Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Commuter Running Rehashed

Before I left work for graduate school I was running home from the train and finding it was fine but I was still struggling a little with it. I have found my solution. I walk to the train in my running clothes, with my work clothes in my bag and run home. The biggest issue I was having before was what would I do with all the extra stuff, like an umbrella and coat, that I needed in the morning. And this time around my even bigger issue is the bus system. I usually take a bus to the train and it is scheduled to arrive every 10 to 12 minutes. So I would normally arrive at the stop about 5 minutes early with a one bus buffer if anything were to happened. However I found this past month as I have started needing it to arrive consistently it is not consistent, other than consistently late, very late. I have on many occasions stood at the stop for 30-40 minutes. If you're doing the math that is 3 to 4 buses not arriving. They do eventually arrive, just all at once. So now instead of standing there getting mad and frustrated that I'm late for work or panicking because the little girl I need to pick up from preschool is going to wonder where I am and I need someone to take her for the additional time it is going to take me to get there, I have started walking.

The sad/awesome thing - it takes me 35 minutes to walk to nearest easily accessible train station (the other two, like the one I run from is up a huge hill). That is shorter than the total time it takes for me to get the train via bus when the bus is on time, which I find a little sad. The awesome thing is I get to enjoy my neighborhood, have less stress and enjoy my latte on the train when I get to the station. No stress and a little gentle cardio.

I am still running home and doing weights when I get home. When the weather turns I might opt to vary this format and pick up some more yoga, but right now it works amazing.

I say all this to encourage you to investigate how you can get to and from work healthier for you and the planet.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

It Has Been A While

My apologies, it seems graduate school and juggling blogging is a skill I have yet to master. It is my hope that I can get my posting back up to speed and in the process document a full year of running ahead of me (and my Dad).

To update things - last October we ran the Portland Marathon. I will say as much as I love the Philadelphia Marathon, I think the Portland Marathon eeked past it in fan support and the organization of the finish line. The food after finish line is always a nice perk, but now that I am gluten free I have noticed how few options there often are to the point where it almost seems like an additional punishment rather than a reward. Well Portland had gluten free bread - the joy. I am sure I was slightly delirious but I told the young lady handing it out that if I wasn't sweaty I would have hugged her and it warranted a thank you letter to organizers.

So that is where we've been.

Where we are going?

Well back to Portland for sure. We will be running the marathon with hopes of improving our times. I will also continue training for the Ragnar Relay series which I will be running with a team of 11 other ladies in the Florida Keys next February. My father and I may do the Vancouver Marathon although given the heat this year during the running I'm extremely hesitant, we may opt for just doing the half or we will pick another one earlier in the Spring.

This is all amazing but we have a goal. A BIG GOAL.

The Ragnar Relay, Ultra (Mixed Team) in October 2014 - Washington, DC.

On the food etc front - still gluten free and slowly feeling my body fully recovering - which is a huge blessing. This is the first year where I have gotten sick, even really sick but managed to survive more or less and not find myself continually cycling back.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gels and Gatorade - Are you good to go?

Food and running goes hand in hand, you cannot run without food and well food is more enjoyable if you can run some of those calories off.

So that being said, I think there needs to be a little introduction to running and food, specifically the technical foods:

Runs an hour or less:

Liquid: There is no need to Gatorade or any other replacement drink.  If you feel you're in need of something, then cut orange juice by 50% with water.  If it is boiling hot and you are sweating like crazy my suggestion would be to pick a different time to run.

Gels: Don't need them, you have enough glycogen in your muscles

Runs longer than an hour:

Liquid: I would still opt for either watery Gatorade (watered down powdered mix) or a watered down 100% fruit juice until you're up to a run that is 1 1/2 or that is really warm.  This is not to say that Gatorade doesn't have its purpose it definitely does, it just gets abused a lot of the time.

Gels: You can - I would say if you know it's going to be closer to two hours that when gels are really needed.   That being said, don't wait until you think you need one.  It is on these runs that you are going to be testing out any race day fuel needs.  So that being said go to your nearest running store buy a few packages of gel that you like or think you might like.  Personally I'm bland when it comes to these things, I want vanilla or unflavoured.  Make sure to try a few brands and if you need the jolt, there are ones with caffeine added.   I personally can really only tolerate vanilla flavour by GU but their lemon/lime and unflavoured are also tolerable.

So now that you have your gels, pick one, and at the hour mark of your two hour run, take a 1/3 of the package and then every 1-2 miles take another 1/3 - while washing them down with WATER. I am aware that GU states that their gels are to be consumed all at one time, I find that my stomach violently rejects this policy.

I have found this is the best way to make sure my stomach doesn't freak out about having new contents that require digesting.  It also helps your brain belief you are keeping the energy coming, that way you can efficiently wage the battle of the "I feel so drained" or whatever else your brain will be telling you.

You don't have to pick gels either there are other options ranging from eating fresh dates to sport beans to potato chips and M&M's.  Personally in that spectrum the only thing I can get behind is Sour Patch Kids - bizarre yes, but they're small enough to suck on and I find the sour refreshing.

Photo: http://ncrunnerdude.blogspot.ca/2009/05/sports-gels-galore.html

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Combination Post

Runner's World just sent me an email proposing that if I want to get lucky I need to factor running into my love life.  The last time I checked it was difficult enough for me to manage normal dating.  Now granted running and dating does give me the chance to figure out how much effort I will need to flee the relationship but I don't think that is what you should be thinking about in the beginning anyways, right?  I shouldn't be figuring out how many miles at a sub 9 minute mile I would need to do to get away... especially since I've stopped online dating.

But that's not the point of this... my question is more generic, is mixing a run and a date together a good idea?  I posted the question back in 2009 when I started running because Asics ran an ad about the idea.  At that point I posted the "rules" if you will and I still think they apply - quite simply play nice and dress appropriately - in theory the standard rules that apply to non-running dates or running dates that are not well date-dates.

So here are my questions - what makes a running date a date-date?  A sweaty hug? A post run smoothie? And why would you consider doing a running date with someone of the opposite sex you are not related to?  Sure I run with my Dad but this is a very different topic.  I can see the appeal - testing out to see if your date is someone who cares about their health or more specifically has had a good sip of the marathon kool-aid.  Sure you do need someone to understand the insanity of running a marathon - my first two meetings/extended dates with my ex-boyfriend (we were a long distance relationship) happened around the Philadelphia half and the Houston Full.   He saw the ugliest part of it - getting me to the race and back in Houston, fighting me as I refused to eat.  I don't know if a relationship should be based on something like running... these are all the things I mulling over after my first non-date running date with a new partner this past Sunday, the whole process made me feel like it was a date in the sense that it still came with anxieties.  Though they were more about how fast should I run that what should I order, or I hope I don't look like a drowned rat when it's all said and done rather than I wonder if this is too much cleavage.

So this Valentine's Day maybe just run on your own or find someone to run with... and remember it's up to you how far you want to go, for me 5 miles is about right.

And since it is still Music Monday and given everything that has happened may I suggest:

Monday, January 30, 2012

Music Monday

I found myself tapping along to this while in the library and even vaguly attempted to shift in my seat in a rhythmic fashion - so I think that makes it completely suitable for a Music Monday song.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Speaking of Ms. Michaels

Cross training is a theme that is in every Runner's World edition in some shape or form but I still truly believe is the last thing most runners consider and if we do even dwell for a moment on it - it is the form of another sport such as swimming or biking or yoga.  All three are fabulous and should be considered, but they are not the same as a cross training. Swimming is not weight bearing - which is helpful for being a rest option but for overall tone and development it does not demand the same muscle recruitment as squats, lunges and all variety of exercise forms.

Now I'm not promoting Ms. Michael's as the be all and end all of exercise videos, but I think that she's also a good option.  It's challenging but not long and exhausting in the format and there is enough variety that even someone like myself with a case of ADD when it comes to certain activities it works.  So whatever you do whether it's a toning class at your gym or a DVD at home - just keep moving, every action will help.

Her DVD's are available in stores or online - I purchased a season from iTunes.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Week 2 and 3 Update

Week 2 was a bit of write off given the weather around these parts.  I am all for running in the snow or in extreme cold weather, but when they combine together with ice and slush it's a recipe for a butt plant and a broken hip. 

Week 3 was a definite make up week for me:

Sunday - speed work - 2.5 mile sprint of sorts - I started behind my Dad and had to play catch up in the pouring ran with a strong headwind.
Monday - the same weather was happening so instead of our usual 5.5 mile run, my partner and I did a 1 hour Jillian Michaels' workout in her home.
Tuesday - Despite the fact that I could barely move we did an Insanity "Rest Day" work out.
Wednesday - 4 mile run with two other running partners
Thursday - Rest
Friday - 5.5 mile run with 30 minute JM work out.
Saturday - Rest

This is a lot of more activity than I have been doing for the last little while - the increase in activity is a combination of factors, primarily the weather and a realization that as I age no amount of mileage is going to tone and strengthen my body in the same way that combination of running and cross training do.  If you don't believe me - let me know how you feel the next day after one hour with Ms Michaels.'

Monday, January 23, 2012

Music Monday

In all the junky holiday television there is normally one or two redeeming parts - the discovery of Mac Miller is one of those - he may not be for everyone - but then again I assume that most of my music preferences are not for the majority as is.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Music Monday

Nicki Minaj is a graduate school favorite (and graduate school is just like running a marathon) - why and how she became a figure on the cubical dance mix I have no idea.  You think I'm joking - just walk around the cubicles towards the end of the semester - you might catch a glimpse of me trying to convince myself that a few more hours can be salvaged out of the day by listening to this:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Week 1 Training Update

I am going to try and keep some form of an update/post schedule to keep me on track.  My primary training partner/best friend and I are trying to hash out a solid program we won't let slide again.  We have both come to realize the older we get the less forgiving our bodies are when we fall out of the running wagon - it takes a lot to catch up to it and get back on.  It always surprises us when we do - stop running that is, because we both love it.

We ran 3 days last week - 6 miles on Monday, 5.5miles on Tuesday and Friday.  I normally run 6 miles with my Dad on Saturdays but I had weekend school, so he ran in the snow without me.   Yes I am aware that this mileage looks nothing like the sample training guide, and it doesn't hold to any traditional form of short and long runs.  Right now N and I are trying to just get really comfortable with 6 miles as a regular run before we start working with speed work and longer distances.  Her and I will start adding miles on to our Friday run, all while I add distance onto my Saturday run with my Dad.  Yes this does defy appropriate training, I have found however, that for myself, the biggest issue is dealing with fatigue - accepting fatigue and going through it.  It always surprises me when I run two runs back to back and keep pace with both - my brain is telling me I cannot where I know I can.  I guess I'm chalking it all up to really good training for an ultra, which I would like to do next summer...

I'm rambling - sorry as much as my legs work when they're tired, my brain does not do so well after a 12 hour intense class weekend.  This week's schedule is a little different - I'm going to be on my own for all but one of my runs, hopefully the weather doesn't cause too many problems.