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Re-cap of the Philadelphia Half Martahon and Other Musings

December 8, 2013 Leave a comment

I finished the Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2:35. I was amazed at how easy it was to finish the race despite my terrible training record this fall. Obviously a big part about running a race easily is the pace; I was setting an easy pace on purpose. But still, the ability to go 13.1 miles was really satisfying.

One thing about races is that they automatically make you focus on your running, and a lack of focus was my big problem this fall. It was reassuring to read in the New York Times this October that when you study hard, exercise feels harder. October was the most stressful time for me this fall, full of intense work on presentations and intense studying for my qualifying exam. No wonder I felt terrible every time I went out for a run!

Another thing about races is that there are so many people who show up with essentially no running history. So compared to them, you realize that your training could’ve been much much worse.

It’s just nice to have another race under the belt. And I love the mentality of running races in general. It’s meditative.

From this point forward I hope to be able to prioritize running and exercise. I want to go back to the gym; my muscles miss lifting! This year, multiple circumstances altered my typical race schedule (i.e. the Caesar Rodney Half, the Broad Street Run, and the Niagara Ultra). I am definitely planning to up the number of races I do in the spring/early summer. I may not make the Niagara Ultra or the Broad Street, but I am super excited to be able to run the Caesar Rodney Half again. The hills in that race are amazing!

Is it still a streak?

November 2, 2013 Leave a comment

I made the upsetting decision this week that there is no way I can complete the full Philadelphia Marathon on November 17th. This was going to be the fifth year in a row that I ran the marathon. Running at least a 10-year streak in the Philadelphia Marathon was one of my few life goals that had an actual definitive form (most of my life goals are more vague, like “being happy” and “enjoying my job”). Does it still count towards my goal if I finish the half marathon? I am not sure. I do know that even finishing the half marathon will be hard for me at this point because I have not had the time to run very much.

I guess I have to change my goal to running the Philly Marathon 10 times, without the streak perspective.

Categories: goals, marathon, running

Long time no running, no posting, only minor injuries

September 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Well, I knew this year was not my best for training and running, but the fact really hit home when I see I haven’t even finalized any posts I intended on writing. I’ve been pretty much NOT focusing on exercise this whole year, and that makes me sad. I skipped races I normally run, and didn’t replace them with other races. My point in writing this is to acknowledge that it is hard to go and do something everyday. I talk to friends who say the same thing; I just need to “_________”. Sometimes it might be “run every day” or “go to the gym once a week” or even “walk everyday for 30 mins”. These statements are things we know we can accomplish, in fact we may have been able to accomplish them last month or last year! But something in the present time is making those goals really hard to achieve. I want to say that it is amazing and a huge accomplishment when you can run everyday or go to the gym once a week for many months. These tasks can be hard to do! Don’t be deceived by the simplicity of the statement.

So here’s to the fall, my Philadelphia Marathon training season! After months of not running (though I did mange to play Ultimate) I ran a super slow 15 km race with lots of crazy steep hills on August 24th. I finished it despite having run few training miles and having pulled my hamstring area two weeks before in my last Ultimate game of the summer. I can only improve from this point forward, I just need to follow my training plan!

Ready for a PR

November 6, 2012 Leave a comment

I have run 100 miles per month in the last two months. I just ran my fastest 5k since 2009 when I started long-distance running. I am hoping for a PR in two weeks at the Philadelphia Marathon.

I am aiming for 4:10. My fear is that I am not as in shape as I think; I will run the first half in 2:05-2:10 and then crash instead of getting a negative split. In my two longest training runs, the last 2 miles I slowed down a lot. My hope is that I will run 2:05-2:10 in the first half and then crush the second half.

I need some new shoes and some new clothing. Then it will be time. Lay it out on the course!

Goals for the year

Now that it’s the beginning of April, I suppose it’s time to think about what I want to do this year. Hah, am I four months too late? What happened to my New Year’s Resolutions?

I was happy to run in the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon on March 25th, but was disappointed that I was not serious about my training over the winter. That showed in my time and in my fatigue during and after the race.

Today I still don’t have a plan. I have some races I want to run, but I don’t feel serious about my training. I keep feeling like tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow I will pack my breakfast and lunch before I climb into bed, tomorrow I will run in the morning, tomorrow I will not eat those cookies that maybe caused me to have an energy crash. In my mind, I am a morning person. I get up, exercise, go about my day with energy, relax in the evening, and take time to prepare for the next morning. In reality, I don’t know why that is my ideal and I feel far from it.

I think my goal is to always run 4 days a week and to lift at least once a week, but that feels too general. I don’t feel committed.

But back to the point, there are things I want to accomplish this year. I want to do some long bike rides, maybe even bike camping. I want to do a trail ultramarathon with lots of hills and rocks with which to contend. I am not doing the 20in24 this year because I want to do a trail ultra. Finally, I want to run the Philadelphia Marathon in the fall for a fourth year in a row.

Categories: goals

Stickk it! Challenge review

November 9, 2011 Leave a comment

I just finished a Stickk it! challenge (length: 8 weeks). It was to do a quick set of body weight exercises before eating breakfast. The challenge was designed to meet two criteria: get me moving in the morning, and regularly work out my core.

One of my recurring problems in life has been ignoring the alarm clock. I open my eyes and I don’t feel like showering yet nor do I feel like making and eating breakfast so I close them again and fall back asleep. Doing a short set of crunches, push-ups and squats is a concrete thing to do when I wake up. It’s a way to put off the necessary tasks while achieving the goal of wakefulness.

Another problem I have is thinking “I could do that” about exercise regimes but never actually doing them (thus never getting the results they promise). I read a section of 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss about a woman who was able to break through a recent weight loss/muscle gain plateau by doing three exercises three times a week before breakfast. I thought “What am I waiting for? She got good results!” Could doing a short body-weight routine each day keep me fit? Side note: She did kettlebell swings as part of her routine, which I did not include in my challenge.

The result?

I have kept up morning body weight exercises since the challenge stopped. Additionally I voluntarily went running in the morning four times in the past two weeks. I conclude that since doing this challenge I’ve become more of a morning exerciser. Win!

In terms of my fitness, I don’t know. I haven’t tried to measure my fitness and I don’t even have earlier numbers with which to compare any fitness test I could do now. I feel out-of-shape compared to earlier this year (when I was training for the 24 hours run). But I think my push-up form improved, and I believe that doing the ab exercises has maintained my core strength. I conclude that these exercises helped me feel less like a blob but they did not make me wonder woman.

I’m happy I did the challenge. I plan to continue the morning workouts so I guess that’s the final word: it was a good challenge.

Categories: goals, StickkIt!, training

A brilliant return!

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

The summer went by very quickly. I ran the 20in24 for a second year, took almost two months off from running, and am now preparing for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 20th. I’m doing a different stickk it! challenge and I moved.
I think it’s time to start blogging again.

So Hello!
Welcome (again?) to my blog about being active in a world of inactivity. I feel my blog is unique because I am writing as someone who is very active and I have two perspectives; I feel that I need to “do more” and yet I am pragmatic about fitness programs.

I read a lot of articles aimed to get people to start moving, but what do you do when you already are moving? Same thing with healthy eating habits. What do you do when you have taken the small steps, but you feel like that still isn’t enough?

On the flip side, there are also many fitness plans that say “Lift three times a week!”, “Run five days a week!”, “This is what you need to succeed!”. I feel that these programs don’t fit in my life, and they don’t work together. What do you do when you want to run long distance, participate in a sprint-oriented sport, regularly do yoga, and lift weights?

I haven’t answered these questions yet; that is the purpose of this blog. What is the next step for me in the path to fitness?