Monthly Archives: January 2015

Marathon in Training: Week 2 Summary (+ Rant)

This past week has not been very kind to me. My car overheated and broke down in the middle of the highway, I had two teeth extracted in preparation for dental implants, and my phone’s battery is fried. It would have been a better timing if the phone battery decided to go out after I got stranded. It went from somewhere in the 60-something% to 20% as the car overheated. I had to not only figure out where I was and let someone know, but I also had to call/search for a towing truck. Oh and I took out my car charger the day before because I wanted to use at Starbucks. Go figure. Also, who knew Giant Eagle did not sell car chargers? Completely irrelevant, but to add insult to injury, I finished reading my favorite book and watching my favorite show this week too. So yeah, life couldn’t you wait until next week?

Rant is over. Off to the positive side….

I need to learn how to meditate.

I’m so very grateful that I got home that night; I’m grateful for my co-worker Sarah for driving me to work the next day (oh and driving me to the gym and back home :).) I’m grateful for both parents and brother for being very supportive and helpful as I know next to nothing in cars. Sometimes I take people for granted. It’s those kinds of incidents that serve as reminders of family loving and friends support. I don’t like negative Zen, I will work harder to harness positive energy and harvest my Zen better.

Moreover, I’m taking on more responsibilities at work en route for a promotion. I have my one-year review on Monday; fingers crossed it will be a good one!!

Due to oral surgery I was advised not to workout for at least couple days. I was bumped that I had to miss Saturday’s group run L! Although the day of surgery sucked, it overall went great. I was off pain meds the next day. I bled for one day. Day 2 was basically swelling and soreness which I could live with – so I went to the gym :D! It might not have been the smartest idea but I was bored. At any rate, knowing that lifting was alright – my clot did not disintegrate – I decided to go running Sunday morning to compensate for Saturday. It was refreshing, energizing, and fun to run in the morning. I actually had more energy when I was done running than before. After some stretching and quality Turkish coffee, I hit the gym for some lifting!

So training-wise, I probably will not get stars for this past week. I missed two runs – Wednesday and Saturday – for a total of 11 miles. But I did finish Monday’s run one second shy from 10-minute pace, 9:59 to be exact!!!! Wooo for me. Baby steps.

I'm actually very proud of this collage work.

I’m actually very proud of this collage work.

Last Week’s To-Do List Results:

  • Running with calf compression proved to be counterproductive for me. It works better for me wearing it after
  • I did allow two hours before running for food to be digested. I put in a blender three raw eggs, one banana, and a cup of spinach. It was great! I could barely taste the eggs. Thinking about how slimy they were made my stomach crinch, so if you opt for this recipe make sure not to picture raw eggs.
  • Judging the two runs I had one last Monday and this morning (Sunday), I have an average pace of 10-minute/mile. So yay!
  • As far as walking pauses while running, I’m still walking to rest. I need to do a better job at minimizing time walked.

This Week’s To-Do List:

  • Have an average pace somewhere between 10:00 and 10:20;
  • Minimize walking to rest;
  • Be mindful of nutrition.

Week 2 Running Stats:

Monday 1/19 3 miles= 29:57 minutes, pace= 09.59min/mile (woohoo!)
Wednesday 1/21 4 miles= missed run due to car problems *sad face*
Saturday 1/24 7 miles= missed run due to oral surgery *sad face^2*
Sunday (add run) 1/25 5.6 miles= 58:03 minutes, pace= 10:42min/mile (slow pace due to lots of walking, traffic light stops, and a Starbucks stop to hydrate. So many excuses. I need to set-up the run better next time.)

Week 2 average pace= 10.00min/mile

Tomorrow is a new day, new week, new pace 🙂 … Happy running troopers!

Marathon in Training: Week 1 Summary

One down, sixteen more weeks to go. First week went great: no shin splints, no stress fractures, and no major back issues. Maybe I will see them soon but why bother; in the meantime I will keep running. Group run yesterday attracted more people than last time since the weather was warmer (relatively speaking haha, it was still freezing temperatures.) Since last week, I ran in knee and calf sleeves on separate occasions, zoned in on a pace range, and revamped my strength and cross-training workout schedule.

Compression Sleeves

I purchased knee sleeves to aid in lifting when I started working on 1RM squats and deadlifts. From what I read, there is a general consensus that those sleeves make you stronger and lift heavier weights, at best, and do not do anything, at worse. I found that they do actually aid in the recovery process as I’m not as sore the following day. One down side, or up depending on how you look at it, is that because I’m wearing those sleeves, I tend to lift heavier weights and thus taxing my knees more. So between moderate-heavy weight lifting and modestly shorter recovery time I will probably opt to wear them next time I have a serious leg day.

As for calf compressions, I love those. They definitely do help in recovery as they increase blood flow to muscles and keep them nourished while you pound them running. However, when I wore yesterday for my 6-mile run it felt a little restrictive. Maybe because my body is not used to it? Maybe I need to wear it more often to get used to it? At any rate, I found myself taking it on/off periodically. I ran with them on for about two-and-a-half miles then off for about a mile. That progression seemed to keep my legs a little happy. I did have to alternate between walking and running though – something I’m trying to wean myself off of doing. At one point I felt there was incredible pressure on my Achilles tendon that I realllly wanted to just cut the sleeves.

So, all in all, knee sleeves did not help me while running; calf compressions might, I have yet to decide. Knee sleeves are restrictive, if anything. While knees were happy and compressed, my anterior tibialis and gastros were getting killed. So much pressure that ultimately slowed me down. I wore it for last Monday’s easy run and I finished with a 11.4 min/mile pace. Sadly. As for calf compression sleeves, while they definitely helped after the run, I will need to give them another try on Monday before deciding if I should stick to them or not while running. At any rate, it was a good investment and I’m happy with them.

Pace

This was a bit challenging for I do not usually shoot for a pace when running. There are many reasons as to why I run, keeping a five-min pace is not one of them. Ok maybe that was dramatic but you get the point. Previously, I averaged somewhere 10.5 and 11.5 min/mile pace. 8.2min/mile could very much be my PR and I almost threw up towards the end. So zoning in on a pace range was challenging for me.

One of my goals is discontinue run-walk-run and complete my runs just that, running. This past week I have been experimenting with my body as far as running straight without walking. I have been successful with average time walking of 8-10 seconds max per mile. I’m teaching myself to jog as opposed to walk when my muscles are cramped or tired. Since I’m running ~65-80% of my heart rate, I do not have problems with my breathing. So there is room for pace improvement one I get all the capillaries built in my system. Physiologically speaking, it is better to go slow to give adequate time for the body and circulatory system to adapt than to shock your body with say 8-min-miles.

My goal is to finish anywhere between 4 and 4:30 hours.

My ultimate goal is to finish under 4 hours.

I’m happy with my current pace and I will definitely work on improving it. Super ideally, though, I would like to go on less than 9 minutes pace so that I finish the race under four hours. Go Mustafa, go haha. Not-so-ideal-yet-a-great-goal would be to finish under five hours, aka ~-10-min-pace.

Strength Workout

I revamped my workout schedule because my goals are different this year, at least until end of race. My previous workout focused on gaining strength and building muscle, primarily. Starting next week, I will be doing workouts that target my weak spots in running such as tight hamstrings, sore calves, and tired lower back. The program also is expected to increase strength and endurance in core, legs and back. The workout (I will dedicate a post to it later) will include two days for legs and one day for chest/back and shoulder/arms each; also, there will be three days dedicated for cross-training (somewhere between 25-35 minutes of steady-state cardio workout.) I will be resting on Sunday. I’m stocked.

Busy week ahead of me.

Busy week ahead of me.

Week 1 Running Stats

Monday 1/12 3 miles= 34.15 minutes, pace= 11.4min/mile
Wednesday 1/14 3 miles= 32.04 minutes, pace=10.7min/mile
Saturday 1/17 6 miles= 65.67 minutes, pace=10.9min/mile

Week 1 average pace= 10.99min/mile

 

To-do List for Next Week

  • Run with calf compression sleeves one more time before deeming it useless while running
  • Allow two hours before run for food to be digested. (I experimented with my body yesterday by allowing only one hour for my stomach to process what I ate – ~ 3 tbs peanut butter and a banana. I got an upset stomach and shooting pain in my stomach for ~10 minutes after running a couple miles.)
  • Have a weekly average pace of 10.50min/mile
  • Decrease walking time while running

Running in the Arctic Weather

Yesterday’s first 8am group run was fantastic! I got to run with awesome group of people who all defied subzero temperatures to kick off marathon training program. Other than minor challenges in the trail, such as phone turning off and getting lost after I split from the group, I felt good at the end – maybe because there was chocolate milk waiting for me…

Week 1 CRC Westerville Warriors

Week 1 CRC Westerville Warriors

Nutrition-wise, I got up around 6 in the morning to have breakfast. I generally like to eat before working out. I figured with 5-mile run I don’t want to starve my body and have it eat away at my muscles. Besides, two hours would be sufficient time for my body to process whatever I eat. I had three scrambled medium sized eggs and some tea. I figured I would read my book (The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria) while waiting to get ready. There’s just something different about reading first thing in the morning or before you go to bed. I felt more focused and critical of the text. Anyways, I did that for like an hour while sipping on hot cardamom tea…

Talk about frigid weather (-18 Celsius)

I stood in front of my closet trying to figure out what to wear for this -1 degree Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius). I followed CRC’s suggestions and wore my Saucony tights, a base, wool shirt + a dry fit, cotton shirt and a light, windproof jacket plus gloves and ear muffs. I double socked (wool and cotton) because I knew I’d step in the snow and Vaselined my face just in case it gets dry in the cold. Glasses proved to be very good at keeping my lashes from getting icy 🙂

I got the store and was surprised to see that somewhere between 25-30 people showed up. My excuses were nothing but excuses when I saw young and old people running. I got excited and a little fired up. Mike from CRC gave his little spiel about the route, pace, and consent (in case we lose a limb or get a frostbite then we can’t sue CRC.) This is America where everybody sues everybody so whatever I signed it and headed out besides the 11-min/mile bucket.

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Rocky Moment

The course had snow, mostly plowed, but some areas had about 2-3 inches of snow just sitting there. Those 50-100 meter stretches were a bit difficult to run. I felt like Rocky Balboa when he was training in Russia to fight Ivan Drago! I said to myself if Rocky can do it then why can’t I? So I felt light. I persisted and kept hopping. Non-snow trails felt a lot easier compared to that one. It was power, strength training for my calves!! On my way back my phone turned off because it’s old and slow. I tried to turn it back on to listen to music but I tripped, phone dropped and went under a car. Anyways, after I retrieved it I noticed that I lost my GPS, run data and music. To top it off, I missed the turn back to the store. So I may have run a couple extra blocks trying to figure out where I was. I was cold, lost and without music – I got a little angry. I remembered Rocky again! He didn’t have any of those and kept going so I did too. I was so happy and relieved to be back to CRC. I had two small cups of chocolate milk and a banana! I stretched a little and headed home after (I got Starbucks on my way back because if you know me, you know I’m a slave to the corporate. Besides it was 9am soo it as perfect timing for coffee.)

Overall, I think I spent somewhere between 52-55 minutes running 5.2ish miles. Not bad for a first run since there were times when I slowed down due to snow or stopped to take pictures or drink water. My hands were freezing. I had them in my jacket pockets for about 90% of the run. I may need to invest in another set.. my calves weren’t bad at all while running, I didn’t cramp or get knee pain. I really like my Brooks shoes, they are very light and have great padding in the heal area. The only thing I experienced was a minor back pain and malaise. I hope it wouldn’t become a problem during my longer runs. I may need to strengthen it a little bit more at the gym or alter my form?

Selfie stop may have happened

Selfie stop may have happened. Beard getting slightly icy.

Great run! Great kick off to the training program. I didn’t get a frostbite. I didn’t lose a limb! Next run is tomorrow!!

Power is in Numbers

Tonight’s couch night at the CRC Westerville store was a success! I feel much more confident and optimistic about the race. The meeting’s uplifting spirit and attendees’ energy left me slightly less intimidated about the training plan.

Mike (in red) at the Couch Night meeting at CRC Westerville

Mike (in red) at the Couch Night meeting at CRC Westerville

Eric, who I think co-founded the chain store, started off the meeting talking about the plan, the runs, and what CRC offers for participants. Mike, the other couch, will be leading those group runs. He talked extensively about the logistics and purpose. Every Saturday morning (and Tuesday evening?) there’s a group run where people run distances between 5-20 miles. It is designed in a way so that people get to know each other, hold themselves accountable, and simply have fun!! I really like this idea for I would probably be bored out of my mind just running by myself. Even though I usually run with headphones on, I enjoy having a running buddy. It helps me maintain a conversational pace, conserve energy, and run longer. With running long distances, I feel like after sometime you just forget about running and cruise along. It could be psychological. But hey whatever, it works for me.

In addition, it looks like there will be a theme every other week of the plan. Meaning we will be couched on say form, pace, and running techniques. CRC also offers a nutritionist on staff to help us eat healthy and prepare for the race. Due to my heavy lifting regimen my diet is comprised of mainly protein and some carbs. I’d assume that with running you might want to use carbs than protein- otherwise, your body might eat away from muscle. So it’s cool that they have that. Even cooler, CRC is partnering with OSU Sports Medicine department to work with us. We will spend an hour or so with physical therapists talking about injury prevention and treatment. With every moving part of the plan, we can meet one on one to say devise a customized plan or talk about specific concerns. Next time we’re meeting with the doctors, I will talk to them about my runner’s knee and propensity to have shin splints.

I can’t wait to start training. It will be challenging to get those weekday runs after work especially after being up since 5:30am. I also need to adjust my lifting program to accommodate running and cross training like spin class or yoga. That is fine for my goal up until race day is to focus on running. Lifting is second.

What made me feel good about myself also was the diversity of participants; they were people of different ages, colors, and running backgrounds. There were absolute beginners who never ran outside of gym treadmill and those who had marathon medals.

In the end, Eric said something about group runs that really stuck with me: “Power is in numbers; we will carry each other through the training.” Establishing new friendships is in and of itself a motivation for me, besides the marathon, to go out for those runs. I’m pumped.

Stay tuned for Saturday vibe! I hope I make some friends 🙂

Running My First Marathon

Run like a turtle!

I decided to run a marathon….yep…a full one which equals to 26.2 miles (or 42.2km for those who can’t do miles.)! Specifically, I’m signing up for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Sunday May 17th, 2015. If you are running it, see ya at 7am with bells on!!

I recognize that this is a challenge I should not take lightly. I’m also mindful of the potential injuries I might incur upon myself. However, I’m doing this because I would like to push myself to the limits. I will stop when I feel like I’m going to hurt myself. So here’s to a new year of love, peace and fitness.

I’m blogging about this because I’m secretly freaking out. Now that some people are following me I’d be embarrassed to quit. The plan is, I tell myself, this blog will incentivize me to run and propel those feet to bounce…

Kitty thinks I'm weird

Kitty thinks I’m weird

So those of you who know me know that I’m into fitness and healthy eating. I strive to maintain a balanced lifestyle between working out and indulging in worldly things. (Trust me, I eat chocolate, ice cream and cheesy burgers on a regular basis. I mean if you bring me chocolate you pretty much own my soul.) I maintain a healthy fat% by simply following basic fitness/nutrition rules as in working out often and watching my portions. That’s it. I leave the rest to my body to deal with it. I digress.

 

I started running for the first time last year February 2014. It was because I started a new job that had a FitClub. Since I was a newbie I wanted to blend in…I signed up for The Ohio State’s Ross Heart Hospital 5K. I reached out to my friend, Andrea, a former cross country runner, to see if she would run it! I was scared so I really hoped Andrea would say yes. She did!! And we finished 31-something minutes.

Ross Hearth Hospital 5k. I was very excited.

Ross Hearth Hospital 5k. I was very excited.

After that I did 10k with Columbus Running Company (1:07h) and the Hot Chocolate 15k (1:42h). I did plenty of 5k’s on the side. My 5k PR = 25:16m. Although it isn’t very good, I run for fun. I never really consciously think of going fast.

I get excited when I see cameras. This was probably my 7th mile in.

Hot Chocolate 15k; finished 1:42h

I registered with Columbus Running Company for a 17-week training plan. They are graciously offering the plan for free, supplementing it with coach lectures about form and nutrition and peppering it with help from physical therapists to talk about injury prevention and crosstraining. In addition, they offer this wonderful thing on Saturdays at 8am where people go on group runs from CRC stores throughout Columbus. I think the plan is doable; I may need to alter my lifting schedule to accommodate this new program. But I can do it.

I already got an email from the lead couch detailing the training program and services provided to help us succeed accomplishing this big goal.. I’m pumped for this week’s Meet the Couch night! I get to meet my new running buddies and talk about…

“Why does everything hurt?” and “what the heck are strides?”

 

I’m incredibly excited. Salam.

Some stats:
Weight: 152.3lbs
Height: 170cm
%Fat (last checked December 28, 2014): 7.6%
5k PR: 25:16 minutes

I’m debating whether or not I should add a body picture…