Category Archives: running

Makes zero sense. I can see that now.

NYR-image

I think it’s about time I pull out the Roger Murtaugh card.

I’m getting way too old to run a half marathon without training.

That seems superfluous, right? Regardless of age, people shouldn’t run 13.1 miles without proper training.

Well, it doesn’t go without saying in my universe. Until very recently I didn’t pay too much mind to this so-called concept of doing mini-runs to build stamina and endurance come race day. Explosive performance. Who needs it? Personal best. A tad needy, no? Quick recovery. Why hide the war wounds?

With a complete straight face, I say that my lack of training stems from my belief in being super awesome. I’ve written before how running marathons and logging those miles warps your sense of judgement for other races. I’m stuck in a marathon frame-of-mind … despite having dealt with injuries.

To kick off 2013, I signed up for the Los Angeles New Year’s Race, a nighttime venture that took you through downtown, Elysian Park, Chinatown and ended near LA Live.

I started training four weeks before the race. I stopped training three weeks before the race.

I trained for a whopping ONE WEEK. I showed up at the start line cold, out of practice and taped up.

Result? Pain. Stiffness. Tons of walking. And a crude reality check.

PHOTO: Race promo running past The Times building. From www.newyearsrace.com

 

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My Resoluteness

run-sole

I’ve had the same goal for three  years — run 500 miles in a calendar year. I’ve been thwarted just as many times.

In early December, I was training for a half marathon. I ran 6.5 miles without incident. It wasn’t until the next day, while walking, that I got an awful, piercing pain in my foot. A week later it hadn’t gone away. A walk through San Francisco floored me. I assumed a stress fracture. But, then, I settled on plantar fasciitis. Ice. KT tape. New shoes.

Resolution failure.

This 2013 will be different. So different that I’m renaming it. A quick thesaurus search came up with some options. Aim? Too weak sauce. Intention? A  built-in escape hatch. I had good intentions, but … Promise? I promise to run … (so ludicrous I can’t even finish)

Resoluteness, though, that’s different. This is my style of word — heady, heavy, purposeful, determined … gravitas.

This is my e-oath to go ahead and rock this thing.

Running progress: 57%

Three-quarters of the year is almost done, and yet I’m ahead on my 2012 resolution progress.

Like most of you, I’m sure, I had lofty goals in January. Eat clean. Get organized. Read every book ever published. Reverse global warming. End childhood poverty. Cure ____.

One of the few goals I made that was manageable and measurable was to run 273 miles this year. That’s one extra mile from what I ran in 2011. But it’s also 227 miles less than the ultimate goal — 500 miles.

Well, today, I’d like to share that I have resolved!!

So far in 2012 I’ve run 285 miles.

Way to rock, me. Pat on the back, me. 

Keep going, me. Though you met that goal, I still have 215 miles left to run in the next 3+ months. The image above is a screen shot from my Daily Mile challenge. I’m waaaaaaayyy far down in 20th place. And I’ve got my eyes set on the teens. I hope to tackle that runner by the weekend.

Silly runners — contracts are for fools

The year started off with a gun. I’ve been reflecting on all of my runs this year and realized that I’ve been on the starting line of a lot of races — and it’s barely the first few days of April.

According to my calculations, I’ve logged about 100 miles this calendar year. That’s on pace to meet my 2012 resolution, but a handful of miles behind where I’d like to be — that elusive 500 club.

This is the third year in a row that I’ve tried to reach that goal. I failed the first year because an ankle injury sidelined me the last two months of 2010. Then, because of that same injury, I got a late start in 2011. In an attempt to ratchet up the pace last year after I got the all-clear from my physical therapist, I recruited an accountability partner. That’s her pictured above at the bowling alley (Long live, SPARE-TA!!!!). And that’s our running contract that we’re holding — signed, dated and witnessed.

Some key language:

I, Claudia B., enter into contract with Nicole D.-M. (hereafter known as Parties) on this 13 day of April 2011 to hold each other accountable on the quixotic quest of running 500 miles in one year. I will be focused on reaching this goal before midnight on Dec. 31, 2011 or, more realistically, by Persian New Year on March 2012, if for no other reason than it gives the aforementioned Parties more time to complete the mileage...

Neither injury nor laziness can sever this contract…

I realize that this contract between Parties carries much more than bragging rights. There will be large rewards, penalties and punishments, which have yet to be determined.

Well, March came and went and neither of us ran 500 miles. According to my DailyMile account, which I began at the same time, I came up more than 100 miles short in the last year.

Injury didn’t hold me back, so it must have been laziness. But how can that be when the contract clearly states that that’s not allowed? Perhaps because it was never notarized???? Or maybe because we never settled upon a “lavish reward” for the first to finish??

I seem to be doing alright on my own in 2012. And a big reason for that are all the races. I know that without a reason to train, I’m not going to bother running. There are much more fun ways to get in a good workout.

After this weekend, I’ll have 13 more miles. Anyone else doing the Hollywood Half Marathon??

PHOTOS: Happy contract-signing faces; my one-year running reality

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The Post-Race Bagel. Oh, how I’ll miss thee

A little less than a month ago, I went drastic with my diet. I cut out breads, grains, legumes and dairy products. I’m taking the Paleo challenge, and though I was really pissed at having to do without pizza and peanut butter, I’ve managed to keep my head afloat. I am allowed bacon, after all.

The biggest challenge I faced came yesterday as I was running in the LA Marathon. First off, my routine pre-race breakfast included a slice of bread (not allowed) with peanut butter (not allowed) and banana (allowed). I switched it up and ended up noshing on banana and a handful of almonds. Not nearly as filling. I need my carbs. I swore my stomach was growling before I even began running.

Secondly, and more importantly, my favorite part about running in races is finishing. I love not running so much that I’m all smiles at the finish line (even when previous photogs have caught me giving them the evil eye). What’s not to love? You get a mylar blanket, medal and bombarded with food and drink. There’s water and Gatorade. More bananas and fruit cups and energy bars… and my personal favorite — BAGELS! God, how I love post-race bagels. I’d always walk out of the finisher’s area, arms overflowing with goodies and bagel in mouth.

Yesterday, after I finished my leg of the charity relay, I got slightly depressed at all the stuff I couldn’t eat. No granola bars or pretzels or Gold fish or bagels (sniff sniff).

Ok Paleo-ists, I’m open to some race eating insights because stupid bananas don’t seem so cool now.

PHOTOS (from top): Gorgeous day for a run in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 18. Mother Nature apparently likes runners since it didn’t rain at all during the race (though was still nippy during bits of it); All those bagels for all those runners who don’t know how good they have it.

Hills are cramping my style

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was recapping my horrendous Pasadena run and, simultaneously, vowing to do a better job of preparing for future races.

It actually wasn’t that long ago. Like two weeks ago.

So how’s it possible that I’m already woefully behind in training for another race? I have 12 days left before LA Marathon (1/2).

Now, I’m behind in mileage and waging uphill battles both literally and figuratively. And only in my world does a 10-mile recovery run turn into 6.5 miles of crap, cramps and cursing. Damn hills. I’m going to call it: Hills are overrated. Who needs them?

Running socks. Why again?

I’ve been out of the blogging loop for awhile, and for that, I apologize.
So here comes a jab-jab-uppercut series of blogs to get us all up to speed.

I ran the Pasadena RocknRoll Half Marathon this weekend. I need to be reminded why I choose to do these things because right now, it seems like a fool’s errand. It socked. Or sucked. Whichever.

For the following reasons:

  1. Failed to eat dinner the night before. I spent Saturday night prepping for dinner party I was hosting after the race. I thought it was genius on my part to plan a meal that didn’t require a lot of actually work the day of, so I set aside many things to do the night before. I gave myself a three-hour window, but more than doubled it. By the time I ended, I was too tired to eat.
  2. Didn’t rest properly. See above. I made it to bed past midnight and woke up four hours later. The organizers made a big deal about being in the parking lot no later than 6:30 a.m. Having been to the Rose Bowl during sold-out events, the last thing I wanted was to be stuck in the residential streets and timed out of my parking spot. I woke up and left my house earlier than I ever would have. Totally not necessary! Parked 40 minutes later.
  3. Nausea. I’m going to chalk this one up to a combination of No. 1 and No. 2, and a hastily eaten pre-race breakfast. Either way, not a normal morning for me.
  4. New running socks. Knee-high compression socks, which are meant to speed up my healing process, made my feet numb. I couldn’t feel my toes beginning with mile 3.
  5. Shoddy training. I’ll fall on this sword, no problem. I didn’t do such a bang-up job  and it came back to bite me in the ass with a vengeance. I got to 10 miles in training. On race day, as if on cue, my body falls apart after mile 10. It took an extra 5 minutes to run another mile, and like 20 minutes for the others.
  6. Pasadena. Yes, Pasadena is a reason in itself. It has hills (big ones) and when it doesn’t have hills, it has flat ground. EXCEPT IT’S NOT REALLY FLAT There’s always some little incline… Curse you, Pasadena.

I could say I’ve learned my lesson but only time will tell if that’s the case. Next up, LA 26 days from now. I think I won’t plan to host a party the day of… that’ll be a start.

PHOTO: We did get to run around the bridge, seen in the finisher’s medal, so that was a positive note.

Related items:

Week 6 update: I need a spatula
Week 5 update: Preparing to fail
Week 4 update: Funky divas in 3D
Week 3 update: Zero forward motion
Week 2 update: Training in style
The simplest things are the hardest to follow

Week 6 update: I need a spatula

There are two schools of thought in race training. The first is  you work hard and consistently so you can rest the week before the race. No long runs. No hills. Pure maintenance. The second is you work inconsistently all the way to race day because planning is not your strength. No rest the week before. You do long runs. You do hills. You get sideswiped by a kid on a bike. You almost fall into a storm drain.

One guess where I lie…  Yes, almost in a storm drain.

The half marathon is next weekend and I have no clue what the course will look like. I know it’s in Pasadena, which of course means hills. Here’s the rub:  I didn’t really train for hills. Oops

This weekend, when I should be well-trained and well-rested, I ran 10 miles full of hills. It began and ended with mammoth inclines. I didn’t calculate slopes, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were around 75 percent. This shit was steep. Like too-steep-to-drive steep.

As can be expected, it sucked. Big time. I was running so slow up the hill I should have just walked and saved my energy. What I was missing was my own assistant coach with a spatula.

Anyone ever see David Schwimmer’s masterpiece Run, Fatboy, Run? It’s classic Simon Pegg as an out-of-shape security officer who decides to run the London Marathon as a way to show up the sexy douche (Hank Azaria) who’s dating his ex-baby mama. Anyway, part of Pegg’s team includes his landlord Mr. G who encourages with more of a stick (aka spatula) than carrot. I feel I could respond to that.

If you see me dying on the course, please feel free to give me a little shove. 

PHOTO: Dennis (Pegg) running and Mr. G. close behind with spatula.

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Week 5 update: Preparing to fail

Coach Wooden is everywhere at UCLA. And rightly so! But I’ve had him ringing in my ears all week. More precisely, this little truism…

‘FAILING TO PREPARE IS PREPARING TO FAIL’

Alright, Coach! You got me. I’ve been slacking on my training. The half marathon is 16 days away and I still haven’t run 10 miles. I did no running this week (again). I could blame it on the wind or the freak Achilles’ heel pain. But really? Would you believe that?

I hereby pledge to run 10 miles this weekend, come hell or high winds or sporting events. Furthermore, I pledge to conscientiously put on my socks (no wrinkles) and look deep within for my own personal Pyramid of Success.

I am a Bruin, damn it. It’s in our stock. I will not fail.

PHOTO: Wooden wears the net after winning the 1975 NCAA championship.

Week 4 Update: Funky divas in 3D

During my last update, I had nothing to report. This one is much more positive. I ran my 7 miles. I picked a hilly route around my house and attacked it with my new shoes and new soundtrack.

I was feeling some ’90s R&B girl power. Who better than my chicas from En Vogue? Luckily, “The Very Best of…” was just long enough to get me through the distance. That and it gave me the extra kick I needed around mile 6. Made me channel my inner funky diva.

I know “Free your mind” talks about prejudice. But damnit if it isn’t also good advice on a run: Free your mind, the rest will follow.

Ooh, also occurred this week: I signed up for the LA Marathon as part of a two-person relay team. More on that later…

PHOTO:  The album cover that’s becoming my new running soundtrack.