Category Archives: Running

A Series of Unfortunate Runs

My marathon training over the past week and a half has been strangely reminiscent of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Only substitute the word “Events” for “runs,” and that would be my life in a nutshell.

I wish I could report to you all that my 15 miler today went splendidly and that my nap yesterday gave my body the extra oomph and energy to cruise through the run with ease and strength.

But no.

Sadly, this run was a tough one. Unfortunate, if you will.

It wasn’t tough for me because my muscles were sore or because I didn’t have the cardiovascular stamina for it. Nope. The primary reason for my misery during this run was dehydration, and boy, did it pull a number on my system.

To start things off, I didn’t actually start running till 8:00, which was a definite mistake on a day when the forecasted temperature was in the 90s. As I ran along my minimally shaded path, I began going through my water much faster than anticipated. By mile 2.5, I had gone through one of my water bottles, and by mile 6, I was almost done with the other.  At this point, I had 9 more miles left in the run, so I decided to save my last little sip of water for the Gu I was planning on taking around mile 9.

Did I even think to turn around at any point? No. Because I’m an idiot. I just thought I could “tough” it out until I made it back to the car where I had a water bottle stashed.

Big mistake.

As you can imagine, the lack of water began to get to me, and my pace continued to get slower and slower. Around mile 7.5 (my turn-around point), I realized that I couldn’t continue running, so I reverted to the Galloway method and tried to run 4 minutes and then walk 1 minutes. This ratio eventually reversed such that I was running 1 minute and then walking 4 minutes. I call it the Dehydrated Lindsay method. Don’t follow it anytime soon, my friends.

As the sun continued to beat down on me, I began to grow thirstier and thirstier, and I literally could not stop thinking about water. My mouth grew very dry, and it was at this point that I started to get upset. I was so frustrated with how this run was going. I felt terrible; I was disappointed with my slow pace; and I was so mad at myself for not listening to my body and turning around earlier to get more water.

I began to break down and cry, and for a few minutes, I wallowed in supreme self-pity. And with that pent-up emotion finally released, I forgave myself and focused on what I had to do. I had to get back to the car. I had to get water.

I tried running a few more times just because I thought it would help to get back to the car faster, but it just made me feel worse. I grew even more parched and weak whenever I broke into a jog. I quickly realized that it was becoming dangerous for me to continue doing anything more strenuous than a walk, so I just walked the rest of the way back to my car.

During the last half-mile of the “run,” I felt very faint, dizzy, and vaguely nauseous, so I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other and getting back to the water in my car.

When I finally made it back to my car, I flopped into the passenger seat and chugged my water bottle. When I set it down, I realized that I was shaking. Literally shaking. I have no idea why, but it wasn’t pretty and it didn’t feel very good. I just sat in the passenger’s seat for the next 15 minutes, sipping at my water, blasting the air conditioning, and trying to calm down and feel “normal” again. As I’m sure you can tell, the run really took an emotional (and physical) toll on me.

Luckily, I feel like I learned a few things as a result of the run:

  1. Water is of the utmost importance. I am going to plan out my future long runs, so that I can loop back to the car several times and refill my water bottles. I will never again do such a lengthy out and back run without having some way of replenishing the water supply.
  2. I need to drink more water in the days before my long run. I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t fully hydrated to begin the run, so I’m going to make it a priority to take a Nalgene bottle full of water with me wherever I roam. I’m still adjusting to Colorado’s arid climate, so proper hydration takes on even more importance when exercising in such a dry climate.
  3. I need to start my long runs earlier. By the end of my run, it was 90 degrees out. In order to avoid running in that kind of heat, I am going to work on getting up a couple hours earlier, so I can start and finish my runs in cooler air.
  4. It’s okay to walk if I need to. For some reason, I have always felt like walking on a run is a form of defeat. As though I am a failure for having resorted to walking….but I honestly think that walking saved my bacon today; and if my body demands that I walk on a future long run, I will listen to that urge and feel no shame.

Just for the record, I am feeling much better now. No need to send out an ambulance or anything. After drinking a ton of water throughout the day and eating some food, I’m a whole new woman! I’m even looking forward to my (well-hydrated) run tomorrow. Even though I had a terrible run today, I know that this run wasn’t an indicator of my failure as an athlete.

Quite the contrary.

In fact, I know that the lessons I learned from it will make me more prepared for my future long runs and ultimately the marathon itself. These lessons will make me an even better athlete than I was before.

Question: What kinds of lessons have you learned from your less-than-ideal workouts?

Zzzzzzzz……

Hello friends,

today was all about the Zzzzzzs. Or lack thereof. I think I might be reaching my physical threshold for overtraining. Ever since my hike on Saturday, I have felt absolutely dragged out and exhausted, and to make matters worse, I haven’t been sleeping terribly well either. Not a good combination.

I was supposed to run a measly three miler today, but I just couldn’t do it. My legs are still pooped from the hike, I felt groggy all day long, and I have a 15 miler looming tomorrow.

Instead of running, I took an hour nap….and my body thanked me.

A good life decision, if you ask me.

Sometimes, structured training requires flexibility and perhaps, even more so than flexibility, a willingness to really listen to your body and give it rest when it’s crying out for it.

A part of me was mildly annoyed with myself for skipping the run, but then the kinder, more rational side of my personality reassured the anal, type-A side that missing one run wasn’t going to mess everything up. If anything, it’ll just give me more energy for my run tomorrow.

That’s what I’m trying to tell myself anyway. And with that, I’m headed off to sleepy land. I’m hoping that my body will start feeling “normal” again sometime in the near future. I’m tired of feeling tired all the time!

Question: What are your best tips for combatting exhaustion? Have you ever experienced symptoms of overtraining?

Killer Hills

Take a good, hard look at this scenery.

Looks pretty, doesn’t it? Awe-inspiring, I might daresay.

But this scenery has a malevolent side. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies and blue skies. Far from it.

This scenery handed me my sorry runner booty on a platter today, and it wasn’t a pretty thing.

Today, I ran 10 HILLY miles amongst the gorgeous terrain featured in this photo. This particular area is a mere city park here in Colorado Springs. Can you believe that? A city park! In any other state, it would at least be a state park, but we have an abundance of scenery riches here in Colorado. One can’t go around naming everything a state or national park. The whole damn state would be a national park if we were going on the basis of looks alone.

See what I mean?

Anyway, this run was probably the toughest and most arduous run of my life. No joke. Tougher than both of the half marathons I’ve run and any other training run that preceded it. It KILLED.

This lovely park, appropriately named “Garden of the Gods,” is one of the toughest places to run in Colorado Springs, and I know this. I know this, and yet I still thought it would be a grand idea to do my weekly long run amongst the killer trails and endless hills of this area.

I shake my head in shame at my own stupidity. Oh, silly and misguided Lindsay…..thinking I could tackle the killer hills for miles on end.

It didn’t help matters that it was incredibly dry and sunny out today. I had to loop back to my car for water bottle refills several times because I was going through my water much faster than I had anticipated.

This was where I started the run. Home base, if you will. I made several trips back to this area during the run to refill the water bottles and refuel.

I also started this run a little later than I meant to- 9:30 instead of 7:00. Those extra two and a half hours between my original start time and my actual start time led to a significantly higher temperature that I had to combat throughout the run.

A mile and a half into my run (which starts straight up a steep incline and never relents….the park literally has no flat parts. It’s all steep hills!), my legs were beginning to burn.

In all ways possible. My muscles burned, and I also acquired a sunburn on the backs of my calves! Double whammy. The fierce Colorado sun sure can do a number on someone with fair skin like mine.

Due to these circumstances, I decided to throw all expectations for this run out the window. I just wanted to survive it. That was all….

I slowed down my pace a fair amount, so I could contend with the hills (and I am quite proud of myself for conquering the vast majority of them, some of which extended for a mile and a half at a whack). I also took a few walking breaks when the muscle burn became too much. Mentally, this run seemed endless; and physically, it was just painful.

But I survived. I survived, and I feel that the experience has served as worthy preparation for those last few miles of the marathon, when I imagine I’ll be feeling quite similarly to the way I felt today.

When you just want it all to be over with, but you have to force yourself to keep going, to dig in deep to whatever reserves of energy you have stored deep within you and use it to get you through the run.

That’s what I did today, and I’m proud of myself for it.

It doesn’t hurt that I had these views as the reward for my efforts. Beautiful mountain views ALWAYS motivate and inspire me.

Dinner

For dinner tonight, I had a soup n’ sandwich combo platter. I might have even made the sandwich all by myself- my first attempt at “cooking” in more days than I’d like to admit (that is, if you can call assembling a sandwich “cooking”). For my sake, let’s just roll with it.

The soup of the day was a lovely gazpacho (…made by mom…).

The featured sandwich (made by me!) was a turkey havarti melt with spinach and cilantro-mint pesto on a whole wheat sandwich thin.

Yum, yum. I love any and all melted cheese action. The havarti paired nicely with the pesto too.

Question: What’s the toughest run (or workout) you’ve ever had? Did you find it demoralizing or motivational?

Half Marathon Breakfast

This morning, I ate a half marathon for breakfast, and it was delicious. In fact, I might still be hungry for more miles. Does anyone else want to join me for my next running feast?

You know you want to.

One of the nice parts about Colorado weather is that it is significantly cooler in the morning as compared to Hartford, which means that I don’t have to get up near as early to enjoy a comfortable run. I didn’t even start running till 7:30 at which point it was in the lower 60s. By the end of my run, it was in the low 70s.

After several weeks of disgusting heat and humidity during my morning long runs in Connecticut, I am just loving this sort of weather. I hope it continues!

I did my solo half marathon on one of my favorite running trails in the Springs called the Santa Fe Trail. It’s a nice dirt path with rolling hills (some of which are quite steep) that meanders onto the grounds of the Air Force Academy and features great views of the Front Range foothills. It’s such a beautiful trail that I often forget about how tough some of the hills are because I’m so engrossed in the beauty of the environment.

That’s the type of run I had today. I so enjoyed the scenery that I almost (emphasis on almost) forgot that I was running for over two hours. My tired and achey feet again reminded me of this harsh reality by the end of the run.

I ran slowly to make sure that I could complete the distance without suffering any issues from the altitude. Apparently, it takes about a week to get rid of that yucky “Why is my lung capacity decreased?” feeling, so I didn’t push it today. I ran just under 11 minutes miles, and that pace felt just about right for me today.

Gotta take each run’s pacing one day at a time…

Nevertheless, I felt strong, especially while pushing up some of the hills. In fact, I haven’t done a run this hilly thus far during my marathon training, and I appreciated getting in some hill action. I figure they’ll make me even stronger and better prepared for race day.

I wrapped up the entire half marathon in a grand total time of 2:23:09!

These are the feet that just ran 13.1 miles. I’m proud of these guys….

Is it strange that I feel most beautiful and most myself in the moments after wrapping up a run rather than when my hair and makeup is all done up? I think that true beauty is reflected through a person’s happiness….and I am so happy here.

After a little stretching, showering, and foamrolling, I had a simple sandwich + salad lunch featuring one of my favorite sandwich combos: turkey, brie, and Crofter’s American on whole wheat bread.

Such a simple sandwich, but so tasty. Brie is one of those cheeses that I could eat everyday. Or bathe in. You know…same thing.

I also had some spinach salad with ‘shrooms, grape tomatoes, red onions, sliced hardboiled eggs, and shredded mozzarella cheese to go along with my sammich.

After eating this lunch, I crashed landed right into my bed for a solid afternoon nap. I really didn’t accomplish much of anything today because I was so tired.

One thing I did accomplish, though, was the consumption of a green monster. I split one with my mom, who is a recent convert to the green monster movement. She had been quite suspect of the green smoothies before, but the addition of some Vega Vanilla Chai powder finally made her see the light.

In the mix:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 scoop Vega Vanilla Chai
  • two handfuls spinach
  • one handful blueberries
  • 1tbsp chia seeds
  • ice

GMs are like an energy shot in a glass. After downing this green goodness, I decided to start unpacking the zillions of boxes stacked high in my room.

Horace was proud of me for this unexpected burst of productivity. He supervised while I did most of the unpacking. He likes to think of himself as a “manager.”

Question: When are you most happy?

A Birthday With Altitude

It is only fitting that my first full day back home in Colorado is my birthday. My 23rd birthday, to be exact.

What a birthday present….the day could have been boring and terrible (it most certainly wasn’t!), and I still would have enjoyed it if only for the fact that I am now back in Colorado. I really love it here….the crisp and dry air makes me smile. Just like this:

I started my day off with a 3 mile birthday run around my neighborhood. It started off great….I ran down the hill from my house and completed the first mile in a blistering fast 9:03 (for me, this is lightning speed!). I could hardly believe my Garmin when I saw my pace…..

….and then, the altitude struck.

Oh yes, altitude.

I had forgotten about how much that little factor can affect you when embarking upon cardiovascular activities at 6,000 feet above sea level. There really is less oxygen at this altitude, and I started feeling it once I hit the turn around point in my run. As I turned around to start heading back uphill to my house, the altitude started kicking my ass. My lungs were burning, and my heart was thumping much faster than it normally does at sea level when I run uphill. On the final hill up to my house, I had to stop and let my heart slow down. It felt like it was about to thump out of my chest! This run was the anti-negative split run. My first mile was a speedy 9:03, the second mile was a moderate 9:43, and the last one was a sputtering 10:43.

That last hill up to my house KILLED.

Lesson of the day? Even though I am a Colorado native, I am not invincible to altitude. My next run (which will be a 13 miler tomorrow) will be done at an extremely slow pace to prevent altitude burnout like I experienced today.

Lunch

For lunch, my mom took my sister and I out to one of my favorite places in downtown Colorado Springs, a funky little restaurant called Poor Richard’s.

Their menu features all sorts of fresh salads, sandwiches, and homemade pizza selections. They even offer a spelt crust option for the pizza, which I think is just fantastic. I love spelt.

While I love the thin crust pizza at Poor Richard’s, my heart longed for one of their fresh and fabulous veggie burgers.

I chose the Mexi-veggie burger which was served on homemade whole wheat bread (so soft and doughy!) and was topped with pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, mustard, and lettuce.

I could only finish a little more than half of it, but I savored every bite that I could manage…fresh veggie burgers are glorious.

Dinner

For my birthday dinner, my family and I went to a tapas place downtown called Nosh. My family loves good food just as much as I do, so the meal was enjoyed by all. Honestly, can you every go wrong with eating a whole lot of everything? I think not. It’s a foodie’s dream!

The mom and me:

Being a huge goofball:

My sis and my dad got in on the photo action.

The little sis can be a big goofball too. Guess it runs in the family…

My mom and I started the meal off with a refreshing cucumber vodka cocktail (not my normal drink choice, but my dad thought I would like it). This guy packed a punch, so I sipped it slowly and only finished about half of it by the end of the meal. I’m such a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, so I have to be careful with drinks like this….one too many, and it wouldn’t be such a pretty sight.

My dad went with his usual martini. The man loves his vodka….

We ordered a slew of tapas plates including a roasted beet salad with herbed yogurt cheese, large leafy greens, and tofu-garlic vinaigrette dressing….this was so earthy and delicious!

...Wild tuna sashimi with crispy rice crackers for scooping. This had a great sesame-infused flavor, and it tasted lighter than air!

…Grass-fed bison tar tar with homemade vinegar potato chips (my dad’s choice….he ate 90% of this….the whole raw meat thing is a bit too much for my mom, my sis, and I). I dug the chips though!

…Spicy shrimp with sweet basil and kale. This was good, but I feel that I could make this type of dish at home. Whenever I go out to restaurants, I always try to order things that I wouldn’t normally cook in my own kitchen.

….Roasted brussel sprouts with manchego cheese, candied lemon peel, radicchio, polenta, and a buttery sauce made of mirin, ginger, and honey. This was hands down the best dish of the night! I am already a brussel sprouts lover, but this dish would convert even the most fervent brussel sprout hater. My family and I practically devoured this dish. The sauce was to die for!

Roasted cauliflower with caramelized onions, cilantro, and cashews.

And no birthday is complete without a little dessert. Or in this case, a LOT of dessert. I have a serious thing for chocolate, so I decided to share the “Chocolate Lovers” dessert platter with my family. Aren’t I generous?

So much chocolate. So good. My taste buds are smiling.

With that, I’m headed off to digest before my run in the morning. Let’s hope the chocolate doesn’t make a reappearance then.

G’night!

Midwest Road Tripping

Greetings from Kansas City, Missouri!

Didn’t think Kansas City would look this nice, did you?

Kansas City gets such a bum wrap, but there are definitely nice parts of it…..like where my aunt lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. It’s chock a block full of trees and lakes and huge houses.

Not too shabby, Kansas City. Not too shabby.

The past two days of driving have been loooooong. The first day, my dad and I journeyed from Hartford to Dayton, Ohio….and it took us nearly 13 hours to complete the drive!

We departed Connecticut around 9:00 AM or so and said our last goodbyes to beautiful New England. Even though we’ve had our ups and downs (especially with your mercurial winter weather), you’ve generally been quite good to me over the past five years, New England. Thanks for the memories….

For a long stretch of I-80 through Pennsylvania, we encountered roadwork about every 10 miles, and we think that it delayed our arrival time in Dayton by at least an hour. It became so frustrating at points that I resorted to taking strange pictures just to keep myself from attacking the road workers. WHY were they doing so much roadwork on such an isolated and altogether random part of Pennsylvania? It confused me. I think they were doing it just to annoy me and my dad….and it worked. Mission accomplished, Pennsylvania roadworkers.

We saw a lot of this type of view yesterday. Lots of cars and trucks. Sitting still. Like a parking lot. Boring!

I decided that taking self-portraits would be a good idea at this point. Boredom can make you do funny things.

Head shot.

Feetsies.

Knees + feet.

As far as food goes, I’ve been subsisting primarily on the following items:

  • Souped-up Starbucks oatmeal (who honestly thinks that the toppings they give you can last you more than a couple hours? Please…my appetite needs MORE than that!): Oatmeal + banana + chia seeds + Barney Butter blob

  • Coffee: need I say more? It soothes my savage soul before spending a bazillion hours locked up in a car makes it savage again.

  • Subway’s Veggie Delite on Wheat bread + apples: I’ve had it for lunch the past two days and will try to convince my dad to eat it again tomorrow, if he’s up for it. It’s the only fast food place I can tolerate. I always get “the works” on my subs including the jalapenos and banana peppers. I like it spicy! I tried some guac on sub today, and it was especially delicious. Highly recommended for veggie delite fans!

  • Homemade trail mix + stash of Bora Bora granola bars: I’ve been snacking on these items in between stops. I love my trail mix, and the Bora Bora bars are pretty tasty too! Not to mention made with all organic ingredients….my fav flavor thus far is the Tiki Blueberry Flax. It has the right amount of crunch and sweetness to satisfy my snacking needs.

Exercise

In the exercise department, I took a 45 minute walk before the infinite car ride to Dayton, which was a pleasant way to start the day and say goodbye to the West Hartford Reservoir one last time. While I walked, my dad took a run. It worked out pretty well.

This morning, I somehow dragged my butt out of a very comfortable hotel bed and ran a painful 6 miles in 59:40 among the concrete-clad suburbs of Dayton. Even though I kept up a good pace, my legs just felt so heavy and tired. Maybe spending 13 hours cramped up in a vehicle isn’t a good idea? It didn’t help matters that I ran without music….I had never realized before how much music motivates me during my runs and helps the time go by faster. Each mile seemed ENDLESS, but I got it done. I have a rest day tomorrow for the final leg of the trip, so my next run will be in Colorado, where I know it will be beautiful and awesome! Hooray!

After the run, my dad and I made the considerably less lengthy drive from Dayton to Kansas City (only 9 hours versus 13 hrs from Hartford to Dayton).

We saw fields. Lots and lots and lots of fields.

We also passed through St. Louis, Missouri and saw the famous arch!

Gateway to the West, indeed.

Busch Stadium where the St. Louis Cardinals play baseball also popped up along the drive.

We made great time to Kansas City, so my dad and I were able to take a nice stroll before dinner in this beautiful area. It felt great to give the old legs some breathing room.

The old man….

This was his “studly model” pose.

We then ventured to a restaurant called Mongolian BBQ. It’s a place where you can build your own stir-fries using whatever meats, veggies, and sauces you like, and then the chefs will make your stir-fry for you right in front of you. It’s a cool concept, and I liked how it was executed!

I loaded up my bowl with all sorts of veggies+teriyaki sauce + a seafood medley which included salmon, crab, scallops, and shrimp.

It was awesome. Just what my body was craving….

I also had a little bit of brown rice to alongside of it. I liked that the restaurant even gave the option of having brown rice. Some places don’t even bother with it.

Blue Moon + stir-fry= a great way to end a long day of driving.

Tomorrow, we’re heading across Kansas (oh joy of joys) and FINALLY into Colorado! I can’t wait!!!!!!!!

My mountains are beckoning….

Baking Procrastination

I spent most of today running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I had so much to do and so much to take in that I almost felt like my head was spinning from the overwhelming nature of it all.

I had to say goodbye to some amazing colleagues that I’ve grown close to during my AmeriCorps service; I had to try to get some packing done (which I’ve blissfully neglected until now….); I had to go to a dinner and Spanish lesson in the evening; I had to get a run in; I had to go to a reception for AmeriCorps volunteers.

Yes, amidst all of this, I found the time to bake. But we’ll get to that later.

Thankfully, the run was a short one. A quick three miler which I pounded out in 29 minutes at a 9:40/mile pace. I was quite proud of this pace considering I ran 12 miles yesterday. I did a quick session of Yoga for Cyclists in the morning, which I credit for my legs feeling so limber during my afternoon run. I love how yoga stretches my legs out in all the right places….it’s the perfect antidote to running.

This run was particularly necessary in the midst of today’s craziness because it gave me the time to center myself and calm down from all the anxiety I’m feeling about my impending move tomorrow.

You wanna know what also centers me?

Baking.

…especially when the end result of these baking efforts are as good as mine were today!

Specifically, I whipped up a batch of Health Carrot Cake Power Scuffins created by that brilliant baking genius, Angela of Oh She Glows.

I followed her recipe exactly except that I substituted 4 chopped medjool dates for the raisins and added an additional 2 tbsp brown sugar to make them sweeter (per her suggestion). I was planning on giving them out to my coworkers this afternoon, so I wanted to make sure that they would please the masses. When in doubt, just add more sugar.

I must say, these were sooooo amazing tasting. They would be perfect for fall….or summer…or spring….or…..you get the drift. I’m so glad I spent the hour making these scuffins instead of packing. My coworkers (many of whom are vegan) were absolutely thrilled with the goodies that I brought into the office! Not to mention that baking is much more aesthetically pleasing than packing.

Honestly now, would you rather look at this scene?

Or this?

That’s what I thought.

A few more scuffin shots for the road:

Seriously now. Can you blame me for procrastinating by baking? These little guys are quite the lookers, and they taste just as good too.

I also whipped up a huge bag of trail mix in preparation for the three day drive back home to Colorado by dumping all the remnants of my pantry into a freezer bag and mixing it all up together!

I spy with my little eye some almonds, pecans, pepitas, coconut flakes, dried blueberries, cacao nibs, and dried mango (I think?). Should make for a good, healthy snack while on the road. Much better than anything found in those yucky truck stops and gas stations.

In your spare time, please feel free to check out the guest post at Simply Life where I dish out some tips for creating that perfect meal-sized smoothie. I am an expert on smoothies after having had one for breakfast for the past three weeks. I’m not kidding. I’m in a smoothie rut. But my rut is your gain.

Check it out: How To Build The Perfect Meal Smoothie

What are your favorite snacks when on-the-road?