My New Home

Hi Everyone! It’s been a while here at RunBritRun!

That’s because I’ve transferred everything over to it’s NEW HOME! You can find me at Happy. Healthy. Sweaty. 

It’s a little more inclusive of all my sweaty adventures, not just the running ones.

Hope to see you all there 🙂

 

 

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Going Gluten Free- A Call for Help!

Last week was filled with all of the exciting changes I had hoped for. Monday was my first day as a full-time graduate student. This was a much-needed change that I decided on two days after the Boston Marathon. I was already accepted and enrolled in my graduate program but I’d been doing one class at a time, mostly online and at a rate that would have me graduating in 10 years, if ever. Making the choice to go back full-time was an easy one after Boston put the important factors in life into perspective. I couldn’t be happier to be back in class but there is definitely an adjustment curve to the lifestyle. Not just the early morning classes following late night bartending shifts; but little things like wardrobe choices.

A few things I remember doing in college I thought I did simply because I was in college and that’s what college kids did. Not quite. A few things I’ve remembered this week…

 

–       College kids wear hoodies because they’re lazy. We also wear hoodies because when it unexpectedly starts raining when you’re in class and the parking lot is on the other side of campus you have an instant mini-umbrella. Would have been nice to remember before the flash flood warnings started going off on everyone’s smart phones during Bio.

–       Text books really are that expensive. iPads are even more expensive. These expenses are offset by buying the $8 bottle of Pinot Grigio instead of the $12 bottle. Over a semester that’s going to add up.

–       Getting to class on time < Having coffee for your first class

–       Always make sure your schedule allows you to watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air before class. I failed this one.

 

I also started my 16-week training schedule for the Cape Cod Marathon Chowdah Challenge and I’m feeling pretty positive with how the first week shaped up. My long runs were a very conservative, very consistent 10:30 which I’m happy with for this point in my training.  Keeping my long runs :90/mi slower than my marathon goal pace has always been a struggle for me because I’ve never been quite sure what my pace should be. I decided since my goal at Boston 2014 is to BQ, a pace of 8:30-ish/mi; I should be aiming for a 9:00/mi at Cape Cod.

Saturday was the first run where I truly focused on my pace and it was a true effort to maintain the same pace every mile. I would notice myself starting to pick up a little bit after Nike+ chimed in to tell me I had hit another mile marker but I quickly caught myself and slowed back down. Overall, I felt strong and confident with this weekends runs. Great success!

With all those changes last week there was one unexpected and I must admit, not 100% welcome change. For the past few weeks my stomach has been WAY off and I’ve felt like complete crap. A year or so ago my doctor suggested to me that with my other food allergies it was very likely that I am also gluten sensitive, not allergic, but should try cutting gluten out of my diet for a period of time to see if I felt a difference. At the time I thought “No way in hell are you taking my pizza and bagels from me. I’ll deal with a stomachache, thanks.”

Well, last Monday I had hit my limit with feeling like crap so I decided with Jim traveling for work it would be the perfect time to cut out gluten for a few days while I didn’t have someone else’s culinary preferences to worry about. So I went grocery shopping for some gluten free carb options and hoped in the back of my mind that it wasn’t going to change anything.

Twenty-four hours later, I felt amazing. The best I’ve felt in a long time kind of amazing. I kept it going for a few days and each day felt better and better. I honestly think my workouts last week felt so strong because of the dietary change.  Today I tried a couple regular bagel chips to see if I felt any different. About a half hour later my stomach revolted against me in a crampy-pissed-off way that I don’t care to revisit for a long time.

This puts me in a pickle.

I love my carbs, I love my sandwiches and I love food. I also love feeling this great. So I guess I need to suck it up and do what’s best for my health. Any free time I come across this week will now be spent researching gluten free recipes, products and tips. And mourning the loss of my morning bagel. I feel like I should bust out a Whitney tune to the bag of Thomas’s that are about to go into the trash. AAANNNNDDD IIIIII…

Have any of you gone down the gluten free road? Any tips for a newbie? Any favorite products I absolutely MUST try? 

False Start and Some Training Goals

While I’m a sucker for happy endings, I’ve always enjoyed the start of things more. Whether it be a movie, first day at a new job or a vacation, the first day is always full of possibilities and potential. Over the course of whatever it is there will certainly be ups and downs, but the start is filled with hope and anticipation. It shouldn’t come as a shock that this is also how I feel about my marathon-training schedule.

I woke up yesterday morning after a pretty rough night of sleep and hurried myself off to my first day as a full-time grad student. It all seemed so fitting: first day of school, first day of training, all my new beginnings rolled into one. I got to class with 30 seconds to spare, opened my planner to see how much mileage I’d be doing when I got home when I saw a note I never expected.

Yes, I have every run for the next 16 weeks written out. And non run days. Just to clarify.

Yes, I have every run for the next 16 weeks written out. And non run days. Just to clarify.

How I didn’t realize that I had created my schedule to have Monday rest days is a little beyond me, but somehow that fact had exited from my mind. A normal person may have thought “Perfect, first day of school and all I need to do is study. Great planning, Brittany.” All I thought was “No, this can’t be right!”.

There was something about starting everything at once that I was quite excited about. I slumped in my chair a little and reminded myself that it was still the first day of my training schedule and by resting I was abiding by the schedule. I didn’t like it but I agreed to it. Hmphf.

I’m pretty excited about taking on a new kind of training schedule, this one having two long runs each week. This weeks workouts look like this.

Monday- Rest

Tuesday- 3 miles with hills

Wednesday- 3 easy miles

Thursday- Rest

Friday- 3 miles at MGP

Saturday- 13.1 miles (Jamestown Half Marathon)

Sunday- 6 miles

I had to reverse the long runs this week to accommodate for the Jamestown Half being on Saturday rather than Sunday. Other than that, I think the run I’m most nervous for in Friday’s MGP miles. I think if I knew what my goal pace was I’d feel better but I’m still trying to figure that out. I guess I have until Friday to figure that out.

So while I didn’t get to run yesterday I did use the time wisely. I got to spend the afternoon with my dad who is currently down with a couple broken ribs thanks to a graceful fall from a ladder on the 4th of July. I swear the man is gifted in coming up with new ways to injure himself. There was one time when I was in high school and I came back from vacation to find my dad with 12 new stitches in his chin. Apparently when he got home from bringing me to the airport he went back into his bedroom, put one foot in the laundry basket and tumbled into his dresser. He went to work with a band-aid before a co-worker informed him he was still bleeding pretty profusely and may want to have that looked at. That’s my dad!

With my dad on college graduation day. His most recent stitches had just healed.

With my dad on college graduation day. His most recent stitches had just healed.

I also used the time to think about my training more than the actual race. I thought about my past few training sessions and where I could improve. I went through a lot of my old Nike+ data and came up with three goals for this training session.

  1. Every run will be outside. Every. Single. Run. I’ve learned the hard way that you can’t predict the weather on race day. The only way to not stress out about that is to train in every possible condition so no matter what race day brings you can say “No biggie. Been there, done that”. So from here on out, there will be no treadmill love in my life.
  2. Cross train at least 3 days a week. I tend to focus solely on running when I start a training schedule. This time I want to make sure I’m not cutting out spin classes or Group Power just because I’m running a marathon in the fall. I love my cross training and I honestly believe my running is strongest when I’m hitting spin and yoga on a regular basis.
  3. Fuel my runs with real, healthy food. I tend to be the person that will eat a big bowl of pasta or a pizza the night before a long run and say “whatever, I’m running 17 miles in the morning!”, then wonder why I felt like crap 5 miles in. I’ve been cooking a lot more recently and coming up with some amazing healthy, fueling recipes that I can’t wait to share.
This is a frittata filled with veggies and healthy cheese. I'm unusually proud of myself.

This is a frittata filled with veggies and healthy cheese. I’m unusually proud of myself.

I know there will be good runs and bad runs. Some days I’ll wonder why the hell I signed up for this is the first place and want to sit on my couch with a bottle of wine and a plate of mozzarella sticks. And on days like that I’ll remember people like Ali, Jeff and the countless others who can’t run right now no matter how badly they want to. I’ll remember that on April 21, 2014 I’ll be back in Hopkinton getting my third chance at Boston. And then I’ll start.

What Fall races are you training for? Any training advice you’d like to share? Did your dad hurt himself in some ridiculous way too? I would like to hear all of your stories. Please and thank you. 

Summer Race Goals

It’s been a busy week. Jim’s family gets to town this afternoon so I’ve been doing all sorts of domestic things before their arrival. Cleaning, shopping, cooking, baking, stressing. Normal things when the in-laws are coming to the house for the first time. Yes, I refer to them as the in-laws. It’s been 4 years. His dad said it was official at 3. 

On the running front, this week has been all about finalizing my summer race schedule and setting very specific goals for each race. I’m focusing my summer on learning to RACE instead of RUN. I hear there is a difference.

My first summer race will be the Jamestown Half Marathon on July 13. I had to miss this race last year due to a run in with food poisoning so I’ll be sticking to toast and whole wheat pasta the day before this year. Just in case. My goal for Jamestown is pretty simple. No walking. I’ve become accustomed to walking at all of the water stations during races and it’s a habit I really need to break. During my runs I’ve been trying to focus on slowing down and pacing myself rather than walking when I feel winded. It’s been a nice challenge to add into my runs while waiting for my fall marathon training schedule to start on July 8th.

After the Jamestown Half is the Narragansett Beer Festival Half in Easton, MA on July 21. Goal? Beat my Jamestown time. I never said these goals were lofty, but they are specific and that’s good.

My other summer races are…

– Falmouth Road Race. I’m going back despite my terrible experience with it in 2011. I’m running it with a friend who has never done it before so I’m trying to keep an open mind for her.

– Providence Rock and Roll Half Marathon. This will be my first Rock and Roll series race so I’m super excited about that. I’ve heard all great things which gives me hope it is worth the rather expensive entry fee.

So that’s the plan for this week. Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Life got busy. You understand 🙂

What races are you super excited for this summer?

For The Love of Endorphins. And Beer.

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The best item in the 2013 Boston Marathon swag bag.

Some workouts are done with a specific goal in mind. A BQ at the next marathon. New distance acheivements. To win an impossible bet with your 6’5” boyfriend that was entered into over one too many beers. That last one just me? Ok. Fine. You know you’ve done it too but I’ll let you pretend.

Yesterdays workout was done with a less athletic goal in mind. Beer. Sam Summer to be specific. Jim came home with a twelve pack of the good stuff on Monday night and it has been staring me in the face every time I’ve opened the fridge since. Even though summer has yet to make an appearance for more than a few hours around here, rumor has it that it’s bathing suit season. With that in mind, I have been abstaining from the joy of an ice cold beer after long sweaty workouts. I knew I truly had to earn the beer this week. I may have taken that slightly overboard.

A morning of errands and healthy grocery shopping was followed by a morning Group Power class. I love Group Power and the way I feel like I’ve had my distance running butt handed to me following every class. If you’ve ever tried Crossfit, Body Pump or aerobics picture a combination of all three. It’s amazing but you most certainly feel it the next day if not immediately afterward.

After Group Power I went home and made Bob Harpers skinny pasta sauce to cover my spaghetti squash in. See, told you I went healthy grocery shopping. Does anyone else dream about food during their workouts or am I the only fat kid in the gym doing it? Just me. Again? Ok fine. Back to the pasta sauce. My amazing auntie Gina is full blooded Italian and I grew up eating her pasta sauce. Classico just isn’t doing it for me. Never mind all the sugar and chemicals in it. Just the taste alone. Ick.

Believe it or not, all these healthy things equal sauce. No sugar. No corn syrup. Imagine that.

Believe it or not, all these healthy things equal sauce. No sugar. No corn syrup. Imagine that.

Feeling fairly accomplished for my day off, I parked my butt on the couch for an hour and read this months Runners World. After Wednesday night it just felt right to read the stories about the true heroes from that day.

After a couple episodes the little voice in my head started whispering “You’re being lazy. Go do something productive”. It turned into more of a yell than a whisper rather quickly, so I went back to the gym for a run. Nothing crazy, especially since all the treadmill running I’ve had to do lately is boring the crap out of me. I have such a beautiful running route now that staring at a TV screen just feels terrible.

My obsession with Nike+ is still going strong.

My obsession with Nike+ is still going strong.

I got home, checked the sauce was doing what Trainer Bob told me it should be doing and jumped into a wonderfully hot shower on a rainy day. I don’t like warm showers. I prefer to feel like an ambulance may need to be called at some point if I stay in one spot too long. My only mandatory criteria in the rental property was that it had incredibly hot water and good water pressure. The beach was a bonus.

After drying off and changing into sweats I re-parked my butt onto the couch and saw a text from my friend Ida.

“Spin?!?”

Sure?

I knew going into it that the class would be downright painful. My legs were already pretty tired from the two other workouts of the day but I love spin and there was a different instructor Ida had been telling me to try. So I went. It was worth it.

John’s class is all up tempo, upbeat, happy riding. Yes, the hills made me want to cry at certain points. I cursed his name and swore I would come back next week and do twice as many hills if he promised to let me off the hook. No deal. Oh well, I tried.

The end of the hour came faster than I could have expected and to be honest, I wanted to keep going. I was on that crazy endorphin high usually reserved for 16 miles into a run where you haven’t hit the wall quite yet and feel like you could run on forever. I took that feeling home with me where I fell onto the couch in a post long run glory type of way.

Thankfully Jim came home soon after because I’m pretty sure if I was left to my own devices I would have slept in my sweaty clothes right there. The endorphins were still there but even those weren’t enough to get me on my feet at that point. I yelled to Jim to take the pizzas out and he yelled the three words every woman loves to hear at the end of a long day.

“Want a beer?”

Yes. Yes I did.

Cheers and happy Friday everyone! Are you running any races this weekend? Let me know!

Life Updates

I’m back! Not that I went anywhere, I’ve really been here all along. I’ve just been stressed busy with ridiculous stressful exciting life things and attempting to squeeze in runs during these incredibly stressful exciting life things. What are these life things? Let’s recap…

  • I launched 4 sites in 2 months and that is unreasonable. Work was busy to say the least. But, all are live, doing well and happy to have graced the internet with their presence. Yay.
  • I ran the Newport Half Marathon. I know you were all expecting me to run a recap about the full. So did I. We drove to Newport the night before the race and talked about how non-ready we both felt, how with the house purchase we really couldn’t afford to go on vacation anyways, and why were we torturing ourselves over something that is supposed to be fun. We decided we’d run for fun, not for competition and if we felt out of it we’d walk off the course and hit the nearest bar. Inspiring, right? Well, it appears the Newport Marathon Gods decided for us, because when we went to pick up our packets, I was registered for the HALF and not the full. All my confirmation emails said full. All my emails with the Rhode Scholars said full. Registration said half. We took the hint, ran the half and called it a weekend. Jim killed me with a 1:41 debut half. I’m impressed/mortified.
  • We bought a house! Fingers crossed, we close next month. Throughout the whole first time home buyer experience we learned a lot. I compared the whole process to the dating world. Really, it makes sense.
  • –       You will be asked to disclose more personal information to complete strangers upon first meeting than you tell someone in the first year of dating. It’s like speed dating for gold diggers. Terrifying.
  • –       When there is no chemistry you and the house, you know off the bat and want nothing more than to awkwardly find an excuse to leave and not call them back.
  • –       When there is chemistry, you become a stage 5 clinger pretty quickly. “Who is that looking at my house? Will they like them more than me? I’m prettier but she has a nicer car. Maybe I should call to see if they have made a decision yet? No, don’t call, wait 3 days.”
  • –      Unlike in Sex in the City, you cannot buy a house with a ring. I checked. Not that I have one, but it’s always good to know what you can use for collateral here. So no, Beyonce, we did not put a ring on it. We offered our souls for the next 30 years.

One other big update- I’m officially registered for the 2013 Boston Marathon and running for Miles for Miracles again.

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This is the time I spectated the 2012 Boston Marathon after training all winter. Sad face.

 

Running for a charity as a qualified (or deffered, however they want to phrase it) runner is a completely different process than running on a waiver like I did last year. When I thought about the time and monetary commitments I gave it a lot of consideration. Would I have time to fundraise? Would I want to drive to team practice every Saturday in the freezing cold, snowy dead of winter? The hills. Dear God the hills.

After a lot of thought and self-questioning, I decided that the kids at Boston’s Children’s Hospital are worth all of my stress, free time and normal body temperature comforts. These kids deal with way more on a regular basis and they shouldn’t have to. I’m honored to run for the kids, their parents whose strength is truly inspiring and the doctors and nurses who care for them.

Training officially starts on December 10, but I’m starting a little early. To keep myself accountable, I’m going to be posting my training schedule on Monday morning every week. Even if I don’t have an entry for the day, I’m going to post my Nike+ miles every day. You’ve been warned.

I’m also looking to do 13 races in 2013 (half or full marathons) and I’m taking suggestions. Here is my creepy Craigslist-eque ad: Runner looking for race that won’t mind I’m running other races around it. Nice view. Good people. Post race beer preferable.

I Can Breathe!

For most of my life, my asthma hasn’t really impacted my every day life. I wasn’t even diagnosed until I was 17 and at the time it felt like a validation for not putting in any effort in gym class. I finally had a viable reason for every gym teacher who told me I just wasn’t trying hard enough or the overly competitive boy who would yell if they didn’t feel like I was really trying in kick-ball. Come on. It’s kick-ball. It’s really not that serious, I promise. 

When I decided to pick up running a few years ago I never expected to really be able to because my doctor always told me that asthma would prevent me from “strenuous cardio activity” and that I should “stick to the elliptical” or if I’m going to run to “do it on a treadmill so I can stop at any time and sit down”. I think we all know by now I’m a go big or go home type of person, so I took that sound medical advice as “Sure Brittany, running a full marathon as your first road race in 89 degree heat is a great idea. Don’t bother to bring an inhaler, you won’t need it”. But some small miracle I didn’t die, and I kept running.

I eventually got a new inhaler and even went for a breathing treatment last year. Since then, I’ve felt great. But over the past couple months, things started flaring up. I told myself it was just the heat, it was a small flare, it would be fine. I finally realized on Tuesday that my inhaler was probably empty (and likely had been for some time) so I went to CVS on Monday to pick up a new one. Oh, what’s that CVS- you’re out of inhalers? Come back tomorrow? Ok, I’ll just go for a run without one.

That run turned out to be another painfully slow 2.5 miles. I left the cemetery frustrated and annoyed. Also confused because I had a stare down with a Bambi while a smaller Bambi wandered around seemingly confused in the background. I went home and asked Jim if a deer would attack a human. It was a logical question because this deer looked at me like I was dinner. I was then informed that this is never a logical question. In case you were wondering- no, a deer will not hurt you (on purpose).

The Bambi in the back did not seem very smart.

After my near death encounter with the wild beast, I really wanted my next run to be great. So last night I picked up my inhaler, hit the gym, took two puffs and went out to the treadmill determined to kick some ass. And you know what- it’s exactly what I did! I ran a 5K with a negative split and averaged at MPG. BOOM!

That, my friends, is a negative split. Boom.

I started off telling myself that one dose of an inhaler may not make the world of difference I was hoping it would, but to just see how I felt a mile in. I hit the mile mark and I felt just as good as when I had started. I thought, let’s pick it up! I pushed up to 6.2 and next thing I knew, I was drenched in sweat and hitting the 2 mile mark. I had to stop for a second around 2.4 to fix my shoe, but I’m pretending that didn’t happen.  I crossed the 5K finish line on the treadmill screen stronger than I’ve felt in a long, long time. Yes, it was only a 5K. But it’s a 5K that felt strong, which is exactly what I need 6 weeks out from Newport (eep. )

Longer. Faster. Better. Heck yes!

I went home and rewarded myself with breakfast for dinner in the form of an eggbeater spinach and cheese omlette and (white!) toast. Every once in a while I eat a piece of white toast and remember just how delicious it really it. Terrible, but delicious.

Go ahead, judge me. The white bread was delicious.

Did you kick any workouts butt lately? Was it the best feeling ever?