Posts Tagged ‘cross training’

Kayak Key West

Sorry I didn’t write anymore about Key West yesterday. I was too busy trying to do some work and then rocking out at the concert of the year. Seriously, the Skillets tore it up last night. I can’t wait for their new album!

Anyway, the rest of Key West was pretty laid back compared to the excitement of the tri. The highlight for me was kayaking for the first time! I joined Amy, who was born with a paddle in her hand; Beth, kayaker extraordinaire; and Wes, who also somehow had been kayaking many times. We had free rentals from the tri, so there was no better time for me to try (haha!).

Turns out 100 push ups may not be the best prep for kayaking, because, well, I need to pull to kayak well. Even though I spent much of the time paddling frantically to catch up and flinging water all over myself, I had a great time. And I can’t wait to try it again here–in August.

Safety first!

Let’s be honest, there’s no way that vest was going to stay on me if I fell in the water.

That night we got on a plane and came home, and I’ve been freezing ever since.

Good luck to everyone running Jingle All the Way tomorrow! I’ll be out there in my CAR gear and Santa hat! Come back next week for a race report and some big news!



So all I’ve been doing since I last blogged is running and working. Running and working. I’ve been running 50 miles per week, which is amazing, but it just doesn’t go too well with working at the office and keeping up a normal-ish social life. I have a hard time saying no, so last week I worked 45 hours (I usually work 37.5!) and had an activity just about every night. It finally all blew up Thursday, when I skipped a casual engagement party to work and get to bed for my tempo run. Then it was out to dinner with friends on Friday, awesome 20 miler, out to dinner with friends on Saturday, 6 miler on Sunday that started out pretty rough. With all my working last week, I’d let my right leg just get too tight, so I had to come back and stretch and warm up a lot before I could run. But by the end of the run I felt good.

Can you guess where I’m going? Yesterday I had a great yoga class and a restful-ish day (only biked to work and yoga), and although I was feeling really mentally run down this morning, my body was feeling good. My legs were swinging, and I felt strong. We were scheduled to do Yasso 800s, and I was never feeling the workout, but it wasn’t that bad. I got through 4, and although I was running a little bit too fast, I figured I could just hold on to my 3:25 pace and finish up 10 after all.

But on the 5th repeat, my achilles started talking to me. It sent me a little stab at 100 meters, then another at 200, and then a great big one at 350. I really let out a yelp with that last one, and Beth turned to me and yelled, “Stop!” She was right, of course, although I’m now pouting up a storm about how I didn’t get to finish a workout I didn’t even want to do.

At least now I get a mental and physical break. My second gym membership is finally paying off–I’ll be able to hit up a YMCA while I’m out of town this week and do some easy pool running before attempting a tempo on Friday. And if that doesn’t work I’ll head back to the pool and make the weekend long-run call then.

I’m not really worried or freaking out right now. As every single running expert I’ve talked to in the past week has said, “The hay is in the barn.” I have no idea what that means, but I think it has something to do with the hard work being over 😉

Begin at the Beginning

Before I can convey exactly how big a deal my race was this weekend, I need to give some background. So here’s part one of my race recap.

Coming in to this marathon season, I’d had a bad year. I started this blog in April 2009, right after I finished a half marathon dragging my leg along the course. I had piriformis syndrome that I’d left untreated since September 2007, and it had finally caught up with me. I wasn’t allowed to run for almost a month. My second blog post is about how hard my 16-minute run was.

I had to stop doing everything with that injury–I couldn’t bike or go to my beloved weight class. And I dropped out of the San Diego marathon that May.

But slowly, very slowly, I crawled back to some fitness. On my first day back to the track I rolled my ankle while waving to a friend. Steps are tricky. And then, just as everything was falling back into place, I fell off my bike. It was days before I could walk again, two weeks before I could walk without the aid of a cane, and 10-12 weeks before I could run.

I was in some major denial after that. I DNF’d my first triathlon, a race I should never have started. And I just kept signing up for more races, trying to force my body into recovery. It kind of worked. I got some races in there, got my 5k down to about 24 minutes, where it had hovered for years before my break through in 2008, and my 10k to 50, and I started upping my mileage and doing track workouts again, but it was pretty rough going.

I registered for the Tucson half marathon in December 2009, and ran it despite some quad problems. But the downhill course, combined with the plane ride resulted in a fairly serious strain to my calf. I was out again. This time I couldn’t run for 3 weeks. And, oh, I see I’ve already written this post once. 2009 sucked, but I wasn’t done being injured!

In February, I started training for a spring triathlon, but I was still registered for my favorite race of all, the National Half Marathon. And there I just completely blew up. Yes, I was heavy, having put on some pity weight the year before. And yes, I was out of practice, especially given the insane amount of snow we’d had, my calf strain, my year of hell, and all that.

It turns out that my leg was swelling when I ran, so I made my second visit to the ER in 9 months. I took some more time off, and the swelling, which to this day remains unexplained went away and hasn’t come back. At that time I still had Cherry Blossom and the American Odyssey Relay on my calendar. I made a deal with my body: I would take it easy, and if it got me through those two races, I would start taking better care of it. Why it took me a year to realize that I needed to treat myself better, I’ll never know.

But my bod came through, and I got through Cherry Blossom in a healthy 1:27, and the AOR. That month I also got Carmela Sherbert, the love of my life, and I really think that she let me keep up my end of the bargain with my body.

I threw myself into triathlon training on my new bike. I followed their schedule exactly, running only when it called for running, not worrying that that only meant about 15 miles a week. And slowly, I could feel myself getting back into shape.

In May, I made another deal with myself. It was time to get serious again about training. I had a few weeks left before the tri, and cross training was going great. I registered for Marine Corps, and on the morning of my birthday I got up and went to the track for the first time in months. And I kept going. I started losing weight again, and I started doing core work and weights again pretty seriously.

I did the tri. I ran 24.5 miles the week afterward. It was time to start training for MCM, but this time I swore I’d do it differently. I’d listen to my body. When it was tired, I would rest, and I would learn to take easy days easy, and I would just trust that, if I trained like George told me to train, the results I wanted would happen.

So after a disappointing finish in a Portland 5k that wasn’t even timed, the Philadelphia Distance Run was going to be my test race. My last half marathon PR was at that race in 2008, so I had two years of training resting on it. Would my body bargain pay off? I was nervous. So so nervous. After feeling like I may never run again, let alone run a marathon, after not setting a single PR since December 2008, I was finally getting a chance to set one again. Could I do it?

Well, you guys know how it turns out. But now maybe you know a little bit more about how I felt going into it. Tomorrow I’ll talk about the race itself. Thanks for letting me vent 🙂

Ramping Up the Mileage

So you know things are going well when you show up at the chiropractor, and he’s all, “How do you feel?” And you’re all, “Pretty good. I did 44 miles last week, and I’m not sore or tight anywhere.” And he’s like, “Whhhhaaaaaaatttt?”

(My chiro is awesome, by the way, and he just opened his own practice. Check him out:

He couldn’t believe that I had gotten over my injury hump so completely, and while I was tempted to let him think it was a miracle possibly brought on by his intervention, I know full well what happened. As of April, I didn’t have any more races on my calendar. Whereas before, I kept trying to come back in time to do a half marathon–not a 5k or a 10k, mind you, a half marathon!–and shocker, I kept getting hurt. It was September before I could run again after my late-July bike accident last year…was a December half marathon the best idea? How about the one in January? Oh wait, couldn’t do that one because I pulled my calf. Or the one in March where I hit total injury rock bottom?

Now, I think there were also some shoe problems going on in there, but that, coupled with racing goals that were well beyond my current capabilities spelled disaster. Over and over and over again. I thought I was done running forever.

Enter triathlon. I actually think the triathlon was a brilliant move on my part. (Good job, self. I’m really modest too.) Because it allowed me to train as hard as I wanted, without pounding the hell out of myself through running. Which meant that when it came time to switch back to running, I was in pretty good shape.

So, for my week of 7/26-8/1 in review:

44 miles for a total of 7 hours running (most weekly miles in almost two years)

14 miles for a total of 1 hour biking (booo! Need to get more in!)

1500 yards for a total of 1 hour swimming (Have I mentioned that I hate swimming lately?)

We’re what, 12.5 weeks from MCM, 6 weeks from Philly. Am I ready for PRs? I have no idea. I’ll just keep plugging along with my fingers crossed.

Yoga for Calvary!

So there’s been a lot of talk on my blog and my friends’ blogs about the benefits (or not) of yoga for runners. I believe in them 100%–as long as you’re not trying to “compete” at yoga, you’ll feel lighter, looser, and more focused for your runs. It has also helped me breathe better. I could go on and on, and I probably will at some point, but I wanted to let you all know about a fabulous yoga event that benefits my A#1 favorite charity, Calvary Women’s Services.

I’m stealing this directly from Calvary’s Facebook page:

Calling all yogis (beginners to advanced)! Join volunteers, supporters, and other friends of Calvary for an all-levels yoga class to benefit Calvary. THIS SATURDAY 7/17 from 10:15 to 11:45 AM at Stroga in Adams Morgan. It’s a “pay what you can” class – all proceeds will directly support Calvary’s programs. For more information, visit Stroga’s website or contact Calvary at

I’ve been volunteering with Calvary for years. They are a long-term homeless shelter for women, and they do amazing work. When I qualify for Boston, I’m going to make my run there extra special by raising money for Calvary. So please, come out and join us. I’ll be there, Wes doesn’t know it yet, but he’ll probably be there, and anyone who runs with me on Saturday morning will have their ear talked off until they agree to be there too.

Maybe I should mention that Stroga is an absolutely gorgeous studio in Adams Morgan. And we can go to brunch afterwards. Sold yet?

Triathlon: What the F— Was I Thinking?

The other night I had my first triathlon-related stress dream. We’re three weeks out now, so the timing is about right. If you’ve run any kind of big race before, you know the dream. You’re late! You can’t find some key piece of equipment!

My dream seemed particularly stressful though, as I realized at about 9am the morning of the race that I had packed nothing, and every time we tried to leave, I remembered something new. I kept asking my sister what time our waves started, but then it was 11, and before I knew it 8pm, and we never made it. I did, however, save my bike from some thieves.

So when I woke up I thought it would be a good idea to find out what time my wave did start. I went to the DC Triathlon website and found this under the weekend schedule:

5:30 AM First Sprint Swim Wave

What The F! It’s not light out at 5:30! I know because I woke up to my artificial light alarm clock at 5:45 this morning to go running, and artificial light was the only kind seeping into my room! Yes, it was light-ish (what’s the opposite of gloaming?), but I really need the kayakers to see me in the Potomac because the last time I tried to swim in it I almost drowned.*

I guess that’s the reason they planned the race for the equinox? When am I supposed to sleep? (Like I’ll get any sleep that night anyway, but still.)

A 5:30 start means that I’ll be done by 7:30, which is absurdly early to be finished anything!

Oh well, I’m registered now. And in that spirit, Katie and I are headed out tomorrow to practice some open water swimming (in the light of day) so I’ll put up a post about that with some tips this weekend.

What’s the earliest you’ve ever woken up for a race? What’s your worst race-related stress dream?

*While tubing (yes, tubing, not distance swimming) I was caught by the current and pulled under while wearing a life jacket. Luckily the current spit me out a little downstream, but it was crazy scary. Open water is no joke. But the reason I got off my tube in the first place? My friend had broken a glass bottle (that I’d TOLD him not to bring), and he wanted me to drag the cooler tube over to him so he could throw the glass in there. With the ice and the beer. Think about that one. I almost died for that.


I. Am. Exhausted.

As mentioned, Friday was Bike to Work Day, which was amazing.  I finally got to participate! I’m not usually on the trail at 8:30 in the morning, but I’m pretty sure that it was more crowded than usual. Freedom Plaza was packed, but I didn’t get there in time to grab any swag. (I have pictures, but my phone is being a wanker and not letting me download them right now. Stay tuned for Wordless Wednesday!)

Friday night was CAR girls’ night, which was also a blast. We had a huge crew out, and I got to meet a lot of the people I didn’t know because they are way too fast or run at night. There was also some strange man there whose fiance wanted to take a picture of all of us with him because of some DC urban legend about beautiful single women. She didn’t really explain what the urban legend was–so if anyone has any idea what it is, let me know. I just want to know to what degree I should have rolled my eyes. But because I was standing with a bunch of married ladies (that is, not single) I still got in a pretty satisfying eye roll nonetheless.

Saturday morning I did 7+ easy miles in 1:10, and for the first time my hip flexors and glutes weren’t screaming. They were just kind of grumbling, so progress! Then I met a bunch of local bloggers at Washington Sports Clubs in Columbia Heights for a workout party Dove deodorant put on with my new blog friend/internet twin Liz from Liz Runs DC. The class was intense in a great way, and we got a really great shirt just for showing up, but I got there late and ended up with a large, so Katie got a really great shirt 😉

Sunday I woke up at 6:15 and dragged Wes out of bed at 6:30 (“Are we really going to do this?” he asked without opening his eyes) to head out to Bike DC. Yes, at 6:30 it was raining steadily, but it stopped by the time we left the house at 7 and held off for the rest of the ride. We rode into the city, again to Freedom Plaza, before heading out on a ride around the sites of DC and Arlington. The course reminded me of the Marine Corps Marathon course, but with much less bargaining with God and vows of never again and the like.

At the base of the Air Force Memorial

We rode past the White House out to the GW Parkway, along there for a long time then back to Rosslyn for a rest stop and a trip around Iwo Jima before heading out to the Air Force Memorial. From there we took a straight shot to the finish line at Crystal City. We grabbed another banana, checked out the traveling bike museum, and headed back to Old Town. We rolled up at home with 2:29 on the clock and 28.5 miles on the odometer (it’s not a race, obviously ;)). Then we headed to brunch at Vermilion, my A#1 brunch place (and I know brunch). Afterward I bought some more GU chomps–I’ve been training enough to run out!–took Katie home, and took an hour-and-a-half nap.

After we woke up, Wes and I took my commuter bike to the shop. It was giving Katie a really hard time this morning and lo and behold, one of the shifter cables was torn. Luckily, that’s a minor fix. I wanted to go home and take another nap, but instead we walked around Old Town for a while and had a delicious dinner at the Pita House. And now I’m going to bed.

Sorry about the lack of pictures. I’ll get them up this week!