along sea cliffs, up a canal, on a beach, over steep hills... Ben now requires me to clean off my shoes when I come in from a run, because there are so many off-road places I can hit and the mud cakes onto my shoes and then gets all over the floor.

I was worried that starting work again would affect my running, because one of the benefits of not having a job is that it's very easy to find time to exercise. But actually, since I already had a routine pretty much set, adapting it to working was not that hard. I had to move some runs to early morning instead of mid-morning, and I moved my long run from Friday back to Saturday, but I didn't miss any runs in the month of February. And, now that I do have gym access again, I am starting up weight training. Which is, of course, a bit unpleasant; the first few weeks for me always involve a lot of soreness no matter how cautious I am. And this gym is sadly not as nice as the Penn gym was, although it's much closer to my work (it's actually in another section of the same building). But it's still nice to pick up some heavy stuff again.

And, I am increasingly excited about the half-marathon I have later this month, which is nearly guaranteed to be a PR since my only previous half was in very warm and humid weather. The same goes for the 50k I am signed up for at the beginning of May: my only previous 50k was in exceptional conditions, and this should be a very different experience. What I really want is to have these two great races, and then try longer distances over the summer and see how that goes. I feel really positive about my running, the routes available to me, and the races I've found nearby!

races

Feb. 11th, 2012 04:56 pm
clevermynnie: (smile)
I had the best run today. Last weekend I did 12 miles and for whatever reason I started feeling tired and backache-y for the last hour which was no fun, so my expectations were somewhat low for the 16 I was planning to run today. I felt so great the whole time, though! I did negative splits and actually the last 3 miles I was able to speed up a lot. I always feel so good after a run like that, strong and content.

Remember my 2012 race list? I've now signed up for the first two, the Wicklow Half in March and the Greenland Trail Ultra in Colorado in May (at the end of my wedding/parents states visit). I'm pretty set on trying the Mourne Ultra but their signups still aren't open... well, actually I suppose I am waffling a little because I worry that with a race so much longer and in such tough terrain, I wouldn't be able to finish. I'd probably get a lot out of the attempt, though, and I would like to see the area. I'll leave signing up for the Highlands race until later in the year, though, when I see how all these other things have played out.

I think it was really awesome for my running that I had a period with plenty of free time but no races. A lot of my previous training periods, before some marathon I had signed up for, I would be doing the maximum recommended mileage increase per week three weeks out of four. I've been keeping detailed running logs since 2008 and I can see this in the numbers, where I tended to putter and do fewer runs when I didn't have a goal race, and then for goal races I kind of cranked it. This worked okay and my body did adjust over time, but consistently doing more mileage would have been less risky for my health and given better results. Which is exactly what I've been doing the last few months, moving up in mileage very slowly and actually acclimating to run lengths rather than suddenly realizing I've got 6 weeks to go from an 11 mile long run to a 20 mile long run.

I guess we'll see whether there's actually any difference in my race performance, but even if there isn't, it feels very good mentally to have consistently had time for running. I get such a mood boost from it!
clevermynnie: (and then?)
I keep a running log, which is how I know that in 2011 I ran about 800 miles. This is 200 fewer miles than the previous two years' totals, but I am pretty okay with that considering the foot injury I had and the fact that I wrote my thesis this summer. I actually did a lot of swimming and weightlifting when I was running less, which was nice with the summer heat. But then we came to Ireland, where the best and cheapest gym is the one associated with the job I did not yet have, so I started gently upping my miles and doing yoga on off days. Dublin is a great place for running, lots of beautiful parks and waterfront areas, and obviously I have had plenty of time for it. So other than a few breaks when I have caught colds, I was able to build back up to a really solid base.

So now I am looking at races! What I have in mind is the following:

March 25 - Wicklow Half - 13.1 miles
May 5 - Greenland Trail Ultra - 31 miles
June 9 - Mourne Way Ultramarathon - 52.8 miles
August 4 - Devil O' The Highlands - 43 miles

The Wicklow Half is an excuse to go down to Wicklow and nearby Glendalough, and hopefully a way to improve my half PR which is currently abysmal since the only half I've done was in incredibly hot and humid weather. Greenland Trail Ultra would bag me Colorado (in my quest to do 50 marathon-plus distances in 50 U.S. states) plus act as a training run for the Mourne which is in Northern Ireland and sounds totally gorgeous. But I have not run 50 miles before, I might not be able to finish, so then I could try to lick my wounds with the Highlands race. Alternately, I could rock the Mourne and then the Highlands would be the icing on the cake. And at that point in the year I can see how I feel; I might be interested in doing the Dublin Marathon as a fast and flat local race, or I could just volunteer at it and find another trail race in the fall, or I could take it easy for a bit. We'll see! But I am pretty excited about doing some longer distances, and pleased that I have the mileage base to go for it. I just love running here.
clevermynnie: (mask)
On Saturday I ran the Delaware Trail Marathon, which is part of the Triple Crown Trail races. The whole thing is put on by a church organization, and benefits homeless shelters, and has a low entry fee and minimal frills (but, a post-race barbecue! some frills are more important than others). I ran it in a personal record for slowness, which is pretty reasonable given the trail difficulty. I would call this my first real trail marathon (Febapple was also real trail but an ultra), with single-track and lots of ascent and descent, and a few obstacles like fording a stream and logs to go over and under. But overall it was very laid back and fun.

more details )
clevermynnie: (and then?)
When I posted about my near-term exercise plans, I was asked "And, what is your motivation, your drive behind all this?" Which is such a good question that I feel it deserves its own entry. I think it's simplest to divide my reasons up into a couple of categories:

My physical motivations for exercise:
1. Being in shape frees me to do the things I feel like doing, like swimming for a long time in a lake, walking aimlessly for hours with a friend, running up several flights of stairs because I forgot something; if I am really fit then my capabilities are in line with what I want to do.
2. Strength training, aerobic training, and training for physical skills all contribute to a sense of being the master of my own body, a sensation that I find extremely satisfying.
3. I care less about what my body looks like if I know that it is capable of great things. Which is quite freeing.

My mental motivations for exercise:
1. Exercise seems to act for me as a negative mood stabilizer, often blunting anger or relieving sadness or just excising boredom. It's very rare that I feel worse after running than I do before running (and that's mostly limited to things like the time I fell and embedded tiny rocks in my hand). I start exercising, and initially I am focused on what's upsetting me, and after not very long it starts to fade.
2. I find exercise very helpful from a planning and reasoning point of view; I often sort out problems while I'm exercising, or come up with plans for how to get something done, or reason out the intricacies of interpersonal issues. I think a lot while I'm exercising, looking around at the outdoors and listening to music, and this is very different from thinking in a chair.
3. I am strongly goal-oriented, and exercising to achieve something is inherently satisfying to me, whether that thing is a good performance in a race, increased strength or speed, or reaching a difficult distance or location.

The last reason, which is both physical and mental, is that I love the feeling of exulting that comes after doing something especially difficult. It is probably half endorphins, half the knowledge that I've reached a goal, but I feel like such a complete badass, suffused with a very physical joy, and I love it.
clevermynnie: (mask)
I had a good recovery month after my last marathon, and while we were in New Mexico I had a lot of good workouts, but then in New Orleans I ended up just walking a lot... every time I had time for a workout, it was that or explore/relax with Ben, and I ended up just vacationing. But now I am back, my next race is alarmingly soon and technically an ultra, so more rigor is needed.

One thing I realized during the intermarathon period last fall is that I do better with a workout schedule. I was decent at getting in everything I needed to, workout-wise, but I think with a schedule I'd be less stressed about getting things in (I'm making the assumption here that a schedule will help form habits). The schedule I came up with:

Monday - Weights + Easy Run (4)
Tuesday - Tempo Run (6)
Wednesday - Bridge Run (8)
Thursday - Swimming + Speedwork (5)
Friday - Weights
Saturday - Long Run
Sunday - Yoga

I may swap the Saturday/Sunday thing some weeks but I'll stick to this otherwise. I'll do some lessened version of this this coming week, to get into the swing but not ramp up too fast, then stick to it from then until I need to taper for Febapple... which won't be that many weeks, actually. But then after Febapple I can use this same schedule to train for the trail marathon in late April.

To close, this is my favorite picture from my vacation. It's me on my way up from Bayo canyon, and I got Ben to come out and take the photo from my mom's house. That run was one of the best parts of being in New Mexico! Which is why I am so excited about the upcoming trail races; I love being out on the trails so much.

my climb

swimming

Jan. 7th, 2011 12:08 pm
clevermynnie: (smile)
My dad recently started swimming a lot, and while in running I feel I am constantly learning how not to manage my own workouts like a moron, in swimming I feel pretty confident designing workouts and giving tips. So I wrote up a long workout breakdown to him, about how I do workouts now (on admittedly not that much swimming), and also with a lot of workouts I wrote down when I was taking a swimming PE class in college. I thought it would be cool to put that here for anyone who is interested in swimming.

My current workouts:

Warm-up:
500 yards free
400 yards flutter kick with kickboard
300 yards pull

Work sets:

5x200 IM, on 20 seconds rest

more )

At the end of the workout I like to do 100-200 easy, and I often stretch when I get out of the pool. For all of the above workouts, you can scale the number of repeats based on the yardage you are currently capable of.

Also, I listed it with rest time in seconds... this is okay, but the better way to do it is on a time period, so that if you slow down you get less rest and your effort stays approximately constant. Here is how to find what time period makes sense: for example, with the 10x50 fast free on 10 seconds rest, do the first 3 fast (but not sprinting), with 10 seconds rest, and see how long it takes. Maybe your times would be 53 seconds, 55 seconds, 56 seconds. This suggests doing your 50s on 1:05, so try the next few on 1:05. Maybe then you get tired, realize you went out too fast, so around 50 #7 and #8 you are not quite making 1:05. Do the last couple on 1:10, and next time try doing them all on 1:10 and see if you can be consistent. That's the process for figuring out good times for sets, which of course vary based on stroke, effort, tiredness, etc.

A few college workouts (includes varying pace, time trials, and 33-yard distances because of a weird pool):

500 warmup
8*75 25 kick 50 swim free
6*100 descending
12*25 fast choice (IM)
300 cooldown

Read more... )
clevermynnie: (smile)
After NCR, I took a week away from running completely, which felt very weird. I didn't do a thing other than walking to and from work, and swimming a bit to see how that felt (it felt surprisingly good). Last week I ran 11 miles, a short run to test my legs and a bit of trail running at Washington's Crossing in New Jersey. Also felt good, and definitely my legs are feeling rested (if they were still feeling fatigued it would be a sign to rest them for longer). So this week, I will run a little more, start some weight training up again, and do more swimming, and then we'll see how I feel. Taking a break was a really good idea in terms of avoiding overtraining, but reminded me how not good it is for my mental health to reduce my exercise levels. If things continue to go well, I should be in a good position to run a fair bit when Ben and I are in New Mexico for Christmas, which would be a lot of fun. Once we get back in January I want to make a solid schedule and stick to it, but I'd like to be at a nice weekly mileage as well by that point.

Because [livejournal.com profile] chih is planning to run a half-marathon, and because a few people have said that they like reading about running, I thought I would share some of the resources that I have been using as I developed my own running over the last few years. Because I have never been coached for running (unlike, say, swimming), I did a lot of reading in the hopes of learning things that I could use. There are many places where you can find template training plans online, like Hal Higdon's site or Runner's World or Jeff Galloway's site. I generally used those to make my own schedules, adding in the cross-training I wanted to do and picking the days when it would be easiest for me to do various workouts. But you can also learn a lot about making a plan from any of a number of running books. The books I found to be the most informative were Galloway's Book on Running, Complete Book of Women's Running, Performance Nutrition for Runners, and The Competitive Runner's Handbook. All those books did a nice job showing me different aspects of the basics, and have helped me a lot in planning my own workout schedules, cycles, recovery, etc. I had a subscription to Runner's World for awhile, which was inspirational, but over time I started to notice how often they rerun similar features, how much of their stuff is aimed at aspiring runners rather than actual runners, and how little they discuss trail running or ultras. So I let that subscription lapse, but there have been a few books that are less instructional and more about running itself that have inspired me, such as What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Born To Run, To The Edge, and Marathon Woman.

And of course, it helps to have people you can ask about various issues that may come up. I developed a few running friends here, and although I do most of my training alone I can discuss it with them. But I've also gotten a lot out of the [livejournal.com profile] runners community, both as inspiration and as a sounding board. I'm also very lucky that my family, friends, and partner have all been really supportive of my running and my goals for it. So I am continuing to read and learn more, expand my own knowledge, and have fun running outside in lovely places. Even if, at this time of year, I am running in at least three layers of clothing.
clevermynnie: (mask)
I saw two inspiring fitness-related things recently, which I wanted to share, especially after having had a somewhat trying weekend. First, this great discussion at stumptuous about looking like a fitness model, or not, which includes these amazing images of female Olympic athletes for various sports. I reposted one of the images below but there are a bunch, with sport indicated so you can see how many body types there are for top-level athletes in various sports. The message is great too.

I am a normal woman. I am not a fitness model. I work out in slobby gym wear with no makeup, and I get dirty and sweaty and messyhaired. My breasts are not lifted and separated; they are mashed onto my chest by my cheapo sports bra. When I forget to shave my legs I don’t really care. I am in there to work hard, to lift some heavy shit, and to forget about how my body looks in favour of thinking about what my body does. After having had a few injuries and illnesses, I am happy that the old girl works at all! Can I get out of bed in the morning without pain and make it to the coffeemaker? If so, then yay body!




The other great thing was this article at Jezebel about training for your first marathon, which reminded me a lot of how my attitude changed while training for my first marathon two years ago. A choice quote:

During the process of training for the marathon, I noticed my attitude toward food changed. Rather than worrying a plate of spaghetti would go straight to my thighs, I started worrying that it wouldn't. I developed the appetite of a 13 year old boy after hockey practice, eating five or six times a day so that I could make sure I'd have enough energy to run 10, 12, 15, 20 miles and not keel over with exhaustion. My attitude toward my body changed as well. I stopped really thinking about how it looked and instead focused on getting shit done, realized that any physical changes I was seeing were happening because my body knew best how to shape itself to complete the task at hand. When a coworker commented that my enlarged calves made me look like I could probably dunk a basketball (even though I'm only 5'6"), I took it as a compliment. Fuck yes, I have huge calves. Fuck yes, I have strong legs. Fuck yes, my body got me through all 26.2 miles. And fuck yes I'm still running. And no I don't know how much I weigh, nor do I care whether or not I'm ready for bikini season. Am I ready for running season?
 
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
I ran the NCR Trail Marathon this weekend and did not have a good race. It was the second most unpleasant marathon I've run, after the one where I spent the second half alone and in pain from a tendon issue. But at least I finished, and did two marathons in 8 weeks, and had a good training experience if nothing else.

Read more... )

baldpate

Nov. 7th, 2010 06:52 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
I think the most fun thing I did this weekend was go with Melanie, the friend I did Freedom's Run with, to Baldpate Mountain preserve in New Jersey for 14 miles of trail running.

My recovery from Freedom's Run has been amazing, the best recovery of any marathon I've done so far, which is great because the NCR Trail Marathon is three weeks from now. I recently started doing Yasso 800s, a type of speed work, which I am finding really enjoyable and surprisingly effective. I actually have to start tapering again very soon, but I am having so much fun with running right now. Other than fun, the reason I am poking my head into trail running is that I have my eye on doing more trail type marathons (I like the marathon distance and I am casually working towards 50 states) and I have my eye on trail ultras. I have to admit that I have always had my eye on ultras... it is amazing to think that they are even in the realm of possibility for me. I am reasonably sure I will try to run the Febapple 50k in New Jersey in the spring (50k is 31 miles) and see how it goes.

Running through the autumn forest on a brisk, clear day made me so excited, about everything.
clevermynnie: (Default)
One of the best parts about coming back from Europe has been getting back into an exercise routine. I realized in the stressful weeks before my trip and in the clarity that came with vacation that I was not prioritizing exercise high enough in my life. If work piled up I would sometimes drop it, then be even more unhappy than the original stress had made me. And I would think wistfully about high school sometimes, and how I had 'so much time' for exercise then... but the truth is, I was crazy busy, I just made time for exercise because I was on teams and I wanted to do it. So why am I not making the time now?

So I am back doing weight training, swimming, and running a lot. I'm trying to find someone to play tennis with regularly (I know some people but disorganization prevented this from happening regularly in the past). And I just started my third season on the Quantum Fielders, the physics department's intramural softball team. I am no longer terrible at softball! I can bat decently, though the more I practice the better than will be. I can throw and catch pretty well, assuming I can use my dominant hand; I ended up fielding right-handed the first game for lack of a glove, but the second game I went leftie and of course, did much better. And actually, in the past I was usually catcher (a very good catcher!) because that position requires the least understanding of how fielding works. But I have started to play other positions, which are more complicated than catcher but I can learn something. Of course, there is also a sprinting aspect of softball, which is good for my running!

Speaking of which, before I left I had been lamenting the idea of the Spring 2010 Marathon, which was somewhat sabotaged by my low spring mileage and finally killed by my trip. I got back and decided that running a marathon would be irresponsible, but I could run a trail half-marathon (which combines two things I have been wanting to do, a trail race and a half, and maybe will set me up to try a trail marathon as long as this goes okay). So I signed up for the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut, which has a half and a full marathon and is about an hour's drive from here. Their post-race party sounds amazing, too. I would also really like to bike more and possibly do a late-summer sprint distance triathlon... but my goals for not sucking at biking never seem to be met, so we'll see how that goes. It'll help once I get over the hump of needing an unoccupied parking lot to practice in.

And what this leads to is that I do want to run another marathon, so I will do one in the fall, and that gives me some time to train a lot. I think if I can get a couple of months doing 40+ miles per week, that will be very good for me and increase the odds that I can break the 5-hour mark on my marathon time, which taunts me. And I really do feel better and happier the more I exercise... I doubled up a run and swimming yesterday and felt so joyful (albeit, with tired legs). Being happy is a primary goal of mine, so I am going to try to be more mindful of how I prioritize things with respect to how happy they make me.
clevermynnie: (Default)
Every time I get in the water to swim it just feel so good. Even if I have not done it in awhile... maybe especially if I have not done it in awhile? I have a lot of useful technique tips for swimming, but I realized today that there is one basic thing I have very little idea how to convey. "How do you avoid getting water in your nose/mouth?"

The tips I was able to think of are:
  1. Keep a pressure on your nose while swimming so that water doesn't come in, but without actively blowing out so that you lose all your air. You can practice this by using a kickboard and then submerging your nose as you kick and maintaining the air pressure (until you have to breathe).
  2. Practice head positioning so that you don't take in water while trying to breathe. You could kick on your side with one arm extended, practicing balance, and just move your head back and forth from staring at your submerged arm to staring at the ceiling. Try to get a feel for when it's safe to breathe.
  3. Swim more. (I know, this is a cheater's tip.)
What makes this hard for me to explain is that, if I ever had an issue with water getting in my nose and eyes, it was so long ago that I don't remember how I got over it. I'm not really sure if I'm just used to water being in my nose sometimes, or if I have crack timing for breathing, or if I expel my air in such a way that water is prevented from entering. I think the nasal pressure thing is key, because I can submerge my nose and just sit there, not getting water in it, but I have been with others who have difficulty with that. But how did I learn to do that? I don't know if there are any tricks other than swimming a lot, but I'm hesitant to encourage someone to swim a lot when they are constantly getting water up their nose. That sounds crappy.

For backstroke, I do remember having to practice so that I timed breathing out through my nose with my arms entering the water... if you don't do that, a wave of water washes over your face and up your nose. Which is not to say that I don't occasionally inhale a bunch of water--I do, but rarely.

I just went swimming earlier but writing about it makes me want to go swimming again!

frustration

Nov. 7th, 2009 06:35 pm
clevermynnie: (I see beauty)
This week has been very frustrating, although I think most of that is past now.

Half of it was work, where I have been working on the same equipment upgrade for two months now. It has gone so much slower than I thought it would, with problems continually coming up... always realizing that I needed to order one more thing than I thought I would, getting to the next step and finding that I needed to do some small machining, then more extra parts, then more machining, then bad threads that break the ceramic I silver soldered to and having to do more machining and redo stuff I had already done... early in the week I had nearly had it. But I managed to push really hard and finally finish everything, which feels great, and put my cryostat back together and back under vacuum where it is right now, outgassing all the crap that has accumulated over the last two months. Finally. Soon there will be experiments again, and that will feel good.

In some ways, the part of an experiment where you are building stuff is the most fun, because you have a lot of freedom, and you are using cool things like a torch or the machine shop. And you are making something, like playing with legos or lincoln logs except that it's something really useful, that you made! But a lot of things always break or don't work how you thought they would, and there are always delays, and if you are a scientist and you need the thing you built to work in order to even start with the science then it feels like a huge time sink going nowhere. It's a mixed bag, I guess, and at this point I am relieved to have finished.

The other half was my knee, which is still giving me problems. I went on a 9-mile hike last Sunday, which in retrospect maybe wasn't the best idea with sporadic knee pain, but the result was that all week my knee has been achy when I get up to walk around, or when I bend it too much. I made a sports medicine appointment for Monday, but I'm just annoyed with the whole thing and very antsy to exercise. It didn't help reading Born to Run and the new Runner's World issue and reading a friend's family's ultra report from a 100 mile race. Today my knee was actually a little better, though, which is something. It goes without saying that I haven't worked out since that hike and it's making me crazy, though with the issues at work it probably helped to have a few more hours to put in.

Today was really nice, though. I got a lot of sleep and we made omelettes this morning, then went to Trader Joe's followed by a comic book store (Ben and his officemates are starting a roleplaying campaign which I think I am invited to) and a homebrew store (we have cider and whitbeer bottled and are looking to start an IPA). Then we went to the Italian Market for a variety of things, including delicious cheap salmon that we just ate for dinner, and since then I've been at home cooking and talking to Steph on the phone. This is the best Saturday I've had in awhile... I don't know why but recently I started to dread weekends, feeling restless I guess, but today was really nice.

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clevermynnie

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