Sunday, July 31, 2011

Where I Went and Where I'm Going

I figured I would switch up the way I post the Week at a Glance posts and call it Where I Went and Where I'm Going.  This will give a recap of the previous week and what's on the agenda for the next.

First...Where I Went:

Monday - 6 miles incl 2min at med effort/2min easy x 6 - Done (this actually happened on Wednesday)
Tuesday - Bikram - Done
- 8 miles - speed  - Actual:  7 miles, 3 in the am and 4 in the pm which included the speed workout (this actually happened on Monday)
Thursday - 3 miles am  Overslept! Gah!   Bikram pm - Done
Friday - Rest day - Done
- Long run - 17 miles
Sunday - Recover - Done

Where I'm Going (all running outdoors this week w the exception of Saturday will be done under the cover of darkness in the am hours due to the extreme heat we are supposed to have (every day is 101-103 real temp with heat indexes in excess of 108-110):

Monday - 6 miles am (no gym since I have a memorial service this evening)

Tuesday - Bikram
Wednesday - 8 miles w/speed  (will probably do a double, w/ the speed portion on the treadmill)

Thursday - 3 miles am - Bikram pm

Friday - Rest day
Saturday -  Long run - 18 miles
Sunday - Recover

Kenyan Way Long Run - 17 miles

4:30am 81deg/98%hum/Feels like of 90  (and no I am not kidding).

My alarm went off at 3:45am but honestly I had started waking up around 3.  I think I was worried about oversleeping (since I did that twice this week).  I immediately got up, got dressed and was putting the last of the gadgets on when my text messaging went off.  It was Brenda (who was meeting me at 4:30) and the text said "damn damn damn.  its raining."

Whaaat?  I walked out onto the porch and I could tell it had been raining but it was barely sprinkling but apparently it was pouring at her house.  I turned on the computer, and found the local radar and sure enough there were a couple of 'cells' but not very widespread and I informed her of that and that it was barely raining over here (and I live close to base).  But by the time I was leaving, it had started to pour here as well, but I got in the car and headed that way knowing that it would soon pass and there didnt seem to be much coming behind it.  Besides there was no lightning and no thunder.  The only thing I did different was grab a visor before heading out.

I got to base at 4:20, and while sitting there waiting for B, it started pouring pretty good but it only lasted a bit, and by the time she got there (plus one other person) it was just a little rain (more than a sprinkle but not a pour) so we headed out.  We were a little late on the start and about a mile in we did have to take cover because it really started coming down and there was lightning.  Once it let up we took off again.  There was off and on lightning and thunder but I knew it was ahead of us and moving away.  Because of all the delay I didnt get to loop the park like I had planned and just turned back to make it 6 before starting off from base again.

This meant that I would run to the 3rd water stop which was 5.5 miles out and then I would turn back.  When I got close to the 5 mile mark it started raining again but it didnt last long.  I turned around at 5 and decided due to my head not being in tune with my legs (I had started the 7/1's around mile 10), I needed the knowledge that I was heading back in the opposite direction and then I would just do the last mile at base.

Once I got back close to the park, the sun was now coming out and I was running in a steam sauna.  It was awful and I was struggling badly.  I felt like I was swimming and taking on water through my breathing.  The air was that thick. It was then I decided that I needed to just survive the rest as best I could and I began running for 2-3 min, walk for 30sec.  I was actually covering more ground that way than at the 7/1's and I was able to mentally stay in the game.

Here is Jamoosh's take on the KW run at least he validated me somewhat because he is a much better runner than I am and even he had issues later on.

I know that the intervals are not ideal but they worked last year during training and they'll work this year too.  Once I got to Chicago I actually did ok up until mile 17 and then the unseasonable heat got the best of all of us.  All I can hope for at this point is that when I have the really long runs in September that I will be blessed as I was last year with a bit cooler Saturdays.  It happens.  And it just needs to happen again this year.

Pretty please and with a cherry on top.

Honestly I would give anything if I could find someone to run with me starting at like 3:30 or 4:00am.  When its pitch black outside with no daylight it is so much easier to just run with no intervals.  Brenda is much faster than I am but at least when we meet, we are within shouting distance of each other.  And even at 4:30am there are a lot of others out there running as long as we keep to close to the park.  She had suggested running to Sabine and back and then Crestwood but there was NO WAY I was running along the bayou to Sabine at that ungodly hour.  Its scary and besides its dangerous with the uneven terrain.

This next Saturday I have 18 miles to do and I MUST get that 7-8 miles in before 'day break'.  There is zero chance of any sort of cloud cover like we did  (at the beginning) this past weekend thanks in part to TS Don.

I also plan to implement the ice bath starting this coming Saturday.  Its that time again.  It really makes a difference (with me) and had I thought about it beforehand I would have done it this week but there was no way I was even walking across the street and carrying 2 heavy bags of ice home.  Just wasn't gonna happen :)

Gels consumed: 2
Salt tablets consumed: 8 or 9?
Pairs of shoes: 2
Pairs of socks: 2
Unscheduled Poop stops: 2 (both before the 2nd start thankfully)  :O)
(I switched out shoes and socks after the 6 miles, not that it mattered much because 3 miles in to the 2nd part and I was squishy again; too much sweat etc. running down the legs to prevent it).  I was also able to ditch the visor before the 2nd part.

So.  How was your long run?  You do ice baths?  How often and after what kind of mileage?  Have you ever trained in horrible conditions and have to implement intervals to make it through?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thanks to Viansa for being the 100th follower!!!

17 miler was done this morning but the blog post about that will have to wait!!!  There was some rain, some thunder and yes some lightning (early on) but that didn't stop Brenda and I!  We were on a mission!  We had gotten up at 3:45am and we weren't going to waste that on a little bit of weather.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Once Upon A Shoe (Your Weekend Motivation)

Thank you Karen for this one that I saw on your blog this morning!
You have to listen to this one people; the words from Forrest Gump make it that much better.

5 Full Marathons
9 Half Marathons
Time: 4 years, 9 months

There have been a lot of shoes in my past and there will be many more in my future.

Who is running long this weekend?   Me!   How far?  17 miles!  I have the alarm set for 3:45am, go time is 4:30am!  Gah!

See this face?

Don't let it fool you.  It's the face of a monster.

I honestly don't know what to do with this little guy in the mornings.  He has started waking up around 4am again, and when he wakes up it means its time to go nutso!  The past 2 mornings I have gotten up, thrown him into the living room and shut my door so I could sleep a bit more. 
It would be fine I guess if he was just climbing all over the place, but he takes to climbing the bed posts and I am trying to keep that to a minimum until Tuesday (when he goes in for declawing).  I get sad every day when I see more scratches on them.  He literally attaches himself at the bottom and claws his way to the top.  At least thats the only thing he likes to demolish with those claws of his.  Other than my arms but thats because I tend to play a bit rough with him and sometimes misjudge his quickness, so thats not his fault :O)

Outside of that, when I do get up, its non-stop full on tazmanian devil until I walk out the door.  I don't know, maybe because he slept all night he is just raring to go but this morning took the cake.  He was flying around the apartment and he jumped the couch to the dining room table to the bar and as he went to fly onto the sink area, he knocked off a couple of bowls and they went tumbling down, down, down...into...THE LITTER BOX!!!

This is went I went beserk-o on him.  I gave him a really good spanking, good enough that he definitely knew he had done something wrong..and that Momma was mad as a hornet.

I keep thinking to myself that the declawing will calm him down, but it wont.  I don't remember so far back when I had Harley at this age (lets face it that was around 1990 and who can remember back that far given my history), but I certainly don't think he was this rambuncious!  (I am certain I just misspelled that).

So I just keep'll be better when I move (just over a month from now! Yay!). 
He will have more room to run around in, especially when I throw him out of my room and shut the door.  :O)

Thankfully in the evenings it isnt near as bad.  He wants to be loved on when I first get home, then he wants to play and then he wants to sleep.

I look forward to the day when he is like this:

And then I no longer will be like this:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

...99 followers...pleeeeease oh pleeeeease just give me one more!  :O)

Training Motivation - 2nd Place Who?

I like to think that in my mind, I am always 1st.  It's important to take these 1st vs 2nd place types of motivational pieces with a grain of salt.  Not necessarily literally to be 1st against anyone else out there, but in your mind, in your place, in your are 1st.  You are the winner.
Train like you mean it...Train like you're a monster.  And then on race day, don't leave anything out there.

The music alone at the end of this video sent chills up my spine, made me want to kick off these high heels and go running circles around our floor here at work!


Knock Knock.  Who's there?  2nd place.  2nd place who?

Got any good motivational videos to share???  Comment on email me links so I can share with everyone!

Is It Ever OK to Split Up a Long Run? (and Update on Tropical Storm Don)

For KDerOll  :O)

Looks like we are out of the woods.  They say a lot of rain, but on Friday, and Karen just posted about  doing her 20 miles on Friday night; hope the rain is gone by then!   Good luck!!!

Looks like my 17 is on for Saturday morning as planned, but if the rains linger into Saturday morning, we'll adjust if necessary.  :O)

Karen asked "Why not 10 in the morning and 7 in the evening?"
Very good question, and I have been known to split up a run, but generally only when its a mid-week longer distance (8 miles) where I will do a few in the morning and finish up in the evening.  And typically this only occurs in the Summer months because its so darn hot!

I have never split up a long run when training for a marathon, but I know there are those that do and think its quite ok, and I would tend to agree only if its done once or twice.  Life happens and when it does, we take measures to acoomodate that. 

However I don't think one could get away with splitting up all their long runs no more than I think one can necessarily run all their long runs on a treadmill and expect to do well (especially if its your first one). 

Its not so much the physicality of it, but the mental aspect.  You really need to know what it feels like mentally to be out there for x number of miles and x number of hours.

I don't know, sometimes its hard enough for me to split up 2 short distances in one day...I don't know how my mind would handle running 10 in the morning, then knowing "Ugh, I have to do this again in less than 12 hours?"

What do you think?  Splitting up long runs is OK to do?  Have you done it (more than a few times in one marathon training season)? 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why You Gotta Mess Things Up (Tropical Storm) Don?

Well shit.  Not that there is a tropical storm/possible hurricane coming our way because honestly, we need the damn rain.  Bad. 
However, this damn thing is, if it does come here, supposed to make landfall Friday night into Saturday morning. 
Shit fire.  This is going to screw up my  long run this weekend!
Personally I am hoping for the fuschia or red line that way we still get rain, but not to impact things to the point where alternate plans have to be implemented.

So I know its only Wednesday and we don't even know if this damn thing is going to come here or not, but being the obsessed good runner that I am, I have my alternate plans in place.
And yes of course I am going to share with you.

Plan A)  No storm or pouring down rain on Saturday morning?  Run 17 miles with Kenyan Way as planned
Plan B) Storm comes and/or its pouring down rain but KW run is still on?  This is highly doubtful but this would be a game time decision that morning.  Just how hard its pouring down would be the factor for me.  I probably would move to Plan C (see below)
Plan B (squared))  Because I dont see Plan B (1) actually being a viable Plan B, Coach reschedules Saturday run to Sunday?  Crisis averted.  I would then probably run a few miles on Friday instead of resting.  Saturday would then be the rest day.  And run 17 miles on Sunday. 

You still with me?

Plan C: Coach calls off long run for the entire weekend?  I thought about this one, and figured if this happens, my plan is to run a cut back week on my own - 10 miles or so on Saturday or Sunday, then pick back up with a 17-18 miler next Saturday as scheduled. 

I don't see myself doing a 17 miler on my own (not this year), setting up water stops etc., and I will be damn if I do the hamster wheel thing by running loops, other than maybe 3 loops of Rice.  I did that whole 6 loops of Memorial once (I thought I was going to die here) and last year I did 2 loops of Rice/Hermann and then another few loops of just Rice to bang out a long run during hiatus while training for Chicago 2010.  At least with this one, there were several of us that were partaking in this rogue long run.

Have your long runs ever been twarted by Mother Nature and you had to have alternate plans in place?  What was it?  What did you do?

Hurricane Ike happened in September 2008 and I was training for a November 1st NYC Marathon.  Once we knew for sure it was coming, I moved my long run of 17 miles to that Friday. 

Going back and reading I realized this is when I did loops of Memorial.  Funny that I thought it was for some other marathon, but I think I was thinking of a time when I went to Memorial to support a friend of mine as he had to do something like 7 loops.  Anyway, because at the time of Ike, I had just lost my job I had the luxury of rearranging my long run to a normal business day.  I dont feel the pressure this time to make it work.  I can just pick up where I left off next weekend if need be.  Thats the good thing about being a bit more seasoned of a marathoner. 
You know you can adjust according to life.  And not freak the hell out about it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The TapeWorm Cometh

The past couple of days of marathon training has been muy bueno.  I actually got up yesterday morning and did a short 3 miles before work, then hit the gym for a speed workout (4 miles) on the treadmill.  I was so darn exhausted by the end of that, that I didn't stick around to do any weights.  Eh.

Today I was so happy to hit up Bikram for 90 min of sweaty sweaty!  Gayle was back and she always makes it more hot and more challenging.  I am so happy she is finally back and at the same time that I started back!  I pushed myself and was surprised that I can still do a toe stand (one side only though) after having only been back a week!

I really needed today because honestly everything is just so tight.  Muscles are sore and I needed a good can of whup ass opened up on me.  I feel drained and soooooooooooo good!  Still a bit of tightness in my upper back/shoulder area but all is well.

One of the things that seems to be more important as you get older is the need to stretch (not before; I dont suggest that), but afterwards.  Or take a yoga class on a cross train day...something.  It really does help with recovery and just making the next run feel that much better (and easier).

Now about that title of the post:  If you have never done a marathon, or are thinking of doing one there is something you should know.  And that is there will come a time when you simply feel like you cannot push enough food down your piehole and into your tummy.

I am there yet again.  Ever since this weeks long run I have been constantly hungry.  And yes I am eating enough protein to where it should satiate me, but it just doesnt.  This is the time where if you arent careful you could gain weight during marathon training (which is very common) and something you obviously want to avoid.

I have managed to limit (somewhat) my food intake to fruit, know the good stuff, but the cravings for massive quantities of carbs is there.  Heck I have even been craving Ramen!  Gag!  My moms spaghetti...chips.. white rice... you name it.  I can't stop thinking about it all!

But one has to remember that even if you are running upwards of 15 miles, its generally at a slow even pace and while this does burn calories, its no where near what you think and overcompensating with a lot of food (because you ran upwards of 15 miles) is a big no no.  Speed work and hill repeats will help with actually burning fat and for a longer period of time, but LSD's do not.

I don't know what to tell you about how to handle the intense cravings for massive amounts of food every couple of hours other than to just 'embrace your hunger'.  As long as you are giving yourself the necessary nutrients and the proper amount of calories, its just one of those things that happens.

Right now I feel like I could eat my arm off, but I am just downing as much water as I can possibly stand (that doesnt work by the way), until its time for sleep.  This is typically the only thing that truly makes me forget about food.

And whats worse?  We'll revisit this during taper time...because I know whats coming and its way worse than it is now....

Questions?  Have you experienced this?  Any helpful tips you can share?

Today's Woman - Facing 40 - Part 2 - The Right to (Not) Bear Children

Ah, one of my most favorite topics....and one that brought me grief from so many through the years:  not having (make that not wanting) children.  And the older you get not only do the chances of you being able to have children drop, but you tend to be judged later on in life for making the choice

The Today Show - Today's Woman Part 2 (video segment)

I remember vaguely as a child that of course I played with dolls.  I remember "Tubsy" and I remember Barbie to some degree and then that doll came out that was like Barbie only smaller.  I think her name was Dawn.  Anyway, while I had dolls, I didn't have strollers and fancy cars and tons of clothes etc. with them. 

And I don't remember dolls being that big of a deal to me.

That probably should have been my mother's first clue that she had had a child that was born with some parts missing. 

Specifically a biological clock.

This really didn't seem to be an 'issue' until later on in my 20's (mom was being pushy) and really that was just her...and then that went on into my 30s (especially when I was with John for so long), and then well, once I got into my 40's she had given up.

I don't really recall, like the first girl in the video segment ever really feeling like I was an outcast for not wanting children (now not being married is an ENTIRELY different thing; another post), although I know some of my friends didn't understand that (not wanting children)...and while a lot of my friends don't have children (and are knocking on 40's door), they still would like to either have (or had) babies.  And then I do have quite a few friends that are in late 40's and early 50's, happily married for years and no babies.  By choice.

Truth be known, I was pregnant once.  I was 21 I believe.  Twas not to be.  And I am not one bit sorry about it either.  Judge away.  And one of the reasons I called off so many engagements was because each one of them wanted kids eventually and I knew that I would never change my mind.

I kind of checked out or zone out whenever one of my friends rambles on about how they want babies so badly.  Its not because I don't care, its because I don't get it.

Let's see...I have dated a lot of men with kids.  I have been engaged to men with kids.  And I adore kids!!!  And I am a kid magnet!  Kids adore me as well.  I always say I think its because I am not 'mom'.  I am like the cool aunt or sister.  And that's exactly how I like it.

Any time I dated someone with kids, I found it extremely difficult to be any more than that.  I would probably let kids just get away with just about anything to be honest.  I am not a disciplinarian.  Well thats not true, but I grew up where stern was king and you got whuppin's.  Not exactly something I should be doing with someone elses you know?

However, I never thought that my reasoning behind wanting children was pure selfishness.  I don't believe that for a moment.

I know I am selfish.  But honestly, I just never wanted kids.  I never thought 'shit if I have kids I can't do this or buy that'.  Not having kids was not a selfish choice on my part.  I just never thought about it to begin with.  See?  No biological clock/I wanna be a mommy someday going on inside this body!  No way mister.

I just never wanted any of my own.

I don't believe that not having children now; ever or even much later in life is the stigma it use to be.  Sure there are those women out there that will judge me, you or whoever out there and think 'something is wrong with us' in some way...or that we lack certain understanding and skills...but that is not the case I assure you.

I feel like I am rambling on, but the segment is interesting to watch indeed.  And I think its unfair to be judged on choices like whether or not to bear children.  And if you choose to wait until after you are 40, more power to ya!

Anyway, sound off if you care to.  For, against.  Do you judge?  Do you have kids?  Want kids?  Never even entered your mind?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Today's Woman - Facing 40 - Part I

The Today Show is doing a really good series (2 parts, maybe more), and after watching this first segment I couldn't agree more!!!

Watch here:  Celebrate 40 and Fabulous!

I was not one of those women who feared 40 at all. 

I have been lucky enough with good genes to have been able to ward off most of the signs of aging I believe (and told repeatedly).  I have also, contrary to many years of self inflicted bad things as drinking, sun worshipping, smoking, drugs, days without sleep etc., always been on the healthier side of things, still caring about my weight, and working out (always was the gym rat, no cardio for me!). 

I had my ebbs and flows of abuse (but it was over a period of 20 years) and would go through long stretches of maybe not quite so harming things (usually the drugs and drinking would subside a bit)...but even when I was at my worst, I still tried to watch what I ate and exercise.  Weird right?  A junkie with a health conscience. 

I know that I am just now starting to talk more about my past, but I figure its time.  Besides parts of it will be in print probably sometime this year (more on that later), and people are going to find out anyway.  Not to the degree that I will eventually get to on this blog, but enough to probably send some shocks through some people.  Since I am being edited in that publishing, I figure I should just tell it all at some point you know...

Anyway It wasnt until 41 years of age that something 'changed' (I had been relatively clean but still drinking and smoking).  I was having health issues:  sleeping 16 hours out of 24, loss of hair, gaining weight rapidly, loss of reflexes, blacking out after 1 drink...I of course only really concerned myself with the weight gain and to counter that I took the advice from a runner girlfriend "that I needed more cardio" (and the rest is history there; a runner was born)...later after self diagnosing, then going from one to 3 doctors, I finally was (correctly) diagnosed with hypothyroidism and now will be on meds the rest of my life, but at least my body on the inside is regulated, and I live a full rich life. 

I am getting off track here, but I will revisit hypothyroidism in a later post (because statistically women are higher risk, it will occur generally just past 40, is typically genetic and often goes undiagnosed because women just 'expect' to gain weight and all that mish mash!)

What I really wanted to write about was that while all the years and relationships that had come and gone, it would appear to most that I lived a fabulous fun life, but it was all smoke and mirrors.  Inside I was pretty much dead, full of self loathing, secrets and just pretending.

It wasn't until just past 40 that I really started living!  I became the person I always wanted to be and more

I have less than I ever have, am happier than I have ever been, and clearly healthier than I have ever been.  Sure I have my sadness .. we all do .. thats unavoidable once you begin to get older (like losing your parents etc), but I was right in not fearing entering my 40's!

I think attitude has a lot to do with it, and yes 40 today is not the 40's of past generations for sure...but it can be if you go into it thinking 'wah wah. life is over. wah wah'.

Remember to take time for yourself...if you are younger and reading this, start now. 

Wear sunscreen, quit drinking so much, apply moistureizer, get sleep, exercise and try to eat healthy but enjoy life too (or maybe 3 out of those)!!! 

If I think of what I could have possibly done differently and how that might have made a difference in my appearance, I dont I said I'm pretty lucky that I didnt end up with what I probably should look like at my age after all I put it though, but others wont have that luxury! 

Begin good habits (and good attitude towards life) now, and they will follow you well into your 'golden' years...because I will say this, if there is one thing I do know for sure, is that despite hypothyroidism, its true about metabolism slowing, harder to lose/maintain after 40.  I gotta say if you don't nip that in the bud in your younger years leading up to that stage in life, you will have problems. 

It only gets harder trust me on this...

to be continued...

Week At a Glance

Monday - 6 miles incl 2min at med effort/2min easy x 6
Tuesday - Bikram
Wednesday - 8 miles - speed
Thursday - 3 miles am/Bikram pm
Friday - Rest day
Saturday - Long run - 17 miles
Sunday - Recover

I am giving it another week with not running 5 days a week.  It didnt seem to hurt anything on my long run, actually the opposite.  My legs felt a bit refreshed instead of beat all to hell.

Also I might be switching Monday and Wednesday.  I have a conflict on Wednesday that would prevent me from doing the speed workout as I like to do that on the treadmill in this heat, and the gym just wont be possible on Wednesday.  It would be much easier to do speed tomorrow.

The plan is to get up and run an easy 3 in the morning before work (DONE!), then the balance/speed in the gym after work.  Then Wednesday I could just do the 6 miles with the 2/2x6 which is easier to fit in with my schedule.  So basically it looks like only 1 day in the gym this week, which kinda sucks but life happens right?  ;)

Really everything seems to be easy in comparison to the long run on Saturday :)

Speaking of which, and something I didnt even think about this time around, is that in between Spring session and Summer session and then before the Winter marathon program starts, KW always has a 1-2 week hiatus.  Typically one week, but this time around its 2 weeks.

What I didnt think about was how this was going to fall for my Chicago Marathon training and my long runs.  This past Saturday was supposed to be the last Saturday long run until August.  Which also means that my 17 and 18 miler would have to be done completely on my own.  Gah!  Last year I had one Saturday where I had to do this, but there were others and we put up our own water stops and figured the route easiest to accomodate that.  It worked but it wasnt ideal.

However we got an email this week saying:  THERE WOULD BE NO HIATUS THIS TIME AROUND!  Woo to the hoo!!!  We would still have the Saturday runs (but no weekly meets; but this didnt concern me since I do my weekly stuff on my own).  I am so stoked about this you cannot even imagine!  I was seriously thinking about buying a water belt!

One of my friends is actually considering the water belt anyway, because lets face it, if you arent a really fast runner, 2 miles could be anywhere from 18-26 minutes without fluid and in this heat/humidity that can be pretty bad.  I know sometimes I wish in between water stops that I had a drink of something!  You just lose so much fluid out there!!!  I just dont know if I could go back to even a 2 bottle belt and a handheld is OUT of the question on a long run.  I would end up throwing it into someones yard before it was all said and done! :)

Thoughts on a water belt even if I have water stops every 2 miles in this heat/humidity?  Or do I just suck it up buttercup like I have every other Summer during marathon training?

And because I love this little guy so much, I have to leave you with these:

Man he looks like he has a big booty in this photo!  He loves to be right next to Momma at all times!

Another Light Has Dimmed

I have been an Amy Winehouse fan since I first heard her music.  It was before I heard it on the radio, but through the avenues where people like me learn of artists before they make it 'big'.

Have you ever heard her sing?  Not the songs you ever heard on the radio, but the ones that they don't play..the ones that didn't make her famous.  Have you heard her gutteral voice sing lyrics that should have been coming from a soulful singer who had been around the block a time or two?  Probably not.  But I am not surprised.

Most people probably only know her from the headlines of her in and out of rehab/drug addiction/antics...because as they say, people are more interested in tragedy than talent.  And people love to hate, finger point and make fun of...

Over the weekend, I found it completely disheartening that so many people chose to scoff and make light of yet 'another junkie dead, because thats what junkies do'.  That was just one of the comments I saw, so JB not calling you out, but it struck me as the most offensive.  I guess the world is a better place for it?  What a fucking joke.  The world is still as fucked up and Amy dying didnt make it any better...

Coming from a background of substance abuse myself, of which only a handful of you know the degree of that, I find this tragic that people are so heartless and cruel to dismiss another 'junkie'.  Are people so damn perfect that they have elevated themselves to such a peak where you just look down on others?

Do you realize that when you say things about junkies, or alcoholics, gays, lesbians, whatever, that you are probably offending someone, if not multiple people with your less than stellar behavior?  Makes me sick.  And actually right now it brings tears to my eyes.  I wonder, had I not made it out alive, would people have thought "oh just another junkie".  Good riddance.  So what if I am not famous, and so what if you know me, and think 'its different; I know you..'  No.  Its not different and you don't know me apparently.

I have to say, at least once a week, I find that I like one or two people a little less than I use to because of their igorance and lack of tolerance.  You stupid little minded people.  I have no problem saying that either.

I would say that I wish I could be as high on a pedastal as you are, but I would be lying.  I have no desire to be where you are or to have my mind full of crap and holier than thou thoughts.

So Amy, I hope that you have found peace in the afterlife, as you are, a child of God, regardless of your choices in life.  Let the haters hate.  Godspeed.

And lastly, I found this letter that Russell Brand wrote "to" Amy after hearing of her death to be something of art itself.  We should all be so lucky to have such understanding...but I guess until you've been there you just would never understand.  But yet you judge....

In his (Russell Brand) letter he urges those who know addicts to help them before it’s too late. Russell, a former heroin addict, who has been sober for nine years, posted the following on his blog:

When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.

Frustratingly it’s not a call you can ever make it must be received. It is impossible to intervene.
The moving letter continues…

I’ve known Amy Winehouse for years. When I first met her around Camden she was just some twit in a pink satin jacket shuffling round bars with mutual friends, most of whom were in cool Indie bands or peripheral Camden figures Withnail-ing their way through life on impotent charisma. Carl Barrat told me that “Winehouse” (which I usually called her and got a kick out of cos it’s kind of funny to call a girl by her surname) was a jazz singer, which struck me as a bizarrely anomalous in that crowd. To me with my limited musical knowledge this information placed Amy beyond an invisible boundary of relevance; “Jazz singer? She must be some kind of eccentric” I thought. I chatted to her anyway though, she was after all, a girl, and she was sweet and peculiar but most of all vulnerable.

I was myself at that time barely out of rehab and was thirstily seeking less complicated women so I barely reflected on the now glaringly obvious fact that Winehouse and I shared an affliction, the disease of addiction. All addicts, regardless of the substance or their social status share a consistent and obvious symptom; they’re not quite present when you talk to them. They communicate to you through a barely discernible but un-ignorable veil. Whether a homeless smack head troubling you for 50p for a cup of tea or a coked-up, pinstriped exec foaming off about his “speedboat” there is a toxic aura that prevents connection. They have about them the air of elsewhere, that they’re looking through you to somewhere else they’d rather be. And of course they are. The priority of any addict is to anaesthetise the pain of living to ease the passage of the day with some purchased relief.

From time to time I’d bump into Amy she had good banter so we could chat a bit and have a laugh, she was “a character” but that world was riddled with half cut, doped up chancers, I was one of them, even in early recovery I was kept afloat only by clinging to the bodies of strangers so Winehouse, but for her gentle quirks didn’t especially register.

Then she became massively famous and I was pleased to see her acknowledged but mostly baffled because I’d not experienced her work and this not being the 1950’s I wondered how a “jazz singer” had achieved such cultural prominence. I wasn’t curious enough to do anything so extreme as listen to her music or go to one of her gigs, I was becoming famous myself at the time and that was an all consuming experience. It was only by chance that I attended a Paul Weller gig at the Roundhouse that I ever saw her live.

I arrived late and as I made my way to the audience through the plastic smiles and plastic cups I heard the rolling, wondrous resonance of a female vocal. Entering the space I saw Amy on stage with Weller and his band; and then the awe. The awe that envelops when witnessing a genius. From her oddly dainty presence that voice, a voice that seemed not to come from her but from somewhere beyond even Billie and Ella, from the font of all greatness. A voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine. My ears, my mouth, my heart and mind all instantly opened. Winehouse. Winehouse? Winehouse! That twerp, all eyeliner and lager dithering up Chalk Farm Road under a back-combed barnet, the lips that I’d only seen clenching a fishwife fag and dribbling curses now a portal for this holy sound. So now I knew. She wasn’t just some hapless wannabe, yet another pissed up nit who was never gonna make it, nor was she even a ten-a-penny-chanteuse enjoying her fifteen minutes. She was a fucking genius.

Shallow fool that I am I now regarded her in a different light, the light that blazed down from heaven when she sang. That lit her up now and a new phase in our friendship began. She came on a few of my TV and radio shows, I still saw her about but now attended to her with a little more interest. Publicly though, Amy increasingly became defined by her addiction. Our media though is more interested in tragedy than talent, so the ink began to defect from praising her gift to chronicling her downfall. The destructive personal relationships, the blood soaked ballet slippers, the aborted shows, that youtube madness with the baby mice. In the public perception this ephemeral tittle-tattle replaced her timeless talent. This and her manner in our occasional meetings brought home to me the severity of her condition. Addiction is a serious disease; it will end with jail, mental institutions or death. I was 27 years old when through the friendship and help of Chip Somers of the treatment centre, Focus12 I found recovery, through Focus I was introduced to support fellowships for alcoholics and drug addicts which are very easy to find and open to anybody with a desire to stop drinking and without which I would not be alive.

Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent. Or Kurt’s or Jimi’s or Janis’s, some people just get the affliction.

All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill. We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care.

We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn’t even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kenyan Way Long Run - 16 Miles

From now on I do believe I will think of this when I don't want to train
My alarm went off at 4am and honestly I was ready for it.  I had actually woken up at 2am by a little kitty on my back.  He has started that whole 'biscuit making thing' otherwise known as a kitty massage.  For some reason it made me smile and think of Harley as he was a pro at that from a very early age.

I got out of bed, got dressed and made a foldover pb&j.  Then I put on my gear, grabbed 3 gels (only used 2 of them along with a buttload of salt tabs!) and walked out the door into according to my phone app was 82deg/89% humidity.  It was 4:35am.

It takes me roughly 7 min to drive to the KW base and when I rolled up, there were already about 6 people there and even Coach had made his presence known as there was already a table out.

My plan was to do 6-7 miles before starting the route (it was only 8.25 mile route this morning but at least it was a new one, and no park and no bayou (unless you wanted to add on), which I was avoiding.

I headed down Memorial to the park, but upon reaching the park, I stayed on the road instead of the path (easy to do at 5am-ish) and ran almost to the Tennis Center then doubled back to the road that runs by the pool.  I then made my way through the neighborhood back there, running all the way back to the courtesy water table set up for us early runners.  Then I turned back and headed down Blossom.  I had about 6.5 miles and after getting Gatorade at base I asked what time it was and was told it was 5:54.  6 minutes is too long to stand around so I headed off back down Memorial ahead of everyone starting.  I knew that I didnt need the directions as by the time I was going to be unsure about where to go, others would have passed me and I could just follow suit.

Everything was running along smoothly until around mile 11 and the heat and the now risen sun started to take its toll and I began my 7/1 march through the remaining part of the route.  I made the choice to turn off and head down Shepherd (not losing any distance), but had the shade if you ran on the right side of the road and it wasnt until I got back to Memorial that I was faced with running into the sun again.  Then came the hardest mile of all.  The one I had left after returning to base.  Even just stopping for a short bit to rehydrate it was mentally tough to take off again knowing my car was. right. there.  Ugh.  My legs felt like lead and it was truly mental at that point to will myself to finish.  As I had made my way around and then back onto JH, Coach was out running and flew by me and somehow gave me the boost I needed to soldier on and finish as strong as I could.

I talked a bit with a few folks and then headed off, racing to my iced fountain Diet Coke.  Sounds counter intuitive but its the one thing that is certain for me after my Saturday runs.  I make sure I have money in the car so that I can stop before I get home.

Now as I type this, after cleaning house, doing laundry, finally eating around 1pm (Whataburger!), and as I just walked to the car to get some boxes, my legs feel amazingly ok.  One week down, 2 more to go before another cut back week...Yes, thats how I have to play this game...And then comes the best part as far as I am concerned:  one week up, one week down.  Oh how I love me some every other weekend long runs as opposed to this up, up, up, down business!

Next week I need to try and get 7-8 miles done early.  Its just much easier under the cover of darkness.  17 miles total is on the docket.

So what is the first thing you want after a long hot sweaty run? (Diet Coke) Do you indulge in something awful in the way of food? (French fries!).  What kind of training plan do you follow?  Does it have increasing weeks, then a cut back?  Every other weekend long run?  Do tell.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Your Friday Inspiration!

Now go!  Run!  Train!  Sweat!
Embrace your inner athlete!
Happy Weekend!!!

Can't Touch This!


Lawdy how I use to love that song!  But in the case of this entry I really mean YOU CAN'T TOUCH THIS ME! 

Last night I headed off to do a Bikram class as planned, and yet again we had a sub yogi and while I have taken her class once before, I couldn't really remember how she was as an instructor.  And what I mean by that is if she is a 'toucher'.  An 'adjuster'.

I cannot stand an 'adjuster'.  Just cannot.  The other yogi's classes I have taken I know who the adjusters are and well they now know me, and they know 'no touch her' rule.  Especially Juan.  He definitely knows not to touch me (adjust me) when I am in pose.

One of the reasons for this is generally because due to my left lower back issue (degenerative disk), there are just certain poses that I have to modify slightly or cannot get into the exact right position for without experiencing pain.  Therefore if they come near me to adjust not only do I have to explain quietly why, but then I lose focus and fall out of pose.  Which then pisses me off.

But honestly I just really don't like them touching me.  It throws me off balance and makes me uncomfortable.  I am pretty sure Aline now knows 'don't touch her'.

Having said all of that, the class was just 'eh' last night.  I mean I worked really hard, but for some reason no matter how hard I pushed myself (even doing advanced on some of the poses), I couldn't really seem to break a sweat other than on my face.  This was for about the first hour+ and then things changed.  It was like it had started pouring down rain in there and I couldn't sweat fast or furious enough.  Definitely weird.

What was also weird, and something I had never done before...I of course was early and decided to meditate for the 10 minutes or so before class started.

Meditate = fall asleep on the floor

Ha!  Totally true story.  I had never done that before.  I jolted awake when a crescendo occurred during the music that was softly playing in the background.  It made me chuckle. 

Guess I needed a power nap!

While I felt all kinds of stretched out and ooey gooey afterwards, I can definitely feel the soreness especially in my upper back and shoulders after 2 days of Bikram this week.  Hopefully this will subside today.  I don't really want to have to do a long run with any soreness anywhere whatsoever!

16 miles tomorrow morning.  Dark and early.

Have you ever fallen asleep in a yoga class?  In any exercise class?  Are you a no touch zone? 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Pro's and Con's of Treadmill Training

Want to banish those pesky love handles that just won’t budge?  I have done my research and tabata and HIIT are the way to go and throw that in on a treadmill and bamm!  (and it did work, when I kept up with it).  This has been especially helpful to me as I have not only gotten older and harder to lose weight or keep it off, but especially with the hypothyroidism, its already difficult to begin with; I think incorporating tabata, HIIT, on the treadmill and with weights is the way to go as women age!

Need to increase strength, speed and endurance? Check out interval training workouts for runners. It’s a great way of seeing results in a surprisingly short period of time.  Its been proven that interval training workouts for runners use fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers to burn fat and increase both aerobic and anaerobic endurance. A triple whammy!

Want to not die in the searing heat and humidity but yet finish your workouts/runs????  Yeah, now we are really getting down to why the treadmill is some folks best friend when the weather gets to the point where you feel like you are the egg and the road/trail is just one big frying pan full of popping hot grease!

After yesterday mornings little easy 4 miler through the 'hood, I still needed to get my speed on, and well, in the Summer, that's gonna be done on the treadmill if its gonna be done :)  I am not doing speed work in 100+ temps.  Just.  Not.  So thats exactly what happened.  I did a short warm up, maybe a half mile, then kicked in for 1 mile repeats x 3, with about a 2 min walk in between.  Then once that was done, I hit a Tabata session at an 8:30 pace (20sec/10sec) x 8.  Good stuff.  All on either .5 or 1% incline.  So I ended up with just over 8 miles for the day.  Golden.

The reason I asked about thoughts on training for a marathon on a treadmill was because I know a lot of folks are doing at least part of their marathon training on a treadmill right now due to the extreme weather conditions (all over the country as a matter of fact).  My Twitter feed is FULL of folks that are either hitting the treadmill for runs or ditching out early or short when they are running outside.

Which is better?  Doing the distance even if indoors in a non-real environment or not completing one in the real world?

I'm going with choice A.

But hold on a minute...That is not always my thought.

I do not think that for mere mortals, us mid-packers and beyond can fully prepare for a marathon when the majority of either the short training runs are done inside, and not during the scheduled weekly long runs (especially when they get over 10 miles). 

You just have to make adjustments.  I wrote a post about that a week or so ago so and I live by it.  I might not like it, but it gets me through the crisis at hand.

I equate it to those that won't run in the rain when training.  Um, what are you going to do if on race morning its raining?  Just like the heat and cold, you should get used to it, because on race day it is what it is.  And its been my experience that rarely do we get what we want :O)

I will tell you this, as much as I bitched and moaned last Summer about all those long runs on Saturdays in the heat and humidity here in Houston, when it turned out to be unseasonably hot in Chicago on marathon day, who do you think was prepared?

This girl.

I might not have gotten a good finish time but I sure as hell didn't end up in an ambulance, in a med tent or passed out in one of the many kiddie wading pools along the route.

To me, when running on the treadmill, its basically like running in place.  First and foremost I guess is that your legs are not going to be fatigued like they are when you run your ass outside.  And its just an overall false sense ... You arent using the same or even all of the same muscles you do when running outside (e.g. pumping those arms to charge up a hill is one example)..I sure dont see anyone doing that on a treadmill. 

I am a firm believer that one of the 'laws' of training is the law of specificity.  Meaning that your training should be as specific as possible to your training goal.


Speed Interval Training Workouts for Runners (as done by JB)

Feel the need for speed? If you can go the distance but want to work towards a better race time, speed work is a must. Fortunately, it’s not simply a case of running flat out for as far and long as possible. Interval training workouts for runners specifically designed to improve speed involve precise timings.

Here’s an example of a speed interval routine:
Run for 20 seconds at maximum intensity and 40 at a comfortable but lively pace. Repeat this pattern for 15 minutes.  Or 1 mile repeats.  Or a tempo run.  Whatever you need to do, just do it. 

Endurance Interval Training Workouts for Runners  (these are just a few of the workouts I do (or have done):

If you want to boost endurance levels, look no further than hill routines.   Unless you live in a hilly area and are used to undulating terrain, interval training workouts that feature hills are best performed on the treadmill at first. Acclimatise yourself to the sensation of running on an incline in a controlled environment.  Again, when running on the treadmill for any reason, I strongly suggest you do it on at least a .5 incline, preferably 1%.

Hill repeats on the treadmill are a great place to start.
Kick off with a 5-minute warmup then increase the incline to 5-7 and run at 80% capacity for 1 mile with a 2 minute rest period. Repeat for 20 minutes. Yes, it is hard but you will see results!

Strength Interval Training Workouts for Runners
Did you know that there’s only so much you can do to improve leg muscle strength through running? That’s why cross-training is such a good idea. If you’re not a fan of cycling and swimming doesn’t do it for you, check out strength interval training workouts for runners instead.

These routines concentrate on lower body exercises and can be done at home, outside or in the gym. I can highly recommend performing strength interval training workouts.  Use hand weights, steps and other equipment for a more well-rounded and challenging routine.  I will say though that to be cautious on any leg type of training.  Use light weights and honestly lunges and step ups really hinder my running, so be warned.  Great for your legs and butt though...

Perform 15 reps of each exercise, then jump on the treadmill for 1 minute and jog at a comfortable pace.


Anyway, as I figure it, everyone has an opinion on this and I stand behind mine.   There are good and bad things I think when it comes to the 'dreadmill'.  It definitely helps me mentally and physically in the Summer and its also been good to me to ward off injury (I think), and to slowly come back from an injury.  But I also know from experience (I started running on a treadmill), that treadmill running did not equate to the road when I first got a bit of confidence and stepped my foot outside the gym; giving off a false sense of fitness.

And to those in the country experiencing this heat wave?  How about dealing with that for all Summer?  Be thankful yours will probably end soon.  Me?  I will just keep melting for the next 2 months :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gentlemen You Have Been Warned (and Its Hard Out Here Bein' a Pimp)

I think it is pretty obvious that my blog has taken somewhat of a turn...for the better I hope!  I am still in the process of that whole move to self hosting, etc. stuff, but the goal is to keep capturing followers (this will help me in my quest for advertisers and products for review and giveaways), and to keep increasing the hits per day (whether they are a follower or not) which also entices advertisers.  My stats are increasing every day, some days over 400 reads, some days not 200 (mostly on weekends, with readership up obviously on Mondays being the heaviest day for readers.

But as I say all of that, I guess its safe to say and not to assume that anyone cares or has figured out the exact direction I am taking the content of this blog to:  Women in their 40's and 50's!  Of course health (with an obvious lean towards running/marathon/half marathon training), whether its clean eating, taking care of your outside (fashion, shoes or even your skin health!), exercise or health issues, knows no number so the content should, for the most part, be applicable to all ages. 

I obviously have gone from my earlier years to the now years, having experienced a lot from all that your 20's and 30's have to offer, both good and bad, and the transition into your 40's can be quite trying to say the least.  Maybe in that respect, my words can be of assistance as well.  I know my readers run the gamut when it comes to age.

Now having said alllllllllllllllllllll of that...this is where the Gentlemen You Have Been Warned title comes into play...and I know I have quite a few men readers; I just want you to know that obviously you are more than welcome to continue reading, but I did want to state now that some of the content going forward might make you squeamish or just downright uncomfortable.  But then again, it might help you too!!!  You have girlfriends and wives!!! 

I don't want any men dropping off the email subscribe or the followers list now!!  I'm watching!

But I also want help in obtaining more followers obviously.  So please tell a friend(s) or another blogger(s) or YOUR followers about the site and help a girl out!  The more I get and the faster I get them, the faster some giveaways should start rolling out!  I am contacting companies already when I get the time, but its a slow process!!!

Thanks in advance...both to the women AND the men!!!  Yes, I am so pimpin' my blog...  :O)

Bend It Like Beckham (aka Hot Yoga Revisited)

I think it's been about 4 months since I have been at hot yoga...before Momma died I think it yeah..its been a while.

Then I kinda sorta started early marathon training and this, that and the other just kept me from forking over the dollars for more classes.

I am going to admit something:
  1. I should never have stopped going.  Period.  I think that the greatness I was feeling on my runs was due IN WHOLE to the fact that I was doing hot yoga, plus it didn't seem quite as hot when I ran(which really doesnt could cause well, it wasnt hot outside in February like it is now and has been since April).  So my admission of being an idiot is posted for all the free world (including some prisons) to see.
  2. I honestly am (possibly 'was') of the thinking that I needed to be running all these days a week to train for another marathon.  I am not so sure about that anymore.  This is the main reason that I stopped going.  When I do hot yoga, unless I get up before work, a run isnt going to happen.  And we all know how awesome I am at getting up and running before work, right?  :O) 
The point I make about acclimating to the head/humidity outside while running was proven yesterday.  I fully expected that after such a long hiatus from hot yoga, that upon entering the room at 115deg/40% humidity, it would yet again take my breath away as it did those first few days I had gone back in October.

Not the case.

As I sat/laid there on the floor, waiting for class to begin, my friend Amy asked "so are you dying from the heat?"  Um.  Um.  No.  The longer version of that went something like "when you run outside in hell on Earth, this is nothing." 


I cannot tell you how fantastic it felt to be back in the studio.  I was a bit worried because the normal instructor (my fav) is out this week (last minute) and Mo was the fill in, and she kiiiiiiills me!  But being as it was my 1st time back in such a long time, I went at it without overdoing it and just enjoyed the sweatiness, stretching and zen of it all...just like I remembered.   90 minutes of pure joy on my insides.

And here's the kicker.  No hip pain this morning. 

Gotta love that.

So I only bought 5 classes and this will take me into the 1st week of August.  I am going to give this whole run 4 days a week, hot yoga 2 days a week thing a try and see if it makes any way or the other...If I think its impairing my endurance in any way, hot yoga has to go.  This will make me sad.

Having said that, I did in fact get up and run before work this morning (78deg/93%humidity)...however its (mainly) because I didnt have to be at work at 7 as I had a doctors appointment.  Still I was out the door at 5:30am when normally I would dread it...maybe, just maybe one day a week, possibly 2 ... I will come in to work at 7:30/7:45 ...

I only did 4 miles this morning, picking up the pace in the last mile, so I have the speed portion of my mileage this afternoon...which will be done on the treadmill.  Threshold pace run.  Blech.  4 miles at 9:31.  Double blech.  Maybe I will just make it a progressive run and call it a day.  :O)

Do you do hot yoga?  If not, what is your cross training look like?  Do you any of your training runs on a treadmill?  Do you think doing long runs on a treadmill is smart or that it is not a good enough simulator for the actual marathon OUTSIDE on race day?  Do you have problems getting up to run before work or am I the only loser?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Proof That I am Still VERY Much a Girl :)

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How To Save Money and Still Do Big City Marathons (or even Small City Marathons!): Running on the Cheap!

At the time I got into running, really got into running (2007/2008 as evidenced by the sheer number of races I did), I was only really doing short distance races and I still had my high dollar job.  I still had that job when I found out I had gotten into NYC Marathon (2008) but a couple of months before that, I found myself without a job.

I almost cancelled out going, because well, I couldnt find a job (even though I did a week beforehand, but it was at HALF my previous salary), and I didnt want to spend savings, and lets face it, going to NYC on the cheap is not easy if you hadnt planned it in the first place.  But I made it work, thankfully most everything was paid for well in advance (broadway show, tour of city, etc.) and well since my sister went, and she covered my hotel room which we ALL shared (4 of us) there was that...
After that though I was hooked on marathoning and I wanted to travel to other places to do that and even if its just one state over or just a few hours away, it can be pricey for someone on a budget.  Which describes me ever since that day in 2008...Yes I have a better paying job, but not by much, so basically I still work part time at the Locker to pay for my extras (races, travel, etc) so that I can still sock away money in 401K and my regular savings without it affecting my ability to still have fun!

These are just some ideas I have learned along the way.

Planning Your Races
  • First figure out the places you would like to travel to and then sort.  For example, once I knew I was going to do Chicago again this year, that put Disney (Goofy Challenge) off for January 2012, and I settled for doing Dallas (close proximity) and Houston (obvious hometown choice).  Also had I not chosen Chicago AND got into NYC (which I didnt thank goodness!), then I would have deferred NYC to late 2012.  Since I knew early on in the year that I was doing Chicago, I started setting aside money right then and there.  One of the good things about Chicago though is that it falls in October, and I get extra 2 paychecks in October (I get paid every other Friday at both jobs), so basically thats getting paid 6 times in October instead of 4.
    • Bottom line is to plan your 1-2 bigger races, and then go around those with smaller ones if you are a multiple offender like I am!  This year I am kinda splurging with San Fran in May and then Chicago (and then there is Dallas) but I saved a lot to be able to do it comfortably ... It just takes determination .. saving is HARD, but easy when you set your mind to it.  AND I am happy because I already have Christmas money saved as well...
      • Booking at the host hotel is really great!  You can get such great deals doing this.  For example in Dallas for White Rock, I am getting a hotel room for about 65% off what it normally would be.  They generally also provide free transporation to expos and race start/finish, saving you $$ on transporation not to mention the headaches and costs of parking at those events, gas and just the stress of not knowing where you are going in a new city.  Now of course there are always cheaper options, and definitely search those out, but weigh the costs of everything to make sure its really the better deal.  Where I really lucked out this year is in Chicago:  I am staying with 2 girls (one being one of my besties), who happens to have gotten a corporate rate at a great hotel not far from the start (a mile maybe), and basically my cost for 4 nights???  $80.  TOTAL.  And that includes breakfast!!!  Last year I paid $500 (and no breakfast!) for 5 nights (I was there 1 night extra by myself so I had to pay more).  So look at that savings!!!  When I ran NYC, I booked a great room right on the subway in Queens for $99 a night.  It only took 20 min into Times Square/Manhattan and all we did was sleep there anyway.  Who needs a $500 a night hotel IN the city?  Not this girl!!  Not even when I had the high dollar job, which I did when I booked that room.
  • Stay with a friend who happens to live in that city!  Or a friend of a friend!  I could have done this for DWR, but I have 2 others going and we are splitting the cost of the room anyway!
  • Look on sites such as Runners World forums for others who may need to share a room because one of their party got injured.
  • Book EARLY.  The closer to the race, the more expensive the rooms are going to be (generally) plus you will more than likely end up somewhere that truly sucks, or is far away from the Start/Finish and even those will be high priced due to demand.
  • Try and avoid it.  This takes research especially if its not a city with really great public transportation (Chicago and NYC for example).  In those 2 cities, you don't need anything more than a subway/transpo ticket.  $25 for 7 days in NYC, and $7 for 3 days in Chicago.  Good for both bus and subway/train.  Awesome.  So public transportation is just the way to go, but find out how good that is before commiting to that.  I remember even when going overseas to London (3weeks) everything was done by train/subway and it was way cheap.  My sister did pay for a car the night before the NYC marathon so that I could stay off my feet while going into Manhatten for dinner and Broadway show.  So if you do have something special, you can get a cab, share the expense! 
  • If you go to a city that doesnt offer train/subway from the airport, there are always shuttles for round trip fairly cheap, definitely cheaper than renting a car (which means gas and parking fees which are EXPENSIVE in Chi, NYC and San Fran!!)  In San Fran, my friend had her car as she lived in CA, but at the hotel we stayed at, it was $42 A DAY to park your car!  And we didnt even use it the whole time we were there!  It sat in the parking lot!  And that was on top of the room charge!  I can't say enough that renting a car (for the most part) is just too much of an expense!
  • I guess if you drive to your marathon city, that saves on airfare so the other parts are kind of a wash; e.g. Dallas White Rock   At least I share costs for gas and parking as last year I had a passenger and will this year as well.  Always another good idea.  Share!  Share!  Share!
  • Book.  Early.  Especially for cities that are just normal hubs or are popular destinations.  The longer you wait, your choice of departing/arrival times goes significantly down.   You might get lucky but who wants to count on luck?  It took me about 3 weeks before I knew I had the lowest fare I was going to get for the times/days I wanted for Chicago.   I am very picky and don't like layovers and changing planes, but obviously if you can handle this you could save more.  However, for me, time is money.  I want to get to my destination without a lot of hassle and drama.  This is typically one area I wont scrimp on.  But I will say, Tuesdays are the best days to book a flight :O)

  • Living Social, Groupon, BuyWithMe.  All great for use for food!  All you have to do is sign up for the deals in that city ahead of time.  A few months is my best advice.
  • Pack your snacks in your carry on for food in the airport, on the plane and for any layovers.  Its way cheaper and even whatever they give you on the plane (if anything), its going to be healthier your way!! 
  • Carry your empty water bottle, even if its just one that used to have water in it and you drank it all. You can take an empty bottle through security, and then you can fill up at a FREE water fountain inside the terminal!
  • Also, take snacks in your regular luggage for when the hungries make an appearance while in the hotel room (stay away from the room snacks and the vending machine which are both VERY expensive and VERY unhealthy!) or tuck in your purse when you are out and about exploring the city!  You can do the small Ziploc snack bags or just bars, or whatever your fancy.    Also, a coffee pot in your room is great for heating water and using oatmeal packets you bring yourself!
  • SHARE meals.  Everyone knows that restaurants over portion so get an appetizer and one entree and split it!  If the restaurant doesnt allow that, then find somewhere else to go. 
  • If you can swing it, getting a room with a small fridge is good to keep leftovers or buy yogurts etc., at the local store.  OR take out whatever is in the mini-fridge and put yours in there.
  • Living Social, Groupon, BuyWithMe.  All great for use for entertainment!  All you have to do is sign up for the deals in that city ahead of time.  A few months is my best advice.
  • There are always a lot of things/sites to see in a city that are free!  And most places will have a reduced rate or a free day a week, so depending on when you are there, you can take advantage of this.
  • I do think this is one area where I tend to not really care, because you are traveling and seeing the sites are one of the great things!  I did get reduced rates on tours and a Broadway show in NYC, and in Chicago, most everything I wanted to do was free anyway!!  The Sears Tower wasn't but I think it was something like $15 maybe.  Nothing outrageous.  It was a Monday though so maybe that was a reduced rate.
Anyone else have any tips????

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week at a Glance - 9 Weeks to Taper!

Monday:  I was going to get up and run this morning but didnt.  Priorities you know ;o)  So today will be a 1 hour on the treadmill day followed by some weights
Tuesday:  Back at the Bikram this week!  If I get up in time in the morning to run, I will.  If I don't, I don't.
Wednesday: I dont recall right now what my speed workout is this week, but whatever it is, we'll try it :O)  I know that I have either 6 or 8 miles total to do though.  Speed work will be done on the treadmill.  Screw the heat and humidity.
Thursday:  Another night of Bikram!!  No run.
Friday:  Rest day
Saturday:  Long run.  16 miles.
Sunday:  Rest day/Cross train

What's your week look like???

Running Store Stories - Episode 2 - Procrastinator Perpetrators

Well, I say it is episode 2, but somehow my episode 1 of Running Store Stories went bye-bye!  I dont know if I somehow deleted it by accident, or if blogger ate it, or if somehow it got lost in the re-design.  All I know is that it makes me mad because I liked that one, and you guys had some great comments about it, which if you remember it covered vanity sizing...oh well...

Today we tackle the procrasinator perpetrators, and I sure hope none of you are guilty of this tragic crime!

It does not matter what day of the week it is, but ever since I have worked at the LL, whether it was full time or now as part time, there isnt a day that goes by where I dont answer the phone and at least 3 times a day I get the question "What time are you open until today?"

What they are really wanting to know is what is the latest time I can walk in the door and you still have to help me?

Now LL is one of the specialty running stores where the majority of our customers come in to be professionally analyzed on their walk, run or gait in general and then specifically fitted for shoes.  This process, depending on the person and what associate you get, can take upwards of a half an hour.  Sometimes an hour and just yesterday one of the guys was with a couple and 1 kid for about 2 hours.  And generally on Saturday and Sunday, there is a wait list which can be upwards of a half hour or more, again depending.  And this is with 7 guys working...

Anyway, I digress...

The procrastinator perpetrators are not just for the shoes, but it is the majority...

What exactly is a procrastinator perpetrator?  The person or persons that walk in anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 minute to closing...Seriously?  Do you not think that that is rude?  You come in knowing full well that we are about to close and you want to be fitted for shoes?  You have known all day long you wanted to do this, but you couldnt pull yourself away from Starbucks, Facebook or whatever game happens to be on the television?  Why must people wait until the last minute and then make others who have been working all day stay that much longer?  Its not like you are running in to buy a pack of cigarettes and then out the door.

And not a day goes by that I work there that this does NOT I will say that I am one of the lucky ones, that I generally am off at the close and never on the schedule to actually be a 'closer'.  And thankfully I am only there 1, maybe 2 days a week at most, so I dont have to deal with it as much, but still.

Yesterday afternoon, I was helping out in the shoes, taking names in the order they would come in, and around 4pm, there was no wait list.  Amazing!  But within 15-20 minutes all of a sudden people started coming in like crazy and now I have a list again!  Gah!  And yep, right about 5min to 5pm, 3-4 more people came be-bopping in the store.  And then get a bit peeved because there is a list?  (honestly these people need a post all their own; another day...)

I don't know, maybe its not something people think about, but I would suggest you should.  If you know you need something, or you want to 'shop' then you know, maybe come in an hour before its due to close.  People that work in retail have lives too.  Families.  Errands to run.  And Sundays especially is the only day of the week where they get off 'early' (5pm).  Maybe they would like some pool time or park time with their kids...or to be able to go to dinner and a movie and still get home before 10pm.

I know everyone is busy, but its the you really have to wait until the last possible minute on either Saturday or Sunday to come in for something you know is going to take a while?  I have a suspicion these are the same people that are late for everything too.  Rude.  Just plain rude.

What say you?  Am I being overly picky here?  Are you a procrastinator and purposely put off something until the very last minute time and time again?  Have you ever been professionally fitted for shoes?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kenyan Way - Long Run - Cut Back Week

86% humidity
Feels like temp: 87

Ah, you gotta love a cut back week.  I only had 9 miles on the schedule today, but our route (another boooooooooring one:  River Oaks Loop; come on Coach, quit being lazy with the routes :)

I actually intended on doing the full loop even though it was 10 miles, but since I woke up early enough, ready enough and at base in plenty of time, I did 2 miles before the group start and figured 3.5 miles into the route, flip a bitch and head back.  The only bad thing about this option was that all of the balance would be run IN the portion of River Oaks that is basically void of air.  Seriously back there its like someone just vacuumed out any air, wind, whatever.  But its what I was gonna do.

I started out with CM and we ran the whole way together.  She has been injured and needed a motivator so it all worked out.  She had me walk two times but very briefly and I was happy to oblige a fellow KW'er in her time of need.  She has been on the treadmill so running in the heat and humidity were tough for her this first time out in it basically.  But she held her own.  I did have to slow for her sometimes but she would find her 2nd wind and we would fall back into pace.

I really needed this solid run this morning, and even though it was a cut back week, it still always feeds the ego when a run regardless of distance goes so well.

My hip is still giving me issues, but nothing that some rolling and stretching shouldnt help so says Coach since I finally decided to ask him about it.  He thinks its a product of some ITB issues, nothing more than that.

I was diligent with my salt tabs and no matter what, when I do that, I always seem to do better.  Even if it is a pain to have to take them on the run.  And its always a boost when you see so many walking and you're still going strong.

Next week its upping mileage again.  16 miles.  I haven't seen that for quite some time...6 weeks to September.  And hopefully a break in the temperatures.  We just have to get through Ugh-ust.

How was your run this weekend?  How far?  Are you ready for cooler weather?

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Little Sumthin' Sumthin' For Your Weekend

Now go out and shout it from the rooftops, mountains or whereever you happen to be!!!

Into the Wind (Trailer) - The Terry Fox Story (Steve Nash and Ezra Holland)

Jeez Wendi, I couldn't even make it through the trailer for Into The Wind (Terry Fox) without boo-hoo'ing at my freakin' desk!

I must find this in its entirety.  Seriously.

Get Your Motor Runnin' (Inspirational Running Movies)

Lisa in Nashville wanted to know some of the other running DVD's that I own, so per my promise, here are a few, along with 2 of my favorites that always get me pumped up to where I feel like I could take on the world singlehandedly!

Running Brave

Spirit of the Marathon

I of course really love this one...and could not tell you how many times I have seen it.  I saw it twice when it was at the movie theatre, and countless more times.  I honestly think it helped me last year right before Chicago, because even though I had never been to Chicago, and I hadnt really researched the course (due to SOTM), I felt like I knew that course before I ever set foot on it.  I actually just watched this again a few weeks back.  The soundtrack alone makes my heart race!

Saint Ralph

My favorite part of this movie are the hill workout scenes...and when he is running in the rain...Just an overall good movie.  Cheesy yes.  But it makes me laugh and gives me a boost.

Without Limits

 Prefontaine.  Need I say anything more than that.  Love.

Run for your Life

Lisa, definitely find this one and watch.  Its awesome.  I have watched it many times as it was given to me as a gift.  Every time I watch it I cant wait to run NYC again.

The Long Run

I have a girlfriend that just did Comrades this year.  She made it just under the cut off time for Bronze.  This movie is kinda slow, but good nonetheless.

Chariots of Fire

Duh.  :O)

Dean Karnazes - 50 Marathons in 50 Days

I don't have this one, but definitely need to order it.  I have watched it and I absolutely loved it.

These next two, among countless others (Miracle, Remember the Titans, Hoosiers), they all make me want to just get up and DO SOMETHING... run mainly!!  Great motivation to me; maybe to you too!


GI Jane

What ones did I miss?  Can you recommend any that I haven't listed?  I am always looking for a great motivational movie to add to my list/collection! 
Also, what do you think of the new design!?!?!?!?