Saturday, August 31, 2013

Look Ma, No Cramps!

I was totally dreading today's run due to the weather reports of it getting freaking hot again.  We had a couple of days where it was in the 70's and raining, a total tease.  Of course when it comes to a 3 day weekend where I also have to do a long run, it's going to get hotter than balls!  But, I cannot skip a single long run until my marathon, so I definitely just had to get it done.  I got a good night's sleep last night and laid all of my stuff out the night before so that I could try to get out of the door by 6 am.  Things went mostly according to plan, though I actually ended up waiting until 6:30 when it got a little lighter.

I came downstairs this morning and found this very sweet note from Eric.  He always makes the coffee the night before so that all I have to do is press the button on the coffee maker to get it started.  Definitely was a great way to start my day, and I actually took the note with me in my pack for inspiration.  :)


I thought that I would include a picture of all my crap laid out too.  Let no one ever tell you that running isn't a complete production, especially when you get higher up in miles.  This doesn't even include my clothes and my thermos of Nuun!  I frankly am looking forward to not having to go to all this craziness when my two big races are over!


Also, under the advice of my friend Ally, I made the effort to get more potassium in my diet this week to see if it would help my leg cramps.  Unfortunately it involved ingesting two things I don't really like, bananas and coconut water.  I just really don't care for bananas and never have, especially if they are very ripe.  I just ended up having a smoothie every day for breakfast and threw a banana in so that I wouldn't have to really chew it or taste it.  And coconut water?  Blech!  I really have to make an effort to choke that stuff down, it tastes like dirty balls to me.   (Amusing quip from my husband:  "That is not a flavor profile I am familiar with.")  However, I figured that even coconut water was an acceptable alternative to the painful leg cramps I have been experiencing.

My route was basically the same as last week, except that my first loop was 6 miles, followed by 2 more 5 mile loops.  Things started out ok, except that the humidity was insane, and I was really having trouble breathing.  I didn't bring my sunglasses with me, so when the stupid sun rose up higher, I was blinded for the last 3 miles of my first lap.  That is pretty much when I started live Facebooking my run, just to give you some insight into some of the silly stuff that runs through my head, and also just to have some online company during my run.  The Facebooking ended up being kind of fun, though I tried to not be too annoying about it.  This is a taste of what I was running into.


Quite blinding right?  The sun and this crappy summer can frankly go F off!  I was so happy when that first 6 mile loop was done with.  I was drenched in sweat from the humidity and was so hot.  I splashed water on my face, got to use the bathroom, and ate my first Gu of the day.  Instead of taking another round of Nuun with me I took a coconut water that I had stashed in the freezer to keep the potassium party going.  Normally I kind of choke it down under duress, but I have to say, it was pretty decent in slushie form.  Of course it was thawed within about a minute of being in my hot hand, but it was nice while it lasted.

The second loop was easier than the first, and not just because it was shorter.  I swear the temperature had dropped a tiny bit, and there was a small breeze that would blow in now and again, which made things a little more bearable.  I did find that my hips were starting to bother me towards the end of the loop, as well as my toenails.  I knew the damn things were probably too long, but was too lazy to clip them last night, and I paid for that during my run!  My second loop felt like it went by pretty fast, and before I knew it, I was back at my house at mile 11.  I took a comically long pit stop where I took time to clip my toenails, change my sweat soaked socks, wrap my foot to protect a hot spot that was starting to form, eat some Cliff Bloks and refill my water.  Again, I was already so hot that I was definitely not in a hurry to get back outside when I knew I'd really be facing some intense heat.  But, I again knew I had to finish up one way or another, so I pushed myself back out.

By this time the side of the road that I normally go on was in full sun, and there was not a single patch of shade to be had.  I spontaneously decided to cross the street and run on the other side in the shade, which was not only going to drastically change my route, but was also a little more dangerous.  There are just some funky intersections that can be intense, especially combined with the asshats these days who like to text and drive, or generally not pay attention to their surroundings.  Regardless of the danger, having shade was a godsend!  By this time it was super hot, and if I'd had the sun on me, I probably would have quit.  As it was, I did a lot of walking because my hips were really feeling dodgy.

And then a funny thing happened.  As my Garmin ticked away the distance, I kept waiting for my leg cramps to appear at around mile 12 like they always do, but they never came.  I thought by mile 14 that I would surely start to feel cramps, then mile 15, then 16 but nope.  I was dumbfounded, amazed and so relieved!!  I guess I wasn't getting enough potassium, so a huge thanks to Ally for the banana and coconut water recommendation!  And maybe I'll learn to love coconut water....eventually.

I finished up feeling fairly good, although HOT.  Ya'll know how I feel about this weather!


So this time was a total roller coaster for me.  When I first saw that it was going to be about 4 hours, I was disappointed.  Then I didn't care, because I was so happy to be done and proud that I'd stuck it out in the heat that I figured I should be happy with whatever.  Then I put my time into a pace calculator and realized that I went FASTER than last week!  My pace last week was 15 minutes per mile, and would have put me at finishing the marathon in 6 and 50 minutes.  With this pace, I calculated that I am now on pace to finish in 6 and a half hours.  Now, I am certainly not going to qualify for the Olympics, but it's faster than before!  I definitely felt encouraged.  I still have a few weeks of training left, and I hope that I'm able to improve my speed even more.

I celebrated my run with lunch at a Mexican place by our house.  We probably always come across as alcoholic weirdos because we ask to sit in the bar every time, but that sign to the left of my fat head is why.  No minors, which means you can enjoy your meal in peace!  I asked for the smaller sized beer, and this is what they brought me.  And I am so polite that I finished it all!  ;)


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Finally, A Good One

THANK GOD!!!!!!!!!!

I won't keep you guys in suspense, I finally had a good run today.  Of course 2 weeks ago I had the leg cramps from hell and was dealing with heat, and last week I ended what was supposed to be a 15 mile run at 4 miles, and sobbed in my living room for almost an hour.  Short of being attacked by wolves or hit by a car, there was no way the run was going to be any worse today.

I think it all came down to being prepared emotionally and just plain old prepared to run.  I got a full night's sleep both Friday and last night..  I didn't eat totally ridiculous, somehow even in spite of the fact we were at the Oregon State Fair all day yesterday.  I laid all of my running gear and food out last night before bedtime, so that way I wasn't all scrambling around and flustered this morning.

I got up at about 6 am, got dressed, and then relaxed with a cup of coffee and a Cliff Bar.  I had never eaten a Cliff Bar in my life until this morning, and I have to say, WAY tastier than I'd anticipated.  It was also just the right amount of breakfast before a run, and obviously was fast too.  I wasn't the only one who seemed to think Cliff Bars were an excellent idea.  Since Molly is a begging hussy, this was my view from the kitchen table this morning:


Yes, I did end up giving her a treat finally, but not any of my chocolate mint Cliff Bar!  I finally got out the door at about 6:45 am, and decided instead of driving to the nicer location I'd been running in by work, to just do out and back intervals and use our house as my "aid station".  I kind of hate running around where I live.  It's not exactly nice or scenic, and there are definitely some creepers around.  It's very traffic heavy, which is good and bad.  It's super noisy, but at least there are people around if I'm getting my throat slit I guess.  I took my stab knuckles with me for my first 5 miles since it was early and not many people were around, just in case.

One thing that was good about me getting out early is that the weather was on my side, and my God how the weather makes a difference.  During my first 5 miles, not only was my pace on par, but I was actually enjoying myself.  It's been a long time since I've thought, "Wow, I really love doing this" when I've run, and feeling that was so encouraging and made me happy.  I do love running, but the heat lately has been clouding my judgement and totally tainting my feelings towards it.  Trotting along in the faint daylight and feeling coolness all around me was such a welcome change, and as a result, I saw some pace numbers on my Garmin that I hadn't seen in a long time.  I held to around a mid-11 minute pace, but occasionally was running in the 9's and 10's.  God knows my Garmin hasn't seen a pace in the 9's since I don't know when, so I was pretty happy!

As I expected, the first 5 miles felt pretty easy, and conveniently put me right in front of my house for a much needed potty break and a refueling opportunity.  I ate some Cliff Blocks, used the bathroom, got more electrolyte water and got back out there.  This interval was a bit tougher.  The sun was all the way up so it was definitely hotter, and I was quite a bit slower.  I didn't really feel discouraged though, I was just kind of intent on plodding along and doing my thing.  After about an hour and 15 minutes, I was finally at my front door again, and my hips were definitely feeling achy.  I refilled my water bottle, went to the bathroom again, and ate a chocolate Gu, which ya'll know is my snake oil when it comes to running.  I love that stuff.  I specifically saved it for last since I thought I would truly need the boost around mile 10.  I also decided to experiment with something I read on the internet to try to hold off the leg cramps I inevitably seem to get around mile 10.  Pickle juice.

I'd heard for years about pickle juice, and especially football players taking it for cramps, but hadn't really given it much thought.  Quite a few running sites recommended it, and I figured it couldn't hurt.  I took about a shot glass worth of pickle juice, and bagged some up to put in my fuel belt as well in case cramps hit me out on my final interval.

I had mentally steeled myself for the fact that my last 5 miles were probably not going to be fun, but that I had to do them, I would survive, and I would be fine.  And I kind of was fine until about mile 12, and that's when my legs really started in on me again.  Not full on cramps, but twinges of cramps that wanted to happen.  My left knee also started hurting, so I really had to walk a lot during my last interval.  Before my turnaround point at 12.5 miles, I decided to deploy my second shot of pickle juice since my legs were beginning to cramp a little more insistently.  I did find that the cramps tamped down a little bit, but at this point my knee, hips and left foot joined the chorus of  "Screw YOU if this is how you're going to treat us!"  I trotted along when I could, but it was still incredibly painful.  It went that way on and off until mile 14, when my leg cramps got dire and I could only muster a pained walk.  That shit HURTS man, seriously, and it's worse because my breathing and energy was just fine.  I mentally could have run, but physically my legs were absolutely done.  I must have had the craziest look on my face, because I was so laser focused on finishing, and I was mentally repeating "Your legs and hips are fine" over and over in my head.  I finally got to about 14.75 miles, and as I waited at the crosswalk for the light to turn, I BEGGED my body to cooperate.  As far as I was concerned, my legs could have the cramp party of their life once I was at home, but I really did want to finish strong and at a run.  Somehow, I managed to do a pained trot for the last little bit of my run, and to ignore the horrible cramps.  I finished up in front of my house with a loud F bomb, which I'm sure my religious neighbor who was in his front yard (and who looks like Ron Jeremy) LOVED.  


Even if it's slow and lame, I'm totally proud of this today.  I definitely have concerns about the consistent cramping of my legs, as well as having a 15 min/mile pace, but for today I'm going to be proud of this.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Better Than Nothing

Today was another psychologically hard day, and definitely not one of the proudest in my running journey.  I had a 15 miler on the schedule for this week, which I was completely fine and at peace with even after the parade of leg cramps from last week.  So, great right?  I was going to follow roughly the same plan/route from last week, since the location was good, and allowed me to space my tech food out pretty well.

In the ultimate example of "best laid plans", Tuesday Eric woke up and told me that he felt like complete crap.  Exhausted, drained, sore throat, hurting ears, sniffles, the works.  I knew immediately that I was going to get whatever he had.  My body has a weird cue that it gives me when I am going to get a cold, and it's that my teeth hurt.  During my long run last week, whenever I would bend down to stretch, I noticed my teeth ached horribly.  I had freaked out about it initially, but I felt fine for the rest of the weekend so I hadn't really worried about it much after that.

Sure enough, by the end of the day Wednesday I had a sore throat, stuffy sinuses and just felt an almost debilitating exhaustion.  I could barely hold my head up by the end of the day at work, and I think we even went to bed around 8:30 that night.  I was trying to stay positive and thought maybe I would feel better by the weekend, but my dreams were quickly dashed by Friday night. I was wringing my hands about my long run, and whether to knock it out Saturday, or give myself one more day to recover.  I decided to do the long run Sunday, but ultimately feel like that was a mistake.  Not only was I completely racked with guilt all day yesterday, but I physically felt better yesterday morning than any point of today.  I guess that's the cold gamble you take, but I am still so disappointed.

Today was a disaster.  I woke up feeling completely miserable, but determined to do my run.  I knew that 15 wasn't in the cards, but I was again determined to get out there and at least do 10 miles.  I wasn't sure how much I was going to be capable of doing, but I brought some tech food and my thermos with my electrolyte water.  I figured being over prepared was better than not having enough, especially since I thought maybe I would feel better once I got out and about.  I pulled my clothes on and drove out to my route, but was already starting to have doubts that 10 miles was going to happen, but thought I could at least do 7 miles.  My sinuses felt like bugs were crawling on the inside of them, my nose was still super stuffy, and my lungs were totally wonky.

Long story short, I didn't do 10 miles, 7 miles or even 5 miles.  I ran one mile and walked a very defeated 3 miles.  So, that's 4 miles.  I just don't even know how to feel.  Once I got out there the cold got the best of me, mostly with my breathing, but also with the extreme exhaustion that has come with it.  And of course, because this godforsaken summer is never going to end, the sun was beating down on me and the humidity was at about 85%, which was just compounding how awful I felt.  Especially once I got hot I knew I had to stop.

I cried the entire drive home, and for a good while after I got home.  I have had some low points in my life, but today was really one of the ones that shook me to the core.  I felt like a loser and a failure, which due to some other things kind of going on in the background of my life, was the very LAST thing I needed to feel like.  I needed something to be proud of and feel good about, such as running 15 miles or at least running a decent amount, so not being able to have that victory was a total blow to my confidence.  Eric being the amazing husband he is picked up the pieces when I got home.  I got a lecture along the lines of  "well YEAH you weren't able to run, you have an f'ing cold."  He did his best to encourage me, but I still feel completely lousy.

Hopefully next week is better.  I'm pretty tired of writing bummer posts.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

14 Miles

I literally, truly have no idea why I am doing this sometimes.  I feel like a psychotic masochist, but no more so than I did yesterday.

I had a 14 mile scheduled, and decided earlier in the week that I was going to run it on my own and skip the training group this week.  And for once in my life, I had my shit together with a capital T for my run.  I went to Dick's Sporting Goods and bought some more tech food, as well as a really sweet half gallon thermos.  Since I would not have the luxury of the TNT aid stations I planned to use my car as an "aid station" in a central location in my route, and to stash some tech food and electrolyte water to have a break at mile 7.  I laid out all of my gear the night before, I planned my route out, I planned which miles I was going to eat my tech food at, I made refrigerator oatmeal with a chopped date in it to have something quick to grab for breakfast.   I even remembered to get some bags of ice for my ice bath after the run. I actually managed to get a pretty good night's sleep the night before, and do yoga the next morning.  In hindsight, I should have probably skipped the yoga so that I could have started my run earlier, but the idiot local weather forecasters led me to believe that the temperatures were going to stay in the 60's for the morning, and that we were going to even get rain!  I trusted the forecast, which was my first mistake, so I probably got started around 7:45.

I parked at my work parking lot and was super proud of myself.  I had my thermos filled with icy cold electrolyte water, I had a bag with my tech food (my first "dose" was in my running pack), a half teaspoon of sea salt, and had my written out plan for my run with me.  The plan was to do my first loop, (which would be about 7 miles and conveniently ended at the car) stop to use the bathroom at the office, have some salt, eat my second batch of tech food and refill my water bottle.  So, I started off feeling confident and prepared, and I honestly felt pretty good.  I ran almost 2 miles straight without stopping to walk, my legs felt pretty good, and my breathing was ok.  What wasn't ok was the weather.  I noticed right away how horribly humid it was, and it was nowhere near 60 degrees.  Not only was it not raining, but there were very few clouds, and the sun was beating down on me hardcore.  I hit the 3 mile mark and was already pretty hot and miserable, but I thought that maybe the weather would change and I would at least get some cloud cover.  My Garmin beeped to signal mile 4, so I paused it to have my first dose of Gu.  I thought maybe it would give me a little boost.  It kind of did, and I kept going on.

Instead of cloud cover moving in, it stayed clear, and I could feel it getting hotter and hotter.  I looked down at my weather app and saw that it was 70 degrees at 9 am already, and my heart sank.  I knew I was in for the bitch of all bitches with this run, but I really had no choice but to keep going.

As planned, I reached the office around mile 7 and popped in really quickly to use the bathroom.  I will say that it was awesome to have a planned place to use the bathroom, because it meant that I didn't restrict myself from having water along my route.  I find that normally I will barely drink water along the way because I'm scared that I will have to pee but have nowhere to do it!  This is especially the case with the runs with TNT, since it seems they always have these odd routes with no bathrooms.  While in the bathroom, I was able to wash my face and arms with cold water, and also dumped a cup of ice cold water over my head.  It was super refreshing and gave me a bit of a boost.  I stopped at the car, ate some Cliff Bloks and had a pinch of salt.  The thermos was still chock full of ice, so the electrolyte water I had in there pretty much tasted like the best thing ever.  I refilled my water bottle with electrolyte water and plenty of ice, and started the second and final loop.  The break revived me quite a bit, and I felt a little more confident about finishing up.  That feeling lasted until about mile 10.

I cannot describe how hot it was.  It was probably 76 degrees, which doesn't sound like a lot, but when the sun is beating down on you, the humidity is thick in the air and you're surrounded by nothing but concrete and asphalt, it feels like 100.  I am not much of a crier, but I just wanted to stop and sob right there on the sidewalk.  My legs began breaking down on me, just like they did last week, and every single step was agony.  I mentally railed at the world.  I cussed the weather, the weather forecasters, and wished very ill will on the people who love heat and sun.  I tried to think about ice and snow, about crisp fall days, the icy run I did on New Year's Day, but thinking about that just made me sad because I can't turn time forward to that weather.  I began sprinting for short bursts just to try to get things over with, and was manically whispering over and over to myself, "You can do this."  Thank God no one was around me, because they would have called authorities and put me in a room next to Amanda Bynes.  And this is one of the many examples of why I don't like to run with others, so that I can mumble to myself like a crazy person!

My Garmin beeped to signal mile 11, which meant that I got to have another shot of tech food.  This time I had a mocha flavored Cliff Shot, which was actually pretty tasty.  I felt a tiny bit revived, and began running again.  Well, I say running, but it was pretty much an old man shuffle at that point.  With 3 miles left to go, I began having the worst calf cramps of my life, especially in my right calf.  Whenever I would run or even walk fast, my calf got Charley horse level cramps.  For the next three miles I alternated painful shuffling, loud F bombs, and stopping to stretch and rub my calves, hoping that I could coax my muscles to relax.  It just wasn't to be, my legs were just in complete breakdown on me.  I have never been that psychologically distressed in my life, especially because I could not control any of the things that were making my life a living hell.

I have never, ever been so happy to see the parking lot of where I work.  Hearing my Garmin beep at the 14 mile mark was like hearing angels sing.  I stumbled to my car and gulped down 16 ounces of ice cold electrolyte water until it felt like someone drove a railroad spike into my brain.


This is a woman who is super happy to have air conditioning blowing full blast into her face.  Somehow I'm smiling, even though I wanted to die.  And sorry for the wonk eyes, I'm still trying to figure out my new phone's camera!

So, as far as pace and all of that, here is the damage:


I have to admit, I am pretty terrified when I look at this pace.  When you get the unicorns, ponies and "yay you did 14 miles" out of the way, I pretty much did a 15 minute pace.  I did some math, and if shit stays like this, it will take me about 7 hours to do the marathon.  I mean....7 hours of anything (other than sleeping or a Breaking Bad marathon), is going to be horrific.  And I honestly don't know what to do.  My speed is my speed, and I go just about as fast as my chubby body and bum feet allow me.  What if I'm one of those gomers who is the last person on the course?  What if they're packing up the marathon and I'm like barely finished?  And the other thing that is scaring the shit out of me is my body.  My legs have consistently failed on me now 2 weeks in a row around the 12 mile mark.  Um, that's not even halfway through the full, what the hell happens when I'm in the middle of the race and this happens?  I mean are the next 12-13 miles just agony and leg cramps?  Am I literally going to have to crawl to the finish line?  I am truly scared of that most of all.

I do feel like the weather is really screwing me in a way.  If it were colder, I do think I'd be able to do more running and be a little faster.  But when the sun is beating down on me, I simply can't bear it.  It will be cool on race day, so the odds will be in my favor.  Until then though, I've got like 2 months of utter misery left, and it's so depressing.  I mean, I do feel proud of myself for sticking it out and finishing, but I do feel a little beaten down, and I am dreading my future runs.  I hate that, but there it is.

I always hate leaving a blog post on a depressing note, so here is a picture of Molly.  She is fully vested in her retirement, and is absolutely unimpressed by running.  I have tried running with her twice, and she looked at me like she'd rather be skinned alive than go on a jog.  I'm just going to let her do what she does best, which is sleep in ridiculously awkward positions with a fantastic display of vampire teeth:


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Overalls

Today I did something I rarely do, which is to get up and do a run in the morning before work.  Things are just getting to critical mass, and I'm kind of forced to do it, since I can't run 14+ miles one day a week!  It's just way too hot to do it after work, which is my preferred time, and my legs/feet physically cannot handle a treadmill.  I gotta get miles in somehow, so, there it is.

I woke up at 5 am and had my clothes all ready to go, probably a good thing since I am barely human at that hour of the day!  It was still dark and I was a bit skeeved out about that, so I puttered around and made coffee and took Molly for a quick walk until it got a little lighter, so it was probably closer to 5:40ish by the time I got out of the door to actually run.  I glanced down at my weather app and saw that it was 52 degrees, although it felt much warmer than that.  Better than the 80 degrees my fool ass ran in last week.

There is really nothing special or spectacular to report about the run, other than I kind of hated it.  I felt tired, sluggish, and my foot was giving me all kinds of hell.  I really wanted to just do 2 miles, but I knew I needed to push for the 3 miles.  I know I should be doing more miles than that, but I'm really trying to spare my foot and get away with the bare minimum that I can at this point.  Plus, I seem to be so slow these days that doing 5-6 miles would take me like 12 hours!  I just did a simple out and back, since that's all that my pre-coffee brain can handle.

I was amused at one point because I saw a young teenage girl out walking her dog, and she was wearing overalls.  I totally had one of those old people moments where I was thinking, "Oh JESUS are those coming back into style?!?"  I mean, I wore overalls when I was a freshman in high school (paired with crop tops and combat boots OF COURSE, a la "My So Called Life"), and that feels like yesterday, even though it was roughly 200 years ago.  I suppose I'm a little in denial that the fashion pendulum is swinging back yet again.

I did my 3 miles in about 42 minutes.  Not exactly spectacular, but hey I got out there and got shit done, so I'm good with it.

I was pretty excited to get a book I ordered from Amazon that was recommended to me by one of the ladies in my running group.  We were talking about injuries during the hellish last 2 miles of the route on Saturday, and I was telling her that my foot was being a total jerk.  She recommended this Trigger Point Therapy book to me, and said that it worked wonders for her her hurt shoulder, as well as heel pain in one of her friends.  It was pretty cheap ($15), and I am willing to give just about anything a shot when it comes to my foot.  The whole premise is that sometimes the thing that's actually injured isn't necessarily what's in pain.  You're supposed to massage these trigger points a certain way, and it resolves the pain.  The book is divided into sections based on the body part, and then from there tells you where to massage depending what area of that body part hurts.  I just got it, so I haven't had time to dig into it, but I'll let you guys know what I think!






Sunday, August 4, 2013

Jawbone

First of all, I got the warm fuzzies when I logged into my blog and saw that I'd crossed the 10,000 views mark!  Thanks to those of you who read, even if you're just lurking.  I promise I don't bite, so if you ever want to comment, feel free!  ;)  Thanks again for visiting my silly blog and reading my craziness!

On to more running related things...so I am fairly surprised today at the fact my body feels decent.  Even when I got home yesterday, my body wasn't completely locked up, and my foot was ok.  Not great, but ok.  When I woke up, I fully expected to feel that sharp pain in my heel when I stood on my feet, but my foot was only a slight bit sore.  Shockingly I had no soreness in my hips or upper legs, which is amazing considering that's what broke down on me yesterday at the end of my run.  I guess ice baths are a miracle!

So I was going to write about my new "toy" yesterday, but it would have made my post too long.  There is a 100 mile challenge going on at my work, and if you signed up, you were given an UP Jawbone band.  For those who aren't familiar, it's this nifty bracelet/band thing you wear on your wrist, and it acts as a pedometer.  It syncs with an app on your phone and tells you how many steps you take a day, and you can also wear it when you sleep, and it gives you information on your sleep patterns.  You can set goals for how many steps to take a day, and how many hours you want to sleep per night.  There is also a food tracking option on it, and though I'm not using that, I imagine it would do some calculations between how much you're eating vs. what you've burned.  You can also find any of your friends who are using UP and have them on your "team".  This is what the band looks like:


I personally don't like wearing stuff on my wrists, so there are times that the band gives me the heebie jeebies.  I wore it to sleep on Friday night (my first night with it), mostly because I was pretty fascinated about that aspect, and how much I deep sleep vs my restless sleep.  I wore it for about half the night last night, but finally had to take it off because it was annoying me.  Now the pedometer part is much more fun and motivating than I thought it would be.  When you log into the app, this is what the readout looks like:


You have to periodically plug the band into your phone in order to sync it, and I have to admit, I'm a bit excited to see how many steps I've gone each time I plug it into my phone.  Yesterday was a big one since I wore it during my training.  I got home and had gone about 28,000 steps!  As an example of how motivating the band can be, I looked down at about 8:30 last night and saw that I was at 29,899 steps.  I hadn't planned on taking Molly for a walk, but I was so close to 30,000 steps that I took her for a half mile walk!  Today we did a 2 mile walk with her, and I was disappointed that I was only at 7600 steps by the time we got back, so I was really making a point of walking around the house, and finding reasons to go walk upstairs to get stuff to try to get close to 10,000 steps.

The sleep part of it is pretty interesting, though I don't think it's very accurate.  I mean you'd pretty much have to have information about your brain activity to be fully accurate about what's going on there, but it's still a good guide I think.  It's also a good reminder that getting enough sleep is just as important as getting proper nutrition and exercise.

So here is the one bummer, I don't think I can participate in the 100 mile challenge at work because I can't for the life of me get my app synced to the leaderboard on our work system.  It's a total bummer, because just in the 2 days I've had the band, I'm pleasantly surprised that I'm less of a lazy ass than I previously thought!  It's 2:30 now and I am at over 8,000 steps.  I feel like I could definitely do decently, but alas, I will have to use the band for my own personal goals.  Eric got one of the bands as well, so maybe he and I can have some friendly competition.  ;)

If you're looking at getting one of the bands, they are not cheap in the least.  They are around $130, which is pretty steep!  I don't know that I would have gone and bought one of the bands on my own, but I am pretty grateful to have been given one.  I've only had it 2 days and it's pretty fun and motivating, and I can't wait to see how many steps I can rack up a week with my runs!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Horses, Goats and Superheros

Today will go down as a strange day indeed.  A good day, but a strange one.

Today was the big one, a 13 mile run with my training team through Portland.  I tossed and turned all night because I was nervous and scared to death about having to do the run.  My foot is still messed up just doing short runs, so I couldn't imagine what it was going to feel like at 13 miles.  I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30 am, which is really just a godawful hour to be up at on a Saturday.  I didn't have time for niceties like yoga, and I was extra bad because I skipped breakfast.  So bad!!  But I just couldn't imagine throwing anything down my throat at that hour of the morning other than a cup of coffee.  I figured the aid stations the TNT people provide are always well stocked with different snacks, so I was just going to have to make do with that.  So I packed a Gu and a bottle of electrolyte water and sped out to Portland.

I definitely felt a little impatient this morning with the whole "to do" of being with the group.  And I will preface this with the fact that I love what TNT stands for and the work they do.  But I am so used to doing things on my own schedule that it's hard to get used to the way the group does things.  When you get there there's at least 30 minutes to an hour of "stuff", like presenting a cape to the person who did the most fundraising, people getting up to tell their personal stories about cancer, lectures about eating enough salt packets, a warm up exercise session, a group picture, etc.  I was a bit impatient because I'd really hauled ass to get to Portland on time, and also because I knew it was going to take me so long to do my run that I couldn't afford to have the touchy feely stuff going on for an hour.  I know that sounds absolutely horrible, but I'm just being honest.  I made a mental note to myself that I am going to do my long run by myself next week, just to take a little break from the fuss.  Being able to get started by 6 am instead of 8 am would be pretty rad.

I started out with a girl from work who is also doing the half for San Francisco, but plans to walk it.  Again, I felt obligated to walk with her so that she wouldn't be by herself, so for the first 3 miles, I pretty much walked.  I enjoyed talking with her, but also was feeling anxious and just wanting to run.  We stopped at the aid station, which was her turn around point, and I was secretly glad since it meant I'd be by myself after that.  After slamming down some gummy bears and peanut butter pretzels, I finally was able to start jogging.  It was a little rough at first because we were going up this giant hill to Forest Park, so my legs were burning!  I finally was able to make it to the top of the hill, which was my turn around point.  I stopped to stretch my legs and eat the Gu I'd brought with me.  I'm pretty convinced that Gu can solve world problems, I always feel like I could take on the world after eating that stuff!!  The chocolate mint one is extra good too, it's just ridiculous.  Once I ate that and started back down the hill, I found a burst of energy, and settled into this really great rhythm.  I wasn't even overly concerned with my Garmin, though I could hear it ticking off the miles one by one.  Now, I guess I should back up and tell you that there were two times where I stopped my Garmin and forgot to start it up again, so I was slightly in the dark about how far I'd actually gone.  Doh!

So at around the 7 (or 8?) mile mark, I saw my first unusual sight.  Unbeknownst to me, the Portland Police have the horses for their mounted patrol stabled right in NW Portland.  I ran past a horse arena, and they had four of them out there just kind of doing their thing.  They were beautiful, but also kind of cracking me up because they were all taunting one another.  Two of them were really teasing one another, just nipping and squealing and having a grand time.  I stopped to take a few pictures:


I could have literally stood all day and watched them, that black horse especially was so beautiful, even though he did seem like a little asshole for biting the others.

I continued on and after a couple more miles, I ran into my next weird sighting.  It started out with me seeing someone running in a Superman t-shirt, which I honestly didn't think much about, until a woman ran past me wearing a cape.  I still thought that maybe it was just Portlanders being Portlanders, because that's how shit rolls around here.  If you see something strange, it may just be someone letting their freak flag fly.  But that myth got dispelled pretty quickly after another few feet.  All of a sudden I began to see more and more people running and dressed up in superhero garb.  Hulks, Supermans, Batmans, Poison Ivys, Wonder Womans...you name it, it ran past me.  As I continued down the waterfront I could hear someone on a loudspeaker, and realized that it was some sort of official race.  I got to the central location of where everything was going down and just about had a heart attack.  There was a big group of dudes dressed as Storm Troopers, Iron Man and Boba Fett and some other characters I don't know, and I pretty much had to run through a gauntlet of that.  I am not too keen on mascots and stuff like that, so I was FLYING through there.  We found out later that there was some kind of official superhero race going on, and there was a 10k/5k/2k.

During one of my walk breaks one of the TNT ladies caught up with me, so I continued to walk with her for a bit.  My body felt a little grouchy, but nothing that I couldn't work through.  By 10 miles (or what I estimate was 10), I even still felt capable of running, so I did.  Then suddenly with 2 miles left to go, my body just completely seized up.  My legs were cramping like a mother, my hips were aching, and I really felt I couldn't go another step.  If I could have sat down in the middle of the sidewalk and not moved for 7 hours without looking like a complete ass, I totally would have.  In the midst of all of this, I heard a bizarre but familiar sound.  I suddenly realized that there was an abandoned lot with about 20 goats in it!  Talk about the ultimate "what the hell" thing to see in the middle of a city.

The same TNT lady caught up to me again, and we just walked the rest of the way together.  It was one of the few times I was glad someone was with me, because I was able to focus on talking instead of the fact that my body was shutting down.  It was a struggle, but I have never been so damn happy to see the end of a route as the one today!!  I took the time to stretch out a little before stumbling off to my car, and I actually felt really good and proud of myself for sticking it out.  I took an ice bath when I got home, ate the huge turkey sandwich that my wonderful hubby bought for me, and now I"m about to go off and take a nap!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Cooler Day

As you guys could tell from my Facebook post, I woke up today and was almost able to order my "The bitch died happy" tombstone, because not only was it cooler but also misting!  When I went out to walk Molly, there was the teensiest bit of rain hitting my face, and I was never so happy to feel it in my life.  I was actually excited about bagging up my running clothes and running this afternoon.  I really needed to have some sort of physical activity to try to boost my spirits.  I have been feeling really anxious and panicky the last couple of weeks, mostly due to work.  I've been really down all this week, which hasn't been very fun.  Hopefully things begin to look up soon.

Back to the weather...I was quite excited that the clouds never did burn off, and the temps stayed around 63 degrees.  And oh boy, what a difference from Tuesday!  Today I ran 1.2 miles without stopping, as opposed to Tuesday when I, gasping for air, had to take a walk break at a half mile.  And I could barely make it to that!  I certainly am not going to qualify for the Olympics anytime soon, but my time was much faster when I was running today than it was on Tuesday.  I even was mildly sad when I was nearing 3 miles, because it felt like it was over so fast. Of course with me, fast is relative and I'm not really fast at all!  But at least my time was about five and a half minutes faster than on Tuesday.


My foot is bothering me pretty bad still.  I'm just hoping that it can hold out for like 3 more months, and then it can fall off for all I care, ha ha.