Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday's Things to Love

1) Thursdays that are Fridays because of an alternate work schedule.
2) Foam Rolling! Hurts when I'm doing it but feels sooo good after. (What is foam rolling? Click here.)
3) Having a friend at work. Kate (a girl in my section) and I have really hit it off. We both like to run and read similar books, among other things.
4) My officemate taking the day off. It's so quiet in here!! A nice change from the usual random chatter I typically listen to all day long.
5) Having a few containers of flowers, herbs, and tomatoes on the balcony. They look so pretty and make our apartment feel more home-y.

What things are you loving today??

Monday, April 27, 2009

GW Parkway 10 miler

So happy to be done and no longer running in the hot sun.
Yea!! A good picture of me running and/or after a race!! Well, as good as a picture can be when you're sweaty and red-faced.

An "action" shot of me putting my phone back in my pocket. Stephen's not the best at taking pictures of me during the race as he's never successfully done it. He gets distracted so this is the best action shot of me on Sunday.

Yesterday (Sunday) was my first race of 2009, the George Washington Parkway Classic 10 Miler. Both days this weekend were predicted to be hot and set records for the highest temperatures. Knowing this, on Saturday I made myself carry around a drink all day and drink as much water as I could possibly drink. I was so glad I did this as Sunday ended up being 94 degrees (temperature during the race was in the low 80s).

I started the race with a time goal in mind—I wanted to pace at 11 minute miles which would mean finishing the race in 1 hour, 50 minutes. And I also wanted to run as far as I could before I took a walk break. I made two rookie mistakes at the beginning:
1) I started off way too fast for me. I was doing 9-9:30 minute miles…way too fast for me. At mile two, I felt it and knew I needed to slow down.
2) I was close to the start line with all the faster people which only made me go faster. I was trying to keep up with other people instead of running my race.

I only got 19 minutes (right around the beginning of mile 3) of running in before I had to walk. And I knew I had been going too fast because my legs immediately felt like lead. I couldn’t imagine going 8 more miles. I was already tired and knew that I would have to do my 4 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking method to finish. I talked to myself and went to the talk that always helps me finish a long run. “Don’t think about how many miles you have left, don’t think about how many miles you’ve done, just focus on the next 4 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking. You can finish this race and you can do it in the time you want but just focus on putting one foot in front of the other.”

Miles 3-5 were okay. I wasn’t feeling strong but I kept going and was able to keep pacing at an 11 minute mile.

Mile 5 I lost my iPod. I didn’t physically lose it but my iPod was having none of the heat and sweat and stopped working. I was so sweaty, the sweat had gone through my case and got to my iPod so it stopped. “Great,” I thought, “I’m going to have to do another 5 miles with no music. This officially sucks.” But then I reminded myself that I did complete a half marathon with no music so 5 miles was nothing compared to 13.1.

Miles 5-7 were uneventful. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

At mile 7 I got so hot. When it’s August and I’m acclimated to running double digit miles in the heat, the temperature won’t bother me so much. But since the hottest temperature I’d run in since last summer was 70 degrees, my body (and everyone else’s) just wasn’t prepared for that type of heat. I seriously thought about quitting. I was tired, I was hot, I didn’t want to go on. And then I saw an 87 year old woman running. Well, darn it! If an 87 year old woman is going to finish this thing, I’m sure as heck going to finish it as well.

Miles 8-10 had no shade and it was just hot. People that live along the parkway were standing out in their yards with their garden hoses spraying water so that we could run under the cool water and that helped a lot. (I have no idea who those people were but they are amazing!!) I knew at mile 8 that I probably wasn’t going to make my 1:50 goal but I still kept aiming for it.

My final time was 1:51:24….sooo close to my goal. My overall pace ended up being close to 11:08 miles. Honestly, when I realized how close I was, I was mad at myself. But then I realized how I really had given it my all and with the weather, I’m glad I came in so close to my goal.

I was sooo glad I wore my hydration belt. I almost didn’t wear it but I’m glad I changed my mind. With the temperature, I needed to have water accessible to me whenever I needed it and not just every couple of miles at a water station.

After the race, I foam rolled for 10 or 15 minutes. Today I have a little bit of soreness but nothing too bad at all. I have a horrible burn from my sports bra on my neck but that's the only thing that truly hurts. (It also makes me feel like a true runner.)

I’m proud of myself for finishing. I had talked myself into quitting at mile 7 but I was mentally tough enough to keep going.

Next race will be the May 10 half marathon. Oh boy, that's only 13 days away. What was I thinking?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

5 miles was too much

This morning I just was not feeling running. I got up and got dressed anyways then decided that I had to do at least 3 miles. If after 3 miles I was done and didn’t want to do anymore, I would stop. (Typically I end up doing my usual 5 miles after I get out there and get going.) Today I stopped at 3. My legs seemed super tired and I think it was the fact that Tuesday at work I ended up doing about an hour and a half of walking. Kate and I walked to a sporting goods place to get her a CamelBak for her 62 mile hike (!!!!) this weekend and then in the afternoon we went to Ben & Jerry’s for free scoop day but since the line was ridonkulous, we walked around for a while looking for a place to purchase ice cream instead. Between the two trips, it was an hour and a half of walking. Especially on a race week, it’s important for me to listen to my body and this morning 5 miles was too much.

I picked up my race packet Monday night. As far as goody bags go, it was sucky. Just the shirt and race bib. The shirt isn’t your usually t-shirt, it’s actually a New Balance technical tee so it wicks the sweat away and all that good stuff. I wore it Tuesday morning when I was running and really appreciate how the shirt isn’t the usual cotton tee…I know I’ll wear it a lot more since I don’t wear regular t-shirts when I’m running anymore.

Also, if you’re interested…you can go here and sign up to “follow” me doing my race on Sunday!! It’s a quick registration and then you pick my race (George Washington Parkway Classic—should be the only race listed) and my name (Marissa Crawford). My feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t follow me since we’re blog buddies but just thought I’d do a little self-promoting!

I’m working on a “day in the life of me” post…hopefully I’ll have that next week.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Whew! It's Monday? Already?

I had a great weekend! It started off on Friday by waking up at the usual time (4:30) to drop Stephen off at work so he wouldn’t have to pay $15 for a cab into downtown (he leaves so early for work that the Metro isn’t even operating yet), back home where I read for an hour and took a short nap, to the gym for an elliptical session, into the shower for a quick rinse, off to the library to pick up a book on hold (“The Hour I First Believed” by Wally Lamb), to Marvelous Market for some sushi/lunch, home to put on my ultra dorky bike shorts and pack up my backpack, and off for a great bike ride! The weather was fantastic on Friday! Mid-70’s and sunny. I biked about 4 miles and was hungry so I had my picnic lunch of sushi (where I successfully used chopsticks for the first time!) and laid in the sun and read for a while. I finished the book I was reading (“The Time Traveler’s Wife” which was pretty good…not my absolute favorite book ever but it was still good) and decided to head home. The weather was so nice I really wanted to stay in the sun more but my legs were tired from the elliptical/bike ride and I knew with my long run on Saturday morning it would be better to be cautious. Went to Target for a little bit and browsed around…just took my time looking at things. I didn’t really need anything there but the weather was too nice to sit in the apartment watching TV. Stephen came home and we went to eat and then went to bed early (we were both exhausted).

Saturday morning I got up and headed out for my long run. Again, the weather was fantastic!! But my run was not so fantastic…likely a combination of too much exercise the day before, not really eating on Friday night because I wasn’t hungry, and being tired. I’ve learned though that about every 3 or 4 long runs, I’ll have one that just doesn’t feel great. I didn’t feel strong and the whole thing was a struggle. But the important thing is that I did it and I feel prepared for this Sunday’s 10 miler!! Saturday we went to Costco, ran a bunch of errands, and saw “State of Play”.

Then on Sunday, Stephen went to work (he’s on a 6-12 month detail at another agency but right now essentially has two jobs since he still has to keep up with emails at his home agency so the poor guy has been putting in some major hours) while I did the grocery shopping, cleaning, and laundry. Sunday afternoon we headed out to see the Washington Nationals play the Florida Marlins. The Nationals got a new stadium last year but we never made it to a game so it was our first time at the new stadium. It was nice to be outside even though it was cloudy and the Nationals lost (they have only won one game so far).

And that was my weekend. I’m looking forward to Sunday’s race…I’m going to pick up my race packet after work!!! I hope the T-shirts are nice-looking (I never wear my shirt from the Las Vegas half because it’s a pukey greenish brown color).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Eating Intuitively Update

Tomorrow’s my condensed work schedule day off…I thought I would be able to take my day tomorrow since we’re in the middle of running estimates but I’ve got all my work done and don’t need to be here so I do actually get to take my day tomorrow. But now I don’t know what to do with my day. Usually I have a list of things I want to do on my CWS days but this time I don’t have anything! I don’t have anything that has to be done or errands to run…what to do, what to do? What a great problem to have…having a day off and trying to figure out what to do. The weather’s supposed to be pretty nice so I might do a bike ride. I’m thinking about packing up a picnic-type lunch with a blanket and book, riding my bike out to a local park and just relaxing in the sun with my book and food. But that will only work if the weather cooperates!!

To give you all an update on how I’m doing on eating intuitively…overall, it’s going well. There are some days where at the end of the day I don’t feel great about my choices but I don’t let myself feel guilty about those choices, I just vow to try harder tomorrow. I really believe that not obsessing over calories anymore has actually helped me make healthier choices. I haven’t weighed myself (and I’m not going to) and I need to do my measurements this weekend (how about tomorrow when I have no plans?) but Stephen has told me several times he can tell that I’m toning up and that I’ve lost inches (and I didn’t even ask him about it, he just told me out of the blue). I cleaned out my closet this past weekend…I had several pairs of pants that were too tight and I never wore but they were just taking up space. As I was cleaning it out, I tried on every pair of pants before I put them in the donation pile…surprise, surprise—3 of the pants fit! I was excited but not as excited as I was when I finished my 11 mile run that morning!

Obviously, eating intuitively is working for me right now so I’m going to stick with it. I enjoy how much freedom I feel I’ve gained by not counting calories. I also have been eating cleaner since I started eating intuitively which just shows that my body craves the unprocessed healthy stuff.

Honest Foods Giveaways

Honest Foods (Graduate Meghann):

Honest Foods (Run to the Finish):

I'm most excited about the blueberry crackle granola plank with a cold glass of milk!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Running Crazy

Hey peeps! What’s up? How’s life?

Life for me is good. It’s been a while since I’ve written…I just haven’t felt like I’ve had anything to contribute lately so I’ve been silent. This week at work I’m actually going to be busy…it’ll be the first month where I’m running my estimates and publishing my results. I also have a conference this week (Sidenote: it is sooo wonderful to work for an organization that truly values me as an employee/economist and is willing to pay for me to attend conferences where I can learn…compared to my previous employer which did not pay for conference registrations for research analysts.) (Sidenote #2: It’s also fantastic that I’m not planning this conference!!! Which felt like all I did at my old job.)

Anyways, I’m very excited to actually be running my estimates. I’m fully aware that to some people I’m a dork for being excited about estimating GDP. But I don’t care…I embrace my inner dork.

Enough about work, training is going well. This weekend I did an 11 miler and it felt great. Sure I was tired at the end and my legs were a little sore for the next couple of hours but I woke up on Sunday feeling great with no next day soreness. And I felt great when I was running. I’m going to be completely self-indulgent and pat myself on the back here…It was drizzling Saturday morning when I started my run. I had looked at the radar and it showed things clearing up in the next hour so I decided to head on out figuring that the first half would be a little drizzly and the second half would be clear.

I was 50% right…the first half was drizzly but the second half was pouring rain! I thought for half a second about jumping on the subway but instead I embraced my inner bad ass (wow, I have a lot of inner “me”s I’m embracing today) and kept running. My baseball cap was soaked with rain and sweat and water was dripping off the bill, my shirt was soaked and sticking to my arms, my socks and shoes were soaked and making that squishy sound on every step but I kept going! It also helped that I was wearing the most awesome North Face vest Stephen got me for my birthday…it was great in the winter because it kept me warm but it’s also great in the rain because it is completely waterproof so my core stayed dry. I also found a new nature park a few miles from where we live…I love finding locations when I’m running that I would never find otherwise!

My first race of 2009 (George Washington Parkway 10 Miler) is less than 2 weeks away and I’m excited!! Then I’ll have one weekend off, my first half marathon of 2009, two weekends off, and my second half. I don’t have any races planned after that (until the October marathon) but I’m looking for some others…I’ve been bit by the racing bug now!!

I think I may be running-crazy…Kate (a girl at work who I really like…we’re doing a book exchange and she’s a runner) brought me information today on this race. We both really really want to do it…I’m thinking if I still want to do it, I’ll sign up in mid-May. It’s a limited field of 5000 and it sounds so awesome!! (Okay, I know I’m running-crazy because I just said that running a half marathon on a Saturday and running a full marathon the very next day would be awesome.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Well, no running for me this morning. My legs were pretty sore from the hills yesterday and I just couldn’t get out of my warm bed for the cold outdoors (and it wasn’t even as cold this morning as it has been). Not a huge deal though. I got off the subway two stops away from the stop closest to work and walked 20 minutes to work, I’ll do at least 30 minutes of walking during the day (hopefully more), and I’m going to try to get in a yoga session after work. Honestly, I feel guilty for not going running this morning but I know that my legs are sore and the most important running during training is the long runs. If I sacrifice my long runs for the shorter weekday runs, that does me no good…the long runs are crucial to building my endurance for my races. And I’m getting in extra activity today by walking more than I usually do. Missing my run this morning is not a big deal.

Tonight, I’m going to hear Dick Beardsley speak. From his website:

Dick Beardsley is a champion - in running and in life. Although his competitive running career as an elite athlete ended in 1988, Dick is the 3rd fastest American born runner and he still has the 5th fastest U.S. men's marathon time in history. Best known for his 1982 Boston Marathon "Duel in the Sun" with Alberto Salazar, Dick is also a two-time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier. He is a two-time winner and course record holder of the Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota and has won the London and Napa Valley marathons. But Dick is more than a running champion. He is a fighter. After a series of near-fatal accidents and a journey of self-discovery, Dick has turned his life around. Today, Dick is enjoying his running more than ever.

I’m excited to hear him speak. He’s got a very inspirational story and although I don’t know much about his life, his speech might be more interesting because I haven’t heard it all before.

I’ve been struggling with my food lately. I’ve been eating when I’m not hungry (but just bored) and eating junk. My office mate is the worst eater…Cheetos for breakfast, giant burrito at lunch, soda all day long. I need to remind myself that eating garbage makes me feel like garbage. He is always offering some of his food to me (which is nice) but when I refuse, he keeps asking or acts like he’s offended. I need to remember that even though he gets mad, it’s my body not his and if he wants to treat his that way, fine but I’m not treating mine like garbage.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Hills, Season One

Q: Why are people so tired on April 1?
A: Because they just finished a 31-day March.

My officemate is interesting or annoying depending on my mood. He is constantly talking! Yesterday I even had my earphones on and iPod going and he was still talking. And, nope, I didn’t take out my earphones…he could see I had my earphones on and still kept talking. I don’t mind talking to him but he never asks if I’m busy before he just starts talking. He’s one of those people that talk to hear themselves speak…he’s not looking for conversation so I don’t feel bad about ignoring him. Yesterday he told me that I was secretive and never tell him anything about me…well, it’s because he doesn’t want me to talk, he just wants to talk. Anyways, he doesn’t really bother me too much now because I’ve learned to just tune him out.

I went running this morning and went the opposite direction on the trail that I run on in the mornings. Wowza!! There are some major hills going in that direction. At one point I grunted very loudly but darn it, I was going to get up that hill running!! That is the first time I have ever grunted when running (I hate those guys at the gym that have to grunt loudly so you know that they are working hard and lifting lots of weight). I just didn’t think I was going to get up that hill but knew I could do it. And, again, another reason why I like running in the morning when there’s very few people on the trails…I can grunt without getting embarrassed. (Other reasons: singing along with my iPod, doing crazy dance moves to certain songs, punching the air like Rocky…don’t you guys wish you could see me running in the mornings? I’m sure I look like a crazy nutjob.)

It’s actually a really great thing because the marathon I’m training for is hilly and has a 6 mile stretch from miles 16-22 similar to Boston’s Heartbreak Hill. So training on those hills will actually be helpful in the long run…but I’m anticipating I’ll be a little sore tomorrow. I'm going to try to do the hilly part of the trail a couple of times a week (including my long runs). It'll be interesting to see my improvement as I do them more and more.