Thursday, June 28, 2012

Are Caltene bars real?

One of my favorite movies is Mean Girls. I've seen it countless times and I still can't say why it's so funny, but it is in a dark, shallow mockery of high school sort of way. One of the plot lines has Cady trying to ruin Regina's life. One way she does this is by offering her "Caltene" bars, which Cady claims are a weight loss bar that isn't legal in the U.S. yet. We later learn they are "weird Swedish nutrition bars her mom used to give the kids in Africa to help them gain weight."

The real question - are Caltene bars real? Where do I buy them? I'm still struggling to ingest enough calories before my long runs. The MetRX bars are good for 420 calories, but I need about double that, more as my Saturday runs get longer. Eating two MetRX bars would make me throw up though because I can only handle so many chemicals early in the morning. I need something small, easily digested and chock full of calories.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The long run uphill

Thursdays are reserved for speed work this go-round. There are 5 uphill sections of the Free Press and Hell will be a hot mess of hills, so I figured it's time to start dealing with hills and started alternating Thursdays between speed and hills.

The good news is that there's no real strategy or planning, just go do it. The best aspect of my routes is they are extremely flat, so running around home wasn't really an option. I could go to Kensington, but that's pretty far. I could run in a parking garage. The only real choice was to use a treadmill.

I came up with my own workout plan and it was a good one. I walked 5 minutes to warm up, then did 3 sets of the following:
run 7 minutes starting at 1% incline and increasing 1/2% every minute for seven minutes (all done at a steady moderate 6.0 mph)
walk 3 minutes at 0 incline
End it all with another 5 minute walk.

It was entirely not that bad, not nearly as bad as doing speed work. I was pouring sweat and breathing pretty hard, but it was super empowering to look at a fairly difficult workout and get through it none the worse for wear.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Forgetting the misery

After the spring marathons, I kept my running in the 2-5 mile range, so it was all easy and pretty good feeling. Last week was week 1 with Hal and he always has me do long runs on the weekend. Week 1 - 8 miles. oh my! In the months post-Toledo evidently I had forgotten how awful the long runs are!

I was a little worried about the distance because the longest I've done prior to yesterday was 5.15. I had planned to gradually build up to 8 over several weeks, but with the sprained ankle, didn't have time to do so. As a result, I had to jump from 5.15 to 8.08 miles. That wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting.

What was bad? Everything else! lol It was in the mid 80s and sunny so I wore sunblock and a white shirt. I took my water belt but the water didn't last very long. At mile 6 I passed a yard with the sprinkler going and no one in the yard, so I bent down and filled my bottles. Why does hose water taste so good???

Due to the heat and big jump in mileage, I scheduled breaks. The plan was to run 9 minutes and walk 1. That worked well. It felt really slow and I felt weak, but I managed to stay under my Free Press goal time. Looking back at 8-milers I did all fall / winter / spring, I was in the same time range, even a little faster this time.

When I got home, I was so sweaty that I got in the shower fully dressed. Somehow it isn't as gross to take off wet clothing as it is to take off sweat soaked clothing. Everything had to be washed anyway!

The rest of the day, I couldn't get enough food or water. This was one of the big aspects I had forgotten about long distance running. It felt like I was eating nonstop and still craving more! The next day I still feel hungry and dehydrated.

Remind me again why I'm doing this? :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why so sad, Goofy?

My plan all along for the Goofy was to use the money I earned from leading a 4-day training for Michigan Department of Ed. Last I heard, 30 people were registered and it was all set to begin on Monday. I got a call on Thursday, however, that only 3 people confirmed so they had to cancel the training. The woman in charge said she wants to give me a few dollars for the planning work I've already done. I told her she doesn't need to (although I would certainly take it if she sent a check).

The worst part of all is that I can't run the Goofy now. The stipend was specifically earmarked for the race, a race and trip I can't afford with my regular pay.

I don't want to drag out the race training another year. I don't want to postpone the Goofy. I'm so bummed :(

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This was only the FIRST day???

Tuesday June 19 had been circled on my calendar for months, as the first date with Hal Higdon and his novice 2 program, the next more challenging step in his marathon planning. After the Toledo marathon, it seemed so long off, but of course it arrived in the blink of an eye. The Free Press is likewise arriving quickly - mid-October seems a long way off, but it's only 18 weeks!

After the Martian and Toledo, I never gave up running, just scaled back on the distances. With the exception of 9 days after the ankle sprain, I managed to run 3-4 times a week, so that was good and should have helped me prepare for Hal, where in week 1 he prescribes 3, 5, speed / hills, 8.

Nothing prepared me, however, for Tuesday's weather. The forecast was HOT so I had every intention of going on the early side. One of my favorite things to do, though, is sleep in, and Tuesday I didn't get out of bed until 9:30. I certainly didn't want to eat, but I knew I needed the calories, so I had a Kashi Go-Lean protein bar for 270 calories and a glass of water. Not nearly enough calories to fuel a run, but I also didn't want to run the risk of barfing or needing a rest stop.

Then I was off! There was a decent breeze and my route had plenty of trees, but neither did much to alleviate the heat. I generally take my water only on 5-milers or more, but within the first mile I needed water! I hadn't had enough calories so I had no energy. Add in dehydration and terrible conditions and it was quite possibly the worst 3-miler of my life. Boo! 3-milers are supposed to be easy quickie runs. I needed an ice bath when I was done! I wasn't just hot, I was super exhausted and a little woozy. I felt as bad as if I had finished a marathon :(

The Wednesday forecast got even worse!!! The only decent temperature was at 2am! I was outside on Tuesday night and it wasn't terrible, so I'm going to try a later run today and see if that's any better. The only other alternative is to run inside at the Y and I managed to avoid that all winter. I sure don't want to do it in the summer! Would everyone hate me if I hoped for a cooler summer?

Monday, June 18, 2012

A side cramp won't cramp my style!

Fridays are scheduled rest days. I've always done yoga because it's restful and more beneficial than doing nothing. Besides it feels as good as a massage. Who doesn't want that?

Last Friday I added in 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, just to sweat a little and burn 374 calories. Besides I had already done my work for the day. What else was there?

Towards the end I was pouring sweat, mopping it off with a towel, breathing a bit hard and counting down the minutes. With four minutes left, my left side started cramping. What the heck? Every single time I get a side stitch it's always the RIGHT side.

As with any side cramp, the cause is dehydration. My full water bottle was right next to me, but I ignored it and finished the 30 minutes without that last sip of water. It would have made me feel better, but there will be plenty of times this summer that I have to run with a limited amount of water and once it's gone, I'll still have more running to do. Or when I run Hell, once I pass a water station, I'll have to make it to the next one without constant access.

It wasn't super comfortable, but I got through it. Of course I did! Exercising through pain or giving in to pain was all in my head and my brain was stronger than my body! Marathoners need willpower of steel and the ability to say "Yes, I can run through the pain!"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The elusive two-a-day

I had absolutely nothing planned for Tuesday. A run would help with health and training, but everything was fluid and flexible. I woke up at a decent hour and decided to run before I did anything else. It felt so good to get it done and out of way!!!! I did an easy 3-miler in 29:32 with no walking. I haven't walked once since coming back from the ankle sprain. Sweet!

I spent the rest of the day cleaning the house like a crazy woman. I vacuumed every square inch of the house and the basement, washed the shower curtain, bleach washed the bedroom curtains, scrubbed the bathtub, put away baskets of clean laundry.

Then I got bored with cleaning.

It was still early - 5ish and the Tigers didn't start until 8:05. I could watch tv - there was a plethora of quality programming a la Toddlers and Tiaras, Teen Mom, etc.

I decided a better option would be to hit the Y for the elusive 2-a-day, which was quite possibly only the second time in my life I've done so. I ellipticalled for 30 minutes and it felt good. It always feels good to raise my heart rate and sweat a little.

I'm trying to lose 10ish pounds this summer and I really don't know how to do it. I mean, I know how to make it happen, but nothing is in moderation. I exercise 1-2x a day, 6 days a week and count every calories I consume via The Daily Plate. I definitely lose weight when I'm super vigilant about it. The other extreme is eating whatever I want within reason and exercising once a day 6 days a week. I'm either vigorously losing or slowly letting the weight come back. I need to learn moderation!

The problem with training for marathons at the same time is that I have to eat a certain number of calories so I have the strength to run hours at a time. Nita keeps reminding me to eat like an athlete - BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT I AM!!! I love when she tells me that :D

Here's a great old-school Nike ad for motivation:

89-year-old weightlifters.
99-year-old marathoners.
The back of Sports Illustrated is full of them.
People who forgot to retire.
And never got old.
People who realized:
It's easier to keep going
If you never stop.

Get up. Get out.
Build up the muscle.
Get rid of the flab.
Go back to school.
Sell the TV.

Master the curveball.
Pound the bag.
Rebuild an engine.
Jump-start a career.

Bench press four big plates.
Dig for fossils.
Bicycle across Canada.
Save an endangered species - yourself.

The only one who can tell you you can't, is you.
And you don't have to listen.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bucket List #9 - My favorite park x2

Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati is my favorite park thus far. I went in 2010, just because I was driving past the park going from Turner Field in Atlanta to grad school in Ashland and there was a game that night. I saw Cleveland and Cincy play and didn't particularly care either way who won. It was Star Wars night, so bonus points for that. Even without the Star Wars influence I really liked the park, despite a lack of any vested interest whatsoever in the outcome of the game.

When the Tigers announced their 2012 schedule, I was so happy to see that Cincinnati was on the road schedule. It's a beautiful park and close enough to be a one-day trip. A friend asked I wanted to go to the Saturday game. Absolutely! My brother and his father in law asked if I wanted to go to the Sunday game. You bet! When they bought the tickets it was a 1:05 start, so we would be home by 9pm. Not a week later, MLB changed it to the Sunday night game of the week, which meant an 8:15pm start, get home at 4am. Yikes! It was worth it though.

The main entry way
We got there really early on Saturday, thinking the gates opened 2 hours before game time. It was actually 1 1/2 hours. Ah well. It is so much fun being an away fan and I've learned that any chance of getting a ball signed has to take place at away games. There are way too many people at home games! Although on Saturday, it was probably half Tigers fans.

As soon as we got to the park, I headed down to the dugout area to watch batting practice and wait for Ricky to recognize me and come sign my ball lol It never happened, but I did snag a ball. Austin Jackson tossed one in the dirt toward the Tigers fans. It was headed right for me. I threw my upper body over the railing, stretched out my long arms and it rolled right to me. Sweet! Not one player came out to sign stuff. Sigh.

We had great seats on Saturday - front row upper level behind home plate. We were in the shade by the middle of the 1st inning and the Tigers won 3-2.

Sunday we sat behind home plate, 4 sections from where I had been on Saturday. No ball, no batting practice, no biggie. It was a cool night and they won again 7-6. Then it was time for the long ride home. 

Here are some pics of why I have mad love for Great American Ballpark. It's clean, it's plenty big, but feels small. Parking is easy, the neighborhood seems really good. There is a $1 food stand! lol

Tigers fans watching batting practice and waiting.

The meat lovers' hot dog - a 1/4 lb hot dog, wrapped in bacon and fried, then covered in chili and buried under pepper jack cheese, then all topped with spicy fried salami pieces. I broke my 20 year hotdog ban to eat one of these babies!

One of many places to sit!!!!!!

A mini diamond for the kiddies to play. There was also a playground piece with slides and climbing areas, a bounce house. Everything was free :)

My brother took pictures of me pigging out on hot dog. Why? (I'm laughing in this picture)

The Reds have 4 mascots. The missing one is Grapper (?) a furry red monster.

Tigers peanut gallery. The third one from the left is Ricky. Ricky!!!!!!

Sunday night view 

Saturday promotion was a grill set. I thought about regifting it to someone since I don't have a grill, but it's pretty nice. I'll use it with my George Foreman :P Here's the ball that AJ tossed my way. I now have 4 balls from stadiums - 1 was left under a seat that had been vacated for a good hour, one was caught by my friend during batting practice in Cleveland, the other 2 I caught myself during batting practice in Cincinnati and St. Louis :D

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Peer Pressure

Tuesday night yoga is a good thing. I ran 3.0 on Saturday and felt great so I was ready for a little more of a challenge. I also knew peer pressure might help me in my quest to quit walking already! No one wants to be the walker, the one constantly asked "Are you ok?" or the one that people wonder "what's wrong with her???" 
Nothing to do with the story, but I like it :)

Problem: run further without walking
Solution: run with / near someone else

There were a few running options at yoga - a 3-miler or a 5-miler. I didn't want the 3 because that would be staying the same in my recovery, yet the 5 seemed too much. I decided to do the same route as last week, which is either 3.55 or 3.99, depending where you turn.

By the time I had decided, Carrie had already chosen the same route and set out. When I turned on the street, I realized I could see her!!!! If I could see her, theoretically I could catch and pass her. Slowly slowly I drew closer. It took 1.5 miles, but I passed her then never let her pass me.

So many times I wanted to walk, but in the first half, it would have made it that much harder to pass her. In the second half, it would have been easier to get passed and I didn't want to be the wimpy one who can't even run 3.5 without walking!

I finished in 34:13 but the big thing was no walking! Then we all did yoga and it was a good exercise night.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Done! "Dated" a Storm Trooper

Some things aren't on the bucket list because they are just so bizarre as to never cross my mind until they happen.

Saturday was Star Wars night at the Detroit Tigers game, a night when geeks and movie buffs join together with the 501st Legion, a group of super dedicated fans who organized as an international charity (with numerous local chapters) and make public appearances in costume. There are criteria for the costumes and I read that some people spend upwards of $10,000 building their costumes.

 I've been to Star Wars night twice - Cincinnati in 2009 and Detroit in 2011. When the promotions schedule was announced and Star Wars night was part of it, I really wanted to go. My brother looked at tickets for my birthday but any price we would be willing to pay was long gone in April.

Wait a few months. Wait for a rainy Saturday forecast and a sub .500 team and there were a plethora of tickets to be had last minute. Add in a friend who crawled out of the woodwork and asked if I wanted to go. Heck yeah!

Vader throws out the first pitch!
Before the game, there were lots of characters strolling around and a full size Tauntaun posed on the concourse. I stopped to chat with my usher friend in the Tigers den and three minutes later, my friend said we were sitting in the StubHub seats - two leather lazy boy chairs with a tv right by our feet.

The upgrade didn't cost anything, but it wasn't free either. The price was being filmed as the "fans of the game" which would be shown on the scoreboard in the 3rd inning. Oh the embarrassment! He took a video of our video and I'm waiting for him to send it. I'll post as soon as I have it :)

In the 5th inning I realized we had prime people-watching seats, so during every half inning break, I turned backward in my chair and watched the concourse.

I saw one of the rebel pilots walk by. It was like a light flashed in my head. WE NEED TO GET VADER OR A STORM TROOPER OR A ROYAL GUARD IN THIS BOX WITH US!!!! I mentioned it to my friend, he was off like a shot and not five minutes later, returned with...dun dun dun... a Storm Trooper!!!!

He was my date for the night! We held hands, we smooched, we relaxed and watched the game together. Does life get any better than that????

He was a great sport about it! They talk but I don't know who he was. Thank you generic Storm Trooper. Thank you Mike (his handler) for making it happen. Something funny was that he couldn't sit in the costume because it didn't bend at the waist. His handler held on to him, helped him lean back, then dropped him into the lazy boy.

Kickin' back, chillin' with my boy!

Storm Trooper sat down in the top of the 6th inning and said he was just going to stay until his next commitment, which was dancing on top of the dugout in the middle of the 7th. Someone timed it wrong though because all the characters arrived too late! Oops!

Paws the Jedi
Star Wars night is the best time to geek out and I love it! Let's go next year!!!