Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We don't take chances, even with Facebook statuses

Eric and I were extremely lucky and kept our power throughout Hurricane Sandy last night. I feel terrible for all those who didn't and who suffered damage. Our electricity flickered quite a bit, and actually went out for about 5-10 minutes a few times. One of those times I posted on Facebook that we lost power, and right away a bunch of considerate, well meaning friends responded with kind messages. When it came back on, I couldn't bring myself to update my status, because I was afraid somehow it would anger Sandy and she'd take our power away for good. 

I am really embarrassed to admit that's how I think. I'm usually firmly entrenched on the cynical side of these things: I don't believe in psychics or paranormal activity, I'm a strict follower of research backed, western medicine only, and as a child I proved numerous times that Bloody Mary wouldn't appear in the bathroom mirror even if you said her name three times. Yet for some reason I live in fear of jinxing myself and I'm always knocking on wood. So I felt really bad, but I just ignored Facebook after it came back on, and laugh all you want, but it worked. 

Of course, I didn't really have anything to fear, except being cold and bored if we lost power. We rent a third floor apartment, so there wasn't a huge chance of sustaining damage, and any damage to the building wouldn't be our problem. Plus, as I said yesterday, I married a doomsday prepper. Zombie apocalypse? Bring it on. He had all this ready to go in case things took a turn for the worst and a tree came down on us, forcing us to evacuate. 

He's so much  more useful than me. My worst case scenario plan was to text my closest friend to make sure she had enough wine in case we needed to crash there (she had just opened a box, so we were in good shape). 

Around 11, we hunkered down and had a slumber party in the living room. There's a huge tree right outside our bedroom window that was swaying like crazy, and we don't like taking chances.

Beautiful picture. I'll probably frame it. I was half asleep and Eric was watching a movie on his phone with earbuds so he wouldn't keep me awake. Then I obsessively checked twitter for the 571st time, and saw this.

The white arrow was pointing directly at us.

I was pretty freaked out, and the winds were howling like crazy, but, once again, we were super lucky and the storm passed. 

Today is rainy and cold. I wanted to use the "I can't possibly run in a hurricane!" excuse, but that's really a huge lie. I'll just tell it like it is and say I was cuddled up in a fluffy robe on the couch reading Games of Thrones and had absolutely no desire to go out in rainy, cold, windy weather and force my sore legs to run. Plus, those brownies I baked yesterday weren't going to eat themselves. 

I guess I never mentioned in my past two posts that my weekly running mileage for last week was 81 miles. It's really important that I bring that up, because it's never happened before and may never happen again. I don't know if it totally counts because I did a lot of walking in Fire on the Mountain, but it's still a big number.

Here's a picture from the end of Fire on the Mountain that really demonstrates just how thrilled I was to have to run an extra half mile or whatever carrying a log before finishing. Shelly, on the other hand, looks fantastic.

On the bright side, that's my car right behind us, so you really can't beat that parking spot. And all I had to do was wake up at 2:40am to get it.

Do you believe in anything supernatural? Do you knock on wood if you think you jinx yourself?

Monday, October 29, 2012

While we still have power...

I think I was too jaded by pain and exhaustion yesterday when I wrote my Fire on the Mountain recap yesterday and unwittingly gave the race a bad rap. All but one aid station were manned by cheerful, wonderful volunteers, and they even had all the food in those trick or treat pumpkin buckets, which was an adorable little festive touch. The race director was really nice and everything was well organized, the trail was clearly marked, I can't complain about the race itself at all. My beef was with the terrain, and myself, for being unprepared/overtired.

Life took an unprecedented turn for me last night when, after posting my beautiful candy corn ice cream sundae, I barely ate half of it before crying uncle and begging Eric to put it back in the freezer. I can't recall a time when I ever couldn't finish dessert, especially ice cream. After that, I was too full to even drink any more wine. That's not a total loss, because now I have tons for as soon as I convince Eric to join me in drinking every time someone on the news says "hunker down".

I was really excited to follow my crazy ultramarathon with an ultramarathon of sleeping, but hunger woke me up after only about 10 hours. Damn running. Right now my life goal is to do enjoy everything that requires electricity while I can, so I made coffee and eggs and toast. I also did some extremely important hurricane prep, and made enough iced coffee for the week. I may have to drink it at room temperature, but I'm prepared to deal with that. I really did it for Eric's benefit. I really care about him, and I'm concerned for his welfare if he were to be trapped indoors with me unable to make coffee for days on end.

The Governor came on TV for a live conference this morning to have a stern talk with us Marylanders about taking this storm seriously. Eric is a major doomsday prepper (we are prepared for the Zombie apocalypse at all times) and I'm extremely prone to panic and fatalistic thinking, so we were already there. Of course, that just increased my panic, so I jumped off the couch as fast as my shredded legs could manage to do more preparations.

Eric read my status from another room and seemed really surprised when he walked into the kitchen and exclaimed "oh, you were serious?". Sometimes I get really concerned that it's like he doesn't even know me.

Weird photography angle because I have to keep my phone plugged in at all times now, mainly
because Kara is in labor and I can't wait to get a picture text of her baby!

I explained it was because I told him to buy me cookies at Costco when he went on Friday and he hadn't. He was full of excuses, the store was packed with crazies, he was busy trying to get us the essentials that we would truly need, blah blah, whatever. But now we have a pan of brownies, so we're good. I have tons of candy corn ice cream left, but if/when the power goes out that will be no help to me.

 This is one of those rare times when I am just so happy to be a renter who still reads books made out of paper that don't require charging. It looks like I am going to get this post up in time, so those of you who don't live in Sandy's path can enjoy it. If you are on the East Coast, stay safe!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fire on the Mountain recap

Edited to add: Fire on the Mountain was a fantastic race, put on by an extremely organized and friendly race director, and manned by selfless, cheerful, wonderful volunteers. The only problem with it was that I had no idea what I was getting in to and I was unprepared! I included the picture of the unmanned aid station to show how different this race was from a huge race like MCM, but the rest were all filled with helpful volunteers and my favorite race foods - cookies, M&Ms, salt and vinegar chips, potatoes to dip in salt, and Mountain Dew! If you love trail racing, this is a great event!

It's taper time, which arrives conveniently at the same time as Hurricane Sandy. I am as ready for the JFK 50 as I'm going to get. This weekend, I made some important final preparations. I bought tickets to Breaking Dawn 2 for opening night, which is the night before the race. I choose my post race dessert - chocolate cream pie. Simple, but I've never made it before. I also did a bit of running Saturday and Sunday. 52 miles in two days, to be exact.

I also learned some very important lessons this weekend. I'm embarrassed to admit that, because when I share them, you'll see how they would probably be evident to a 5 year old, so it's embarrassing that at 29 I just figured this stuff out.

Lesson 1: If you are browsing active.com, looking for a race to add to your calendar, and you see one that has the word "mountain" in the title, KEEP BROWSING.

Lesson 2: If for some reason you ignored lesson 1, clicked on the race, thought "wow, only $30, what a great deal!" and got your credit card out, DON'T run 20 miles the day before. 

Friday night, I ran an easy, watchless 4 miles before getting an epic grilled cheese, tomato, and bacon sandwich from a food truck and watching Clueless at my BFF Carolyn's house. Jealous? You should be, but don't worry, that will change as I continue with my weekend recap.

Last week, the day after my 20 miler, I did 12 glorious, seemingly easy miles the next day, and got the brilliant idea to run 50 miles in one weekend as my last big hurrah before tapering. So, saturday morning, I had total deja vu as I met my friend Matt for a 20 miler at the exact same place as last week (the NCR, a long, flat, path) at the same time (7:30) and I think our pace was about 2 seconds a mile faster (10:12). Once again, it seemed pretty easy, and I felt good enough afterwards to do a whole bunch of errands and laundry and stuff like that.

Oh, the run was even extra special because I met a blog reader, Erin! The fact that anyone actually wants to read my writing still amazes me, so it was super exciting.

Saturday night, I refueled with a massive amount of tortellini and watched my favorite movie, Gone with the Wind, in honor of the fact that my 50K would potentially take place in a hurricane.

Sunday morning, my alarm went off at the God forsaken time of 2:40am. My 2.5 hour drive to the race was uneventful except for the fact that I missed hitting a deer by inches, only because that particular deer didn't have a death wish and stopped and waited for my car to pass before crossing the highway.

The directions from the race website directed us to drive a field, in the middle of nowhere, on a mountain. In retrospect, the whole race could have been a scam put on by a murderer, but luckily it wasn't. 

Packet pickup required a flashlight.

The Marine Corps Marathon was also today -
this is quite the opposite end of the spectrum!

Then we took buses up the mountain to the start.

Again, thank god it wasn't a trick played by a mass murderer.
The start was gorgeous!
I met up with crazy impressive super ultra runner Shelly, and got to know her as we ran together for the first few miles.

Wow this pic is awful, but I needed #proof
My goal for this race was to run it easy enough not to require extra time off for recovery. I'm not usually at all competitive with anyone but myself during races, but I did have an important goal during this race: BEAT SANDY.

My legs felt fantastic, like yesterday had been a rest day, so despite my early wakeup call, I was excited for the race, thinking it would be a fun day in the woods. That lasted right up until I started running on the trails.

Just take a look at the elevation. Particularly miles 2-4.

I may have gone into this race with the mileage necessary to complete it, but I haven't run on trails since my last 50K in July and I was completely unprepared for this elevation. Right away, we were going down a super steep incline. Just imagine running on a slip and slide, which is on loose, shifting dirty, and littered with random, jutting rocks, ready to take you out with one false move. At this point, the race was still "crowded" (less than 100 people, but that's a lot on a single track trail). So slowing yourself down was impossible, and even if you could, the person pounding down directly behind you would probably smash into you and push you to your death.

I fell right after I hit mile 2, and while I was fine, it freaked me out. Then, it was time for that super fun climb you see at mile 4. This is where walking had me so winded I was gasping for air. I'm not afraid of heights, but that next decline, on the backside of mile 4, was horrific. We were on the side of a mountain, and I made the mistake of looking down, and I had to grab a tree and stop because I was too paralyzed with fear to continue. It was around this time that I was about 95% sure that I was dropping out at the halfway point. I couldn't imagine doing this for 28 more miles. 

Obviously, it evened out a bit after that, although there were plenty more crazy ups and downs. The leaves were killer, hiding so many rocks and roots. They were ankle deep in a lot of places, wet and slick, and really a pain in the ass. There were a lot of stream crossing. I tried to step on a rock for the first one, and it might as well have been covered in vaseline. I fell in the stream, aka learned the hard way to just suck it up and get my feet wet.

I ended up running with a girl Shelly knew, Darla, who turned out to be my saving grace. She had run the race before, but hadn't really trained for it, and was doing a lot of walk/running. I joined up with her, kept things at an easy pace, and chatted, and started to feel like there was a possibility of me finishing.

Aid station #3. Once again, a bit different than the Marine Corps Marathon.

Miles 16 through maybe 23 were logging roads, which everyone was looking forward to on the tough trails in the first half. It was nice to be able to see where I was running and not fear imminent death for awhile, but I wasn't able to easily cruise along as I had imagined. They were still rocky and had some steep hills. Still, not crunching on leaves meant Darla and I could actually talk, so the time passed pretty quickly.

I stayed with Darla until about mile 24, and then was able to speed up a bit. I chatted with some other runners, enjoyed nature (just kidding, I wanted to punch nature in the face by then), and was so excited when I found Shelly again around mile 26 or 27 or somewhere late in the race, I really was too delirious by that point to read numbers.

I checked my phone walking up yet another steep hill at mile 28, and saw a text from Eric that school was canceled for the next day, compliments of Sandy. Excitement from that fueled me through the hill, and fantasies of how much red cat (super sweet, classy wine) I was going to drink got me through at least another mile.

The last few miles actually felt pretty easy, although mentally I couldn't wait to be done. When you exit the trail into the parking lot where our cars were, a volunteer hands you a log. Instead of going directly to the finish, you have to run a lap around the parking lot with the log before finishing and throwing it into the fire. Torturous, but a fun little twist.

Check out my badass dirty/bloody knee

Final stats: 32 miles, 7 hours, 34 minutes, 14:10 pace, my slowest and most difficult 50K to date. This race was a one and done for me.

This picture just says it all.
The race was sponsored by Sheetz. I'm obsessed with their lattes, so having a truck handing out free ones at the end made up for the 7+ hours of torturous running on mountains. Kidding, it SO DID NOT.

Ultra running is sexy. #Proof

Don't tell me you don't take nasty feet pictures before leaving races. 

I was extremely concerned about trying to drive home in a hurricane after 3 hours of sleep and a full day of running. Luckily, the weather stayed perfect and I was able to make it home easily. 

Now it's time to celebrate my survival. Homemade candy corn ice cream with homemade fresh whipped cream and chocolate covered pretzels, because no dessert is complete without chocolate.

What was the hardest race you've ever done?

Friday, October 26, 2012

50K training run

Some people have indicated to me that running a 50K (approximately 31 miles) for a training run sounds a little crazy. Here's something crazy - running a 50K on mountain trails in a hurricane. So far, the race is still on, but according to the Today show, Sandy is gathering strength. 

Now, based on my painstaking calculations and meteorological information, the location of the race might be right on the edge of the storm. 

Source: Facebook. Ironclad.

I might just be reacted to my Facebook feed blowing up about buying water and toilet paper because Baltimore will get hit harder than the area where the race is, which is more inland. This morning, the forecast is just for normal rain on Sunday, and doesn't have any red exclamation points until Tuesday (red is bad). On Tuesdays, I have my grad class, so a hurricane would be more than welcome. I may be crying the whole way home from the race because I'm driving in pouring rain, but there was a good chance I would be crying anyway due to horrible chafing. At least based on my previous 50K experiences. 

I'll run a few easy, probably watchless miles after school today. Then I'm headed to my BFF Carolyn's for one of hopefully many 90s movies nights. So far, we have Clueless and Cruel Intentions on the docket, which are two of my absolute favorites. 

What's your favorite 90s movie?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

More Miles vs. Shower

I've often pondered how to increase my blog readership. Naturally, I've discussed options like setting up a camera and turning it into a paid subscription only site, but usually I'm thinking more how to appeal to the masses, rather than a very specific type of pervert. Also, I want to hold on to the possibility of running for office one day. 

I seem to have hit the jackpot this week. First of all, I was interviewed and now I'm famous. Check it out. 

Second of all, I posted about Girl Scout cookies. The presidential debates should be looking to me for ideas, because it turns out that's a hot button issue. I got 9 comments within half an hour, which is probably a record for me, and only three of them were from real life friends. The post now has 20 comments, and that's what we here at Chocolate is My Life consider wildly successful. To all those who questioned my sanity and intelligence for failing to buy Thin Mints, I could not agree more. Luckily my work BFF Kristin, who writes a hilarious blog, is going to hook me up. That's extra important because although I only ate two Tagalongs Tuesday night, Wednesday morning most of the box had mysteriously disappeared. 

Tuesday night I went to bed nice and early, so I should have woken up Wednesday feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to run. 

I'm sure we all see where this is going, I pushed snooze, kept sleeping, and barely woke up in time to go to work. That seems to be happening more and more to me, and I'm not sure why. Sure, I've been upping my mileage, but I'd prefer to blame my advancing age, because that covers me later on when my mileage goes back down.

I knew I could get in a couple miles before my 5:30 shift at Charm City Run, but the stars aligned, I got everything done for the next day during my planning period, so I was able to leave as soon as my kids were picked up. Even better, my BFF Carolyn happened to get out of work early so we got to catch up on a run together! 

She offered me a shower at her house, but that would have only given me time to run maybe 3 miles, so I opted for a whore's bath with bubblegum baby wipes and ran right up until 5:25 and fit in 7.15 miles. Don't say you wouldn't have done the same. 

I didn't get home until after 9:30, and didn't eat the fabulous dinner Eric had cooked for me until around 10pm. By some miracle, I managed to wake up at 5am and knock out 9.25 miles before work. But I'm blaming the lack of any pictures or funny Pinterest things in this wall of text post on that. Training for a 50 mile race is busy, and something has to give, and it sure as hell isn't going to be eating Girl Scout cookies. Although it may be showering. 

If you were in my position, would you have run more miles or taken the shower? I should note that it was a dead night and I helped maybe two customers at most.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bad choices

I've made a terrible choice in life and I'm now suffering the consequences.

Yes, those would be delicious Tagalongs paired with some new crap Girl Scout cookie instead of the winning pair of Tagalongs and Thin Mints. One of my students is quite a saleswoman, and managed to talk me into buying two boxes. You may think talking me into dessert sounds similar to talking Lindsay Lohan into doing a shot, and you'd be right. But she actually did have to lay on the charm, because did you know Girl Scout cookies are now $4 a box? This meant that she had to battle with both my inherent cheapness AND the fact that I used to sell cookies for $2/box which made me feel really old.

Due to this ridiculous inflation, I had to make some tough choices. I spent all of recess mulling it over, marking my choices on the sheet, only to scribble them out and redo them. In the end, I decided on the Dulce de Leche because it was new and exciting and foreign sounding.

Let me save you $4 and advise you to always go with Thin Mints, or at least a known cookie. The new foreign fancy ones are a joke. Let's not even talk about the fact that when my student's father dropped the cookies off he told me that he crumbled up a bunch of Samoas in milk and ate it like cereal and I didn't order Samoas so now I'll have to wait another year to experience that joy. Why does life have to be so hard?

I thought things were looking up when I turned to TV to cheer me up.

But it's New Moon. The worst of the Twilight series. My suffering continues (although I'm still going to watch it).

All good things have to come to an end, and it looks like my super special streak of unicorns and rainbows running is over. This morning I was back to "sleeping is so much more fun at 5am than running", also known as the mindset of a sane person. Luckily, the second book in the Maze Runner series got me through nine miles. 

At this point, I have no Halloween costume, and I really don't have time to create one between work, grad school, making candy corn ice cream, my social life, and spending somewhere around 5 hours driving on Sunday just so I can spend all day running in the woods on a mountain. It's rough being me. My options are now in the "what crap that I already own can I throw together into a costume?" camp.

Kara tried to help me out by sending me this.

Naturally, I appreciate her efforts, but, bitch please, do you even know who you are dealing with? Been there, done that.

What bad choice have you made lately? I may need therapy for my cookie regret.

Monday, October 22, 2012

It doesn't take much to rock my world

I decided to take a rest day today after running 42 miles in less than 48 hours this past weekend. Truth be told, my legs didn't really feel like they needed it, but this is the last week of JFK training before I begin my taper and I'm not taking any chances.

I was giving myself all sorts of pats on the back for running so many miles and then I checked out Kristin's blog, who is also training for JFK, and saw she ran TWO freaking 20 milers this past weekend. I'm reaching that point of training where it's almost over and I'm panicking about the race  and comparing myself unfavorably to every other JFK hopeful, so I nearly convinced myself to run another 8 miles Sunday night after work, but I talked myself down.

Since I didn't run today, really the only thing I have to talk about is food and upcoming races. I made a new recipe for dinner tonight, Coconut Milk Lentil and Wild Rice bowl. It's been firmly established that I'm a major weirdo in terms of my palate, so Eric is my gauge when it comes to evaluating recipes. He is chowing it down happily right now. No picture, because I didn't make it for looks.

I like to find new recipes to cook every week, but during the school year I get busy and that ends up actually happening more like once a month. I used to abide by a strict rule when searching for recipes: if I didn't instantly know what aisle an ingredient would be in, the recipe was dead to me. I'll spend hours chopping vegetables but I'll be damned if I'm going to visit customer service at the grocery store.

This recipe not only had things that I didn't know what aisle they'd be in, but it had an ingredient (Mirin) that I had to Wikipedia just to find out what it was. Normally I would have immediately rejected the recipe. Once again, Wegmans came to the rescue. I used their app for the first time. It tells you what aisle to find things in, AND includes a picture. Obviously I'm living a sheltered life and need to get out more, because this rocked my world.

I may not have bothered to check the elevation map for Fire on the Mountain, the 50K I'm running on Sunday, but of course things were ready to go on the dessert front. I found a recipe for candy corn ice cream weeks ago, and since that combines two of my favorite things on the planet, it was a done deal. 

When I sign up for races, I always googlemap the location first to see how far away I'll have to travel. I don't know what went wrong for Fire on the Mountain, but I just realized that it's two and a half hours away, and I need to be parked at the finish and on a bus to the start by 6:30 am. This means that my wakeup time has crossed the line from "super early in the morning" to "bedtime for college students and people my age who aren't lame like me". Some people have wisely suggested getting a cheap hotel room, but I really hate to sleep anywhere but my own bed, so I'd rather just get a few hours of quality sleep instead of a full night of tossing and turning. 

How often do you make new recipes, and are you willing to seek out strange ingredients?

Do you get training envy/regret after seeing other people's workouts?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekend highs and lows

I'm having a completely lovely weekend, but nothing is perfect. There are two main lows of this weekend.

1. Working at my second job both Saturday and Sunday. It's a great job but let's face it, no one wants to go to work on their two days off.
2. Having to work on a paper that's due Monday.

The list of highs is significantly longer. 

1. Eric cleared up his sinuses using Kari's husband's genius suggestion of a Neti pot. I supervised to make sure he didn't drown, and watched as everything from his nasal passages ended up in the sink. Marriage can be so romantic. This wasn't really a high but I thought the picture was funny and wanted to include it, and I also wanted to let any young ladies who are in a new relationship know what they will have to look forward to down the line.

Please try not to be jealous of our amazing apartment bathroom.

2. Carolyn gave me this awesome bottlecap that she got for me because it sums up my life in six words. 

3. There was a tornado warning Friday night and I survived. I'm pretty sure the panic attack I had took at least 3 years off my life, but it didn't hit us.

4. I got these new UnderArmour shorts on sale for $8, then took a self timer portrait in them after my run with my feet pigeon toed so my thighs don't touch, like a proper blogger.

5. Emily and my college friend Shane came to visit and brought some sweet gifts. Shane brought me a huge bottle of my favorite upstate NY wine, which will now be my light at the end of the Fire on the Mountain tunnel next weekend. 

Emily made and brought these delicious cookies, which are basically peanut butter in the middle of chocolate peanut butter dough. So good.

She provided the photo as well to tempt me until she arrived.

6. I tried white sangria and crab nachos, and both were a wonderful addition to the already long list of foods and drinks that I enjoy.

7. I finally earned enough points at Panera for a free Pumpkin Spice Latte. These are fantastic even when you pay for them, so I bet you can't even imagine how good a free one tastes. 

The running portion of my weekend could really be included on the highs list, but since this is supposed to be a running blog, I'll give it its own category.

1. Friday

 I had one of those runs where everything just clicked. My training plan (which I've been very loosely following) called for 9 miles, with 3 two mile intervals at half marathon pace. I ran to the track, and aimed to do those six miles at about 8:15. My splits ended up all being faster than that: 7:39, 8:04, 7:56, 7:42, 7:33, and 7:38. I ran home, and even though I was crunched for time, I just couldn't resist tacking on one extra mile. My last mile was 7:29, which is practically my 5K PR pace, and this was on my hilly street, not the track! My overall pace was 8:03, aka my ten mile race PR pace. 

2. Saturday

My friend Matt, who is also training for JFK, joined me for a 20 miler. We ran nice and slow, averaging a 10:15 pace. The notable thing about this run was that 20 miles didn't seem scary, or even like a big deal. The run flew by, and while my legs were tired at the end, by the time I went to work I felt like I'd never run. I don't know if this state will be permanent for me, but fingers crossed.

We didn't feel like we wanted to run another 30 after this, however.

3. Sunday

Finally, a day where I wasn't running in 90% + humidity. I woke up and knew as soon as I checked the weather that I was about to have a great run. My legs were all like "20 miler yesterday? what 20 miler?". I ran 12 miles with no music at an average pace of 9:05 in my hilly neighborhood, and even finished up the last mile in 8:24. It was glorious. 

That brings me to 64 miles for the week, which I didn't think was possible for me the week after a marathon. Next week will (hopefully) be my highest mileage week of JFK training, and then it will be time to taper for the race - insane!

Lame question, but I actually want to know, what were your weekend highs and lows?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Supportive friends

As I mentioned yesterday, I have one last race before JFK - the Fire on the Mountain 50K, a week from Sunday. With my two marathons, I wasn't able to truly give in to the "this is a training run" mentality, and still pushed for sub - 4 times (although if I'd done terrible I would have claimed them to be 100% training runs). Hartford could have been run harder, but I'm glad I didn't, because returning to normal training this week has felt fine.

With FOTM, my plan is truly to use it for a training run. Usually when I say there's no time goal, it just means I have a secret time goal, but this time I really couldn't care less what time I come in. I even decided at work last night to run the day before, so I can really get one last hard weekend of running on tired legs in before I taper.

I felt this email exchange is helping to elevate me to true ultramarathoner status. I recognize I have a long way to go, but baby steps count.

Perry ran the dreaded Stone Mill 55 miler with me last year (much faster, and waited for hours for me to cross the finish) and for some strange reason he's subjecting himself to that torture again this year. He seemed to have some sort of ESP, and knew that I'd spent the day incredibly stressed over grad school and busy working at both of my jobs, so he was nice enough to share this with me.

When you see those grey boxes indicating that the hills have grades, it means you're screwed, am I right? Particularly at that one that appears to begin around mile 20? 

I'll just walk whenever I need to, and keep in mind that I'm running it for fun. Because leaving the house before 4am on the weekend is always the start to a fun day. Abbi and Shelly are running too, so at least I'll see some familiar faces!

Right before I went to bed, Kara was nice enough to remind me that in 2008, it snowed the entire time during JFK and people were pulled from the course for hypothermia. Just to give me a choice of what to panic about that night.

Yesterday, I did a 9 mile run. The first six were easy, and the last three were at marathon pace (8:59, 8:56, 8:28). I've drastically reduced my ipod use during my runs, but I've gotten really addicted to the Maze Runner books and just started listening to the second one on this run. I know I can't rely on any of this at JFK, but at this point in training, I'll take anything that gets me out of bed to run. This morning Lily and I ran an easy 6 miles together. I know complaining about the humidity has been done to death, but it's mid October, why am I still dealing with more than 90% on my morning runs?

Let's all have a bitch fest, what's stressing you right now?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Like it never happened

I forgot to mention how I did on my Hartford goals. I went into the race with two goals, to not hate the race like I did at the Marine Corps marathon, and to come up with a Halloween costume. I loved the race, so I nailed #1. Unfortunately, I have no ideas for a Halloween costume. Please help me here.

I decided to make Monday my rest day for the week because my left knee had that "I ran 26.2 miles on uneven roads" feeling to it. Unless you've had that experience that last sentence probably sounded insane, but it's real, I swear. 

Usually when I skip runs I spend the time either sleeping or laying on the couch, but this time I managed to put away the four loads of laundry that Kari was nice enough to let me do at her house. If people want the pleasure of our company, we have to offset gas costs somehow, so the most obvious way is to use their washer and dryer for free. We're such classy guests.

Tuesday morning I did a 7 mile run. I expected it to be super slow because even though I'm not at all sore from the marathon, it usually takes me a few runs to feel back to normal. I surprised myself by running at a 9:09 average pace, like the marathon never happened. I'm not sure what to attribute this to - the sports massage? The post race run? Compression? The red velvet s'more brownies? Half a deep dish pizza the following day? Hard to say.

With both my fall marathons out of the way, it's time to commence JFK 50 freak outs. My run today was filled with thoughts like "who in their right mind signs up to run 50 miles?". Just one month from today, it will be the eve of the big event, so get ready for a month of freak out posts. Of course, one month from today I'll be extremely busy watching vampire on vampire violence, so JFK won't even be on my mind.

Breaking PEDO
Say what you want, Jacob's abs are hot

There's nothing like a good race to make you want to sign up for a billion more races. I still have the Fire on the Mountain 50K in two weeks as my last pre-JFK race, but I'm already looking at the spring. After spending months and months focusing on 50 miler training, I get anxious thinking about life afterwards. I really want to focus on training to PR in a marathon. My 3:59 at Hartford wasn't easy, but it also wasn't a hard effort, and I definitely had more in the tank. I want to see what I can do if I focus on speedwork and actually taper.

Of course, before all that I will be taking a nice long break from training and or running after JFK. In fact, I'll be taking a break from all movement other than spoon to mouth for at least 24 hours post race.

I need Halloween ideas....seriously.

Do you get anxious about what will happen after your goal race?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hartford Marathon Recap

Two sub-4 marathons in 13 days. I feel pretty good about that. I barely snuck Hartford in, finishing in 3:59:19.  But I made it.

Eric and I got on the road immediately after work Friday to drive to Kari's house in Connecticut.  I was almost as nervous about the drive as I was for the race, because we needed to go near New York City and most of my experiences driving anywhere close to that area have been filled with horrific traffic. We lucked out though and made it there about 10:30pm. Kari let us in and then immediately went to bed. I used that opportunity to do a quick snoop around her house before going to bed myself. 

Saturday morning I stumbled into the kitchen at 5am moaning "WHY is this our hobby?", which made a great first impression on Kari's husband Mike, as this was our initial meeting. After I got over my disgust with myself for my bad choices, I put on my race clothes and sunscreen, and drank my tiny allotted amount of coffee. I crammed into Kari's car with her, Mike, Eric, and Emily to drive the hour to Hartford for the race. 

It was freezing at the start, right around 32 degrees. It sucks while you're waiting but awesome to run in, so I'll gladly take the suffering.

Looking good in trash bags and reused space blankets

Right from the start, Kari and I felt better than we had at Wineglass. We were able to talk instead of just huffing and puffing trying to breathe, a huge improvement. Kari even told me at one point that talking to me was better than miserably slogging through miles, which I took as quite a compliment.

The course was mainly flat, only a few small hills here and there, which was fantastic. It went through all sorts of pretty small towns, and the changing leaves gave me the true "it's fall and I'm in New England" experience. There was some fun crowd support and we even got to hear Gangnam Style, so the race was a win all around. 

I had my sister's Garmin set to just show distance so I could run by feel. We kept up a pace that felt comfortably hard for me until mile 17 (most were in the 8:50-9:15 range). We slowed down a bit to a pace that just felt more comfortable at that point, more like 9:20ish.

Kara says I have a special gift for being extremely, annoyingly perky in the last 6 miles of a marathon (she's experienced this with me 3 times) and I didn't disappoint in this one. At mile 22, I felt really good, so Kari and I split up. After the race, she told me she was thrilled to get rid of me. However, while writing this blog post I texted my BFF Carolyn, who I ran my first marathon with, and she stated for the record that she did not hate me at any point.

I blasted some Whitney and felt great. I was on a serious runner's high (it's real, I swear). Everything was wonderful and I loved life. My last four mile splits were 8:24, 8:11, 8:24, and 8:29, and my final .2 was at a 7:20 pace. By far my fastest miles of the race.

So glad we redeemed ourselves with a great marathon for both of us!
Eric literally did zero training for this race. He does extremely intense workouts at his gym several times a week, but hasn't done any running other than sprints in between other really hard things like lifting tires and stuff. My dad, aka this blog's most popular writer, was nice enough to get him a race entry for his birthday, and his number one goal was to beat the 3 hour cutoff. He finished in 2:55 doing the walk/run method, felt great, and enjoyed the race.

The backdrop is like our medals!
Once we rounded everyone up, we took a group pic, changed in a parking garage, and took our classy sweaty asses home.

Kari's car now smells delicious

In her never ending quest to get me to move to Connecticut, Kari threw down her trump card and invited her sports masseuse friend over to give us all massages. She had a table and everything. I've never had a sports massage, mainly because I've been known to cry over the level of pain equivalent to a paper cut, but I couldn't wimp out with everyone watching. It wasn't as bad as I thought, and afterward I felt like a new person. We all did. Best plan ever.

Immediately after massages, Kari and I got baking. We made red velvet s'mores bars. They were even better than they look and sound.

As tempting as it was to just eat the whole pan with a spoon when no one was looking, I crave salty food like crazy after a race, so Kari and I went to pick up Thai food for everyone. We felt good enough to take a little walking tour of the town while we waited, which is a true testament to those massages.

When we got home, I busted into my wine, plowed through my curry like my life depended on it, and recapped all the gory race details with everyone while watching Saving Silverman. We almost fell asleep before dessert, all decked out in our compression gear on the couch. Just kidding, maybe everyone else did, but skipping dessert would have to be over my dead body.

As Eric and I climbed in to Kari and Mike's gloriously comfortable guest bed, Eric was disappointed that we were going to bed so early, "like 10 or 11 o'clock, right?". I told him it was close. It was 9:06 pm. Have I mentioned that I'm even more than a party animal than usual after a marathon?

In the morning, Kari and I took her dog, Bungee, to the beach to do a recovery run.

Seeing the ocean excites me every time.
It was crazy windy, but we managed to do 3 miles at a 10:15 pace. I've only run the day after a marathon one other time, and this was significantly less painful. After the six hour drive home, we were both a bit stiff, but eating an entire deep dish pizza between the two of us really helped. 

So that's it for fall marathons for me - next up, the Fire on the Mountain 50K in two weeks!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Final Hartford Marathon Preparations

What is it about telling yourself you can't do something that makes you want to do it so bad? The only thing that makes me want to do something more is if someone else tells me I can't do it.

I posted that I was going to avoid dessert and excess sugar yesterday, but there was cinnamon toast crunch at breakfast (at school) so I brought some home and had it for dessert. I will fight anyone to the death Hunger Games style if you try to tell me that's not the best cereal on earth. However, toast = carbs, and I'm 99.9% positive that I read in one of those weight loss magazines at the gym (Self or something) that cinnamon is good for reducing inflammation. So I'm good. Also, it was way less sugar than my mom's famous chocolate peanut butter pie which is what I ate both nights of the Wineglass weekend.

In other marathon preparations that I've failed at, I skipped my day before the marathon run. I did it for the first time at Wineglass, and my legs felt great. So I took Thursday off, intending to run Friday, but have I mentioned how comfortable our bed is? I could probably write an entire blog post about how much I love it.

So, whatever, I'm honestly not worried about it, sleep is important as well as running. There's evidence that running is slightly more important when preparing for a marathon, but I'll get back to that next week.

I've been thinking a lot about race goals. I can't decide if this should be a training run or a race. Last year, I ran the Baltimore Marathon 15 days before the Marine Corps Marathon, and MCM was pretty terrible. This year, I only have 13 days in between races. Sure, sounds practically the same, but in recovery, two days can make a difference. I think I'm going to just try to stick with Kari, see how I feel, and make a game day decision.

I do have two goals for the race. 

1.  Use the time to think of an awesome Halloween costume (suggestions welcome). 
2. Not be as miserable as I was during MCM.

AKA - I should not be making this face.

After work today, Eric and I will be driving up to Kari's house in Connecticut! Temperatures tomorrow are supposed to be below freezing at the start (and a good chunk of the race). But it looks like no rain!

Let's do that trite blogging thing and you guys give me suggestions for how to get myself out of bed to run. My usual ones aren't working anymore.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pre-race nutrition: the lazy woman's approach

I'm not afraid to admit when I've been wrong, and that time is upon us. I posted a rant once about how dumb it was to claim you don't "see color" (color referring to race, I would never knock the color blind). Apparently, it's possible.

My mom recently ran in to a family friend who had attended our wedding. Of course, she had to show off pictures of my adorable nephew. In the course of the conversation, my mom realized that the friend thought that the baby was ours. 

Now, I'm no geneticist, but I'm fairly sure that this

can't create this.

So, I stand corrected. Now that that's cleared up, let's talk about pre - race nutrition. I would really like to do everything in my power to avoid the terrifying ordeal that I suffered through at the Wineglass Marathon. Unfortunately, I've been unable to pinpoint the problem. 

Tomorrow night is two days before the race, and is typically a carb-loading night. I'll just have the leftovers from Vanessa's amazing coconut "curry" recipe. It's not exactly carb filled, but it is available and all I have to do is put it in the microwave. Also, I'd probably have to throw it away if I don't eat it tomorrow, and throwing food away hurts my heart. 

Friday night I'll probably get a footlong veggie patty sub from Subway. We'll be driving, I'm too lazy to pack a meal, and I've eaten that before other races and didn't have problems. 

I will avoid dessert and excess sugar on Thursday and Friday. I'm not sure if this will help, but eating a super rich dessert the weekend of Wineglass was potentially the culprit. I would avoid eating dessert tonight, but I can't, and I'll tell you why.

While I love my job, of course it's not without it's challenges. 

This year, I've been seeing a significant increase in one particular challenge. I've been getting emails first thing in the morning that go something like this. "Good morning! I've made (insert delicious sounding dessert) for the staff! Please help yourself, it's in the faculty room." I don't have my first break until nearly three hours into the day, and by that time, it's either all gone or only the weird nasty looking parts that no one wants are left. Based on the name of my blog, you can imagine how upsetting this is for me. We're up to at least one delicious treat email a week, if not more.

Today, I sent my intern to make copies. She came back and said in a serious voice "Mrs. Lindsey, I have to bring you some of this cake that was down there". Well, she's been working herself to the bone for me, even stayed a half hour late yesterday, so was I going to tell her no, I didn't want any cake? Of course not. All I told her was "get a piece that's heavy on the frosting!". 

It was a miracle I was able to complete my math lesson and not stuff my face as soon as she returned, but somehow I made it and now the cake waiting to be my dessert. Sure, I could just not eat it, in the name of the marathon, but I could barely even type that sentence with a straight face.

So here's my marathon nutrition advice in a nutshell: 

1. Eat whatever is readily available and requires the least effort.

2. Avoid foods that cause problems, unless someone brings them to you and they look really delicious.

 Eric is really struggling with his pre-race nutrition. He wants to go with his classic fried koolaid balls for dinner the night before, but they're out of season, and we've made no headway in figuring out what the hell they are.

Spoiler alert - the race didn't go well

I'm still struggling from a total lack of motivation, but I pushed through a 7 miler (9:18 pace) after work tonight. If you're still struggling with taper boredom, read my friend Minch's recent blog post. It made me laugh out loud, and I don't say that about many blogs. Single ladies: he's just as funny in person.

What's your pre-race nutrition plan? Do you avoid any specific foods?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Less running, more fat

We are in the height of fall marathon time, and I've been reading a lot of blog posts about how much we all hate tapering (except me). Ok, that's a lie, I'm way behind on blog reading, boo hoo, feel bad for me, I'm busy with real life, OMG it's so hard. But I've read a few, and usually there are a lot going around this time of year, so I'm inferring they are out there.

I'm going to provide a public service. If you need some sort of way to fill the void in your life left by tapering, email me your address. I'll mail you a big envelope filled with papers and an answer key, you grade them, and mail them back to me. If your big race has passed, don't worry, I'll be offering this service until I'm ready to retire.

Once again this week, my motivation seems to have disappeared. Weird timing, because I got a bunch of nice comments this morning on my 56 mile post marathon week.

Usually, I only fight myself about running until I'm out of bed, but when it lasts all the way up until I brush my teeth, I know I'm in trouble. I managed to push through Monday for my 8 miler, but not Tuesday. I worked at Charm City Monday night, so I was up "late". I've had a second job for most of my teaching career, but it seems I'm no spring chicken anymore, and I can't just hop out of bed like normal the following morning anymore. 

With afternoon running, my main challenge is generally getting out the door, and sometimes getting through the first mile. I was out the door after work, but really not feeling the run. My legs felt good, my breathing felt good, but I just kept feeling stressed over all the crap I still needed to do and desperately wanted to not be running. Weird.

So, I turned around after a mile and a half and totally bailed on the run. It was a waste, since my body felt good, but I was so happy when I got home. I tried to figure out where all the running hatred was stemming from. I came up with this great theory about how I'm an introvert and I need time alone to recharge (pretty sure I just read that on a blog somewhere, but it sounds like me) and since I hadn't had any recently I was burnt out, but then I realized that I was, in fact, running alone, so that didn't really hold any weight. 

The only logical thing to do was cook a delicious dinner. I've been obsessed with this recipe Vanessa posted, since it had coconut milk. I've posted before about how much I love real (full fat) coconut milk and how much I hate low or nonfat.....anything. Of course, I'm always looking for ways to make meals even more delicious by adding more fat, as we all should be. I came across this great find a few weeks ago at Trader Joes and couldn't wait to bust it out.

Just like coconut milk, except twice as much fat and therefore
twice as delicious

As usual, we ate most of the four serving recipe, because we love to eat, and then I followed it up with a few spoonfuls of Nutella, for good measure.

Some people claim they don't like fat, and I really struggle to believe that. I'm not going to call anyone a liar, but I really don't see how you can tell me skim milk is preferable to whole with a straight face. That's like when people say they had fruit for dessert.

What's your favorite fatty food (other than dessert, obviously)? I'm torn between ice cold whole milk or delicious cheeses like smoked Gouda or Gorgonzola. 

You have to go to my sister's blog to see my nephew's one month/two month comparison photos. It looks like she swapped him out for a new baby.