Friday, February 19, 2010

Today I Feel

Today I feel like I have been running a marathon and am coming up on the finish line- what is supposed to be the happy ending of my difficult but oh-so-worth-it run.

Sure, around mile six, I stumbled a little. The terrain was kinda tricky, and I thought about giving up then.

Something kept me going then, and, once I hit mile 8, things started to really pick up. I felt so good about this marathon, it was wonderful to feel myself settling in. Mile 13 was the best of all. Great things happened in Mile 13.

The next 12 miles flew by without any hiccups. I needed to push myself a little harder on miles 24 and 25, but got the job done. There were things I needed to do to help myself get to that finish line.

And now its mile 26, and I feel like someone just knocked me over. Like I got punched in the gut. Like I sprained my ankle.

I’m not really sure what to do at this point. What do you do when you get a blow like this- with your metaphorical finish line virtually in sight?

Keep running anyway?

Ultra love

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I have a few things to report to you that have to do with the above number.

First, I have lost 5 pounds since January 1. Losing weight was not really an intention of mine, but it seems to be a natural occurrence when training for a marathon. I am eating better and exercising more. Makes sense.

Second, I have five days of workouts to report.

1. Thursday- Martha blogged about this workout too. Obviously, it was ridiculously good. We went to a killer spin class, and then Martha, Ellen, and I minxed around the weight section for a few minutes. I made them do bicep curls, seated rows, and incline chest presses- just so we could get a few solid muscle groups in to compliment the spin class. Well, while we were over in the weight section, I saw one of the trainers wandering around aimlessly.

****CONFESSION**** for the last two years it has been a secret desire of mine to work out with this said trainer. His name is Isaac, and, after watching him train his clients, I can tell he is a motivator and makes really intense and effective workouts. I have been holding in this secret jealousy for all his clients for a long time….

SO when Isaac said that his client for that time slot didn’t show, I immediately jumped at the chance to maybe have him give me (which really meant us, but I was in selfish mode at this point, no going back) a few “things” to do.

THIS WAS THE BEST IDEA I HAVE EVER HAD. EVER. Really. James, another friend/trainer, first showed us how to do these crazytown push-ups on a medicine ball. I will explain this in fuller detail when I can do them for real and can post a video. My new goal is to do them every time I workout so I can get really good at these push ups. When you see the video, you will not be disappointed. ON TO ISAAC- he decided to make us do a circuit workout:

1 sprint lap around the track.

30 seconds of squat jumping jacks with weight. (jump out equals squat)

30 seconds of these weird foot switch things on the Bosu ball- works your core and legs.

Then sets of jumping jacks (2 count = 1), sit ups, push ups, and butterfly kicks (in this order rotation). First set was 20 of each. Next set was 10, then 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, then 20. Get it?

1 final lap around (as fast as you could go at that point)

Needless to say. I felt so great during/after this workout. Workouts like these give me an insane high- ask Martha and Ellen- I was practically out of my mind with joy. I loved every bit of the pain and exhaustion. Can’t wait for more workouts like this.

2. Friday- 4 mile run. Easy peasy. Ran around the track. Nothin fancy.

3. Saturday- 8 mile run with Luna out at Shelby Farms. We started out on the tour d’wolf, but after 2 miles I changed directions. It was super muddy (again), and I just did not want to go through the stress of starting and stopping and starting and stopping. You get the idea. Just so you know- the 2 mile mark of the trail is VERY close to the 5 mile mark. The last mile of the run is on a dirt road/field that was NOT muddy. Luna and I opted to run up and down that 1 mile stretch (thus equaling 2 miles) three times. It worked well for us. There was a good hill on this stretch, so, all in all, a nice run with minimal mud. The last four miles felt better than the first. I like that.

4. Sunday: 6 mile run. I went to the gym with my handsome and health conscious boyfriend in celebration of Valentines Day because, well, nothing says “valentines” like a lot of sweat and heavy lifting. His new YMCA gym has a room about the size of a basketball court dedicated to cardio equipment. I hopped on a treadmill with its own TV (super nice, woo woo) and got to running. My thought was to increase my speed every 5 minutes for the first 30 min, then back down the next 30. Well, this plan was laid to waste when some chick on a treadmill in the row in front of mine was going faster than I was. Not to be outdone, I boosted my speed to match/surpass hers and ended up with a KILLER run under my belt. Ran 6 miles in about 55 minutes and felt GREAT for the last 3 miles. I think that I am a huge fan of feeling better in the second have of my medium runs. Big Fan. I also watched the cross country skiing finals while running, which, surprisingly, got me super energized during my run.

5. Monday- 3 miles. Again, boosted the speed on this one and finished in about 26 minutes. Felt fantastic. Finished up the run with a 3 minute jog. Ended the workout with a 3peat circuit- crunches on the AB ball (50), pushups on the Bosu ball (12), lunges with two 15 pound weights (20)—all this times 3.

Third, I am having great success with personal motivation during spinning. Every time I feel like slowing down, I push myself a little harder. This has made for even better workouts lately. I have also taken to run/sprinting on the choruses of songs. Also a good idea.

Fourth, in light of my last 3 runs, I have decided to start doing speed work with my “inside” runs. I think this will be very beneficial in the long run. I will let you know how it goes.

Fifth, I hope this isn’t information overload. If it is, I will leave you with a little cool down (or “fire me up” in my case!)--- my boyfriend on national TV! See him play with David Nail on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. My boo is the one with the good lookin pants! I am so proud!

ultra love

Thursday, February 11, 2010

want. to. read.

right now there are a few books i am dying to read. fortunately, i have time because my grad school apps are done! my goal is to get these books before i go on my cruise so that i have some "light" reading to do lounging on the decks with my handsome and health conscious boyfriend. AHHHHHH i am so excited about this cruise and these books that i think i might explode. AHHHHHHH

okay, in a particular order, the books i want to read are:

Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald
This is definitely my number one reading. My running obsession, Scott Jurek, recommended it. Therefore, it is a must read.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth SteinEven though this one has nothing to do with running, it is about dogs. And i love dogs. And one dog in particular. Duh. Thanks, Leslie, for blogging about this one. If anyone knows any other wonderful dog books that are NOT Marley and Me and DO NOT involve a dog dying, send them my way.

The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Running by Robert PriceMost of the time, i just make up my own weight training schedule. But, it would be nice to have a set weight regimen for a while. Of course, i would add in my beastly squatting whenever i wanted to. Goal is to get up to 225 pounds.... but why stop there? why not 255?

The Athlete's Plate by Adam Kelinson
This looks like it has some really good recipes. Most importantly, it has QUICK recipes. This book understands that runners spend most of their spare time running, so there isn't as much time for gourmet meals. Can't wait to buy this one and eat yummy food.

If you feel like getting me a present, any of these books will make my heart (and running legs) smile! :)

ultra love

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


today, i squatted 185 pounds.

that is all.

for proper technique, go here.

ultra love.

Monday, February 8, 2010

do the 12

while there are only a select few who will understand the significance of this title, the rest of you can just translate it into exactly what you think it means. i ran 12 miles.

sunday after church, i took a 3o minute nap and was OH-SO-CLOSE to just going back to sleep until super bowl festivities began at three. somewhere, i found the motivation to get up, get dressed, eat lunch, and get luna ready to go my dad's house.

i chose to run at my dad's house for two reasons.
1. it isnt muddy on sidewalks
2. i could run with 2 dogs and have companionship the whole run.

how i did it:
before i ran, i mapped out a 6 mile course in my car (it was actually .1 mile less than six so at the end i added one extra loop). then i saddled luna up and hit the pavement. after the first 6 mile loop, i dropped luna off and picked up winston, my dad's golden retriever.

while the last two miles were certainly the most challenging, as it seems to be almost every long run, this run was not particularly difficult. it was very helpful to have a dog running with me the whole time. luna was a perfect angel, and winston was a perfect gentleman. i listened to my ipod shuffle-- DISCOVERY! TLC's "No Scrubs" has the perfect running beat. i probably listened to it about 5 times.

not much else to report. 12 miles down. this coming week is just an 8 miler, but next weekend is 14. longest i have ever run. woo woo.

now i will leave you with a video that shows off both luna's and my running skills....

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Tuesday: Spinning
Wednesday: off
Thursday: Emotional break down when spin class was full. circuit workout.
Friday: off. not supposed to be this way, but necessary given thursdays episode.
Saturday: much better.

This morning i woke up at 8 to make it to 9 am spinning class. good thing i got a bike. and i got a good one, with the full handle, just like i like it.

crazy cathy was teaching today, and since she was slightly sick, she was a little less crazy than normal which made for a stellar spin class. she picked good music too- the theme was grammy winning songs from this year. these included lady gaga (who falls into the category of "i-hate-this-song-in-real-life-but-man-it's-good-to-spin-to) and the jai ho (aka tally ho) from slum dog millionaire. GREAT workout, super sweaty, and free sample cliff bars at the end. yay.

a little bit after spin, luna and i went running out at shelby farms. WELL- since it snowed last weekend and then rained this whole week, i had an idea it would be muddy..... but this was more than i bargained for.
That's my little piglets belly when we finished. The run started out across a field which was a little wet, but nothing bad. We ran through a bit of woods, and luna stepped on my shoe. I thought, UGH, luna, why did you have to get my shoe muddy. i also thought, "it's definitely not as muddy as i thought it would be." soon after these two thoughts crossed my mind, the mud kicked in. and when i say kicked, i mean, look at the end result of my kicks below:

this was probably one of the most emotionally frustrating runs i have ever taken. the trail was so muddy that i had to walk many, many parts of it. sometimes luna would miss the memo that i had to slow down and she would pull me and i would slip and i would be afraid that i was about to face plant into MUD. MUD, PEOPLE. MUD. so for the first 3 miles i tried really hard not to get too muddy. i would walk along the edges of the path. try to walk on branches. walk through the trees for a bit. oh- almost forgot- along the way, we met a nice black lab mutt named bolt. bolt loved luna and wanted to play very much. i chatted with bolt's dad for a while. he was a nice man and thought luna was very pretty and powerful. she is both.

anyway, around mile three-ish we hit this patch of mud and water. it was about 3 inches deep and there was no going around. SO i just plowed through. so did luna. at this point, it really didnt matter where i stepped because my shoes were soaking wet and my feet were squishy. super squishy. but ultra runners keep running through gross stuff.... yeah.

oh- almost forgot- a little after this point i just couldnt hold it any longer. i had to pee so bad..... hahahahahaha TMI? maybe, but its allll part of the training.

moving forward- around mile 4 i let luna run through the field without her leash. she had so much fun- she found some mini puddle-pond and jumped around in it while i laughed at her. needless to say, she got way more muddy.

to sum up the run- all the starting/stopping, walking/running really wore on my nerves. it seemed like every time i got going, i would run into some squishy mud part and have to walk again. i kept going though, and it was one of those important learning experiences. the frustrating first four-ish miles were made better by getting to watch luna go buck wild and be so happy when she wasnt on the leash. every run isnt just about the mileage you are adding up. it contributes to your mental toughness, which is the only thing that will get you through a marathon and an ultra.

in the end, this is what we both looked like after the run. muddy, tired, and happy.

ultra love.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

oh the weather outside was frightful, but my runnin shoes are so delightful

my previous post let you know that Friday was a BOMB in terms of keeping to my marathon training.

saturday= success! luna and i ventured out into the SNOW to run 6 miles.

*** makes you close your mouth that dropped open in surprise***

yes, luna and i ran in the SNOW. here's the thing, the there is a trail(ish) behin
d out house that is 3 miles to the end and back. therefore, cue math geniuses, we ran the trail twice. but elise, what about all the snow and ice?!?!?! well friends, the sidewalks were super slick, but the trail was just snow slush. this equals good for running. though i have a few thoughts on snow running. maybe it's just one thought- snow running is slightly less hard than sand running, but on a similar level. ponder that.

sunday = two fifths (ish) fail. i was supposed to run 10 miles, but this did not happen. I had to finish some grad school apps (which are completely done, yeah!) and only had an hour to run. thus, luna and i had a nice 4 or 5 mile run (not really sure how long it is). the snow had melted enough on sunday that the roads/sidewalks were about 95% runnable. see pictures of our running gear below.

mother and daughter getting ready to roll.
luna in her jacket. it has her name monogrammed on the butt. spoiled, i know.
fyi- the thing on her face is a gentle leader, not a muzzle.

Monday= success! since i did not get the ten miles in on sunday, i knew i had to do it on monday. running ten miles on monday means that it has to be run indoors (safety, remember?).

lesson learned from monday's 10 mile run. running is 10 percent physical, 90 percent mental. the truly difficult thing about running is TO KEEP GOING. there are so many times you want to stop, but you have to play mental games with yourself.

here is how i did it.
Miles 1-4: Treadmill. Every two minutes i increased my speed by .1 and then reduced it by .1 to make a pyramid of speed. example.......
time 0 min, 6.0
time 2 min, 6.1,
time 4 min, 6.2
time 6 min, 6.1
time 8 min, 6.0
the next ten minutes went from 6.1 to 6.3.... you get the picture.
Miles 4-8: Track. every fourth rotation, i would sprint(ish.... mostly just speed up a little).
Miles 9-10: Treadmill. changed speed every one minute.

Here is the mindgame part about running inside:
1. it is easy to get bored on the treadmill, and it is also easy for your knees/legs to start hurting because your terrain never changes. by changing up the speed every few minutes, you keep yourself interested and not as focused on how much you want to stop.
2. it is easy to just walk. while running the track (around miles 7 and 8) my legs started getting tired. by counting my laps very well (imagine, me repeating the lap i was on over and over and over again each time around), i managed to keep convincing myself that is was only a little further.
3. it is easy to just stop. miles 9 and 10 were pretty physically challenging. i dont know how i made it through those miles. the treadmill kind of hurts at the end, but i knew that i had to finish. dont let yourself stop til you reach your goal. i like rewards- like ice cream for dessert (only a little bit, mind you) .

so i did it. i ran ten miles inside and topped it off with 150 crunches. all in all, still on track to run a marathon. week 1 of 13 = OVER! yay. way to go me. way to go luna.

ultra love.