That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. - Nietzsche

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I know, I know, this is my third post in a row...but it's also a separate thought, so I feel like it needs its own entry. Then I'll be done for a while. Promise.

I credit a good portion of funk-recovery to my doctor visit this past Monday morning. My last checkup had been in October 2009. (This is not my fault. My doctor is awesome, and thus, extremely busy. I booked this appointment in August and that was the soonest I could get in.) They weighed me, and I made sure to innocently ask how much I had weighed last time I was there - curious about what the official doctor scale said, and I also wanted to make sure the doc noticed.

According to the official doctor scale, I have lost 31 pounds since my last visit.

Here's the deal. It's a little personal, but it takes a lot for me to be embarrassed. I have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. It really isn't a big deal to me; it's not something I have to think about on a daily basis, but it means my hormones are all kinds of wacky, which has a few implications. One of them is that left to its own devices, my body really likes to gain weight and really hates to lose it. I also tend to have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, regardless of diet. And since I hate taking medicine and don't want to do it to regulate those things, not only did I start eating healthier, I stepped up the exercise.

So now, my blood pressure is perfect. My cholesterol is on the high side of normal, but I know from experience that it wouldn't even be in the normal range if I didn't exercise. My doctor was thrilled and decided against doing most of the tests she's put me through before. of the things about PCOS is that it CAN lead to fertility issues. I wouldn't know, as I've never exactly tried to be fertile, but she told me that when that day comes, my keeping everything within a healthy range is going to have a very favorable effect on things. NO....I'm still not attempting to be fertile, but it's darn good motivation to keep things in check. And running has done that better than pretty much anything else I've tried, and provided me with mental health benefits I couldn't have dreamed of.

So there ya go. One of many reasons why I do this to myself. :)

bring on the double-digits

Thankfully, my craptastic run a week ago was a fluke. I moped around for a little bit, looked up reassuring articles about a bad run, and got over it. (One thing that stuck with me: bad runners do not have good runs, but good runners do occasionally have bad runs!)

Monday I did a nice, relaxing 4+ miler before yoga class. One thing that makes the Garmin awesome - I can just start running without a pre-planned route. As long as I halfway know the neighborhood, I can just have fun running up and down random streets until I've run about the distance I want to run. Good times.

Tuesday was speedwork night. The speedwork pace was based on our goal pace, which I'm still trying to somewhat narrow down but I think 10:30 may be a doable marathon pace for me (although there's a coach that doesn't agree....he also doesn't realize how stubborn I am!) Of course, then I inadvertantly got into an even faster group for the speedwork repeats...but I kept up with them. I'm slowly realizing that when I'm running with other people, I run faster than I think I can. I'm not even talking about killing myself trying to keep up; I mean I match their cadence, settle in, then look at my Garmin and think, "well, holy crap."

So glad I finally got over my insecurity about running with a group. I'm really not the slowest runner in the world. Matter of fact, I'm faster than I think I am.

My runs for the rest of the week have been quite satisfying, including running over 12 1/2 miles yesterday - 12.5 HILLY miles! I've broken the mental barrier I'd developed around double-digit runs, and judging by the pace (10:38, AKA 1:14 faster than my Air Force Half pace), my next half marathon (March) will be a PR that will blow my previous 13.1 time out of the water. SWEET. (Did I mention that compared to yesterday's run, the AF Half was awfully flat??)

And I have to give a shoutout to my running buddy, who is making these long training runs a million times more enjoyable than my long runs were when I was training for the half. I very much remember my longest runs in the weeks beforehand, and how they pretty much all ended with me all but crawling home.

Holy crap. I just realized something: yesterday's run was my farthest run ever, besides the half-marathon itself (which included several walking breaks.) Yesterday there was no walking, except about 2 miles in when the bridge (which pretty much has enough room for a single-file line of people) got overcrowded.

The 26.2 seems more and more doable with every run that I do.

Homemade energy bars!!

These are fast becoming my favorite pre-run snack ever. Husband is on an indefinite hiatus from running, apparently, but he's been eating these too because they're yummy. They were filling enough to get me through nearly 7 miles (including speedwork) the other night - probably comparable to a powerbar, but cheaper.

  • 1/2 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup roasted sunflower seed kernels (or more peanuts/other nuts)
  • 1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit
  • 2 cups uncooked oatmeal, old-fashioned or instant
  • 2 cups toasted rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, crunchy or creamy
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla             
  • Optional: 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • In a large bowl, mix the peanuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, oat-
    meal, and toasted rice cereal (and wheat germ). Set aside.
  • In a medium microwaveable bowl, combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Add vanilla and stir until blended.
  • Pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients; mix well.
  • For squares, spoon the mixture into an 8"x 8" pan coated with cooking spray; for bars spoon it into a 9" x 13" pan. Press down firmly. (It helps to coat your fingers with oil or cooking spray.)
  • Let stand for about an hour, then cut into squares or bars. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

vacay, plus the before and after

So I was gone for nearly two weeks....and with all the craziness that always leads up to a vacation, I didn't get the chance to make the official blog announcement beforehand. So, here's what's been up....

Running group was going great. We did a good 9 mile run the weekend before I got up outta here, and it felt awesome. It felt like I could've kept going. For the first time since the half, the mental block I have around 10+ miles started to fade. Yay! I did a 3 mile recovery run the next day, where I discovered a new route around my neighborhood that is nice and quiet and peaceful. The next day, I did 7 miles, trying to squeeze as many miles in as possible before vacation.

The next day, we took off. We were gone for 11 days total (10 day cruise, plus stayed in FL the night before.) I made it my goal to do 20 miles while we were on vacation. The good news is that I did 22. The other good news is that they were fast. My slower miles were right around a 10; and I did some speedwork that was faster than that. The bad news is that they were rather artificial. I did get in 3 miles on land, doing a nice little loop in the Bahamas. I tried to run on the deck, but I got in two miles of that before the hot temperature and the myriad of elderly people in my way about drove me nuts. So the rest of what I did was on the treadmill - two more 3 mile runs, an extra mile added onto my 2 deck miles, and a 6 and a 4 at the end (we had two sea days in a row and I was pretty much bored of everything on the ship.) But no hills. That was a big mistake. Although really, it's difficult enough to run on a treadmill that's noticeably rocking from side to side. An incline probably would've caused me to fall off.

I got used to the treadmill by the end, although I had some pretty bad shin splints initially. Maybe due to the 'mill, maybe using muscles I never use to compensate for the rocking, maybe due to the fact that I'm pushing 500 miles on my shoes and I need to bite the bullet and get new ones. Anyway, the treadmill overlooked the ocean, which beats either watching lame tv shows (at the gym) or staring at the pool (at my apartment complex) the whole time. It was especially fun running as we were coming up on Aruba. It was like running to the island....if I could run really fast. And on water.

So today.....first run after coming back! I was super excited. And way nervous about everything. I had no clue how much fitness I'd lost (because ya know, people don't exactly eat or drink super healthy while on vacation), if my cold tolerance would be shot, down to how would my sunburn feel when combined with sweat and cold. (I am seriously pale, and my thighs apparently did not get their fair share of spf 50.) I was so afraid of the cold that I put on 3 top and bottom layers, plus two of gloves, socks, and headwear. I felt almost like the little kid in a Christmas Story who can't move in his snowsuit.

And, honestly....the run sucked. It sucked that my garmin was dead even though I swore I charged it before we left. Then, I don't know if they were frozen or tired or what, but my legs felt like lead from the beginning. I don't think I ate enough breakfast - we haven't been grocery shopping yet so we have slim pickings in the pantry. I had some oatmeal with nuts and honey and v8, but my energy felt shot pretty early on. Luckily I had some shot blox to chew on. Thank God one of the coaches saw me struggling and ran with me for a while. I split off because she was doing the 4 mile run, with the half training group, and I felt ok enough to try for the 6 mile option.

Long story short, I survived, which is about all I can say. I felt a twinge of the shin splints again. The hills pretty much took my breath away, literally, and I had to remind myself that yes, I can breathe normally. I seriously considered stopping and calling my husband to come get me, but he doesn't know his way around that part of town and the GPS was in my car. We were supposed to be working on proper form but beyond putting one foot in front of the other, I found myself not caring about much. I'm disappointed that I only did 5.5 miles (accidentally turned around too early), and I'm disappointed in my performance, really. It's hard to get over a crappy run that just doesn't feel good, physically or mentally. We ran by some beautiful spots, and I think that, a few shot blox, and the coaches' encouragement was just enough to get me to complete the run. I really really wanted to stop and walk, but I kept telling myself that I am NOT a run-walker. I am a runner.

Ah well. Some days you PR, some days you survive. I'm trying not to let it get the best of me that I see other people improving and that it felt like everyone was passing me today. Heck, it felt like half the old people on the cruise could've passed me today. Again, trying not to let it get in my head too much. Key word is TRYING - sigh.

The coach promised me I'd bounce back quickly. Hopefully she's right!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 and 2011

I promised a 2010 recap. My brain is a little fuzzy, but if I don't do it today, I won't do it at all. So, though I didn't do much in the way of official mileage and speed tracking (who knew that running could turn into such an obsession in 12 short months?) here's what I know:

-I started the year able to run, at most, a 5k. A 10 minute mile was still superhumanly fast. Sometime in Jan or Feb, I decided to see if I could run for a whole hour on the treadmill. I did it. I ran 4.5 miles in an hour. (When you have short legs, yes, you can run that slow and it's still a RUN, not a walk!) That was, I think, the point at which I decided that I wasn't limited to 5k's for the rest of my life. So I signed up for a 10k.

-My goal for my first 10k was an 11:30 pace, which I met. Well, close enough.

-6.5 months later, I knocked over a full minute off that 10k pace.

-At the end of the year, I can actually run 6ish miles in an hour. A 10 minute mile is no longer superhuman, but pretty normal. On the last day of the year, I ran 5k in 30:55, and that includes waiting at a traffic light for a minute.

-And of course, I started the year at 163 lbs and ended at 138 lbs.

Onward to 2011! I'm totally stoked for the Garmin - now I can officially track my mileage and watch my speed increase over the year. Because it totally will.

I began 2011, despite stomach grumblies (last night's festivities included burgers, fries, chips and dip, cupcakes, champagne and vodka...) and 5-6 hours of sleep, I got out of bed and went to my first (unofficial) run with the marathon training group people. 5 miles over hills in 51:39. YES. People were very nice and supportive and kept me motivated even though I was wondering if that was really a smart idea.

The negative...I've been so excited about the Garmin that I forgot the darn thing needs to be charged sometimes. So I had to use Endomondo on the phone instead. :( The good news is that Endo will import to Garmin, and Garmin fixed Endo's notorious issues with mileage, so at least I have it logged.

Oh yeah, as an aside....5-6 hours of sleep may sound ok to some people, but I am a SLEEPER. 8-9 hours for me or don't even try asking me to function.

Also was 61 degrees yesterday and in the 50's this morning. HOLY AWESOME RUNNING WEATHER, Batman!!! I've missed my capris. And running on pavement, not ice and snow.

And one more thing to start 2011 off on a good some new ink/motivation yesterday, on my left forearm so I'll see it every time I check the Garmin. (Well, when I'm not bundled up like crazy). It means (roughly) "What doesn't kill me, makes me stronger." There are several translations; this was my favorite. I thought that destroy/confirm was the most appropriate and accurate way to say it, at least to me.