August 30, 2011

Catching up

I'm still working on feeling better. I hoped to go out for a run on Sunday, but this cold has settled into my chest and I'm still coughing up nastiness. I'm wondering now, after a week of no exercise, exactly how long should I wait? How well is well enough?

I'm back to normal activities otherwise. Sunday we went raspberry picking. Unfortunately, my phone did not do the light justice. It was georgous.
I don't know why, but it seems every time we go fruit picking there is a group of people speaking a language other than English. This time the group spoke an oriental language, though I don't know which one. The children spoke in a smattering of both that language and perfect English. My favorite line overheard was a small boy, who wanted a raspberry as big as a house so he could go inside and eat. James and the Giant Raspberry?

Yesterday I was back at my parents'. The electrician is done, and we are now fixing all the holes he left. I finished putting up wallboard on the 2nd floor to ensure the walls meet the floor on the outside walls. This is so my Dad can have insulation blown in before it gets cold out.
This is the Drywall Guy, finishing up the kitchen ceiling. My siblings will appreciate this picture, as that particular portion of the ceiling has been... problematic... for about 30 years. Apparently the fan above the window was also an issue, taking about as much time to replace as the entire ceiling. I'm glad that wasn't my job to do.

My job, when I'm done fixing all the holes the electrician left, will be to treat the bedroom ceilings in the same manner the Drywall Guy did the kitchen ceiling. I watched him for a good while yesterday, to see how it's done. 

Today I'll mud the wallboard I put up yesterday, then put the baseboards back. I'll also patch the rest of the holes left by the electrician. Tomorrow I'm off spending time getting to know Ninja's girlfriend Penguin (that's what he calls her. I hope he doesn't mind if I borrow the name). Thursday I'll be climbing all over the outside of the house, running cable wire everywhere my Dad wants access. With all that done, the insulation can be blown in as early as Friday.

Then it's back to business as usual, finishing up the 2nd floor bedrooms.

August 25, 2011

My new favorite site

I haven't tried any of these workouts, but I've been watching somewhat obsessively and will incorporate them into my marathon training plan.

She posts a new video just about every day. They tend to be short but intense. Here are some examples:

What would you do?

What would you do if you were sick, and you knew you should take the day off your plan, but you felt guilty for not following it?

I went for a walk yesterday instead of a run. I probably shouldn't even have done that, considering how I felt last night. Because I was feverish and physically exhausted last night, I did not do anything today. What I did do is decide I would follow that "just get it done this week" plan. Because I'll be better tomorrow, right? Better enough to do a double workout, because I missed today's.

We will see what happens, but I do like that idea of flexibility in my plan, that if something comes up today I can just do it tomorrow (or plan ahead and do it the day before).

What would you do if a team member jumped all over you and told you maybe you should reconsider your choice of team, because you'd told him you were concerned about getting your portion of the project in on time? Even when you did get it in on time? Would you voluntarily team up with that person again?

I suppose it's my fault for worrying about handing my portion in late, but this guy on my team acted like I was a complete slacker. We have a little history, as we both worked on a piece of the project a few weeks ago and he changed the format on me without letting me know, then expected me to redo what took me all day so it matched his format. He wasn't happy when I said no, he should probably do it himself.

We're in a new class now, and the same team has asked that I participate with them. This person even specifically said he would like me on his team. He is the team leader this time, and I don't trust him. I just don't know how to say no. I also don't know anyone else in the class, so am feeling very much the evil I know vs. the unknown. At least I know how this team works.

What would you do if you bought your significant other a birthday gift in the store, while he was there, and you felt bad that he didn't get to unwrap a surprise gift? Would you buy him something else, even if you knew he would kind of be a little upset (but like it anyway)?

I haven't made up my mind on this one yet...

August 23, 2011


My current favorite workout song.

45 minute swim on the calendar. Instead I did 40 minutes swim, 40 minutes run on the treadmill @ 5mph.

Now I'm down with the cold I've been fighting since late last week. At least my class is finally over, after a weekend of solid paper writing.

August 19, 2011

Photo Friday

The Perfect 10 Miler photos are up.
This is the only one I'm willing to post. If you want to see the others, go here. Be prepared to cringe, and possibly laugh. They are all of the finish, and all after this one. I had no idea I made faces like that when I put in hard effort. I wasn't paying attention to the camera-man, only to finishing as hard and fast as possible.

It shows.

It's not pretty.

August 18, 2011

A little under the weather

I'm not sure if I'm fighting a small cold, or if allergies are getting to me. All I know is yesterday and today I've been fatigued, tired, and under the weather. I've a little bit of a sinus thing going on, but mostly I'm just tired.

Yesterday I planned to ride my bike to my parents', work on patching walls, then ride to Superman's. I'd dropped off a bag the night before with clothes and running gear so I could run to my parents' today, patch walls, then run home. None of that happened. I fiddled around too late in the morning to ride to my parents', so decided to drive there and back, then ride to Superman's from my house after. By the time I headed home I was completely deflated and out of energy. I couldn't stop yawning, which is a sure sign I'm not getting enough oxygen. I took an allergy med, but was still tired enough to nix the bike ride.

Last night, I kept thinking I was feverish. Superman's thermometer disagreed, but I definitely did not feel well. I was in bed around 11 (unheard of for me!) and slept until 8. Then I puttered instead of preparing for my run. I didn't leave the house until after 9:30, when I'd planned to leave no later than 8:30.
Superman and I have a favorite trail near his house we like to run. I knew I was tired because I couldn't remember how long it is. Again, I felt fatigued. I had in mind an 8 mile run, mostly because I'd packed fuel etc. for the 9+ miles from my parents to my house. If I ran the pace from last Sunday, which I also ran Tuesday, I had enough time. I could run the whole loop, or do an out and back if time got short.

I set Jog Log and set out. I think the first mile was spot on the pace I've been running. I say think because at about the mile and a half mark I realized Jog Log had turned itself off. I'd been waiting for the first mile announcement, but it never came.

I started Jog Log again and continued. This path is a lot of uphill going out, which means downhill coming back. I was reminded again about how my runs are all subjective. I didn't remember this path being so much uphill, but it certainly was today. I was struggling, and looking forward to the downhill part.

As I neared the section that loops back around, I remembered this is only a 5 mile path. For some reason I had it in my head it was 5 miles out, 5 miles back. I decided 5 miles was a decent distance for the way I felt. Sweat was dripping in my eyes, and I was working hard for every yard.

Right about the time Jog Log announced mile 2 (which was really around 3.5), I had to step off the path for the lawnmower guy, who was cruising at far above the posted 10 mph speed limit. I stopped running at that point, and never got started again. I walked back to my car, then drove to my parents'.
this is what I'm working on now
This is what I'm doing
We pulled the baseboards so the electrician could run wire behind them. The idea was the baseboard would hide whatever holes he left. This is all well and good on the inside walls that face the hall. On the outside walls however, we need wall to the floor. My dad is having insulation blown in before winter, and if we left these open the insulation would blow into the house under the baseboards.

I am super thrilled about the latest decision made regarding repairs. My Dad has hired Handyman to replace the kitchen ceiling, and Handyman has convinced my Dad to let him finish that ceiling with a stippled pattern. This will be much faster and easier, as he just layers on the plaster/mud and runs a pattern roller over it. No sanding. No smoothing.

The part I'm excited about is that I convinced my parents to let me do this in the bedrooms. I've already fixed the ceilings in the front and back bedroom, but there are issues. It is not completely flat, some of the plaster peeled when I painted, and in one spot that peeling revealed the crack I was trying to fix. Using this stippled pattern will fix all that. There will be a solid layer of plaster so it's less likely to recrack, and that same layer will hide the bumps I missed or didn't get well enough. It will also make the ceilings I have yet to do so much quicker and easier. I still have to patch, but I don't have to sand for days. It will also match the kitchen and 3rd floor, which makes the decor more consistent.

August 16, 2011

So I'm thinking about a marathon

Actually, I've been thinking about a marathon for a while. That's why I decided to do the virtual marathon. In fact, I think I started talking about a 2012 fall marathon somewhere near the beginning of 2011. Then I found the REALLY BIG FREE MARATHON, and decided that would be the one. If only I can afford to get to Vegas with enough lead time to actually get a hotel for this event, which may or may not happen given my current situation. My #2 choice is the Towpath Marathon here in beautiful Northeast Ohio. I'd really rather go to Vegas though.

This leads into the conversation Superman and I had while I was busy cranking out the speed at the Perfect 10 Miler (I'm still waiting for pictures and will post them when I can). When I realized I might have a chance to PR, I told Superman I needed to start bumping mileage. If I can run 13 the weekend before, then 7 two days before, then PR, maybe mileage is good for me.

My next race is the Towpath Half Marathon in early October, so I have plenty of time to get better at the half marathon distance. What I'm thinking is to start training toward the marathon distance now. I'll work out a plan that puts a half right in the Towpath timeframe. I'll find or create one that builds the mileage slowly, and that will incorporate the swimming and biking I've been doing. I'm not making the same mistakes I made last year, where I bumped the mileage too quickly without the appropriate base fitness. My base fitness is definitely improved, but I am not setting myself up for failure again.

I'm thinking something like this to get to the half marathon:

* Bounding = exaggerated running motion focusing on foot push-off and air time. On the track, I would bound on the straightaway, then jog around the turns

**Sprints = 100 yard distance. I accelerate to full speed by the halfway point, then sprint to the end and walk back 

Of course, there will be biking in there somewhere as well, providing the weather and sunlight permit. Maybe Yoga and weight-lifting too. I'll have to make some adjustments through the winter for exercises like the hill repeats. I also will make adjustments for things like karaoke, as I learned my lesson on attempting a long run the day after going out to play.

I'm working out the remainder of a marathon plan that will have me running the marathon distance on a regular basis, so it doesn't kill me to run one in a race atmosphere. Because it spans over a year, and because I know you want to see it, I'll add another page to my blog for the marathon training plan.

Right now I'm heading over to my parents, to get started fixing the holes the electrician cut into most of the walls. I took a week hiatus because he was working, and because Monkey Boy has been home. Now it's back at it. I'll have pictures of the work to be done, and possibly some of the work that gets done.

August 15, 2011

The "Perfect" 10-Miler

If you've read anything I wrote this past week you know I had absolutely no expectations to PR this race. I haven't been running 12 minute miles, which is what I needed to set a new personal best. I also overdid it this past week compared to previous "taper" weeks. My only goal was to run this race non-stop. With that in mind, I didn't have a lot of emotional involvement.

I put in about 12 hours of work on my class group project Saturday, staying up until midnight before finally posting for review. This is a local race, so Superman and I set our alarms at 6:30 for a 7:30 start. I did make certain to buy bananas, and had a new fueling plan in mind. I did not set out my outfit, nor pin my bib to my shirt the night before.

6 and a half hours later, our alarms went off, and I did not want to get up. I was tired. I was still somewhat stiff from Friday's run. Superman was up and moving though, and I had more preparations to make than he. I rolled out of bed and decided I would wear the purple shirt I'd originally chosen, that matched the black one I wore Friday. I had a cup of coffee, a banana, and 2 small pieces of honey toast. I've found a very nice Vienna bread with no sugar, from a local bakery, and am enjoying the heck out of it.

I mixed up my fuel for the race: a scoop of Monkey Boy's pre-workout supplement, 2 Gu, and 3 Recovery e21 capsules emptied into a liter of water. I mixed a separate scoop of the pre-workout supplement in a small Gatorade bottle, for right before the start. I also had my camelback full of water, though I doubted I would need it all. Not only was it cool as the weather forecast, it was pouring down rain. I worried my shoes would be ruined by a good dunking, the way the last pair of Kinvaras were.

Superman and I hopped into the car a few minutes later than originally planned, causing me to think I should have set the alarm for 6:00 instead of 6:30. It was a toss-up, having that little bit more sleep. The problem now became, where would we park? We did find a spot relatively near the start, at about 7:35. As Superman parked, I sucked down the pre-race serving of Monkey Boy's supplement. Luckily the rain had stopped, and the race apparently was setting off a little late. Superman and I walked up to the start just as the crowd of runners began to move. I slipped in right at the end of the pack, and we were off.

I surprised myself by feeling strong once we got going. It was cool, but not cold. The shirt was a good choice. Memories of last year's heat at this race made me relish the occasional breeze. I settled into what I thought was a moderate, reasonable pace. Superman suggested I may be going a little too fast, to which I replied that I always start out fast, and that I would slow down as we got into the distance. For the moment I was running to the beat of the single headphone in my ear. I'd left one out so I could hear Superman as we ran.

I don't know what happened where and at what time or mileage. I know I caught up to one woman who started crowding me to the curb. I ducked behind her and tried to come around the other side, and she crowded me to the middle of the road before I definitively passed her. There was the 75 year old woman with a One More Mile shirt, which made me smile. She was very friendly and we chatting a bit as I passed her.

We hit mile 1, and the time called out was 13:xx. Knowing I started at the back of the pack, this meant I was running close to a 12 minute mile. I didn't think anything of it, as my first mile is usually 11:xx. I would slow down. I always do.

I don't fuel on the first mile, but every mile thereafter I take a swig from my liter bottle. At mile 2, the time was called out as 24:xx. I didn't believe it, even as Superman talked through the math. I never run more than one mile at less than 5mph.

Mile 3 we must have hit a downhill. I told Superman that last year mile 3 was when I started getting tired and dreading the 7 to 10 miles I'd have left in a race. Today I did not feel tired at 3, though I fully expected to feel it at 7 or 8. I am prone to bonking at about mile 8.

Mile 4 we hit the uphill section that goes for about 2 miles. I remember last year cursing this hill. This time I just put my head down and motored on. The arch of my foot was a little sore and my calves were tight, but otherwise I felt fine. I focused on relaxing and on my form.

At mile 5 I changed my gait slightly to accommodate the growing pain in the arch of my foot. I lengthened my stride, which seemed to help. Superman was surprised when this increased my speed, especially since we were still moving uphill. I started writing a blog post in my head about how subjective my experiences are, and how they differ. With my head down, I didn't focus on the hill I cursed so much last year. I focused on my breathing and on keeping my legs moving.

About mile 6 we hit the turnaround, and the hill I'd been steadily climbing was now my friend. I let gravity take me on the downhill, and came up behind a woman who did not want me to pass. She sped up as she heard me coming, and I was not willing to push any harder than I already was to get by her. Ultimately my momentum carried my through and I did pass her.  She was gasping painfully for air, and it likely was more she slowed down than I was all that speedy to get by.

Somewhere between mile 6 and 7 I realized the pace I'd picked up on the downhill was sustainable. At the same time, I realized I couldn't deny the time keepers calling out a less than 12-minute-mile pace. I could tell Superman he lied when he did the math, but I couldn't convince myself the math was wrong. I started to think I actually had a chance at a PR. I told Superman "If I PR this thing, I'm going to have to start bumping my mileage. 13 last weekend, 7 on Friday, and a PR?!?" I determined to maintain the new pace for the remainder. It was uncomfortable and I was breathing hard, but it was not undoable.

I maintained that downhill pace when the route leveled out over the next 3 miles. We came up against yet another woman who did not want me to pass her. She sped up and moved across the road to run right in front of me, but could not hold on for long. It wasn't until mile 9, when we started hitting uphills again, that my pace slowed. I mentioned to Superman that this or that hurt, that things were getting tired, but I didn't stop pushing.

Mile 9 was the longest, as I struggled with fatigue on my way up several inclines. Finally, we made the turn into the school track where they had the finish line. I kicked it into high gear, as I'd been thinking about for several miles, to see what I could do in the home stretch. As I neared the chute I decided to see if I could pass the woman in front of me, who had been walking on the road leading up to the bleachers. I found I had yet another gear and sprinted those final 100 yards. She heard me coming and found another gear herself, ending up beating me by .02 second. I thought I was going to puke as they handed me my medal, and I couldn't catch my breath as we started walking a lap around the track.

1:56:50. A new PR by almost 7 minutes.
Happy, wet me
Mile 1: 11:36
Mile 2: 12:12
Mile 3: 11:48
Mile 4: 12:21
Mile 5: 12:15
Mile 6: 11:54
Mile 7: 10:39
Mile 8: 11:06
Mile 9: 11:30
Mile 10: 11:25

This is the first race I feel I've actually raced (against myself and the clock), and the best race I've ever run. It's the first one I didn't consider stopping. I did not bonk. I felt strong until the last mile, and I felt like I actually RAN instead of jogged the course. Superman went on and on about my training and cross training, but I attribute it to my fuel. That and maybe the cooler weather. These are the only things that have changed from my most recent long runs.
Surprisingly, there was only one person in line at the massage table, so I hopped in line. My foot cramped as I got on the table, but there was no cramping by the time he was done. Walter Zielinski, I will be calling you to come to my house as we discussed. I've been looking for a sports masseuse, and am looking forward to seeing you again.

After a shower, I put on compression socks, then Superman and I went out for a well deserved breakfast.
I didn't eat it all, but I wanted to!
Then we went to Microcenter and purchased a refurbished desktop computer to replace the one with the very slow video card that couldn't be upgraded. I also purchased a new power supply, a new video card, and additional RAM. Superman put it all together for me, and I've a new desktop to configure when I get a minute. Most of it is done already, and the rest will not happen for the next few days. I'm behind on classwork and have a paper to write tomorrow.

All in all a good day.

August 12, 2011

Who am I and what did I do with me?

I took a rest day from Monkey Boy workouts yesterday. The most I did was a shop-a-thon in the morning, and homework/gaming in the afternoon and evening.

While I wrested with questions like "what three factors could change a company’s international IT strategy, and what do they entail?" Monkey Boy borrowed my car and headed out on an overnight to see friends at Ohio State. He's on his way back now, so we did not get our sweat on together today either.

I got caught up in classmates responses to the above question this morning, so didn't get to the pool in time for my usually Friday routine. I decided instead to test out some gear before Sunday's race. I also had to test tape on my foot, where my shoe has been giving me hot spots on my longer runs.

I set out thinking about a 6-miler, so brought water but not fuel. 5 minutes into the run I realized I didn't really know how far the route I'd planned would take me. I also worked out that I would need to run at least 8 miles to adequately test out the tape job, since it's in the 8-10 mile range that my foot starts to hurt.

When I got to the head of the street, I did not have the light to take the turn I'd originally planned. Instead of waiting for the light, I took the corner and headed off in the completely opposite direction.

This entire run was weird (for me). First of all, why am I going out on a 6 mile run 2 days before a race? Normally I would be doing 3, maybe 4 at the most. Then, who am I to start changing up routes and distances mid-run? I NEVER do that! I plan ahead, fuel for the distance, and map my route before leaving the house.

So there I was, heading in the opposite direction from where I'd originally planned, working out in my head how far each intersection would take me. I was fully set on at least an 8-miler at this point, so started thinking about how to fuel this new distance. I knew there was a gas station at 185th, where I could buy an Almond Snickers (I always carry cash, just in case). I'm a big fan of Snickers, even though I rarely eat candy or even sugar any more. I've heard Snickers are the best fuel for long runs, and sugar on a long run is definitely within the dietary plan.

To get to 185th, I had to run about a half mile without sidewalks. I ended up running on the grass. So now not only was I running blind, unfueled and without a plan, I was practically trail running.

I thought 185th might be about 4 miles out, so I could take the turn there and make this run into a big 8-mile block. It turned out 185th was just over 3 miles. I bought my Snickers and ate half in the store, enjoying the air conditioning. I packed the remaining half candy bar into my camelback, knowing I would want more fuel later in the run.

Because it was only 3 miles and I'd decided on 8, I did not turn at 185th. Instead I headed on toward the next major intersection, which is 156th. When I hit 4 miles at 170th, I did not turn down that side street as you might think. Again, I decided to fly by the seat of my pants. How much farther would the run be anyway? 10 miles? I could do 10 miles. I'm doing 10 miles Sunday, so why not today?

I have completely lost my mind, haven't I?

Jog Log told me I'd been on the road an hour at somewhere around 4.6 miles. Figure in the fact that I didn't stop the clock for my little Snickers detour. I ran the first 5 miles at about a 5mph pace. This tells me I have been selling myself short on those treadmill runs, when I only went 2.5 miles at 5mph pace.

By mile 5 I'd made the turn that stopped taking me away from home. The better part of 156th was unshaded, at 1pm on an day with a high of 83 degrees. This is another thing, because I remember early in the year not being able to run in 80 degree weather. Today felt almost cool, with the breeze and the shade. Well, almost cool except for long stretches in the sun. I started to feel the run at this point. I think when I realized I'd been running a 5 mph pace, I started pushing the pace a little more. I started wondering if I could get close to a PR Sunday. I know I can't PR, but I wondered how close I could get.

At mile 6 I started thinking about the best time to finish that Snicker's bar. I still felt strong. I was heading toward home at this point, though I didn't know how far away home was. I decided to finish the Snickers at mile 7.

Maybe I should have eaten the Snickers at mile 6. By mile 7, I was ready to walk while I ate my Snickers, and stopped at an open fire hydrant to rinse the salt off my face. I was near the bottom of 185th now, where I'd bought the Snickers at the top. My legs were starting to tire. I took stock and decided I could finish this run, but it would be at the expense of Sunday's run.

Turns out it was almost exactly another 2 miles to get home. I walked those 2 miles, and I'm completely ok with that. 
Post run.
This tank is the consistency of a burn-out T, with wicking material. Though tighter than I normally wear a tank, it is very cool and comfortable. I planned to wear the purple version on Sunday. Then I looked at the weather forecast.
According to, the storms are supposed to be over before the race starts, and additional storms are not supposed to start until about the time I expect to finish. We will see what really happens. Generally, it's going to be about 70 degrees, so I'm thinking a super thin tank is not the best option for this one.

The main reason for a longer run today was to test out the tape on my foot. I used the bargain basement Kinsiology tape I'd bought at Discount Drug Mart a few months ago. It didn't work well for taping my knee (which has been much better lately, knock on wood). It works wonderfully for taping my foot to protect against rubbing. The elastic quality means I do not feel restricted in any way.
For the record, this is what the hair is supposed to look like.

I'm heading out to pick up my packet and enjoy Friends Night Out with Superman and Monkey Boy. I do not feel any worse for wear from my adventure run. I definitely have to start rethinking the limits I've apparently imposed upon myself.

Check in Monday (or maybe Sunday night) for a race report. I don't have any time goals, as I know I cannot PR this race. I can do 5 miles at goal pace, but not 10. This race I'm going to use Monkey Boy's pre-workout supplement both before and during, in my fuel bottle. I'm going back to Gu for fuel, but will use the Recover e21 for electrolytes. I will not drink the race Gatorade (or Heed, or whatever). I am more curious about how all this will make me feel, rather than how fast I will go. The race is pretty much 5 miles uphill, then 5 miles down. I should be able to negative split it, if nothing else.

August 11, 2011

Running Apparel

I'm taking a break from Monkey Boy workouts today, in part because he left me behind to go to a different gym with My BFF. In part because I've been pushing it pretty hard for someone with a race this weekend. I might play with my kettle bell for a while. I might just make it a rest day.

Monkey Boy took off without me because I disappeared on him before he woke up. I got news yesterday that my financial aid installment will be deposited into my account this week, so I decided to do some shopping. Running gear shopping. I have enough wicking shirts from races, but my favorite running shorts are coming apart at the seams.

You've seen my profile picture. You know I'm not skinny. This means I have a few criteria when shopping for running shorts. They have to be size large, and they have to be long enough to cover my thunder thighs. Not capris, which are too much material for summer running. A 7" inseam works rather well. The shorts also have to be spandex/compression, as any loose material is going to ride up in a very uncomfortable way. Oh, and I prefer black. It's slimming and goes with everything.

I had to stop at the Home Depot for some edging for my garden, and there is a Dick's next door, so that's where I went. What I found first was racks and racks of these:
And these:
I did finally manage to find a few pairs of these:
Buried on a bottom rack, in size small and extra small. I even asked a sales person for help, but Dick's apparently does not carry clothing for "larger women." Really!?! All I wanted was a size large.

(In a side note, is there a reason to purchase a $75 swimsuit? Will it last longer? I need a new one but balked at that price. We won't even go into how you measure for a 36, as opposed to size 12).

I moved on to our local running store, figuring I should be able to find running clothes there. They certainly had clothes, but again all I found were shorty short shorts. They also had running skirts. I've been curious, so I tried a few on. They all had 4" compression shorts built in. I've found I can't wear a 4" short, as my thighs bulge out underneath the hem and rub as I run. I know a lot of women love these running skirts. To me they just seem like excess fabric, which would get hot.

(Another side note, are there any "larger" women out there who have experience with running skirts? I wondered about rubbing with a brief instead of the short. We won't even go into how the hem would make me nuts bumping against the back of my legs.)

Coming out of the running store parking lot, my car started making that dreaded "thumpthumpthump" noise I associate with a flat tire. I pulled over and found this:
This is not a flat tire!
They had recently resealed the parking lot, and apparently I ran over a coagulated blob of the stuff, mixed with pebbles and grit. I didn't have anything to scrape it off with, so thumped and bumped my way through the rest of the morning. Things got interesting on the freeway, and now it's spread over half my tire. I'm hoping it wears off, but I think the tire is ruined.

With no joy at the running store, I went up the road a bit and tried Wal-Mart, figuring they have a sportswear section and I had nothing to lose. Turns out Wal-Mart carries Danskin workout clothing, which is all well and good. They had some cute tops, except I wasn't looking for tops and I don't like the whole "built in bra" thing. That little bit of elastic fabric is not going to hold me together while I run, which means I'd have to wear my sports bra underneath. I certainly don't want yet another layer of cloth on my already overheating body. See running skirts, above. The only shorts I found at Wal-Mart that came close to what I was looking for were cotton "bike shorts," of the 4-5" variety.

I went around the corner and tried Target. Now Target carries Champion gear. Last time I had money I bought a few Champion tanks, and they are currently my favorites. Target did not, however, have anything I could use as a running short. I tried on a few of their shorty short shorts, thinking maybe the rub wouldn't be an issue if there was no fabric getting in the way. It's an issue. I left Target empty handed.

Now I'm home and the first thing I did was ... well the first thing I did was edge my garden.

Then I hopped on line, and within about 30 seconds found these:

I have 3 pair on order. Shipping is free for new customers at

Should have just done that in the first place.

Heading out with Monkey Boy to get his and hers haircuts. I'm so enjoying his visit!

August 10, 2011

Playing with Monkey Boy - Day 3

I am really enjoying working out with Monkey Boy, though I may regret the intensity of this week's workouts come race day.

Today I tested out Monkey Boy's pre-workout supplement, which is supposed to help with energy levels and muscle building. He normally uses 1MR, but while home purchased ACG3. I've never used anything like this, and was curious what is was supposed to do.

These supplements contain a lot of caffeine, to which I am no stranger. They also contain Creatine, which I had to look up. Apparently, Creatine increases the supply of Creatine Phosphate in your muscles. Creatine Phosphate recharges the muscles with something called ATP, which the muscles use as a quick burst energy source. ATP is good for things like lifting and sprinting. The idea is that you can push longer and harder, because you have more available energy in your muscle cells.

The supplements also contain amino acids, which the liver converts to Creatine, which then gets converted to Creatine Phosphate. This allows the effect of the supplement to last over an hour, where just the Creatine would be used up in less time.

While I am known to be a supplement addict, I also tend to be skeptical of many supplement claims. That's why I was happy to find this research article, which suggests using Creatine benefits runners.

So I was curious, and Monkey Boy mixed me up the lowest recommended serving. Monkey Boy said my face and arms would tingle. I thought maybe I felt the tingling in the back of my thighs, which are always tight. He, My BFF (yes, that is his blog name. "My BFF") and I walked over to the Y, and I hopped on the treadmill. Monkey Boy and My BFF went down to free weight room to "get their swole on."

Monkey Boy finished his day with a mile, bumping each 10th up until he was running 11mph.

I didn't feel jacked up or over caffeinated. I felt strong and ready to run. And run I did. I set the treadmill to 5mph, and settled down into my goal pace. Several times I've run this pace for half an hour, ending with 2.5 miles total. Once I ran it for 3 miles. I always say I'm going to run it for the full hour, but never have. 

Until today. Today I ran it for the full hour. My headphones lost battery after 20 minutes, and I kept running. Yes I got tired. Yes, I had to motivate myself for the last 20 minutes to keep running. I didn't feel like death when I got off the treadmill. Afterward, I was able to stretch and move about comfortably while I waited for Monkey Boy and My BFF to finish.

I don't know if the pre-workout supplement gave me the energy to finish, or if I just thought it did. I wonder if I could have run that on any other day. I wonder if I've been holding myself back.

I'm thinking about using the supplement on race day, and am curious if anyone out there has experience with these supplements. I know the container has a warning that some sports ban their use. What do you think? Are they helpful? Harmful?

August 9, 2011

Playing with Monkey Boy - Day 2

Today Monkey Boy planned to come do my speed workout with me, but the track was overrun by high school football players so we had to turn around. We decided to do Monkey Boy's workout at the local park. This consists of the exercise stations, each with his personal little twist. I've run the park time and again, but never done the stations.

We picked up Ninja and made our way to the park. The plan was to run the bike path up to the big hill, doing the stations as we hit them. Run a few hill repeats, then come down the trail side and do those stations as well.

Station 1 was less than a quarter mile up the trail
You're supposed to walk on your hands across the length of the bar
Unless you're Monkey Boy, who added 6 dips along the way
I have a very weak upper body. I couldn't even walk the bars,
not to mention do the dips.
Monkey Boy helped.
Then we ran to the next station
3 sets. 10x. 12x. 14x.
 Then we ran to the next station.

Jumping Jacks are boring, so we only did one set of 30
The next few stations were close together, so we sprinted to each one.
Circles are boring too...
3 sets of 6
Hop 1, run around, hop 2. 3 sets.
I apparently have no lift. I could barely hop one...
I thought I had a better photo of this. They included knees to the chest.
Knowing the hill repeats were coming soon, we opted for a single set of 12
 The next run was about a mile, to the hill.
We did not sprint.
The hill. You can't see the sharper incline at about 2x this distance, just around the bend.
I've been here many times, but somehow thought the hill was broken into 2 sections.
I was wrong.
I have never run this hill. It was always my turn around point.
I would rather run the park 2x than run this hill.
I ran this hill today. I got almost all the way to the top, too.
Then I turned around and ran it down.
I will run it again, and make it all the way.

The original plan was for hill repeats, but after running it once I remembered I have a race on Saturday, and I didn't want to completely destroy my legs.
We still had a ways to go to get back to the car.
I made a good choice considering the trail we chose to return.
We ran the half mile or so back down the path to where the trail started.
I used to take the boys on this trail when they were in middle school.
I have been meaning to try trail running.
I have been meaning to run this trail, but never got around to it.
until today.
I had a lot of fun running this trail.
It got steep in parts.
There were certainly more uphills and downhills then the path.
There were rock crossings and bridge crossings
and a log crossing.
I will run it again.

I could not do this, even on the lowest incline.
My legs just wouldn't come up.
I tried regular sit-ups with my feet at top.
That didn't work very well either.
I walked away feeling like I had splinters in my shorts.
2 sets of 6. 1 with fingers facing back, 1 with fingers facing forward.
Monkey Boy tried to lift me to help, but ultimately I had to jump to get my chin up.
The only arm muscles I used were to slow me as I fell to the ground.
Monkey Boy showing off!
This exercise was very odd...
Monkey Boy caught fabulous air
Ninja did well too. Look how high he can get that leg!
Photog skills were a little lacking here...
And here. Notice the lack of air...
Urban Ninja'ing!
6x. Win!
I did make it over, just one foot at a time.

25. 15. 10.
15. 10. 5.
 I could not do a single push-up. Instead I planked for 30 seconds on each level and called it done.

That was the end of the trail, and we walked it back to the car for a cooldown.

Overall, we ran about 3 miles. The whole thing took about an hour and a half, and we were all covered with sweat. As I write this, my arms and back are a bit tight. My legs are a little tired. Nothing is terribly sore, but feeling it today means I will feel it tomorrow.

I'm told tomorrow is leg day.
As Monkey Boy says, gotta get my swol' on!