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. ( 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 ( 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 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!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Seriously....THE COOLEST RUN EVER!!! (Part 1)

Guess who has two thumbs and just ran 20.5 miles?? This gal right here!! I'm so excited I'm bouncing off the walls. AND I didn't have to stop and walk! I ran the whole thing!! Now I did stop and take loads of pictures (JUST for you Willie). So, as soon as I get home I'll upload those babies, post and tell you all about the run.

In a nutshell it was freakin' awesome.

To be continued....

Wish Me Luck!!!

Going for a nice long run this afternoon. I'm taking the camera (so quit nagging Willie!) and hopefully get some good pics. Stay tuned!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Coolest run ever!

I just finished up an AWESOME run around the National Mall and Johnson Memorial Park. The weather is gorgeous here in D.C. And I sort of mapped out a run from the hotel on Then I just left the hotel and, well, just ran. I didn't worry about time (and good thing because I had to stop at several traffic lights). I just went and ran wherever my legs took me - 8.5 miles. I passed the Lincoln Memorial, across the Potomac River, down through several miles of Johnson Memorial Park, back across the Potomac, around the Jefferson Memorial, around the Tidal Basin, up near the WWII Memorial, around the Washington Monument, right by the White House and then back to the hotel. What a spectacular run! I just took it slow and easy and enjoyed the weather and the scenery. Ahhhh...this is what running is all about.

Thanks everyone for all the wonderful support and advice. I'm going to do the full. It may be ugly and I may be vomiting my way across the finish line and then I may collapse into the fetal position while I find my happy place. But I'M gonna do it! I've been training for months now. I don't want to give up now.

Cool thing, we have a half day off on Wednesday. I brought Minnie and my fuel belt so I may try for a slow, easy long run on Wednesday afternoon. What better place to do it? I'm going to take my camera and have fun with it. Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Running...what's that??

These past few weeks have been so tiring and yet rewarding at the same time. We were averaging 15 hour days (talk about raking in the overtime!!) I was constantly having to push myself more and more. Stress levels were through the roof (As evidenced by my stupid pimple-ridden chin...I'm an adult for goodness-sakes!! Where is this acne coming from!!??!??). I am so glad that I went, even though it completely wiped me out. I was really able to help so many people and re-pay the kindness and hard work that so many provided in our area after Hurricane Katrina. But, with all this came a big running. I haven't run now in over two weeks - there was just no time while I was in Houston. If we weren't working, we were sleeping. Period. No free time for anything.

So, that brings me to my next delima. Do I still try and run (walk...) the full marathon in San Antonio? I'm really struggling with myself right now. I have about 5 weeks left to train. I've managed one 16 miler without too much problem. I can still squeeze in two 18 milers and one 20 miler as my training program schedules, but will I be able to do it since I've been off for the last few weeks? I can always run the half on that weekend instead of the full, but my heart was really set on running my first FULL marathon. I need some advice here guys. I may just plan to run/walk this one and then keep up the training for the Mardi Gras full marathon in February. And then I can shoot for a better time on that one than San Antonio. And I guess it all comes down to how my body holds up. These last two weeks my body has just been exhausted. I came home this week on Thursday and have done nothing but sleep. It's all finally catching up with me. And I have to turn around and head out to Washington D.C. again all next week. Maybe I can run on the mall which is one of the most awesomest, coolest, inspiring runs EVER.

Ok - enough whining for now. I'm going out tonight for my first run in weeks. Wish me luck!


GREAT RUN!!!!!!!!!