Thursday, September 30, 2010

I am in a state of go! go! go! Do! do! do!
Trying to tie up loose ends at work before I will be gone so that I don't think about any of it once I am out of here.  Next Thursday at noon and I am goooone until the following Thursday!

This morning a 5 mile run was a good start to the day.
I have fallen in love with the cooler temps and the dark-thirty solitary silence of these morning runs...They set the tone for the day (yesterday excluded as my day went to shit in a blink of an eye)...but today is a new day and thanks to a concerned friend my day was salvaged by a surprise visit in the evening.

Tomorrow I rest and on Saturday I finish putting the hay in the barn so to speak...10 miles with 7 at goal marathon pace.
Boo yah!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Zoooooooooooooom!!! *EDITED*

*EDITED:  When I say "I hit every light, that means they were green all the way; not so surprising at that hour of the morning and its a main drag"..Also even because it was green, I generally always will stop no matter what just to make sure someone isnt coming at me and deciding to not stop to turn or to run a red light.  This morning I didnt stop, barely slowed because it was definitely clear that I didnt really need to.  The 1 or 2 cars I did see were at a complete stop already as I approached so I felt safe to keep going.*

I jokingly on Facebook last night asked if someone would shut down a portion of the street there in front of where I live to exactly 1.55 miles in one direction so I could have a clear out and back for my 5K speed workout this morning...

Now I run a portion of this road in the early weekday mornings and I already know that its barren at that time for the most part.  I needed to run this workout on the road, not on the sidewalks as a) the streets are more lit b) there arent any little obstacles and c) it just would be faster.

When I stepped outside at exactly 5:16am, sure enough there wasnt a car for as far as the eye could see.  I went to the opposite side/lane of the road, hit my watch and started running.  I hit every light, even at Kirby and just kept going.  I knew the exact turn around spot (Edloe).  I also was aware that even on the right side of the road no cars were going by.  Perfect.

Only once did I have to hop up on the curb and even then the car was in the other lane and I could have stayed where I was but just to be safe(r)...the first 1.55 was done in 13:42 as I looked at my watch as I made the turn.  I knew I had to finish in about 27:15 or so, give or take.

Running back the other way, still no oncoming traffic.  Completely crazy!  Once I hit one light a cop car pulled out of a parking lot and was headed towards me, but there was no sidewalk here and he stayed to the other lane so I was fine.  Once I hit Kirby again I looked at my watch and I knew I had roughly 4 minutes to make the proposed time/pace on my schedule.  I put a bit more speed into it as I knew I only had one more light to make.  I was still on the road.  It wasnt until I hit Shepherd that I hopped back up on the sidewalk; I looked at my watch again and I was, I about 26:10.  Whaaat?  I am like a block from my house!

So pretty much I just slowed down a bit and there ya go...morning 5K done.  26:53.   Bamm! 

The 2nd 1.55 was done in 13:11.  Negative split.  The workout called for 5 min rest and to repeat the workout but as previously mentioned I have PIM tonight, so the 2nd part of my speed running today will be done this evening with 60/60's. 

I will only end up with 7 miles for the day instead of 8, but I think I'm ok :O)

So to those that slept in this morning and stayed off the road for me, thanks.  'preciate cha.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Second Week of Taper

Things are moving along...I am not so stressed with doubt (at least not right now)...I think running so well in the cooler temps the past 2 mornings and a decent 12 miler on Saturday helped with that.  Doubt will rear its ugly head again though..sometime next always does...

I have a pretty serious speed workout tomorrow, and it'll be tough to actually complete it and as it is it will have to be done partly in the morning and the other part while with PIM (if I can swing it). 

The workout is:  8 miles including 2 x 5K at 8:53 to 9:00 minute pace with 5mr in between.  Plan is to do one of the 5K's in the morning before work...I have a 1.55 out and back route I can do and at 5:15am in the morning its gonna be done on the road and not a sidewalk...thank goodness there isnt any traffic at that time that I really need to worry about.  I will have to break up the other 5 miles, as 2 of them (4 total) are with PIM and we are doing 60/60's.  That might just have to be it...

The only other thing thats been apparent is now my germaphobic nature is kicking in...I am washing my hands a lot more often, using my knuckles to push the elevator buttons, using my elbow or foot to push open a door...things like that...we marathon runners are a strange bunch are we not?  :o)

Trying not to eat too much..thats going ok I guess.  It doesnt help that its time for TOM to show up...thankfully I wont have that to worry about in Chicago though ;o)

OK time to finish lunch...
Me running in the cool September morning air!!

5 more glorious miles this morning before work!  This weather is just freaking awesome!

I figured I had better at least get one run in with the singlet I bought months ago in anticipation of I picked this morning to do it.  As much as I hate running in a full shirt when its not cold out (62 is not cold enough for me when running), I did it.  The singlet is perfect.  Not too tight and not too loose.  I wish the weather was going to be cooler this Saturday on my 10 miler (last long run) so I could run farther in it, but looks to be about the same as it is now so that would be a no go for me!

Speaking of my last long run...I had an email convo with Coach yesterday where I inquired whether or not it would be alright for me to do part of my last long run at goal marathon pace so close to race day...he said sure but to keep it at 7 of the 10 miles and to do a few short runs next week at goal marathon pace as well.  Whoop!  With the hot/humid weather these past few marathon simulation long runs, well hitting gmp wasnt really an option unless I wanted to drop dead!  :O)

One of the things his acceptance of me doing this so close to race day is that he's confident in my fitness/recovery to be able to do that so close and to be ok and it not hinder me when its time...2 years ago or even a year ago, I dont think he would have agreed to it...

Now all I need is the perfect route for Saturday which means no memorial park and no bayou... are you reading this Coach????  :o)  With him racing Twin Cities this weekend though I may get stuck with a standardized easy to set up route and that wont be good :O/

We'll know on Thursday!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall has fallen in Texas!!!
So, fiiiiiiiiiiiinally we got our first 'cool' front...the weather people call it a cold front but they're idiots :O)

When I went to bed last night around 10, it was still 76 deg out so I was wondering if it was truly going to push through Houston or not....but I still had the alarm set for 5am because if it was, I wasnt going to miss out on it! And sure enough, I walked outside and it was cooooooooooooooooool! Phone read at 62 and I quickly put on my shorts, and yes a shortie top and I was out the door!  I had 5 miles to do per the schedule, so the plan was to do my little 4 mile loop, stop back by the house for hydration (which I didnt need) and finish with a 1 mile loop there around the house.

Its a good thing there are no cars on the road on this route because I had to run in the road as the sidewalks are just too dark and the streets are more lit.  I had my little headlamp on but really didnt need it unless to let cars that were out that I was out there as well.  Once I hit West Gray I ran by the Starbucks and there were people sitting outside in COATS!  and a couple of people walking their dogs, with COATS on!  I was saying good morning to everyone as I passed happy! 

A few of my friends ran at the park this morning, and were on FB about how people were in long sleeves/pants, even some with gloves and ear warmers...ok not to offend anyone but are you KIDDING me????  I am sorry but I just have to just wont see me covered up unless its closer to 50 and then I'll just have something covering the stomach...I cant wait for people to start complaining its cold...

I laugh.

I was still very sweaty at the end, wet top and all, and honestly thats the way it SHOULD be...if you're cold when you're running then you aren't pushing hard enough...especially in THIS weather...its NOT cold people :O)  And the only thing that barely bothered me was when running down Kirby, the North wind was coming right at me (was indeed breezy) and I just welcomed it...quickly reverting back to the OMG HOW HOT ITS BEEN ALL SUMMER LONG mentality...NEVER look a gift horse in the mouth!

Another front is coming through on Saturday and I am just elated...and I swore I wouldnt blog or FB about Chicago weather (which is now online for 10/10/10)...but I'm elated about THAT too  :o)

The plan is to run every morning this week to take advantage of the glorious weather ... actually I will probably running every morning right up until we leave for Chicago on the morning of the 8th!!!  No more heated late night runs!!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

*Long* Run - 12 miles - Kenyan Way

I didnt even care that it was still hot and humid as all get out this morning because I knew it was only 12 miles and I knew I didnt have to run long again next weekend either!  :)  I did a quick 2 miles before the start with the group, took off with the 4:15 group and kept it steady coming in at a 10:38 pace for the overall run.

I was a bit worried about how my legs have felt all week, but I took some Aleve twice yesterday and that seemed to help this morning. 

One of the girls going to Chicago and use to run with me but slowed down a pace group this summer said she wanted to run with me this morning (because she wanted to hurry up and be done) which I said OK but I knew she wasnt going to be able to hold pace with me today.  Shes a big talker and one of the ones I spoke of earlier that runs her training runs at the pace she plans to run the marathon at; which is fine.  But then to start running 45 sec faster today on training, and with the weather still brutal...I knew.  And sure enough, by mile 4 she was gone...way behind me.  Somewhere in mile 1 or so she said "hard to believe we'll be running faster than this at the marathon".  I said to her "oh so you're actually planning to run faster than you train at?"  I didnt mean it to be rude, but she bolted back at me "shut up" with a chuckle.  I also noticed how labored her breathing was and I thought 'wow she isnt even going to make it to the first water stop with me'.  She did but she dropped back a little, stepped up again for a bit, but it didnt last.

I ran mostly by myself after that and for the most part my mind was on race day.  I thought about the course as I know it, what my plan was and also the hindrance of so many people (45000) starting at once (no staggered starts like at NYC), me in the open corral and how much slower those first miles will be due to traffic.  Plan is to get to the open corral as early as we can to get as close to the front of it as we can.  Our hotel is a block away from the start/finish so I think we're golden.

I felt a bit tired at the end as my last 3 miles were right at or close to GMP so thats not a big surprise.  I hated that even on 12 miles my shoes were soaked clean through with sweat...supposedly this week we are getting our first 'taste' of Fall...we'll see.  I would like to at least run once with my race day singlet (which I bought months ago) before the actual marathon.  I am one of those that unless its in the 50's (and its a short run) I am not wearing much to cover.  The least amount of coverage the better.  So they say it will dip to like 58/59 a couple of mornings this week and I will take advantage of that to get a quick run in it.

I've been training in the same 2 pairs of shoes since about March, alternating every other week, so I bought a new pair today along with a new set of Superfeet.  Will break them in over the next couple of weeks.  Its the same shoe I have been running in for over a year now so no worries there.

This week I see my mileage decreases by a mile each day from all the previous weeks, except I am only doing 3 tomorrow before the tailgating and game day of Texans vs Cowboys (the stadium is going to be SO loud!!), then its 5/5/6/5 for Mon-Thurs. then only 10 for Saturday!  I plan to test out the iPod shuffle on the last long run.  I think I have the playlist finally down pat but again, ONLY should I need it, will I actually use it in Chicago.

OK, I have rambled enough for today!  Going to see The Town tonight!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

This was how I felt after a HOT HOT HOT 6 miles tonight!!!

Its Beginning....

I don't know ... I just don't know ...
Last weeks long run left something to be desired...I was short on the mileage, and overall I just had a feeling that I hadnt done enough.  Yeah the 6 miles the very next morning first...and even into Tuesday...but now...well now, not so much.

Monday was tough.  I only managed 45 min on the treadmill and my legs were very very tired...Did the weights though and that might have just done more damage...

Tuesday I struggled but made it through the 6 miles but it was tough...and well with work being so stressful right now and honestly not in the best frame of mind due to personal internal battles going on...I just didnt run yesterday...My legs needed a break...

But then now...I am kicking myself thinking the thoughts that I am a lame-ass and because I didnt run yesterday (let alone do the workout) that I am not going to be able to do Chicago...I mean I know I will do it...and finish, but I just have this overwhelming feeling that its not going to go well...I have to get my head back in the game somehow...God I hate taper...

Easy for everyone to say...until its you...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Yesterday my participant guide along with my bib number (#44556) for the Chicago Marathon came in the mail!
We're 19 days away from race day...and the butterflies come and go.  Its been 2 years since I ran an out of town big city race (NYC2008)...of course I ran Houston just 9 months ago, but running in your own city, while it is exciting, its not like going somewhere far away ;o)

Last year, at the start of the Chicago Marathon it was a blistering 29 degrees...while I do want cold weather, I dont want 29 degrees of cold ;o)... 40 would be good :)

Anyway, here is last years Chicago Marathon in 3 minutes...I have watched Spirit of the Marathon a billion times and this video almost as many...I think I know the course as well as I can at this point without actually ever being there...I cannot wait to make that last left turn and head 800m or so to the Finish!!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

First Week of Taper

After discussion with a dear friend in depth yesterday, while taper did officially start right after I was done with the long run on looks at the schedule and well, honestly, I dont see it :O)

I still see 4 days of 6 miles, 1 day of 8 miles (incl Yassos) and then a 12 miler on Saturday.   Still running 6 out of 7 days.

To me this still looks like another cut back week.  :o)  And it is.  The first of 3...patience dear Junie, patience.

So really this week isn't a taper week...However, its time to start getting the body use to eating less.  The next 3 weeks with the mileage dropping each week leading up to the big day, I have to make sure to not gain weight.  I would actually like to lose a couple of pounds to be honest.  Shouldn't be a problem, if I am really careful and vigilent.

The stress of wondering if I will be able to go the distance on October 10th is starting to rear its ugly head, but it always does.  Two weekends of no really long run isn't going to undo all the training....Two weekends of no really long run isn't going to undo all the training....Two weekends of no really long run isn't going to undo all the training....

I just have to keep telling myself that.

Other than that, nothing else has changed.  

And you can be certain that will change...By this time next week, I should be full on crazy.
Today my legs feel like they should have felt yesterday morning.

I even had just a tinge of difficulty walking down the 3 flights of stairs in the parking garage due to soreness in the quads.

This is more like it  :o)

Not sure what will happen this afternoon.  I will attempt to do my 6 miles on the treadmill but I dont know...I'm pretty darn sore :o)  Plus I have 45 min of weights to do...tonight and tomorrow are gym nights and thank goodness.  My legs need a break from the pavement.  Wednesday night is PIM and a brutal workout afterwards of 8x800 Yasso's.

I am not looking forward to it.  AT.  ALL.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Anatomy of a Training Group (Kenyan Way)

After reading a blog entry by Jamoosh this morning, where he talks about the route we did yesterday, and the fact that he's 'training for a road race not a trail race', and that the route was a lot of 'trail' from the 'goat trails' along the bayou to the, what I call the equivelent of running on a dry rock creek bed, I thought about this on my run of 6 miles this I figured I would put my thoughts into words...

Kenyan Way is run by Sean Wade.  Sean won the Houston Marathon in 2005 as the overall and did it in 2:09xx.  In 2005 he was in his late 30's.  Now approaching mid 40's he not only was last years Masters Champion (in the US), he pretty much wins every race he enters.  Maybe not overall always, but definitely the masters division.  He runs under a 15min 5K easily.  You can google him if you so choose or look at his wins located on his blog under Coachs Blog off the KW website.  He hails from New Zealand and came to the US to play tennis for Rice and somehow ended up running...not going into that story here.  My point is that Sean started Kenyan Way to train runners as the Kenyans train, or as similarily as one can get here in Houston.  The premise is that Kenyans don't and never did run on paved roads.  They train on hills and a multitude of surfaces.  More often than not in their bare feet (we dont do that :))...It isnt  until they are recruited to run for another country or move somewhere do they 'train' on paved surfaces like the streets we drive on every day.  And when they do hit those surfaces they are lightning fast.  Why?  The thinking is that its because of they way they originally trained and sometimes go back to Kenya to do just that before a big marathon.

Sean himself runs pretty much 100% of his mileage at Memorial Park or along the bayou.  And if you've read my blog long enough or know me personally you know how much I loathe Memorial Park and its surface.  It slows me down while running it and I cant wait till I get off of it and onto the actual road.  The bayou I dont loathe as much, but ...

My point is this:  I think he knows what he's doing.  He has been plagued with long distance training the past couple of years and has to drop from running marathons, but he seems to be in good shape now and will be doing Twin Cities in 2 weeks!  Go Coach!  I am pretty sure hes aiming for overall Masters.  Go Coach!

Most of our routes we run are indeed paved surfaces all the way.  But then there are those routes, such as yesterday, where our legs are taxed moving over these rougher surfaces off and on.  I for one, do not like it either as it wears me out much faster and I am more sore afterwards.  But at the end of the day, I am positive that the reason I have become faster these past few years is indeed to the fact that I am challenged in doing those routes.  It affected me yesterday on my last long run before Chicago, and I indeed walked a bit over those big ass rocks so I didnt fall (as a couple people did) so as not to twist an ankle so close to my marathon.

Now something else he mentioned was the lollygagging at the water stops and that he notices a lot of people chit chatting, stopping watches etc.  This is indeed true.  Not everyone does it and I would say its probably half and half.  The faster groups (sub 3 hour to the 3:45 group) do not.  You just dont see it.  They do their chit chatting, if any, while they are running their run (how they do it I dont know...but then most of them arent chitty chatty for the most part, being a bit more serious about the run).  Then in the 4 to the 4:30 groups you see it a bit more, but I see this more in the summer months as its a way to let the HR come down a bit and drink a bit more.  Once the higher mileage starts hitting, I see it less.  And then the 'slower' groups probably do it also (although I wouldnt know ;)... but again they do a lot of chit chatting along the way as well because they are able to due to a slower pace maybe?  The stopping of the watch thing, I do that.  Not always, but it is done.  Especially if I am going to take a bit of a longer time, which again is usually during the hot/humid runs we've been doing lately.

Kenyan Way is not for everyone that much is true.  Its not a walker friendly group, and if you run a 6 hour or so marathon I wouldnt say its for you either.  There isnt a training pace group for over 5 hours actually, however a lot of the 4:30 and 4:45 pace group people do finish in that time as they are running the actual marathon at the same pace they train at, which is fine.  Example:  training pace for a 4:30 marathon is from 10:40 to 11:30 if I remember correctly.  And most in that group will run their marathon at 11:30 pace.  I dont know if its because they dont understand mp training pace vs actual mp pace...and maybe they try at the marathon but something else goes wrong...has happened to me thats for sure.  To run a 4;30 marathon you need to be able to run 10:18 pace I think for 26.2 miles...something like that. 


Because of my less than stellar last long run yesterday, finishing in 4:25 (walked a bit more than I would have liked due, as previously mentioned, to the route tiring me out),(not to mention THREE incidents of GI 'distress') I didnt feel all that great about the run.  I only got 2 miles at GMP, but with the weather, it just wasnt going to happen for me to get 6-8 of them.  Yes I know having run a previous 19 and 21 miler, my legs are just freaking tired.  It happens ... by the time you do get to the last one, man you are just worn out.  Anyway, because of that, I decided to do the full 6 miles on my schedule this morning where usually I will bike or just do a short 3 or nothing at all...I needed that 6 miles, making it 27 miles in about 24 hours on my legs to feel 'right'.

I havent downloaded the data from Garmina, but it was a good run.  Just what I needed.  My legs felt ok, yeah I was a bit tired, but really the only soreness I had was surprisingly in my upper back and shoulders.  Possibly from having to steady myself more yesterday on uneven surfaces or just the stress from the effort?  I dont know but it was there and I thought about it more than I should have.  LOL. 

I've been going non-stop today since then and NOW I'm really worn out.  I just realized about 10 min ago that all I've had to eat today was 1/2 pbj 30 min before my run...Football is on, and I have food cooking...laundry still in the dryer, but thats the end of it...I'm ready to relax on the couch :)  Its nice and cloudy out and looks like rain, so maybe a nap is in order as well :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I made it...the last long run is D.O.N.E.   Bring on Chicago!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Plan YOUR YOUR plan...Some of the best advice I've been given and that I can give back

When you have a bevy of runners, all women, all Type A (some extremely so), all needing to do 20-22 miles on a hot, humid Saturday morning in Texas, it can get downright out of control...The emails are flying...earlier in the week (about the weather) ... and since yesterday when the route came out (not really conducive to our mileage needs) ... well as I said it can get downright out of control.  :o)   Don't get me wrong, I love my fellow running/training peeps, but wow!

The past 2 long runs I have done exactly the same thing pre-route run.  And in both runs, I had a great training run due to my plan and executing that plan.  I didnt have a lot of people starting with me, running with me or anything like that.  And be honest, I don't necessarily need that now.  Yes its nice to know someone is 'around'...because well, its REALLY early...and a girl has to be on her guard and be safe out on the roads when a lot of people are just coming home from the bars!  And we also run in a highly known running part of town, and the weirdos out there know this...but I digress.

My point is this:  I have done exactly the same thing, and regardless of the route we were going to get, I knew that my 'plan' was set for beforehand.  Now there are numerous emails going back and forth about lets run this way, lets run that way, lets run this slow, lets run this fast...all so that we can have a 'group' together (for safety I assume). 

I know myself and I know that if I agree to any of those things, I would end up with a crappy last long run.  And I might still end up with a crappy last long run.  But it will be because I did something or it was just a bad day and not because I willywonkered off the 'plan'.

Training runs are just like a race regardless of the distance.  If in a race, your friends all want to run together and you're ok with that, great.  Thats the 'plan'. 

But you dont put your own plan and goals aside for the sake of womanhood, friendship bonds, world peace, solidarity or womens suffrage or whatever.  Not in my opinion anyway.
Why SO serious?

Trying to keep up with so and so, or slowing down to stay with so and so just ain't gonna cut it for me.  I know what I need to run pace wise to get the job done and thats what I intend to and in 3 weeks and again in December and again in January and again and again and again.  I also know what routes work for me and what doesnt work for me.  I dont need to run here because of that and I dont want to run there because well...honestly its dangerous, dark and a lot of obstacles and I dont want to twist my ankle either...Like I said, don't fix what ain't broken.

So what if its montonous?  Its 4am in the morning and its hotter than hell for Gods sake.  Who cares who runs where or how fast or slow?  And for the love of God people...its 22 miles...if its fun you arent doing it right ;o)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

PIM and KW

I'm late! I'm late!  Not really, but I'm busy!  I'm busy!
So very very busy these days!!!  Which is a good thing, but this post will be short, sweet and to the point.

Wednesday:  Coached PIM.  3 miles of 'poles' (known to others as fartleks).  Since its not a 'fast' group and they are just starting out, it was 2 poles at G5KP (10min or less) and recover for 2 poles.  They did grrrrrrrreat and the one female that I thought wouldnt come back to our group after last week?  She did.  And she thinks I am like the best coach evah!  So happy she is going to stick it out with us...Hopefully for the full 9 weeks!

After a brief stop for hydration and to say bye to my peeps, I was off for another loop of the park with more poles.  Since it was just me, I did 3 poles at I dont know what kind of pace but I was 'haulin'  :o) .. then woudl recover for 1 pole.  The run over and back to my car was about eh..1/2 mile give or take so we'll call it close to 7 miles for the day.

Short recovery run tonight (3 miles) and then no running tomorrow... 'cause why??? .... thats right boys and girls...Saturday is big gun time... last long run before so so ready!!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

5 miles:  treadmill; nice and easy...still testing out playlist for emergency purposes in Chicago :)

40 minutes on weights (included cardio bursts)
For some time now I have been waiting for the perfect day (race)...I know it hasn't come yet (and I know it won't be in Chicago) but sometimes I compare my training to what it would actually feel like for everything to go right.  Especially when I am on the dreadmill with the boom beat, boom beat, boom beat of the music, my legs go round and round and I space out so that I don't make eye contact with anyone...because honestly I loathe those gym people (men) that try to find a reason to talk to me...anyway where was I???

I want everything to go smoothly, where my body always feels great, where I improve on a daily basis and where, maybe, just maybe on some race day in the hopefully not too too too distant future, I can pull out 9:00 min miles for 26.2 miles. Without breaking a sweat.  :o)

I wonder if my day will ever come as it seems to for all the athletes I see in the movies...and yes even those that I look up to in real life...that I can touch, feel and talk to.

The reality is that I am not going to suddenly turn into Seabiscuit. I don’t really think that the perfect, pain free, problem free race exists does it?

There is adversity and there always will be.

In racing and in life.

Adversity is a part of life. The big challenge in life and in sport is not whether you'll get through the adversity but, rather, how you deal with the adversity when it begins to get to you, what you learn from that experience and who you become because of it.

I try really hard to keep it all in check, and I think I do a really great job of it. At least when I don’t think I can, I go to someone I think I can trust to listen. And then you realize that all the times you do such wonderful things for others in their time of adversity, it likely won’t be reciprocated. This breaks my heart. But then as I said, I have come to be the person that will indeed judge you for the person you show yourself to be in tough times as well as in good. Whether it’s you or me.

Adversity is not a means of dragging a person down, but an opportunity to build a person up. At least thats the way I see it.

I think that if everything were perfect, then it wouldn’t be. I don’t know if that makes sense to you, but it does to me.

Life is not about fearing adversity but of confronting it and conquering it and becoming a better person because of it. Adversity, in a funny way, is in itself, perfection no?

It proves that I am indeed human (and that everyone is) and not a celluloid figment of our imaginations. Although I sometimes wonder what exactly makes some people tick, as it doesn’t appear to be a heart.

Don't It Make You Wanna Dance? Run?

Wonder if Elaine would run funny too?

I do not run with music. Well, thats not entirely true. I do not run with music when I run outside. There are many reasons for this, which include but are not limited to:

  • I like hearing the sounds, or lack thereof (on early morning runs when the rest of the world is sleeping)
  • I like being able to hear if a car or something else (ax murderer) is coming from behind
  • I tend to run all kattywompus pace-wise due to the change in music
However whenever I am running on the treadmill, my trusty old-school iPod Classic is right there with me.  This is to keep me from slitting my wrist while running on said treadmill.  I also do not listen to track after track of normal music, but I listen to podcasts designed specifically for runners.  By this I mean there is a DJ out there that puts mostly house-music like tracks together where the entire hour or hour+ is of music (and some lyrics) that are programmed at a constant bpm.  These bpm's range from around 130 to 180.  I personally like to run in the 150-160 range.  The 130 is more for walkers/walking or a very slow jog, depending on who you are.  You can find them on iTunes under GrooveElectric, PodRunner or Steve Boyett.  You can also google and find them online to give them a listen.  He even has FIIIIIIIIINALLY come up with an hour workout where the pace goes from 140 to 150 to 160.  I had asked for this a year or so ago and he finally got one out there! 

The reason I dont particularly care to run on the treadmill even with normal song after song, its mainly because again the pace changes, I know how long the songs are therefore making me more aware of how long I have etc...I like being able to mindlessly just run to a constant beat, and its a bonus that I love house music.

I have been thinking that ... well in Chicago ... just in case I get into some sort of 'trouble' I could really use the steady beat beat beat of the drum to possibly help me keep my pace up.  I have 2 tracks that I absolutely love but because my old laptop died, and the tracks are no longer available I had to figure out something as I needed to restore all the music on new computer and finally sync up all the music on the old iPod.  But I would lose these tracks...Getting accustomed to new ones so late in the game I wasnt sure...Plus the iPod Classic is a large device.  Not something I would EVER run with outside of the gym.  What to do?  What to do?

Enter ebay.

I have been selling a lot of stuff on ebay lately and have racked up quite the stash of cash in my I started stalking the older model shuffle (since everyone has been yakking about the newer one)...and finally I scored big with basically a brand new one, sold by some mom who upgraded her daughters iPod to a Nano and wanted to sell.  $40 and it was mine.   Bonus points because its purple!

So in addition to adding back in the strength training at the gym its also been giving me the time to make the single most perfect running collaboration of music.  The hard part is picking the right songs with the right constant beat (Lady Gaga's Remix CD is AWESOME for runners btw), and to also throw in some just really happy music that I like to dance around to (September by EW&F and Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield)...Yesterday while running on the treadmill, I would FF through the songs that just didnt make the cut for running pace (Bad Romance) even if I loved the song.

The iPod shuffle is so small and clips onto your shorts or shirt so that I can easily run with it, keep the buds in my SpiBelt and should reason present itself, I'm locked and loaded on the course with music to keep me moving...

Once I have the single most perfect playlist, I will post it...I know a lot of you run with music, and maybe could care less about my list, but I also see a lot of people asking for suggestions.

Consider the (soon to come) list as my tiny contribution to keeping runners on the right track...pun intended.


Monday, September 13, 2010

20 minute warm up run (treadmill)
5 x 3/2 on a 1% incline
15 minute run to cool it down

1 hour total running (treadmill); right at about 6 miles total.

Then I hit the weights doing about 45 minutes all upper body.  I am focusing on the back specifically, but also doing a lot for the biceps and triceps.  I started back on the weights last week, and will continue to that 2-3 times a week up until a few days before the marathon.  With the cut back in mileage after this weekends long run, I will need the extra calorie burn provided by strength training, not to mention strengthening my back and core will help me come race day.  I started back last week and this week to work through any soreness issues so it doesnt affect me on the running front especially with what I have coming up on Saturday.

Marathon Woes - Part 3 - You Become a Spastic Meteorologist

Predictable?  I think not!

It is 29 days until race day in Chicago.
The longest range forecast I have ever found (and to be even remotely close to accurate) is on
They have an extended forecast up to 15 days and a lot of 'trending' information, so I really trust that one over the years more than the others ( never seems to get it right and they only go out 10 days)

My point is this.  You will, at some point, start trying to figure out by stalking a website, or several of them.  Looking at trends of weather for the past 5 years of the marathon in whatever city.  You will of course also in your training, especially when it comes to the longer runs.
Like this upcoming Saturday.  I've been stalking since 15 days out...and of course, what looked good 10 days ago, doesn't look so good now.

Its pointless to put yourself through this stress.  I know it, and basically every other runner I know, knows it too.  But for the majority of us, we can't help ourselves.  Its part of our runner DNA.

As I said, most of us that I know that are doing Chicago are already stalking the weather...and its awesome right now and for the next 15 days.  40's and 50's at night and in the morning.  That would be perfect for my long run this weekend...maybe I should fly up on Friday, do my long run on Saturday, catch DA BEARS game and come home?  Yeah, I wish.

You will also, maybe...start comparing what one weather site says over another...and then of course those 2 against the local affiliates...and then of course there is my Weatherbug app...yeah that makes it even easier for me to be a spazmatic...Not near a computer?  No problem!  Check your damn weather app!!!

You will start by looking once a day (this is where I am at now)...but eventually...about 10-15 days out, you may start looking a couple of times a day...because you might change...but then a week out it becomes almost like a crack addict...I will look SEVERAL times a day...because you might change...

In 2 separate marathons, it was a huge FAIL.

One was my first marathon...Houston 2007.  Even on Saturday the day before the race, we were 'told' that a huge cold front was going to whip in at some point DURING the race...probably 2 hours into my 5+hour marathon and I was a bit worried about it, but welcomed it.

Guess what?  It didnt happen.  It was muggy as crap due to the front being on the way, and right now I dont remember so clearly, but it was anything but cold.  50's at the start I believe...Buuuuuuuuuuuuut...on Monday morning, the day after the race the streets were covered in ice and it was colder than .. well it was just cold.
My point is that no matter what all the sites matter what the trends were in the past...or even the week of or the day before the race, you just don't know.

Which is why...for example, when you are planning an out of town marathon, like Chicago, you have about 3 different options of marathon attire to pack for...I always only bring one pair of shorts though...and one pair of capri's.  Then I revolve around that.  In this particular case I have:  a long sleeve compression type if its 40 or below.  Above 40 will be a no sleeve singlet with arm warmers to start, and if its gonna be another odd year like 2007 up there and have a heat wave, then its a midriff baring top just like here at home.  I don't like to give myself too many combinations to think about and pack for. 

And as far as this weekends long run?  Nothing gonna change there...70's with high humidity and yeah thats starting at 4am.  I keep thinking I will find a weather site that will tell me differently but no cigar...
Sad face.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kenyan Way Long Run - 13 miles

Not much to write home about as far as yesterdays run.  It was brutal conditions with the feels like close to 90 by the time I finished just before 8am.

Ran a few miles before starting the route.  It was a new route, very dark, and a bit confusing at one point but between Cyndy and I we managed just fine until it was light enough and we'd made it through the confusing part.  Was INCREDIBLY humid and made for a less than stellar run.

I managed a 10:36 avg pace somehow, mainly due to big time negative splitting on the back side where most of my miles were around 10:10 to 10:15 pace.

Took today off as it was the home opener for the Houston Texans and we spanked the beJesus out of the Colts!  My ride picked me up just before 9am and having to make food and get ready just no time...and then after getting home close to 5pm, was just beat from the days festivities!  So much fun...tailgating with about 40-50 runners and then all heading into the game.  Super fun!  Just a few more days until the big one...22 miler this coming Saturday!

Here is one shot that a friend took of me while I was, of course, talking up a storm to someone...

Gotta love the shades!  They are my new favorite accessory!

 And our 'home' at one of the tailgater's lots!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Marathon Woes - Part 2 - The Taper Tantrums

Taper is something, as a marathoner, whether you are a first timer or its your 50th, you look forward to.


The first time I trained for a marathon I definitely was looking forward to it.  Until it was time.  Then I learned about the 'taper tantrums'.

Even now, just 8 days away from my taper for Chicago, while I am indeed looking forward to it, I also am fearing it.

Because I know what goes along with it.

Weight gain (if you arent careful)

As you can see its mostly doubt.

Have you done enough?
Have you ran enough long runs?
Did you do everything you could to be ready?
Can I run farther than my last long run?
I'm not going to be running farther than probably 13 miles 2 weeks out..then its 10, then its 8.  Whaaat?  How am I going to be able to run 26.2 miles if I am not running longer runs than that?
What if I get sick?
What is that tingling in my legs?
What is wrong with my foot?
What is that pain in my knee?
Can I run 26.2 miles?  Really, I mean, can I?

Oh its neverending I tell you.  I have had all those thoughts time after time after time.  It never goes away no matter how many you do.  You will go out for a short run and it'll suck.  You'll have to walk maybe.  And then the mental bells go off in your head?  OMG! OMG! I am never going to be able to run this marathon.

Yes you will.

A lot of the little aches and pains you will experience is your body healing.  Healing from all the damage you've done up to this point.  Fibers are repairing themselves.  Muscles are rebuilding.  And when these things are happening, it kinda hurts sometimes.  Like in achy breaky kind of pains.  Phantom pains is what I call them.

Trust in your training.  If you did the work, then you're going to be a-ok.  If you didnt, well I dont know what to tell you  :)  Nothing is going to make a difference now.  You reap what you sow.

The thing is the taper is for resting.  Not complete rest.  Continue to follow the schedule you have.  Run easy and dont try and run on the full on rest days.  They are there for a reason.

Try and resist the feeling that you are starving to death.  You are running less and the last thing you really want to do is pack on too many lbs before the big day. 

Sleep well and often.  Eat.  Revel in the fact that the training is the hardest part and you did it.  Try and not let the mental demons invade your mind-space and do too much damage in there.

Be excited.  Its almost time...

I am, as I said, 8 days away from my taper, 6 more runs to be exact...too bad one of them is a 22 miler :) and I am already stressing about what is going to begin to happen on Sunday, September 19th...

Yep, the taper tantrums will return in full force...

Again, be excited.  Its almost time...

Focus! Focus! Focus!

...what I did NOT have today...

Plan was to do 6 miles on the treadmill.  What ended up happening due to my excessive ADD today was that I ran 3 miles straight on the treadmill.  Hopped off and did 4 sets of 8 reps on 2 separate machines.

Hopped back on the treadmill, ran for 10 min.

Then off to do 4 sets of 8 reps on 2 more machines.

10 more minutes on the treadmill.

Hit the weight room for some free weights with 20 jumping jacks in between each set of reps.

10 more minutes on the treadmill and then hit the weight room again to round out the workout.  More cardio bursts in between each set of reps. 

So I got in an hour on the treadmill, some cardio bursts and a lot of weights too.  All in all a good workout.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

PIM and KW

Wednesday nights are when I coach PIM.  The group I coach is indeed a bit faster than the last time I coached, but I still had a hard time running with them because its considerably slower than what I would normally run.  We did what is called an "indian line run" where everyone runs single file, and the last person in the line sprints to the front and when they settle in to a pace, then the next last person sprints to the front, repeat, repeat, repeat etc.  We did this for 3 miles.  They did get faster with each mile so that was good and each mile was under 11 min pace so at least there was that.  I pushed the pace the last 1/2 mile and we came in at 10:21 but not everyone was running that; there was myself and a couple of others and by a couple of others I mean 3.  The goal is to get this group to a sub 30 min 5K and the goal race is October 30th.  It was very hot and humid out so they did good.  I know we're going to lose a couple because even at 10:45 to 11:00 min pace they were struggling.

After that I had to add to that mileage and I had a progressive run on the schedule.  I did 4 miles progressive.  Wasnt as fast as I would have liked but it was Memorial Park, and I am just slower when i run there and mentally I struggle there as well.  In addition to that I had taken another tumble yesterday slipping on the path here at home while it was pouring down rain outside and hit my right bum pretty hard and I could feel it in my run/stride.  I should be fine by the time the Saturday *long* run gets here.  Thankfully its a cut back week and only 13 miles on the schedule for Saturday...10 days to the taper!!!!!!!!!!!
A picture says a thousand words

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

4 miles on Monday.  Then it was for a day on the water with friends.  Very cool time and a chance to chat, eat and play with like minded folks...Thanks to Eddie, Sarah and Patrick!

Taking the day off today from running...just been catching up on some personal errands, shopping and relaxing.

In a bit of a personal crisis here...trying to regroup.  I just hate it when you think you've turned a corner and you might have...but its into a brick wall.  At least it has nothing to do with running.  Thats all good :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I Ride My Bi.Cyc.Le....

Remember that song?  Probably not.  :)

Anyway, woke up this morning and wow how wonderful the weather was!  Even though my legs were feelin' fine and dandy, I wanted to get on the bike!  Its been so long; before the back strain, which kept me from riding all summer basically...but then it was hotter than hot so not sure I would have anyway :)

I got in 20+ miles, riding the River Oaks (running route); mostly so I could run into BCRR's regular Sunday runners ... I stopped off at the park for hydration and breakfast with them and the Tornadoes ... yummy cold watermelon!!!  Hung out and chatted with many people out this morning!  Then I took off again, rode down Blossom and then into Downtown then home again.  A very nice ride indeed!  Felt good to get the gear and the bike out on the road again!

I am super happy that I a runner who can do 21 miles one day and get up and bike 20+ the next day without batting an eye...I am telling you its just weird.

When and how did I, this once a person that took 2 days to recover from a long run become...what I am now?

A wonderful day afterwards... all spent outside and now finally inside, with a couple of movies and about to make a yummy dinner for a friend of mine.  Early morning run tomorrow followed by time on the lake, river or the bay...we havent decided yet due to the threat of possible afternoon rain..maybe stay closer inland to postpone getting wet a bit. 

Be safe and remember:   Drink.  Drive.  Go to jail.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Survival of the Fittest

21 miles
4 hours 1 min.

Thats 4 min faster than I ran my 19 miler and it included the same things:  9 water stops, 3 gels, 1 potty break and a change of shoes/socks.  While it was indeed 'cooler' still needed to change them out after 8 miles and before starting the group route.  What was different was 3 miles in I ate it big time running up Memorial Drive.  Was watching a truck pull out of a parking lot a bit fast and wasnt paying attention and I hit a 'lip' in the pavement and down I went.  Scraped hand and a nice knot/bruise on the inside left calf.  I just got up, and we were at Starbucks, theres a water fountain so I washed the hand and continued on.  It wasnt until I got home that I felt the knot/bruise.

I do not have any splits or an average pace because my Garmin was dead as a doorknob this morning for some reason.  Gah!  If the 19 miler was 10:36 average pace, then this one was faster than that :)

Happy Labor Day!  Big weekend planned, some alone time and also some friends time tomorrow and Monday!  Going out on the boat on Monday and I cannot wait!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Gonna be doing some of this...
21 miler tomorrow ... Gah!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Size DOES Matter :o)

I think most everyone knows that the food you buy at any restaurant today is going to actually be enough to feed at least 2 people...if you don't know this by now, should.  Just because its what they bring you doesn't mean you have to eat it all...take it home with you for God's sake !  There is NO shame in doggie bags...

Here is another segment delivered by Eat This!  Not That!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Night One of PIM is in the Books

Whew.  Been a long time since I have run this late into the evening and just because the sun isnt shining doesn't mean it isnt H.O.T.

I parked over near Blossom and ran to Memorial and then down to the PIM meet up area.  Did all the yadda yadda yadda there and finally it was time to start time trials.  As I mentioned previously I am coaching a faster group, Enduros, where basically the runners can run 3 miles without stopping and are looking to improve on their 5K time.  They arent 'fast' but more like under 30 min 5K; if I had to guess around 27-29 minutes.  Better for me as I didnt enjoy coaching the run/walking group I had in the Spring. 

I ended up running in the 2 mile time trial with them to just stay and help if needed, which a couple of them did because they went out too fast and then on the mile back they were struggling, so my chit chat kicked in to keep them going.  I welcomed this because it gave me the opportunity to knock out 2 of my miles whereas I thought I was going to have to wait till after PIM.

After they were all in, I needed to do more miles, so Steve Moore joined me for 2 of the miles and even though he didnt realize it, he was pacing me, so I actually got in 2 miles of the 4 miles of speed work I had on the schedule.  I was having to work pretty hard to keep up with him, and on that surface I knew my legs were gonna be hating me after...and they are :)

6 miles for the day I dont have to make up for it tomorrow which I am indeed happy about!

Product Review - Lululemon Speed Short (a/k/a I Finally Drank the Koolaid)

Lululemon Speed Shorts (i.e. Crack)

I finally gave in. 
First off I have been seeing these shorts (or in other colors/designs) for a couple of months now out at Kenyan Way...And me being the fashionista that I am, of course I was always admiring of them.  No matter who had them on, I was envious.  But of course being in love with my Nike 2" Road Race shorts for over a year now, I didn't think anything could ever break us up.

Plus once I found out how much these bad boys cost ($58-$64), well...if you know anything about Lululemon, you know they started out primarily as yoga attire and that it is NOT cheap.  But there is nothing like the feel of something Lulu on your skin...I personally didn't own any but I had tried it on every time new stuff would come in the store.  Even with 40% discount it was too rich for my blood.

So recently on long runs, Giselle wears the Lululemon running skirts (also SO cute) and no matter the temps/humidity that skirt is freaking dry as a bone.  Jealous. 

So I went into Lukes one day, or maybe I was working and I tried the skirt on that you see in teh picture.
Bought it. 

Then more and more the shorts...So a few weeks back I finally decided to try the shorts on.  I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Not only do they feel like buttah on yo booty, but they look great.  I was SO hoping they were going to look like crap on me!  ARGH!!!  Bad thing was they only had them in my size in Black.  Everything was sold out.  Which I would find out later is par for the course since they are so popular they sell out almost as fast as Lulu puts them online, or stores put them on the racks!
Sorry but OK, I gotta have these.  If they suck on my long run, I will return them.

Guess what?  Um, they were FREAKING AWESOME!!!  Even in our God awful weather!  So I went online, found another pair cheap (same design as in the picture but black/grey/white like the skirt).
Then I found another pair.  Then I finally decided I wanted one of the new colors that just went out as I was stalking Lulu website every day...waiting...waiting...
And now I have these!

and these....

So now I have 4 pair!  I gave up Nike Tempos a long time ago (just sold them all on ebay too) and now my Nike 2" are going to become somewhat extinct!  Not really because I cant afford a whole bunch of Lululemon Speed Shorts.

I know they are expensive but honestly its just so amazing what they feel like when you're running ... Can't explain it!

As far as the skirt goes, yeah, I havent worn that yet...Probably going to return it to be honest...I just sold all my Nike running skirts on ebay, so why on earth I bought a running skirt I have no idea ;o) 
It wears a lot like the Lululemon Tracker shorts to me...kind of gives me what appears to be a 'muffin top'.  My friend, Dixie says the Speed shorts do that to her.  I think it has to do with the height of the person honestly.  Shorter people wear the lower rise clothes better than the taller folks?  Would appear to be the case.  The only other difference is the thickness of the banding...the skirts and tracker shorts are much thicker/quilted like banding, whereas the Speed Shorts are flat and smooth.