Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gettin’ My Yoga On

I mentioned the other day that I bought a “Yoga for Athletes” DVD and was more than a little surprised at how hard it is.  I haven’t taken a yoga class since high school (yes, one of my PE options in 1985 was Yoga.  I also took Aerobics for one semester – for our final we had to choreograph an aerobics routine to Sheena Easton’s hit song, “Strut.”  Lordy.), and my oh-so-fuzzy memory of that class doesn’t include me sweating and grunting trying to hold a Warrior Pose.  I do vividly remember a girl named Suki farting loudly during Downward Facing Dog pose, though, and man was I grateful that it wasn’t me.  Maybe that’s why I’m leery of taking a group yoga class.  In the privacy of my own home I have no problem letting them fly, but I’d rather not be called “fart girl” behind my back at the gym.

Yoga for Athletes 001

 

 

 

Since I have nothing to compare this DVD to, it seems pretty good.  I specifically chose the DVD because it had a man on the cover (oh, and the fact that it was only $14.99).  I have no interest in some 20-year old perky-breasted yoga girl making me feel bad about how limber I am NOT.  This dude is seriously flexible, though!  The voice-over is done by a woman with a nice, pleasant voice.  The poses are explained in great detail, so you can do them without actually looking at the TV (which is very hard to do in some of the poses).

 

 

Yoga for Athletes 002 

 

 

 

The Main Menu.  I’m curious about the yoga poses they chose for golf.

 

 

 

 

Yoga for Athletes 003

 

 

 

 

The options for Runners.  This seems pretty thorough to me, though I’m sure there’s some overlap on the poses.  So far, I’ve only done two of the routines – 30 minute Basics and 45 minute General.  They both kicked my ass, making me a little afraid to click on 60 minutes of Legs.

 

 

 

I guess I was expecting a lot of laying around on the floor, stretching and focusing on my breathing, but there’s much more to it than that.  There’s a lot of coordination and balancing involved, neither of which are my strong suit.  By the end of the 45-minute General routine, my legs were quivering and I was mighty happy to finish with Corpse Pose (my favorite).

Yoga for Athletes 007

 

 

 

 

Me attempting to hold the Flank Stretch Pose for as long as the DVD suggested.  Do you see the vein popping out in my forehead?  I thought yoga was supposed to be relaxing!  (and, yes, that’s my indoor bike trainer in the corner)

 

 

 

I’m definitely going to continue working out with this DVD – it’s a new and exciting challenge for me and so much more athletic than I thought it might be.  When I expand my DVD library, I’m considering “Yoga for Dummies” and possibly “Yoga for Inflexible People.”  They both seem about my skill level!

Tell me about your yoga experiences!  Do you take classes at your gym or yoga-cise at home??  Any DVDs you recommend?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

Yep, it’s that sort of day, so here’s some bullet points for ya:

  • I’m sluggish and a little crabby today, which I’m going to blame on the heat.  I know you’ve heard this from all us Californians the past couple of days, but it is HOT and I am over it.
  • I cranked out a terrific longer-than-I-thought-I-might run this weekend.  I set out on one of my favorite out-and-back routes with the thought that I would do it once if I felt lousy, twice if I felt good and three times if the stars aligned just right.  My IT felt great, so I went for the third repeat – yay!
  • On the other hand, my two mile recovery run this morning felt like complete crap.  There were lots of factors at work there, though, including the fact that I got up at 3 am to run and it was already in the mid-60s.  I know that’s a pretty cool temperature, but since it was the middle of the night, I was really hoping for low 50s.  Oh, well, got ‘er done anyway.
  • I bought a “Yoga for Athletes” DVD at my local sporting goods store over the weekend with the thought that some stretching would be relaxing and good for me.  Holy crap, it was HARD!  My Tree Pose looks more like a Shrubbery (“Bring us…a SHRUBBERY!”)
  • I know my whole day would improve if I would just clean my house; vacuuming always makes me feel better.
  • Even though it wasn’t a race, but rather an Event, I’m SO proud of The Hubs for being the first finisher at his century ride this weekend!!

That’s all I’ve got.  Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

An Excellent Visit to the Doctor

First of all

Let me clarify my last post, since I must have sounded like I was heading off into the world to do something foolish, like run a marathon – ha, ha!  The thing I most want to harden up is my attitude (well, and my ass, truth be told – Mother Nature seems to think that the little bit of fat I have on my body all belongs on my booty).  I always try to have something positive to say, but these last two weeks I have done almost nothing but whine and complain and I am sick of listening to myself.  Of course I am going to take care of my injury and proceed with caution.  Thank you all so much for your concern and support – it really means a lot to me!!

I {heart} My Doctor

I go to the doctor very rarely, but when I do I feel like I’m hitting the jackpot.  Maybe it’s just Kaiser, but all of the doctors I’ve seen in the last few years have been athletes.  My kids’ pediatrician is a runner.  My Sports Med doc and PT are both triathletes, and my new doctor that I just met yesterday?  She’s a marathoner!!  I barely had to explain anything to her because she totally got it.  After she examined me and asked lots of questions, she ruled out any sort of stress fracture (which was my totally paranoid fear). She referred me right away to Sports Medicine/PT and gave me the green light to keep training.  She showed me some more stretches and told me about her marathon experiences.  I walked out of her office feeling completely relieved and optimistic.  Oh, and more good news?  When the nurse took my blood pressure (98/65) and pulse (57 bpm) she commented to me, “Wow, you’re really healthy!”

After seeing the doctor, I did something I’ve been putting off for almost a year, since I turned 40 – I got a mammogram.  Kaiser has a walk-in, no waiting, digital mammogram clinic in the same building as my regular doc (who reminded me no fewer than three times during our ten minute visit that I was due to get this done), so in I went, sweating like a pig from the nervousness.  My mom had breast cancer ten years ago (and is completely healthy and cancer-free now), so I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer.  I don’t know what I was worried about, though, because it was so flippin’ EASY!  All the horror stories you hear about the squishing?  Not that bad.  *whew*

What’s Next?

The Hubs is doing a century ride today, so I’m going to spend some quality time with my training schedule and see what I can do to salvage Long Beach.  I should be starting my taper soon, but I really feel like I should get in one more long run – possibly next weekend.  So, I’m thinking super easy paced medium long run this weekend to feel things out and then decide from there how far I can go next Sunday.  I’m ruling out tempos and speedwork for the time being and I’ve let go of my BQ dreams.  Maybe next time.  Right now I’ll be excited to cross the finish line with a smile on my face.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Operation HTFU Starts Now

I went to Fleet Feet on Tuesday to see if getting some new shoes will help my IT issues.  The extremely friendly and helpful worker – Alex - analyzed my gait and let me try on about a bajillion shoes.  It made me feel good that, upon looking at the wear of my last pair, he remarked, “Oh, yeah, these shoes are done.”  My shoes don’t last for nearly as many miles as “everyone” says they should.  Good thing my weekly mileage stays under 30 or I’d go broke on shoes.  My new BFF Alex also confirmed that I have a forefoot stride while running and a mild enough pronation that I can choose to correct it or not.  So, what did I buy?  The exact same pair of Newtons I’ve been wearing.  Of course.

On the way home, I was whining to The Hubs about my IT (again) and dithering about how to treat it (again), what to do next (again), whether or not I could run the marathon (again), etc.  The Hubs said to me -   Well, hang on for a minute and let me tell you a little bit about my husband.  He is a man of VERY few words, a former Army officer.  His current job is very stressful, but I hardly ever hear about it because he just doesn’t bring it home.  He pushes himself to be excellent at anything he tries – have I mentioned that he’s training for the full iron distance Silverman right now?  He’s pretty tough.

Anyway, here’s how our conversation went:

HIM:  So, are you really in that much pain?

ME:  *whine* blah blah blah, all about me and my IT, blah blah blah (this went on for a while, I admit).  What worked for you when you had IT pain a couple of years ago?

HIM:  I have IT pain now, too.

ME:  What, like when you run?

HIM:  Yeah.

ME:  How about when you ride your bike?

HIM:  Yeah.

ME:  You have IT pain all the time, even sitting here in the car and talking to me??

HIM:  Yeah.

ME:  *silent for a moment while I process this information and remember all the hard miles he’s put in lately*  So, you’re saying I just need to HTFU, huh?

HIM:  *laughs*  You said it, not me!

Even though he didn’t say it, he made a good point.  This is what I have been lacking in my training and racing.  This is why I set goals that I don’t quite reach – I back off when things get difficult.  Rather than rest and whine and worry, I need to work through rough spots, to gut out pain, to harden the F up.  (Side note:  I still have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow – you can’t “tough out” a broken bone, so I will at least rule out all other injuries before jumping back into marathon training.  I’m also looking into Active Release and massage therapies in my area, because ideally I’d like to run pain-free, you know?)

So I went for a five mile run today.  I started off around marathon goal pace and picked it up about ten seconds every mile.  There was some pain, but I ran through it and it didn’t kill me.  Good to know.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Good News and the Not-as-Good News

Good News:  My IT is feeling much, much better.  My pigeons are getting deeper and I can hold them longer.  I no longer curse at the foam roller (well, not out loud, but sometimes still a little in my head).  In fact, over the weekend, I was feeling so good I thought I’d go for a short run Sunday morning and test things out.  I set out for a two-miler with the hope that maybe I could stretch it out to four miles.

Not-as-Good News:  I only made it two miles.  The first mile felt great and I had to concentrate on not running too fast.  By mile 1.5 I started feeling my knee a little bit, then a little bit more.  By the 2-mile mark, it was clear I shouldn’t go further.  The biggest bummer was that it hurt a little for the rest of the day.  I wasn’t surprised by this outcome so much as I was disappointed by it.  In fact, I think the mental setback hurt as much as the physical one.  In my mind, all I can hear is the tick-tock of the marathon countdown clock and the “what-ifs” are killing me.  What if I can’t get in another long run?  What if I hurt myself worse by trying to run too soon?  What if I can’t run the marathon at all??

Good News:  When I got up this morning, I felt great again!  No lingering soreness, no phantom pains.

More Good News:  I went for a little bike ride this morning and still felt great.  I kept it at an easy spin speed (aka, effin’ slow!) and my hip/leg/knee felt strong the whole time.

Conflicting News:  The research I’ve been doing (I’m not a doctor, I just play one on the internet…) has turned up the conflicting advice that I should rest and avoid any activity that irritates my IT (such as running, cycling, soccer and bowling), but also that I can take my intensity down a notch and continue to run reduced mileage.  The problem here is that my mileage is already really, really low.  I spend more training hours in cross-training than running.  And even my cross-training hours have been lower lately.  In spite of the Cool Running website’s assertion to the contrary, I just don’t believe this is an overuse injury.  So, how the heck did I strain my IT??  I’ve been driving myself nuts with this question all week.  So many things have changed in my training over the last few months.  Is it being on my feet all day at my job?  Is it the strength training I’ve added to my routine?  Am I somehow straining my hips by riding in aero position more and more?  Could it be something simple, like my shoes need to be replaced?  Well, like I always say - when in doubt, go shopping!

Conclusions:  I don’t actually have any.  I’m not quite willing to give up the marathon, so I’m going to play the wait-and-see game for a little bit longer.  Tick-tock.

Friday, September 17, 2010

T.H.I.E.F!

Thank Heavens I’m Exercising Friday!

*crickets chirping*

Okay, you know what?  Sometimes I’m not clever.  In fact, most days I have to settle for “mildly amusing.”

I rode my bike today!!  Yay!!  It was a very short and slow ride which ordinarily wouldn’t have been blog-worthy at all.  Ah, but today I’ll regale you with every detail because I’m celebrating the fact that my leg/knee didn’t hurt!

I haven’t been running or riding my bike this week in an attempt to rehab my ITBS.  What have I been doing instead?  Well, I’ve been keeping to a strict schedule of barely swimming, half-ass core workouts, feeling sorry for myself and eating a Family Size bag of candy corn.  I really, really wish I was joking about this or at least exaggerating.  Nope.  Two pounds of candy corn went down my gullet in the last five days.  Go big or go home, I always say, and this week I did both.

I’ve also been doing a whole lotta Pigeon Pose and foam rollering, which seems to be helping my IT.  I’ve been completely pain-free while walking and doing regular stuff for the past two days, so I was super excited to try out my bike today.  I’m still not running until Monday…maybe Sunday.  I don’t want to push it, but I also don’t want to continue to eat my weight in sugar.

I spent half of today’s ride thinking, “Was that a twinge?  Is my hip tight?  Do I feel okay?” and the other half studiously NOT thinking about my leg because I was so flippin’ happy to be on my bike that nothing short of a massive stroke was going to make me stop riding.

Thank Heavens I (have) Endorphins, Finally!

Final stats:  8.42 miles @ 16.5 mph.  Hell to the yeahs, baby!

Happy Weekend, Happy Training and Happy Racing to you all!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Phunny Photos

Yesterday, Laurie from The {Mis}Adventures of a Jogging Stroller Mom – who totally cracks me up, btw.  Do you already read her blog?  If you don’t, you should, because she is her very own brand of awesome.

Wow, nothing like digressing from my own topic in the very first sentence.  Anyhoo…

Laurie posted some official (ahem, officially pirated, as are the pics below) photos from her recent half marathon – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.  Her post was so funny (honestly, I was laughing with her, not at her!!), and it occurred to me that this was a game we could all play. 

There have been a few race photos where I looked somewhat human, like this one:

race photos 002 (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, I know I’ve got that chicken wing thing going on, but at least I’m smiling and my feet look like I’m flying.  This was at the finish line of my half-marathon PR.

 

 

And then there are race photos like these:

race photos 001 (2) 

 

 

 

Taking “chicken wings” to a whole new level.  What am I? Trying to fly??  I’m pretty sure I had just put my arms up in a “woo hoo” position, so of course the photographer got me right after that!  And you gotta love this one-legged pelican pose. 

 

 

race photos 002

 

Yeah, this photo has it all:  the grimace, the drooping capris, the obviously shuffling gait, and the wildly unflattering shirt that makes me look ten pounds heavier than I am.  Well done, Mr. Race Photo-Taker, wellllllllll done.  You may have already guessed, this was a half-marathon PW (two years before I set my PR on the same course).

 

 

So now that I’ve answered that age-old question - “If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?” – please feel free to laugh at me.  Better yet, join the fun and post your own worst race day photo so we can all share in the laughter!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The 18-Miler That Wasn’t

I had some real dread going into Sunday’s long run.  For me, 18 miles is where the rubber meets the road, where the boys are separated from the men and where I have traditionally fallen apart in training.  (Wow, psych myself out much??)  I’ve trained for three marathons and encountered more than my fair share of fueling and hydration issues.  Apparently my electrolyte balance is pretty delicate, but it took a lot of puking to figure out what to do about it.

Marathon Number 1 was the Nike Women’s Marathon last October.  Training was okay, but tougher than I expected.  I felt tired the whole time and never hit my goal paces.  My 18 and 20 mile training runs were cut short with stomach trouble that I couldn’t figure out – was it heat?  Was it the energy gels?  Was it not drinking enough water or drinking too much?  Race day dawned and I felt lousy by Mile 5, I was throwing up by Mile 13 and I staggered into the med tent at Mile 20.  DNF.

Marathon Number 2 was just seven weeks later and I was determined to get it done.  I changed my fueling strategy and dialed my time goal waaaaaaaay back.  I only had time for one 18 mile training run and I walked a good portion of it.  I made plans to run with a friend and we had a great time, chatting and running.  Poor thing had GI trouble by the halfway mark but was a total pro and never tossed her cookies.  We ran an easy pace and were happy to cross the finish line at 4:44:32.

Marathon Number 3 was this past March.  I trained hard.  I started drinking Nuun to keep my electrolytes stable.  I struggled a lot with the nagging doubts on my long runs, but I made it through them.  On race day, I was ready to bring home a BQ.  But for some now-unexplainable reason, I chose not to bring my own hydration and there I was at mile 18, chucking on the side of the road.  I had to walk the last 8 miles, but I crossed that finish line at 5:26:42, faster than Katie Holmes.

This training cycle has been golden, absolutely fantastic.  My tri fitness has really made me a faster and stronger runner.  I’ve found a nutrition plan that’s working for me and keeping my stomach happy (puke-free since March!)  I’ve been stomping all over my time goals and feeling fresh while doing it.  Sure, there’s been some self-doubt here and there, but even my mental game has been better lately.  What could go wrong??  A fricken injury, that’s what could go wrong.  UGH!

There I was, cruising along at mile 13 of my planned 18-miler.  I was feeling good, hitting a really nice, but somewhat aggressive, pace.  I turned a corner and – BAM! – it was like somebody Nancy Kerrigan-ed my left knee.  I slowed down and tried to find a comfortable stride.  Not happening.  I walked for a bit and felt better, but as soon as I picked it back up to a running pace the pain brought tears to my eyes.  I know exactly what the problem is – my IT Band – even though it’s never given me trouble before.  The Hubs has had ITBS off and on for a few years and the pain is just like he has described, but of course much, much worse because now it’s happening to me.

I walked some more.  I sat my butt down on the sidewalk and stretched.  I hobbled and cried and walked a few more miles, but once I made it to 17 miles, I let myself walk the last mile home.  FAIL.  The pain was so bad yesterday I was practically immobile.  I stretched, used the foam roller, took ibuprofen and pretty much wallowed in self-pity for the afternoon.  Bye-bye marathon glory dreams.

Thankfully, today I’m (physically) feeling much, much better.  There’s still plenty of pain, but I went to work and I can move in a more or less normal fashion.  I did an easy swim this afternoon and my plan at the moment is to take this week off and take it relatively easy next week.  I need to get in another long run before taper IF I’m still running the marathon.

Mentally….well, I’m bummed.  I don’t want to scrap the marathon completely, but I don’t think running it hard and fast is in the cards anymore.

Tell me your story:  ever had an injury with a miraculous recovery time???

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Photo Spectator Reports

It’s a 2-for-1 day on Photo Spectator Reports, lucky you!  Yesterday was a pretty crazy day for our family – Big Boy competed in his first middle school Cross Country meet (he ran hard and was happy with his performance, but didn’t place.  Holy moly, some of those kids were smokin’ fast!) and The Hubs competed in his first Half-Iron distance tri (it wasn’t an M-Dot branded event, so I’m being careful with the whole “copyright infringement” thing).  Both races started at the same time about 20 miles apart, so we hustled out of the meet as soon as Big Boy was done running.  Thankfully, my MIL and FIL were on hand to catch The Hubs at his Starting Line.

Cross Country and HIT 012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s nothing better than a man in uniform – especially a cross country uniform.

 

 

 

Cross Country and HIT 013My kid is the one hiding in the shadows, second from the right.  Middle school is 7th and 8th grade in our area.  Don’t they all look so young?!?

Cross Country and HIT 022 Finishing strong!  It was almost comical how fast this race was done (it was a 1.4-mile course).  After Big Boy caught his breath, we scrambled out of there in plenty of time to see The Hubs come into T2.

HIT 002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t it funny how much this looks like the pic of Big Boy above??

 

 

 

HIT 014 The orange buoy is a course marker.  The turn buoy is that little tiny white speck waaaaaaaaaaay out there.  1.2-mile Swim Time:  38:49

Cross Country and HIT 025 Finishing up his terrific ride.  The “Hang Loose” hand gesture cracked me up!  56-mile Bike Time:  2:54:56

Cross Country and HIT 032 This photo captures the agony that was the two-loop run course.  Dusty, barren, dirty, rocky and HOT!  13.1-mile run time:  2:02:57

 Cross Country and HIT 037 And DONE!  Finish Time:  5:36:42!  31/168 OA, 8/22 AG

What a great day - I’m so incredibly proud of my boys!!  I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend, too!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Day in the Life…

Beth over at Shut Up and Run! did a great post today, giving us a glimpse (okay, more than a glimpse, there was poop talk) into her life and asking her readers to do the same.  Since I know you spend most of your day wondering about me (don’t you???), I’m happy to provide you with more detail than you could possibly care to know.

3:53 am.  Wake up and look at the clock.  My alarm is set to go off at 4, so I have the choice to get up now or sleep just long enough for the alarm to scare the crap out of me in seven minutes.  I choose to get up now.  Like a zombie in search of brains, I head to the kitchen for coffee and turn on the computer on my way there.  I check email, Facebook and blogs while I drink my coffee and eat breakfast.  All too soon, I have to get ready for work.

4:55 am.  Arrive at work for my 5 am – 10 am shift.  I’m a fitness coach at a health club, which mostly involves listening to women bitch about how they can’t lose weight while they’re half-assing their way through a workout.  Okay, that’s not entirely true.  There are plenty of members who are serious about their health, which is the part of my job that I love, but there are also a lot of people who just want me to give them a magic pill that’ll make them “thin.”  Ugh!  I’m on my feet the whole time I’m at work because there literally isn’t a chair for me to sit in, even when I’m doing computer/paperwork stuff.  One of these days I’m going to wear my pedometer to work and see how many thousands of steps I take in a five hour shift.

10:10 am.  Eat a Clif bar in my car on the way home so I can hopefully have enough energy to get through today’s tempo run.

10:15 am.  Stop at Walmart on my way home because my headphones crapped out on my last run.  I’m so glad I remembered this before I got home.

10:50 am.  I’ve gone to the bathroom, chatted briefly with The Hubs about his morning, changed my clothes, made a Nuun, and tested out the new headphones, so I am out the door for my 7-miler.  The one mile warmup feels like I am going to die.  My legs are like wooden planks and simply won’t turn over at anything that feels like a running pace.  I turn a corner into the long part of my run and it’s a headwind.  I briefly consider bagging the run, but then my Garmin beeps for the five miles at tempo pace (8:15) and suddenly I’m flying and everything in the world is just the way it’s supposed to be.  Not only do I make my tempo goal pace, I finish the whole 7 miles with an 8:14 average pace, sweaty and happy.

Noon.  Now it’s time to scramble through a shower, shovel down my lunch and have a quick conversation with The Hubs about his nutrition plan for this weekend’s Half Ironman.  He is debating the idea of trying out something new.  I know it’s just his race nerves talking, but still, I have no patience for this nonsense.  In my really nice, gentle, supportive-wife voice I ask, “Are you effing kidding me?”  He changes his mind and decides to go with products he has used with success in training.

1 pm.  The Hubs heads off to work and I’m off to volunteer in Little Boy’s classroom.  I adore Little Boy’s teacher and am glad to help out any way I can.  Today’s task is clerical and brainless and I’m happy to be sitting down.

3 pm.  Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.  Little Boy and I grab a snack and chat for a bit about his day.  He was chosen to read a short passage about the Constitution at tomorrow’s school assembly and he is completely stoked about it.  Little Boy has been in speech therapy for articulation issues since he was four years old and has made enormous progress this past six months.  The news that his teacher recommended him for a public speaking gig brings tears to my eyes.

4 pm.  Little Boy hunkers down to do his homework and I read blogs in the other room sit attentively beside him to supervise.  Thank goodness there’s no math.  We practice spelling for tomorrow’s test (piece of cake), memorize the fifty states in the order in which they became states (#18 and #19 are the –anas, Lousi and Indi), and correct a paragraph for capitalization and punctuation errors.  *whew*  I’m still smarter than my fifth grader, but only by a little.

4:30 pm.  I vacuum the house (more or less, mostly less.  But at least I got rid of the visible layer of dog hair on the carpet.) and start thinking about dinner.  Strangely, staring into the pantry doesn’t magically produce a brilliant meal plan, so I whip out an old stand-by:  grilled chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans.  Boring, I know, but at least it’s not frozen pizza (again).

5:10 pm.  Big Boy arrives home from school after cross-country practice, starving and hot.  I haven’t seen him since I kissed him goodnight last night, which is my very least favorite part of my early shift at work.  We sit down to eat right away and I hear all (or at least some) about his day at school.  Cross country practice is going really well, and he’s super excited that he’s able to keep up with the “fast kids.”  He doesn’t appear to be nervous yet about this weekend’s meet and I’m glad for that.

5:25 pm.  With dinner scarfed down, it’s time for Big Boy to get started on his homework.  I clean up the kitchen a little and scamper to the computer to check email and Facebook like a teenage girl.

6:10 pm.  In the car again, this time we’re headed to Karate lessons.  I’m a bad mom and drop them off at the door, while I sit in the car and return calls from my mom and my sister.  I catch the last 15 minutes of class, though, so I can tell them how great they looked tonight and actually mean it.

7:30 pm.  Home for the night.  It’s starting to get dark out and I’m fading fast.  Big Boy finishes the last of his homework and picks out his outfit for tomorrow’s “Nerd Day” – it’s Spirit Week at his school.  There is much laughter and silliness as he tries on a plaid shirt buttoned up to his neck, plaid shorts, knee socks, dress shoes and a pair of plastic glasses.  Oh, my!

8 pm.  Snacks are eaten, teeth are brushed and inspected, many kisses are given and finally Big Boy and Little Boy are off to bed for quiet reading time.  It’s 8:33 right now and if I go to bed when I finish typing this post, I’ll get about seven hours of sleep before I have to get up and do it all again.  Okay, not quite all of it – I only volunteer one day a week.  Today was a really busy day, but it was still a good one.

How was your day??

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Gettin’ my Sweat on

I never used to consider myself an “outdoorsy” person.  In a lot of ways, I’m still not – I don’t do a whole lot of camping or gardening.  But given my druthers, I will always choose to run, ride or swim outside versus inside.  Okay, let’s make that “almost always.”  I’m a total wuss in windy conditions, and today was a crazy windy day.  (Seriously crazy.  We’re still getting temps in the high 80s, but today topped out at around 70 degrees with 20 mph winds.  Weird.)

Since today was a biking day, I opted to hop on my trainer rather than fight that wind.  Let me be real honest here, the reason I usually prefer to ride outside is because riding on the trainer is HARD!  When I ride outside, I’m on city streets, so even my maximum effort days have a little built-in rest time with the red lights I inevitably hit.  And even though I have the resistance on my trainer set for a 70 pound woman, it takes way more effort to produce much less speed than when I’m outside, which is a bummer.

I popped in my Spinervals “No Slackers Allowed!” DVD and in less than five minutes I was wishing I had chosen the 20 mph winds.  You can tell from the title that this DVD means business.  I love Coach Troy, I have quite a few of these DVDs, and I frequently hear his voice in my head on tough rides, telling me to “get up out of the saddle and dance on those pedals!”  Plus it doesn’t hurt that he’s pretty easy on the eyes.  But today?  Today when he was on my TV, hollering at me to “Push!  Push!  Push!  Drive!  Drive!  Drive!” I admit that I hollered back, “EFF YOU, COACH TROY, THIS IS ALL I HAVE!!” 

It’s okay, there were no children around and the neighbors already think I’m a lunatic.

Sweaty Spinervals 004 Sorry Megan, no helmet hair on this one, but I think I got the Freak Face just right.  :-)

Even though it was brutal, it really was a great workout.  I sweat so much I was afraid I was going to short out my cycle computer.  Final stats:  9.5 miles in 42 minutes.  (You see what I mean about the resistance setting – somehow I only managed a 13.4 mph average!)

Sweat On, Friends!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bloggy Award Fun

I’m very pleased to be the recipient of the two latest Bloggy Awards that are out there floating around, the Cherry on Top Award and the Happy 101 Award.

Cherry_Award  Happy_101

Many, many thanks to the lovely bloggers who awarded me:

Ginny @ Java Joggers, who takes lots of gorgeous pictures and has terrific giveaways (which I would like to win one of these days…hint, hint!)

Michelle @ Fitness Diva, who didn’t actually name me personally, but I’ll pretend like she did.  ;-P

Char @ My Life’s a Marathon, who is putting in some amazing kilometers Down Under right now – go, Char!

Marcia @ Running Off at the Mouth, who cracks me up and is a huge inspiration to me.

LMC @ Running Over 40-Something, who always has something positive to say.  I love that!

Alma @ The Average Woman’s Running Blog, who really raises the bar on that word “average!”

You’ve all read the rules on these awards by now – what would you change, what makes you happy, etc.  I definitely fall into the “I wouldn’t change a thing” camp, not because I’ve led a charmed life (HA!  As if.), but because I’m really happy where I am now.  Oh, sure, I’d love to undo about 15 years of really stupid decisions that were the result of low self-esteem, but how else would I have learned some of life’s painful – but necessary – lessons?

So, rather than dwell on what can’t be changed, let me tell you about a few things that I wouldn’t change for the world, because they make me happy:

  1. My Kids.  Sure, that’s an obvious answer, but they’re pretty fantastic.  :-)
  2. The Hubs.  Ditto.  I’m a lucky, lucky girl.
  3. My dog and cat.  Really, you can’t be unhappy when there’s something warm and furry in your house that just wants to be loved.
  4. Coffee.  Need I say more?
  5. Halloween.  We go nuts for Halloween around here.  This is a picture from last year and yes, that’s my real wedding dress.First Trimester Awards and Halloween 028
  6. Running, riding my bike, and even swimming…slowly.  Even the bad days of training make me happy because I’m still out there doing it.
  7. Changing seasons.  It doesn’t matter which ones, honestly, I just enjoy the sense of anticipation in the air when something new is coming.  Yay for football season, I’m so excited about Christmas, thank goodness it’s getting warmer, and bust out the swimsuits and margaritas – I love it!
  8. Going out to lunch (or maybe a night out) with my girlfriends.  There’s always plenty of laughter!
  9. Kayaking.  This one is brand new to me.  We’ve had an inflatable raft for the last two summers that has been tons of fun, so we bought a kayak a few weeks ago.  For somebody who doesn’t truly love to be in the water, I get an enormous kick out of being on the water!Kayak Fun 013
  10. BLOGGING!  When I started mine, I thought it might be sort of a fun little vanity project, but “meeting” all of you has been better than I could have imagined.  You make me laugh, you inspire me, you challenge me and you encourage me to dream big – thanks for that!

So, let’s pass it on:

Laurie

Whitney

Kristin

Becka

Suzy

Heather

What makes you happy??

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Six Things Sunday

Ahhh, Happy Labor Day Weekend!  In the spirit of celebrating the working folks with a day of laziness, here is my bullet-point post for the day:

  • Thank goodness Recovery Week is over!  As mentioned previously, I am not a huge fan of Recover Week.  I find it sort of boring and sometimes even harder than regular training weeks.
  • This week was also like an All-You-Can-Eat buffet at my house.  I literally couldn’t stop stuffing my pie hole.  Related to Recovery Week?  More than likely.
  • My “Easy Six Miles” on Thursday turned into a complete FAIL.  It turns out that if you don’t keep up heat training, you lose the ability to run in the heat.  Go figure.  I (barely) made it five miles before I ran out of hydration, and ended up walking the last half mile home.  Ouch.
  • The “Easy Eight Miles” I ran this morning was much more pleasant.  It was about 55 degrees (LOVE it!) and I breezed through it at an 8:14 pace without even breathing hard.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love cooler weather?
  • I went for a swim yesterday and discovered that, like heat training, you can lose swim training like that!  I struggled through 800 meters and called it quits.  I’m not really ready to give up swimming for the winter, so I need to get back to it regularly.  Good thing it’s on the training plan.
  • Next weekend is going to be a big deal around here:  The Hubs is doing his first Half-Iron distance tri and Big Boy has his first Cross Country meet!  Yes, at the same time on the same day.  Talk about your Cindy Brady situations!

I hope you’re all enjoying your long and (not so) lazy weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Marathon Mania, Part 1: Crunching the Numbers

I’m having a little bit of the post-triathlon season glums, especially since this is also a Recovery Week on my marathon training plan.  I’m not a big fan of Recovery Week, to be honest.  I understand that it’s necessary, but I don’t like feeling like I’m losing forward momentum.  A week full of “Easy Run”s and “Easy Bike”s on the calendar just doesn’t fill me with excitement.  So, what else would I do today but sit down in front of the computer and obsess about my projected marathon time???

On the one hand, I have three marathons planned in three months to do the whole Marathon Maniacs thing.  But on the other hand, there’s a Big Quality goal that I’m also going after.  (You caught the BQ there, right?)  In order to qualify for Boston, I need to run a 3:50 marathon.  Technically, I have until 3:50:59.  I see your eyes flitting to my sidebar at the 4:44:32 marathon PR and you’re probably thinking, “Dude.  Ain’t gonna happen.”  Trust me, there will be a future post about the awful marathons I have already run, but today I’m thinking about the awesome marathon I might run in the future.

If you’ve ever gone down the obsessive number-crunching path, you already know that there are tons of calculators out there on the interwebs.  You plug in a recent 5K, 10K or half-marathon time and it spits out your projected marathon finish.  For me, there are pros and cons to using each of these distances for a projected time:

5K Pro:  My recent 5K time is a real measure of how much I’m willing to suffer in a race.  I ran my 23:36 at a can’t-breathe-might-puke pace.

5K Con:  Uh, it was only a 5K.  Anyone can suffer for 23 minutes, does that really mean I can suffer for four hours?

10K and Half-Marathon Pro:  At these longer distances, there’s more time to gauge how long and how much I’m willing to suffer.

10K and Half-Marathon Con:  I honestly haven’t pushed myself at either the 10K or half-marathon distance as hard as I know I’m capable.  I routinely beat my PRs for these distances in training.

Bearing these pros and cons in mind, I still punched in the numbers at these websites:

   MarathonGuide.com                        Runworks.com

5K =

3:49:33

5K =

3:45:25

10K =

3:52:45

10K =

3:50:33

Half-Marathon =

3:56:50

Half-Marathon =

3:54:06

         RunningTimes.com                      MacMillanRunning.com

5K =

3:50:44

5K =

3:50:04

10K =

3:55:13

10K =

3:55:12

Half-Marathon =

4:00:19

Half-Marathon =

3:58:30

RunnersWorld.com

5K =

3:45:56

10K =

3:50:31

Half-Marathon =

3:55:46

 
Leibreich.com takes a recent training run and projects a finish time for you.  Based on this past Sunday’s 16-miler (whose ass I kicked with an 8:26 pace!), they think I can run a 3:53:21.

Hal Higdon says I should multiply my 10K time by 5, resulting in a 4:09 marathon.

An article on About.com suggests that I should add 20 seconds to my mile pace every time I double my distance, meaning I should run a 3:54:39, based on my half-marathon.

So… looking at all these numbers, what’s the verdict?  Well, it looks to me that I either can or cannot qualify for Boston, but if I do it’s gonna be close and I’m gonna have to work HARD.  Which I totally already knew!  If it was easy, everyone would do it, not just Marcia.  The good news that I can see is that almost all of the calculators think I can go sub-four, which is my “A-“ goal.  I will be completely, 100% happy with any time that starts with a 3.  Unless it’s 3:51:00 – that will make me cry.

Now that I’ve shown you exactly how nerdy and OCD I can be, I need to know:  Have you ever wasted an entire afternoon dreaming, hoping, wishing and obsessing (you know, as opposed to actually getting out there and training) for a goal?  Have you ever hit the finish time that one of these calculators thought you could do?