Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 106 - Another long run, more complaining

Saturday's agenda was the most daring yet - 14 miles! It was also my nephew's birthday party so we left really early so I could go to Kensington. It had snowed overnight and my brother was seriously freaking out when he saw what I was wearing - the same thing I wear every time I run in the cold. He wanted me to borrow some gortex clothing, to put a plastic bag between my socks and shoes. Just let me be! If it's too cold or too wet, I'll turn around and come back to the house.

By the time I reached the park, however, it had stopped snowing and they had already started clearing off the path. If I went clockwise it was clear, counterclockwise was still snowy. Obviously I went the clear way. I <3 you Kensington park! Yes it was cold, but not too miserable, except for the part that doesn't have any tree cover and the wind whipped across the grass making it extremely difficult to even walk into the gusts.

I tried two different things with the run, one I liked, the other not so much. The good was using a Garmin gps gadget so I always knew my time and distance. Not an essential toy, but I liked it. Something that I realized - the lap is more than 8 miles. I had a feeling it was!!! It was closer to 8.4! I measured 8.2 for one lap, but I had also paused the gadget for the big wooden bridge that was covered with ice and snow. I walked the entire thing and I didn't want the time affecting my average.

I also tried a waist belt to carry water. I liked having water available, but not carrying it. It was too heavy and bulky! After 8 miles I returned to the car and ditched the water belt (and ate an orange!).

I realized too that my short runs are getting faster, but my long runs are getting slower. Bummer. My pace yesterday was too slow to finish a sub 5-hour marathon. I'll have to work on that! Hopefully when it warms up, it'll be easier. My legs felt like they were moving through molasses in January. I had also missed my Wednesday and Thursday work outs because of work, which didn't help matters at all, as well as my Friday yoga that always stretches me and gets me ready to run. Is it any wonder my hamstrings were screaming yesterday?

Here are a few good things to keep in mind:

1. Next Saturday is 6 miles. Aaaah that will feel great!!!!

2. I have 11 weeks of training left and only 3 runs longer than 14 (16, 18 and 20). My remaining Saturdays are: 6, 16, 10, 18, 8, 10, 20, 10, 8, 6, race! Then I'm having my birthday dinner after the race, with homemade Mom food and two homemade cakes from Grandma recipes. Guess what I'll be thinking about all race??? :D

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day 101 - Glass ceilings

For the short time I've been running, ten minutes has always been a comfortable average time. If I ever broke that, it was surely a fluke and not by any real planning or intent. Around the turn of January, however, I started running in the 9-minute window, certainly closer to 10 than to 9, but it was more common to be in the 9-minute window than the 10. Breaking 9 minutes remained an elusive goal. I got close a few times, most notably at 9:03, but I never broke 9.

It all ended tonight. I stepped outside grudgingly at 5:45 into something that resembled daylight, at least on a horrid wretched gray day. It was the same color it had been all day. That was a surprise. The better surprise was my first mile. The plan for tonight was to run complete miles and break in between to catch my breath. It was cold and a little windy, but my first mile registered at 8:39. Heck yeah!!!!! Not only did I break 9 minutes, I shattered it! The funny thing is now that I've done it, I want to be in the 8 minute window all the time. Could I have gone 9 seconds faster? Absolutely.

Mile 2.13 was a little slower. There is a small section where I have to cross a gravel pathway that is generally frozen. Rather than risk a broken ankle, I always walk that bit, then it was right back to running. Mile 3 I finished in 9:03. I rule!!!

Running an 8:39 is slow for some people, but I'm not one of those elite runners. I'm really really happy with my 8:39, probably as happy as I was to finish the marathon. That was relief more than anything, to finally be able to stop. It was pretty anticlimactic because I had been telling myself for 11 months that I was going to do it, then I did it. It just took time and dedication.

An 8:39 though is something completely different and I like it!!!!! What a difference 48 hours makes!

I looked at the Martian website again and registration is open again. Who knows. I'm confirmed as registered - that's all I care about :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 100 - Misery

The Saturday forecast promised 38 and sun for Sunday so I held off my long run, for that reason only. When I woke up, however, it was 21 and drizzling gray. How can the forecasters so consistently be so wrong???? I would have gone on Saturday in the sun if I knew the reality of Sunday. I waited, though, so I had no choice but to head out in the freezing cold misery to sludge through 12 miles.

My dear friend asked how it was. I didn't want to sound like a miserable sarcastic ogre, but how does she think it was?! Running 12 miles is bad enough. The weather made it so much worse, as did all the rude businesses that hadn't shoveled their sidewalks. The worst were those who plowed their parking lots then ignored the sidewalks. What the heck??? Call me, call me neighbor. Either of us will take care of the sidewalk for a few bucks! Naturally this happened for blocks on end where street running was NOT an option. Angry frustration!!!! My time absolutely sucked because I couldn't run through 3 inches of slush, but was forced to walk. (Thank you to all the residents who had shoveled. Much appreciated!)

At some point I twisted my ankle in a pothole and it was a little tender all night. I RICEed it (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and I guess I'm ok, just angry and frustrated with the state of Michigan and its conditions.

I burned 2310 calories and I was famished all night. I like to eat - no risk of anorexia here! - but I was getting sick of eating. It seemed like I was eating everything in the house but I was super hungry and thirsty all night. What a lousy, miserable day. Grumble grumble complain.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 98 - Postponement

It's in the mid-20s today and sunny, not altogether terrible, yet the streets are a mess of driven over, matted down snow. Tomorrow's forecast promises to be upper 30s, possibly even 40s. I have nothing planned for either day and 12 miles sounds a whole lot better on dry sidewalks, where I can glide through the motions, instead of lifting each foot high off the ground. Running in snow uses different muscles, feels different, works the heart harder, and just isn't fun! The extra ten degrees won't hurt at all either so I'm swapping out Saturday and Sunday this week. That's my decision and I'm sticking to it!

Here is a big huge update about the Martian:

Whew! I'm soooooooo glad I registered when I did. Had I missed this one, I could find another marathon the same weekend, but I get a race in my head and become absolutely focused and determined on that one specific race.

And here's the finisher's medal. I like it :D

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 96 - 6 degrees of insanity

I spent the whole morning in the media center, next to a big window, watching the snow fall. It was anything but relaxing, knowing I had 4 miles to complete today. Going to the Y was simply not an option because I know once I go inside, it'll be nearly impossible to go back outside. One of the secretaries at the school has completed a few marathons and a few halfs. She knew how it was and empathized "When you're focused on training, you just go. You don't even think about days like this."

Thankfully it stopped snowing and got sunny, but the temperature was 26 degrees, with a wind chill of 6 degrees. YIKES!!!!! I got out all the winter gear - ColdGear tights, ColdGear pants, fleece lined long-sleeve undershirt, hooded sweatshirt, down vest, hat, gloves, gaiter. Aside from my numb little toes, it wasn't altogether terrible.

What was terrible was the condition of the roads and sidewalks. Exactly one street was clear, but I had to run through snow packed routes to get there. Also terrible was my time, most likely in response to the fear of falling on the ice. Perhaps due to wearing so much clothing I couldn't move. I must have looked like Ralphie's little brother :)

It was a terrible run, there's no two ways around it. Yet the one redeeming factor was the mental power of having a conviction strong enough to go outside and run in 6 degrees, then say to myself, "You know what? I can do this!"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 93 - Spending the reimbursement check

In December I worked for/with MDE for a few days. I already paid off the charges I incurred, so when I received the reimbursement check, it was like free money. I could put it toward grad school, toward the transmission I needed, save it for a rainy day, go to the grocery store and stock up.

All good options, but none quite so good as.....drumroll please.....registering for a race!!!!! The Martian is three months from yesterday and while I'm not especially concerned about it selling out, I would absolutely hate to train for four or five months, then find out I can't do it due to lack of planning.
(the smear is where I blurred out my address :D

Wheee!!!!!!! I'm not super excited about doing an out-and-back run, but I'm super excited to cross the finish line under 5 hours and completely decimate my 2010 time. I thought this morning, though, what if I finish in 5:02? What if I finish in 5:08? Does that still count? My executive decision is YES!!!! I'm shooting for anywhere in the 5 hour vicinity.

Here's the confirmation email. Check out the "from" field haha

See you at the finish line!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 91 - Glad it was a shorter run Saturday

The Auto Show started this week and it's been snowing ever since. What a weather curse it brings us every winter!!!!! Yet if I can run in rain, in cold, I can run through curses and I made myself do exactly that.

Naturally it took me hours to get ready. Before I set out, my friend texted "I don't envy the run you're going to do. But proud!" I agreed that the actual run would be awful, but the accomplishment would be worth it. A few hours later I ran out to the car and admitted I was way over dressed because it wasn't really that cold. Her awesome response was "you're nuts!" At least she's honest :)

The actual run was rough. It was the first time I've run on snow. It wasn't enough for people to have shoveled, so I was definitely running in the street today, yet it wasn't that easy. If I stayed close to the curb, there was still snow. If I moved out where the cars drive (I was in a low traffic area), the parts they drove over were matted down and likely icy. The middle of the streets was clear. Run in the middle of the street, or run in the snow? I never had a consistent answer to that one.

Today's plan was a lighter 8 miles. It was rough, but step by step it got done. It felt great to be completely done running after an hour and 20 (give or take). My hair froze again, and yes, it was just as gross the second time. My gaiter got wet from sweat, drool, snot and snow, and wet fleece is a disgusting feeling.
Before I started out, I got this in an email.

So true, so true! Now I'm done running until Tuesday. Whee!!!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 90 - The safety plan

I get it - running alone isn't the safest thing I could do, but I'm also not going to stay inside forever, too afraid to live. Nor am I going to run on the treadmill or at the Y because the thought of running 120 laps, or running in place for 2 hours is enough to make me give up the dreams, and that's on an easy day! I've looked for a running partner, but it's not so easy to find someone who is at a similar level. It seems most people are either professional runners or just starting out, neither of which is a good partner for me.

Since my choices are either not run at all, or run outside, here's how I stay safe.

1. Run in safer cities and neighborhoods. When I run in the cities, it's either Allen Park or Southgate, occasionally Wyandotte, but I stay away from sketchy areas and sketchy people.
2. A can of mace is always tucked to my waistband, right in the small of my back. Thankfully I've never had to use it on dogs or dodgy people.
3. Run in the daylight as often as possible. When it's not possible, stay to well-lit areas and run on the sidewalks.
4. When it's night or a dark day, wear a reflective vest. I found one on Amazon that's white so I don't look like a groupie for the Village People.
5. The one time thus far I trail ran at night, I've worn a headlamp, both to see and be seen.
6. Vary my route so I don't establish a pattern.
7. I've never posted my exact route online, nor do I blog before my run, essentially announcing when the house will be empty.
8. On each shoe I wrote my name, my brother's cell phone number, my insurance type and my blood type.
9. The biggest one is that I text my girlfriend before every run. I tell her the streets that border my route and my expected return time. If she doesn't hear from me by that time, she is to call the police in said city and report me missing.

So far it's been all good :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 88 - Too cold for shorts (but I wore 'em anyway!)

Day 88 wasn't even supposed to be a running day. It was scheduled as 30 minutes of cross training, but all day at work it was in the upper 40s and sunny, the kind of day that invites us outside. I didn't run on day 87 because my stomach had felt unstable all day, and as a result I was afraid to eat, lest I see the food again...By dinnertime, I had only consumed 300 calories and not surprisingly, I was too weak to run, not to mention pressed for time because a colleague had asked me to come in and help her.

I didn't want to waste another beautiful almost-April day, so I changed cross training to a 3.13 mile run. Naturally in the 35 minutes it took me to drive home and change, it went from 48 and sunny to 41 and gray, but I had already decided I was going to run with bare legs and soak up fresh air from my thighs to my ankles. I didn't even bulk up with a sweatshirt or hat or anything - just tri shorts, long sleeve tech wick shirt and light gloves. In all honesty, it was too cold for shorts, but how often does one have the opportunity for bare legs in January???

Along the way a guy dressed more appropriately for winter laughed and asked wasn't I cold? "No," I replied, "It feels great!!!"

Per mile, the breakdown was:
Mile 1 - 9:44
Mile 2.13 - 11:29
Mile 3 - 9:29

I am absolutely loving this complete lack of winter weather!!! I fully support the movement to cancel the Auto Show and therefore avoid the blizzard that always comes with it.

Somewhat of a bummer is news I heard today: Nickelback (yes, Detroit's favorite band) is doing a show at Joe Louis in the near future, specifically the day of the marathon when I'll be inhaling Jet's pizza as fast as I can, then napping and not moving. Maybe they'll add a second show the next day??? For all the hate, I like them and I'm not afraid to admit it, even though I asked my brother before if he wanted to go see them and he announced "Not even if you bought my ticket and drove!"

By the way, here is something funny from the Freep's website. I sure hope I win the female master's 3rd prize!!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 85 - I don't feel too bad today

Most Sundays I wake up feeling stiff and a little achey all over. Within an hour of waking up, I walk somewhere. Whether I go outside or hit the Y, it doesn't really matter. My body feels better after nice gentle movement.

This week I feel great! I was pretty sore yesterday after running 11 miles. I had promised my cat I'd be home by 5pm. I stepped inside at 5:02, showered and put on my Hello Kitty sleep pants, then lounged for the rest of the night. This is the normal routine for a Saturday after a long run, so I'm not sure why I feel great today, but I won't question it.

I'll still head to the Y and shake off any residual pain or stiffness, do a little core stability work, but overall I feel great!!!

Yesterday was a completely different story. There's nothing fun about running 11 miles! It was cold, but when I put on my gloves, my hands immediately started sweating. I poured buckets of sweat. I was dehydrated. I don't even know my final distance. I track distance with Map My Run and it's good, but not exact. I was anywhere between exactly 11, and 11.2. Regardless of the exact distance, I was slow, but you know what? I got it done!!! Next week I get to take it easier and do "only" 8 miles. Aaah an easy week :)

Edit at 8:36 pm. I never made it to the Y. The main purpose of the Sunday workout is for my legs to recover, but they already felt great, so it didn't seem essential. Much more important was spending time with my niece and nephew!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day 81 - 1 of 431

As of January 3, 431 people had registered for the Free Press marathon. I can't decide if we're all completely dedicated or delusional, registering more than 9 months before a race. It's too early to be training for it, but at least 431 of us put our money where our mouths are and said "Yes, I'm going to do this!"
At least it's comforting to know I wasn't the only one online in the wee hours of 2012 to formalize my commitment to do the very difficult, or the near impossible, depending on one's background and mental strength to fight through it. Interestingly, the highest percentage registered thus far is for the full marathon. Three days in and almost 9 percent of the quota has been filled.

See you all in October! I'll be the one in the fuschia Billups jersey!!!! :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 80 - Fleece is my friend

Tuesday was nice and sunny. In winter, the absence of cloud cover typically means it's really really cold and today was no different. It was a whopping 21 degrees. Yikes! I didn't let this deter me, just pulled out the warm weather gear - fleece lined UnderArmour pants, fleece lined undershirt, hooded sweatshirt, wool hat, gloves, gaiter. So long as there was no wind, it wasn't altogether terrible. Generally the sun fools me into thinking it's warmer than it really is. When it was windy, my upper body was a little cold - I need to head to the Salvation Army for a wind-breaker coat - but when the wind was still, it didn't feel as bad as 21 degrees should. My legs felt pretty good and I could still layer my tights under the pants for extra warmth.

Between miles 1 and 3 it warmed up. Yup, to 22 degrees :( Around 2.5 miles I started to feel pretty good. Yes it was cold, but my lungs were getting used to it and my feet had regained some feeling. The last half mile was definitely the strongest part of the entire run.

Mile 1 time - 10:09
Mile 2.13 time - a hot mess
Mile 3 time - 9:39

Somehow my running clothing is every color of the rainbow. You can't even see the lime green undershirt or turquoise gloves. I look like I'm dressed for the nerd Olympics. The only things better (worse) would have been the reflective vest and head lamp. But you know what? I was relatively warm, so I just don't care how I look!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 78 - It's official!

Registration for the 2012 Detroit Free Press Marathon opened January 1 at 12:01 am. After missing the sell-out point last year, I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. I had all intentions of registering at exactly 12:01, but I took my dragging legs out for the evening with a few friends. When I got home at 1:30, I ditched my coat and immediately registered for the marathon. I wonder - is the bib number assigned by order of registration or order of projected finish? Could I possibly get a 3-digit bib number??? I'll find out in 9 months, 19 days, 13 hours and counting...

A very cool change this year is the addition of the US only half-marathon. More than half of the 20,000 participants do the half, which means the second half is extremely lonely and boring! No other people, no entertainment, just each of the few runners alone with the unmanned mile markers. Thankfully this year, 1500 people can run the second half, with a staggered start so they are on the course at the same time as the full marathoners. Great idea!!! Plus it helps all those nice runners without passports :)

Projected finish time: 4:35. See you at the finish line!!!!!!

(Ironically enough I haven't registered yet for the Martian.