Run Doodle Run

The long road to 26.2

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Diet Pepsi Anonymous

My name is Stephanie and I… I… I am a Diet Pepsi addict. *sobs* It all started so innocently in high school, and then… and then it turned in to this… I don’t know how I got to this point…

One of my goals for this summer is to significantly reduce my soda consumption. My goal is to be down to one can a day by August 1st and almost completely soda-free by Labor Day. I’m never going to completely give it up, but I want to be to the point that it’s a treat at BBQ or a football game or something, not my go-to drink.

I am down to 1-2 cans per day most days (yes… I know… it’s still an improvement). I hate the taste of the stuff, yet i still compulsively drink it.

I had managed to not have any after my run yesterday until about 3:30pm, when a caffeine headache kicked in. I indulged. I had one can of Diet Pepsi. Almost immediately I realized how awful it made my stomach feel and how ravenous it made me feel! Kinda oxymoronic, no? I feel awful and nauseous, so let’s stuff more food in. Right. I had been fully satiated just half an hour earlier, and as soon as I had the soda all I could think about was food (and not the good kind).

I’m doing this to be healthier overall, but also to help my running and make sure that I’m properly hydrated all summer long. But this experience just made me that much more adamant about cutting soda out (or down substantially).



Summer runnin’

So, how long does it take to adjust to the heat? Because it’s been weeks and I’m starting to wonder if it’ll ever happen for me.

I went out with the intention of doing 3-4 miles and ended up covering 3.6. My quads are in good shape – I powered up all the non-super-sunny hills without a problem, but I’ve definitely got to work on strengthening my hips and lower legs.

My shin splint decided to come out and play after my last run, so I was a bit conservative because of that, but the power just wasn’t there today.

It’s turned out to be a gorgeous day today. I’m enjoying my post-run snack (almonds, a slice of bread with University of Delaware honey, and a super cold glass of chocolate soymilk) out on our deck, admiring our little veggie garden.

It’s not much, but it’s ours, and it’s doing surprisingly well. Although something keeps eating the newly formed buds off of our pepper plants and another something just started digging in our red beauty pepper pot…

Growing up I was always surrounded by green – my parents have always had wonderful gardens, even when we lived in a townhouse – and I really missed that green space when husband and I moved here. It’s a rental, so we can’t do too much with it, but the veggies add some green to an otherwise blah backyard and we get to enjoy the veggies we grew! I’m really looking forward to the day when we have our own property large enough for a respectable veggie garden. There are so many more things I want to try growing šŸ™‚

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Fall training

Now that the BWC is behind me, I’m focusing intently on fall training. With the Baltimore Half and the Army Ten Miler on back-to-back weekends, I can’t afford to fool around. With that in mind, I’ve decided to join a formal training group for the summer. Accountability, structure, camaraderie, and a more social setting all sound very enticing, especially as I think about those long late-summer long runs.

Last night I attended an info session for one of the local running stores’ half marathon training groups, focusing on the Baltimore Half. The coach seemed really great and like someone who could definitely motivate me. The format seems challenging but doable – two group runs (Saturday morning long runs and one weekday track session), plus a semi-personalized plan for the remainder of the week. The only reason I didn’t sign up on the spot is that they have another location offering the same program and I want to attend their info session and determine which coach and which group is more my style and more convenient, location-wise, to my life right now. That being said, I am super excited about joining a group and am looking forward to the first run on July 13th!

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BWC 2013 Race Report!

This has been a very busy weekend! Yesterday morning I got up super early so help out with the Dreaded Druid Hills 10k – I had really hoped to be ready to run this super hilly course this year, but it just wasn’t meant to be, but I figured I could at least volunteer! It’s a pretty small field of pretty quick individuals so I want to make sure I’m definitely ready to kick ass on it before I sign up.

Then this morning was the Baltimore Women’s Classic! As I’ve mentioned before, it’s the second-oldest women’s-only race in the US – really kinda cool! I’ve been looking forward to it for months, but the last couples weeks’Ā trainingĀ just hadn’t inspired a whole lot of confidence in me. I didn’t feel too great when I woke up this morning so I was estimating a 37:00-38:00 finish, just a little off my PR, which certainly seemed doable. I forced down a piece of bread with honey and some Pepto, then husband, ‘did, and I piled into the car and headed up to Baltimore early this morning. When we got there we parked at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and walked the mile or so over to the starting area at Rash Field. First bad omen of the day – some woman’s perfume gave me an asthma attack walking over there! Yikes!


Happy 'did!

Happy ‘did!

This was the first time I’ve gotten to a race at just the right time. Plenty of time to use the porta pot, chat, and warm up before lining up. It was sunny, but a bit overcast, upper 70s and pretty humid – not nearly as hot and humid as last year’s race, but not really an upgrade either! At the starting line I ran into a former classmate of mine from Hopkins, which was a really nice surprise –Ā just chatting with her for a few minutes put me in a better mood and frame of mind.

New Garmin!

New Garmin!

At 8:00am we were off! Because this is a women’s-only race, it tends to feel a bit like a “yay me!” kind of race, which seems to attract a lot of inexperienced racers. Not judging at all – because I’m happy toĀ see people up and active regardless of the motivation or paceĀ –Ā but it does make for a more congested start because people don’t always seem to be as aware of race etiquette (e.g. if you’re walking, don’t start up front, and don’t run/walk 5 abreast!). The course is flat for about the first 1/2 mile or so, until it turns up a hill which usually weeds a few of the overly-optimistic people out (myself included, last year!). Unlike last year, I was able to make it all the way up the hill without having to stop, which made me feel really good. It can be hard day-to-day to see the progress, but when something that would have had you to your knees a year ago becomes easy, it’s a great sense of accomplishment. Things started to clear out after the hill and although the course was congested it was manageable for the most part.

Last year I remember being able to find patches of shade, but this year I couldn’t find any. I had planned on running the entire course but did have to stop for a few seconds to keep from overheating. My legs and lungs were fine, but I guess I just haven’t adapted to the summer sun yet. Whatever, I wasn’t aiming for a PR or anything, just a respectable run. And even though I had my shiny new Garmin on, I decided I wouldn’t look at it – whatever happened, happened. Based on effort and perceived pace I felt like I was running 13:xx miles, which would certainly be slow, but not the end of the world. As we got back to Key Highway and were about to turn onto the Promenade for the home stretch, I snuck a peek at my Garmin and decided to push it a bit towards the finish line, just about a 1/2 mile away. The Promenade runs along the Inner Harbor and doesn’t have a barrier, so I hung to the left to avoid the .000002% chanceĀ ofĀ falling into the water. Because that would be gross. But this is klutzy me we’re walking about, so the odds are probably a bit higher.

After a few more turns, the finish arch was in view – and so was the clock! OMG!

I kicked it in one last time for the last 100 yards or so and screamed as I crossed the finish line with a massive PRĀ – 33:25!! Holy crap! That’s 3 min and 24 seconds faster than my 5k PR (and over 10 min off of last year’s BWC time)!Ā I was so incredibly ecstatic. I was 240/540 in my age group and 1264/3211 overall. Not too shabby for an off kinda day! (Edit: Turns out the course was .2 mi short – I still finished in 33:25, but that was only for 2.9 miles. For a full 5k it would have likely been just over 35:00. Major bummer.)

I made my way down the chute to get my water bottle, cold wet towel, rose, and (new this year) finisher’s medal, then off to grab some grub – super juicy watermelon (yum!), smidgeon of a bagel, orange slice – and bask in my new PR. I ran into my classmate again and chatted for a while, enjoying the breeze,Ā before heading home. All in all a damn good day.



Not too fond of medals for a 5k, but at least it’s pretty!

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The other day I mentioned that my Garmin had been stolen and I was so super sad about it… I had begun to come to terms with it and had in fact planned on running naked (technology-free, that is, you dirty bird) at my race tomorrow. It could be fun to see how I do with no feedback whatsoever other than just how I feel, right?

Well, that plan was ruined…

…because I have the bestest daddy ever. He bought me a new Garmin today! I am a very lucky girl. Just sayin’.


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Thoughts on the week

So I’m thinking of joining a training group for my fall half training. The local running store has a group (a couple, really, one at each of their locations) and it seems quite reasonable. I tried one a few years back but wasn’t at the right point to successfully join it, so I dropped out after the first run, which was really disheartening, but I think I’m in a much better place to try it this time (eg I can run 5 miles, like they request) and I’ve been through the training (properly) on my own.

Unfortunately, however, my Garmin was stolen last weekend while I was visiting a friend in Connecticut. Sad face. I was really looking forward to using it this training cycle, especially for interval training, but it seems I am SOL for the time being. *big sigh*

But on the bright side I got to see a good friend of mine last night! She was in town for Father’s Day and her mother’s birthday, so her and her mom and me and my mom got together last night at a great restaurant to celebrate šŸ™‚ The restaurant, Mezze, is a great Greek tapas-style restaurant – the best part is ordering a bunch of small plates and sharing with friends.


Speaking of celebrating, today is me and husband’s wedding anniversary (two years!). Crazy how time flies…

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Running for Your Life

You often hear people saying that running has saved their lives or that it helps to reduce stress, but you’ve (probably) got nothing on these people in Venezuela. How do you maintainĀ a running habitĀ in one of the most violent cities in the world? In large groups where no one is left behind.