Thursday, January 31, 2013

I have a new BFF

Those of you who know me well will understand the significance of this... but I have a new BFF. We met at the gym today, and at first I was apprehensive.

For one thing, my current BFF, prior to 10:10 a.m. Today was, in fact, Bart Yasso from Runner's World.

He & I have been pals for years.

What's funniest about that is that at first I *jokingly* blogged about how he was my BFF cos the first night we met, I held the door for him ("I carried the watermelon"). And then our online banter became such that one day I was walking down the street in San Francisco and he called me out, by name.
And then he introduced himself to my aunt as my BFF, so at that point, I realized:
I was Bart's BFF for realz. <~ anything with a Z on the end has more street cred. i'm pretty sure.

Anyway, what happened at the gym today went down like this.

I was ~kinda~ in the ladies locker room in the middle of getting dressed when I saw my new BFF. And I wanted to walk over and all that right then, but I didn't want to walk over in a state of semi-nakedness cos ~yeah~...


So after I pulled on my clean workout clothes, I did approached somewhat timidly.

I meandered across the room, and cautiously stepped up to my new Pal. We exchanged some looks. I glanced around to see if anyone had noticed us together.

I cringed, expecting the ABSOLUTE WORST.

And then, I realized that this was either the BEST BFF EVER or A TOTAL LIAR.

My new BFF told me with convincing honesty that I'd lost 8 pounds in 2 weeks.

Maybe my cookie eating-beer drinking-bread consuming holidays are finally behind me.

Oh, yeah, here's a picture of my Bestie's sister. I can't share one of my ACTUAL BFF, because taking a picture of you & your new BFF in the ladies locker room at the YMCA is definitely a way to get your membership revoked.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

aka the run where I was the quietest I’ve been in the last 4 years

So the big question from everyone right now is, “Are you Running THE 10K?”

There is only one 10K in the ENTIRE WORLD, as far as most Richmonders are concerned. Ya either LOVE IT. Or ya HATE IT. But if you live in RVA you probably have an opinion on THE 10K.

Monument Ave 10K is a Flat, Fast, Out and Back 10K that runs every spring in RVA. It inspires about 35,000 people to lace on shoes and move a total of 6.2 miles. It’s great for the speedy runners because it has seeded waves based on PAST 10K performance.

Are you running THE 10K?
Everyone's Doing It. It's the IN thing. You KNOW you want to...
No. I am not.

For two reasons.

The first is logistical. The race is the same weekend I am running away to the beach for a weekend with friends.

The next is logical. I earned a PR last year because I did race specific training. Right now I’m training for a longer distance.  I’m doing race specific training toward a Marathon, which would hardly prepare me for a 10K PR.

Besides, lately I've been a little defeated. I felt a little like I lost all my speed...~sniff~ and so it would be really hard to try to race a 10K knowing that my training hasn't allowed me to keep my speed...

er.. In Theory.

Cos on Sunday is went for a casual easy run with friends. ~yeah~ so. About *that*.

“Come run with me” wrote Coach Black.

If you’ve ever run in RVA, you might have seen Coach Black, Harry Potter, Ru, Yob, Ed, and Just Pink form a pack and charge down the street. They are beautiful to watch, running in unison with long fluid strides. Today, I was in the mix. AND It was super. I’m serious. It’s a wicked feeling to be wrapped up in that energy.

Of course, I didn’t do a lot of talking with my friends on the run. I listened as they exchanged stories and bantered with each other. I was not running on the edge of death, but I probably wasn't far from it at points. It’s laughably the quietest I’ve been in the last 4 years...

At some point I gasped a small comment about holding them up. They generally scoffed at my statement. I was running with The Team, and they were fine with the pace, regardless.  Besides, they were all pretty quick to point out that I was holding my own.

And I was.

Could they have dropped me? Oh sure, in a HOT minute. But the point they were making was WHY?

And then it happened. On Grove Ave I suddenly remembered:
Oh freaking yeah. I’m a Galactically Bada** runner, and I have some Bada** Friends.
They can freaking run.
And so can I.

Turns out I ran the first 5 miles only a few seconds above my PR 10K race pace from last spring, and the second 5 miles 8-35 seconds under my goal marathon race pace for this spring.  So. Am I ACTUALLY slower this year?
It would seem no...

And, if I'm struggling with pace these days, is it possible have I allowed myself to become mentally defeated?

Sunday's run was a good reminder that even when you're training for a marathon, it's a good idea to drop in and run with faster people now and then. And, I really need to thank Coach Black & the All Black Team for sharing their collective MOJO with me Sunday. It was just what the Dr ordered going into the 50 mile weeks ahead. ~Thanks Coach~

Also, Harry Potter, On The Edge Of Death will be my new PRN motto. #justsayin’

~savor the bada** run~

*PRN - as needed

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Angry Drivers Need Not Apply

Dear Honda Civic Owner with the Anger Management Issues,

On Saturday when you chose not to move into an empty lane on a 4 lane road so you could run me off the road, you exposed yourself as an a**h***.

I'm particularly sorry that your life is so small that you felt you had to pull a U-Turn and drive parallel to me while screaming obscenities as I was running. I was 2 inches off the white line.

Your expressed desire to see me dead was rather interesting to me.

I wonder if maybe it didn't occur to you that 1) If you hit me and don't kill me, I will own your fecking Honda Civic. 2) If you hit me and kill me, I have a father who will ensure that my children own your fecking Honda Civic. 3) You will probably lose your license and your job if you kill a pedestrian when she is so clearly NOT occupying the travel lane. 4) If you have so much anger in your life that you need to almost wreck your car so you can yell at a 136 lbs 5'2 female runner, I implore you to go get a therapist. I will pray dearly that the therapist recommends running as a stress release.

About an hour after our exchange, the sidewalks melted enough that I was able to run on them instead of on the 2 inches of road you so desperately needed for your compact car.


The Future Owner of YOUR Honda Civic

Friday, January 25, 2013

Is That a Frozen Banana on your Deviant Minivan, or Are You Happy to See Me?

Wednesday I had 16 miles on the schedule...

And thankfully, I had COMPANY for 13 of those miles!
So, I made a plan for 3 loops: 5, 3, and 8. That's not to say I planned a route and staged water or nutrition around the route. I just knew I would run my 5 miler, my 3 miler and an 8 miler out of the "usual" meet point.

I layered on clothes: 8 a.m.  20 degrees. "feels like 12".
I had tights. base layer. turtle neck. top layer. tall socks. hat. uber gloves. (I would have worn my wool socks, that were a gift from Mere because they're phenomenal, but I couldn't find them.... turns out they were in my eldest daughter's drawer.... I need less cute wool socks ~apparently~) 

Potter joined me for the first 5 miles. She's ADORABLE, even in "feels like 12". About 1 mile into our run she asked me to help her with her zipper. Yep, 9 minutes = her zipper down... on her key pocket. Life's in the details.

We averaged a nice pace, a perfect pace actually. It was MRP minus 20-25 after a 2 mile "warm up". It's in quotes because I'm not sure if I got warm or I got numb.

I dropped Potter off at 5m and ran another 3m. I ate a packet of honey (est about 30 calories) around mile 7 because I was feeling sluggish and foggy.

At the halfway mark I was back at the start to pick up T. While she got out of her car, I peeled my banana, ate 2 small bites, drank a few sips of water, and then, absent minded me, I put the banana down on the hood of my car.... and we left for the rest of my run.

Once upon a time there was a girl who knew how to run, prepare for runs, stage sags and plan routes...

Where is she now? Cos I need to have a talk with her....

At mile 14 I started feeling really bad. My foot started to ache (my shoes are dead, that's been fixed), my head was spinning, I felt ick. I barely finished the run, walking in the last .2 miles of my 16.

I got back to the car, grabbed my banana and went to inhale it... and it was frozen. Sitting in full sunlight, it had frozen. It was delicious but cold.

After I got home I showered and slept for an hour. After only a 16 mile long run I was as EXHAUSTED as I have EVER been after ANY 20 miler. Possibly that was due to lack of hydration and fuel, but I'm also wondering how much of that was because I burned calories trying to keep my body warm? Not sure. All I can say is that I hope it's not 20 "feels like 12" on race day. It shouldn't be... given the season, but still...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Place the blame where blame is due. aka I'm pretty sure that it's the food, not nursing school, that's making me fat

This is what I ate for Brunch the other day... er. I mean, I ate 1/2 of this after my 14 mile long run... 

and then I ate the other half the next day after my 10 miler.

Sweet potato waffle with chipotle syrup and fried chicken that melted in my mouth... mmm.

Anyway, as soon as I saw it on the menu at EAT I wanted to try it. I like trying new things. I do... but this was a bit excessive, even for me.


I had *some* guilt when I finished eating this ridiculous indulgence. Partly cos I'm getting a bit chunky. And partly cos I'm not sure the chicken appreciated being my brunch/lunch/post run meal.

Did you know I used to be a vegetarian? 

Yep. True story. For several years of my life. And then I got lazy, and started relying on starches too much, and that didn't work out so well for my waistline either. I'm thinking about going back to vegetarian-ism. It's not like it's totally "new" for me. I've been there before.... and I enjoyed it.

I wasn't a runner then though, and I have a few concerns. I guess I'll deal with them as we get there.

So my plan is that I'm going to ease in... I'll start by cutting back meat to every other day. Cut out some of the raw dairy.... and get going from there. 

Basically what I'm saying is that this week I'm flying by the seat of my too tight pants, cooking whatever sounds appealing in the moment.... this is a sample from my new menu.
Tofu and Ratatouille over Pasta. 
(yes, they're elbows because it's what I had and I was too tired to shop)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I forgot how to race

I forgot how to race.

I freaked out the night before the 15K and had to phone a friend to ask what to wear. #seriously?
On Saturday I rode for over 2 hours on my road bike with The Gentlemen of The Roads. So... yeah. Not an ideal way to prepare for a race.

That’s okay though, because the 15K wasn’t a race for me.  I was using it as a tempo run per Harry Potter’s suggestion.

“Stick to the plan. Don’t get caught up in the moment.”
“Unless XYZ happens. And then RUN ON THE EDGE OF DEATH....”
~um~ I kinda love Harry Potter for understanding me so well.

So, I set a goal of 1:18:xx based on my race day goal. Not this race, yo! The one I’m actually training for...

I slept so deeply that I woke up unsure of what day of the week it was... #weird.
Who does that before a race? Someone who’s insane.
 Or someone who’s not racing.

I arrived at the start and connected with gobs of awesome people ~ SpeeDee, IronJ, Merlin and more. And then, I went for a run.

Before the race I ran 2+ miles. Most at an easy pace, and also 6X200m strides.
But...I forgot how to plan...

Just before the start, when they were calling “2 minutes till gun time”, I was suddenly starving and ate my GU. I chased it with 4 sips of water, and went to the line as the gun went off.

I was with IronJ. And I wished her luck as I crossed the timing mat. The photographer caught that... I kinda love that, to be honest. Not the best photo ever, but, the moment.. it was priceless.
January & I'm wearing a tank.
Love RVA...

I forgot how to do a controlled start...

I went out too fast, and fought with myself for the first 2 miles as I tried to get my pace inline where I wanted it.

By the last 3 miles I was working hard to maintain on the climbs.  But, I was enjoying the moment. I realized that my MOJO was SO with me just then. Oh yes. Me & my MOJO were on a controlled tempo run.

I forgot how hard it is to race and hold a pace. It takes mental stamina, and today I remembered that detail.

... and then... shoot, I got all caught up in the moment and pushed the pace for the last bit. I forgot it wasn’t a race.

I was running neck & neck with someone and we kept edging each other out... ah well. It was fun. I managed to hang on... incase you wondered.

So... If I’d had the perfect day, and executed the plan exactly, I would have run 15K in 1:18:10.
I ran 15K in 1:18:20.

I may have forgotten “how to race”, BUT I still managed to run the plan.

SpeeDee, Merlin, GBA GF
And then, I ran back out into the course to get IronJ (another 2 miles round trip). And then, I ran back out into the course to get Merlin. SpeeDee had already run back for him.

I was really pleased with my day today.
12th in my A.G. (of 43).
1:18:20 which is a pretty serious PR for me...

But what made today was when I realized that MOJO and GBA aren’t about performance as much as camaraderie and enjoying the process.

Yep. It was a GREAT day.

 Also, the post race brunch was super... but that's probably a story for another day.

~savor the run~

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Four Corners

Most recreational runners have to live and think outside the box in order to manipulate a training schedule into a life schedule. 

I live with the idea that I can't skip a midweek long run, because that would interfere with tomorrow. But I'm flexible and reasonable, and can usually make things work so that I don't skip a run unless there's black ice or swine flu. wait, I take that back, I ran a 20 miler with swine flu.

This flexibility/box manipulating works for me, because I don’t do well inside a box.
Not well at all. 
I need space. 
Out door space is best.

I ~fecking~ hate the dreadmill. 

I mean, I am thrilled to go to the YMCA and run on a dreadmill when the weather dictates that I MUST not run outside. Or if my childcare situation demands that I not leave my kids alone to run. #lifeisinthedetails

Soooo. I run on the dreadmill when there’s black ice and ... black ice. Yep. That’s when I run on a ‘mill.

That’s about it. I’ve run in wind, snow, thunderstorm (shh), and once (accidentally) a tornado warning. I have run in rain of every flavor. Pouring rain, light misty rain, rain that fails to cool me on a hot day, cold rain that turns my skin pink, and fog so dense it may as well have been rain.

Why would I prefer rain to a nice dry dreadmill at the YMCA or my apartment fitness center? I mean, other than the part where I feel like I'm stuck in a cage on a hamster wheel?

Well. I figure you never know what race day is going to hand you. I can’t control the weather, but I can prepare and practice for it.

In fact, more than once in my life it HAS rained on race day. And I mean RAINED. I raced a 5K in a Tropical Storm, and I raced a Half Marathon in torrential flooding rain. I ran my first marathon in a steady drizzle.

Because I’ve always trained in nasty weather, race day weather has never been a game changer.

And this week was no different than any other training I’ve ever done. 40 degrees and rain... well, it was time to run. So I ran.

I make a policy to run in the rain for numerous reasons:
  ELIMINATE SURPRISES - as mentioned, it could rain on race day.
  TIGHT SCHEDULES – I live on a tight schedule. I have kids that need attention, nursing school classes and clinicals, and let’s not forget that the weekend is reserved for mountain biking ... er, I mean long runs. I meant... yeah... so if I skip my mid week long run, when am I going to run it? It’s not like I can run back to back long runs on Saturday and Sunday. I mean, I could, if I liked being injured, but I don’t, and my body can’t do it.
  MINIMAL RISK – running in the rain doesn’t make a healthy person sick. Germs make healthy people sick. So why wouldn’t I run in the rain? And, yes, I advise wearing a hat... with a light on it.
  BADA**NESS COMES IN LEVELS – seriously though, if you’re badass enough to believe you can run 26.2 miles straight, you’re badass enough to run in cold wet conditions.  Boom.

Somechick & I had wicked fun
Tuesday night, I got out with Somechick and we knocked back 8ish miles in some nasty pouring 40 degree rain. People who drove past us were looking at us like we were in-fecking-sane. We ran through a local college campus, and it was quite obvious that the students were perplexed by our choice to run, versus sit in the dining hall. The cars that drove past us sprayed us with sheets of water, and my shoes were squelching in the last mile.

I came home, took a 47 minute HOT shower (ok, not quite), drank some HOT tea (quite) and did homework before going to bed at a ridiculously early hour.

Then Wednesday morning I woke up to the sound of more rain. Uhg. Cold weather plus rain makes me want to curl back up in bed under layers of blankets and go back to sleep for a few more hours. My dog counseled me on this decision. She was very convincing... but, she’s a dog, and I’m not, so I got up and got dressed.

I ran almost 6, and met T for another 10+.

16 miles in cold gray cold rain. 

It was the kind of rain that is deceptively heavy. It looked light, but it soaked us through by the end. I was soggy. And tired.

But I did it, and tomorrow and Friday if it snows, I don’t have to worry about squeezing a run in where I don’t have time, or on a dreadmill, because I got my miles in.

And, to be honest, yep. It felt a little bit bada**. But then, we’ve discussed this... I’m definitely bada** level: Galactic.

Monday, January 14, 2013

First RULE of swimming

I'm cross.

Stupid rain came in and ruined a perfectly good mtb X-training day. I made a plan last monday about how I would spend this monday if the weather was cooperative.

It was not.

Of course, it's not like it was a surprise. I really hoped that the weatherman was wrong and that it would be cool and damp today, versus cool and pouring rain. The staccato of drops on the glass has pattered all day, broken only by an occasional percussion of wind.

So, mtb was out.

Instead I went to the pool for my cross training. I felt pretty good when I started, worked hard on reaching and #stuff. And suddenly, about 18 minutes in, I didn't feel so good...

at all...

So I flipped over and did a lap of back stroke. Figured that would help....

And then I went back to free, gagged, sucked in a mouthful of water... and ~ew, so gross~ almost threw up in the pool. First rule of swimming, "don't drown". Bet'cha the second rule is "try not to vom"...

I dragged myself out at 20 minutes of swimming, stumbled to the showers, and dressed while fighting waves of nausea. I had to pull my sucktastic beige mini-van over twice on the 4 mile drive home, and I crawled into bed where I collapsed for a two hour nap.

W.T.F was THAT?

I can swim.
I know I can.
I really needed a solid 45-50 minute cross train today cos I'm training and #junk.
... I really can swim, I swear.
<~ somewhere on this side bar there is proof in the form of a Half Ironman distance Triathlon. There was definitely swimming going on that day...

But nope. For some reason today I couldn't. Maybe the pool was too warm, or I was dehydrated, or stress upset my stomach. It's still feeling weird... wait, didn't I just blog about feeling weird?

Crap. Maybe I'm coming down with something.

Give me a fecking break.
I don't have time for this.
I'm a mom-slash-nursing student who's training for a marathon.

yeah, I said it. A marathon. I must be insane. or weird.

runners are weird.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Man Hunt

Saturday I wasn’t supposed to run with a group.

I had my kids this weekend, so I had manipulated my Saturday to allow for a mid-day YMCA drop in that included about 5 – 6 miles on a dreadmill. Uhg. I loathe the dreadmill. I would rather run in cold rain.

But the night before my planned dreadrun, Catalyst texted me & said his mother would watch all of our children if I would agree to run 10 miles with him.  Based on his comments, I anticipated meeting 3 or 4 of his friends for some miles...

And that’s how I ended up in a group of about 70 or 80 of my new BFF’s on Saturday. Of course there were a lot of familiar runner faces out there, waiting in the fog till it was time to start our 12 miles route.

12 miles.

Catalyst wasn’t ready to run 12. He hasn’t run more than 8 in a few weeks, and hadn’t properly slept, hydrated or prepared to run 12, but he took my key and said he would meet me back at the car when he split off the main route...

I haven’t had a good run in so long that 12 miles seemed at bit sketch. However, I’ve run 12 – 14 miles about 6 times in the past 4 weeks, so it’s not like I wasn’t sure I could cover the distance. I was just tired of sucking at the distance and wasn't sure I could handle another mental beating.

Nothing hurts a runner more than sucking for what feels like weeks on end... well, except mile 22...

The goal was to run easy for a few miles, and then run even 9’s, and then just try not to suck.

I broke the run into blocks, and once I ran through the block I “started the run over”. My idea was run 2, 6, & 4.

The first 2 miles were run at MRP + 15-30 seconds.
Immediately I was dropped by pretty much everyone I knew. But that’s the detail that often eludes me when I run in a large group. You have to remember to pace yourself at your pace and not others for the sake of running with them. So Catalyst and I settled in with some new people.

Run the next block of 6 at MRP.
Catalyst dropped out here at some point, and I enjoyed a 6 mile run. I wasn’t struggling, I was just conscious of where I was pace-wise and if I slowed too much I picked it up. I took it one block at a time. Run to the corner. Run to the next corner. Run to the...

And the last part of the plan was to run the last block of miles hanging on as close to MRP as possible.
Only, I didn't do that. At all.

See, what had happened wuz... I didn’t suck.

I picked up some familiar runners at mile 7ish and stopped at the SAG* on Grove. We left together... And then at mile 8 I split off from my ‘new group’ and played man hunt for the last four miles because I could.

You know?... Man hunt? Where you pick out a person ahead of you at a race, run him down, and chick him like he’s standing still as you pass? No? 

The rules clearly state you have to blow past the guy running like a bada** mother runner.

Seriously... I’m pretty sure that’s what the rules say...

My last four were at MRP minus 30-50 seconds

So, my training run really couldn’t have gone any better. But just like in all things. I need to wrap up the celebration on this, look at what made it such a success, and plan to make a similar event for my next long run on Wednesday.

And, uh, also, at coffee after the run I kinda remember that next weekend I’m racing a 15K. 

*SAG = Support & Gear