Sunday, February 28, 2010

Week 8 2010 / Running, at least some

Week 8 2010:
Week’s Running totals: 39
Running Total for 2010: 339.45
Weight training: 1.5
Swim: zero (yeah, that's two weeks and no swimming. err)

Another calendar month coming to a close (thankfully!) which means another month close to warmth! February seemed like the month (from hell) that would never end. Probably because I spent the vast majority of it … sick, amongst other personal garbage. I’m so sick of being sick. Sick of being sick of being sick!! Happily, I’m feeling slightly better, though…not 100%, but at least I feel progress toward a healthier life is happening. It’s amazing how our view of things change so much when you are left feeling lifeless for a few weeks!


I ran 16 today. A true miracle considering the (miserable) week I’ve had! I met Tara and Beth downtown today; a sort of mutual destination point for all of us who are on complete opposite ends of the metro area. Downtown and vicinity has a lot of places to run so this worked well. Beth was a blast to meet, and just really sweet and as much fun as her blog dictates. Tara was sporting a lung issue….I’m half convinced it was my lung fungus that she contracted, probably when we were swimming last week (There ya go, Tara, A.D.D and lung fungus’ I have shared so well with you!); leave it to me to suggest running UPHILL for ¾ of a mile to a girl with a lung infection – smart move there, Jilly! She was having a hard time so at two miles, we turned and went back so she could just wait out the rest of the run Beth and I were to do. She hadn’t planned to run more than 6 anyway so don’t all hiss at Beth and I for abandoning her; she planned to get a some work done while we ran on so that we could all meet up afterwards for some FOOD! I’m feeling “ok” at this point, I mean, we’re talking 4 miles, but I could feel some crud in my lungs. Beth and I ran uphill along the path and were averaging a pretty good pace, but I truly was having a hard time with the hills….and the stupid lungs. I thought it would be a relief to head back downhill on the way back to meet Tara for lunch. But it wasn’t. By now, the lack of much running in the past 3 weeks was catching up to me and I was just tired. Thank God Beth was capable of simple math, unlike myself, and knew when we needed to turn around and head back. We hit 16 on the dot right in front of “The Market” where we inhaled our lunch (and Tara a beer :) ). Not to let a day go without an A.D.D. monent. We we were done running and I went to get my car key out of my pocket, it was gone. Pocket open in my pack. Thought I lost it. Felt horrible for asking Tara and her husband to give me a ride home - I don't exactly live next door. They are so sweet and so generous. Get home. Wait for eternity for college daughter to take me back downtown with spare key. 8 hours later, after I left my car at the REI parking lot, I return to car. Original "lost" key was lodged right in the passenger door key lock. Hum. Guess it never made it in my pack after all; I left it there when I opened the door. Opps. All I can say is I can't believe everything was still in my wallet. Oh good lord!! I think it's time for some serious A.D.D. medication!!

Beth, Tara; Sloan's Lake

Me; Cheesemen Park, downtown Denver in background

Me, Beth, Tara; having lunch at "The Market" downtown Denver

It was a great day. Not in weather as it was actually kinda cold with gray, damp air you find common in the Midwest, but great for me to get out of my suffocating, germ-infested house and around the company of great friendship. And what better than to run!!

One day at a time. That’s all I’m taking it. I’m not even going to update my calendar at the bottom because I have no idea what I’m going to do each day until I wake up, see how I feel, and take it from there. I am frustrated, to say the least; the obvious signs that 16 was difficult for me today shows how much conditioning I’ve lost, but I am encouraged slightly because I know, now, that though I may not race as well as I hoped, I think this crud is finally leaving my body and I have a little time to get in some training.

I just need to be smart about it, back off the miles (as much as it pains me to admit) and just get in more quality running. For now.

So there ya go, that’s the (sad?) running news.

On the home front news:
Saturday, Brendan (twin #2) was in a boxing match. His first. He’s been in a boxing bootcamp for about a year now but has never officially boxed another team or anything. He was so nervous. Friday, he wanted to head over to the gym after school to do a little bit of weights and some cardio. I thought I’d run while he did this, but my lungs had another plan and 3 miles was all I could tackle. So Brendan and I did some weights together and called it a night…Friday night at the gym screams loser all over it. Yeah, that’s us! Saturday, we head over to the boxing gym and wow, these kids who were up against our kids were like all muscle-y and everything. They looked like boxers. They looked like they boxed everyday for 3 hours. Our boxers, though tough, looked liked they boxed for an hour once a week. Like they do. Brendan’s opponent: Juan. Yep, Juan. Tattoo Juan. Muscular, 4% body fat, Tattoo Juan. You know where this is going. Within the first round, Juan smacked Brendan in the right eye and suddenly B’s wobbling. Let me just inform you that as a mother, to watch your kid get smacked in the eye and wobble is NOT a fun experience. Brendan’s coach told him to take a knee (they count for 10 to give them a break. I guess. I don’t know much about this sport. And there’s a reason for that!) and when he got up, he was still wobbling so his coach called the match. B lost. With about 3 broken blood vessels in his eye, his eye bleeding, and it swelling as it turned black and blue. Naturally, all the kids thought this was cool and B, himself, was pretty dang proud. I guess only a mother would freak over this sight. I’m not sure I can ever go and watch another one of these – at least not anytime soon. Here’s a few pics of the great boxing B.

The EYE. Pretty, eh?

College girl was home all weekend, though we didn’t go see any sappy movies to report. We did a little girl shopping on Friday night but being between seasons, it wasn’t even much fun. We did manage to eat a ton of food. If that counts for anything. During our food fest, she told me I was emotionally needy. Which is probably true...but don't you just sometimes wanna slap that brutal honesty??!!?? Haha. Don’t worry, Julie and Beth, college girl doesn’t call me either, unless she needs something. But she also only goes to school 20 minutes away so I do see her more than you guys. And seeing her makes me happy. Unless she's brually honest.

I have some new clients that I’m really excited about. Brian is going to run a half marathon here in a few weeks, and Alley is running a half in May where she is trying to land a starting corral position for her marathon debut in Chicago. They are awesome and I have been busy getting their schedules together and have enjoyed every minute. Another client, Emily, is getting ready to run her first marathon in 3 weeks. I’m so excited for her, she is running incredibly strong and super charged (huge pat on back to Jill. Haha).

I’m watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, full of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloons. Hum. No more comments on that. I’ll close my blog for the night, on closing ceremony night of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Oh, other than to say: I don't work on Monday! Yeah, I know, ya love me!!

Run well, friends!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is it sacrilegious to walk all of Boston?

First of all, before I start getting into the big whine-fest I’m about to enter, let me say that I am truly touched by all the heartfelt warmth of comments on my blog. Who knew when I started this sucker a year ago as a place for me to compose my thoughts about my running, it would transform into what it is today: a world full of love and new friendships – along with a ton of inspiration. I am truly blessed (I know Beth doesn’t like the word blessed, but I really love it). Thank you from the all running fibers in my body....I'm just gonna link a bunch of ya today!

Okay, now onto the good stuff. Hang on, this is going to be one monster rant! (remember Julie when you first got to know me and mentioned in your blog that I was always positive and had only nice things to say? Yeah well, it’s not like I didn’t warn you!!)

Here we go…..

I am still sick. Almost 3 weeks after I caught whatever sinus/lung/chest/headache/cough/ear ringing/sore throat fungus crap, I caught it real good and it’s fighting like crazy to stick around and party on. Oh, I’ve been doused with an occasional “good” day here and there, enough to think I am on the mend and healing well, enough to where I sneak in a run or weight training; but then the next day I’m back to the same crud again and each time, it invited more unwanted party guests. Today at work, oh my lord, had to be one of my worst days since this whole “fungus” started – which was totally exacerbated by the fact the school is remodeling and in the midst of some serious dust with particles so thick in the air, you couldn’t even see down the hallway. My eyes were killing me so bad I couldn’t see my computer at one point. I marched right into who was “in charge” of this mess and asked if they could please contain the pool area (area of current construction) with some plastic or something; a thick cloud of dust was not conducive to my marathon training program for crying out loud!!!!

Needless-to-say, I’m a wee-bit overly stressed. Less than 8 weeks to Boston and I can literally count the number of runs on one hand I have had in 3 weeks. I should be in prime training mode. I should be getting excited about Boston and about the half marathon I have coming up in 3 weeks. I should be in muy primo condition and relishing in the hard work I’ve done.
Yeah, hahahahah…..not so much! I’m seeing massive physical destruction on my body, which is playing havoc with my mental aspects, which is borderline manic as it is. Where is ultra 35-miler treadmill woman when I need her!!!??!!

Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! How’s that for frustration!!??!!??!!

Is there such a thing as a lung fungus? Cuz that’s what it feels like, like something is growing on my lungs and inviting a 3000 lb elephant to sit on my sinus cavity causing so much pressure I wish it would just explode and get it over with!!!!

Okay, that was my little (big) temper tantrum. On a brighter note, today when I got home from work, I sinus rinsed (again), downed an antibiotic (again), consumed 2500mg Vitamin C (again. I’m certain I’ll be paying for OD’ing on these thingies but these tasty tables are raspberry, blueberry,& boysenberry and are actually quite yummy. Beings I gave up sugar and all for Lent, I’m eating these babies are like dessert!!!), took a Claritan (again) and took about an hour nap. Woke up, drank a Diet Coke (who knew Diet Coke now has a cute little heart on the can??), ate a banana and felt about 1/3 human. On a “normal” day, that’d be enough to make me crawl back to bed for the rest of the day and hang a “do not distrurb” sign out but on a day after 3 weeks of feeling like a truck slammed into me and I’m so behind in Boston training, I consider this “good” and head off to the gym. I ran for the first time since Saturday’s treadmill marathon, managing to crank out some mile repeats – at a much slower pace than “should be” and a chest that felt like it was on fire on the last 7:19 min/mile (oh good gawd, that hurt!!) but I’ll take it!!!! Right now, I’ll take anything where my legs are moving faster than 3 mph.

I’m certain my frustration with my training is only exacerbating the entire situation; I wake up in the middle of the night with so much anxiety and lay there for eternity. We’ll see what the next few weeks bring as far as training and getting my weight back down…maybe I just need to be grateful I was given the opportunity to go to Boston and just not worry how I perform there. I’m kind of a girl that feels one should respect the race by doing your very best – that means doing all you need to do to be in the best shape possible when you get on the start line. I guess there are forces that are beyond your control that affect this, such as lung disease, so if I need to adjust my attitude here soon, then I will try. We’ll see. I have a half in Atlanta in a few weeks that I am certain is not going to be all that wonderful, but I'll still go and have a great time with my friends there. My goachy, Meg, told me to just take it one day at a time and I'd be okay....I think she also told me to down an entire carton of red wine and a box of chocolates. I don't really like wine so it may be a keg. Or Jamoosh's beer fridge. I'm definitely game on the chocolate! And don't worry Tara and Beth, I'm still running the long run this weekend with ya even if you guys have to carry me! Have fun with that one!!

Speaking of awesome blog support, I opened my mailbox yesterday and a little package sat inside waiting for me. Seems A Mother Runner felt I needed a little love since I’ve been so down and sent me a care package (she gave me the go-ahead to whine about my running...or lack thereof. Thanks :) ). Inside was a cute little 26.2 sticker and a PINK Hair band which I think she said it was a Bondi Band?? (I've never worn them but am excited to give it a whirl!!) which also says 26.2!! Omg. I literally was choked up. She just sent it. Not for my birthday. Not for Christmas. Not because I crossed the finish line of any big race. She sent it for no other reason than to cheer me up. A big pink mail hug! And I really don’t even know her well; we just started becoming blog friends recently….but we do share the same awesome running shoes (can I just say that since I’ve been running in these puppies, I have not had the leg problems I had all summer with my other brand of shoes. KNOCK ON WOOD!) so I guess we’re kindred spirits and all…connected at the foot. She writes an amazing blog and I instantly became attached to her when I found her. Thanks, Mothers!! I love them! Also in the mail was my new bff, Mr. Foam Roller….he’s going to show off how the Bondi Band looks for ya! Awe, I’m all set to get this body healthy and the show on the road. Literally!!!!

A couple other running related items and then I'll let you go (quiet, I know what you're thinking):
- I finally got my website named: I’m not overly excited about my name in the thing but as a friend told me, I’m selling myself and having my name in the title will make people remember. More to come on this later; I have a friend from Washington who was part of a group from RW for a Portland Marathon team. He does this website development stuff and actually likes it (unlike me who was challenged registering for a name – ha). Nothing there yet so don't wander over thinking you're going to get loaded full of insiration and awesome running tips. Not just yet.

- If any of you used to follow marathon moms running blog awhile ago on RW, they now have written a book and I have a very small piece in it. Sarah Bowen Shea lives in Portland and paced (reeled) me in the last couple miles in the marathon I did there in October. Dimity lives very close to me in Denver and we chat occasionally and “try” to get in a run … which we will here soon. Both are amazing writers whom I admire and respect. There book is called “Run like a Mother” and here is the link to their website: If you click on it and then click on the “J is for jubilant moms” off to the side, you’ll see ME part of the way down with my kiddos. I’ll do more plugging of their book here soon when I have more time to talk to them, but for now, check it out and get yourself a copy! I promise, for all you mother runners out there, I think it will touch your heart!

I hope everyone is running strong and avoiding any lung funguses and elephants on your head- and for Marcia and Elaine, my Boston-bound buddies who are sporting an Achilles “issue” – I hope you heal soon!! (Marcia is taking the safe route and avoiding all running but doing a boat load of cross training. Elaine is still running. Careful E!)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week 7 2010 / PR's All Round

Week 7 2010:
Week’s Running totals: 45
Running Total for 2010: 300.45
Weight training: 3
Swim: zero

Don’t get too excited, this isn’t the PR that most of you will wish you earned.

With (more) snow on the ground when I woke up Saturday, I knew I didn’t need to chance an accident and land me with more time off from my training; I’ve missed enough as it is and any more time off, I’d probably just have to resort to walking Boston. I checked the state park near my house and it looked snow-packed in places ... enough for me to go to plan B.

Treadmill time!
20 on my plan. Yep, 20. Still not felling that well but after yet another sick day off work on Friday, I went to the doctor and got an antibiotic which was starting to kick in some - yet another reason to not attack the great Arctic Tundra; I was fearful of some lung/sinus attack mid-run and would choke to dead as I hobbled 10 miles home. In the freezing cold. So to play it safe, the treadmill had to suffice.

I recruited people to help me, which isn’t an easy task. Jim, my neighbor whom I paced some of the Denver marathon last fall, was willing to go the first half of my distance and keep me occupied. Matt, whom did the Tucson marathon with me, agreed (reluctantly) to do the second half. Both wanted the miles and neither was too keen on ice either.

Off to the gym at 11:45 where I met Jim. He had already started running and scored me a treadmill next door to him. I decided I’d break up the 20 in increments of 6-7 miles where I’d then break and get more water and use the facilities. We chatted up a storm and time flew, I couldn’t believe I had just finished a little over 6 miles when I got a call from Matt, he was at the gym. Matt doesn’t live near me and is not a gym member at my gym so I used my charm (ahem) and got him in for the day. He is coaching diving at the Catholic high school near me so was in the vicinity. Anyway, I couldn’t believe how drenched I was - totally soaked! I had the basics of Hammer Gel and Perpetuem with me and thought that would suffice to get me to the end but I could tell I was weak due to the excess liquid escaping my body and probably from all the medication I’ve been on all week .. or two, so I bought some zero calorie Power Aid (I have problem digesting the sugar in anything when I’m running…major stomach owie), which if you haven’t had it before let me just tell you it tastes like total crap. Ok, whatever, I needed some electrolytes in, it will have to do. Back on to the treadmill where we scored another on the other side of me and now I’m sandwiched between my two posse and off we all go.

Suddenly, Matt’s talking to a chick on the other side of him. Remember, he knows no one so I am a little puzzled. This girl’s been running since Jim and I got there like over an hour and a half ago. She’s just running and running and running. Me, I’m running and stopping to drink water and checking my cell phone and getting gel and then run a little more. No, she’s just running. And running STRONG! I mean, she looks like total runner chick here; totally upright and perfect running posture and sporting less than 2% body fat and not sweating a drop. Me, I’m drenched! I can’t hear much of the conversation other than 50-miler, 100K, 7:30 pace. Oh Lordy! She’s not only running, she’s a total running stud!!

She exits the treadmill when I’ve done about 9 miles and starting to feel like I ran 20. Matt’s tell her about the running group he runs with downtown at noon and invites her to join them (Dennis, if you’re reading this, if some tiny little thing shows up to run with ya at noon, this is her. Careful, she’s fast!!). Being’s I missed most of the conversation but heard enough to intrigue me, I asked Matt what was up with her. Okay, get this: she is running a 50-miler in April in Madison, WI so needed to get in “some” mileage and also didn’t want to endure the nasty elements outdoors either so she ran 35 miles on the treadmill (cough!!). 35 miles??!!!?? And… at her “100K pace” of 7:30 (she figures she’ll run the 50-miler at about 7:20’’s)!! Good Gawd! I can run 1 mile at 7:20…two if I’m lucky! I told Matt to stop whining about the 2-hours he was planning on doing (he detests the treadmill…who can blame him!). Honestly, when I saw her finish, I thought she looked amazing. I’ve now finished 9 and look like a drowned rat.

So I stood up a little taller and I jacked up the tempo and I am now totally inspired. If she can do 35, surely I can do 20. But I’m starting to not feel so great. Keep going, Jilly! Jim departs at this point, too; he’s done 12 and since he’s never run on the treadmill more than a couple miles, he’s met his match and time to go. So I’m left with Matt and feeling totally inadequate after runner chick exits. I vow never to eat again – she looked so incredibly muscular and abs of steel! Mile 14 hits me and my back’s hurting. I know it’s my posture on this beast. Matt’s not very chatty and I’m really struggling. Just keep moving, just keep moving….thoughts of that movie about that fish (Nemo Something??? Gosh, it’s been so long since my kids have watched those, us A.D.Der's can't keep that stuff in our memory data banks for too long….) enter my head and it becomes my manta for about a mile. Put on my iPod, watch TLC’s “What Not to Wear” and get wrapped up in that awhile (since my daughter always used to swear she was entering me on that show) – doing whatever to pass the time. Exit treadmill, need more water…I’m downing so much water like it’s a thousand degrees. Cuz I think it was. Decide to do some downhill running now, complete opposite of what Boston’s like at the end. I really don’t care, the purpose is to keep on my feet running for 3 hours and that’s it. Matt hits 16 miles and says he’s done, I’ve done 19 (obviously, he’s running faster than me). He told me to keep going, he’d be right back. Huh? I run a tiny bit more but my stomach hurts, it feel like the insides are being punched around and my legs are aching and I decide 19 quasi-sick miles on a treadmill are pretty much equalivalent to 20 on the road. I'm done.

I don’t know my end pace, I varied it a lot and never really kept track. I kept all the miles under 9:20 and many were under 9. I varied the incline a lot, too. It felt hard, it felt forced, it wasn’t all that pretty. But I did it.

And that’s a treadmill PR for Jill by 1 mile, thank you very much! Last year, a few weeks before Boston, I did 18 (which felt better than this at 18. Oy!) .

Matt’s previous treadmill PR was 12, he PR’d by 4.

Jim’s Previous treadmill PR was 2, he PR’d by 10.

And runner chick next to Matt definitely gets the treadmill running award of the day (heck, I’ll even give it to her for the year): 35!
Who knew when we woke up this morning that so many PR’s would be broken by mid-afternoon. Matt and I celebrated with a banana blueberry protein smoothie. Ahhhhh, that was the best post-treadmill PR treat ever!

I woke up today with the hip flexors pretty sore. I’m sure it was treadmill’s fault. Also had a horrible sore throat. Errrrrr!! I went back to the gym and spied on the guy who was now invading my home for over three hours yesterday …. grateful I wasn’t there again today but kinda felt he was invading my territory. Ha! I warmed up with a couple extremely slow miles then spent well over 20 minutes stretching. Man, that felt so good! I got Mr. Foam roller out and just rolled out the sore hips flexors , which was about as excruciatingly painful as Nazi physical therapist used to do – with the added perk of being FREE! I felt so much better after…I am so glad I purchased one of these things when I was home sick a couple weeks ago! I then did an awesome core/glute workout and exited my beloved (cough cough) gym. No swim today, I was just too, too tired.

Let’s see if I can get in the actual miles and runs in this week as I hopefully continue to improve with the health.

Hoping y’all PR with something this week….anything. I think I need a no-sugar PR this week…… and a big "Run Matt, Run" as he enters his first 50K this coming weekend in Alabama!

Week’s End Gratitude:
- Awesome friends who will go to the gym and endure a sucky treadmill just cuz they know you need support.
- The ultra running chick at the gym because she has totally motivated me to push just a little harder. And get a little leaner. And run a little taller. And never whine about 20 on the treadmill.
- Team USA just beat Canada (well, I personally don’t really care that much about hockey but it's on tv right now I am happy that they are happy!)
- Banana blueberry protein shakes. They’re so amazing.
- Mr. Hard Foam Roller. He's definitely my new best friend!
- That I was tagged for a lot of sunshine this past week for the sunshine award! I will post on that later this week. Thanks to all for thinking my blog is so sunshiny :)!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Balance in life is a slippery, elusive thing. When you have a patch of well-aligned existence with everything humming along nicely, it's smart to stop and notice how you got here, with the hopes that maybe you can stay longer. But sometimes, those patches are thin and we go along life just for a ride, not really aware of what we’re actually doing. At least I do at times.

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent, the 40 days before Easter.

Even those people who have no observance of or interest in Lent can appreciate the timeless, noble act of sacrifice. Maybe it means sucking it up when things hurt and you can't breathe and completing the effort on a day when you don't have what it takes. Maybe it means going to work and supporting your family when your career is in an unfulfilling rut. Maybe it means honoring your marriage even when it doesn't feed your soul the way it used to, right now. Maybe it means taking the time to visit or call your family or friends because it makes them happy. Maybe it means biting your tongue when you feel hurt. Maybe it means boldly speaking up when you feel like shutting down. Maybe it means being generous when we feel like hoarding. Anytime we can acknowledge our selfish desires or feelings of inadequacy with a nod and move beyond them, that is sacrifice. And the season is upon us.

Us runners know the word sacrifice well. We give plenty up to stand at the start line of a race and even more to land across the finish line. Ah, but what we get in return is all worth it: it makes our life complete!

Running consumes us and takes us in. With every step. Every breathe. Every sweaty, exhausted mile. Running make us a better “us.” That’s a given!

But isn't there more besides just running we need to do as "runners" to cross that finish line of a race? I mean, we can’t just always run if we want to be our best. There’s rest. Proper nutrition. Weight training. Injury prevention. Stretching. Hydration. Stress reduction…..

I’m pretty sure I’ve made it well known that I am just not feeling that well – physically or mentally – with my training. I’ve had a hard time picking up after Tucson and getting my head wrapped around the task at hand. I haven’t wanted to make myself a better me, to fight the fight I know it takes to get to Boston in the best possible shape. I haven’t sacrificed the sugar, the proper nutrition, the staying up too late to crank out one more thing, to push away the stress, to weight train properly. I can blame it on a barrage of excuses, some of which are legitimate but in the end, I haven’t wanted it badly enough to make the sacrifices. The pity-party I’ve been having has been self-gratifying - I can run and eat what I want and not sleep and run myself into the ground ….. and get sick and miss lots of training.

Lent couldn’t have come at a better time – time to put away the demons ……

After all, Lent is a season of sacrifice.

I’m ready.
Day 1: no sugar. Heading to bed "early." Mitigating early morning craziness with kids’ lunches packed, my lunch packed, clothes for tomorrow ironed - all the night before. I'm off to a good start!

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” - Pre

What did y’all sacrifice for the love of your beloved running today?
Running news:
Still not feeling great but hanging in there.
Monday: Easy 7
Tuesday: 1 mile wu + 2x3.5 @ 7:53 + 1 mile cd; weights/core
Wed: Easy 5 + weights/core

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Week 6 2010 / Valentines and of course, running!

Week 6 2010:
Week’s Running totals: 25
Running Total for 2010: 255.45
Weight training: 2
Swim: a little

Wow, 25 miles for the week for me is rather sad especially since 51 was on the plan – but considering that agonizing cold that I’m *still* enduring some of the effects, I’ll take it and give this week an official title of “recovery week.” I had a full-blown sneezing attack this afternoon that literally left my stomach muscles convulsing and are still relishing in that little angry allergy attack. I think I need to market this, maybe make a video perhaps, as “The Best ab/core workout ever” cuz yeah, that sneezing sucker hurt! Anyhoooo, I’m still heavily medicated with allergy medicine and best I can tell, will be until about June. Let’s recall about 10 blogs back where I told you you’d be sick of me whining about my sinuses….little did you know it’d be mid-February when that hit. But I think the “cold” part of my illness is gone and has left me with my normal allergy crud.

Soooo back to the above numbers for the week and how I got there. Wednesday, I went to the gym feeling about 35% better and decided to just run a few miles. Ran 3.5 with the middle mileage at a somewhat faster than snail’s pace. Did about 10 minutes of weights and was exhausted so excited the gym feeling defeated. Thursday brought me a sinus headache the size of Texas and so slept in a couple hours and went into work late :). After work, a gorgeous afternoon and I ran 5.5 miles @ 8:00 at the state park. That’s a good pace for me on a good day so was stoked it was good pace for me on a bad day. Went to the gym after and got in about 20 minutes of weights - so yeah, combined Wednesday and Thursdays of weights gave me a C- average for the combined two. I’ll take it. Friday nothing physical so to rest the legos for a longer run Saturday. Went to the movies with Abbey and some girlfriends and saw “Valentine’s Day.” Um, I’ll admit it right now I’m all over chick-flicky, sappy, no plot, happily-ever-after movies but this didn’t do anything for me. And it about made Abbey, the artsy chick, almost gag. Still it was nice to have a girls’ afternoon together. Saturday…da da daaaaa…drum roll: it’s not often I go for a run with no pace or specific mileage in mind. I still wasn’t feeling overly great so the plan was to just see if I could go “far” and not push the pace at all so I wasn’t overly fatigued at the end and crawling home – like I like to do! Gorgeous morning, aside from a little too much wind, 47 degrees and sunny for the most part. Just took off slow and ran on the trails and barely looked at my watch and just thought about not much at all. I know, me who has to solve all the world’s problems, wasn’t really thinking. And time flew! I can’t say I felt awesome but I didn’t feel really bad either; I ran strong up the hills (yea glute work in the gym!!!) and found I had energy at mile 14 and I kicked in the last two miles at an 8:05 pace. This NEVER happens in a long run for me. Granted, it was 16 and not 21 and really, the tough parts of a long run really come around mile 16 on for me, but I was feeling pretty darn well – for once! I need more runs like these; runs where I just go and no pace is forced, no thoughts are pulling me down! Anyway, that’s how I ended up with 25 miles in 3 days of running for the week. Today I went to the gym and did a lot of glute and core work and then met Tara for some swimming. Triathlon man was there again today and his “coach” told Tara she should join the master’s swim team. You rock, Tara!!! After about 20 minutes of chit-chatting, we finally got down to business and swam and I was glad Tara felt a lot better today swimming than a couple weeks ago. I was feeling pretty lethargic today swimming and lifting, probably cuz I’m obviously not 100%, but I gotta fight through this stuff now cuz whatever I do have, I think it’s here to stay awhile. So take THAT nasty sinus and cold and lack of sleep crud - I'm gonna go out and run anyway!!!

So I’ve reworked my plan (again) and decided I need to scale back the recovery week from every 4th week to every 3rd week. 9 weeks left to Boston. NINE!!! Whenever the training program gets into the single digits, my heart starts to race a little quicker and panic mode scales upward some. I think this new plan is more feasible to all I’m enduring right now (I still cannot get this sleep thing down. And sinus headaches are constantly screaming. err). Let’s see what the ole legs got in me and let’s get this program going!!!!!!!!!!

Some time ago, I was reading Melissa’s blog and she was doing a Valentine bloggy swap; swapping Valentine cards and goodies, if you wanted, to get to know other bloggers out there. I immediately signed up, I’m that sort of girl that has to partake in anything to meet other bloggy runners - especially if it means something in my mailbox. Friday, I received a large envelope and inside was this, from Danielle:

How cool, eh? She’s so thoughtful. For those that knew me when my blog was overly …. well…pink, you know that these are just perfect for me :)!! Well, I’ll say that the blog wasn’t too pink for ME, but my friends closest to me who don’t really care if they hurt my feeling (ha) told me to get rid of it. Yeah, okay, I listened. Somewhere, though, I need to incorporate SOME pink in it…but that was just a sidetrack note cuz that’s what us A.D.D.ers do, get sidetracked…..but back to my awesome Valentine from Danielle – THANK YOU!!! I heart the socks and the adrobs card. You are the sweetest thing and I will enjoy getting to know you and become great bloggy friends.

I have to say, I am NOT into these Olympics much. I had to stick my head in the freezer to wake up so I didn’t fall asleep during the Opening Ceremonies (some of it was cool but not much) and now I’m finding it really hard to get psyched to watch much right now. Could it be because it’s not running ?? Hum…. My boys really do like the skiing parts though and are glued to that. It just looks so cold to me…and I’ve had enough of winter, thanks.

And finally today's random running comment: my friend, Adam, finished his first ultra marathon, a 50-miler (not a 50K, but a MILER!) yesterday. 2 weeks after running his second full marathon. Yeah, he totally is stud-man. I promise you the day I actually decide I'm running an ultra, you'll be heaing about all my anxiety doing so for about 4 months ahead of time. Check out his blog in a day or two when he gets his race report written. I can't wait!

Week’s End Gratitude:
- Danielle, her blog and the awesome socks she gave me
- My legs still are able to run after that bout of deadly illness
- Valentine candy (and ONE day to eat a few pieces)
- Swimming with Tara at the pool
- Girlies to go to stupid movies with

I hope everyone got in some awesome miles for me last week. I’m ready to get out there and do my part now (I hope)! Run well, friends!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yep, it was inevitable. I'm sick!

It happened, just as I predicted. I got sick. Today was day #2 where I called in sick to work for being really sick and not because I just need a…..(ahem)…..personal day. I can’t even remember the last time I called in sick for being well….sick. Oh yeah, all ya all out there thinking how great it would be to have the day off (or two) and do nothing, well I’m here to tell all you type-A overachiever running junkies that it is NOT all that exciting. And to prove it, here’s a run-down of my last two days:

I strategically reworked my Boston training plan to account for my 2-day absence from running. 15 times.

I stalked a guy on FB that I don’t really know that well about a new job that doesn’t really exist right now and hope he has the magic to make it work .

I went to the drug store and bought $52.38 worth of cold medicine.

I watched so much HGTV that I now hate my house and want to light a match to it and rob a bank so I can hire one of their designers to make it dreamy and no longer contains kid-puke carpet stains.

I thought I’d actually get a full load of laundry done in one day, but alas, earlier load still sits in washer for hours after it entered. Just like normal.

I googled challenging races like: Transrockies run, Western States 100, Badwater, Bighorn Trail 100, Devils Backbone, Where’s Waldo 100-K, Imogene Pass, and the one Jamoosh recommended: Bataan Death March, and actually *thought* I could feasibly do one of them.

I searched Internet flights to above races. Just in case.

I went to the gym, just because I had to have a “fix” just to stretch …. And drool over the guy running 6 min/miles on the treadmill.

I realized that even if I were running on the treadmill next to 6 min/mile guy, I’d still be drooling over that pace. Or maybe it was his shorts. Or the legs in his shorts. Or his amazing glutes??? Nah…

I thought about my website but made no more progress on a name than I did 3 months ago …

I read 6 pages of “Born to Run” and realized I’m just not going with the norm here as I am just not into that book that everyone so much is. Is it me or can I just not buy into the barefoot running thing…..

I vowed to give up sugar (again). Ate potato chips.

I obsessed over how much conditioning I've lost in the past 2 days.

I scoured ebay with my Christmas $50 ebay gift card….and bought a foam roller for my aching glute and an agility ladder to make me SUPER speedy. Never mind the wallet I desperately need.

I worked on a client’s marathon training plan. She’s running Chicago… in October…

I looked at my twins’ bedrooms and thought about cleaning them. Was relieved that thought was only a mere passing one and I actually didn’t clean them.

I slept like 32 hours in the past 2 days. More than I normally get in a week. Maybe that’s what the whole problem was to my faltered state….hum.

I read a thousand blogs. One about dogs. I don’t really like dogs. But it made me cry.

I didn't answer any emails I have sitting in my inbox needing to be answered.

I didn't run *sigh*. I know my body is resting and refueling so I can come back fighting strong. I know this. But it doesn't make me happy. In fact, I think in my 3-day running hiatus, my calf hurts. The one that used to bother me all the time but has been happy now that I upped my mileage. Hum. As I sit here and type this on Tuesday evening, I've had enough television to last a lifetime and I'm ready to head back to work tomorrow (while dreaming of my new day job :) ) and get back to running. Even if it's just a short jaunt around my neighborhood. Running makes me a better me - in every sense of the word better.

Here's a pic of the college daughter and I at the wedding this weekend. Gotta love my double chin there as I try to peek in the picture. The other is of her drinking her ice coffee from a darling little cafe called City Market in downtown Denver.

Hope everyone's running long and healthy miles for me this week!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Week 5 of 2010 / Gratitude/ Before I die...

Week 5:
Week’s Running totals: 48
Running Total for 2010: 237.45
Weight training: 3
Swim: ½ mile

I am tired. Very tired. Still not sleeping well, but slightly better than I was. Going to a wedding last night and having a few cocktails didn’t help. Oh, did I say a few weeks ago that I gave up alcohol until after Boston? Whoopsy. I had reason though, that being I actually had a nice time :).

A 21 mile run yesterday ended rough; I ran the same course as the week before where I had that long uphill haul for the last half of my long run. You know, that course that is "good for me." Next week, I'm not sure where I will run long but I promise you it will not be this course!! I’m thinking I need to rethink what "good for me is" as I am mastering the uphill long run death march pretty darn well! Is there a prize for that? I ran with Tara as she approached mile 3 to 13.5ish. I say “ish” because neither one of us managed to get our Garmins started properly (Sorry, Tara, that my A.D.D. is rubbing off on you! I’m sure just the anticipation of meeting me at your mile 3 caused some brain cell malfunction). You’d think two above average intelligence and beautiful : ) women could manage to have at least one working Garmin watch between the two of us…..okay, you do not need to comment on that little mishap. At one point, we were both laughing so hard trying to figure out where we were based on multiple restarting of the watches. I felt like we were doing advanced calculus trying to perform simple addition and subtraction. Anyway, my goal was to go 20-21 miles depending on how I felt. Beings I felt like crap the micro-second I woke up, I should have gone about 3 miles and called it a day; but sudden brain cramp came and told me that I could go 21. I haven’t felt that great all week and I was behind in mileage due to some icky crud I most likely picked up from twin #2 and thought I could make up mileage here on long run. Hahahaha. Dumb. But us A.D.D.ers think that way sometimes. Tara was running various zones, per her coach, and I was holding back better than normal kill-your-long-run-in the-first-few-miles-by-going-too-fast pace so I thought the last half of my run would be great. And it was. For about 4 miles. Around mile 15, my stomach bothered me, my legs were heavy, my glute was screaming it hurt, and yucko - I shuffled through the next 6 miles utterly exhausted. Let’s emphasize the word shuffled as I am certain my form did not resemble anything related to running. Yea, that was one totally miserable long run (the 2nd half - after Tara was smart and only ran 14 and got a ride back home, in her husband’s nice, warm car and I ran alone back to my car. Alone. In the cold. By myself). M.I.S.E.R.A.B.L.E. But it’s ok, actually. Considering all: I didn’t feel that great, this was my 2nd 20+ miler in as many weeks, it's still a little early in training to creep up this high and I have time to perfect it, and sometimes you just need these type of runs to appreciate the good ones that much more. I know I'm capable, just not yesterday. I have one more tough week of training and then it’s a slower, recovery week...but I may end up tweaking that schedule some if my body is screaming for more rest this coming week. The ole bod’s not what it once was, darnit!

Today I managed to get to the gym and ran a couple easy, shake-out-the-legs miles, some glute and arm weights and about a half mile in the pool. It felt good but I’ve taken 2 very short 15-minute naps today so I know something germy is brewing inside me. That, or it’s just the sleep thing. Plus, my sinuses are killing me – again. Imagine that! (remember when I told you you'd be sick of me whining about my sinuses??? Yeah, we haven't even begun people!) I’m vowing to get my diet back on track, too, and get the excess body fat back down where it needs to be. It’s just a constant struggle as I end up compensating my fatigue with food and also contributing to excess bf is my weight training as it takes a back seat to the running since I’m struggling getting both in on the same day. If I could manage more than 4 hours of sleep a night, I’d get up in the morning and do weight training before work, as I used to do, and the run after work. Now, I’m just cramming it all in. 2 ½ hours in the gym after work is about killing me. Ughhhhhhhhhhh.

Okay, enough whining. Suck it up, Jilly!!!!

5 things Gratitude list for the week’s end:
1) Aleve – I know this is a no-no on a long run but dang, it helps!
2) Bubble bath – I’m sitting in one right now while most of you are out there watching those fab superbowl commercials. Nope, I’m soaking in a tub of bubbles. Ahhhhhh…
3) I booked a flight to run the ING half marathon in prep for Boston. I’m grateful I finally made the decision as it’s been a few weeks of torment. Even if I run pathetic, I know the opportunity to see old friends, and maybe a new blog friend or two, will be a magical few days for my stressful, crazy life.
4) Brendan (twin #2) performed an awesome honors band concert last night!
5) Ryan (twin #1) placed 2nd in the middle school geography bee.

Finally, Ulyana at shaped by running, tagged me to write 3 things I hope to accomplish or do before I die. Hum. Since this is my blog about me, I'll write about what *I* want:

1) I hope to get out of the suburbs when my boys are done with high school and buy a cute little cottage/house. Somewhere. Somewhere preferrable warm. Even if it's a "2nd" house. Somewhere to go and get out of the sprawling burbs for awhile.

2) To land an amazing job! I have some ideas of what....but I'll just leave it at that for now.

3) Having a lot of money to do some awesome vacations with my kiddos. We've been to some cool places but right now we don't have the funds and I hope someday that all turns around again and I can take them on an amazing adventure that, now they are older, will remember when I'm long gone.

Instead of me tagging others to write their "to do" list, why don't you guys just tell me, instead :).
Run safe this week, friends!! Looks like a lot of icky weather east of me....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hills, Baby!!!!

My first attempt at any major “hill” in a marathon was in ’08 at the Big Sur Marathon. Big Sur was a marathon on my radar screen since I ran the Seattle Marathon like, oh, a hundred years earlier; I was at the Seattle Expo and while wandering around, the Big Sur Marathon committee booth was showing a video of the race. It was love at first sight and I knew that someday, I wanted to run this one. I don't know about you, but I'm originally from a part of the country where I thought “rolling hills” were gigantuous. Then I moved to Colorado and good grief, did I learn what a hill was. Still, I didn’t love hills – and I still really don’t. So it’s not like I was actually going to attempt this little race any time soon – not until I got over my fear of running up them mountains in my backyard. I had twins to bare and a life to live, Big Sur was just a mere dream.

Fast forward 99 years, I was out on a little run over at the state park near my house and ran into a long-time running friend (Kathryn) whom I had not seen in ages. We used to run a lot together when our kids were itty-bitty; we’d share babysitting services to split the cost. Man, that seems like forever ago. Her and I had experienced a rather disastrous San Diego Marathon 5 years earlier which landed me in a medical tent with an IV fluid drip due to over dehydration (does one “overly” dehydrate or are you just “dehydrated” – either way, I was a mess!) and her in same tent for salt replenishments. I think I endured the worst lack-of-hydration fate…but it’s not the contest I really relished winning. I gave up marathoning for 5 years because of said little H2O incident; I was scared to death I was going to just do that – die! I’m all about dying doing what you love vs. cancer or some other long, agonizing process, but at the age of 36 with 3 little kiddos at home, now just didn’t seem like the right time.

So Kathryn and I start chatting on a beautiful sun-filled mid-October afternoon and getting caught up in past running memories. Before I knew it, we’re at Starbucks with internet access making hotel reservations, cashing in frequent flyer miles and registering for the Big Sur Marathon. Which was 6 months later.

Good Lord, what did I just do? I hadn’t run a marathon in a bit over 5 years and any sort of race at all was fast approaching 3 years. I was 15 lbs over marathon weight. Big Sur was like nowhere even close to my reach! Yikes!

3 panic attacks later, I hired a personal trainer, I ate perfectly, I strength trained, I gave up alcohol (gasp) ... and I landed in a hospital with another serious bout of dehydration, which for a while my doctor was convinced was “the worst kidney infection I’ve ever seen.” Ha! HA, I said. I’m going to Big Sur and I’m going to run. I got to the start line of that race in the best shape I’d ever been in. In fact, I was beaming with so much confidence in my newly found body revision I was certain I could qualify for Boston.

The allure which makes Big Sur such a desired, sold-out quickly race, is that it’s drop-dead gorgeous. I have been to breath-taking gorgeous parts of the country before and I, myself, live in a state with profound beauty surrounding me. But no beauty has beat my heart faster than that of the ocean along the Big Sur coast. I was in heaven and I ran like I had no fear in the world.

I won’t indulge in great detail about this little lack-of-hill-fear strategy but suffice it to say, running a pace almost a minute/mile faster than I ever had in a marathon and enduring a 2-mile long hill with a 83% grade (really! ;) ) at mile 11 slammed me back to reality (Me at notorious Hurricane Point). Oh, I cranked up that beast and high-fived everyone around me. But by the time the next round of hills came, and they came in abundance, I was leaving my breakfast at mile 18 and cramping with night-time Charlie horses in each calf. Boston at Big Sur? Hahaha, yeah - not so much Jilly!

Um yeah, I was not ready to run those hills in Big Sur. No kidding!! At least not at a neck-breaking pace I envisioned. It took me many months to get over that race and move on but soon, I was racing up Mt. Evans (4000’ up in 14.5 miles) and Pikes Peak (8000’ up in 13.1 miles). By golly, if I can’t beat ‘em, I was going to join ‘em. Still, I was no mountain goat. People ran past me in those races like I was standing still; I was gagging for air, they were breezing by. The last mile alone in Pikes Peak took me 38 minutes. 38!!

But I did them and I continuted more strength training and I ran hills in my daily routes. I still didn’t enjoy these things called hills but I no longer feared them. I entered Boston (finally qualifying in St. George, a downhill race thank you :), 6 months after Big Sur) in great shape again and ready to tackle the hills from miles from 17- 20. I mean, look at the profile, they aren’t THAT bad. A friend had been there the week before on business and said they were “nothing.” Okay, I’m ready, bring ‘em on!!! I finished those nothing-hills in Boston last year and I never could regain my pace again. Leg cramps, stomach cramps and come mile 22, I swore I’d never run another marathon. Ever.

So here I am, 4 marathons later, ready to tackle Boston again. No one ever said I run with all marbles intact but I try to stamp out all temper tantrums I have during a race 2 days later. Those are just well-deserved rants, nothing more. To me, there’s nothing like a bad race to fuel my desire to tackle it smarter next time. One day I’ll be back to Big Sur, that I promise, but the race of focus for me right now is Boston … and not just Boston, but those notorious calf-burning hills to be precise!

What am I doing differently? Well, first, I’m doing a lot of hill repeats. Not at neck-breaking paces, but at a pace that feels challenging yet doable. I’m running my recovery runs with some hills in them. I’m relaxing my upper body and not tensing it when I attack upwards. I’m keeping my arms at my sides, pumping me forward and not swishing across my chest like we do with normal running. And the key component I think that’s helping me, I’m doing a sh*%-load of glute and core work: 3-way lunges, glute bridges, leg press, dead-lifts, step ups. Oh man, I feel the muscles in this aging booty getting stronger; yesterday I finished my 12x400’s @5-7% feeling amazing. Huh??? ME??? Hell yea, me!! I think this is the confidence that anxiety- ridden me needs when I get to the start line of Boston this year.

I hear I have a little party awaiting me when I cross that finish line on Boylston Street; but more than I want to celebrate that it’s my birthday on Boston race day, I want to ceremonialize conquering those dag-nabbit stinking beasty hills starting in Newton and finishing at the top of Heart Break that broke my spirit last year. I will not let them defeat me this year.

Upward and onward, friends!

Here are a few HILL facts I found:
1. On average people run 23% slower up hill and only 13.8% faster down hill.
2. You can pick up speed if you got better at running downhills.
3. People slow down about 0.082 m/s for every 1% change in gradient.
An interesting point the researchers noted was the “memory effect” of gradients. After an uphill, it took an average of 78 seconds on level ground before runners resumed their normal speeds. After a downhill, runners maintained higher speeds for an average of 23 seconds. The goal should be to distribute effort as evenly as possible. So you might want to go a little slower on the uphills and then focus on resuming your “normal” pace as soon as possible after the hill (precisely the opposite of the way I’ve always raced, I’m sad to say!). And go a little harder on downhills instead of letting yourself recover