Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chasing Shade

Oh man.  I promised you guys a run and a post tonight, and I'm delivering on both.  You may want to look out of your window to see if the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are standing outside.  ;)  It's just been insanely busy for me.  I'm always so conscious and guilty about going to long between posts, but at the same time, it's hard to do it on even a weekly basis, much less a daily one.  I do love writing, and it's one of the few times I get to be creative and do something that makes me happy, so I want to try to get back into posting more often.

In the meantime, the last couple of weeks have been fun but action packed.  We went to Seattle last Friday to see Paul McCartney in concert.  It...was...amazing.  I cried at least 5 times, sang until I was hoarse, and had a blast.  Paul put me to shame, because he played until almost midnight, and I was thinking "Um Paul, I'm old and need to go to bed!".  The surviving members of Nirvana came out and played with him towards the end, and I just about passed out, I was so excited!  Definitely one of those concerts that I will hold dear to my heart, it was very special.  The next day we had to turn around and drive back to Portland because my family was coming in for the whole week.  Their visit was great but definitely packed.  I was averaging about 5 hours sleep a night, which is not pretty!  We did a ton of fun stuff, including a hike that my 9 year old niece and I did to the top of Multnomah Falls, which is about 650ft up!  I was super proud of her for sticking it out, she was a little trooper.

So, I did run today, and it SUCKED.  It's the damn heat, I just simply can't stand it.  It was 80 degrees by the time I went out, which I didn't think would be so bad, except until it was.  As I was looking at my weather app, I was looking at the weather for the rest of the week.  I decided to add my meteorology color commentary to the forecast:


Seriously, tomorrow can just straight up go to hell with that 86 degrees BS.  And I'm not kidding, I will probably spin around in a field singing like Julie Andrews if it actually does rain on Friday.  I cannot tell you how much I miss the rain and the cool.  When I was running, about a million things were going through my mind, but one of the things was how much I was looking forward to fall.   Just thinking about apple harvest, Eric and I's traditional pilgrimage to the cider mill, sweaters, crockpot soups and chilly days makes me wish I could turn the clock ahead with my mind!

Anyway, I was just miserable.  Even walking fast had my heart pounding, and my breathing was awful.  I felt like I had a heavy weight on my chest, and I was praying for the run to be over as quickly as possible.  Of course it wasn't, since I could barely breathe once I would run, so there were tons of walk breaks.  As you'll see from my Garmin picture, the heat took a total toll on my speed.  It took me 46 damn minutes to run a paltry three miles.  I'd rather forget about it!


The one thing that was somewhat positive was that I enjoyed being by myself, and it gave me lots of time to think.  Usually my mind goes blank when I run, which is very welcome since I tend to worry and have a lot of anxiety about stuff all the time.  Today, I was trying to distract myself from my misery.  Here were some of the thoughts going through my mind:

1.  I enjoy running by myself, and that's ok.
2.  I will never, ever again schedule a race that requires me training in the summer
3.  I wish I hadn't taken the cold weather for granted before

As you can see, I was quite preoccupied with how much I miss cold weather!  Hopefully the runs for the rest of this week go ok.

Oh and by the way, I decided to take my coach's advice and switch to the half marathon for San Francisco.  She wanted me to do the half for both races, but I was adamant on not backing down from doing the full for Portland.  So there it is!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pain

So I had a major setback after last week's training when my plantar faciitis flared up on me.  It pissed me off something awful, because I really have been healthy so long.  I was actually used to moving/walking/running without pain, just as I got used to living WITH pain a few years ago when I couldn't get rid of it.  I think several factors played into it.  For starters, the distance was too much.  I knew going into it that 10 miles was too many miles, which is why I said I wanted to do 8.  Of course getting lost and all of that forced me to do almost 10.  The route we did was pretty hilly, and I don't think that did me any favors, especially since it really strains your feet.  At least it does me anyway.  I also think the warm up they did before the run set me off on a bad foot (pun intended).  A ton of squats and jumping jacks, which just feels so jarring to me.  On a separate note, every time a man (and it always seems to be a man) is gung ho about incorporating jumping jacks into a workout, I want to strap a set of big honking DD boobs on him, and see if he feels differently about jumping jacks after about 5 or so.  Anyway!

On Monday I tried to run on the treadmill because it was a thousand degrees outside, and my left foot that was already hurt started barking at me, and then my right calf just completely seized up.  I kept pausing the treadmill to stretch my calf out, but it wasn't having any part of it.  I finally stopped the treadmill after letting out a very frustrated F bomb, which I"m sure the other gym goers enjoyed, and opted to run on the indoor track.  I usually avoid the track for 2 reasons:  1, people like to let their little kids play on it, even though there are signs all over the place saying that only people 16 and older are supposed to be on it.  It's kind of hard to do laps when you're dodging some wild toddler running out of control, or women who bring their Cadillac sized strollers up there to do very leisurely laps around and gossip with their girlfriends. (note to these ladies, this is why God invented bars and brunch places)  2, the track is BORING.  It takes 12 laps to make a mile, so doing any kind of distance is challenging since you have to keep track of how many laps you've done.  Regardless, it's what I had, so I made do with it.  I did probably about 2.5 miles total, and the next day my foot was worse.

After icing and stretching my foot all week, I emailed my coach and told her about my foot.  She thinks I"m daft for trying to do the 2 marathons and wants me to switch to the half for both PDX and SF.  I told her that I am firm on doing the Portland full even if it takes me 7 hours and I have to crawl over the finish line with bloody stumps.  So, there was an awkward exchange of emails back and forth about me downgrading one of the races, which I do not want to do.  It just upset me, because I feel like the only person who believes in me and doesn't think I'm nuts is Eric.  He has never once been like "Shouldn't you think about dialing it back?", he's always so encouraging.  I mean, I wouldn't mind running just the half for SF, but come what may, I've gotta have the mileage in to do a full marathon.   We did compromise and decide that I didn't have to make a decision until after training today about SF, and that I could do 5 miles instead of 10 today.

I thought the route for today's training was WAY better than last weeks.  I didn't get lost which is always a plus!  But it was in a cool part of a residential Portland neighborhood that had tons of old school houses, and it was a flat course.  I started out with a lady who was super nice, but her knee was bothering her, and she'd forgotten her inhaler, so we were just walking for the first mile plus.  I was enjoying chatting with her, but I really did kind of want to run, so that was totally bumming me out.  She finally told me to just go ahead and do my thing, and admittedly I was a little relieved.  I hate to say it, but I was loving being alone with my own thoughts once I got going.  I think I am just always going to be someone who likes to be alone when they run.  Not that everyone in the group isn't super awesome, they totally are, I guess I am just what you'd call a "cat runner" as opposed to a "dog runner".  Other than my foot, I physically felt pretty good, and felt like I was in a good place mentally too.  I barely looked at my Garmin, which is very unlike me, I just depended on the beeps to tell me when I'd gone another mile.  I notice that I tend to not look at it when I'm actually enjoying my run.

I did have to pee mega bad about halfway through the run, and got into the skankiest portapotty known to man.  I mean seriously, it's one of those portapotties where you step in and immediately say, "I so wish I had a penis and could pee standing up".  Let's just say I put the "hover" move into use, and there was a good 5 inches of space between me and the scariness below.  No way in hell was I sitting on that biohazard.

I finished my five miles in an hour and 29 minutes, which is slow, but was due to the first mile being a walk.  I really think I could have finished in an hour if I'd been on my own, but I'm not too worried about it.  My foot feels somewhat ok, though it does hurt a bit.  I stretched and iced when I got home, so I'm hoping that it calms down!

And I'm sorry for the lack of pics on the blog lately, I know it makes the posts kind of boring!  I need to get in gear and start including some.  For now, here's a picture of Molly, who I have barely posted about!


This is actually from a few weeks back, but she had a sore on her leg she would not stop licking, and she would tolerate bandages for about 45 seconds, which required me to get creative.  I put her in one of my shirts so that her boo-boo wold be covered.  She was flaming pissed at me about it, as you can see from the picture.  She is such a diva, but we love her!  I do miss Natasha, because she was so sweet and lovely.  Molly is a little more aloof, but loves us in her weird little way.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

First Group Training Report!

Well, I can happily report that I did my first ever training run with a running group and survived!  It was questionable at points whether I would survive, and I will elaborate on that in a bit.

I could have just slapped myself this morning for being a ball of anxiety.  I got a horrible night's sleep last night, and woke up every single hour on the hour, and I know it's because I was nervous about doing this run today!  I wasn't even this nervous for my first race in 2009!  Every time I would wake up I would think, "Seriously?!  You are so dumb, just stop it."  But then an hour would pass and I would struggle awake again.  *sigh*  I ended up throwing in the towel and getting up around 5 am, which I"m glad I did.  It gave me plenty of time to have a smoothie, a cup of coffee and do my Yin Yoga DVD.  Ya'll know how much I love my Yin Yoga!

I got to the meeting spot, and approaching the big group of people was hard, but I did it.  Everyone was super welcoming and kind, just as they have been over Facebook.  I met my mentor and my coach, which was cool.  When they asked me if I had "technical food" with me, I told them I brought one of my Gu Shots with me, hoping that was the right thing to say.  My mentor was like, "I'm impressed!  You have your electrolyte water, technical food, you're wearing good gear.  You seem to be experienced at running!"  I just about fell out at that, I don't know that anyone would mistake this chubby girl for an experienced runner, but I was happy to not be the gomer of the group.  After most people got there, they did a warm up and also had a lady share her story about her daughter with leukemia.  Thankfully the daughter is doing well, but sounds like it has been a rough road for the last 2 years.  :(

So here's where things get interesting.  I had planned on doing 8 miles, which was the shortest long run you could do if you were signed up for the marathon.  I signed up to run/walk, but it seemed most people were doing just a walk.  There was another lady who had a similar pace/running style to me, so they paired her up with me, but she was doing the 9 mile route.  They handed out the routes, and pardon the expression, but the routes were a complete clusterfuck.  And there wasn't much hand holding in the route department, they just hand you a piece of paper with poor directions on it, and you have to pull up the big girl panties and figure it out.

My running partner today was a lady named Malu from Columbia, and she was super nice, funny, and talked just the right amount.  I got a bit of a side stitch in the beginning, but managed to work it out.  Malu's style of running was perfect and just like mine, we just kind of plodded along, then walked when needed.   We started out pretty good, but ended up getting terribly lost by following some of the other team members who didn't know what they were doing, then trying to correct our mistakes by following the crappy directions on the sheet they gave us.  We somewhat got on track, and by the time we did, Malu and I decided that it made sense for me to just do 9 miles.  So we continued on but got turned around AGAIN.  We were both pretty frustrated, especially since the area we were in was nothing but hills, so our quads and butts were burning!  We finally turned around after looking for a street that didn't exist, and decided to go back to home base.

As all this is going on, my faithful Garmin was beeping off the miles.  Though I was feeling rough, I smiled when it beeped at the 8th mile, because that's officially the furthest I've ever gone on a run.  Now granted Malu and I were not running by miles 8 and 9 (her foot was bothering her and the hills had just robbed our legs of any energy), but I still felt proud.  When we got back to the meeting spot, my Garmin said we'd done 9.3 miles!  I think we actually went almost 10, because Malu turned her GPS on sooner than I did, and she had us at 9.87.  Let's just say I did 9.5 for fairness sake.  My legs definitely feel a little beat up, but I am super happy that I challenged myself by doing this.  And I'm also thankful I had Malu with me.  As anxious as I was about running with someone, she ended up being a really good partner to run with.  I wouldn't have pushed myself beyond 8 miles without her (and without getting lost of course), and I was thankful I was lost with her and that I wasn't by myself.  If I'd been by myself I would have had a complete stroke and probably cried.  Getting lost scares me to death!

Also, I tried out both of my electrolyte tablets today, and definitely recommend both.  They both tasted pretty good and gave me a boost.  I also ate one of those Gu Shots in the chocolate mint flavor.  Oh my...it was just like a big spoonful of cake frosting.  Super yum!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Four on the Fifth

So I ran today for the first time in a really long time (well, since the Helvetia 10k!), and it certainly had no right to be a good run.  I've eaten like shit, I ate junk food and and pounded alcohol last night (you:  "Yeah it's you, so we assumed"), have barely run (you:  "Again, that's a given with you"), and didn't sleep a super long time last night.  This morning I got up and sucked down 2 cups of coffee and no breakfast, and then Eric dropped me off at a friend's house to check in on their dog.  I have been taking care of their dog in the mornings this week while they are out of town, and since Eric had stuff to do this morning, I told him to drop me off at their house and I would run home after taking care of Henry.  I figured it would be a good test of where I am at physically.  I have my very first group training run tomorrow and it's 8 MILES (gulp), so I need to get my damn life together.  I figured doing this run would show me whether tomorrow is going to be hell, or if it's going to be ok.

I went into the run saying to myself that I was just going to give in to the experience and not worry about my speed, and that's exactly what I did.  I was slower than all get out, but my breathing was good, my legs felt good, and I felt good physically.  I was doing about a 13 minute mile when I was "running", but I was perfectly happy with that.  I really didn't even take that many walk breaks because I didn't need them.  When the run ended, I was left with a sense of  "I could probably do another 4 of those without crying in public or having to go to the hospital", which was a relief.  It helped that the temps here dropped, and the weather was actually pretty perfect for running.  It was cool with a faint breeze, and there was a ton of cloud cover.  As you know, the sun and I are mortal enemies unless it's about 30 degrees and sunny.

As I said, I have my first group run tomorrow and I am SO nervous.  I have been talking with a few of the people on Facebook and they are all very nice and welcoming, so it's more of my social anxiety stuff.  I am terrified that people will want to talk to me while I am running, which always leads to the side stitches from hell when I try to engage in conversation while running.  It hard core messes with my breathing, and it's part of the reason I prefer to not run with people.  It's not really one of those things where you can be like "Hey I know we're on a team together and raising funds for cancer research, but can you not talk to me?"  I just hope I can run through any pain that's happening without looking like too much of an ass.  I am going to lay out all of my stuff tonight so that I'm not freaking out and scrambling in the morning.

I did a bit of running related shopping this weekend.  All of my running clothes are totally ghetto, and the ones that aren't are winter clothes, so I went into Old Navy yesterday to pick up some stuff.  They were having a great sale and had everything in the store 30% off, so I bought a little more than I intended.  I bought several workout tank tops, 2 pairs of capris and 2 pairs of shorts.  I normally shy away from shorts because women's running shorts are SO short.  I'm not a prude, but I do like to have my inner thighs intact and not ground to hamburger by the evil forces of chub rub.  These seem as though they won't ride up too bad.  I may try them on a short run (ha!) and see how they do.  I also went and bought electrolyte tablets for my water at the suggestion of the coach.  She actually recommended bringing a sports drink, but I am not touching Gatorade or Powerade with a 10 foot pole.  Not only are they gross, but if I"m going to drink my calories, it's going to be in beer form.  I'd heard about the electrolyte tabs and thought I'd give them a shot.  I stopped by a Dick's Sporting Goods today and got two different brands to see which I would like better.  One is the one the SF race will be using, I think it's called Nuun, and I got the grape flavor.  I also got the Gu brand in lemon lime.  Hopefully they are both fairly decent and don't taste like that Heed shit that seems to be all the rage at the Portland races.  I do like that they are barely any calories, and don't have a ton of sugar in them!  I will let you guys know what I think of the tabs tomorrow!