Wednesday, September 30, 2009

List O Portland

Current standings to previous post "issues" - and a few new ones to add:

Things of Good:
Calves: feel good. Not great but way better than they were. Elizabeth, masochistic massage therapist, told me that most likely, I would have pulled a pretty major calf muscle had I run on them in Portland. Okay, I have had some pretty crappy massages and people working on me about this issue or that which have landed me with zero progress or even exacerbated my problems but 3 sessions with Elizabeth and I hear the talk and I feel the results. I totally trust her. So I believe the statement she said on doing some major, possibly permanent, damage in Portland had I run on my calves. She states there's a lot of small knots in there but nothing we can't work on after my return and nothing that is going to cause any serious setbacks. Yeah! On my run short hill run tonight, they certainly felt good - and they rarely ever feel good doing hills.

Quads: a little tight but E (let's just abbreviate her name so that I don't have to spell that puppy out countless times) felt nothing in there and told me to just stretch the ga-geebies outta them. I'm trying.

Right Heel: Turns out it's my Achilles and it's being annoying due to the stress on that stupid left ankle. E said to warm water Epsom salt soak it before I go to bed and to roll it on a tennis ball. Will do both before I go to bed tonight but it's feeling slightly better.

Weight and Body fat: Happy to report - DOWN! Yea!!!! Taper usually means an added few lbs and I physically do not see the muscle definition in my body that I was sporting a few weeks ago but as T-man told me today, I'm eating a bit more salt right now and I'm drinking a lot (and I mean a LOT) more of that good-for-me H2O so my muscle tone isn't as prominent as it was (will work on that upon my return). But a quick BF check this morning, twice even, confirmed that yes, the body fat is down. And my scale is holding - not climbing. YES!!

Weather: I am knocking on wood: currently, weather in Portland looks ideal!!

Portland RW Loophead teammates: 5 amazing gifted athletes and I are joining together to form a team. And that's our name. I'm very excited to meet them, we've emailed and conversed numerous times - I know we're going to be good friends.

Things of not so good:
Head: Though not as bad as it was last week, I have a lot of ringing in my ears and occasionally my head begins to miserably throb. Ugh!

Sinuses: Right at this exact moment - good. When I woke up this morning - horrible. As Katy Perry says: hot and cold, in and out, up and down....

Back: It's a constant ache. Constant. Not external to the touch, it's somewhere inside and where exactly, I cannot tell you except it's lower. I'm getting concerned about this. I called E yesterday to explain that no progress and that it possibly moved a little backwards. She told me to heat, heat and more heat. I'm walking around at work with a heating pad on my back...and don't even ask how I constructed such a contraption to stay on me while standing. I won't even bring up the cord to the wall; suffice it to say, all is a challenge and I'm certainly I resemble some sort of strange growth from underneath my shirt. The kids enjoy it - love making fun of it.

Sleep: Or lack thereof.

Those little details that have me in a tizz:
Pace: I know what my pace should be to obtain my sub-3:45 marathon (honestly, I've given up on the 3:40...I'll be elated with anything under 3:45 - even 4-hours - really!!). I don't, however, know how to run the marathon with it (nor if I can even DO it). Go out a bit faster and bank some time cuz as my dear friend Elaine swears, you are doing a death march at the end regardless of what you have. Run an even, consistent 8:28 pace? Run the downhills fast and take the uphills to recover? Charge the uphills and coast on the down? Wear a pace band. Don't wear a pace band. Wear my Garmin. Don't wear my Garmin. Wear my Garmin and dump it at mile 6 (If I can find my posse...if my posse is even AT mile 6) so that I don't over-kill the first few miles, which I am notorious for and have ruined more than one race by doing so. I'm not a fan of dumping my Garmin. I'm not a fan of even wearing my Garmin period because it has the tendency to stress me out whenever it decides to cop an attitude and switches out of it's training mode seconds before the start of every single run/race I've ever done. (Note to self: PLEASE learn more about using your Garmin!!!! ) If I wear my Garmin, I'll also need to wear my regular watch and wow, what a total geek-head I'll look like, huh? And will I just get so overly frustrated with so many body adornments??!! And finally - pace groups. Run with the 3:40? 3:45? Or bag 'em entirely and do my own thing? I'm not even sure I can handle a "group" for that long of a period!

Nutrition/Hydration: I have bad stomach cramp problems. T-man says it's due to hydration and not being hydrated enough going into the race. I'll agree. But I think it's more, too. I think it's a combination of: hydration, nutrition and heat (before and during). I think there are certain things I put into my body during one of these lack of hydrated and nourished runs that exacerbate my churning stomach. I believe evil GU is one of them. But not always, just when the plants are aligned just right. One thing I can stomach pretty well are those Sport Beans, cherry flavored only, and a couple electrolytes powders: Cytomax and Accelerade. I end up playing chemist en route mixing water with my powder at the aid stations. Major pain. I've been known to actually just put the powder in my mouth and wash it down with water...I mean, it gets mixed together in the same place, right? So I'm in a huge tug-of-war with myself on whether to carry my cumbersome fuelbelt that tends to slip around my waist lately (must be all that weight loss, huh?). But it easily carries my water and electrolytes. A pb sandwich I think needs to be my nutrition instead of the dreaded GU. I can put my little make-me-faster electrolyte powder and beans in my shirt pocket...but what about my water? And my pb sandwich?

Well-meaning-posse: I am eternally grateful for SBS of Marathon Moms (very excited to meet her) and her friends whom have offered to meet me along various points in the course and help pace me. I can hand them my water and my pb sandwich....but what if I miss them!!??!! I've never met them (will have dinner with them the night before, thanks guys!!), what if I'm delusional (come on, we're all delusional at mile 22!) and I run right by them, forgetting what mile marker they are to meet me and woosh, I go right by?!!?? And now I'm out of sync for my hydration/nutrition. T-man said to make signs for them to hold up at the exchange points. I have a plead out for such request.

Race Day Clothes: I'm very superstitious. VERY! I have clothes that have failed me that I cannot wear for fear they are jinxed and I have clothes that have done me well, that I cannot wear because they are sacred. Even socks! I like to buy something, either my fav Nike Tempo running shorts (wow! The Nike website has 45 colors listed. 45!!! I thought my drawer full of about 15 was rather good...I gots a lots a shopping to do!) or a new shirt. But the shirt has to have a pocket in it due to the fact I'm not sure if I am carrying my fuel belt so will need a place for beans and pb sandwich (if I carry it). It's a vicious cycle! Vicious!! I bought a new white shirt at the Nike store downtown a couple weekends ago and mistakenly wore it on a bad long run. Now it's jinxed. Plus, it has a "see-though" issue. Not really ...but kinda. Plus. how will my posse find "a girl with a white shirt" out of the masses of people? Two other shirt possibilities with pockets that I have not worn at a race: a light blue one, which I love the color but sometimes it's constricting and other is brown, which I know no shorts that really go well with brown. T-man said pink hat so that my group can easily spot me. This makes sense...but it then brings a challenge on what goes with the pink hat (which I bought at the Boston Marathon...therefore, is sacred. See above). I know...the madness, eh?

Park City and Boston: I still know how much Park City hurt at the end. Boston, too. Enough said.

ipod: I don't have my Portland playlist done and my good friend, Mr. Clawson, whom I still owe big time for those Martini's back in June (thanks, Jim!) gave me a slew of CD's - which I have listened to on my way to the mountains last weekend but have yet to load onto my iPod.

Packing: I haven't packed a thing. I don't even have my suitcase out. For that matter, I don't even have a list started. Something is way off kilter here, I'm usually packed for days ahead....

I think there's a million more details but I am just too tired right now ( see above), my iPod needs to be loaded (see above) and I need to start making some lists (see above). I won't say I'm obsessive-compulsive but one thing off in an event so large can greatly alter the outcome. That I DO know about the race!

Had a great set of 400's yesterday and a few miles of some hill repeats in my neighborhood tonight that felt okay. That is, by far, the greatest mental boost I could have asked for this week! Also had a nice, but too brief, talk with Rob (t-man) today. Now, if my magic wands to fix the ole back and the heel, life could be pretty sweet come Sunday!! A quick rub-down massage tomorrow to get all lose ends tightened up and all tight ends loose and then it's on the plane and outta town! BTW, I hate to fly...let's add that to my list of not so good!

Run well my St. George running friends on Saturday, ditto to my new friends doing Portland.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weeks 38, 39

I realized I didn't post last weeks log, so here ya go for the past two weeks:

Week 39: (Portland taper week 2)
Weeks running totals: 23
2009 running totals:1406.07
Weight/core training: 2

Week 38; (Portland taper week 3)
Weeks running totals: 24
2009 running total: 1383.07
Weight/core training: 3
Stretching class: 1

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Magic Wands

Okay, I'm not writing daily anymore - obviously. I'm doing that 'cuz my blog is being read by more (thanks, guys), mostly people that don't know me, and whining daily about my aches and pains and lack of progress isn't very inspiring. Ha. I also somehow managed to link this blog to FB (I have no idea how nor do I know how to around long enough on there and it's amazing what you've just done with no knowledge whatsoever on how you did it) so every time I blog here, it's showing to numerous people. So it's probably better I just write highlights of my "stuff" every few days and leave it at that. I've got a blog going on RW, where we're all in the same boat, I can vent and get a nice pat on the back in return :).

Tuesday was the initial massage session with my studly athletic girlfriend's therapist and Thursday was visit #2. I want to paint a picture to those non-endurance athletic souls out there that this is NOT a nice, relaxing, spa-type get-me-in-a-happy-place sort of massage. This is a get-in-there-and-grind-the-hell-out-of-the-knots-in-my-muscles massage. They HURT! I'm not sure how many times Elizabeth told me to stop clinching; the anticipation of pain contributes to its subsequent occurrence - what is about to occur is probably more difficult for me than the actual incident. I run marathon: they hurt. The anticipation of running that marathon is more excruciating than the actual event!

Thursday's visit showed 1 more golf-ball sized knot in my left calf. Just the touch of this calf from visti two days earlier sent me squirming off the table. She mumbled something about how I need to seriously think about planting my feet correctly when I run and and not turning my right, recently sprained, ankle to the outside. Um. Okay (this is much harder than it sounds. Think and run instead of just run is not an easy task). Then she proceeded to my glutes (aka: butt). I'm not sure if she had her elbow in there with herself and 6 strapping young men on top of it but oh .... my.......god that hurt!! (I'm half convinced she did this because I was being rude and trying to send some text messages while she did her thing). I asked if I had knots in my glutes, too. Yes, but also my piriformis muscles in there are positioned wrong. I asked if this was a result of the calves? Yes. I told her my theory that all ailments in my body are somehow related to my calves, even my sinuses. I'm not sure she found the humor in this....yet I'm still convinced this theory is true. Even more so now! I left my massage feeling sore beyond belief but still in that good sort of way knowing that all those stubborn knots are gone and I've done only what I need to get me across Portland's finish line without any calf cramps or piriformis aching. By that evening, after drinking so much water I was sloshing around (t-man should be happy with that!), I was feeling really good and not sore at all. I go back in on Monday for some back work (please help!!) and Thursday for a what all you non-runners would deem "a massage": to relax. Hahah...she obviously doesn't know me. Hum....or maybe she does! Magic wand #1.

I am now on antibiotic # umteem hundred for my sinus infection. Thank you, Elaine, for totally freaking me out and making me go and get that. Abbey not a happy camper that she had to play chauffeur ... but I say now starts the pay-backs for countless years hauling her hiney everywhere :). Power of suggestion but when E said NOW, I instantly had Abbey drop me off at the closest Urgent care and 3 minutes later was out with a Z-pack antibiotic to combat the insidious pressure I feel in and around my head. For the past week! Today I woke up feeling slightly better (sinus related, but tired from being out too late with the girls) - most likely power of suggest (I don't care, I'll take anything at this point). Yet as I sit here and type for you, I am swimming in a big headache and fuzzies in front of my eyes. I think that's cuz I'm overwhelmed at the thought of leaving for the mountains tonight as soon as I am done and not having gotten to the 50 things on my list today. Magic wand #2.

Yesterday I attempted to do a few measly miles of tempo at 7:50. My Garmin read 7:32 avg for two miles. That was enough. Ran a mile slow which found me at the high school track. Convenient? Not sure. Decided to run one more mile at tempo, Garmin-less, and see where I landed. 7:40. A decent time, but I felt miserable. One more mile at "race pace" - which turned out to be me constantly pulling myself back as I'd glance at my Garmin and saw I was doing between 8:05-8:11. That's too fast for this chick... and I felt it. I do NOT want to wear my Garmin in Portland and become a slave to it (I am not even going to take it. Or should I?) but I also worry about going out too fast and having yet one more marathon on my table of those I have ruined by going out too fast. This is 26 miles, Jill, not 13, your favorite distance where you can run hard all the way. I need to keep telling myself that over and over. Magic wand #3.

I'm heading up to the mountains in a few minutes so Brendan and his friend can go climb a 14er tomorrow (Mt. Sherman) and I will write, rest, and get ready for my last long run (10) before Portland, which I will do while they climb. I figure running at 11,000' at 9 min/mile is the equivalent of running race pace at sea level so that is my goal. And just think: this last altitude run is going to stoke my oxygen levels in Portland. Magic wand #4, baby!
Please magic wands, do yo thangs!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Here's the Scoop:

It's no secret I don't feel that great - both with my running and with my health, as stated in last blog. Two days later, no change on those two.

But I think I'm getting a sightly better attitude!

Running: my calves hurt. And my right heel. And my quads. But mostly my calves. In particular, my right calf. And my lower back. My infrequently-used-regular massage therapist did something to his back and therefore is history until November which left me in a jam as I really needed someone to dig in them calves and get the guck out! Like NOW! And I'm kinda weird about who touches my legs (or me, really). So I got the name of a few reputable therapists from various athletic personnel I trusted (two cyclists, one pretty major; one mega wonder-woman; one running partner) and I called most and went to the one that called me back first: wonder-woman (aka: Kathryn). Here's the verdict: that ankle I twisted in the relay is the culprit!!!! I knew it! I knew that twist was going to come back to haunt me!!! Before she even looked at my "bad" calf (the one bothering me most, the right one), she started in on the left and within the first touch asked me, "Have you twisted your ankle lately?" Um, how'd she know? Something about how the gastrocnemius muscle (that large calf muscle that looks oh so sweet when I wear heels :) ) was skewed and the way it was now improperly positioned was due to twisting of ankle leg #2 of relay. The reason my right calf was screaming is because I've apparently been overcompensating the right leg when I twisted my left ankle and using that muscle more. As interesting as the cause was (love that stuff), the purpose was the solution (I hope) - she dug in there, ripping away at "3 golf-ball size knots" - omg, that huuuuuurrrrrrtttttt and wow, it's hard to walk right now. But in a good way! She worked so long on that left calf muscle that I had to make 3 more appointments so that I can get my back worked on :). I am very happy with her abilities and know she's doing my body good before Portland. Oh, and the heel issue is my Achilles and calf related. Go figure! I'm now convinced my calves are the cause of everything that ails me. Always! I woudn't even rule out my calves causing my sinus problems!!

Health: I know I'm harboring "something" but not exactly sure what. It's sinus related, that I know, but I'm not stuffy like I normally am - yet the pressure around my sinuses are just throbbing like crazy and my head is killing me. Those two symptoms are part of my regular bi-monthly sinus infection regiment so that's what I'm banking this is - but I just feel very "off" and can't pinpoint exactly what is off. One thing though, I'm WAY tired. Classic sign of some sort of infection, I predict. Good news is: no fever today so hopefully my neighbor's swine germs did not attack me nor did whatever crud Matt was possessing during the relay. That's not to say that I can't catch something from the petri dish of germs I go to daily but the bottle of hand soap and Germ-X I carry at my hip are there for a purpose - let's hope they do their job!

I'm icing my owie left calf that Nazi-therapist dug into (her advice), stretching (bonus: I can stretch my one leg AND ice the other at the same time. Love it when I find a way to knock off two tasks at once - score!), hydrating, eating "ok" (more than oranges and strawberries, unfortunately), still consuming massive amounts of Vitamin C (no, you cannot OD on the stuff. The consensus is: you just pee out the excess...and maybe have some other end "issues." :) ), warm water soaking my right heel (Nazi's advice also) and trying to sleep more - which, btw, I did not get a nap today due to the massage and a much needed appointment with Becky, my friend and hair highlight magician. A cancelled middle school track meet left me with some time to get some writing done - yea! So I'm heading off to bed earlier than norm with nightly prayers saying a little night-time hocuspocus, along with some sweet dreams, and wake up 100% fully cured of everything that is currently hindering my Portland performance.

As SBS told me today when I told her my new Portland goal and attitude was not a sub-3:45 but rather to finish (and enjoy): smart move.

Yes, I think so, too. I will go to Portland, meeting and making new friends, come home and run another. I will not break, I will not even crack. I will run and I will do whatever I have in me that day and just accept that for what it is! This is part of how it all works....I am learning to be better about that! Besides, after forking out half my daughter's college tuition for a few more massage sessions, at least my legs should be ready to run. Nose is another story.

btw, Rob talked to me some on Monday about post-PDX and that makes me happy. er. Somewhat. Thanks, t-man :). And I highly enjoyed chatting with a new Portland marathoner friend today, thanks!!!

Today: 4x400 @ 6:28 pace
Yesterday: 3 Easyp.m., weight training a.m.

Um, no, this picture is not me. When I googled gastrocnemius muscle, this picture came up so Okay....yeah, I'd love to be able to do that (yeah, right...with my tight hamstrings??) and I love the beach so what better picture to send you.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Can One OD on Vitamin C?

Cross Country track meet on Friday - Me (in the middle pointing) pacing Jack, autistic child from Smoky (in the green singlet). There had to be about 200 kids in this wave. He ran a 22:10 - which just about was all I had in me that night!

I am sitting at the Sports Clips, writing, waiting for the boys to get their hair cut. Sometimes I wonder if I have some sort of abnormality bringing my laptop with me most places where I have a few minutes to squeeze in some writing time. Time seems to slip away at exponentially rapid rates lately so I carve out a few minutes here and there when I can.

So I watched about 10 minute of a movie on my laptop last night, which I’m not certain is a good idea or not; I instantly thought of emails I needed to return and started emailing in the midst of plot. 20 minutes later, I’m totally lost and decided to just skip forward to any juicy parts and decided a plot is non-essential. Movie: Duplicity. A mighty fine case of a male bod in that movie .. and well, maybe a little more interesting right now for me. I dunno, but I had zero attention span to figure out what was going on. It’s about every 6-months that I ever watch a movie….and this is the reason why (I do like to GO to the movies, though, just not watch them at home. Especially if I go with Abbey :) )!

Time. I guess if we had more of it, we’d just find way to fill it and we’d be left with the same amount of time to ourselves that we have now. So I won’t wish for more, other than I wish the days went slower sometimes. I look at my children and am bewildered how the heck they got to be the ages they are. Oh, I’d also like an hour more a day just to take a nap - and not feel guilty about it.

Abbey was home on Friday night. I miss her. Anyway, reason for her return was actually not a good thing: her hard drive died on her computer. You know the computer that I paid a small fortune for back in April – you need one of those for college these days, you know. She had a gazillion pictures on it and I’m certain a lot of writing and school work. Not backed up. Live and learn, I guess, but my heart went out to her. Will see if I can pay someone to get as much info off of it once Dell comes and gives her a new hard drive. Hopefully tomorrow. We did some shopping on Friday night when I “eventually” got home from the high school Liberty Bell cross country meet (87 teams. Took forever. I paced autistic kid, Jack Ryan, which is a whole blog entry on its own! Pic above) and returned her back to school after Brendan was done boxing Saturday. I hated to leave her but she seems to be settling in well at school. She even took the train downtown later that night with some friends – that alone makes me very happy!

Okay, so there’s the real point to this blog, which is suppose to be about running: I’m not feeling well. I can’t pinpoint exactly what is wrong but I overall do not feel well. Tired, achy, headache, overall blah, stuffy nose. I’m a little freaked that I’m going to end up with N1H1 after spending an hour or more with my neighbor on her b-day Wednesday who, as of Friday, has a confirmed case of this nasty flu. My friend told me today that it has about 5 days to manifest so if I’m fever-free by Tuesday, I figure I’m good on that end. Matt, from the relay the weekend before, was really sick upon return of the relay and running a fever all week. He missed many days of work. I spend the greater part of 36-hours with him in close proximity to me, he drove my car the vast majority of that time. I’m downing 1000mg of Vitamin C about every 30 minutes – in hopes of warding off any and all germs. I got oranges and strawberries, full of Vitamin C, at the store today. My diet’s going to be composed of: Oranges, strawberries and chewable Vitamin C tablets!

I’m not running well. What should have been a decent 13 miler today turned out to be pretty sucky. I wasn’t feeling it from step one. Even before step one. I woke up at 3:30 this morning with a major headache and by 4:00 when I couldn't go back to sleep, I got up and took a Tylenol PM. Really what I should have done was get up and go run at 4am cuz when I finally crawled outta bed at 8:30 and hit the pavement by 9:30, it was too hot. I know better to run this late but I figured it was only 11, not 26 and besides, if Portland is hot (okay, extended weather forecast calls for mid-90’s in Portland this coming week. HUH? What’s up with that??!!?? I’ve gotta put a call into one SBS about getting that changed before I get there!) then I need to get some warm temp runs in. I got about 5 miles in at a good pace and then I just lost all sense of pace and doing close to 10:30's at the end...far from 8:30's like I was suppose to be.

GOD!!! Can't I ever have once decent "long" run!!???!!??? I mean, really this is getting very frustrating! Aside from the relay last weekend, I can't recall the last time I ran well. Maybe Georgetown half? Bix? Both of those good, but I have not had a decent long run since before I went to Boston! I swear to that!

I can’t run in the heat. I can’t run in the heat when my legs are still not recovered from the relay. I can’t run in the heat with heavy relay legs and not caught up on my sleep from the relay and I took a Tylenol PM at 4am – I felt like hell when I started out. My quads feel like lead pipes and my right calf muscle feels like it wants to explode right out of the skin! What is going on with that I have no idea. My ankle’s been bothering me since I ran with Jack on Friday night so I’m icing the crap outta that. Thankfully, it didn’t bother me at all running today – unlike other leg parts. My lower back has been in pain since I ran Pikes Peak.

So here’s my plan for the next 13 days: rest as much as I can. Stretch at least a half hour a day! Try to get a leg massage – at least twice…. Charlie, the guy that I LOVE to work on my legs, is out of commission until November. His replacement only works during the day, not after 3:00 (um, there is something not right about that – don’t most people work during the day??) so I’m going to have to be a brave little girl and seek another (need to call Kathryn, she said she had an excellent women). Take an ice-bath once daily. Start an antibiotic I have sitting here from my last sinus infection (don’t ask!). Drink plenty of water. Eat exceptionally well. Wash my hands every 10 seconds and use Germ-X the other 9 seconds. Consider over-nighting the military gas mask my friend from TX offered me. Go to stretching class once (maybe. Still on the mend about that) or maybe yoga. Do a little praying to the Running Gods that they give me one more chance. And hope that Rob will talk to me about post-Portland - cuz I've expressed many times that this is weighting heavy on my mind right now but we ever seem to address it.

And I’m going to continue my 1000mg of Vitamin C every half hour.

Can one OD on Vitamin C?

BTW, the boys haircuts are awesome!!!! They are soooo grown up (even sporting that little peach-fuzz mustache. *sigh*). Now if I can get them to just care a tiny bit about hygiene!! And I’m going to finish watching the juicy parts of my movie now and go to bed by 9:30 tonight. I promise!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How about pink with flowers??

Okay, a HUGE thanks to Dave, male member of the Portland RW Loophead marathon team, who has spent a great deal of time on the graphics of these shirts that we are getting (hopefully). Yes, shirts bought...but design still not on them; I'm holding my breath until they are all ready and packed in my suitcase. Alright, maybe not holding the entire time but let's just say I'm getting a wee-bit nervous about this little task and it being completed on time. Dave's spent a great deal of time dealing with me the past few weeks, and the other team members, trying to appease us all. I think he hit the target with the below graphic:

I LOVE IT!!! Everyone and anyone that knows me would know I love anything girly and this ranks about as girly as one can get!! I'd kill to have this on my Portland RW shirt...but alas, there are others to consider and I think to keep in lines of the green theme, we're going to go with the below:

Whaddya think??? I love it. Thanks, Dave! Now, if I can get these shirts to Cara tomorrow somehow and get this ball rolling....

I'm running in the Liberty Bell CC meet tomorrow afternoon with one of the runner's who is autistic; I will be his guide. I'm a little nervous; his regular pacer (a fellow SHHS teacher) has to go out of town and asked if I could cover. Before even considering what Jack's pace was, I said yes...only to find out soon after, he runs about a 21:30 5K. Um, that's like my PR 5K since having had children....ugh. I hope I can keep up. In an attempt to see how difficult it would be, I hopped on my treadmill tonight and cranked out a few miles, one of them at 7-minutes since this is where I am gauging he'll run. The other two I slowed it down to hopeful race-pace of 8:30. Yeah, good thing today is not the marathon; I'd be landing myself a big ole F. Three miles at this pace was enough to kick my butt. I think I need a little more than luck tomorrow....who knows, maybe I'll land myself a fat PR at a local high school cross country meet. That just about makes me laugh.

B and R had track meet tonight. Ryan definitely needs a lot of form direction - he is all over the place with his arms and head flapping around. But he runs pretty fast and love the mile (after my own heart - my fav-y back in the day). Brendan is making progress with the 800 - yea. He's also doing the well in shot-put. A lousy picture but the boys on either side of the middle child in the pic.

3 miles run.

Did I stretch today? Um, no. But I will have tons of time when I get to the track meet to stretch (I think) before the race starts. That's the goal.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Shirts Are Bought...

I am proud to say that I am now part of a group of 6 from the Runner's World blogging community that are going to be running the Portland Marathon.

I offered to get us all matching shirts.
Got the shirts need to get the graphics on.

Not sure what I was thinking when I volunteered this little project....

What I didn't realize at the time of this undertaking is what an ordeal this was going to be. I mean, wow! Someone from the blog world offered to let us use this rep from Nike. He turned out to be virtually invisable. I've received two emails from him in the past 5 weeks. Each one ending with, "let me know how I can help." Well, for starters, you could answer my email and phone messages!! Now it's too late to use him and having actually drove myself downtown today to the Niketown store (can I just say that that store has less Nike apparel in it than the Sports Authority store has! What is wrong with that picture!!!) and having seen the shirts we were thinking of going with, I'm glad we didn't get them. After several stores today (and yesterday), I ended up bagging Nike and went with some other wicking shirt from SA and got long sleeved black shirts for the chicks and a short sleeved one for Dave (we have 6 on our team: 5 females, 1 male). I hope everyone is happy - considering we were trying for orange and we now have black. Okay, orange just isn't a prominent color in the running world. Dave, the lone male on the team, has been diligently making the graphics for the shirts, even coming up with an awesome color of hot pink for the logo. Haha. I think not, but thanks Dave for thinking of me :) (picture above). I'm thinking since the whole theme of this marathon is keeping it green, we should use some sort of green hue.!!??!! Just a thought...

Anyway, a major victory (I hope!!??!!) for the shirts for sure. Now it's time to get my body in line with my mind and get this taper on the road and stay strong. I came home from the relay feeling pretty fine - I don't wanna lose it!

So the relay takes the top three places of all those entered on the team and uses those 3 times for placement. For medals and such, if you're lucky enough. There are two females on our team who expect to run about 3:10-3:15., too. :). I'm not sure I have the sub-3:45 in me but if so, I should be able to crank out a 3rd for the team. Dave is not too far behind and well, the other two females may even give me some competition. But if all pans out according to plan (?), I hope to crank out a sub-3:45. We shall see.....

Yesterday went to the track and cranked out some awesome 800's. Rob had them slated to run em at 3:45. I kept questioning this but he didn't respond so I figured it was either a misprint or that he thought that was all I could do; the week before he wanted me doing 3/4 of a mile at 4:45 (which is a 6:20 mile. I truly wish!). Numbers were not adding up so I just thought I'd go and do what I could do. 3:33, 3:29, 3:26 and the last one..3:15!! I couldn't believe it - but was super stoked. The best part? My ankle was barely noticeable! Yes! I kept thinking about the pacing I need to do on Friday when I am going to pace an autistic boy on the CC team at school at a meet. His regular pacer told me he clocked this course last year at 21:33. Um, that's really close to my OWN PR. So as not to fail at my job and be fired round 1, I just tried to turn over my legs and see what they can do. I think I can do it; the intervals help me believe so.

Today I did some weight training at the ripe hour of 5:30am. I'm not opposed to this time slot but I think I am just still very tired from the relay weekend. Looking forward to a meeting in the morning and not having to be anywhere until 8a.m. Wow...what a treat! Felt good doing the weights - I'm really ready to start producing a few more defined muscle areas on my arms when I get back from Portland. Ran 5 minutes between each weight session; legs feeling pretty good. GOTTA remember to stretch tomorrow night. For a long time! B and R have a track meet at Laredo so I can do some there while I'm waiting for 3 hours!

BTW, my ankle is doing much better - thanks to those that asked about it.

6.5 miles run
1 weight training
1 super happy person who now has Portland team marathon shirts!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week 37 Totals

Week 37 Totals
Weeks running total: 35
2009 running total: 1359.07
Weight training this week: 2

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Colorado Outward Bound Relay

I have returned home, 36 hours after I left, having run 20.8 miles of the 174 Colorado Outward Bound Relay; having slept a grand total of 30 minutes; donning a sprained ankle; running leg 13 and 23 guided by headlamp and the Big Dipper; eating horribly, if at all; finishing well ahead of all my predicted finish times; making new friends; car looking like waste dump...and smelling like one too. Finish time: 23 hours 39 minutes. Good enough for 2nd place in division (mixed co-ed) and 11th overall (120 teams).

But more importantly, I had the time of my life!!!

So much has happened, where to begin:

I've never done a continuous relay for that long of a period on such a diversity of terrain and with many people I have never met. A group I run with from time to time have run this relay for many years. Their name is the Picked Prostates because they are an all male team over the age of 40 (team 1). A great name!! Many in the group, me included, wanted to run the relay so captain of team 1 formed team 2 (team name: Somewhat Pickled. I love the name!!) with those that run in the group. As the weeks went by, this person or that person couldn't do the relay and having exhausted all running group members, we were grasping at straws to get people on our team. Jeff, captain of team 1, got the cycling instructor at the downtown Y. Not sure if he runs but hey, he volunteered! Also grabbed someone he saw run once at a race ran. The night before the relay, about 8:00, we heard that one of our teammates fell on his bike during a bike time trail and crashed hard, landing himself in the hospital and was out of the relay (he's okay. A lot of bruises and a cracked rib, I think). Scrambling, we called all we knew who ran and I even posted on FB, as a joke, and got a bite from one of the RW Loopers bloggers!! She was flying in to pace her friends who were also doing the relay and offered to be our new member. Unfortunately, her flight was arriving too late and she was going to miss her first leg. Rules say for us to be a mixed co-ed team, the same member must run each of their legs - no substitutions. I tried to see her during the race but we never we able to hook up. Bummer.

Our team started at 9:30a.m. and I was leg #3, 13, and 23. There were 30 legs, 10 teammates, so we each did 3 legs. Perfect weather!! Throughout the entire race! I started my first leg, appropriately called 'Lung Buster' with 5.13 miles at an elevation gain of 957'. Owie. I was sooo incredibly nervous; I didn't want to let my teammates down and everyone was there watching. I was predicted to run it in 54:25 - I ran it in 50:24. The terrain was a rocky trail so I wore my trail running shoes and I was glad because I had a lot of ankle turning. The climb was tough but I hung in there and tried to just keep moving up. I saw two runners, I think, on this entire section. Matt was cheering for me with a few yards left, which pumped my legs just a little faster. I slapped the hand of teammate, Nicole, and off she went to her 1000' vertical climb in less than a mile and then the same route down. She loved it - she rocks!

Second leg was 8.98 miles with an elevation drop of 1848' and named 'Quad Work.' Yeah, that best describes it all right!! I was a little freaked about this leg: I've never run with a headlamp before; I was worried about how "downhill" it was; I had a lot of turns and was afraid I'd get off the trail somehow and get lost; the thought of being alone out there was just kinda freaky; and honestly, I had no idea how I'd run so late in the evening after just pushing a hard run earlier. I don't remember even eating anything after 3:00 that day! I had a teammate quiz me on my leg assignment so I'd know where I was to turn at what mileage. It was about 10:15pm when I started this leg .. and it was pitch dark. I was in the bathroom, for about the 4th time in 10 minutes (evident by high nerves) and thought I had enough time before teammate, Denise, to come in but she was there waiting for me at the stop of the stairs. Opps. I quickly slapped her hand and took off across the parking lot to get on the bike path trail but before I could even exit the parking lot, while trying go fix my headlamp, I twisted my ankle in a pot hole. I couldn't believe it. And it was bad; I had to hobble around for a bit and then sort of do a limp/run for awhile. I really had no choice but to run, it's not like we have any substitutes at this point and to quit would forfeit the entire team. A couple miles in, the pain released itself and I ran a very hard almost 9 miles, finishing in 1:08.22 where I was predicted to finish in 1:15:10. I averaged about 7:30's on the last few miles -Yes! It took awhile to get used to the headlamp and I hated the glow it formed around your eyes, almost seemed like you had glasses on. The stars were incredible, though; it was a clear, crisp evening and there must have been billions in view. My entire run was guided by the Big Dipper.

Denise and her husband found me after this leg and though I was suppose to ride in the car with them to get Nicole and head back to the condo, they took me back right away to get ice on my ankle. I was really freaked -- it was not good. I had to walk on my tippy toe just to move and I had no earthly idea how I was going to run the last leg. I grabbed some ice, a piece of pizza (minus the cheese...I couldn't even stomach it - I was having some pretty bad GI problems. ugghhhh) and selfishly took a long hot bath with my foot plopped up on the end of the tub with a bag of ice on it. It was 12:30 when I finally excited tub and tried to lay on the couch and sleep. I could not. I laid there for well over an hour and I may have dozed off some when, at 2:15, Denise announced that the 20th leg just left, had 6 miles to run, and we needed to get Matt, leg 21, to the the exchange point before Andy, leg 20, got there. We were about 45 minutes away. And nothing packed in the car. A little (okay, a lot) of panic here and Matt was sick and running a slight fever. Nicole having intestinal problems and me, too, and of course my swollen ankle. Abbey was having some female issues. fun fun!! We got to Matt's start fine, though shaken, and drove off to the end of Matt's finish where he slid into the exchange chute and nearly killed himself. It was about 4:00a.m. Everyone wanted coffee (but me, ick!) and none was around. Everyone was grouchy. But in a good way!

My third leg was causing me great concern how I could run on my ankle. When it was time for my leg to roll around, about 5:30am, it was really cold and my ankle was throbbing. I ran a bit in the parking lot to test it out but I just didn't now how it would work. I also realized I had not eaten hardly anything since like 5:00 the previous evening and had run once since last meal so I grabbed a banana and a cupcake someone had brought - hoping that the sugar would fuel my overly-tired state and pump my blood flowing for the 6.10 miles (which turned out to be 6.80 miles) of about 100' elevation loss along the gorgeous Glenwood Canyon. Of course, it's dark and I had to wear that dumb headlamp again but I've been on this bike path this summer with my boys biking and knew the trail well so was not so nervous about being lost like the last leg. I sat in my car because it was soooo cold and I looked out the back window for my teammate to come in - that's how lame and un-spirited we had become that late in the evening. We were all so tired and lethargic. I saw Denise come in and I jumped out of the car and met her at the exchange and took off. I was a little freaked at the ankle (lack of sleep certainly fuels the freak level up several notches!) and at first it was hurting but eventually, it just gave in and I was able to run an incredible leg, even clocking the last two miles around a 7:45 pace. Maybe it was the cupcake consumed prior, I'm not sure, but I felt better on that leg then I did my previous two...which, for the amount I had already run and the fact I was having intestinal problems from the diet and the lack of sleep and, of course the ankle, I was pretty stoked! My predicted time was 57:51 and I ran 54:54. I'm not sure where the energy came but as the sun came up about 6:00 over the canyon walls, I felt energized and I just took off.

I guess we could chalk up our totally screwing up and getting lost out of Glenwood Springs (if I ever see that town again, it will be too soon. Ha) on how blatantly tired we were but we totally rushed to get to Carbondale to all cross the finish line together. It was really one of those very emotional times in my life that I felt truly blessed to be where I was at that moment.
I could write a novel about the race and the experience I endured and how it changed my life, literally, but I will stop and just say that this race was, by far, one of the most memorable I have ever done strictly because of my teammates. We all pulled together and rooted for each other and were compassionate and understanding no matter what. I loved this most. We were all united with the same purpose and even though we didn't all know one another at the beginning, we were tied together at the end by persevering whatever obstacles we had and finishing strong. I made some new friends along the way and learned that I am truly blessed, to the point of overflowing, to be living a dream of being a runner!!!

I now enter the Portland taper, my least favorite part of the marathon training. The taper....the fleeting time when your homework is done, you are as fit as you are, and the final goal remains to eat well, rest well, avoid germs and fluke injuries, and stay in the zone. It’s about getting the mind to accept what you’re about to do. The taper to me is more about getting the spirit aligned with the body, and ideally they merge right before or on race day. I never like the taper because I always struggle trying to get my body in that proper mental alignment.

But after the relay, I am ready for taper week …. ready to see where I land in Portland. As one teammate, Matt, said to me when I was all whiny and didn't really want to go out and run my last leg on my sprained ankle: do the best you can do and that’s all you can do . Yes, I will go to Portland and do what I can do .... and hope I do well.

Remind me that I need to go on more adventures just before the taper.

Me handing off to Nicole on my first leg

Teammates: Bob, Denise, Nicole, Me, Matt, Andy - completion of my first leg at Loveland Ski Area.Bob running leg #9

And we're done: Abbey, Denise, Nicole, Matt, Me, Bob, Diann, Andy, Kern, Craig M.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

CO Outward Bound Relay, here I come....

I don't think I've never gone 4 days while not on vacation and limited access to the internet, that I have not blogged. I am majorly overwhelmed. Do you ever have those feeling where you have so much to do and so little time to do it that when crunch time rolls around, you can barely breathe? Yep, that's me. Right now.

I have a list of 64 items to remember to pack for tomorrow's 9:30 start time. Thankfully, all items are compiled on a list. I hope I remember to check them off. I am to meet 20 teammates (two teams of 10) at 7:00a.m. tomorrow morning at the park-n-ride in Morrison, about 40 minutes from my house. Therefore, I need to be on the road no later than 6:15a.m. Probably better be earlier. I still have letters to glue on my second pickle sign. I need to attach vehicle signs to my car. I need to put the rocketbox on top of my car. I need to find my cooler. And I have back to school night tonight - which I would totally skip if I didn't have to sell Entertainment Books. I could slap myself about now for being so involved in my kids' schools.

Abbey's departure to DU on Monday left me mentally immobilized for about two days. Not in the sense of not being able to move but because I couldn't think. I couldn't think about preparing for the relay and I left vital information about it go unattended to and so it's no wonder I am about as panicked as one can be trying to figure out the van assignments (two vans, 10 people, two condos...and where we (or more importantly, I) need to be at various times). It's enough to make my head spin. I fully plan to take my leg and van assignment sheets to to back-to-school night tonight and as I sit selling practically zero books (please! No one wants to spend money right now), I will look over all my assignments and hope to have a better understanding.

I am very excited about this race; I have longed to do it for a couple years now. I just had no idea all the logistical details involved. I truly wish someone on our team had done this before so could help us out...but thankfully Craig M. and Matt are pretty smart guys, know the other guys on team 1 very well, and have this little van issue figured out. I hope they just tell me when I'm to get in the thing and pick someone up :).

On a more positive note: My legs are FINALLY feeling good and not screaming at me to halt every time I go for a run. My weight is down a little along with my body fat so maybe that, as with some lower miles this week, is agreeing wtih my running. Maybe it was the stretching class I went to on Monday. My glute pain is not painful; noticeable but not painful. My knees are happy. My hamstrings are being stretched daily. My quads are not yelling at me with every step. All legs parts coming together quite nicely right now to make my running not so draining. I am, though, having some pretty icky back problems; starting in Park City and escalating to sheer agony with last weeks' long run. I had this weird metallic taste in my mouth too and I feared kidneys!!! But I think it's okay...I am thinking the back is just sore from being back at work and the metallic thing was the antibiotic I had finished a week before. That's what I'm hoping. That back thing can literally top one in their tracks and double over. That and the stomach issues I have. Oh, and the calf cramps I've had. I've been reading a book on and off for the past year about running through the pain and accepting it as part of the hard work you've done. Almost welcoming it. I really don't welcome it all that much. Speaking of running with pain, lots of controversy over the book 'Born to Run.' I may have to read that soon. In my spare time.

Okay, written well past my scheduled 4 minutes to write so signing off, heading to back-to-school-night, going to the bank, getting some food at the grocery store, getting rocket box on my car, finding my cooler, and packing my 64 items (now 61 as I have 3 things put off to the side). Hoping for an earlier than midnight pillow....

Go Pickles GO!
(oh, and if not stressed enough right now: Team 1 predicts that our team, Somewhat Pickled, can win the mixed co-ed team division, if we run according to plan. Hum....pressure)

Run since I last blogged: a lot; cannot remember number right now.
Weight trained since last blogged: 2 (that I DO remember).

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Week 36 Totals

Week 36 Totals

Weeks running total: 34

2009 running total: 1324.07

Weight training this week: 2

Pilates/stretching: 1

Week 35 Totals

Week 34 Totals
Weeks running total: 34
2009 running total: 1324.07
Weight training this week: 2
Pilates/stretching: 1

That's a Portland Wrap...

Statue/Fountain in City Park; tail end of my long run

Yesterday, I did my last continuous long run before Portland. Usually, I like to hit the last long run 3 weeks out but next weekend, when that 3 week mark would land, I will be up in the mountains running 3 legs of the Colorado Outward Bound Relay. I'll run 20 miles next weekend with the relay, but it will be over 3 legs ranging from 8.4 - 6.1 miles each. I really was nervous about this relay playing havoc with my long run but I asked a few people in the marathon world and all agreed that I can use the relay as a long run and I should NOT attempt a long run on like Monday or Tuesday after the relay because my legs will be dead. And I'm going to be exhausted.
So, yesterday was it!

I'm having mixed feelings about it. Two weeks ago when I ran the Park City Marathon as a training run I had some problems with my pace and how I felt at the end. Yesterday's 24 miles was not much different, but I did run it faster. I started at 5:20am and there is absolutely zero sunlight out then (duh) and to get my Garmin to light up, you have to hold that bezel down in two places but I lock the bezel because I tend to bump it and stop it accidentally, so I can't really use the bezel unless I unlock it and I've screwed up my watch totally a time too many times doing this...therefore, I really had no idea what pace I was going until I'd run under a street lamp, but I knew it was quicker than I needed to be or should be. Got to mile 7 where I refill my water-bottle at the car wash/Conoco but the gas station wasn't opened yet and I needed to stop, I started having some pretty bad stomach problems...err. I am wondering if GU isn't contributing to this!!??!!??. I ran on to the nearest Starbucks at Cherry Creek Whole Foods after I left the closed gas station and Starbucks, too, was closed until 7:00 (huh? Don't people who drink coffee want it before 7:00??), which was only 10 more minute so I ran around the area until it opened, refueled, and headed out, stomach feeling slightly better. After I hit the Denver Country Club, I headed North path to get in the mileage I needed. It's hilly. Not terribly so, but enough to mess with my pace. I really just want to find a nice, flat area for like two miles so I can gauge what is "effort" to me and how I feel. Portland is mostly flat. I started to have some pretty icky back problems, too, which I had in Park City. Glute was so-so, a major improvement over two weeks ago. Knees felt really good - yea...and my legs overall felt really good - yea again!!

But in the end, I just was spent,my back was killing me, and I just can't stop my mind wondering if a sub 3:45 is obtainable in Portland. Thought yesterday's run really felt okay overall, it didn't fell great in the end and therefore left me with a few confidence problems right now. I've always run a marathon better if I run it very conservatively in the beginning and have enough fuel for the end... but lately with the tail miles of my long runs being pretty miserable, I can't help but wonder if Elaine has it all right: you run like hell and bank time in the first half because no matter what, you die at the end anyway. Hear that, Elaine?? :) No, I won't run it like that cuz if I have to walk, that's a major defeat for me, but I have a LOT of thinking to do from now til then. And a lot of confidence adjustment. Ugh.

I really don't like the feel of the long run over; it makes that finish line that much closer. And makes me that much more nervous. I always run better when I have a purpose behind my running so it makes me edgy with Portland being so close and my confidence smashed. I just really don't like the taper because I have to really be careful with my diet and I can't run as much. Running, the thing that puts my mind at ease is the one thing I get to do less of during one of the times when my mind is the most tangled. Hum....

Time to think of some new goals and time to fine-tune some Portland details.

This morning, I went to a pilates/stretching class for an hour and a half. Never been, never even heard of this place. An ex-Bronco that works with me recommended this place, Artistic Body, and said it would cure all my achy muscles. Well, I certainly felt like a fish out of water; I had no idea what I was doing (but the instructor was incredible and sat by me most of the time and showed me every move...he's an incredible runner himself and knew personally all the people in the class. A very warm individual), and I'm certain my body parts are just as sore from yesterday's run as they would be had I not gone, but I DO think it was a great class, the stretching felt great, an I plan to go again. I wonder if it would be better to go to this class day 1 and day 2 after a long run to maximum muscle relief. But who has the time or the money!!

I'm getting a little more excited about the CO Relay and Brendan and I spent some time today making pickle signs. I'll take some pictures before the relay. I have two days of orientation for Abbey so gonna be a little busy this week. Relay starts at 9am on Friday morning!!

On an unrelated running note: I'm not as emotional today as I thought I would be as I spend the last full day with Abbey, helping her pack up her room, before she heads off and is an an official college student tomorrow. Come tomorrow, though, that may be a totally different story....

24 miles run
1 pilates/stretching class

Thursday, September 3, 2009

iPod Blahs

Okay, I am officially sick of the Portland playlist I have on my iPod that I started generating about 2 months ago for a race that is now 4 weeks away. In fact, I'm sick of just about every song on my iPod; I have listened to it waaaaaaayyyyy too much. But I can't run without something to distract my mind telling me I'm tired and I need to quit so I keep listening to Lady GaGa's Poker Face over and over, just because it has a certain upbeat to keep my legs pumping and my heart racing. Today's tempo run on the treadmill (still doing treadmill tempos to make SURE I keep my pace on target) was the proverbial break of the camel's back and I resorted to watching a little HGTV at the gym (I have an awesome treadmill in my basement but I also have a membership to 24 hour fitness that sits unused whenever I'm in the prime of marathon training and not swimming laps frequently or weight training on my own vs. with trainer-man as I am now at his gym - btw, thanks *again* T-man for all your hard work. I mean that sincerely!). Figured I'd get a little use out of my monthly membership that I use ... well....about once a month lately. A 2007 rerun of House Hunters is not NOT exactly the motivation one needs but somehow I managed to kick out the 5 miles at tempo that I needed. But it wasn't easy.

Just to get an extra little usage of my membership fee, I looked at the pool in envy followed by a few bicep curls with the ole 20 lb weights....which about kicked my butt.

Tomorrow, I'm headed to Target with the spare gift card I absentmindedly bought two of for my neighbor's baby shower and I'm going to purchase a small FM radio so I can listen to something other than "I wanna hold em' like they do in Texas, please..." and maybe find some new songs on the radio I can add to my 'New Portland' playlist.

Any suggestions for this new list is greatly welcomed.
(to not single out any particular one person on yesterday's blog: it was many)
5 miles run
1 set of bad-ass bicep curls
(yesterday: weight training on my own and 3 mile run)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Un-intellect Fuelbelt...

Is it un-PC to discriminate against someone because they lack intelligence?

I finally returned to the track last night; it's been awhile and one of those things that's been on my list of things to get back to. Not sure where the intervals have gone; I think somewhere lost in a barrage of failed tempo runs, perhaps.

I actually went to the track, not the treadmill, and ran 'em; I can't even recall the last track workout I had; well before the heat of summer kicked in. Harboring some frustrations by some unintelligent comments from people fueled my adrenaline and I knocked off 8x800's - and felt pretty darn good. Yea! Maybe I just need a few more comments like that to spark some energy in my legs! The legs seem to be feeling better, finally, from PC and my glute is somewhat happy. Not overly-so but moderately-so. I'll take it - as I continue to stretch it.

A crazy day at to the gym for weight training and some serious stretching....

8 miles run