Saturday, October 22, 2011

6 miles at race pace

Went really well this morning. Negative splits! I think I could have run harder cuz I had some extra energy at the end, but it's still hard for me to gauge that stuff...

Pace 7:49.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Taking action

I took the executive decision to:

  1. Sleep in until 8 today
  2. Move my run to the afternoon
  3. Not go to class tonight (yikes!)

I think I might be getting a little sick—at least that's what everyone keeps telling me. I feel perfectly fine, but I'm always freezing cold.

Anyway, so this was my plan to get better.

I just got back from my 4-mile run. It was really nice. I went out without my iPod for the first time in ages, and I put all my energy into focusing on my running. It wasn't hard at all; actually it was really awesome. There's only a shade of disappointment for me: I was expecting this to give me a really good time... But I only made it in 31 minutes (again). Pretty good for me recently, but still not my best 4-mile time. I wonder if music really does make you run faster?

Looking forward to tomorrow as a rest day. I'm starting to get overwhelmed by school stuff, so I need to get a handle on the number of papers I have coming up in the next couple of weeks. Oh, bother.

Pace: 7:45

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On the Grind

I woke up at 6 today—initially I pushed Snooze but I got my act together after I realized what I'd done. I don't know how I always used to wake up so early...

Anyway, just a four-mile run today. I tried to do it fast, but I guess it wasn't that fast. Anyway, I felt like I was going to puke at the end.

Really enjoying the Newtons, though. So that's a plus.

And here's a little excerpt from this book I'm reading:

Quenton Cassidy knew what the mystic-runners, the joggers, the runner-poets, the Zen runners, and others of their ilk were talking about. But he also knew that their euphoric selves were generally nowhere to be seen on dark, rainy mornings. They primarily wanted to talk it, not do it. Cassidy very early on understood that a true runner ran even when he didn't feel like it, and raced when he was supposed to, without excuses and with nothing held back. He ran to win, would die in the process if necessary, and was unimpressed by those who disavowed such a base motivation. You are not allowed to renounce that which you never possessed, he thought.
That last line is pretty powerful... It reminds me of the art world, how they say you're not "allowed" to draw or paint abstractly unless you've already proven yourself classically. Not sure if I buy it completely, but it is a nice sound byte for the elitists to put people who won't double-think it in their place.

Pace: 7:48

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Marathon Gift

Among other things, the Chicago Marathon last week gave me the most powerful, inspirational image I know. Because I'm generous, I'm going to attempt to give this image to you—if you can use your imagination a bit. It may serve you well.

Picture yourself in downtown Chicago. It's just broken dawn—the field of light that rises before the sun itself is beginning to illuminate the world around you—and you look up at the skyscrapers that surround Grant Park. You're on the street with thousands of other people, each of you not quite sure what is going on. You only have a vague idea of what you're doing, and you have no idea what's about to happen—but you know it's going to involve some extraordinary fun and perhaps some extraordinary pain. There's a 40 percent chance that you're aiming to do something you've never done before—something only one percent of the human population does. It's cool—not cold or warm—the temperature is perfect—but, even so, you might find yourself with chills. You settle, maybe sit down, among thousands of like-minded people in this New Era dawn, and you become convinced that it's the first day of your life—the first day of your existence that you've really lived. And you hear this song (close your eyes):

(Btw, today's run was 11 miles. Pace: 9:05)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Guess That Makes Me a Marathoner

Here's the short version: To say it wasn't an ideal race would be an overstatement. But I loved it. I must have something messed up in my head.

Here's the long version:

I woke up at 5:40 and started getting ready in the dark. I'd set everything out the night before, so it was only a short matter of assembling myself, but I still took it slowly. At some point my mom woke up and she pointed out the stream of runners we could see crossing the bridge on Columbus, heading toward Grant Park. There were so many of them.

I left around 6:20 and stepped onto an elevator full of other runners. "What's going on today?" one of them said.

I walked the mile to the start area without any issue, went to the bathroom and found my start corral. I was going to start with the 4:30 pace group because I wanted to run the first 4 miles at a 10 minute/mile pace, then pick it up to 9 minutes/mile for the next 18, and then do 8-minute miles for the remainder of the race. That would put me finishing under 4 hours, so I figured if I didn't quite stick to my schedule I'd still be okay. I just didn't realize how far off I'd end up being.

The overwhelming advice I got from other marathoners was to start slow—slower than I'd think I ought to—and then pick it up gradually. I was prepared, and I was really excited for the rush of cruising by all the exhausted slowpokes in the final miles. (I turned out to be one of those zombies.)

The first four miles were easy; I hardly noticed them go by, even though I was trotting along at a comfortable 10-minute pace. I sped up a bit as planned, and went the next 10 miles or so without any issue. I hit 10k around the hour mark, and I hit the halfway mark at 2:08. I had plenty of juice left.

But then things started going sour... I noticed threats of cramping in my calf muscles, but those spasms were few and far between, and they weren't severe. But by mile 15, it got really bad. I had to mix in more walking then I wanted to because after a few minutes of running my muscles would seize a bit. I didn't want them to seize completely, so I opted not to test their limits—I'd rather finish a little behind schedule than not finish at all.

I tried to suck it up until at least mile 17 so I could be running, rather than walking, when I saw my mom and Ricky Boy in the crowd. Success. But shortly after that, it got so bad that I couldn't run at all. I tried to run every now and then, but I couldn't make it more than 20 seconds without my legs cramping. And it wasn't just in my calf muscles anymore; my hamstrings, quads and even glutes joined the fun.

This was awful, because I wasn't winded at all—I barely felt tired—but I had to walk because my legs wouldn't cooperate. I knew I had to keep moving (I tried stopping to stretch once, thinking that would help the situation, but it caused me to hobble stiff-leggedly for a few dozen feet before my legs returned to normal. So I decided just to power onward, walking as quickly as I could, trying not to calculate how long it might take me to walk 8+ miles. Sometimes I tried to run without bending my legs... that worked a little but, but even then I got those threats of cramping.

I made it eventually, in 5:03. It was 80-something degrees out—ugh. I guess I was walking pretty fast, then, since I'm sure I didn't run more than half of a mile after the 18-mile mark. I guess I should be more disappointed than I am... But I'm not because I know there are going to be a lot more marathons in my future (I'm already planning to do several around the world over the next few years). It's just a shame that my first one couldn't have been picture-perfect. Oh, speaking of pictures, I did try to run—and even smile—for the photographers, so hopefully there are some nice pictures.

But enough about the logistics: Let's talk about the course. It was incredible. The crowd support was phenomenal... more people were cheering than I ever could have expected. There were a few parts in which the crowd thinned a bit, but nowhere was there nobody. And the crowd was so diverse: Sometimes there were screaming people crammed shoulder to shoulder everywhere I could so—both at my flanks and at overpasses. People held all sorts of signs ("Toenails are overrated," "Chuck Norris never ran a marathon," "I love your stamina! My number is xxx-xxx-xxxx," and "I thought you said 2.62 miles!" are a few I remember) Cars that drove on roads adjacent to the course honked in support. Random people held out bowls of pretzels and fruit for us runners. There was an entire school pep band playing at one point. Somewhere around Mile 20, there were some people with a keg or two handing out free beer. I got a popsicle from a guy in the Mexican neighborhood. There were dancing dragon people in Chinatown. Several churches had their congregations out front cheering and playing upbeat music.

Maybe the best park was the Nike Inspiration Zone, I think around Mile 24. At that point I kept crying (I think?) but it turned out that I was laughing. I think I'm a lunatic. Anyway, that part was awesome; can't really describe it.

When I crossed the finish line, all the pain in my feet and the looming spasms in my legs went away. It was incredible. It was the most amazing feeling of accomplishment I've ever known. I got my weird thermal blanket thing I'm still not sure of the purpose of, my medal, a bag of yummies and a 312. I couldn't drink more than a few sips of the 312—my belly was so full of the Gatorade I kept drowning myself in with the hope that it'd cure my cramping (it didn't). And after a few minutes of walking (it was another mile to the point at which I'd arranged to meet my mom and brother) the pain came back. I saw people laying on the ground and I just wanted to do the same, but I figured I ought to find my family first...

Anyway, I told myself around Mile 20 that I'd never do it again, but I changed my mind by Mile 24. Bring it on.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Track me during the marathon!

Text 31646 to 99731 to track my running during the Chicago Marathon. You'll get a text update when I hit: 10k, half, 30k and finish.

See this page for more information:

You can also track me online (see the link above).


I decided to try to put into words what I've been feeling this week (since watching the Lakefront Marathon this Sunday), so that I can look back at this after the marathon and laugh (hopefully). Because right now I feel... something that I wish we had a word for.

It's the most severe case of excitement and worry that I've ever felt before, all bundled into a sinking feeling in my stomach. When I let myself focus on it, my head spins. I can almost feel whatever stuff makes up my head sinking down my spine and into my stomach.

This happens every time I think about the marathon, and I've been doing a lot of thinking about the marathon—it being only a few days away and everything. Even when I'm going over the logistics of getting to Chicago in my head, my stomach knots up. It is not pleasant.

I was trying to figure out why this is happening to me, and I have a few ideas. Obviously it's because I don't know what's going to happen on Sunday. I'm confident I'll finish the race (though even that isn't ensured), and I suspect I'll do it in a time that is respectable to me, but that is much less ensured than me finishing in the first place. The root of all this unsureness is, I think, that I don't yet consider myself a runner.

I've only been running, in even the most lenient sense of the word, for four years. For the first three of those, I'd never run more than a mile at a time. It was only about one year ago that I tried running 3.1 miles in preparation for my first race. Several months later, I moved up to five miles. And it's only been about three months since I ran anything more than that, and though I've completed my training well and I've proven to my body that I'm capable of covering the distance, it hasn't quite sunk in. I haven't proven to myself over a long period of time that I'm a runner. (I wonder how long that will take.) I need to make myself believe it.

Completing my first marathon may do the trick, but it's an awful game waiting.

I've also been getting caught up in the logistics. Should I bring my iPod? Some people say "no" unqualifiedly, but I've discounted their answers because they're seasoned runners and I am not. Some people say "yes" unqualifiedly, but then there are some parts of the runners' answer that ring true for me. And this conflict, though it may seem minor to an outsider, is kind of tearing me apart. I think I've decided to bring my iPod and use it if I need to, but now I'm questioning that conclusion.

And the weather! My last several long runs have started at 6:15 a.m. in the brisk of setting summer—50 degrees or less and sometimes coolly misty—and the forecast for Sunday in Chicago is upper 50s to 60s. Not a huge issue, compared to what the Midwest is capable of, but it's another thing for me to worry about.

Carbo-loading, that's another thing. Am I doing it right? What if I'm not? My legs have been feeling a little sore—do I need more protein? Am I just nervous? Am I eating too much? Am I taking in more fat or more protein than I think I am? Does it even matter?

Pace. I want so badly to finish in under four hours, but I have no idea if that is reasonable, especially considering I've barely been able to finish half-marathons in two hours. Though my last 8-miler was really fast for me—is that how the marathon is going to go now that I'm all tapered and rested? I've been trying to create a pace schedule for myself, but I really have no idea what I'm doing. I've come up with something that I think seems reasonable, but I have no reason to believe in it.

Then there's the stress of not having raised quite all the money I committed to raising for Rock for Reading.

And the stress of the rest of my life... Schoolwork catching up with me because there aren't enough hours in the day after I get off work and get out of class. My social life that's been little-existent. This book Brenna really wants me to read and she went out and bought it for me with the expectation that I'd finish it before my marathon but I just don't have the time to read it because my schedule affords me about 45 minutes of free time a day and I'd rather eat some food than read a book.

I'm terrified. I'm excited.

Everyone I talk to tries to give me solace, but it hasn't been helping. I think this is because these people are not me. This is my problem, and it happens in everything: I don't take people's word for it—I always have to find out for myself. Therefore I need to find the solace within myself. But it's been troublesome.

I have just written up a fairly exhaustive list of everything that's been keeping me on edge, and I can go through and refute each one individually to myself, but that doesn't help. This tells me that what I'm feeling is not the result of anything rational. And how do you vanquish something that doesn't adhere to any sort of laws? (At least laws I know about.)

In an attempt to restore some order to my life, I'm going to pack for the weekend. Then I'm going to get a head start on next week's schoolwork so that can't stress me out this weekend. Then I'm going to bed. I'm going to wake up at 1:55 a.m. to preorder my iPhone 4S and go back to bed. Then when I wake up it's going to be the big carbo-loading day—the start of my marathon weekend, but the end of my marathon training.

Breathe deeply with me.

Last run before the marathon...

Short two miles at pace this morning. Oh dear, I'm getting nervous again. Yesterday was also two miles, and the day before was three. They hardly seemed worth writing about...

Pace: 8:00

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Last long run...!

Just had my last long run before my marathon. I can't believe it. I'm only going to be running 7 more miles before heading for the starting line. Crazy.

Felicitously, today's run was really great. It was only 40 out, so there was no risk of overheating, and I think this was the biggest reason I was able to run 8.4 miles straight without any walking. It barely even crossed my mind that I ought to take walking breaks. Moreover, I did this at a nice speed, with an 8:36 pace. That's more or less the marathon pace I'm aiming for (but I'll do some walking—at aid stations—during the marathon).

Milwaukee's Lakefront Marathon is tomorrow... I plan on doing some recon near the finish line to see what it feels like. Exciting!

Pace: 8:36

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Help me out!

The marathon is coming up quick and I need to raise more money for Rock for Reading to reach my goal!

Help me out by donating here:

Thank you!

The Taper

Everything's going well... I've been trying to run at race pace (around 9 minutes) or a little faster. It's easy, of course, for short runs, but a little tougher to maintain for long runs. I did fine yesterday morning, though, on my 12-miler. I think I finished with a pace of 9:30... That was tough, though, because I think my legs were still fatigued from the 20-miler. It was weird. Luckily for the marathon I'll be all rested up after this taper.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Just peaked!

Oh dear! So all my training so far led up to this day... And it's all short-distance from here (until, of course, Marathon Day). That in itself is kind of intimidating... like am I really going to be able to run 26 miles satisfactorily when I had only run a maximum of 20 miles, and 3 weeks prior at that? Well, we'll see when we get there.

So the deets. The run went really well! I ran from my apartment north to Green Tree. Yes, in Fox Point. I ran to Fox Point today. What was I thinking? Anyway, then I took it south to Lakeshore State Park and back up to Lafayette and back to my apartment. The only tough part was the beginning, really, because after I passed Capitol going north, there were no more bubblers until I returned to Capitol, meaning I had to go 8 miles or something without any water. Well, it was okay.

I love taking energy gels. I feel like some sort of space traveler or African refugee or something. Is that insensitive? Sorry. My brain is a little messed up right now. Speaking of which, I'm pretty sure I wasn't even in my body for about half this run today... it was really weird.

My legs are so stiff right now. I don't feel like cooking, so it's good luck that I have so much leftover pizza.

I have this song stuck in my head:

Okay, now it's time to go outside (nice and fresco) and watch the Al's Run runners.

Pace: 10:03

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Slowing Down?

So this is weird. For the past week I've been running 5 miles a day. This weekend is my peak 20-miler.

Anyway, somehow I've gotten slower, it seems. No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to break 40 minutes in my 5-mile runs anymore. This is bizarre, considering back in April I ran it in 39:30, and I thought I would have gotten faster. No idea.

I'm not getting tripped-up on it, though, because speed doesn't matter as much for me at marathon distance.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I don't have a stress fracture!

I've been distraught for the past few days because I thought I might have a stress fracture. That would, of course, mean I wouldn't be able to run the marathon.

But my foot felt a lot better yesterday, and almost totally fine today. I was able to do my 5-mile run this morning. I have concluded that it was some sort of irritation caused by the brand new (not broken-in) shoes I used on my 19-mile run this weekend. Good thing they were at least the same model I've been using for my long runs.... if that weren't the case, things could have been worse.

Speaking of my run this morning... I guess it was 5.1 miles, but I ran inexplicably slow. Absolutely weird; I felt like I was cruising, it was great and I thought I was going to make great time... But I ended up around 42 minutes. Not horrible, but not what I expected.

The past few days have been great... Waking up at 6 a.m. to run. Being outside at sunrise is incredible, and now that's not only relegated to my weekend long runs.

Pace: 8:14

Monday, September 5, 2011

19 Miles

Ran 19 miles yesterday.... It was a little harder than the 18 miles I did two weeks ago, but it still went really well. I guess I wish I went a little bit faster, but Hal Higdon says I shouldn't worry about that for my long training runs. The only bad part was the hill up Water Tower to North Ave.... After running 18.something miles, that's brutal.

Training is going super well overall.... I can't believe that in two weeks I have my peak and then all of a sudden it's taper time. I feel like I've been doing this forever, but at the same time, not long at all. But I guess I get that feeling from a lot of things.

Oh, and I wrote this on my shiny new iPad... I like this thing.


Pace: 9:38

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Sorry for the lack of updates... I was up north with my family last week, and then this week I've been putting myself back together.

Last week was a nice break, even in running. Rather than worrying about my distances, I ran for time. I was prescribed to run 5 miles on Tuesday, 8 on Wed, 5 on Thurs and 13 on Saturday. Instead, I ran for 40 minutes on Tues and Thurs, 1:15 on Wed and 2:05 on Saturday. These are times I felt would make sure I was running sufficient mileage even if I was having a slow day. I ended up running short of all those times because I ran for half the prescribed time before turning around and following the same route home... and I was concentrating on making the second half of my run faster than the first half.

Anyhow, this week came around... I have 5 miles Tues, Wed and Thurs in preparation for the long 19-miler this Saturday morning. Tuesday went fine, but yesterday was pretty awful. I wasn't feeling very well and I just wasn't into running, so I took it really slow.

And tonight, rather than running, I'm biking to Bayshore to pick up an iPad (yes, I know) and then biking again later on an adventure. Yippee!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My legs are tired

I just ran 18 miles. It was amazing.

I woke up to my alarm at 6:00 a.m. and decided that there was no way I was getting up for another 10 minutes. So I hit snooze. I must have actually hit dismiss, though, because my alarm never went off again. Instead, I woke up at 7. A little later than I wanted to get out there, but I wasn't about to not run because of a little late start. I mean, 18 miles... it was going to be a big day.

Maybe two miles into my run, I felt pretty tired and was actually starting to question whether I'd make it the whole 18 miles. Maybe I'll just stop after a half marathon, I told myself. But I quickly shooed that me away and continued plodding forward.

On a side note, I am eating eggs and vegetables right now, and there are mushrooms in here that taste kind of like fish.

There were a few parts of my run where I felt a little wave of nausea come over me. It was weird... they just lasted for 5 seconds. Wonder if it was because of the gels I was taking? Here's what I consumed today: Pre-run cup of Gatorade, a nibble of a Clif Bar and supplements (glucosamine, calcium, multivitamin and fish oil), then caffeinated energy gel with a few laps of water at Miles 8, 10.5 and 16. Today I didn't drink any water except for when I was taking gels.

I also realized that I haven't been getting side cramps much anymore. I used to get them about 2 miles into my run, every time I ran. I only noticed that hadn't been happening anymore when I got the suggestion of a cramp around Mile 10 today, but it only lasted for a few seconds. Not complaining... I welcome their absence. They were/are mildly irritating.

Oh, it rained, too. For probably the last hour of my run. Started out quite nice... like a mist, and it was cool since it was pretty fresco outside—very refreshing. The rain picked up in my last two miles, not bad though.

I finished my run in 2:50:20, meaning it took just a bit longer than it took me to run 17 miles last week. I was hoping that'd happen. I still can't get over the fact that I'm somehow able to run for 3 hours. It's kind of mind-boggling, considering that one year ago I couldn't even conceive of running for a half-hour.

One other neat thing to report... I tied my keys to my shoelaces today, and after my run, when I lifted my foot to the step outside my apartment building to untie my laces and retrieve my keys, my feet were twitching uncontrollably... much like the severed leg of an insect, actually, but faster. It was pretty much the neatest thing ever.

And now my upper legs are ridiculously tired. So are the bottoms of my feet. I've been walking/sitting/standing/lying for the past hour or so and they've gotten a little better. Breakfast undoubtedly helped.

Other life news: I just received some Fleur de Sel from le Saunier de Camargue in the mail, and it's fantastic salt. I'm growing a kombucha mother in my pantry (will be ready in 11 days or so). My little brother graduated high school, finally. And we're celebrating Belgian Beerday in my apartment today.

Pace: 9:28

Thursday, August 18, 2011

No watch, 5 miles

I got all the way downstairs (I live on the second floor) and realized I forgot my watch. I didn't feel like going all the way back up to get it, so I ran without it. Pretty standard lakeside run. Very nice. I think it was about 40 minutes.

Pace: 8:00

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pretty slow 8 miles

Today when I got outside, it felt like someone had strapped bricks to my feet. It was weird. Not sure if it's because I hadn't run in my Asics in a while (wait, that's not true; I just did on Saturday), or if it's because I hadn't run in the early evening summer heat in a while (more likely).

The run was pretty tough... Maybe it's because I took the Oak Leaf Trail, which is somehow much less interesting when you're running it than when you're biking it. Even with a really interesting podcast.

Oh, and I got a bloody nose a few miles in, requiring that I use my shirt to mop up all the blood that'd otherwise mix with my sweat and make me look much more massacred than I really was. I didn't need that kind of attention, I decided. I guess I was due for one of my signature random bloody noses; I hadn't gotten one in a long time and they usually come every two or three months.

Anyhow, it went well enough. 1:20.

Pace: 10:00

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bike ride instead of run

Today I was slated to run 5 miles. At the last minute, though, I decided to go for an extensive bike ride instead, simply because I hadn't gone for a bike ride in a really long time, and it'd serve just as well in helping to build my cardio base. That and it's less intense on my bones... which probably could use a little bit of recovery.

Not sure how long I rode for (didn't bring my watch) or how far I went (I think around 15 miles). I did wear my helmet, though. And I discovered that my headphones and old 3G iPod Shuffle were, in fact, working again. This is good because my new iPod is just about as useless as ___________.

Anyhow, I'm getting really pumped for my marathon. I started reading Hal Higdon's Marathon again... reading it with a few months of training under my belt is a totally different experience than reading it right at the outset. I'll probably read it again right before my marathon in October and get something totally new out of it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Long barefoot walk

As my Saturday runs have been getting longer, I have been less and less inclined to bike ride for my Sunday cross-training. Usually I've only been able to make it out for a walk. Today was another one of those days. Guillermo and I walked around (me being barefoot) for quite some time.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

17 Miles

Things went pretty well today. Woke up promptly at 6:10 after only a single snooze, pounded a Red Bull and suited up for my run. Was pretty standard fare: perfect weather, nice and overcast for the most part with a few peeks of sunshine, a steady, refreshing breeze. I was listening to a great linguistics lecture on Arabic diglossia and the media mixed in with a few songs. I discovered "Down on Me" is the perfect song for running (turnover of 90 just by running to the beat).

But then around Mile 10 my iPod died. Not the battery—the iPod. Stupid thing. So I decided to put the next 7 miles to work thinking about my new novel... I made some good plot advances that you may read about someday. I'll just tell you it has something to do with Poland, Spain, painting and Muslims.

The last mile was pretty tough... my thighs were getting really tired and my mind was having trouble focusing on anything except for how much I wanted to stop running, and then the Lafayette Hill almost killed me. I feel great now, though, except for my burning thighs. I guess that's to be expected though.

Oh, I was a little disappointed in my time, but I shouldn't be disappointed because I really don't think I could have done it much faster. I was hoping for 2:30, which would have been an 8:49 pace, but I ended up with 2:47:55, which is a 9:53 pace.

Pace: 9:53

Thursday, August 11, 2011

LC 35th Anniversary Party

Went down to Chicago (again) today for our office party. Lot of fun but I got home late again and had to run still. No biggy though; only 4 miles today. Bright side: We got our Internet fixed yesterday.

Pace: 8:22

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

4 Mile PR

Today I think I hit a new PR. I ran a great 4 miles up the Oak Leaf Trail (well, 2 there and 2 back). Ran the whole way with no walking. Felt great to be in my Vibrams again. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention… all the pain in my ankle and knee is gone. I'm back to normal! Yay!

But just for a preventative measure, last night I bought some glucosamine, multivitamins and calcium. Figured it's worth it to help protect my bones from all that stress. And Walgreens had all their supplements half off again.

Pace: 6:49


Sorry for the delay in these updates... Although if you're not a frequent visitor, then you probably don't even notice since I've been backdating them. It'll be back to normal (probably, maybe) once we have dependable Internet, hopefully tomorrow night.

Anyhow, I woke up early (well, later than I wanted to) and ran a good 13.1 miles. I took the advice of a fellow marathoner and listened to a podcast while I ran instead of music... It certainly helped a lot. I've been finding myself increasingly bored with my music lately, so it was nice to be mentally engaged in something while running. In case you're wondering what I was listening to, it's an 8-part lecture series I found on iTunes U on Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art. Pretty interesting so far.

And not to mention my new route is fantastic... I ran up Lake Drive until Silver Spring and back. No traffic, and lots of nice scenery.

I didn't even notice the miles go by.

Pace: 9:28

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


So my little donation promotion has ended (a few days late... I didn't think about how I had to move on August 1 when I promised to announce the winners on that day), and I want to give a big thank-you to everyone who participated. I'm packing up the 4x6" prints for everyone tonight, and I selected the lucky winners of an original 9x12" watercolor and, perhaps more importantly, the small, plastic mule. 

Watercolor: Terri Brunner
Mule: Abby Kirchman

Congratulations, and thanks so much for donating!

If you missed out, don't worry. I'll still send out 4x6" prints for every donation of at least $25. So go ahead and donate. If you already donated, do it again!

In other news, my knee is much better. I bought a brace today and it's already helping a ton. Just going to rest and ice another day or two to be sure...

Little Break

This week is a step-back week in my training... But I'm going to take a little break from running because my knee has been tender and sore for the past few days (a tiny bit after Tough Mudder and noticeably worse after Sunday's "run"). So things don't get worse, I'm resting and icing for the next few days. My long run on Saturday will be my next run.

Yesterday was a rest day anyway (I didn't get any rest on Monday because I was moving...), so today is really the first day that I'm actually skipping my run, and it feels weird. Not in a good way. I just want my knee to get better so I can run again. Going to buy a brace from Walgreens.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Today was the return of the hottest day in recorded history.

I got home from North Carolina at 2 p.m., and I still had my 15-mile run to complete. Unfortunately, it was about 100 degrees outside. I didn't want to wait till later to run because it might make me not be able to fall asleep at night. You know, all the adrenaline and whatever.

Anyway, the fact of the matter is that I was running outside at 3 p.m., ready to take on 15 miles. The first few miles were great (I ran in the shadows down Wisconsin Ave), but once I got to the lake things got bad. There were a few times when I felt nauseous, and then my head got tingly a few other times (though not in the same way that it did on my last long run... which was a good kind of tingly). I was pretty sure that I would die if I didn't take a break, so I started walking more.

Eventually it became really tough to run. I didn't have enough water, it was ridiculously hot, and my legs were stiffening up much earlier than they should have. And then there was the part of my mind that was convinced that if I started running I'd keel over...

Almost halfway through the run, I came up with the great plan to run in the shadows and walk in the sunshine. That worked out really well, until I got to a point in my route where there weren't really any shadows at all. So I ended up walking a lot.

And then, to make everything so much worse, I started getting a rash under my arms, from them rubbing against the seam of my shirt. Arg. So that made it terribly painful to run at all (unless I kept my arms out at my sides, but that was just too much to ask of myself at that point in my run).

By the end of the "run," my body was completely dry (inside and out), and I was covered in salt crystals. And somehow it took 3:05. The heat is really killer... there's no reason adding a single mile should have also added an extra hour. Blah.

Pace: 12:20

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

first run in the rain...


I'm going to North Carolina for BLTW this weekend... So I'm flying out tonight.  Because of this, I decided I had to do my 7-mile run early this morning before work.... So I dragged my body, still stiff and sore from Tough Mudder, out of bed at 6:40 this morning to gobble up a banana and get ready for a run.

Right when I stepped out the door, it started raining. Oh well, I had heard it was fun to run in the summer rain. Wen I started, I noticed my knee was a little goofy... Arg. But I couldn't cut it short or that'd throw off my schedule. I just had to stick it out.

The run was pretty tough. I was running behind some dude for a little while, which kept up my motivation, but once I was along the lake I was all on my own, and it was pouring. My shoes got soppy... I tried to distract myself by focusing on my form, counting my turnover or letting my mind wander, but those were only temporary things.

I made it 6 miles before my leg acted up... During the last mile it was finally too annoying to run. Maybe a combination of being soaked, having a messed up knee and me still being tired. Anyway, the last mile I had to walk most of the time, which threw off my avg pace. Oh well...

Pace: 9:16

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New PR for 8k (I think)

Perfect day for running! It's bright and sunny but there's a cool breeze.

Just had a short 5-mile run today. It felt really short, anyway (especially after this weekend)... I guess I would have disagreed a few months ago.

I clocked in at 39:06, but I know I was waiting for at least 2 minutes at stoplights. So I'm calling it 37 minutes. (Even at 39, I'm happy with it.)

Pace: 7:25

Tough Mudder

I was so tired Sunday and so sore yesterday that I forgot to post.

Tough Mudder was incredibly fun. Back in March when I signed up, I didn't think I'd be able to do it, but it turned out to be more fun than challenging. The course was 10 miles (it took us almost three-and-a-half hours to finish) and there were 24 obstacles scattered throughout. Lots of steep, muddy inclines, opportunities to get soaked, and horseflies. I got used to running with heavy, squishy shoes. It was a blast.

See pictures from the event on Tough Mudder's Facebook album.

Today I'm still sore, still a little bruised and still very scraped (although the scrapes don't hurt anymore). Phew.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Phew 14 Miles

Today's long run was another opportunity for me to run farther than I'd ever run before. The last one was a 12-miler the night before I went to New York, which I did in old shoes, resulting in a sufficiently effed-up ankle. But now it's practically better. (We'll see if that's still true after the endorphins wear off.)

it went pretty well overall... My legs started feeling stiff around mile 9 or 10 but I wasn't having that. I got a little boost of energy a bit after mile 10 when I sucked down an energy gel that made my brain tingle. Oooooh. And then I was pretty gassed when I got to mile 12.

Just kidding.

I convinced myself, and I carried on. By the last mile my brain was tingling again. Oh and then I got mad at a car for running a red light downtown like an idiot, and then I forgot about it 20 seconds later until just now.

I finished in 2:08:30. Pretty much that was my goal. I thought I'd come in a little faster but that didn't happen.

Then I took an ice-cold shower, and now I'm at Broken Yolk. Need to rebuild all my muscle fibers before Tough Mudder tomorrow.

Pace: 9:10

Thursday, July 21, 2011

4 Miles Again

I got sick of running so fricken slow so I just decided to stop running so fricken slow. I strapped on my Five Fingers and went on my way. But I quickly discovered my will could only carry me so far... It was still pretty hot today.

Anyway, I finished in 32:30. Quite a bit slower than I anticipated, but way better than before. Take that, Tuesday, and take that, heat wave.

Also, I got the "first in a series" of emails from Chicago Marathon for participants today. I guess this is for real. I very excite.

Pace: 8:08

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hottest Day in Recorded History

I think today in Milwaukee could give Death Valley a run for its money. I guess having no A/C at the house doesn't help matters.

Anyway, I wasn't about to let a little sunshine spoil my running schedule, so I decided to run my seven miles today. Don't worry, though; I took a lot of precautions. Perhaps too many. (Maybe that's not possible.) Anyway, I started out with two bottles of ice (one of iced Gatorade). I drank the Gatorade and used the other bottle to dump freezing water on my head as I ran. Also, instead of walking for one minute every 10, I walked one every 7.  And a little bit more as my body refused to run.

It went fine. My pace was nothing to be proud of, but that happens when my body has to dedicate most of its resources to not overheating... After all, it's still 100 degrees out, and it's theoretically a few degrees cooler now than it was when I started my run. Anyway, I did 7 miles in 1:13. I think I'm starting to forget what it's like to run at a normal pace...

I should also mention the redundancy of this post's title. All history is, by definition, recorded. Okay, now on to installing OS X Lion...

Pace: 10:25

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

4 miles

It wasn't nearly as hot today as yesterday, but it's still stupid hot. A little over 4 miles in 38 minutes... Had to take it easy :).

Pace: 9:30

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Holy hot.

Sorry for the no posting yesterday. I ran 9 miles uber-slow... Pace 9:20. I'm having trouble pacing those long runs... I know (or at least think) I can go faster, but I start out really slow in fear that I won't finish, and then by the time I realize I'm going super slow I only have a mile or two left and I can't seem to go fast enough to make up for how slow I was going before. But I won't stress out about it... It's about finishing for me, not finishing fast.

Today I went for a nice, long bike ride. It was super hot out so it was a good day for biking (doesn't seem to hot when you're going really fast).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Storm the Bastille 5K

Stormed the Bastille tonight to kick off Bastille Days in downtown Milwaukee.

I ran for the first time without any music, and I really didn't miss it. There were people shouting "You're so beautiful!" and "Look at Timmy! Oh, look at Timmy!" (I suspect they weren't talking to me in either case...)

The only thing is I don't know how long it took me to run... I hit Start on my stopwatch as the race began, but then after what felt like a few minutes of running I looked down at my watch and saw it stalled at 1.14 seconds. Although I suppose it's possible that I ran several blocks in less than two seconds, it's not likely. I started the clock for real then, and I finished the race in a little over "19 minutes."

Anyway, the race was a lot of run. Lots of neat costumes, and it was awesome running around downtown and the Third Ward at night, and on the streets no less. Also I loved the feeling of telling all the stoplights to bite me as I ran through reds and oranges.

After the race we walked around for a while looking for macarons but apparently they didn't have any, QQ. So we got beignets instead (are they even French?) and lemonade.

Now I am hungry.

Pace: Around 7

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Free art! Free mule! Oh, and help promote literacy and running.

You probably know that, as part of this whole marathon business, I've committed to raising $1,000 for Rock for Reading, an organization that uses rock n' roll to promote literacy in Chicagoland. You like reading, don't you? Especially things like emails, right? Then donate at my fundraising page:

Why donate? Not only will you feel better about yourself, but everyone who donates at least $25 will receive a signed 4x6" print of one of my paintings. Holy wow! Also, on August 1 one lucky winner will receive an original painting by yours truly. Who knows, someday it might actually be worth its weight in materials. Oh, and another lucky winner will win a small, plastic mule. 

Share this with your family and all your friends! Anyone can win!


Back in Milwaukee

New York was great. Walking around kind of sucked... I should have realized it was a bad idea to run 12 miles (my longest ever) in some 9-month-old Free Runs. So you can imagine how painful walking around all day Saturday and Sunday was. But I'm alive, and my ankle is back to normal.

Oh, what'd I do in New York... Won/didn't win tickets to The Book of Mormon. Ate an awesome bagel. Ate some awesome pizza. Ate some mediocre pierogi (further evidence that I could be extremely successful opening my own pierogarnia). Went to MoMA (awesome). Met up with Jac. Went to the Nike Sportswear store at 21 Mercer. Oh, and spent some quality time with Abby, who I hadn't seen in like two years.

So all that walking (who knows how many miles) counted as my cross-training. It was serious business.

Today was a simple three-miler. No problem. It's funny looking back to the days when I couldn't make it past a single mile. And then when three miles was the farthest I could hope to run. And now... !

Pace: 7:06

Friday, July 8, 2011

One of the most annoying days in recent history

Today was supposed to be great. I left early from work to catch a 2 p.m. flight to New York City to visit Abby. We were going to walk around for a bit, win tickets to the Book of Mormon and eat some yummy pizza. Tomorrow I was going to wake up early and go for a romantic 12-mile run around Central Park.

Everything took a turn for the worst when my flight was initially delayed until 2:34. I should have known such a felicitous number couldn't have been up to any good. One delay led to another, and we eventually boarded around 3 p.m. We sat on the plane for an hour or so—I'd fallen asleep—before they kicked us all off. Then we waited around some more without any news... They told us they'd make an announcement at 5 p.m. Well, 5 rolled around and their announcement was that they had no update for us. Thanks, Frontier.

Anyway, around 6-something they told us (after attempting to board the plane once more and then aborting that process halfway through) that the flight was cancelled, sayonara. The weather at LaGuardia was apparently just too bad.

Fast forward... Some calls and 20 minutes on hold later I had tickets for an 8 a.m. flight. Never mind that I'd just wasted 6 hours at the airport... My brother was able to pick me up and we headed over to our mom's house for another one of my brother's birthdays. We had dinner at McD's of all places and then went back home for some cake.

With all my plans shaken up, I decided to do my 12-mile run tonight, since I wouldn't be able to do it in the morning, and I didn't feel like waiting till Sunday. Also it'd free up some room in my backpack since I wouldn't have to bring my running stuff, meaning I could buy some sweet stuff in New York. Like maybe some stuff from 21 Mercer. Like maybe some LunarGlide 3 iD shoes.

So I got back to my house around 9:30, dead-tired but for some stupid reason determined to go on a 12-mile run. I got dressed, packed a gel in my pocket (it'd be the first time I tried one... figured might as well do it now on a moderately short run before I actually need the gel...) and brooded on the couch for 20 minutes about how awful the day was.

The only saving grace of today was that I bought a Naked juice at the airport which was supposed to cost $4.02.... I gave the girl $20.25 and she gave me $18.28 in change.

Anyway, I went on my run and the first few miles were pretty brutal. I definitely tripped and ate it around Michigan & Broadway in the second mile. But then it eased up. Eventually I couldn't feel anything anymore and it was increbidible.

I made 12 miles in less time than I ran 11 miles last week... Well, I wasn't running in sweltering heat today. But I was dead tired and I didn't have a chance to refill my water bottle at all.... So imo I did pretty well. Tomorrow and Sunday will be rest/cross-training days, although I'll be on my feet all day both days I think exploring New York.

Pace: 9:15

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Three-Mile Thursday

Nice solid run today. Thumb's doing a lot better. Signed an apartment lease today... Move-in is August 1. Nothing else to report.

Pace: 7:20

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Run Home

Today I was scheduled for a 6-mile run, but I had to go to my mom's house to pick up some packages, so I figured I might as well just run there. It was a 7.2-mile trek up State that I'd done several times on bike but never on foot, so that was exciting. The only trouble was it was evening, and I was heading west without any sunglasses.

I ran into my little sister around 92nd & North... She was supposedly going for a run herself, but she was just walking. She turned around and ran the rest of the way home with me.

I finished in 1:03. I was hoping I'd make it in a little less time, but I'm finding that I'm always faster in my head than in real life.

Pace: 8:45

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Nice day for a run

It wasn't too hot out this evening... I was able to run a pretty good 5K time on a route around campus I haven't done in a while, so that was nice. Took me around 21:30.

In other news, my thumb is nice and bruisy and keeping me disgruntled. Wish this would get better already...

Pace: 6:56

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cross training, kinda

So today was a cross-training day, and usually I take the opportunity to go for a nice long bike ride. But I messed up my hand coming home from Summerfest the other day and my thumb can't move without hurting a lot... so biking for long distances is pretty impossible and, more importantly, it's no fun at all. Guillermo looked at it and it should be fine in a few days, but for now I have to ice it and keep it as immobile as possible... so no biking.

I didn't feel like just going for a walk, though, so I decided to do some light jogging for my cross-training. I went to the lake to visit my family (camping out before the fireworks) for a little while, went to the beach with my little brother and sister and then jogged back to campus before we went to Summerfest. I probably got a total of 3 or 4 hours of cardio today... nice.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hot 11-mile run

It was forecast to be a bazillion degrees today so I decided to run early before it heated up. Well, it was still hot. I was paranoid about overheating so I walked two minutes every 10 instead of one and I made sure I drank plenty of water.... also I ran very slowly.

The run was fine, but it got tough toward the end. The last mile, running back toward Marquette, was pretty much all uphill, and my legs were stiff. I had to alternate running and walking every minute because I couldn't get myself to keep running that long.

When I got back home, I was literally soaked. I could wring my shorts out because there was so much sweat in them.

Drank a ton of water and fueled up with comida and then went to the beach 8).

So there we go... 11 miles, the farthest I've ever run (again).

Pace: 10:05

Thursday, June 30, 2011

3 miles 22 minutes

ran this morning before work because i didn't think i'd be up for it afterward—i didn't know how early i'd be heading down to summerfest for kanye. anyway, the run was nice and awesome, and the show was also nice and awesome. fantastic day.

Pace: 7:20

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

First Day of Summerfest

And the streets are busy. Today was my first 6-mile Wednesday, pretty nice, but my route was disrupted because Lakeshore Park was half blocked-off because they're setting up for the fireworks tonight. Nbd though. There were also a bazillion people out walking around which made navigating the sidewalks a little more troublesome, but I think it helped me run better. Guess I was trying to impress people.

6 miles in 52 minutes. Nice and casual, and even a little faster than on Saturday. It was tough sometimes because of the heat (good thing I brought a water bottle with me, otherwise I wouldn't have even made it that fast), but other times I was cruising.

Speaking of water bottles, I bought the Sigg sport top for my extra Sigg bottle. I thought it would be awesome because Sigg bottles are generally awesome, but it pretty much sucks. Unless I'm just too dumb to figure out how to work it properly... but a water bottle should really not be that hard to operate.

Tomorrow's a simple three miles (and Kanye West!) and then 11 miles on Saturday... a bientot!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

3 miles in 22:50

Not sure how I ran so fast a few weeks ago, but I'm over it. Hot day. Ran the first ten minutes alternating 30 seconds as fast as I could and 30 seconds jogging. Made it to the halfway point in 9 minutes, which is incredible, but had to chill out after that...

After the run I went to the Rec Plex to lift for a little while. I was all sweaty.

I'm even getting bored writing this, so I'll leave you now. Zzz.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I had a dream last night that I forgot to pick up my packet before the marathon and so I never got my number or tracker. All the same, I ran (well, apparently I had to walk most of it because it was so crowded), just without a number. The course took us through several buildings. I finished at 4:40, although by then they had already packed up the finish line. Somewhere along the course I'd lost my cell phone, so I had to go back through to find it or something. The second time around, I finished in 3:09. 

Anyway, went on a long bike ride today along the entire Oak Leaf Trail and then back down Lake Drive. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Short 6-miler

Only six miles today but apparently I ran very slowly because it took 55 minutes. That's okay.

So I think I'm starting to get dependent on running... I can tell my mood is worse on days that I don't run, and I've been down in the dumps a lot recently. I guess there are some things I have to sift through.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Soooooo Sloooow

Today was a simple-enough 4-mile run. I hit the first mile in 7-something and didn't stop running... In fact today I ran the whole time; I didn't walk a second. Even at stoplights I ran in place. I felt incredibly good until I looked at my watch when I got home and saw it took me 34 minutes to go just 4 miles. Arg. Oh well... I didn't even feel a little tired, though, so I just need to push myself a little more next time. Still trying to find my optimum pace I guess.

And what's up with this ridiculous weather?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


So 20:30 went out the window. I finished the 5K in 22:40, which wouldn't have been horrible for me a few months ago, but I haven't run 3 miles that slow in a while, even when I was running slow. It makes me wonder whether I've really been running accurate distances this whole time... especially considering that I should run faster during a race than on my own.

I got over it, though, when I realized that I really don't think I could have done any better. I felt kind of nauseous from the start and I thought I was going to puke my brains out around mile 2.5, but I kept going. I think I walked for 2 minutes total. There was a big awful hill to go up. Well, there was another big hill to descend, which theoretically should have been easier than going up a hill, but it wasn't.

I think I started out too fast... My first mile was 6:18. When I hit the second mile I was at 13 or 14 minutes. The third one took a lot longer...

Anyway, I finished 133rd overall (out of 700-something people) and 13th in my age group. Not sure how many in M20-24 were running, but I don't think there were really that many. Guess everyone was running a little slower today...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Today was an easy four-mile run. Well, at least I thought it was going to be easy. I ran it nice and slow—8-minute miles—but it still wasn't as easy as it should have been. Maybe it was because I had eaten right before; maybe it was because it was late in a stressful day and I was tired; maybe it was because it was a little hot and a little humid.

Anyway, whatever. I felt great after running, so the not-so-great experience of the running itself was quickly forgotten. I went to the Rec Plex to do some circuits of bodyweight squats, pull-ups, crunches and push-ups until my body was annihilated (it didn't take long) and then I walked back home.

I reflected a lot today about my journey to deciding to run a marathon. Like I mentioned before, it wasn't long ago that I didn't run at all. Period. My friend Luke a year or two ago asked me if I wanted to train for a half-marathon with him, and my response was essentially Hell No.

Fast forward: Somehow my mom convinced me to run a 5K last November, and I ran 3 miles at a time regularly since then. I mentioned this once to a marathoner girl I met, and she scoffed.

And then in April, my mom and sister convinced me to run an 8K, which was fine. I still preferred to run 5Ks, but I showed myself that I could run 5 miles (faster than anyone else in my family, apparently).

Somehow Klodian convinced me to sign up for Tough Mudder. That'd be a 10-mile course, and the farthest I'd ever run was 5 miles. I knew I wasn't prepared, but I also knew that I had a few months to get prepared. So I wasn't worried.

And then on the MARDI GRAS trip in May, I met Tom, who'd run the Chicago Marathon a few times. I don't know why, but that may have been the biggest motivator to get me to sign up for it myself. Of course, at first I was just going to run 26 miles on my own just for the heck of it, but I quickly realized that was a recipe for losing focus. It's much easier to stick to a training schedule when there's an actual deadline.

So now I'm doing it. Training for a marathon, when no more than a few months ago I told everyone who breached the subject that there was no way in the world I'd ever run a marathon...

Thanks Mom, Sis, Klodian and Tom

Tomorrow I'm running the Superun 5K at Lake Park. I think it's a pretty tough course... some big hills. My goal is 20:30; we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Night Ride

Leisurely hour-long bike ride tonight. I wasn't going to do anything at first—I biked a bit last night and walked around at Polish Fest for a while—but after eating a really greasy gyro for dinner I felt like I needed to get outside.

My right ankle has sucked today—luckily that doesn't impact riding much. Hopefully it's better soon.

Tomorrow's a nice day of rest.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What Makes Me Think I Can Run a Marathon

I'm sure some people are wondering—sometimes I am one of them, or at least I used to be—what makes me think I can run a marathon. As I mentioned in my first blog post, I'm not really a runner. I didn't run cross country in high school; I was never even able to run the mile for Physical Fitness in grade school. I ran my first mile maybe two years ago, and I ran my first 5K just this November. Yet here I am, training for a marathon.

Though most logic points to my failure, I know I'm going to succeed. And that's simply because I have a history of doing the impossible.

It all started when I was in third grade and my parents told my brothers and me that they were getting divorced. There have been a number of studies on children of divorced parents over the years, and it seems that such children are doomed. They get lower grades, they're reported by their peers to be less pleasant to be around than other children, they have more psychological problems, they develop more health problems, they seem more likely to go to prison, and they're more likely to drop out of high school.

I had my share of problems, but nothing was as bad as these statistics may suggest they ought to have been. Sure, there were a few weeks in fifth grade where I thought I'd hurl at any moment, and I was always chubby with a low self-esteem. I usually thought I wasn't any good at anything, but then I always got stellar grades and my classmates seemed to like me enough.

Fast-forward to the end of high school, when I was tossing around the idea of going to Europe by myself for a month. I didn't have the money to do it, and I didn't think I had the language or social skills, but I went ahead and bought my plane ticket so I wouldn't be able to turn back. And then I did it, and it was awesome. Sure I called home in tears once or twice, and a few things didn't go as planned, but I didn't get kidnapped or raped and I'm still alive.

And then I went to college, and I had no idea how to make friends. I wished I could go back to audit a kindergarten class to see how things were done, but that was obviously not an option. But somehow I did it.

My field of study was questioned, too. During my first semester, I was talking to an upperclassman—another Advertising major. She advised me to change my major as soon as I could because advertising was too competitive and I'd never get a job. I smiled and nodded, and then two years later I got an internship at a  great agency without even trying and now I'm working there full-time. How's that for hustling?

Joining Sigma Chi was another thing I was told would be impossible. It started with, "You'll never get a bid." But I did. And then it was, "You'll never make it through pledging." But I did.

As I mentioned before, I've always been chubby. AKA fat. "No you're not," people might have said, but there was never any arguing with the nurses who came in and measured our BMI's for some sick reason and told me I was clinically obese. Okay, I didn't think I was obese, but definitely overweight.

Anyway, I started working out when I got to college, but it never really did anything. My weight hovered around 235 or 240 pounds. (I'm just shy of 6'2", by the way.) I figured I'd never lose weight. But then I went to South America for a couple of months with my friend Diego, and I came back weighing around 210. Not sure how that happened, but it was pretty neat. I managed to maintain that for the most part. And then I went to Poland, and I came back weighing 195. That was weird. I did weight training when I got back, so I gained back some weight, but it was good. I guess I'm still overweight by clinical standards, but at least I feel better about myself.

Another thing I always relegated as impossible was writing a novel. I've been writing for years, but only short stories. The most I'd ever written was about 40 pages, and it took me a year. I couldn't imagine writing 200-something pages about anything. How could anyone ever have that much to say? Well, somehow I found things to say, because now I'm two novels deep. You can read one of them online right here.

What else... Oh, I studied abroad for a semester in Poland. I didn't know any Polish when I got there, but I got on just fine. There's no reason I should have been able to do that.

And finally, getting a 4.0 one semester in college. My grades were never anything to laugh at, but I don't think I ever got a 4.0. There were always bogus classes like Small Group Communications and Introduction to Theology that stood in my way from straight A's. I was demoralized since my first semester, during which I earned a 3.917, and I thought I'd never get a 4.0. (I wish I were being facetious here, but I'm not.) But then, in my final semester at Marquette, I did it.

So that's why I'm running this marathon, and why I know I'm going to finish it. No goal that I've ever set myself toward has gone unattained, even when I myself may have thought at first that it was impossible, and that streak isn't about to break because of some measly 26.2-mile race.

Today I ran the farthest I've ever gone... Taking it easy, I ran 9 miles in just under 1:21. I feel great.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I am not a Kenyan

If ever there was a doubt in my mind, I discovered today that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am not a Kenyan. It also occurred to me that if people want to prove once and for all that Obama is or is not American-born, all they have to do is put him in a footrace.

Just a three-mile run today, but I didn't break my record. I suppose it was bound to happen eventually. My time was 22:19. It's easy for me to get discouraged here—after all, I set out today thinking I was going to break my record again, for the third time in a row—but I'm over it. There are so many more runs ahead of me, and 22:19 is loads better than anything I was running even just a month ago.

On a similar, unrelated note, the tips of my fingernails are really soft right now. Like, stupid soft. But only the tips, in the middle. Bizarre.

Tomorrow is a well-deserved day of rest before my nine-mile run on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Foggy! 5 miles 39 minutes

It rained on the way to work today. I biked, of course. I had been hoping that the new detachable back-wheel fender thingy I had ordered on Amazon (kudos to Steve Kaufman for showing me that such things exist) would have come before the next rain, but what's another day of wetness?

I checked the weather when I got to work (I guess most people do it before they get there), and was dismayed to see the blue dots extend into the evening. I decided I'd run outside regardless; there's no way I'd run more than a mile on the treadmill anymore.

Fast forward eight hectic hours and it's not raining. Awesome. On my way home from work, I see a bunch of runners—always in pairs—some in shorter shorts than others. I didn't realize how many people run together. I wonder if it would be a good motivator or an annoyance. Knowing me, probably the latter. But still.

Anyway, went for a five-miler in the awesome fog, and the clouds held the rain until I was around 4.75 miles in, so it was perfect. My first mile was incredibly fast—just under 6 minutes—but it was just kind of average after that. I finished in just over 39 minutes. Pretty good considering I got caught at the stoplight at Water & Wisconsin both on the way to the lake and on the way back and had to pick my nose for a minute both times. Three or for other, less annoying stoplights were mixed in there, too. I wonder what my real time would have been.

Felt great after. No notable new blisters, no sore ankles, no nothing. Oh, I started doing some extra morning and evening yoga poses to stretch my ankles and arches. That's probably helping. Satnam, satnam, satnam.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Broke My 5K Record Again

Today's three-miler took me across the 16th Street Bridge to National and back. It was hot so I brought along a bottle of Gatorade, but I only ended up taking a few sips of it. Running in more or less a straight line made the journey go by faster, I think.

My time was 20:53, almost minute faster than the last time I broke my record (last week). After the run I did a 10-minute series bodyweight circuits—one minute each of prisoner squats, modified pushups and crunches.

I feel great. Decided to reward myself by cracking open a bottle of the greatest beer ever invented, New Glarus Dancing Man Wheat. Haven't had one of these in... a few days.

I also noticed something hilarious on my toe: I now have a compound blister. Well, not really a blister; it's entirely deflated. But it seemed to have been, at one point, a blister. Or rather a pair of blisters. I won't gross you out with a photo, but imagine a giant blister inside of which you can see another, smaller blister. It's neat.

Five miles tomorrow. Will I finally wake up early and run before work?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bike for Cross-Training

Sunday is cross-training day, so this morning I went for a bike ride. It was a little chilly, but otherwise a beautiful day. I rode for almost an hour and a half (it was supposed to be only an hour-long ride, but I forgot to bring my watch) up the Oak Leaf Trail. (I was happy to see they finally finished the Capitol Bridge.)

My legs and feet are still a bit sore from yesterday (especially my arches, or lack thereof). Looking for some good yoga poses and other stretches to work on that.

Tomorrow's a day of rest. Zzz

Saturday, June 11, 2011

8 Miles - 1:07:49

Today was an 8-mile run. Just between you and me, that's the longest I've ever run in my life. (26.2 miles? Yeah, I'm not afraid.) And it went great. I credit this to the amazing weather (it was about 60ish, overcast and a little misty... my perfect running weather), and also to my iPod: My awesome Sennheiser headphones went in to get fixed and are currently on backorder (for another month), so the other day I broke down and bought a new iPod Shuffle for running. Incidentally, the iPod was cheaper than just buying a new pair of headphones...

Anyway, the run went great, like I said. I could have kept going forever. I took it easy, running for 9 minutes then walking one minute and repeating, and I never had to take a walking break when it wasn't time. No major cramps. It was a piece of cake. (I guess I could have gone a little faster... But I wasn't sure if I could have even finished the 8 miles then :P.)

My only complaint right now is my stupid toenails. They've been troubling me with their nasty ingrownness since I was little. I had surgery on the big toes, but never any of the little ones, but now I'm beginning to think that I should have. Too late now, though; there's no way I'm getting surgery until after the marathon.

Let's hope that October 9 is overcast and mild.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Best 5K time ever

It's been a rough week. Last weekend I could barely finish my five-mile Saturday (and I used to say I don't get hangovers...), and this week was unbearably hot. I ran a 24:11 5K on Tuesday in 90-something degrees with high humidity. Wednesday was cooler but not much better—I took it easy and finished in 24:40.

Today, though, today was great. I ran hard but I felt great the whole time because it was nice and fresco outside, and I ended up finishing 3.1 miles in 21:40, my best time ever.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm not really a runner

I'm not really a runner; I never have been. In high school I was a glorified couch cushion—I never played any sports. Until about two years ago I couldn't even run a mile. Somehow my mom convinced me (and half my family) to run a 5K last November, and since then I've been running regularly. (I ran Crazylegs, an 8K in Madison, this April in 39:29.)

But I still wouldn't consider myself a runner. I don't live and breathe running, and I'm not incredibly good at it. But if Weezy is not a human being but still does things normal human beings do, then I see no reason why me, a non-runner, can't run a marathon.

That crackpot thought occurred to me the other day, and I decided to do Hal Higdon's novice marathon training (more or less just to see whether it really worked). My initial idea was to train up for my own, invented marathon. Today, though, I decided to just do it. To sign up for the Chicago Marathon this October.

Registration was closed, though, but I was still able to sign up as a charity runner, making it all the more awesome. I'll be running for Rock for Reading. Let's do it.

At least having 26.2 miles on the horizon makes the prospect of the mere 10-mile deathcourse I have coming up in July seem much less terrifying.