Wednesday, October 29, 2008

News





I'M ENGAGED!!! Dave proposed last Sunday night after the marathon. His original plan was to do it after I crossed the finish line but due to transportation complications he changed the plan. I wondered why, a mere 3 hours after I'd run a marathon, he was asking if I wanted to take the metro into D.C. to check out some monuments. "Um, no. I can hardly walk. Why in God's name would I want to do anything but sit here on my tired, sore ass?!" Apparently he thought it would be cool to propose outside a monument. Indeed. If only I'd obliged. I think he started freaking out a bit but was good about hiding it and actually things worked out perfectly. We went to dinner with my aunt and uncle who ran the race, and another uncle who was up visiting. We devoured massive, scrumpulescent burgers washed down by a few frosty beers. Yum. Then my aunt told us about a cool waterfall park a few blocks away. We decided to check it out. It's difficult to describe but it's almost like a giant infinity pool that flows over a long wall. Just off the sidewalk there is a small vendor's cart where coffee and small snacks can be purchased, along with several small tables and chairs. Trees are interspersed to create a quaint and charming atmosphere. We decided to walk up to the second level so that we could look out over the small waterfall and enjoy the view. After we'd been there for a few minutes enjoying the view I asked if he was ready to go. To my surprise he said "Um, no, let's stay a few more minutes". I had a feeling something was up b/c it was fricken freezing and Dave is a FL boy with very little tolerance of temps below 70 degrees. He looked a little nervous but started talking..."Well, you got your medal today and I have something else for you. I'm very proud of you and I think we make a great team. I love you so much and want to spend the rest of my life with you. (gets down on bended knee) Jennifer Stills, will you marry me?" Of course I got all teary but managed to blurt out "Abso-friggin-lutely!!" I gave an excited little yelp and gave him a bear hug. I was secretly hoping he'd propose during that weekend. I'm so glad we were on the same page. :) He told me about all the 26's and how it just seemed perfect...it was Oct 26th. I had run 26(.2) miles, we were both 26 years old, when he filled up my gas tank prior to leaving the total was $26. I guess it was just meant to be. It was the absolutely perfect ending to a perfect day. When I told Kev, one of my BFF's, his response cracked me up: "You were very productive today. Most people just go to church on Sunday and you ran a marathon and got engaged." That's how I roll. The picture of the ring doesn't start to do it justice...this little fella kept blinding the camera. It's good stuff. Me likey.


Soooo, I'm still somewhat waddling around like a penguin and yet all I can think about is when I will run next. :) That surprises and pleases me. I'm considering doing the Shamrock Half in VA Beach next March. It's right around my b-day and I think it'd be fun to get some friends together and give it a whirl. I am so so so happy that I chose the MCM as my first marathon. I think it was a fantastic choice for me. I'm still trying to let the weekend's events fully register. It all seems so surreal. I just couldn't be any happier right now. :)

Thanks again to everyone who provided athletic support (heh heh, couldn't resist) via this blog. You guys are the best!!! I've got a ton of blog reading to catch up on this weekend. Happy Hump Day. I'm gonna take a hot bath and chillax.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mission accomplished!






Wow, where do I start? I had the most incredible weekend of my life. I took on this challenge with apprehension and without a full realization of exactly what I would be doing. But I could not be more pleased with the results.

We arrived at my aunt and uncle's in Arlington around noon on Friday. Throughout Fri and Sat I kept having phantom pains all over my body: particularly in the legs and feet. I told my aunt about it and she said "Oh yeah, me too. That's normal". Good deal. The night before the marathon I was strangely calm. It was as if the gravity of the situation was nowhere close to registering in my brain. I had no idea what I was in for. We got up Sunday morning around 6. I forced down some toast with peanut butter and about 1/2 a banana. We left the house around 6:40 or so to take the metro to the race. My aunt and uncle were running as well and Dave got up to come with us so that he could see us off. By the way, if you are running a race and will be relying in public transit, it's a good idea to already have your fare paid for; the lines to get the tickets for the metro were out of control!! I was so glad they had tickets for all of us. We took the metro to the race and found the Coast Guard tent to put our stuff down (my uncle is a Coastie), used the porta potties and were off to the start line. We'd lost some time along the way and ended up getting to the line a bit late. I had talked to some of the Clif Bar Pacers at the expo on Saturday and was stoked to join the 5:30 group. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to find them before the race; I was walking toward the back of the starting line b/c I knew I had no business being around 3:30 and 4 hour runners. Before I could get anywhere near where I should have been, everyone started inching forward. So I turned around and started walking with everyone else. I was nervous but figured I could catch up with them later. I reasoned they would be easy to find with the bright balloons attached to a stick raised high into the air. You know what they say about assuming...

I knew I had to run as slowly as possible for the first several miles, and that I should probably do some sort of interval, but that was difficult to gauge without a watch. I'd been debating whether or not to wear one and decided against it figuring I'd have no need for it, "Some else will be doing all that work for me. I'm just gonna run and then walk when I'm told". Oops. As I ran under the puffy bright red arches I got a little emotional. No tears but damn close. I was finally doing it! The first mile flew by. I couldn't believe it. The crowd support was intense. People were EVERYWHERE. There were tons of signs and cowbells and people were yelling and cheering. I saw a few signs for JEN and although they weren't technically for me, for the first time in my life I silently thanked my parents for my ubiquitous name. My aunt and I had both written our names on pieces of tape with black marker and put them on our chests. That might have been my smartest move all day (other than applying Body Glide). Nothing in the world boosts you more than random people yelling "Lookin' good Jen, keep it up!!".

Around mile two, I remember looking to the left side of the course and seeing a line of guys relieving themselves among the brush. Penis envy set in even though I didn't even have to pee yet. It was just the principal. Miles two and three flew by. My mind was uncharacteristically quiet. I was very relaxed and was focused on just having fun. I enjoyed taking in all the sights: the spectators, the signs, the runners, the buildings around us. Everything was so beautiful. I saw a sign that said "Pain is temporary. Pride is forever" and I decided to make that my second mantra for the race, after "Have fun". Mile four took us across a bridge and at one point I heard "JEN, JEN". I followed the voice and saw Dave waving at me from behind a row of spectators off to the right. I got pumped. I was so happy to see him. I waved and continued on my journey. The view straight ahead of us was incredible! The tip of a tall steeple peeked out of the fog just on the other side of the bridge. No description or picture could do justice, however, it was at that moment that I really wished I'd had a camera.

Miles six and seven went by painlessly. Mile eight, for whatever reason (and despite the small hill - "flat" course, my ass), was awesome. It must've been the crowd support. I was just pumped. I felt great! People would yell my name and I'd flash a smile, do a few double fist pumps and yell "thank you!" I was lovin' it!! I couldn't believe how great I felt. I saw a few more signs that cracked me up: "Run like you stole something" and "Where the HELL are the endorphins?!" I got a good chuckle from both. I should mention that During miles 3-8, I was trying to incorporate walking breaks but had no idea what I was doing. For a while the pack of runners was so thick that I didn't want to walk and risk someone literally running into me. When a group near me started to walk I did the same. I silently counted to 60 and then began to run again. Although I was attempting to walk with some sort of regularity, it was thrown out the window b/c it seemed like there were many times I was about to start walking and the crowd support was just outrageous and there was no way in hell I was walking while people were yelling and cheering for me and telling me how great I was doing. Nu-uh. I think I had my first PowerGel packet around mile 8...maybe it was before that. I can't remember. There were water and Power Ade stations about every 2 or 3 miles. While I planned on walking through most of those, my plans were usually foiled by a Marine who would say something like, "You're doing great Jen, keep it up!" I would smile, yell "Wooo!!!", thank them, and start running again, just like that. Every few miles there would either be a clock, or a Marine announcing the time. I'd try to quickly do the math to see if I was on track for my 5:30-ish finish. I figured I was pretty close.

Miles 9-11 went by relatively quickly. A dreadlocked man shouted "DO THE DAMN THANG" to us as we ran by. I smiled. Around this time, I started to get a bit emotional (again) as I thought about what I was doing. I was about to run 12.2 miles farther than I ever had in my life and was going to do something that a relatively small percentage of the population can claim they've done. I thought about how we're capable of doing so many incredible things but rarely push ourselves to experience or achieve beyond what we're comfortable doing. I was so proud of myself in that moment. The balls of my feet started to ache a bit during these miles but the pain wasn't too bad. I took some Motrin around mile 11. I stopped a few times to stretch my IT band as my hips were starting to feel argumentative when I'd begin to run again after my walking breaks.

I was worried about 12-14: Haines Point (sp?). At the expo the girl at the pacer booth mentioned that I'd want to be with a group at this point b/c it can be a bit desolate: it's a long loop that runs along the Potomac. There aren't as many runners and it helps quite a bit to have company. I told her I'd need as many distractions as possible. Fortunately, it ended up being fine. There were enough runners near me to keep me distracted and there was an entertaining group of people on a speed boat that rode alongside us and waved and yelled.

Mile 15 was tough. I somewhat expected everything to go downhill at this point, reasoning that I'd never run that far and surely, bad things were just around the corner...thankfully I was wrong. Miles 16 and 17 were superb. There were tons of spectators and I did a lot more smiling, high-fiving and fist pumping as people called my name. I really hoped that I didn't have Power Ade or gel stained teeth and then thought "Screw it. I'm running a damn marathon. I'm supposed to look at least a little bit funky." I was running strong and feeling great and hoped that somehow I could hang onto that feeling at least until I saw Dave and the family and mile 23. I guess I was a little too pumped because as one person called my name and told me how great I was doing I did my smile/fist pump combo and after I shouted "Wooo!!" he told me to calm down and save it. He said "that's what I'M here for. Save your energy". What a nerd. No way was I gonna stop my random mini celebrations when I was feeling so good.

Miles 18-20 were ok. I got some interesting grub from spectators. People were lined up on the sides of the street giving away full bottles of water, Power Bars,candy, pretzels, you name it. It was awesome. Mile 21 was across a long bridge that I swore would never freaking end. It was awful. I did a lot more walking at this point. Spectators were fewer and farther between but I tried to do as much running as I could. A few times, I was scared I wouldn't be able to start running again after I'd been walking. My hips were sore and my body was starting to register more signs of fatigue.

Miles 22-23 went through Crystal City, which is where my aunt and uncle live. During these miles I had a brownie, a mini snickers bar (the girl shouted, "It's carbs, it's carbs" - SOLD!), another gel and some water. The road was split between those of us starting the trek through Crystal City and those of us finishing. I looked longingly at the other side. I was feeling good though. Brightly colored flags flanked either side of the road and there were tons of people cheering, ringing cowbells and holding signs. Oh, and on mile 22, there was a guy sitting in the median on a bicycle and he had a boombox on the handlebars that was blaring M.C. Hammer's "Can't Touch This". I smiled, sang, and somehow resisted the urge to perform the "Hammer-crab dance" as I like to call it. I typically only pull this move out during wedding receptions and only when I'm brimming with "liquid confidence". I charged on. I saw Dave from the opposite side of the road and started flailing my arms and yelling. He saw me and snapped a pic. I hoped it wouldn't be too long before the course would wind back by to where I was on the same side of the street with him. A few minutes after the turn I was approaching him and my G-ma and my uncle and cousins, with my uncle holding the awesome sign Kim made for me (pictures forthcoming. The sign read something like: "Jen - you're the worst runner in the world. FALSE. You're awesome. I love you! Make 26.2 your &%$@#!" (it's loosely based on a Dwight line from The Office). I started cracking up and held my hand out to give Dave a high-five. Apparently the girl just to the left of him thought I was trying to give her a high-five and after I passed her she yelled "Oh I'm sorry. You wanted a high five..." so I turned around, slapped her hand with gusto, did something ridiculous like a backward leaning double fist pump that almost bordered on a pelvic thrust, yelled "Yeahhhh, wooooo" and then turned back to Dave. He snapped some pics and I was off again.

My plan was to run the entirety of the remaining 3.2 but I couldn't quite make it. I walked more than I would have liked. My energy was waning but I was excited that I was so close to the finish. My pace slowed to a crawl but I forced myself to keep moving. At mile 25 I saw a guy sitting on the side of the course receiving medical attention. It looked like he was getting in IV. Yikes. Spectators were a bit scant in these parts but assured us that we were "almost there". I decided that I had to run the last 1.2. No exceptions. It seemed like most of the people around me were walking but I had to run...or shuffle along because at that point that's all I could manage. Someone yelled, "mile 26 is at the bottom of that hill" and I smiled and followed my aunt's advice to just "take it all in" and think about what I was about to accomplish. The finish line is actually up a small hill. What a sick joke. I felt myself picking up speed as I approached the mile marker and continued up the hill. Spectators were crammed on the side of the course like sardines and they were all yelling and cheering for everyone. I began to grimace as my right knee felt like it was about to give out. I thought about what I was on the verge of accomplishing and felt my face tighten and tears welled at my eyes. I breathed heavily and propelled myself to the finish line. The clock read 5:41 (although apparently my actual time was 5:37:11). I slowed to a walk and tried to enjoy the "congratulations" and "great jobs". I grabbed a bottle of water, a space blanket thingy and got in line to receive my medal. As I looked up at the person in front of me I realized it was the pace leader for the 5:30 group that I never found. I couldn't believe it. How the heck had I not seen them?! I smiled and congratulated myself for pulling this thing off all by myself with the same result I would have had with a group. Somehow I think it worked out better that I forged this on my own. My only goal was to finish and if I'd been running with anyone else, chances are I would have been inundated with other expectations. I finished and more importantly I had FUN! It was such an incredible experience.

I want to recognize the 4 outstanding "performance enhancers" that helped me on my journey:
1. Body Glide. Without you I would be a huge chafed mess. I walked away with absolutely no chafing. I was amazed!
2. Packing tape and black sharpie. Like I said, wearing my name on my shirt was a brilliant move and reaped many rewards.
3. Trident peppermint gum. I chewed one piece of gum the entire 26.2 miles. I swear to God, that gum must've been magic and I genuinely attribute part of my success to it.
4. The Marines and spectators. The race was so well organized and the volunteers and supporters were beyond fantastic. I can't find the words to accurately describe how wonderful everything was. I wish I had the opportunity to thank the Marines not only for their help and support during the race but for what they do every single day. They (along with the other branches of the military) make sacrifices I would never dream of and I thank them all from the bottom of my heart.

I feel like I have so much more to say but am afraid this post has already gotten too long. Thanks to everyone that has followed my journey and encouraged me along the way. I thought about you all during the race and am so thankful that I had the crazy idea to start this blog. The result has been nothing short of amazing and has buoyed my spirit and confidence. I hope to meet many of you over the years. :)

I must get some breakfast. I will write again later today or tomorrow b/c I have other news as well...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Catching the "Spirit"

I netflix'd "Spirit of the Marathon" last week and finally had the chance to watch it tonight. I knew it was going to be good when I turned to Dave with tears threatening to fall no less than 3 minutes into it. Nothing huge or miraculous happened; some guy simply said something like, "Running a marathon will change your life. You will absolutely be a different person after the marathon than you were before". BAM! Cue emotionally over-the-top overreaction. 'Grab some Puffs you little ninny!' The movie followed several people training for the Chicago Marathon (running gods/goddesses AND everyday people). I couldn't help but grimace during the parts where the runners are struggling through their 18 and 20 mile runs, thinking (me, not them), "Dammit dammit dammit. I shoulda done that! I am so screwed." What is it they say about hindsight...?! I was really impressed with the training program featured in the movie. It was a huge organized group that got together for long runs (if not other weekly training runs) and was broken down into pace groups. I think it was a 3 or 4 month long program. I had no idea that things like that (apart from TNT) existed in cities. That would be so fun, not to mention extremely helpful for someone like me with close to zero self discipline. Hmm. Maybe next time.

Today at work the marathon kept popping into my head; much more than normal. Every time I started to think about it, small knots would form in my stomach and I'd feel a little queasy. Good stuff. I can't wait to see how that intensifies by Saturday or Sunday. Yeesh.

Some fun facts about the Marine Corps Marathon:

*It's the largest race in the world that does not have cash prizes for the winners.
*Nickname: The People's Marathon
*4th largest marathon in US, 8th largest in world
*Date of first MCM: November 7, 1976
*Size of first MCM: 1,175 runners (by comparison NYC had 123 runners for it's first marathon in 1970)
*The race is now limited to 30,000 runners

That's it for now. Gotta hit the hay. We're leaving here tomorrow night after work to drive to D.C. G'night!

Monday, October 20, 2008

6 days. God help me.

The marathon is just six short days away. How the hell did it get here so quickly? I'm looking forward to the race, despite my lack of training and preparation, but can't help but feel like I've bitchslapped the very idea of my marathon. I've made a mockery of the training. I've dissed all those training plans I carefully studied and then discarded. I just feel kind of...bad about my lack of commitment. Maybe it's guilt. I also can't help but wonder if on some level I've sabotaged my training so that I can have an excuse if things go poorly. It's much easier to blame my poor performance on a lack of training (b/c my life was just waaayyy to busy to properly train. Er, yeah, that's it) than to say "Oh, yeah, I trained my ass off but 12 miles into it I got a hellacious cramp/ache/sprain/strain/whatever, that I simply could not recover from." But I'm not planning on having a crappy race. I really do believe everything will go well. At least as well as can be expected when you are pushing your body and mind far beyond familiar and comfortable territory. That's the exciting part though.

I just finished an awesome book that I hope to draw on for inspiration during the race. It's called "Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner". It was brilliant. I got it from the library last week and began reading it during commercial breaks of one of the Rays/Red Sox games (go RAYS!!). I couldn't put the damn thing down. I really couldn't. When it was time to brush my teeth I stood in the bathroom, book in one hand, toothbrush in the other. When I had to pee, I chilled out and read for a while. (I know that was TMI but I gotta keep it real). I stayed up late reading until my eyes could no longer stay open. The next day at work I read during my lunch break. I couldn't get enough of this book. Anyone who orders a pizza, cheesecake and coffee during a race and is able to consume it on the go immediately gains my respect. Dean Karnazes is un-freaking-believable. Although I realize that our levels of fitness are radically and vastly different (ginormous understatement), I am inspired and comforted by the feats he has accomplished. I keep thinking "If he can run 200 miles straight, surely I can run a measly 26.2 miles". Cake, right?! I have a feeling that one of my race mantras (and temporary tattoos courtesy of a sharpie) may be "never give up", which was certainly a resonating theme throughout the book. I know that I CAN and WILL do this. And I look forward to crossing the finish line and crying like a baby once I realize how much I've just been through mentally and physically. Good stuff. :)

I got tagged.

Rules: Each player answers the question themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves them a comment letting them know that they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve answered the questions on your blog.

10 Years Ago (1998):
1. Sophomore in high school.
2. On the swim/dive team, soccer team, tennis team.
3. Got my dad's '95 Monte Carlo: "the MC".
4. Went to Alaska.
5. Got my first job...or was that '97? I can't remember.

5 Things on Today's "To Do" List:
1. Return jeans to the store b/c they made me look like I had "mom" jeans on.
2. Work.
3. Yoga or run.
4. Get package together to send to friend.
5. Watch 'How I Met Your Mother'.


5 Things that I would do if I were a millionaire:
1. Buy a house.
2. Take a month long (at least) trip around the world.
3. Pay off car.
4. Give some away to friends & family.
5. Invest.

5 Places I have lived:
1. Sebring, FL
2. Tallahassee, FL
3. Clearwater, FL
4. Murfreesboro, TN
5. ???

5 Jobs I have had:
1. Cashier at the "Big K"
2. Admin Asst
3. Office Manager
4. Pimp
5. Clerical Support Specialist

Now, I'm tagging....
I didn't really check to see who's already done this, so forgive and ignore me if I retag.
1. Suebob
2. Rachel
3. Emily
4. Irish
5. Julie

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nike = El Diablo?!


So my BFF Kim ran the Murfreesboro Half Marathon yesterday (GO KIM!!) and Dave and I were there to cheer her along. I decided to make a couple of signs the the the sign featured in the picture was my favorite. It came to me like a thunderbolt Friday night. I was trying to think of something funny and since I'm not witty enough to really come up with anything on my own I decided to use something from my favorite tv show - The Office. You can imagine my surprise when Kim approached us during the race and I noticed she was giving me "the bird". WTF?! It turns out she couldn't see what was underneath "Faster, Faster" and her first thought was "Dammit, I'm going as fast as I can. Don't tell me to go faster you bitch". Luckily she got a big kick out of it when she was able to read the entire thing. I have a picture of her laughing and pointing (at what looks like a Dr Pepper can on a traffic cone but I know she was really laughing and pointing at my kick ass sign). I was so proud of her and being in a race atmosphere certainly made me excited about my upcoming race. :)

Working at a physical therapy clinic definitely has its perks. One of the therapists has been asking me how my running is going (on a twice weekly basis at least), and seems to be amused when I say "Don't remind me!" after she conveniently reminds me "Only XX days left, Jen!" I've been complaining a bit about my foot and finally last Thursday she said "I'll take a look at your foot if you want me to". Hmm, let me think about this...free medicine. Sign me up! So she did an evaluation, which consisted of looking at and feeling my feet, watching me walk and making me do a variety of things such as standing on one foot (to see if I had to shift a lot of weight), doing a straight leg sit up while she held my legs down (no clue what the heck this was about but afterward she told me one leg might be longer than the other...wtf?!) and there were a few more things that I can't remember. I felt very self-conscious when she and another therapist were watching me walk. When I get nervous or overly self-conscious, I start grinning like an idiot. So as I was walking away from them I kept seeing my reflection in the floor to ceiling mirrors on the opposite side of the room. I tried to stop myself from smiling but I couldn't. It was ridiculous. I felt like such a retard. Anyway, it turns out my left hip is weak and I walk like a pigeon-toed ninny. Also, my super high arches are causing my foot pain b/c I'm over-pronating and the lateral part of my foot is trying to overcompensate for that. Somehow my weak hip comes into play. Apparently the weak hip always affects the opposite leg/foot. She gave me loads of information which I almost immediately forgot. Oops. She was also so kind as to give me a list of hip and knee exercises to do along with some therabands. Which reminds me I need to do those tonight. Booo.

When she asked me what kind of running shoes I had and I told her Nike she just shook her head and another one of the therapists held up her two forefingers in a cross as if to indicate Nike is the DEVIL (bum bum bummmmmmmm). They said New Balance is what they recommend to people as they tend to have the best support. Since I've had the shoes for over a month I don't imagine Fleet Feet will be too eager to take them back for me to exchange. I don't know what I'm going to do but I'll figure something out. I asked her whether she thought I should still run or not and she said I should try to get some different shoes but she doesn't think I'll hurt myself too badly...knock on wood. I ran thrice this week with minimal problems. I'm leaning more towards adopting a Galloway style for the race. That's how I completed my 10 miler a few years back with virtually no training, and it went pretty well. I'm hoping that since I have a decent, albeit smallish base, I'll still be ok. One good thing is that Kim's half mary piqued her interest in racing. I'm hoping that we can get together a few times a week (after my race) and run. I know that would be really good for the both of us. I still need to work on Dave though...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Less long runs, more pain and apprehension

Sooo, the 14 miler I last blogged about was my last long run. I was sore for 2 days and on the 3rd day my right foot started bothering me enough that I couldn't help but grimace as I limped around the house and the office. Not cool. I stopped 2.5 miles into my first run last week, unable to go any farther b/c my foot hurt so bad. Unfortunately, I didn't run again last week. Yeeaahh. I know, I know. I should have done 20 miles by now...or at least 18. I'm just gonna have to wing this thing bigtime. I've been thinking about joining either a much slower group or a Galloway group during the marathon. I haven't decided which I'm leaning towards. I'm just eager to talk to the peeps at the expo and see what they think (other than the fact that I'm a moron and a slacker).

I've done 6 miles so far this week and have had a bit of pain but nothing like what it has been. Honestly, I'm not sure what to attempt this weekend in terms of a long run. To be honest, part of me is saying "Screw it. How much good can it really do? Although you WILL finish this marathon, it's going to kick your ass so hard that a few extra miles probably won't matter". Ahh, yes, I'm known far and wide as the eternal optimist...or is it the eternal procrastinator/slacker/lazy ass? Something like that.

I don't have much else to report. We had some friends in town last weekend, which was wicked awesome. We did a corn maze, watched some football and went into Nashville where we drank way too much. Oy! Oh, and I learned an impromptu physics lesson Saturday night at the bar. Let me give you a quick background: we're at a bar where a live band is playing cover songs - most of which are country. The drink special was $4 pitchers of PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon)...which were going down like water. Sometimes I get really into music, like, embarrassingly so, and begin to do things like play the air fiddle (my favorite), air guitar (not quite as common), or just jump around like a spastic moron on crack. Well, one of these "inspiring" songs came on - I have no idea what it was - but it was the kind of song that you just HAVE to get into. My chosen "dance move" at that particular moment was a sort of old-timey clap and leg slap: do a fast clap and then each hand slaps a leg in succession, then repeat very quickly over and over and over. I'm probably not explaining that well but I hope you get the picture. The problem was that I obviously couldn't do that with beer in my hands. Do I ask someone to hold it? Do I put it down somewhere? No. I put the plastic cup 3/4 full of beer in my mouth so that my teeth are gripping it. Guess what? Plastic cups flex and bounce. Guess what else? When plastic flexes and bounces (along with ones killer dance moves), whatever is in the cup splashes up (and into your face). I got maybe halfway through my second round of the quick clap/slap when the beer flew up and coated my face. We all had a good laugh. I'm glad I was good and drunk by that time or I would have been far more embarrassed (although my judgment probably would have been better than to do what I did). Anyway, the moral of the story is to simply ask someone to hold your beer before you get your groove on. Godspeed.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

14 big ones.

So I officially had my first 20 mile week. I realize I should have surpassed that many moons ago but better late than never, right? I did two 3 mile runs earlier in the week, being sure to take it slow because I've been on the verge of having a full blown cold all week. As per usual, I'd planned on doing my long run on Saturday but that didn't work out. So after having breakfast, reading the paper and doing some laundry, I suited up and got cooking...er, running. I watched football as I ran and the first 5 miles flew by. I felt great. I swear, watching football is one of the best ways to pass time while running. It's so encouraging b/c in "5 minutes" in NFL time, I've usually run at least 2 miles. Good stuff. But I digress. So at mile 5 I stopped to stretch, drink some water and have a PowerAde gel packet. I hopped back on and did another 3 miles and took another water break and reset the treadmill b/c after 100 minutes it just stops. Since I was close I figured I might as well reset it. I did another 2.5 miles, took a break for water, did 1.5, break for water, 1 mile, break for water, and then the final mile. As you can see I was VERY THIRSTY. I guess I hadn't drunk enough water prior to running. It was very annoying. I chewed gum in a useless attempt to keep some moisture in my mouth but it didn't turn out to be very effective. Also, I was really starting to fade around mile 11. My ankles hurt, feet hurt and all I wanted to do was stop and chug a gallon of water. I ended up walking for 1 minute on the last two miles. Somehow, I managed to kick it up a little on the last .25 mile. I had been doing straight 12 minute miles and I think I ended up on a 10 MM pace for the last .25. Nothing groundbreaking, I know, but I was happy to have a little something to give. Then before I could finish recording my mileage, time and calories on the back of my "Learn Spanish a page a day" calendar I let my body fall backwards on the treadmill. I couldn't bear to stand a minute longer. My hamstrings immediately began to burn and ache and I figured I should probably not have just stopped moving like that but I didn't even want to think about getting up and walking or doing anything whatsoever. I laid there, grimacing, and took my shoes and socks off. A few minutes later I crawled over to my water glass and chugged. Then I got up and recorded the rest of the info. Of course, part of me was thrilled that I'd managed to do 14 miles but the other more dramatic (with good reason) part of me thought "Are you fricken kidding me?! That was just 14 miles. You will almost be running double that 4 weeks from today. How in the world is THAT gonna happen?!" Good question. I don't know. But I'm going to finish the damn race, whether it be on 2 feet, my hands and knees or crawling on my stomach. I'm hoping for the first option.

A few minutes later I was bending down to pick my phone up from the coffee table and felt like my nose was about to run. "Oops, need a tissue" I said aloud as I wiped my nose on my shirt (classy, I know). However, when I looked down I realized my nose was not running, it was bleeding. What the...?! I got some t.p. and stuck it up my nostril, took 4 Ibuprofen, got some frozen veggie stir fry bags out of the freezer and plopped down on the couch. What a sight I must've been. I still have no idea what the nosebleed was all about but it's better now. I was one salty dog though. There was a huge rough and slightly discolored patch on my shirt from where I'd wiped my face while running. Dave saw me a few minutes after the run and told me I had powder or something on my neck. I said "no, it's probably just dried sweat. No biggie." He was amazed and I'd like to think also a little impressed. :) I think I'm going to sleep very well tonight.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yeesh.

Is it really almost October already?! Where is the time going? Not too much has been going on. I wish I could say that I've been so busy running my ass off that I've had zero time to blog about it. Not so. Last week was a bust. I missed my long run b/c as per usual, I put it off until Sunday even though all week I'd decided to do it Saturday so that I could avoid exactly what happened. I swear I'm just too smart for myself sometimes. Anyway, Saturday turned to Sunday and we had plans to go into Nashville to a sports bar to watch football. On the way there I kept telling myself (and everyone in the car with me) that I can only have a beer or two and then tons of water b/c I have to go home and run. Yeaaahhh. About that...one or two turned into several and I was enjoying myself way too much to stop and think about a freaking run. Then on Monday I felt like horse crap all day not only b/c my body felt run-down but because I was seriously racked with guilt over missing another run. I was not in a good mood AT ALL. I feel better today but still feel like a crapbag for having such a lousy week of running (or lack of).

Two weeks ago I cut my long run short and only did 6 miles. I guess the good news is that for the most part, I feel really great when I run. When I did 11 a few weeks ago, I felt like I could have easily continued. I know, 11 is still a drop in the bucket compared to what I will be doing in a month (oh my God, almost exactly!), but for whatever reason it makes me feel a teensy bit better. I will be doing at least 14 this weekend. I'm kind of at a loss for what to do b/c I know I have to increase my long runs (by quite a bit) but I'm worried I'll take that too far. I know the general rule is to increase mileage by 10% or some crap like that, but I'm going to have to throw that out the window and hope for the best.

My other concerns regarding the upcoming ass kicking of the year include the fact that I will NOT be:
1. running on a treadmill
2. while I watch tv
3. in the air conditioning
4. with my shirt off

Yikes. I am, however, excited about pace groups, which I read up on in the recent issue of Runner's World that was sent to me as a "free gift" (for 3 months - courtesy of Saturn). Has anyone used one during a race? It sounds like JUST what I need b/c every time I run outside I'm at a loss when I try to set my pace. It'll be much easier to have someone else set that for me. I'm pretty stoked about that and the prospect of having a cheerleader of sorts running with me for 26.2 miles. I really hope I'm not embellishing the role of the pace group in my head...I guess we'll see.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yay.

I had a great run tonight and figured I should blog about since it seems like all I do on here is bitch and moan. ;) It was a 3 miler after work in my new shoes - details to follow later - and felt fan-friggin-tastic. My legs felt strong and all they wanted to do was go FASTER! My first mile was sort of a warm up but the rest were fast by my standards: 10:05, 2nd: 9:33, 3rd: 9:09. It has made a huge difference that I moved the treadmill so that it's not facing the wall. Now it is literally in the middle of the room...at an angle...so that I can see the tv. Priorities, people! I don't think the feng shui is particularly stellar and it looks like hell but it helps me run. So as long as Dave can tolerate it, I'm all for it. Now that that's out of my system I've got to go to bed. Happy hump day ya'll.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How not to train for a marathon

1. Don't select a plan. Why use something created by people who know what they're doing? Just wing it. Surely you, a novice who just started running, can make up a plan to get you through this process successfully without injury to yourself or others.

2. Don't pick a marathon too far away. Just started running? Give yourself less than a year - maybe 8 months or so. Why wait, right?!

3. Run by yourself. On a treadmill. Nuff said.

4. Don't worry about following the plan you made up for yourself. That's too much hassle. Just run when you feel like it.

5. Don't bother changing your eating habits. Runners thrive on pizza and beer at least once a week, in addition to lots of Mexican food, margaritas and more beer.

6. Don't cross-train or do any strength exercises. Why bother? That's just adding more crap to your list of things you already don't feel like doing...i.e. running.

That's all I can think of for now. I feel like a colossal jackass. My marathon is a mere 53 days away and my daily mantra has become "Maybe this wasn't such a good idea." I'm freaking out about this. My training is inconsistent and at times, nonexistent. I think I should have given myself more time, especially considering what went on this summer with us moving to another state and trying to get our lives in order. I really could sit here and "coulda, shoulda, woulda" all friggin night. The bottom line is that I need to crack the whip and get my run on. I just don't know how (obviously since I've been saying this for months now...) Ok, I'm done with the whiny self-loathing. At least for the moment.

Last Sunday I had 12 miles on the schedule. Since I haven't found a great place to run that far I figured it would be fun to break it up and do 6 or 7 outside and then the remainder on the treadmill. That didn't quite work out as planned. I did the 6 outside but was mentally worn out. I realized I had a problem when I told Dave (who was biking with me), "I think I'm going to stop and walk at the corner". Now, "the corner" was about .4 from where I was supposed to stop. I had no reason to make that my endpoint other than that I was being lazy. I realized that if I'm choosing a point to stop - instead of just stopping - I don't really need to stop. It's not as if I'm injured in any way and simply cannot go on. I'm being lazy. So I didn't stop there. I finished it out. Then when we got home I did 2 on the treadmill and stopped. Mentally I couldn't go any farther. I think part of it is that we recently got my treadmill from Kim's house and whereas it was in the garage in front of a tv when it was at her place, now it's facing a wall and it's driving me insane. I haven't been able to run more than 3 miles on it since we got it back. I need to rearrange or something b/c this isn't going to fly.

In other news, work is going well. I forgot how entertaining it can be to work with the public. Last week I was chatting with one of the patients and she was asking me how I was liking the job and if I was adjusting ok and whatnot. I told her it was going really well and I was catching on but it's definitely a lot to learn, blah blah blah. To which she replied, "I always used to get diarrhea when I started new jobs." Wow. Ok. I didn't see that coming at all. Thank you maam for telling me more than I ever wanted to know about you and your waste system. She's this sweet 65 year old lady and no, she didn't even lower her voice when she said the "d" word. It was nuts. Somehow I managed to stammer (with a straight face nonetheless) "Well, I haven't had anything like that...so that's good". I might have even held up my crossed fingers as if to say "here's to hoping...". Since bowel movements turned out to be a prevailing theme last week it's only fitting that another patient was talking about a "miracle bowel movement" she had. She literally used "miracle" and "bowel movement" in the same sentence. She was praising God for it and everything. I'm so upset that I didn't hear that firsthand. A few different people recounted the conversation for me. Ahh, good times.

I'm going to eat dinner now. My goal is to get up at 5 tomorrow morning and run. We'll see what happens with that. Maybe I should hire some kind of personal trainer or running coach or something. Hmm.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Double digits in the hiz-ouse!

I'm hella tired so this will be quick. I ran 10 miles on the treadmill last night...finishing up around 10 pm. I walked a bit, which I didn't anticipate doing, but I'm ok with it. My mom always calls on Sunday nights and I didn't want to miss her so I walked while we talked. I felt like I was going to ralph for a majority of the run, so I'm really surprised I mustered the will to finish. There were so many times I wanted to quit but all I kept thinking was how badly I needed to do this long run. I finally realized that I could spend all day coming up with excuses (and many times I have) but while I'm doing that I could be much more productive and just get the damn run over with. I downed some strawberry-banana Power Ade gel around the 6.5 mile mark and felt really good for about a mile and a half but then slowed down again. I was surprised at how "easy" the concept of going 10 miles was once I was over the 5 or 6 mile mark. I thought to myself, "Well you've done 8 miles before and that wasn't too bad. Surely you can do 21 more minutes or approximately 6 or 7 songs worth of running". And I did. Sure, my head was tingling (not sure what that was about) and my upper back was a bit stiff (anyone else have this problem? I think I might run like the Hunchback of Notre Dame or something), but dammit I did the 10 and am quite pleased. The worst part was showering later and feeling like I had a hundred tiny paper cuts on my legs - chafe much?!

Work is going really well. Everyone is super nice and I feel as if I've been there a lot longer than 3 days. It's very comfortable.
We've got company at the house right now so I've been unable to catch up on my blog reading b/c as soon as I get home from work (it's so nice to be able to say that again - finally) we're either preparing dinner or going out or running errands. I hope everyone's kicking ass with their running. I appreciate the support from you ladies about my last post. I think I'm going to print out the Hidgon schedule and enter my info into the Runner's World Smart Coach and see what kind of workout it generates for me. I really need to buckle down. Dur. I feel like I've been saying that for months. Anyway, g'night for now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Working Girl

No more mornings sleeping in
No more daytime LMN*.

No more couch potato days
Spent lazily in my p-j's.

My green pleather sofa I will miss
But it's time for a goodbye kiss.

I'm once again a working girl,
Thank you Jesus, I desperately need the dollar bills.

:)

*Lifetime Movie Network

Unfortunately, I have no running achievements to mention but can proudly say that I (finally) start work tomorrow - at a physical therapy office! It only took 3 months after we moved up here but I finally found a friggin job. Yay! I'm excited (and a bit nervous) to get back to work, meet people, and get into a schedule of some sort. I found the job on craigslist - which was surprising b/c until now I'd thought almost everything listed on there was a scam or b.s. of some kind - and interviewed for it about a week and a half ago. I was told during the interview that they were going to do a "round 2" for whoever they wanted to interview again. It would be an informal interview to meet the other therapists and see how well the personalities meshed. I was extremely nervous as I was driving to the interview and almost wanted to turn around and go back home. My stomach was killing me, my heart was racing and I felt all gaggy. I arrived early and was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful the office was. It's a tastefully decorated, open area on the 9th floor of a huge building downtown Nashville. There are gigantic floor to ceiling windows that overlook rolling hills and downtown. When I met the interviewer I felt as if we clicked almost immediately. She completely put me at ease. There were several times during the interview that we'd deviate from the question she'd asked and start talking about anything from jewelry to "reality" tv. I felt so comfortable, in fact, that after she described her role in the office that I told her she was "kind of like the Michael Scott of the office". She didn't get the reference right away and I thought "Oh shit, maybe I should have reconsidered this". Then I asked, "Do you watch The Office?" and she said "Yes, I love that show". Looking back on it I'm lucky she didn't misconstrue my comment and think I was calling her a complete moron. Oy. After the interview as I drove home I was smiling the entire way. I felt SO good about the interview. I tried my best not to get my hopes up too high; Dave found himself in a similar situation back in Feb when he interviewed for a job and I would have bet $100 that he absolutely had the job...and then he didn't get it. So while I was excited about the experience, that situation was in the back of my mind the entire time warning me not to call off my job hunt just yet.

A few days later, I think it was last Tuesday, she called to see if I was still interested in the job. I said "absolutely" and she said "Although I planned on doing a second round of interviews, I had such a good feeling after your interview that I'd like to offer you the job". I was stoked! Not only did I want the job hella bad but was extremely flattered that I'd made such a good impression that she decided to ditch the second round of interviews. Score! It was funny b/c I told her how I left there and was in such a good mood b/c I got such a great vibe from her and the office and how excited I was about the job and she said "Me too! I was in such a good mood after you left and thought what a great way that was to end the week". Good stuff. The only drawback it that it's a bit of a hike: probably between 45 minutes and an hour each way. But I'm fine with it b/c I got a great feeling from the people and office when I was there and physical therapy is something that has always interested me. In fact, when I began taking college classes, I was actually taking prerequisites for P.T. Unfortunately, I was told by several people that the "supply had met the demand" and there wasn't that much of a need for P.T.'s. These comments, along with the fact that P.T. had recently become a Master's Program were enough to dissuade me from pursuing it. Of course now I wish I'd been forward thinking enough to realize that the pendulum has to swing the other way as Baby Boomers age, etc. Oh well. I'm hoping that my proximity to the field and other therapists will help me decide whether it's still something I'm interested in pursuing.

I had no long run last week. Boo! It's incredible how my weeks of running can be as different as night and day from one to the next. Two weeks ago I was absolutely pumped and was very focused on running and moving my ass in general. Last week I was more concerned with sitting on my ass than moving it. I couldn't seem to muster much excitement or motivation to move. I think I ran 7 miles the entire week. This week isn't shaping up to be much more promising. I've done 5 miles so far and contemplated doing 9 or 10 today but there is another part of me that is more concerned with fully enjoying my last day of freedom by watching t.v., reading, organizing the house, and cleaning (in preparation for company this weekend). I did do yoga, so at least that's something. I know I really should just do the friggin long run b/c there probably won't be much time over the weekend. God I wish I had a trainer or running buddy to keep me in line. Grr.

In other news I was on mypyramid.gov last week b/c for the life of me I could not think of all the food groups - which I feel like a moron for admitting but oh well. I noticed a link on the page for "MyPyramid Menu Planner" and thought that sounded interesting so I clicked on it. The page requires you to enter your height, weight, age, gender, and level of physical activity. With a bit of trepidation I entered the information. I know I'm bigger than I should be for my height but was unprepared to be taken to a warning screen that advised the following:

"The weight you entered is above the healthy range for your height. This may increase your risk for health problems. Some people who are overweight should consider weight loss. For more information about health risks and whether you should try to lose weight click here, or talk with your health care provider."

Ouch. I then had the option to view menu plans for my current weight or "to move toward a healthier weight". I guiltily chose the latter. I guess it's better to "keep it real" but it still stung a bit.

I guess that's it for now. I hope I have exciting running news to post in the next few days. If anyone in the Nashville/Murfreesboro area happens to read this and wants a running partner, please leave me a comment. I need you!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

The elusive eight

Ta daaaa! I finally set a new distance PR last week. On Thursday I did an 8 miler on the treadmill. Woo hoo. It's about damn time! I have to say I can't believe how great I felt for the majority of it. Of course, I had to stop a few times to reset the treadmill; I knew it would shut down after 30 minutes so I had to beat it to the punch. My initial plan was to do 2.5 miles, 2.5 miles, then 3 miles. The plan was briefly thwarted when someone asked me to buzz them into the computer room. I got off the treadmill, forgetting to look at how far I'd gone. When I got back, naturally, all of the info had been erased and the counters were all at zero. Blast! I knew I'd been on for just over 11 minutes so it was safe to assume I'd gone at least a mile. So I went for 2.75 mi, then another 2.75, then 1.5. Around the 6 mile mark, I was mentally fawning all over myself, congratulating my mind and body on so flawlessly executing the (almost) 8 miles. I was imagining blogging about it and writing, "I could've easily gone 10 miles! It was SO EASY." No sooner was I through with that that everything felt like it came to a screeching halt. The last mile and a half felt like it would never ever ever ever end. I kept looking down at the display thinking, "No way. I must've gone more than .03 mi. It feels like ages since I last checked!" I kept trying to focus on my songs to make the time go by. "Ok, 2 more songs and I should be done." Finally the end came. It took me 1 hr 24 minutes. I felt really good when it was over. I was proud and excited and a bit exhausted. I was very happy that I'd managed to ignore the immense urge to skip the run and put it off for another day. I always have those thoughts. The ones where you think about running and then immediately try to dream up excuses as to why you cannot run, why you have to put it off for another time: "I have to load the dishwasher." "I feel like I'm going to throw up." "I have to finish my sudoku puzzle and then make my bed." etc etc. It all worked out, I'm happy to say. The weird thing is that my legs didn't seem to be sore until 2 days after the run. My body appears to have a delayed reaction to these long runs. My hips were a bit sore on Friday but my legs didn't hurt until Saturday and Sunday. Anyone else have this problem?

Let me back up a minute. I planned on running with the local running club last Tuesday night. I noticed on the website that they met in the parking lot at a particular Kroger location at 6. As six o'clock drew closer I felt surges of nervous excitement. I was looking forward to meeting fellow runners and maybe making some new friends. I suited up and drove to the Kroger, arriving about 15 minutes early. I sat for awhile, talking on the phone and looking around. I figured it would be easy to find a group of people dressed in running shorts and t-shirts. WRONG! I drove around the perimeter at least 3 times and never found them. How difficult should it be to find a group of runners in a parking lot?! The moral of the story is to get more information when attempting something like this. I should've called to get specifics and make sure the run wasn't cancelled or anything. So I will probably get some details and give it another try tomorrow. I got home and did 2 gut-wrenching miles on the treadmill. The oven roasted chicken sub and grape Fanta did not agree with my choice of post dinner activity. Ugh.

On Saturday Dave and I decided to do some exploring. We went to the Radnor Lake Natural Area, just south of Nashville. It was absolutely stunning! We hiked for about an hour and a half and had so much fun. There is a paved trail that winds along the lake, and then to the right of the trail were hills with more primitive unpaved trails that ranged in difficulty. We were plugging along on one of the hilly trails when all of a sudden Dave (who was about 5 ft behind me) said in a very stern voice, "Jen. STOP. TURN AROUND VERY SLOWLY AND WALK BACK TO ME." I stopped and followed his instructions, freaked out that there was a bear in the trees up ahead or a huge spider web I was about to walk through or God knows what else. When I reached him I managed to choke out, "What? What is it?" "It's a deer" he says. "A DEER? Are you friggin kidding me?! I thought it was something that was going to ferociously attack me! Not a damn deer!" He tried to explain that he'd seen videos of "deer gone wild" on tv where people are attacked by deer. I figure the people must've done something to provoke them b/c although I'm no deer expert, I find it hard to imagine a deer charging at someone for no reason. I turned back around and saw a momma deer laying in the tall grass to the right of the trail. Not exactly life-threatening at first glance. It's crazy b/c I would've walked right by it! I had to laugh though after I calmed down and thought about how funny it was that Dave was trying to protect me from a lazy deer lounging in the grass. He wanted to turn around but I wanted to keep going. "Pleeeease Dave. Pleeease. I'm sure she won't attack. Let's just keep going." He acquiesced and as we continued our hike we ended up seeing 25 more deer. That was not a typo. Twenty-five more deer! How crazy is that? Including 2 fawn. It was incredible. Those deer were not scared of us. They were just doing their own thing. At times we were 10 feet from them. It was very cool! I can't wait to go there and hike again. I can only imagine how beautiful it will be in the fall.

It was a really good weekend. For this week, I'm trying to decide whether to do 9 mile or skip ahead to 10 for my long run. I guess I'll just play it by ear.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Botched long run attempt/yoga fun/yay for sub 10 min miles

Last Wednesday I was determined to FINALLY get a long run in. I headed to the Greenway with what seemed like an excessive arsenal of "must haves" for my run: ipod, chewable Rolaids, gum, chapstick, sport beans, water and keys. Since I only had 1 small pocket, I was forced to carry my water and keys. I fit my sport beans in a tiny pocket on the inner lining of my shorts. I applied the chap stick, chewed the gum and popped the Rolaid as a preemptive strike against my nasty foe, Mr Acid Reflux, who enjoys visiting during runs. For some reason I had it in my head that the trail was 7 miles with an additional mile trail that connects to it. I was planning on doing the 7, then running 1/2 the other mile, turning around, running back and voila! I'd be done with the 8 miles and have a new distance PR under my belt. The first half went relatively quickly and I was suspicious when I looked down and noticed that I'd gone what I thought was 3.5 miles in just over 20 minutes. Although I knew there was no way in hell I'd managed to shave a few minutes per mile off my pace, I forged on, secretly hoping my watch was broken because I'd much rather buy another watch than realize I'd gone significantly less than the intended 8 miles. I'd stopped at the half to go to the bathroom and study the map, and then a few other times (VERY short stops, in my defense) to 1. readjust headphones that were falling out of my ears 2. rest for a minute or two and 3. eat my beans. I felt like I had to choke them down and they didn't seem to give me a boost like I'd imagined. :( I was concerned when I reached the starting point and noticed that instead of indicating 3.5 miles, the marker noted 2.75! What the &%$#?! I thought, "I swear it HAS to have been farther than that!" On the way out, the trail ended at 4.5 miles. So how the hell am I only at 2.75 right now?! The other "mile" of the trail lacked markers and I felt like I was about to puke so I turned around after a few minutes and came back. I ended up walking for a bit and considered the fact that I always look at people who run during the noon - 2pm hours and wonder why the hell they are running during the hottest part of the day. I don't know whether to respect them or put them in a straitjacket. Just kidding, of course I respect them...even if I do think it's a bit crazy to run in such heat. Except here I was, at 1:30 in the afternoon, attempting my longest run to date. Oy! When I finished I was happy to be done but exhausted and very thirsty. My water was out and unfortunately, the water coming out of the nearby water fountain was HOT. I spat out the mouthful I'd slurped and got in my car. I didn't even have the energy to stretch. Bad girl, I know. I really thought I did somewhere between 7 and 8 miles (despite the screwy mile markers), but my time was only 1 hour 9 minutes. In my gut I knew that there was no way I'd gone 7-8 miles. The timing was too far off. A few days later I went back to the trail and noticed that what I thought was 3.5 miles was only 3, and that more than likely I only did about 6.5 miles. Boo! I was pretty pissed and considered vowing to never run that p.o.s. trail ever again. I need to figure out where the other "mile" starts and stops so that I can accurately run the 8 miles IF I choose to do so on that trail. It's either that or try to do the 8 on the treadmill, which I'm not psyched about.

Friday I did a lousy 2 miles in 19:24 and felt my shins starting to hurt, so I figured I'd stop and give it a rest. I have been all about the Namaste Yoga programs that come on Fit TV. I have my dvr set to record all of them and I am enjoying varying the workouts. I have not been able to memorize the actual names of the poses so for this story I will simply describe what I was doing. It's funny the way timing works. I was just starting to feel like my flexibility was genuinely improving and was mentally patting myself on the back when I got a reality check. I'd been in a kneeling pose, with my butt on my calves with hands clasped behind my body. Then I was supposed to lean forward slowly and gently touch my forehead to the floor. When I was about half way down, I lost control and rocked forward, with my entire face plummeting into the carpet. Talk about a nosedive. I had to laugh because I must've looked like a prize idiot. Thank God I was in the privacy of my living room! I look foward to the day when I have the yogic mastery not to grind my face into the carpet. I hope that day comes soon. I'll keep you posted.

In other news, I did 4 miles today in 38:47, which pleased me. I'm happy to still be on track with the sub-10 min miles. Surprisingly, that pace now feels good and comfortable - at least on the treadmill - I'm still worried about pacing myself on asphalt. I'm thinking about going to a group run tomorrow night that is typically "somewhere between 3 and 7 miles". I'm very nervous but figure I HAVE to take a shot. I don't know how else to meet runners up here and have realized that I'm not sure how much farther I can go on my own with this training. I enjoy my solitude but I think I could/would/will benefit tremendously from having at least a partner to run with. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Built-in timer: friend or foe?

So we’re all moved into our new place and last week I decided to give the “gym” at the complex a try since my treadmill is still at Kim and Jeff’s. I felt a bit self conscious b/c 1. I hate gyms and 2. there are two sizable windows that look out on the lobby/office. Fortunately there wasn’t much traffic through the area and I was the only one in the gym so all was well. I hopped on the treadmill and started a warm up walk. It was was sooo smooth. Like walking on friggin buttah. Being on mine feels like walking/running on rocks in comparison. After a few minutes I started my run. My legs felt great and I was thrilled the entire time I was running. I just watched the giant plasma tv mounted on the wall and mentally patted myself on the back for going to the gym when it was the last thing I wanted to do. I was also thinking about how great it was going to be to get rid of my treadmill b/c these are so awesome that there is absolutely no reason for me to keep mine. I was planning out the design of the office/guest room/workout room sans workout gear and I was super psyched about it…until 30 minutes went by and the damn machine STOPPED! I suppose I should have realized something was up when all of a sudden the display started flashing and beeping. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled. I had an idea how far I’d gone so I knew how much I had left to do for the 3 miles but all I could think was “You’ve GOT to be kidding me.” Although the timing mechanism infuriated me, I’ve come to realize that it can be a powerful incentive: run your ass off so that you can do 3 miles before it stops. I believe I have that damn timer to thank for my new 3 mile PR from last Friday: 28:42. Woo hoo! I couldn’t believe how great I felt. Of course, part of me felt like I’d just gotten the crap kicked out of me; but knowing I’d run sub 10 minute miles (at least for the two, I think the first mile was at 10:10 or so) absolutely made my day!! So at least for now, my negative feelings for the timer have subsided. I’m happy to report that since the day I got cut off (last Wed), I’ve been running consistent sub-30 minute 3 milers. For the past two weeks I have run 3 x week, 3 miles each time, so I guess that is decent. And I did 3 today in 29:51 followed by a “Yoga for Distance Runners” program…

However, the bad news is that I have not done a long run in over a month. I hate this and feel like such a butthead b/c I know how important the long run is. Because it seems to be too difficult for me to do it on weekends, I’m thinking of switching it to Wednesdays…at least until my schedule changes, aka when I get a job and have to actually do shit during the day other than clean, read, watch tv (I’m obsessed with our Direct TV and DVR!!), and eat/cook. I think this might be a good solution to my problem. It makes more sense for me to do the long run during the week, when I’m on my own, as opposed to during weekends when I'm enjoying what little time I have to spend with Dave. I really was planning on doing it yesterday, up until 9pm…however the two Blue Moons I had during dinner convinced me otherwise. Oh, and I saw Dark Knight yesterday and it was badass! Loved it, loved it, loved it. Batman rocks!


That's it for now. I hope everyone is doing well! :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I <3 Bryson City, NC

As I mentioned in my previous post, we went to Bryson City, NC over the weekend for a family reunion. It. Was. Gorgeous. That is an understatement. I absolutely fell in love with it. We arrived at the Nantahala Village around 1 am on Friday. I stayed up and had a glass of wine and talked to my dad for about 45 minutes and then crashed on an airbed in the common area of the cabin. When I picked my head up the next morning the first thing I saw was sliding glass doors that led to a patio that contained a small hot tub and rocking chairs and beyond that I saw bright green trees and mountains. That's a good way to start the day. We did some reunion activities that day and just hung around. The next day my dad woke me up to tell me that a bunch of the family was going for a run and that if I was a serious runner I'd get up out of bed and run with them. As much as I was enjoying my beauty sleep, I was looking forward to running in new territory, so I got up and got dressed. It was raining so we waited a bit for it to slow down. About 20 minutes later we headed out despite a steady drizzle. I wasn't the youngest but was by far the most fledgling runner in the group. Fortunately, I managed to hang with the rest of them at a comfortable pace. The first part of the run was down a HUGE hill and it took extreme concentration and coordination on my part not to lose my balance and go tumbling down the hill like a runaway tumbleweed. The road snaked through the cabins and trees, down to the horse stables, complete with fresh piles of manure dotting the way. After a few more minutes the cabins disappeared, the road got a bit rougher and the only thing to see were huge, gorgeous green trees. The soft cool rain and unusual scenery were welcome changes and served as distractions that allowed me to feel nothing but awe and happiness. I'm not sure whether it was the rain, the company, the scenery, or likely a combination of all three but it was the best run I've had in a very long time. We ran for about 40 minutes, taking a few walking breaks after particularly hilly portions of the trail or when we were figuring out where to go. I was completely whooped toward the end but had no shin pain whatsoever. After the run we went back to the cabin and some of the family was going for a walk so I grabbed a quick drink and headed out with them. The run had been so energizing! After that it was time to grab some food and head out for whitewater rafting.

The rafts held 6 people plus the guide and our raft consisted of me, Dave, my dad, his wife Michelle, and my sister and brother in law. The Nantahala is a class 2-3 river, which translated to a very calm ride with about 3 small rapids at various parts. The frigid 45 degree water served as an unnecessary wake up call and since I was at the helm with my sister, I got more than my fair share of it. The combination of the cold water and warmer weather created an eerie but beautiful blanket of mist on the river. I'd never seen anything like it. I expected to do a lot more paddling during our trip but since it was so calm, Isaac, our guide did the majority of the work. Isaac is a musician and is a guide part time and his wife is a massage therapist, yoga instructor and trail guide. When he said that I thought, "No fair, I wanna do that!!" Nevermind the fact that I have absolutely no training or qualifications for any one of those but I can't think of anything that sounds more fun than living in such a beautiful place and doing those jobs. (sigh) Oh well. Maybe one day.

We got back to The Boro around 11am on Sunday and immediately took naps. We'd stayed up late the night before, talking to my aunt and uncle about the marathon. They are both experienced marathoners and were doing a fantastic job of reassuring me that I will be fine and will absolutely finish the marathon and that the most important thing is to just have fun. Everything they said was just what I needed to hear as I've been second-guessing this challenge for a few weeks now.

Between naps and laundry and watching baseball, I skipped my long run on Sunday. Monday I got on the elliptical for 30 minutes and followed it up with 30 minutes of yoga and some hand weights. Tuesday was a lazy day and I was in a shit mood so I didn't do anything. Yesterday I did 3.1 in just under 32 minutes. Then I walked with Kim and some of her coworkers. We did 4 miles on the trail. Oddly enough, while I felt great after running, the walking did something to upset my hips and make them sore. Today has not been successful. I ran a mile on the tread and felt like I needed to stretch my legs so I stopped to stretch. My shins hurt a bit so I thought maybe I could do some yoga and then try to run the remaining 2 miles. As I was doing the 2nd friggin warm up pose I felt a weird pain in my wrist and had to stop. I'm making dinner for Kim and Jeff and am hoping that I have the energy and discipline to run later tonight. I feel like such a failure for only doing a friggin mile. Oy!

Tomorrow the plan is to run early and then, joy of all joys, start the moving process. Yay! We move into our own apt tomorrow. I am super psyched about it. I can't wait to have a pool again - although it will be odd only being able to use it for a couple more months. Living in FL my whole life meant being able to use the pool almost year round. I guess I was spoiled. I hope the move goes well. Tomorrow Jeff is going to help me and then Saturday Dave and I have a Uhaul rented but no helpers b/c everyone has to work. Whatever we don't get done Saturday will be done Sunday when we have back-up. I hope it doesn't take too long to get everything unpacked. At least I have plenty of time to dedicate to the process. :)

I better start dinner - chicken and dumplings. Mmmmmmmm. Except I feel like a jackass b/c Kim doesn't like dumplings. They're friggin biscuits swimming in chicken broth! What's not to like?! I guess I should have done more research prior to planning/shopping for this meal. I'm hoping she at least likes the chocolate trifle for dessert. Brownies and pudding and cool whip, oh my!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Playing tag and catch up

I'm really slacking on this blogging thing. Last week I ran 4 times, which is good...but skipped my long run, which sucks. I think I only did about 10 miles for all of last week. Blech. This Tuesday I did 3 miles outside sans ipod. Despite getting new headphones I'm still experiencing issues with the buds coming out of my ears. I think my ears are oddly shaped or something. The run went pretty well. My only complaint is that I'm having difficulty driving out the incessant "All I want to do right now is stop and walk" inner voice. It's as if my mind is incapable of forming any other thought. Maybe it has something to do with being able to hear my labored breathing...I ran past a sweet old man twice and the second time he made some friendly (I think) remark and since the only thing I could have heard over my breathing might have been 10 raging fire truck sirens, all I could do was flash my sweetest grin and keep on running. My shins slightly bothered me but could have been worse. Apart from that, since I ran earlier in the day than usual, I felt like I had sooo much energy the rest of the day. It was pretty fantastic. Of course I thought, "And why is it that I don't do this EVERY day?!" Now if I could just bottle that up and release it every time I wanted to ditch a run, I'd be golden. A few hours later I attempted a yoga routine I dvr'd on fit tv (my new favorite channel) but only lasted 15 minutes or so. I had to stop when they started doing handstands. Yeah, maybe one day but certainly not anytime soon will I be able to contort and lift and support my body the way those girls were doing it. God bless them.

Yesterday I did another 3 miles and incorporated some pickups. I ran a mile to warm up (10:25) and then did 5 two minute pickups (8:34 pace) with a 1 minute recovery (I slowed way down for these - 12:00) then ran the remaining .50 mile to complete the 3 in just under 30 minutes. I was really struggling during the last mile or so of the workout...AGAIN because all I could think about was how badly I wanted to stop. Anyone know of any at-home lobotomy kits I can pick up?! Jesus Christmas it's ridiculous.

Today I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and a 30 minute yoga routine. I felt really good after the yoga. The woman that narrates the workouts (Namaste Yoga) has such a soothing voice. I really like it. I netflix'd Rodney Yee's Power Yoga workout. I'm eager to give it a try next week.

I was double teamed or perhaps more appropriately tag teamed by Julie and Chris to share 6 random facts about myself.
Here goes:
1. I've been skydiving and can't wait to go again.
2. Ive never broken a bone.
3. I love peanut butter and jelly on toast with bacon. It's one of the most scrumpulescent snacks ever. Don't knock it till you try it.
4. I've recently started watching Days of Our Lives.
5. I want to live in a big city where I can walk everywhere and not have to rely on a car.
6. I received my one and only referral on the bus while I was in kindergarten, yes kindergarten, for "flipping the bird". I didn't even know what that meant. My friend had showed me how to do it and I turned to her and said "Brittany, is this how you do it?". The bird flew too high and I got busted.

here are the rules:

* link to the person who tagged you.
* post the rules on your blog.
* write six random things about yourself.
* tag six people at the end of your post.
* let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog
* let the tagger know when your entry is up.

I'm tagging Tammie , Aron, Carmen, Adrianne. The other people I was going to tag have already been tagged. I look forward to reading the random facts. :) I hope everyone has a safe and happy July 4th! We're going to NC for a family reunion. I'm looking forward to taking in some new sights while running in a different territory.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Long time no blog

I've been a slacker with my blogging. I spent last week in Ohio babysitting my beautiful 7 month old niece. It was a lot more fun that I'd anticipated. :) I did manage to do my 3 weekly runs as dictated by the Virtual Training Group I belong to. If you are in need of some motivation and camaraderie, feel free to check the group out and/or join. It's good stuff. Thanks again to Chris for setting that up - great job!

I am not sure how far I ran each time but it must've been between 2.5 and 3 miles (30 minutes every time). My sister's neighborhood is perfect for running/biking/walking/rollerblading. I ran right around dusk and was fortunate enough to see the stunning full moon last week. It was bright and low in the sky and all I wanted to do was sit down and stare at it. It was unbelievable. I really need to start running with a camera.

I had some trouble getting motivated one night and happened to be on the phone with my dad. I told him that for whatever reason I was dreading the run and was thinking about putting it off until the next day. His response was brilliantly simplistic yet highly effective. He said "I have days like that too. If you break everything down into baby steps it's much easier. You don't want to run but how about just putting your shoes on? Can you do that" I could tell where he was going with it but played along. Me: "ya" Him: "Then how about stepping outside?" Me: "ok, I know..." It turned out to be just what I needed to hear. When I stopped thinking about how long/far I'd have to run and instead started at the most basic level, I had no problem getting out there. I have a bad habit of getting fixated on things and stressing out about them, which usually makes me want to just forget about whatever I'm doing and do something less stressful instead. "Why do something today that can be put off until tomorrow...or indefinitely?!" Getting started really is the hardest part but it doesn't have to be. I feel very fortunate to have such a wonderful (HUGE understatement but I can't think of an appropriate all-encompassing adjective) dad.

My long run was only 6 miles and was on the treadmill. I talked a big game about going "off" the treadmill but it's just so convenient...especially when I can watch episodes of The Office while doing it. It took me just over 65 minutes to do the 6. I had minimal pain while running but afterwards I felt fantastic. I don't think I've ever felt that good after a long run. I wish I could feel like that every time.

The official results for my 5k were finally posted and my time was listed as 31:17. I about spit out my coffee as I was scrolling through the results and noticed a 72 year old woman finished in 29:40. Holy hell! I want to shake that woman's hand. How awesome is that?!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's over.

I'm thinking of leaving my treadmill.

It's not him. It's me. The past 4 years have been great but I need room to grow and get stronger and I can't do that while being involved with him. I think it's time we go our separate ways, at least for a while.

This decision comes about not from what the treadmill did but what it does not do. It does not acclimate my legs to harder surfaces like asphalt and concrete - the surfaces I'll be running on. If I could do a treadmill marathon, that'd be one thing. But since I can't I need to run on those surfaces so that I can get used to them. I'm tired of having a run outside one day only to attempt to run the next day and be forced to quit after 1/2 mile because my legs hurt so bad that all I want to do is lay down in the middle of the trail and cry while I wait for a pack of angry bicyclists to run over me and put me out of my misery.

Tuesday, I ran outside. It was exactly the run I was going to attempt last week where I just ran without having a pace or distance in mind. I set my watch to 30 minutes and headed out in the neighborhood. I almost turned around after about 13 steps because my shorts kept riding up...as I like to say - "my thighs were eating my shorts". You get the picture. As I briefly paused to look back at the house, I had a Harold & Kumar moment, thinking "No way man. It's too far" and turned around and kept running. It was a nice opportunity to check out the 'hood since I haven't done a lot of that yet. I hate to admit it but I did stop once, almost halfway through. I stretched and walked for just a minute and then started running again. I hate that I stopped but felt a little better afterwards. I can't say that the run felt glorious and I ran like the wind and all that good stuff, but it was nice to run outside. I'm tired of experiencing the running equivalent to bikram yoga while on the treadmill in the garage. When I was out running errands today, I decided to satisfy my curiosity of how far I actually ran. I figured it was anywhere between 2.5 and 3 miles. I'm happy to report that it was 2.8 miles and I did it in 30 minutes, so that is pretty good. I imagine if I'd run the remaining .2 I would have beat my 5k time. Damn those water stops! But overall, this run was certainly faster than what I've been doing it on the treadmill. That gives me hope.

Yesterday I was going to run again. It didn't work out. I'm resting today. I think I'll do some weights and maybe some yoga. I might venture outside tomorrow and see what happens. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Doughboy Report





Contrary to what it looks like I am NOT speedwalking in this picture. I actually am running. Just somewhat slowly...and with minimal lifting of the feet. And I felt like a big dork but Dave made me put the medal on for the post race picture. I was so tired and weak that i couldn't muster a proper expression or pose. Sad but true.

It was only a 5k, but since it was technically my first 5k (that I was running alone, anyway), I was ridiculously nervous from Friday afternoon until just before the race. Would I be super-slow? Would I have to stop? Would I look like a colossal jackass? Would the race people even have my info?! This was a big worry as I just mailed the entry form along with a check, on the very last day "early" entries would be accepted. I did see that my check cleared, so I figured that was a good sign. It still stressed me out though because I wasn't sure how that worked, i.e. if I would get some sort of confirmation email or something. Apparently not. These worries plagued me so much that I actually considered skipping the race. The only thing stopping me was that I couldn't come up with any excuses that would not make me seem like a total crapbag.

Saturday morning we got up around 7, got dressed, had a light breakfast, and headed to the VA Center where the race was held. While we were on our way there I was slightly more calm but apprehensions about the race kept running through my head. I think I might want to get a lobotomy prior to my marathon because otherwise my friggin head might explode. About halfway to the race, I almost wanted to turn the car around and change my clothes. I thought, "Maybe if I'm not dressed like a "real" runner, I won't feel like such a jackass if I come in dead last or fall or do something stupid (as I tend to do). I can pretend I entered this on a whim, just for the hell of it". Unfortunately, there was no time for that. We got to the race around 7:30, I picked up my packet, got a banana, and put my chip on. It was a pretty small race. I have no idea how many people entered but it couldn't have been too many more than last year's - which was just under 400 people. I decided against wearing my ipod in hopes that I might strike up conversation with some peeps (I was secretly hoping to find an awesome new running partner that would whip me into shape and make me the most kickass runner in the 'Boro). No dice.

The race began at 8 and we were off. I wanted to make sure I didn't start out too fast and burn out quickly. I just ran comfortably, trying not to be too upset with the number of people that were passing me. The first mile of the race was on some sort of one lane service type road that circles a large field. It was really beautiful. There were a few dilapidated barns and other old deserted buildings off the side that were actually kind of charming. It was a very peaceful place to run. There was a water stop about 1/2 mile into it, which was surprising but I went with it. As I grabbed a cup of water, the plan was to kind of gently toss some in my mouth while running because I didn't want to stop. I tossed the water with a bit more force than was required and about choked myself, but I didn't stop. woo hoo. Just prior to the stop I'd started running alongside an older woman who'd met up with a friend. Their pace was comfortable so I ran along with them for the remainder of the first mile. When we hit the 1 mile mark I checked my watch: 9:52. Holy hell! MUCH better than I'd expected. I attributed that time to my unsuspecting running buddies. Unfortunately, just after the 1st mile, they sped up and as much as I tried, I couldn't keep up. Dammit. I just kept plugging along at my own pace. It was troubling how few people there were around me at times. I thought "Am I really going this slow? Is everyone up in front of me?" I tried to push those thoughts aside. I ended up stopping to drink a bit of water at the 2nd water stop. I took this opportunity to pick up the pace to pass some 6th graders who were just ahead of me. Haha suckers! The end of mile 2 was at the bottom of a small dip and as I checked my watch I noticed I'd slowed down quite a bit: 10:13. Oh well. It was still better than I had expected. The last 3.1 was more difficult than I'd expected. Fortunately, the last part was a repeat of the first loop and then some, so at least I had an idea where I was and how far I had to go. I had zero energy though and all I could think was "Oh sweet Jesus, this is killing me. How the hell am I going to do 9 times this? Maybe this whole marathon thing is a really BAD idea". At the last water stop, I stopped again. Damn. I'd always seen people pour water on their heads but since I had a hat on I didn't want to do that. So what was the next best thing? I poured the water on my arms (and shoes. oops). As you can guess, that did absolutely nothing. Oh well. I shuffled along, wanting so badly to stop and walk but knowing I'd be upset with myself if I did that. Finally, I turned the last corner and could see the finish line. I ran and ran and I swear to God the Finish line kept moving farther away. I had no juice left. A couple people passed me and as much as I wanted to catch up to them, there was no way my legs were going to move me fast enough to do so. I crossed the line at 31:16: well over 2 minutes faster than my goal time, so that was good. I felt like I was gonna die. My legs were sore and weak and I really thought I was going to fall over. It was pretty dramatic. Overall, I had mixed feelings about my performance. I was happy to have beat my goal time, but I felt like I could have done better. I wonder if this is inevitable?! It makes me feel like I definitely need to push myself harder during training because I thought I was running pretty hard last week when I did 3.1 miles in 32 and change...and I shaved over a minute off that. Next time I'd like to have negative splits instead of...positive splits (?) or just splits or whatever the hell you call it when each mile gets slower. My times were: 9:52, 10:13, 11:11.

My adjustments for the next race will be: 1. Warming up prior to the race 2. Not stopping to drink water 3. Having a running buddy or just doing a better job sticking with someone whose pace is comfortable with me (even when they kick it up a notch) 4. Taking pictures with the race characters. I was kind of upset after we left and I realized I didn't get pictures with the Doughboy or the Lucky Charms guy. Oh well. Live and learn. I hope everyone had a great weekend!

P.S. I must give "mad props" to Dave, who was the paragon of a supportive BF. He took lots of pics and listened to my worries and did a fantastic job of reassuring me that I'd be 'awesome'. He rocks. :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'm "special"

I had a little accident yesterday. Not of the bodily function variety, don't worry. This accident occurred whilst performing a mundane daily activity. After rolling out of bed around 10am, I started making the bed. Now, the room we're in is on the small side and my side of the bed is about a foot away from the wall (if that). I had squeezed between that space to make my side and was side-stepping toward the foot of the bed, which faces the door, when I stepped on the bag o'shoes that I so carelessly left on the floor. Apparently I was moving too fast to feel what I was stepping on and correct myself, so instead my ankle rolled and I went down like a sack of potatoes. On the way I managed to hit not only the sharper than hell bedframe (with my thigh) but also the door (with my head). Oops. I sat there for a minute thinking, "did that really just happen?" and "what am I, 80 years old?!" I felt like such a moron. I've got a nice black and blue forming on my thigh. I think I'm going to tell people I got it in an MMA fight or something.

My "I'm just going to run and not think about it" run on Monday didn't turn out the way I planned. I brought a towel with me so that I could toss it over the clock but since the treadmill moves so much (either the floor is uneven or part of my tread is jacked up), the towel kept falling off the side. I don't have enough self discipline to NOT look at how far I've gone or how fast I'm going. I ended up doing 3.1 in 32 minutes and change. I was pretty pleased.

Today I went to a nearby trail and walked. I ran for a bit, maybe 13 minutes or so, on the way back to my car. It was a bit frustrating because the trail lacked markers - how hard is it to paint numbers on the ground?! C'mon people. My walk/run was about 45 minutes, which was nice. It was good just to get out of the house for a bit. Dave and I took a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood tonight after dinner. I like that we're on the move a little more, even if it's just walking.

Happy Hump Day.:)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Doughboy Challenge and a short recap

A few days ago I signed up for my first "race" since beginning training: the Doughboy Challenge 5k. It's this upcoming Saturday, the 7th, and I'm very excited but a bit nervous. My only goal is to finish in under 34 minutes...which shouldn't be too difficult. I just hope it won't hinder my performance that I've been running slow, comfortable miles instead of pushing myself harder. I guess we'll see. :)

I think I have finally figured out how to use the elliptical machine. Woo hoo! For whatever reason I felt very awkward every time I'd use it; like I was putting weight on the wrong parts of my lower body, which in turn hurt my knees and felt like I was throwing everything out of whack. After a few more attempts I must've found my groove though, so I'm happy about that. Wednesday I did 30 minutes, then did crunches and worked with some hand weights. I also took a walk that night with Dave - around 30 minutes or so.

Thursday I decided to do some light speed training. Here's what I did:
Ran 1 mile: 11:08
Ran for 1 minute: 9:40 pace
Ran for 1 minute: 12:00 pace
Ran for 1 minute: 8:34 pace
Ran for 1 minute: 10:00 pace
Repeat 2x
Ran for 1 minute: 8:20 pace
Ran for 1 minute: 10:00 pace
Repeat 2x
Ran 1.5 miles. Average 10:00/mile pace.

I felt friggin fantastic!! I tried to pay attention to my breathing after reading about breathing patterns in one of my books. I think it said that during normal runs you should be on a 3 step inhale/2 step exhale pattern and then 2/1 when running pickups. I think I'm more of a 2/2 breather almost all of the time. Running those repeats must've been a great warmup because by the time they were over and it was time to run again, I was at 2.5 miles and only planned on doing 3. Then I decided to do 3.5. I felt so good I decided I may as well do another .5 to make it an even 4 miles. I felt soooo good and it was a nice change to feel that strong and comfortable.

Saturday I did a measly 2 mile run. I ran 1 mile (10:10), then did some weights: bicep curls, lateral raises, tricep extensions and overhead extensions (I'm sure there's another name for these but I have no clue what it is). Then I ran another mile (9:55) and did weights and squats.

I am disappointed to report that I skipped my long run. I need to do something to prevent myself from deviating from schedule, particularly when it comes to long runs. I slept in and then Kim and I went to see Sex and the City, which was of course fabulous. Then Dave and I did some running around and cleaning. I finally ended up doing 20 minutes on the elliptical at 10pm because I felt bad for not doing anything. I'm going to get on the treadmill when I'm done with this and just run for a while. I don't want to look at time or mileage. I just want to run.

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

3 miles and a 6 word memoir

After running 7 miles on Sunday, I was almost excited to run 3 today. "I just did 7. Three miles is cake". Eeehhh, sort of. I just feel like 3 miles should have turned to 4 by now and I should be faster and I should be able to do it painlessly. Enough of the "should be's". The 3 miles dragged on - I think it was my psyche's punishment on me for thinking that 3 would be so easy and would fly by like it's nothing. And my shins hurt. So that sucked. Times weren't too bad so I can't complain too much.

M1: 10:53
M2: 10:42
M3: 10:11

I really want to start speedtraining but am scared that doing so will exacerbate my shin pain. Maybe I should at least give it a shot. I also wish I knew when to push through pain and when it's better to stop. I think there's a fine line there. But does anyone really know when to say when?

I've been tagged by Emilie to do a 6 word memoir. My life in 6 words or less.

Here's what I got: Transplanted, growing, running. Finding my groove.

Hmm. Now I have to tag people. I'm not sure whether these people have been tagged yet but here goes:

Suebob: http://suebob1.blogspot.com/
Julie: http://slowbikefastlife.blogspot.com/
Miss Allycat: http://www.missallycat.com/index.html
Tammie: http://tammie-mylittleworld.blogspot.com/
Aron: http://runnersrambles.blogspot.com/

I can't wait to see what you guys come up with. :)
"If you think you can, or think you can't, you're right."

~Henry Ford