Happy Tuesday! I am blatantly stealing the idea for this post from the venerable Runner’s Kitchen. Here is a smattering of questions I have been asked by bloggers, readers, and other assorted people over the last few months, along with (mostly) honest answers.
When did you start running? Cross-country season of my freshman year of high school. I was thirteen when I attended my first pre-season practice. I wore mens’ boxers from The Gap, tube socks and a pair of Vans. Thankfully my attire has evolved in the ensuing seventeen years, but I’ve been running pretty much nonstop ever since!
How many marathons have you run? Which one was your favorite? I’m counting eight, although I feel like there should be nine: Providence, Phoenix, Vegas, Seattle, Cleveland, Tampa,/Gasparilla, Marine Corps, NYC. NYC is hands-down my favorite so far! (As I noted in that race report, it’s the only marathon I’ve run to date that I would gladly do a second time.)
Do you have a goal for Chicago? Yep. I want to come in under 3:30. Failing that, I’m hoping to smash my PR (3:42) and of course qualify for Boston. Although I’ve run many marathons, I’ve never really trained for one as I have over the last few months. Eight-minute pace feels far more comfy than it has in years, so we’ll see.
What’s your favorite distance to race? 5K. I love them. And recovery is quick, so you can do one every weekend if you want to. I keep telling myself that I want to put the whole marathon thing to bed for a while and focus on shorter stuff. And then I sign up for another marathon. Sigh.
What do you eat/drink before/during a long run? I would call myself a moderate believer in the Washington Ran Here Approach to Running Fueling. I don’t typically bring food or water on runs under two hours long (~14 miles). For a twenty-plus-miler, I’ll eat one or two Gus and take in about 20-40 oz of fluid, depending on the weather. I guess that makes me a bit of a minimalist by today’s standards. But I try to listen to my body and not to take it if I don’t truly need it. It takes practice to get there though. Running is hard, and it’s tricky to distinguish between a genuine need for calories/electrolytes and general discomfort or boredom.
Before heading out for a long one, I usually slam down a bar of some sort (Larabar, Kind Bar, Balance Bar) along with some water and coffee.
Where are you from? It seems like you’ve moved around a lot. True dat. We have indeed moved around a lot.
I grew up in Washington State and lived there until I went to college. In the twelve years since, I’ve lived in SoCal/LA, Cleveland, Boston, New York and now Raleigh. It’s been quite a circuit.
Most of the moves have in one way or another involved the hubs’ professional or educational needs. It’s been a wild ride and I’ve loved living all over the country, but I am definitely ready to settle down for a few years. And all the moving has left me with some career malaise and general confusion about my path in life. Which brings us to…
What do you actually do all day? This is really a great question. Sometimes I wonder the same thing.
Up until a couple of years ago, I had a normal-person job and went to an office every day. I liked the work and the people I worked with, but when we moved to NYC in the summer of 2009, I decided that ultimately I didn’t want to be on that path. So I decided to become a “freelance writer.”
In case you didn’t know: the “free” part stands for “working for free.” At least according to my tax return.
But I scraped together some odds and ends: an article here, a consulting project there. It kept me marginally busy and I generated a microscopic amount of income. After a few months I also picked up a part-time gig at a local running store in NYC, which I loved. (And am actively seeking something similar here in Raleigh…heeeeey, running stores! Hire meeee!)
So that’s what I do. At the moment I am working on a couple of writing projects that I’m pretty excited about – but we’ll see how things flush out. As a practical matter, I spend 90% of my time in either running shorts or yoga pants and I converse with my cats regularly. It’s a pretty sexy lifestyle.
Do you feed your cats steroids? They’re enormous. Well….yeah, they’re not small. Emmy is 15 pounds and Parker is pushing 20.
I don’t feed them that much. Really, I don’t. They get a high quality canned cat food (Wellness) and I administer less than the recommended daily amount. They’re just big. But the vet says they’re healthy in spite of their girth so I’m not too worried about it.
Do you really drink a bottle of wine every night? Yes, but not by myself! The hubs and I typically open and split a bottle of wine with dinner or while watching TV. That works out to about 2 generous glasses each. If I’m not a huge fan of the wine, I usually stop at one. We chuck the remainder (or use it for cooking, or save it for another night when we’re feeling less picky).
Sometimes I’m in a beer mood and have a couple of beers instead. I go in phases on the wine-versus-beer thing.
But yes, we generally have a drink or two in the evening. Call it a vice, but I’m not really a huge sweets person so I think of my wine/beer as a dessert equivalent.
Do you really only wash your hair twice a week? Yes! Well, sometimes three times. But I only wash every second or third day. Yes, even in the summer humidity. Yes, even when I sweat all over myself. Washing your hair daily is a pain in the ass.
I want to run a marathon! Where should I start? Well, honestly first I would start by asking yourself: are you sure? Like daily hair washing, marathon training is a pain in the ass. Expect….moreso. Way moreso. Seriously, it’s a pretty big time commitment. And there is nothing wrong with shorter races! 5Ks, 10Ks and half-marathons are all great distances to race. (And I truly believe that a well-executed 5K is every bit as challenging as a marathon, albeit in a totally different way.)
But okay, you really do want to do 26.2. First, you need a decent base. Can you easily run five miles? Are you logging 20 miles a week consistently? In my (completely unqualified, but plenty experienced) opinion, that is where you need to be to think about a marathon.
If you have a good base, seek out a training plan: Hal Hidgon’s plans are popular. Runner’s World also has a great tool called Smartcoach which will customize a plan for you based on several inputs about your experience and goals. Then: stick to the plan. Well, mostly. I never follow training plans to a T. But if you pay attention to only two things each week, look at the total weekly distance and the long run. Follow the weekly mileage guideline (don’t increase more than 10% each week!) and get the long run in (no, you cannot split it up) and you’ll be fine.
And if possible: find people to run with. Seriously. And this is a lesson I’ve learned myself, in a big way, over the last year. Running with other people is a lot more fun than running alone. Join a club, ask your local running store about meet-ups, post a note on your gym’s bulletin board. I know it can be intimidating, but it’s worth it. Trust me.
How much time do you spend blogging every day? Way too much. And this post is getting way too long. So I’m gonna call it a night.
Got a question? Feel free to email me: eatdrinkrun [at] gmail [dot] com.
Today’s EAT: Tonight was a throw-it-in-a-skillet dinner:
Shrimp, sugar-snap peas, rice noodles, scallions, scrambled egg, cashews. Soy sauce, sriracha, brown sugar. All good stuff, but…it was just okay. Good considering its halfhearted preparation. But it could have used a little more flavor.
Today’s DRINK: I’m not on the OMG PUMPKIN bandwagon (seriously – I like it too, but isn’t it just another squash? Can someone please explain the pumpkin craze to me?) but one fall food that I do get stoked about? Cider.
And if it has some ABV, so much the better. This JK’s Scrumpy (awesome name!) Hard Cider was perfect – earthy, delightfully cloudy, not too sweet. At 6% ABV, it’s not a lightweight cider, but not ridiculous either. Thoroughly enjoyable on the first truly cool evening (rejoice!) of the year.
And what a sunset to have as a backdrop for a good cider. I love having a balcony and a view.
Today’s RUN: A short track set: 9X400M with 200M recovery. I was positively giddy about this workout. One thing that I really enjoy about tapering is workouts like this: you get to open up a bit on fresh legs and finish workouts feeling like you have a full tank of gas left. Doing light speedwork while in taper mode is a huge confidence builder!
After a 3-mile warm up, splits looked like this: 91, 88, 96, 91, 95, 92, 95, 91, 92. If only low-six pace could always feel so….bouncy!
I tacked on a 1.5-mile cool down for a total of ~8 today. A solid workout and a fun one, to boot. Seriously, it’s days like this that make those long weeks of mileage worth it.
Today’s QUESTION: FAQ you! Share something random about yourself!