Friday, April 22, 2011

How to maintain sanity within the chaos: Part one

My schedule/life has quite simply been in utter chaos this week!

Perhaps that is a touch dramatic, I suppose that chaos is pushing the limits of reality but to say that I have been exceptionally busy is an understatement. I, right now, am at the 100% limit of what I can manage business wise on my own without calling in help (and help has another job, damn her!)

An important side note: I AM NOT complaining about being busy!! Being busy keeps me in the black, keeps me entertained and from causing too many shenanigans and bottom line: I have a business and one must BE busy to BE in business. Duh. Come to me if you want an epic 5 year plan, because there it is right there. Boom...

I am NOT exaggerating when I declare that the weather has been outrageously horrific. Pouring down rain, 34 degrees with hail and (??) Thunder! 40 MPH winds. Imagine all nasty weather- minus tornadoes- and that is what we have had here. YUCK.

After my little run earlier in the week I have been kept away from the pavement due to the diabolical combination of all the things I just mentioned. Crazy, I tell you!

This has caused me to take a moment to reflect upon my priorities, time management (the weather) and of course, one of my favorite topics: Excuses VS Reasons.

In my line of work I hear a lot of excuses as to why things are going wrong, or not progressing as they should. It amazes me sometimes the balderdash that I hear pouring from peoples mouths as to why they have not practiced AT ALL between training sessions.

I don't like this. BUT, if improving is not your priority then fine! If someone is a casual equestrian then whatever makes them enjoy their time in the saddle is cool with me. BUT, if someone has serious competitive 9or other) aspirations and are still making silly excuses then I try to encourage a more workmanlike mindset.

I was wondering this week if I was falling into the excuses trap in my running life. I took a few points into consideration.

-I am a hobby runner. This will NEVER be a career move for me unless mediocrity and zero money ends up being something that I find desirable. Hmmm?

-I am NOT waking up in the morning saying "OMG! I'm gonna run today" and then spending hours procrastinating, whiling away my time on facebook, or otherwise avoiding the issue. NO, I am waking up in the morning going "HOLY S**tballs! I hope that I can find a second within the madness to eat meals and such!"

-I need to be sure to have my priorities straight. I MUST work (obvi) I MUST take the extra time during these Spring months to be sure that the horses who about to begin their competitive season are fully tuned up. And I MUST have time at the end of the day to see The Huz and Rufus. The Huz has limited patience for the way that my job keeps me away from the house as I came into the relationship with all that attached to me. He gets quite miffed if then I head out to run for 10 miles during the only time we have to see one another. Don't blame the guy one bit, I am (after all) terrifically entertaining to have around not to mention blindingly attractive and smelling of flowers.

My hope- which might be a wild fantasy- is to figure out how to incorporate a few days of running into the schedule. (weather permitting.) Balance is important.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mega Blog Issues!

Hello Hello!

No, I am not gone for good. (lucky you guys!)

Not only have I had a busy week but something has been wrong with the old blog... First it would not allow me to access the "new post" page (crap!) and NOW (at least from where I sit) I can not see my followers! Double Crap!

Don't know what is wrong around here. Trying to figure it out. Not having luck....

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why I am Gross! Or: Disgusting habits part two

Thanks for joining in the fun, lurkers of the past and followers of the NOW!
So, 51 followers FORTY NINE TO GO until the big one hundred. Perhaps that will happen in my lifetime?

Thanks to Aging Novice Runner you may all sit back and enjoy one of my infamous gory over sharing epics.

Todays tale is a non running one... But gory enough, I believe.

One of the biggest things that plagues we equestrians (other than the fact that owning a horse costs more than having a gaggle of small, private school attending children) is the constant battle against the saddle sore. Yes my friends, saddle sores. Perhaps they sound innocent enough, like you get a widdie bittie pinch from your saddle that you ignore and barely even notice? That kind of saddle sore is amateurish stuff and simply not in the realm of the horror that I know all too well.

You know it's coming. You made a bad choice and wore your too warm breeches on a 90 degree day, or made the heinous decision to throw on a pair of seamey cotton knickers to ride 4 horses in. In the rain. In a too-big saddle, or in a pair of overly large riding pants. Regardless of your original thought process by the time you dismount from your noble steed your butt cheek feels rubbed raw and blisterlike. Upon further investigation you discover that is exactly what happened and, as luck would have it, you still have 4 horses to ride.

We're not too shy, as equestrians, about talking about, showing off and taking photos of our worst war wounds. When I reminisce about some of my more sorry times one story comes to mind.

I was smack in the middle of day one of a 5 day show and was having one of those moments. I was in the saddle for much longer than I had planned much to my rear ends dismay, and since I was expecting to ride multiple times a day for the duration of the show I had saved up all of my finest non-chafing knickers for the occasion. But was one pair short... (so clearly the "occasion was NOT day one) It was 85 humid degrees of pouring rain to add insult to injury and no lie- the vast majority of my butt skin was peeled right off. Imagine.... A snake loosing its skin? But weeping. Bleeding. Thinking about pustulating.

This was bad news.

I was far past the point of being able to "prevent" this madness with a touch of powder or anti-monkey-butt paste. Oh, no- there was no turning back from the brink of horror.

I stayed awake most of that night desperately uncomfortable as I could not lie on my back and every time I rolled over my butt skin screamed "NOOOO, lie still you IDIOT!" It was not the greatest of times.

The next day I went into "save the breeches" mode. I'm not lying when I tell you that a saddle sore is a weepy mess. The damn thing will weep its way thru your undergarments, thru your (white, $200) riding pants, and right onto your saddle causing onlookers to back away as though you have a flesh eating disease. I put on my sturdiest and most non chafing set of drawers and went about the business of trying to sit on a few horses. Ohhhh, they were good times let ME TELL YOU.

Sure enough, at the end of the day there was.... weep?.... everywhere. I had a good look at the stash of knickers that I had brought and discovered that the ones I had already worn were the ONLY ones that would cover the offending area. Offffff course...

Have I mentioned before that underwear is exempt from my "get 3-4 uses out of before washing" rule? Yes I have, as recycling the undies is the ultimate nastiness due to the fact that butt sweat is dirty sweat. But what choice did I have? I had a whole bum full of half dollar sized bleeding, pussing, weeping in fricking AGONY sores and there was nothing else to do.

So. For 4 days I rocked the same pair of white underarmour compression shorts. In my defense , at the end of the day I would try to wash the worst of it out in the hotel sink with a little bar of soap. I'm quite sure that did a tremendous amount of good.... (and this is why.... the Huz is unlikely to ever tag along to a horse show.)

The whole fiasco really rubbed me the wrong way (SNAP I am funny, you laughed, admit it!) It was weeks- no lie- before my skin grew back and even more weeks before I wanted to see a pair of underarmour compression shorts.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What next??

I am a woman without a plan. I do not like this... Evidently, my motivation is driven by my competitive nature and without a race on the horizon I'm flipping around like a fish out of water. Directionless... And a touch confused. Let's take care of this problem, shall we? Keeping in mind that my Equestrian competitive season starts on May 14Th, and that (no lie) I am booked every weekend in June this is what I have my eyes on at this time. I'm going to outline a few possibilities and then leave it to you all to decide for me. Or to help at any rate, no pressure people, no pressure!

1: May 7th, Big Lake Half Marathon: Alton, NH
So, do I have the tine, energy and attitude to do one more half before Summer hits and I'm reduced to running 8 miles a week? (A WEEK! BLAH!) My original grand plan was to have last weekends Half be the last before moving on to shorter distances for the Spring and Summer months. This Half looks fun- hilly (at least they admit to it... better to know!) and not too terribly far from where I live. So the question is.... Do I go for the distance one more time??

2: May 8th, Portland Sea Dogs 5K: Portland ME
So this is one of those big, jolly local races where there are a bazillion people all dashing thru the narrow streets of Portland. I'd be looking for a PR here which would mean that for the next month I would get to work on speed work shorter distances and all that craptastic stuff. The other option is that I could get a couple friends to run this with me "for fun" Like I do anything "for fun..."

3: May 22nd, Evan's Run 10K, Norwell MA
Probably wouldn't think twice about this one but the WHOLE family lives down there and I could probably talk some of them into running. Or hanging out... Probably even feeding me! And it has the 10K option- 10K's are really hard to come by from the looks of things. It would be a bit of a haul (3.5 hours) but like I said... The whole Family!

I know for sure that I have the 4 on the 4th (of July, Duh) in my plans as well as the infamous Beach To Beacon in August. So the task at hand is to figure out what to do next. Your opinion is much appreciated!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hello Race Report! Great Bay Half, in the Oh-Eleven...

Race report time! (pictures to come.... later...)

Good old New Hampshire... I seem to have darkened the doors of our neighboring State several times this winter all in the name of running insanity. This time for the Great Bay Half which was held in Newmarket, more or less on the water.

The weather was remarkably and unusually good. This left me feeling confused about what to wear and how to operate as I have not run in temps much above 32 for the past couple weeks. The high temp at the race was a blistering 55 degrees and despite the stupid wind felt quite balmy. Perhaps I am exaggerating slightly but compared to sub arctic mid 50's feels downright tropical.

I felt good! An extra weather related day off seemed to be just what I needed to get rid of the dreaded and unnecessary knee pain. I ate food, drank purple gatorade, donned odd layers including sunscreen and was ready to go!

There were lots of people there plus many cute puppies. Cute puppies = happiness and warm fuzzies in my heart.

The whole shebang got off to a smooth start despite the fact that there was a 5K running at the same time and that can make things frenetic. It was not bad though and I set what felt like a decent pace for what my legs and I had in mind. I overtook the 8:30 pace group before mile 2 which surprised me as I didn't see them at the last 1/2 until mile 11. I felt fine about this since my goal was to maintain about an 8:20-8:30 pace throughout. Evidently, I have an excellent inner Garmin as I don't actually have any way to measure my pace other than in my head. I am a real woman of genius apparently and seem to be fairly competent at pacing myself. (I am a real woman of genius in many other areas too, don't want to short change myself.)

Anywhoo. It was great to be running on a warm day! With friends (ummm, strangers but who is paying attention!) In a tank top after mile 3! All these exclamations do justice to how I felt. Just fine.

There was a rather troublesome stretch of dirt road. Not overly troublesome because of its surface but due to some never ending potholes which required some dodging and leaping. I had more or less fallen into pace with a good number of runners at that point and we all stuck together more or less, for a couple miles. It was hard to tell how fast the "real" runners were running because the 5K start had fuddled things up. Regardless, I certainly wasn't expecting to be in the top group of runners so I stuck to my arduous pace happily.

I missed the memo that this was a hilly course. I think the "Cool Running" blurb on the race casually said that over the past couple years they have designed a course with "10% fewer hills." 10% fewer than 100%? That's what it felt like. Have I mentioned that I train the hell out of the hills in my own town? Yes I have... BUT STILL. It wasn't that the hills were long it was they they were friggin relentless and JUST. KEPT. COMING. I was planning to pick up the pace a bit after mile 7 but the hell if I could what with the hills knocking me on my ass at every turn. I wasn't so much tired... As I was tired of seeing more hills. It was really pissing me off, to be completely honest. The other thing that was really grinding my gears was that for whatever reason the Shot Blok stupid things were NOT sitting well. Again, what the hell? I practice eating those little weirdo's all the time so shiz like that does not happen. It wasn't the best, and hiccupping slightly while I run kind of messes with my nice breathing rhythm.

Despite my trials and tribulations I soldiered bravely on, passing people here and there and feeling small twinges of victory.

Here is what I was thinking around mile 8-9ish.

THE GOOD-I'm at mile 8-9ish. Almost done? Almost done...
-What a nice day
-Not feeling tired

THE BAD-I'm only at mile 8-9ish. WTF??
-Shot bloks feel like lead weights in stomach. bleech.
-Number is swooshing annoyingly. swoosh, crinkle, swoosh, crinkle. GRRR!
-Chafing under right arm. Must have a flabby bit there.

At mile 11 we came to the "out and back" part of the course (another thing that makes me cross. seeing who is ahead of me!) The front runners had indeed set a blistering pace- quite impressive. I don't feel like having to run that hard for 13 miles though, thanxxx.

Mile 12 was a sight for sore eyes, sore feet, multiple chaffed areas and an ever growing more uppity belly. At that point I was still pain free (as in, hip flexor and knees! yayyy!) and I knew I could make it. I had one more bizarre moment when my allergies got the best of me and I sneezed. I don't know if it was because I was running into a very strong wind, because I was slightly breathless or WHAT but the sneezed backfired and seriously chocked me. Yes, bizarre. No crap, I could not get a single breath of air in and was imagining a horrifying situation that involved me, the paramedics and some sort of tube stuck in my neck to give me air. Luckily, my imagination was far worse than reality as I quickly regained my breathing capabilities and got on with it. Not before several people managed to pass me...

I ran into town, thru the finish and saw that I snuck in just under 1:46. Found the Huz and tried to walk off the unpleasantness in mah belly. To no avail. I should have given up and lost my shot bloks on my shoes but I sucked it up and held back on the projectile vomming. I definitely felt dehydrated (stupid warm weather!) but for the life of me could not force anything down. I spent a couple hours curled up in some sort of sick, fetal position going "ewwwwww. ewwwwww. I hate myself" and things of that nature. eventually I was able to straighten up, gulp some gatorade and get back to life... In an attempt to fix me, as lack of food was certainly was playing a part in my lightheadedness we went over to Redhook. Our waitress said that she was seeing an awful lot of green hued runners who were announcing the probability of imminently loosing their lunches. I was quite pleased that I was not alone in my struggle... I suppose I could have won myself one of those coveted pukie awards if I had just hurled immediately upon crossing the finish line- I'll have to take that into consideration for my next race!

So, despite feeling green around the gills after the race I felt good about how everything went. It is better to hit the wall immediately upon finishing then to bonk at mile 6 (a good way to look at it?) I was super pleased with my time of 1:45:40, and to finish 215th- out of about 1200. I was 9th in my age group and the 47th placed woman.

So! I met my goal of shaving a bit of time off my last Half, not feeling the same pains and finishing strong. Now I have to figure out how to finish well and not feel like junk!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Small Race Update

I'll take time later to go over all the sweaty, tiresome, hilly, pot-holey details. Also plan to have some oversharing time- "how I almost vommed on my shoes" or similar...

Until then I'll leave you with this.



Saturday, April 2, 2011

Here we go again!

Well, this is it!

Tomorrow is the big day and if nothing else, the weather looks better than the last time I made the peculiar choice to run across 13.1 miles of frozen tundra.

I do appriciate the Runners World advice to "take it easy and stay off your feet as much as possible" the day before a big race/long run. Needless to say, that did NOT happen. I had a whole weekend of work crammed into today and it was quite hectic!

I am hopeful that tomorrow will go well and that I will finish in the same time range as last time, and hopefully pain free. So.... Fingers crossed for 1:48:00. That will cut 54 seconds off my last time. No idea if that is realistic what with the dirt road and all that but to hell with logic and reason!

Off to carb load. AKA have a beer. Beverage of champions!

Friday, April 1, 2011

In which we discover that I can outrun the long arm of the law....

Oh. Hello BLIZZARD! Thought/hoped you might be a big bad April fools joke. Guess we know who the fools are now....

I am having a challenging time picturing myself running my planned itty-bitty 3 miler in this shiz. I expect that I would be run over by a snowplow, lost in a whiteout or hit by a car and lost forever in one of the still towering snowbanks. I'm not in a good mood about this storm. The grouch is threatening to overtake my usually oh-so sunshiney nature.

Since running seems to be on the bottom of the to-do list (half marathon, you go run yourself will ya??!!) I'll venture off on a tangent.

I ran (umm, drove) out yesterday evening (with the rest of the free world, all whipped up into a pre storm frenzy of hysteria. sigh.) to do some stupid errands.. I was getting em' done! Makin' the headway! Avoiding almost everyone I know to prevent chit-chatting delays (and I was straight from the barn. hat on head, nasty ski pants on, stinky sweatshirt firmly in place. I know I'm a stone cold fox, I can go out any way I damn please and turn heads... because people are freaked out/disgusted! hahah.)

ANYWAY. I like to multi task when I'm out and about so I was driving from point A to B while returning a phone call. I was driving at 0.2 miles per hour to adhere to traffic laws when suddenly I saw a Cop sneak up behind me. "Uh OH!" I exclaimed to the person on the other end (my Hay guy, calling me about the logic and reason of having a street sign put up on my veryvery long driveway for 911 purposes. Bet y'all didn't know that Hay guys are also the 911 guys? So confusing...) In my head I was ready to give Mr. Hay Guy full responsibility if I had done something to attract attention from a cop. I enjoy passing the buck, avoiding blame/responsibility and so forth. But I digress... I flung the phone aside, thinking hard about what sorts of traffic violation I could have made when sure enough the blue lights went on. Frantically, I looked at myself in the vanity mirror and discovered that flirting my way out of anything would be challenging in my condition- which was messy. Damnit!

I stopped. He stopped. I was confused. Mr. Cop got out of his car and kinda.....skulked all around my car for a minute. "WHAT did I DO??" I shouted, smoothly, out the window. "Well... I thought you had a plate light out... but you don't." Oh.KAY?? "do you currently have a warrant out for your arrest?" He arbitrarily asked. "Ah. about that..." (NO!) Just kidding, I was obviously like, NO! WTF? He took my licence and said "well, this is embarrassing. BUT look! Your inspection has expired!" **sigh** Having no womanly charm to fall back on I was relieved that he simply gestured for me to leave, and off I went.

The HELL??

I should be fully invisible in the granny like Corolla that I drive but this is not the first time that I have been pulled over for nothing! GAHD! I was amused and perplexed. It was very April Fools like- but a day early. My feeling was that once again- the bizarre had struck its favorite target. ME.

I was thinking that my Hay Guy was really going to take the piss out of me for being such a hardened criminal when I finally called him back to continue our (slightly bizarre- big shock there) conversation about the 911 capabilities in my town. (Which clearly are not as good as the 911 capabilities in the town I got pulled over in, since they saw my delinquent self driving around and really got on the hop.) However, at this point most of the people in my life are so used to me coming up on the wrong side of the law that this was like, old news.. no big deal! (kidding. I'm a model citizen.)

So. Avoiding arrest, handcuffing, booking or at the very least a warning for an overdue inspection sticker was a good way to finish up my day. Sigh...