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Well, I survived my solo 20 miler in Montclair on Saturday. I felt relatively good and kept a decent pace despite hillier terrain miles 9.5-15. I started out around 8:00 pace and dropped it down to 7:20-7:25 pace for the last 6 miles.

Here's what 20 miles in the 'burbs looks like- lots of little loops combined.

I felt a mixture of awe and nonchalance staring at the ‘20.00‘ on my Garmin once I stopped. “Whoa, I ran for 2 hours and 35 minutes totally self-motivated! And really didn’t want to die or stop at any point!” coupled with “Whatever, 20 miles, just another long run, done this by myself before.” I’m happy I’m getting to the level of fitness where 20 miles feels like no big thing. But at the same time I always seem to surprise myself a bit. Know what I mean?

Lucky for me, I suppose I front loaded my mileage a bit and ended up hitting 60 miles in 5 days of running. This was fantastic news when I woke up Sunday with a huge hangover from going out on Saturday night and couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my bed. So I didn’t. Nice non-planning, Lindsay.

As always, you can check out my training log doc here.

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Okay. I have put off posting about this because it is one of my absolute least favorite topics but I’m pretty intrigued by the results so figured I’d share.

So, I have an extreme aversion to blood, needles, veins and the like and thus absolutely hate getting blood drawn. I have Valium prescribed so I don’t hyperventilate and pass out, and apply a topical anesthetic cream to numb the skin, but I still hyperventilate and cry and act like a 5 year old.

Nevertheless, after being anemic my junior year of college (with the way-too-low ferritin level of 8), I’ve tried to face my fears and get a comprehensive blood panel yearly or every other year to check iron levels & indicators and just make sure everything is running properly. I’d strongly advocate all runners do this even if you’re feeling good, to have a baseline to compare when you start to feel bad. I would also strongly recommend getting a doctor who will sit down and go through your results in depth with you. I have a great one here in NYC if you need a referral!

As runners, I feel like we’re pretty in-tune with our bodies but it’s hard to listen sometimes. Well of course I’m tired and lacking energy; I’m running 60+ miles a week, working a full time job, traveling, and squeezing in sleep and fun somewhere between it all. Is this just the way you should feel, or is something really wrong? My last test was in early March 2011 as I trained for the NYC half and started feeling pretty awful. My results came back just fine and a few days later, I had a kickass workout and a few weeks later, ran a new PR of 1:24 in the half. Shows how much I know.

This year my ferritin was 22 (down from 34 last year), my hemoglobin was 12.8 (down from 13.3), hematocrit at 39 (consistent with 40.1), and red blood cells were 4.16 (down from 4.3).

All of these levels were within the low end of the normal range, but I don’t need a medical degree to think that ‘normal’ differs for marathoner vs. sedentary individual. They should make ‘athlete’ ranges :)

My levels tend to skew a bit on the low side compared to other runners, and though training is going pretty darn well I’m probably going to be a bit more consistent about supplementing with liquid iron (taken with Vitamin C to aid absorption). Can’t hurt, ya know?

Ever surprise yourself with getting through a run you thought was going to be awful? Ever experience low iron or symptoms of anemia? 

 

You know those times growing up when you cross your fingers, wear your PJs inside out, do a dance in front of your freezer, and stay up kinda late in the hopes school will be cancelled for a snow day? (Or was that just me?) Well, this weekend was one of those times, but the grown-up/Hurricane Irene version. On Saturday, NYC braced itself for Hurricane Irene by shutting down the entire subway system at 12 noon, with “reports service wouldn’t be restored until late Monday afternoon” and preparations made for mass power outages. Excited by the chance of no subway service, I crossed my fingers and mentally prepared for the day off work Monday, or at least the day working from home.

Thankfully, NYC wasn’t hit bad by Hurricane Irene at all. I’m so glad we’re safe and sound here, but thoughts are with the hundreds of others who are left without power or stranded with damages to home. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) for NYC,  this also meant subway service was restored early this morning so Manhattan-ites were expected to be in the office, doing business as usual. I kind of felt like a kid whose dreams were crushed, but there are worse things in life than being safe and going into work. And, I randomly have a ‘summer day’ tomorrow which means I can still sleep in and eat breakfast in bed tomorrow…which I was so looking forward to today.

While Irene was a nice chance to stay inside, complete my blog self-hosting activity, do laundry, clean my room, and drink a few bottles of wine, by Sunday afternoon I was a bit stir-crazy. My legs actually felt weird from laying in bed and on the couch for so long, which I didn’t think was possible. Since it didn’t look too bad outside, I ventured to Riverside Park for a leisurely run!

Hurricane Irene <3s Sweat.

I made my way down to the Hudson River Bike Path, which was packed! Much more so than on a typical, nice weather weekend. Strangely enough, despite being just feet away from the Hudson River, there was no flooding along the path—barely even a puddle. I covered 7 miles total, and I was extremely thankful to have the tail wind at my back on the way home…the gusts and spitting rain really picked up on the latter half of the run.

I spent the rest of the afternoon and night relaxing, watching trash TV, and cooking up some lunches for the week. I prepared a batch of quinoa to make 4 servings, and put the cooked plain quinoa into different tupperwares to dress up with different ingredients throughout the week for variety. For today’s lunch, I mixed quinoa with zucchini ribbons, feta cheese, walnuts and sliced Garlic Chicken Sausage. This meal took less than 30 minutes from start to finish, including cooking the quinoa and rinsing all my dishes. And now, I’ve got a great lunch base for the rest of the week. Easy!

Quinoa is a very versatile ‘ancient’ grain, and can be found at most grocery stores (even Trader Joe’s!). It is a ‘complete’ protein, meaning it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids our bodies need. It has a slightly sweet and nutty taste, is pretty quick to prepare, and 1 serving has around 170 calories with 3 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 5 grams of protein, along with 10% of your daily iron. I’m not a big refined pasta/rice person, so quinoa is a great way to get in healthy carbs and iron, which is extremely important during marathon training.

Quinoa with Garlic Chicken Sausage, Zucchini, Feta and Walnuts

  • 1 cup quinoa (makes 4 servings of quinoa)
  • Toppings for 1 serving:
    • 1 Trader Joe’s Garlic Chicken Sausage (or any protein of your choice)
    • 1/3 zucchini, peeled into ‘ribbons’ with peeler
    • ¼ cup feta cheese
    • ¼ cup walnut halves
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions, for 4 servings of quinoa it’s usually 1 cup quinoa boiled in 2 cups water for 15 minutes until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy
  2. While quinoa is cooking, microwave or grill chicken sausage. Peel skin from zucchini using peeler, and continue peeling insides to create ‘ribbons’. Alternatively, you could also slice/chop the zucchini.
  3. Once quinoa is done cooking, split into 4 serving sizes. To your single serving, add in sliced sausage, zucchini, feta cheese, walnuts and mix. Store remaining cooked quinoa in tupperwares, or add more toppings to save for later!
  4. Enjoy! This is also portable and can be re-heated for about 1 minute or more in the microwave, and eaten from a Tupperware at your desk like I did today :)

East coasters, are you back in work today? Have you ever tried quinoa, and what’s your favorite way to make it? I’ll need ideas for the next few days…

 

 

“Rest” Begins!

June 15th, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (0 Comments)

Thanks for the comments on my recap of the NYRR Mini 10K. Yes, I was majorly down on myself but actually helped hearing everyone had a pretty rough day out there. Thanks, 96% humidity!

I also really appreciated reading your comments that I’m on the right track, training wise. Saturday’s race has me rethinking my training. I have not run any PRs since I started group workouts with CPTC; my races have just gotten slower. I feel like I should be improving, no? Part of me started second guessing it all. But, I know (and just needed a bit of time to snap out of my funk) that group workouts will ultimately make me a stronger runner, and I love being part of a team again. It’s just an adjustment, and I’ve been doing workouts/racing a bit more than I had been. I know it will pay off on November 6th, I just need to trust in the training. Plus, new runner friends are fun :)

My ‘break’ from regular running luckily corresponds with (another) extremely busy week at work! My plan the next two weeks is to run 2-3 days a week for as long or as little as I want. I want to keep some fitness so I don’t start from scratch at the beginning of July, but 100% need a mental and physical break to begin fresh and amped up to train!

On Monday, I was up bright and early at Grand Central Station at 7:15 am to catch a train to Stamford, CT to go to a client meeting. That night, I passed out at 9:30– I couldn’t even make it to the rose ceremony in the Bachelorette! :) Definitely my body telling me I need more sleep. I was happy to finally have the chance to rest up, and not worry about squeezing in any miles.

On Tuesday, I had to be at an event at 8:30 am, and by the time I got home around 7, I was feeling good and felt like heading out for a quick run. I did an extremely easy 2.25 miles around Riverside Park (the 5 pm office ice cream sundae social was a bad delicious choice-ugh!) and ended at the gym, where I did about 30 minutes of weights/core. It was just the perfect amount.

This morning, I woke up and felt like running again! The weather was beautiful and cool but after a bit, my body was just not feeling it. I did about 4.25 miles total, but had to stop and stretch/catch my breath in the middle. I’m really not sure what’s wrong, but glad I am not worrying about mileage now.

No plans to run the rest of the week, perhaps if the mood strikes me I will, but I think I need to listen to my body and rest up a bit more. And, take my liquid iron supplement a bit more regularly than I have been- whoops!

I bought a lot of produce this weekend at Trader Joe’s, and needed to use it up before I’m at another event tomorrow (hooray for free catered lunches & dinners!), and go home Friday night/Saturday afternoon. So, tonight’s dinner was fresh, fast and healthy so nothing spoiled.

Baked tofu topped with TJ’s white bean hummus and feta; corn on the cob; snap peas; mango and blueberries!

I am headed home to NJ on Friday night and am going to a family member Kelly’s bridal shower on Saturday! I am so excited for more wedding festivities. Then, I’m headed back into the city for a friend’s birthday party on Saturday night. I also have an appointment to get a Brazilian Keratin Treatment on my hair on Saturday! I was really excited about this, it basically smooths and reduces hair frizz, but then this morning the Today Show was talking about the dangers and toxic side effects of the treatments from some salons and I got a bit nervous. I’m still going to do it, so fingers crossed my hair comes out fine and I am still alive :)

What do you have planned for this weekend? When you have a break from racing, do you typically rest completely, or do you still run or crosstrain regularly or lightly?

Surprises and Stir-Frys

March 3rd, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (9 Comments)

It’s funny how quickly our moods or feelings can change– I really surprised myself yesterday. I just posted about how last week was pretty terrible running and energy-wise. Thank you for all your comments and well wishes! I got the test on Tuesday evening and survived despite my extreme phobia of all things blood/needles. I am hoping to get the results back tomorrow but we may have to wait and see.

I have been feeling a bit better lately, so I attempted a tempo run last night after work. I wanted to run off feel instead of working off a certain pace goal, so I picked a new route I’ve been meaning to try so there would be no basis of comparison to a prior workout if it was going sub-par. I decided to run one entire counter-clockwise loop of Central Park. I thought this was 6.2 miles but it ended up being closer to 6 on my Garmin so I added in a tad more than 1 loop to make it a 10K distance.


SURPRISE: I felt awesome and strong, physically and especially mentally.

Downsides: it was windy, and about 38 degrees– I did not anticipate it being so cold and wish I had gloves as my fingers get numb easily. Is it possible for the wind to always be head on no matter the direction? I swear I never felt it at my back to push me along. Nonetheless, here’s the splits:

Mile 2 contained Cat Hill, and Mile 4 contained Harlem Hill (oof), hence a bit slower. I am most proud of mile 5, that annoying stretch of rolling uphills on the west side after you come down Harlem Hill counter-clockwise; I kept the pace pretty consistent and mentally worked through that mile. The last mile had some fair downhill so the 6:17 is a bit ‘misleading’ than if it was hillier or even flat but I’ll take it.

Just makes me wonder, how can I have low iron when I can bang out workouts like this? During my last bought, I could barely hold a 8:00 pace. Last night was a really strong, solo effort for me. It really boosted my confidence going into the NYC Half-Marathon, like my workout 2 weeks ago did. Maybe last week was just a bout of overtraining coupled with poor recovery? I am happy I took 2 rest days last Friday and Saturday, and took it easy with a 4-miler on Sunday.

I guess we’ll just have to wait for the results of the bloodwork. Maybe nothing is wrong with me. I guess that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world now, would it? :) Just wish there was a reason why I haven’t been 100%.

——-

I am going to Chicago for a quick work trip on Sunday and Monday, so I’m trying to use up any food left in my fridge before it goes bad. I had mushrooms that weren’t looking so hot, so I threw them into a “use what you have” stir-fry with quinoa for dinner tonight.

What’s in the mix? First, I sauteed the following in a pan with red wine:

  • Chicken breast
  • Mushrooms
  • Chopped Carrots
  • Frozen broccoli
  • Frozen spinach
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Then, I tossed it together with some cooked quinoa! When I make ‘stir-fry’ dishes like this I tend not to measure much, I just kinda toss what veggies I have (mostly frozen) with some flavor (garlic, onions), add in a protein (chicken, steak, tofu, potstickers, etc.),  simmer in a sauce (usually teriyaki, actually), and serve it over rice or grains. Today I mixed it up with a bit of red wine to add flavor, admittedly from a super-old, already opened bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. Using what I have!

The thing I love most about stirfry-type dinners like this is how quick they are to make, and how easy it is to amp up the veggies in your meal. I would probably not eat this amount of veggies on the side for dinner so incorporating everything into a main dish is key for me to get the good stuff in.

But no dinner is complete without one a few of these!

White Chocolate Dipped Oreo

How did you surprise yourself this week? What are your “go-to” ingredients in a stirfry-type dinner? I am always looking for more variety!

Low Energy, Low Iron?

March 1st, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (9 Comments)

Somewhere in the last two weeks, I’ve lost my motivation and drive. I’m not sure where it went, but I have a faint idea it could be a combination of possibly low iron, cold weather, and potential over-training. I haven’t even felt like writing this blog post because I am not 100% sure what’s going on.

We all know running takes up a lot of energy, both physically and mentally. But after 10 years of running and racing regularly, I’m generally used to getting through the day with heavy legs after a workout or a little less sleep from an early morning run. It just becomes the way you go through life.

Tired at a college track meet

But lately, running has zapped me completely, draining any excess energy I once had to get through the day. My morning miles haven’t been leaving me feeling charged and ready to start the day, I feel completely depleted instead. I feel lightheaded and weak at work, wanting to crawl into the empty office and curl up on our bean bags and sleep  (ok, that happens on normal days, too).

I went to see a doctor last Friday but there is not much we can do until I get a blood test. I’m thinking it may be low iron again but I also wonder if its overtraining? I’m not running as much as I did during marathon training, though, so I’m not sure. I am hoping to get in for the test on today so we’ll see. Did I also mention I have an extreme phobia of blood, needles, and veins so I am popping a (prescribed!) Xanax before I go? Fun times. I will 100% still hyperventilate and cry like a 2 year old as I am on the verge of passing out.

I’ve talked about my low-iron levels in previous blog posts and it’s frustrating that this issue keeps resurfacing. I know it’s a combination of genetics (my mom, not an athlete, was so severely anemic she had blood transfusions) and running, but I have been supplementing regularly with liquid ferrous sulfate for a few months now and don’t know why I am still feeling this way. In some cases, I want my blood test to come back abnormal so I have an answer as to why I feel so crappy!

Both Megan and Kelly have written really great recent posts about iron-deficiency and anemia; go check them out if you’re interested in learning more details about this topic as they are far more articulate and research-based than anything I’d attempt.

So what can I do in the meantime? Continue taking my liquid iron with Vitamin C to help absorption, maybe add another rest day into the mix, and keep on running. With just under 3 weeks out from the half-marathon (!!!), my mileage is cutting down anyway but I want to feel motivated, confident and strong going into the race, not exhausted and shot.

Here’s to hoping my drive and energy return back soon :) Stay tuned for the results of my blood test, hopefully by the end of this week.

RUN-Down

October 25th, 2010 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (1 Comments)

Lately, I’ve been feeling extremely worn out and run down. I’m really trying not to let it play with my head, now that we’re less than two weeks before the BIG DAY.

I came down with some congestion over a week ago when I was flying back from Maine, and have been taking decongestants daily since. Feeling less congested, but still a bit phlegm-y (ewww) when I breathe heavily, which happens quite often when I run.  I think I need to stop taking the medicine, 7 days have probably worn its course and aren’t exactly helping me feel chipper. (Note to self: check if that Sudafed is non-drowsy)

Secondly, this sunday morning was the first time in over a month that I truly slept in and woke up without an alarm. Being on the go four weekends in a row (DC for Ragnar, Maine for work, Colorado for fun, Maine for work again) is probably just catching up to me. I slept for a good 11 hours on Saturday night and loved every moment of it!

Part of me worries that this run down feeling will linger for the next two weeks, and I’ll just be dragging on race day. Really, 90% of my training runs leading up to the race have felt awesome. I felt strong, confident, able to push the pace while staying smooth. The last few runs I’ve done, my legs have been plodding along, and my whole body feels drained and I have no energy or will to even try to go faster. I do most of my runs around 7:30/mile, but lately I’ve been feeling like I’m going 8:00-8:30/mile.

Then I get troubled thoughts that I’m getting anemic again and there is so way my iron levels can recoup, no matter how much I chug ferrous sulfate these next two weeks. But, the feelings of sluggishness and every run being simply harder than it should take me back to those low iron days where I was really struggling.

To complicate worse, I’ve had a lingering soreness in my shin that eerily mimics the exact spot I felt when I had a stress fracture in high school. It’s been slowly and gradually building well over the past month/month and a half, so I’ve also been overdosing on calcium. It’s not really bad enough to not run on it, but I have a sinking feeling that pounds 26.2 miles of pavement will do me in.

Since calcium and iron inhibit the absorption of one another, I have been taking calcium in the morning, and iron at night before bed. I think I’m going to bump up and do a mid afternoon dose of iron to combat any sluggishness. I feel like I’m always popping some sort of pill!

In any case, I had a decent week of training last week….47 miles with 2 days off. Typically, I like to take 1 day off a week. That day off varies depending on what’s happening that week, but the 2nd day off was to combat that weird quad pain I experienced which has now gone away! Fingers crossed it stays away. It’s weird that I kinda ran through it while it hurt, but now in hindsight I see that was smart since it resolved itself. However, if it was still bothering me, I definitely would have been kicking myself for not resting more! I think I might take 2 days off again this coming week, since my mileage is lower anyway (yay TAPER!) and I feel like I could use some extra rest.

Welp, this post has been enough complaining and worrying for a while. Only POSITIVE thoughts moving forward! I hope I’m not the only one second guessing everything less than two weeks out…