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Berlin Marathon Training in Stadtwald Giessen: 4 Weeks Out

Last week I had quite the runner’s high: 3 mid-week runs at great paces and a virtually spotless 20-mile run. This week, all that came crashing down. After my 12 miler on Wednesday, I had a blister on my ankle caused by deterioration in my shoes. They are unwearable. The run on Friday in my first running shoes (am I really on only my second pair of running shoes?!) was painful, and I ended up running/walking the 5 miler on Saturday and walking only on Sunday. It was depressing, especially since I am so close to The Big One.

But I have hope for the coming week. I found new shoes at ZBSports (thanks, Lifestudent) today and I’ll get them in a couple weeks. I’m icing the places that bother me and taking an NSAID daily. I will run this race.

The weekly schedule will start to get a little wonky from here on out–no long runs on the weekends, but during the week–because we’re going to Virginia so I can do some research for my dissertation and we’ve adjusted all of our runs so that nothing too long happens right before I have to spend 8 hours on a cramped plane. With all that being said, let’s move on to the report of this dismal week that I shall not dwell on any longer!

Wednesday, 27 Aug 2008

run type: long run
route: Seltersweg to the end of Stadtwald Giessen, down to the Blue Arrow, out to Watzenborn-Steinberg, back to the railroad tracks, out a 1/2 mile, back home
feeling: :|
time: 2:26:48
distance: 12 miles
pace per mile: 12:12
additional notes: I took gels at 4 and 8 miles. I had a very sharp pain in my left foot pad which started in the last 1.2 miles, and it hurt bad again once I took off my shoes at home. I don’t like the sound of that. The first three miles sucked! Walked 4 1/2 minutes in those first three miles and only 3 more minutes in the last 9 miles, including one 2-minute gel walk. Read more about this run by clicking here (When You Don’t Want To, You Gotta).

Friday, 28 Aug 2008

run type: training run
route: same as last week’s 10 miler
feeling: :|
time: 2:00:00
distance: 10 miles
pace per mile: 12:00
additional notes: My Pearl Izumis are out–the plastic heel support has broken through and gave me a blister. I ran in the Sauconys today instead and I never really felt like I found a comfortable gait. I took a PowerBar Gel at 4 miles. Started the run with a sharp pain in my right hip/groin area for the first 1/3 mile or so, then that went away. But my left quad got to where it hurt REALLY bad three times, so I had to stop and stretch it several times. Not the best run.

Saturday, 30 Aug 2008

run type:
route: Seltersweg to the 1-mile marker in Stadtwald Giessen and back
feeling: :|
time: 1:15:00
distance: 5 miles
pace per mile: 15:00
additional notes: I don’t really know what to do about that sharp pain my hip/groin, so instead of completely resting, I ran 1/2 mile, then walked 1/2 mile. My right knee hurt some too. Don’t be getting an injury now, body!!

Sunday, 31 Aug 2008

run type: not a run. I only walked.
route: Around Giessen
feeling: :|
time: 1:20:00
distance: ? miles
pace per mile: Probably about 4?
additional notes: We walked around and ran a couple errands. Tried to walk quickly so that we’d get our heart rates up.


Total Weekly Mileage: 22 miles running (at least 27 including walking)
Total Minutes: 267 minutes running, 155 minutes walking
Overall Mileage: 327.7 miles
Overall Time: 67.03 hours

Join Me in a 1-mile Virtual Race!

1-Mile Virtual Race

1-Mile Virtual Race

Thanks to Nitmos and Non-runner Nancy, I just found out about Life Strides’ upcoming 1-mile virtual race. It takes place next week, September 1 through 7, and while Life Strides is hoping all the momentum of a virtual race will help him break the 5-minute mile, but thankfully he says that “all you have to do is run 1 mile as fast or as slow as you want.” Good! Because I don’t want to screw up marathon training by going for a record here and pulling or straining something to beat my best mile time (8:24). But I’ll strive for under 9:30. And then I’ll go run 4 more miles so that I get in my training runs for the week. Fair enough?

Now my challenge to my readers. I know there are lots of runners with friends who are also runners who read this blog. Will you join me? Post a comment and let me know you’re in! Then be sure to comment on Life Strides’ post, which is your virtual race registration.

After all, it’s always Easier With Friends!

After All These Miles, I Must Say Goodbye

Close up on the broken shoes

Close up on the broken shoes

Not cool. Very not cool. Tuesday, at the end of a tough but mentally rewarding 12-mile run, I noticed a rubbed-raw blister right under my right ankle bone. A quick shoe inspection and I found the culprit:
That puppy might look innocent, but man! It was vicious to my ankle. I got to the corner of Seltersweg where we normally begin running and realized that it wasn’t going to work. I turned my little self around and went to get the shoes that carried me through my first attempt at marathon training and through stops 1 and 2 of our road to the marathon, my Sauconys. Here’s my favorite shot of those, just for old-time’s sake.

Road to the Marathon Feet: 10k (that's me on your left)

Road to the Marathon Feet: 10k (that

So here I am, living in Super Expensive Shoe Land*, 4 weeks out from my marathon, 20 and 12 milers in my very near future, and my running shoes, my dearest companions and most necessary accessory over the last 455 miles of marathon training pooped out on me.

Now, the Sauconys were okay. Not great, but okay. I never really felt like I got settled into a comfortable gait. I don’t know if this was caused by the shoes or what, but my left quad did something it has never done before. It hurt! I had to stop to stretch it three times. I also walked a couple other times because other parts were hurting, but none like that quad. It actually made me want to quit and just walk home. But I ain’t doin that in the marathon. I’ll just push through it like I did today. (This wasn’t supposed to be a running log post, but here’s the skinny: Even with all the walking and pain, I picked up the pace during the last half-mile and sprinted the last two 10ths to finish the 10 miles in exactly 12-minute miles: 2 hours flat.)

The Pearl Izumis

The Pearl Izumis

So what now? I thought that I could wait until after the marathon to buy new shoes–I mean, why change a winning horse in mid-stream? I emailed the newest running store in Springfield** last week to see if they had my shoes in my size and no response, but I’ve also been shopping eBay and Amazon, I have finally decided to go with a Saucony shoe this time around. The Pearl Izumis just don’t seem to be as durable as the Sauconys. I really would like to try some of the other big names, like Brooks and Mizuno, plus Rob has been lovin’ his Nike Frees, but this is not, I repeat not the time for stepping out on a limb. Good bye, Pearl Izumi SynchroFloats. You served me well.


*Not only can we not find real running shoes for less than €110 (that’s $162, folks!) in any stores in Gießen, but eBay.de doesn’t have my shoes at all.
**Thanks to Sarah (via Other Sarah) who told me about Starting Block. I am pretty dedicated to Ridge Runner Sports***, but they don’t sell Pearl Izumis, and their Saucony prices aren’t competitive with the likes of eBay and Amazon.
***Sarah, I think I just found your next project, should you ever retake that one class where you had to redesign a web site.

Blog Changes: New Design and Layout

I’ve been changing things around Linden’s Pensieve a little bit lately. The most noticeable change is the design. Following a step-by-step color scheme selection guide I found at Blogger’s Guide, I chose two colors and built the new design off of those colors. (Spiral and Disk, if you’re curious.) Next, I went to BgPatterns (thanks to typografika‘s linking to it in Diigo), got some inspiration (click on “Recently Created Pattens” in the bottom half), then created some patterns I liked and applied them to my site. I actually had so much fun creating background patterns that I’ll be changing the pattern whenever I feel like it, although the color scheme will remain the same (for a while, anyway).

The second change was to get rid of some of the clutter in the left-hand column. To do that, I created a navigation bar (look up above the post) and put all the links and information I used to have in that left column available in that menu (I added some stuff I wanted to put on my blog but couldn’t figure out how to include gracefully). Now you can jump straight back to the blog home page, learn about me and some of my Faves, see my races and best times, read some of my most popular posts, and find out how to contact me all by simply clinking a link at the top of every page.

If you’re reading this in a feed reader, hop on over to the site and check it out. Let me know what you think in the comments!

When You Don’t Want To, You Gotta

Today’s 12-mile run almost didn’t happen. I already didn’t run yesterday because I had an upset stomach since after the 20 miler on Sunday (but I’ll be making that one up tomorrow). I just wasn’t feeling like running today, but I’m 31 days out from my marathon and skipping a run so close to my first ever 26-point-frickin-2 mile run just doesn’t sound good. Plus, I had FrayedLaces’ mantra in my head (see #2), so I laced up my Pearl Izumis and hit the road.

The first three miles sucked. I plodded along, turning my watch from stopwatch to the time so I wouldn’t feel that pressure. I reasoned with myself: Maybe I could just run the 7 I was supposed to do yesterday (but I just went to the store and bought gels for today); or the 10 we’re scheduled to do on Friday. Maybe I’ll just walk whenever I need to, at least getting the mileage in for the day. That’s better than not running, right?

Then something I just read popped into my head. Amy over at Runner’s Lounge posted last week on managing the middle miles (which I also blogged about), and some of her advice was to “Run for a week, but completely unassociated with my event.” So I just told myself that this run is not for training. It’s because I love to run. The only part that was going to be “training” was taking my gels every 4 miles.

It was mentally rough, and some pain was shooting up and down my right leg, hip to ankle. So I walked three times, for a total of 3 1/2 minutes within the first 3 miles.

And then something happened at mile 3. I don’t know what it was, but it just got easier. And that was half-way up The Hill! Here are some nuggets from today’s run.

  • Saw a runner mom with a gentle hand on her son’s back, pushing him on his bike up The Hill. There are several places I call “recovery areas” with are relatively flat, and she’d take her hand off until The Hill started again. Precious.
  • Saw a red lizard, and it excited me because David just posted a picture on Facebook of him and a cool Horned Lizard, and thought it would be cool to see a lizard of my own. But it was just a leaf laying the right way so it looked like a lizard. :(
  • Right as I come out of the forest near Watzenborn-Steinberg, I run past a huge row of double-stacked hay rolls. When I run past them, the smell reminds me of the times we spent in Gerster with Mom’s family, on Uncle Harve and Aunt Oleva’s farm, Traveler, Billy Jo teaching me to ride a 4-wheeler.
  • And a not-so-happy nugget: A very sharp pain hit my left foot with about a mile left. I took a minute to rub it and stretch it, then I ran carefully. When I got home and took off my shoes, it hurt really bad. I’ve got it wrapped right now. Let’s hope it doesn’t progress any further.

Tuesdays with Linden’s Favorite Links | 26 August 2008

This week’s list is a little short. I found a funny headline, a runner’s prayer, and foods I should be eating. Enjoy!

I’m only sharing this link from my home-town newspaper because the title cracks me up. So the friends’ head is going to be the consultant, huh? Which friend? and what about the body?
Funny! Thanks to Kevin who mentioned this Runner’s prayer in his latest blog post. I have needed this prayer in the last few months. It’s a great reminder of the good and bad of running.
Most of the items on this list are a little… weird, but I think I could incorporate some of them into my diet. I recently discovered that I like beets.

Berlin Marathon Training in Stadtwald Giessen: 5 Weeks Out

This week was really good! I don’t know if it’s because I had two full days of rest between last weeks admittedly “short” long run (13 miles), or if I was just pushing myself extra hard for some reason, but my mid-week runs were all done at a pace of less than 12-minute miles.

Another reason that this was a good week? A huge milestone: I ran 20 miles, at one time, wasn’t hurting the whole time, and I could still walk afterward! I can do another 6.2 miles on top of that, right? You bet!

I do still have some, uh, “issues” to figure out. Like how to avoid or deal with the stinkier side of running. See the notes on the 20 mile for more detail, but this is your warning…

Tuesday, 2008

run type: training run
route: Seltersweg to the 1-mile marker in Stadtwald Giessen and back
feeling: :)
time: 56:18
distance: 5 miles
pace per mile: 11:18
additional notes: That pace includes 1 minute of walking to work out some inside hip (groin) pain, but I made up for it by really pushed the last mile or so (even passed a guy!) for a pretty strong time, my best in probably a month! It was overcast so I didn’t wear my sunglasses today* and it made me friendlier

Wednesday, 2008

run type: training run
route: Seltersweg to the 1-mile marker in Stadtwald Giessen, down to the Blue Arrow, out to the… uh, I don’t remember….
feeling: :)
time: 1:59.38
distance: 10 miles
pace per mile: 11:54
additional notes: I took PowerBar gels at 4 and 7.5ish miles. I had to walk 7 times: five 1-minute and one 90 second ease-the-pain walks, plus one 2-minute walk for a gel (I ran through the last gel). Plus I had to take a pit stop. That means when I was running, I was running.

Thursday, 2008

run type: training run
route: Seltersweg to the 1-mile marker in Stadtwald Giessen
feeling: :)
time: 54:59
distance: 5 miles
pace per mile: 11:00
additional notes: When I run slower, I notice the pain more. When I run faster, I just focus on my breathing. There’s pain, but I don’t notice it.

Sunday, 2008

run type: long run
route: Seltersweg to 2-mile marker in Stadtwald Giessen, down to the Blue Arrow, out to Watzenborn-Steinberg, back to the railroad tracks and straight on the Hut Route to the Witch’s Hut and back to the Blue Arrow, back out to Watzenborn-Steinberg, back to the railroad tracks, straight on the Hut Route to the 1/2-mile marker, and home!
feeling: :)
time: 4:15.54
distance: 20 miles
pace per mile: 12:48
additional notes: I would call this a shitty run**. I really wanted to do this in less than 4 hours, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I walked twice for a total of 2 1/2 minutes and took a pit stop within the first 2 miles (that darn hill!), but pretty much ran the rest of the time. Took gels every 4 miles. I only walked through the 8-mile gel and ran through all the rest. The time killer for this run was, well, the runs. Hit me at about mile 14 and then again at 16. Really, not cool. I think I might have to try droppin’ the E***.


Total Weekly Mileage: 40 miles
Total Minutes: 486 minutes
Overall Mileage: 300.7 miles
Overall Time: 61.33 hours
*I always wear my sunglasses. They’re like my superhero goggles.
**And I mean that literally, not figuratively. If you want figurative, I’m going with “cloudy.”
***Just in case you don’t read Nitmos’s post, “E” here refers to Ex-Lax, not acid.

Go Sarah!

Everyone go over and cheer on Sarah! Leave her some comments on her blog or on her Facebook profile. Tomorrow she runs her first triathlon, the Tiger Tri. She’ll swim 300 meters, transition, then a 12 mile bike, then a second transition, and then she’s off to her 3.1 mile (5k) run!

Sarah has been training long and hard for 10 weeks and the big day is finally here. She’s need all our encouragement right now!

Go Sarah! We’re all cheering for you! I believe in you and I know you are going to make a great showing at your very first triathlon!

Take it and Run Thursday: Middle Miles

This is my first time to hit these “middle miles” and so far they are being good to me. It was the early part of the training when I wasn’t using PowerGels correctly and drinking enough water during the runs when it was hard for me. But I still get a little a lot weak in the knees thinking about me, me!, running more than 13 miles. I ran 17 two weekends ago, and on Sunday, I’m running my first 20 miler ever. And Runner’s Lounge wants to know how I am managing?

I read all the running blogs I can the day before and the day of my long run. Heading about other runners’ struggles and how they are coping, reading about amazing successes inspires me and makes me want to run. So today, in honor of Take It and Run Thursday and the running bloggers who probably don’t know they’re helping me, I’m going to share their sites with you.


Kevin in Texas posts regularly about running, his adorable son, and occasionally, writing. Kevin and I both started training for our upcoming marathons at about the same time (he’s running the White Rock Lake Marathon in December), so we’ve been encouraging each other during the training. Kevin in a lot faster than me, and it is inspiring to read about his efforts to continue improving his speed while training for his marathon. (I’ve promised myself that I’ll do some speed training once I’ve completed The Big One.)

Run, Zuzana, Run

I’ve mentioned Zuzana Tomas, Olympic marathoner, several times in the past few weeks, but she deserve mention again on this list. Tomas shared her pre-race jitters so honestly on her blog, and coming from a frickin’ Olympian! they helped me to realize that even really awesome runners have the same butterflies that I do. Her marathon wasn’t easy, thanks to a hamstring cramp, but I still found strength from her account of pushing through that pain to cross the finish line after 26.2 miles in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Now when I’m experiencing pain, I draw from Tomas’s example of mental and physical strength and push through.


FrayedLaces in Hawaii has done some pretty amazing things, like finishing a marathon after bringing her fractured pelvis to a full-on broken one during the marathon, like planning on running a 10-mile race and instead running a marathon on a volcano (and taking 3rd place out of the women!). She’s fast and has determination. Just like with Tomas, when I’m hurting (and don’t think it isn’t anything broken or seriously strained), I think exotic Hawaiian thoughts, leis, running on volcanoes and find strength. Plus, I’ve hopefully learned an important lesson from FrayedLaces: take serious pain seriously and have it checked out or spend some serious time on crutches.

I’ll Run for Donuts

Topher in the Kansas City area (where I grew up!) likes running and donuts! One of the main reasons I started running and doing for longer distances is the food: When you run 10 miles, you can afford a few extra calories without seeing it on the hips. Topher is also training for his first marathon, the Kansas City Marathon in October. Since he hasn’t run a marathon before, Topher is hitting the same type of milestones I am, plus, his blog is funny. (And since I keep forgetting to show you this, Toper, check out this picture I took for you while in Berlin!)


Even though Vanilla hasn’t actually run a marathon yet, Vanilla inspires me more through his humor. Vanilla makes me laugh with every blog post. Even the witty repartee between Vanilla, Nitmos, and Viper makes me giggle at my computer screen. Here are a few of my favorite Vanilla posts.
The 9 Types of Runs: Runs to shoot for and runs to avoid
Pick-up Lines for Runners: Need a date and looking for a fit man or woman? This post is sure to help.
The Dual Runner Family: Marriage advice and playing the race card from Vanilla? Who woulda thunk it?
Set Bowels to Liquefy I love a good poop joke, and Vanilla certainly delivers. Plus, lately, running has been giving me the runs, so this is hitting extra close to home.

Morgan Gets Thin

For some reason, running with the goal of losing weight has never been a big motivator for me. I always ran with a race goal or a clothing-size goal. But when we moved to Germany, I lost 10 pounds before I even realized they were gone. It wasn’t running related, just a change in lifestyle. And that’s what Morgan in Kansas City has done. She used to be “the big girl” but one day decided she didn’t want that title anymore. Since May 1, 2007, she “started eating less, eating better, and moving more” and lost 100 pounds! In her blog, she charts her struggles with food, struggles which I also share, allbeit on a lesser degree. I have always known that I don’t eat like I should for reasons other than being hungry, control most often being the main item missing from my plate, so it is reassuring to read of someone else with that struggle.

More than I am reassured by my shared struggle with food (although hers is much more difficult), I am inspired by her resolve. She shares the dark, unsuccessful days, but also continues to report the successes.

Sarah Jo Austin

Sarah is my running partner. Well, she was my running partner when we lived on the same continent. And on Saturday, she will compete in her first triathlon. Sarah’s dedication and passion for running has always rubbed off on me and it continues to do so over the miles through her blog, the comments she leaves on mine, and emails. I couldn’t do it without her.

I can’t end this post without mentioning that there are so many other friends and family who continually encourage me through emails, Facebook, and Twitter; it’s not only these bloggers who keep me going when the going itself is rough. It amazes and moves me that people all over the world, most of whom I’ve never met, touch my life and keep me running when the going gets tough, steep, or painful.

Tuesdays with Linden’s Favorite Links | 19 August 2008

This week, I’m going to share one of the biggest revelations in running history, FrayedLaces’ new method of calculating distances. If you are a runner, you need to check out the first link on this week’s link list. Do it. Right now.

If you aren’t a runner (that’s fine!), there are still some links this week that you will appreciate, especially, I predict, the links which deals with food (who doesn’t like food? . . . Didn’t think I’d see any hands on that one!).

And as a bonus, I’m going to link to three other bloggers I know who are doing weekly link lists I think you might be interested in:

Sarah Jo Austin: For the Love of Links Fridays
LorraineDesign: Weekly Reader: Wednesday Links (first edition, so I couldn’t link to all of them like I did with Sarah)
Daily Adventures in a Semi-Boring Life: 7 Wonders Wednesday (another first edition)

(Are you posting links weekly and want me to add you to this list next week? Let me know–I’m sure I’ve overlooked someone!)

I have never actually run more than 16 miles yet (give me a couple weeks, though!), but I like the idea of this. I don’t know what Euler’s constant is, but it explains everything.
Man, almost every single one of these drinks sounds delicious! Too bad I don’t have a blender here.
I believe in naps, and napping at work can be dangerous if you don’t wake up in time. When I was a grad student and shared and office with 33 other grad students, all I needed to do was tell a couple people to make sure I get up when my alarm goes off. Now that I have a fancy “real job” with my own office, I can’t rely on other people to wake me up. I usually use my cell phone, but now enter KukuKlok.com.

NOTE: I do not nap at work very often! I usually save that for “work at home” days. But as I said, I believe in naps, so when necessary, I’ll nap at work. Just doesn’t happen very often.)

I am at the beginning of developing my photography hobby, but I’m filing this web page under “Rainy Day”! In fact, I might play around with it tonight. Just a little. :)
I don’t care that this was previously published at Men’s Health, this woman is glad to read anything the says chocolate and sour cream are okay to eat (in appropriate proportions, of course!

EDIT: I had to add the following two posts. The come from my favorite running Olympian, Zuzana Tomas. The first is her description of her difficult yet triumphant Olympic marathon, and the second is a tear-jerker from her American hometown newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune.

tags: post-to-blog, marathon, zuzana tomas, salt lake tribune, marathoner, olympics, tomas, zuzana

EDIT #2: Thanks to a commenter, I would like to share another site that offers some more great online alarm clocks. OnlineClock.net has lots to offer: customizable background colors and clock sizes, 24-hour alarm clock (“military” or “European” time), a mobile alarm clock, an analog alarm clock, a countdown timer, a stopwatch with split function, and even a binary clock if you’re into that sort of thing. Be sure to check out the About Page. (Danke aus Gießen!)

I have also failed to mention Online-Stopwatch.com, a site I’ve used in the past. It also offers both stopwatch (no splits) and countdown timer functions.