Mid-week update

A few things:

1) I changed my blog url and name. I just wasn’t in love with the previous one, and yesterday I was browsing some recent genetics research when I came across this article. I couldn’t get over the title and how those two words tied together. What better way to describe the ebb and flow of training and life? Ok I admit, I am a complete science dork. 

2) Part of me barely believes this since my garmin was acting a little wonky – but I ran 8 miles on Tuesday at 8:29 pace. WHAT. Is this what people talk about during tapers? It felt amazing, some of my miles I clocked at 8:15, 8:11…. It’s like something in my body just… clicked. 

3) Now I am even more excited for the 5 mile race on Saturday. I don’t have any specific goals for this but I am really curious as to what I can do. 

4) We saw Neil DeGrasse Tyson last night! It was pretty good, mostly an informal lecture with a lot of comedy infused in. I was kind of expecting something a little more technical…. maybe I am just used to the kinds of lectures I see in academic departments. But this was definitely for a more general audience. An 11 year old in a bowtie asked for advice on how to be a scientist one day which damn near broke my heart. I love getting kids excited about science. 

40 miles

I’ve done it, I’ve finished peak week – and it surprisingly wasn’t as challenging as I anticipated. It’s funny to look back and see the small increments that brought me to where I am now – my agony over a 4 mile run has transformed into finishing 14 miles and feeling pretty fucking awesome. So mileage for this week was….

Monday: Off
Tuesday: 10 miles
Wednesday: Off – vegan family dinner!! Casserole, pie, soy whip.
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: 14 miles
Sunday: 4 miles

Total miles run: 40

I haven’t uploaded my runs from garmin yet, but I am pretty sure that my long run broke down to 9:00 pace. The goal I’ve been ruminating over in my head has been to run 13.1 in under 2 hrs. And Saturday I ran it in 1:58:xx.

So obviously I need a new goal. No, ok I am still going to be happy to just run under 2 hours. That’s a HUGE improvement off my first half, something around the 2:17 (blah) mark. And that was basically shuffling/crying/crawling the last 3 miles. Mostly I am proud of myself to have done the training. That is way more meaningful to me than a fancy finish time.

So now we taper. I have a few more 8 mile runs, but nothing farther. Scott and I signed up for a 5 mile race this coming weekend, which will be a fun assessment of how much speed I’ve gained through training. I’m also going to spend these last two weeks really focusing on nutrition. Last week gave us little time to prepare sound lunches and I mostly foraged through the hospital. (aside – we’ve been watching the Walking Dead so everything is now seen in terms of the impending zombie apocalypse).

Oh, and Wednesday we are going to see NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON give a lecture. My nerdiness will not be contained.

Adulthood

I’ve had the revelation lately that I am without a doubt an “adult”. I’m sure that feeling comes to people at different times in their life as there is no real designation to adulthood other than small milestones like being able to vote, drink alcohol, rent a car, and so forth. My mother for instance was married shortly after her 21st birthday, but had a hard time accepting my moving in with a serious boyfriend at the same age and claimed I was ‘too young’. In recent decades childhood/young adulthood has certainly extended into the mid- to late twenties, pushing the idea of settling down and starting a family to one’s thirties.

As someone that went from high school, straight to 4 years of college, then straight to 3 years of graduate school I was very much sheltered from living in the ‘real world’. Sure I learned a bit about managing money and paying for bills in graduate school, but I was never completely independent as my parents still assisted me with my car, cell phone and the like. It wasn’t until I moved across the country, got married and then got divorced (all in about 1 year!) that I realized, “Shit. I am an adult.”

With this revelation I’ve also come to really understand who I am as a person, what I want, believe in, and what I will and will not tolerate. That feeling is so extremely liberating. I feel like a completely different person from the Laura of 6 month’s ago. And this… dare I say, confidence, has spread to all aspects of my life.

For one I feel confident in my skills as a scientist. Graduate school is hard and defeating – it is very difficult to see yourself as a competent scientist when a project you spend 2 years on never amounts to anything. But once I stepped outside of graduate school and had my first professional position I could see how all of those trials and failures in graduate school really prepared me for navigating a job. And I realize that I am a thorough and competent scientist. I’m efficient, fastidious and good at solving problems.

This confidence has also translated to my running. Last year I ran my first half-marathon. When I crossed the finish line I didn’t feel proud or triumphant at all. I actually was practically crying over how disappointed I was in myself and how unprepared I was. I had so much anxiety and self doubt about actually completing that distance. And even in later runs in the year, when I had signed up for a second half, I would set out with a lofty goal of 10 miles and psyche myself out. It wasn’t until I missed a turn-around on a 5 mile trail run that turned into 8 that I realized I could run farther than I thought. After getting divorced last fall and going through a bit of a personal breakdown and a hiatus from training, I’ve resumed my running. I signed up for a 5K in February as a simple goal and started training as of two weeks ago. I ran 6 miles this past Saturday with no problems at all. I had a little voice in my head as I set out that said “6 miles might be a bit far so soon, maybe cut it at 5” but I made sure I hit 6. And I feel really proud of that.

And finally and maybe most importantly, this confidence has really made it easier for me to make life decisions. I used to get a lot of anxiety over the simplest of decisions, but now I am able to see what I want and go for it. There is still a considerable amount of list making, worrying and over analyzing of course. But I now feel that I can handle pretty much any situation that is thrown my way. I’m not afraid to go out on a limb for something that makes me happy. Things big and small. I feel confident in being a vegan, when I used be an apologetic vegetarian. I feel confident being an atheist, when I used to try to try to paint myself as an agnostic. I feel confident about enjoying Katy Perry or Beyonce when I’m in the mood to dance when I previously might have thought that ruined my ‘indie cred’. And I’m beginning to feel confident in being an imperfect human. There are still many more barriers to overcome with self acceptance, but I plan to keep on climbing.

A new beginning

Hello internet! I spend so much of my time perusing other running blogs, science blogs, and personal style blogs that I thought “Hey, why not try to slap that all together?” so here we are. I plan to use this as a way to catalogue my progress with running, my attempts at developing a sense of style and my love of all things nerdy. I’m not completely sure of the exact direction I want this to go, but I’m sure that will become more clear as this continues.

A bit of history on my running first: I never considered myself athletic whatsoever until college. As a mandatory requirement we had to take a gym course. I immediately looked for the easiest one I could get into which was fitness walking (yes, that is a course at my college, and it fills up fast). I don’t remember much about the course other than walking really quickly around the intramural fields and feeling very embarrassed when the students in the run conditioning course blazed past us. Every time the class was over I had built up so much energy from not running, that I would go to the track and run until I actually felt like I got a work out in. That was maybe a mile. But after doing that for a semester I had built up a bit of stamina.

I then joined the club rowing team that many of my friends were on because it seemed so fun and social. Many of our land practices were various running exercises. The ‘dorm run’ where we had to run to 9 dorms on campus and back, reporting the building number to our coach in between. Pyramid track work outs we did with a partner that became so competitive we were ‘uninvited’ by the gym as our cheering scared other gym members. Long runs around campus when the streets were still dark and quiet. It was during these long rungs that I realized I wasn’t half bad and regularly finished second or third out of the girls team.

After college I kept up with running in graduate school as a way to exercise and entered various 5Ks, a 10K, and three Krispy Kreme Challenges (not really a race, but more of a disgusting college experience). Last year I ran my first half marathon, and it was a disaster – but I’m planning on redeeming myself this year. After a bit of a break from running, I’ve gotten back into it and am training for a 5K.

My PRs are certainly nothing impressive, but I have won two 5K awards (honestly due to very little competition, but hey, winning is winning).

Road
5K – 26:01 (2011 Cary Road Race. First in my age group. Out of 4)
10K – 1:00:42 (2011 Old Reliable 10K)
13.1 – 2:17:34 (2013 Kansas Half Marathon)

Trail
5K – 33:37 (2013 Pi Day 5K. First female, third overall. Again, very little competition)
10K – 1:22:55 (2013 North Shore Trail Run, a very very technical course)

Yeah, so there is LOTS of room for improvement. We’ll see where this year takes me.

I also am pretty confident my writing skills are only of the “the reaction was neutralized with 1M HCl, then extracted with EtOAc” variety – so I apologize in advance.