Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Week Sixteen: 3:32!

A few photos from my Saturday morning (my last one at home for the next few weeks!):

 Current Reading

Clouds Gathering

Sleepy Kitty

{Current reading material // Lounging outside on campus // Morning cat}

Week of September 23, 2013:

Monday: Long powerwalk, 110 minutes

Tuesday: Evening run, 42 minutes total with 30 minutes running

Wednesday: Off (date night!)

Thursday: Evening walk, 32 minutes.

Friday: Off (felt a little under the weather)

Saturday: Off (but walked around campus on a fun tour)

Sunday: Long walk/run, 212 minutes total.  Details below.

{Both estimated}  Total miles run/walked this week: 30.4.  Total minutes: 396.  WHOA NOW!

Today’s post is a two-parter.  Over the weekend, Paul and I had a friend in town.  It was Lewis!  Lewis of Austin Sea Veggies and the goats, and we were thrilled to hang out with him.  Lewis invited us to tag along with him on a sciencey Saturday adventure.  I met up with Paul and Lewis at Antonio’s, where we met even more friends for pizza and chatting.  (Note: black beans and avocado sound odd on pizza, but they are delicious.  Assuming you love black beans as much as I do.)  Afterward, we headed over to meet a professor and talk about an undergraduate research project involving coral and the tiny dinoflagellates that live with them.  Paul and I did more listening than talking during that meeting, but I like to think that we each offered something of value.  There should be more partnerships between mechanical engineers and biologists!

Afterward, we walked around campus and toured several of the fish tanks, including Aglantis in the MSC, our big beautiful student center.  Paul and I had visited Aglantis once before, as part of a Tuesday lunch date.  Today we got to see the underworkings—the pumps and hidden tank that are used to add algae-derived nutrients to the main tank.  By this time, I was ready for a nap, but my engineering-minded boyfriend was busy peering into the secret compartment.  It was very fun to get a taste of a different kind of science that’s happening right here on campus.  My work is pretty far removed from zoology, yet the techniques of molecular biology can be applied to virtually any organism.  Which probably means that I’ll always have a job, assuming that job involves things like nucleic acids and genomic sequences.  That’s certainly why I have my current job!

On Sunday afternoon, I set out for my final long work-out.  The schedule asked for 3.5 hours, and I was determined to clock 3.5 hours on my feet.  After the pity party/reality check in my last post, I realized I had one last shot to get some serious mileage into my training before the marathon.  I could do this!  I could conquer my laziness and make those mikes happen!  And as you can see above, I did, but here’s the twist I used to keep myself from getting bored.  After a warm-up, I did a running ladder of sorts, starting at 1 minute and working up to 10.  It looked something like this:

Run 1 minute.

Walk 9 minutes.

Run 2 minutes.

Walk 8 minutes.

Run 3 minutes.

Walk 7 minutes.

And so on, all the way up to running 10 minutes.  Over the course of 100 minutes, that’s 55 minutes of running.  It is an excellent way to keep your pace up while run/walking.  I did one full version of that ladder, walked for 10 minutes, and started another one, ending at 8 minutes of running (because I’d reached my time goal for the work-out).  Altogether, I logged 91 minutes of running.  I’m so happy with the ladder work-out that I will probably use it during the marathon at least once.

At the risk of bragging, I will say that I am immensely proud of myself for Sunday’s work-out.  At an estimated 17.1 miles, it is the final push before the marathon and my longest on-foot work-out ever.  I have struggled a lot with my commitment to this race.  More than once I have wondered if maybe I should not be doing it at all.  I can say now without hesitation that I am a half-marathoner at heart—I love 13.1 and see myself racing that distance for years and years.  I’ve had a real mental block for 26.2, on top of the other challenges that marathon training has posed for me, such as the time-intensive work-outs and the unforgiving Texas heat.  26.2 just hasn’t felt do-able for me, which has translated to an I-can’t-do-this attitude.  Hence my ambivalence for the past four months.

But now…now I think maybe I can do this.  17.1 is still 9.1 short of 26.2, and believe me, I was hurting by the end of 17.1.  More importantly, now I remember why we sign up for something as crazy as a 26.2-mile race: to see if we can do it.  Those of us who are first-time marathoners don’t know if we can do it.  When we push outside of our comfort zones, we give ourselves the chance to be amazing, to be better, to be more.  We do it to lift ourselves out of our daily experience.  To ascend, if only for a moment, to greatness.  Our own personal greatness.  There’s a fine line, I think, between identifying as people and identifying as the sum of our accomplishments.  I know I will be the same essential person after October 20th—I’m still me.  But if I manage to finish that damn marathon, I will be a buoyantly accomplished version of me.  I will be a marathoner.  And that’s pretty awesome.

To the marathon, friends!


  1. Congratulations on a new PDR! I can't wait to see you cross that finish line. :)

    1. Thanks, Chrissy! Less than two weeks to go...I can't wait :-)