Sunday, August 22, 2010

To Do: Run 16 Miles (Check!)

Today I completed my long run of 16 miles for this week. It took me 3+ hours and I walked many of the hills, but I did it!
To those of you, who like me, have never conceived of running such a distance before, let me tell you: it is not just a matter of putting your sneakers on and heading out the door. I mean, maybe that's what the Kenyans do, but we Americans have made it a whole lot harder. So basically, I sweat about a gallon an hour while I'm running. While gross, this is also detrimental to the body's ability to run: no fluids left? No go. You'll be stopped in your tracks. Consequently, since I am unable to hold a heavy water bottle while running, I am now the proud owner of a hydration belt.

Exhibit A)

The belt holds 4 small bottles which can each hold 8 oz. so basically, I've drained all 4 about an hour into my run. So runs of this magnitude also necessitate planned water drops, where I stash some fluids to refill the bottles on my belt.
If that wasn't complicated enough, sweating does not just involve the loss of fluids. It also means a lot of lost salt and other electrolytes. I had never thought much about the claims of sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade, how they had sugar, and electrolytes, and could help you max out your athletic potential. Apparently, they are correct. In order to absorb the fluids that I'm guzzling from the bottles on my hydration belt, I also need to be ingesting electrolytes. Actually, if I eschewed this necessity, I would be a risk for hyponatremia, where the my body fluids would actually be too diluted. I hear it's not fun.
So I am also the proud owner of a bottle of Nuun, which are essentially large tablets that I can add to 16 oz. of plain water and transform it into an electrolyte-rich beverage, quenching my thirst and keeping dehydration at bay, without the sweetness and stickiness of super sugary sports drinks.

Exhibit B)

All in all, the preparation for my run today looked a little something like this:

Hydration, of course, is just a piece of the puzzle. I also tried out my first GU energy gels today (the sample box I have is pictured in the first photo with my hydration belt). I had one gel 45 minutes into my run (Jet Blackberry was the flavor, which was alright) and then about an hour of so later I had a "GU Roctane" which is essentially a beefed up version of normal GU (I tried something like Pomegranate Berry or something - it was fairly gross). GU essentially provides all the things that I am depleting while running: simple and complex carbohydrates, electrolytes, long chain amino acids, etc. It definitely gave me boost, especially for those last grueling 3 miles.

So there you go. Who knew running 15+ miles would require so much planning! But I'm in it for the long haul. Next week is an 18-miler...eek.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Quick Thank-You

This month, I am working on my other marathon goal for this summer: finishing thank-you cards to all the wonderfully generous people who have donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for my marathon. At my fundraising website for LLS, I am greeted with this tremendous site every time I log on to check:

So as I am working on these individual notes, which are very important to me to do in order to be able to express to everyone how much their participation means to me, I also thought I'd send out a general thank-you to all who have offered and given their support. Besides the notes, all I have to do now is run 26.2 miles! Piece of cake.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Recon Trip to SanFran

This past weekend, I accompanied my Dad on his weekend in San Francisco for the American Bar Association. Most of my time was not spent with the lawyers, however, but trekking up and down the hills of the city. It is absolutely incredible! We also traced out the route I will be running for the marathon in October, and luckily it skirts most of the big hills, because it follows much of the coastline. There is one or two mean hills after you pass the little bit of land that stretches out to the Golden Gate bridge, and when you are running back out of Golden Gate park. Nothin' a pro like me can't handle...I did do a 10-miler while I was there and despite getting only minimally lost, I got to see a mix of the areas I'll be running in and I am all the more excited!! The views alone will help get me through those 26.2 I hope.

I also stopped in at Niketown while I was perusing Union Square...and they had my shoes all over the store! Including here, highlighted in a glass box!

It was also fairly inspiring to be in the store, as they have huge photographs of Olympians and other amazing athletes lining the walls and escalators. It's one thing to buy a discounted pair of running shorts in TJ Maxx, and quite another to buy some look-way-too-intense-for-me spandex racing shorts with Paula Radcliffe looking over your shoulder!

Overall, San Francisco seems to be composed of many smaller cities, all connected with the buses and cable cars and intimidating hills...I think my favorite part was walking around Chinatown and being surprised, on several, separate occasions, by sudden parades of students from some Kung Fu school throwing firecrackers and beating drums and hoisting up those huge Chinese dragon costumes. It was always quite a show! I hope someone during my marathon gets surprised by one of these:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An Ode to the Snooze Button

It is a fairly well-known fact that I am not a morning person.
This fact has really only affected my parents and my sisters, when on those dark mornings of high school they would dare to talk to me at 6 am. I would, in short, bite their heads off - especially if the conversation, or attempted one, preceded my banana and bowl of Cheerios.
These days, I am still not a morning person. It's not as bad simply because I do not have to start my day prior to 6am. However, I have discovered I also cannot run in the mornings - and this is no gift during these hot, dry summer months.
This newest September issue of Runner's World magazine covered this trouble in its article "Weird Science," which investigated the 20 most perplexing body issues that plague runners. To my relief, they assert that even morning people do not perform their best early in the day. Apparently, in the morning our overall body temperature in lower, as well as the levels of some hormones, which means that our overall aerobic capacity is decreased during those first few hours after waking. Aha! I am normal...ish after all.
I feel vindicated.
I will continue my late afternoon, early evening, and nighttime runs with the knowledge that I am exercising during the peak of my strength, flexibility, emotional mood, and motivation. Even if it doesn't always feel that way.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Special Mention Goes To...

An amazing story came to my attention today, via my Team in Training mentor Courtney Franson, of another team training to run for TNT in the Nike Women's Marathon composed of six sisters who are all running to honor their seventh sister, Nancy, who passed away in June 2009 after battling lymphoma for six years. Despite the risk of sounding super corny, what an amazing testament to the strength of love between sisters. You can read about the full story here and you can visit their Team in Training page here.

Also, today is a weight workout for me! We are now in the month of training devoted to "Maximum Strength." So while you are sitting at work today, and perhaps bored or in need of a laugh, just imagine me struggling with 70 lbs. at the lat pull down, while big guys around me bench 250.

Me, lifting like a champ

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Trouble with Having No Sense of Direction...

I am infamous in my family for having absolutely no sense of direction. I blame this on my mother, who ended up in Vermont on our way to Maine one year. Despite the many mishaps I have had regarding transportation and travel in general (I missed the train stop coming home for a vacation, I thought the odometer counted down...I don't want to talk about it)* I have adamantly denied this blasphemous claim for years. Today, however, during my long run, I definitely had some issues. What was supposed to be a 10-miler (got up at 6 am to complete it before work) turned into a 14-miler when I missed one of the turns. It wasn't marked. It's clearly the fault of the state of Massachusetts. The route I was supposed to follow is the first map below, and the route I actually took is the second one.

*About the whole thinking that the odometer counts down episode, I can only defend myself by saying that it is the fault of all those people who walk around so proud of their cars with 200,000+ miles on them. How was I supposed to know they were just proud that the car was still going, and not that they had 200,000+ miles left to drive until the car imploded.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Heading to Camp Jabberwocky!

Hello all! Today after my 9am (done and went swimmingly) and 11:30am tours I am heading to Martha's Vineyard to Camp Jabberwocky, where I have volunteered for the past 2 years. Jabberwocky is a camp for people with disabilities, ranging from Down Syndrome to cerebral palsy, and is fully non-profit, staffed by volunteers. You can check out our blog at! Below is a picture of me last year with one of my favorite campers, Scott!

If you are on the Vineyard this weekend, please go see Camp Jabberwocky's production of the musical "Fame!" This Friday & Saturday night at 7:30pm at camp, which is located at 200 Greenwood Ave, VH! It's free to everyone!

Also - last night had my 15 seconds of glory, as Justin Long (the Mac guy, who has also been in choice movies such as Accepted) spoke with me and had his arm around me while we failed to take a picture. I feel pretty great about that today. Just had to share.
Enjoy your weekends! Just think about me running my 10-mile long run for this week while you are lounging beside the pool...