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!
"If you think you can, or think you can't, you're right."

~Henry Ford