Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wille - Get USED TO THIS COLOR!!!


MUHAHAHAHAHA..... The game is fast approaching.... You had better find your happy place before the Gators have a nice little Sooner Schooner snack. Yumm!!! :)

We had a good Christmas overall. Jeff and I were both sick Christmas day. Not, can't get out of bed sick, but run-down, bad sinus headache, congestion, mild fever sick. We didn't even open presents until that afternoon after we'd slept in. But, the good thing about us being sick is that we didn't have to make the 8 hour trek to his parent's house. (YIPPEE!!!!). Now we still have to go at the end of January for a couple of days (Boo...) but at least it won't be during the holiday madness.

I've got to get a couple of decent long runs in before the Mardi Gras half. I've actually been doing really well with the running. I've been running 4 miles every other day and then walking the dogs for about 3 miles too. I just can't do every day right now because my knee is screaming at me with the weather and cold fronts. So, I just have to adjust my schedule. But, cool news is I haven't had a run pace over 9:46 yet! Pretty sweet! I just need to log a couple of long runs to be prepared for Mardi Gras. I'm not going to try and PR this race or anything...just have fun with it. Jeff has been making noises about possibly run/walking it with me too.

This year I just want to keep working to get faster and faster. Hopefully by this time next year I'll be down to 9:00s! Oh, and I have several friends who are talking about running the Chicago full this year. Hmmmm....do I want another punishing? :)

Now everyone go have a crazy (but safe) New Year's Eve and I'll see you guys next year!

Today I LOVE: the thought of Willie in Orange and Blue.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Laugh out loud!

I was perusing through the runner's world website this weekend and came upon this discussion. What's your most embarrassing moment while running?

http://thepackrules.runnersworld.com/2008/12/how-do-you-deal.html

I was busting out laughing my rear off at some of the people's postings. OMG - just hilarious. Knock on wood, I really haven't had to deal with toenail issues, bowel issues or see-through shorts issues. My running career (thus far) has been fairly embarrass free. Other than the occasional stumble on the treadmill I was hard pressed to think of something. Inhaling (literally) the peanuts and M&Ms during the marathon came to mind. I started chocking and coughing up a lung until I managed to dislodge the peanut from my throat. Spilling more water on myself than drinking at the water stations...but I think a lot of us newbies do that. Trailing toilet paper on my shoe out of a porta potty.... But nothing compared to what some of these people posted.

So, if anyone wants to share a good embarrassing moment, I could use a laugh today.

Got a nice, slow 8 mile run in this weekend. It felt good to stretch my legs out and get a decent long run in again. Luckily I was able to do it before the temperatures fell to freezing. Luckily this is Louisiana and we'll be back in the 60's by tomorrow.

Today I LOVE: that Christmas is only three days away!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nice start

3.5 miles - 9:21 pace
2.5 miles walking dogs - 15:12 pace (heee...)

I had been putting off going for a run for several reasons. 1.) I've been lazy. 2.) I was afraid to face how much progress I had lost from my race recovery and laziness. 3.) I've been lazy. My husband has gotten back into working out hard which has motivated me (partly due to competitiveness..."he can't out workout me!!!")to get off my rapidly spreading rear and start running again.

I went out yesterday full of apprehension. I just knew I'd be disappointed in myself not being able to run as fast and as far as before the race. And I only had myself to blame for that. I took too long off. I resigned myself to start by walking the dogs to get both them and me some exercise. "Let's see how that feels and then I'll decide to run or not." Partly in my defense, my knee has really been bothering me with these cold fronts moving in and I wanted to rest my hamstring pull from before the race to try and let it heal completely.

I took the dogs out for some much needed exercise and it felt great. We trucked through 2.5 miles and that just got my blood pumping. I decided to go out for a run. I just started at what felt like a comfortable pace. I looked down at Minnie after a few minutes and saw that a "comfortable pace" was 8:50! WHAT??!?!! Around 2 to 2.5 miles I started tiring and slowed down to 9:30 to finish out the run. I finished out the 3.5 miles and IT FELT GREAT. Ahhhhh...there was that runner's high that I missed. There was that sense of accomplishment. That feeling of bliss.

I was afraid I would wake up this morning sore from the run. Nope. Not a bit. So, I didn't lose as much as I had thought! Yipee! So, I'm now back, Baby! I'm back.

Now time to gear up for the Mardi Gras race!

Today I LOVE: lacing up my running shoes.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's Snowing, It's Snowing!!! In NEW ORLEANS!!



SNOW!!! In New Orleans!! And not just a little snow...we're talking huge flurries and several inches!!

Here are a few pictures on downtown New Orleans and the house.






The dogs weren't too sure about that white stuff for a while. Then they started to get frisky in the cold and frolicked in the snow. I couldn't get them out of it then!!!





Today I LOVE: Playing in the snow!!!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tis the season to be CRAZY busy!

Ok - I thought things were supposed to slow down during the Christmas holidays. Nope - they're just as bad. PLUS now we have all these holiday parties to attend. Ack! Between work, Christmas present buying, party going and decorating, I've barely had time (or rather MADE time) to get a decent run in. I've only made it to the gym a couple of times. I have got to reprioritize my life. Excerise should be near the top of the list, not "if I feel like it" or "if I have time". I have the time. I just don't make the time. I promise, I promise...I will do better. Ok, here goes....

{right hand over heart, left hand raised in the air}

I...Jennifer...do solemnly swear to not be such a sloth. I swear to run, the whole run. I swear to not justify my way out of exercising because Gray's Anatomy is on and Meredith is supposed to talk to McDreamy and Christina is supposed to get with GI Joe doc and I can't believe that Little Gray and McSteamy are sleeping together and.... I swear to relay the truth, the whole ugly truth to you guys on this blog.

So help me God.

I've got to get back in gear if I'm going to run the Mardi Gras half and meet Willie there!! YEEEAAAAAAHHH!!!! Too cool that I'm going to meet another running buddy here at the race.

We have a cold front moving in. They're predicting possible SNOW near my house. SNOW...in southern Louisiana. That's just craziness! But, my knee predicted this front WAY before the weather man did. Ha. It's all achey and cranky today. So, I've got the support band on and I'm trying to numb the pain with ibuprofen. Sweet, sweet, advil....

Ok - back to the grind.

Today I LOVE: How Katie always has to "help" me while I'm doing laundry. And by "help" I mean laying on the clothes, trying to bite my hand while I fold shirts and socks and sniffing every piece of laundry. ;)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

MUST...FIGHT..

I'm on travel tonight. At an Embassy Suites. Must go work out. Must not go down to Manager's Reception and partake in free quesadillas, free chips and salsa, free beer, free wine, free martinis, free cookies....MUST. NOT. DO. IT. Wouldn't be prudent.

I get to go home tomorrow. Just a quick trip. Thank goodness.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Time to get back on that horse...

ALLRIGHT...enough of this laying around "recovering from a marathon" (I think I've used that excuse to death) and "recovering from being sick" (Again - a frequent excuse). I have RE-joined the gym. Ha. That makes me laugh because I'm reminded of that Friends episode where Ross and Chandler want to "quit the gym". If you know what I'm talking about it makes you giggle.

Our membership had run-out and we were just going to let it lapse because we weren't using it much. Jeff gets to work out at work in their nice, big gym. And, with me training for the race, I didn't make much time to do anything else besides run. I got a call from one of the gym people wanting to know if we wanted to re-new. I (like Ross) went in FIRM saying "no" (I WANNA QUIT THE GYM!!!). We didn't get our money's worth last year. But, they made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I got two years for the price of one, plus 10% off since I paid in full! So, it essentially boils down to about $24 a month. That's for both of us AND it's a 24 hour gym! Not too shabby.

Now that I'm not really training for anything (just maintaining at the moment - oh wait. Crap - Mardi Gras Half is coming up...) I need to get my butt, abs, thighs, biceps, triceps, lats, calves, etc. to the gym and start cross training and building some muscle.

So, enough laying around, excuse riddled. Must. Use. Gym.

I did run a nice 6 on Saturday. It's the longest I've run since the race and it felt GREAT!

Today I LOVE: The PINK lotion line at Bath & Body Works. YUMMMM!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

AND now comes the sickness...

In reading about the post marathon recovery, I read how many people get sick after the race because the marathon taxes your body and puts a whammy on your immune system. I was determined not to get sick. I completely rested all week. I took my vitamin C. I got plenty of rest.

I decided this weekend to get back out there and do a couple of easy runs. I was getting a bit antsy and the scale was NOT kind to me (evil, sadist that it is). Saturday was a slow and easy 2 mile run/walk with the dogs. Sunday I went out for a 4 mile run and kept the pace decent, but not too fast. My legs are still pretty tight.

A couple hours later I started to get that scratchy feeling in my throat and my head started to feel like someone had put a vice on it. Not good. I drank my weight in NyQuil and went to bed, hoping that this curse would be lifted when I woke up. Nope. Now, on top of all that, it seems that I'm coughing up small alien life forms.

So, I'm drinking my hot tea right now, all bundled up in my flannel jammies hoping to nip this head cold in the bud before it gets any worse. Ugh.

Today I LOVE: Tylenol Cold and Sinus!!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

STILL a bit sore

It is now Thursday and my quads are STILL sore. Now I'm not hobbling around and wincing with every step like I was two days ago, but there's still some twinges of pain after I've been sitting for a while. Tonight, I'm going to take the dogs for a nice 2 to 3 mile walk and try and work the rest of this soreness out. Saturday or Sunday I'll go out for an easy run to get back into the swing of thing.

Now Jeff really wants to run the Phoenix R&R Half. He had me print out a beginner's training plan and he's been checking off his runs the last couple of days! I'm so excited that he has the racing bug now. I think him being at the race, seeing all the different shapes, sizes and ages of the runners has given him the confidence that he too can do this.

I was reading about marathon recovery and that it takes 26 days for your body to recover (approximately one day per mile). Wow. 26 days? Really? I'm already antsy to go out for a run! I know, I know...take it easy or I'll risk injury or illness. I will. But I don't know that I can take it easy for 26 days. Mainly I just read that you should build back up to speed work over the next few weeks. They advised complete rest the week after the marathon with a few walks in there to work out the soreness, then a few easy runs in the next few weeks and slowly build back up to speed work and long runs.

So that leads to the question for today:

What do you guys do to recover from a race?

Tomorrow...picture post. I promise!

Today I LOVE: looking at all my race pictures.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

5:13:59!!!

I DID IT!!!

WOW!

WOW!

WOW!!!!!

26.56 miles (that's what Minnie said) - Avg. pace = 11:49


OMG you guys, it was SO many things...exciting, amazing, exhilarating, excruciating, painful, emotional, inspiring..everything all at once.

The weather couldn't have been more perfect. We started out at about 35 degrees and it slowly warmed up to 68-70ish by the end of the race. Low winds, no rain...just great weather.

And there were a TON of people there. Initially they said 30,000 people - 20,000 for the half and 10,000 for the full. The final tally was closer to 25,000, but let me tell you: there were a LOT of people running.

My brother dropped Sarah and I off at the start drop off and we walked to the start area about 1/2 a mile away. We managed to find our corrals and were anxiously waiting for the national anthem and that beloved start gun. We waited...and waited...and waited...and waited.... They delayed the race by about 15 minutes. Ack! It's freezing here people! Apparently the parking offsite and shuttle service was a complete fiasco and people were waiting an hour for a shuttle bus. So, they delayed the race a little. It did give me a chance to talk to several people in my corral (the super slow one..) There were two people from Ohio who do these races all the time - they're race walkers (AGAIN - the SLOW corral). One girl was actually running IN HER SOCKS! I wish I had gotten a picture of her. I couldn't believe it! Finally we sing the national anthem and one girl next to me starts tearing up over the emotions of the moment. I teared up with her. The mayor of San Antonio comes on and drowns on similar to Charlie Brown's teacher.."wah, wah-wah, waaah, wah-wah, waaahhh...." I mean no disrespect, but seriously we are now 20 minutes late and did I mention, IT'S FREEZING OUT HERE!

BANG!!! The start gun goes off and they start releasing corrals. I'm not sure what the timing was to realse each corral, but I was in corral 20. I didn't reach the start line until 8:15. The race was supposed to start at 7:30. The first half of the race is run through downtown San Antonio. It was good in that it was flat and very scenic. We ran by the Alamo, my niece's school, my sis-in-law's work, and several beautiful neighborhoods. It was bad in that the streets were narrow and uneven - we ran on several brick roads.

Narrow streets, a slow corral and 25,000 runners are not a good combination. My strategy was to pace around 10:30 to 10:45 for the first 13 and then around 11:30 t0 12:00 for the second half to get me in under 5:00. Starting out in that slow corral, I really got boxed in with much slower runners on the narrow streets and could not weave my way around. Plus I had to stop at mile 3 and pee (too much water and coffee!) and then I stopped at mile 9 to hand off clothes and exchange goo with my family. With all this I averaged 11:17 for my first 13 - not really where I wanted to be.

I thought I might could make up a little time on the back 13 and try to keep a consistent pace of 11:30. Umm....WRONG. Whoever said that this course was "relatively flat" should be taken out back, drawn and quartered and then shot. It was NOT flat. There were rolling hills the whole back 13. My quads were burning.

At mile 15ish I saw Sarah. She was truly amazing. Seriously. She's been dealing with an injury that she suffered early in training. She decided to just rest and try her best with this marathon since she already registered. Let me tell you guys - she blew me away. I would have stopped at the half and have been done with it. Not her - she pushed through and completed the whole thing - not having trained for several weeks. She earned every step of that medal.

About mile 18 is when it started hurting. About mile 20 is when it really started hurting. About mile 22 is when I lost all feeling in my left big toe. :) I realized then that there was no way I could come in under 5:00. So, I shot for 5:15.

Shockingly my knees were fine. It was my quads and toes that were killing me. But mentally I just kept telling myself to relax and push through. Physically my body could do this. "Ignore what the brain is telling you and push through." At mile 22 I called Jeff to let him know that I was about 45 - 50 minutes out. I almost broke down in tears hearing his voice. He was so awesome. "You can do it baby!" he shouted over the phone. "We'll be waiting for you at the finish". Let me tell you, it makes such a HUGE difference to have friends and family there. When I saw them at mile 9, I was on a high for the next four miles. And just hearing his voice really helped me push through to the end.

One GREAT sign toward the end was a homemade poster that read "It's painful up to a point and then it doesn't hurt any worse." I don't know - that just made me giggle and realize that I could conquer the pain.

At 25.5 miles we turned back onto Durango and I could see the Alamodome. I'm ALMOST there. I was determined to run that last mile in. I looked at Minnie and she read 26.2 miles....where the HELL is that finish line??? 26.3 miles...still no finish line. 26.4 miles...WTF?? We turned the corner and had to run up this RAMP with a nice steep grade and around the corner to the finish line. You have GOT TO BE &*%$ing kidding me! Then I saw my family all cheering me on and screaming for me. I ran (OK - jogged - my legs were jelly) it in and finished! That medal felt so AWESOME on my neck.

Now today - two days later, I'm still pretty stiff and sore. Again - it's just my quads. My knees are fine, my ankles are fine and my hamstrings are fine. But my quad muscles are screaming at me. So, I'm hobbling around and thank the LORD I get to work from home today.

Funny thing, now Jeff has the running bug. He saw the heavy medal series at the Expo and he REALLY wants the Super 6 one now. So, he wants to start training for the Phoenix half! Sweet. Even cuter thing, my niece (who is 8) has a weekend update every Monday at school where they get to tell the class about something interesting they did that weekend. She wanted to tell her class that her aunt ran the marathon and that she saw the race and that she was so proud of me. When my sister-in-law told me that, my heart completely melted.

Will I do another marathon? Probably - but no time soon. Maybe next year. It was an awesome experience and now I know what to expect and how to train for the next one. But my body needs a bit of a rest. Would I do this marathon again? Umm..probably not. I would do the half in a heart beat, but not the full.

Race summary for San Antonio:

Bad
  • Narrow streets - I won't start in such a slow corral next time
  • Uneven streets
  • Rolling hills in the back 13 - not terrible, but definitely not a flat course
  • The back 13 was a bit isolated - not many spectators there because it's hard to get to.
  • Commemorative race gear was EXPENSIVE! Seriously - $40 for a t-shirt? Seriously?
  • Start and finish line organization was a bit off, but I'll give them some slack because it was the first one.
  • RUDE runners and walkers on the course. People were pushing and shoving and tripping and there were blocks of walkers in the middle of the road...I could go on and on.
  • Maybe I'm a medal snob, but I think the marathon medal should be bigger than the half medal. Again - just my opinion, but we worked twice as hard, so it just should be bigger! (ha - I know...size shouldn't matter, but it DOES!)

Good

  • The Expo was big and had plently of vendors
  • There were tons of water stations, fuel stations and medical aid stations.
  • Very scenic course, there's a lot to see - especially in the first 13 miles.
  • The sheer number of people made the start exhilarating
  • Even though they were the SAME SIZE, the medals were pretty cool.

I have a ton of pictures that I have to download off of two cameras. So, once I recover a bit, I'll work on posting those. I'm now going to hobble over to the kitchen to get myself some more coffee.

Today I LOVE: that I got to meet Sarah and Ryan - two and the sweetest, funest people on the planet!

Today I LOVE, LOVE: that I got to spend time with my family and that they cheered me on for the race.

Today I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE: The awesome feeling of accomplishment that comes with finishing your first marathon!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My last post as a virgin


This is my last and final post as a virgin - marathon virgin that is! :D I have to furiously wash some clothes tonight and pack. Looks like the weather is going to be great too! Low of 41 and high of 70 and no chance of rain. Sweet! So, I'm taking my half tights, a sleeveless singlet, my thin running jacket, ear warmers and pair of disposable cotton gloves. Layer, layer, layer! My family is getting so excited. We run by my niece's school at mile 1 and then by my sis-in-laws work at mile 9. And she said there are about 10-12 people from her work running this race too!

I have to drop the babies off at the vet to be boarded this afternoon. :( I always have major separation anxiety and guilt when I have to drop them off the night before. The house is WAY too quiet when they're not home. But we get to pick them up on Monday and they always take good care of them.

I took your advice and invested in some Tylenol PM last night. It DID the trick. I got a great nights sleep and it calmed me down a bit.

Ok - so much to do, so little time to do it and if I stop to think about it I'll go into freak out mode. I still can't believe I'm doing this!!!

I promise a full report upon return and lots and lots of pictures!

Today I LOVE: All the awesome encouragement, support and well wishes I've gotten from my online running buddies. Thanks GUYS!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nervous Energy

I do NOT know how people cope with all this nervous energy before a huge race! Usually, when I have a lot of nervous energy I just go out and run my butt off and I feel a lot better. Now that I'm in taper mode, I'm apprehensive to go run too much. But, I woke up this morning at 4:45 WIDE AWAKE. That NEVER happens to me. Usually my morning routine consists of this:

  1. Wake up and glance at the clock and then realize "THANK you Lord, I have 35 more minutes of sleep left"
  2. Want to punish the evil sadist that is the alarm that screams at me 35 minutes later.
  3. Turn off alarm.
  4. Sleep for 15 more minutes.
  5. Wake up in a panic because I overslept TOO much.
  6. Rush to throw on some semblance of matching clothes.
  7. Brush teeth.
  8. Pony tail hair.
  9. Throw on mascara so don't look like zombie.
  10. Brew MAJOR cup of coffee so don't act like zombie.
  11. Head out to work.

Nope. Not this morning. I turned off the alarm. Got up. ATE BREAKFAST. Actually picked out a cute outfit and left hair down and shiny and flowy. Put on full face of makeup. Played with dogs a bit. Leisurely drove to work.

So, I'm going to run another 3 to 4 tonight to try and burn off some of this anxiousness. I'll take it slow and easy so as not to tire out my legs. But honestly, they feel fine from yesterday's tempo run.

Eating is still a bit out of whack (again - nervous energy), but I'm getting it under control. I only ate one cupcake instead of six. HA!

Today I LOVE: Buttercream frosting!!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

SHUT UP!


Oh! My! God! I have never, NEVER had a sub-nine average on anything! WTF??!!?! I just ran an 8:55 with all negative splits. SHUT UP!!! Wow. I'm just in shock. And it felt GREAT!

I do have to always giggle about the elevation on this compared to other people's. My measly 20 feet above sea level. And in New Orleans it's closer to 0' or even below in some places. HA! I know Tater can relate!

Perforance

Distance: 3.00 miles

Time:0:26:44
Speed:6.7 mph

Pace:8' 55 /mi

Calories:292

Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
Splits
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
Gain
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
19' 19+0' 246.4-0.3-7 ft
28' 48-0' 076.8+0.1+7 ft
38' 44-0' 116.9+0.1-3 ft
Versus average of 8' 55 min/mile

Monday, November 10, 2008

People Guard Your Cupcakes!!!

I have been eating EVERYTHING is sight!!! Seriously!! I can't stop myself. I know it's stress and nerves about the upcoming race. Good thing I'm not really eating junk per se, just a LOT of food. Last night was veggie pizza from our favorite pizza place. It's SUPER yummy. The night before I made a pasta puttanesca and ate a huge helping of that. Oh, AND I made cupcakes this weekend. Ok, so cupcakes are junk, but they're GOOOOODDDDDD junk.

It's going to be a short work week for me too. Tomorrow is a holiday and I have Friday off to fly out to San Antonio. Yeeehaw!!!

Still no shoes yet. I need to call and check on the order. Grrr....

Ok, funny thing this weekend - I totally missed not having a long run. I have come to enjoy the solitude and reflection that comes with a nice, long run. I think that was partly why I felt a bit antsy too. I really, really wanted to go out and run a nice 8 to 10 miles. It took everything in me to keep things short and sweet. So, that leads to the question today:

How much do you guys run on your long run days in the off season (when you're not training for a race)?

Today I LOVE: That tomorrow is a holiday!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Just 7 DAYS AWAY!!!

I can't believe the race is SO CLOSE!! It just seems so surreal right now. Funny thing, I had to fly to San Antonio on Wednesday and Thursday for work. The whole time I was thinking, "I'm going to be running down that street next week."

I've been checking the weather everyday to see what to expect for the race. As of right now it's showing 30% chance of rain. High of 73 and low of 47. Pretty stinkin' good weather for a race!

Still no shoes in the mail yet. If they don't arrive by Thursday, I'll probably just run in my old ones. Stupid, dang shoe companies. I might get lucky and find a pair at the Expo at some of the cheap running gear places.

Only three more runs left before the race. Taper, taper, taper. Rest, rest, rest.

OK, so I'm reading up on nutrition before the race. I'm seeing where they suggest carb loading (70% carbs) two days before the race and then I'm seeing where they say to eat normally, but increase your carbs by just a bit (50% carbs). What do you guys generally do? Any suggestions?

Today I LOVE: that I get to meet Sarah and her hubby in a few, short days!!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

No, no, no, no, no.....

Saucony has discontinued my FAVORITE RUNNING SHOE!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

I went to my running store last week and they were ALL out of my shoe in the 8.5. I tried on the 8 - it felt OK, but I didn't really want to shell out $89 for a shoe I wasn't completely happy with. The lady there put me in a pair of Asics which I used to run in and have pretty good luck with. They felt good and they had them in my size. I needed a new pair. Well - when I went to "break them in" on a short run they felt fine. No problems and I could definitely tell my old pair were a bit broken down. Well...on the long run - different story. I have a nice little blister on my left, fourth toe from these demon spawn shoes. It's really not that bad, but STILL aggravating! The seam is rubbing a bit on that left toe. It was a tiny, tiny mark, but I'm sure as hell not going to wear those for the race. That's all I need is to run across the finish line with a bloody stump for a fourth toe. I've only run in these new ones twice, so maybe I can take them back and swap them out.

Anyway - I decided to get online to see if I could order a duplicate pair of my little blue babies - my old Saucony ProGrid Trigon 5 Ride - which I totally heart. Ummm...sure - if I'm a size 6 or 11. ARGH!! I FINALLY, FINALLY (after extensive google searching) found one running store in NY that apparently still has some of my size in stock. I ordered them RIGHT OFF! I may even call them tomorrow and just tell them to send me the rest of their stock in my size. WHY DO THE SHOE MANUFACTURERS DO THIS?????? WHY????

I tried on the upgrade Saucony Triumphs and HATED them. (Good thing too because they're $120!). After some research on the shoes, I think I should go back and try on the Guide or the current Ride model (but it's NOT the Trigon 5). But still - it's NOT MY SHOE!


**SIGH** I'm frustrated.

Monday, November 3, 2008

TWO weeks to go!!!

I am officially in taper time. It's so weird to not be planning for a long run this weekend. I'm used to organizing my weekends around my long run. This weekend was only a 12 miler. I laugh...only a 12 miler. Before - a 12 miler was my peak runs for the half marathons. Now that's one of my taper runs.

I've been trying to keep things slow and easy. The last thing I want to do in injure myself just two weeks before the race. Slow and easy. Let those legs rest. I can see how tapering is rough on the mental game. Self-doubt and panic starts to set in with these shorter, easier runs. Did I train enough? Am I ready? Is one 20 miler enough to prepare me????

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.....

Now I'm furiously checking the weather every day to see what we're going to encounter in San Antonio. I am praying for 55 or below. Oh, and NO rain.

Today I LOVE: the excitement that's starting to build!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just call me "Semi-Fast Gonzalez"

Monday - 4.36 miles, avg. pace = 9:20
Tuesday - 3.5 mile, avg. pace = 9:04

You can definitely tell that the colder weather agrees with me! I smoked my last two runs. Yesterday's run I averaged 9:04 miles and the first mile was a warm up mile. Miles two and three I averaged 8:49 for both miles!!!! I was shocked, I tell ya. SHOCKED! God, I would love to be able to run like this year round. I would love to be able to run 9:00s or even (*gasp*) sub-9:00s consistently. With the weather in the 50s, my legs just feel great when I'm running. And I'm actually not collapsing with these faster paces after the run. What's most surprising though is that my EIA (exercise induced asthma) isn't acting up in this colder weather. Usually I struggle to run in the winter, cold months because of the dryer, colder air. So far so good. And before all you northerners scoff at my proclaiming 55 as cold - it's COLD for us down here in the swamp...especially for this time of year. (it DID get down to 36 the last two nights) Ha. So, I'm not quite SPEEDY Gonzalez, but I'll be resigned to Semi-Fast Gonzalez for the time being. One day....

It has already been one of those mornings and it's only 7:30. As I was getting ready this morning I managed to spill my shimmery, mineral blush all over myself, my jacket, the counter tops and the floor. So - mess #1 to clean up. I forgot to put deodorant on after I had already put all my clothes on. In haste I just tried to shove the stick under my jacket and put the anti-smelly stuff on. Yup - I got it all over the collar of my jacket. There were two wrecks on the way into work - one being an IDIOT truck driver who tried to make this ultra sharp turn onto this teeny narrow road and ended up jack-knifing his truck under the overpass...of course the same turn that I need to make. And THEN I make my way up to the 10th floor and as soon as I walk into the office, the strobes are going off and the fire alarm warning is blaring. No fires - they were testing the system and tripped something. *sigh* It's going to be a LONG day.

Today I LOVE: That I can use Semi-fast and myself in the same sentence!

Monday, October 27, 2008

In need of some lube and other fun tales.

I have a love/hate relationship with my knees. They are girl knees and therefore do not get along with my German bred girl hips (read wide and apparently made for birthin' babies). The awkward hip to knee ratio puts undo stress on my knees, at an angle that was not meant to be placed on such delicate pink, knobby things. Because of this, my knees yell at me frequently - especially my right knee. (To preface, I've had two surgeries - one on each knee, with the right knee surgery removing the most damaged cartilage). Well, as we all know, cartilage is the lube of the knee world. Less cartilage means less lube. Less lube means friction which equals inflammation. Inflammation equals cranky knees. Got it?

So, I run (no pun intended...OK - maybe intended just a bit) a fine line with any training program from overtraining to undertraining. I really cannot run every day. Even five days a week is pushing it for me. So, I alter most training programs to work around my knees and I have to listen to them when they're angry at me. This weekend they were furious with me.

I think the knee inflammation was mostly because of the weather change. We have a cold front moving in and ole righty tends to let me know ahead of time. Whew - I was in some serious pain this weekend. So, as I always have to do, I adhere to the age old RICE method for a couple of days. And as usual, the ole cranky fart has calmed down. Righty isn't screaming at me so much any more - which is good news. The bad news is - no running this weekend. None. No 18 miler. Ack! So, I'm going to do a slow and easy three today and then try for my 18 miler tomorrow. The cold front should drop the temps down into the 30s and 40s tomorrow. Perfect weather for a long run! The other good news is it's TAPER TIME!! YEEHHAAAWWW!!!

Well - I also found out this weekend that my WHOLE family is coming to San Antonio for the race. We're going to do an early Thanksgiving thing on Saturday afternoon and then they're going to cheer me on Sunday. So, now the pressure is really on. I'm doing this thing! It's for real! People are traveling in to see me run!!! Oh...My...God.

I'm excited and nervous and nauseated and anxious and scared out of my wits all at the same time. I'm starting to have marathon dreams now!!! Like I had one of me running and stopping at different stations during the race last night.

OK - so two questions for today. I read that Deena Castor has a mantra that she repeats to herself during races. I thought that would be a good idea. So, I need mantra suggestions. Second, I read in the race info that they will have plenty of stations with water, electrolyte drinks and goo, etc. Should I still carry some goo for myself during the race?

Today I LOVE: that it's officially Cranky Co-worker day! I have an excuse for the Mondays today.

Friday, October 24, 2008

30,000 plus ME!

I just got an e-mail newsletter from the Rock-n-Roll San Antonio folks and the RACE IS SOLD OUT!! WOW! I'm gonna be running with 30,000 other crazy people. Wow, I just hope, hope that it's not too crazy crowded. I've run the Chicago half a couple of times. Chicago is a fun race, but it gets really crowded and you tend to get "trapped" by a group of runners. That can totally be frustrating. But, what a great turn out for the inaugural SA race.

One last 18 miler this weekend and then it's official taper time. I've kept things pretty easy this week. Just a few three and four milers to try and keep my legs loosened up. I need to seriously slow my butt down for this weekend's 18 miler. I was definitely sore last week from the run. It's just so hard to hold yourself back when the run feels great. I may try for a negative split this weekend. That way I'll have a goal and it'll keep things interesting.

It's time for new shoes. I have a little over 300 miles on these puppies and I can start to tell in my ankles and knees. I'm getting exactly the same pair - I heart my Sauconys. That gives me three weeks to break them in and make sure they're right for the race.

I have definitely decided to work on my speed after this race. I'm now running 9:30s much, much easier. I can hold that pace for four or five miles and it feels like a comfortable pace. So, I've shaved a minute off my short run pace! I would like to get down to comfortable 9:00s. Other than fartleks, anyone have any advice for speed work??

I will leave you a cool factoid out of Women's Health Magazine this month:

39% = amount runners reduce their chance of an early death, compared with healthy adults of the same age. WOW!

Today I LOVE: That 9:30s are comfortable for me!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This was too cool not to share.

For anyone who struggles with shoe choices....I found this on a Runner's World forum and thought it was pretty interesting.




Tuesday, October 21, 2008

8 MORE miles??

18 miles - avg. pace 11:21

Friday I didn't run my 18 because I had a killer headache all day. Flying from Little Rock to New Orleans I think did me in. I always have migraine issues when I travel from low to high altitudes quickly (or vice versa). So, Friday was a rest and relax and pray-to-the-painkiller-gods-that-this-deep-throbbing-pain-between-my-eyes-would-go-away day. It did.

Saturday I decided to get my 18 miles in slow and easy. Starting out I thought I would just do an easy 8 or 9 and then do my 18 on Sunday. But, the weather was gorgeous - in the low 50s when I started. I even got to break out my favorite running tights! Having rested a few days from travel and headache, my legs felt great. Between the weather and the rest I was cruising along without paying attention to my pace. At the nine mile split my avg. pace was 10:24. (again...fast for me). Bad thing though, I totally forgot to bring any goo for fuel on the way back. Bad idea. I hit mile 14 and I was tired. Whew. Out of energy.

The inner argument I have with myself while running these long distances is funny. In no way logical or coherent at all, but funny. I bargain with myself..."Just to that stop sign and then you can stop."

My body argues back, "BUT I'm TIIIIIIRRRREEEEDDDD. I wanna stop NOOOOOOWWWWW".

"If you run to that stop sign we can get ice cream later."

Body argues back, "Nuh-uh. No way Jose. Not EVEN worth it. I'm pooped."

"If you run to that stop sign I'll let you WALK for half a mile."

Body's response, "Ahh....a walk would feel so good right now. Mmm...OK. We can make it to the stop sign."

I'm having this inner argument with myself - stop or don't stop, walk or don't walk. And then I have to laugh because I'm still holding a 10:30 pace. Ummm..."hello dummy, you don't have to stop, just SLOW DOWN!" So I slowed down to a 12:30 recovery pace for about a half mile and finished out the rest of the run that way. I would run for about a half mile and then at the recovery pace or walk for a half mile. It worked and I finished with a decent pace time. But I was totally spent by the time I got back to the car. No fuel = terrible idea. Plus, I really didn't fuel enough before the long run either. BUT - I finished 18 MILES with an 11:21 pace! I was pretty stoked. Not too shabby. Thinking about the race that would mean that I still had 8 more miles to go??!!!!?!? ACK!! This is going to be ugly.

I was pretty sore on Sunday from the 18 miler on Saturday. My ankles, hamstring and knees were pretty achy. I took the dogs for a long walk Sunday morning to try and loosen my legs up a bit. I decided to opt out of the Race for the Cure Sunday morning. I didn't want to injure myself by pushing it too hard while I was sore. So - no pink medal for me. *sigh* But I'll hopefully be getting a HUGE one on Nov. 16th!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

ONE month away!!!

As of today my first marathon race is exactly ONE MONTH AWAY!! This thing is getting real folks!!! Nervous, excited, antsy, hopeful, and nauseated all at the same time.

This Sunday is Race for the Cure! I love it! I'm so excited to don my pink from head to toe and go run for breast cancer. It's always such an exciting, inspiring race. I'll have to take it easy because I have an 18 miler on Saturday. So - no winning the 5K here (Pfff...like I would anyway?? HAHAHA!!)

GOOD LUCK to Sarah on her half this weekend!!! I'm over here cheering for you!!

OK - I'm really sick and tired of this heat! I went to Arkansas for a couple of days and the weather was gorgeous! It was in the 50s and really and truly felt like Fall. I get off the plane here in New Orleans and it's a muggy, nasty 86 degrees. BLECH!!! I want cold weather NOW dang it!

I have successfully recovered from my 20 miler. It took a good two days before the soreness was gone, but I wasn't hurting as much as I thought I would be. So far this week:

Monday = 5 miles
Wednesday = 6 miles
Tomorrow = 18 miles (I think I'll get it in early since I'm going to take off work and relax tomorrow)
Saturday = easy 3-4 mile recovery

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Seriously....THE COOLEST RUN EVER! (Part 2)

We had a half day on Wednesday to do whatever we wanted around D.C. Having been numerous times, I decided that the afternoon would be a great opportunity to get in a long run. The weather was perfect - 55 degrees. I had really just set out to do a 14 to 16 mile run but everything was just right. I decided, what better place to do an 18 mile run? I hit 18 and then decided..."go for it!" "Go for the full 20!" So, here's a recap of my most excellent run!


I started out running south down 15th street from the hotel towards the National Mall. As I approached the White House there were police and guards everywhere closing off the streets - even the pedestrian sidewalks. There was a motorcycle police escort blaring their blues and sirens and exiting the side entrance. Right behind the police were two black suburbans. The first one, the windows were all rolled up and completely blacked out. The second one, all the windows were rolled down and about seven Secret Service guys were hanging out every window in the their full suits, dark sunglasses and ear pieces. This is a picture of the first suburban as I caught up to them again on Jefferson Ave. My camera wasn't quick enough to catch the second SS suburban which looked pretty cool with all these guys hanging out the windows and casing the neighborhood. But, I found out later that night that it was Condoleezza Rice in that first suburban. Kinda cool! (My husband says that usually she wouldn't get that kind of motorcade. He figures the Prez or the VP was in there - COOL!)



This is the park just north of the National Mall. I took it around down to the Lincoln Memorial. Funny thing, on Sunday when I hit this park there was some kind of dog fair/convention going on. There were dogs EVERYWHERE and dog vendors set up all over the place. It was so cute to watch all these dogs and owners mingling and frolicking.



At about mile 2 I hit the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument just across from the Lincoln Memorial. They are doing some construction in front of it so half of the sidewalks are shut down and it gets really narrow to run around. It's quite the obstacle course running around all the tourists.

Then I headed over the Potomac River towards Arlington National Cemetery. I'm not sure if you can tell, but at this time it started to get very overcast and a bit colder. The breeze was blowing pretty readily off of the Potomac. So, not only was I fighting the wind, but now the temperature dropped several degrees too. I was getting COLD!


Two pictures of Arlington National Cemetery. It always just blows me away at how vast the cemetery is. It goes on and on and on and on. It is a very poignant experience.

Then I jogged along through Johnson Memorial Park and on into the Mount Vernon Trail. Here is a view of D.C. across the Potomac from the Virginia side.


The Mount Vernon Trail is approximately an 18 mile biking and jogging paved trail that runs along the Potomac River from Roosevelt Island, up through Alexandria and ends at Mount Vernon. The trail is so beautiful to run on - so many things to look at while you're sweating and cursing your knees and ankles.


The world's most disgusting porta-potties I've EVER been near. Seriously - you could smell these babies from a 100 yards away. And according to the friendly "last serviced" (yeah - right) sign, they hadn't been serviced (and by serviced the must only mean dumped) in three days. Nice. But, when ya gotta go....ya gotta go. At about mile 6 all the pre-fueling and watering hit my bladder and I was about to BURST. So, I just held my nose and hoovered the best I could. Do you KNOW how hard it is to hoover when your quads are already burning from running???? My legs were shaking. I know...TMI.

A really great thing on the trail is that you cross over several brooks and streams near the river. They have built these quaint little wooden bridges across. It was so serene to see all the colors of the leaves starting to change, to hear the soothing babbling of the nearby brook and to hear the dull thud as your feet hit the wooden planks.

At mile 10 I hit Alexandria. I had always wanted to go into Alexandria and walk around the old town shops there, but never managed the time. Well, I made it there this time and completely by accident! I really just took off running on the trail, wanting to get several miles in. I never intended to wind up in Alexandria!


So I decided, "While I'm here - I might as well walk around!"





Here are some pictures of the shops, pubs, cobble-stone streets and condos near Old Town Alexandria.

Funny thing...while I was walking around I figured I had better fuel back up for the 10ish mile run back. I had two packets of goo in my fuel belt, but as I was walking around I passed, not one, not two - but THREE ice cream stores. It was a sign. I rationalized to myself that ice cream is in fact a form of goo - all the sugars will give me the carbs I need, plus ice cream has protein that will sustain my energy later.


So, here I am enjoying a combo scoop of pumpkin ice cream (the seasonal special) and blackberry cheesecake. She gave me a HUGE amount of ice cream for $4.50!! But don't worry - I only ate about a quarter (OK - maybe a third...) of it. I didn't want to run on a full stomach.

Ahhh - I'm taking a break, just basking in my ice cream. Guess I gotta get up now and head back. 10 miles back....


Alexandria is a very picturesque city. Even as you get into town from the trail there is artwork and monuments like above to welcome you into the city.


I guess that's why I found this so humorous. About a mile outside of town on this beautiful trail is a Kaiser plant sitting right on the water. Now the plant is a monstrosity of rusted metal and filth, but Kaiser has tried to make it "pretty" by placing the muraled wall in front of the plant with a note of "thanks" to the community.

The next five or six miles just FLY by. I'm just enjoying the scenery and watching the bikers and runners around me, listening to my ipod. The next thing I know I'm at mile marker 15 (and for some reason Minnie coincided exactly with the mile markers coming back! Weird!).


Then I see THIS gorgeous site across the river - the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. I'm almost home!!!

At mile 18 I hit the Jefferson Memorial and I convince a nice tourist lady to take a picture of the very sweaty blond girl all geared up in her dorky runner apparel.

I turned at the Washington Monument a little after mile 18, not wanting to go back to the hotel just yet. I decided to finish out the run strong and get my full 20 miles in. So, I took a right and ran down the mall toward the Capitol. It was dusk at this point and to run toward the Capitol building, watching the sunset and to watch the Capitol light up was just...well...it was WOW! And the coolest thing was right as I started to run toward the Capitol, John Cooger's "Pink Houses" started to play across my ipod. This run was just MEANT to be.

Again - a sign that the run was meant to be. As I turned back up 15th street to head back to the hotel I had about a half mile until I reached 20 miles. Right as I hit 20 miles I look down and there is this plaque entitled "The Extra Mile". It's part of the Points of Light monument encouraging people to go that extra mile to help others. How fitting though for that extra mile to be my long run goal!


Shockingly, I wasn't too terribly sore that night or the next day. Now, I was sore - truly, but not gimping around, popping advil all the time sore. I averaged right at 12:30 miles, but that's with frequent stops to take pictures and sight see. Every time I looked down I was jogging at about an 11:30 pace. So, if I can just keep around 12:00 miles for the marathon I will be one happy gal. It was a glorious run and I'm so super proud of myself for just doing it. One 20 miler out of the way. I have an 18 miler and then start tapering for the race. I'm getting excited!!!!!


Today I LOVE: The thrill of what seemed like a daunting run - accomplished!