Tag Archives: Running

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 😉

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? 😉

#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!

This Week Sucked [For Lack of a Better Title]

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Good (late) evening, blends. This has been a pretty lame start to June in terms of the blogosphere, and I blame that entirely on myself. I’ve been making excuses for why I didn’t have time to blog, but I’ve also been doing some serious prioritizing.

This past week, I did nothing but re-train for my fourth consecutive summer at my favorite job in the world, read for my two upcoming M.Ed. classes, sleep, try to spend an hour or so each night with my family, and eat — in that order. To say the least, this week was incredibly stressful. In order to prepare for next week’s one-week intensive course, I need to have read a 240-page novel, as well as a 186-page textbook. (Both of which I found out about 12 days prior to the start of the course.) Ready… Set… Go!

Oh, and did I mention that after two days of diligent reading and dogged highlighting, I discovered that I was reading the wrong textbook? That’s right, folks. Nothin’ like a jolting realization at 7:15 in the morning to jump-start my day. I’m now 50 pages into a textbook I don’t need for two weeks. Hey, I suppose extra-extra preparation can’t hurt!

Between training from 8:00-3:00 each day and reading for 1.5-2 hours per day, exercise and blogging have unfortunately taken a backseat. I did manage to squeeze in a 30-minute run around our Y’s indoor track and a couple of medium-intensity swims.

If you’re still a regular reader, I want to thank you for sticking around. I guess I lied when I said regular blogging would resume shortly. I’m going to do my best, but honestly, I haven’t had a lot to say of late. I try to be two things on this little blog slice — honest and positive. Had I blogged this week, I fear I would have been overly honest and “underly” positive. Not only have I felt pulled in all directions recently, I’ve had a bit of difficulty managing my stress level and keeping myself in check. Not enough hours in the day and too little exercise will do that to a person, I suppose.

In the end, what matters is not how well prepared I am to begin my six weeks of teaching in July, nor how many pages I have read in preparation for a class. What matters, first and foremost, is my health, and that is where my focus needs to be. This weekend and next week, while I’ll still be busy, I’m going to work on re-centering myself and focusing on what really matters to me.

Check back with me in a few days. I may have something better for ya by then 😉 Oh, and thank you to those of you who texted and tweeted, wondering whether I was AWOL. Your concern is greatly appreciated!

Looking Too Far Forward

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Confession: Recently, I’ve been having a bit of trouble seeing the forest through the trees with regard to my fiance and our future.

I’ll think to myself (read: stage-whisper with contempt), If he doesn’t like eating quinoa now, he never will. 

If he doesn’t start running this summer, he’s never going to train for that 5k.

If he doesn’t make time to look at rehearsal dinner venues, we’ll never find one.

[It’s all very dramatic. Obviously.]

What it really boils down to is this: Somehow, through all my “drunk soapboxes,” low-blood-sugar-fueled-bitch-fests, and fits of frustration and selfishness, I have somehow held on to a guy who thinks I hang the moon. He’s patient, he’s thoughtful, he makes me laugh every single day, and I believe he would literally do anything for me.

So what’s the problem??

Instead of fretting that he’s a meat-and-potatoes guy who prefers French fries to quinoa, the world (most likely) isn’t going to stop turning if our carbs come from different sources.

If running isn’t Ian’s thing and his profession demands that he study from 8:00-6:00, it doesn’t affect my running schedule.

Just because we haven’t found a rehearsal dinner venue 16 months in advance yet doesn’t mean that everything is booked up. I should be thanking my lucky stars that I have a fiance who is interested in the planning, who renders legitimate and realistic opinions, and who is so much more than the stereotypical “Whatever you want, Dear” wedding-planning type.

Recently, I’ve been so focused on The Future and all of the difficult decisions and life changes it encompasses that I’ve completely forgotten to simply slow down and enjoy the moment with Ian, as cliché as it sounds.

I’ve been much more wrapped up in the “what-ifs” and the unplanned aspects of our wedding than I have the fact that we are blessed enough to have families who get along splendidly with each other; the fact that we have parents who support our life decisions and our choices; and the fact that we are lucky enough to have hard-working families who are willing to give us the dream wedding we envision.

I’ve been concentrating so much on the next time I’ll see Ian that it causes petty disputes and unnecessary bickering that sometimes ruins the few hours we are spending with each other now.

I’ve been so caught up in my own head with decisions like Rent vs. Buy and Farmer’s Market vs. Whole Foods that sometimes I literally forget that I have another year of grad school — plus that all-too-important factor called GETTING A JOB — before any of this comes into play.

I need to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak. This is my wake-up call to myself.

The point is, I need to focus on what we do have instead of what we don’t; the time we can spend together as opposed to the time we can’t; the aspects of our wedding we have planned as opposed to the minute details which can wait; and the positive, the good, and the fortune I have in my life as opposed to the things which, quite frankly, don’t matter.

I’m still a work in progress, but hey, it’s a start.

“The future depends on what you do today.” –Mahatma Gandhi

Susan G. Komen 5k ‘13 Race Recap + Weekend

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Well, blends, nothing too exciting has been going on over here with the Lew Crew. We still do not have Internet; I am penning this post on Saturday afternoon, which marks our eighth day sans Web. I apologize for my prolonged blogging absence – because I’m just sure you’ve missed me terribly – but there hasn’t been much I could do. It’s been weird being able to access social media via my iPhone but not being able to blog. I’m sure some of my more tech-savvy counterparts would find a way, but I’m just not that hardcore 😉 I’m not sure when this will be published, but I wanted to write about a few subjects today.

No. 1: The First Week Home

Whenever I come home (Richmond, VA) for an extended stay, the first week home is always the most difficult “adjusting” week. By this I mean, there are many, many opportunities for me to make healthy choices… and I almost never do. Sweet Frog? Sure! Chick-Fil-A salad? Haven’t had one in awhile. Late-night Taco Bell on a whim? It is hard to resist those DLTs…

Truly needless to say, I haven’t made choices I’m proud of this week. My sister Caroline and I went to the gym both Monday and Tuesday and I ran about 6 miles total, but Wednesday and Thursday were flops. Caroline’s boyfriend Rob is visiting, and we’ve more than taken advantage of his presence as an excuse not to get out and move. I can’t and won’t deny that I am soaking up every minute of lazy relaxation before my summer gets can’t-stop-for-one-minute hectic, but I don’t feel good about myself when I look back on this week. (Two cups of coffee a morning, real Coke, French fries, Woodchuck, and cupcakes don’t exactly make an aspiring half-marathoner feel like a rock star.)

Of course, Friday I had planned to rest, so rest I did. I got up early, did some stuff around the house, sipped coffee and discussed wedding biz with Mama Lew, and caught up on a few episodes of The Office and Parks & Rec. Friday night was my dad’s final team party with the high school golf team he coaches, so we all went to support him. This party was at least the fourth one I’ve attended, and I love to hear the stories Coach tells about his golfers and the awards he presents. The food ain’t half bad, either 😉 Of course, there was the obligatory froyo trip afterward – contributing nothing but guilt to my week-long binge of crap.

Allow me to insert here that I made some healthy choices this week. I did run two days in preparation for the 5k and in the spirit of training for the half. I also ate breakfasts consisting of whole-grain cereal, Chobani, and fresh fruit. The dinners we ate at home consisted mostly of vegetables and lean meats, including a variation on quinoa bowls one night!

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[Shredded lettuce bed, parmesan couscous, black beans, steamed corn cut off the cob, sauteed green pepper and yellow onion, Jack’s Special Salsa, and fat-free sour cream]

In general, though, next week needs to look (and feel) a helluva lot better. Which brings me to…

No. 2: Race Recap

Saturday morning was in the low 70s and partly cloudy here in RVA. Perfect running weather, if you ask me. I was up and at ‘em at the ungodly hour of 7:00, but eight solid hours of shut-eye didn’t hurt. I was too excited to hydrate much, but I downed a Chobani, a bowl of Banana Nut Cheerios, and a few sips of coffee before our half-asleep troupe spilled out the door.

We got downtown and found parking a bit later than we would have liked, but there was still plenty of time to use those oh-so-fresh-and-clean “restrooms,” stretch, and find a place toward the front of the pack.

My dad’s and my goal was to complete the race in 34 minutes or under. Our goals have almost always been 35 minutes for 5ks, so I decided we needed to challenge ourselves a bit more.

We started off strong, barreling downhill, weaving around women with strollers and walkers who had decided to start in the first few waves. The first mile passed before I even knew what was happening in just 10:15 – our fastest mile time to date!

The second mile felt as if it dragged on for centuries. As my sister put it, I “wear the watch in this relationship” (i.e. I keep the time, and Dad is happy with knowing or not knowing). This was where I began to feel the full brunt of those French fries, the lack of water, and the heaviness of the food I had been consuming. I had a small stitch in one side as we crossed some uphill sections, but nothing that required stopping (read: I absolutely wanted to stop, but I refused to let myself). Just past the 2-mile marker, I finally conceded to taking a drink, but I didn’t stop running.

The third mile breezed by even more quickly than the first. I knew we needed to haul ass on an uphill stretch, then book it down a steep section, round the final corner, and sprint to the finish. When I saw that we had just 4 minutes left to complete our goal but I could not see the steep downhill segment, I wasn’t sure we would make it. Then, we began descending, and I felt almost as if my body and my rubber-legs were propelling themselves.

As we rounded the final corner, I said to Dad, “We have 30 seconds. We can do this. We can DO this!”

And do it, we did. We kicked it into high gear, full-tilt sprinting past my mom, who was snapping pictures on my iPhone as fast as she could.

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The finish line was in sight and no one was blocking my way as I pulled away from Dad. I crossed in 34:12 and he in 34:15, just shy of our goal. The victory was sweet finishing that closely to our goal, but not as sweet as if we had crossed the finish line together. He did not care that I pulled away and finished ahead of him, but there is something so much more rewarding to me about finishing with my running buddy.

We collected our pink medals and bottles of water and sat down in some shaded grass to stretch out and to rest. After a few minutes, we joined mom about 50 yards from the finish line to watch Caroline and Rob finish. She, too, pulled away, and they ran across the finish line one-and-two. Great sisters run alike, I suppose 😉

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After we hydrated thoroughly and took too many smiley pictures displaying our medals,

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we walked to a local favorite, Third Street Diner, for brunch.

 It’s always strange to me to have accomplished so much and be ready for another meal by 10 a.m. on race days. I was too hungry to snap pictures, but I chowed down on a tri-veggie omelette, an English muffin, fried apples, and OJ.

Well, I guess it’s about time I wrapped this up and ran a few errands. Hopefully we’ll talk soon, blends! Thanks for stickin’ around Sarcasm while I’ve been away!

Busy, Busy, Busy

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Good morning, blends!

I’m penning this post on Tuesday morning, though I’m not sure when I’ll be able to publish it. We have not had Internet since Friday afternoon, hence my accidental hiatus from Sarcasm. But let me back up a bit…

On Thursday, I took my two final exams(!); afterward, a bunch of my classmates and I went out for margs and bottomless chips and salsa. I was so excited to come home, I could barely sleep. In fact, I woke up at 7:00 Friday morning, already packed and rarin’ to go.

Friday evening, Ian, my sister Caroline, and I went out to dinner at one of my all-time favorites to celebrate: P.F. Chang’s China Bistro!

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Probably no one out there is totally Chang’s-obsessed like I am, but I have literally dreamt about the Ma Po Tofu, the spring rolls, and the lettuce wraps.

Then, we celebrated a little more. A few of my favorite ladies from college came over to Ian’s apartment, toting Bitch Bubbly and PBR.

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I downed more moscato than I care to admit; if it’s in the name of celebrating the end of one’s second year of grad school, it doesn’t count, right? 😉

Saturday we slept in until the very great hour of 9:00 (ha!) before heading to my house to help my parents put the finishing touches on their Kentucky Derby party. This was one of my dad’s Bucket List items, complete with an electronic spreadsheet betting system, enormous hats, and tables laden with fancy finger food.

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I placed $1 bets on Overanalyze (true to my nature) and Orb (not just saying that because he won!), respectively, and won $16.40! By the start of the race I believe there was over $220 in the pot. The big winner was one of my neighbors, who won $82 on Orb. I’m not a gambler, typically, but I could easily see how this behavior becomes addictive…

It was early to bed for all of us after a long but exciting weekend.

Sunday, it was cool and breezy downright freezing here in Richmond, but we decided to hit Arts in the Park at Dogwood Dell anyway, and we dragged Ian along. I always enjoy seeing all the different vendors’ wares, like homemade soaps and candles, handspun pottery, local artists’ tapestries, and jewelry made from natural Virginia materials.

We ate an early snacky dinner from leftover picnic and party food, and crashed in front of Myrtle Manor. Have you seen that show?!

Yesterday, we had a bit of a incredibly lazy slow start, but we (my mom, my sister and I) finally made it to the gym. I had planned to run a light 5k in preparation for the Susan Komen 5k on Saturday, but I started cramping so badly around one mile that I only made it through two. Perhaps a do-over is in order.

Well, blends, I guess that’s what I’m off to do. Hopefully you’ll be reading this soon. Ta ta!

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 😉

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  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. 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? 😉 Have a magnificent Thursday!

Half-Crazy

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Well, blends, it’s official:

I’m crazy.

Actually, I’m half-crazy 😉

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 Half 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 😉

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,  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! 🙂