Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bad Running Conditions (probably part one)

No negative repercussions form the 4 miler on Turkey Day Possibly because it took me 5 hours to run it, but more likely because I'm in slightly better shape than when I last raced.

Feeling rather.... buoyant... after gorging on pie, etc on Thanksgiving and all the surrounding days I planned a good solid run on Saturday morning. The weather had a completely different idea and it blizzarded with reckless abandon, sending cars careening off my road and keeping me the eff off them. Still fully treadmill-less I trudged over to my sisters to use her bike. A stationary one, obvi since the roads were covered with snow and frozen ice death cookies. It was a different, and sweaty kind of workout but a good one. I think I worked off a great deal of gravy in the process and did something productive on a day of disgusting weather. (A good day to hide inside, read and eat more pie. OH NO! Must STOP!)

Sunday was better in the weather department. Let's all remember that better is relative- meaning that while it was not a horrible snow squall it was 32 degrees, windy and the roads had not exactly recovered. Regardless, I put on my big girl britches and headed out for a few cold, dangerous and adventurous miles. UGH. My feet did not freeze because I put on winter socks. I put big fluffy fleece knickers on under my tights and put shorts on over them. And a t-shirt and a fleece. Gloves. Hat. DOOM.

The quest for a treadmill is still on and I'm feeling a touch discouraged as every used treadmill seems to be from 1456 and new ones with decent warranties and ratings are freaking 1500 dollars. Maybe that's not much for a gosh darn elite marathon runner but it is for me. Needless to say, the quest is still on for the correct equipment to get me thru the winter.
We'll see what the weather brings for this week. If nothing else I will continue to get a heckuva workout walking to my fridge to collect Thanksgiving leftovers.

.... By the way, I kid. I am freakishly active. I'll post eventually about my normal job- but it's no sitting at a desk, let me tell you.....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Race Recap

It was a damn cold day for a race yesterday if I do say so myself....

My Dad (half of the epic race coaching staff, minus the Huz) and I headed out the door bright and early to get to the Holiday race in time to beat the worst of the crowds. (this meant that I had to get up at the ridiculous hour of 4:45 AM. Not my best time of day.)

By the time we arrived the temps had climbed to a balmy 26 degrees. OH. MAH. GAHD. Our plan to beat most of the mobs worked though- I was able to get my number and shirt right away and then we got to walk in circles, freeze, and be bored for close to an hour.

There is nothing more unpleasant that having to take off multiple layers before lining up for the start of a race. No matter how chilly it is I always manage to work up a sweat so running in 2 shirts, a fleece, a vest and a jacket is never on my agenda. BOOOO! Which means that 3 minutes
before the gun goes off I do an unhappy unlayering, every removed layer causes me to scream in agony and dance around spasmodically to keep the blood flowing to my extremities. No lie kids, it was BRUTAL....

This was a big race- over 2000 starters and 1650 finishers. A solid turnout and a bit of an overload for the narrow streets of our so called city. I tried to position myself close to the front to avoid the 20 minutes of accumulating time as the crowd crawled thru the actual starting point. Needless to say my effort was in vain and I was firmly stuck in the middle of the pack. Thoroughly wedged in between a couple of pilgrims and a few turkeys (dangerous situation, for the turkeys that is....)

Once the gun went off we all crept thru the start and got down to business- and a fast business it was for the people in the front. The typical set of super fit, blindingly fast, college age, out for blood people who so intimidated me last year. I fell in with the much slower group of average non super hero citizens and we all ran elbow to elbow, bumpah to bumpah for the first couple miles. Not only was I keenly aware of the traffic around me and it's unrelenting quality but I was still super cold and was fairly certain that my lungs were getting frostbite. IT WAS FREEZING!!

I passed by my Dad right before mile two and informed him that my feet were frozen solid and that I was not feeling my toes anymore. In his opinion that was good- because I could not feel any pain! Evidently though I had not lost all feeling in my feet.... As I passed the mile 2 marker I felt something whipping around my toes and ankle and looked down to see disaster- my shoelace had undid its double knot and had come untied. This crisis dominated my thoughts for several minutes (as I dodged the spit balls that the runners in front of me were launching. you know, there are people behind you! YUCK!!) I weighed the options and did not like any of them... Continue to run and take a tumble and break my face? Or merge out of traffic, tie the offending shoe, and merge back in with the masses after loosing 45 minutes. As always, logic and reason prevailed and I left the damn shoe untied and tempted fate to knock me on my face. (and for the next 2 miles all I heard from the other runners was "shoelace!" which was very nice.)

I had one other surprising moment with about 3/4 mile left to go. As the running traffic thickened thru the narrow streets I was keeping my eyes pealed for a space to do some passing- I had just found it when BOOM! A spectator, evidently unaware that there was a race happening stepped out right in my path. Unable to stop I put my hands up and crashed into his side, exclaiming "DUDE!" He looked at me with surprise- there weren't too many lights on in THAT house- as he appeared to be quite mystified by my sudden appearance. Hello? There are only 2000 people running right now buddy!

The last half mile or so was particularly crowded (why didn't the crowds lighten up at all- it was crazy!) but I managed to work my way around a good number of people. The clock read 31:43 as I ran over the mats so I was confused later in the day when my placing showed 31:50. My watch read 31:18, taking into account the fact that I started my watch when I ran thru the actual start. I placed about 440th- a decent finish in a large crowd. I think I was around the 100 mark for the ladies- out of over 700 of us.

The race, despite the cold and the crowds was still a ton of fun. I prefer the crowds to running by myself in the smaller races- I like to pass people and it's a huge motivator being able to stay in the passing lane for the better part of a race.
It was a cold one.... I have reservations about my January 1st race and the weather- but I remain hopeful that t won't be much colder or snowier out. I'm living in a dream world.)
Despite the fact that my time was not my best I felt it to be a solid effort all things being taken into consideration- especially the fact that due to the weather I had not been able to run in several days.
And finally- I certainly improved on my finish from last year which was the start to this running insanity (maybe that's what I should have called my blog, I like the ring of that "Running Insanity" Hmmmmm.)

The best part of the day? Eating an outrageously good Thanksgiving dinner with family, playing games and having a helluva good time. And feeling completely justified in my decision to eat 3 slices of pie and to have a post meal sandwich.... YAY!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Healthy Diet. NOT! Part 2: Thanksgiving Edition

Thanksgiving is almost here! In honor of my favorite activity (eating, for those of you not in the know) I'm going to dedicate this post to my food musings of the past couple weeks.

I wrote a post a little while ago on my concern over my lack of a well rounded diet and my ignorance of foods which are now trendy (chia seeds?). I got a lot of helpful responses to that post and also made a startling revelation (seriously, it was like a mystical light shining down into my brain!)

Despite being in a food rut I have a pretty darn healthy diet.

It has been years since I have eaten "fast food" as any sort of meal. I genuinely hate all food from the typical chain "restaurants" so this is no great leap of self control for me. Mickey Dees makes me vom a little in my mouth, and usually on my shoes later in the day. As much as I love candy, ice cream, pizza and donuts I do not eat them every day or in large quantities. I have a diet that encompasses all the food groups, except fruit which I always forget about. Fruit: you are not important to me!!

The middleaged huz and I have decided to go on a mission to try new things, especially if we don't think that we'll like them. Brussels sprouts and tofu being tops on the list. I have added a heaping helping of veggies to the weekly shopping list, and I have dutifully eaten a banana a day in my yogurt (my normal breakfast when I'm not shoving cheese danish down my face is vanilla greek yogurt with a handful of almonds- and now a banana.) I am trying to make a couple of meat free dinners a week much to the dismay of the huz who is a voracious carnivore. So far so good though, he hasn't declared shenanigans on my dinner prep skillzzz just yet. And he remembered how much he likes hummus so the world is a happy place.

The huz and I are skinny people. We don't need to loose weight (if either of us do we will no longer cast a shadow... really...) but I am not in any way pleased with the idea of unhealthy eating leading to piles and piles of plagues and strife down the road. I think a few little changes will help us to live to be old crabby married people. HAH! In addition, I am a big naysayer to the concept of eliminating any one thing from a diet. (unless it is something absurd, if I ate a big Mac every day eliminating that would be smart. Except I would eliminate it no problem, as has already been covered in this over sharing chapter of my life.) So we continue to drink beer, eat cashews, have a pizza occasionally and carry on like the norms. Whoot!

If anyone has inspired ideas regarding delightful preparations of the dreaded brussels sprouts (or tofu. polenta. brown rice.) I'll be happy to listen!

Happy Thanksgiving to all, I'm going to indulge in a 4 miler, a pound of pie and a big tall beer.... Ahhhhh!

Monday, November 22, 2010

More moanings regarding the worthless weather...

It has been an interesting week around here in the running department.

When I was a kid I was somewhat outspoken regarding my likes and dislikes (in all areas.) Exhausted from the constant need to patrol my desire to vent my feelings, my Mom instructed me that the only acceptable thing to do was to say that something was "interesting" instead of the less PC horrendous, gag worthy, horrifying, appalling. You get the picture (not only of the kind of outspoken little bugger that I was but on the so called conditions here in the north East.)

I had several lovely runs around the (ahem) interesting weather last week including a 4.3 miler which was a snap. I headed out the next day for an easy run and the conditions were horrible- snow and ice on the road, people flying all over everywhere in their cars, complete chaos and bedlam. Not wishing to die I chose to head back in with barely 2 miles under my belt. But with my life and limbs fully intact... With better weather the following day I was thoroughly disgusted when I felt some distinct twinges from THE SHINNNN. Something about dodging, slipping and flailing on the ice the previous day had rattled some shiz loose in there and I know better than to go gallivanting around when there's trouble a-brewing. I'm back to feeling 100% now and the weather has taken (AGAIN) a tragic turn for the worse. It has not crept above 32 degrees in 3 days and it is alternating between schvitzing and schmucking out. Bad dark times....

I am looking around for a lightly used treadmill as I feel that my salvation from the impending winter depends on being able to run indoors. So far, no luck. I have found a couple in my general vicinity but from the looks of them they are from the early 80's and rather dilapidated despite being "lightly used." The search will continue as I try valiantly to squeak a few more runs out of mother nature/my local DOT.

I have a 4 miler on Turkey Day morning which I am looking forward too. I'm not looking to PR at this one and I'm genuinely fine with that (REALLY! really. Really??) It is a big race and the clusterfudge at the beginning really slows a gal down- and it's gun to finish, so the 20 minutes waiting to go thru the start do in fact count. It's a race that takes you on two loops of the downtown district of what we like to call our city- which is really a pretty place! I did this run with no practice last year with my sister and had a rip roaring good time, despite the fact that we were en route for close to 40 minutes (and I was sore as all hell for 3 days afterwards...) I know I'll do better than last year for sure, and I also know that I'm not as fit or as motivated as I was when I PR'd my 4 mile time back in July. Regardless people, running 4 miles gives anyone permission to pig out later on the day on the biggest eating Holiday known to man!

Hope that all of you out there in the interwebs have been lucking out with good weather and great runs- and a big thanks once more for the Birthday wishes!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hello Middleage, you are officially HERE!

Today is my birthday where I elegantly (per the norm) step into my 30's. 31, you just sound so much more adult that 30....

I had a fantastic plan to take my middleaged legs on a good old fashioned birthday run around the lake today. At 5 miles I felt that this would be a good way to see if I still had it in me, or if time was finally taking its toll on my speed/endurance. (yes. since my last run I am sure that I have aged rather horrendously.) The weather, however, has a different plan for me. It is disgusting times a million out! Being that I am smart and proactive I hit the road yesterday- but only for a quickie 3 miler due to my ridiculously busy work day. Oh well! 3 miles is better than no miles.

This of course brings me to my next valid point (or would it be my first valid point?) What on earth am I going to do in a few weeks (or a few minutes depending on what the weather Gods are thinking) when it starts to snow? The roads around here have no shoulder, much less sidewalk and when the snowbanks start to pile up there is no room to walk/run whatever without putting your life in jeopardy. I refuse to pay for a gym membership to do something that I can do for free.... I'm cheap, it's hereditary OK!!? I hate treadmills from the bottom of my heart but am thinking that obtaining one might be my best option. NOOO! WHYYY do I live in this frozen wasteland of doom!!!!

Anyway, I'm off to try to work in this heinous weather and to avoid drowning or becoming completely waterlogged. My longer than average run will just have to wait until tomorrow....

Friday, November 12, 2010

I AM: Going to be a 10K winner. Or finisher?

Well, I did it.

Signed up for my first 10K, Jan 1st 2011 in Lowell Mass.
(completing my 2010 goal 12 hours late. Damnit!)

Asking the running Gods to kindly send me some good weather, won't be able to get there in a nor'easter. Wicked. Pissah. All fetched up. (insert some cliche saying from up Nawth heyah.)

I'm relying on all of you interwebbers to tell me that I'm going to be fine and will not fail horribly, vom on my shoes, or take 3 hours to finish.

Oh dear. I'm nervous already....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Things I see while running in my town. Part 2.

As you may have already noticed I tend to be exceptionally observant while on my runs.

I like to think that this is because of my quirky and inquisitive nature and not that I am being lazy and taking time to smell the proverbial roses.....

(and yes, I did post a couple months ago about the various bits of trash that I noticed. Needless to say, they were hard to miss...)

Lately I have been noticing more in the way of activities, or scary objects and slightly less rubbish in the ditch.

Today's Stories:
Oh alright, you and I both know that it is most likely a van for a roofing contractor or similar but something about the windowless double back doorness of it just screams Silence of The Lambs. Did I just date myself? Perhaps... However, I avoid this van in the same way that I avoid cholera. I will run completely off the road, up a hill into the puckerbrush and thru the swamp to avoid getting close enough to this vehicle to be snatched, thrown in a well and told "it rubs the lotion on its skin... Jeepers, so scary! I am waiting for the day when this van leaves town so that I can run a straight line down the road again. Until then, no amount of logic and reason will cause me to run any closer to it than is absolutely required by the lay of the land. Kthanxbye.

I live in a town where crime is a rare thing. I have never heard of the cops having to come around and break up a gang of street fighters, or much else to be honest.
You can imagine my surprise when I came running around a corner one day and heard the distinct sounds of some kind of battle being waged just out of my line of vision. As I neared the scene of the crime there was no doubt about it: somebody was getting his arse kicked... I was having visions of myself having to pull off a heroic rescue (or, running for my life while calling 911) Then..... The perps came into my vision. And there he was, one boy of about 13 years old violently beating with a bow stall his enemy: HIS IMAGINATION!
Creeping to a crawl I looked at him, agape. Unimpressed by my curiosity said boy continued his quest to take down his imaginary foe, grunting, sweating and swinging his staff wildly around.
I thought to suggest that he take his Dungeons and Dragons to the backyard, perhaps slightly off the street but chose to keep my words inside and to quietly enjoy the spectacle....

Just one more reason (and a less scary one that the Rape Van) that running in my town is always a fun adventure...

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Healthy Diet. NOT!

As I expected the weather is remarkably heinous.
Which gives me time to ponder my existence. Or my eating habits...

I have been reading a couple of blogs this morning and have come to the conclusion that either I am either A: markedly flawed (which I seriously doubt because you just can't match this fabulocity...) B: Painfully unhealthy living in a world of JENK (again... meh) or C: I march to the beat of my own drum y'all and maybe the rest of you should hop on board for some fun good times?? or D: I need an ambush diet makeover..... DOOM!!!

Case in point.
(or... THE REALITY...)
-I have never eaten a chia seed. Those are for chia pets, sorry... I don't want chia grass growing in my digestive system. AGGGHHH!
-I have also never eaten tofu that did not make me vom a little in my mouth....
-I just ate a huge cheese danish. With real honest to goodness cheese, all sorts of wheat, preservatives galore and a high kick of joy (from me. not the danish cos it's in my belly.)
-Oh, and I also chugged a big coffee with 1/2 and 1/2 and sugar. And felt no guilt about not consuming whatever the trendy cancer fighting bevvie du jour is (green tea? with chia??)
-I like to drink beer. Period.
-I eat healthy stuff on the regular, for sure or I'd die. But I also eat steak. And potatoes. And chocolate. And cake. Whoot!!
-Luckily my blood pressure is quite good despite this nonsense.....

The potential challenge: (....not sure I'm up to it...)
-I would love to have an organic, health conscious possibly vegitarian chef come on over to my humble abode and cook for me for a few days. I would enjoy that very much and would probably develop a glow-from-within proving that a diet consisting of unprocessed veg and dairy free milk is the way to go.
OR maybe I'll try a week of healthy living (personal cheff free, boooo) just to see how it works out for me? If anybody wants to toss me a few easy starter recipies that would be the bombdiggity.
What defines a healthy diet? Organic? Vegitarian? Or just tossing a few veggies onto a cheeseburger? (I know that the answer to me is a balanced diet with a bit of everything. But that's me!)
What could I do to ambush makeover my diet in the name of an epic experiment for the ages? (eat tofu and chia seeds, OH NO!!!!)
Any thoughts are welcome.

(-I have to make this a huz friendly experiment. Let's remember that the man married me for my ability to make such delicious meatballs...)

(and don't ask me to give up beer..... but I'd give up cake for a week in the name of science.)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Epic Fail 2010

A very odd week.

After having such a good run on Sunday I had normal running plans for the week. Monday off, about 3-4 miles on Tues and Thurs and then a longer run over the weekend.

Sounds like a good well thought out plan, no?

Apparently the running Gods did not think so because between the fully horrendous weather that we were so lucky to have this week and the fact that I felt rather MEH for a couple days my plans went down the crapper.

I was irked that on the good weather day I wasn't feeling that great. But I wasn't and that was that. No good story here, but you sometimes know that you should just stay away from the running shoes. Grumble grumble. Piss and moan.

It is now a new week. The weather still looks tormantial!!! WHY??? And I am still not feeling 100%. Tomorrow looks to be an epic washout but on Tuesday I will go and run 39,678 miles to make up for my epic fail of last week.

Luckily I am getting plenty of exercise lifting Halloween candy into my mouth. Excellent....

Monday, November 1, 2010

My ponderings and reflections

I was tremendously pleased to have a great run yesterday after a fully craptastical week. .....and while my week was not really the best most glorious ever I'm actually referring to the fact that I had a BAD running week.... I gave some serious thought to why I was having lead legs and super slow feet. I am a fairly smart girl and came up with the following multi part conclusion:

1- I am exhausted as I have not slept well in weeks
2- It is freezing out so I am stiff and slow to warm up
3- It is freezing out so I forget to drink... Water...
4- I am over the euphoria of returning to running and have settled into the drudgery of improving my fitness

I was not particularly well rested yesterday but spent a few pre run minutes stretching and was sure to pound some high quality H2o. I felt considerably better and finally (and I mean, REALLY) was able to up my mileage without feeling like I was going to break my femur doing so.

I believe that I was the only runner in the world not to run a race this past weekend. In my perfectly well designed plan for 2010 I was scheduled to run a 5K trail race on Saturday. The 7ish weeks spent on the DL made me change my mind about that one which is a good show of unusual logic for me. Something about slamming down 5K over roots, stumps, wildlife and swampland on a just recovered and still not fully fit leg sounded nothing short of retarded. So I stayed home.

With 2 months left in the year I'm suspicious that my goal of running a 10K might go unfinished... Mostly due to my geography the race season is grinding to a halt because people are becoming hypothermic. I am toying with the idea of driving a couple hours south (which will tragically not improve the temps by more than 3 degrees) to run a 10K on January 1st. A good New Years resolution but it might be sub fricking arctic!! I'm having a tad bit of trouble wrapping my head around this one.
I am also fairly certain that I will not be cracking the 21 minute mark in any 5K's. It is painfully clear that shaving seconds off the time on a 5K is challenging. Knocking off another TWO minutes? It might as well be two hours!!
I will revise my goal by saying that if I can manage a 5K in under 23 minutes I'll be very happy. (I'm not giving up on my 21 minute 5K. No way, Jose. But I'm allowed to make changes to my ridiculous goals because I'm a grown ass woman, damnit!)

I'm a geek so I looked back at all my race results for the year so that I could mull over my VAST and DRAMATIC improvements...

This year's results:
-Day after Thanksgiving, 2009: 4 miler- 39:11 (the race that started the madness and introduced me to the fact that practice is important to ward off impossibly sore muscles.)
-June... 2nd?? 2010- Tri For a Cure 5K- 23:11 (ran a 6:14 first mile. enough said. and an over 10:00 last mile- so not enough said?) Placed 12th. Celebrated.
-June 25th or so- Ridge Run 5K- 23:19 (ran mile 1 in 6:03. I had not learned my lesson yet. spent the rest of the day wishing to die. lesson learned.) 1st place woman.
-July 4th- 4 on the 4th- 31:20- First time I ran smart enough to claim negative splits! In almost 90 degree weather!
-July 7th- Run by the lake 5K- 23:33- my slowest 5K time to date but ran negative splits in 94 degree temps. Won age division.
-July 17th- Old Home Days 5K- 23:14- another very smart race, neg splits and hot weather. Won age division.
-July 31st- Another "Old Home Days" 4 miler- 30:29- Ran the last mile the fastest- not a lot of gas left at the end but another smart run. Finished in top 100- big race.
.........Time off due to various shit in life plus insane shin splint............
-October 16th- Fall Foliage 5K- 23:00. Still a mystery as to how I managed this, but time off did not hurt evidently. 2nd place woman. by a hairrrrrr....

Upcoming events:
Me vs. the Thanksgiving day 4 miler. Rematch bitches.
and.... nothing else. I'm going to hunt around for some festive fun 5K's and continue to ponder the logic of a New Year's Day 10k.