Saturday, March 30, 2013


Yeah, so, I haven't written an entry in 10 days.  I also went 10 days without running a single step.  Yup, I suck.  But I was on vacation for 6 of those days, so I'm excused, right?  RIGHT?  *crickets*

Oh, well.  Cest la vie, right? Can't go back in time, so might as well move forward.

I did lace up my new shoes today and donned my new skirt (did I tell you I  bought the Lululemon Pace Setter Skirt? I totally did).  It was a balmy 60 degrees when I started, and about 90 when I made it home.  Ok, that's a lie, but after 30/40 degree weather for so long, it felt HOT out there! I was not prepared.  But at least my butt looked cute while I sweated.   See? 

Please ignore my messy spare room. I certainly do. (Hence the mess!) 

The run went fine - I only did 3 miles, nothing amazing, but as tired as my legs were (apparently they're still on vacation!), it was over and done with before I knew it and I kind of went "Hu."  I can remember days when 3 miles took every ounce of energy that I had.  Truth be told, some days it still does, but mentally, it's not the struggle it once was.  

Just before I started writing this entry, I was reading Michelle's post and was nodding along as I was reading.   "It doesn't get easier, you just get stronger."  Or, maybe, more stubborn - no, not stubborn, that's not the right word.  More....  confident.  Once you've done 5 or 6 or 10 or 13 miles, if you're struggling through an "easy" 3, you can at least remind yourself that you CAN do it.  You HAVE done it.  Countless times.  So dragging your tired self through one more mile, two more miles...  it may not be easy, but it's doable.  And, 9 times out of 10, once it's over, you can look back and say "That wasn't so bad after all."  

Plus, how often do I get to wear a skirt with ruffles on the butt? I mean, really.  I'm 34, for goodness sake. LOL ;-)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I do what with my feet?

When I decided that I was going to start running last year, I went to a running store that I’d heard about to talk to an “expert” re: shoes.  A nice woman watched me walk barefoot, pulled out 4 different boxes of shoes, told me I needed inserts, and $160 later, I walked out the door feeling like a “real” runner.  I’m an over-pronator! I need “guidance” shoes! And inserts! And I know all this because some lady told me so! Yay!

Fast forward to three months later, when I had shin splints and had been pointed in the direction of a different running store where they did “gait analysis” and all kinds of fancy stuff.  After running on a treadmill in front of a camera, having my arch analyzed by some high-tech gizmo, and talking at length to another nice lady, I walked out the door another $120 poorer, feeling like THIS time, I had it right.  I don’t need “guidance” shoes! I need neutral shoes!  Yay me!

Fast forward yet again, to present day.  Err, today.  Took a short run this morning in my good ole “guidance” shoes (I returned the “neutral” ones after about a week, thinking that they didn’t feel any different than the “guidance” ones… because I still had shin splints.  Never occurred to me to take care of the shin splints BEFORE trying new shoes…  DUR.), and started thinking back over all the various aches and pains I’ve had, and how despite stretching and warming up and blah blah, my really good runs were few and far between.  I seem to have more aches and pains than other runners I know, even “newer” runners.  Maybe I’m not cut out for running.  Maybe I’m too fat.  Maybe I just suck.

Or maybe…….  Maybe I need different shoes.  Hrm.  Could it be?  Could the second lady with the fancy technology have actually been right?

So I finished my measly 3 miles, went home and cleaned up, and headed to yet another LRS to get a tie-breaking opinion.    ANOTHER very nice lady helped me, and guess what?  I’m back in neutral shoes.

I ran two miles in them tonight, just to test them out, and it was amazing.  No foot pain.  No shin pain. No calf pain. No ankle pain.  NO PAIN.   It was – and I don’t use this word lightly –  AWESOMESAUCE.
So. Moral of this story?  I *heart* Brooks! No, actually, the moral of this story is to not try new shoes when you have shin splints!  Also, don’t wait nearly a year to try new shoes again!  Dur.  =)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Experimenting Doesn't Make Me Kinky!

Over the weekend, I was thinking  (once again) about how my training had totally fallen apart and wondering how I could best salvage it for my two upcoming races.  I started thinking about Jeff Galloway, and his "run/walk" philosophy.  I started running using Run Your Butt Off, a program similar to the ever popular "Couch to 5K," so I am extremely familiar with "run a little, walk a little, run a little, walk a little."  

Since  having "graduated" from RYBO, however, I have not really intentionally done the run/walk thing.  I have walked during runs, sure, but not at set intervals (unless doing interval training).   Saturday night, I set my Garmin 10 for a 2 min run/1 min walk interval.   (If you're wondering, I kind of pulled those numbers out of my rear end.  Galloway has a set plan of what the ratio should  be based on your expected pace, but I've never really been very good at listening, plus who the heck knows what my pace would be?)

Yesterday afternoon, I headed out.  I won't bore you with all the details, but I will say this - by using the 2/1 ratio, I managed 9 miles in an average pace of 12:33.  Last week's 8 mile run, where I did walk, but only when I was too tired/mentally blah to run, was at a pace of 13:25.   Huge difference.   I did struggle a little yesterday, because my running intervals were on the fast side (for me!), but I got through 5 miles before really feeling tired at all, and after struggling a bit during miles 6 and 7, I got back on track for the last two miles.

I was sore and had an upset stomach when I got home (need to work on fueling - being on my feet for nearly 2 hours is a lot for me!), but after some dinner and a bath, I felt fine.  My legs feel great today, though DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) could kick in tomorrow and make me regret saying that, but I doubt it.  

So, what did my little experiment teach me?  I learned that run/walking is not a bad way to get through a long run - but I also learned that it's not really for me.  I will be using it in my next few long runs, and to get through my 10 mile race, but after that, I want to get back to "regular" running.  It's not that I think there's anything wrong with run/walking, it's just that it's not what I want to do.  I am grateful, however, that it's an available option for me at this point, because I know I'm in no shape to actually RUN my 10 mile race.  One day, I will be, but not this time around.  And I'm ok with that.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Funky Chicken

2013 was supposed to be the year that my running took off.  Second year into the sport, good races lined up, lots of supportive friends, more miles under my belt.  It was going to be my year.

So far, it hasn't exactly gone according to plan.  I'm healthy.  My family is healthy.  My husband has a job, we have a lovely home, I have great friends.  I am in no way trying to play the "Woe is me, my life sucks" card.  That is reserved for people with bigger problems.  But I do have a problem right now, and it's driving me a little batty.

I love running.  Running, however, does not appear to love me.  I literally take two steps forward and one step backwards.  (No, really - I used "literally" right.  I run in freaking circles - and have run backwards on quite a few occasions!)

Three weeks from Sunday, I am supposed to run a 10 mile race.  I signed up ages ago, had to wait to hear if I was picked in the lottery, and then sent off my $65 or whatever the heck it was.  I committed.  I had a plan all mapped out on how I was going to increase my daily runs and my weekly mileage and I was going to run the race and finish smiling.  I had a plan, man.

As it stands, between injury and illness, I am nowhere near where I wanted to be 3 weeks out from this race.      I am feeling underwhelmed, unexcited, and frankly, pissed off that I'm even signed up for it.  I don't want to run the race, because it's not going to be the way I had planned.

But then my rational side (HAHAHAHAHA.  Sorry, that's only really funny if you know me) kicks in and says "But you have a half marathon scheduled a month after the 10 miler! You'd need to run long that weekend anyway, why not just do the darn race?"  

So then I'm all pouty and pissed about the HM, too,  because - again - not where I wanted to be at this point! I don't know what to do.  Run the races, very possibly have a really shitty time at each, and chalk it up to experience, or just skip them and possibly feel bad about myself afterwards?

My brain is not helping matters, because it just pointed out to me that back in October, when I was considering skipping a 5K because I didn't think it was going to go well and I was feeling pouty and sorry for myself, it turned out to be the best run I've ever had and I managed a huge PR.

Well, phooey.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Keepin' it Real

One thing I love (and alternately hate) about running is that it keeps you honest.  No room for ego in the sport of running - no matter who you are, you can have a bad day.  For those of us who are not ranked among the elite (or even situated among the middle-of-the-pack), bad days can happen frequently.

After my glorious run on Wednesday, yesterday when I went out for my first ever 8 mile run, I was pumped. It was nearly 60 degrees, sunny, gorgeous.  I all but sprinted from the house.  Guess what happens when I start running at an almost sprint first thing out the door?  That's right! My legs and lungs remind me - but quick - that I am an out of shape 34 year old who has no business pretending she's Meb Keflezighi.  So half a mile into my run, I was forced to walk by a side stitch and maniacal breathing.  Way to go, genius.  I thought briefly about bagging the run entirely, but then I said "Ok, dummy, what if that happens during the Cherry Blossom?  Whatcha gonna do then, smarty pants?"   So I kept on trucking.  

I managed the 8 miles.  It was not skillfully done, and there were walking breaks, but I finished upright and smiling, and since that is not only my goal for the CB, but also for my upcoming (first ever!) half marathon, I'll take it.  In the future, though, I would like to actually RUN 8 miles...  and pretend I'm a really slow Meb.  Or, better yet, a really slow Deena Kastor, since I doubt my husband would like it if I told him I wanted a sex change.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mr. Murphy and other random Garbage

What’s that saying? You plan, God laughs? I don’t actually believe that God is sitting around watching me and getting his chuckles in, but who knows.   Maybe it’s that other guy who’s laughing – whatshisface Murphy.   The guy with the law.  In any case, my plan yesterday was to run while the kids were in school.  My son is in Kindergarten, but my daughter only goes to preschool two mornings a week, so I’m fairly limited in my “free” time.  Wednesdays, I have free time.  

Except we were supposed to get SNOWMAGEDDEN!!!  Cue me looking out the window at my snow-free lawn.  (I swear, weather forecasters are wrong so often that it actually amazes me that they aren't fired left and right.  If my husband made that many mistakes at his job, we’d be broke and moving in with my parents!)

Where was I?  Oh, right.  SNOW SNOW SNOW!   So, they closed the schools.  So, no running for me, unless I wanted to take the kids to the gym.  I haven’t been on a treadmill since….  October? I think?  But, being a good little trooper, I talked myself into it, and headed to the gym.   Empty parking lot, sign on the door saying the gym was closed DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER.  *sigh*   At that point, it was raining.  Lightly.  CALL THE NATIONAL GUARD!  

I went to Panera and got salads and picked up some lunch for the kids, and headed home.  My husband had given up on work, because there was no one there, so we all had lunch together at home and I tried to talk myself out of my grumpiness so I could go running in the afternoon. 

Fast forward a few hours - 36 degrees, rainy, and windy.  Apparently, the perfect weather for running! I didn't even really notice the cold, except for my fingers, which were not pleased that I hadn't taken the time to find my gloves before leaving the house.   The run was amazing. Probably the best one I’d had since I first laced up my running shoes 14 months ago. Apparently, I really am Only Happy When It Rains! 

Somewhere during mile 3, when I was starting to get a little tired, I passed a house and there was a guy out front, getting into his car, and he yelled at me.  I couldn't hear what he said because of the wind and the fact that I had my buff pulled over my ears to keep warm, so I yelled “What?”   He yelled back “You’re crazy!”  I answered “I’m not crazy, it’s awesome out here!”    In retrospect, I wish I’d come up with something wittier, because truth be told, the weather was not awesome, but whatever.  I ran another hundred yards or so, grumbling to myself that I was NOT crazy, when a woman running towards me caught my eye and I just started grinning.   She smiled as she passed me, and I wanted to high five her.  NOT crazy!  Just…. A runner. =)

So, I bested Murphy, got my run in, and felt fantastic for the rest of the day.  Well, fantastic and shivery. But it was worth it.

Have you ever been heckled while running?  (Or while doing anything?) 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Well, it's Tuesday...

Despite a facing a crazy busy weekend (three birthday parties, date night, household chores, etc, etc), I promised myself I was going to get my 6 mile "long" run in no matter what.   Midday Saturday, I knew running wasn't going to be on the agenda, so I told myself I'd go on Sunday.

Sunday after my daughter's birthday party, I gave myself two hours to eat something and veg on the couch before heading out.  At 4pm on the dot, I got dressed and went outside.  It was cold and windy, but I realized pretty early that I was completely overdressed.  In fact, the whole run was a  (not very funny) comedy of errors.   Wardrobe malfunctions, hair issues, side stitch, first attempt at taking GU (not because I needed it, but because I wanted to try it out close to home in case it gave me GI issues or anything), walking breaks, etc, etc....  It was pretty ridiculous.

But I made it.  6 miles - which, even though I walked some - is the longest I've gone since before I got sick.  Plus, even though I walked, and had all the other issues, I still managed to stay ahead of the cut-off pace for my upcoming 10 miler, which is a huge relief.

I am not a fast runner.  In fact, some people (who want to get punched) might actually call me a "jogger."  My fastest 5K was at an 11:xx pace, and I normally run in the 12:xx - 13:xx range.  I would like to be faster, sure, and I will work on that this summer, but for now, I am working on adding distance and just trying to get through the races that I have coming up, that I signed up for before I knew I'd be missing almost 7 weeks of training due to bronchitis.

Anyway. I'm not a fast runner - and the 10 miler I have coming up has a strict cut off.  They'll force you to get on a bus if you're not going fast enough at a certain point.  Michelle told me that it wouldn't be the end of the world if I get picked up by said bus, but, dude, yes it would.  I am slow. I'll own that.  But being told I'm  unworthy of finishing a race?  No.  Uh-uh.  Not gonna happen.

The pace I have to stay above?  14 mm.  I realize to most, that sounds incredibly slow, and OF COURSE I can go faster than that, right?  Well, right.  Unless I can't.  You never know what's going to happen on race day.  If I were a 9mm runner, I wouldn't worry - falling 5 minutes off pace is probably not going to happen.  But a minute or two?  That's worrisome.

BUT! After my run on Sunday, where all kinds of little stupid things went wrong and I still managed to run at a 13:09 pace, I am feeling MUCH more confident.  Especially since I still have 4 weeks to get myself even stronger and healthier.

So.  It's Tuesday, and I'm feeling pretty good.

Did you do anything this weekend that was hard for you? How did you get through it? 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Thinking about Tuesday

I let myself quit far too often.  I tell myself it's fine, it doesn't matter.  I let myself off the hook - and every time I do, another part of me shrivels up and becomes less than.  Less than I could be.  Less than I want to be.  But it's ok. It's fine.  Except that it's not.

I got very close to quitting again this week, with regards to my running.  Not quitting entirely, just... letting myself off the hook for a race I have coming up.  Saying it doesn't really matter, why put the pressure on myself?  I've been sick.  I haven't trained properly.  It's not a big deal.  Except that it is.

Then I read this post.

How do I want to feel on Tuesday?  Like I did everything I could, and left it all on the road.  Because in the end, who do I want to be?  What version of myself? I've spent years being less than.  Maybe it's time I tried a different tactic.