Thursday, July 29, 2010

In between the madness....

After the scramble to do 2 races over the course of 3 days I had a little break (from racing, sadly not from other things.) Over the period of this 10 day uber vacation I discovered some important things.

It is hard to run when it is 98 degrees out at 6 AM.
It is hard to run when you are working a 87 hour week. (no lie.)

The heat I began to adjust to, somewhat. Considering taking out stock in Purple Magic Gatorade I did my very best to hydrate to the max while avoiding my enemy: cold water in a hot stomach. That is a one way street to Vom Dot Com for this old lady!

How about those 2 million hour work weeks? How was that working out for me? Well, I was certainly pleased to be able to pay my mountains of bills (I need to try to become an elite runner, beat the Kenyans and make bank. Yeah! Anyway...) But it left very little time for long super woman runs. But run I did because I am hardcore, crazy, determined not to suck and one-who-makes-no-excuses! Oh snap! During this time I entered in my training log some of the most fabulous workout notes that I have ever seen. Since a week or two has passed I had already forgotten the extent of my suffering. Read on to enjoy my pain!

July 9, 3.1 miles, 25:00 pace of 8:04: The weather was a sweltering 85 degrees but knowing that A: That's what it has been all week and B: that's what it's going to be until the fricking end of time, out I went. I felt fine. I did not run fast but I ran well. My inner monolouge was not filled with moaning, groaning and clanking but with inner zen like thoughts (obvi) Actually, it was more like "Wow, I'm really sweating. Hmm, my sweat even has sweat. I wonder if the townspeople would fine me if I just ran NAKED???"
I got home and poured a nasty green gatorade straight down my throat and chased it with some vodka (hey. it's Friday suckah!)

July 10, 4 miles, 32:00 pace of 8:00- Off I went this morning, filled with delight that it was a frigid 75 degrees and an ultra dry 98% humidity (oh snap!) About .01 into my epic marathon it started to pour. Not one to make excuses I boldly trundled on and after a bit it stopped. At exactly mile 2.2 (and at the other end of town) the skies opened up in a most apocolyptic fashion and it rained so hard that all I could do was spit rain water out of my mouth, leap over large puddles, wish for goggles and those flipper things that swimmers wear and run faster. I almost drowned but in my heart I actually thought it was kinda fun. HAHA weather, you thought you could stop me but you CAN'T! You're my bitch weater, and I'm not scared of you!

July 12, 3 miles, 24:55 pace of 8:08: Thinking that I would capitilize on a cool and fantabulous morning I headed out at the asscrack of dawn. Yes, it was only 66 degrees but it was also a staggering 98% humidity (yeahhhh. nice.) I was dripping an unreasonable amount of sweat and felt irratated by it. Also I was bombarded by a swarm of angry/insane deer flies who kept biting my bod and drinking all my blood. Effing vampires.

July 14, 4 miles, 34:00 pace of 8:30: UGH, my list of excuses was running rampant. I indulged and made a mental list of my whingings while running my first mile. Reasons why I am feeling like a 100 year old out of shape hippo today: It is very hot again and I'm all sticky and crabby. I don't think I've had enough to drink or eat today. I have only run a mile and the sweat is getting in my eyes. I don't like this song on my ipod and don't feel like changing it. I'm so grumpy that the way by butt is jiggling is really pissing me off! Let's call the whaaaaambulance and whine-one one!
I got over it, but only becasue I could not stand the thought of doing half a run and having to waste the water to wash my sweaty ass clothes that had only had half a workout. Interesting and completely sound logic!
Some days running is hard.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Oh NO! Another RACE!

Crap! Why did I choose to do anther 5K 3 days after that 4Th of July race during one of my busiest work weeks???
Oh yeah, because I'm hardcore. Or crazy.
There were great things about this race: it was 5 minutes away from my house, it was at 7 pm!, it was going to be fun! (?), and it was right next door to an awesome bar! PARTY! Oh AND my Dad, Huz and Best friend were all coming to cheer my slow ass on.
The bad things? Oh, it was 95 degrees, no lie. I was a bit exhausted. I had lots of excuses which I told to shuttup.
I ate my pretzels and ginger, consumed my 6Th bottle of purple Gatorade, took off 98% of my clothing and got ready to start. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the familiar buff physique of ABS. NOOOO! I knew that she was going to try to pull me into her web of lies and make me run the first mile way to fast so I tried to get as far away from her as possible. Unfortunately she is very nice and wanted to talk to me and stuff, like normal people instead of the superwoman that she clearly is. Luckily, I was able to escape before she used her powers to make me forget to run the first mile in 8 minutes.
At the start I was very confused about my new IPod, which I had had pretty good luck with at the 4 miler. I could not figure out where the little button was to change the play list which was very annoying. Right before the gun sounded I came to the bothersome realization that I had the wrong earbuds and that they did not have the controls on them. I was stuck listening to the most sucktastic playlist EVAH. I almost shut it off but remembered how much I hate the sound of my own labored footsteps.
I had an OK start and watched as a lot of people hit their turbo buttons in a way that must have been dreadful for such a horrible hot evening. I watched Abs run away like a muscular gazelle and let her- I had no desire to chase her on this particular day.
I did the first mile in exactly 8 minutes, despite having a very poorly mannered woman invade my space to the point that I felt she was trying to elbow me. I chose to ignore her and move over, only to have her move to my exact location. I was not pleased about this but decided to take the high road and ignore her terrible etiquette. I had a good laugh when just after the first mile she came to a complete halt, never to be seen again. (not true. I saw her on the way back because it was an out-and-back course. She was laboring along terribly, and that is what she deserved.)
I ran in almost complete solitude between miles 1 and 2 and then started to gain on the leaders of the pack,. I run very well downhill so that is what I did, passing a few people on the way (there were about 125 people in this race- so it wasn't as much fun as passing people by the hundreds a few days before! But I'll take it- passing people always fills me with evil joy.) Coming into the last .2 miles I gained on and passed a few guys and saw one more passable person in front of me. "Watch our Mister" I shouted menacingly "I'm gonna get you!" "Uh-Oh" he exclaimed as I smoked his ass. 2 seconds later as I honed in on the finish line I heard him shout out "Don't count your chickens before they hatch, LADY!!" As he gained on me with shocking speed. We both shifted into high gear and had a hysterical race for the finish and GLORY (or a tie for 15Th place.. EPIC!) It was one of the funniest things ever and I loved it, although I most certainly should have beaten him soundly.
I placed 3rd for the ladies (Abs was 2nd, so she won this match!) and I won my age division and got prizes which was cool. Oh, and I finished in 23.33 which I was just fine with since it was 176 degrees out.
I was glad to have my friends there and we all drank beer after and watched the videos of the photo finish that everyone had taken on their phones. It was a damn good time!
And the best part? The photo finish was in the paper, on the cover of the sports section confirming that I have made it into the big time running leagues of greatness. (obviously.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

I wish the 4 mile race was a 0.4 mile race...

I awoke on July 4th with the feeling of butterflies having world war 3 in my stomach. I asked them to please leave as they were terribly distracting and were not allowing me to tap into my calm, inner zen like qualities. Gosh!
The 4 mile race that I was gearing up to run is always huge event, attended by 2,000 people all of whom are in considerably better shape that I. Despite knowing in my heart that last place was inevitable I was quite excited, and (as my nerves calmed) feeling good about the big day.
Once again the weather gods were being bitchy and refusing to give me quality cold rainy weather. The nerve! Sunshine and happiness on America's birthday, BOO! The forecast was calling for record temps and horrible air conditions, all of which are so so pleasant for running in.
I had a very excellent plan for the hours leading up to the race (yes, I got up at 4AM. So what?) I ate a couple granola bars which was pure torture and reminded me of chewing on an old tire. I drove into town and picked up my number and shirt before the masses of tourists descended upon the countryside. I pounded a couple bottles of purple Gatorade in an attempt to pre-hydrate which was also torturous and made me have to pee like a Russian racehorse. Then I ate the glorious combo of pretzels (to carb load) and candied ginger (to calm the cartwheels in my stomach.)
My middleaged Huz dropped me off at race time in the middle of town along with 65,000 other screaming people, busloads of local campers, pomp and circumstance, and hullabaloo. It was all very exciting and I liked it very much. I'm a fan of that sort of chaos, to be entirely honest! The Huz drove away to escape the crowd of insanity and to get his Mom to come and cheer me on to glory, or splendid mediocrity!
While waiting for the race to start I was attacked my a huge chicken mascot who was clearly (to my mascot hating eyes) a rapist. I told him to get lost but he/it would have none of it, forcing me to perform pre-race stretches with him/it and making me cringe with discomfort but be thankful for the crowd (which would surely protect me should the giant chicken try some funny business...)

After much ado, chicken rape, and peeing in the woods we were finally off. I always get nervous in a big huge race with a gun to finish start- especially when I am in the middle of the pack and not close to the front ( I figure that 45 minutes will tick by as I struggle to reach that start.) I reminded myself of my vow to NEVER, EVER bolt to the front again and to stay calm and run like a granny. With this in mind the gun sounded and I was immediately trapped in a sea of slowly surging bodies, all of whom were miles taller that I am and much slower. I resigned myself to the fact that no records would be made in the first mile but that the traffic would demand that I put forth a slow start. (and it DID for an 8.23 first mile. YIKES!)
The course is a very hilly one and while I had never run it before I knew the roads very well. At the top of the worst hill, around mile 1.8 there is a little old shack. I knew that when I passed that I'd be out of the woods (or off the hill, I guess) almost to the halfway mark and free to pick up the pace if I felt like it. I had barely started up the mountain when much to my shock there was the shack! I rubbed my eyes in blatant disbelief (and joy! and the angles sang! and all was well in the world!) I was feeling great, running steadily, starting to pass people and almost half way there.
As the road sloped down towards the 2 mile marker all I could see was a sea of runners stretching out in front of me like (insert corny ocean of doom/ dessert of death/ impossible to conquer concept here.) But really, the people loomed out to the horizon like something that I just did not want to see. Knowing that I was 1/2 way there (at 16:08, making up time!) and having run thru a few refreshing sprinklers I decided to get down to business and pass some people.
That is exactly what I did for the last 2 miles. There is no doubt in my mind that steadily and methodically I passed hundreds of people. I ran calmly and serenely and maintained my composure like a real lady (um, yeah.) As I came into the last .2 miles I was feeling sweaty and glad that the end was near but also feeling well, coherent and not at all like calling 911. Excellent! (somebody snapped a pic of me running the last stretch and I don't lie- I really look like I just stepped out the spa or similar. Totally cool, calm and collected. Hmmm?!)
The finish was a clusterfudge of little a-holes trying to beat each other to the finish. Damn kids! Despite almost getting run over by a bevy of brats I managed to glance at the clock as I ran thru the finish- 31.20 which I was SO pleased with that I jumped up and down and waved my hands in the AIR! (not really, it was too hot.) Since my goal had been to finish in relative good health, in 35 minutes I was pretty darn pleased with my impressive athletic prowess.
My Huz and his Momma were super impressed and mopped off my sweat with a big old towel that they had been smart enough to bring. Then they walked across town with me and put me into the walk in cooler of my sister in law's store which was pure genius and I highly recommend.

I felt great, and was very pleased that the whole plan had worked (and propelled me into the stratosphere of elite running, soon to be world famous! NOT!)
I finished 238Th, 33rd for ladies and 2nd in my age group. I was very. very. very pleased.

The best part? My picture was in the paper the next day. With the rapist chicken! NOOoooOO!!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The day I learned many valuable lessons and killed my Ipod...

Spontaneity is not my middle name. Occasionally in non athletic or non work related pursuits I throw caution to the wind, leap of the edge of the proverbial cliff and rebel against the world (doing something WILD like staying up to the ungodly hour of 9PM! Oh crap, I'm a badass rock star!) When it comes to real life I tend to walk from point A to point B with nary a squiggle between. Those are my Type A, First Child, Scorpio, and clearly FABULOUS tendencies coming out.
I had a good solid plan for prepping for the 4 miler on the 4th of July. So nobody was more surprised than I when the week before I signed up super last minute for a 5K. In reality I felt obligated due to the fact that it was friends of mine who were hosting the event and it was for a great cause. I determined that it was my moral and civic duty to attend and do well so off I went.
The conditions were dramatically different from those on the day of my first race. At 9AM it was turning into a hot day and was quite humid (to add insult to injury.) The weather had been warm for a while so I felt fairly acclimated but in reality it snows for 11 months out of the year where I live so acclimation is relative. Relatively impossible... In perperation I removed every acceptable article of clothing and declared myself ready to run like a Kenyan!
It was a small crowd (57 starters) and I knew almost everyone. For no apparent reason I was feeling more nervous than usual which was absolutely ridiculous because this was not an Olympic event. Regardless, I had a pretty funky case of the butterflies which were most unappreciated.
Out of the group I honed in on one lady, a bit older than myself but in 100% better shape. She was buff like WHAT! She had abs of steel and was clearly a very advanced runner who was going to be impossible to catch. She made me feel skinny and pale.....
The small gathering of future marathon champions got off to a nice start, myself included. Abs was leading the pack like some kind of tiny woman on futuristic steroids and due to my odd case of nerves I was just behind her in the leading bunch of people. My adrenaline carried me thru the first mile at a sickening 6.03 which made me feel very worried.
At mile 1.5 Abs and I were running elbow to elbow and were hot on the heels of the (male) leaders (no catching them... jerks...) I was definitely feeling the unpleasant side effects from my retardedly brisk start and had a feeling that Abs wasn't faring all that much better. The humidity was shockingly intense and the course which had looked elementary on paper was starting to feel like a sprint up Mt. Everest.
I got about 3 steps in front of Abs and hit the most ridiculous brick wall that I had ever felt. It was horrible and I hated everything about it, despised running, and thought that vomming, passing out or stopping was the wisest choice. None of which transpired because I'm insane.
I soldiered on. My inner monologue became very disjointed and bizarre. Things were just a bit.... Off. I determined that I had hit a large and mysterious piece of plastic wrap and it was doing its damndest to stop me, or to cause me to suffocate in a slow and painful manner. Egads!
Somehow despite the fact that miles 2-3 took me 9 minutes each I managed to squeak thru the finish line 3 seconds ahead of Abs and secure the 1st place ladies finish. (later to find out that Abs was a super nice lady and indeed, a very good runner who I managed to catch on an off day.) My finishing time was 23:19 which was fine considering the Hell that I passed thru getting there.
Bottom line, I learned several valuable lessons on this day of Doom which made me revise my plan for the 4 miler.

Lesson 1: Stop running like a chicken on crack for the first mile. Just Stop. Can't do it.
Lesson 2: What I was eating for breakfast- which was my "go to"meal of choice in my other sport was not gonna cut it for running.
Lesson 3: My Uncle Who Runs told me to cowboy up and pre-hydrate, a concept which I had believed to me mythical. (and will later prove to NOT be.)
Lesson 4: Don't bother trying to catch Abs, she is one fast Mo' Fo'.

And the moral of the story: As miserable as I was running (and continued to be throughout the day, alternating wishing to drink water and then to vom it back up) I was glad I did this little outing before the Big Race on the 4th. However, the worst part of the day was not getting dehydrated to the point of fricking hallucination but the sudden death of my beloved Ipod Nano that I had had since 2005. Evidently I sweat so much that I killed the little bugger... I was most disturbed since I refuse to run without music as I can not deal with the sound of my pokey footfalls and labored breathing. I dropped it in a dish of rice in an attempt to draw the sweat out of it to no avail. Since I did not need an Ipod that is also a phone, dvd player, maid, and kitchen sink I ordered (sadly) a pink shuffle... Will I like it? Wait to find out...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Post race excitement

After my real introduction to the marvelous world of road racing I had officially been bitten by the bug. My competitive nature is rather fierce and I enjoyed everything about my experience so that was that. Olympics here I come! In reality I was planning to spend the month of June prepping for a 4th of July 4 miler. A rather large race, I knew that I would have to step up my game a tad just to finish (4 miles seemed long. Like a marathon.) I had a few interesting workouts on my way to reaching my next goal in life.

Saturday June 5: 3 miles, 26:33 pace of 8:51: Felt a post race "lack of legs" but wanted to get out and about again so took a slow and steady run. No ankle pain, but some discomfort in back of both legs. Very warm and humid weather but still felt pretty good throughout. Very slow pace by choice, and seems a good one as legs are much better and not worse the next day...

Sunday June 6th, 2010: 2 miles, 15:03 pace of 7:32: so I was all excited to go out and pound out a couple fast miles. It was cool and clammy-perfect for that sort of nonsense. But I felt crummy! Don't know if I started too fast, or if I should have taken today to just chill but it was rough. Impressed that my time was anywhere near this good... Def could not have kept at it for another mile. Gasping like a douchebag fish. Legs all lazy. BLAH!

Monday June 7th, 3.8 miles, 32:12 pace of 8:28: Today was the opposite of yesterday. I felt really blah about heading out to run and ended up having a really good one! Did distance over speed, and ran a route that was fairly rolling with one large hill. Legs feel good today (next day) although they were a touch sore last night. Breathing felt good, after the first .5 legs felt good too. Nice sunny, cool (66 degree) day.

Wednesday June 9, 3 miles, 24:22 pace of 8:07: This run was pure and horrible torment. I heaved thru the first MILE AND A HALF like a 300 pound walrus before my legs woke up. And even then, they felt like lead weights on the bottom of my body. At the 0.7 mile mark I wished for a bench to sit upon and to drink a beer.
**sigh** Regardless, I did it. I had a lot of excuses in my head as to why I sucked- "I am tired" "I hate my pink shorts" "I have been up since 4:30 for the past 2 days" Blah, blah, blah.

I have no idea why my time was still decent, if not great. Every mile felt like it took at least 17 minutes.

Ha, not all training runs go as planned.
My next post: A bit more training, unexpected outings, important lessons learned and my first 4 mile race since attempting to become an actual runner. Exciting!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Big Day

Oh Shizz. It was race day.
It was cold and dreary. Freezing, actually for June. In other words PERFECT weather for me! I am all about the colds and damps they give me the warm and fuzzies.
The race was at 7PM and let me tell YOUS it was a long day. I had to work, and I thought about running. I had many important things to do and between the crazies happening in my stupid irritable stomach and my brain misfiring from my sabout the intensity of the competition I was not feeling my best. And all I could think about was running which to be honest, was most disturbing...
Around 4PM knowing that I had a long drive I got my business together, took some pepto, ate some Doritos and prepared to hit the fricking road. I prayed not to be literally hitting the road in a few hours. My Dad caught me on the way out (I work in close proximity to my parents house, bless their little hearts..) He said "Want me to go with you?" I said "No, you will be bored as hell, I might throw up on you and it will be all girls there so it will not be exciting for you." He argued that point, like any sensible man would but accepted that I would be fine on my own. (I am 30 after all, gosh.) I planned to leave at 4:20. At 4:18 I called my Dad back and said "I changed my mind. I want you to come with me." Like a good Dad 2 minutes later he was in his yard ready to go with a cooler of snacks and something that looked suspiciously like airplane sick bags (must be prepared!)
I told mah Dad about my paranoia of coming in dead last and he scoffed (my Dad is big on scoffing, and that it the only word to describe it. Hmmm.) We saw strange things on the drive that were amusing enough to make me feel a lot better (people fighting in the road. cars with hatchbacks wiiiide open, threatening to spill their contents on the road side. a raised staircase going nowhere, or perhaps to heaven. Anyhooo, I digress..)
We got there. I registered. There were a crap ton of people there. And a lot of ladies in tha spandex... You can tell how serious a runner a person is by the amount of spandex they wear, and by the looks of things everyone was a fricking Olympian.
We all lined up, and there was a lot of pomp and circumstance because we were raising money for cancer research which made me feel good about paying to be tortured. My Dad wished me good luck and we were OFF!
Immediately I was in a superbad clusterfuck of people which I was not too keen on. Using my back country badass street skills I ran around the crowd, thru the puckerbrush, jumped over a few trees and basically put it in 4WD until I got thru the madness. Once I had distanced myself slightly from the cluster I realised that I was setting a much more blistering pace that I had intended to but I just said what the hell since it was so cold. (the logic? I would not get horribly dehydrated? I would not gasp too badly for air? No idea what the thought process was but that was it.)
I made it to the first mile marker at the time of 6:14 which is absolutely insane and make me kick myself a bit. I was pretty nervous that I was going to burn out by mile 2 and have to cry for mercy, on an emergency vehicle. I took a quick system check and found that other than being somewhat out of breath I felt fine. I adjusted my pace a bit and kept on.
At about mile 1.5 we had to climb a large flight of stairs and sprint across a big field. Many of the people in front of me were tiring. To motivate myself I made a game of passing them (then beating them up so they could not catch me and pass me... Kidding, kidding...) By the time we all reached mile 2 I had passed quite a few people and I was still feeling pretty decent. (my inner monologue was chanting things like "this would suck it it was hot" and "keep on running slacker, it's only 3 miles fattie) and so forth.)
I passed my Dad just after mile 2 and in shock he waved me on "You're doing GOOD" he shouted as I double arm fist pumped like the geek that I am.
Nearing the end of mile 2 I really slowed down, but nobody was hot on my heels so I was cool with it. The last 0.1 felt long, and I was wishing for oxygen, a couch, or perhaps a swift death to save me any more agony. But I pushed on like a trooper. Or a crazy person.
The finish line was quite festive so it was exciting to cross, (with more fist pumping, and perhaps shouting "I'm Great" "Go ME" and other nonsense...) And my time?? (wait for it!) A blistering, record setting, clearly Olympic gold medal winning 23:11! OK, so maybe not all those things but clearly the fastest time I had ever managed, run on pure crackhead adrenaline with no good choices being made (6:14 first mile, anyone?) I placed (wait for it...) TWELFTH, out of 500 ladies. I jumped up and down! I drank wine! I got a medal (yeah, so did everyone but I don't care!) My Dad saw people he knew so he had fun! And I barely even made him wait because I was so fast! Exclamation POINT!
I was very pleased with my first real race and even more pleased to feel just fine the following day. But the thing I was most thrilled with: NO VOMMING!!!
And the all important thing that I was NOT pleased with? The next day I looked at my legs, or to be specific my inner thighs. They were covered with red, raised, pustulating poision ivy. WTF? I had to put on my thinking cap and was brought back to a time when I got competitive and ran agressively thru some puckerbrush to get to the front of the pack... A bit more musing and I remembered a bit of post race stretching that involved the placement of the shoe on the inner thigh. I spent the next two weeks scratching my thighs like I had a serious personal problem, scabies, ringworm or something highly contagious (all the while announcing loudly to the world that I did NOT have those problems and only had the poision ivy of doom... good times.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

The final countdown. (insert musical montage here.)

I had made it to the last few days of my pre race training. I felt like I was going to survive but that it was NOT going to be pretty. I had nervous feelings in mah belly.

May 24, 2010: 2.7 miles, 24:27 pace of 9:03 87 degrees. Despite that madness it was a good run and I made good time. Used new shoes and was pleased- perhaps they are a little big? Ankle much better- but I did feel it after the 1st mile...

May 26, 2010 2.7 miles 29:14 pace of 1 hour 17 minutes per mile: Slow as SHIT because it was close to 90 and so humid. Never out of breath though and had a decent run. Some ankle pain.

May 28, 2010: 2.7 miles, 23.07, pace of 8:34: UMMMM, HELLO?? I AM FAST! What the hell!!

June 1, 2010: 3.0 miles 25.34 pace of 8:31:A little rainy and cool- and after 3 days of not running my legs and ankles felt a little iffy. I was super pleased with the time/distance that I did. But OH GOD!! This was fy first legit 3 miles and my LAST run before the race. Oh no, doooom. DOOOM!!!

My next post: Race Day (and we're quickly catching up to almost current time... Which is good becasue I have a lot going on!)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The first race is sneaking up on me....

As my debut race came looming at me (like a mack truck, really) I decided to set some personal goals. I'm not a big one for writing goal lists, cheery personal affirmations, or anything that has to do with team leadership or motivation. All of the above make me roll my eyes like the jerk face that I am. My strategy is to take up less time with wishful thoughts "everyone is a winner!" "You have already won by putting one foot out the door!" and just getting the heck out and, ya know, doing stuff.

However, I felt that I had gotten myself into a situation that merited some cheery little pick-me-up notes stuck to my bathroom mirror (not really.) While laboring over the details of my work day I mulled over what I wanted to accomplish and made a mental and splendid goals list:

1: Finish

Then I crossed that out. Clearly I would finish! I never don't finish something that I start! (unless it really sucks, like step aerobics, then I quit uber fast.) I would finish even if I had to drag my partially lifeless bod over the finish line.

1: Don't get last.

I almost crossed that out as well but concluded that it was legit. I did not want to finish last. The thought made me break out into hives and a cold sweat. At the same time!

2: Do not vomit on self, on other people, or at all, preferably.

I kept that one, no doubt. I tend to get a bit upset in the stomach now and then.... It's a problem.

3: Finish in a time that does not make me want to shoot myself in the feet with rusty arrows. Like, 27 minutes. That sounds perfectly reasonable.

My list looked good and I was filled with confidence in my ability to bang out 3.1 miles, even though I had yet to do so in my training runs. HAH! Who needs preparation?

The one thought in my mind was a time at a competition years ago (in my real sport) with my best friend. She said the wise words "Just go out there and get it over with, already, so that we can have a BEER!!" Wiser words for never spoken, and that of all things seemed like a good pre-race mantra....

Friday, July 16, 2010

The one about the new shoes...

After pounding out a couple months worth of miles in my 5 year old, broken down New Balance trail runners (previously used for many miles of waitressing) I decided it was high time to procure a pair of actual running shoes. Not only was my ankle still quite sore from falling down a hill but my feet felt blah in general. I don't enjoy having blah feet.
The Huz and I made a pilgrimage to the (my State's name) Running Company, a store that previously would have filled me with dread and/or boredom to the MAX to enter. But now I was a fabulous runner! I was excited (for real, for real) and only a little nervous that they would tell me that I had severely ugly feet or similar.

As it turned out the process was quick and painless. My gait and feet appeared to be normal (and I was filled with pride that I could finally claim "normal" on my taxes and other legal documents...) I tried on 100,000 pairs of shoes because I am a girl and so I can. HAH. (At this my very tolerant huz decided to pass on the shoe fashion show and head down the road to do some boring man shopping. Smart move.)
I was surprised that they put me in a show one full size larger than I was used to which gave me a scary Ronald McDonald feeling at first (the freakishly big feet, not the red nose, hair or desire to peddle burgers. I'm just sayin'.) They insisted that it was what I needed and that I would be happy in the end,.

After much hemming and hawing between the Silver Superhero shoes that would be (based on looks alone) enough to propel me towards a finish line OR the Boring Blue & White shoes that were oh-so dull to look at but (based on feelings alone) would make my feet both happy and fast. In the end my practical nature won (AGGHH! How BORING) and the Blue Brooks won out. I was happy to invest the $130 in them because it was time, the old shoes had payed their dues and my ankles and nasty old feet were sick of suffering. Not to mention that footwear in my other line of work/sport runs around $600- I felt that I was getting away with something!
I took the little buggers out for a test run and was nervous because they seemed a bit long in the toe. I called my Sister, all nervous that I was going to have to use the 21 day return policy. "You'll be fine" she said with supreme authority "You'll appreciate them in the summer or on long runs when your feet swell." I listened to her and have since discovered that I do indeed appreciate them when my feet swell all sexy-like. YEAH!

Not to mention the obvious fact that I appreciate the shoes because they made me so much more comfortable that I was finally able to run faster and longer.
Only I can make a story of shoe shopping so gosh darn exciting....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

In which I get very, VERY serious about my running skillzzz.

May had arrived all full of sunshine and flowers. And Spring stuff. After completing the C25K (more or less) in 3 weeks (give or take) I was prepared to claim my spot alongside the champions (obvi.)
I deemed it fully appropriate to leave my slow yellow dog home and to systematically add a few minutes to the old run each day/ish. I was counting down the days to my race and already fearing that I would finish in dead last place, partially broken and fully unconscious. It was a very worrying time for me....

May 5th, 2010: 2.2 miles 25:54 for a pace of 11:46 "A good run. Getting better. Clearly Olympic bound."

May 7th, 2010: 2.4 miles 27:00 pace of 11:15 "A CRAP run today." Could hardly do it and heaved and wheezed terribly. Will have to take up knitting..."

May 11th, 2010: 2.4 miles, 26:00 pace of 10:50 "A miracle occurred and I ran less craptastically today."

May 13th, 2010: 2.5 miles, 26:00 pace of 10:24 "I am obviously on some kind of freakish and advanced learning curve."

May 18th, 2010: 2.7 miles, 27:00 pace of 10:00 "Ran a different route today in very warm (almost 80) weather. Legs/ breathing felt pretty good although the ground was very uneven. Just in a bad headspace for running today. Never really got happy about it..."

May 19th 2010: 2.6 miles, 25:00 pace of 9:37 "Not a bad run at all considering the intensity of yesterday's workout. Ran my regular route and found it to be pretty great after running by the lake yesterday. Sore in ankles- need new shoes. Or new ankles?"

May 20, 2010: 2.7 miles 26:00 pace of 9:38 "Good: Breathing felt good, legs were good after 1st 1/2 mile Bad: Right ankle very sore. Finally remembered that I fell down a hill the other day and twisted it because I am uncoordinated douchebag. Also, very hot out! Despite the heat it wasn't a struggle though- my head was in a pretty good place. Hmmm.

This is where I'm going to stop today's excellent installment. Coming up are such dramatic things as: Getting new shoes, the joy! The countdown to the race, I haven't run 3 miles yet: Will I MAKE IT?? And the all important: My race goals, lofty or pathetic?? Stay tuned....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My thoughts on making excuses: I don't like them!

Before I continue on with my details of training for 5K fabulocity I want to pause for a moment, climb aboard my trusty soapbox and give a rant for the ages. Come to think of it, I don't much care for the word "rant" and would prefer to say that this is my public service announcement for the year. Or a chance for me to make fun of myself whilst airing my views on many things.

I have been involved in competitive sports for the past 20 years and have since coached, trained and harassed people in order to encourage them to avoid epic mediocrity and/or ultimate suckage. That being said I attempt to set a fine example by not whining (too much) about working hard, and basically just getting out there, kicking ass and showing people what the eff is up. (and I obviously refer at this time to my prowess in my other line of work/sport and NOT to my freakishly unspeedy running skillzzzz.)

What I CAN NOT STAND is the excuse making that I hear. A few fine ones:
"It is to hot"
"It is to cold"
It is too windy"
"It is not windy enough" (what?)
"Last week on Tuesday I may or may not have stubbed my toe and that is why, today, I am having trouble with my right arm coordination"
"I am too busy/too tired/sleep deprived/have to do my taxes/have to let my dog out" (JOIN THE CLUB!)

If you choose to do something, do it. Get up early, make the time, and don't complain. Or take some ownership for your lazies, because we all have them and I am the queen of feeling good and slothlike but still going and out and giving it my best shot. If you want a candy bar eat it because you want it, not because "I have my period sooo bad..." If you need to take a day off from training do it, don't say "well.... I really wanted to go our and (fill in appropriate activity here) but I was sooo busy and then the cat vommed all over the rug, and then it was just sooo late....." Be truthful with yourself because while lying might make you feel better for point two seconds why bother with it? (I know why, it is a rhetorical query.)

Heavens! It is time for all of us to cease with the silly little lies and take responsibility for our laziness (I like to be lazy!), or poor performance (it happens, but rarely if you prepare well!), or lousy donut eating beer swilling habits (I love donuts and beer and I eat/drink them because I love them! WHOOT!)

When I talk to people in regards to the sport that I do professionally, and they are curious to know how I have developed the knack of having ice water run thru my veins in competition, I say that it all boils down to one thing. Having trained well, consistently and thoroughly- being prepared enough so that the nerves don't sneak in and make the excuses come out! And eating a good breakfast, preferably of donuts...

I try really hard to take my basic feelings of motivation with me when I'm having a splendid failure of a running day and all I can think of is how nice it would be to find a roadside bench, sit upon it and drink a 20 ounce beer. When my left foot refuses to go in front of my right foot and I mull over how it MUST be from the time last week when I smacked my right thumb (I digress) I shake it off, slap myself silly and remember that running is not hard! HELLS no! And then I run faster, in order to get home quickly to sit down, eat snacks and be as lazy as I can be!

And that, is my PSA for the DAY.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Very Serious April Training. VERY serious....

I had signed up for my first race, to be run with great gusto on June 2nd. Not one to leave anything to chance (and not one to just do things "for fun") I had a PLAN.
As soon as the roads were clear enough to avoid the very real possibility of falling on the ice and getting run over by a cranky snowplow driver I headed out to test out my old legs, slow poke yellow dog in tow.

April 11, 2010: 2.2 miles, 36 minutes pace of 16.22 "Getting started with no wish to break leg/neck, tear ACL or similar horrific injury. Henceforth, mostly walked per the bossy C25K. Did about 4-5 sets of wimpy little jogs, about 1.5 minutes each. The dog was reluctant...."

April 13, 2010: 2 miles, 30 minutes pace of 15:00. "Attempting to follow C25K since they should know what they are yammering on about. Walked like old woman, did half ass 2 minute run sets, about 5 of those.. I think.."

April 17th, 2010: "Attempted to run but deemed it unwise due to absurd and epic snowfall. Shall stay inside and eat chips and donuts to rebel against all things athletic, HAH"

April 20 & 24 2010- 2 miles, 29 minutes pace of 14:30. "Tried to up the challenge on these days with the 2 min walking 2 min running. I'm moving the C25K along a bit faster as I am already in good shape and do not have major heart problems and am not 87 years old. The dog is seriously impacting my situation as he needs to stop frequently to pee. Very bothersome indeed."

April 26, 2010: 2.2 miles, 27 minutes pace of 12:16: "Ran the whole thing today. Was not bad, and certainly have not followed the Couck to 5K very religiously. Might pay for this tomorrow, and have to take months off to recover. Sorry C25K, I feel like a naughty child."

April 29, 2010: 2.2 miles, 26:56 min for a pace of 12:15: "Ran again- focusing on breathing, stretching post run. Tend to gasp a bit, and flounder around like a beached whale. My legs feel better than my lungs, which feel like that of a 50 year old smoker who hits up a pack a day. Which is fully riiiidic since I don't smoke at all. PS to the other day. I wasn't really sore after the big bad run. Booyah. And sorry yellow doggie, you are too slow for this Mo' Fo'"

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fast Forward to Spring of the Oh-Ten

My triumphant introduction to running did little to fuel my desire to hit the pavement and torment myself needlessly. I would love to claim that post -November race I changed my slovenly ways and went out for some serious marathon training.
I Did Not.
I went about my business per the norm, after spending close to a week with very sore running muscles. I was deeply offended by this as I have some athletic prowess (in that completely unrelated field..) Deep down in my heart I knew I deserved every sore muscle that I had as that's what you get for gallivanting around trying to out run the masses a week after you turn 30.
Fast forward a few months. We had one of those winters that was more like a speed bump and less like the death on Mount Everest that we are accustomed to. The roads were calling! The magic hour had arrived!! Not.. However, I did feel a slight urge to train a tiny bit, put in a modicum of effort and see if perhaps I could work up the guts to do another race an improve my results/partially crippled post race state. (and honestly, despite the good solid effort I put in there was nowhere to go but up.... Especially in the OMG I'm so sore I'm gonna drink a lot of Jameson, pop a handfull of Advil and perhaps die soreness.)
I found a very friendly looking all ladies 5K fairly close to where I live- (which is in the middle of east bum nowhere.) I had about 10 weeks to whip myself into reasonable shape. Being the world's best geek I did a bit of snooping on the interwebs and stumbled across the infamous Couch to 5K training plan. I am hardly a sedentary person and the only part of me that is a couch potato is my lazy ass brain. I'm not one to reinvent the wheel so I figured that I'd give it a go, and perhaps make some little modifications along the way (maybe I don't reinvent the wheel but I march to the beat of my own drum. Hey-OH!)
Part of the inspiration for this MOST EXCELLENT blog was the series of workout notes that I took (on's free training log. Pure fricking genius, people...) For my next episode of Middle Aged Runner I will (over) share my introduction to running, torment, couch to 5K (and the subsequent separation from said couch...)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve. OR: A Glorious Beginning....

"So.... Want to go and run a race with me tomorrow?" This was the question presented to me on November 25th, 2009 by my sister as we were enthusiastically eating a Thanksgiving Eve meal with our Husbands and Parents. Being that it was an evening of gluttony I had to pause and chew my way thru turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cabernet and Jameson before answering. "Hells NO" I said with conviction "This old lady don't RUN... And you know that." Contemplatively my Sis poured herself another generous dollop of wine and replied "well... I'm only doing this race so that my back is as bad as it can be so that hopefully the Doctors will finally do something about it (she had been suffering from horrible back problems for months and it was eventually diagnosed as a bulging disk. Most unpleasant.) "So" she continued I am going to run very slowly, or maybe even walk most of it. There is no reason why you can't do this!"
I took a moment to reflect on my general feelings on running, sprinting, jogging and all things that involved the lacing up of the dreaded sneakers. I surveyed the carnage of the Thanksgiving Eve buffet scattered all around me, not to mention the excellent bottle of red wine that I had taken it upon myself to down (quality control people, have to make sure the vino meets my standards!) I mulled over the fun time that The Sis and I could have sprinting along like bandy legged gazelles on Thanksgiving day with 2,000 or so other fools... and I repeated myself "Abso-fricking-lutely NOT" Why don't we just go and get a pedicure like normal people? Accepting defeat my Sister informed me that she would be heading out, hung over or not at 6 AM the following day and that if I wished to join her on the road to torture I was more than welcome.

Later that night my middle aged huz suggested that I just go and do it already, I was in good shape and it would be fun! "Fun" I deadpanned "Fun like death by paper cuts, fingernails on a chalkboard or repeated slamming of my fingers in the car door perhaps...." I went on to remind the Huz that despite my overly active lifestyle that I had never run (for running purposes) a day, or even a step in my life and I was sure to have a major coronary event. Or throw up, which I hate. "I'll be a running winebag after tonight anyway" I moaned, helping myself to more pie "and that is no way to pre-game!" "Do what you want" said Huz "But if you are gone in the morning I'll know where you are."

I woke up the next morning at the asscrack of dawn and showed up in my sisters dooryard promptly at 5:59. A magical hour.... She was surprised to see me! We were both surprised not to be suffering the ill effects of eating too much turkey and drinking tumblers full of whiskey. We decided that perhaps we were onto something and would create a whole new athletic diet (and fitness program created especially by never-run before me!)

We made it to the race in time to see about 1.2 million buff, spandex clad, college age competitive runners pouring out of their cars. I quaked inwardly as I watched them sprint off to run a few miles before running a few more miles. They were like fricking baby deer, running with apparently no effort , no sweat (well, it was 48 degrees) and no worries about vomming on their shoes at all. My sister watched them too, but was not alarmed. "We're not here to beat THEM" she barked bossily "We're just going to run at our OWN pace, do our OWN thing and know that this is a fast race full of pain in the ass hardcore runners." The competitive side of me did not like her words of wisdom one little bit, but knowing that I was terribly unfit for such an adventure I followed her obediently around to register and NOT run a few miles to warm up.

Within a very short period of time we were OFF!(despite my moanings on the way to the start that I thought we should blow it off and go out for pancakes. or just sit on the curb and watch everyone else!!) However, it was very exciting, there were throngs of people, lots of cowbells and all the happy adrenaline boosting energy that one could wish for. It was a good thing that the Sis was there to firmly hold me back because I would have (filled with that competitive lack of reason that I already mentioned) taken off with the crown and passed out cold after 0.2 miles. We jogged along at a nice slow and steady pace with people passing us by the hundreds. I was POSITIVE that by mile one I would need to walk and possibly take a short nap to recover from the terrible strain that I was going through. Much to my surprise after the first mile my legs woke up and started carrying me along most cooperatively. I looked at them in amazement as they had never done such a thing! "HEY" I cried out to my Sister "my LEGS are running away with me!!" "MMMM" she replied smugly "Told ya..."

We jogged along happily for what felt like 26.2 miles. We did not have to walk, nor did I stop to hurl upon my shoes or upon the spectators. I was quite pleased with this turn of events. By the end of the 3rd mile my legs had stopped feeling so great and were just feeling... Shitty. Despite that we ran like the wind (ahem) for a strong finish! OH SNAP! (not knowing any better I immediately came to a full and complete halt and the pavement in front of me buckled in a rather odd and seasick like way. In the background I could hear my sister shouting "keep walking!! keep moving!! sound advice, a minute too late!) All was well in the end and we finished in 39.11 (with a pace of 9:48) We placed 1137th and 1138th out of 1521. I was very glad not to come in last, not to vomit and not to have to walk. I had my first (and last, I declared at the time) race under my belt and I felt free to scamper off and eat as much Thanksgiving as I wanted.

THE NEXT DAY. I wished for death to come because the pain was just a tad bit too much. I felt muscles that I did not know I had- I mean really, I have muscles in my TOES? I could barely walk, most certainly could not squat or touch my toes, and felt to be 145 years old. Did that inspire me to continue on a quest for improved running and better fitness? Absolutely NOT! My real start to running was still months away. So stay tuned...