Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wednesday's Run

I had a lovely run this morning with Megha, Laura, and Audrey. I probably wasn't great company because I was wicked tired, but the girls dragged me through Charlestown, Boston, Somerville, Cambridge, and Medford. We hit a few lights on the run, and each time each of us would instinctively stop and start our watches.

After Laura split to head home, the rest of us headed north towards our places.

Then Audrey totally fell on some ice. She slid sideways, landed on her hip, and rolled to her back. Megha and I braked and looked over her.

"Whew," she said, looking relieved. "I stopped my watch."


Pain in my butt


So practice last night was pretty relaxed...nothing too ridiculous or anything. And I felt fine. Felt fine during the run, fine after the run, fine when I went to bed. At 4:45am, I woke up...feeling as if someone was stabbing my right hip with an ice pick. Stretching didn't help. Walking around didn't help. So I tried to get a couple more hours of sleep, which was only partially successful.

Then when I woke up for reals, same thing! Arrrrgh. So I thought, okay, I'll walk to the bus, go to school, reassess. The walk (which normally takes 7 minutes) took me almost 15 b/c my right side kept collapsing on me. Big, big boo. So since my dr is on the way to school, I scheduled an appt and they told me to "rest and take lots of extra-strength ibuprofen". See if it gets better, yada, yada, yada. I've never had pain like this before, and it was so out of the blue. She thought it's a strained ligament/tendon or something. I don't know. I just know that it's hard to work (much of my labwork involves a lot of walking around), hard to walk, and training is out of the question. Sucks because I was just thinking last night how running fast is feeling easy these days. Note to self: do not jinx yourself.

Hopefully this will end as suddenly as it began. In that hope, I'm off to take a couple more Wal-profen. I love how they make up their own tacky names. Seriously, I love walking down the aisles and seeing what sort of fake names they are able to come up with.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Running for transport

When you don't have a car and rely on Boston's pseudo dysfunctional public transporation system, running is a great way to get around the city. You can go any direction you please down one-way roads, cut across highways and sidewalks while cars are stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and avoid parking tickets, grimy trains, and unreliable bus schedules.

I've always enjoyed running my errands - running to the bank, the grocery store, the cleaners, friends' houses, etc. You just learn to be a bit creative about carrying everything you need on your person. In high school, I used to run to friends' places, to the mall, and home from after school activities, folding up homework assignments and class notes and money in my pockets. When I lived in California and Australia, I ran home from pubs and parties (far later than I should have been running, I know) when I craved some fresh air and happened to be dressed appropriately enough to jog back. It was never more than a few miles, but it was usually always faster, cheaper, and more enjoyable than sitting in traffic or navigating the public transporation routes. I just wish it were more socially acceptable to wear running tights and sneakers and T-shirts in all public places.

Lately, I have been running to the market and the grocery store, to and from the office, to the movie rental store, and home from class. It sounds silly, I know, but when it's 0 degrees outside and your time is limited and you're trying to run 90 or 95 miles a week and also get all your errands taken care of, running places is a great time saver, and having a destination in mind is an ideal motivator.

The past week or so, I have really felt like a human car, since I've been stuffing my pockets with my credit cards or cash or T pass or mail or whatever and running on the roads alongside the cars, since most of the sidewalks are still covered in ice. Drivers usually hate when pedestrians or runners try to share the roads with cars, but this week most drivers have been more understanding and haven't cursed and honked at me like they usually do. Last Wednesday I spontaneously decided to run home from work and had a few things from work with me, so I just knotted up the straps on my drawstring running bag and comfortably transported myself and my stuff all the way home. I know I must have looked like the biggest geek running home with my little backpack flopping up and down, but it was the only way I could fit in my mileage for the day! I plan on doing a lot more running for transport -- at least for those token easy runs when pace isn't much of a worry.

*megha the human car

Ick, gross

This was not a good week for training. I was still recovering from the 20-miler at the beginning of the week, then I got horribly sick at the end of the week. It started on Tuesday, when I was at work and Bruce's babysitter called me to tell me he'd just thrown up.

I picked him up, took him home, and pampered him all day. He threw up about every half hour and couldn't keep anything down - not even water. I went to practice that night feeling sluggish from the 20-miler and queasy from smelling regurgitated apple juice and pretzels all day.

Wednesday I felt fine, but Bruce was still throwing up (not as much though, thank goodness). I planned a nice long run that was supposed to include Audrey, Laura, and Sarah through Medford, Somerville, Cambridge, and along the Charles. Then at 2 a.m. on Thursday morning, Scott and I woke up feeling really queasy.

Scott puked first. I went next. We took turns in the bathroom. It was awful.

When 5 a.m. came around, I was still puking so I found my phone and discovered that I didn't have Audrey's number. Dang. And there was no way I was going to get in my car and drive down 28 to tell her I couldn't run. I'd get puke all over my car for sure. So I called Laura, but got voicemail. That run turned out a disaster. Audrey ran up 28 and didn't find me. Sarah ran around the river and never saw us. And Laura slept in. We've all since exchanged phone numbers.

Bruce felt better on Thursday, although he had some really disgusting runny diapers. The worst part is that Scott and I were so queasy that the smell of the diapers made us ralph even more. We took turns changing diapers; it was not pleasant.

By Thursday night, I kept down 4 oz of Gatorade. Friday went much better. I kept down some rice cakes, and I even had a potato for dinner. Today I'm feeling almost myself. I ate some cereal for breakfast and kept it down, but felt really awful. So I'm still not sure if I'll run today. Part of me says, "Of course you should run! The marathon isn't that far away!" The other part of me says, "What's the point? No productive training is going to happen when there's a norovirus in your system!"


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New Shoes!

Yeah, so I finally went to Marathon Sports yesterday and got new shoes. I've been wearing my old ones since October and they are just about smooth on the bottoms. I dropped Scott off at his lab in Charlestown, then Bruce and I drove to the one on Boylston. Scott had somehow thought it was warm out, and my brain must have shut down from the cold run that morning, so Bruce was wearing a dinky fleece when we went out. Luckily I had a blanket in the car. But I walked into Marathon Sports looking like a bag lady with a kid wrapped in a huge blanket.

The salespeople were helping two other customers that were obviously taking a very long time. I walked in, announced that I wanted New Balance 767s, size 9, and they gave me a funny look.

Bruce ran from one end of the store to the other while they got my shoes. I tried them on out of habit and chased Bruce once around the store. Then made the purchase. After gift certificates, New England Runner bucks, and the USATF discount, they were $16. Much better than the $89 they were. Totally worth it though.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

ice and treadmills

running in the snow and ice is about as fun as chewing broken glass. seriously.

yesterday Emily and i met Ted Breen at 5:20 am. it was early enough to not be terrible out yet. the snow was still soft enough to run on, and it was actually kind of warm, so the only annoyance was limited visibility from the ice pellets stuck between our top and bottom eyelashes. i think we were all grateful to have each other to run with!

i really am amazed that Laura and Sloan ran outside later in the day yesterday. i could barely walk! after work i trekked to Harvard for class, and my socks and shoes were totally soaked through within 30 seconds of getting off the T. i sat through class with cold wet feet. you would think that this Chicagoan and Bostonian would have a proper pair of winter boots by now, but for as long as I can remember i have refused to buy a proper winter coat or boots just to spite the merciless fury of winter. i will not give in!

this morning, Audrey, Emily, Sarah, and I attempted a run. i did not make it very far. i ran about a mile to meet Emily. the sidewalks and roads were covered in jagged edges of ice and snow and other conspiracies to keep me from staying upright. I think it took me 10 minutes to run the mile to Emily. frustrated with running slow (especially after mapping yesterday's 90+ minute run yielded barely 11.5 miles), i turned around, prudently jogged the mile back to my apt., packed my gym bag, got my gorrillaz CD, and made it to the gym for a 75 minute treadmill expedition. it was boring, yes, but at least i got to run at a decent pace in a sports bra.

y'all are tough cookies. maybe I'll bake you some!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day Slushy Surprise

Wow! Did you all run today??? Unreal! I started my run from work...intending on a 16 miler. Like Emily, I'm shooting for a 100+ mile week this week. After 2 minutes, literally, I was drenched from my toes to my knees. The puddles were gigantic. Ice pelted me like kids swinging at a batting cage...all strength and no direction...I was being attacked from all sides. One hour into my run, I had no feeling in my toes, my clothes were soaked, and I was running about 10 minute pace over very slushy sudo-snow. I had to smile to myself as I was running down Commonwealth Ave when I heard 1 Ugg & hoodie clad undergrad remark to the other "what the hell is wrong with her?" Legit question - but I gotta tell ya, I was having much more fun out there in the snow than any of the walking transporters, thats for sure. As slow and cold as the run was, it was still MY run...MY time for MYself...I treasure that!

Happy Valentine's Day!


Finally Some Real Marathon Training

Last night's workout was pretty awesome. The most frequently used word to describe the workout was "boring." But let's face it, the marathon just isn't as exciting as the mile. Who has an attention span that lasts 3 hours? Or even 2:46:59?

From here on out, it's long races and long runs and long workouts. This week I have lots of marathon training in the works: 100 miles in 6 days, the Martha's Vineyard 20-miler on Saturday, and that fabulous 5 x 2000 workout last night.

On the marathoning note, everyone planning to run Boston should get their applications in asap. It costs something like $150 after March 1. Right now it's $95. Plus a $6 online entry fee (I'm going to print it and send it; as if the computers need a $6 processing fee!). Sounds like the BAA is raking in some cash this year. I'm going to loot all the Gu at every station to be sure I reclaim my entry fee!


Thursday, February 8, 2007

5k Saturday

I looked at the start list this morning and am just about peeing my pants now. I've got butterflies and everything. I've got pre-race jitters and still a few days to go. Looks like I'll be dueling with Kim Smith, Mary Cullen, Marie I'll be getting lapped a few times. Still, there are a few girls seeded right at 16:45 so I should have someone to pull me along. I'm pumped!

Monday, February 5, 2007

A blogging smorgasbord

So, a quick recap of the past 2 weeks.

Numero uno: DMR at Terrier 2 weekends ago. This race was awesome! It was the first time I felt the genuine exhilaration of 4 people working together to drop the hammer since college. Really, I felt like we all ran our hearts out that day. The race was so exciting from the start. Allison positioned us up front with her 1200, Sara - in typical Sara fashion - dominated the 400 leg, I maintained the lead in the 800, and Emily fended off some wicked strong milers to the finish. We won the race in less than a second. It was so exciting!!! And...our encouraging! Coach Tom was yelling his usual nonsense as we rounded the track, Jonyong, Ted, and Rod were advising and encouraging on the backstretch, Liz was timing the legs, teammates were was AWESOME! It was only paralleled by watching Dibaba break her own world record in the 5K only a couple of hours later at a neighboring meet.

Numero dos: Tuesday night's practice - twenty or so scrawny but scrappy women zipped through the dark and icy streets of Roxbury on our warmup. One dropped back. Complained of cramps. She is new to the sport. I stopped to help. 5 minutes later, a silhouette gracefully bounded through the darkness toward us - Sloan had come back to keep us company. 5 minutes after that, two more profiles etched through the darkness - Ronnesia and Lynn had returned to make sure all was well. What amazed me was that NOBODY had to stay. We aren't bound by rules and regulations like many college teams. We're just a bunch of women who love to train and compete. The sheer fact that we all rallied together to help someone with such a simple issue made me realize why I love this team. Sure, the running is incredible. Sure, racing is exhilarating. Sure, the pursuit of winning is addicting. But, with dozens of club teams from which to chose in the area, why do I stay with GBTC? THE PEOPLE. The women are outstanding, conscientious, humane competitors with real lives, real jobs, real concerns... Small scenarios like this Tuesday night one cement in my mind how compassionate we all are toward each other.

Numero tres: Stew 15K - yesterday. Cold. Hilly. Hard. We 'warmed up' for 15 minutes to no avail. I stood on the starting line shivering my bum off. The race went AWESOME. I felt calm, relaxed, patient (I am very infrequently a patient runner)... Lynn and I raced together until about halfway (I love racing with Lynn - I think our paces work so well together) and then I decided to make a 5:59 mile move to try to put some space between the surrounding women competitors and me. It worked...and I just battled it in the rest of the way. It felt nice to run a negatively split race. But, that was the easy part. The hard part was going out for an hour long run after the race. OHMYGOD - it was FREEZZZZZING cold - I was a blubbering idiot at that point - I don't think my mouth was even sounding out my words - Megha and Lynn were having a hell of a time trying to understand me. You'd think I would just stop talking at that point...but I'm not so sure how to do that (or so I've been told).

Numero cuatro: DA BEARS! A bunch of us watched the Superbowl at Audrey and Jeremy's sweet Somerville pad later that night. Surrounded by feminist quotes, delicious snacks, great friends, and cute kitties, I had a FANTASTIC time. What an awesome way to cap off a solid weekend!!!!

'Aight...that is it for me. I'm getting geared up for another weekend of racing, racing, racing...expect a blog entry about Emily breaking 17 in the 5K, Famous breaking 18 in the 5K, Sloan debuting for the season, and me running my classic sub-par 5K performance (consistent past practice has taught me that this ALWAYS happens when i run a 5K).


Saturday, February 3, 2007

Contact sports, megha-style

Those of you who run with me regularly know that I am a bit accident prone. I've had some pretty spectacular falls, complete with blood and big scars and more blood.
Katie Famous's post about contact sports reminded me that, for some people (like me), running can also be a contact sport. Contact with the ground, that is.

Today while attempting a short, slow run on the icy sidewalks in Boston, I fell hard on some ice-y cement on that ramp that connects the Boston Common to the River at Beacon and Arlington. It was like a scene from a cartoon - my legs just totally gave out, and I hit the ice hard on my tush. Usually, the pain dulls after awhile, but no such luck this time. I winced my way through another slooooow mile or so, feeling my bum bruise up in the process. Ouch. It still hurts quite a bit.

I really can't wait for spring. Enough with this silly groundhog and the ice-covered sidewalks and -15 degree windchills and purple-numb fingers. Even though I know my clutziness was the prime reason I fell down today, I'll continue to blame the cold weather and ice and wind and crappy Boston weather. Running really shouldn't be a contact sport, you know.

*megha the clutz

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Contact Sports

I am a sucker. A sucker for team sports for which I used to have a modicum of talent.

I am on an IM indoor soccer team. It's composed of med and grad students. I would categorize pretty much all of us as "high school soccer players". Talented (and motivated) enough to play under the bright lights, but nowhere near good enough to play at most colleges. So our opening game last night was interesting. A bunch of guys and gals, from 22 to 30, trying to recapture their youth.

I was terrible the first 10 minutes. Horrendous. Bleh. Indoor soccer is so fast-paced that I would chase down balls then not know really what to do with it. Or...I would try to defend and put pressure on people, but be afraid to touch people. I mean, really, when's the last time most of us have played a contact sport? For me, I last played soccer during my freshman year of college. So slamming into people took a good half to get used to. I also played w/o shinguards, which I don't advise. For the next game, I will definitely take Sloan up on her offer to borrow hers.

We ended up beating the undergrads, which was no minor victory for the old kids. I scored a goal, more about perserverance than beautiful shot making. But maybe that will improve over our next few games.

It's also fun to play a sport where people depend on you and you depend on others. I definitely felt like my ego was much more on the line than when I get on a track and run around in circles. In that sense, running has always been much less stressful than soccer or tennis (I played a lot of doubles). Well...that's what I've got for now.