Sunday, March 28, 2010

Half Marathon Training: Week 10

I finally mailed in my registration for the Skunk Cabbage Half Marathon. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have some goals and expectations for the run. I'd really like to run the entire distance without taking any walking breaks. This might be out of my reach given my experience this week, but I'd like to aim for between 2:24-2:37 (11-12 minutes/mile). This is my first real timed run, so I expect I'll learn a lot about pacing myself. The trick will be to not run so fast in the beginning that I'm too tired to run until the end, but also not to reserve so much energy that I still have fuel left at the end.

Monday The climbing wall is closed for spring break so I went to yoga instead. In my opinion, Tammi's class is the best whole body yoga workout at Cornell.

Tuesday So ridiculously sore and running 4.21 miles at 10'45" minutes per mile through the Plantations didn't help. However, it is really hard to say no to Michelle.

Wednesday Rest.

Thursday Michelle and I ran up Triphammer to Hanshaw Rd, came back to campus on Pleasant Grove Rd, did a loop around Beebe Lake, and then headed back to lab on Judd Falls and Tower Rd. It was raining and freezing cold (literally) by the time we got back. I did a total of 5.73 miles at a 11'21" minute per mile pace. Later that night, I caught the Cornell-Kentucky game. I like this quote from the New York Times via Amit that sums up so many things in life:
"There is nothing tragic about attempting a great leap and falling short. The tragedy is not even trying."

Friday Rest.

Saturday 12 minute warmup on my bike followed by a 1-2-3-2-1 interval pyramid that I read about in some magazine. Basically, you do 1 minute fast-1 minute easy-2 minute fast-2 minute easy, and so on through the pyramid.

Sunday Michelle, Brian, Mel, Nori and I went for a long run in Ludlowville (another old biking route of mine). I did 13 miles in 3 hours and 7 minutes. I was so miserable and frustrated with my poor performance after this run that it actually brought me to tears. After having a late lunch and lots of water, I crawled into bed to recover for about 3 hours. I was too nauseous to cook dinner so I tempted myself to eat with a slice of pizza. Luckily, the root of my problem was easy to trace: dehydration. Apparently carrying one bottle of Gatorade while running simply isn't enough.

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Half Marathon Training: Week 10 (modified)
Week of 3/22/10 red=incomplete; green=completed

stretch & strengthen5 run3 m run or cross5 m run + strengthrest60 min cross12 m run

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Half Marathon Training: Week 9

Daylight savings is here which means I can finally start walking to work again. It takes me about 25 minutes each way, and walking is surprisingly good for stretching out my muscles after a long run.

Climbing for 2.5 hours with Matt, Mike and Shamoni. I learned how to smear! I felt like Spiderwoman.

Tuesday Michelle, Melissa and I ran through the Plantations and around Beebe Lake. I added a few loops around Beebe Lake to make up for missing my Sunday long run. I did a total of 8.05 miles (my longest run yet!) at an 11'19" minute per mile pace. Eight miles of running is apparently equivalent to 25 miles of biking for me. It suddenly becomes very important to think about water and food. Next time I'll carry a Clif Bar with me. Other than being hungry and thirsty afterward, the run felt fantastic and I'm now confident that I can do the half marathon.

Wednesday Played squash with Madeline. Have my increased endurance and climbing muscles translated into superior squash playing abilities? Not even a little bit. Turns out squash requires hand eye coordination that can't be gained by all the running in the world.

Thursday Rest.

Friday Rest. Although I went shopping in Syracuse and trying on clothes for 3 hours should be considered a workout. I found my favorite workout pants for $20 at the Gap (great fabric, high waist so they stay put, and a pocket with a zipper).

Saturday Rest. I think my last long run was so nice because I wasn't exhausted, so I'm trying not to overdo it.

We're approaching run distances where we're starting to utilize my old bike routes. Awesome! Brian, Michelle and I did a variation of my favorite bike ride. My pace was 11'08" minutes per mile for a total of 9.2 miles. (I recalibrated my iPod based on the Google maps distance since the iPod said we ran 10.3 miles.) I carried food and water with me at the urging of a wise friend, and it made the run a lot more pleasant and will hopefully make me less sore in the morning.

Half Marathon Training: Week 9 (modified)
Week of 3/15/10 red=incomplete; green=completed

stretch & strengthen5 run3 m run or cross5 m run + strengthrest60 min cross9 m run

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Half Marathon Training: Week 8

Bah, "Team Vikram" won our Nike+ challenge again! He clocked in 75 miles this month, and "Team Poonam and Punita" totaled 51.5 miles. My personal total was 41.6 miles, which is up from 33 miles last month. That's about 10 miles a week. Not too shabby!

We had a small climbing group this time -- just Matt and me -- which was fine because I was pretty tired and definitely didn't have the energy for a very rigorous workout. I lasted ~2 hours and did a lot of bouldering. Bouldering is a great way to focus on technique and concentrate on each move.

Tuesday I started off the day with crunches and weight lifting. Michelle is out of town right now, and I wasn't able to motivate myself to go on a run after work.

Wednesday I started off the day with 30 minutes on my bike trainer.

Thursday It was a hot and humid 58 degrees when Michelle and I left for our afternoon run. Imagine our surprise when we plodded through several inches of snow to get to the Plantations only to see 2 feet tall snowdrifts and people sledding down the hill. All the best of summer and winter. We ran at a pace of 10'47" minutes per mile for 4.68 miles.

Friday I spent 50 minutes on my bike trainer before heading to work. I've started drinking consuming smoothies with my workouts, and it's amazing how much it helps my energy levels during and afterward.

Saturday Rest.

Sunday Apparently 3 beers is my new limit, although in all fairness I later realized that they were all >7% ABV. The results were staggering and I was in no shape for my Sunday long run with Michelle and Melissa. At this rate, the half marathon is looking less and less likely.

Half Marathon Training: Week 8
Week of 3/8/10 red=incomplete; green=completed

stretch & strengthen4.5 run3 m run or cross4.5 m run + strengthrest50 min cross8 m run

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Can vegetarians be triathletes?


But being vegetarian means paying careful attention to diet. I was reminded of this fact yet again when I tried to donate blood today. I was turned away because my iron level was too low. I've donated blood regularly for roughly 12 years, and iron has never been a problem until the past 6 months. Given my declining iron levels, the constant hunger I wrote about awhile back, and the fact that I'm starting to lose weight, it's apparent that I am still not meeting my body's nutritional demands.

I've been doing some reading about nutrition, exercise, and vegetarianism. I'm still in the experimental stages of figuring out what will work, but here are the things I'm currently trying:
  • snacking: Maybe okay in moderation? I'm replacing my midday Cheese-its and Sun Chips with healthy, guilt-free snacks like fresh and dried fruits, nuts, and hard boiled eggs. These snacks are rich in iron and protein, two of the weakest spots in a vegetarian diet.
  • multivitamins: It's easy to forget these on the rush out the door in the morning, but I'm hoping that by keeping them on my desk at work, I'll remember to have them with my lunch.
  • supplements: Real people actually use protein powders, ground flaxseed (high in omega-3 fatty acids), and the like. Simply eating healthy foods may not be enough for me right now.
  • smoothies: I've always heard that it's important to consume simple sugars during and immediately after exercise otherwise your body metabolizes muscle. I can't eat before or during a run, but it's easy enough to have a smoothie on hand for afterward.
I have another appointment to donate blood next month. If things haven't improved by then, I'll have to re-evaluate the question of whether I can balance training for a triathlon with being vegetarian.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Half Marathon Training: Week 7

This week ended up being a recovery week. For the first half of the week, I was too exhausted to do much. Then I got busy with work and life, and exercise slipped through the cracks. I think a week off to recover is a good thing, but I'm feeling a little behind since the half marathon is only about 5 weeks away. If I don't get any 6+ mile runs in soon, I might opt for the 10K distance instead because I know I can easily run that distance. If I do a 10K, I can try to run for a good time, whereas running a half marathon will be just to see if I can finish.

Monday Matt, Lauren, and I met up with Mike and Annie at the climbing wall. Lauren and I haven't been getting fatigued after one run at each route, so we've started doing each route twice in a row. It's more time efficient that way since switching who belays between each climb is a rate-limiting step. We spent ~2 hours at the wall.

Tuesday I was too sore and exhausted from the past week so I skipped my Tuesday run. Why is climbing making me more sore the more I do it?

Wednesday I had a long day at work so I really didn't feel like running, but I promised Michelle that I would run today. I felt great as soon as I got going. We ran to Game Farm Rd and I kept a pace of 11'19" minutes per mile for the 4.12 mile run.

Thursday/Friday Rest.

Saturday I woke up on Saturday morning in Queens, ready for a weekend of sight-seeing, eating, and drinking in New York City with friends. Unfortunately, I was the only one who wanted to be awake at 8 a.m., so I went for what was supposed to be a "short" and "slow" run. I ended up keeping a 10'38" minutes per mile pace as I ran 4.58 miles up and down the Union Turnpike. I didn't see a single other runner, which is quite different than when I run anywhere in Ithaca. Everyone was still asleep when I got back, and I managed to shower and get ready before anyone else got out of bed. Apparently my definition of vacation differs from other people's (no surprise there).

Sunday Rest.

Half Marathon Training: Week 7
Week of 3/1/10 red=incomplete; green=completed

stretch & strengthen4.5 run3 m run or cross4.5 m run + strengthrest50 min cross7 m run

Monday, March 1, 2010

Half Marathon Training: Week 6

Whew, this was one exhausting week. Luckily my body is getting stronger and can tolerate quite a bit of abuse. At least I'm going to NYC next weekend so I'll have a few days off to recover.

I finally understand why my friends like climbing so much. It's physically and mentally challenging, and climbers are an awesome and friendly group of people. Mike, Matt, Lauren, and I were at the wall for 2.5+ hours. Mike is a great motivator: I was exhausted (4 consecutive nights of not being able to sleep made me grumpy), but he convinced me to do route after route.

Tuesday For the first time, climbing left me incredibly sore. I can usually feel it in my legs (oddly enough) but this time I hurt everywhere. Regardless, Michelle and I went for an afternoon run through the Plantations. I kept a 10'30" minute pace for the 4.5 mile run.

Wednesday Some acquaintances who boulder on Monday nights asked if I could show them how to belay, so today we went to the wall. It'll be nice to have more people to belay me, but I think I'll lay off teaching until I've had more experience climbing. Teaching others to belay is lot of responsibility (and teaching 3 at once is too much!). I bouldered a bit while we were there... I think I'm maybe kinda sorta starting to get the appeal.

Thursday SNOW!! Too much snow for running, so I stuck with the bike trainer today. I did ~20 minutes while watching an episode of '30 Rock.'

Friday EVEN MORE SNOW!! It took me an hour of shoveling to get from my front door to the street and another 20 minutes to begin to unearth my car. And then there was a snowball fight, snowman building, hiking downtown for a concert, another snowball fight, and unearthing another car so I could get a ride back home. That totally counts as cross training, right?

Saturday My back and core muscles are screaming from all that shoveling yesterday. Nonetheless, I still managed to go skiing at Hammond Hill with Matt, Sarah, and Jaroslav.

Sunday My pride is going to kill me. I stayed out way too late but I was still to stubborn too cancel on my morning run with Michelle. I managed to do 5.05 miles at an 11'49" minutes per mile pace. Afterward, I went to a bike workshop that was sponsored by BikeIt!, where I learned to change a flat tire, patch flats, and adjust my brakes.

Week of 2/22/10 red=incomplete; green=completed

stretch & strengthen4 m run2 m run or cross4 m run + strengthrest40 min cross7 m run

Embracing winter

We had our first big snow storm of the winter, which was also the most snow we've received in the 2.5 years I've lived in my current house.

My house is *really* far from the street. This is the first time I've ever had to shovel my front walkway.

We snuck out of work early for some snowman building and snowball fights and then went to happy hour.

Even more skiing. The snow was incredibly sticky so it was more like hiking, but it was still really good exercise and an excellent way to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Dear iPod: I missed you, thanks for coming home

This makes me smile. Losing my iPod ended up being a far less expensive mistake than it could have been. After pondering all my replacement options, I came to the conclusion that I have the perfect setup. Before I got my Nike+, I had considered getting a Garmin Forerunner GPS or an iPhone which both do much more than just recording mileage. I've come to the realization that I don't need anything fancy. I want good battery life, a hard drive that can tolerate being dropped and sweated on, and a small size that doesn't interfere with my running.