Monday, July 31, 2006

Monday, Monday

OK - I made my goals last week, so I guess it's time to set this week's goals:

Monday: xt
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: xt
Thursday: 2 miles
Friday: xt
Saturday 3.5 miles
Sunday: rest

This works out since I'm flying on Sunday - so I'm not going to be all antsy about what I should be doing. Of course I have to look at flight times and such to figure out my schedule for next week - but I can hold off a day or two on that.

I just discovered a cool link: USTFA Map How cool is it that I can now really measure my routes instead of guessing. The end result is that I learned I've been running a lot further than I realized. Like the 1.5 mile loop turns out to be 1.6 miles. A loop I though was 2 miles is 2.48 miles - meaning if I do the full loop, I'm running 3.65, not 3 miles like I thought.

It also means my inner loser's tantrum was after the 2 mile mark, not at or before - so now it's sulking because ... well, that's what inner loser's do I guess. But it also makes it easier for me to tell it where to go.

Today I went to the pool during the adult only swim at lunch time and did my 1/2 mile in 25 minutes. There was only one lap lane up, but it was OK because everyone in the lap part of the pool was doing laps anyway. It meant I didn't have to slow down or speed up for other people and could just swim my pace. It also meant I didn't have to do circles or pause or anything like that for other people.

It felt good.

OK, it felt good because the water was such a good temperature and it's hot out. It was also strange because the water was really choppy from the water aerobic class down the shallow end of the pool. Since there were no lap markers to break up the wake, we were getting it at the other end of the pool and you could see the difference between the lap lane and the rest of the pool.

Man I love it when there are no pissy adolescents playing splash games.

I also fixed the not enough lanes problem at night. I noticed the schedule has 3 lap lanes for the evening general swim. So I called the pool manager and asked, "Why are there only 2 out at night until there are 6 people to a lane?" He told me that would now be fixed - there is supposed to be three and he will make it clear to the swim team and life guard teams that it doesn't matter if there's one person or 12 - there are to be three lap lanes at night.

Problem solved. Now I can feel better about swimming at night.

I have to admit, resting yesterday was a challenge. So I ended up picking up some beads and charms and things at AC Moore and made a necklace and earring set. Of course now I have to find a jewelry roll pattern on line since I can't seem to find one in the stores that doesn't cost a ton of dough.

Saturday, after my run, I went downtown to pick up a pair of LAX gloves for Mr. Pi. While I was there I hit the Macy's clearance sale and picked up a couple of tops marked down to $8.50 each. I also picked up a nice CZ necklace/earring set for next week. I always worry about being dressed properly for these business casual (and not so casual) things because I'm so used to whatever works working out of the house. (For example, right now I'm still in my bathing suit waiting for someone to get out of the shower... not something you can do in an office.) Just walking around downtown put my steppy doodle up around 11K steps - not including my run.

Even though it was a rest day yesterday, I still posted 6K before taking it off to go see "Taming of the Shrew" down on the common. (A lot of fun - if you're in Boston over the next couple of weeks, you should definately try to catch it.) I know I did a fair amount of walking around down there - so I easily made 10K before the day was over.

I also picked up some of those Goody Stay Put elastics they're making for "active" needs. It's basically a rubber coated elastic that doesn't pull or damage hair, but has enough traction to stay in place. I've been looking for them ever since Gazelle Boy stole the one they gave us in the Ryka goody bag and finally found them at Target. I figure I need them now that Mr. Pi is doing a combo of wearing a bandanna and pulling back his hair with an elastic too while it's growing out.

Yeah... I just heard the bathroom door open. This means I can take my shower now! Woo Hoo!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Monkey Wash, Donkey Rinse

The goal today was 3 miles. I was a little nervous after Thursday's run and watching the hourly temp predictions at (boy that desktop icon is both a blessing and a curse).

First I went to strap on the new running shoes I won at the Reggae Ramble. I should have listened to my gut feeling and asked for the wide - once I got my feet into them they were really tight across the top of my foot. I'm tempted to take them to City Sports and demand they give me the right size (since their moron "measured" my foot). First I'll try relacing them and see if it's just because it's that new stiffness. If not, I'm going to CS and demanding a manager.

So I strapped on my usual shoes in spite of the fact they're losing their spoingyness - that stage when they aren't dead yet... it's just a flesh wound - and headed out. (Good thing the NB tent sale is this weekend and I can pick up a new pair on sale.)

Two miles into the run my inner loser (thanks for that description Falco) threw a temper tantrum and said, "I'm not running anymore! You can't make me! I'm going to sit here and hold my breath until I turn blue." Instead of fighting it I figured - fine, you're not going to run - but you ARE doing the three miles. When it tried to turn around a couple of times, I realized I had to show it the same sorts of consequences I show my kids.

"Just for tanking the other day, you need to make up that half mile," I told it. It screamed, shouted and tried to hold it's breath - but I made it run that last half mile loop it didn't run the other day. I broke into a run just as the B52's yelled, "You're what?!" "Tin roof.... rusted."

That's how you handle an inner loser temper tantrum.

So mileage for today is a 2.5 mile run and 1 mile walk.

Because of yesterday's thunder storm rolling in just when they open the pool for general swim, the only thing I got in was the 1.25 mile walk to the mechanic's to pick up my car so I could get Mr. Pi at LAX camp. Because the local lacrosse store shows up at camp on Tuesday and Friday, I wasn't surprised when he wanted a new goalie head and mesh. (Hey, I don't need to buy groceries this week, I spend $100 on new LAX stuff he doesn't need... right?)

This lead to a sulky Mr. Pi when I said, "Well buddy, I guess you better start saving your allowance...." OK, I admit I bought the orange mesh when he wasn't looking for his coach to restring the head of his stick as a surprise next week. That part is cheap - it's the head that costs the big bucks and his current one is "perfect" according to his coach.

If it stays hot I probably will head over to the pool to just do some easy laps and cool down. Tomorrow is a rest day and I suspect it's going to be harder to do nothing than I thought.

One other thing I started doing was seeing how much water I lose during a run. I weigh myself before heading out the door and when I come in. I pretty much lose two pounds - that would be 1 quart of water. Now the next question I need to figure out - given I drink about 3 quarts of water a day - should I add one more quart to make up for that loss or not? Of course I probably absorb that much when I take my shower after running but it is a question worth researching.

Friday, July 28, 2006

More fun than herding cats

Last night was the Jerry Garcia Memorial run/walk. Gazelle boy ran the 4.2 while the boys and I walked the 2.6 mile course.

Keep in mind that between the weather, the fact that I had to walk instead of run because DH had to go to NJ for a business meeting and I had to herd the boys - I was not it a great space for everything. They did their part in assisting the mood by bickering over things that only teen siblings can bicker over. About a half mile into it, the two began to bicker and I did such a mom thing:

me: If I have to listen to this for the next 2 miles, we're turning around right now and going back. I mean it.

About a mile later - when the youngest wanted to "jog along with the runnters until he was tired" (not a good idea on many levels - not the least of which is the reality some of the runners at that point are highly competitive people who take their running intensely seriously):

me: will you please think about the people around you. This is important to them, it's not a game and it's not right for you to screw it up.

youngest: you take all the fun out of everything.

me: that's my job, and I do it well. Now stay out of the runner's way.

At one point Mr. Pi was complaining his back hurt. It's not that I don't take him seriously, but I also know that he can be a whine machine when he wants to be. I ran down a list of ailments (back, ankle, asthma, etc.) to remind him that he should cope with being a little sore because he didn't do the stretches before the work out at camp yesterday. At the end of the race he was not only fine, but he was being all "Oh yeah, I finished..." while doing a little dance.

This morning I looked up the results at Cool Running and realized we moved at a 16:27 pace. Not too shabby. I told Mr. Pi when I woke him up a few minutes ago he just said, "Whoa!"

I have to admit, after looking at the results, I'm a little miffed at one thing. There was a group of walkers that posted a 12 minute pace. We could see them on the path and they weren't walking, they were running as soon as they were just past the initial start on the path. On the one hand, I can appreciate that maybe they were only up for 2 miles, on the other it just didn't seem right either. It's a freaking walk (and yes, I can tell the difference between a "race walk" and a run) but then I guess we live in a world where people are just super competitive and it's another thing to deal with.

After last night I came to a few decisions - first of all I'm not herding cats like that again. If we ever do something like sign up for a walk with DH leading and me running - I would rather sit on the sidelines than lead those two again. Secondly, I'm not entering any of these races again until I can run at (at the very least) a steady 12 minute or less pace.

These are supposed to be "fun" runs - but last night I learned that there are far too many people there that define "fun" as being so intense that it's OK to do things that I would reprimand the kids over (like making fun of "fat-assed, slow runners blocking the bike paths without a clue" and openly mocking some of the folks crossing over the road to the starting line). What a concept - supposedly mature adults acting like adolescents. Maybe that's why they kept scowling at me for keeping the kids in line the way I do. Perhaps if their parents had done that to them they'd be focused beyond the "I'm so freakin' hip, I'm an athlete" thing.

Today is an xt day for me. I don't know if I'll get my laps in before the thunderstorms roll through. This may be another - if all else fails, mall walk night. *bleh*

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Mr. Pi Update

Turns out Mr. Pi is fine. He strained the two long muscles in your back and only needs some ibuprofen, heat and rest today and he'll be fine.

she falls apart

Again, it's fitting that the music that strikes me seems to reflect my mood. I suppose that's how the mind works - finding ways to tell you to pay attention.

In this case I wanted to run early but DH has a to-do list a mile long before going into work which means he can't drive Pi to lax camp this morning. So instead of running when it's not quite 70 and tolerable, I have to wait around for kids and go out when it's 76 and climbing. In fact, in the half hour I was out, the temp climbed past 80.

I was supposed to do 2 miles today - it didn't happen. Yeah, yeah, a mile and a half at a 13 minute pace for me isn't shabby, but I wanted the 2 today. I realized I wouldn't make it when one major shift happened - I became aware of my ass.

You have to understand that at my size, there are certain things with which I'm comfortable in my body. Personally, I don't have a bad ass. It's big, but it's got a great shape and I'm pretty happy with it. I know it sounds kind of weird - but aren't we all like that? Isn't there that one thing you look at in the mirror and think, "Not bad..."

For me that was my ass... until today on the path. About a half mile into my run I could feel the fat on my ass shift back and forth with each stride like a wind flap or something. That had never happened before. It was strange and upsetting.

I tried to focus past it - think about breathing, every so often ask myself a question out loud to make sure I'm at a good pace, the usual sorts of things. And I would get past it for a bit and then I'd feel it. Boom, boom, boom, boom.

After a mile and a quarter, I could see the path entrance and realized I was hot, angry because of the argument with DH and unfocused. I tried to console myself saying, "Hey, you've got a two mile walk tonight with the kids." To no avail, I ditched and I'm disappointed.

Then came the next song in the shuffle - Sugar Ray's "Falls Apart."

The lyrics are as follows:

She falls apart by herself
No one's there to talk or understand
Feels sustained, dries her eyes
Finds herself, opens the door inside
People see right through you
Everyone that knew you well
Falls apart, might as well
Day is long and nothing is wasteful

BINGO! We have a winner here folks.

As soon as I come in the door DH calls out that Pi called from camp. He forgot his water bottle and his kidneys hurt - can he come home. Oh yeah, he has to "take a quick shower first" so he can get to work.

Now that he yelled out he's done, I'll go take mine, pick up Pi and head to the pedi's office.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I'm all wet

Today is an xt day - so I just got back from the pool where I swam a half mile of breast stroke. My time is pretty consistent - 30 minutes. It's just so frustrating that I get there and have to swim with four other people in the lane before someone says, "Oh look, there are eight people in two lanes... maybe we should put up a third lane."

Tonight was worse than usual because the swim team parents were there coaching their kids. So now you have four adults swimming at a variety of paces and two kids splashing their way down part of the lane with adults screaming, "Breathe from on the left! Your other left."

But I did get my laps in. One thing about swimming that's nice is I think. I have always been a water girl, so I'm not surprised this is the easiest form of xt for me. Tonight as I was swimming a few things occured to me. The first is that I was aware of various muscles I was using. There were certain ab layers as well as my biceps, triceps, lats that were all saying, "Hi there, remember us? We used to get used like this a lot a few decades back and we're glad you rediscovered our existence."

The other thing was how much stronger my lungs feel. This is important when you're asthmatic. I haven't needed my inhalers for a couple of weeks in spite of the heat and exercise.

So my body is feeling happy (in spite of the complaints I get every so often). If my body's happy, then I'm happy... these are all good things.

Tonight DH is taking us out for dinner so I don't have to cook. I can feel happy about that too.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It's a hot one

At one point towards the end of my run today, the song "Smooth" came on. That opening line about, "It's a hot one, like 7 inches from the mid-day sun..." just described how I felt. It's like 10 degrees cooler than it was a week ago - but it still felt killer out there today.

I wanted to get out early today while it was still in the upper 60's/lower 70's but between my deadline, getting the kids out the door and the normal morning stuff, it was suddenly 9:30 am and 80 degrees.


Since my goal was a 3 mile run, I figured that 45 minutes would be a good time to shoot for - and I did it in 46 ... close enough considering I ended up walking through a stitch and then a toe cramp for a while.

The toe cramps throw me. I remember the first time I really got hit with one was years ago when I was at a karate tournament. I was about to break 3 inches of wood with a front kick when the toe cramped and I crumpled. It was sudden, it was painful and I have no idea where it came from. Ever since then I get hit with them on ocassion and today was one of them. Again, no warning or reason - it just hit. I didn't crumple like a used tissue, I instead walked and tried to flex my toe as best I could before running again.

Another thing that happened was the reaction I got from a little girl out walking with her... I guess her mother. (Although around here it could have easily have been an au pair or nanny.) Yesterday I bought a running skirt and all of my shorts were in the washer. So I wore my new skirt and a performance shirt. It was cute and the little girl (who, you could tell, is one of those girlie girls) got very excited and said, "Look, you CAN run in a skirt!" The woman with her rolled her eyes and gave me a scowl, but I hope that maybe this will make that kid feel like she can be a girl and an athlete rather than feeling like she has to choose between the two.

I'm thinking that it's now close enough to adult swim time that I might just wait an hour, pull on my suit and head to the pool to just do some lazy floating and maybe some laps before I hit the shower. Especially since I have to throw stuff in the dryer and I hate taking a shower when the dryer is on during the summer - it just gets too damn humid in the bathroom.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Goals wo 7/24

After looking over a bunch of stuff, I think I have a relatively sane training schedule to follow for the next couple of months - so this week I'm hoping to do the following:

Monday/Wed/Friday - run/walk/xt
Tuesday - 3 mile run
Thursday - 2 mile run
Saturday - 3 mile run
Sunday - rest

Since today is Monday and I raced yesterday, I figured I'd do some non-weight bearing xt work and swam for 16 laps (32 lengths, 800 yards, 1/2 mile - however you want to count it) of breast stroke in 30 minutes.

One thing I really hate is swimming during "general swim" time. They only have 2 lap lanes and the adolescents who want to play splash games don't care if there are 12 people trying to share 2 lap lanes - they want the whole pool and any adult who complains is a pain in the ass. Not only that, you have 12 people of varying ability and goals sharing those two lanes. The "serious" swimmers - people training for tri's, fitness swimmers, etc. who like to go quickly get frustrated with people like me who swim at a medium speed while the old farts who just take their time to go back and forth as they desire (and frustrate me) are thrown into the mix.

Add to that the little kids who over estimate their abilities and then hang onto the lap lines for dear life as they are (literally and figuratively) over their heads... well, it gets a bit tense.

By the time the lifeguards figured there were enough adults to add a 3rd lap lane, I was done in more ways than one. So my choice is to come for the only adult time during the day from 12:45 until 1:30 or put up with the general swim situation.

Let's just that we'll see where I'm at on Wednesday before I figure out what to do next time.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Race Day: Johnny Kelley 5K

I drove down to Hyannis with Mr. Chesley the gazelle boy for the Johnny Kelley Memorial Race. There was both a 5K and a 10K - I did the 5, he did the 10.

One thing that annoyed me was the traffic. I understand it's Hyannis and the summer and all that, but it's really a pain in the ass when you're trying to run and you've got cars full of frustrated beach goers and such coming up behind you.

This was a slightly hilly course, some along the ocean, through Hyannis. I was hoping for 2 things:

- a time of 45 minutes or less
- to cross the finish line standing

I managed to accomplish both and crossed in 43:44!!!

While Chesley's goal was to cross the finish line before I did (I had a 10 minute headstart - otherwise he might have done it), I was happy to be standing there saying, "You look like shit, let me buy you a water." He said it was a garbage day for him. I understood as there were a couple points on the course where I was wondering if there was a meat wagon or not.

As I mentioned, there was a head wind. Even though the temp was in the 70's, it was that slightly heavy air type humid and the sun decided to try and break through during the race. There was no water before the race, so I had to find a water cooler (I was fortunate and hit it a couple of times). There was plenty after the race, but a bottle or two before hand might have been nice.

So I was running with a slightly dry mouth wondering why did I leave my nalgene bottle in the car?

The other problem - and I'll ask at some of the forums about this - was in the second mile I realized the Body Glide wasn't working as well as it had the first half of the race and my thighs were starting to chafe a bit. My shorts also did something truly unusual: the liner began to creep up my butt a bit - but not so badly that it was a problem... just not something that I normally notice happening when I go out for my runs.

I figured the best approach was to do my 14/1's and I was doing pretty well with it. I finished the first one well past the one miler marker. I had started the second one when they let some traffic through. This meant those of us in the back needed to run on the dieswalk to keep going. Unfortunately the road took a turn and the sidewalk disappeared into an uneven strip of grass - which forced me to walk a little. Once I started walking, it threw off my rhythm. So for the next 1/2-3/4 mile, I did some walk runs until I could push myself to the finish.

I crossed strongly - standing up ... no barrel rolls for this girl today.

Right now I'm bushed. I want to take a little nap since I didn't sleep that well last night.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Stupid thunder storms

I've ranted a couple of times over the past few days about things. One is thunderstorms.

Yesterday was a slow day - one of those days when you just couldn't get going (perhaps not drinking coffee for a few days had a hand in that) , so I figured I'd go for a run after my ex picked up the boys. Not five minutes after he left, the skies opened up in a torrential downpour with a lightening show that made Fourth of July pyrotechnics look lame.

Even though it stopped shortly after that, I doublechecked the weather to find out that it was the eye of the storm (so to speak). There were a number of cells and we were currently in the clear but surrounded by all sorts of other cells. Damn! No running, no laps, nothing but sitting on my butt doing nothing.

It was hard to do nothing because today is supposed to be a rest day since I"m running the Johnny Kelley memorial 5K tomorrow. That leaves me with this decision: two rest days or do something this morning.

Finally I decided to do one 14/1 this morning in the light rain. It is freakin' humid out there, but I managed to cover slightly more than a mile on my 14/1.

Because I was stuck last night, I figured if it was going to rain and the Sox game wasn't until 10pm (stupid west coast road trip), then I'd go sulk in a bookstore and hunkered down in the comfy chair at the local Borders flipping through running books. I decided to buy Bill Rogers' Complete Idiot's Guide to Running, 2nd Edition.

Yes I hate the titles to those guides; however, it's pretty clearly written and I trust Bill Rogers.

I'm off to shower before picking up my number and such.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Two times the charm

The weather does make a difference. Today I did my (14/1)x2 covering 2 miles in 30 minutes. The other day it took me a couple of minutes longer to cover the same distance. I'm happy that I have now done this twice in a row, tomorrow let's make it 3 times in a row.

I signed up for the Johnny Kelley 5K on Sunday, so I figured I'd run tomorrow and take Saturday as a rest day and Sunday as my race day. If it gets hot again, I'll go to the pool on Saturday and do some laps and relax a bit.

Yesterday I went to the Sox game and realized that my shorts don't fit me properly anymore - which meant my pedometer was at a funny angle and didn't count things properly. I was kind of hoping to log my steps/mileage yesterday too.

I'm going to the game today too. I had a ticket for yesterday (beautiful seats in the grandstands behind the Sox dugout) and I had a ticket for the Mother's Day game that got rained out. Today I get my special treat: box seat in right field. Hopefully Papi will hit one to me today. :)

After Sunday's race, I figure I'll have a better idea of whether or not to do the Tufts 10K on Columbus Day. It would be 10 weeks to train for a 10K... can I do that? I think I can, but let me see if I can run 5K before I start thinking I can run 10K.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I did it!

I did it! I knew I could and I did my first (14/1)x2 today. Even going at an easy pace (15:30), I managed to run 2 miles.

I wanted to get up at 6, but overslept again. Well, to be fair I woke up at 4, 4:30, 5, 5:15, 6:45. By the time I left the house, the temp was 73 and humid. By the time I got back, it was 77 and more humid. The one spot on the course that is entirely out in the sun was brutal. The shade and occasional breeze really made the difference today

Right now I'm happy. I did it and I knew I could and I did. Tomorrow is a rest day and I have Sox tickets - so I'm going to rely on my pedometer to log the amount of walking I do tomorrow. If the game ends early enough, I'll try and get to the pool for some laps.

For now, it's shower before I write for my deadline.

Monday, July 17, 2006

It's like one million degrees

It is hot.

Not just here, but all over the country. I just couldn't bring myself to run today so I went down to the local pool and did 8 laps (16 up and backs) in like 10 minutes. I then spent 45 minutes sitting on the edge of the pool with a couple of friends with my feet in the water enjoying the fact it was like 15 degrees cooler there than any place else in town.

I'm planning of getting up early tomorrow to get a run in. If is correct, there should be a window up until 7 am that is reasonable running weather. If it is, then I'll go for either my (14/1)x2 or 2 miles at an 18:39 pace or some combo there of.

I'm pretty sure that I'm going to do the Tufts 10K in October. One of my friends at the pool was telling me what a fantastic race it is, how much I'm going to love it and why I should do it. I know that I'll probably do a 5K when I go to San Diego... even if I am the last one across, it will be fun.

Right now I'm going back to the Sox game ... although I may listen to it on the radio in the AC rather than watch it on TV.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Hot, hot, hot

When I left for my run, it was 78 degrees. By the time I got home, it was 83... this weather is insane.

Of course the fact that I run along a shaded path next to the river probably makes a difference.

The goal for this week was to do four (14/1)2 runs (run 14 minutes, walk 1 minute twice). I guess I'll have to modify that goal to just accomplishing it once this week and then being able to do two consistent weeks of four (14/1)2's.

Because of the heat, I took it easy on myself. Even then a 15 minute miles feels like crawling - which is weird since I run a 13 minute mile consistently at this point. I ran the 14 no problem, walked the 1 and started the second 14 but 5 minutes into it my legs felt like lead. I figured better that I've pushed myself beyond the "run one mile" thing and tried a slow run before giving up and walking to my start point. Granted today I did a mile and a half in 24 minutes - most of it running - so I should be happy but I really thought I could do the whole thing today.

I guess I'm just disappointed.

Yesterday I took out 3 books on women and running from the library:

So I'm hoping to learn a lot from them. The Kowalchik and Scott books have been good so far in terms of just general knowledge. For example, I always get frustrated when people run in the street rather than on the sidewalk - but I know understand that it's easier on the body to run on asphalt instead of concrete. It still frustrates me as a driver, but at least I understand now.

By the way, I embed amazon links into titles as a way to support doing this site. I originally added some boxes on the side, but after a week they turned into obnoxious amazon banners... sorry that doesn't work for me. If I wanted banner ads, I'd just do the google ad thing. I just want to make things available for folks and if I can get a couple of free books or something out of the deal to support my book habit... so much the better.

At any rate, I'm still sweaty so it's time to go off and shower.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Good news ... sort of

The good news is that I really am getting comfortable with running a mile at a time and my time is pretty consistent. I just need to find a way to push myself to the next level.

Of course when it's incredibly hot and humid with all sorts of hot weather advisories, that isn't easy. Nor does having your arm throb every time you jar it because you got a DTaP booster. (I know, I know, tetnus boosters hurt like anything and you only have to get them every 10 years, but it still hurts.)

But I do have to start figuring out a game plan for longer distances.

I just found out that my husband has to make a business trip the day of the Jerry Garcia run, so that means I'm stuck with walking with the boys instead of running. In the car the other day, I told my oldest I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to the run. He just stared for a second and said, "I never thought I would ever hear you say that."

To be honest, neither did I.

I was telling my husband that I'm really loving the performance shirt they gave us at the Ryka race - you know that light weight dri-weave shirt that really wicks the perspiration away. He told me I should go out and get a couple of more if I like that much - but then I started seeing how much they were... $40! That's a lot of dough for a running shirt. I did see them for the $15-18 range at the New Balance factory store, so I may pick up a couple there. I just wasn't ready for that sticker shock.

The library got a couple of the books on women and running that I requested, so I'll go over to pick those up later today.

So I guess it's now time to start setting goals and working on performance issues.... I need to think a little on it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Calm before the storm

Today I ran a mile in the oppressive humidity and darkness before the storm. This is part of the same system I got caught in yesterday after I walked to the supermarket to pick up a few things for dinner. I was originally going to go 1.5-2 miles today, but then I realized I want to be able to run a mile consistently with my body ready to go the next step. As it is right now, I seem to be around the 13 minute mark on the trail now, so if I can do that a few more times and just let my body guide me, I'll be fine.

Yesterday I was going to wait until the afternoon to run with my son. Yes, Mr. Pi is going to give it another try based on an ad for Morgan Spurlock's show "30 Days." Spurlock has that whole thing going about can 30 days change your life? Of course his biggest claim to fame is "Supersize Me" when he ate nothing but McDonald's food for 30 day. While his film was slightly propagandist (slightly? OK - pretty much a propaganda piece), his premise is an interesting one and the TV show has been interesting as well.

So what I proposed to Pi was simple: for 30 days all you're going to do is go out for a half mile and run for a minute and walk for a minute for the entire half mile. That's it. We'll see how long it takes you each day and if that time improves or if you want to run for more than a minute or walk for shorter times. Just 30 days of doing that and we'll see where you are.

He did it the other day and yesterday he walked to the supermarket and back with me. Today it looks like he'll be doing it in the pouring rain.

Beyond that I go to the doctor today for my physical. I'll figure out why I seem to be permanently stuck at this weight in spite of exercise and a fairly healthy diet. If the guy in GNC was right and it's my thyroid, I'll feel kind of ... stupid? relieved? scared? I'm not sure. I suppose relieved to find an answer, stuipd I didn't think of it before and scared at my body doing what it's doing.

At any rate, I'm off to shower and get ready to be poked, prodded and such.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Another day, another run

I took yesterday off to recover from rolling across the finish line on Sunday (and man you should see the bruises on my thigh, arm and wrist from that), but today was back on the trail.

Instead of t-shirts at the race, they gave us performance shirts - those microfiber waffle weave shirts, so I wore that on my run today. I really like it and may have to swing by the New Balance outlet to pick up a couple more of these.

I wanted to get a run in today before the thunder storms started rolling through. There's supposed to be one of those hot, humid air masses stalling over us for a couple of days, I am so not looking forward to that.

I ran the 1 mile segment of the running trail in just under 15 minutes today. No stopping to use the inhaler and no real serious thoughts of walking any portion of it. I figure if I can do that pretty consistently, then it'll be time to add to that. Because my next race is on the 27th and it's 4.2 miles, I'm going to have to figure out a training strategy. The problem is, there doesn't seem to be a real place for people like me to go for that stuff. They're more for people who are already established runners with a clue.

I suppose I'll try a couple of different things over the next few weeks... we'll see how it goes. But today is good. I got my mile in with a decent time (for the trail) and a minimum of pain from the injuries I got the other day. I did notice my ankle bothering me a little - so I'll ice it down and read the paper before I shower and go off to do things like food shopping.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Race Day

I did it.

I ran the Ryka Iron Girl 5K in Quincy, MA today and I did it in (officially) 47:07. Of course I started my watch when I crossed the start line and had 46 and change - but either way it was a respectable time.

I ran the first mile, walked the second and ran the third mile. Even though my sister and two of my nieces were there, I ended up running alone - which was fine by me. I just sparked up the mp3 player and ran my race.

I loved how there were random people waiting for their loved ones to come by but still found a way to yell encouragement to the rest of us as well. During the second mile, I was pretty much between packs and as I walked by one father with his two young sons, one of the kids broke into applause for me. I felt special.

Remembering my brother, the marathoner, and his tales of how important that t-shirt selection can be, I decided to wear my oversized tie-dye shirt I got at a Boston Cannons game. It is the perfect tie-dye shirt - a bright rainbow spiral that is truly a gift to get. Along the route race officials and volunteers as well as the police detail officers were all saying, "Looking good - great shirt!"

Just as I passed the second mile sign, the speed demon 10K folks were coming through. I began to run again as the song "Dirty Water" by the Standells started up just as I came around the curve. There, in front of me was a beautiful view of the Boston skyline through the marshes just as I heard, "Oooo Boston you're my home" and that distinctive chord riff. There was no way I was going to walk any more of the race, I was going to finish it and finish it strong.

As I turned the corner for the finish, my sister and nieces were there waiting for me and cheering me on. They jumped in to run with me but ... let's just say that whoever thought a carpet at the end was a good thing was sadly delusional. My sneaker caught on the carpet and I went down. Determined to finish, I got up, my sneaker caught a second time and I rolled over the finish line. After that was just funny.

One of my nieces, since she used to be a crew cox, is trained to yell out any medical information necessary - so she's yelling, "She has asthma and uses an inhaler." The volunteer is trying to hand me a medal and my sister and my other niece are trying to keep me walking. I sat down in the chair to take my chip off (which my sister graciously did) and telling everyone I was fine but figured I needed to get my legs back.

Overall this is a nice race. They gave us performance shirts instead of t-shirts, which is really nice. The medals are really pretty - that magenta/dark pink color withtheir butterfly logo. The food spread at the end was plentiful and a great variety: fruit, yogurt, cereal, bagels, coffee cake, breakfast burrittos, you name it - they had it. OK, they didn't have coffee... which I could still really use a cup right now... but that's fine with me.

I also like that they set up a ton of tables with table cloths, chairs and centerpieces. It was just a really nice touch. They also gave out free pictures - so the four of us had ours taken and I'll get a frame for it to hang on the wall. It was such a pleasant race that I think I'll do it again next year.

Listen to me.

In April I didn't run for the bus and now, three months later, I'm planning on my races for next year.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Rise up with a new day

I know today is supposed to be a rest day where the race is tomorrow, but after yesterday I couldn't just do nothing.

So I got up at 6:30 and ran to the church - which is one mile exactly - in 13:09. Since I didn't want to over do, I walked the last 2.1 miles at a 20 minute pace. The whole route took 55 minutes. To a certain degree, this eases my fears a bit as I was worried I wouldn't be able to do the race in under an hour; however, I know I can run at least 2 miles so even if I walk the last mile I'll be fine.

Time to make myself some breakfast, read the papers and spend the rest of the day resting up for tomorrow morning's race.

Friday, July 07, 2006

To sleep perchance to dream

Today has been a draining day. I'm not sure why - it's just one of those days where I feel exhausted and lethargic. I started the day by oversleeping and then rushing around to get kids out the door and to an early appointment.

By the time I got home, there was no time to workout. Finally I managed to get a half hour on the glider going, but I'm just... I guess the word I'm looking for is weary.

Time to go crash again - that seems to be all I'm good for today.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

2 miles

I woke up at 6 am - it was in the mid-60's and raining lightly. At first I thought, "Damn it's raining, I can't run." My second thought was how stupid that pre-caffeniated thought was.

So I got up, pulled on my running clothes, stretched and sparked up the mp3 player before doing a 2 mile street run. I did a 13:12 pace (26:24 overall) running to the church and back. I didn't walk at all and had to wait for the light twice, so I'm pretty happy with my run this morning.

Running in a light rain was actually kind of nice. I didn't heat up the way I usually do and I'm sure the physics of the water on my skin and evaporation and such are the real reasons why. I just know that it felt somewhat refreshing. It was warm enough out that my t-shirt didn't feel all clammy until after I stopped when I got home.

I was tempted to go 3 miles this morning but realized I had to get back in to get kids off to camp and such - so I'll take running 2 miles for today and attempt going the 3 tomorrow. Because the race is on Sunday, I probably won't run on Saturday.

The concept of rest days are important, I know that. Yesterday instead of running, I walked just shy of 8,000 steps - mostly in the quest to find an affordable bike for my son. He loves his chopper-style stingray designed by the American Chopper guys (his uncle gave it to him last year), but when you're going off to high school you're better off on the lame-o $70 bike from Target your mother bought you than on a middle school style chopper, no matter how cool everyone thinks it may be. It's high school and image is everything.

In the course of bike shopping, we stopped at a triathlete store where I showed him just how light the bikes used in racing truly are. He was absolutely floored. I told him how his cousin is training for short triathalons (1/2 mile swim, 11 mile bike, 5K run) and he said, "That's sick."

Of course sick, in teen speak, is the equivalent of groovy or cool.

My niece, the one training for short tris, just finished the book Slow Fat Triathlete ( and is somewhat inspired. OK, my niece was probably on this track before reading the book - in fact I know she was - just the book helped spur her on. This is a girl who went to a Division I college on a partial crew scholarship and tried out for the Olympic bobsled team.

At any rate I'll add a link to the book to the side there. By the way, if you buy stuff at Amazon by clicking through the links on the side, I'd appreciate it. It earns me a bit of cash which all writers for hire could use. So please, be kind and support this slow, fat keyboard warrior.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

I ran/walked 3 miles in 49 minutes. Not bad, not great but it does give me a new goal. I'd like to be able to do that distance in 36 minutes - which means I need to figure out how to shave 13 minutes off that time.

If you're wondering how I hauled my butt out of bed this morning to be running at 6:30, the cat decided to act as an alarm clock. She was sleeping next to me on the bed and I awoke to the sounds of her about to hack up a fur ball. I tossed her off the bed and hoped she didn't hack it up on my slippers (she's done that in the past too). Fortunately she hacked it up on the floor - so it was easy to clean up but by then I was awake and figured I might as well get the run in.

This morning was pleasant. It was 68 degrees when I left the house and about 70 by the time I was done. There was a nice, soft breeze every so often off the river and the path was quiet. I ran for just over 20 minutes without stopping - just shy of the 1.3 mile mark. I walked for about 10 minutes and then did run/walk combos as I felt like I could.

Overall I kept a 15 minute pace - there's something to be said for that. If I'm up early enough, I may try running that same distance on the road to see if there's a time difference. It seems when I run 2 miles on the street I tend to run a 12:30-13 minute pace while on the running path I tend towards a 15 minute pace. If I do the street thing, it means running up to the church and back and then a loop around the block to make the 3 mile mark. Of course I'd have to do that at like 6 in the morning before there's real traffic and people that might see me.

I'll probably try the other balance ball DVD I got from the library today. I need some good stretches right now.

Well, go off and celebrate folks as today's our nation's birthday. I'm going to a ball game (and is there anything more American than that?) - the NH Fishercats vs. the New Britian Rockcats. I guess you could say it's a cat fight. :) No matter what you call it, it's baseball and I love baseball.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Walking benchmark

My regular deadline was moved up a day due to the holiday, which meant I had to work this morning instead of getting out for my run. By the time I could go running, it was a hot 83 degrees (sticky, little breeze). I decided I'd walk the 5K course and get a benchmark today.

After all, walking it is better than doing nothing.

I walked it in 1:02:07 which, according to Runner's World pace calculator, puts me at an even 20 minute pace. This means that even if I only run a mile or so of the race on Sunday, I'll make my goal of coming in under an hour. Unfortunately, the ankle I fouled a pitch off yesterday at the batting cages is starting to knot up now that I'm starting to rest and cool down. So I'll go pop a couple of ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation and ice it down.

Tomorrow, because it's a holiday, means no deadlines, no pressure. If I can just haul my butt out of bed instead of sleeping in, I should be able to get a run/walk time on the course and set out my training schedule for the week.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I am the eggman

It was a rest day today - especially after everything I did yesterday. So we went off to hit some baseballs, ride in go carts, climb the rock wall at REI and other fun stuff.

I chose not to climb the rock wall because I fouled a 70 mph ball off the front of my ankle. It didn't take long for a huge egg to form and it start to turn red and purple (and it really is such a lovely shade of both colors).

We did stop at Newbury Comics to scan the used DVDs to see what we could find. I found some Ranma 1/2, Legally Blonde 1 & 2 - the fully accessorized editions and a Swiss Ball workout DVD. It looks a little lame and I figure if I don't like, I'll sell it back to them for a couple of bucks - no biggie.

Tomorrow I start running the 3 mile loop to get ready for next Sunday's race. This will be the first time I get a real time on running a 5k course and be able to (hopefully) adjust from there. I know where the 1 and 2 mile marks are on the course, so the idea is to be able to cover both of those and then run/walk the 3rd mile before next Sunday.

Here's hoping.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Today's run 7/1/06

I ran 1.4 miles in 22:36 for a 16:09 pace. That's slow but it was also 85 degrees and partly cloudy when finally made it out for my run.

I also did a 51 minute balance ball workout with the "Balance Ball for Dummies" DVD. The GAIAM DVD is more a moving meditation with soft new age music and flowing from one movement to the next... sort of like a yoga routine. The Dummies workout is more of a health club workout. There was that synthesized upbeat rock-style music and there was a break between each exercise to set up the next one. It wasn't bad and I liked that there were some bicep and tricep work with hand weights while sitting on the ball (something I may just do on my own).

Of the two, right now I prefer the more meditative DVD. I like the relaxed feeling. If I decide to buy the Dummies DVD, I don't think it would be a regular one, just one I'd use every so often to break up the monotony. I'll keep my eye open on used racks and at yard sales for this one.

Let me roll it to you

One of the things I've been doing to supplement the running is using one of those balance balls. I like the idea of "stabilizing my core" - in other words, focusing on strengthening and aligning my abdominal muscles.

Mostly I like the stretching - and most of it feels like stretching. The one thing I discovered that makes a HUGE difference is using a yoga sticky mat to keep the ball from rolling all over the place when I'm trying to do stuff.

I bought a copy of the GAIAM "Balance Ball for Weight Loss" video (OK, the "weight loss" portion is really just a lecture on how to eat healthy and the reminder you need to burn more than you take in to lose weight ... duh!) But I didn't buy it for that, I bought it because it seemed to be a good intro program, which it is.

I just took out a couple of more DVDs from the library - "Balance Ball for Dummies" and "Stott Pilates" balance ball series - that way, I can see if they're any good and pick them up so I can mix them up every so often. I'll watch one today and one tomorrow and let you know what I think.

What really is nice about the ball is that it's gentle. Sometimes you just need something that doesn't feel like it's a chore or work so you can relax while still doing what you need to do.

So, before anyone gets up (it is Saturday morning after all), I think I'll go roll around for a little bit and then go for my run.

The 5K is one week from tomorrow and I'm still only doing the 2.1 mile loop on the trail in what feels like forever. Starting tomorrow I'm adding the last 1 mile loop so that I'll have a realistic time frame.