Tag Archives: Half-marathon

There’s No Good Title for This Post

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I feel like by now, I should know that when I toss around words like “normal” or “routine,” my week will be anything but.

Monday, I developed a headache midway through the workday, but I was pretty well able to ignore it… Until it turned into a full-blown migraine after dinner. I was in bed by 9:00 and I couldn’t have been more grateful to myself for having picked out my outfit, packed my gym bag, and packed my lunch in the afternoon. Being proactive (read: OCD) pays off ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tuesday, my mom and Caroline and I went to see Jesus Christ Superstar at a Richmond-area church whose choir director was Caroline’s and my childhood choral conductor, and whose drama production manager is the current drama lady at my former high school. The musical (a.k.a. rock opera) was phenomenal, and it was hard to believe Jesus, Judas, and Mary Magdalene were played by high-schoolers!

Wednesday, I started to get that itchy, tickly throat I often get before a major cold, sinus infection, or allergy attack knocks me on my ass. Nothing ever really came of it, but I still felt like someone was progressively sucking the energy out of me as the day wore on. I had all but resigned myself to skipping the gym when I started to feel guilty… and I went anyway. I didn’t feel one bit like running, so I hopped on the bike and spun for about 30 minutes.

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While I was having a private pity party, a news feature popped up about Annette Fredskov, a woman who recently completed 366 (three hundred and sixty-six) full marathons in 365 days, finishing strong with a double-marathon. I thought, if this crazy bitch can run 26.2 miles every single day, how come my procrastinating butt can’t even train for 13?!

I’ve realized recently that no matter what I choose to train for, I’ll always feel like exercising differently. Training for something gives me incentive to push myself and try for harder and faster and longer and more difficult, but it also causes me to grow weary of that particular event. For example, today I “cross-trained” by swimming a mile:

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(i.e. putting off half training for one more day, but still getting good exercise and calling it race prep).

If I were training for a competitive swimming event, I would probably find excuses to run or hop on the elliptical. Swimming is just such a fantastic total-body workout, and it really melted my stress away after a long and difficult work week.

See what I mean? ๐Ÿ˜‰

#FirstWorldProbs at their finest: not knowing which elective exercise to perform when.

My throat still hasn’t felt any better over the past three days, though I have been downing this stuff and as many fluids as possible…

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…while pretending I’m naive to the fact that my body will excrete whatever it can’t use. Curse you, vitamin C threshold.

Getting to sleep by 10:00-10:30 every night doesn’t hurt, either, nor does not having much on my plate for this weekend. In fact, tonight’s activity of choice is studying for the CPCE I am scheduled to take August 24. What a delightful Friday evening! Ha…

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May your throat feel less scratchy than mine; may your Friday night be more adventurous than mine; and may your weekend be just as free and relaxing as mine. Ta ta!

Gym Hiatus, Over

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I got back into the gym yesterday after having been out for more than two full weeks due to our family lake-cation and then my first week of work plus Bible School last week. I was anticipating a difficult run, but I surprised myself by not only powering through 3.2 miles in 34 minutes, but breaking my PTR for a 5k! I wish that in real life, my body kept me at the steady pace the treadmill does… But I guess that’s part of the “fun” in the challenge of competing in races.

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I am not above the post-workout sweaty selfie. I guess I'm not above not having friends, either...

I am not above the post-workout sweaty selfie. I guess I’m not above not having friends, either…

Today, I was able to get in 28 laps in the 25-meter pool before the teenage lifeguards up on their high-horses blew their whistles with all their might, acting like the British were coming over a few rumbles of thunder. Swimming is my favorite form of cross-training, and probably the only sport at which I’ve ever felt I was good.

I’m not nearly on the pace of my half-marathon training schedule that I’d like to be. However, my goal for June was to feel relatively comfortable running six miles at a pop; goal accomplished! My goal for July, then, was to feel comfortable running nine miles at a time. Not only am I nowhere near feeling comfortable with such a distance, I have never run as far! I’m hoping to get back on track with my training as soon as possible, though comfortability with nine miles in the next two weeks is probably not feasible.

Neither my half buddy, Lauren, nor I has maintained our training schedules as strictly as we would have liked to, and we’ll readily admit it. I’m glad that we’ve agreed to move our half back at least until October, which will give us more time to train, to save money, and to prepare ourselves mentally for the challenge which lies ahead. Neither of us wants to lose sight of the goal we set four months ago, but we also don’t want to pay good money to be unprepared for something that could potentially cause us injury. Kudos to all you working moms out there who train for marathons year-round; I have the ultimate respect for you and how much dedication it must take to be so disciplined!

In other news, I had a revelation recently. Pretty much up til now, I’ve blogged when I had “something to say.” I try not to post vapid, ย empty material that isn’t worthy of anyone’s time. Not every post needs to be pithy or tug at your heartstrings, either. I just want to strike a balance. It occurred to me, though, that plenty of my favorite bloggers write something simple every day (or almost every day) in an attempt to give readers a window in their everyday lives. I’ve decided that as long as time allows, that’s the kind of blog I want to maintain. Here’s to making an effort at blogging as often as possible to keep you updated on what I do day-to-day! ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. Is there anything in particular you’d like to see on SWASOV? I’m happy to oblige!

Hey Coffee… Ya Miss Me?

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Howdy, and happy Thursday!

I don’t have a tremendous amount to tell you, because as you know, I’ve been in class for the past three weeks. Two weeks ago was Eating Disorders, and last week and this week were Substance Abuse and Addictions counseling. I just wanted to pop by because I’ve missed you all so much ๐Ÿ˜‰

I thought I’d share with you briefly my experience going caffeine-free. As part of my Addictions class, each of us was asked to “give up” something — obsessive texting, Facebook-checking, smoking, drinking two 2-liters of Coke a day, or what have you.

My poison? Caffeinated coffee.

Both Ian and my mom always joke that before I’ve “had my coffee” [read: come fully awake and gotten out of my sleep funk] it’s best not to talk to me unless you require little more than a grunt. I certainly wouldn’t say I’m addicted to coffee; I do, however, rely on it to wake me up and keep me awake on important mornings.

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I realized, after having been caffeinated-coffee-free for the past 10 days, how much time I used to spend on coffee as part of my morning routine. There’s not just the brewing and the drinking… there’s the doctoring, the mixology, the waiting until it’s the perfect temperature, and then the requisite stop at the “facilities” before I can head out the door. The past two weeks, I have had anywhere from 15-30 extra minutes to read, watch Netflix, get a few more things done, mow the lawn, milk the cow… You get the idea.

The real reason I decided to allow coffee to be the vice I would give up is because I don’t want to rely on caffeine anymore. I want caffeine to be a treat instead of a regularity. I have found that I relish this extra time in the morning; rather than setting my alarm later, I’ve been enjoying pushing snooze a time or two, and then languishing in bed before going through my routine without haste.

I did allow myself to make decaf whenever I wanted it because decaf doesn’t serve any sort of eye-opening purpose for me. The purpose it does serve? To be my after-dinner sweet treat while I read on the porch. It doesn’t take much to satisfy me in the sweet-tooth department, and a cup of Folger’s doctored with Truvia, a little skim, and a dollop of fancy creamer hits the spot ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m certainly not planning to give up caffeinated coffee or other beverages on a permanent basis. I’m just enjoying making them more sporadic. As evidenced by my attitude now compared with 57 hours in, this challenge has done me a world of good!

Just FYI: I’ve got lots of new stuff coming to Sarcasm, including vacation plans and an update to the half-marathon Lauren and I are running! Stay tuned!

Just Because I Can

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Guys… I have Internet. For the first time in 12 days. Twelve.

Somehow, our home computer contracted a Trojan which affected the entire shebang, modem and Wifi included. The computer was repaired almost a week ago, but we weren’t able to get someone out here to fix the wireless Internet until today. The poor guy was here for almost three hours, but he fixed everything!

I can blog, I can check my email (for real), I can at long last conduct wedding business, I can obsessively check my grades… Life is good ๐Ÿ˜‰

So I’m blogging at 8:30 on a Wednesday night, just because I can.

Rather than try to tell you everything that’s been going on — because honestly, it hasn’t been much — I figured I’d show you.

Monday night, Mom and I made my version of “spaghetti” with meat sauce, consisting simply of minced fresh garlic, EVOO,ย sautรฉedย onion, browned lean beef, diced tomatoes, and spaghetti squash.

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On Tuesday, I won’t say whom, but Dad someone was walking around the kitchen not-so-quietly, so I was hopelessly awake at 6:15 a.m. Since I hadn’t been feeling my best on Monday, I decided to be productive Tuesday morning. I snuck out of the house, trying not to wake anyone, but stopped short when I saw that it was sub-40 degrees outside. I actually had to use my ice scraper to clear my windshields and windows before I could drive!

I kicked my own ass at the gym by accomplishing a mind-bogglingย PDR:ย sevenย miles!

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I planned to break my run down like so: run 1 mile, walk 30 seconds, run 2 miles, walk 30 seconds, REPEAT until I reached 7 miles… completely forgetting that the treadmills at this Y automatically throw the user into cool-down mode at 45 minutes. I had to alter my run a bit, including completely stopping and restarting the machine. All in all, I ran 7.34 miles (warm-up, running portions, walking portions, a 3-minute stop, and cool-down) in ~91 minutes.

My legs felt like jelly when I finally stepped off the treadmill, but I felt incredible. Those 13.1 miles are looking less and less daunting with each new PDR! ๐Ÿ˜‰

This morning, I awoke to a (literally) answered prayer:

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Y’all… THE BACKSTREET BOYS ARE DOING A REUNION TOUR!!!

Finally. Nick, A.J., Brian, Howie, and Kevin [#notweirdatallthatistillknowtheirnames] have heard my prayers, and they’re even cruising with fans. AND, it’s the Millennium album. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Except that the cruise is in October. And I’m not 11 anymore. And probably everyone who is 11 and would actually be interested and available to go on this cruise is like, The Whatstreet Boys? Who?!

*Sigh.*

I guess Nick Carter really isn’t ever going to serenade me… even though now, he could serenade me while I sip a marg!

In other more realistic news, Dad and I signed up for our second 5k-a-month-all-summer 5k: the Richmond Firefighters Beat the Heat 5k in Shockoe Bottom.

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In glancing over last year’s results, it looks as though only about 350 people participate in this event annually. I’m completely fine with that, because we are looking to improve our time and just get out there and move. I ain’t lookin’ to make friends, ya dig?ย 

I kid.

Lastly, I finally satisfied my week-long craving for my favorite Tropical Smoothie smoothie, Mango Magic. I’ve been running errands with Mom all week, and we haven’t been anywhere near a Trop-Smooth. Today, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore, so I indulged. Mmm, mmm, mmmm!

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In all honesty, I thought I deserved a little treat for having eaten so cleanly this week, kicking ass on my run yesterday, and cross-training today by swimming 40 laps in 30 minutes. That half-marathon is not gonna know what hit it!

That’s about all that’s been happening around these parts. Thanks for hangin’ around Sarcasm while my little old blog was out of commission, and welcome to those of you who are new!

Question: What have you been up to this week?!

Shhh! It’s a Secret!

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Okay. I’ve figured it out.

The secret to running long distances, that is.

(And by “long,” I mean anything over 3 miles.)

(And by “secret,” I mean that gajillions of other runners have already discovered the groundbreaking, earth-shattering news I am about to share with you.)

When I was training for the 10k my dad and I ran last month, 6.2 miles seemed incredibly daunting. My mom kept reiterating, “You know, you can walk part of it…” and she’s exactly right.

But that just isn’t my style.

Before I ran that 10k, the furthest I had ever run was 5 miles. Even now, it is still one of my proudest fitness accomplishments. Running has granted me permission to learn so much more about myself than I ever would have thought possible. It’s a sport that challenges me mentally and physically in ways I had never considered before I began grad school. But, I digress. Six-point-two miles, I kicked your ass before you even saw it coming ๐Ÿ˜‰

When Lauren and I officially decided on the half-marathon we wanted to run and we began training two weeks ago, I found myself running safe distances. You know, distances I was already comfortable running. Three miles here, four miles there, maybe a five-miler to spice things up during a slow week. There was nothing impressive about my training, and certainly nothing that would lend aid to completing 13.1 miles in September.

On Monday, I decided I would attempt to run six miles — my furthest distance on the treadmill yet. I was pretty amped up about it, but ย also a bit anxious. What if I couldn’t do it? What if I got a stitch and had to stop? What if my legs gave out on me? What if a meteor hit my car? [That one’s for you, Dad ;-)]

I decided to put my fears aside, find a marathon of World’s Wildest Police Videos, and just go for it.

About a mile in, something happened that I hadn’t anticipated as my mind ran through a million what-if scenarios: I had to pee. Like, pretty bad.

[INSERT REVELATION]

I thought, What if I stop the treadmill but keep my iPhone running as a timer, take a picture of how far I ran before I stopped, and pick my run back up after I pee? In so doing, I broke my run into two legs, the first leg of which was 2.55 miles; the second, 4 miles exactly. Do you know what those two distances equal, folks?

Half of a half-marathon!

All told, I warmed up, ran the first leg, took a 3 minute restroom and hydration break, ran the second leg, and cooled down in 83 minutes. Ho. Ly. Shit. What a revolutionary idea — breaking running long distances into shorter legs?? Who woulda thunk?!

My excitement over this miraculous idea, plus my impromptu novice yoga sesh, carried me over to yesterday — when I decided to try it again.

I marched into the gym, armed with a full bottle of ice-cold water, and just having used the bathroom. Twice.ย I found CSI: Miami on the TV, and off I went. Metaphorically, of course.

I broke yesterday’s goal of a 6-mile run into two 3-mile legs, because 3 miles seems to be my “comfort zone” distance. I started my iPhone stopwatch when I started the treadmill, and kept it running the entire time. I warmed up, ran the first leg, and then rested and hydrated for 2 minutes.

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Then I ran the second leg and cooled down.

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All told, 77 minutes.

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The second run was a bit more difficult because I had jelly legs for the first half-mile or so, but overall it went incredibly well.

I don’t plan to run the half in bursts like these, but training this way will give me several advantages: the distance won’t feel nearly as daunting because I’ll have broken it up in different ways throughout training; Lauren and I plan to walk through the water stations as opposed to trying to choke down a cup of water while running, so small breaks aren’t too far off from our plan of action; and I can shave time off of my now-goal of completing the half in under 2 hours and 45 minutes if I train with longer breaks between legs.

Well, blends, the cat’s out of the bag now. Aren’t you glad I shared? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a magnificent Thursday!

Half-Crazy

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Well, blends, it’s official:

I’m crazy.

Actually, I’m half-crazy ๐Ÿ˜‰

One of my best friends and I have decided to run a HALF-MARATHON in September! We put a lot of thought into which event we wanted to be our first half, and in fact, our very first race together. We decided on the Divas Halfย just outside Washington, D.C.

We determined this race would be best for several reasons: (1) it’s catered to women who want to dress up in silly, frilly costumes and act like divas while kicking serious ass, (2) it’s a relative compromise on distance, as Lauren is in the 757 and I’m in the 434 half the time and the 804 the other half of the time, (3) it will [theoretically] give us enough training time, and (4) and it’s on a Saturday, making travel arrangements easier for us and for our enormous band of fans ๐Ÿ˜‰

Divas Half

We have already begun training. I’m at the point where running 4 miles is a comfortable distance, so that means 5 is next! I already know I can accomplish 6.2 comfortably, so I’m almost halfway there. My dad and I plan to run a race a month throughout the summer, ย so I’ll be able to work on improving my speed while competing. Lauren may be participating in some of these events, so the half will not necessarily be our first race together.

The race is September 14, so we’ll have had 5 months of training and race preparation. I’m toying with the idea of using Hal Higdon’s half-marathon training plan for novices, combined with a personalized cross-training schedule. I’m planning to swim this summer, as well as begin doing yoga to increase my flexibility and my focus.

Everything I’ve read says beginner half-ers need only (ha! “only”) run 10-11 miles max during training, and adrenaline will carry me through the last 2-3 miles. If you have run a half (or longer) before, please weigh in on this!

I’m also considering getting some tape to minimize chafing areas. I’d like to look into Gu or Gatorade Performance Chews another energy source for a mid-race burst. I need to consider some sort of race pack, as well as possibly a watch/heart rate monitor combo. I’d love to hear from fellow runners what you like to use and what you recommend!

This is all new to me, so I’m incredibly excited to be able to share everything from training to product reviews to costume-making to the actual half-marathon experience with you. I hope you’ll stick around! ๐Ÿ™‚