Marathon Training – 12 miles

Can you believe it’s July and about to be July 4th?
I was out of town last week and stayed at a Kimpton hotel for the first time. The room came with a yoga mat, how cute is that? They also had on-demand yoga and fitness videos and the room was actually large enough that there was room for me to use it, haha. I’ve been in many hotel rooms where there was not a yoga mat’s worth of open space. I was able to put on a video and get a stretch session on.
complimentary yoga mat at kimpton hotel
The hotel also had these adorable bikes to rent for free but it the bike was too big for me so I didn’t get to try it out.
bike rental at Kimpton hotel
On my way out of town I stopped by Astro Doughnuts and brought home a 6-pack home for the fam. We loooove doughnuts. Even though my flight was delayed 2 hours, I didn’t eat a single one. Super hero status.
Astro Doughnuts
Astro Doughnuts
I came home Friday night and woke up at 6 am Saturday for my 12 miler. Yep, I’m already getting into the “crazy” distances. I made it to mile 9 before I started feeling a tiny twinge of knee pain and by mile 10 I had to stop running altogether. I walked the last two miles. Now remember, Coach Jeff’s plan has me doing the long runs at 15:00 minutes per mile by doing 15 seconds run/45 seconds run intervals. If I can’t even walk 12 miles without pain, how am I going to run/walk 26?? This gives me so much anxiety about being able to finish the marathon.
Before I started physical therapy, I couldn’t go 1 mile without intense knee pain so at least now I can go 9 miles. That is my only tiny shred of optimism – that by October that 9 miles will stretch to 26. But seriously. I have anxiety about it. I’m not going to physical therapy anymore but I am trying to keep up with my leg exercises. I wonder if I should try orthotics or a knee strap.
On Friday I’m running a 5k – Finish at the 50 at Gillette Stadium and it will be my third 5k of the year. My first two 5ks were sucky, and this one I know is going to suck too. It’s in the evening, and part of the course involves going up all of the stadium ramps. You know how if people who have OCD and they touch something but it doesn’t feel “right” it drives them nuts? I’m starting to feel that way about my last three (almost 4) races. I’m annoyed that I haven’t had a good race since last year. Please please please let me knee get better!

Ditch the gels! Fueling for a long run

I’m about to share with you a cool recipe for a gel alternative, but first lemme tell you about the best running club…

pizza and beer

On Wednesday, the “beginner running club” that I was training with permanently merged with the local regular running club. They welcomed us with a pizza party after the run. There were stacks of pizza and two pony kegs from a local brewery (Bucket Brewing):

pizza and beer

And there was a Saucony rep there, who gave me a sweet tank top. Then I won a branded Nike shirt in a raffle. Running, pizza, beer, and two shirts all for free? This must be the best day of my life.

running club prizes

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Race recap: Gaspee Days 5k

This weekend I ran my second 5k race of 2015. Spoiler alert: It was terrible. And I forgot to take more pictures.
The race was the Gaspee Days 5k, and this year was the 50th anniversary of the race. What is Gaspee Days? It’s an annual festival to commemorate that time Rhode Islanders torched a British ship. Because ‘Merica, dammit.
Packet Pickup
The biggest downside to this race was the lack of information, but I find that’s kind of a Rhode Island thing. You’re just expected to “know” where things are and how they work. After I registered for the race, I didn’t get information about bib pickup, parking, amenities… nada. Just the receipt showing that I had paid.
Race Day
After asking around, I learned that bib pickup was only offered the morning of the race. I didn’t even know the physical location. I looked at the course map and just drove there. The race started at 9:30, so I got there at 8:30 and was able to easily park on one of the neighborhood side streets. I walked towards the street that the race took place, and had no idea where to go from there to find registration. I tried to pull up the website but I think it may have gotten hacked because it was displaying a database error! I had to text a friend and she showed me where to go.
There was no line for the bibs; it was separated into alphabet groups based on last name. Considering there were 1600 runners, I was surprised at how quick it was. I got my bib, and picked up my shirt. The shirts are very nice quality tech shirts, but note the absurdity of handing out long-sleeve shirts for a June race? The sizing was also strange; it was huuuuge.
I’ve been training with the Rhode Runner beginner running group, so it was neat to be with a team. We had a home base meetup spot where we stored our stuff, did a big group warm-up, and wore matching shirts.
 gaspee_1
Next thing ya know, we were lined up, someone sang the anthem, and instead of a starting gun, there was a cannon. We were off! I had high hopes for myself for this race. Between my training and the straight out-and-back course, I thought I’d finally be able to redeem myself. However, I didn’t account for the heat and hills. I was right on target up until half way, and then I just felt overheated. I also felt like the 2nd half was completely uphill, though some of that may have been my imagination. It was already 80 degrees by the time we started running and it only got hotter. Oh, and since the course was straight out-and-back, and the same as the parade route, the spectator crowd was huge. There was no time to get lonely or slack off with all of those people watching.
Finish Line
After I crossed the finish line, I grabbed a bottle of water and walked around while my head cooled off. About 5 minutes after I finished and downed my water bottle, I noticed that there were no more bottles of water. The poor people who finished after me had to walk up a little hill into the parking lot, where there were water coolers. I felt really sorry for them, because a) it was hot as hell, and b) no one was telling people where to go, so they didn’t automatically know where to go for water. You just had to figure it out. Again, this lack of information was annoying.
I finished in 36 minutes and change, which is 4 minutes slower than I wanted. Once I made it up the hill back to the race headquarters, there were two beer tents with free beer from local breweries, plus boxes of chips and even some boxes of donuts (Boston Creme of course). I chose to walk over to Dunkin and get some iced coffee though:
 gaspee 5k
Apparently this race, and the parade afterwards, is one of the things to do in RI. I felt like every 5k runner I knew from all of my separate social circles were all there that day, and everyone schedules BBQ’s and pool parties after the parade. When I got there at 8:30 am, people had already reserved their spots on the parade route. I’m glad to have knocked it off of my Rhode Island bucket list. The parade was hours long, and it was just this over and over. Also, imagine a lot of Don’t Tread on Me flags.
Gaspee Days parade
I had high hopes for my performance this race but I’m frustrated that I seem to have lost all of the speed gains I made last year. And I paid $$ for that coaching! I’m also really frustrated about my knee. At the beginning of this year, I could only run about a mile before having to stop due to knee pain. I did 6 weeks of physical therapy and thought I was ok to run but every time I try to speed up, my knee gets aggravated. I can do about 3 fast miles before my knee acts up. On the other hand, I did my long “run” of 10 miles at a pace of 15:00 minutes and felt fine. All of this has me very worried about whether I’ll be able to complete Marine Corps Marathon in October :( I hope I don’t have to walk the marathon; that will be so embarrassing.

Updates from the District

I’m still kickin around – in DC, pretending to be some kinda fancy lady.
june2015_dc3

I feel bad about not updating the blog but I don’t want to blog from my work computer, and I’m not traveling with my two laptops so…
shrug

My workouts were on point. On my first day, I ran all the way up to Georgetown. I haven’t seen Georgetown since a high school field trip so that was neat to me.

june2015_dc1

june2015_dc2

This is the Washington Harbor, another new sight for me. I got caught in a thunderstorm in the middle of my run and had to hide under an awning for 20 minutes but I made it home, soggy shoes and all. The hotel gym is one of the best I’ve ever seen, so I also got in some strength workouts in the mornings. Oh, and I finally got my marathon plan from Coach Jeff so it’s real now. I’m in full-on marathon training mode.

The food has been awesome – see my Instagram for evidence. Asian food has exploded here; much different than when I was an intern 5 years ago. I’ve been eating all of the awesome food but aiming for smaller portions. The downside is that I still have that “vacation fat” feeling so I gotta tone it down.

It was SAVOR week, which had a lot of craft beer related events throughout the city so I couldn’t exactly pass them up. I went to one with Natty Greene’s Brewing Co (from Greensboro) and won this big metal bar sign:
june2015_dc4

Along with some new beer mugs.

I don’t have time for thorough reviews of everything but here are some of the places I ate or drank on this trip, along with my highlights:

  • China Chilcano – many different pisco cocktails
  • Astro Doughnuts – on National Doughnut Day of course. There were only two flavors left. I had Nutella, but the plain vanilla glazed was better.
  • Maketto – EVERYTHING
  • City Taphouse – fried soft shell crab & avocado sandwich! though the arugula quinoa salad was disappointing
  • Belga Cafe
  • Daikaya Izakaya – EVERYTHING. I tried to get ramen twice (here and Toki Underground) but the lines were way too long. I still need ramen

Travel woes

Guess what? I signed up for another round of e-coaching with Jeff Galloway. For the past 2 months I’ve been trying to start my marathon training for Marine Corps but I’ve been aimless, despite making my own schedule so I am putting myself in Jeff’s hands. A perk is that past coaching clients get a generous discount, so it’s only $175 for 6 months of coaching. I filled out my questionnaire and I’m anxiously waiting for his instructions.

Last week was great, fitness-wise. I did two short runs, a long run, and two weight sessions. I was happy that I fit in all of my workouts despite the holiday and celebratory things I had going on. I went walking along the beach:

beachhiking_1

And tried not to fall off of a rock:

beachhiking_2

Diet-wise, I was terrible. It’s really hard to be consistent in my diet when I’m always traveling. I can be perfect with my diet when I’m at home, but then I have to travel again and everything gets thrown off track, and it takes a week after I return to get back on it. I hate this cycle and I don’t know what to do about it. I was spoiled before that when I had access to a fridge and kitchens, but I’m kind of lost when I don’t have that. I need to get it together like, yesterday, because my summer schedule is hectic. From the beginning of May til the end of Sept, I’m going to be in this “away for one week, home for 2 or 3 weeks” cycle. Exciting for my life adventures but bad for diet and exercise consistency.

I think exercise won’t be too bad, since I have hotel gyms. It’s just the long runs and track workouts will be difficult. Food is the main difficulty. Even if I try to choose healthy lunches, restaurant salads can be a mystery as far as calories go. Then I’ll have dinner out with friends every night and I don’t always get to pick the restaurant. I did alright last summer when I had to eat clean during my travels because of the magazine photoshoot so I just have to do it again but on a more difficult scale. If the first step is recognizing that there’s a problem, it’s a start?