Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for March, 2008

Published March 30th, 2008

An anniversary!

My goodness — I just realized today is the 1-year anniversary of Eat Drink Run Woman! (Although given what happened during my 20-mile run, “Eat Drink Can’tRun Woman” is more precise). 🙁


Published March 30th, 2008

Pfitz, Week 8 (50 miles)

It was bound to happen. I’ve been too cocky. I’ve crowed about how fast I’ve been. I obviously did not leave an offering to the running gods.

I have a calf sprain.

How can this be? I’ve been stretching (most of the time). I’ve been doing my PT exercises (many of them, anyway). I even took an extra day of rest this week. But about five miles into Saturday’s 20-mile run my left calf started tightening up. I should have stopped to stretch earlier, but I was determined to keep going. Ironically I was forcing myself to slow WAY down since I was concerned I was over-training. I was determined to keep my heart rate at 70% of my maximum during the first 10 miles (which was about a 10:30-10:40 pace); I’d then allow myself to speed up to 80% of my maximum (about a 10:10-10:20 pace).

I finally stopped at the 10 mile mark to take in some ShotBlocks and water and stretch my calves and hamstrings. That helped at first but soon the tightness returned. Just before mile 16 I stopped at my gym for a potty break, but I also spent several seconds with the calf stretcher (in hindsight I should have also used a foam roller). By mile 18 I was really feeling the pain, but I refused to walk.

When my darling saw me hobbling up our stairs he knew he’d be conscripted into service. I winced in pain as he massaged my tender calf; although it truly helped, I still have a bit of tenderness today. I’m hoping a day of RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) will help, as I’m just 5 miles from hitting the 200-mile mark for the month (I KNEW I shouldn’t have taken that rest day on Friday!). However, I have to follow the same advice I gave my darling when he rolled his ankle earlier in the week — if it still hurts, DON’T RUN!


Published March 30th, 2008

Helping out my peeps

Gabriella's 7


Last Tuesday I ran seven miles for someone I don’t really know.

A fellow personal chef posted on our national message board her goal to lose 60 pounds; knowing support of friends, family and colleagues will be key to her success, she asked if any of us would be willing to “sponsor” a pound. Once she lost the designated pound, we’d have to do whatever we committed to — shaving our head, eliminating our favorite junk food for a month, volunteering at a local soup kitchen, etc.

I wanted to pick something I’d actually look forward to doing (shaving my head was NOT it!), so I told her I’d run the number of miles for pounds lost. Perhaps not the most creative, but given my weight loss (40 pounds) came as a result of running, I figured it’d be apropos. But I did give myself a challenge, sponsoring three goal pounds: 7, 15 and 22. On March 24 — three weeks after starting the challenge — Gabriella posted to say she had hit the first mark.

I had a 6-mile speed work session scheduled, but decided to add a mile in her honor. As I stood in my client’s kitchen that day looking out at the pouring rain, I contemplated postponing the run until the next day, my day off. But knowing I had made a promise — not only to Gabriella, but to myself (I wouldn’t let a little rain keep me from working toward my Boston goal) — I was determined to lace up.

While I got home at a reasonable hour, as usual I dawdled for well over an hour. I finally headed out at 5:30 p.m. Fortunately the rain had stopped, but mid-way through the run it started up again. RASSENFRASSEN! But again, I remembered my promise and was determined to finish the 7 miles. A little over an hour later I was back home, cold, wet, but elated I had reached my goal.

So Gabriella, I look forward to the day I get to write the reports for the 15- and 22-mile runs!

Published March 24th, 2008

Pfitz, Week 7 (47.25 miles)

Angie asked me about my weekly mileage on the Pfitzinger plan, so I’ve added the numbers to each of the weekly posts. At first glance it would appear the program does not follow the 10% rule, where you only increase your mileage each week by 10%. However, that isn’t the case; it just appears that way due to how I’ve shifted the schedule.

Pfitzinger has you start your week on Monday and end with a long run on Sunday. I prefer to do my long runs on Saturday, so I’ve shifted it a day. However, there have been a couple of instances where I’ve had to do my long run on Sunday (once when I was sick, the other when I ran the Mercer Island half instead of the scheduled long run). So you’ll see a jump from 35.85 miles in week 5 to 57.65 miles in week 6. I started week 6 with the MI half and ended it with my regularly scheduled long run. If I were to recalculate my mileage based on a Monday-Sunday schedule, then it’s more in line with what the program calls for (and doesn’t increase more than 10% each week).

I definitely feel I’m getting stronger and faster with the training. I’m sure part of it has to do with dropping a couple of pounds (although the orgy of food and drink that is Easter certainly didn’t help. Back on the program!). Even with my long runs I find I can run a fast pace toward the end. I haven’t been as diligent about my gym routine (I really need to get my core conditioning in), but I guess I shouldn’t beat myself up about it too much.


Published March 20th, 2008

Talkin’ ’bout my community

People try to put us d-down (talkin’ ’bout my community)
Just because we run around (talkin’ ’bout my community)
In the winter we get c-c-cold (talkin’ ’bout my community)
But we ain’t gonna die before we get old (talkin’ ’bout my community)

This is my community
This is my community, baby

Why don’t you all f-fade away (Talkin’ ’bout my community)
And don’t try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin’ ’bout my community)
I’m not askin’ for increased i-i-immunity (Talkin’ ’bout my community)
I’m just talkin’ ’bout my c-c-community (Talkin’ ’bout my community)

This is my community
This is my community, baby

While I would never say this during a job interview, I’m not much of a team player. I was never into sports when I was younger, and the few times I took up team sports as an adult (softball, soccer, volleyball) it was a bit of a disaster. Not because I thought I was so much better than everyone else; quite the contrary. I had absolutely no confidence in my skills and I thought I was dragging everyone down.

That’s why I’ve taken to running — I can go it alone and not be responsible for anyone else. Mind you, I’m sure if I found a fun running group I’d have a blast — I do enjoy the camaraderie of other runners — but even then I’d be concerned I was dragging the group down if I was having a bad day (or I’d get frustrated if I felt I could go faster than what the group was doing). But just as Coffee Betsy states in her post, I LOVE getting together with other runners after the run is done. I think that’s what I enjoyed most about the Goofy Challenge; I was truly in my element as I walked hobbled around Magic Kingdom the day after, proudly sporting my Goofy medal and congratulating all the other crazy souls.

However, even though I enjoy my solo runs (or runs with just my darling and me), that doesn’t mean I don’t long for — or seek — a community of like-minded obsessive fools. In fact, if it weren’t for the virtual community I’ve developed over the past year, it’s doubtful I’d be on my quest to qualify for Boston. I get energized and motivated by all the blogs I read and podcasts I listen to, and I believe they’ve helped push me to be my very best.


Published March 17th, 2008

Pfitz, Week 6 (57.65 miles)

While I’ve read a lot of positive comments about Pfitzinger’s training programs (especially if you want to get stronger and faster), most people agreed you will feel rather beat up. This week certainly gave me a taste of what’s to come.

Given I ran the Mercer Island Half on Sunday, once again I tweaked the schedule to allow for some recovery. While I (mostly) got in all my runs, I bagged out on all my gym routines save for Monday. I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed at 5:30 a.m. While I know my body appreciated the break, it meant I didn’t do any stretching or PT exercises (our house is so tiny I’d have to rearrange the furniture to make room for any type of exercise. Therefore I typically just do my stretching at the gym). But I’m heading into the big-time mileage weeks (50 this week, 54 the next) so I know I’ll need to concentrate on keeping my muscles flexible.

Here’s my week:

Sunday: Mercer Island Half

Monday: 45 minute arm/shoulder routine, 5-mile recovery run (9:18 pace)

Tuesday: 9-mile lactate-threshold run w/4 miles @ 15K-half marathon pace. This run was truly a mind-over-matter one. I ran a 2-mile warm-up at roughly a 9:40 pace and contemplated how fast I’d run the 4 miles. My goal is to run at my 15K pace (8:45), but since I was recovering from the half I decided I’d be happy with a 9-minute pace (what I ran during the half). When I hit two miles I picked up the pace; I didn’t look at Garmin, I just wanted to run what felt comfortable. At the end of the mile I glanced down to see I had run it in 8:28! I slowed it down for the next mile, which wasn’t difficult given I was now running into a headwind. I also toyed with taking a break after two miles, easing back into a slow pace, then picking it up again. But as I neared the 2-mile mark I decided to keep a fast pace for four miles nonstop. Miles 2-4 were 8:56, 8:40 and 8:44, which meant I averaged an 8:42 pace. I was pleasantly surprised. I ran my last three miles at a considerably slower pace, but averaged 9:17 for the entire 9-mile run.

Wednesday: Rest day! A group of personal chefs gathered that evening for a wine tasting, so my only form of exercise was bringing a glass of wine to my lips and noshing on yummy food.

Thursday: Since I hadn’t been drinking for a couple of weeks the wine really took its toll. Oy! I planned on hitting the gym, but when I awoke with a bit of a hangover I reset my alarm for another two hours. I pretty much felt crappy all day and I certainly wasn’t looking forward to that afternoon’s 10-mile run, especially since it had been pouring all day. By the time I headed out the door it was well after 5 p.m. I decided not to wear my iPod given the rain, and turns out I’d be sans technology throughout the run. Because the sleeve on my heavier rain jacket forces my Garmin onto my wrist bones, I slipped the sleeve over Garmin (which meant I couldn’t view it during the run). Halfway through the run I decided I’d cut it short, so as I was nearing the end I slipped my sleeve back over to see I had run a total of… 16 yards. D’oh! I somehow had hit the stop button in the very beginning. However, I was able to determine I ran a little over 7 miles using MapMyRun, plus I had my start time. My overall pace was 9:19.

Friday: A new day, a better attitude. I was bummed to see the rain wasn’t letting up, but since I only had a 5-mile recovery run, I didn’t mind. Imagine my delight when I stepped out to see the rain had stopped. Hallelujah! To celebrate (and to make up for cutting yesterday’s run short), I ran six miles (9:15 pace).

Saturday: I was worried when I checked the weather forecast on Wunderground the night before — 80% chance of precipitation. NOT what I wanted to hear given I’d be doing a 17-miler. But fortunately the report was wrong; while I awoke to overcast skies there was nary a drop of rain. I had hoped to get an early start, but realized all my cold weather gear was in the laundry. So by the time I got everything washed and headed out the door, it was a little after 10:15. Because I wanted a relatively flat run, I drove down to Gasworks Park and headed along the Burke-Gilman to the Locks. After crossing the locks I headed south and made my way down to Myrtle Edwards Park. I’ve been hearing a lot about the Phedippidations podcast, so I downloaded several episodes, including his report of the 111th Boston Marathon (I thought it would be good motivation!)

I’ve been concerned that I’m running my long runs too fast, so I really tried to keep my pace for the first few miles in the 10:30-10:50 minute pace (approximately 20% slower than my marathon goal pace). I came close — 10:20 average pace for five miles. I then picked it up, hoping to average a 9:55-10:10 pace (approximately 10% slower). I managed to do that for the next four miles, but was then ready for a walk break as I downed some Clif ShotBlocks. My legs were beginning to tire at this point, so I slowed to a little over a 10-minute pace. However, I managed to pick it up for mile 16 (9:56) and again for mile 17 (9:49). I guess I was really motivated by the chocolate milk I had waiting in my car! My overall pace for the 17.25 mile run was 10:10.

Published March 11th, 2008

Pfitz, Week 5 (35.85 miles)

Given I was running the Mercer Island half I flip-flopped weeks in the training program to make this week a recovery one. However, because I also was recuperating from my cold, I started the week out with a long run.

Here’s a recap:

Sunday: I wanted to be prepared for MI’s famed hills so my darling and I once again ran what I’ve dubbed the “Freakin’ Hard Ass Hill Run.” It starts at our home at the bottom of Phinney Ridge, heads up over the ridge and down to Golden Gardens Park. We run along Shilshole to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, then over to Discovery Park for the 2.8 mile loop trail (which is also hilly). Then it’s back over the ridge to home.

My darling got to choose our route heading back from the Locks. The first part didn’t have as many hills, but we then hit a street that appeared to have a 45-degree hill. In unison we said, “I’m walking this!” At the top we had a choice: head 1/2 mile north to home, or head south for a bit to make up the full 15 miles. My darling chose the former, I chose the latter (my final mileage was 15.25).

Monday: didn’t feel like hitting the gym, so I just slept in. But I did do my afternoon 8-mile general aerobic + speed work. Normally I’d hit the track for the speed work but it’s been really crowded with high school track. So I just did some fartlek work along Greenlake (9:18 average pace)

Tuesday: this was the day for “The Yoga Class at which I Cried.” I was still feeling the lingering effects of the cold (and had developed a cough), plus I was feeling beat up from the Sunday and Monday runs. I just couldn’t get into any of the poses. I was tempted to leave early as I didn’t think the others appreciated my hacking and groaning. At one point the instructor asked me how I was doing and that’s when I had to fight back the tears (as I was standing in mountain pose I felt a few drops falling down my cheeks!) I was still feeling pretty crappy that afternoon, so I bagged my 5-mile recovery run.

Wednesday: A new day, a new attitude. Started with an hour+ conditioning workout (I only did one set of arm weights since I wanted to work on my PT work and stretching in preparation for the race). It was a glorious afternoon that was sunny enough for me to don a running skirt for my 8-mile GA run (although I’m glad I wore a long-sleeved shirt). Once again I chose a route with hills (9:40 overall pace).

Thursday: another hour+ conditioning workout with a 4-mile afternoon recovery run. Normally my goal is to run those at a 9:35-9:50 pace, but I was just dragging. My overall pace was more like a long run: 10:34. I was concerned since I didn’t think that bode well for my upcoming race, so I decided to take it easy for the next two days (a mini taper, if you will).

Friday: VERY short (45 minutes) arm weight routine.

Saturday: Planned to do a few laps at the pool but the parking lot was packed. I tried to find street parking but that too was packed (not surprising for a weekend day at Greenlake). I wasn’t dressed for a long walk, so I circled around a bit hoping to find something close. Nuttin’. I resigned myself to another recovery day and headed back home. I did, however, make sure I ate sensibly and drank plenty of fluids (although I did have a glass of wine with dinner).

Published March 9th, 2008

Mercer Island Half, part deux

What a difference a year (and hardcore training) make! I ran this race for the first time last year, dubbing it the “Strongest. Half Marathon. Ever.” Ah, what a naive young thing I was!

Reading the 2007 race report brought a smile to my face on several fronts. Here are some choice excerpts:

I compete against myself and yesterday my bad self whipped my wimpy self all over the course. HAH! Comparing 2007’s “bad self” to 2008’s would be like comparing Marie Osmond to Courtney Love.

…my finish of 2 hours, 9 minutes, 35 seconds… Ummm… Hello? Conveniently forgetting that 2 minute, 20 second potty break now aren’t we?

Yes, I was sore and in need of some serious couch time immediately after the race, but I feel fine today and even mustered up the strength for a 4-mile walk. Whatever. I’ll be RUNNING five miles tomorrow, you wuss.

I attribute my success to Jeff Galloway’s run/walk program. Sure, if you want to stay middle-of-the-pack, that program is fine. But if you want to run with the big girls, Pfitzinger’s program kicks ass.

And here’s the best:

I’ve decided I don’t need to prove anything by trying to run a sub 2-hour half marathon; I’m just looking to have a good time and keep my body healthy and injury-free for the next race. Screw that! (Okay, not the “having a good time” and “keeping my body healthy and injury-free” part).

Of course, some things never change:

With Helen serenading me, I picked up speed, passed several runners, blew my darling a kiss and sprinted powerfully over the timing mat. Oh wait, I suppose that needs to be re-written for this year:

With Helen serenading me, I TRIED to pick up speed, but GOT passed BY several runners, blew my darling a kiss and sprinted powerfully lurched dizzily over the timing mat.

Mercer IslandI’ve been looking forward to this race for months. As I mentioned in last year’s post, it’s particularly significant since it’s a fund-raiser for colon cancer awareness (colon cancer runs in our family). And how cool is it to run a race on a course that looks like a foot (minus the toes)! But this is the first long race I’ve run twice, so it was great to compare my progress. Last year I followed a 12-week training schedule, logging in a little over 150 miles. While I was diligent with my weekend long runs, I often bagged on the mid-week ones. In the three weeks before the race I only logged 14 1/2 miles (although I think I was sick one of those weeks). My weight on race day was 166.4.

This year was considerably different. In the 12 weeks leading up to the race I logged in 311.5 miles. I did a mini-taper this past week, but still put in almost 36 miles. And by watching what I ate and eliminating alcohol for the past couple of weeks, I weighed in at 161.6 this morning (although by the time I ate my pre-race steel-cut oats and drank my coffee and water, I’m sure I gained a couple of pounds).


Published March 9th, 2008

2 hours…

… I spit in your face!

The results aren’t official, but Garmin says I crossed the finish line in 1:58:03. I’ll be posting a full race report later today!

Update — official chiptime result:1:58:02; 47th in my age group, 300th in the female division (out of 798) and 842nd overall (out of 1601).  I’ll live with that!

Published March 7th, 2008

Duvet Day

A friend of mine used to work for a public relations firm that gave its employees a couple of “duvet days” per year.  Those were the days where you woke up and decided you just wanted to stay in bed all day with the duvet over your head.  They weren’t sick days, more like “mental health” days.  Well, today was my version of a “duvet day.”

Since I’m self-employed I don’t get the luxury of paid days off, so I couldn’t ditch my client.  But fortunately my cook day was a speedy one.  And I actually was able to drag my butt out of bed for my morning arm weight routine, but it was a half-hearted effort.  Normally I put in at least an hour to an hour and a half; today I called it quits after 45 minutes.

My workday was done by 1:30 p.m., and after taking my darling to lunch I plopped myself on the couch with a bowl of truffle popcorn.  I haven’t moved for the past four hours.

Why such slothfulness?  I’ve been anxious about this weekend’s half marathon since it will be the first time I’m truly racing.  Sure, I try to run my best at every race, but it’s not a priority.  With this race, I not only hope to PR (and ideally break the 2-hour mark), I’m also using it as a gauge for my marathon training.  Based on my finish time I will readjust my training paces accordingly.

Mercer Island is known for its hills; while there aren’t any steep grades (other than one small downhill), the race comprises rolling hills throughout.  This year’s course has been changed to include two particularly long, albeit gradual, hills within the last 2-3 miles.  Therefore, I’ve been incorporating several hills into my workouts.  Thing is, given how I feel, I’m wondering if I’ve done TOO much.  (Hence the duvet day).

I must remind myself that my training is for the marathon in June; not Sunday’s race.  If I were just training for that, I would have tapered longer and eased up on this week’s runs.  I did bag on a 5-miler this week, but my taper is only a couple of days long.  However, it’s sorely (pun intended) needed!  If I’m up for it, I may hit the pool tomorrow morning before heading to the expo.  But if my body begs me for another day of rest, so be it!

Stay tuned for the race report.