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Hi, Friends and Family!

I’m still here!

Okay, so here’s the deal. My updating has been non-existent this past week do to work. I know, I’ve said this before but let me explain. I work for a smallish (about 75 people) non-profit association. In other words, I work for our members. Everyday I strive to make their lives happy by designing pretty logos and fancy brochures in the creative services department. But that’s not all. I also kind of work in the marketing department doing random marketing projects, one of which is an 8-week marketing online course that started last week. I love what I do, but it’s hard because we’ve been short-staffed since major layoffs December 2008. Thus, I do the work of 2.5 people. Why 2.5? Well my department is the only department without administrative help, which led to lots of fights with the copy machine last weekend.

I’m telling you all this because it’s the reason why I haven’t been writing here. Today is the first day in a while where I haven’t had someone jumping in my office right at 8 o’clock. And since I spend all day at work on my computer, it’s the last piece of machinery I want to play with at home in the evenings. I’d rather play with a very loveable pup who currently runs around the house with a cone around his neck.

But no worries! I’m going to try really hard to find time for myself at work to calm down and write more. In fact, I vowed to Matt that October would be a recharging month because the marathon is 33 days away and I cannot run well if I’m stressed out. I have two cool races coming up at the end of the month, too. The Army 10 Miler and the Wicked 10k. It’s time to get back in action!

While I was not writing, some cool things happened…

  • My aunt and uncle had a beautiful baby girl, Ella. A new little cousin! She’s really cute. Like there’s cute, and then there’s Ella. ‘Nough said.
  • I’ve entered the paranoid stage of my training. People are dropping off like flies at work and I’m poppin’ vitamin C drops likes it’s in my job description. My hands are getting raw from too much Purell. I CANNOT get sick now. It’s not allowed.
  • I ran 18 miles last Saturday in gorgeous, chilly fall weather. I took 3 GUs and felt positively great the last two miles. I really wanted to get home and averaged a 9:35 pace for miles 17 and 18.
  • I visited the Newseum in Washington, DC on Sunday. By far, it was one of the best museums I’ve ever been to. There were some pretty heavy exhibits displayed, like coverage on Katrina and 9/11; two displays mentioned April 16. The Newseum did such a great job of showing how people and communities really come together after tragedy and how important and influential communication really is in this world. Besides being super crazy hungry (due to the 18 miles) and being kicked out at 5 pm, Matt, our friend Hunter, and I could have spent hours upon hours in there. So much information in one building. I highly recommend visiting the Newseum if you’re ever in DC.

Anywho…the 18 miles on Saturday really boosted my marathoner ego because last year they were completed on an elliptical machine due to a knee injury. I must be doing something right because my body feels great this year. I have a low mileage week this week before my 20 miler in 2 weeks. That’s my last long run before tapering for the marathon!

I promise to write back shortly. Have a great Tuesday!

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September. Heat. Is. Lame.

Wednesday: 3 miles untimed with Scout
Thursday: 3.1 miles; 30:11 + 5 miles; 52:23 = 8.1 miles
Friday: rest day!

It’s been a hot week here in Maryland. It’s been in the high 80s for the past two days and it might get up past 90 degrees today. I don’t take walk breaks during my weekday runs, but this week was an exception. My body got used to the cooler weather in the few fall-like days we had a week ago.

On Wednesday I meant to do 8 miles but I had somewhere to be at 7:30 and didn’t want to show up smelly, gross, and famished so I held back and went on an easy run with Scout. He was excited, at first. After the halfway mark he stopped three times to let me know he was done. Each time we walked for a bit and then shuffled home. Three mile runs don’t really tire him out anymore, but he was pooped Wednesday evening.

Yesterday, due to the heat, I split my long run into two manageable runs. I ran 3.1 miles during lunch at work and 5 miles when I got home. I’m not going to sugar-coat it folks: I was disgusting. I got caught sneaking back into my office by some coworkers who wanted to chat about my “healthy activity”. I was hot, miserably wet, and just wanted my power shower wipes. Last night was even worse because the gnats were out in full force. I ran through clusters of them and felt them hit my face like little pellets. I even felt them in my throat and couldn’t stop coughing toward the end of my run. When I got home, I looked in the mirror and I had little black specs ALL over me. My face, neck, arms, legs, and shirt were covered in gnats that I wiped off with a paper towel.

And, of course, when Matt ran at 7 all the gnats had magically gone home. Typical.

During my 5 mile run I finally got a chance to listen to AudioFuel. I really enjoyed it and will post a full review of Run Free 1 tomorrow. It deserves its own post.

Happy Friday!

New Music!

Monday: multiple walks with Scout
Tuesday: 3.11 miles; 30:01

Yesterday I listened to a grand total of 3 different songs on my 30 minute run. And one song was a pity song that I felt like I had to listen to because I had already repeated the other songs multiple times. What can I say? I binge on songs. Better than binging on oatmeal animal crackers. OH WAIT! I binged on those as well last night. ooops.

Whatever. They were organic.

The two songs I binged on were by Jackson Browne, surprise surprise. His music is good for short runs. The songs were “Of Missing Persons” and “I’m Alive”. One song is about the death of a friend and the other is about a bad breakup. There’s no good reason why I should have run so well to these songs since the lyrics are so melancholy. But Jackson has a way of putting vibrant beats behind tough times that really (if you’re going through a low point) would help you get going again.

In other words, these songs are sad but make you want to movie jump during the chorus.

Anywho…onto something more interesting. A few days ago I was contacted by a very nice person at AudioFuel.

AudioFuel is custom written for running. Our music is custom composed for you to run to the beat. AudioFuel matches and drives your stride and pace when you run. The vibe and lyrics of every track are designed to increase your performance and make your running easier. Most music’s tempo is too slow to run to the beat. And AudioFuel delivers because the music sounds good… unlike a lot of ‘exercise music’. Only the best artists compose AudioFuel.

My contact read that I’ve been listening to music on the go lately and offered to send me a few samples of their running music. I received:

The music is set to specific beats that your legs can run to. And there’s coaching thrown in to keep you going. As an American this is very exciting because the voice has a British accent. FUN!

I haven’t run to these, yet, but I plan on running my weekly 8 miler to Run Free 1 either today or tomorrow. I’m excited to see how my running compares as to when I listen to Dave Matthews, my usual long run friend.

As Compared to Last Year

Saturday: 16 miles; 2:55:07
Sunday: 2 mile walk with Scout

Let’s see. Where to begin. This weekend was busy busy busy. Besides sleeping in until 7:30 on Sunday (it was pretty awesome) and not doing anything productive until 10 am that day, I was on the go all weekend.

Saturday morning I got up bright and early for my 16 miler. Scout ran with me for the first 2 miles and then I was on my own. I don’t know what was in me, but the only route I wanted to run was my favorite 5 mile loop around me neighborhood. So after dropping off Scout I grabbed 3 Gu gels, my cell phone, my iPod, my pepper spray, and my Camelbak and headed out on my merry little way. I like my 5 mile loop because it’s challenging yet easy. If that makes sense. The first 1.5 miles is slightly up hill, then it stays flat with a slight downhill through a cute neighborhood before climbing back up and back down until I reach my street again. It’s great hill training for NYC.

I successfully looped 3 times, but I had my fair share of trouble. Besides running past the same yard sales 3 times in less than 3 hours, I…this hurts to admit…forgot to put Secret deodorant on my legs and chaffed really (REALLY) bad.

Let me be girly and explain. To prevent chaffing, I use unscented Secret deodorant around my sports bra and on my shoulders where my Camelbak straps rest. I also apply it on my inner thighs, because I’m not a skinny supermodel and my thighs rub together when I run. Fact of life. Halfway through my second loop I felt the burning and realized my mistake; it wasn’t pretty after that. Every few miles I had to stop and readjust my spandex shorts (I’m sure I scared the yard salers) so my legs wouldn’t touch. A few times I would readjust my shorts, run a few steps, cringe, and try to readjust them again. By the end, I was bleeding some and my inner left thigh was red and swollen. ouch.

To top things off, I helped Matt stain our fence that afternoon. A few times the stain splattered on my wound and it burned. Ohhh did it burn.

I’m better today! It’s all scabbed over and I should be able to run this evening if I wear my longer running shorts.

And as bad as this chaffing burns, it’s not nearly as bad as the injury I faced around this time last year. Sixteen miles was the longest I ran before I suffered a knee injury training for Philadelphia last year and I “ran” an 18 miler on my parent’s elliptical machine. I managed to run 20 miles before the actual marathon, but it was slow and choppy.

Right now, I feel great. My legs quickly recovered from 16 miles and I do believe I could have kept on going. I feel really good about NYC. I’m still not setting a time goal, though. With the crowds and hills and celebrity stalking (must find my new BFF Edward Norton), I’d only disappoint myself and I want NYC to be great. I have many more years ahead of me to reach goals (sorry Matt!), but I might only have one NYC. I don’t see myself entering the lottery again any time soon.

Sorry for the long post! Had to get a lot out. Tomorrow I have a cool new product to share with you that involves ditching my running buddies Dave, Tim, and Jackson. It’s called Audio Fuel and I’m excited to share it with you!

A Little Wiggle Room

Tuesday: 5.08 miles; 50:04

Yesterday’s run was great on several account:

  • It was cool outside
  • It woke me up
  • I listened to 80s music and felt like I was in a montage the entire time

It was pretty sweet. At one point I contemplated jumping up in the air, but I figured that wouldn’t be so good on the ol’ knees.

In other running news, Scout ran his first 5 miler yesterday! Matt went running later in the evening and took Scout along. I think the farthest Scout had ever run was 4 miles. Matt, who keeps a pretty fast pace, said Scout kept up and didn’t complain! He celebrated by eating his dinner extra fast and wiggling around on his back. Scout, that is. Matt celebrated by setting the trash out for pick up this morning. Not as fun.

Shouldn’t we all celebrate good runs like Scout?? I think it would make days a little more entertaining.

A Letter of Thanks

Dear Dave and Tim,

Hi. My name is Jennifer and I’m a runner. I’m currently training for the New York City Marathon in November. I’ve run multiple races in my past and I’ve done them all sans music. It’s been nice going at it alone with only the sound of my footsteps and angry cyclists around to carry me along, but things have changed. You two have sung your way into my running bubble…and I’m okay with that.

Now, I’ve run with music on the treadmill before. In fact, I have a running playlist on my iPod with random songs that I feel should motivate me to move by artists like Animal Collective and Britney Spears (don’t judge…blame spinning class). Those songs are full of energy, but I’m an acoustic guitar girl at heart. The techo beats bore me after a while. There’s nothing better than an artist and a guitar, even whilst running. I like music that I can concentrate on.

On Saturday I needed music to run again so, naturally before the Jackson Browne concert on Sunday, I set up my iPod to play Jackson’s (we’re on a first name basis too) new album with David Lindley, “Love Is Strange”. I cruised along for a bit and felt fine before mile 3 hit. A song ended. I stopped. I’m not sure what really happened, all I know is that my legs stopped moving and I contemplated going home. The 12 miles I had ahead of me seemed impossible. It was a real low moment. Why couldn’t I continue? Why was Jackson failing me?

So there I stood, by a tree a little over 2 miles from my house. Even the short run back home seemed daunting. But then I remembered the amazing 7 mile run I had on Thursday. Dave, I thought of you and Tim and “Live at Radio City”. I never thought of stopping during that run; I never thought of the hills I was cruising over.

After 5 minutes of contemplation, I apologized to Jackson (still feel kinda bad about this) and switched albums. I found “Live at Radio City” and “Bartender” started singing in my ears. I zipped my iPod back in my pocket, took a swig of water, and headed off into the distance my suburban neighborhood.

It was a match made in heaven, my running and your wonderous album, and I’m not exaggerating. When my Garmin hit 15 miles, your album ended (I also ran out of water…this could have been the perfect storm so I need to prepare for 16 this weekend).

Thank you, Dave and Tim, for unknowingly putting together the most perfect album. Not just for listening to, but for running to. Without you guys, Saturday’s run might have ended at 3.

Saturday: 15 miles; 2:40something

Sincerely,

Jennifer.

Tuesday: 40 minute walk
Wednesday: 3.5 miles with Scout; time unknown…too many puppy bathroom breaks
Thursday: 7 miles: 1:13:53
Friday: rest day!

So after I wrote my last post about sticking to my training plan as much as possible until NYC, everything went all weird and my running went off track. Maybe I shouldn’t write about schedules anymore?

It all started on Tuesday when I had a dentist appointment in the afternoon concerning wisdom teeth removal. After 15 minutes of talking about tooth roots and nerves, my body decided it didn’t want to hear anymore and passed out. It was quite embarrassing, but the dentist assured me it happens quite often; however, I call his bluff because he didn’t know where the mini water bottles were. But whatever. Long story short, couldn’t run on Tuesday. Not only did I have a headache after that debacle, but Scout popped me in the jaw that same afternoon and I could hardly close my mouth without pain shooting up my face. Matt and I did manage to go for a nice 40 minute walk with our new little boxer. It was quite nice and put me in a better mood. Those 40 minutes on my feet equaled a 40 minute run, in my mind.

On Wednesday I didn’t want to push it with a long run so Scout (yes, I managed to forgive him) and I went for a walk/run. With the cooler weather we were able to run more than walk, which was nice. Scout is a great running buddy when the temps are below 75 degrees.

Yesterday I felt tons better and went for a nice 7 mile run. It was really windy, but hopefully running against strong winds will get me in shape for running across five bridges during the marathon. It wasn’t too bad, just slow. I actually listened to Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Radio City the entire run. I’ve been into running outside with music lately. The even tempo of the Dave CD kept my pace pretty consistent and I was done before I knew it.

Tomorrow I have 15 miles planned. First run over 13 miles this season!

Right now I have much more work to do within the next 2 two hours and must cut my lunch hour short.

Happy weekend!