Monday, February 28, 2011

La envidia es muy mala.

1.Highlight of the weekend: walking with Charles across the city, to Wala, a new outlet in the Zona Franca. Wala is heaven for the runner / shopper. Like Ikea for the decorator. Or Daedalus Books for the avid reader. But, to be perfectly honest, I feel bad for not shopping at a neighborhood, family-owned shop, something I try to do when possible. And yes it's despressing, and indicative of the sad state of the world, that the Phillips factory that not so long ago provided families with a middle-class union-wage jobs is now, well, Wala, a store that sells brand-name sporting clothes cheap and provides some people with a shitty service job, and other people with...amazing prices. So, yes judge me for taking a holiday in other people's misery. I do feel guilty about my purchases, but my butt looks really good in these new capris.

2. Slightly sucky part: a cold that I just can't kick. Having a cold and the sniffles is just so damn undignified. I spent Friday and Saturday night in bed watching MadMen trying to "get better" in time for a long run and Monday morning. Fail. Sunday's run wasn't long and today I feel worse.

3. Deep, dark downside: being green with envy. Charles, A and I went running on Sunday morning. We did a seven miler up Mt Juich. It's a very steep climb, but I thought it'd be a good way to not feel guilty about ducking out of my planned 12-miler. Little did I know that jealousy would eat my lil running heart out. I'm the runner. A is just a Sunday jogger! It bothers me immensely that A can eat whatever she wants, party late into Saturday night, drink beer and wine and Bailey's Irish Cream and smoke and then beat my ass running up a mountain. Granted, I have a cold, but still I work at this and she doesn't. Or at least that's my nasty attitude. Yeah, her knees were giving out by the end, but girlfriend is fast and that enfuriates me.
Still, all that envy swallowed, I'm glad to have a friend who pushes me to want to be faster, skinnier, and more beautiful come summer.

Monday, February 21, 2011


1) Today I had lemon cake for breakfast, ran at lunch, and then ate a Snickers bar + +salad + an empanada for dinner.

2) sent me the wrong color running shoes: I wanted white and blue, but got all black. These all black Asics are the dorkiest running shoes ever and they look really bad, especially with non-waxed legs, but I'm too lazy to mail them back and wait for the new ones.

3) On Friday, after spending the day in Madrid, I went to dinner with Charles. I was really tired and the video for Love the Way You Lie was on the tube. I kept watching the video instead of listening to Charles tell me about his day. Saturday morning Rhianna's very disturbing, yet strangely hopeful and oh-so-catchy chorus was stuck in my head. So I downloaded the song and listened to it over and over as I ran.

4) Yeah, I'm happy I have a new job where I have to think a lot and do important shite, but I really hope this job doesn't make me fat. Feeling constantly stressed means that I tend to drink wine at night and make bad food choices. Weird, how for so long you strive to be the smartest and now I just want to be the healthiest.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Must run soon

12-hour work days + pollution rates so high that the radio is warning people not to run outside make me a sad girl

Today must try to escape for at least a 5k on the treadmill.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Barcelona Half Marathon Recap

I didn’t really have any expectations going into this race. It was a sort of bolet (that’s Catalan for mushroom, something that just pops up) on my racing calendar. I’m actually registered for a half marathon in Granollers, an industrial town about 40 minutes outside the city, for next weekend. The Granollers race always fills up fast and has a reputation for being very well organized. Barcelona’s half is a bit scruffy in comparison. They didn’t even announce the BCN date until right before Christmas and people warned me that the race would be crowded and chaotic, but the start line was a half mile from my house, right at the Arc de Triomf on my regular run route. So, on December 31st, while still in Baltimore, I signed up.

Over Christmas I didn't do any long runs. I ate, I drank, I had some very nice short runs with my dad and some very important conversations with my mom. I also got the best Christmas present ever from my brother and found out that I was starting a new job. When I arrived to Barcelona on January 6th I wasn’t really into half-marathon training—I was in holiday detoxing-ch ch changes- just-trying-to-get-through-each-day-without-a-wardrobe-failure-or-nervous-breakdown mode. Anyhow, in January, I got in three long runs: two sucked and one was fantastic. The week before the BCN half, I broke all the rules: I ate junk, I only slept five hours a night, I started a new job and wore high heels every day.

But, I knew I could PR in the race. Why, I’m not sure, I just felt strong. Still, I resisted making any goals or even thinking about a plan. In the back of my mind, I wanted to aim for a 5:50 per kilometer pace and a negative split, but I tried to keep those thoughts at bay.

The morning of the race was cool and rainy. Of course, I started out too fast. Come on, 8000 runners in my city! Running right by house! I was psyched and I was flying high. Around km 2.5 I passed the 1:50 pacer and whispered, “Jesus!” under my breath. I concentrated on slowing down, trying to keep a 5:50 / km (9:20 / mile) pace. The first 5 kilometers were very crowded. Faster runners, very politely holding their right hand out in front, weaved around me. The first water stop was chaotic and I almost had to walk in order not to fall down, so I crossed the 5k mark at a very reasonable 29 minutes. That’s when it started raining hard, so for a while I just concentrated on jumping over the biggest puddles.

The 10-k mark was back at the start and I saw Charles! I was feeling amazing at that point-- really, really strong. I saw some familiar faces from my run group just ahead of me and remembered how very far ahead they had been in Mataró. “This is different,” I thought, “This is my half!”

At the 11-km mark we began to see the winners nearing the end of their race. I probably wasted some energy here cheering, especially for the first woman who ended up destroying the course record, but hey that buen rollo is well worth a few seconds. This is where the course turned away from the sea, which was nice because we were out of the wind, but slightly frustrating because we kept turning and looping through the industrial parts of the city. I took a gel and tried to concentrate on my music; the race was feeling long, I was in a lull.
Around km 16 I spotted the 2-hour pace bunnies just a few feet ahead of me and I credit them with giving me the focus and resolve to push the last 5 km of this race. As I said, I didn’t have a time goal, although 2:05 had been in my head, but wow 2 hours sounded great. Km 17 was my fastest of the race, I just concentrated on staying under that big white 2-hour pace balloon. However, by km 19 I felt my lack of long runs over the last six weeks. I was out of gas and saw, sadly, the big white 2-hr balloon floating away. And here is where I think not having a goal, and a lofty one, may have been a mistake. A part of me thought, “You’re okay, and no matter what you’re going to PR by pretty much.” That's a slippery slope for me--did that relief mean didn't I push my hardest? That's so easy to think after the fact though isn't it? I did push those last 500 meters, as you can see in my awful photos!

I’m very happy with a 2:02:35 finish, a little sore, but nothing too bad. I was feeling good enough to walk to the beach after the race and eat a huge paella. Can I run Empúries in under 2 hours? We shall see: 13 weeks to train!