Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for September, 2008

Published September 28th, 2008

You don’t have to tell me twice

Okay, so maybe you do.  But after that I’ll get it; I swear!

As I’ve been grumbling about for the past few weeks, my right calf has been giving me grief.  It’s not the same top-of-the-calf pain I experienced while wearing the motion control/stability shoes (I’ve since switched to a neutral pair, the Brooks Defyance), nor was it a case of shin splints.  Rather, the pain was centered between my calf and shin on the inside of my leg.

I’ve chalked it up to running too many damn miles with little recovery.  It certainly helped to take a week off after Skagit Flats, but I could still feel twinges of pain during my runs since (that’s one of the things that contributed to last week’s tears).  I’ve stretched, I’ve sticked, I’ve foam rollered, I’ve self-massaged, I’ve had my darling massage the spot — all to no avail.

But then it dawned on me.  Could it once again be my shoes?

I consulted my training log to see how many miles each pair had racked up.  I wasn’t surprised to see the first pair had 500 miles on them, but was a bit shocked to see the second pair was pushing 450.  I’ve had a pair on order from Brooks since the end of August (I had received a 40% discount card at Hood-to-Coast), but the company is in the midst of a software upgrade and they’re experiencing longer-than-normal delivery delays.  So off to my running store I go.

Not wanting to mess with a good thing, I had the clerk grab another pair of size 10 Defyances (hey — don’t laugh.  I’m a tall girl, ya know).  After inspecting my insoles she also recommended I replace those, as they had about 950 miles on them (although she recommended I wear my old insoles in my new shoes for a couple of runs to make sure the shoes were still a good fit).

I laced up my new shoes for an early morning run and headed out the door.  I could tell the difference from the get-go — no calf pain!  There was just a tad bit of residual achyness as I ran downhill, but it was nothing compared to what I have been dealing with.  I was able to run 10 1/2 in relative comfort (I cut my scheduled 12-mile run short as I was meeting my sister for lunch).

Who says blondes don’t catch on?

(Then again, calf pain isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

Published September 27th, 2008

Look Ma, no tears!

I am happy to report I’ve run 23 tearless miles since my last post (although I may have muttered a few “damn”s,” “ouch”es and “how many more f’ing miles do I have to run?”)

I was determined to get in a redemption run on Monday, and when I saw the skies clear from grey to blue I knew there was no excuse for backing out.  I decided to run a portion of the course I skipped the day before; although it was longer than I wanted to go (about 10 miles), I gave myself the option to walk should things get tough.  I averaged a 9:20 pace for the first five miles heading down around Lake Union, then slowed to a 9:50 pace as I ran back up.  I experienced the typical aches and pains, but nothing too drastic.  As I neared the 8-mile mark I decided I’d be ready to walk after 9 miles.

I hit that mark just as I reached Greenlake.  Normally that would spur me on to finish strong (I was about a mile and a half from home), but I welcomed a leisurely stroll.  I figured if I happened to see anyone I knew and they asked why I wasn’t running, I’d point to my Garmin to show them I really was a studette and had just run 9 miles.  I’d also tell them I had just run a marathon, let’s see — how long ago?  HOLY CRAP!  It had been only two weeks since I had run a freakin’ marathon!  No WONDER I was sore.  Sheesh!

I started adding up the miles since Skagit Flats and was shocked to realize I’d run almost 50 (it would have been closer to 60 had I finished Sunday’s run as intended).  Some recovery!  Upon returning home I consulted my “Advanced Marathoning” book to see what it recommended as a plan for marathons five weeks apart.  Sure enough — I was overly ambitious.  While I had scheduled two rather long runs — Sunday’s 20-miler and an 18-miler for tomorrow — the longest run Pfitz calls for is 15 miles, and that’s not until late next week.  He may be hardcore, but he obviously emphasizes recovery.

I’ve since retooled my plan and will only be running 12-13 miles tomorrow.  I even bagged today’s 5-mile recovery run since I walked to my running store on the other side of the lake (about 3 miles).  I’m no longer aiming to BQ at Royal Victoria either (although I may try to beat my North Olympic time).

Perhaps all I needed was a good cry to knock some sense into me.

Published September 21st, 2008

There’s no crying in baseball

However, all bets are off when it comes to running:

Dear readers, I just wasn’t feeling the love today.  I had such high hopes too: 20 miles at a leisurely pace; no big woop.  But given how tired I felt this morning, 20 miles turned into 17 (give or take).  I was thrilled to see yesterday’s downpour was a no show; even though it was overcast it looked to be a fabulous day for running.  I loaded up my iPhone with tunes, strapped on the fuel belt, stepped outside and, Crap!  It started to rain.


Back indoors to grab my raincoat.  I’d be doing this run come Hell or high water (perhaps literally).  By the time I ran over the ridge by our house I was sweating bullets, so the raincoat came off (fortunately the raindrops had petered out as well).  My darling and I kept a slow, steady pace, and despite a few aches and pains, I was feeling good.

Just after 5 miles we stopped at the Locks for a pee and water break, then watched as a huge barge floated through.  While I welcomed the break, my legs protested as we started up again.  My darling wasn’t sure if he’d run the full 17 miles (he ran 10 yesterday), and my inner slacker started talking me into bagging it as well.

Slacker Devil: “You’ve been training so hard.  You deserve a break.  You’re legs are getting TIRED.”
Persevering Angel: “You can do it!  You’re strong!  You can run 17 miles in your sleep!”
SD: “Don’t listen to her yammering.  You’re going to hurt yourself.  The couch is calling you!”
PA: “Think of how proud you’ll be for gutting it out.  You’ll EARN that spot on the couch!”

I silenced my inner devil, at least for a couple more miles.  But as we neared the spot where my darling would branch off, I had to stop to mull over my options: 1) turn right at the Fremont bridge and run along the south end of Lake Union, finishing my run as planned; 2) head straight and run along the north end of Lake Union, cutting the run by roughly 3 miles; or 3) turn left up Stone Way, thus cutting the run to about 11 miles total.

I’m embarrassed to say my inner slacker won out.

I braced myself for the Stone Way hill, but by now my legs were really protesting, and my heart was no longer in it.  At 8.41 miles, I was ready for my meltdown, Mr. DeMille.  (Ever the photographer, my darling couldn’t pass up an opportunity for a great close up).

While we walked the rest of the hill, I rallied at the end to finish running, logging in 10 miles for the day.  (My inner slacker is now sulking in the corner).

Published September 18th, 2008

These are a few of my favorite blogs

I debated whether or not to participate in this week’s Take it and Run Thursday.  How could I possibly call out my favorite blogs without hurting someone’s feelings for not including them in the list?  In fact, I’m considering removing my blog roll since it’s not indicative of all the blogs I follow.  (As I commented to RazZDoodle, I’m finding I spend just as much time — if not more — reading running blogs as I do actually running).

Running blogs serve multiple purposes for me.  As a personal chef, I’m typically alone in the kitchen all day.  Running blogs and forums provide the social interaction I lack in my day job.  They also help me unwind at the end of the day.  My favorite blogs are witty and well-written, challenging me to improve my own writing.  And yes, blogs have made me a better runner.  If it weren’t for my RBF’s, I don’t think I’d be heading to Boston the third week in April.

The following are some of my all-time favorites.  I apologize if you’re not on the list; rest assured I read WAY more than I’ve listed here.  I know many of these have been called out by others — the last thing I want to do is cause heads to swell even more — but I have to give these folks their props.

Angie, Suzanne: these two remarkable women are my oldest RBFs (not in age — I’ve got several years on both of them — but I’ve been reading their blogs the longest).  As a 5′ 11″ woman, when I saw the name of Angie’s blog I just HAD to check it out.  Her witticisms and humorous take on running made me a stalker follower.  I believe I stumbled upon Zanne’s blog through her comments to Angie.  Although she’s now a hardcore biker chick, she motivated me to try for Boston.

Diva, Tory: not only are they local gals (I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them both in person), like me they turned to running to lose weight.

CoffeeBetsy, TheBets: BETSY’S UNITE!  Not only do these women have a totally awesome name, their blogs are very entertaining.  (Just don’t call them Becky or Besty).

Runner’s Lounge, Disney Running, Taper Madness, Marathon Maniacs, Runner’s World Forum: Not blogs per se, but I spend an inordinate amount of time in these forums (somebody please stop the madness).  Some may know me as EatDrinkRunWoman, others as Ovens2Betsy.

PiecesofMe, Frayed Laces: As an old married women, I live vicariously through these vivacious single gals.  (Although I’m often reminded why I’m glad to not be in the dating scene any more!)

I REALLY hate to do this.  But if there’s one person who has encouraged me to polish and refine my writing, it’s him.  He has a real flair for humor, and I look forward to his postings.  I think you know who I’m talking about.  No need to mention him by name.  I mean, he already has the ego the size of Texas (or more appropriately, Michigan).  The last thing he needs is more adoration/fans.  As it is, I’m sure the beleaguered Mrs. N can hardly stand to have him in the house, what with all the sweating, poop analyzing and running akimbo.

Published September 9th, 2008

Skagit Flats — the rest of the story

Comparing running a marathon to childbirth isn’t new.  While I never have (nor ever will) experience childbirth, I can only imagine the similarities.  Both require a lot of thought and preparation; they leave you stinky, sweaty and totally spent; they hurt like a Mutha and compel you to lash out at your spouse for forcing you into this mess.

So what’s this have to do with a race report for Skagit Flats?

Taking the childbirth analogy one step further, Sunday’s marathon is much like the middle child — the unpredictable one who challenges you at every turn.  My fifth marathon, it was by far the toughest physically.

Because it was a training run, all pressure was off.  My goal was to run it slow; I figured if my average pace was faster than 10 minutes/mile, I would have failed.  It would simply be just another weekend long run.  However, I failed to gauge how taxing it would be on my body three weeks after my BQ.

My darling, meanwhile, was to make his second attempt (he missed his time by a mere 18 seconds during the Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon).  I fed him well the night before (his favorite — Pizza Margherita and Caesar salad) and made sure he ate his oatmeal and drank plenty of coffee race day morning.  I also helped him pack, as he’s notorious for running around race morning gathering various items (Garmin, iPod, shorts).


Published September 7th, 2008

Skagit Flats 2008

I’m going to spare you my normally long & windy race report, as Skagit Flats can be summed up in one word:


(Running two marathons within three weeks’ time is crazy; running one three weeks after BQing is INSANE.  But as a testament to that insanity, I’m now Marathon Maniac #1077, hubby is #1078).

I did reach my goal, however: I kept my overall pace to OVER 10 minutes/mile (although I somehow managed to run mile 26 in 8:50).  Results haven’t been posted, but I believe my time was 4:27:something.  My darling unfortunately did not BQ (his feet have been killing him), but he WILL try again once he’s healed.

(And don’t worry — you’ll get another EDRW verbose race report once I’ve had the chance to recuperate for at least a day).

Published September 4th, 2008

It’s not you, it’s me

Dear Running,

I don’t know how to break this to you, but I think we need to cool things just a tad.  NO!  I’m not breaking up you, I swear.  After all, we’re running Skagit Flats this Sunday, aren’t we?  And I just booked our spots on the Victoria Clipper for the Royal Victoria Marathon in October.  And you KNOW we’re doing Boston, baby!  (In fact, I registered us yesterday).

It’s just… well, this old gal is having a hard time keeping up with you.  I’ve been skipping my gym routines just to get my sleep.  My right calf has been barking at me.  As I write this, I have an ice pack on the top of my foot (note to self: do NOT Google “foot stress fracture“).

Think about it — I’ve basically been in constant training mode since April 2006.  Don’t you think we deserve a break?  Actually, I don’t even consider it a “break” per se; I just think we shouldn’t be exclusive.  I need to see others (Mr. Bike Ride, Ms. Yoga, Mrs. Swim, Mr. Elliptical).  Don’t worry — I don’t like them more than you.  In fact, they actually strengthen my feelings toward you.  Remember that crappy 3-mile run we had the other day?  By taking the next day off, I then was able to run a 5K PR.  And by taking four days off after the Tunnel Marathon, I totally kicked butt during Hood-to-Coast, despite the vertigo.

Believe me, I’m in it for the long haul.  I just think it’s time to back off from such a strict schedule.  Okay, okay; so maybe after Royal Victoria.  I’m with you on wanting to try to BQ again.  But I’m warning you — if I feel I’m not in tip-top BQ shape, I’m just going to run the marathon for fun.

Forever yours,