Monday, September 29, 2008

Caffeine and the Buddy System

Today I'm operating on too much caffeine and not enough sleep! Don't you love those days?

For the past four nights, I haven't been able to sleep. I don't know if it's a cold or allergies, but I have this little tickle in the back of my throat and I'm really congested. I took Sudafed or something similar three nights ago, and it kept me awake and made my heart race. But not taking anything keeps me awake, too. However, taking something during the day makes me sleepy. Go figure.

About 9:00 each night, I expire. I just have no energy and need to go to bed. (Where I toss and turn and cannot sleep.) It's a little annoying.

I had plans to run with my buddy Kelle this morning. We made the plans last week before the cold/allergies hit. I felt like crud all day yesterday and kept wanting to call her to cancel. But, I knew I had six miles on my plate and if I wasn't feeling well, there was no way I'd do them by myself. Maybe one or two, but not six.

I dragged my tired booty out of bed this morning, hydrated with not one, but two cups of coffee and munched on some caffeinated sports beans, met Kelle at the park, and we had a good run (80 degrees at the end. Still!). The Buddy System really paid off. Not to mention the caffeine.

It's sad when you have to stop every half mile or so to blow your nose though.

Friday, September 26, 2008

How I Feel Sometimes....

Life Intervenes

Today our house goes on the market. You can imagine how much de-cluttering, organizing closets, touching up paint, washing trim, etc., has put a crimp into my running!

We're in kind of a weird situation. We built this house for a family of four about 4 years ago. Then, two years ago, this happened:

We found ourselves with not two, but THREE children!

So, we're moving down the street. There's a home with more bedrooms seven houses down. Our kids won't have to leave their friends, change schools, or really alter their lives much at all. I'll still live in a great neighborhood (with excellent running paths!) with great friends. It's win-win. Except for the whole selling-my-house part. I'm the first to admit I'm not the best housekeeper. Now, every morning, all beds must be made, all floors swept, etc., before we leave the house. The house must be show-perfect. Every day. With three kids. I'm scared.

I still plan to run. I can't focus my whole life on cleaning! I'm running 3 or 4 miles today, then coming home to resume washing trim and walls. This week became an unscheduled drop-down week. I've run a total of 8 miles. Sometimes LIFE just intervenes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bursting with Pride!

I am bursting with pride right now. Today my second grader qualified for his school's 5K Club by running a mile in under 10 minutes. It's invitation only, and he qualified with a 9:44 mile. He's never shown any interest in running, but he's full (and I mean FULL) of energy all the time, so it will be so good for him. He's not fond of P.E. or team sports (and not super-coordinated), so an individual sport like running is perfect for him. There's no pressure, no one getting mad at you if you mess up, it's just you against the road.

Last year, he didn't even come close to qualifying. This year we talked about it. It was 8 laps around some cones in the school yard. I talked to him about not going out too fast, but not walking either if he could help it. I told him to run as hard as he could on the last 4 laps. I guess he did!

I'm so happy to have another runner in the family. My five-year-old has done two one-mile-fun runs, but lately hasn't shown any interest when I try to get her to sign up for races (almost all local ones have a one-miler for kids afterwards).

Now, Nathaniel will have run club once a week where they train for their target race---a local 5K in April. It's a HUGE race in the area. All the local schools compete to see who has the most parent/child/teacher participants. I've never actually run it, but you can bet I will run it this year---alongside my son.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Beautiful Run of 13.1 Miles

I finally had a great run---the kind of run that reminds me why I do this! This morning I set out with our running group to run 12, but I was open to 13. Somehow everything fell into place--- good weather, no aches or pains, energy, speed (for me).

I finished 13.1 in 2:29, just 10 minutes off my race pace from the half-marathon in the spring.

I walked for a minute every 2.5 miles, up to mile 10. At mile 10, I walked a little, hit a port-o-potty, and refilled my water, so I lost at least 6 minutes. Then I felt so great I kept going all the way to 13.1.

Now that I've had a good run and gained back a little confidence, maybe my posts on here won't be so whiny. :-)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tempo, Where Did You Go?

Yesterday, I ran with two different running friends from my usual group. One has been running about a year, is a couple years older than me, but seems to be a natural when it comes to running. She's faster and fitter than me with fewer weekly miles (go figure?) and having taken the summer off when I kept pounding the pavement. She makes running look pretty much effortless.

The other is training for Chicago and I would say a life-long athlete (and a P. E. teacher turned SAHM). She's super-fit (you know you are, Tammy!), and I would say that fitness is very important in her life. I literally saw her out running like 4 weeks after having a C-section. That's just hard core! She was pushing her two-year-old in a jogger when we ran yesterday. I know she's much faster than me running solo, but with a kid or two in the stroller, I thought it might even out. Hmmm, not so much.

I'm just glad running is an INDIVIDUAL SPORT, because often when I run with a group, I'm the one bringing up the rear and struggling to keep up. That's how it was yesterday. It was only a five-mile tempo run, but I'm so used to the long, slow distance with walk/recovery breaks, I had to (ashamedly) ask them to walk a few times. It's like my body can't switch gears to the tempo after so many of the long, slow runs. I can do speed intervals, but it's the MAINTAINING of a decent pace where I struggle.

It kind of made me question my overall fitness level regarding the half-marathon exactly one month from today. We were running 10 - 11 minute miles and it felt like I was out there trying to run 8:45 or 9 minute miles. It was one of those strange days where you feel like you're going fast, you're working hard, and you look down at your Garmin and it reads 11:15/pace. Man, I hate that!

Well, at least I still have a month....

Oh, and it had gotten so hot (still!) by 10:30, that I went to the Y and did my last two miles on the treadmill. At least there, I knew I was running at the assigned pace. So, I managed to get in my seven miler, but it wasn't pretty.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

8 + 3 = 11?

I did my first double today.

Part ONE:

My 38th birthday dawned hot and humid. Getting up at 5:26 a.m. to prepare for a long run was tough, but I knew I needed to stay on my training schedule, birthday or not. My running buddy Kelle arrived at 6:30 and we headed to the trail along the river about 15 minutes away.

That's when things kind of stopped going our way.

As we approached the northern trail head, we passed a pack of 7 large, loose dogs harassing about 5 dogs behind a fence. They were about an eighth of a mile from our parking lot. As soon as we got out of the car and got our gear together (water bottles, gels, cell phones, mace...), we heard lots of crazy barking. It sounded like the lot of them was headed our way. Oh yes, and our running group didn't show up or at least we couldn't find them. The parking lot was pretty much deserted. We hopped back in the car and decided to head to the southern trail head four miles away. On the way there, we passed tons of duck hunters--- guys dressed head to toe in camo carrying large guns. Apparently today was the first day of duck hunting season and our trail was near several duck blinds. I was thinking, "O-kay........ getting shot by a wayward bullet on my birthday would not be good."

At the other trail head, our group was still nowhere to be found. (There are only two entrances.) A lone car was in that parking lot. It was now 7:10 a.m. and at least 78 or 79 degrees with literally 100% humidity. And bugs. Lots and lots of bugs--- flying around, biting us. Spiders, too. I used to love this trail, but today it felt rather desolate and full of too many critters in general, while strangely lacking humans. (Last time we ran there, a herd of deer ran across the trail just a few feet ahead of us. A big one stopped and turned back to look right at us, then ran along. That was a little disconcerting. We're NOT WILDLIFE PEOPLE, if you couldn't tell. We DO NOT camp.)

We finally got started on our 11-12 mile run. By mile two, we knew it wasn't an 11-12 mile day. If we had started in the slightly cooler weather at 6:00 a.m., maybe. However, my outside thermometer read 74 degrees at 5:30 a.m., so it probably wouldn't have mattered. We ran the four miles of the trail and back for eight total and called it a day. It was too hot, we were getting eaten up by bugs, and we just weren't feeling it.

Part TWO:

We drove the 20-minute drive home. I came in the door and never got to even sit down. It was time to take my daughter to gymnastics at the Y. I loaded all three kids into the car (leaving my husband to do some home projects in peace) and headed to the Y. Since I was still in my running gear, I became MULTITASKING MOM. While she was at gymanstics, I hopped on the treadmill and finished the last three miles. I was able to do my post-run stretching while I watched the last 15 minutes of her class applauding as she finally learned how to land a cartwheel.

So, I guess I got my 11 miles in one way or another. I spent the rest of the day replacing all those burned calories with lots of birthday indulgences!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Actual Running and TMI

Despite my other post, I wanted you to know I did do some actual running this week! I ran 10 miles--- 6 miles pre-illness Monday morning and 4 miles today. I hope to run 11 or 12 on Saturday for my long run of the week.

Today I tried a new class at the YMCA---Pilates. I've done yoga and strengthening classes that involved Pilates moves, but never an all-Pilates class. I have to say it wasn't too bad. We didn't focus just on abs, but did lots of hip work and even some arms. I think I was expecting more abs. But, my hips have been tiring on long runs and sore afterwards, so strengthening them would be good.

There's another reason I tried Pilates today. **If you are male, just go ahead and stop reading right now.**

I went to the ob/gyn yesterday. Apparently having 3 babies (including 8.5 and 9 lb. ones) and then running on hard surfaces for long distances for over a year haven't done the old pelvic floor any favors. Nothing is actually falling out per se, but I don't think certain parts are where they are supposed to be. 'Nuff said. I have two options: Pilates or surgery. Well, duh! I'm opting for Pilates. I hope to make it to one class a week and do them at home another day.

So, yes, running is good for lots of your parts, but maybe not so good for others. It's a trade off I'm willing to risk.

I think I'm over my burnout. I did 1 hour of Pilates and then ran 4 miles, including speedwork in the last 3. That was enough for one day, I think.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Back-to-School Curse

The back-to-school curse has struck my household. Each school year dawns with new and exciting illnesses brought home to contaminate the whole family.

It started with my seven-year-old on Friday night: "Mom, I think I'm going to throw up." And throw up he did. Spectacularly. So, a restful Friday night turned into laundering his bedding, steam cleaning the carpet and his mattress, and comforting a sick boy. Food poisoning? Too much junk food? Or just a fluke? I wondered.

Then at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, my five-year-old yelled, "Mom, I think I'm going to throw up." Uh-oh. She was very, very right. For the next 9 hours, she was terribly sick, AND not from just one.... um... orifice.

On Monday afternoon I called my husband at work to see what he wanted for dinner. He sounded awful. Yes, the virus had taken down one more. He came home at 5:00, skipped dinner altogether and went to bed. There was more of the same just like the other two.

Finally, I got into bed at 10:00 on Monday night and noticed my stomach felt off-- kind of bubbly and uncomfortable. From 10-12:30 a.m. I was nauseated, but I kept thinking, "I can BEAT this. I am STRONG." At about 1:00 a.m., I stopped fighting and the virus won. FOUR out of FIVE family members taken out.

Now, my two-year-old Julia is a cute little ticking bomb. I'm just waiting for the inevitable middle-of-the-night cries. Tonight? Tomorrow night? I think it's only a matter of time. Maybe, just maybe, it'll skip her, but I'm not counting on it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Not That Into You

Dear Running,
Lately, I'm just not that into you.

I only ran 4 miles all week. I was supposed to run 14 miles, so I'm a little behind. I did bike/elliptical for forty minutes on Tuesday and walked for 2 1/2 to 3 miles on Thursday, so there were three days of exercise. But this is the first week in forever in which I didn't run much. I needed a physical break, but most of all, I think I needed a mental break. The half-marathon is in six weeks. I hope I can crawl out of this hole before then.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Not a Runner Today

I woke up this morning and knew I wasn't a runner today. It just wasn't in me. Normally, I don't have to force myself to go; I look forward to runs. My "drop down" week is starting to look more like a "drop OUT" week. I haven't run since Saturday.

Today instead of forcing the four-mile run I wasn't feeling, I went to the Y and did a hopefully equivilant 40 minutes of cardio-- I cycled for 4 miles and then did the elliptical for 20 minutes. That counts, right?

While I was cycling and ellipticalling (?), I started reading The Shack. Has anyone else read it? It's powerful. I was fighting back tears at the gym during a certain part near the beginning of the book. I'm also reading the Non-Runner's Marathon Guide for Women (hilarious) and Running for Mortals. I have zero time to read right now, which doesn't exactly explain why I'm trying to read THREE books at the same time.

Anyway, I utilized the power of multitasking as I got to enjoy reading AND exercising at the same time. You just can't do that when you run! (Well, I guess I could download a "book on tape" or something....)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Running, Reunion, and Recovery

I actually had a good run on Saturday. I managed 9 miles pretty well, but by the end of the 9th mile, my legs were clearly fatigued and my hip joints were sore. I got a blister for the first time in this training though. That afternoon I received my new anti-blister Wright socks ("no blisters--guaranteed!") from Road Runner Sports in the mail. They are made of two thin layers to absorb friction (or something like that). But it was too late.

I was careful to ice my shin and my knee that tend to bother me after the run, and both felt great.

After my run and a few hours of recovery, I went to my 20-year high school reunion. I shoved my tired feet and my new blister into heels from 6:00 p.m. to midnight, including dancing from about 9-12. So. Much. Fun! I didn't even notice how tired and sore I was until about 11:50-- I was just having too much fun talking to everyone and hitting the dance floor for the first time in years. Then as the clock struck 12, this Cinderella's shoes came off, the reality of a long run plus dancing set in, and I walked/hobbled back to my hotel room. I lay in bed that night just aching from the waist down. (**How did Katie Holmes do it when she went to that premiere in 4-inch heels just hours after running the NYC Marathon last year?) It was worth it, though!

Yesterday, I managed a 20-minute walk to loosen things up. It helped-- a little. Today is normally a running day, but I don't think so! My feet still hurt. This is my wonderful RECOVERY WEEK anyway! I only have 5 miles, 5 miles, and 4 miles on the calendar.

Happy Labor Day!