May 31, 2011

Two Things Tuesday

The back bedroom is done. We went from this (well, just prior to this, as this is mudded already):

To this:
Can you see the patches on the ceiling?
They are a little more visible in person, but not much. We done good!

I’ve switched out my desk chair for an exercise ball.
Spaz sayz Hai
I spend a large portion of my day sitting at my desk. Now, I move a lot more while there. When I straddle the ball, it stretches my hips. Just sitting straight up engages my core. While I’m waiting for something to load, I start doing modified sit-ups. When I start to slouch, the ball rolls a bit out from me, and I know it’s time to get up and move around. 

Overall, it’s been a really good Tuesday.

May 29, 2011

It's a no go

You probably knew that, right? I did 3 miles today, and my foot started aching about a mile and a half in. Based on Superman's criteria, that means no marathon. I'm frustrated enough to consider calling the whole thing off. I can always the people who guessed at my time, and send out my giveaway that way. The other option is to hope the weather cooperates, that I don't sabotage myself again, and try for July 4th weekend.

What do you think?

May 27, 2011

I'm so not surprised

If you're new here, you should know I've been remodeling my parent's house for the last several months. I've done the entire 3rd floor, 2nd floor bathroom, and main hall. I'm just about finished with the back bedroom, and will have before/after pictures after pulling the carpet and touching up the paint next week.

While working on the woodwork today, my father and I listened to the Indy pre-race festivities. I don't normally follow car racing, but I'm aware that Nascar and Indy drivers participate in a demanding sport. They have to be physically fit. How fit? How about Ironman fit? 
photo credit
Turns out Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira both participated in the Ironman 70.3 Championships last year, and will both be in Hawaii this October for the Ironman World Championships. Check the photo credit above for more details.

In other news, I returned the Saucony Kinvaras today. I wore them around for about an hour yesterday and decided they were just too snug to be comfortable on long runs. Warning: if by chance you see a pair of shoes you want on the Footlocker website, because maybe they are half the price you've seen at your local running store, be certain those shoes will fit before ordering. Returning said shoes will either cost you additional shipping, or you will have to wait at least a week for your account to be debited. You cannot just take the shoes to your local Footlocker, even if you chose the option to pick them up from said store originally (it being cheaper than having them delivered to your door). The shoes sold on-line are not in the store's computer system, so it would apparently be too confusing to refund your money at point of pickup. They would not be able to reconcile their inventory.

Needless to say, the return was a long and involved process. The salesperson was as helpful as she could be, considering the store policy was not customer friendly. I ultimately walked out with a pair of Nike Free (for $20 less than I've seen at my local running store), which I cannot wait to run in. I hoped to do so this afternoon, once I'd finished at my parent's. I should know better by now that running does not happen after remodeling. I now have a 3-miler on the calendar for tomorrow morning. This will be the go/no-go determination for Sunday's make up marathon. For the record, the forecast for Sunday is now low 80's with "clouds and breaks of sun." This is far better than the 88 degree weather forecast just yesterday.

I will keep you posted.

May 26, 2011

Thinking Things Thursday

It’s a bullet point kind of day…
  • These came in yesterday:
    I ordered them on-line in a men’s size 8, expecting that to equal the women’s 9 I had. The pair I had worked well, besides being a bit narrow and until they got waterlogged. I hoped the men’s would have a wider toe box, which they do. The new pair fits perfectly. So perfectly I’m afraid they may not work for longer runs. They are not the half size large I expected.

    I’d thrown the other pair out after last weekend’s disaster of a run. If I return this new pair for a larger size, I am without running shoes for at least 2 weeks. THAT isn’t going to happen. I’m on the fence about purchasing yet another pair, in a larger size. My budget is already stretched so thin it’s transparent…

  • I’m testing out the Kinvaras today with a short run, to see how both they and my feet feel. I still hurt from last Sunday’s idiocy, and I may not be able to run my make up marathon this weekend because of it. As usual, since I know I have no common sense, I let Superman define the go/no-go guidelines. If I cannot run 3 miles pain-free by Saturday, I cannot run/walk a marathon Sunday. The next timeslot available to run the marathon, if I can’t do it Sunday, is July 4th weekend. I’ll keep you posted.

  • I’ve decided to run the Really Big Free Marathon as my first official marathon experience. I won’t have the cash to sign up until July, and hope they won’t be sold out by then. I’ll certainly have a job by next November, and will figure the rest of the logistics out as I go. I think I’ve convinced Cinderella to run it with me as her inaugural marathon as well! I’m so excited about that! Her Prince has done several marathons, so may run it too. I know it won’t be difficult to convince her to come to Vegas. It’s getting her to the starting line I’m not so sure about.

    I’m also not sure if Superman will run this with me. I’m pretty sure Vegas does nothing for him, though I know he wants to run a marathon. I’m tempted to sign him up myself, but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what he wants.

  • The Perfect 10-Miler finally got their on-line registration sorted out, so I’m officially signed up for that race. That gives me a race in June, a race in August, and a race in October. Unless something incredibly irresistible comes across my radar, this will be the extent of my 2011 racing season. While I love the idea of racing every month, I don’t believe I have enough of a fitness base to do so injury free. That’s what I’m taking from last year’s experience, anyway.

May 23, 2011

I never claimed to be a rocket scientist

I never claimed to be a rocket scientist. This is a good thing, because I can be pretty darn stupid sometimes.
Exhibit A
It all started Saturday night. You know, Game Night! (yes, the exclamation point is a necessary and integral part of the Game Night! name). Well, maybe it started last weekend when I determined the Sunday after Game Night! would be a long run day. I put 10 miles on the calendar.

I know I said there would be a moderate amount of alcohol at Game Night!. Well, moderate is a relative term. I still had some Fruit Bomb mixed up from last month’s Game Night!, so decided that would be perfect for this one as well. Fruit Bomb is my own little concoction, consisting of the following:

1 shot Citrus Absolute Vodka
1 shot Peach Absolute Vodka
1 shot Triple Sec
1 shot 99 proof Cherry Schnapps
2 shots 99 proof Banana Schnapps
12 oz. Sierra Mist (or Sprite if you’re a Coke-head)
12 oz. Cranberry juice

Six shots is not really that much, if you spread them out over 5 to 6 hours and include food. I was not falling down drunk, drooling, throwing up, or making a fool of myself. My teammate may have been a little disappointed in the intelligence of my responses toward the end of the evening though. All in all I had a grand time. Once we modified the rules to fit our group, Celebrilicious turned out to be great fun.

I knew Sunday was supposed to be a scorcher, but there was no getting up early to run after staying up late and drinking. Superman and I leisurely puttered around, making coffee around 10, drinking 32 oz. of Crystal Light in addition to my HUGE cup of coffee. I ate a massive fruit salad with banana, cherry, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry. Around 11:30 we were thinking about when to head out when my shirt exchange contact from last weekend’s race texted me, wanting to finally meet up at 12:30. We puttered around a little more, then I headed out to make the exchange.

We didn't hit the pavement until at about 1:00. My legs were ok (at least no pain), but I felt the heat right away. The weather went from high 60's-low 70's to this 80+ degree day, with no chance to acclimatize in between. This was also the first really dry day we’ve had in over 2 weeks, and waves of muggy were coming off the grass. We were dodging puddles because there was nowhere for the water to go. The lawns were fully saturated.

At about 1.4 miles I realized I could not hear my GPS mileage announcement through my headphones, and I couldn’t adjust the volume without stopping the GPS. This was important because I fuel with a watered down Gu/Gatorade mixture every mile. In hindsight I should have just turned the GPS off, set the volume and started it up again. We knew where we were turning around, and it wasn’t like I was setting any speed records. Instead, I got frustrated. Superman agreed to give me his GPS updates, even though we’ve established his GPS is not exactly trustworthy.

By mile 2 I was feeling the heat, and though I refused to acknowledge it, the effects of Game Night! as well. Superman and I discussed when he absolutely had to be back home, and I started contemplating a shorter run. I also started to feel a problem with my shoe.

This particular pair of shoes has never been “right.” They are narrow for my feet, and I made the mistake of believing the salesperson who told me they are supposed to be snug that way. They worked for the first several short runs, so by the time I realized they would be uncomfortable on a long run it was too late to take them back. They never gave me blisters though, until about a month ago when I got caught in a torrential downpour about 4 miles from home. Torrential as in, I could not look up because I was blinded with the sheets of water coming down. Anyway, my shoes (and everything else I had with me) were completely soaked. The shoes were never the same. They felt tighter. They started giving me blisters. I had the mysterious toe bleed during last week’s race.

Knowing it was going to be 80 degrees, I did not want to wear socks. Socks on previous runs had been too hot, and I’m not good with too hot. I tell Superman there’s only so much discomfort I can stand. Knowing the shoes were giving me blisters though, I’d devised protection for my toes. What I hadn’t counted on was the shoe rubbing against the ball of my foot, right were the insert meets the upper.

Around mile 3 I took my shoes off. My feet were overheated and I knew I had blisters. I wear minimalist shoes, have run in Vibrams and barefoot for short periods, and figured I could do several miles this way. Shoeless felt much better. At mile 4, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do 6 more miles barefoot and I wasn't sure I could do 6 more miles, period. We turned around.

Somewhere before 4.5 miles, I gave up. I was so slow, Superman was walking next to me. I was exhausted and frustrated. We still had several miles to cover to get home though. After walking barefoot for a while, I realized my feet hurt. I put my shoes back on, but that hurt as well. I took them off and started walking on the grass. This felt good, especially since the grass was so saturated.
This is what I found when I got home. You can't see the blisters from the shoes on the side of the ball of each foot. I didn’t realize the extent of the damage until today, when I found blisters on the 2nd toe of each foot. The left is worse than the right, with a deep blister across the top of the ball of my foot. I couldn’t walk on it last night. Today is much better.

I’ve cleaned them all up and put blister band-aids on. The tape around my foot is to keep those band-aids on, as my experience has been they roll and come off before I’m ready. I'd already ordered new shoes Saturday, which should be here tomorrow or Wednesday. I have to heal and break those in before Sunday, when I run my make-up marathon. I hope it’s not a sweltering 80 degrees, though the temps have gone up to mid-70’s from the high 60’s they were predicting the last time I checked. Oh, and it’s supposed to rain...

May 21, 2011

Game Night!

I'm am currently in a flurry of cleaning and cooking, preparing for Game Night! This is a new tradition started this year within my little circle of friends, which we round robin host once a month.

Tonight, we will play Celebrilicious (courtesy of Single Dad Laughing).

Supplies: paper, writing implements, one minute timer

1. Each person writes the name of a well known celebrity, public figure, famous person, whatever, on different slips of paper. Make sure the names are people that almost everybody will know. Fold each piece of paper in half and put them all in a bowl, box, or hat.

2. Split into two teams.

3. Choose a team to go first. One person from that team spends one (timed) minute helping teammates guess the names on the paper. In this round, the only rule is that you can't say the famous person's name. Once the minute is up, the bowl (or box, or hat) is passed to the next team.

4. The next team then has one minute to do the same. The bowl is passed back and forth until there are no more slips of paper. Both teams count their total slips of paper and mark down their score.

5. All the celebrity names are then put back into the bowl and the teams take turns again, doing the exact same thing, with the exact same names. Only on round two, whoever's up front can only say ONE WORD to describe the celebrity.

6. Round three is exactly the same as the other rounds, except there is NO talking, only acting out the names in the bowl. (Hint: It helps to remember the names from previous rounds).

And that's it! Count up your total points between the three rounds.

In our case, we will probably play this several times over the course of 4 to 5 hours, interspersed with good food, moderate amounts of alcohol, and I'm certain much laughter. We won't want to play it again for a very long time, but that's ok. There are a lot of games out there, and we always find something everyone can agree with.

May 19, 2011

Is it that time already?!?

My mother reminded me this past Sunday that Memorial Day is coming up soon. I won't say I'm completely disconnected from the calendar, since I have several training runs and a few little events like Game Night and my make-up virtual marathon on there. I really had no idea Memorial Day was so close, though. I also promptly forgot again, until my friend Goddess reminded me today. This is kind of an issue, because traditionally I host an annual Memorial Day party.
My house is the size of a postage stamp. This picture shows pretty much the entire first floor. (Don’t ask what kind of weird lens Superman used…) This is why I rarely have company, except in the summer months when we can party outside.
You see, I have a huge back yard.
And a good sized side yard.

My parties are always fun, and you never know what will happen. Sometimes it's laid back sitting and chillin’ and eating and chatting. Sometimes it's a 2 hour water fight involving the entire neighborhood and a flooded bathroom due to retaliatory strikes.
Sometimes it involves dressing up in garbage bags and making a giant slip ‘n slide out of a tarp.
Unfortunately, the master planner behind most of the shenanigans is currently in Germany, but I fully expect to enjoy myself regardless. There's always good food and good people.

Hopefully it doesn’t rain. Things get interesting in my teeny tiny house when it rains. It’s going to be interesting anyway, the day after my make-up marathon.

May 18, 2011

Bad Jan! Bad!

For the last 2 days, instead of drinking even close to a healthy amount of liquid, I overate instead. I drank a little coffee, a little water, and a little soda. I KNEW I was dehydrated, but when I went to the kitchen I came out with food instead of liquid.

I hate when I do that.

There's a part of me that doesn't like me very much. Every time I do something good for myself, like maybe run a half marathon non-stop, I sabotage myself.
I wrote the above yesterday, then decided it wasn’t good material for a Thankfully Thorns Have Roses post. I've been doing a bit of thinking since then.
  1. Would I overeat if I actually drank enough water EVERY SINGLE DAY? I believe there’s a direct relationship between what and how much I eat, compared to what and how much I drink.

  2. Amanda at Run to the Finish is hosting a 10 Day Sugar Free Challenge starting June 1. I signed up with the expectation that I would do the challenge for 28 days (the amount of time it takes to break a habit). There are several reasons for this. The main reason is sugar can eliminate the ability to feel full. I don’t feel full. I’ve mentioned this before, and been aware of it for quite some time. I overeat, in part because I never feel full until I am overfull.

  3. The Paleo Diet is all over the interwebs and has been mentioned in several blogs I read. A vegetable heavy diet is also stressed many places, consisting of up to 10 servings of vegetables a day.

  4. Someone recently posted about how, when it comes down to it, we only do what we want to do. If I want to run, I make all sorts of opportunities and bend over backwards to find a way to run. If I don’t want to run, I make all sorts of excuses and find all sorts of reasons not to run. I may run once or twice, but in the long run it won’t happen. This is true of everything, including diets. I apparently want that ice cream more than I want to be thin.

  5. I don’t actually want to be thin. When I was thin, I attracted all sorts of unwanted attention. Granted, I haven’t been thin for 20 years so that may no longer be the case. What I want is to not look fat. I want to run faster and more easily. I want my body to be capable of what I ask. I want to feel attractive. These wants are more difficult to quantify than “thin.” Thin is a number on the scale or a pants size. How can I create SMART goals to achieve what I want, without numbers?
These things I’ve been thinking don’t, on the surface, have anything to do with my water consumption. They all have to do with how and why I consume, though. I frequently eat when I’m thirsty. I eat too much sugar, and not enough healthy food like vegetables. Why? What is the motivation behind my eating habits? Is there any motivation behind the way I eat?

The 10 Day Sugar Free Challenge is going to bring about more changes than just a lack of sugar. I will not be able to drink diet soda, of which I have at least one 24 oz. per day. I will not be able to drink coffee, because I can’t stand it unless it’s at least half flavored creamer so it doesn’t taste like coffee at all. That creamer is full of sugar. The only way I’ll be able to get caffeine is through iced tea, which is the only caffeinated beverage I can stand without sweetener. 

The challenge will make me eat more fruit, because that is how you deal with sugar cravings. Your body wants sweet, you give it natural sweet. The challenge won’t directly make me eat more vegetables, but I’ll have to fill the calories currently taken by sweets with something. That something should be healthy.

I’m working on drinking enough healthy liquids. I’m working on getting my head around no added sugar. Now if I can just get my head around how this will affect my wants, I’ll be set.

May 16, 2011

Really REALLY?

I was certain my knees would hurt after everything I put into yesterday’s race. Thankfully, that is not the case. My hips ache in a “you really used me hard yesterday!” sort of way. My feet are tender and one toe (with no indication as to why) hurts. I spent a lot of the time I was out there focusing on relaxing my hips and lower back. Apparently that and the stretching on Saturday worked! I’m quite excited about this, as knee pain has been a constant for the past 6 months or more.

I have other thoughts about yesterday’s race, and they are not all happy. I understand it is a huge undertaking to put on a race of that size. I get that there are a lot of details to consider, and it’s not surprising some fell through the cracks. I’m a bit disappointed though, enough to consider not running it next year.
  • The price has gone up to $40 for EARLY registration, $65 to register by January 6, 2012, and up to $95 for last minute registration (if the race isn’t sold out). Maybe I’m a cheapskate, but $40 is about my limit for a half marathon, and even that seems expensive.

  • I’ve already told you about the shirt swap fiasco. I still don’t have a shirt that fits, though luckily the person I’m in contact with didn’t come in from out of town for the race. Hopefully we will both be happy come next Saturday afternoon.

  • The timing chips apparently failed for some people (me included). This wouldn’t have been SUCH a big deal, if there weren’t such a crush at the start. I probably crossed the start line more than 5 minutes after the first runners left the gate.

    I asked about official times on the Cleveland Marathon Facebook page, but go no response. Several people commented though that their were times approximately 10 minutes more than their Garmin or GPS times. These 10-minute-off times were posted on Facebook pages and texted in, for the people who chose those options.

    UPDATE: This has been fixed. My official time is 2:54:11. Not a PR, but certainly a PB…

  • The medal is sweet, with a rotating guitar (for those of you who like those things). The ribbon has very 1970’s tie-dye and hippy writing. It also has last year’s date on the logo. That made me sad.
  • This is the part I simply do not get, no way no how. They know how many people will be able to register for the marathon. They know the marathon and half marathon sold out several weeks before the race. How hard is it to make sure there are enough foil wraps for all marathoners? They had separate chutes for marathoners and half marathoners, so it’s not like they gave them to the wrong people. The temperature dropped and it was raining by 10:30. I know most of the marathoners ran at least part of the way in that rain. I also know I was shivering on my way back to the car. Apparently this is the 2nd year in a row there weren't enough wraps. How does that happen?
I have 2 weeks to decide if I’m going to register for next year, as the price goes up $5 at the end of the month (and then $10 August 2). I’m still debating. This was my inaugural race, and there were several things they did right:
  • The course change from last year to this was an improvement. While the course this year was predominantly uphill, it did not end with a sharp uphill climb, leaving no energy for a final kick. Being able to speed up at the end, down that same hill, gave a mental boost that carried into the finish line chute.

  • The expo was the biggest and best I’ve seen in my (admittedly non-copious) racing career.
  • Using the stadium bathrooms made that part of the experience better than any other race, ever. No porta-potties. PLENTY of toilets meant almost no waiting. A warm and dry area to use the facilities, with hot water to clean up after.

  • The volunteers were out in abundance, and stayed even after it started raining. There were easily 10 to 15 people manning each stop. I have been to races where they started closing up shop by the time I got there. This was not the case.

  • There was plenty of water, Gatorade, and Gu at the water stops, as well as bananas, chocolate milk, popsicles, water, and chips at the finish.

  • The community came out in force, with signs, to cheer, play music, offer orange juice and fruit. I saw a gorilla and a hot dog out dancing in the rain as well.
I’ll probably end up doing it, if I can make the proper financial arrangements. Overall the experience was more positive than negative. I hope they keep the same course and starting area next year…

ps: Barefoot Neil, if you’re reading this, you’ve gained another convert. I’m now posting with MS Live Writer.

May 15, 2011

Cleveland Half Marathon Race Recap

5:30 - My alarm went off. Superman and I got up and I chose between the two outfits I'd laid out last night. I chose well, considering the weather - long sleeve shirt and shorts. Put together my fuel and water for the day. Ate an almond butter & apricot jelly sandwich.

6:00 - Out the door with a large cup of coffee in hand.

6:25 - Found a free parking spot approximately 1 mile from the start. I used to park here all the time when I worked downtown, and neither Superman or I are afraid of a walk.

6:45 - Arrived at Cleveland Stadium, where the race was to start. Found warm, indoor flush toilets, with warm water sinks to wash up in after. Stood in line for only a short time (with so many toilets, the line looked worse than it was.)

6:50 - Found the starting area. Lined up near the back with many 10K racers, who would start 15 minutes after us. The walker pace flag was ahead of us. Told Superman I'd really like to finish ahead of that pace group.

6:55 - Took these pictures:
The hat lasted about one mile.
Superman carried it the rest the race.
Was hoping to show how many people.
Facing the start, which only Superman at 6'3" could see.
7:00 - This came up on my iPod:

7:02 - Still waiting for the mass of people in front of us to move. Official start time was 7:02:56. Official chip times are not yet up, so I don't know what time I actually crossed the start.

Ran this:
Notice the uphills?

10:10(ish) - Crossed the finish line. Tried to turn my GPS off, and had a minor meltdown when I couldn't get my iPhone out of the plastic bag I'd used to protect it from the expected rain that never really came. It dripped and drizzled and misted, but did not outright rain until we were in the car on the way home.

Jog Log says I ran this in 2:55:06, at a 13:04 pace. I did not expect to be anywhere close to 3 hours, telling Superman this race was about not stopping, and that he could expect me to finish in around 3:10. Somehow, the website has my 10K and end times, but not have what time I crossed the start line. Unofficial time from the site is 3:04:04. I'm glad I didn't have them post my times on Facebook, as some other people did. No clue when official times will be posted.

Let me say again. I. Did. Not. Walk. That was my goal, and I rocked it. Fueling was perfect. I did run out of water, which was surprising as it wasn't hot and it was wet. I think I didn't fill it all the way, and drank every mile when I fueled to rinse the taste out of my mouth.

The last four miles were hard. The last 2 miles were miserable. My toes cramped off and on for the better part of the race, even after I figured out I was holding my foot curled in because my shoes are too narrow (I've been having trouble with them ever since they got soaked several weeks ago). My foot cramped horribly when I got in the car, but that went away after a minute or so.

When I got home, I found this:
No clue why it bled.
It was (and is) the other foot that hurts.
I left everything I had out on the course. Walking the mile back to the car was painful and difficult. I felt some better after an ice bath, even more better after eggs and pancakes, and much MUCH better after a nap. I'm still stiff and I'll feel this tomorrow, but isn't that the way it's supposed to be?

Off to help my brother celebrate his PhD, for which he matriculated today. Lots going on around these parts...

May 14, 2011

Just back from the expo

Having the Cleveland Marathon expo right up the street from me is a dangerous thing. I've been up there three times now. First, I picked up my packet, then found myself a pair of Injinji socks and Gu. Then I went back to find Superman a pair of tech socks. He normally would wear his regular cotton crew, but with the prediction for rain was more concerned about blisters. Finally, I went to see if I could find a shirt to wear tomorrow, that doesn't advertise some other race.

I have to say, this is the first race I've been in where they would not switch out the T-shirt if you discovered the size you ordered did not fit. They have a message board and post-its where you are supposed to stick your name, phone number, the size of shirt you have, and the size of shirt you want. Turns out these tech shirts run small, since the medium that has fit me just about perfectly so far is hard to even pull down. I'm not even sure a large will fit, but it looked like that would be my only other option. I got lucky, as there is someone on the west with a large, looking for a medium. I called her, and even more fortuitously, had already planned to be on the west side today (I live on the east side). I told her I felt like a kidnapper, arranging to bring her shirt to such-and-such a place at such-and-such a time. She bailed at the last minute, saying she was running late for a wedding. I think she felt as weird about the whole process as I do. End result? I don't have a shirt for tomorrow. All the other tech shirts I have are either winter weight, or advertise a different race.

So back to the expo I went for the third time. I don't know how I missed the One More Mile booth the first two times I was there. I spent over half an hour browsing through their selection. Here are just a few I liked enough to consider purchasing:
"Does this shirt make my butt look fast?"
I bought this in a tank.
I just had to have it, and they didn't have it in a T

"26.2 miles. What could possibly go wrong?"
Back list of what could go wrong: HERE
I didn't even see the back. Didn't need to.

Came close to buying this one, but they didn't have it in my size.
The fabric is a wicking diamond mesh, what they call "Wick-lite Diamond Knit." It almost goes without saying One More Mile didn't sponsor this post in any way. I just thought they were hilarious, with a nice fabric, and at $26 not too expensive.

Now I'm ready for tomorrow, with no more excuses to visit the expo. Good thing, since I've depleted my stash cash considerably.

May 13, 2011

Here I go again

This Sunday is the Cleveland Marathon, of which I am registered to run the half. I ran the 10K last year as the first race I signed up for. It was the race that really motivated me to run.

Today I visited the Expo, which happened to be right up the street from me.
the Expo was larger than I expected
This is just the half marathon packet pickup
I'm standing in line for mine, so add another 3 stations
Ever since my shoes got soaked, they've been giving my feet problems. I finished my last long run with blisters on 2 toes and a completely raw and bleeding spot where one toe rubbed against another. I have a new pair of Merrell Trail Shoes, but have not had the chance to ramp up mileage in them. I won't be able to run a race in them until August at the earliest, so the Kinvaras I've been running in will have to do. I hoped to find some Injun toe socks, to alleviate some of the friction and discomfort. 
Score! I also got the Gu and Cliff Bar for $1 each. That's more than half off!
I was also in the market for more Gu and something solid to eat halfway through the race. My new fueling plan (combine Gu and Gatorade with water in a handheld) worked wonderfully last weekend, except I still got hungry about halfway through. I was thrilled to find everything I wanted at $1 each.
I'm happy with the shirt fabric, but it runs WAY small. I was thinking about going back to the expo tomorrow for more cheap Gu, and now have to return the shirt for a larger size. I'm not even sure a large will fit. I might have to go with extra-large or maybe a mens. I'm not a big fan of pink, but even less a fan of orange, so will probably go with what I can get and hope I'll fit it eventually.

I don't have any real time goal for this race, though it would be nice to break 3 hours. Based on my last long run, that is not likely to happen. My only real goal is to do this without stopping. No water stop walking breaks. I ran the 11 miles last weekend without stopping for anything but traffic. I have NEVER run a race without walk breaks. The new fuel plan means I don't have to walk to keep from choking on thick and sticky Gu. Because I sip on the handheld every mile or so, I get fuel consistently throughout the race instead of big chunks 45 minutes to an hour apart. It will mean pushing hard at the end, especially since I still have a habit of going out too fast.

Oh, and by the way...
If I'm lucky, I'll get the cooler weather without the rain. The last few days have had some pretty strong morning thunderstorms though.

May 11, 2011

Brick Workout, Sheba Style

First of all, I can no longer thing of "brick" anything, without now thinking of this. Thank you Allie Brosh!  You really have to go look. Right click and open it in a new tab or window. I think my favorite is "Truth or Brick," or maybe "Brick Tag"

I know a brick workout is normally a duathlete or triathlete endeavor, of which I am neither. I had to look up why they are called brick workouts. Because they are hard? Because that's what your legs feel like when you're done? Turns out it's because you stack one workout on top of another, like you do a brick wall. That's what I'm doing today, in an unconventional sense.
I say unconventional because my first workout was not originally billed as such. It's no secret I've been working at my parents' house. We're redoing the back bedroom, which is covered floor to ceiling with tape and staple holes. The remnants of teen angst, I'm sure. There is also water damage from a poorly done roof job and gutter issues. 
This gives a fair idea of what I"m working with. The white is mud, which needs to be sanded smooth enough you can't see it once primered and painted. You can tell the ceiling needs as much mud as the walls. I've got the walls done, and after 3+ hours of sanding, the ceiling is close to halfway done. Sanding above your head makes for an awesome upper body workout. My arms, shoulders, and back are TIRED!

Because I've been on my feet, up and down the ladder, up and down stairs, I have to stretch before I try to run. My hips are stiff. My back is stiff. Without stretching, my run would not be pleasant at all.
The run is an easy 4.5 miler. I say easy, but it's in Superman's neighborhood. This means there are some killer hills to deal with. I plan to take it easy, as I have a race Sunday so this is supposed to be taper. We were supposed to do 3 last night in my neighborhood, but Superman ran late and I had somewhere to be. I'm looking forward to running with Superman, as our schedules have not coincided much at all lately and it's been several weeks since we've had the chance to head out together.

Off to get cleaned up and stretched out.

May 10, 2011

It doesn't take much to get me excited

Just give me a patch of dirt
and some plants
And a shovel

Eh Voila!
Avocado, which grew from a seed in my kitchen, but got too big.
It sadly won't last the winter here.
It's already not happy with the temperatures.

Grapes, which I planted late last year, and wasn't sure they survived.
They did!
Now I have to find the right trellis...

Strawberries, because I saw them at Home Depot yesterday
and just had to have them.

Green Peppers, which started life last year in Topsy Turveys out a bedroom window.
They wintered well in the house, but are upside down.
One of them broke right at the root while transplanting.
I'm curious to see how they survive
because I may dig them up again this fall.

Raspberries, which are transplanted from my sister's yard.
The ones she gave me before did not survive last year's waterproofing.

Blackberries, because I saw them at Home Depot today
and just had to have them.

My lilac, which DID survive last year's waterproofing.
It won't bloom for another year or two,
but it will bloom eventually.
Add a brand new sprinkler,
and I am one happy camper!
BTW, the hay you see is the new grass seed the condo association laid today. That makes me happy as well, since the waterproofers basically killed off my entire lawn.

There will be sunflowers at the corner of the building, as well.
Those were planted last weekend. Most of the fruit plants won't produce for a year or two (or three), but I'm excited just knowing I have them. You can bet I'll be checking on a regular basis, just in case!

May 9, 2011

New About Me page!

I created an About Me page, if anyone is interested. I started writing a complete autobiography, which I may yet publish. I may not, as complete may be more than you want to know about me. This is a condensed and graphical "what makes me me."

May 6, 2011

Sorry. I got lost

I'm working on a new 30-Day Letter Writing Challenge letter, which I planned to post yesterday, but I got distracted. I spent far too much time catching up on this blog. Well, trying to catch up. I haven't even made it through 2009 yet. Rose, you might get a kick out of this post. I know you like

Anyway. You'll get that letter some time next week. I'm sure you can't wait. For now, this is more important
(because she'll be too busy to read this Sunday):


My family (brother, sisters, parents) traditionally goes out to breakfast on Mother's Day. Monkey Boy will miss breakfast, so he sent me a gift certificate to Life is good!

How do you celebrate Mother's Day?

May 4, 2011

A reason to Twitter

6am Friday morning, an amazing woman will embark on an amazing journey. She has run 12 marathons and a 50-mile man vs. horse race. None of that compares to what she will accomplish in 24 hours on a treadmill. Why? Besides because she can, that is? Because it takes a stunt, an amazing accomplishment, something out of this world to get people's attention.

I've mentioned EMZ several times. Why does she want attention? Not for herself. For the Sojournor Center. Check it out. Donate. Then come back because I need your help.

See, I'm very excited for EMZ and her treadmill run. Excited enough to want to follow her adventure on Twitter, since she's promised to keep everyone up to date.

Confession time. I have no clue how to use Twitter. I have an account and know how to follow people, so that's good. I use Facebook though, and have never really found a use for Twitter, besides following and tweeting people's contests for extra entries. I can keep track of how EMZ's run goes, but I haven't the first clue how to tell her how amazing I think she's doing. If I had any real followers, I wouldn't know how to let them know, either.

So. Anyone out there Tweet? Any suggestions on where I can find "Twitter for Idiots" in time to pick up a few tips ... tomorrow?

May 3, 2011

Rated R

Mom and Dad, you might want to skip this one. That probably should go for Big Bro too, and anyone in the audience who can't handle a little nudity. Go check out what Aunt Gertie is up to, and come back tomorrow. You can't say I didn't warn you. You'll thank me later. Trust me on this one.

Now that we're alone...

I'm sure to get some interesting spam after today's post, and can't wait to see what the ads have to say!

So I've noticed the last few Runner's World magazines have articles about "clothing optional" races. Wait. What? Naked running? Now I'm not a prude. I've thought about visiting a nudist colony. I even participated in this:
Spencer Tunick came to town in 2004.
It was early. It was cold. It was an experience of a lifetime.
You can see videos of the installation HERE and HERE.
I know where I was and I didn't recognize myself, so there's no chance you will
I'm not adverse to the theory of running au natural. I'm not even surprised to find people have been racing sans clothing for years. Runner's World did an article on it in 2008, and I can totally see hippy runners in the 70's and 80's getting their commune with nature on.

For elite athletes with 0% body fat, who run in underwear anyway, I assume this could be freeing and even fun. For a 40 lb. overweight, 43 year old woman, not so much. I am not a fashionable or stylish woman. My clothing choices are based on comfort and function. With my body shape, I need functional running clothes. The bouncing and chaffing would be downright dangerous without them. To wear only what I need for safety's sake would defeat the purpose of a nude race, because I would not be anywhere close to nude. I already show my belly on hot days, in what some people have indicated is an incredible lack of modesty and the appropriate shame. My belly is all I could show in a nude race, without hobbling away after to ice my inner thighs and black eyes. I suppose I could buy stock in Body Glide...

It's not like you have to run barefoot either, although apparently some people do.
I'd have trouble running 3 miles with all that hair around my face.
Looks like she just got it done, too...
Most of these races seem to be just 5K, which is only 3.1 miles and anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes in the sun. Long enough to taste the experience, but not long enough to sunburn.

I wonder what it's like before the race. Do people line up in clothes, then shed them just before the start? At the Spencer Tunick installation, we arrived around 4am for a 5am photo shoot. Some people decided to run around naked in 40 degree weather for at least an hour before we got the word to disrobe. They obviously just wanted to be naked in public.

What about after the race? Does everyone stand around naked, eating bagels and bananas and chatting each other up?

Curious cat is curious. I think the only way I'll find out is to shed this excess weight, and even then I might still need the functional aspects of my running outfit. Considering how quickly I've been shrinking (read, not at all), I may just be SOL.

What about you? Would you run naked on the beach, if everyone around you was running naked too?

May 2, 2011

Why do I do this to myself?

Why do I do this to myself?

That's what I asked as I cleaned up after 5 hours of painting baseboards and doors. My legs shook as I leaned over the utility sink, and I knew there was no way I would run 5 miles today. I'd set unachievable, overly ambitious goals again. I didn't even have a run on the calendar for today. Having skipped yesterday's long run altogether, I was feeling guilty. I have to revamp my calendar yet again, based on no marathon this past weekend.

I know it's ok to change my goals, based on the events of the day. I didn't do Wii Yoga either. Instead, I made this:
Somehow over the last several months, I've gotten away from eating well. This week I've come back to center and made salad one of my daily meals.

Then I made these:
 Being utterly unwilling to follow a recipe as written, it's a little easy to get carried away. These are granola/oatmeal/trail mix cookies. Yum!

While I waited for each batch of cookies to bake, I did this:
It's called the Third World Squat, and I'm better at it than I thought I would be. I cannot get all the way down as this gentleman is doing, but my thighs are lower than parallel to the ground and my weight is on my heels. I'm surprised my knees are willing to participate, but besides some sensation at the base of my quad/top of my knee, they seemed to like it just fine. I have to work on getting lower and staying down longer. Right now I can only stand it for a minute or so at a time. Go click the link. I'll wait. There's some interesting information, and some theory that this will help with lower back pain by strengthening the glutes and hamstrings, and by loosening the hips. We all know my hips are weak and tight. I'm hoping this helps.

The force behind my goals is to improve myself physically, mentally and spiritually. I may not have followed the exact path I set for myself today, but I followed the spirit of the path. That is the important thing.