Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 44 - The million dollar question

Another Saturday, another long run - 7 miles to be exact. My sister-in-law had invited me to the Christmas parade in Milford and my brother asked for help with the Christmas lights. I said yes to both, but I had to run before we did lights, otherwise I knew it would never get done. He suggested I run at Kensington Metro Park. I hadn't been there in years and the 8-mile track sounded interesting, if daunting, certainly no worse than running through the streets and around blocks.

Before I left, however, I had the most enlightening conversation with my nephew who's not quite three. He looked at me with big sad eyes.
"I want you to stay and play with me," he said.
"I'll come back," I promised. "Give me two hours."
"I don't want you to go."
"I'll be back. I have to run."
"Why?" he asked, raising the ultimate question.

Why indeed? What makes us leave the comfort of home, the comfort of bed, of sleep, to pound our bodies into the pavement for hours on end? Every runner must have a different answer. Mine circles in the cloud of endorphins and weight control. I can't say definitively why I run. I like to cross the finish line? I like to have structure for my work outs? I like to eat Jet's Pizza and not gain weight? I don't have a good answer and I couldn't tell my nephew. I just patted him on the head and went.

Finding my motivation was difficult, but after a McDonald's breakfast, parade candy and a candy cane "for energy," running at the park was great!!! My lungs are still a little weaker from the cold, so I ran what was comfortable (6 to 11 minutes) then walked one. I finished all 8 miles in 83 minutes, slow, but I'll take it! It was great to have no cars to worry about, no traffic, no cross streets to look at. Even better - two days after Thanksgiving and I was outside in shorts!!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 40 - The Mizuno stash

How many shoes is too many? I have one pair remaining from my January purchase, plus the six new pairs, all nestled between my green storage cabinet and extra vacuum. When I look at them, it doesn't seem like that many and I've thought many times that I should buy a few more pairs while they're still under $60 and more importantly, while they're still available! Compounding this thought is reading reviews for the Mizuno Rider 14, which it seems most people don't like as much as they liked the 13.

Then I actually think. If each pair lasts 6 months - a conservative estimate - most of mine last between 9 and 10 months - I'm set shoe wise until fall 2015! 2015! It's absolutely comical when I realize how long I'll be shod in the 13s. I do appreciate the irony that I have a stockpile of the ugliest running shoes I've ever bought!

Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving. Personally, I'm more excited about Nickleback than the Lions!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 38 - Clouds under my feet

I've done plenty of silly things, but running with a cold when it was in the low 30s, dark and pouring rain wasn't going to be one of them! I knew my options were hit the Y and run laps, or skip another day. Grudgingly I chose the Y. I haven't run there in months - probably since April and I didn't know how my lungs would fare post-cold.

To my surprise and amazement, it felt great! The whole time I felt as though I were running on clouds, as though my feel were never actually making contact with the floor. There was no joint jarring, no pain anywhere. I've never felt that before and I liked it!

I didn't want to push it too hard, seeing how I felt on Sunday, so I ran my three miles doing a pattern of run 5 laps, walk 1. Even with the walking I got through it in a respectable time.

Part of me never wants to go back and deal with the sheer monotony and boredom of lap running. Another part, however, is tempted because it's so easy to run in a climate controlled environment, and running 10 laps to the mile is the ultimate way to shut off my mind, which leads to the best running.

Must force myself to continue outside!!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 36 - I should have stayed in bed

I started feeling sick on Tuesday night and I feel only marginally better almost a week later. This morning, however, was warm (50) and sunny. It felt more like a spring morning than mid November and I knew I had Saturday's 6-miler still hanging over my head.

I woke up and told myself I'd finish it, even if I had to walk most of the way. The first half mile wasn't terrible - at least I could breathe. Just past one mile, everything fell apart. My nose started running profusely, which I didn't like, but I could handle. I was woozy and weak, but I could push through that as well. Once I started dry heaving, however, it was time to turn around and say the heck with it.

I managed 1.74 miles, which is actually farther than I had expected. The revised plan is to ease back into running with my normally scheduled 3-miler on Tuesday then trade Wednesday's speed work for a 6-miler. Thursday and Friday as normal, then complete a 7-miler on Saturday, fully back on the schedule.

At least I found out that Rite-Aid carries TheraFlu capsules. They're the only cold med that actually works and after not finding them anywhere for 2 years I had begun to assume they had been discontinued. It's good to know they're still on the market!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 35 - Explaining it to someone who has never been a runner

I work with the greatest people.

In the days after the marathon, a first grade teacher asked if I was still running.
"I'm trying," I said.
"But you didn't do the marathon," she replied.
"No, it was sold out."
"I noticed you're walking normally." was her proof, mentally comparing it to last year when I hobbled for the week after.

On a separate occasion, another teacher asked why I'm training for a marathon. She's never been a runner, so I explained it as follows:

It's only six months. God willing I'll turn 33 in six months. The time will pass either way, so I may as well do something with it. I'm in no shape whatsoever to run a marathon, but I can run 2 miles, I can run 3 miles, etc. If I approach it one day at a time - not even one week - but one single day at a time, I'll get there. I can turn 33, or I can turn 33 with a sub 5-hour marathon under my belt. I know which option I'm choosing!

Besides, I exercise more consistently with a program and a clear goal to focus on. I know six months are going to pass by in the blink of an eye, and no matter what I do I can't slow it down, so I'll make it valuable and make it count for something.

Six months isn't even that long. It's a baseball season. With consistency and determination, we can all do great things. See you at the finish line!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 33 - A waste of two days

Last year I had 3 colds before Christmas. This year, thankfully, none, at least until Tuesday night when I started with a sore throat. That's always the first sign. Wednesday morning was sore ears, and by dinner I had a full-on cold, with its accompanying wooziness. Wednesday was scheduled for speed work, today 3 miles. Neither are getting accomplished. Could I do something else, maybe bike? Sure, but why? I'm woozy and any physical exertion would make me weak and dizzy. Walking from the parking lot to the Y would be difficult enough. I'm also dehydrated due to lack of water caused by the sore throat making food and drink difficult. I'm just a mess.

Compounding everything is that I've been waking up before 5 am all week, not intentionally, but unable to fall back asleep. It's 4:11 pm and I'm in my pajamas. The plan is to lay on the couch and fall asleep very very soon. I'm getting sleeeeeeeppppppy. (Can I hypnotize myself into sleeping for 12+ hours? I wonder)

I know in the grand scheme if I have to miss days, it's better to miss short days, and do the long runs no matter what, it's just frustrating to get sidelined in week 5. Sidelined by a cold, though, is completely different from sidelined by injury. This one is predictable and will pass.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 28 - A Sunny Saturday in Shorts

Saturday was the weekly long run, this time 5 miles. Much to my delight, it was sunny! Even better, warm! 60+ degrees warm! I didn't have to worry about covering my legs, or wearing a sweatshirt or gloves or anything. With my legs joyfully bare in shorts, and only a long sleeve t-shirt over a tech wick t-shirt, I was off!

The run felt incredible! I could breathe easily, my heart was happily ticking along and knees felt soft and pliable, easily absorbing the impact of every step. The plan was for 5 miles, but I felt so great that I did 5.25.

The pattern thus far has been lousy wet Thursdays but warm sunny Saturdays. If I can have great weather for the long runs, I'll gladly deal with bad weather on the shorter days.

Today was another recovery day, this one at Elizabeth Park in Trenton. I strolled along for 2 miles or so then ate everything I could find...Here are a few pictures from the park:

How about tomorrow? Can I park then? :D

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 26 - The weather is lousy, must be Thursday!

I woke up at 7:30 to a gloriously sunny day, absolutely perfect to run. I had plenty of time to do so before work, but did I? Nope! I rolled over and cuddled with my kitty, the result of staying up too late watching American Horror Story then being too keyed up (scared) to sleep.

It wasn't that warm today, but sufficient to go to work without a jacket. Within the 20 minutes it took to drive home and change, however, the sun was replaced with dark, ominous clouds, the wind picked up and it got cold! I put it out of mind and opened the front door to the worst surprise. IT WAS SNOWING!!!! IN NOVEMBER!!!!! YUCK!!!!!!!

Yet, with a big sigh I closed the door behind me and set out. The first mile or so, my hands were simultaneously numb from cold and sweating from my gloves. On days like this, my mantra is the faster I run, the sooner I'll be done.

Something happened though, after I turned the corner and ran past the chiropractor's office with the clock / thermometer display. It was either 30 or 38 - between the fog and twilight I couldn't really tell, but I had the most amazing thought wash over my entire body: "I can actually do this!" I'm the biggest baby about the cold, yet I realized that yes, I can run in the cold without dying, without my lungs burning and my heart screaming.

Of course it'll be a different world when it's below zero, but that's exactly why I'm easing my way into cold temperatures.

The wind died down, I took off the gloves (after 28 minutes lol) and had a great run! The thought of cold weather running has always been an anathema to my running, but today felt like it's just another obstacle I kicked over en route to the finish line. See you at the finish!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 25 - The two-a-day

I had the easiest day yesterday, but when I got home, I just didn't feel well. My stomach was a little upset, my head was a little woozy and I was completely exhausted. I was also scheduled to run 3 miles. I knew I would feel better if I laid down for a little bit, but I was also fighting against the fading daylight. My best bet was to run before work this morning.

The alarm went off, I grabbed my clothing and went. I didn't take the time to check the weather beyond peeking out the window. For some reason I thought it was cold and rainy so I dressed in the full fall outfit with a fleece hat, hooded sweatshirt and gloves. A quarter mile in, I realized it really wasn't cold. In fact it was pretty warm, especially for the second week in November. Three miles later I was pouring sweat, but a little sweat never hurt anyone!

Went to work, had a good day, felt great.

At 4 o'clock though, I wasn't done for the day. Nope it was time to complete what was scheduled for Wednesday, which was 30 minutes of cross training. I hopped on my favorite bike at the Y and finished my 30 minutes, completing 7.5 miles.

How do I feel after one of very few two-a-days in my life? Great!!! I don't feel any worse for the wear and I was able to log my mileage and work on my cardio capacity :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 22 - Recovery!

Starting with week 4 and continuing through the race, Sunday is recovery day. The plan I'm using describes it as such:
The good news is, the day after your long and slow training runs you get to recover. The bad news is that doesn't mean sitting in front of the T.V. all day! You will be stiff and sore following a long run and one of the best ways to help the body to recover and rejuvenate is to do some light aerobic exercise.

This helps to remove any waste products like lactic acid that has pooled in the muscles and can also help alleviate muscle soreness. You have a choice here...

You can either do a cross training session or go for a walk. The key point to remember is that it must be low intensity. Competitive games of basketball or squash are definitely off the menu! During these sessions you are NOT, I repeat... you are NOT trying to improve your fitness. You are recovering - it's just that you will recover faster with 20-30 minutes of gentle movement than you will with bed rest!

I only ran 4.04 miles yesterday and felt fine ten minutes after. 24 hours later, I was perfect. I've followed the program to a letter thus far, though, so I wasn't going to deviate on something so easy. It was 57 gloriously sunny degrees today, so anything at the Y was obviously not on the radar! That left me with walking outside. I didn't care how far or fast I went, so I abandoned my normal routes in Allen Park and headed up to the Rouge River Parkway in Dearborn. I meandered for 3 miles, taking about an hour to do so.

I wore my Vibrams and intentionally bad form walked, just to see if I noticed a difference. Wow, did I ever! When intentionally landing on my heel, the front of my shin hurt from cranking the toes so far! It was harder to walk that way, with my heels digging in and braking my movement. I didn't realize it would be so obvious, or that good-form walking would feel so natural! Ten steps later the experiment was done and I stuck with whole-foot striking!

Since time wasn't any consideration whatsoever I took my camera and stopped when inspiration struck. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 18 - Sale! Score!

Last year I bought three pairs of Mizuno Rider 13s, my new favorite running shoes. I blew through one pair, and the second is well under use. I still have one brand new pair in the box, but that never seemed like enough. What am I going to do when that pair gets worn out? Try another pair and risk another injury a la the pink ones???

I've been looking online because Mizuno has replaced / redesigned the style, yet most places still want brand new price for them. In January, however, I found them on Amazon for $57 and I don't want to pay a cent more.

Tonight after work - $55 a pair! Score!!!!! I bought six.... Yes, excess, massive excess, but they are my perfect running shoes, they're hideous and have worked perfectly without any pain or injury for 14 months. The credit card bill will hurt, but I get paid this week, my car is paid off through the end of the year and I have my shoes taken care of for 4 or 5 years depending on my mileage.

Hurray for Amazon! Hurray for sales!!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 17 - This is funny as Hell

Evidently there was a photographer at the race who posted his pics online. Here are some of the good ones:

Gumby jumps for joy!

Right behind Gumby was this guy. I'm not exactly sure what he's supposed to be, but I feel like I should write some bad joke about the 1980s.

Here I am - I look fat! I guess tutus aren't meant to be worn over layers!

Lastly - it's always funny when men dress as women. Well sometimes it's scary if you can't tell whether it's a man in a bad costume, or an extremely unattractive woman. I'm pretty sure this one is a man :)