Category Archives: Running Stats

My Good Weekends Are Inspired by My Funny Coffee Mug

Coffee is something we all love. Each person drinks it and thinks about things. Coffee is available to drink all over the world. Its funny how it exist and nobody really recognizes how much it spreads. People buy mugs for it to express how they feel about their coffee.

Me and my husband are the same way. We go about our daily lives and find ourselves drinking it. We love drinking it and buying mugs that express us. We love the way they show people where we been and where we are going. I been to many places and I have learned many things. I got a coffee mug for each place I went to. I love to travel. It shows me something new about myself and teaches me why I decided to do what I do.

You should not be afraid to buy a coffee mug that inspires you. Buy one that comes from Germany or buy one that has a crazy design. Get one for the weekend nights or late days. Maybe you should get one that is simple to remind you of a friend. A coffee mug is a representation of you. You shouldn’t hide from who you really are. If you find yourself funny, then get a funny coffee mug. Be someone that is authentic in the eyes of others. Show people that your coffee mug is the real you.

Its nice hearing what people say about your coffee mug. It reminds you of who you are and lets people know more about you. The words often inspire you to do things. Things you would not normally do if you didn’t have that coffee mug. The coffee mug is not just something you use to drink coffee. It is something that tells the people who want to meet you who you are. You got to tell people that you are someone or trying to be someone.

Let your coffee mug inspire you to be whatever you want to be. Don’t hide from yourself or pretend you are something you are not. I use to be like that and it got me no where. I was afraid of myself or running from my self once. Trying to please everyone the best way I could. That is no way to live your life. You got to get a coffee mug that tells people you are something. A something that is more then just an average joe that goes to work.

Coffee gives me and my husband energy. I think you should remember what coffee is for. Its for giving you energy when you don’t have any. Its for making you happy when you hear bad news. Its for pushing you to do something when you feel like you can not do it. You got to pick a coffee mug that puts you back on in your mode. The mode where you can be whatever you want or do whatever you want. Let your coffee be you and you be what you feel you should be.

This entry was posted in Running Stats on https://meghanloftus.com/my-good-weekends-are-inspired-by-my-funny-coffee-mug/ by .

And This Is Why You Should Keep a Training Log

I did a comparison tonight of my weekly mileage totals leading up to Marine Corps (my current PR marathon) and the equivalent weekly mileages leading up to Wineglass (which I’m running Sunday).

I averaged almost 10 more miles per week this time around. That has to count for something, right?

I also took a highlighter to my current training log to highlight all the quality workouts I did this time around. (A brilliant tip c/o masters’ half-marathon world record holder Deena Kastor, who I got to meet at work the day after she set the record, but that’s a different story.) I did quite a few! Some doozies! Some workouts that I remembered being tough, but reading about them, I said, “Wow! I can’t believe I did that!”

I feel prepared and excited to race. This is very unlike me. Usually, I am filled with dread. Getting a coach was worthwhile if only for this feeling.

This entry was posted in Running Stats on https://meghanloftus.com/and-this-is-why-you-should-keep-a-training-log/ by .

Race Recap: Wineglass Marathon 2014

“All PRs are good PRs” has been my mantra since I finished this race. I did run a PR–a 3:35:40. (Probably. That’s what the text tracking and my watch said. Official race results say 3:34:53, which, ??) And given everything that went wrong, it’s amazing I managed that at all.

What’s frustrating is that I am so, so much fitter than that. I really am! For once in my marathoning life, I know that my result was not related to my fitness but to a couple other factors, to be discussed below. But first:

The Thing That Worked Well

My new day-before-the-race fueling plan! Instead of loading up on pasta and bread the night before, I had white rice with salmon. (This recipe, specifically. Highly recommended.) I also made some changes to what I ate for breakfast and lunch.

The result? My race-morning bathroom trips were drastically reduced. On bad days before, I would need two hands to count the number of visits. Yesterday? I only went twice. I arrived at the start line feeling hydrated and ready to go. It’s a nutritional miracle!

I used to think, “Wow, my race-day nerves are really bad.” Now I am like, “Duh. Why did I never consider what I was eating?” So, one piece of the puzzle officially in place for next time.

The Problems

1) Lack of Sleep: I woke up after about four hours of sleep Friday night and couldn’t get back, and Saturday, I just could not fall asleep. I might have gotten two hours, tops, that night. Ugh, right?

At first, I feared I was just becoming an insomniac, but I think I figured it out since. When I woke up Friday, I started reading on my Kindle Paperwhite, and I read that before I tried to sleep on Saturday. (Plus several times in the dark in the middle of the night, in attempts to get to sleep.) For some reason, I thought the light from that screen was OK at night, but turns out, it’s the same kind of light as an iPhone/iPad, just positioned differently.

I’d read on this before bed before and never noticed a difference, but perhaps it’s why I often wake up in the middle of the night. And perhaps it’s a definite no-go when I have a big race coming up and sleeping will be more difficult anyway.

2) THE STUPIDEST MISTAKE: I will blame this decision on my sleep-deprived brain.

I drink Nuun pretty often, but never before or during a run.

When I woke up exhausted before the race, I thought, “I’ll just have one of those Nuun Energy tabs in my first glass of water this morning. That should help.”

NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. The bubbly water made my stomach churn almost immediately, yet I finished the whole glass, thinking, “I need a little hit of caffeine or I’m never going to make it.” NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. STUPID.

3) I probably should have carried my own water bottle during this race instead of relying on the water stops (since that’s what I do during training).

4) This didn’t affect the race, but my newish shoes were DEFINITELY not broken in enough. Hellooooo, black toenail. (On my big toe!) It hurts. I will spare you a photo.

The Race Itself

Weather was perfect. I felt more or less good until I tried to take a gel, which did not mix well with the Nuun in there. The first two gels (at miles 6 and 12) sat kind of okay. The third (at mile 17.5) did not. I abandoned my plan to take another in the 20s and spent the remainder of the race trying to move forward and not barf.

As usual in these poorly-executed marathons, it took all my (already limited) mental capacity to move forward without stopping to walk. The last 10-K was an epic mental battle of wanting to quit entirely but knowing that, if I could fight that urge, I’d run some amount of PR. I don’t even want to look at my splits. UGLY.

I’d say the low point was the 3:35 pacer passing me at mile 24. But really, there were so many low moments in that last stretch.

I felt worse than I ever have at the finish, likely mostly a function of having gotten almost no sleep the previous night and very little the night before that. I ended up in the medical tent just because I was cold and cranky and crampy and needed some Gatorade and a chair in a warm place.

What Now?

After a post-finish meltdown in which I told Paul, “I HATE MARATHONS,” I am eager to try again, smarter. I have the fitness to go faster. I 100% know that. I know what I did wrong, and I won’t make those mistakes again.

I desperately want the marathon I know I can have: The one where I spend the first half, comfortably, at 3:35 pace, pick it up a hair through the 20-mile mark, then race into the finish. The one where I only feel barfy in the last 5-K, and that’s only because I’m picking it up so much and passing so many people, not because I am giving my stomach fuel and it’s too angry at me to digest it.

I don’t know when that marathon will be. Gotta talk to the coach. But I know I have it in me. And at least I know what to eat the day before the race now!

I Qualified for Boston…?

I always thought that, when I finally went under 3:35, I’d cross the line and stop my watch and raise my arms in victory. I’ve been gunning for this goal since Hartford in 2011! I’ve been trying for this for longer than Paul and I have been dating! I imagined LOTS OF TRIUMPH. SO! MUCH! TRIUMPH!

I did not envision how it seems to have gone down: crossing the line, stopping my watch at 3:35:42, noting that the text alerts sent to my family said 3:35:40, accepting that as my new PR, and then, later in the day, going onto the official timing company’s website to confirm my time only to learn that it was 47 seconds faster than what the text alerts said—a 3:34:53.

Huh? Yay? I feel weird about this?

I contacted the race and the timing company. The race’s reply is here. The timing company’s reply was:

The only issue at the full start was the wrong gunstart got loaded to CT Live. How the system works is the gunstart button works on the release of the press. With the half starting 10 minutes late they were attempting to start exactly 30 minutes apart. The actual Gun start was witrh a Time machine (a seperate manual computer) which was verified. We have looked into both ends of the data and the results are correct. As a timer we manually have many back ups , which at times have saved us. computere are computers. the gun start that got loaded into the scoring software was correct. I realize it got confusing when net times got sent out which were off. after that happened I could not change that. But CTLive is not official times.

sorry for any confussion. We are looking at options for next yeat

(In which CT = Chronotrack, the service that was providing the live text updates. Why the text updates and the official race timing were done by different companies, I’m not sure.)

While this does not explain why my watch was so far off my official time—or why several other folks had the same problem—I’m not really interested in pressing the issue. I don’t want to be the girl who is like, “But my watch!”

And several people at the office have encouraged me, basically, to shut up and take the time. And I suppose I don’t blame them. Official results are official results.

And yet…I just can’t, you know?

I know that I started my watch after the gun, at the first timing mat, but the official results have my gun time (3:35:18) as 22 seconds faster than my watch. I trust my watch, but what’s more, I trust the collective power of several other runners’ watches, which were all “off” by about the same amount mine was. (I’ve counted four runners other than me—two I know in real life, and two who found me on the internet—who had the same experience.)

I won’t lie and say I wouldn’t attempt to use this time to get into the 2016 Boston Marathon. It’s only seven seconds under the standard; I wouldn’t get in anyway. But I’m not above trying it, if I don’t run a faster time before registration opens.

In the meantime, my #1 goal—one I think is doable, if I don’t make any of the dumb mistakes I made before Wineglass—is to run a faster time before next September. I have a race picked out. (Shh. It’s a secret.) I have a plan. I have the fitness. I just need to maintain it, and execute better.

Until then, I’m telling people my PR is 3:35:40. Sorry, official race results. We just disagree.

Fellow runners: How would you handle this situation?

Snaccidents and Clam Night and Running, Oh My

I have been thinking a lot about my diet. Here are the reasons why.

1. I’m reading Scott Jurek’s book Eat & Run, and while it’s certainly not selling me on a vegan diet—the prep work! the tofu!—it is making me think that maybe I’d be a better runner if I would consistently put some thought into what I eat. Not winning-Western-States better. (Or even finishing-Western-States better. Or even thinking-about-ever-attempting-Western-States better. Just, better.)

2. I had some serious snaccidents* last week.

“Who eats an entire [nine-serving] bag of Smartfood in two days?!?” says astounded fiance. “You are forgetting that, before we dated, I was known to take down entire [same-size] bags of Jax [off-brand cheese doodles] in a single sitting,” says me.

Then, late Saturday night, I ate quite a bit of cheese, though I had help with that, at least.

This week, I felt less svelte. I don’t weigh myself often enough to know if that is mental or not, but surely, that much cheddar (on popcorn and straight-up) cannot be good for one’s svelteness.

3. This morning I was supposed to run a challenging but totally doable workout that included some time at roughly half-marathon pace and some hill sprints.

But last night I went to the Mercantile Club for Clam Night.

(“The Merc” = a mysterious members-only Emmaus institution I’ve always wanted to experience. You need to know a guy to get in. Literally—you must have a key card to open the door. Look at their effing website. When I got an invitation to go, I could not pass it up.)

At Clam Night, one orders a dozen clams, which come with brown butter, then saves the excess butter to pour over the crab cake sandwich, which comes with chips. And you’ll need some lager to wash it all down. (Yum!)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, that did not sit so well, and a totally doable workout became an EPIC BATTLE. Meghan vs. Stomach! (Spoiler: I won. But Stomach racked up a few points along the way.)


 

Basically, I should probably try to eat better, consistently. I would run better. I would feel better. I don’t know that I would look better—I got pretty gaunt last year, somehow, like see-photos-of-yourself-and-say-“yikes” gaunt—but two out of three ain’t bad?

But here is the thing:

I LOVE FOOOOOD

So much of my identity is wrapped up in eating with reckless abandon. I founded The Ravenous Runner. My future in-laws tell people I’m a “good eater,” and they mean it as high praise. And I like not worrying much about what I eat.

I only have X amount of mental stamina per day. I can spend it on working out (which I am now sometimes doing TWICE a day, meaning run + soul-suckingly-boring PT exercises at the gym) or eating the right things. I’ve never managed to do both at the same time, at least not for long.

And I never want to be the person at the party who is like, “no dessert, please,” or “I’d like a Michelob Ultra, please, and just one.” BECAUSE THOSE PEOPLE ARE NO FUN. And because I don’t want people to think I’m trying to eat better for appearance reasons, because I wouldn’t be, but all the ladies would think I was, because assumptions and stereotypes.

And here is the other thing: There is a big difference between knowing how to eat well and actually doing it. I have the “knowing what I should be eating” part down. Just not the “actually doing it more than half of the time” part.

Halp?

*My friend Rebecca deserves full credit for this term. I would link to her blog or her Twitter feed but she doesn’t really update either one so, oh well.

This entry was posted in Running Stats on https://meghanloftus.com/snaccidents-and-clam-night-and-running-oh-my/ by .

EXPECTO PATRONUM

The only way to get into Hogwarts at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is to go on the ride that takes you through the castle. Of course, I went on it, despite the not-so-clear description on the Universal website:

Then get ready to soar above the castle grounds as you join Harry Potter™ and his friends on an unforgettably thrilling adventure, coming face-to-face with an array of magical creatures! This amazing new attraction uses groundbreaking, state-of-the-art technology (and a little magic) to create a one of a kind ride experience.

What this really means: It will be dark, and things will jump out at you.

Before the terror, with the conductor of the Hogwarts Express.

Long-term readers may recall from my last trip to Orlando that I’m not really fond of things jumping out at me in the dark.

The things that jump out at you include: A dragon, who breathes “fire” as you’re hit with a blast of warm air; Aragog, the giant spider, who spits water at you; and a group of dementors, Grim-Reaper-like creatures who “suck out your soul” (i.e., the room gets all cold).

By the time the dementors showed up, I’d shut my eyes and was screaming like I’d just seen…well, a giant spider. I’d had enough being startled for one ride, thanks.

So, that being said, I will admit that I may have yelled a spell from the books in order to get the dementors to buzz off. (It worked! …but only because Harry Potter appeared just seconds after I cast the spell to cast the same one. Expecto patronum, indeed!)

Still, the flying simulation portion of the ride was amazing, and despite my terror, I’d go on it again. (Perhaps I’d even keep my eyes open the second time around.)

The Harry Potter park as a whole exceeded my expectations. I felt like I was in the movie. (Not the books–I’d envisioned Hogsmeade and Hogwarts a bit differently–but this was still amazing.) It was super-detailed: The ATM even had a sign that said “Gringotts Automated Teller Machine” over it. And I drank a butterbeer from a commemorative cup:

Tastes like cream soda.

I’ll save the rest of the trip for a different post. This particular day, specifically the part of the day spent in the Wizarding World, was one magical highlight.

What if I’m destroying my body?

I came across some troubling research on the lady-runner front today: A new study found that healthy-weight women who exercised vigorously five or more hours a week (e.g., marathoners) had a harder time getting pregnant than moderate exercisers.

Immediate (and important) disclaimer: I do not want to have a baby any time soon.

However, this still bothers me. Having-the-babies is a normal function of the female human body. If running-the-marathons makes it so you can’t have-the-babies…maybe my “healthy” hobby (and my related “healthy” goal of eventually completing 50 marathons in 50 states) is not so healthy after all.

On the same note, I’ve had some issues with amenorrhea (TMI?), likely brought on or exacerbated by my running. I’m planning to bring this up with my doctor, and I suspect she will say something like, “What are you eating?” (It’s often associated with anorexia.) And I will say something like, “Well, last night I ate an amazing cheeseburger.” (Because I love cheeseburgers and eat them regularly.)

My order from Beefy King in Orlando. That cup holds a cherry milkshake. (Not pictured: The fruits and vegetables I do, on occasion, consume.)

I most certainly don’t have an eating disorder, nor do I have any kind of exercise addiction. I just like to run, and I like to have goals and tackle new challenges.

But, I also like to have a healthy, fully-functioning body. If I have to choose between the two, that one’s going to win.