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

~Henry Ford