Monday, May 31, 2010

A Letter to My Future (One Week from Now) Self

Hi Future Self,

I hope you're still alive when you read this. I hope you completed both the Mud Run and Marathon this past weekend like you were supposed to!

I'm really sorry that I didn't train for the San Diego Marathon or eat as perfectly as I should have. You see, I have only really been able to run since mid-April. And sometime in mid-May, what started as a nagging leg soreness became a full-blown new injury that starts cramping/pulling when I run. So my longest real run since my last marathon in March has been 9 miles. That's about as far as I can go before the cramping really gets bad. The other day, one week before the big race weekend that you just endured, I woke up early to do a long run and ended up having the same thing happen at mile 1.

So I gave up, trying to rest and heal. I hate being this "weak sauce," and I hope it hasn't caused you too many issues. I declared that my goals for the Mud Run/Marathon weekend were to 1) survive, and 2) not feel as bad as after LA Marathon in March.

Anyway, rest now, Future Self. Don't forget to do the foam roller stuff once you go back to the gym. Eat well, and enjoy a break from running for a little while. Get back on your bike and ride that Rio Hondo Bike Trail like you had planned to do with your man and friends. And no more injuries this year, okay? In exchange, I'll eat some extra carbs for you this week. ;)

- Present Me

(from me, to me!)

P.S. Once you settle back at home, please do some work on your dissertation.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


My dairy intolerance confuses me. Sometimes I wonder if that's what I really have, because I can eat most yogurt (see all my food posts for the yogurt I've reviewed here) without issues. It could be probiotics kicking in, but every now I let some amounts of dairy-ridden boba slushies or cheese into my system with no major issues.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about yogurt! Yogurt is protein-rich, creamy, filling, and yummy. I especially love Greek yogurt because I can use it as a sub for sour cream if it's plain, and it doesn't leave that icky aftertaste that normal yogurt can do.

However, this yogurt has made my stomach feel unsettled since I had some yesterday. I was eating it with bread (dipping bread in yogurt has been a joy of mine lately) and realized after wondering why it was so yummy/milk-like that one of the ingredients is CREAM. Thanks, Voskos! Cream is one of those things that definitely sets my stomach off into some mode of abnormalcy. My stomach still feels weird today.

I should also note that Voskos is higher in calories than most Greek yogurt (about 100 more, in fact!), has wayy more fat (a plain normal one has 20 grams!), and even saturated fat. And did I mention that it only has 9 grams of protein per serving, when other brands have at least twice the amount?

I don't mean to bash a product, but this is more meant to serve as a PSA to those who might believe that all of Greek yogurt, or any other supposedly "healthy" product is good for you. I will read my labels more closely next time.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pain Map

This lovely diagram captures the last 4 years of (memorable) injuries I've had, ranging from minor (about 1 week heal time) to... less minor (4 months of healing). Note that these do not include toenail ailments (which probably are at 10 by now -- not on all the toes, though).

Also notice that the blue dots are injuries I've had in my first two years of running, and the red is everything I've had within the past 12 months.

I have no idea what's going on. I am racing less frequently but for longer distances and basically running the same mileage in training as before (when injuries don't keep me from doing so). Plus, in the grand scheme of things, I am eating better as well.

"The Ukrainian" thinks it's stress. I fail to see how my lagging career and dissertation (at least to my standards) can affect my running.

And then there's the shoe story. I haven't been able to find a "perfect" pair of running shoes. Even with "pro" fitting, they either cause me toenail issues, weigh me down, or perhaps cause these injuries I've been having. But I've been cycling through a bunch of shoes, so it could be something more.

My current ailment is a pulled hamstring. It wasn't an issue until I was attempting a 20-miler recently and had it cramp on me (I stopped at 13). Given that I have two weeks before my weekend of mud and marathon, I am focusing on getting better rather than being adequately trained. Not like I would expect to do that great given I have two races in one weekend, but I would at least like to survive and not got at overly embarrassing paces.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Caffeine Fix

So right now, I really just want to dash away in a swimsuit and run along the shoreline of a beach until I'm out of energy. Instead, I'm stuck here at work after having to drive nearly 80 miles for meetings this morning. All in a day's work, I suppose.

This morning, I succumbed to coffee. I was up late last night because I was attending a wedding rehearsal. "The Ukrainian" is in the bridal party, and I have been asked to help with the events of the day. I'm super excited to see my first church wedding, but I think most of that excitement is due to caffeine.

To be fair, I thought the coffee was decaf, but I later found out that it was mislabeled. I had a cup and started feeling like I wanted to run run run while I was on the road. I know I've been taking some caffeinated GUs to race lately, but they don't seem to get me THIS pumped up. Or maybe the running cancels out the effects.

I know caffeine is not good to rely on, and usually if I deliberately have any, it's in decaf coffee or tea (I even avoid the black tea). I think I'm caffeine sensitive, so a small amount can put me on this high that I'm on right now.

For now, school is out (not really, but I am ditching next week since my final project is IN). I don't have anymore classes until 2011, so now it's all about my field hours and dissertation. I hope it all gets done someday. I am jealous as I see some of my Masters classmates graduating.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Santa Barbara Wine Country Half-Marathon Relay 2010

EVENT: Santa Barbara Wine Country Half-Marathon
DATE: Saturday, May 8, 2010
LOCATION: Santa Ynez/Los Olivos/Solvang, CA
RACE BEGAN: 7:15 am
FINISH TIME: 01:41:24 (49:41, 51:42)

I re-registered to run this relay again for the third year in a row.

Since this race was nestled in between marathoning, a cold I got afterward, and injuries, I consider myself lucky that I had become well enough to dedicate some time to specifically train for my leg of the race, which was once again the shorter 5.8 mi portion. The course is hilly for both runners (I am now going to attach the elevation map). I did hill training, though considering my injuries and how I've only been able to "really" run for a few weeks now, it was not easy to suddenly do this. And due to the lack of training and weak lungs from my cold, I didn't get the fair chance to train like I had intended.

Our time in Solvang this time around was quiet. I think we both needed that day off... or maybe it was just me.

The Race:

Once again, we waited at the cold (below 50 degrees) start line beyond what was supposed to be the start time. I swear, this part always weakens me. About 45 minutes before the start, I had a GU to make sure I had my stomach not hungry and caffeine in my system.

I clocked my first mile under 8 minutes, which I knew was too fast, but I really did not perceive myself pushing that hard. I think each subsequent mile was tougher than the last. I was glad that I remembered my sunglasses this time because of the rising sun, but I did, however, leave my iPod behind. I realized this while walking to the bus, but I didn't pursue getting it because I don't think it would have made a difference because the race was not that long.

By the end of mile 3, I was really not doing too well... I felt zapped of energy and having trouble breathing. I can honestly say that it took a lot of will for me to get to the end of my leg. Once I crossed the transition line, "The Ukrainian" took off. Although I came in around the same time as last year, he shaved off a minute or two off of his (I knew he would because I've seen him train at crazy speeds).

As I mentioned last year, one of my favorite parts about this race is being able to see your partner come in at the end and get to them immediately. We noticed that there was a relative lack of post-race food compared to previous years... just Wheeties, scant pastries (he and I alone probably ate most of a supply we saw on the table), and Red Vines. To make up for that, we went to Split Pea Andersen's in Buellton after we checked out of our hotel.

Once again, we placed 2nd in the Co-ed relay division and 5th out of 150-ish relay teams overall. Not bad, although we obviously wanted to win (which in my mind, we did, since the team that beat us did not register a split/transition time). Above all, though, we both had a good time with each other out of town. This was uplifting for me because this race was a post-injury goal of mine as well as a much-needed respite from daily life (did I already mention that?)

I won't be able to do this race again next year, and perhaps it is a good time to take a break from it, anyway, after running it 3 times. I have a presentation forum that I must participate in as a fourth-year student that always takes place on this weekend in May.

Finally, I ran 10 (very sluggish) miles the next day, because I really need to start whipping myself into shape for next month's mud run and marathon. What was I thinking when I decided to do both? I'm going to be spending these next couple of weeks whipping myself into some sort of workable condition short of re-injuring myself, so this should be interesting.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

(Injury-Free?) Boot Camp

While I'm still working on my blog entry for my race this past weekend, I thought I'd write about how incredibly sore I am today.

As you can see on my side bar, I am doing the Camp Pendleton Mud Run on June 5 and San Diego Marathon on June 6. And, as you know, I had been injured for about two months. My IT band is doing much better, though somewhere in the process of recovery, I pulled a hamstring, but that's a lot easier to run through than most ailments. So given these improvements, I am subjecting myself to a "boot camp" that aims to get me in shape for a marathon in 3.5 weeks.

So here's how the past few days have gone down:

- Saturday: 6 miles at race
- Sunday: 10 (weak sauce) miles
- Monday: 1.5 hr cardio + weights
- Tuesday: 10 (faster/hilly) miles

And here's the tentative plan for the rest of the week:

- Wednesday: Windsor pilates (I don't have time to work out tomorrow) and salsa
- Thursday: 8-12 miles (depends on how I'm feeling and time constraints)
- Friday: 45 minutes of circuits and 20 minutes of bicycle
- Saturday: none -- I'm helping my friend at her wedding and am in the party!
- Sunday or Monday: 20-miler

I figure that everything beyond the 3-week pre-marathon point can be improvised, but this is a critical week. Before this week, my longest run was an 8-miler, and I haven't run more than 10 since March 21 (and before that, not since February 13). Basically, I'm going to keep going short of injury or utter exhaustion, and so far, I've only got that soreness that feels pretty good...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wildwood Probiotic Soy Yogurt

This not-to-appetizing in name soy yogurt was purchased at Fresh & Easy, which is a small market near my work, for 99 cents.

I'm not sure if it is sold elsewhere, but I can tell you that I have tried soy yogurt in the past and was rather displeased with the strange taste. It's tough to describe, but the bean-y flavor of soy, normally not very detectable in other soy products, gets magnified x 100 in yogurt.

But the fact that this soy yogurt came with additional antibiotics to help me if I needed to eat some regular yogurt to clear my taste buds had me sold. I can eat normal (milk) yogurt for the most part, though I almost always choose Greek due to the additional probiotics it contains.

This yogurt was actually decent. The blueberry flavor was great and probably covered up any weird "bean-y" taste, the texture was a little off but not too bad, and I did not need to eat anymore yogurt that day.

If you're adventurous, feel free to try this out yourself. It also comes in a peach flavor that I have yet to try...

Yes, this entry was 3 months in the making if you check out the snap date of that picture. Because I just turned in a dissertation draft and am NEARLY DONE with my last real class in school, this is the first weekend in ages in which I had time to do stuff that I normally don't, such as:

- clean my room, which was a dire need
- do my laundry, when I usually frantically do it during the week when I realize I've run out of undergarments
- go over my final project presentation, which is tomorrow (I usually just wing it)
- went out with the boyfriend worry-free, attended my sister's play, watched TV, packed for the week
- transferred some bank funds
- checked my credit (and squirmed at the amount of debt I have)

I did not, however, do any running this weekend. My weird knee thing was faintly trying to resurface in the middle of this past week, and there is no way I'm taking any chances with it. It's just not worth it. Plus, I think the wind has sent my nose and throat for a loop, and frankly, I have been very tired lately due to a lack of sleep. Tomorrow, however, is another story.