Fargo Marathon – 10k redux May 19, 2013Posted by mareserinitatis in Fargo, running.
Tags: Fargo marathon, running
As several of you know, I had been training to attempt my first half-marathon this spring. Unfortunately, sometime in February, I ended up with some nasty shin splints that took forever to heal. At first, I didn’t think I’d be able to run at all, but things improved enough so that I had enough time to get ready for the 10k. However, I wasn’t expecting much. My legs still hurt off and on after running. I also started a new training program where I use timed walking and running intervals. Supposedly the walking periods help your body rest to improve your endurance. However, my training rates indicated I probably wasn’t going to be much faster than the previous year when I’d run the whole thing. Running the whole thing had improved my time 20 minutes from the previous year when I walked the entire distance.
Saturday morning was the big day, and it was actually a nice morning. It was overcast, cool, and although it was raining when I arrived, it stopped (mostly) shortly after the race began. I have a Garmin Forerunner 110, so I was able to track my progress during the race. I noticed a couple times that my running pace seemed faster than I expected.
When I finished, I was rather shocked. I managed to shave 14 minutes and 13 seconds from last year’s time. My average speed was 4.3 mph, but my peak speed was 6.5 mph. My pace this year was 2 min/mi faster than last year’s pace. So despite my misgivings going in, it’s quite apparent that I’ve improved quite a bit in the past year.
Of course, the adrenaline helps, too.
My big quandry now is to decide whether to try to run the 10k again next year and attempt to further improve my time or to try again at the half marathon. I have a whole year to decide, though. I just I hope I’ll see Elvis again next year.
New year’s…ahem…goals, Pt.1 January 1, 2013Posted by mareserinitatis in personal, running, younger son.
Tags: goals, health, new years day, resolutions, running
It’s very easy at the end of every year to look at the numbers on the scale and feel disappointed that they aren’t smaller. Or I can take measurements of my body and be upset that my diameter is definitely not where it should be.
It’s frustrating to me because I watch my diet fastidiously and am very physically active (well, when I’m not in front of the computer). But here I am.
Granted, this year has been been better than most as a result of my celiac diagnosis. I’ve been on the diet about 4 1/2 months, and it’s unbelievable the amount of positive feedback I’ve gotten about how much better I look. So obviously things are going well on that front. However, progress, as always is slow.
I also am not one to make resolutions as they can be easily dropped. So instead I set goals.
I never try to set the goal of reaching a certain weight or size. It turns out that since I started the celiacs diet, I haven’t really lost more than about 5 pounds. However, people tell me constantly that I look it. And, from what they’ve said, they think I’m lighter than I am. Mike has made the observation that I appear to be denser. However, after that comment almost resulted in physical violence, he amended it to “more compact”, which was, in my opinion, a more agreeable euphemism.
My goal, therefore, is to continue to improve my health by watching my diet and running. (In fact, I have already signed up for a half-marathon in May.) I am hoping that my efforts toward these goals will result in weight loss, but I will try not to shoot for a particular number.
There is one thing that makes me sad about my becoming “more compact”. When the younger boy was about 4, I remember him wanting to cuddle on someone’s lap. He decided to try dad’s lap as it had the closest availability. He went and sat down on Mike’s lap…and proceeded to wiggle around for five or ten minutes, obviously unsettled. He got off Mike’s lap, looking disappointed. Then he came and sat on my lap. With just a few minor adjustments, he ended up completely still with a contented sigh.
“Mom, you’re soft.”
I want to be healthy and will work toward that, but I want to be soft enough for little boys to want snuggle on my lap.
To run or to run/walk…that is the question December 2, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in math, physics, running.
Tags: distance, integrals, jingle bell run, running, speed, velocity
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Yesterday was the Jingle Bell Run. It’s a 5k that doubles as a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation. My team did fairly well for fundraising, coming in 6th place overall. This is rather impressive because our team had 3 people, and all the groups ahead of us had at least ten. If they had averaged it out per person, we definitely had the highest donations per teammate. One of my teammates was the second highest fundraiser overall…and got a certificate for an hour massage.
We got to wear elf costumage while running. How cool is that? (And no, Gigadog didn’t run. I attempted to a couple times, but after almost faceplanting when the leash got tangled around my legs, I didn’t feel like I could keep training with her.)
Actually, we were worried that we were going to be overdressed, but it turned out that people go all out for the race. There were elves galore and many wearing santa hats. There were also people dressed in costumes – angels, reindeer, christmas trees, and even full-blown nativity scenes complete with puppy dogs dressed in lamb’s clothing. (The owners were dressed as shepherds.)
All in all, a good time.
An interesting conversation occurred later, however, when we talked about running versus running/walking. Last year, when I started running, my goal was to run a 10k straight through. I managed to do that, but I noticed my progress was rather slow. This year, I’ve started using a program where I do running and walking intervals, and I’m noticing a huge difference: my rate of improvement has really increased from month to month. The topic came up with a friend’s husband, who said it just makes more sense to run straight through. He had a hard time believing me when I said I could actually go faster with walking breaks.
An easy way to see this is with a graph:
Unfortunately, my legend got scrubbed, but what we have are actual speeds from different exercise sessions I’ve done. (Yes, I know I’m slow…but I needed data.) The blue comes from near the end of the race yesterday, while the green is from a timing run I did (no walking) a couple weeks ago.
If you’ve taken basic physics, you know that the integral of the velocity over time gives you the distance. For those who don’t know calculus (or integrals), and easy way to see this is to look at the area of the bars. You can see that the area of the two blue bars together is greater than the area of the two green bars together.
Another way we can think about it is to calculate distance over an hour. The speed shown by the green bars is 4 mph. In one hour, assuming I can maintain this pace, I will travel 4 miles in that hour. However, if I run half an hour at 5.5 mph and walk the other half at 3.5 mph, those distances will be 2.75 miles and 1.75 miles and will sum to 4.5 miles. While this isn’t a lot faster, it’s a noticeable difference.
Apparently running faster for half the time does more to improve my speed than running the same time interval with a slower pace.
I’m sure hoping so, anyway. I signed up to do a half marathon next spring, and I’ve gone from hoping I can finish in less than four hours to wondering if I’ll be able to make it in three. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
Running Update: 1 year! October 17, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in personal.
Tags: celiacs, Fargo marathon, running
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I haven’t been giving my monthly running updates because, since June, I haven’t been able to run. At least, not until earlier this month.
It turns out that I had tendonitis in my ankle. It took quite a while to heal up (nearly 3 months), and I got outfitted about three weeks ago with some custom supports to prevent this from happening again.
I’m excited to be running again because as soon as registration opened up for the Fargo Marathon, I decided to go nuts and signed up to do the half next spring. I’m using a very basic-level plan that takes 35 weeks to prepare. So yes, I’ve already started training.
It’s a run-walk program (one of the Jeff Galloway plans), and part of this is establishing the proportion of the time spent running versus walking. I did my first time trial last week and discovered something strange: I’m faster than I was last spring, even after three months of no running. I also discovered that doing the walk-run combination, I’m nearly as fast as just running…and a lot less worn out when I’m done.
I’m guessing the increase in speed is due to my change in diet. I have been getting a lot of comments about how I look like I’ve lost weight (despite the fact that I haven’t) in the past couple weeks. I think it’s simply a result of the inflammation going down now that I’m not eating gluten-filled foods any more. I guess this is another way to tell things are healing up.
I’m also signed up to do the Jingle Bell Run at the beginning of December. It’s a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation, so if you care to sponsor me and/or my team, click here. (Also, I appreciate efforts to sponsor me because my teammate is the lead fundraiser so far, and she’s making us all look bad.) ;)
Stupid school year August 20, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in education, Fargo, personal, teaching.
Tags: celiacs, health, running, school, teaching
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I may be in the minority, but I really, really hate the fact that school starts here this week. I’m of the opinion that school should not start before Labor Day and should not go past Memorial Day.
Part of me would like to say that this dampens my productivity, but I’m not entirely convinced of that. I think it just lowers my stress-level to not have to worry about running kids around while teaching and trying to get some research done. I just hate being tired all the time.
Another reason I’m tired is that I’m still not running. I apparently had tendonitis in my foot, and most likely there was no sprain. I’m getting lots of ultrasound and massage treatment. It seems to have improved a lot, and in a couple weeks, I’ll have some new custom orthotics for my running shoes. Then I’ll get to start running again. This is good because aside from helping me from feeling so run down all the time, it does a lot to keep my mood up. I’ve been grumpy for about two months now.
I’m also getting used to being gluten free. It’s not all that bad, but I still can’t eat things with lots of fructose or lactose. Those problems should hopefully disappear as my insides heal up. I just wish I weren’t so hungry all the time.
But in the meantime, I better get finished with tomorrow’s class prep.
Seven-month running update: The Fargo Marathon! May 19, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in Fargo, older son, personal.
Tags: asthma, exercise, Fargo marathon, health, runners, running
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Seven months ago, I decided I was going to see if I could run the full 10k at the Fargo Marathon. I’ll jump to the important part first: I ran the whole 10k and never fell back to walking. In fact, I must’ve had some major runner’s high because when we got to the ramp going down into the Fargodome, I took off at the fastest sprint I could manage. In retrospect, that was not the brightest idea (especially since I’d had to use my asthma inhaler during the run), but I was incredibly excited and couldn’t help myself. Aside from that, I could squeak past 3-4 more people.
The older boy and I met my friend Kari and her husband at the starting line. They were gone pretty quickly (except that Kari’s pedometer attempted to bail on her, so she had to come back briefly and retrieve it). There were a lot of fun things along the course, including an Elvis impersonator and this guy, who cleverly located himself at about the 5 mile marker:
Earlier in the week, they were saying it was going to be unseasonably hot. This morning, it was rather cool but there were thunderstorms. Fortunately, they finished up just as we were leaving for the race, so it was cool and a bit damp outside. The only major issue was the last half mile or so where we were out of the protection of trees and dealing with some gusty wind.
I managed to improve my time from last year by 22 minutes. I also went from one of the last 10 finishers to having about 200 people behind me. (I also started in the middle of the pack and so had nearly half of the participants in the race pass me.) So, I definitely improved. I’m already excited about doing it again next year. First, however, I have a triathlon in mid-August…so I need to start swimming and riding bike.
6 mos. running update: 1 month to go April 23, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in personal.
Tags: asthma, health, running
I’m in horrid pain today. My quads are protesting at the slightest movement. On the other hand, I’m damn proud of myself.
When I moved back from Minneapolis two years ago, I learned that my exercise-induced asthma was now full-blown asthma, likely from living in a city with smog again. When I was at UMN, walking across campus was causing me to have difficulty breathing, and I was regularly getting bronchial infections. (Last time this happened, I was living in Los Angeles…not a surprise.) I found out that I was unable to talk more than 2 mph without setting things off. However, I kept working at it. When I walked the 10k last year, I was walking 3 mph. I was still having problems with asthma, though, until last fall when my new doc said we had to do something about it.
Yesterday has me in a bit of a head rush. The older boy is now ‘training’ with me: my jogging pace is a healthy walking pace for him. (The fact that he’s about 8 inches taller than me helps.) We went for our jog/walk yesterday and I managed to keep 16 minute miles for 1 hr. 25 min. in addition to 15 min. of walking. By the time we were done, we’d gone 5.9 mi. And no asthma problems, either, despite the trees and flowers blooming.
We still have a month until the 10k!
Now, I’ll admit that I’m really achy today. I’m used to running on a treadmill for two of my three weekly runs (last week was all three because of uncomfortably cool weather), and I can tell a difference when I run outside (especially when I have some ‘hills’, or at least a dike or two). It was definitely worth it. I’m fairly certain I’ll be able to run the whole 10k, and I’ll probably be able to cut my time from 2 hours to 1 hr. 40 min. I know that’s still horribly long for most people, but it’s a sizable improvement from last year.
If I get any faster, the older boy may have to start running, too.
Running update – 5 mos. March 18, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in personal.
Given the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having, I decided to start doing some of my running outside. We’ll see how much I can handle without my asthma acting up. However, I managed a 45 minute jog outside today and felt pretty good afterwards. Two months ago, I tried to jog for 30 min. outside and nearly died. Of course, this time, I used my heart rate monitor and made sure I didn’t push myself beyond my normal workout heart rate, and that made a big difference.
I finished the bridge to 10k program and can therefore ‘run’ (using that word loosely, of course) for 60 minutes. However, my pace is pathetically slow, so I am not able to actually complete 10k in that amount of time. I have two months to increase my endurance to the correct length, and I may try to work a bit on improving my speed. However, that plan was stalled a bit by my trip to Arizona and my exhaustion and illness after the trip. It was about 3 days before I felt better once getting back.
As it turns out, my advisor is into running, and she told me about a cool app called RunKeeper. I downloaded it and gave it a try. I love it because it tells me every five minutes how far I’ve gone and my current pace. It makes it really easy to think, “I can keep this up for five more minutes.” And, after doing that enough times, I had my whole run in. I also like the fact that it keeps track of GPS, although I also had my GPS/heart rate monitor with me since I couldn’t get the HRM to sync correctly. Anyway, it’s a cool app if you’re into running.
My last comment is how much I’ve improved my health over the past year and a half. When I first got my HRM, I was having serious problems with asthma and finally recovering from some other medical problems. I was walking just over 2 mph, giving me a pace just under 30 minutes per mile, and couldn’t go more than a mile or two. Now I can ‘jog’ about 18 min/mi. Yes, it’s slow, and I would really like to be under 15 min./mile. (I don’t really know that it’s doable in the two months before the race.) However, I’m still impressed that I am getting close to doubling my speed, and I can easily go 3-4 miles.
Running update – 4 mos. February 12, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in family, food/cooking, personal.
Tags: Mike, running
I’ve been jogging for about four months and am very close to going a full hour at my abominably slow speed. I’m finding it’s great stress relief. A few days ago, I was so stressed out that I made dinner, put it on the table, and said, “Have fun guys. I’m going to run.”
Given a choice between running on my treadmill and having dinner with my family, I usually prefer the latter. However, I think it says something about how positively it affects my mood that I made another decision that night.
One thing that perplexes me is that it’s obvious something is going on with my body despite the fact that the scale has barely moved. I can now wear clothes that I haven’t been able to fit into since before I started my PhD program almost 4 years ago.
Mike told me there was an easy explanation: “You’re just getting denser!” Of course, he had a huge grin on his face. I find that ironic coming from him, of all people.
Actually, after a comment like that, maybe it’s obvious why I skipped dinner…
I believe I can fly…or at least run. January 9, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in personal.
Tags: 10K, C25k, couch to 5k, exercise, running, training
I mentioned recently that I’d signed up to do a 10k in May. Today, I completed a step in that direction: I finished the couch-to-5k program I started back in October. It took two weeks longer than expected due to knee issues and illness, but I made it. This means that I can run for 30 minutes solid, but in my case, that’s not enough to finish a 5k.
Since it was my last run on the program and the weather outside was gorgeous (50 degrees….in January…I’m serious), I decided to do try my hand at jogging outside.
There are several differences: my legs got tired in different places, I only need moderately upbeat music to keep my distracted (versus the treadmill, which requires a very special set of VERY upbeat music), and my asthma started acting up immediately. I also noticed, when finished, that the GPS in my iPhone doesn’t work when the phone is against my body (damn antenna detuning).
My solution to the last two is to begin using my Garmin Forerunner. It has GPS, and I suspect that keeping an eye on my heart rate will help me gauge whether my exertion level is inappropriate. My asthma likely started because I was pushing myself too hard. After all, the allergens here are pretty few in number right now because even if it’s warm, it’s still January.
I’m giving myself a week with shorter workouts and then jumping to the Bridge to 10k program. Wish me luck!