Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Songs I Like

Note: these are songs that are good for exercising and I *think* would be good for running too. I have used most of them while strength training (thanks to VH1, MTV, and Palladia playing music videos at the time I strength train at home ... wait, they actually play music videos??), but I haven't actually ran to them most of them. Music, running, and I only meet up the one time every 2-3 weeks I end up on a treadmill.

Fitz and the Tantrums - Money Grabber
Florence and the Machine - Got the Love
Portugal. The Man - People Say
Matt Kearney - Hey Mama
Jason Derulo - Don't Wanna Go Home
Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks
Lady Gaga - The Edge of Glory
Andy Grammar - Keep Your Head Up
Matt Nathanson - Faster
The Naked and Famous - Young Blood

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Marathon Training Week 8

My training plan for the week was cross-train, run 4, 7, and 4 miles, rest, 7 mile run, and 15 mile long run. Not including the week of the marathon, this is my 5th highest mileage week of this training cycle.

Sunday - yoga class, plus calf raises.

Monday - 4.2 mile run in pleasantly cool temperatures, plus lunges, abs, lower back, and pushups. I was feeling kinda sluggish, so I decided to just run and not pay too much attention to pace. At first, I thought it was because I didn't get enough sleep. But then I realized that I only drank half the amount coffee that I usually drink. Coffee grinds in coffee do not make for good coffee. Less sleep or less caffeine? I don't really know. However, I ran pretty consistent splits until I kicked it in the last .2 mile. Also, when did my comfortable easy not-paying-attention-to-pace pace get to where it is???

Tuesday - 7.4 mile run along the water in Narragansett. I didn't get home til way past my bedtime on Monday night, so I forewent my usual morning run in favor of getting enough sleep. I can't remember the last time I ran in the evening. It went OK. The change of scenery was nice. I really miss living near Narragansett.

Wednesday - 4.2 mile run. Another evening run because I decided enough sleep > running. Ran after work, cooled down, drove 45 minutes, and stopped at the gym to do some upper body exercises, squats, and planks. After all that, my arms were jelly. And so ends my brief return to evening workouts. Morning workouts are better for a whole host of reasons. The weather is cooler. It is easier to cross streets because fewer people are out. The gym is less crowded. I am more motivated, less tired, and can concentrate better.

Thursday - Rest day. And my wedding anniversary :-)

Friday - 7.1 mile run. Not too hot but very humid. Nice and easy. I'm getting the hang of the clip-on Fuelbelt bottle, but it's still annoying and difficult to manage. Also, wine the night before slows me down the next day. It could have been the humidity, or the wine, or both. I can't control the humidity, but I can control what I choose to drink. I think it was a smart move to limit alcohol to Saturdays during this training cycle.

Saturday - 15.2 mile run. Still alone. Still with no music. Early before it got too hot. It was sweaty but surprisingly pleasant. I chatted with some other runners who I ran with for a few minutes. I came across a just-opened and just-cleaned bathroom in a park (soap! running water!) at mile 9. I would like to thank the gentleman on a bike who congratulated me on my pace. Great way to help me kick in the last mile. I tested out running with Gatorade. It was fine, but I think I'll stick to mostly water.

Total Miles: Scheduled - 37, Actual - 38.1

Since I won't be running tomorrow, my July mileage total is done. 154 miles. That is my first month over 150 miles and my highest monthly mileage ever.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Me!


Four years ago today, I was at the best party ever. My wedding. My husband and I collectively have:

11 years together
4 years of marriage
6 years long-distance, including 3 marriage years
5 moves
4 cruises
2 masters degrees
1 PhD

I loved loved loved my wedding dress, especially the buttons on the back and the beadwork. I still fit in it!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Running by the Water

Dear Narragansett,

How much have I missed you? Let me count the ways. Running along the water and the seawall. Hearing the waves. Running by Narragansett Town Beach, the place where I got engaged. Running under The Towers. Seeing the crescent-shaped beach at the north end of Ocean Road. Getting Middle Eastern takeout from Markos Kabob and More. Let's do this again soon.


Dear Mr. Markos,

Markos Kabob and More is one of a handful of restaurant phone numbers I have saved in my phone so I can order on a whim. I do not know what you put in your food to make it so delicious. Nothing fancy, but always tasty and fresh. You make the best hummus and fallafel anywhere. Vegetarian appetizer sampler? Yum. Fallafel wrap? Yum (because it is the vegetarian appetizer sampler in a wrap). Moroccan cous cous soup? Extra yum. Let's do this again soon too.


P. S. Congrats on making it 5 years from one of your original customers! My tummy thanks you!

Pictures from my 7 mile run along the water in Narragansett. Aren't I lucky to live near the water? There was a storm on its way, but I made it out and back before it arrived.

Passed by the cabanas at Narragansett Town Beach where I got engaged.

I ran a bit more than a mile to Narrow River and then turned around. How I love running by water.

The seawall

The Towers. Part of an old casino/seaside resort that has survived fires and hurricanes. If I were to ever get married again, my wedding would be at The Towers.

More seawall

I followed Ocean Road for a couple of miles. Now is the time to buy a waterfront house. Sooooooooo many were for sale.

Then I turned around again. My favorite part is coming up on the seawall and The Towers again. It means I'm almost done.



I took a little walk down to the beach when I was done.


My dinner. Fallafel wrap and a Gatorade. I was going to eat by the beach, but it started raining. I sat in my car by the seawall, though.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Thoughts O' Random

Lululemon luon fabric? And Lululemon in general? They get high marks from me, both for function and style.

My legs are not sore today. Even after doing two difficult workouts in the last two days. I guess I must be doing something right this time around.

Not setting your alarm clock and sleeping as long as you want is a glorious thing.

Costco, how much do I love thee, let me count the ways.You are worth a 45-minute drive every 5-6 weeks.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Marathon Training Week 7

My training plan for the week was cross-train, run 4, 7, and 4 miles, rest, 7 mile pace run, and 14 mile long run. Ramp it up, runner.

Sunday - yoga class, plus 25 minutes walking to and from the gym, plus calf raises.

Monday - 4.2 mile run, plus lunges, abs, and lower back. Warm and humid. Probably one of the last runs without carrying water. It's getting hot out there.

Tuesday - 7.4 mile run, most of it with my mother-in-law. Ran into running buddies, which is always nice. Dropped the pace the last 1.5 miles or so to get my average pace below 9 minutes. Warm and humid. Again. Even first thing in the morning. As much as I don't like my leaky clip-on Fuelbelt bottles, they get the job done. Definitely can't run without water this week.

Wednesday - 4.3 mile run, plus upper body exercises and squats, plus 3/4 mile run-walk back from the gym. Cooler than it's been all week. Felt kinda sluggish and tired (didn't sleep well) but ran a consistent slightly-faster-than-normal pace. I brought water because I was going to carry my water bottle anyway. Didn't really need the water, but it was nice to have. Did some planks and pushups in the evening.

Thursday - Rest day. Supposed to be hot hot hot for the next few days.

Friday - 7.2 mile pace run on the treadmill, plus 3/4 mile warmup run to the gym and 3/4 mile run-walk (mostly walk) cooldown. The run was challenging but bearable. I had decided the night before that I wasn't going to attempt to run outside. It already felt like at least 80 degrees at 5:30am. Thanks but no thanks. I think I'll go to the air-conditioned gym instead. The whole point of a pace run is to get used to the effort level of running at your goal pace. There is no way I could have ran outside at my goal pace under those conditions. Normal comfortable pace, probably, but not goal pace. Also, I am officially done with Nike+. Yes, I need it for treadmill runs. But it is still eating my miles.

Saturday - 14.2 mile run. Started really early to avoid the heat. Humid but not too hot or sunny. It actually wasn't that bad, but I ran in a sports bra and skirt and brought partially frozen water bottles. The ice sloshed around for about a half hour until it melted. I started getting twinges of soreness in my quads around mile 8. Good. That is exactly what this training plan is supposed to help me get through. Stopped at my car at mile 10 to get more water. Grabbed two still frozen water bottles and a couple of ice cubes. Things of glory, especially the ice. I rubbed the ice on the back of my neck and held them in my hands until they melted. Took all of 2 minutes. The last mile was tough, but I got through it. Alone. With no music. Finished in under 2 hours. Uh, WHAT?? I thought you are supposed to slow down in the heat and humidity. But I am not slowing down, nor do I think I am pushing myself excessivly. That was my fastest long run ever. Seriously?? This stuff is epic.

Total Miles: Scheduled - 36, Actual - 37.3

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More thoughts on running =/= strong legs

In addition to strength training, I added yoga to my workout schedule.

So far so good on that front too. I've been going to a power yoga class at my gym since early June. I am at the gym far less than I used to be, but I'm still getting there 2-3 times a week (once for yoga, once for weight lifting, and occasionally when the weather keeps me from going outside). I really like the instructor, plus I've seen her out running. She herself said that her class is pretty athletic. For example, resting position is downward dog. There was a time when I thought downward dog in itself was plenty challenging. Not so anymore. Yoga helps my flexibility, and I'm pretty sure it's helping in the strengthening domain too.

I kinda wish I had thought to do before and after pictures. I am not sure I can see the difference, but I can feel it. Whether the difference is strength training or yoga, I do not know. Probably a bit of both. Either way, I'll take it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Running =/= strong legs

Disclaimer: I am not an expert all things strength training. These are my observations based on what I think I need to do to reach my goals.

Strength training is like the Garmin. It's one of those "why didn't I do this sooner?" things. I did virtually no strength training while I was preparing for my first and second marathons. My lack of strength training bit me hard in marathon #2. If I really think about it, it bit me pretty hard in marathon #1 too (although I was lucky and powered through the pain). This time around, I decided I cannot neglect it.

I am about 2 months into doing more strength training in my regular workouts. So far so good. My quads did not get bigger. My arms are more defined. I'm not spending a huge amount more time working out. I am faster. Well, at least I think so. I didn't have an accurate sense of pace until I got my Garmin in early June.

I try to do as much as possible with an exercise ball (to work my core) and/or my own body weight. I head to the gym to use weights, but I have a mat, exercise ball, and foam roller at home. I am planning on adding variations, such as adding weight, switching from a body bar to handweights, change positions, add or remove the exercise ball, etc.

This is what I aim to do over the course of a week:
calf raises
upper body (bicep curls, tricep presses, and upright rows)
core (abs and lower back)

I don't always get to everything, but most weeks I do. I have a rough plan and then do what my body feels up to. For example, I skipped the pushups last week because my arms and chest were sore. Everything in moderation.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Marathon Training Week 6

My training plan for the week was cross-train, run 3, 5, and 3 miles, rest, 6 mile pace run, and 9 mile long run. Stepback week #2. Last week for scheduled 3 mile runs (that I never do anyway ... what is a 3 mile run??) til the week before Chicago.

Sunday - yoga class, plus about 25 minutes walking to and from the gym, plus calf raises.
Monday - 3.8 mile run, plus lunges, abs, and lower back exercises.
Tuesday - 5.7 mile run. Humid and already 75 degrees when I started. I still nailed my usual pace. Did some planks in the evening. Rebel Yell by Billy Idol is my new plank song. Made it 4 minutes 5 seconds. Holy schnikes again.
Wednesday - 3.8 mile run, then upper body exercises and squats at the gym, then 1 mile run-walk home. Switched from an 18 lb. body bar to 2 10 lb. hand weights for the upper body exercises. Kept my usual 12 kg. kettlebells for the squats. The kettlebells hurt my hands and arms a little bit, but I think that's because of increasing the weight for my upper body exercises.
Thursday - Rest day. Extra sleep is gooooooooood.
Friday - Epic 6.2 mile pace run up, down, and around Providence. Perfect weather. Cool, sunny, and low humidity. It is a special treat to get weather like that in July. Went sub-8 on all of my mile splits, including the ones that were mostly uphill. Easily beat my 10K race PR. I am still running too fast (by 15 seconds per mile this time), but it felt ... somewhat but not overly challenging? Maybe I am not running too fast? *confused*
Saturday - 9.5 mile run with running buddies. Good stuff.

Total Miles: Scheduled - 26, Actual - 29

This week has been a big confidence booster, starting with my fantastic long run last weekend. Every run has been somewhere between pretty good and epic since then. I am starting to rethink my marathon goal pace. I am at a point where I could adjust my training to reflect a slightly faster goal pace. My everyday comfortable running pace is within 30-35 seconds of my marathon goal pace, even in less than optimal weather conditions. I don't feel like I am pushing myself too hard. My pace runs have been faster than marathon goal pace without overly taxing me. Plus I run on moderately hilly routes. Chicago will be flat.

On the other hand, a faster marathon goal pace puts me below 8 minute miles. I have come close to sub-8 in a half marathon. However, I have never held that pace for more than 6.2 miles (see Friday above). Sub-8 scares me. Tremendously. Running too fast in training scares me, as does running too fast in a marathon. The marathon where I went out too fast wasn't pretty. I held a low 8 minute pace for the first half, but I crashed and burned at about mile 15. I have no desire to repeat that marathon. I still have 12 weeks to go in my training cycle, so we'll see.

1/3 of the way to Chicago. How did that happen already?!?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Music? What Music?

Earlier today, I saw this article on how jogging outside with music is dangerous. I was already planning this post. That was good timing.


With the exception of two runs on the treadmill, I've gone over a month running without my iPod.

At first, it was because I couldn't hear the time and distance alerts from Rhody G. I am used to getting verbal feedback from Nike+ every 5 minutes. This is useful, particularly in the summer, because it reminds me to take a sip of water. So I set Rhody G to chirp every 5 minutes and every 1 mile. I am constantly chirping away.

But then I really started to like running with no music. I feel more approachable and more friendly. The two areas where I regularly run (a gravel walking/running path and a long bike path) are like social clubs. I nod hello or say good morning and usually get a nod or good morning back. I talk to people (like the lady last weekend who asked me why I put my arms up when I stopped running. I told her because I was done and I was practicing for races). I enjoy running into the regulars who I see every morning. I enjoy running early on the bike path when all you see are bikers and runners with hydration belts.

At times, it is a safety issue. I can hear cars more easily if I am on the road or crossing streets. The bikers on the bike path I use tend to be very quiet and very fast and don't really announce themselves. I can hear the bikers a bit better too.

I am more in tune with my thoughts. That's one of the reasons why I got back into running. I cannot tell you how many class lectures or dissertation ideas or tough emotional things got worked out on a run. Somehow running raised my emotional threshold and made the emotional things much easier to handle. I got lots of good thinking done out on runs. I miss just letting my mind wander.

Or I can focus more on running and my body. How am I feeling? Does anything hurt? Is this a comfortable pace? Do I need water?

I raced without the iPod and it was nice. Really fun too. I ran 12 miles alone without it. For a variety of reasons, it was one of the best runs I've had in a long time. I decided that I am going to run Rock N Roll Providence without the iPod.

I am surprised it took me this long to break free from my iPod. One of my best runs ever was in Vermont last fall. I thought my iPod was fully charged, but not so. It lasted 6 miles of a 12 mile run. And then it died. I briefly panicked, but then I realized there wasn't anything I could do. So I kept running. I found a babbling brook that I didn't know existed. I paid more attention to the fall leaves. I found a beautiful red barn framed by a pond, fall foliage, and mountains. The barn was so pretty that I went back later with my camera. I would have missed so much of that if I had been listening to my iPod.

So long, Pod Buddy. It's been real. We will meet again on the treadmill. And maaaybe on long runs later in the summer/early fall.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Marathon Training Week 5

My training plan for the week was cross-train, run 3, 6, and 3 miles, rest, 6 mile run, and 12 mile long run. I had a 10K race on Monday, so that threw this week off a bit.

Sunday - rest day, unless you consider walking a bit to be cross-training
Monday - 4th of July 6.2 mile race. Harvard Pilgrim 10K at Patriot Place. Fun times. Hot and humid. It was supposed to be my pace run from last week. Yeah, not quite. I ran slightly slower than my marathon goal pace, but that's OK. Hot means slow down. You have to be realistic with your expectations. I still set a 10K PR and I finished feeling good. I decided it was better to go slower and feel good than go faster and feel sick. Smart choice. I definitely see the value of slowing down in hot weather. Did some pushups and calf raises in the evening.
Tuesday - 3.8 mile run, plus lunges, abs, and back. Pretty comfortable for a July morning. Did a couple of planks in the evening. I need to find a new plank song because I held one for the entire length of More by Usher. That's 3 minutes 40 seconds. Holy schnikes. NEVER thought I could do that.
Wednesday - 3.7 mile run, plus upper body exercises and squats with the 12kg kettlebells. Nice run in pleasant temps before it got hot. The kettlebells don't hurt my arms and hands anymore. Maybe it is because I started wearing my lifting gloves, I figured out how to hold the kettlebells, or my arms are stronger. Or all of the above.
Thursday - Rest day.
Friday - 6.2 mile run on the treadmill. I was all ready to head out the door. Had my housekey and Garmin in my hands. And then it started thunderstorming. I knew there was rain on the way, but I didn't know the rain was a thunderstorm. Crazy runner? Yes. Stupid runner? No. So I put the Garmin away, grabbed my iPod, Nike+, water bottle, and towel, and headed to the gym instead. I ran faster than my 10K race the other day, but that's one of the advantages of running in a climate-controlled gym. Or maybe because I ate the lonely shot blok leftover from last weekend about halfway through.
Saturday - 12.3 mile run in 1:43. Alone. Without the iPod. It went so splendidly well. 6 miles out and back on the East Bay Bike Path. I took everything that has gone wrong over the last several weeks and learned from it. Got out early enough so that it wasn't too hot. Hydrated enough. Ate 3 shot bloks early enough in my run. Didn't overheat. There was a slight headwind when I turned around. The sun was fairly cooperative in hiding behind clouds on my way back. Dropped my pace the last 3 miles because that is what Hal Higdon told me to do if I still felt good. Oh yeah, I was feeling great. It was one of those runs where I felt great the whole time.

Total Miles: Scheduled - 30, Actual - 32.2

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thoughts O' Random

Smartwool socks work equally well in cold or heat. Wool socks in summer? Who would have thought that would work? I had to buy those socks because they said PhD. PhD socks for a PhD. At first, I didn't particularly like them. They weren't bad but they weren't best-socks-ever either. But I came around and got to like them after more washes and wears. I even bought a second pair.

My narrow-mouthed flip-top Nalgene bottle needed a good cleaning. I bought a baby bottle brush from Target to reach inside. Ew. That bottle was so nasty, I don't even want to think about what I was drinking. It is sparkling clear now. Wow, I didn't realize I had a clear bottle.

One of the benefits of being in academia is free books. Well, "free" in exchange for reviewing a book proposal. Seemed like a fair deal to me. I got a book on applied sport psychology. Sport psychology is not at all related to my work, but the book looks like it has some helpful and interesting information. My nerd self is more excited about that book than the 4 other books on statistics, research, and teaching that arrived in the same shipment.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Harvard Pilgrim 10K Recap

A bunch of my running buddies and I ran the Harvard Pilgrim 10K at Patriot Place today. The race starts at Patriot Place, winds through Foxboro, MA, and finishes on the field in Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. This race is challenging because of the weather but also so worth it for the thrill of the finish. We had pink Nike tanks that said Freakishly Amazing and custom Bondi Bands with our running club name. It was hot. Sunny and humid. Far from ideal running weather. But it's July. You get what you get. The course is fairly flat. There are some gentle inclines and declines, but not really anything I would consider a hill.

Start line. This race really needs corrals or a wave start. The beginning of the course is too narrow for 3,000 runners to start all at once.

Weaving through parking lots by the stadium

This guy was actually running barefoot.

The smartest decision I made was carrying a half pint water bottle. I sipped it before the race, took a sip every 3-5 minutes, filled it with a full cup of water at every water stop, and tossed it at the water stop at the last mile. I had to walk a little bit in mile 4, but that helped. It was too hot to worry about a couple of walk breaks. The second smartest decision I made was leaving my iPod at home. I am coming up on almost 1 month running without music. I honestly can't say that I miss it.

Almost done

The best part of the whole race is entering the tunnel in Gillette Stadium, running through an inflatable Patriots helmet, and finishing on the field.

First race with Rhody G. Given the weather, I'll take it. PRed by about 30 seconds. Woohoo!


Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rock N Roll Providence Half Marathon Preview

I planned this weekend's long run to follow most of the Rock N Roll Providence Half Marathon course. I skipped a couple of miles at the beginning and end. I don't think the elevation chart accurately portrays the uphills and downhills. For example, there is an uphill at the finish line! The course map, turn-by-turn directions, and elevation chart do not show this hill at all.

Overall, even with the changes in elevation, it looks like a pretty good course. Rock N Roll knows how to put on a good show. I am looking forward to it.

South Main Street


Look! It's Rhode Runner, my local running store.

Steep hill between South Main Street and Benefit Street. The race runs UP the hill, not down it. ETA: Oops! My route went the wrong way. The race does not go up this hill. Whew. It continues on for another block until it loops up the Benefit Street. The actual course shouldn't be quite so steep.

Benefit Street - My first time running on Benefit Street. It is one of the most historic and scenic areas of the whole race. Colonial-style houses, brick sidewalks, and nice view of downtown Providence and the Rhode Island State House.





I missed taking pictures of the Rhode Island State House. Too bad. We have a domed state house modeled after the U.S. Capitol.

North Main Street - Eh. This section will be boring and not shaded. Slightly uphill for about 2 miles. There was supposed to be an extra hill off of North Main Street. Thankfully RnR was smart enough to take it out. They claim it was too hilly, but really, it was in a not-so-good area. Not terribly bad but not somewhere you want thousands of runners going through.



Hillside Avenue - Shocker, there's a hill. Then a downhill. Then another hill. Not as bad I was expecting, though.

Hill 1

Hill 2

Blackstone Boulevard - I run on the Boulevard so much that I could probably run it with my eyes closed. Pretty, tree-lined street with large houses.

Steep downhill between the Boulevard and the river

The river - Yay! Water!


Bridge between the East Side of Providence and East Providence

Gano Street - I usually run up Gano Street. It's totally different going downhill. No picture because it really wasn't that interesting.

India Point Park - There is a random stupid hill in the park that I don't think is part of this course. More water!

Hurricane barrier

Hello, Providence

The rest of the course is in or near downtown Providence, Providence Place Mall, and the Rhode Island State House.

Rock n roll onward!!

Marathon Training Week 4

My training plan for the week was cross-train, run 3, 6, and 3 miles, rest, 6 mile pace run, and 11 mile long run. Stuck to it, mostly.

Sunday - yoga class, plus a couple of planks. Note to self: planks after yoga is not a good idea.
Monday - 3.8 mile run, plus abs, lower back, calf raises, and lunges.
Tuesday - 6.2 mile run. Humid. Pushed harder in the last 2 miles, thanks to running into some running buddies. Ran my fastest splits even though it was mostly uphill. Ran the same 6 mile loop as last weekend but ran in the opposite direction. Totally different. Some of my route was along the Rock n Roll Providence Half Marathon course. Did a couple of planks in the evening.
Wednesday - 3.7 mile run that finished at the gym, then upper body exercises and squats (with the 2 12 kg kettlebells and exercise ball again ... the kettlebells didn't hurt my hands and arms so much this time), then 1 mile run-walk home. More humid than Tuesday. Felt like breathing soup.
Thursday - Rest day. Ahhhhh. Extra sleep.
Friday - 6.2 mile run, the first 2 miles with DH. Nice and slow. Started a few hours later than usual, and boy could I have used some water. Also kayaked for 2 hours. I decided I was going to swap the 6 mile pace run with one of next week's 6 milers. I am running a 10K on the 4th of July (next Monday), so that'll be my pace run. I will probably shift my schedule for next week ... see how I feel after the 10K and adjust accordingly.
Saturday - 11.1 mile run with one of my running buddies. Planned a loop that followed most of the RnR Providence Half Marathon course. Both more hilly and less hilly than I expected. A tip if you are running on sidewalks. It's easier to look out for cars when you are on the left side of the road. Not really much different than the road.

Total Miles: Scheduled - 29, Actual - 31