Run Doodle Run

The long road to 26.2


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Race Recap: YMCA Turkey Trot (and Thanksgiving)

Although I decided to sit out the Philly Half this past Sunday, this week wasn’t a total loss running-wise. Last week I was given the opportunity to run in the YMCA’s annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot on a complementary entry from a local chapter of Rotary International, one of the race’s sponsors, and I jumped as soon as I heard about it.

I haven’t run a Turkey Trot since 2008, when I ran at one of the YMCA’s other locations. Unlike that one, which began in a parking lot, this one began and ended at the Y, which has a really nice facility – meaning we got to wait around inside rather than outside. My dad is a Rotary member and was manning their table, so we got there super early, making the warm, indoor facilities all that much more appreciated!

I wasn’t terribly impressed with the last Turkey Trot I did (which is why I hadn’t come back since), but this one was so much better – nice, warm facilities, food and drink before and after the race, a great course, and just a really good atmosphere. There were about 2,500 participants, roughly 1,300 of which were in the timed race. Having been out of commission for the last 5 weeks I had no goals going into this – I just wanted to have a good time and not re-injure myself. I started uncharacteristically close to the beginning, mainly out of an attempt to avoid strollers and little kids.

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The first mile was flat-to-downhill and a number of people whizzed past me while I just ran my own race. Of course, I was passing many of them, walking or whining that they were tired (mostly kids, but surprisingly not exclusively…), by the time we hit 1/4 mile. The downhill portion was one of the steeper downhills I’ve run and was covered in wet leaves, so I focused on keeping my footing, which helped the mile fly by. I didn’t know it at the time, but I maintained a 9:43 pace for the first mile.

The second mile was a long, slow uphill. I knew I wasn’t going to be as strong on it as I would’ve been a month or two ago, but I pushed through it, knocking off more and more participants. I did have to stop and walk for less than a .1 mile at one point because my lungs were beginning to hurt (they haven’t had time to acclimate to the cold, dry air), but other than that I ran the whole race. I lost approximately 25-30 seconds by walking, finishing mile 2 in 10:35. Mile three was rolling hills to a slight downhill finish.

Just about a 1/4 mile before the end I got a sharp side stitch, but there was no way I was going to walk then. I rounded the corner and was shocked to see the finish clock: NEW PR!! Not too shabby for having been injured and not running for over a month. My official time was 31:27.6. 🙂

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After the race I got myself half a bagel with cream cheese and some water and hung around for the awards ceremony before making our way home.

Photo Nov 27, 9 30 47 AM Photo Nov 27, 9 36 37 AM

Because they had been calling for up to 4-8″ of wet, heavy snow on Wednesday afternoon/evening, my mom and I cooked the turkey (based on this recipe) and roasted potatoes on Wednesday. We didn’t want a repeat of the turkey power-outtage incident from a few years ago! (We had the bird in the oven when the power went out. When it didn’t come back on we loaded the turkey, in it’s roasting pan, into the back of my car and drove it 40 minutes to my friend’s apartment downtown, only to find out after almost 2 hours of cooking that her oven wasn’t getting hot enough to actually cook it. We then reloaded the bird back into my car and went home after getting word that our power had returned). Luckily, the forecast was off and we only got about 2″ of snow, most of which melted as it laid on the ground. We had some crab dip and brie for appetizers, then reheated the turkey and potatoes and cooked everything else.

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It was just me and my parents, so it was a very low-key, but very good, dinner.

It seems like nearly everyone ran a turkey trot yesterday – so how did yours go? How was your Thanksgiving?
I hope everyone had an enjoyable, happy Thanksgiving!! 

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(Belated) Weekend Wrap-up

Big news – I FINALLY went outside for a run!!! It was only two miles, but oh what a wonderful two mile run! And man did it feel soooo much better than my (attempt at a) treadmill run Thursday night.

Our elliptical is acting up, so my only indoor cardio options right now are dreadmill and rower. I thought seeing as I loved the AlterG so much the treadmill might not be nearly as awful as I remembered. Ha! Boy was I wrong. I warmed up for 5 minutes then started running at 6mph – which is slower than what I’ve been running on the AlterG and about what I was doing my “cruise” runs at on the road. It took all I had just to finish 1/2 mile, and even then I ended up with a mouth full of lactic acid. Yuck.

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My coach kept a close eye on me as I went through my PT  and other strength training exercises. I’m really trying to focus on building strength this winter so I can really hit the ground running in the spring.

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Saturday came around and I decided to brave the cold and go out for a proper run. I cannot stress enough just how much I hate the cold, but I desperately needed to go for a run. My achilles and hip flexor felt good after the sad attempt, so the only thing stopping me was the weather, which at 38 degrees wasn’t really that much of an excuse. The first thing I noticed when I got down to the trail? Our stream has already begun to freeze! (I’ve never seen it freeze here) Goes to show just how cold it has been this past week… I got in a good two miles with no pain, so I consider it a success.

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Sunday I went out for dim sum down by DC. Two of my New Years’ Resolutions this year were a) to do things outside of my comfort zone and b) to try more new things. Going some place where I don’t know most of the people is very uncomfortable for me but it’s good to do uncomfortable things. Only by doing them more often do they become less uncomfortable. Trying new things has been a standing resolution of mine for a couple of years now, but it’s a good one so I see no reason to ditch it. My new thing? I ate shrimp. I hate shrimp. They creep me out. I can’t do meat that looks like what it once was and shrimp make no effort whatsoever to disguise this fact. But I was not pressured to try it, so I gave it a go when no one was looking (in all fairness, it was chopped up inside of something else so I could’t see it). Still not a fan, but I lived to tell the tale. I also drank a lot of tea, which I don’t usually like. Big day for me 😉

Yesterday was absolutely GORGEOUS! 70 degrees, sunny, just a slight breeze – so I made sure to carve out time for a run! I got in 2.4 miles which felt just as good as Saturday’s. My only regret? I didn’t wear a tank top.

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Last night an old friend of mine came into town and her and I and our moms went to dinner at a Nepalese place in town. It may have been November 24th, but it was 65 degrees last night – I wore shorts and flip-flops, damnit. It’s always fun to catch up and even better to do so where the food is good. This is the only Nepalese restaurant I’ve ever been to, so I can’t speak for the cuisine as a whole, but it was very much like the Indian food we know here in the States. Very good, very colorful, lots of yummy spices. And much better mango lassis than the Indian place closer to home.

And now it’s two days before Thanksgiving. I’m looking for a brine recipe for our turkey, listening to cool wind whip outside, while one of my dogs scrapes at his nicely folded blanket, trying to make it more nest-like. Tomorrow they’re calling for snow – potentially 5″+ of heavy, wet snow – so we’re trying to get as many things cooked ahead of time as possible in case of power outages on Thanksgiving. I’m signed up for a Turkey Trot on Thursday morning and am hoping the snow either doesn’t materialize or is cleared in time for the race to go on. I suppose it could be worse, though. We could be digging out from under 5 feet.


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Weather and activity level

So apparently people don’t work out when the weather sucks. That may be, specifically for the self-selected demographic that was chosen for this “study,” and my experiences on the trails and roads throughout the year would certainly back that up. Remember how empty I said the parking lot at the trail was on Sunday? Yep.

But here’s the major flaw with coming to such a conclusion: it only followed people who use one brand of fitness tracker. Only certain types of people buy fitness trackers, and the data suggests that most people will stop using them within a few weeks/months.

But you know who does exercise when the weather sucks? Kick ass hardcore runners. I propose that a study of Garmin or Strava data be used, using similar methods. The results will likely be very, very different. How do I know that? Because of amazing people like Jessica over at runladylike and Lisa at runningoutofwine and the countless other bad ass runners getting it done in the 100 degree heat and humidity in summer and the single digits and blowing snow of winter.

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I’ve heard non-runners (and let’s face it, mostly non-movers) complain that runners, cyclists, rock climbers, and other endurance athletes can be arrogant about how much they do. Damn straight we are! We not only push ourselves beyond our comfort limits, we leave our comfort limits in the dust. In an era where it seems that fewer and fewer people are willing to even get familiar with their comfort level, no less give it the finger, yeah, we’re proud of pushing our limits. We get out and get it done whether we “feel” like it or not. Yes, it would be a whole lot easier to stay in the AC all summer and in front of the fireplace all winter – but we make the choice that that just isn’t acceptable. We’re not superhuman or anything – we simply decide we want it more than everyone else who decides to stay in. Can’t get out for a run? (Hello, Buffalo) That’s what treadmills are for. That’s what burpees and squats and yoga balls are for. We may be arrogant sometimes, but we’re always welcoming. Want to be bad ass like us? We’ll happily greet you with a smile and a warm handshake (well, as warm as your hands can be in 15 degree air) as we set off to run in the snow.


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Weekend Wrap-up

I had made my peace with my decision to sit out Philly – until I got my bib and corral assignment email Friday night. 😥 Skipping the race is the right choice, and I know this, but I’m still not completely okay with it. I know it’s not worth the potential long-term achilles injury. But it still kinda blows.

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I had hoped to get out for a run yesterday, but due to way too much time at the mall that just didn’t happen. Today was my usual Sunday trail walk with the beast. The best part about going out in the cold? No problem finding parking! There were four cars in the lot – two of which belonged to me and Aaron. It was overcast and pretty chilly (41 degrees), but we certainly won’t the only people on the trail.

This guy was walking along, reading a hardback book

This guy was walking along, reading a hardback book held open with one hand

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We ended up going over 6.75 miles (my mom went out this morning and ran/walked 5 miles with her running buddies – I couldn’t let her do more than me! 😉 ). Beast was, as always, a well-behaved dog – that is, until she decided to snag some road apples for a snack on the run :-X Ugh… dogs can be so gross. She looked so happy after her not-so-clandestine snack, though…

I've been past here dozens of times, but today was the first time I noticed that this sign has been eaten by a tree!

I’ve been past here dozens of times, but today was the first time I noticed that this sign has been eaten by a tree!

I’ve decided that since I’m not running Philly, I am doing a Turkey Trot (courtesy of a local Rotary chapter!) and am using that and Celtic Solstice to springboard me into winter training season. This time frame will be used to build my base back up gradually and to focus on strength to help stave off injury. I’m on the fence about putting my name in the hat for the NYC Half Marathon (March) but am planning on racing the Brooklyn Half, assuming I can get in, late in the spring, followed by a fall full marathon. I’ve got a lot on the line this year – I really need to focus on safely building my base and adapting my body to the new challenges it’s going to face this year.


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PT update

I was discharged from PT today!!!!!

*happy dance*

I logged a 5k on the AlterG (in 29:54, no less! and that’s including 2 minutes of warm-up walking) at near-full body weight, did my strength and stretching and learned a new exercise and was told I didn’t have to come back!! I need to follow-up with him in a few weeks, but I’m on my own now. Wish me luck!!

There’s a small part of me that says not that I’m healthy I should totally give Philly a shot, but then the other part of me smacks that part back into submission. But that small part is putting up quite a fight.

With this development I now need to think about whether or not I want to do a Turkey Trot and if so, which one… So many decisions… haha


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Frustration

Running is easy. It’s being injured that’s hard.

Today I went for a walk on the trail and while I was happy to be out there and see so many other people out, I was honestly kinda resentful towards the runners. I smiled at every one of them, but I was jealous of them. I haven’t run outdoors since Baltimore. I just want to run. No distance goal, no time goal, just go.

I got an achilles brace this past week that seems to be really helping, but it’s not 100% yet and honestly, I’m somewhat afraid to test it out. I’m afraid that while it feels good while standing or walking, running is going to be just jarring enough that it’s one step forward, five steps back.

I’ve decided to pull out of the Philly Half because of this. Admittedly, I’m not okay with this decision, but I know it’s the right one. I know it would be stupid to run a half after not running for nearly a month on a wonky achilles. The risk just isn’t worth the reward. But that doesn’t make it any better.

The crisp fall air and gorgeous leaves are too nice to be wasted indoors. I just want to go for a nice fall run. Why is that asking so much?


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Marathon!

After watching the NYC Marathon today I hope more than ever to get into next year’s race! I love New York to begin with, but it just seems like such an amazing, inspirational experience, with all those people running with you and cheering you on. Crowd support is so important for me when running and I can’t think of any race with more crowd support than NYC. Come on, lottery gods!!

And if watching the marathon doesn’t get you in the mood, than this Asics commercial certainly will:

If that doesn’t make you want to run, I’m not sure what would.