Weekend in Review: Kicking my butt

Back to work today ūüė¶ ¬†It is lovely outside and all I want to do is sit outside on the lawn and lay in the sun. ¬†Alas, grad school has be stuck inside watching the beauty through the windows.

I had a rocking weekend, workout wise. ¬†After my strange dizzy spell on Thursday, things have been looking up and I’m feeling great!

Friday I hopped in the pool with my tri-buddy and after giving her some tips, headed out for my favorite kick-your-ass workout.

500 free

500 pull

500 kick

3 x 300 pull/swim/pull

2x 200 IM

200 cool down

3000m/50 minutes


Saturday I did a full body lift and followed it up with 30 min/7 miles on the bike.

Sunday was a 30 min step machine/ 5k run combo

Monday (today) : 5.75miles/1 hour on the treadmill


I’m feeling great, very little hip pain, and I can’t wait for my triathlon! Its only a month away, but I think I’m going to be fine. ¬†My goal is to attempt the brick workout again on Wednesday, but I’ll start out the run slower and hopefully avoid any side cramps this time. ¬†I think in addition to hunger, last time I started out too fast and lost it early. ¬†I should know better than this!

The first official day of spring is tomorrow and I can’t wait until I get back outside! ¬†No more treadmill running for me.


Triathlon Training Part 2: Knowing when to stop

Happy Thursday!

So today is the ides of March and yesterday was pi (not pie) day. ¬†I love pointless holidays, especially when they are back to back. Anywho…. ¬†today is part 2 of my ever-interesting triathlon training adventure! ¬†This morning I set out to recreate my brick workout from last week by biking 10 miles and running a 5k. ¬†

Workout started great with a hard, hilly 10 mile bike. ¬†I finished in about 40 minutes, which means I was moving about 15mph. ¬†Not fast, by any means, but it’s a good solid pace to shoot for considering this is my first attempt at all this. ¬†I felt great off the bike and hopped right on the treadmill. ¬†I started out at a 10 min pace and maintained this the first mile. ¬†The second mile I upped the pace to 9:40. ¬†At about 1.75 the wheels fell off. ¬†I had been having a stubborn side stitch since early in the first mile, but I was convinced I could run through it. ¬†I tried all the tricks in the book: sipping water, breathing out while pressing on my side, massaging my side, etc etc and nothing worked. ¬†It just kept getting worse until it reached the point where it hurt to breathe. ¬†Thats when I realized I was in trouble. ¬†I started feeling dizzy (hell, I couldn’t breathe!) and decided it was time to stop. ¬†I slowed to a walk, my cramp subsided, I stopped feeling dizzy and I finished out the workout by walking at an incline to about 2.75 miles.

I feel like I need to give this statement its own paragraph:  There is no workout/race/training run/whatever worth hurting yourself over. 

If I could reach through the computer and shake you as I say that, I would. ¬†Did I leave the gym disappointed? ¬†You’re damn right I did! My body was really good, my pace was right where I wanted it and I really wanted that workout. ¬†But, there is no workout worth passing out on a treadmill for. ¬†Nothing is more important that my health. ¬†After all, isn’t that why I’m doing this triathlon in the first place? ¬†Yes, its about a challenge and it sounds like fun, but overall I’m doing it to stay in shape. ¬†If I push myself to the point of injury or sickness, I’m doing myself a huge disservice. ¬†Will I give this workout another try next week? ¬†Hell ya!

Total workout for the day: 10mile bike/2.75 walk/run.  Booyah!

Tomorrow its into the pool for me and my triathlon buddy. ¬†I’m hoping to bang out about 3500m and my buddy is going to come with me for a quick lesson on flip turns. ¬†Going to be fun!

Too Much?

Welcome to day 2 of thesis writing. ¬†It has been boring, to say the least. ¬†I’m very proud of myself for banging out nearly 7 pages of well written content today, but I’m not sure how many more days like today I can handle. ¬†I’m a very energetic person, and sitting at a desk all day long staring a computer screen makes me want to rip my hair out. ¬†I got to work at my usual 8 this morning, and by 10:30 I had already taken two “coffee” breaks (I don’t drink coffee, so really I just walked to the kitchen and back) and walked around the department twice. ¬†My legs were getting stiff, my back hurts from my horribly uncomfortable chair, and I swear my shoulders are uneven from leaning on my desk to read papers.

I started out this morning with a speed workout on the treadmill. ¬†I did 4 miles in about 45 minutes. ¬†It consisted of a slow 1 mile warmup followed by 4 X 800 @ 6.1 with sloooow 400 jogs between. ¬†After that I hopped on the bike and road for 20 minutes to total another 5 miles. ¬†So, just a quick addition lesson: before 8 am I had run/biked 9 miles. ¬†Doesn’t seem outrageous until I tell you that at 3pm I went back to the gym and biked another 9 miles/40 minutes. ¬†I simply couldn’t sit at my desk anymore and I really think I started to feel my legs fuse with the chair. ¬†I took my papers and read while on the bike, so it wasn’t a particularly difficult bike, but at least I got myself moving again. ¬†That brings me to a total of 18 miles for the day. ¬†Yikes.

At the moment I’m not feeling sore or overly tired which I think its just a consequence of having sat for 9 hours today. ¬†I don’t think twice a day workouts are something I can sustain for very long both for purposes of the time it requires and the recovery time my body likes to have. ¬†Either way, it was a nice way to break up a very very boring day.

Ego Killer

Let’s start out with this morning’s workout: 5.75 miles/1 hr on the treadmill. ¬†I started with a very slow warmup mile and then did 3 tempo miles (10min/mile, 9:50 min/mile, 9:35min/mile) and then a mile and half of 400 meter sprints with 400 meter jogs. ¬†Super sweaty and I felt awesome. ¬†It was also my first run in several weeks with NO HIP PAIN! ¬†YAY!!!!

After my awesome workout, I was feeling pretty hot and definitely needed someone to bring my ego down. Nothing like chemistry to give you a major reality check. ¬†Yes, I can run for an hour, but damn it, that doesn’t mean work is going to bow down to me. ¬†In fact, work spat in my face this morning. ¬†I’m on the verge of writing my master’s thesis and getting my presentations ready for qualifying exams (one month away, holy crap) and things have not exactly been working. ¬†My project has been stalled for a few months now and neither I nor my boss can seem to figure out why its not working. ¬†The theory is there- the chemistry just isn’t cooperating. ¬†Well, this morning I was reading the literature (something I need to do more of, clearly) and came across a paper from 1990 in some tiny little obscure journal. ¬†Anyway, the group had synthesized the same compounds that I’m working with and managed to shed a lot of light on why I can’t get them to do anything worth a damn. ¬†Basically, had I found this paper 2 months ago I could have saved myself a lot of time and frustration. ¬†I guess that is the world of science, though. ¬†There are so many publications out there, of varying caliber and prominence, that it is nearly impossible to know what is written in all of them. ¬†I’m glad this happened to me at the beginning of my science career and not say, three years down the road when I need to write a PhD dissertation, but its still frustrating.

Thank god for Fridays and my awesome friends who are meeting me for drinks after work. ¬†On days like this, I’m not sure what I would do without them ūüôā

Triathlon Training 1

Today is the first official day of triathlon training! ¬†I’m not following an official training plan, but I’m kicking my workouts up a gear to make sure I’m ready by April. ¬†The triathlon is only a month and some change away and I don’t want to be a big ball of mushy, out of shape Liz when I show up. ¬†This morning I tackled a brick workout and discovered they don’t call them bricks for no reason! ¬†I biked 10 miles on a decently hilly course and then ran a 5k on the treadmill. ¬†It was the fastest 5k I’ve ever run, and actually felt the easiest! ¬†I started off nice and slow around 5.8mph thinking that I could just hold that pace and finish in a solid 32 minutes. ¬†After the first mile my legs felt great and I decided to push the pace. ¬†I ran the second mile at 6.1mph and the third alternating between 6.2 and 6.6!¬†I have NEVER seen that number appear on the treadmill for more than 30 second sprints and this morning I held that pace for 8 minutes! ¬†Holy cow. ¬†My legs are aching right now, but luckily today is the start of my desk work. ¬†Qualifying exams are looming and I’m no longer doing active lab work. ¬†Instead I get (read: have to) sit around and write my thesis, make 2 1-hour long powerpoint presentations and pretty much get my life in order. ¬†I guess its a good time to start serious training. ¬†I have a feeling ice packs will be making an appearance in my near future.


I woke up very tired this morning, as if thats anything new in my world! ¬†On my running schedule for this morning I had 4 miles with 3×800 @ 9:55 pace. ¬†I did this workout last week and it was hard, but totally worth it. ¬†I started with a VERY slow mile warm up (12 min pace) to get my body to wake up. ¬†Honestly, it took well into the second mile before my body actually woke up. ¬†Sometimes, you just need to push through the exhaustion, and today was a day it paid off. ¬†I started my 3×800 at 6.1mph and after the first one I knew I could do more than the prescribed workout. ¬†Generally, I’m not a proponent of deviating too far from workouts, just because I think its a good way to push yourself too hard and get hurt. ¬†However, I knew my body to handle it today. ¬†I ended up doing 4×800 with the last two at 6.2 mph (400 jogs in between) and then 2×400 at 6.4mph with 400 jogs. ¬†All together I finished 5 miles in about 52 minutes. ¬†

Some days my body just falls into a nice rhythm and the run is smooth and easy. ¬†Today was not one of those days. ¬†I know I just said that I did an extra mile because I knew I could handle it- but not because the run was flowing smoothly- but because something in my brain told me to go harder. ¬†Occasionally I will have a run where nothing works and I have keep repeating mantras to myself to get my mind off the pain. ¬†Today, I did something a little different. ¬†Rather than the usual “you can do this”, “only 1 more mile” ¬†I started thinking about how far I have come. ¬†In October, I could barely run 3 miles and running at 6.2mph on the treadmill was an all out sprint. ¬†I couldn’t hold a 10 minute pace for more than a few minutes (2, I think) and I was so disheartened. ¬†Then, I ran a 5k, started to incorporate speed work and suddenly (ok, more like over the course of months) I could easily hold a 10 min pace and I was doing sprints at 6.6-6.7mph. ¬†In the running world, these stats are still outrageously slow, but compared to where I started, I’m thrilled! ¬†All of these thoughts and numbers were running through my head during that last 400 pace at 6.2 and it really pushed me through. ¬†Yes, it hurt and I really wanted to stop, but I kept reminding myself “think of how far you’ve come” ¬†and “think of how proud you are to even be running this fast for 30 seconds”. ¬†Well, that 400 was over faster than the rest and I even powered through another mile after that. ¬†Sometimes, you just need tricks to keep going- and the pay off is almost always worth it.

Its a rainy/snowy/nasty day here, but I’m counting down the hours until I get on a train to Philly to see my best best friend in the whole world for the weekend. ¬†We are celebrating her recent birthday and awesome achievement of becoming a certified yoga instructor. ¬†I couldn’t be more proud of her!


I’m so frustrated with my body this morning. ¬†I’ve been sick all week, so rather than getting in the pool (chlorine makes me sneeze extra bad) I decided to do a cardio combo at the gym. ¬†First up, I did 25 minutes on the step machine which was a great sweaty warm up. ¬†Next, I jumped on the treadmill hoping to run a 5K, but my hip just isn’t going to give me a break. ¬†The first mile was painful, but I was hoping it was just my hip loosening up. ¬†At 1.2 miles, I decided to call it quits. ¬†Each step felt like someone was stabbing me with a huge needle and my hip just felt so weak. ¬†Rather than do serious damage, I got off the treadmill and finished up with 20 minutes of hard intervals on the stationary bike.

Overall, I got a great workout, but I am just so frustrated. ¬†When I started running a few months ago the hardest part was working up the endurance to run distances over 3 miles. ¬†Now, I am perfectly capable of running 8 miles in a go, but my body isn’t complying. ¬†The fitness is there, but the muscle just doesn’t want to do it. ¬†I’m thinking of going to see a chiropractor or physical therapist about this because not only does it really hurt to run, the adjustments I’m making to lessen the pain are making my stride incredibly unnatural. ¬†As a result, my back hurts, my ankle was locked up last week and I can tell that I’m wasting energy trying to run “normal”. ¬†Perhaps this is something that can be fixed easily with some specialized stretching; perhaps its a real injury that I should have taken care of long ago. ¬†The only thing thats holding me back is my own stupid pride and self esteem. ¬†I don’t think of myself as a runner. ¬†I’m an athlete- thats also been one of my self-descriptors- but I’ve never seen myself as a runner. ¬†Hell, I can barely run more than 20 miles per week. ¬†Real runners run 120 miles a week! ¬†(Or so I thought) ¬†I don’t want to walk into a doctor’s office and say “I’m a runner and I would like you to help me with this injury” if the doctor then asks about my fitness routine and finds out that I’m barely a recreational runner. I don’t want someone to feel like I am wasting their time. ¬†They could be helping real runners who are training for marathons, etc, not this stupid girl who wants to run a 10K!

I’m not sure what to do and I don’t have any answers for what I want to hear. ¬†I’m just frustrated and annoyed because I know I’m capable of so much more….

I’m Back, Baby!

This morning, I ran for the first time in 7 long days. ¬†I know, 7 days doesn’t sound like that long, and it truly isn’t, but when you are counting down the days until you can run again, 7 feels like forever. ¬†My hip has been feeling really good the last few days so I decided today was the day- now or never. ¬†I got to the gym around 9 and hopped on a treadmill for a quick warmup walk. ¬†About .25mile in, I felt nice and warm and picked it up to a jog. ¬†My first mile was slow, as usual, but it felt much more natural than it has in weeks. ¬†The next two miles I really worked hard. ¬†I did the first mile at a 10 min pace, alternating incline/no incline every .25mile. ¬†The second mile I did the same incline patternbut ran at 9:40pace. ¬†Then I did a mile of speedwork: 1 min @ 6.5mph, 1 min @ 5.5 mph and finally I did a 1 mile cooldown at about 10:15 pace.

Overall, I did 5 miles in 51:30. ¬†I’m definitely tired, no lying, but I’m so proud of myself. ¬†A few months ago I couldn’t run more than 2 miles at a time, then I got hurt, took some time off and I STILL managed to run 5 miles faster than ever before. ¬†There really is no better feeling than pushing yourself to accomplish a goal. ¬†I really don’t like to compare myself to other running bloggers online because I know my times look outrageously slow compared to what they do, so for how I’m really going to focus on how I feel about my accomplishments. ¬†I’m proud of myself, I feel healthy, and if someone wants to tell me I’m slow- bring it on! Slow and steady wins the race, but only if no one else is racing ūüôā

My best friend from high school is in town this weekend for a Law School thing. ¬†I’m not even going to try to understand what they are talking about, but I do get to join her for a cocktail party after the seminar is over. ¬†On that note, I’m off to find something appropriate to wear to a party full of lawyers; perhaps a long black robe!


My whole life, I’ve been defined by my desire to do things by myself. ¬†I didn’t want help learning to tie my shoes, I still hate being asked if I want help when I’m shopping in a store and I’ve always preferred solitary sports. ¬†Its pretty hard to be social when your entire workout consists of submerging your body in a tank of water or counting out sets on a weight bench. ¬†Even when I played tennis, I preferred to hit balls against the wall of the court than to play an actual game. ¬†I revel in alone time and many times, my idea of a perfect evening is curling up with a good book, drinking vats of tea and listening to some great music while I wall out the world. ¬†I am, by every definition, an introvert. ¬†I enjoy my introverted nature, it fits me well and I’ve been lucky enough to carve out relationships with people who, regardless of their level of extroversion/introversion, have accepted me for who I am and how I function.

Unfortunately, my long term relationship has come to an end and I find myself even more alone than usual. ¬†This was probably the world’s most amicable break up, based not on changing of emotions, but on distance and the toll it takes on maintaining a relationship. ¬†Sometimes I think its easier to end a relationship because the other person is driving you crazy, not because you love them like crazy, but life just gets in the way. ¬†Luckily, I still have my best friend. ¬†I may have lost my boyfriend, but the friend he was to me isn’t going anywhere, so I suppose on some level, I’m not that alone. ¬†Relationships come and go, and it hurts like hell when they do, but friends are forever, and if you are lucky enough to come out of a relationship with a friendship intact, I guess you are pretty darn lucky. ¬†I may be single….but I’m not alone.


Because stress and sadness are great motivators (at least for me) I’ve been working my body to the bone this week. ¬†On Tuesday I ran my first sub 10min mile, and on Wednesday I did a 5 mile run with 3.5 miles tempo at 9:50 mile/min. ¬†This morning I did a 3000m swim in under an hour, including times when I stopped to chat with my friends who joined me in the pool. ¬†If I’m sad, lonely, feeling sorry for myself, at least I know there is still somewhere that I go to feel like myself. ¬†Sometimes submerging yourself in a tank of water is just what the soul needs.

Over the hump

Today is my day off from exercise, so I’m clearly taking full advantage of that by sitting on the couch catching up on my back log of Daily Show. ¬†Yesterday I hit the gym early for a long run on the treadmill. ¬†Its getting COLD here, so I’m moving indoors for the foreseeable future. ¬†I got there right when the doors opened and managed to grab a treadmill before it got busy. ¬†New Years resolution exercisers are out in droves, so once I got that treadmill I wasn’t giving it up. ¬†I did 6 miles in about 1:05, which is a full 3 minutes faster than the first time I ran 6 miles a few weeks ago!

One thing I’m noticing as I start hitting higher mileage is how my body seems to respond to slower, long runs. I’m not a fast runner and my first mile is always painful. ¬†It takes a long time for my body to warm up when running, something it doesn’t do when I swim. ¬†In the pool, after a few minutes I feel my body change gears and I just go right into a rhythm. ¬†For my first few miles of yesterday’s run, I felt like I was fighting with my body. ¬†My strides were strong, my breathing was steady and I felt strong, but something just wasn’t clicking- I felt like I was fighting my natural inclination to stop with each step. ¬†Then I got to mile 4 and everything changed. ¬†I was still tired, my legs hurt, and my body wasn’t happy with me, but for some reason it was as if my body just begrudgingly agreed to keep going. ¬†My legs decided that if they were going to be in pain, they may as well get this nonsense over with faster and jump on board. ¬†My last two miles were faster and “easier” than the first 4. ¬†Guess you just have to beat your legs into submission and then they’ll stop fighting you!

Worked in lab for a few hours this morning and now I’m ready to fall asleep on the couch. ¬†Happy Sunday ūüôā