Sunday, January 27, 2013

Go Runner!

It seems like things are progressing really well for 85% of the running blogs I read.  Everyone is conquering injuries; getting PR's; following training plans and then some; getting in their stretching and strength training and foam rolling; getting a coach; running a super hard tempo run and finishing so strong that they felt like they could keep going!

How the hell does everyone make it look so easy?

That is one of the many appealing things about running.  You can always improve.  You really can.  Until you are an Olympian or are already devoting 40+ hours a week to it.  And so it's only natural that most of us would keep getting better and stronger at running with some effort.  Not even all that much effort really, just 5-10 hours per week.

I'm at a fork where I feel I've plateaued at getting stronger/faster with the current routine I'm operating.  I'm not surprised or disappointed, but the path I chose after resting to try and rid my buttcrease pain in October 2012 hasn't been conducive to getting better at running.

What path? My path has been to run miles at goal marathon pace regularly, a pace that is unclear to me yet, but has generally been between a 6:45-7:10 pace.  Plus occasional fartleks.  Plus a  run over 18 miles on the weekends.  The idea was that with all these miles at 6:50 pace, that pace would start to feel easier and easier.

Well what in the hell, it doesn't feel any easier.  Not one ounce easier than it felt before I dug out probably more than 100 miles at that pace.  4 miles at 6:45 pace still feels like one helluva speed workout to me.  Moreso in my legs than in my lungs.

I'm clearly missing some ingredient--whether it is that track workouts really DO matter and are necessary; whether I need to do more strength training (big surprise, I haven't done much at all the past two months); whether I need to take more days off, run less miles, run more miles, change my diet, add more iron supplements.  I don't know what it is, but right now the combination I'm working with has left me feeling like I'm going nowhere.

To be clear, that's okay with me.  I'm looking forward to not having a marathon in my view so that I can put even less effort into wondering what runs I should be doing.  For instance, this weekend, I really did not want to go on a long run.  Not at all.  But with 5 weeks until marathon day, I have limited weekends left to try and hit 21, 22, or 23 miles.  So I was feeling a lot of pressure to get 22 miles in.  And I hate when running feels like this, when I feel forced to do something I'm not looking forward to. It will be nice to not worry if I'm doing the right run, and just head out for 12 fun miles and then come home.  Or 22 if I happen to be feeling like it.  (spoiler: I did not hit 21, 22, or 23 miles this weekend).

It's also okay with me because I'm content with where I'm at (to some degree).  Knowing I can run a sub 1:30 half  marathon will always feel nice, no matter how many times it happens, even if I'm stuck at the same 1:27-1:29 result over and over again.  Progress would feel better, but it is still a fantastic feeling to know what my body allows me to do just by indulging in my hobby most mornings of the week.

So this reflection comes because this week was pretty sluggish.  Almost every run felt sub-par in one way or another, and almost every run was interrupted by some stomach issues.  (I feel healthy, but suspect my stomach is fighting off a minor bug? Or I developed a new sensitivity where I used to have stomach of steel?).

Monday: 0.  Kind of regret this -- it threw me off.  I was feeling great after my 102 mile week, then decided I should take a day off even though my body was craving a run.  I never fell back on track after taking Monday off.  Hmm.

Tuesday: 10.2 a.m., 4.7 p.m.  I had a date with the treadmill to try and best my 9.08 miles in one hour that I hit last week.  I hit 9.18 miles, but it doesn't count so much.  It was a terrible run.  Normally when I tempo on a treadmill, I'll hit 30 minutes and think "Nice! Only 30 minutes left, feeling good!"  This time, I hit 30 minutes and thought about giving up because I couldn't believe I had a whole 'nother 30 minutes to go.  I felt like crap.  And I stopped to stretch/drink too many times during that second half.  Fail.  I started at 8.8 mph, and bumped it up every mile until I hit 9.4 mph at mile 7, and then started bumping down.  Average pace around 6:32 or so.  Definitely did not feel "like I could to a few more miles!! Yippee!! So easy!!"

Wednesday: 11.8.  easy.

Thursday:  13.  Um, this was supposed to be 20 miles.  Yeah, I woke up extra early to get 20 miles in, thinking it has been hard to cram 20 miles into my weekends lately, but nothing was working in my favor.  I got in the car to head to the gym near my work, and the gas tank was empty.  Got gas.  Lost 10 minutes, maybe I'll still have time for 18.5 miles. Got on the treadmill; had to get off THREE times due to stomach issues.  Quit at mile 13 due to feeling awful and running out of time.

Friday: 13.  5 miles of fartleks at the front end.

Saturday: 4.5 a.m., 8.5 p.m.  Ran the with Gentleman in the morning.  I had slept in until 11:00a.m.  Yes, I really did.  After going to bed at 11:00 p.m.  Which is to say I slept 12 hours.  I don't know how I do it.  There was crazy construction going on in the apartment above, and I slept through it because of my superpower weekend lazy skills.  So, I ruined any chance of running in the morning, and didn't want to be running a 20+ miler through 3:00 p.m. on a promising Saturday.  I did have a minor freak out in my head about how I have a marathon coming up and SHOULD BE running at least 20 miles, and 4 was pretty pathetic.  I ended up compromising by sneaking in a one-hour treadmill run in that evening, 8.3 miles in one hour, progression run starting at 7.0 mph and ending at 9.3 mph.  Surprising how crowded the gym is at 8:00p.m. on a Saturday.  We headed out to a movie right after, which I'll mention more below....

Sunday: 18.6 slow blah miles.  Ate a honey stinger gel at mile 12.5 and felt a small surge afterwards, but still mostly blah.

total: 84.3 stupid miles.

I would love to feel better.  Possibly this is still an iron issue.  I have never figured out why I feel high on energy some weeks and completely drained on others.  Anyway...

****MOVIES****

I never think to describe myself as "someone who loves movies" because that seems like announcing "I'm a human in a developed country."  Everybody loves movies, right?  Well every now and then I meet someone who is like, "oh I haven't been to the movie theatre since 2008."  WHAT!?!? why!?!

I do love movies.  I love the movie THEATRE experience.  It is the only way I can give a movie the full attention it deserves, because a movie at home means I miss 23 scenes while browsing my ipad, eating food, taking a phone call, etc.  At the theatre, I'm all in, focused, crying all over the place.  There's nothing I love more than sending or receiving a text with the Gentleman on Friday afternoon at work that says "so-and-so movie at 8:15 tonight?"  YES.  Yes please, I DO want to to check out of this work week and sit on my butt while I transport to another time with beautiful actors.

I don't check in with the blog every time I see a movie, so I thought I would do a quick recap of the movies I have seen in the last 3 months or so now that Oscar season is approaching.  Inspired by my absolute favorite movie experience this past weekend.

Looper: while it has been a while since I saw this film, it still stands out to me as one of my favorites of the year.  It reminded me a little of another Bruce Willis film, and one that I have always been a fan of--12 Monkeys--in the way that the time-loop aspect gets your brain all hyped up for days afterwards.  The only problem is I don't think I will ever watch it again due to a few scenes that were hard to watch.   JGL for the win, I give this 8.5 out of 10 "go runner!" shout-outs.

This should be my new blog header photo.  JGL.
Darn it.  There is this picture of me where I swear I look like JGL, but I can't find it right now.  I'll share it in the future.  Get ready to have a crush on me.

Moonrise Kingdom: If you like one Wes Anderson movie, you'll probably find some joy in all of them.  This was better than the last few (Steve Zissou, Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox) but I wasn't as enthralled by it as some friends and critics.  It was long; the main actors were children; I can't think of what else to complain about.  Bruce Willis was a perfect addition to the cast of regular (adult) Wes Anderson players, and Ed Norton is so likable when he is doing comedy-ish roles.  7 out of 10 "go runners!".

I'm a quirky movie

Argo: Ben Affleck is a fantastic director.  He's 3 for 3 in my book.  This was also a nice little dip into history for someone like me who was not alive to remember the Iran hostage crisis, and didn't get to experience the sideburn bell-bottom era that was 1979. I can never pinpoint what it is about John Goodman that makes him so likable, but he and Alan Arkin provided some comic relief from the hand-wringing tension of the hostage escape plan.  8.8 out of 10 "go runners!"

This movie needs more bellbottoms.  And mustaches. 

Lincoln: Yes, DDL worked his tail off to portray Lincoln, the movie was interesting, beautiful, political, exciting.  I can't say anything else without sounding like a douchy historian.  JGL didn't impress too much here, but the mean old grumpy Tommy Lee Jones did.  My dad played football with Tommy Lee Jones, so I'm just one level away from having the chance to see his scowl in person.  8 out of 10 "go runners!" Minus one point for sadly learning that Lincoln's voice was nowhere near as strong as I always pictured the voice that would boom "Four Score....." Minus another point for Lincoln not being a vampire killer.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:  I saw this to keep my husband company.  Kept the expectations reaaaallll low, which helped me only feel bored 20% of the time.  The sudden outburst of songs was super odd.  And kind of funny.  And why did one dwarf get to look normal while the rest had huge honkers? It passed the time. A lot of "there is no way they would have survived that" moments.  6.2 out of 10 "go runners!"

How'd Kili get so lucky?

Brave: I watched this at home on DVD which means I hardly paid attention.  So I hated it.  Also the twist is very....huh? Turns out this movie is about....huh? okay.  4.8 out of 10 "go runners!" Minus 5.2 points for Disney forgetting that the best Disney movies have songs.

Skyfall: This blog review was a bad idea.....I'm getting impatient and running out of adjectives....  What to say....the first Craig Daniels Bond movie, Casino Royale, is still the best one hands down.  I don't know if we're supposed to like M or not, but I'm with the bad guys on this one and think she is a cold-hearted B who I would seek vengeance on if I was Javier Bardem.  The villain who rocked the house.  7.3 out of 10 "go runners!"

Les Miserables:  Oh, my sweet Les Mis.  My love Les Mis.  I fell in love with the story when I was just six years old and my mom snuck me into the show in San Francisco (I think you had to be 8 years old).  I have since seen it several more times, fell deeply and shed tears with the Victor Hugo novel, and rocked out to the PBS soundtrack in its entirety during long runs.  And long drives.  I am not a fan of musicals -- I hate Rent; I hate Wicked; I like Jersey Boys; etc.  But Les Mis holds a very special place in my heart.  That said, I don't have a lot to add to the reviews that have all been told already.  The film was lovely in that it took you visually where the broadway performance can not.  The opening scene itself is stunning.  The actors don't hold a candle to the powerful voices of broadway trained actors, nor to the talent that is required of that unmatchable soundtrack.  I do think Hugh Jackman did justice to one of my favorite characters in literature, Jean Valjean, but nobody else quite hit the mark.  Maybe adult Eponine...regardless of the voices, it was still a joy to watch.  I spent most of the movie trying not to cry since my cool husband was busy being all "I'm bored, is it over yet." Sacha Baron Cohen sucked balls.  Because the story is still Les Mis, 8.1 out of 10 "I'm Jean Valjean's!!"

Well done monsieur Jackman

Everybody hates you Cosette.  Don't you know how much your father has SACRIFICED?!

Silver Linings Playbook: I believed the hype and got my expectations way too high.  In the end, it was no different than the myriad other films out there that romanticize mental illness.  Garden State, As Good as it Gets, etc.  The ending was stolen right from Little Miss Sunshine.  It was nice to see Bradley Cooper not play a hot suave guy.  5 out of 10 "go runners...I guess..."

Life of Pi:  Now. THIS is a movie.  I was blown all sorts of away.  I haven't had such a magical experience at the movies in a long time.  A beautiful story, and my eyes lit up like I was on a Disneyland ride the entire time.  I wouldn't save this for a home viewing, it is far too lovely looking on the big screen.  Just a beautiful film.  I'm not sure how word of mouth hasn't spread this movie harder.  10 out of motherfucking 10 "Go Richard Parkers!"

We saw Life of Pi this weekend at a speakeasy theatre in Oakland.  It's awesome.  We sat on a couch.

The couch to the left of the one with the people in it. 


Movies I haven't seen yet but still want to: Zero Dark Thirty; Django Unchained (afraid of the violence, never seen a Quentin film); Beasts of the Southern Wild; I think that's it.

Do you love the movie theatre experience? Favorite movie of 2012? 

59 comments:

  1. Silver linings play book the book was really, really good. The movie is really quite different, the characters are ExTREMELY different. The movie was enjoyable but I had a hard time concentrating because it was so unlike the story. I know I should no better at this point in my life, but

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  2. My keyboard froze and I couldn't edit my comment....I know I should KNOW better by this point in my life but it still disappoints me when they change books so much.

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    1. My iPad freezes my comments all the time! I just give up and post incoherent comments. If you want a book that is identical to the movie: hunger games. Turns out it is kind of boring when a movie looks exactly the same on film as it did in your head

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  3. I have always wondered about runners that can make it seem so easy. I find running any sort of run under an 8 minute pace moderately difficult. When I am healthy enough to do tempos and have to do them at 6:45, I'm normally dying. I do not think "oh a few more miles and I'll feel just as good" I think "when the heck is this over". That being said I hate running with pressure.

    I haven't been seeing as many movies as I would normally but I do enjoy the experience because like you, it's the only time I can give my full attention. I enjoyed Looper and Les Miserables. Life of Pi sounds really good. Glad you found enough adjectives to fully describe each movie...I actually quite enjoyed reading about your movie taste.

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  4. I am so weak when it comes to staying up on all the movies that come out. I mean, I watched American Psycho for the first time last night, which puts me like thirteen years behind the rest of the world.

    I marvel over the fact that you get up early enough to run 13 miles in the morning. How early do you usually get up on mornings like that? I'm obsessed with early-morning risers even though I can't seem to manage it myself.

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    1. D'oh. See, this is what happens when I'm up early-ish. I comment on blogs without using my full name.

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    2. I honestly cannot get over people who run in the evening! I'm so wiped and my legs feel like lead. I feel fresh and light in the a.m.

      I typically run 1.5 hours give or take 20 minutes in the a.m. Which usually means I need to wake up 2.5 to 3 hours before I need to be at work. Sounds painful but my firm is flexible about when I stumble in, and the first 5 minutes after the alarm goes off are the only hard ones. Oh, and then I sleep for 12 hours on friday nights to recover.....

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    3. I sleep a lot on Friday nights too. Last Friday I was in bed before 9 p.m. and I was SO EXCITED about it. My husband thought I was teasing him (he also goes to bed early) and I was like, nope, just pumped to be going to sleep!

      My start-time isn't very flexible - a pretty hard 8 and 9 a.m. - so if I can get up at 6 a.m. and then run for 45 minutes, I feel like I'm doing pretty amazing. I suppose it would help if I was as fast as you though...

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  5. I am one of those people who never sees movies in the theater. Last movie I saw was SkyFall and the last before that was Quatum of Solace....that's how bad I am. Honestly though its only because of the kids because I (like evey other American as you pointed out ;). ) love film! Completely obsessed with what's next on my Netflix list.

    By the way, you have Les Mis a better rating than SkyFall. Don't you know how that hurts me? 007 is my backup husband....you can't be mean like that.

    As far as platueing, the marathon pace runs should be getting easier. Are you doing any type of shorter speeds? It doesn't have to be much. I would just insert 400's at half or 10K pace 5-6 times during a normal 10 miler. It wakes up the legs a tiny bit.

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    1. You're a Bond girl! Of course you are! If they do a Bond musical, I will give it a 10. Or on second thought, a zero.

      I've done fartleks, that's about it for short speed. I love 400 repeats! I've just been testing whether avoiding the track helps my butt/hamstring issues. Maybe it's time to go back to the track...

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  6. I used to like movies in the theatre. Then we got a real TV and DVD player, and I didn't have to put up with the rude idiots, the sticky floor, the commercials, and my all time pet peeve - someone else controlling the volume. I've spent entire movies with my fingers in my ears trying to preserve what little hearing I have left. That's no fun at all.

    That said, we still go to the occasional movie with friends. I take those little roll up ear plug thingies. I'm pretty sure we did one in 2012 but don't remember which one, and we saw Skyfall a few weeks ago. I've decided The Hobbit can wait till DVD or streaming.

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    1. You are surrounded by terrible theatres! My only gripe is the liberal professor hippies that go to all the films in Oakland and laugh tooooo hard to show that they got a mature joke. Argo had 304847 of them.

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  7. OK, why am I not surprised that you are feeling tired? You ran 100+ miles and wasn't this your first time ever running so many miles? Wait a couple of weeks and your legs will come back. Anytime I increase miles, I need a few weeks for the legs to adjust. With regard to MP getting easier....that has never happened to me in a training cycle. I always think, man, this is hard, how am I going to be able to pull this off in a race. But you know what, with the taper, it always happens. When I PRed my HM I only ran 5 miles at that pace, and it felt all out. Then on race day it just happened. I do agree however about the fact that the body does get used to one style of training. It might be worthwhile to look into some training plans - I love Hudson (based on Canova) as he has one run all paces from 1K to marathon throughout a training cycle. Good luck! Oh, and go see Beasts of the Southern Wild, my favorite movie:)

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    1. Wise words, all of them. thank you. But training plans will always bring out the rebel "no! You can't make me!"

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  8. Sorry, but Les Mis killed me! I could NOT stand those mouth close ups, they really creeped me out. There is something about watching a person sing on a huge screen when their tounge is incredibly wet and moving all over the place that makes me severely uncomfortable.

    Not to be a buzz kill, cause I know you love to clip away those miles, but maybe its the quantity over quality here that's killing you. When running 100 miles a week it's really hard for your body to recover from all those miles, especially when you have a full time job otherwise. Kind of ran into this issue a bit myself here and really killed any hope of picking up any speed last year where I instead just got slower at my goal races. Trying something different now, we shall see how it works...could be just as much of a crap shoot.

    It could be you're just pushing too much and your body can't recover. Do you have the same issues when your running volume is lower? Maybe you need high intensity/lower mileage instead of the other way around. Just food for thought.

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    1. I do occasionally have low energy weeks regardless of how hi or low the previous week mileage was. As far as I can tell. Ive never been able to piece it together. It happens maybe 3x per year? Fatigue.

      Gross to the les mis tongues! I was sitting in the very back row, didn't notice...

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  9. Loved the reviews. I saw D'Jango and really liked it, but I like Tarantino. The violence is very heavy handed in this one. Sometimes it's so over the top that it's more comical than disturbing, but there are at least two scenes I can think of where I had to watch through my fingers like a child, so maybe wait for that one to come out on DVD so you can put a pillow over your face or something during the terrible parts.

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  10. We just watched Looper last night!! That was a good movie. I HATE going to the movie theater though, I only go around once a year and it has to be something I am pretty excited about.

    I think your legs will come back very soon, they were probably just tired from your monster week the week before. Totally, completely normal.

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  11. I am not a huge movie theater person. Maybe because its like $20 to see a movie in NYC. I'd rather wait and watch it on itunes in the comfort of my own home. What iron do you take? I have issues with iron and still trying to find a supplement that I love...

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    1. I have liquid ferrous sulfate and a slow release pill form of the same. I can't say it is the perfect fit for me....still working on it too. Let me know if you find a good one! I've been meaning to try some raw iron pills that inspirunning recommended but haven't seen them in stores

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  12. I went through my last training cycle and tried to run too many runs at marathon goal pace. I got a coach and she told me to slow the F down during recovery runs and work my ass off in the intervals, hill work and tempo workouts. I have been doing this for a few weeks and noticed I can maintain my pace a bit longer in the hard workouts.

    Great movie roundup! I have yet to see most of them! I have only seen Zero Dark Thirty and it was "holy shit I can't get up to pee" amazing.

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    1. I definitely slow the eff down for 80% of my miles, or more! When I refer to running at goal marathon pace, that means I am tempo-ing. Which is usually only once a week.

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  13. I wish we lived closer so we could run together on occasion! having a buddy with you=less thinking, more fun! :)
    I was just talking to a wise running yesterday (I do not categorize myself as wise!) and he was explaining to me that less miles + more intense works amazing for some...or more miles + less intense works amazing for others...and that it takes years to find your mojo.
    I LOVE to run, and not think. I use running to get away from the thinking!
    I know you'll do great in Napa! and then you'll have some down time to play around and get ready for CIM '13. :)
    I hope your monday is off to a great start!

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  14. Sounds like a good week of training! I am continually inspired by speedy runners like you and Lizzy who crank out serious mileage and are busy career women. And I appreciate how honest you are as well. Keep up the good work.

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  15. I enjoyed your movie reviews. Given that you've nevery seen a Quentin Film and don't enjoy ultraviolence, I'd advise against D'jango.

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  16. Totally agree with you about Lincoln and Les Mis, and agree with the commenter above re: Beasts of the Southern Wild. Two lesser seen movies that I liked this year were Robot and Frank and Celeste and Jesse Forever. Not Oscar quality, but cute independent movies. I really want to see Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty.

    Agree with the above peeps that perhaps you're doing too many miles at marathon pace. I've heard that you're supposed to do 50% of miles at a easy pace, 25% moderate, 25% speed/hard. But what do I know... I'm still a newbie.

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  17. I'm in a rut. Hope that cheers you up.

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  18. I love your movie reviews!! There's so many movies out there right now that I want to see but just can't seem to get my ass to the theater. I think the weather has been too nice or something. I like your John Goodman observation. I think he makes every movie/tv show better. We watched "Flight" last night and I was just ho-hum about the movie the whole time except for the few scenes that John Goodman was in.

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    1. I forgot to say flight! I really want to see it. Even if John goodman is the only part you liked!

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  19. Well running 100 mile week might have Tired you out a bit for sure. I find that stomach and iron problems are linked to my hormones. About once every three to four months I get really tired and weak the week before my period. And my stomach cant take long runs. Not every cycle, just every few cycles. Weird I know, but once I figured it out I was able to run thru it more comfortably.

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  20. My favorite movie of 2012 was Django Unchained. Yes, it's violent... buuut eventually you just kind of get desensitized to it. Plus, it's kind of "easier" to stomach when it's against the shitty slave owners and klan members. I'd say the movie is worth it alone for the awesome soundtrack (specifically John Legend's "Who did that to you" and Anthony Hamilton & Elayna Boynton's "Freedom) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bdOTUocn5w and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJL88BTdS0Q . However, if you're turned off by long movies then be aware that this one is hella long...

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    1. I hadn't heard about the soundtrack, thanks for the tip! I love a good soundtrack. I think I need to get brave and see Django. Or read some spoilers so I know when to close my eyes.

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  21. I just got back from the physical therapist and it turns out that I've been battling proximal hamstring tendonitis since August 2012. It's in my butt-crease, but not very lateral (which seems like that's where your discomfort is.) Anyway, I have some stretches and exercises that are supposed to make it better, I'll let you know how it goes. Did you ever see a helpful physical therapist who specializes in running injuries? They know much more than the MDs (from my experience.)

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    1. Can you share some of the stretches?! Still sounds like a similar battle to mine. I have seen one sports physical therapist, one sports chiropractor, and visited two different physical therapists through Kaiser. The most helpful tip so far was from one of the Kaiser docs who told me to hold a hamstring stretch for 1 minute, 3x a day. When I am consistent with that, it makes a difference. I never noticed a difference when I focused on glute strengthening...

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  22. I HATE seeing movies in theaters, even though my mom manages one! I like to be on my couch, cuddled up with a warm blanket, without any strangers around, able to pause any time I need to pee, get a drink, etc. I really want to see Les Mis but I'll probably have to wait till it comes out on DVD. Have you ever tried running fewer miles/taking more rest days and seeing if that helps? That's just what works for me!

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  23. Hate to admit that I only saw two movies in 2012, and one of them was Brave. Loved your review on it. Completely agree with you!! The only other movie I saw was Hunger Games and thought it was just okay. I love going to the theatre as well, and now I'm going to check and see what movies are out!! I have a craving to go!

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  24. LOVED the film review. I recently saw Moonrise Kingdom and loved it, I also saw the Hobbit - yawned for the first half, perked up when Gollum came on. (Also, what is it with hot dwarves at the moment? Game of Thrones has the world's hottest dwarves, but there were two in the Hobbit who would get it!!!). My favourite 2012 movie was Hunger Games, which I'm mildly embarrassed about. I'm hoping to see Les Mis next week - and YES WE ALL HATE COSETTE!!!

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  25. "How the hell does everyone make it look so easy?" -- They lie. I mean that's probably not totally fair, but I think the key is they make it LOOK easy. It's not easy.

    I don't think certain paces ever get easy; you just get better at going on anyway. That's my thought.

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    1. I've thought about it that way before...I mean, 5:00 pace can't feel EASY for elites....maybe they just manage the pain that comes with that speed better than others can.

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  26. I am that girl...the one who hasn't seen a movie in theaters since...no idea when. Maybe the last Resident Evil movie?

    I have no races on my schedule and it feels awesome! I'm not running nearly as much or as hard, but I don't have to think about it all the time either - kind of nice.

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  27. I have been so meh about running lately. It's kind of good because I'm training for a tri, so I need to do more non-running things anyway, but I feel similarly plateaued (although MUCH slower than you!)

    We just watched Looper the other night. I hate guns, but I still enjoyed it, and kept thinking about it for a long time afterwards

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  28. Re: "It seems like things are progressing really well for 85% of the running blogs I read." Obviously you don't read my blog! Hahaha!!!!

    Re: movies. The last movie I saw was Monsters, Inc 3D in the theater with the kids. I really enjoyed it (I know, I'm kinda lame that I just admitted that), and I rarely go to the movie theater. Maybe once a year? Maybe less?? My husband loves movies, so he often goes by himself!

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  29. GO SEE DJANGO UNCHAINED!!! If you want to decide whether you can take the violence before seeing it, then see Kill Bill vol.1 and 2 if you make it through 1. I think Django Unchained was one of the best movies I've seen in years; it has everything. It will make you laugh, cry, cringe, and laugh again. Tarantino's violence is like classic kung fu movies and most of it isn't very realistic. Writing this has made me want to see it again in theaters and I never see movies twice in the theater.

    I think I've recommended this before but do hill repeats! Find a hill with a decent grade (8-10%) and run up for 1/4 mile at between 5k to 10k effort. Either recover on the way down or practice downhill running (studies show downhill running makes you faster too). Not only will this make you faster but it will also make hills easier for you during the marathon.

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    1. Thanks for the hill reminder, I do love to attack a few hills. I did 3 repeats up a long hill in your honor yesterday. When you say 5k-10k effort...that means it should FEEL that hard, right? Not like it should actually be 5k-10k pace? I don't think I can charge up a hill at a 6:00 pace, even for a quarter mile

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    2. Yes, it should FEEL like that pace. Thanks for doing them in my honor, I hope they honor you with some more speed! From what I've read it is best to keep them on the shorter side to allow for your legs and body to recover; supposed to be better for adaptation.

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  30. I am a terrible movie watcher. I have a hard time sitting still that long, and I have this weird thing where I do not like to get emotionally invested in things like that. I know, weird. BUT, in saying that, my husband loves movies, and so I go to them now and again. I really enjoyed Skyfall (Javier Bardem was an inredible villain). I also have to say that Django was incredible. And I also don't deal with violence well. Like someone else said, you really end up rooting for them when they are killing super shitty people. There were a couple scenes I had to turn away from, but all in all, I would highly recommend it.

    I haven't run in like 3 weeks. I was just... really tired of it (and the sub 20 degree weather was not helping my motivation). I didn't want to let it get to the point where I hated running, so I thought an extended break was for the best. Sometimes running doesn't feel good. I guess you are only human to feel 'eh' about it sometimes!

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  31. Maybe you could try dialing down your mileage and adding in some lung-searing speed play to refresh your legs a bit? I am sure the 102 mile week zapped a bit of your speed -- but you'll be fine once you taper...I tried running more miles at MP for my last marathon but I felt flat on race day. I tend to lose focus when the workouts are boring, so I guess I lost my drive. Anyway,your MP is my all-out 5K pace, so take all of this with a grain of salt. You are so fast that it is probably really, really difficult for you to keep improving. Much easier for a slower runner to get faster than for an already-fast runner to get faster!

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  32. Query how you have time to watch all those movies with your running and work. Awesome! It seems I only get to watch children movies now. Which means I did watch Brave (I think the only move on your list I've seen). I liked Brave. Not as much as Puss in Boots (another recent move I've seen), but I thought it was fun. I did start reading the Life of Pi, but just started.

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    1. Weekends baby, weekends. Even when one of us is slammed with work, without any kiddos to take care we can always find time to slip out on a friday, saturday, or sunday night.

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  33. (Not meaning to sound negative because you know I freaking love you) First off, you are not just an average runner who can add some speed work into their regime and quickly end up in PR CITY with immediate and significant improvements. You are already fast, so that makes those gains that much harder. Add your 'pain in the ass' to the equation, and I think it is almost impossible to get fastER with that issue. You have not plateaued... I just honestly think your ass pain is hindering your ability to see those gains you want to see. *just my opinion :)

    Email me... I have a link to a blog site which has many elite runners who post their daily workouts/injury prevention/rehabs/etc. Super helpful for speed work ideas, input on injuries,... from those that are at that elite level and willing to help out those wanting to get to that level.

    Have a great week!

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    1. Is this a private blog? If not, please share!

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    2. I wan to check out the blog link too! Thanks for the advice my wise blog twin

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  34. First of all, not very week and workout can be an improvement from the one before...one of the most frustrating things about running! Have you read Advanced Marathoning? Lots of great advice backed up by physiologic explanations that make sense.

    Second of all, if you're not feeling up to par, that will definitely affect your running. I got hit hard with the flu that left me completely drained for WEEKS. It's one of the reasons I decided not to run the marathon I had planned in February. Don't underestimate the effect being sick can have on your body!

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  35. I am wondering if you might see more improvement if you cut down on your running frequency and add in some cross-training. The only thing my gifted runner husband (who has the great butt to prove it) wants to do is run, run, run. So I will understand if you boo or hiss at me for this suggestion (since this is what he does - otherwise he's a lovely man).

    Back to the suggestion. Given that you're still dealing with a nagging injury, having some less than thrilling runs, and not seeing the improvements you'd hoped for given how hard you're working, maybe the answer is that you need some rest/recovery (possibly with cross-training). You could experiment with a FIRST-type program, for example. But that's fairly structured. Or maybe all you need is a small tweak in your program, such as taking two consecutive days off running every week (or every second week), either after your long run or after a hard speed workout.

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    1. Hehe. I identify with your husband, great butt included (kidding), but I won't boo and hiss. I'm totally on board with this, in theory, but in action I fail so greatly at it. I will get on kicks (I was and kind of still am swimming once/week, I do a plank like once a month, I sometimes kick my butt with a Jillian Michaels video) but generally have never been able to keep x-training a habit. I always fall back into running. It is a lazy habit in a way...I stick with the comfortable.

      What is a FIRST type program?

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    2. FIRST is an acronym for a program developed by the Furst Institute of Running (and I don't know what the S and T stand for). There are variations of it around, but the basic idea is that you do 3 challenging runs per week (long, slow run at marathon pace, tempo run at about 10K pace and speed run) and 2 cross-training sessions.

      True FIRSTies calculate the exact recommended pace and distance (using formulas provided by FURST) for their runs. I've heard that if you do the three runs at the pace/distance recommended, they're fairly tough. If you want to read more about it, there is at least one discussion thread devoted to "FIRSTies" on Runners' World.

      People like me (who don't like to slavishly follow recipes) take the general concept (3 quality runs + cross-training) and adapt it to suit their ambitions and limitations. I read about a similar approach in a book called Mastering the Marathon (Don Fink), which provides guidance for older runners (like me, I'm 49). Fink takes it further by suggesting that you can substitute some cross-training for all or part of your speed workout or long, slow run (but not the tempo run) as a way to minimize risk of injury. He also suggests that some runners might want to shift to a longer schedule than one week, so that their long runs are less frequent.

      Keeping both of these suggestions in mind, I tend to follow a 9-day training schedule. Days 1, 4, and 7 are running days (which sometimes include some cross-training). Days 2, 5 and 8 are cross-training (usually combined with strength) and Days 3, 6 and 9 are rest days. I seem to break really easily (seriously, I broke my left arm 7 times and I get stress fractures in my legs or feet at least once every other year), so that's why I take so many rest days. My "long runs" typically combine running with elliptical when I do them in the gym (e.g. 10 minute warm-up on elliptical, 60 minute run, 30 minutes on elliptical and then finish with running so I get used to running fatigued).

      For me, the elliptical is a good alternative to running, especially when I just hold onto the bars in front instead of using the arm bars that move. The motion feels more like running, and holding the bars right in front shifts my weight more over my feet (so it's more like a running stance), and I work my quads harder.

      Good luck - I also have that "butt crease" pain thing you're talking about and I'm still trying to figure out how to make it better.

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    3. I have seen great success using the FIRST program...went from a mediocre runner to a slightly better mediocre runner shaving 9 minutes off my HM time in about 7 months. If you run alone and have access to a gym for XT, it is great. But living in socal I dont have a gym membership because I just want to run outside all the time and doing half my runs with a running group makes it hard to stick to your specific FIRST-determined training paces.

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  36. I love going to the movies. I always have. I dont get to go as often as I would like because well it gets $$ when I have pay a babysiter...my husband was recently between jobs and the last week before he started his brand new one we went to the movies twice! I saw ARGO and Zero Dark 30...that is not on your list? why not? I LOVED ARGO. I agree with you Ben Affleck is on a roll. I thought his other 2 were excellent. I am so happy the movie is winning awards left and right and I think he get robbed as far as the Oscars go. Zero Dark 30 also very good. you should see it.

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  37. That funky little cinema is amazing! I like watching movies, but I am all about being at home on the couch and not spending a fortune on snacks. LOVED Life of Pi so much, and oddly enough I did not expect to at all. Such a wonderful surprise. Anna Karenina was probably my favorite, but that may just be because I'm obsessed with the book. It's worth a watch, though!

    Re: running - I've got nothing valuable to say. Beyond my comprehension. I will say that it's much easier to PR and follow training plans when it's all still relatively new. You've been running for a long time and at a high level, so give yourself a break! File that under things you already know...

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