Monday, 23 June 2008


All things in balance - that's my desire for my life.

In my early 20s, I had a pretty good balance. I left graduate school because it didn't leave room for balance. I played rugby, and trained to a degree that would let me play at a level that would challenge me yet not require me to do this to the exclusion of all else (to the disappointment of my obsessed friends...who, to their credit, are now playing for the national team). I had friends, and a dating life, and was in touch with my family. My job, however, sucked.

In my late 20s, I had a great job that I pursued to the exclusion of lots of other things. Fitness, first of all, but also creative pursuits like writing and photography. I did, however, have a good social life and a wedding to the love of my life.

At 30, I'm not loving my job (though I try not to talk about it here too much - lack of privacy on the internet and all) so I'm taking this time to re-focus on: balance. I'm making sure I use all my vacation days. I'm leaving the job at work. I'm running and traveling and eating well. I'm making sure to maintain connections with friends and family while I'm far from them.

Which brings me to: the lack of running this last week, and into next week. I need some time away from my life, so we took a city break this weekend, and I didn't even "pretend" that I was going to run. Instead, we walked a lot. We are going to Glastonbury, and I won't be running there. I am not hashing this week - I need to pack up, and right now the vacation is the highest priority for me. But I'll be back running during the second half of my long, much needed vacation.

I'm putting my running into perspective, and finding balance (I hope)!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

In reply

In reply to some comments lately:

Yes, Jess, OFM is directly east of BFE. Both are past Over the River and Through The Woods, though less far than Mars.

Laura - let me know when you find a top like that you can run in. I'll buy 100.

Joe - Even though I've been going out with the hashers, I haven't yet really been running "with" anyone. People generally hook up with their pace-friends. I don't have any yet, though I did walk across a big field with a couple people last time. I'm kind of introverted in person so I'm not that great about introducing myself to people.

In reply to life:
I can't wait to go on holiday. I need to get out of my office for a while. I actually hate not being busy at work. It makes me surf the web all day and then I'm lazy and depressed and don't run.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

On On with the FRBs

Went out for another hash yesterday. Some familiar (to me) faces but since I haven't been in a month they thought I was a newbie again. Much older crowd than last time, and the location (Clapham South) is in outer-fucking-mongolia as far as my regular tube riding goes. Still, good to see a new area of London, and I was keeping up much better than last time. Partly I think it was that the trail was laid by a back-of-the-packer so he really thought about how to keep the group together, and partly I was feeling a little fresher, but I did find myself at the front of the pack (among the Front Running Bastards [FRBs]) in search of the trail for a few minutes. Afterwards was pretty low-key, but the pub provided snacks - a nice surprise. All in all a little less welcoming than last time, but I'll give it one more shot.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Lazy weekend

No running at all this weekend. Friday afternoon was spent in search of a dress for a Saturday Bat Mitzvah. Then of course Saturday was the event, which we planned very poorly for. Early wakeup, train to Heathrow to hire a car, drive to temple, listen to Hebrew. Congratulate honorees. Now have 5 hours to kill before reception but are hours from home. Wish we had brought something to do, or had been able to figure out a way to shower so I could run during this time. Go to the movies and eat too much popcorn instead. Attend reception with loads of 13 year olds. Laugh while they dance dances with names (macarena, electric slide, etc). Drive back to Heathrow. Return car. Get on tube home with 19 year olds drunk and talking loudly. Go home, fall into bed, sleep 12 hours. Wake up in time to quick clean the house before brunch with a friend and landlord coming over. Get drunk with friend. Realise no running will be done. Fall into bed. Wake up with a start that it's Monday morning and feel sad.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Kiss your wife

The theme for this week's Take it and Run Thursday is "As you begin your marathon training, don't forget..." I suspect others will have good advice about running the thing. Not me. My advice is "don't forget to kiss your wife (or kids, or dog, or boyfriend, or or or)."

I mean this both literally and figuratively. Literally: Marathon training takes a lot of physical energy. You'll probably be up early and in bed early. Don't forget your relationships, especially the "intimate" ones. Enough said.

Figuratively: I've said repeatedly that I wouldn't have finished the marathon without Meg. She was my biggest cheerleader during the race, keeping me fueled and hydrated when I couldn't do it for my self. But the truth is I probably wouldn't have gotten to the starting line without her either. Although running a marathon is an intensely personal experience, it was really nice to hear her say how proud she was of me, and have her tell people (everyone we met, it seemed like!) that I was running a marathon.

No matter how fast you are, how early you get up, marathon training is going to interfere with the rest of your life. There will be weekend nights you want to stay in and hydrate instead of eating a nice restaurant meal with a bottle of wine. There will be mornings you miss the entire morning routine because your short run took longer than expected. And unless you're a hermit on a remote island (in which case, what marathon are you running? and how are you reading this blog?) it's going to interfere with the lives of people whose life you're in.

So, as you embark on your marathon training, remember you're not in it alone. Thank your partner for packing you a healthy lunch to keep your runner's body fueled. Thank the kids for walking the dog even though it's your turn. Thank your friends for waiting to start Saturday morning's activity until you return from your 20 miles.

Remember to kiss your wife.

That's not really the point, now, is it?

I beat back Morning Brain this morning, who reared her ugly head at 5:45 with thoughts of going back to sleep and putting off the run until tomorrow afternoon. Rational me was awake enough to say, "remember how great you felt on Tuesday when you ran before work? Get up." and I only hit snooze twice (8 minutes total - I have a short snoozer) and was out of bed before 6. Yay me.

Took the first 2 miles nice and easy, as prescribed by the schedule: 12:09 and 12:36. Next three were scheduled to be at 11:06 pace. I ran each of them faster than that (10:25, 10:43, 10:38) but I stopped to catch my breath at the mile markers, kind of missing the objective of key run #2 - to run fast when tired. Duh. Then a nice slow jog with some walking mixed in for mile 6 (13:45) and I'm home just in time to catch Meg before she gets in the shower and leaves my key-losing self locked out on the doorstep for the second time in 2 days.

6 miles, 1:10:55 (11:50 pace)

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Double D Review: Glamourise Sport Bra

About a year ago, my sister and I did an Urban Dare together. (Side note - totally fun! Thanks to dad and Meg for help from home.) I was just getting into running and pretty out of shape, plus the format of the event is that there's a fair amount of stop-and-starting. Combined, this made for a sweaty me who would get cooled off and then start running again.

I have a couple of these bras. I always wondered why one fit more comfortably, while the other offered more control. I finally figured out that I bought them in 2 different sizes, so now I wear the more comfortable one for shorter runs or non-running activities and the smaller, tighter one to control the bounce on long runs - once I get going I don't tend to notice the feeling of constriction anyway!

All of this is a long-winded warm-up to my review of this bra. It's one of the most "regular bra"-like bras I run in on anything resembling a regular basis. The Urban Dare was my first foray into the world of chafing under the boobage, and still one of my worst experiences with it. I think something about the salt drying on my skin plus the movement of this bra (I was wearing the more comfortable one) contributed to the scars I still bear.

I find that this bra does leave some chafing, but it's really comfortable while I'm running and I don't generally notice until I'm in the shower. It's pretty good at reducing the bounce. There's no uniboob effect - an extra bonus if I'm doing anything other than running while in my running outfit (running errands, hashing, etc).

Pros: Considering its status as a "big breasted runner's bra", not too expensive. No uniboob. Hooks in the back - easy to get off when I'm all sweaty.
Cons: Chafing. Bounce not entirely banned.
Rating: 1 1/2 cups. I'll probably buy more but it isn't perfect.

Ecofriendly running shoes - the next frontier?

Runners go through an enormous number of shoes. Whether you donate your used ones to the homeless, get them remade into athletic track surface, or putter around in the garden with them, you've got to do something to keep them from cluttering your closet after the cushioning has worn out and they've done their required 500 miles (that could be 12 pair a year if you run as much as Betsy!). The materials that go into them aren't exactly biodegradable - yet. Apparently some elite marathoners at Beijing will be running in shoes constructed partly of rice.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

I [heart] intervals

I love interval training, I really do. It appeals to my competitive nature, and if I'm honest it gives me time to rest my lazy butt! I went out for the first Key Run #1 on my new half marathon training plan this morning - 12x400 (well, quarter miles). Target time: 2:30. Actual times: 2:15/2:30/2:49/2:49/2:40/2:21/2:14/2:25/2:45/2:25/2:59/2:15 - average 2:32. Pretty good, I'd say - but I did take some extra rest in there.

I didn't set out with any particular route in mind, just up the road. At some point I saw the sign for the New River path and decided to take it up through Haringey. A little dodgy in some places because I couldn't see much in front of me, but I felt safe since I was basically running behind people's back yards, though I have to admit I was thinking about Jog Blog's discussion of dodgy-looking men on the path and whether she'll be attacked or not. The path was really overgrown but it was so nice not to be running on concrete I didn't mind the thorny bushes attacking me. I seem to have missed the path when it crossed the road, because then I was back on the concrete pavements sucking diesel fumes. But I did not get lost even though I have never run in this particular area before (yay me) and maintained enough internal geography to be heading back home at the right time to hit Finsbury Park with one interval left to run and then just over a mile home to cool down.

Does anyone else think about food while running? I was kicking myself for not putting a pot of coffee on before I left, and planning my breakfast (toast with peanut butter, which I did not get because I didn't get to the work kitchen before they put the toaster away for the day, and a latte which I did finally get at 11:30) and snacks (deciding that the mid-afternoon desire for a chocolate bar means I need to have a yogurt and some fruit then, but I still didn't go to the supermarket before work to get them) and realising there's tons of fruit in my kitchen that really needs to be eaten up before it goes off and generally making myself hungry.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Half-ass training

Only 2 posts ago I went on and on about the 10ks I planned to run this summer, and how I was going to do FIRST-like training for them, and blah blah blah. I'm going to do the same here about my new half-marathon plan, which should have me running a 2 1/2 hour half marathon in October - that's an 11:15 pace, people! I totally know I can do it.

I did have to make a little modification, because I should have started training last week, so I had to cut the second-to-last key runs (skipping a run of 12 miles, plus a 5x 1k and a 6 miler with 3 at short tempo pace) but I think it will be ok. I probably should cut one more week in recognition of my holiday plans but I think what I'll do instead is just recognize that something will get cut and go forward as if I've done those runs anyway.

Allergy season isn't exactly the best time to start up again, but at least I'm not dealing with the heat wave the rest of you are.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

You people are prolific!

Man, I go away on holiday/work trip and then get too busy to read, and finally things calm down and I find you have written 200 blog posts and I try to be a good blogger so I read them all even though I am mostly too lazy to comment. Finally caught up...

Anyway, yesterday was supposed to be the Heart First 10k but I'd had a crap week at work so far but yesterday was awesome so I wanted to celebrate with my team, plus I felt crap. So I bailed on my £0 entry fee and didn't go - even though I have been breaking all the rules by wearing the shirt (as PJs) already.

And then I realized that I will be away for the wife's birthday for the Hampstead 10k so I should just get over myself and start on the half-marathon training already, which goes well with the training I've been doing so far - half-assedly thinking about running in the morning before hitting snooze and going back to sleep.