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The Half Marathon Decision

January 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I want to expand on this point which I didn’t highlight in the last post. I am exchanging my goal of running a marathon on March 21st (and July 4th) for the goal of running a half-marathon on the 21st in preparation for the Portland marathon on July 4th.

I started this blog hoping that I would be better than the advice posted by other about new marathoners’ ability to compete in multiple marathons. I saw the Yuengling marathon on my birthday, and decided I should run it (beer plus running, who am I to refuse that?). The goal was to keep up the fitness I achieved while training for the Philly marathon, to overcome the winter workout lull, and to prove that the main advice online was for newbie athletes and may not fit YOUR lifestyle.

Well, what I say now is that I couldn’t defeat winter, and recovering from the marathon mentally took longer than I expected. I don’t know if my ability to run a second marathon four months after the first ever marathon would be different in the summer, but I suspect it would. My resolve was definitely weakened by evenings of darkness. Fortunately, from now until June every day is getting a little bit lighter.

I still feel positive about my fitness goals, I think my decision to run a half-marathon is more a representation of the flexibility it takes to maintain an athletic schedule. I guess my winter experience is a testament that the same goal will not always inspire the same preparation and work in training. As I mentioned, while I am disappointed I won’t run a full marathon, a half is also a challenge; maybe I will focus on speed. By letting myself skipping the longest runs, I can favor other activities (like hiking and rock climbing).

And biking to work… Jeez, I can’t believe how the weather change today. I took a short hike to check some of the places I GPSd yesterday and it was beautiful! Nine hours later I nearly freeze on my bike ride home. Fortunately I had lots of layers at work. I barely noticed the ninja hood. I also somehow managed to not get blown over by the wind from the west. Glad I decided to skip the running today, that bike ride was enough of a workout.

Categories: biking, marathon

Winter Biking

January 26, 2010 Leave a comment

I decided to go Septa free this week. This decision was partially dictated by funding requirements, but also because I am in a training mood. Last week, I was GPSing the park trails and was outside hiking 2 hours on Wednesday, 2:30 on Thursday, and outside climbing through Multi-flora Rose and other spiny things for 5 hours on Friday. This burst of sunlight and activity sparked a desire for More! in my brain. I made the decision to run a [mere] half marathon in March on Tuesday. While sad, that choice released some guilt I had been feeling about not running, and I could focus on how awesome it was to be hiking and outside for so long for three days in a row. Yesterday was actually a terrible day for me to try to be Septa free. Because of the rain I had to scrounge literally the last $2 of change (that Septa machine digest… there are still pennies unclaimed) in my house to take the trolley, and I worked late so I was not looking forward to walking home, but I made it!

Today I pumped up my deflated bike tires and hit the road. The morning was a really nice ride; the sun was out. Coming back though… I thought the worst part of winter biking would be my face and hands freezing, but the problem is the ears. All the wind rushing past numbed my ear canals. At moments it was painful. I’ve been inside for half an hour and my ears and surrounding area are still cold. Fortunately I bought a crazy ninja/bank robber mask with my REI gift card. Tomorrow I will bring it with me; I hope it fits under my helmet. I may look like a freak, but my ears will not pain me if they are protected! Today I was unprepared, tomorrow will be better.

I am currently warming up and mentally preparing myself to go on a run before hitting the bar. I finished my side project this weekend, put it in the mail today, and my credit card cycle just refreshed. I can finally afford a random celebratory beer, and have reason to celebrate! Local 44 here I come. After a run though. Must… go… running! Do not be deterred by the fluffy robe, nor by the bed.

Back to the “I feel like training” part: I just bought the “Ultimate Workout Log” on MLK day. The writing-stuff-down-thing is another reason for this increased desire for training.

In sum: for extra motivation, buy a workout log, get tons of winter sun, decide on an achievable training goal, and try a car or Septa free week!

Categories: biking, training

Still sedantary

December 6, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s the last day of the week, and I only ran once. Today I am planning on upping the mileage so I get closer to what the total was supposed to be, but that still feels a bit like failure. Partially I am focusing on different short-term goals than training for the next marathon (knitting a blanket, finishing my side research project from October). However I also have avoided biking and walking to and/or from work. Can I blame the winter? It only got cold yesterday… so no. In the beginning of the summer training, I allowed myself to skip running if my days were too full, but those days tended to involve a lot of walking and biking, so I was still getting off my ass.

One of my goals I set during the summer when I started biking to work was to be active for two hours a day (some combination of walking, biking, Ultimate, running, intense cleaning, etc.). I recently read in the New York Times Online about Kindergartens that send the kids outside for three hours a day no matter the weather conditions; I think being outside for lengthy periods is another goal I want to add to my life list. I tend to eat lunch while working and do errands during my lunch time which gets me outside. It’s almost always a surprise how much better I feel after getting out in the wind. I haven’t hashed out any details of this new goal yet, but most of my two-hour-of-activity-activities involve being outside. Maybe this new idea is merely a clarification of the first goal, and I need to rephrase the goal to be “doing an activity outside for two hours a day”.

Damn, I need to get back on my bike. Biking to and from work takes 50-60 min, and it doesn’t take any longer than taking the trolley (just involves carrying less weight). I have avoided it because of the cold, and because I want to switch my morning route to avoid the Chestnut St bridge. When I thought of biking this week, I realized I didn’t know how long the Grays Ferry route would take, and I was already running late. Excuses, excuses!

Categories: biking, running

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