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I had an entirely different post planned for today. I’m putting it off until Thursday because I realized I had something that I just absolutely had to say.

Photo by woolenium via flickr

I try never, ever to be a whiner on social media. I mean, I try in real life as well, but I succeed less often. Plus, with the magic of tone and nuance, most people get that I’m joking. Whereas when you whine on social media, all of that goofiness gets lost and you wind up being one of those people writing, “Somebody make me go for a run, I don’t wanna but I should.” Which…maybe you should? I don’t know your life. But if you don’t want to go for a run, don’t go for a run. Do something else. Go for a walk or a bike ride or to the gym. There must be something you like doing that will burn calories and that you don’t need to be talked into. And if you do like running but just don’t feel like doing it – well. Don’t. Tomorrow is just fine for running.

But on Facebook today, I made a joke about how tired I was (I hit 15 miles today! This seems like a lot, until I realize how far a damn marathon is) and how I didn’t know why I had signed up.

Well. Don’t joke about stuff like that unless you want people to be nice to you.

Because my friends chimed in with likes and kindness and a Steve Prefontaine quote. And told me that I would rock the race.

And as I replied, “When you doubt yourself, it’s best to have friends to believe in you.” Because eventually I’ll bridge that gap, and believe in myself and remind myself why I’m doing this.

Until then, I have you, my wonderful friends and family. And The Man, of course, who has been my cheering section at all but one of the really long races I’ve done.

I’m really lucky, you guys. Each and every friend is worth more than finishing a race. I couldn’t do that – or much else – without you.

This goes for the Internet People as well – those I’ve met and those I haven’t – you’re amazing and inspiring and brilliant, and I’m so glad you blog or Tweet or whatever and let others have a glimpse into your lives.

 
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Published on July 11, 2012, by meg in gear review, training.

This week I was able to pledge some cash for a really awesome Kickstarter project: The Bia!

It’s so tiny!

It’s a really cool project from two awesome runners and triathletes, Cheryl Kellond and Sylvia Marino. Frustrated with the available GPS devices on the market, they developed their own. It’s smaller, simpler, and more awesome (my opinion) than anything else I’ve seen.

I have held off buying a GPS because I never really liked them. I carry my iPhone, which can do many of the same things, but it has its own annoyances (it always needs a pocket!). The wrist GPS is certainly tempting – it seems like it would be simpler and more versatile, but any time I look at the specs for them, I get annoyed. It’s how big? It needs a view of the satellites for how long? The battery life is that short? Huh. 

So I have put it off, instead spending my cash on belts, armbands, and shorts with pockets. Until I started reading about the Bia.

It’s tiny. It’s cute! It looks really simple to use. It’s water resistant (as someone who once washed her cell phone, this is critically important). But, most importantly, it has a really awesome safety feature:

You can program in the number of your emergency contact so that person will be reached immediately. It also will send your location to emergency services and the emergency contact. It’s amazingly cool, especially since several people emailed me this week about a rape on a trail near where I often run. It’s scary out there and I run alone. I’d love to be able to contact someone without having to fiddle with my iPhone, which is usually zipped up in a pocket or otherwise hard to get to.

The Partner Running Show interviewed Cheryl Kellond about the watch on this podcast. It’s a really interesting listen!

I really want to get my hands on one of these, but right now the project is still short of funding. They have $248,260 pledged and need $400,000. So let’s get this funded so we can run safely and with all our data in one place! The nice thing with Kickstarter is that if the funding is a penny short of $400,000, your credit card won’t be charged.

 
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I can’t say I didn’t leave early enough this weekend, even on the hottest day of the year in D.C. (So far. Ugh.) I got up at five and was out the door by 5:50, which was impressive, since all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed.

It took me until 7 to finish five miles. My GPS app doesn’t like my new iPhone case, so I got home and realized that I still had two more miles to go before I hit my 9 miles. If it had been any later in the day, or if I had hit 8 miles instead of 7, I would probably just have left it as it was, but my OCD kicked in. It was only 7:30 a.m. so I mapped out two more miles and got it done. I think I ended up a tenth of a mile short, but I’m okay with that. It was 82 degrees when I started and something like 95 when I stopped. 8.9 miles is good enough.

Then I went to a Nationals game in the afternoon. Combining the two may have been a mistake – our seats were in right field, which gets the full afternoon sun, and I couldn’t hack it over there. I ended up in the shade with a headache, despite drinking lots and lots of water. (Okay, and two beers, but I interspersed them with water. That was a bad idea too, apparently, but they tasted so good!)

I ended up napping for a few hours when I got back, which worked out pretty well since I had to go pick up my husband-person from the airport around 11 p.m. and he was all wound up, so we stayed up for a few hours chatting. Then I slept lots more. Sleep is grrrreeeeeaaaat.

So, all in all, I feel pretty good about the run.  I did it, I ran probably 7 out of 9 miles, and I am on track. Now if only this heat wave breaks before Godzilla gets here:

 
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I’ve trained for a very long race in the summer before. The Battleship Half-Marathon was in November, so I sweated my way through the summer of 2010 and did really well in the race. It was hard, but not impossibly hard, and I felt even more accomplished for having sucked it up and trained through that misery.

I keep telling myself all of that now, but I’m finding it harder and harder to believe I’ll reach my goals when I’m fighting this miserable heat. It’s already hitting 100 degrees here and I just am not performing well. I’m walking more than I’m running. I tried to run on the treadmill today and crapped out because the awesome Nikes are decidedly NOT awesome on the treadmill – my ankles were in serious pain after one mile. After a bad sprain more than a decade ago, I take my ankles seriously. I still ache from that injury today.

I don’t know what else to do, except keep getting up earlier and earlier. It only sort of works, as I work a weird shift. If I get up at 5:30, which it looks like might be necessary, I will be useless by the end of my work shift.

I’m going to keep pushing myself, but I’m trying to be smart about it. Lots of walking, carrying my own water, etc.

I feel like such a weenie for complaining, but I’m just so. Damn. Frustrated.

I’m going to try a different pair of shoes on the treadmill tomorrow and see if that helps. It certainly can’t hurt! I’ve never had ankle pain like that before, so it MUST be the less-cushy shoes doing it. Too bad they make my IT band so happy! It’s like my ankles and my ITB are having a fight. Sorry ITB. You’re something I can cope with. My ankles? They win every time.

And here’s hoping next week will indeed be cooler. I’m not sure how much more of this craziness I can take.

 

 
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Calling it a run is not exactly true. I probably ran half and walked half. I headed out on Sunday at 7:10 a.m., but it wasn’t early enough. It was already 80. By the time I finished at 11 a.m. (!) it was near 100 degrees. Still better than Saturday. 

I had intended to start at 6:30, but I had forgotten that I wanted to run part of the MCM course, which put me back a little bit. I drove over to Crystal City so I could explore the Custis Trail from Rosslyn to 66 – I had never run on that part of it before and I wanted to see how tough the incline was.

My official run time was 3 hours and 8 minutes, but I was out in the heat for four. When I finished, I couldn’t figure out where that extra hour went, but as I tracked back through my run, I identified it. There were two parts:

  • My potty break and Swedish Fish purchase at CVS seemed to only last 10 minutes, but was probably more like 20 or 30. I can’t say for sure, but I DO know I did not want to leave that store. This was around mile 6 of my run.
  • A phone call to The Man, who is out in Colorado with his family right now.

So thank goodness I didn’t lose an hour! I know right where it went. Mostly.

The other reason the run took so long? This massive storm, called a derecho, that slammed D.C. and the surrounding area Friday night. Something like a million people were without power; many still are. I was extremely lucky and didn’t lose power at all, but I know lots of people are still going without.  I can’t believe how fortunate we were! This storm was really, really terrible, even though it moved through extremely quickly.

I had hopes that the trails would be pretty clear by Sunday, and the Mount Vernon Trail above Crystal City was perfectly fine. There were lots of busted trees, but the trail was clear.

The Custis trail was more of a mess, with several big trees blocking the way in spots and several traffic lights out.

I had to duck under this one.

Walked around this one.

No traffic signals - scary

Post-run, I draped myself around the air conditioner and drank a watermelon and lime smoothie. Heaven.

 
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Published on June 29, 2012, by meg in real life, Running, training.

It’s official: It’s a D.C. heatwave! While D.C. summers are often hot and miserable, this is mighty early for this much heat. It’s going to be a tough weekend to bang out my highest mileage ever. Still. I’m ready and committed for an early Sunday morning run. The highs are supposed to be marginally lower (as in, under 100 degrees! Geez.) so hopefully I’ll manage okay.

I picked up a Nathan HPL #020 so my hydration and supply needs are taken care of (review to come soon). I have heat-appropriate clothing and, as long as I get up early enough, I’ll be fine. By early enough, I mean that I want to be out the door by 6:30. Yes, that’s a.m. I want to have a good run, and I think that’s the time to aim for. I’ll be home by 9 a.m. and it will be hot then for sure.

I’m also tackling my first running commute tomorrow. I have to come into work early so I thought I would just run from my house to the Crystal City Metro stop. It’s about three miles, but if I follow the trails it’s four, so I will get my daily mileage in. It’s a nice flat course and it will be nice to get it in before my day gets crazy. Again, I just have to leave early enough. I’m thinking that if I’m out the door by 7 a.m. tomorrow I’ll be in good shape. I’ll definitely post an update on how it goes! I’m a little nervous, but prepared. I have a change of clothes here at work and I’ll just schlep them over to the gym when I get off the train. Aside from the crazy heat, I’m looking forward to it. If the humidity holds off, I’ll be in great shape.

The Man’s oldest niece will be hanging out with us Friday night, so I am leaving work early to hang out with her (and him, I guess). Means I have to get that run in early, and if I make it part of my commute I’m less likely to skip out.

 
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Published on June 27, 2012, by meg in real life.

So, that bad news I got last week has gotten worse. I’m still not ready to discuss it publicly – I may never really want to talk about it here.

I’m cocooning again, a bit, because the stress is messing with my sleep cycle. I’m having weird stress dreams again and in the morning all I want to do is curl up in a ball and pretend the real world doesn’t exist.

So I’ll probably run some more this week, and I’m trying to keep writing, because it makes me feel better, but I don’t know that I’m doing more than going through the motions.

And honestly, some weeks are just like that, and it’s just how it has to be.

 
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I ran 13 miles this weekend. More or less. I ran 11 miles and walked two, but it was close enough for government work. I’m still not 100% adapted to the heat – once it hit 80 on my run I really started to struggle. So I walked in intervals as I needed to, not wanting to pass out.

But that’s not the point of this post. This is:

13 miles is a half-marathon, more or less. It’s been my ultimate race goal for two years. It’s the longest distance I’ve ever run.

Now I’m doubling that goal. Marathon ahoy! I run 14 miles next weekend. I’m trying not to psych myself out about this – it’s just one more mile, after all, and adding one mile to a long run is really not a big deal – but it’s still a little intimidating. And, I must admit, exciting. Up until this point, I was just cruising along, doing normal half-marathon training stuff. This weekend, things change. I’ll really be officially, honest to goodness, 100 percent be training for a marathon.

I’m nervous and thrilled and mostly, just ready to get into the meat of the training. I’m ready to tackle this race and cross it off my bucket list. I may never do another marathon, but there’s something incredibly awesome about knowing that I can do it.

 
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I wasted the prettiest week of running summertime in D.C. last week. Why?

Well, at first, it was an easy week and I flaked out. But I was committed to my longer run that week! It was going to happen! I swear.

Then I got some really bad personal news and I just lost it for about four days.

I wallowed. I laid in bed extra long. I mainlined The Vampire Diaries (I blame Gretchen; and by blame, I mean THANK YOU, this show is getting crazier all the time and I love it). I didn’t post, I didn’t do anything except go to work and try to live like a responsible, functioning adult. The Man is out of town, and often when that happens I revert to a status that can be best described as ‘feral child.’

Even though I knew it would help me feel better, I stayed in bed instead of running.

So last night I forced myself to get my shit together. I put on my Big Girl Pants.  I did the dishes, I put away laundry, and I went to bed at a reasonable hour.

And today I went for a four mile run. It was hot, nasty, and thoroughly unpleasant. I waited too long. But I feel miles better.

I just have to get up again tomorrow (earlier) and do it again.

And now I’m off to watch more of The Vampire Diaries. Because it is the crackiest cracky show ever.

 
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Though I’ve been running off and on since my college days, I didn’t really consider myself a runner until the past two years. I was a person who ran, but I did it because it was an efficient way of keeping in shape, not out of any love for running.

Obviously, that’s changed a bit. No one who doesn’t at least like running signs up for a marathon, right?

Trade those work shoes for running shoes

So what changed? I’ve been trying to figure it out for a few years now, and I have a few thoughts.

  1. My location: Northern Virginia has amazing trails. D.C. has an awesome running culture and being around so many fit and competitive people has definitely helped! I am never short of safe, well-lit places to run and it has made all the difference. Right out my door are great roads and trails. Plus, it’s amazingly inspiring to run on the Mall and around the monuments!
  2. My overall fitness: It’s made a huge difference that I’m working so hard to gain muscle. I’m really working on eating well (those two cookies I had after lunch today excepted!) and moderate my alcohol intake. I’m not at my thinnest ever, but I am definitely feeling like I’m close to being the strongest I’ve ever been.
  3. Consistency: This is the biggie. I’ve made a huge effort to stay consistent with running and working out in general. It’s paid off – my runs all feel much, much easier than they did when I was running, sort of, kind of, a couple of times a month. Running at least three times a week for most of the past three months has made a huge difference, but even before that I was reaping the benefits of making sure I exercised regularly. My workouts are on my calendar, which makes it much easier to get them done.
  4. Races: I keep signing up for them, and they motivate me to keep working hard!