Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Back Trouble

Training has been going well: On Friday, I completed my first 10 miler in 1 hr 40 m and yes, the run was hard—I had to sing along and clap to Whenever God Shines His Light around mile 8—but afterwards I felt fantastic. I was a little stiff that evening as I walked to The Man Bar to meet my lady friends, but I was in perfect condition for our annual neighborhood hike from Barcelona to Sant Cugat early Sunday morning. (Two years ago, that 3-hour hike was pretty tiring, but this Sunday it felt like what it actually was, just a walk in the park.)
Here's the thing, since last week my lower-to-mid back has been hurting like a mofo. Is this from running? I suspect it's linked to my pretty much non-existent abdominal muscles. Advice? Exercises I should do? Crunches, I know. But I'd rather run 20 miles than do 10 sit-ups.

Ok--just four weeks to go until my half. Here's the route:


Right along the beautiful Costa Brava...the problem will be the tramuntana.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Adobe of Work / Adobe of Healthy, Happy Lifestyle

I had a wonderful week with my mom and now am back to the grind: work and my masters. So far my running this week consists of 5 miles on Monday night. Sigh. And, yes I'm in panic mode--1 month to go for Empúries! Tomorrow I have to do a presentation on Jihad and The Modern World at 8:30 am! I'm definitely going to slip in a lunch-time run with some new tunes: Caroline Herring and some classic Van Morrison.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Long Run Goals

Ok, so I'm still at work and have done no running today. But tomorrow I will do a long run at lunch, no matter what! My mom is arriving Saturday so I think after these two weeks of late work nights I will be ready to rest and eat. Best get a long run in before that.

My idea is to run all the way to the "3 Three Towers" of Sant Adrià tomorrow. Pretty scary, huh?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Slow-ass Fashion

I expected to have a great run today since I had had two days off: one planned rest day and one historic snow day, but no siree. I ran a slow 8k (49:50) on the treadmill and, because I only ran 8k and not 10k, forced myself to do my dreaded sit-ups and ten, very sad, push-ups.
What's my problem? Why so slow? Perhaps because the gym is so agobiante (stifling)! I can't stand the out-of-focus flat-screen TVs or the fact that you only get four types of people: 35-year-old Spanish hetero businessman, beautiful Spanish or Argentine women ages 28 to 37, buff gay men of various nationalities ages 23 to 31, and American sorority girls on their junior abroad (19-21). What I love about running (outdoors, of course) is the diversity. At races you see all different kinds of people and body types, and their build tells you little about their performance. Yeah elite runners tend to be small and lean, but the general crowd is a mixed bunch. Running is about the mind reckoning with the body. I’ve seen chubby middle-aged women making great time, whizz past buff young men who end up puking at the end of a race.

My whole life I've wanted a long, lean body and suddenly I'm pretty happy with the boxey one I've got. I realize though that this venture has little to do with long legs, a flat stomach or even with heart rate, and much more to do with an attitude.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Icy / hot

No running today due to a surprise snowstorm in Barcelona. It hasn't snowed like this here since 1985. I should have just gone to the gym, but halfway there my feet were totally soaked and I was freezing so I just headed home and ate some chocolate cake. Very bad, I know, but I just wasn’t prepared for this winter weather.
The good news is I got an email back from the half marathon coordinators explaining that the course is fairly flat. Hallelujah! My only concern is that it’s going to be hot…maybe I need to work more on living in the moment.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Marató de BCN

Despite having to work Friday night and Saturday evening, I had a great weekend, thanks, of course, to running. I walked home from work sobbing on Friday night. No need to go into the gory details, but let's just say the art world is full of assholes. I'm sure most workplaces are though. Anyway after my breakdown, Charles and I went out for Asian tapas at a new place in Sant Pere: Doble Zero www.doblezeroo.com. We shared a vegetarian sushi platter and I had two, much needed, glasses of wine.

Saturday I woke late, and got ready for a long run. I had coffee, an apple and lots of water. Next time I think I should probably drink less coffee and eat a little more. I ran for an hour and 40 minutes and have no real idea how far I went, but I'm hoping it was almost 15 km. During the run I felt great, slow but strong. The weather was perfect for running: sunny with some wind, probably in the mid-fifties. My goal of going I-podless? I don't see it happening. It's one thing for a race, but on a longer solo run, the music carries me through.

When I got home I was starving and before showering or even stretching I ripped open a bag of Special K and went hogwild. I'm thinking I should have eaten some cereal an hour or so before the run. Once showered and still famished, I headed to our neighbors' terrace for a lovely, sunny, and very healthy, lunch (chicken breast, hummus, three different salads, pesto pasta and an amazing homemade flan for dessert). I had some wine too, in order to prepare for work at 5 pm. Work we'll skip and I'll just say that by 9 pm I was at home watching The Wire with Charles.

This morning I was up by 8 am and on the street by 9:45 to see the first runners of the Barcelona marathon fly by my house. Those guys were amazing to watch, km 37 and they were going all out. Oh but how I love watching all the participants!
Everyone had their name on their number, so it was fun to call out in people’s native language. Vinga Joan! Come on, Patrick! Allons-y, Pierre! I cheered like a crazy woman. As I've mentioned previously, Catalans are not very eager running fans, but I think my enthusiasm made up for their coldness. In fact, I think I scared a few grouchy natives, but I hope I brightened a few lonely runners' day. My wonderful neighbors (hostesses of Saturday's lunch) were looking great when they came by and they finished strong: 4:04 and 4:14. Very impressive.

I must say the Barcelona Marathon needs some better organizers and better advertising. A beautiful city with excellent weather and they can’t even get 10,000 people signed up? Maybe that should be my new job!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Big surf this midday

I escaped from work at the midday (2ish here in Barcie). My compañeras tried to suck me into eating (too much) lunch with them, but I stayed strong--- went straight home and changed into my running clothes. The weather was perfect for a midday run to the beach: about 60 degrees and sunny with a slight wind out of the Northeast. If I hadn't gotten this 9k run in today, work would have pushed me over the edge, but seeing huge surf (especially for the Mediterranean) crash along the shore really energized me for the long evening ahesad. I’m going to try to get some lunchtime runs in next week as well.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

De montage

We're mounting an exhibition with some students at work, so I have to stay late every night this week. Last night I didn't run, but tonight I felt that I had to get to the gym no matter what. So, at 9:30, when I finally escaped the pesados (pests) , I went to the gym and became a pesada myself. I ran 5k in 29:14. The workers gave me the evil eye at about 10:15 when I was just about to hit 4.75, but I begged them to let me finish. Sad how the students make me stay late and then I head to the gym and make other people stay at work late.

It's 1 am and I have a big day tomorrow so I better get to bed. Only two more months until my big day in Empúries. I'm getting pretty nervous, especially about the heat--more on that tomorrow.