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.