Sunday, October 31, 2010

Beach Running is HARD

I, quite stupidly, kept up a very malnourished diet this past week, and today's run was my smack in-the-face wake up call to make sure that I pay attention to my intake.  Since I was out of town all last week for work, and then caught in the usual back-in-the-office mess of this week, I failed on several occasions to make it to the grocery store. Now that I think about it, I wonder what I DID eat all week. ('s a blur of fast food kebab lunches and sandwich dinners...) I definitely committed a big no-no by skipping meals, and with that, key sources of energy and nutrition.  It all caught up with me tonight - my leg muscles cramped at only a block from the house.  I stuck to my #1 rule in training - BE UNSTOPPABLE - and ran through it, but holy Moses, that was painful.  (PS - I know  that it wasn't due to a lack of stretching because I rarely ever stretch before I run.  In fact, a recent study published by the USA Track & Field proves that stretching doesn't necessarily prevent injuries, and vice versa.) My body was screaming for vitamins and fiber.  So, I trekked to the grocery store after my shower, stocking up on my usuals, and scarfed down a slice of baked tilapia and cooked carrots with a glass of Malbec and slivers of chocolate to top it off when I returned home.  I do feel slightly more human once again. 

This whole episode reminded me how crucial my diet is.  My boyfriend got me crazy into vegetables.  "The more color on your plate, the better!" Not only am I finding a way to add tomatoes and asparagus to almost every meal, he taught me how to start cooking/incorporating vegetables that I never really liked into meals (e.g. peppers and onions).  It was hard without him by my side tonight.  I think I did alright, though the only things I got from Fitness Magazine's "The Top 7 Foods for Runners" were numbers 2 and 4.  *Sorry, that article's from 2006, but I'm sure the fundamentals are still the same today. I'll save the healthy eating tips for another day. Just remember, "The more color on your plate, the better!" And seriously, I have read more times over that chocolate is good for you, so I don't think twice about indulging in the milky sweetness at the end of my meal. And you shouldn't either!

So, back to my title...

I tried to run on the actual sandy beach today, instead of the boardwalk.  Only Hollywood can make that look sexy and fun. I was struggling to not look like a stumbling idiot in front of lovers taking sunset pictures or fisherman out for an evening catch.  Not only were my thighs burning from the extra effort of pulling one leg in front of other out of the wet sand, but I was also running on a 45-degree angle, as the stretch of beach by my house so slopes.  I think if I knew I was going to be running like that, I might have been able to make it a decent night's run, but I only lasted about 4 blocks, then turned back and headed straight for the boardwalk.  I only clocked five miles tonight. I'll leave the sexy beach running to Pam.

Ready, Set, BOO!

Here we go... down to the last month of training before my first race EVER - the Palm Beaches Half Marathon on December 5th.  I didn't want to be an over-achiever and kill myself with a full marathon, being my first race ever and all.  Wouldn't that be ... slightly ... ambitious?
I haven't been regimenting myself with this thing called a "training schedule" that it seems a lot of runners use.  Why disappoint myself if I can't make my daily quota according The Schedule? What if I was vomiting bad Chinese food for 12 hours and I couldn't run the 4.5 miles that I was scheduled to run on Tuesday? My entire week would be thrown off! More importantly, this training thing is new to me, and I don't want to frustrate myself when what I've started was intended to be fun.  I've been making a point to run every other day, anywhere between 4 and 6 miles.  That's been working well for two months. But as we drill down to the last few weeks here, I think it's time to start pushing myself into a few extra miles.

I need to buy new running shoes.  Paula Radcliffe wasn't the first one to say that you should train in the gear that you're going to race in and I've been running in an old pair of trusty Nike sneakers for about 4 years.  Time to shop! Obviously, I'll be sticking with Nike.  Maybe these 2010 Lunarglides? Well, definitely not white. One puddle and my $90 would be down the drain.  We were lucky enough to test-run them at my Nike South Beach Run Club and they were light as a feather.

The best thing about training thus far is justifying how many hours I sleep, and how many carbs I eat (aside from the fabulous ab tightening effects, ha!).  I'm lucky enough to be living in F-lat!-orida for a few months, and while I realize sandy beaches, a strong sea breeze and 80 degree October evening jogs peeeee-robably aren't conducive to simulating the 'norm' for a race environment, I'm glad I get to feed my new running hobby in such pleasurable conditions.

So as soon as this random-tropical-4-minute-downpour passes, my Cascada Pandora mix and I are  heading out for 6 miles of sea breeze and palm trees ~

Oh, and Happy Halloween!