Archive | October 2011

TGIF

Hi folks! It’s Friday, and never in my life has the phrase “TGIF” been so necessary. I don’t know what I would do if this week had been any longer. Friday could literally not come fast enough.

There are a lot of reasons why this week kind of sucked. First of all, it was the peak of midterms season, and I had five gazillion tests and papers and other joyful academic things to study/write. I also got sick–the worst thing about college is that when one person gets a bug the entire undergraduate population gets it as well–and found myself taking several naps throughout the day, making it very hard to study properly for my tests or do any of my other homework.

But I think the hardest thing about this week was not being able to follow my training plan. This week represented the first official week of National Marathon 2012 preparation and I didn’t do any of the runs I meant to accomplish, including missing two speed workouts. Not really the most auspicious way to start off training. I spent a lot of time over the past three days trying to figure out how to get my runs in between midterms and work in the newspaper office, but ultimately it never happened. It was impossible to drag myself out of bed in the morning to run, and equally impossible to force myself to put on my running shoes after a day of cramming and tests. Looking back, I wound up letting stress about not running add to my stress about everything else, instead of taking it easy when my body was obviously screaming at me to (thus the need for naps). While that definitely isn’t a good thing, I’m glad that I recognize it and I’m going to try and cut myself more slack in the future. Running a marathon in college isn’t going to be easy, but running a marathon is never easy, period. If it was, I wouldn’t want to do it so badly.

Luckily, the week is over, I don’t THINK I failed any of my midterms, and it is Halloween weekend! I’ve got a 14 mile run on tab for tomorrow (hopefully involving exploring some new terrain over on the Virginia side of the river!) and a Halloween party for the newspaper tomorrow night. And then Sunday I’ll be spectating at the Marine Corps Marathon, which runs right through my neighborhood twice! In spite of all the work I have to catch up on, I think it’ll be an awesome weekend.

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Midterm Madness

Midterm madness. It has descended upon me like a plague of locusts. Or something else equally horrifying. Three days, two tests to take, one paper to write, one newspaper to publish. Do. Not. Panic.

Other than my run this morning and a brief expedition to the newspaper office for a meeting, I have literally spent my entire day in the same breakout room in the business school building. PSA of the day: 11 hours of sitting on your butt is more painful than you would imagine. My knees and back are killing me right now.

In other, more cheerful news, I fell for fall this weekend while grocery shopping and bought a can of pumpkin puree. I tried stirring that into my oatmeal for the first time a couple days ago and it was AMAZING! I just added a little brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice and it was the best thing after my crisp morning run. I feel like that’s very food-blogger-trendy of me, but oh well.

I had a couple meh runs in the past two days, another 5 mile loop around the monuments and a 6.5 miler this morning on the Capitol Crescent Trail. Both were beautiful — we’ve had gorgeous fall-y weather the past couple days — but my body wasn’t cooperating. This morning’s run was supposed to be a tempo (marathon training has started! I’ll post THE PLAN soon) but my legs weren’t really feeling it and I was so stressed out about midterms that I decided I just wanted to enjoy this run rather than stress myself out about pacing. So instead of stressing about time I got to stress about how I was being lazy and not running fast. Good times.

Photos from the run on the Mall. I always forget how awesome it is that I live in DC till I remember that doing a loop around the Washington Monument and running up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is a routine part of my week. Pretty cool, huh?

Good Ideas

Sometimes I have really good ideas. Putting pretzels in oatmeal cookies? Good idea! Adding toffee bits, chocolate chips, and butterscotch to those cookies? Even better idea!

These cookies were literally one of the most delicious things I’ve ever baked. I made two varieties, one with just oatmeal, pretzels, and chocolate chips and another batch with all of that other junk. My friends liked the every-thing-but-the-kitchen-sink ones, but I tend to lean towards the simpler (if such a thing can be said of cookies that already have pretzels in them) version.

Other good ideas: a gorgeous 10 mile run that took me through D.C. and Virginia! It was wondrous weather for a run this morning, blue skies streaked with clouds, a crisp 55 degrees. I set out with my neighbor N-, who was going to run the first 5 miles or so with me. As soon as we got to the National Mall (hands down best place to run on a Saturday morning — there aren’t a lot of tourists and a ton of runners! It’s like the athletes have the monuments all to themselves) we ran (literally!) into a girl in our grade who I kind-of-sort-of know. I said hi and she turned around and asked if she could go running with us. M- (my new friend) was running an 18-miler because she’s training for the Richmond Marathon. We chatted about marathon training and DC transportation failures and Harpers Ferry and things we did when we were in middle school. Plus M- showed me how to get to the Mount Vernon trail, which runs along the Virginia side of the Potomac river and is super gorgeous. I am definitely going to have to explore it some more. It runs all the way down to Mount Vernon, which was George Washington’s home. Sounds like a running day trip to me!

The view across the Potomac back towards the Key Bridge and school!

Sadly, in between the running and the cookie baking there have been some not so great things. Namely:

Paper writing

Midterm Studying (I had some fun getting the birds to fly around my head in photo booth!)

Arabic vocabulary memorization.

Sometimes college seems like a terrible idea and I have to try really hard to remember why I like this stuff. Thank the heavens midterms season ends for me next week.

Rainy Running

I love running in the rain.

This morning I woke up at 6:40 (unheard of for most college students!) in hopes of getting a 6 or 7 mile run in before my first class. It would have been pretty hard considering I didn’t get to sleep til about 1 am last night, but I was meeting up with my good friend B- (who is running the Marine Corps Marathon in two weeks!) for the second half. Unfortunately, it tends to be dark at 6:40 in the morning in the fall, a fact that I forgot until I looked outside my window to decide what I was going to wear and saw that it was pitch black and raining. Not really the wisest weather to go running alone in, so I waited til about  7:15 to head out, meaning that I was only able to run about an extra mile before meeting up with B- for an easy 4.5 mile run.

The view of the quad as I left my dorm – sorry for the poor photo quality, my phone is a cheap flip phone without a fancy camera!

Nevertheless, I loved that single, rainy, early-morning mile. The whole campus was quiet, still resting peacefully under the blanket of darkness. As the sky slowly lightened it faded from pitch black to a muted bluish gray, the color of a bruise a couple of days old. The walkways were slick with wet fallen leaves, all shades of orange-yellow-brown, shiny with rain. By the time I reached the front gates to catch up with B-, people were beginning to emerge from their dorms, rainboots slapping softly against the wet brick paths that run across the front of campus. They were subdued, the unfortunate souls with 8 am class. I felt incredibly awake and alive next to them, energized by the rain and my run.

Second Day Soreness

Ooph.

It’s two days since the Baltimore Half Marathon and I’m still feeling a lot of second-day soreness from the race. I went to a yoga class last night in hopes that it would somehow magically stretch out all the tightness, but that was definitively NOT the case. My calves cramped up during downward dog and have been ache-y since then. Luckily, the weather was beautiful for my four mile run along the Capitol Crescent Trail this afternoon to distract me from how much my legs hurt!

On the flip side, I have photos from the race! (Thanks MarathonFoto, even though I will NOT be paying 25 bucks per photo to download your extremely unflattering pictures of me!)

This is me and my friend R- right before the start of the race, as we were trying to find our way to our corrals. The start of the race wasn’t very well organized — you can tell from her half-smile that R- is stressed out about not knowing where we’re supposed to be! I’m just wondering why my hair is so out of control before I’ve even started running…

Here I am at around mile 6. Don’t I look happy? This was by far my favorite part of the race. Miles 5ish through 8ish went through a park and around a really nice reservoir. The weather was beautiful (look at that gorgeous blue sky!) and I was running 8:20 minute miles. I wound up talking to a couple of other runners and even one woman who used to be a Boston Marathoner but had to take time off after having children. I was feeling really strong and was looking forward to miles 9 through 13, which were supposed to be all downhill.

I laughed out loud when I saw this picture. I look so unhappy! This is with .1 mile left to go. Honestly, at this point all I could think about was getting to that finish line. The last three miles of this race were really hard. They were much hillier than I had anticipated and I had a lot of trouble summoning the morale to keep my legs moving fast when every time I crested a hill there was another one in front of me. I had tried to eat a GU at around mile 9.5 and it made so nauseous I just tossed it on the ground after one taste. But as I got close to the finish line I looked up at the big clock and saw that it read 2:01:xx. My time in my previous half marathon was 2:01 and change and I just thought “That was your time in the national half, if you can finish before the clock changes to 2:02 then you’ll have beat your time by at least 5 minutes” (because the 2nd wave, which I was in, started 5 minutes after the gun went off). So I ran as fast as I could towards the finish line and tried to smile as I crossed the mat.

I did it! In a time of 1:54:43 (6.5 minute PR!). Not quite what I had originally been aiming for (1:51) but considering the environmental factors against me (the hills, my stomach queasiness) I was so happy to have finished this race so much faster than my last one. And the medal was awesome too — it has a crab on it!

It’s been a long day and night (newspaper production nights are Mondays and Thursdays, so I don’t usually get back to my dorm until 2 a.m.) so that’s all for now. Good night!

First Post!

Today has been a very exciting day, for many reasons.

1. I ran a half marathon and PRed!

2. Today represents the beginning of training for my first ever marathon.

3. I started this blog!

I’ve been reading baking and running blogs for a long time and I’ve always really loved the community that surrounds them. I’m not much good at photography but I love to run, cook and write. Hopefully there’ll be a lot of all those things (and more) around here in the months to come!