Archive for November, 2009

History of Running

November 29, 2009 Leave a comment

I ran cross country in high school. I switched to Ultimate in college because everyone I talked to about Div I schools said the college runners were crazy and intense, plus what little I had seen of Ultimate I loved. I briefly did track in 7th grade in the school hallways (was scared of jumping over fake hurdles). Did a half year of soccer in 9th grade. Two of my friends in 9th grade did cross country. I heard them talking about Belmont Plateau and the horrible hill, and I thought “I could totally get those times”. I was not good at soccer; didn’t like the no hands nor the head butting the ball aspect of the game. And one of my favorite practices for soccer was when we went on a 2 mile training run, and half the people on the team thought that was too far. So when I switched schools after 9th grade, cross country was on my to do list. There was a two week cross country “camp”, during which I remember hitting my stride–at first I was going slow, and a few miles was tough, but one day I was in shape enough to go a speed that felt way more natural for my body. The coach one day said I had a runner’s body (which I still am not sure if he was just saying that in the hopes that I would stay on the team). What I’m trying to say with all this information is that my roots are in long distance running. Even after switching to Ultimate, it was always in the back of my mind that I needed to make sure to include long distance in my training. So my training for the marathon was never an introduction to running, it was a reconditioning my body for long distance. I also have never doubted my ability to complete a marathon (with proper training). So when I write about my training regime, please keep this in mind. It is way easier to retrain for something than it is to train for the first time.

Categories: marathon, running

Marathon Highlights

November 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Vibram KSO guy at starting line

Barefoot guy after mile 24


Running up two big hills (Lansdowne Dr and Lemon Hill) after telling two guys the 34th street one was the only bad one (oops!)

High-Fiving Mayor Nutter at the starting line

Finishing strong

Getting to hand off the hydration pack to Shilpi and Parents (and them cheering at multiple places)

The beer stop (though I didn’t partake)

Hearing 13.1 people complaining at mile 10 while feeling great

Passing people between mile 14-20

Rage Against the Machine “Bulls on Parade” before the Falls Bridge

Hearing random people say my name correctly

The stone tunnel on Kelly Drive!

Free high fives

Running past the work place

Running over the Schuylkill

Running up to West Park on 34th St

The guys peeing towards 76 at the Zoo

Seeing the fast marathoners across the Schuylkill while at the Zoo

Seeing one guy scream for a runner “You’re going to break 3:00, keep going!!!”

Basically, everything!!!

Categories: marathon

I’m not supposed to exercise!!

November 24, 2009 3 comments

I don’t like being told by a website that I should still be resting today. Even though it’s probably right. Today after work I was thinking of walking home. Saves a token, plus I got out earlier than I have been (I was trying to build comp time… no point this week because of Thanksgiving), so I felt weird being free at 5pm. I listened to the website advice and took the trolley. It’s only a three mile walk, practically nothing. Maybe after my next marathon I will be more rebellious. Right now I think it’s wise to listen to Hal, he has run many more marathons than me.

Today I am less sore than yesterday, which is a surprise. I associate the second day after a hard workout with more soreness if day one involved doing nothing. Today all I did was walk around the office, and I might go grocery shopping (don’t ask how sad my fridge looks). My left knee is more prone to hyperextension than it should be (but that is mostly from before, just slightly worse now that my muscles are more tired), and my quads still don’t like stairs. But other than that, I feel fine. Fine and anxious to do something.

I can’t even bike to work tomorrow. Another day of rest is due. Biking is practically nothing…

Just a note about race day nutrition: for breakfast I  had two eggs, toast, and strawberries. I woke up at 4:30am and finished eating before 5. Consumed 3 Gu’s (mile 10, 15, and 19ish), drank a good amount of Gatorade and water. Didn’t feel hungry except before getting Gu 3. Didn’t feel the least bit sick while running until the end when I started to sprint too fast, but that was just temporary. Post race was chicken broth, frozen apple juice, more Gatorade, a banana, and peanuts. Then the pizza and beer and water at my house.

My dad asked if I was consuming tons yesterday (Monday) to make up for the lost calories. The race took about 3000 calories. I did eat more, but it was partly out of boredom because my legs prevented me from leaving the house, and partly because I felt obligated to eat. Not that I didn’t enjoy eating every bite =) Thai food for supper, yumm!

Final note: Not being able to exercise is giving me cabin fever. I can’t stop thinking about the new training plan, and about races I might run. I need to remember that winter is the off-season of life. I don’t think I had a free weekend last summer. Can’t go scheduling races when I might want to play Ultimate!!

Marathon complete!

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

My official chip time was 4:25:53, 4 minutes under my goal time of 4:30, at a pace of 10:08. The race went great! The first twenty miles I was running strong; at first I stayed just ahead of the 4:30 pacer, about 5 miles in I decided to not worry about checking back over my shoulder and use my Nike sportsband to monitor my speed. From mile 14 to 20 I was passing tons of people. After twenty, the going got rougher. I had to work on Saturday at a volunteer planting project in Morris Park. The volunteer coordinator said he and I would be more supervising than laboring, easy work. However, less volunteers showed up than expected, and I ended up digging a ~2.5ftx4ft hole to plant a tree. After mile 20, my back muscles were complaining! I had planned to motivate myself and run strong for the last 6 miles (“only a 10k to run, easy as pie!”), but that did not happen. I never thought about stopping (I had about an hour to make the last 5.2 miles within my goal time), but I was alternating between running and walking until after mile 24, when I finally was able to focus and finish the race running. I was able to pass a bunch of people along the finishing corridor; I had enough left to stride into the finish!

My sportsband said I ran 27.55 miles at a 9:39 pace. I did a lot of weaving in the first portion of the race, but the band may be off as well. I need to calibrate it one of these days. I was disappointed in the first mile when I noticed the band’s pace was not matching what the race clock was indicating. At mile marker 1 the band said 1.10.

Immediately after I finished, the best food available was hot chicken broth. It was the perfect saltiness and quenched my thirst (there were soft pretzles, but they were too salty and dry to eat). Met up with family and friends, then went to wait for my friend Kate to finish. Everyone’s comments were a variation of “I can’t believe you are still standing and smiling!” I had crocs to change into for my sore feet, and while waiting for Kate, I had a fence to lean on, so their comments were clearly misplaced ;-). After seeing Kate, I headed home (driven by my parents, thank goodness!) for a shower and a chill session. I thought I would be so hungry I could eat an entire pizza, but I mostly filled up on water and beer after eating a satisfying amount of solid food.

Throughout the afternoon and evening, I was sore, and I didn’t walk around as much as usual, but I was energized and happy. I think my sore muscles affected my sleeping; I didn’t sleep in, and was sleeping lightly for a good portion of the night. Right now the most bothersome muscle is my quads, though while sitting, only my back is noticeably sore. Compared to the soreness I have experienced before no individual muscle group is more sore than after other events, but the total cumulative effect is worse.

Going back over the math, it seems like I ran the entire race at a pretty constant pace, which was not how I felt at each point. I finished the half marathon at 2:13, which is a 10:09 pace. I ended with an average 10:08 pace. I guess the fast running between 14-20 balanced out the slow running from 21-24.5.

The title

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Just a short story about the title:

I thought about writing a blog this fall about trying to bike throughout the Pine Barrens to get to a bunch of sites where I was studying rare plants. My bike is a blue Bianchi. The challenge was to save gas and to see if I could bike 30+ miles a day, survive, and be productive when at work after biking to get there. I decided against biking because driving to all the sites takes too long, and I was pretty strapped for time. However, I liked the name, and this blog is intended to be about physically challenging myself. Right now I’m focused on running, but biking more often is on my to-do list, so I’m keeping the name.

Categories: biking, running

The Goal

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment

First, this initiative is inspired by my friend Kate.

I am running my first marathon on Sunday in Philadelphia. Running a marathon has been a goal for a long time. I’d like to remember when I added it as a legitimate goal on the “life list” instead of leaving it on the wish list, but all I know is completing a marathon (or more than one) has been on my mind for at least 4 years, if not 8 years.

Kate, with whom I play Ultimate (Frisbee), decided to run the Philadelphia marathon with Team in Training. Months later, while reflecting on how cool it was that Kate was running, my boyfriend reminded me that I too could run the marathon if I wanted. And thus began the epic adventure (with a not-so epic story).

Now my first marathon is less than two days away. I got my bib (number 8918), my shirt, my free gloves. I have a running plan (run with a pacer so I don’t go out too fast, run a negative split). I have a recovery plan.

The problem is my recovery plan may be too intense based on the main marathon advice I’ve found online. I used Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 training plan. He says to not exercise for three days after the marathon, then on Thursday you can run lightly. I plan on running the Fairmount Park Turkey Trot; not hard, but more miles than might be wise. Than I want to train for the Yuengling Shamrock marathon on my birthday (march 21st). Then do the Portland Marathon on July 4th, and then the Philadelphia Marathon again. Most advice says you should wait 5.5 months between marathons. And here’s my problems: 1) As long as I trained for this marathon, why won’t I be in shape to run a marathon in three months? 2) I just read a bunch of Ultramarathoning books and they mostly seem like healthy people and they do much much more than two marathons a year. 3) I need a tangible goal of running a race to keep me running often enough.

With that in mind, my first goal with this blog is to record how I feel during my recovery so that others in a similar situation don’t give themselves a short shrift just because the world says so.

My second goal is to discuss all other things related to nutrition and being an active person.

Categories: marathon, recovery