Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Friends!

I found a new running group for Thursdays! I'm super excited. I usually run with a group on Saturdays. The main goal of the Saturday group is to train together for the Mardi Gras marathon and half marathon in February. Right now the group is just maintaining until Sept.1 when they officially start up training again. They're running a different, shorter route, so I haven't really been able to train with them too much lately.

One of the guys in the Saturday group owns an awesome running store in town. They hold a group run on Thursday nights! I got on their e-mail list and they started up their Thursdaynight runs again. They post the running routes on and this Thursday they have posted a 3 mile and a 5 mile route. So, I'm going to meet the group for the 5 miler tomorrow night. New route and new running friends. I'm excited!

It's the little push I needed this week. This week has been a bit of a motivational struggle for me. Sunday our neighbor was rushed to the hospital for heat stroke and we helped out the family until late Sunday night. And then yesterday Jeff's father had to be rushed into surgery for a detatched retina. He's fine now - it was a quick and easy fix, but between those two things my sleep patterns have really gotten off. I have just not been motivated to run. The excitement of running with a new group is exactly what I needed!

Today I LOVE: meeting new runners! It's always so inspirational.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Inner struggle

10 miles - (10:40 pace)

Total mileage this week = 21 miles

I woke up yesterday morning desperately trying to talk myself out of going for my run. My knee's hurting a bit, you'd better lay off. It was raining last night, it might rain on you when you're running. You've waited too long, it's going to be too hot. etc., etc., etc.

But, I'm to the point in my runs and training that if I miss a run, I beat myself up and feel like such a failure. So, again, I overcame the nagging laziness inside my head, put my running gear on and headed out to the trailhead.

Whew, it was a humid day. I usually carry two bottles of water on my belt and keep an extra big bottle of water in the car for when I get back. I burned through my two belt bottles by mile 8 and then downed the bottle in my car when I got back. My shorts, shirt and headband were so drenched with sweat (gross...I know) that I literally had to wring them out a bit before getting into the car. The rest of the day I was playing catch-up with my hydration.

I was struggling with my pace all week this week. For some reason my legs felt really tight for my runs and they just weren't loosening up for me. Plus we've had some ungodly humidity this week that the hurricane pushed up. It's like running through pea soup. So, I started out my run nice and slow, listening to the inner struggle between my brain and my legs. But my heart won wanted to go on.

The first couple of miles were pretty slow. I had the attitude to just take it slow and easy today. I hit mile 2 and something just clicked. Everything aligned and it felt GREAT! I was cruising along at 9:30 to 10:00 pace for the next three miles and it wasn't a struggle. I felt like I was gliding over glass. My gate was smooth, my breathing was controlled, my shoulders were relaxed. I stopped at mile 5 to turn back, re-fuel and goo up. I think I'm stopping too long on my half-way points. It really messes up my rhythm for the journey back.

I managed to keep a really good pace until about mile 8. I ran out of water and my body just said, "OK - we can't keep this up. You need to slow down." I finished out mile 9 slowly and then had to run/walk the last mile. I was a little disappointed that I had to run/walk that last mile, but it got me thinking.... Two to three weeks ago I couldn't finish 8 miles without walking. Several weeks ago four miles felt like murder. Several weeks ago my average pace was 11:00. This week my overall average pace was 10:11. I'm sticking with it, completing my runs and making progress. That's an accomplishment to be proud of.

Today I Love: Looking at all the mileage I'm racking up on my weekly runs!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nice and cool

3 mile run - Monday complete
4 mile run - today...tentative

I got up this morning to go for my run but it was pouring down rain - I think as part of the outer bands from Hurricane Dolly. It's since stopped and it's a cool and breezy 76 outside!! Hopefully this cool weather will hold up until I can get home and go for my run. I LOVE running just after a rain.

I am loving my Saucony shoes. I really think I'm a convert. I like my Brooks shoes pretty well. They're good too, but not as wonderfully squishy and awesome as my Saucony's.

Monday's run was rather warm. I had a dentist appointment at 11:00 so I relaxed around the house before I went out for my run at 9:15. It was already blazing hot by then. I think we tied a record high that day. I was DRENCHED in sweat by the time I completed my measly 3 miles. The heat really does zap your pace. I was talking with my dentist who is a triathlete and we were discussing running in the heat. He says he knows a guy who intentionally runs at 2:00 in the afternoon heat down here to give him a competitive edge when he runs races farther north. That's just craziness! But I do remember running the Chicago Half Marathon last year. It was truly warm for a race that distance, but it really didn't faze me. Actually - I had a PR for that race. It had to be from training in the Louisiana heat and humidity.

Today I LOVE: for great inspiration.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stronger, Better, Faster...

10 miles - COMPLETE!!!! (avg. pace 10:51)

What a FANTASTIC long run today. NO knee problems. NO hip problems. NO stomach problems. NO humidity/weather problems. I'm kind of bouncing between a couple of schedules and today was supposed to be a 7 or 8 miler. But, the run felt so great that I just decided to keep on trucking.

I hit the trail/trace at 7:00 a.m. ready to pound out my grueling 8 miles. But today was different. I usually have a bit of a self-defeatist attitude before I go out on the long runs; anticipating the pain, tiredness, soreness, shortness of breath, frustration, etc. I tend to have a "just get it over with attitude". Not today. I decided to just go out and have fun with it. Using that philosophy I didn't constantly look at my pace watch to see how fast or how far I had run. I have several land markers that tell me approximately where I am and at what mile. I got to the four mile marker and still felt really good. I had a good rhythm going and I didn't feel like turning around and heading back. So, 4 miles turned into 5 miles which turned into my 10 mile run. And I'm stoked that I kept a steady sub-11:00 pace. I just love the sense of accomplishment that you get when you finish a long, good run. You feel like you can do anything!

One of the great things about running on the trace is all the wildlife (as I've probably mentioned before). Well today, I saw not one, but TWO cottontail rabbits at two different times, grazing on the grass less than one foot away from me. They didn't even budge until I was practically right on top of them and then each rabbit just sauntered away casually. It was serene and peaceful yet awe inspiring at the same time. To be given such a gift not once, but twice it seemed like all was right with the world at that instance. It's at times like these that I know that God is truly present all around us. We just have to be open to the signs and wonders of the world that he provides.

Today I LOVE: that super high feeling after a GREAT run!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

4 miles...scratch that...3 miles

3 mile run - complete (should have been 4, but trying again tonight)
2.2 mile walk with the dogs - complete

I went out last night for my scheduled 4 mile run. It started off great. I was feeling pretty good. It wasn't too hot and my legs loosened up quickly before the first mile. I was keeping a pretty good pace and then I hit mile 3 and my stomach just cramped up again. Now I'm pretty sure this is acid reflux related because it was my upper stomach/lower diaphragm - right where I usually have pain from the reflux. The good thing is that I didn't feel like I had a lead brick in my stomach. So, the three miles that I did get in felt great. I decided to follow up the run with a nice walk with the dogs. That way I didn't feel totally defeated.

The Prilosec is really helping though. I can already tell a difference in just how my GI feels without all that acid production. Hopefully I'll be good to go by Saturday's long run. My schedule only calls for one 4 mile run this week, so I'm going to flip-flop it with tonight's run and try for four again. Wish me luck!

Here's the thing about today though. There's a blood drive in the basement of our building and I was going to go down there to donate. I ate a big breakfast and I'm going to donate early so that hopefully I won't be zapped for my run tonight. I need to find someplace for lunch that's serving red beans (not too hard in New Orleans - ha) to replenish my iron. I don't eat beef or pork, so I need to find that iron somewhere else. Maybe a big ole spinach salad and a side of beans.

Today I LOVE: Darra Torres. What an inspirational woman! I watched her compete during the Olympic trials and she just blew everybody out of the water. AND I want her physique! WOW - she is in awesome shape!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

3 Easy Miles (are they ever really EASY?)

Well, I did my easy 3 mile run last night. It poured yesterday afternoon, essentially cooling everything down - or so I thought. I walked out the door at 6:30 and the temp read 78 degrees with a heat index of 84. Not too bad. Usually after a nice, long rain the weather is perfectly cool and breezy. Whew - not yesterday. It was muggy, stagnant, hot, steamy, and muggy. Ugh.

My legs were a little sore from the long run on Saturday, but not too bad. I kept it slow and easy with a avg pace at 10:12. It took me a little longer to get warmed up last night, I think mainly because of the tightness in my calves. Usually I'm good to go after the first mile. It took a good mile and a half to two miles to start "feeling good" during the run.

The worst thing though was my stupid stomach again! Argh! I ate a pretty big lunch, but that was at 12:00. It should have digested by 6:30. Nope - felt like I had a lead brick in my stomach. Again I'm thinking that it may be partially realated to my acid reflux issues. I started on a round of Prilosec. That should hopefully help. Other than that I'm trying to eat more bland and less quantity. Smaller meals more frequently.

I have a 4 mile run for Wednesday but I might get it done tonight instead.

Today I LOVE: Highlighters...what a cool invention to getting to the important stuff.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Saturday Long Run

Saturday, went for my long run on the trace - 8 miles. Complete. It's so much easier to run on the trace than around my neighborhood. For one, most of the run is shaded by the tall trees, so you don't have the sun beating down on you. You also don't have to worry about or avoid cars on the road. The occasional crazy biker, but no motorized vehicles. The road is a softer asphalt instead of the concrete pavement roads in my neighborhood. Plus, the roads in my neighborhood have a pretty decent pitch to them for drainage. The trace is flat. It's actually quite an interesting place to run too. I often see an assortment of wildlife. Like on Saturday I saw a red bird and almost stepped on a little grass snake sunning on the asphalt.

The run itself was a mixed bag. Friday night I was having bad stomach cramps. I had red beans and rice for lunch and it was either all the fiber in the beans or the pork sausage that killed me. I haven't been eating a whole lot of meat lately and when I do, it's usually chicken or fish. It could be part of my acid reflux problem too. I didn't even eat dinner because it was hurting so bad. I took some antacid and I just went to bed. I got up on Saturday morning and had my morning coffee and half a bowl of oatmeal. My stomach was still sore, I couldn't finish the whole bowl. But, I was feeling OK, so I decided to go out for my run before it got too hot.

I need to also prefice this with the fact that I bought a new fuel belt on Friday. It's a really cool pink one with a nice, padded neoprene belt made specifically for women. It fits like a glove. This being the first time that I had used a belt, I think I put it on too snugly around my waist. I think my diaphragm couldn't expand fully.

Anyways, the first four miles down were awesome. I was trucking and kept a nice, steady pace at 10:22. I stopped at four to drink my water and down my gel. I guess I just shouldn't have stopped because no sooner did I stop than the stomach cramps came back. Ack! I loosened my fuel belt and that helped a bit but the last four miles were not fun. I took it slow and easy determined to run the full 8. I had to walk a bit and the last four were a slow 11:30. It was a disappointing run, but I did it, so I guess I should be proud of the distance.

The nice thing is that STILL no knee pain and I'm not sore from the long run!! YEAH!! My legs are starting to get used to all the running again. My lower buttock/upper hamstring is still a bit tight, but I've been stretching it out as much as I can.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Knee problem...WHAT knee problem??

Saturday - 7 miles = complete (painful and slow - but complete)
Sunday - 2.2 mile fast walk with dogs
Monday - 2.2 mile fast walk with dogs
Tuesday - 4 mile run, 39:36 (avg pace 9:54)

I took Saturday's long run slow and easy. Partly because I didn't want to push it too much when my knee had just started feeling better and partly because I waited too darn long and it was hotter than Hades and muggier than an equatorial rainforest outside. But, I got 'er done. I gimped around a bit on Saturday afternoon but for the most part I wasn't bad at all. Sunday and Monday I walked the dogs but kept the pace around 14:30 so that we both got a decent workout and I walked most of the soreness out.

Today was my 3 mile run, but it felt great and I decided to push it for four. My first mile I ran pretty slow - 10:30ish and then the stiffness in my calves and thighs worked out. I was trucking around 9:40 for my last three. Yeah me!

But the best part of it all is I've had NO knee problems since Friday! I little soreness and stiffness, but no constant throbbing pain like before. Ahhh... I do however have a pesky little sore muscle in my left lower buttock! HA! I need to go stretch it out. I keep asking Jeff to massage it for me but he refuses ( I say "Hey Honey, come rub my ass!" giggling - but nonetheless!) :-)

Alright...gotta go take my shower 'cause I smell. I'll chime in tomorrow.

Today I LOVE: The fresh, clean air after an afternoon shower.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

It's officially the holiday weekend!!! Yeeeehaaawww!!! I love that it's a holiday and everyone will be out grilling and playing outside. I dread the plethora ("I do no theenk it means what you theenk it means.") of fireworks that will be blaring in our neighborhood until 1:00 a.m. I shouldn't complain. At least we don't have the idiots firing their guns in the air like they do in New Orleans. The fireworks FREAK poor Katie out. She just starts shaking and get so scared. It kills me because we can't comfort her but she seems to find some solice in my closet. Poor baby. So, I'm going to take them for a nice long stroll today to try and wear them out.
I skipped my run yesterday because I was a total bum. But I got up this morning and ran a slow and easy 4 miles. Tomorrow is the long run and I didn't want to overdo it before the long run. I'm still babying that knee a little. So, I'm a little hesitant to try a tempo run until maybe next week.

OK, that's it for the update now. Off to enjoy the holiday and sip my coffee.

Today I LOVE: My new Champion running shorts from Target. They are AWESOME. They're made with a low rise and a built in bloomer. I'm very short wasted and most running shorts hit me right under the boobs. It's frustrating. Not these puppies! They fit like a dream, don't bind and don't rub. I'm going back this weekend to get a few more pair!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It gets worse before it gets better

This is so weird. OK, so I told you guys about my knee hurting on Monday. I did the usual - rest, ice, compress, elevate (Yeah for R.I.C.E.!). On Monday night it was HURTING. Ugh. It was worse Monday night than it was on Sunday. So, no run. But I tried some new cream called SportsCreme that's supposed to help alleviate pain in sore muscles and joints. I just figured it would be like Icy Hot or something. I slathered that on, took some ibuprofen and propped my knee up when I went to bed. I woke up and NO KNEE PAIN! I don't know if the cream really helped or the inflammation just needed to run it's course. But there were some other factors. A huge front moved in on Sunday and Monday with a lot of rain. That tends to make my joints act up sometimes too. I don't care, I'm just glad it stopped hurting. It's not 100% better, but I'll take 90%.

I went out last night to test out an easy 3 miler. It felt great. I waited until about 7:00 when things finally cooled down to 85 degrees. There was a great breeze and the air just smelled fresh from all the recent rain. I took the first two miles slow and easy. I wasn't watching my pace watch because I just wanted to run for the milage, not the time last night. I hit mile three and things were feeling great. I look down at my watch and I'm trucking at a 9:27 pace without even realizing it! I finished out another mile for 4.2 and it felt really good. I'm glad to be running again. It is so frustrating being sidelined because your body says so.

I'm trying to decide whether to take off tomorrow or Monday for an extra long weekend. Hmmmm....

Today I LOVE: the Women's Health magazine this month. Wow - SO many great articles. I just read it cover to cover.