About Me

My photo
I'm a 24-year-old student scientist, budget gourmet, novice cyclist, long-distance girlfriend, and avid amateur runner. I always said I couldn't have a blog because I didn't have anything worth blogging about. Turns out, I may have been wrong...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Runner's Walk of Shame

Someone wants to play!  ...Or food.


It's been happening way too frequently these days.  I start out on my long run with the very best intentions, run all mapped out, iPod juiced up, Camelbak brimming with Gatorade (the red kind).  Then, at some point along the route, something goes wrong.  My knee starts to hurt.  I need to use the ladies' room.  It's just too hot/cold/windy/wet outside.  For some reason or another, I have to stop running, and I am immediately frustrated.  Because not only did I quit on my long run, not only did I experience an injury, not only does my tummy feel gross, not only am I dehydrated/freezing/windburnt/soaking, but I'm also X miles from home with no cell phone, no money, no bus pass.  Possible alternatives quickly flash through my head:  Hitch a ride (no), beg a bus driver (wishful thinking), steal a bike (hmm... no, bad, bad).  There are no other options.  So, dressed in full runner's battle gear, I have to walk slowly and shamefully home.

Today I was set to run 10 miles around town, and I had made it to about mile 3 when IT happened.  The knee combined with the potty.  So, I scratched my route, hung a left (towards as opposed to away from downtown), and ran as fast as I comfortably could to the Black Bear Diner, a very reliable restroom stop.  Then I was struck with a dilemma:  Do I run the ~2 miles back to my apartment, or do I walk it?  Two miles isn't very far, and running is so much faster than walking.  But since I'm not finishing the 10 miles today (better luck tomorrow hopefully), I don't want to overdo it now, especially given the way my knee was feeling.  But, man, it was getting colder and darker by the minute (that's what I get for waiting so long to head out).  So, I compromised and opted for a "run/walk" combo that had me back home within 25 minutes (not bad!).  Moreover, I saved at least half the face I would have lost if I had walked the entire distance.  (OK, the passersby probably don't care at all whether someone is walking or running, but I still feel judged). 

The walking actually gave me time to think about how and when I want to post new entries here.  I thought it might be cool to have about two posts per week:

1) Weekend Post!  The weekend post (up Saturday or Sunday, the days traditionally considered to be "weekends") will lay out my running/eating/other plans for the coming week, as well as recap my activities from the week before and compare how well my plans matched up with my actual life.

2) Mid-Week Post!  Halfway-ish through the week, I'll write an update, including new stuff that's come up in my schedule and new musings in general.

Sound reasonable?  I have much respect for people like Caitlin and Jenna who can post way, way more frequently, but, in keeping with my mantra and the title of of this blog, I'm confident that I'll be better off at this manageable pace.

So, consider this my first weekend post!


Last week's recap

  • Tried to run 9 miles on Sunday, but the knee started to feel scary around mile 7, so I walked the last 1.5 miles home (shame).  
  • Iced and rested for two days (not including biking around town).  Did some yoga, both by myself and OnDemand.
  • Went out for a strong 3 miler on Wednesday morning, very excited about having a happy knee again!
  • Started Thursday with 30 minutes of cross-training OnDemand, resulting in very sore butt muscles.  That night, had a running blind date with my co-worker Andy's girlfriend Sarah - 5 miles of good convo, hopefully we can do it again sometime!
  • Friday, rest.  Saturday, accidental rest (will explain momentarily).
  • Today, as you heard, attempted 10, completed 3+.  Will give it another go tomorrow, hopefully with Jin when she gets back from Florida (details below).
  • Breakfasts: Coffee with skim and egg whites.  This is pretty much all I usually eat, unless I'm going on a longer (5+ miles) morning run, when I will also have a WW english muffin and/or some 7-grain hot cereal (like today).

7-grain cereal with 1tbsp PB (Skippy All Natural, it was on sale), 1/2 green apple, and a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Lunches: Roasted chicken breast with lemon pepper seasoning, asparagus, spinach, and balsamic hummus (1 tbsp plain hummus mixed with 1/2 tbsp balsamic).
  • Dinners: Beef and eggplant ragout over whole wheat egg noodles (mmmmm!).
  • Snackses: Low-fat mozzarella sticks, green apples, Kashi Cherry Dark Chocolate granola bars, nonfat cottage cheese, nonfat yogurts (the old stand-bys).  Also, discovered that if you put a small yogurt in the freezer for 1.5 hrs, the result is a delicious treat!  Allllso, melting a mozzarella stick on a whole-wheat tortilla, adding some boysenberry jam, and rolling it all up is reallllllly tasty.  And I ate a bunch of Kashi GoLean Crunch with skim milk.  It's the greatest.
Other stuff!
  • Went to a lecture by Nikos Logothetis, one of the most influential neuroscientists in brain imaging.  Awesome.  Cocktail hour (2 glasses red wine) and three-course meal (creamy soup, crab cake, mini-desert things) with the distinguished guest followed thereafter.
  • Puppy-sat!  Jin, one of my grad school friends (actually, my first grad school friend), has been out of town at a wedding since Wednesday.  Sooooo her very small woofer Benny, a crazy Jack Russell Terrier, came to stay with me!  We had lots of fun, went on lots of walks, and did plenty of cuddling (I also had to clean up some pee, luckily only on the linoleum).  He has to go home this evening when his Mommy gets back.
  • Celebrated another grad school friend Emily's birthday with the rest of our cohort.  Baked a 5-layer, funfetti/devil's food cake that was apparently structurally unsound, as it collapsed before our eyes before Emily even saw the finished product!  Unfortunate but completely hilarious (hopefully pictures to come).  Drank spiked soy nog à la vegetarian grad school friend Jimmy, stayed out until 2am, woke up at 7 to walk and feed Ben, was a useless couch potato for the rest of Saturday.  Hence the accidental rest day.  If I had been socializing at my maintainable pace, I could have had an active Saturday, but I made the choice to stay out.  I can't beat myself up for going off the track - just have to find the right tempo again and keep going as planned.
  • Started a blog!  Oh, you knew that already.

Next week's plan

  • 10 miles tomorrow, come hell or high water.  Then ice like crazy.
  • Wednesday speedwork, probably 6x400m @ 6:00/mi pace (so 400m in 1:30) with 1:30 walk/jogs in between.  And ice.
  • More yoga!  I liked the OnDemand 50 minute one I did last week, so maybe I'll try that again plus another new one.
  • Two shorter runs of ~3 mi each.  One of them with Beth, my former coworker from DC who is a new grad student in Neuroscience at the same university as me!  Then ice.
  • 11 miles next Sunday!  Hopefully I can have my first successful, shame-free long run since December.
  • Breakfasts: Coffee and egg whites.  Also I've tupperwared some 7-grain hot cereal for pre-run breakfasts.

  • Lunches: Roasted chicken breasts with curried cauliflower and sweet potatoes!  The curry sauce involves nonfat plain yogurt.  Excited for this one, hope it turns out well.
  • Dinners: Glorious salads consisting of red and baby spinach, baked honey sesame tofu, clover sprouts, steamed beets, cherry tomatoes, dried fruit, mixed nuts, and balsamic!  Should be sweet and tangy, can't wait!

  • Snacks: The usuals. Plus I purchased some Special K Protein Plus and some Special K Chocolatey Delight (because it was 3 for $1.99 each), so looking forward to those as nighttime snacks.  So far, Chocolatey Delight isn't as chocolatey as I expected, and I find Protein Plus to be somewhat more delightful (go figure, I love protein).  But, they are still both filling and satisfying.
Other stuff!
  • Tomorrow is MLK Day, which means no classes, no brain scans, no patient testing, but lots of uninterrupted time in which to get work done!  Data analysis, grant research, subject recruitment, etc. etc.  Get pumped, I certainly am (no really, I totally am!).
  • Possibly attending my undergraduate Young Alumni Club happy hour on Thursday.  Haven't gone to one of these before, but, if I accomplish everything else by then, it might be really fun (or at least good for a laugh).  If I go, it'll be a one-drink night (red wine perhaps) for financial, driving, and health purposes.
  • Need to book March break travel to see my very lovable Boyfriend.  I can't wait to spend the whole week with him, even if he will be at school during parts of it.

By March break, it will have been 2.5 months since we saw each other over New Year's

That's it for now!  For those who have read these first posts, thank you for your support!!  Please don't hesitate to contact me with questions or comments.


Emily H. said...

I'm so glad you're blogging! I completely empathize with the frustration of your body not cooperating with your long-run goals. And the humiliation of walking when you should be running (as if anyone really cares). Black Bear Diner you say...

Jin said...

Yay I love this! You finally made a blog :) I was thinking that blogging would be a great way to keep yourself accountable with your goals, since you have to write about them now. And yay Ben made the blog too hahah. I'm still icing my knee....

Laura said...

You guys are the greatest - thank you for your comments!!! And thank you for being my Grad School Half Marathon Team!!!! It means a lot to me that you'll be at the starting line with me. Yay go us!

Mark said...

I'm so pumped for you guys doing the race together, wish I could be there with you.

This is a great blog, I am so impressed how you can do everything in moderate, "maintainable" pace.

Hey Laura, have you got your knee checked out yet? I was impressed with our Health Services, I was able to see an orthopedist for my foot within a day, and a specialist (podiatrist) within a couple weeks. All covered under our student health insurance. You should get some feedback on your knee, lest it turns into a more serious injury...