Monday, March 24, 2014

Adventures in life, or that time I forgot to blog for 4 weeks.

Hello out there world (aka Meg and loyal readers),

At the urging of one of my loyal readers, I felt it necessary to update my blog on the important life journey I've been taking...

It's called gluten free month, or that month that I had to create a willpower within myself.

February and March have been a roller coaster. I put a lot on hold to complete not one, but two half marathons within 3 weeks (Disney Princes, 2/24 and Rock and Roll DC, 3/15), as well as jump back on the wagon as far as the gluten free life goes. So some of my other adventures (cheese tasting, going to new places) took a backseat to constant hours on the pavement and constant whining during the recovery (which is still going on).

However, running in and of itself, was quite an adventure.

I started running (and to clarify, that means the Couch25k program...on the treadmill) in December 2012 right before leaving for DC. I signed up for a 5k in May, thinking it was honestly, not going to happen. Completing it felt great. Even though I went through the race alone, and I was not prepared for the weaving associated with large races, I finished in 32 minutes and felt like I had really accomplished something great.

So I guess I was riding that wave when I signed up for the Disney Princess half marathon.

Growing up in Florida, it seems that every female of college-ish age feels the pull to complete this half marathon. It is the one that all your friends have done, and YOU GET TO BE A PRINCESS FOR A DAY. So this initial decision made on the fly with a couple of my friends didn't seem crazy.

Now the rock and roll half, that was a crazy decision. This race was going to be 3 weeks after my first half marathon (would I even be walking yet?) with a friend of mine who is a good and serious (and fast) runner. But my thought process went like so:

  • It takes 6 months to prepare for a half marathon
  • Ugh 6 months...that's awful
  • Wait, if I run in February I'll already be prepared. 
  • OMG this is so efficient and time-saving!
Seriously, I wish someone had heard me go through this to explain why it was a bad idea. 

And why it was, was this:
It's very commonplace to walk the entirety of the Disney half marathon. I thought, man I've found so many beautiful places to run, and I can definitely up my mileage on the weekends and get to where I need to be. Training doesn't even start until October!
Well kids, you know what else happens in October when you live north of Florida? That's right. Cold, dry air. 
And for those that haven't been tuned in, this winter is one of the worst DC has seen in 25 years. 
Well played winter.

So I started out on a quest to find a running group. I had heard from many of my friends that this was the way to do it, because you will get feedback and have accountability to get up when it is 18 degrees, snowing, raining, and hailing on you (yes...those four things all happened in one morning). My research led me to the Potomac River Running Distance Training Program, and I can 100% say that without Coach T and this group, I would not have made any sort of personal records or met success. 

And honestly, I didn't meet any kind of success with Disney. I would say that I ran it, but the last 3 miles were sort of a run/walk situation. I finished in just over 3 hours (1 minute shy of my goal), and felt defeated, sweaty, and really not ready to continue for 3 weeks. 
Post Disney - Gross and Crying

But fortunately, the Rock and Roll run was a much better experience. After 4 months of grueling winter, we woke to a balmy 50 degrees and sunny, with just enough humidity. The course was outstanding, with lots of turns and interesting things to see, and although I hit my regular wall at mile 11, I managed to finish in 2:28, setting a MAJOR PR and feeling ready to conquer the world. 
Post RnR - less gross

So of course after swearing off running, I signed up for another Potomac River Running program. 

I guess I caught the running bug.

The gluten free month is uneventful. I learned that malted milk balls (aka Robin's eggs, the best candy ever) has wheat flour in it. I also successfully avoided thin mints, several helpings of mac and cheese, free bagels, and most recently falafel. It amazes me that the Jewish community has not done more to provide satisfactory gluten free bagels, but I guess I'm still young and the future holds great things. 

I'll try to at least update next week at some point. But if not then, I'll write you when I write you.