Monthly archives: March, 2012

Boston Marathon: Taper {16 miler}

I woke up at a shocking 5:45 a.m. today and put on my running clothes. After sleeping in for 4 weeks, being up so early felt rough and strange. While my sports doc had told me that I could run 20 miles this weekend, I didn’t think it was smart for either my heel or my legs in general plus I had a meeting with my new gym at 9 and couldn’t devote 4 hours to a 20 miler. 16 on the other hand felt do-able.

I fueled the same way as usual with half a piece of toast, sunflower butter, raisins, and walnuts and then headed out the door.

I knew my run was going to be tough and that there was a chance I might not finish so I brought my iPhone, public transit card, and cash. I wanted to be prepared for any situation. I also kept telling myself to run slow. My goal today was to finish the distance, not work on speed.

I’ve noticed since starting to run again this week that I actually feel like I’m in better CV-shape and can run faster than I could previously. However, my legs aren’t there right now so keeping a slower and steady pace is key.

My legs felt fresh off the bat and I let my pace get a little out of hand. With much effort I slowed myself down and felt pretty good until around mile 4 when my quads started to tighten up. This lasted until about mile 8 when the tightness shifted to my calves, I couldn’t win. When I was moving I felt fine but when I had to stop at crosswalks my legs were locking up. I fueled with half of a medjool date at mile 10 and the other half at mile 14. I kept myself moving and thankfully didn’t feel any alarming pain so I pushed and completed the entire 16. Whew!

Obviously this run wasn’t my best but I am so proud that I was able to complete one more long training run. I feel a lot more confident about my ability to run and finish Boston after today. Mission accomplished :), training is so incredibly mental for me! Hopefully in the next 2 weeks my legs will continue to re-acclimate to running and it will continue to get easier and easier to bust out miles.

Also, I want to reiterate that if I didn’t have the marathon looming in the future, I would not have pushed my body 16 miles today. Unfortunately, the date of Boston is out of my control ;)

After my run I had to go to my new gym for an orientation aka pitch for personal training. I didn’t have time to eat anything between my run and the meeting so I grabbed a water at a 7-11 and headed over. When I left an hour later, my stomach was growling!

Breakfast when I got home was speculoos cookie butter baked oatmeal with banana sauce. Obviously I was so hungry that I dug in before I could take a picture. Oops!

I’ve spent most of today relaxing and watching X-Files with Ian, we have big dinner plans and I want to make sure I’m well rested :)

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

Evening Running & Gluten Free Products

Ever since my heel injury, I’ve been trying to find out what was different about my marathon training this time around that would have led to an injury. I followed a similar plan, didn’t drastically increase my mileage, and have been running the same routes both long distance and short (I’m boring that way). Really, the only thing that has changed is my reliance on the treadmill.

For previous marathons I have used the treadmill at most 3 times per month for days when it was too cold/snowy/icy/hot to run outside. I have also never been as busy as I am right now while training and jam-packed days + homework has pushed my workouts to early early morning. As I’m not very comfortable running in the dark in Chicago, this has caused me to rely more on the treadmill.

Enter the dreadmill and running on it 3 or more times per week. Now, I don’t think that the treadmill is the only contributor to my injury (I also need to include more recovery runs, look into new shoes/orthotics etc) but the association is alarming and at least for now I am avoiding the treadmill like the plague.

What does this mean for fitting in my workouts? Well, I’m going to have to start running in the evenings (at least temporarily until its lighter in the mornings) which is going to be hard for me, I’m such a morning runner!

I could sit here and list the MANY reasons why I love running in the morning, but I’ll spare you and instead share one of the main reasons I decided to start running in the morning in the first place: stomach troubles.

I don’t remember having stomach aches before college but once I cleaned up my diet and made running a priority I started having stomach issues. In college, I decided to stop drinking cows milk and that helped with a majority of the problems at the time but even still I was always much more comfortable working out right after waking up.

While I was in undergrad, I worked at a social science institute that did a lot of research in Nepal and after graduating I was given an opportunity to visit. I saw a lot of interesting things and had many amazing opportunities while I was there including riding an elephant bareback and visiting Buddha’s birthplace. I also contracted a nasty parasite/virus/sickness that caused me to lose almost 10 pounds in three weeks (I was lucky and had two bouts of the nastiness).

Now I don’t know if whatever happened in Nepal exacerbated an underlying condition or created a new one but since then my stomach has never been quite the same. Sometimes I feel sharp pains in my abdomen and I can’t stand up straight but more often than not its annoying and uncomfortable bloating. Unfortunately this happens pretty often which is why I haven’t blogged about it before.

I’ve completely stopped chewing gum and drinking Diet Coke (two prior vices) to see if that would improve things and it did slightly. I also (pre-blog) cut out dairy which seemed to help things for awhile but it was never a complete fix. I’ve added dairy back in since then.

I tend to notice bloating after I eat starchy foods and sweet baked goods and so now I’m wondering if I have some aversion to either gluten or refined sugar. I’m obviously not a doctor and am not trying to undermine food allergies, they’ve very serious conditions, but I am trying to improve my health and help me feel more comfortable. I intend to see a doctor after I graduate when I have more time to both keep a food diary and work at elminiation diets (both take a lot of planning and dedicated time that I just don’t have right now) but until then I’ve started to add some gluten free foods into my diet to see if I can tell a difference. So far I have (but then again its so hard to know without complete elimination) and I’ve actually really enjoyed the products I’ve tried. Plus, gluten free oats were cheaper than normal oats at my Trader Joe’s last week so it was really a no-brainer.

If you are all interested, I can keep you updated on my stomach condition and if you’re not then I’ll never blog about it again, seriously just tell me! My main goal is to keep this blog as positive as possible while also keepying myself healthy and feeling good :).

Now onto something less serious. Today was an example of a day that I chose to run in the evening and guess what? I planned my meals well and had no stomach pain (or heel pain!!) while running!


I’m off to take a shower, eat some dinner, and relax because tomorrow is a loooong run day :)

Twas’ the Night Before…

Last night seriously felt like Christmas Eve. I was giddy, excited, and nervous about running in the morning and even though I only planned on running a couple of miles, I prepared by mapping a run, charging my iPod and Garmin, and making sure my running tights were clean. When I got into bed I couldn’t sleep, I just wanted to fastforward to the morning!

My excitement was also exacerbated by an important package I got in the mail.

Umm hello Boston!

In case you’re wondering here is my bib number and info, if all goes well and I run Boston, I’ll be sure to repost my bib number closer to the race.

Anyway, when my alarm went off at 6 a.m. today I literally jumped out of bed and into my running clothes. I wasn’t going to waste any time! I was out the door by 6:20 with a goal of completing a slow 5k to test out my heel.

My run actually felt pretty great. My legs were a little tired but I haven’t taken a complete rest day since last Monday so that’s to be expected. The running motion felt a little strange at first but once my body fell into a rhythm everything clicked. What’s even better is that I had no heel pain! It felt funny and tender (could be phantom pains) but nothing hurt. I am taking this with a grain of salt though because the first time my heel bothered me was at night, hours after a run.

The best part of my run though was obviously just the fact that I was running again! I swear I had a goofy smile on my face the whole time and was that annoying runner who waves to everyone. What can I say, it felt sooo good to be out there again :)

I tried to keep my pace around an 8:00 min/mile but my body wanted to run faster and I ended up running 3.26 miles in 24:16.

Icing, you can never be too careful!

So from here I plan to see how my heel does for the rest of the day. If I don’t experience any pain, I plan on running a longer run tomorrow (about 7 miles) and gauging how my stamina does. The most important thing is for me to listen to my body but my fingers are crossed that I can get back out there again tomorrow morning! I also plan on cross-training this week too. My body is definitely not ready to run 6 days a week quite yet.

In other running news, I’ve started reading Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pftitzinger and Scott Douglas.


It’s a great running-nerd read that explains the ways that you can increase your aerobic threshold and become a faster and more efficient runner without injury. The book also includes three training plans and I’m thinking of using one for my next marathon (after rebuilding my base of course). Has anyone tried one of Pftitzinger’s plans? How did it go?

I’m hoping that reading the book will also help with mental preparation for Boston. Marathoning is a mental game and one of my concerns is that I’m not as mentally prepared for the race as I would have been if I had trained the past few weeks.

So what do you guys think, how much of running is mental vs. physical?
Also, what training plans do you use? Do you create your own?

Have a great Tuesday!

The marathon demands respect. The physiological and psychological demands of the marathon are extreme; therefore you must plan your preparation intelligently and thoroughly.
-Pete Pfitzinger

Boston Marathon: The Would’ve Been Start of Taper

Yesterday would have marked my last 20 miler before taper for the marathon. Obviously due to my heel injury, my long run didn’t happen :(. However, tomorrow is the first day I can run and if all goes according to plan, I’ll be able to fit a long run in next weekend!

I also didn’t even get a good hard workout in yesterday. As I mentioned before, my mom was in town and I wanted to spend time with her rather than the gym. Also, my legs and lower back were bothering me from all of the walking and standing at the museum on Saturday so a lighter workout was definitely what my body needed. I ended up swimming 1,800 yards and calling it quits out of pure boredom.

My Workouts for the Week:
Monday- OFF
Tuesday- 45 minutes elliptical & 15 minutes bike
Wednesday- 1 hr cycling & 1 mile swim
Thursday- 45 minutes elliptical (a.m.) and 1 hour cycling (p.m.)
Friday- 50 minutes elliptical
Saturday- 30 minutes elliptical
Sunday- 1,800 yard swim

Elliptical- 2 hours and 50 minutes
Cycling- 2 hours
Swimming- a little over 2 miles

I’m so excited to run this week but I’m starting to feel scared. What if my heel hurts after a couple of miles? Does that mean I won’t be able to run Boston? I’m also nervous that I’ll be out of shape. I’ve been cross-training pretty hard but I haven’t run in a couple of weeks. Ahhh!

My heel feels almost normal but I’m still babying it a little bit. I’m going to have to be careful that I stride normally when I run and don’t try to avoid pressing on the heel. I don’t want to create any new injuries!

Next Week
My goal is to have a pain free week of running + cross-training. I’m hoping to get in three runs during the week and then a longer run on the weekend. I’m not sure how long I’m going to shoot for butI was originally told by the doctor I could go as far as 20 miles. I’m starting to second guess that suggestion though, I don’t want to push too hard and risk re-injury. Any thoughts?

Dinner Last Night
After my mom left I ended up crashing on the couch for 2 hours. I must have needed some sleep! When I woke up I was disoriented and a little crabby. I really didn’t want to make anything for dinner and Ian was craving sushi, so I suggested we check out Nori, a sushi spot Ian’s been wanting to try. We ordered a couple of apps and then two rolls to share.

It was all very good :)

On our way home we made a pitstop at Argotea for a warm beverage, the temps are dropping right now!

Just the fact that Argotea has an almond milk option is amazing, but they also know how to froth it really well without the milk curdling!

And just like that, it’s back to the daily grind. Here’s to a week of pain-free running and healthy eating (I’m a little sick of restaurant food right now), have a great Monday!

Visit with the Moms

Happy Sunday! I’m so sad to see the end of the weekend and my spring break but I have to say that I had a great time with my mom the past two days :)

Saturday morning we all lounged around the apartment for a while until we felt like working out. Ian’s ankle has been bothering him so he relaxed in the apartment while my mom and I went to the gym. I ended up using the elliptical for a half an hour and then rode the bike while my mom finished up her run. It wasn’t the hardest workout but spending time with my mom was more important to my than spending time at the gym. Plus, I get to run next week and pick up my training so there’s no need to push too hard right now.

After working out and dropping my mom’s car off at Firestone to have her tire checked out we grabbed a late brunch at Eleven City Diner, an old-fashioned diner & Jewish deli. I ordered the 3x Frittata Omelet with egg whites and a side of marbled rye toast.

Why is marbled rye so much better than the normal stuff? I only ate about half of the omelette (smothered in hot sauce of course ;)) but definitely killed the potatoes.

The weather was pretty sucky and didn’t look like it was going to get any better, so we decided to check out the Museum of Science and Industry.

Real size airplane that you can walk through and sit down in, very cool!

 I can’t believe I’ve never been before, it was so cool and there were so many different exhibits. I really loved the Space and Human body sections.

This is the oil-refining process

This is the part of the oil-refinery exhibit

Being that it was a Saturday and it wasn’t nice outside, the museum was packed and we quickly lost steam. I can’t even imagine how exhausting it would have been if we’d been with a young child. Whew!

Recently hatched baby-chicks, so cute!

 We decided to call it quits after a few hours and headed back to the apartment to take much needed afternoon power naps.

Dinner was at The Berghoff, an old and famous German-inspired restaurant.


We started with the Mushroom & Goat Cheese Strudel which was very light and really tasty.

And then I had the mussels with pea risotto.

Nothing beats good mussels :). There were also many bites of Ian’s red cabbage and my mom’s polenta. Yum!

No trip to Chicago is ever complete (listen up potential tourists) without a trip to Cheesecake Factory. As the wait to eat in the restaurant is always so long, we picked out our dessert to go.

Ian and I split the above wild blueberry white chocolate cheesecake and my mom had a slice of pineapple upside down cheesecake. Sugar coma’s ensued and we managed to watch about half of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before falling asleep on the couch. Has anyone seen the movie? I read all of the books and so far I’m not super impressed.

This morning, I hit the pool early for an 1,800 yard swim before we headed out for Starbucks, shopping, and lunch. Shopping was a success, my mom found a new jacket and I bought a new shirt.

We wanted to make a trip to Anti-Cruelty after lunch to look at dogs (our lab that passed away a few months ago and my mom is getting ready to take on a new furbaby) so we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Hannah’s Bretzel.

I enjoyed one of their best sellers, the wild alaskan smoked salmon, with a side of roasted veggies and a gingerberry kombucha. It was actually stuffed full of smoked salmon which was really tasty but almost a little overwhelming.

After Anti-Cruelty (so many cute pups and kitties), we walked home, my mom headed out, and Ian and I did our grocery shopping i.e. stocked up on cookie butter!

Now we’re relaxing after the busy weekend by lounging on the couch and planning the rest of our Sunday.

How was your weekend?