Now, I knew better than to acknowledge the slump. I knew that saying out loud that I didn't feel like running lately would make bad things happen. I KNEW this... but I wrote about it anyway. Karma responded by slapping me and then pointing and laughing while it threw popcorn at my face. This is what the last week has looked like:

Day 1, in which I lose my voice:

Last Thursday, I went seamlessly from totally normal practicing in the morning to having almost no speaking or singing voice by evening. I felt fine most of the day, so I figured it was just a little bug.

Day 2, in which I am pretty sick:

Friday, I woke up feeling pretty rough. I decided to be smart about it and didn't go to school. I took a real sick day -- movies in bed, going to bed early, the whole deal.

Day 3, in which I say screw you, being sick:

I felt a little better on Saturday, so I decided to go on a "modified" long run. I was scheduled to do my first 10 miler that day, but I had gotten a little off in the schedule and hadn't gone on as many I was supposed to for the week before. Now, it was like 15 degrees last Saturday, with 15-20 mph winds. The smart thing to do would have been to run three miles (or not run at all) and then go to sleep for like four hours just in case. Instead, I ran 8 RPM (real people miles -- i.e. rolling terrain, including some decent hills, and no flat trail sections). The good news? I totally broke out of my slump! It was awesome! I was psyched to do more RPM long runs! The bad news? It ushered in...

Days 4-6
, in which I am REALLY SICK:

Sunday through Tuesday were mostly spent in bed (except when I was at work), coughing like I had pneumonia and totally unable to sing. When I talked, I sounded like someone who had been smoking a pack a day for about the last forty years. And gargling with bleach. So that wasn't great.

Day 7, in which things should have turned around:

Wednesday, I finally felt like I was really starting to get better. I was still coughing a lot, but at this point I was itching to go on a little run. I decided to go on an easy two miler. My shins and feet hurt from the beginning, but I figured I couldn't really do much damage in two miles so I kept going. Turns out that apparently two miles can sometimes be enough (if you are running on cold muscles with crappy form because you feel sore and stiff) to completely f*** up your knee. My left knee has given me trouble in the past, but I am now on day three of hobbling around while it mocks me with its swollen stiffness. Great.

...so now it's Friday (Day 9), and I'm feeling so much better -- besides some leftover junk that my body is still trying to cough out. It's a beautiful sunny day, about 50 degrees. Everyone and their mom is outside running. And ALL I WANT is to be running, too. Instead, I'm inside feeling lazy and heavy after a week with only two runs, wondering how many days it's going to take for my knee to feel better. And I know that even when it DOES feel better, it's going to be another day or so before I should run so I don't just mess it up again.

The moral of the story? Be careful what you wish for.



I am officially in a slump. It seems a little dumb to get in a slump right before a big milestone distance (10 was supposed to be this weekend... I got behind so it will hopefully be next week) and while I'm training for a huge milestone race, but I guess sometimes you don't see stuff coming.

I'm going to try not to beat myself up about it, especially since when I think about it objectively, it makes sense. The last two weeks (and especially last week) feature a WHOLE lot of stress and being busy and not getting enough sleep. And it's still cold and damp, so forcing myself to get outside isn't the easiest. Take right now, for instance... I'm waiting for the bus to go home, and I know I should run when I get there but all I can think about are pajamas and watching a movie in bed.

I'm going to try to trick myself out of it... for instance, tonight I'm going to go home and go out for two miles. If I get started and want to do more, that's great, but I'm allowed to not feel guilty if I just do two. And THEN I can have my Annie's spaghettios (complete with soy meatballs!). And a glass of wine. And a movie in bed. And a pony. And a million dollars... or at least a piece of banana bread.

We'll see how that approach works...



I don't time my runs often, but today I ran 3 miles in 29:45 - my first timed run under 10:00/mi! It was 9:55, so it was just baaaarely under, but there was still a little ice to contend with and I felt a little heavy today anyway. Hooray!


trying new things

It's been a great week (or couple of weeks) for trying new things, running and otherwise. This week was my birthday, as I'm pretty sure everyone who actually reads this knows, and I decided to celebrate with a few different new things.

First and probably least exciting of all, I decided to make homemade black bean burgers on Wednesday. Making homemade veggie burgers is NOT difficult, but over the last few years I've still been buying them at the store when I was in the mood for them. I'll tell you right now, those days are over. I used a recipe I found at Daily Garnish, a fantastic blog by a vegetarian chef/marathoner. I looked through other recipes on the site, and everything looks fantastic. If the black bean burgers were any indication, this chick is a genius.

They were SO DELICIOUS. Cinnamon, coriander, chili powder, cumin, onion powder... I can't even describe them. The recipe made 6, so I froze 4 and can't wait to eat them. In case you want to try them, here's the recipe: http://www.dailygarnish.com/2010/05/vegan-bean-burger-recipe.html/. I will say that I would check on them about 5-10 minutes before the posted cooking end time -- mine could have come out a little earlier. I had mine on a wheat bun with greens and guacamole, yummmm!

On Thursday (25th birthday), I had a pretty busy/normal schedule and wanted to do something special to make it seem a little more... special. So I went on my first-ever group run with the Bloomington Area Runners Association, or BARA (http://inrunco.com/bara/). I was pretty nervous, because honestly I still feel like a poser runner a lot of the time. These guys absolutely proved me wrong, though! They were sooo welcoming, and I actually found that I could comfortably run the two mile warmup and the three half mile hill repeats (so 3 mi total with the descents)-- which we did in a parking garage and which I shockingly had SO MUCH FUN with -- with two super nice women who have both run several half marathons. It was really the first time that I've felt like a real runner. I couldn't believe that I easily kept pace with these ladies who were far more experienced than I was, but I really did. The feeling of really belonging in this sport was the best birthday present I could have given myself. :) It was also fun that two of the other runners were also 1/19 birthday folks!

The last chunk of new stuff was definitely my favorite. Last night, Laura and I went to dinner and a bluegrass concert, and it was the most fun. We had dinner at Taste of India, which I've always had kind of a grudge against because they replaced the creperie that used to be there, but it was some of the best Indian food I have ever had in my life. We shared vegetable jhalfrezi, which was spicy and delicious, and masala dosa, which was INCREDIBLE. I hadn't ever had anything like it... it's a South Indian dish that's a thin pancake kind of thing wrapped around a mix of potatoes and chickpeas and served with a delicious coconut chutney and the best sauce of all time. For dessert, we tried both a fantastic mango ice cream and an odd paneer in sweet spiced milk, which reminded me of wet cheesecake and toed the line between delicious and just weird. It was one of the best meals I've had in a long time!

The concert was probably the icing on the cake of the whole week. There was a great local opening act, but the featured band (The Travelin' McCourys) defied description. Probably the best bluegrass I'll ever hear. It was so cool to watch them play off each other while they improvised... it was kind of like getting to sit in on a jam session with some of the best guys out there. I'll leave you with a youtube clip of them:


Such a great week! :)



I think I'm officially giving up on consistency. But I also won't try to make anyone read this, so I guess it's cool.

It seems like it was about fifty years ago now, but I should probably follow up on the 10k from October... It was successful, although it was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated since I hadn't gotten to train much for the distance. Other contributing factors to the feeling-crappy were not eating nearly enough beforehand (two pieces of buttered white toast from a gas station diner that I then smeared PB on is not enough, it turns out. Next question: should this have been a surprise..?) and the freezing wind that I felt like I was running into for at least 4 of the 6 miles. Otherwise I really enjoyed myself. Minster is in the middle of nowhere, and most of the race was out on the highway that runs past a bunch of farms. A lot of families were out in their driveways with signs and boomboxes, which was really fun. I finished in 1:09:32 (11:11 pace), which I was very happy with... especially with how crappy I felt that day. I may have forgotten to attach my timing chip to my shoe, which I noticed about two minutes to the start so I looked at the clock when I crossed each line and subtracted. After, they gave us drinkable yogurt (thanks, nearby Dannon factory!) and I walked around the Oktoberfest and ate and had beer. It was a great first 10k!

Since then, I've been consistently running about three times a week. I'd really like to be doing four, but during the semester I haven't really been able to make that happen... too many days where I'm away from the apartment from 8-8 or so. Instead, I've tried to be super efficient with those runs -- one normal, one speed, and one long. Some weeks those don't all happen, but it does seem to be working well overall... I'm feeling great and getting faster and running longer!

Yesterday, I ran 8.5, my longest so far by either a mile or a mile and a half (can't remember), and even though I was wiped out by the end and had snow blowing in my eyes and going up my nose the ENTIRE time, I had a great time. I think I ran it in about 1:35 (11:10 pace), but I was also deliberately keeping it slow. It's cool to know that a slow run in January was the same pace as my pushing-myself 10k in October. I also feel now for the first time like I really am going to be ready for the IU Mini (1/2) Marathon on March 31. I celebrated today by registering -- and it was still early enough to get my $15 off for doing the Mini 5k last year. I'm starting to get excited now!

I am also about a month away from my first ten miler (I'm increasing mileage super conservatively after last year's burnout), which I'm extremely excited for. Aaaaand I turn 25 this Thursday. Hooray for milestones!


Longest run

On Saturday, I was supposed to run six miles.

I did not.

I ran six and a HALF!

Thaaaaat means that for the 10k on Sunday, I will have already run FARTHER than the race distance, which is going to be an awesome feeling and great for my overall sense of well-being/preparedness.

Bring it on! :)


Still running...

Yes, it's true. My last post was in August... 2010. I'm bad at blogging. We all know now.

For whatever reason, I was sitting at work and thought of the blog and thought that I would write a post, so here I am. Just to give a recap of the last year of running, I am still at it after a few periods of amping things up and a few of no running for several weeks (thanks, Indiana winter). I have run three 5ks, and I'm very proud to say that I improved my time each race:

HOC 9/18/10 34:32
JB5k 10/23/10 32:35
IU Mini 5k 4/2/11 32:26 (super hilly... sad it wasn't faster but proud!)

Sadly, that IU Mini 5k was supposed to be the IU Mini Marathon, but I tried to push my body too hard in late December-early February and ended up with a massive case of burnout. I had no idea that overtraining could have a big an effect on your body as it does, but my runs got impossibly hard and I got sick and depressed and all kinds of weird stuff. So I scaled back and just did the 5k.

These days, I'm (slowly) starting to increase my mileage again. I did a 5 mile this morning, and I'm scheduled to do 6 next week and the week after to prep for the Minster Oktoberfest 10k the first Sunday in October. It will be my first 10k and is also part of a huge Oktoberfest in some random town in Ohio, so it should be a fun day even if the race goes badly. Yay beer!

To give you an idea of what kind of event this is, here's a picture of the official Minster Oktoberfest bobblehead and the beer that is made explicitly for it:

After the 10k, I'm going to do a super slow increase basically until April, because I'm planning to do the Mini Marathon for real and I think that my best shot is to be extremely conservative about increasing my mileage. I'll do each new long run distance for two weeks and then have a scale-back week in between. Hopefully it will go better this year!

So that's what's happening. :)