September 28, 2010

The view from my discomfort zone

While I've said time and again that I don't enjoy the actual RUNNING part of running, there are certain specifics which make it... well... less uncomfortable. I stepped away from some of those tonight, in a little 3 miler that pushed me in ways I don't often push.

First, I don't like to run in the dark. I've done it once or twice, but don't like feeling I can't see where I'm going, even with street lights. Mainly, I don't like feeling I can't see the cracks in the sidewalks. Seeing as I don't have a headlamp, or a treadmill, this is something I'm going to have to get used to if I want to run more than weekends through the winter. I had a date to run with Superman tonight, and he arrived after dark, so there was my first dip outside my comfort zone. 

Wish I could tell you who took this.
Beautiful!  (Not like my neighborhood tonight)

I also don't like running in the rain.  I can't breathe through my nose because my sinuses fill and drain down my throat.  I'm still working on that deep breathing through my mouth thing.  I'm not sure how I've avoided rain running this year (except for that one race I DNF'd, in part because of the wet).  It'd been raining on and off most of the day, so I was in for a wet one regardless. It wasn't actively raining when we started. There was some mist, but halfway round the route the drops started getting larger, until it was full on rain. I was completely in the discomfort zone by this point. 

My first race, I ran 5K at an 11-minute-mile pace.  My 10K PR is at just above 11 minutes per mile.  Somewhere between then and now, my pace has increased to somewhere around a 13-minute-mile. Granted, I am going longer distances, but that is still a hefty increase. Superman runs closer to a 10-minute mile, and has suggested several times we work on speed. He suggested it again tonight, and this time I agreed. We decided on a 3 mile run (I originally wanted to do 4). He wanted to do it at the 11-minute-mile pace I used to run. No Garmen, but he's pretty sure he can gauge our speed accurately. I suggested, since my thighs were still feeling the 11-miler we did Sunday, he give me the first mile to warm up. He agreed, we determined where we would pick up the pace, and we were off.

As usual, my ankle didn't want to loosen up right away, which causes my knee to be complain. I thought we started out a bit faster than normal, but went with it because speed was the plan for the evening. I was able to loosen up within that first mile, though I could tell my thighs were still tired. We hit the turn and Superman started to pull ahead. I dug in and tried to keep up. He asked if the pace was ok, and it being an uphill I wasn't able to give him a valid answer. "Maybe after the uphill" I panted.  

The pace actually was OK, and I held it for about a mile and a half (providing Superman didn't slow down for me without my noticing). I did have to catch up to him once or twice, but even when I dropped back I was at a faster than 13-minute-mile pace. With about half a mile to go my thighs started really bothering me (I built some muscle tonight!) and my diaphragm was also not happy. I'd been running bent over, looking for cracks in the sidewalk, which crunches things I really need open. I also spent a lot of time blowing hard out my nose to clear rain-induced snot, and apparently worked my trunk harder than normal. Even when we slowed down, Superman said we were running faster than I have lately.  

Oh, and since I didn't charge my headphones after Sunday's run, I used earbuds that kept falling out of my ears. Running without music is definitely going way deep into my discomfort zone!

Elite runners say it's more difficult to run slow, because you're running for a longer period of time. Maybe my races won't be so difficult and uncomfortable if I can get my speed up. Then again, I'll probably find other ways to push, so they will still be difficult and uncomfortable. That is part of why I do things like running. Stepping into my discomfort zone makes me grow. I grew more than muscle tonight. I grew the realization I will have to run in the dark, like it or not. I grew belief in my ability to run in the rain. I grew some muscle in my legs, and in my backbone.

September 26, 2010

I. Don't. Suck!

Today was the big 11-miler up the Euclid Creek Park hill.  I decided not to try another 13 yet because a) I've failed at 13 two weeks in a row, so figured I'd better downsize, and b) I wanted to tackle that hill again. Superman ran it with me, and pointed out it is the longest run either of us have completed, to date.  Yes, I ran 11 miles!  (I'd crow about Superman's achievement too, but he's a machine and just runs and runs and runs.  No fuel.  Little water.  Just a running machine.)

I absolutely have to fuel.  This time I changed my fuel plan to every 3-ish miles (approximately 40 minutes), instead of every hour.  I think that was the big difference that helped me hit this run. 

I started out a little rocky, with my ankle and knee refusing to loosen up for the first mile +, but that is kind of standard now.  After I got all warm and loose, it went a lot better.  I fueled just before we hit the park, and did not struggle through the hill nearly as much as I have in the past.  I fueled again at the top, then zoomed back down.  I must have worked my trunk, the way it complained on that downhill!  We made a pit stop at about mile 7 and I fixed my shoe, then we were off again.  

I've decided the fabled runner's high is when I'm out in the middle of a long run and think "I can do this semi-long run tomorrow," or "I can add another mile or two to this!"  It is insanity of the highest order, but something in me says "this isn't too bad, why not add more?"  Luckily the insanity doesn't last long, or I'd be hobbling wherever I go!  It may or may not have been during one of those runner's high moments when I admitted out loud I plan to run a marathon.  Not 2011, because I want to feel I'm actually racing a half, instead of just trying to finish.  I plan to run the park up and down for a total of 15 miles, for my winter long runs. I figure it's likely to be plowed and salted more than the sidewalks or roads in my area, and that will get me in shape for a strong 13.1 season next year.  Maybe 2012 will be my marathon year...

This run didn't hit me as hard as others, and I didn't start feeling tired until the 8th mile.  Superman has a tendency to run ahead of me, either to let pedestrians by or because I'm too slow. He's not trying to outrace me, he just has the legs of a 6.4 foot frame instead of a 5.6 foot frame. I several times was able to push a bit and catch him, until we hit the bottom of the park.  I wasn't sure I needed it, but fueled as planned just after the park, and we started the final leg home. I was able to catch him one last time before I started running out of steam around mile 9.   

My legs were very tired on the last 2 miles, which included the final uphill.  My headset died halfway up the hill, and I worried that would contribute to a dnf.  I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and focused on my breathing.  By the final mile, I was chanting "almost there...almost there...almost there" in time with my breathing.  My legs were very tired and I had to tell myself a time or two that I would not stop.  It was more a reminder than a fight to do so.  I did not have that "I don't know if I can make it home" feeling at all!  Superman was in his own world and pulled ahead.  I tried to push and catch up with him again, but had nothing left in the tank.  He finished a full block ahead of me.  

Afterward, we popped inside so I could grab my wallet, and walked another almost 2 miles to see if the Marc's near me had compression socks.  They didn't, but Drug Mart did for $16 (including tax).  Maybe not as fabulous as the $65-$100 ones in the running store, but good enough for me!  I'm wearing them now and hoping they will help my legs be ready for 22 miles on the bike tomorrow.  I'm scheduled to paint baseboards...

September 25, 2010

Who knew?

Who knew I would be crying through Thursday, only to have the waterworks shut off like a switch when I heard Monkey Boy made it to Germany in one piece?   
This is where he'll be stationed for the next 3 years.
This is what his office looks like
His ride to base was at 120mph on the Autobahn.  He’s seen several little villages of 6 to 10 houses with red clay roofs, each village with a church in the center.  He is 45 minutes from France, 3 hours from Paris, and is looking forward to taking the train through the countryside.  He will have a cell phone, and a phone with free international calling in his dorm by Monday.  All is once again right in my world.

Who knew I would end up helping my Dad repair some of the damage I did to his house, all those years ago?
  I'm learning about mudding and painting.  I’m enjoying the time with him (and my mother), and the nostalgia.  Oh yeah, we used to store the Easter baskets in that little closet!  They were the only things that would fit in that small space.  And yes, we did climb out the dormer and bathroom windows to sunbathe on the roof.  I’d forgotten about throwing our shoes down the stairwell to turn the light off…

Who knew I only have 2 speeds on a bicycle:  dead stop and as-fast-as-I-can-go?  I decided to ride up the park hill to my Dad’s today.  Superman can go up the hill and make it 13 miles to his house in an hour.  I huffed and puffed it up the hill, hitting the 11 miles to my Dad’s in about 1:15.  The downhill trip home took about 45 minutes.  I'm always searching for the highest gear I can tolerate without burning my legs out immediately.  You should have seen me on the stairs after, though!

Who knew I'd actually wise up and, remembering I have a long run to do this weekend, decide NOT to bicycle an additional 13 miles to Superman's after the 22 miles to and from my Dad's?  I am learning that I set myself up to fail.  So far this week I have run 4.5 miles, rock climbed, walked 8.5 miles (uphill BOTH ways!) and biked 22 miles.  Tomorrow is a rest day before the long run Sunday.  I’m opting for 11 miles instead of 13, because it will be up the park hill.  I’ll be testing my newest theory, that maybe I’m crashing in the 2nd half because I’m not fueling early enough. <fingers, toes and eyeballs crossed>

September 21, 2010


mel·an·chol·y [mel-uh] noun
1. a gloomy state of mind, esp. when habitual or prolonged.
2. sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness.

I always find myself feeling a bit sad this time of year.  There is something about the shorter days, the cooler nights, the falling leaves that brings me down.  I try not to let it get to me, and have autumn traditions which certainly help.  Even apple and grape picking this weekend didn't do the trick, though.  It was a beautiful day for it.  Superman even indulged me with a motorcycle ride through the valley, and about 19 lbs. of apples, pears and concord grapes.
I'm feeling sad right now because Monkey Boy is leaving tomorrow.  He has been home on leave from the Air Force for 4 weeks, and flies to Chicago tomorrow on his way to Germany.  I know I will see him before his 3 years are up, but I don't know when.  

Superman and I took him rock climbing today.  He had never been, and it was one of the last things on the list of what he wanted while he was home.  Pork Roast with mushrooms - check.  Rock climbing - check.  Chipotle - check.  Rock climbing was harder than he thought!  He had fun though, and climbed walls I never would have attempted.  He is a well-muscled 19, after all.
Can you tell the wall is slanted outward at the top?
I can't even get off the ground on this one!
This is where he told me "You're such a Mom!"
(for taking pictures)
I had fun too, and climbed better than I have in a while (even with thyroid shaking to contend with).  Tomorrow I will spend the day cleaning his room, doing his laundry, and running him around town to make sure he has everything taken care of before he leaves.  He is at his Dad's tonight.  I'll pick him up around noon take him to an Indian Food buffet, which is the last thing he asked for that I can provide.  We will stop by the phone store so he can turn off his phone (no American cell phone service in Germany!).  Then I will take him to the airport.  At that point, I will cry.  I almost cried in line at Chipotle, thinking about it.  Having him here was wonderful.  I will miss him, but won't be crying Thursday.  It's just the goodbyes that are hard.

September 18, 2010

New ink!

I have been considering a tattoo on my leg for about a year, and today Monkey Boy gave me that tat as a belated birthday present.  For me, a tattoo has to mean something, and choosing an image is not an easy decision to make.  Today's tattoo makes 3, with another planned for when I have the $$ and am up for the pain.
Sheba is 10 years old.
She's on my left arm, and represents my inner spirit and strength.  
The band on my right arm is almost 2 years old.
It represents my children, and was designed in part by them.
They each got their first tattoos the same day.
Today's tat represents wings on my feet.
I plan to have a different set of wings put on the other ankle, at some point.  
I have a few times in the past tried to run, but it was always for weight loss, and never lasted for long.  This past January I was inspired by my friend Wonder Woman, who signed up to do a couch-to-half-marathon program.  I knew there was no way I could get up to 13.1 miles in 4 months, so opted for the 10K.  This made more sense to me, especially since running a 10K has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember.  I ran that 10K, then ran another, and now find myself trying to run the half marathons.  I am not yet up to that 13.1 mile distance, even 8 months later, but I am trying.  At some point I will probably try a full marathon, too.  

I do not consider myself a "runner."  That moniker is reserved for those who run daily, for those who love to run, for those who can finish a half or full marathon without walking.  Me, I run a few times a week.  I don't like to run as much as I like the fact that I run, and we all know I don't have the distance in me.  Yet.  What I do have is the determination to keep trying.  That, and wings on my feet (foot).

September 17, 2010

Walk a mile in my shoes

Or run 13.  Or attempt to run 13.  Again.  Less than a week after my last attempt, and after several days of manual labor at my Dad's.  My Dad told me yesterday about some research on brain synapses, which found at some point the synapses break apart, then come back together.  This supposedly explains what kids are thinking when the do stupid stuff.  The answer?  Nothing.  The brain synapses aren't firing.  I tried to research it, but Google mainly wanted to talk about Alzheimer's.

So maybe this isn't only a kid thing (or an Alzheimer's thing).  Maybe I wasn't thinking when I decided a 13-miler was a good idea, today.  Yes, my legs were still feeling the effects of the last 5 days, but there's always the chance they will rise to the challenge, right?  And I have another half marathon on October 10, so need to get the long runs in.  I want next month's experience to be better than last weekend's!  I think what I was, was hopeful.

I was better prepared than last weekend, at any rate.  Ate a substantial lunch.  Packed my fruit snacks, along with the unused Hammer Energy Gel they handed out at last week's race.  Wore the new shoes that felt so good on Tuesday's 2.5-miler.  Packed a few dollar bills, just in case.  Grabbed the music.  Filled the camelback with water, an extra bottle with a watered down tea/lemonade mix, and I was off.

The first mile or so always sucks, as I warm up and find my breathing rhythm.  This is not helped by the fact that EVERY DIRECTION from my house is uphill!  At least the weather was more cooperative than the last time I ran this route.  No headwind, at any rate.  I started out slow and easy, knowing I had a long way to go.

I trotted up the main street of my little burg, 2.5 miles to the first turn in my giant 13 mile circle.  The incline is a long slow grade with one or two short steep bits, until about the last quarter mile.  Then it becomes more hill than incline.  Turning the corner, the hill gets somewhat steeper for another quarter mile or so.  At this point I knew my feet were still tender and I was still tired from the week.  I considered an alternate 11-mile route.  The alternate route goes up a very steep 2.5 mile hill (maybe close to 500-600 feet in elevation) through the park.  The last time I tried it I made it 9 miles, and was seriously concerned I wouldn't make it home before collapsing.  Granted that was from a different starting point, making the total trip 12.3 miles. 

I wanted to do the 13 miles.   Not only did I want to cover the distance, I wanted to run it nonstop.  I was certain last weekend was a fluke, that I would come in at the 12-minute-mile pace I expected to finish with, then.  I pushed through the hill at a pretty good pace (for me), and followed my shadow up the long slow grade after.  I stopped and stretched my feet long enough for a traffic light, then headed off as the hill got steep again.  Luckily it leveled out for a while at about the 5th mile.  

About the 6th mile, I started to wonder if I was going to make the distance.  I took the Hammer gel, which tasted very raspberry and stayed down comfortably.  Something to think about for the next race.  I felt the effects after several minutes, and ran somewhat comfortably up another long slow grade.  

By the time I hit the 7th mile, I knew I wasn't going to run the distance nonstop.  Every muscle in my legs was tired, and I still had 6 miles to go on the shortest route home.  Remembering my exhaustion on the 12.3 mile run, I decided to run/walk, a block of each, and hoped I could at least beat last week's time.  I did this for about half a mile, then stopped at the gas station for more water.  It felt good to just stop for a few minutes while I filled my camel-back (it wasn't empty, but felt light enough I was concerned I'd run out).  I ran from the gas station, under the freeway overpass, and started back with the run/walk.  I told myself I could only walk on the sidewalk, starting and ending my run by crossing a street.  

I made it 9.2 miles before everything fell to pieces.  My legs were shaking.  I'd eaten all my fruit snacks, and was still hungry.  My headphones battery died, and the balls of my feet were throbbing in my shoes.  As a matter of fact, I stopped and took off my shoes.  Walking on the grass gave my tootsies some cushion, and yesterday's rain made the ground cool.  I walked that way for about a mile and a half before Monkey Boy was able to rescue me.  

So now I'm sitting at home, feet on a blue ice block, wondering what I was thinking.  Monkey Boy leaves for Germany in a few days, and Ninja does not yet drive.  I would have been one cold, tired, miserable puppy by the time I got home, if I had to walk the whole way.  I was practically in tears by the time Monkey Boy arrived, and would not have made it home without stopping somewhere to rest for a while (a LONG while!).

I was hopeful.  Something in me says I can do better than last week, even when evidence indicates otherwise.  Something in me still says, with enough rest, I can do this!  I should have already done this!  I'm not trying to win any races.  I just want to run it to the finish!  

Maybe next time.  If not, then maybe the time after.  I can do this.  I will do this, and we'll see where I go from there.  I have a marathon niggling at the back of my brain.  It terrifies me now, but it doesn't seem to be going away, so I'm sure I'll make friends with it sooner or later...

River Run photo, looking much like I felt today.  I have a lot to learn, and a long way to go!!

September 15, 2010

One tired puppy

I'm not quite sure where yesterday went...

I started the day at my interview with the Qdoba restaurants' owner.  I met him at his house, because his office is in the basement.  Granted they are getting ready to move, but it's that small of a shop.  The interview itself went well.  What was supposed to be 10 minutes turned into an hour.  The owner guy, before even exchanging notes with the other person who interviewed me, told me to expect a call-back for the next round of interviews.  He also told me if they somehow missed calling me by Friday, I should call them.  All very positive for a job I'm honestly not certain I want.  I'm accustomed to a large firm, and this is such a small shop... it would only be me and one other person in the office full time.  Lord help me if it turns out we are incompatible.  I'm also afraid I would be bored with just one assignment.  That's not even considering the pay scale.  At the same time, I don't feel I can turn it down if offered the position.  I spent last night furiously filling out applications, hoping something better will come calling.

After the interview, Craig and I went grocery shopping.  I said I wasn't going to touch the unemployment $$ until I was sure my old job isn't appealing the award, and I didn't.  At the same time, it was nice to shop for groceries without wondering if I could afford to buy groceries next week.  This unemployment thing is a first since my high school days, and even when I think I have a handle on it, it sometimes still freaks me out.  

After groceries, I was supposed to write a paper.  Well, originally it wasn't mine to write.  It's part of the group project at school, and each of the people in the group was supposed to write a section.  I did mine the first week, because no one else stepped forward.  Halfway through the second week I finally got people to volunteer for the remaining sections.  The girl who was supposed to write this past week's section popped on the site early evening on the day it was due, and said she couldn't.  Nice of her to give us notice.  I told the rest of the group I would throw something together the next day (yesterday) if no one else could pick it up.  Of course no one else picked it up.  I guess I'm burned out on writing in this class, because I spent over an hour looking at the assignment and couldn't get past the title page.  It was so close to my individual assignment, I finally just suggested we take what we have and each pull from our individual assignments to finish.  I volunteered to take the last day, so I can have the last word.  At least that way I know all the requirements will be covered, even if I have to write them all myself.  I also plan to do the presentation, if the same girl who now says she'll do that as her contribution, bails again.

Somewhere in the middle of that hour I spent looking at the assignment, I went out for a run.  I did not expect it to go well, being stiff and sore yet from Sunday, but ran comfortably for 2.5 miles.  I walked the remaining half mile home and felt good about the run, wondering if the newer shoes were why it went so well.

I did not run today.  I still feel Sunday, and I don't want to overdo as I plan another long run this weekend.  I spent about 4 hours on my feet at my Dad's prepping the attic for tomorrow's primer job, then walked around a bit while Ninja got his 2nd tattoo (a matching set, with conji for War and Peace).  
Monkey boy and I are scheduled to get tattoos Saturday.  Monkey Boy will have one he got in Arkansas "improved," and I will get wings on my feet.  Well, a set of tribal wings around one ankle anyway.  I want a different set of wings around the other ankle, but that won't happen for a while.  

Off to fight with more homework.  I am so glad this is the last week of this class!

September 13, 2010

And the Gods smiled down upon me....

This is image is the thousand words of my day today.  

The clouds parted and the Gods smiled down upon me.  Mind you, there are still clouds, but these little rays of sunshine certainly helped:

My Dad is a wonderful man.  He is not in the greatest health, and is spending his retirement trying to put his house back together, after 40 years and 6 children wore it to pieces.  Very soon after he found out I lost my job, he called with a proposition.  If I, Monkey Boy and Ninja (my 2 children) would come over and help carry things up and down 3 flights of stairs, if we would help paint the 3rd floor, he would pay us.  I would have done this for free, just because he asked, but I wasn't going to turn down $$ in my situation.  The ray of light which is my father paid my boys, BFF (Monkey Boy's best friend) and myself each $10/hr.  Thank you Dad!  And thank you Monkey Boy, for insisting I keep your share as well...

While preparing to spackel and paint, my phone rang.  Someone wanted to talk about a resume I'd submitted the first of the month.  Wait!  I'm painting!  Let me get clean hands, get somewhere I can talk, find a pen and paper (used envelope) and... you're breaking up...  Please don't drop the call!  Let me go outside...  Turns out the owner of several Qdoba restaurants in the area is interesting in meeting me tomorrow morning!  YAY!  It's a pay cut from where I was, but the medical is paid in full.  It could be fun, what with the chance to run out every once in a while to man the register at one of the stores.  There was mention of a free lunch periodically, too.  Gotta love a free burrito!  If nothing else, it gives me practice at interviewing, which I haven't done for a VERY long time.  It's all good!

After spackling enough that my half marathon legs were shaking, then eating a marvelous mom's-home-cooking chili lunch, I went home and checked the unemployment site.  Saturday morning I'd received 2 emails from the site, saying I had mail.  This site is a bit frustrating because it will send an email to my personal address, but when I go to the site there is no mail.  Sometimes it takes a full 24 hours for the mail to show up on the site.  So Saturday morning, there was no mail on the site.  Then the site was down the rest of the day, through Sunday, into Sunday night.  Because I received 2 notices, I naturally assumed one was my rejection and the other instructions on how to appeal.  Simple logic, you see.  Why would they need to send 2 emails to tell me my claim was approved?  Apparently, to tell me I'm also eligible for a Pell Grant, and unemployment will pay me to go to school (as long as I'm in one of their accredited programs).  The upshot is, my claim was approved!  It appears my former employer did not file a rebuttal.  I still intend to wait the 3 weeks allotted for appeal, just in case.  Maybe they didn't file in time, or forgot or something... Anything is possible...

My boys (who will always be "my children" to me) are also a ray of sunshine.  They and BFF had me laughing throughout the attic work, and then again when Monkey Boy and BFF brought the 3rd Musketeer home.  I haven't seen him since he was shorter than I, and somehow he's grown to 6 foot.  The resulting conversation was very fun, and I'm glad I got to see him before Monkey Boy leaves again.  3rd Musketeer says he will call about running the Towpath Half Marathon with me next month, but I won't hold me breath.  It was enough to see him, laugh and reminisce.  

My final ray of sunshine today is that Superman is home!  He has to leave again in the morning for another week of work, but for tonight he's mine.  

I'm off now to enjoy that particular ray of light... 8-)

September 12, 2010

Well that sucked...

#84/89 in the Female 40-44 bracket - Overall #912/939 (includes walkers) - Time 3:07:21

My bucket list has, for the longest time, included "running a 10K."  I did that earlier this year, then did it again.  Last month I ran 10 miles.  Today I ran my first half marathon, and I learned a lot.  

10 miles does not equal 13.1 miles.  The Energizer Bunny, who has been running and racing for years, told me if I did 8 I could do 10.  This turned out to be difficult but true (I almost stopped at mile 9, but pushed through for a 2:03:30 finish).  I've heard you're not supposed to run farther than 20-22 miles when training for a marathon.  I didn't plan to go into this with only 10 miles under my belt, though.  I was supposed to run 13 last weekend, but face-planted at about the 8th mile.  I hyperextended my fingers (the middle finger still hurts), and landed on my left knee and hip (which do not still hurt).  I shook it off, assured the many helpful passers-by I was fine, continued on the 10 mile mark, then walked the remaining 3 miles.  I was OK with that, in part because I hurt, and in part because I figured 10 was OK in the same way 8 or 20 are OK.  It would be difficult, but I would finish.  

It was difficult.  I finished, but I would not call today OK.  Here's what I did wrong:

Didn't taper well.  10 miles last Saturday.  3 Monday, but I think I walked more than ran that one.  3.5 Tuesday evening.  I barely even walked Wednesday through yesterday.  Lesson:  Run at least 1-2 miles every day the week before a race, just to stay loose.  

Went to bed after 11:00 last night, which made me tired this morning. Not that I've been sleeping well anyway, and not that I slept well last night.  Just, an earlier bedtime would have given me the chance for more sleep.  Is it a lesson if I already know what I should do?

Forgot to eat my bananas.  One package of instant oatmeal, 2 hours before race time, just wasn't enough.  The bananas probably wouldn't have been enough either, but it would have helped.  Lesson:  bring a banana for 30-40 minutes before the race starts.  Maybe that will help eliminate the STARVING feeling I get around the 10 mile marker.

Forgot to take my allergy meds.  I had them in the car, reminded myself last night to take them, and this morning forgot.  I've been mouth-breathing this entire rag-weed season, and I haven't figured out how to get a good deep breath that way.  I end up with air in my stomach, which can get uncomfortable on a long run.  I was expelling that air during the last half of the race - luckily the pack had long since passed me, so no one had to witness this.

Forgot my Superman.  He usually runs with me, but had to work out of town this weekend.  He paces me and encourages me just by keeping on when I get all "I wanna quit." Could have used him today!

Changed the energy food I brought.  The body can convert about 100 calories an hour.  If you don't give it something to burn, it starts converting fat to energy.  For weight loss this is great.  For racing, not so much.  The conversion is slow, and doesn't supply energy as fast as runners need.  I've been using little 80-100 calorie packages of fruit snacks, combined with Gatorade on my long runs, but decided Shot Blocks would be easier to carry. I've used them on long bike rides, so figured my stomach could handle them (GI issues are common in runners, and energy drinks/gels can often be the culprit).  I was wrong.  I had a Shot Block just before the start, because I was concerned breakfast had been so early.  By the end of the first mile my stomach was cramping, and it never really did settle down.  I kept eating them, because I needed the energy.  Somewhere between the 6th and 7th mile I puked, and my stomach settled a little.  Taking the blocks with a lot of water helped, too. Luckily I had my camelback. If the water stops were the only water available, I would have been in trouble. Lesson:  Stick to the fruit snacks - maybe in larger packages.  I can get electrolytes from the Gatorade they hand out.  Maybe that will eliminate the 10-mile starving, too.  

I'm not sure why my calves started cramping, but I was miserable by the 9th mile.  I think it was the amount of uphill we traversed (along with poor tapering).  I was under the impression this race was all downhill!  I had to walk.  I apparently had to cry.  Then I shuffled back into something resembling a running gate.  Then I walked again.  I cried again.  I ran again.  I did this for the last 4 miles (I did stop crying eventually).  I "ran" the better part of the last mile, and got a medal for crossing the finish line. That and the bib (with date and official chip time written on it) will go in my growing stash of running accomplishments. Another first!   

I'm signed up for the Towpath Half Marathon on October 10.  I learned a lot from this one, and will carry that knowledge forward.  I expected to run a 2:40 or so, at a 12 minute mile pace, today.  On a really good day, maybe an 11 minute mile pace.  That didn't happen, but today did give me a baseline that makes a PR in my future almost certainly guaranteed.

September 11, 2010

Here we go again...

I should start off giving tribute to Allophones Karr for the quote that titles this blog.  "Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses."  I strive for that attitude.  I don't always achieve it.  I'm hoping this blog will help.

I've tried this blogging thing in the past and always ended up walking away, for various reasons. I'm hopeful now, as ever, that I will be able to sustain a creative endeavor. If nothing else, I have time to write, right now. Of course, that's what Goddess says, and she's done more trashing and deleting than writing, lately. I think we both suffer the same creative angst issues.

A brief history, since I hate filling out profiles. I am a mother of 2 adult males, so can no longer define myself by my parenting. I am currently out of work, tired of the career I drifted into 10 years ago, and looking to shift without a clutch to something more interesting. I am in school, but have no faith that will take me where I want to go. Instead, I am trying to teach myself what I need to succeed. Certification from the almighty God Microsoft, in addition to the on-line degree, should do the trick.  I just have to teach myself what I need to know to get certified, before my $$ runs out.  Either that or get a stop-gap position until I can learn what I need to know. Neither option is going to be easy, but once I get there... oh the roses those thorns will have!

Beyond that, I sing karaoke (some days better than others). I run (can't say I like it, but I like that I do). I play with polymer clay and colored pencils, but my art also suffers from creative angst. I would love to own a motorcycle. I would love to earn a black belt. Both of those goals are more likely than earning a million $, so I'll leave it at that.

You'll find out more as I meander through my thoughts and feelings on this page. Hopefully you'll be interested and entertained.