Saturday, July 31, 2010

Taking the Trail-With Friends

After Wendy politely reminded me in a round about way that it's really not as safe to run solo on trails as it is with others...I decided to hit them this morning with friends.  I've been really nervous about doing this because....well, I'm slow.  When I'm alone it's no big deal.  I don't have to feel like I'm holding anyone back, I don't have to feel like I'm wimping out or giving up, I don't have to let anyone down.  When I'm alone, I can get lost in my own little world of thoughts.  I don't have to make conversation when I'm having trouble breathing.  I don't have to worry about how I smell, except when someone runs past me who smells like they just stepped out of the shower (seriously this happened recently-yes, she was running-but I digress).

And, I don't get to share the experience with anyone.  I don't get to look at someone and say, "Did you hear that?" in response to what clearly sounded like a shriek.  I don't have to have that ever-so-slight tension in my stomach when I hear what could be a furry little furry creature in the woods because it might also be some crazed psycho blog stalker who's aiming to snatch my body right off the trail.  I don't have to wonder what would happen if I broke my ankle and face-planted right in the middle of a less than well traveled path in the middle of the day with just a few more sips of water.  I wouldn't get to hear someone say, "GREAT JOB Dana!"  (Well, until I got home and fished for compliments from my darling husband!)  I wouldn't get to borrow a towel because I forgot mine and would instead have to drive home slipping and sliding all over a car seat drenched in the evidence of hard work that had oozed from every sweat gland in my body but couldn't evaporate because the humidity is so high it might as well be raining!!  And, I wouldn't make new friends who love this sport as much as I do.

I had a great run this morning thanks to the six other people I got to run with this morning.  I met a long-timer who has run in 29 or 30 consecutive Rocket City marathons!   He's currently training for a 50K trail run.  The man is a machine.  He started running just over 30 years ago and hasn't stopped!  What a privilege to get to run with him...that I wouldn't have enjoyed if I had continued to go it alone.  I did 5.1 miles with an overall average moving pace of 12:37.  Not too stinking bad for this particular trail!!

Thanks for caring enough, and for being honest enough, to tell me like it is Wendy!!  My run today would not have been the same with out you!  AND....I don't want to leave out the great running friends I have who kept encouraging me to come out with them.  I've been really worried that I couldn't keep up or that I would slow them down.  What a GREAT run!!!

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Friday, July 30, 2010

I FOUND my glutes!

One of my friends, we'll call her Hard Body (HB for short) teaches the Extreme Abs class (among others) at my gym.  We were talking a couple months back ...
HB:  "You should come to my Extreme Abs class"
Me: "Are you kidding?  I couldn't do 30 minutes of nothing but abs!"
HB: "Oh, no, we 'only' do 15 of abs, the other 15 is glutes."
Me: "No, see, I don't think I have glute muscles."
HB: "Oh, trust me, they're there.  Come to my class, you'll be introduced to them!"
So, I went to her spin class then stayed for The Great Glute Discovery Expedition!!

Not me doing the "Quadruped Hip Extension"
The first time out I didn't have a lot of luck.  The first attempt at finding them was a move sort of like the one called the "Quadruped Hip Extension" pictured to the right....except we were in a prone position, with just the top of our chest up a little...legs are straight back.  The working leg is curled around a small weighted ball (instead of a barbell).  The idea is to lift the working leg straight up to the ceiling while not letting go of the ball.  I couldn't do it!  I was able to get a little lift, but only by using my hamstring muscle, which quickly cramped up.

HB was telling me, "you can do it!"...and I was mentally reminding her, "I DON'T HAVE GLUTES!!  REMEMBER??"  Later that same day a lady trying to sell me a dress told me I had the perfect FLAT butt for that kind of dress.  She went on to say that people like HB, with a bubble butt, can't wear that kind of dress because it doesn't hang right.

Now, I know she might have thought she was giving me a compliment-but, really?  I have a flat butt?  I always thought I had more than my share of junk in the trunk, I just thought it was FAT when it "should have" been muscle.  Since then, I've been told THREE TIMES my butt is FLAT.  Once, "as a pancake" was added for good measure. 

The day after that first "expedition", I heard the ever-so-slight whisper from my glutes muffled under layers of...insulation.  They were calling, "I'm here...don't give up on me.  Please come find me!!"

At the end of yesterday's beat down torture session (AKA "Group Power"), HB had us do some glute moves--and I think for the first time I actually FELT a real muscle when she said, "SQUEEZE!!!"


So...last night we were in the local book store searching for a magazine my daughter's friend is in (!!) when I saw  THIS magazine:

Really?  A whole magazine?  Just then, it jumped off the shelf into my hand as if my butt had beckoned it, like when the ambulance shows up after you dial 911!   (It's actually a special edition of Oxygen magazine devoted to the derriere.)  My darling husband was appalled that I would even pick it up, but the idea that I could actually have an apple bottom without using something like the "Booty Pop" my daughter suggested I buy the other day is fascinating!, she was trying to tell me, in a nice way, that I really don't have "back" like I have thought all these years!!  (That actually makes four times!)

As I was looking over the magazine full of apple bottom darling husband (who thought he was being helpful) told me that I just don't have the body shape to have a tush like any of those in the magazine.  If he stopped there it might have been okay, but NO....he had to elaborate....  "Sweetheart, I love you just the way you are, but your butt really is FLAT..."  (even stopping there would have been okay, not great, but okay.  But no....he had to add on, "and WIDE!!"  Yes, folks, my butt is flat and wide.  Honestly, I always knew the wide part, but combined with flat?  That is just COMPLETELY unattractive!!  

Listen all you naysayers out there (yes, sweetheart, I'm talking to YOU)'s muscle.  It's obviously just atrophied from having NEVER been used (no wonder I never could do all those high school drill team moves!!).   Now that I know the truth, I'm going to work my butt ON!! 

Yes, I bought the magazine.   I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gear for New Runners

I told you a while back that I'm one of the many mentors for a new runners group called No Boundaries....

We had our kick off the other night and I'm telling you, it was so exciting.  There were about 200 new runners there, 120 or so in the Huntsville PM group (the one I'm helping out with).  The program is set up to take someone from non-runner status through their first 5K race.  Each person sets their own goal-walk, walk/run or run.  There were so many people who came to the registration table saying, "I don't know if I can do this, but I'm here to try."  I can't tell you the good feeling I have "knowing" they really can because they are trying, because they have taken that first step of saying, "this is something I want to do".

Speaking of new runners...I found a newbie's blog, "Running North"...and I love it.  She's moving from a self-professed hater of running to someone who recently ran her first full mile (and then did a couple more intervals afterwards for a 3+ mile run)!!!!  Her posts are beautifully written, not like the angst filled bathering on I did when I first started.  (Okay, and not like the bathering on I still do...)

If you read every post, as I did today, you'll see I made a comment on every single one!  I just couldn't help myself.  A couple of things came to mind as I was reading that I thought I should devote some of my words to today.

The very first thing you should do as a new runner is to get properly fitted for running shoes.  Do NOT lace up the shoes you've had in your closet for years that you bought to walk the dog.  Do NOT go to the mall and look for a cute pair of tennis shoes that are on sale.  Find a running specialty store, even if you have to travel an hour to get there if you live in the sticks.  Chances are, if you live that far away from "town", you have to go that far to get to the doctor: just consider it a preemptive measure to save MANY future trips to take care of the inevitable injury you'll get if you don't take this first trip.

TELL THEM you are a new runner and are there for your first pair.  You might think those are dollar signs flashing in their eyes, but hopefully that's just the sparkle runners get when they see someone taking that first step toward an addiction they are fully in the grasp of themselves!  Don't be skeptical, you are doing the right thing.  But...

The place you go to should, at the VERY LEAST, measure your foot and watch you run in some neutral shoes, before making suggestions.  I don't want to get too technical here, but depending on how your foot moves when you run, and how your foot is shaped, you will have different needs in terms of support.  It's very likely you could need inserts as well as shoes.  I'm not talking orthotics that you have to get from a doctor, although some people do find they have to go that route, most can just get a stock insert to add to the shoe.  Ideally the store will have a treadmill set up with a video camera that will allow them to slow the image down to show you exactly what is happening when you pound pavement (or trail).

If you have been running a good bit, take the shoes you've been wearing with you.  Also be sure to mention any pain you have when you run which can also be useful information in determining what kind of shoe you need.  The store should be able to show you several options.  More expensive is not necessarily better-try them all on if you have to.  Run around the store, or on their treadmill.  Good stores will have a generous return policy that will allow you to run in the shoes for at least a week or two to try them out.

WOMEN ONLY:  The next thing you need to get, most likely at the same place (since you didn't go to the local shoe store, but a running specialty store), is a properly fitted running bra.  Now, if you are like me and can almost get away with wearing band aids, it's not so critical (in my opinion), but if you have breasts larger than your average 12 year old girl, then you need proper support for your "girls".  Most women are wearing the wrong size every-day bra (if they haven't been fitted recently), so just going to The Bullseye Boutique and picking a sports bra off the self won't cut it.  Again, I'll resist the temptation to get too technical here, but breast are supported by Cooper's ligaments which can be irreparably damaged.  Get measured, get fitted, buy more than one, and take good care of them (the bras, as well as your "girls".)

And, finally (for today anyway)...don't forget proper moisture-wicking running socks.  Let me be clear--the blister pictured here was NOT the result of improper socks.  This runner is an experienced ultra runner who got this nice trophy after running 161.1 miles in four days.  It's just a nice graphic example of what could happen with improper socks.  NO COTTON.  They hold in moisture, they stretch, and they WILL certainly create friction.  Put enough miles in them and you WILL get a blister.

I have a favorite brand and, because I've had very good luck, I've been reluctant to try anything new.  But, I won't mention them here because I actually don't think they are the best sock out there....I think I've just gotten really lucky.  Find what works for you and don't be afraid to try out some different kinds until you discover your favorite.

To my darling husband:  I have a piece of gear I am going to want to buy before too long as I start training in earnest for Rocket City...a freezer.  Yes, a freezer.  See, the other day I tried to take an ice bath but even the full container from the ice maker didn't really make my bath water cold.  After today's Group Power beat down, I wanted to come home to a nice FULL bathtub of ice but knew I'd have to carry out at least 3 or 4 bags from the store-something I was not going to be able to do since I had trouble even lifting my PHONE to my ear after that class torture session.  If I had a freezer, I'd stock it full of ice for times such as this.

So, honey, when I ask you if you read my blog today and you say yes...and when I say, "so can I go buy that gear I talked about needing" and you say sure....don't ask me why Lowe's is at the door saying our freezer is in!!  ...Trust me, buying a freezer would be a lot cheaper in the long run than buying ice after every long run, or "Elizabeth* beat down" class, I'll ever do!  (*She's the dominatrix that lead the Group Power class today, as well as the leader of Extreme Abs.)

Thanks for stopping, come again soon!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


First Place Athletics logo
Emily Hardin won the women's division of the San Francisco Marathon this weekend.  She finished with a time of 2:51:55. 
WOW!!  I have always been impressed with this runner.  She's not only incredibly fast, she's unbelievably humble and nice.  I remember the first race I volunteered at...she broke the course record!  I went all fan-girl on her and gushed profusely telling her how amazing I thought she was.  She just blushed and acted like it was really nothing.  Not in an arrogant, "Ah, it was nothing" kind of way, but almost just a down play of her abilities.  
Maybe I'll see if I can get a blogger interview with her.  Do you have any questions you'd like me to ask her?  

I'm so stinking impressed....I feel like a three year old who just saw Santa on the street!  

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I have a DATE tonight!

With my bathtub and some Epsom salts!!

I did Power Yoga today.

No. We did not do this position today!
Remember when I said Yoga Ain't For Sissies?  Well, the class I took today is like regular yoga...on STEROIDS!!  I should have known it was going to be difficult when the instructor asked me before the class if I REALLY like to work out!  She followed up by telling me I would be introduced to every muscle in my body and some of them might not like me tomorrow!  And to think, I chose this class over Group Power because I thought it would be easier!

I amazed myself because I could do more moves than I thought I could.  In the last few months of working out I have increased my strength and flexibility quite a bit.  I'm still not a human pretzel, nor will I ever be, but I did bend in places I didn't think I could, and held some poses I know I wouldn't have been able to a couple of months ago.

I would go back next week...but I'll be traveling to Dallas for my grandfather's 90th birthday!  So, darn, no Power Yoga for me next week.  Shucks.

Have you ever done yoga?  Do you have a favorite pose?

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Excuse me, are you a bad man??

After only about five hours of interrupted sleep, I went out for a trail run yesterday morning as soon as I woke up.  I hadn't put in many miles at all over the week and I knew if I waited, it wouldn't get done.  The hiker's parking lot was "packed"!  (It's a relative term...usually there are only one or two cars, yesterday morning there were like 10 or 12.)  Like I said before, I can let my mind get a little carried away with the "what if there's a bad man in the woods" scenarios, but it doesn't usually stop me from running solo...on the trail or off. 

That all changed this morning!

Even though I ended up doing 3.5 on the trail yesterday and my right shin/calf was not too happy with me this morning, not to mention it felt like it was already 102 degrees (at 5am), I went over to Turtle's house to run a mile or two.  We started out complaining to each other about the stifling heat/humidity and headed out, knowing that once we got started we'd be fine.

Our neighborhood has a little parking lot right at the front of the subdivision.  It was either intended for parking for the non-existent club house and/or pool, or was just built because we have a non-enforced "no cars parked on the street" rule.  If you have company staying with you for an extended period of time, theoretically they would park there.  It's not ever used for anything and we have tried to get it demolished, but you'd be surprised how much it costs to have a parking lot torn out.  Anyway...I told her we were going to go into that lot to do some dynamic stretches and drills.

As I was scoping the lot seeing where we needed to start...I noticed her stopping short.  And...then...I heard a male voice saying something from the car that I had not even seen that was parked about 20 feet from me!  (I found out later he asked if we live in the neighborhood.)  Turtle said, "yeah, what's going on?"  He proceeded to tell us that he had broken down on the mountain (it's a good mile from our neighborhood) and he had gotten the car that far but was now waiting on his wife to come get him.  We just kind of looked at each other and then at him and said "Okay" as we turned around and headed back to her house....

The story didn't add up for several reasons
  • we are not the closest road from the mountain-he had to pass by two roads and two turn-around areas he could have pulled over at.
  • his car was backed into the parking space-that's not something you would do if your car had broken down
  • if his car broke down, how did he get it there?
We took off and sprinted back to her house and then she drove me to my house.  I felt we might be over-reacting just a little bit, but come was FIVE O'CLOCK in the morning.  It was dark.  We were two women running alone-well, with each other, but alone as in not in a group and without a man, or a big scary dog, or mace, or even a phone!  No one is supposed to even be in that parking lot.

To make matters worse, I came home and read a story about this woman who started running after being raped (as recovery).  Note to self-always carry my phone, even in the neighborhood, even when running with Turtle.

I'm sure it was completely fine...what would you have done?  Kept running, chatted him up a bit asking, "So, where do you work? What do you do?  Have car trouble much?", said, "Excuse me for asking, but are you a bad man?  Because if you are, I need to scream to wake up my neighbors who may or may not come out here to investigate what's going on."?

Well, the run was scrapped, but I went to the Extreme Abs class...let me just say, I am getting stronger but I still can't do the whole class.  I don't feel bad about that because (other than the instructor) there are only two people in there who can (out of 15-20).

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's a Duck, It's a Fish...It's Swimming Dana!!

Thanks to a friend in need of a swimming partner, I FINALLY went out to the local lap pool and ...didn't drown!  Thankfully before we got there she gave me a run down of how far she's come since she had her first lap-swimming experience.   Honestly, I don't know if she really TOLD me what I heard or if I imagined it just to make myself feel better!!  But, whatever the case may be I
  1. had a great time
  2. had a great workout
  3. have CONSIDERABLE room for improvement!
I wasn't even able to swim 25 yards without having to take a break!  I don't have any idea how many laps I actually ended up doing.  But I'm certainly going back for more.

As usual, I have to buy some gear!!  I "need" a bathing suit (a "real" swimmer's suit, not a lay-around-the-pool-to-get-a-tan" kind of suit), a swim cap, goggles, and, eventually, a kick board.

I have to say, I was SHOCKED at the cardio work out I got, even not being able to swim very far without stopping.  I guess it's just like running....I didn't start out being able to run a mile, even a quarter mile without stopping.  But I did build up distance and speed.  I'm sure I'll eventually be able to go much farther than I can even imagine going right now.  All I have to do is TRAIN!

The hardest part?  Taking a gulp of air without also taking in a big gulp of water!
((Uh...NO, that is obviously NOT me.))
Next year, I'm going to do the HiWAAY Sprint Tri--run 3 miles, bike 6, then swim 400 meters. Heck, maybe by then I'll do the Olympic distance Rocketman Tri (1.5-km swim / 40-km bike / 10-k run).....or maybe I won't do that!! 

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Gonna Try Now"....

(Cue "Gonna Fly Now" music in the playlist to the right....)

I started today's run not knowing if I would finish it or not.  My right calf was pretty tight.  Strange how my left calf (the one that I had so much trouble with before) has not bothered me one bit since I started up again.   I think my right one just wants some attention!

Well, I jogged over to Turtle's house and told her she might have to go solo, but I'd see when what happened when we got started.  We started off slow...and I forgot to start the Garmin until after we'd gone about a quarter of a mile or so.  We ran close to a mile a little faster than we have been going for that distance, then did walk/run intervals with shorter walks and longer runs than we have done in the past.  We ended up going about two miles with an average overall pace of about 13.

By the time we were "done", my calf seemed to be warmed up a bit but I went ahead and rolled it out (with the foam roller). I changed into my Newtons and did some drills.  I combined the ones I learned the other night at the running form clinic put on by Fleet Feet with the ones from the Newton website.  I did some knee highs, butt kicks, donkey kicks, and skipping.  I forgot to do the knee hugs and leg swings I learned the other night and intentionally left off the jump roping (since I don't have one and air jumping just seems plain weird....although probably not anymore weird than donkey kicks!).  After that I ran for a half mile.

Interestingly enough, a little ways into my run I started focusing on cadence.  I haven't ever really paid attention to it before, but they talked about it the other night so I counted for 30 seconds.  180 steps/minute is supposed to be the idea turn-over rate.  I think my "natural" cadence is about 160.  That seems to indicate my turn over rate is a little slow.  Now, I'm not going to pretend to completely understand but I did try to increase turnover and was successful for the most part toward the end.  I did that while still attempting to keep really good running form.  What is so interesting to me is looking at my pace on the Garmin site....

Look how much smoother my pace got.  I find that very interesting.  I don't exactly know why--HA--but it has to mean something!!!  :D

I ended with a little cool down walk, and wishing I could go another five miles.  But...I'm planning to go swimming in a few hours so I don't think the added miles would be the very best thing. answer yesterday's question, I'm going to try the Newtons in earnest for a couple of weeks and see what happens.  I believe it will require more work, but I think in the long run it will be worth it.  I don't know if it's true, but I do feel faster in the Newtons.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

PS...If you haven't checked it out...please take a peek at my attempt at writing fiction and let me know what you think.  Part two has been posted.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

An Attempt At Fiction...

I took this!!  (This photo is copywritten, please do not use without permission.)

Last year I started writing a Christian romance novel.  It's still not done but, I've decided to post what I've written so far in another blog called "Writer's Block" (the proposed name of the book).  This is my first attempt at fiction, and romance is not the genre I intend to eventually be published under, but I've had fun writing it.  Please go over there and check it out.  I'll be posting new installments each day until I get caught up to where I've stopped writing.  Depending on feedback I'll either scrap the whole idea or keep on with the project.  Please be brutally honest, even if you post comments anonymously, I want to hear what you have to say!!  (Questions about plot or characters may be answered later in the story, but go ahead and ask anyway.)  Thank you so much for your help developing me as a writer!!  :D

Are the Newton's "Worth It"

I have been toying with the idea of returning my Newtons.  When I went to pick them up from Fleet Feet (where I ordered them from), I had them video my stride with both my regular running shoe (Saucony ProGrid Hurricane 11s).  In the Saucony, I don't over the Newton my foot rolls in quite a bit (even with some heavy-duty orthotics).  Seeing that video has made me scared to run in them.  I don't want to get hurt!

The only day I have run in them...I only went about a half mile.  I changed shoes and ran another couple of miles in my regular shoes.  That was the day I also went to a spin class and Extreme Abs....and felt that "bee sting" sensation in my right calf.  I've been taking it somewhat easy since then.

I went to a running form clinic at Fleet Feet Monday night.  I talked to one of the "coaches" there about the Newtons because he has a pair that he really likes.  He said it just might not be "enough" shoe for me.

But, here's the thing....I really do believe in the idea that compensating for lack of muscle/strength with a shoe is NOT the best answer.  It has the feel of treating the symptom and not the cause.  The symptom is the over pronation, the cause (I think) is probably a combination of lack of strength and running form.  The problem is, I want to RUN and I don't completely know how to fix the problem.....and it's a lot easier to just run in the stability shoe that "corrects" the symptom to allow me to do what I want to do.

So, really it boils down to what I'm wanting more-to run, or to correct the real problem.  It would be MUCH harder, in my opinion to correct the problem.  According to the Newton site, there is an adjustment period required when switching over to their shoes.  They say:
WHY BOTHER (adjusting to the shoe)? Your connective tissue (muscle and tendon) and structure (the fine bones in your feet) need time to strengthen and adapt. Newtons allow your foot to feel the ground as if you were running barefoot. If you increase your running volume too quickly, you may experience calf tenderness.
That sounds right to me.  That sounds like what I want.  That sounds plausible and real and good.


That sounds hard.  That sounds like something that is going to hurt.  That sounds like frustration in the making.  That sounds like a lot of work.  Changing out my shoes that one day was really a pain.  I mean, it's not like it took a crazy amount of time or anything....but it was somewhat of a hassle.  It certainly wasn't as easy as just throwing on my Sauconys and taking off for three or so miles.

I think what it boils down to is this:  what do I really believe?  Do I really believe that my "connective tissue and structure (the fine bones in my feet) really WILL strengthen and adapt?  Do I really believe wearing these shoes will aide me in that process?  Is that extra strength worth it to me?  Is the value in that extra bit of strength and conditioning worth the cost?  More I willing to pay the cost?

Sometimes a thing can be fully worth the cost associated and we still aren't willing to pay it.  Take the E550 Cabriolet Mercedes-Benz for example.  It's beauty, quality, safety features, and a few little added bonus features really do make it WORTH the $84,315 price tag.  Would I be willing to pay it?  Not right now, probably not ever....but it is worth it.

So, IF I believe the claims made by Newton enthusiasts (the jury is still out on that one...but IF I do), is the cost of some additional time to adjust, the hassle of switching out shoes in order to complete a run, and the almost certain pain to come from the conditioning and strengthening of my "connective tissue" worth that extra bit of strength and conditioning?  ...To be clear...I'm really not taking about the price tag of the shoe.  But, if I'm not willing to pay the non-financial costs associated then I shouldn't hold on to the shoes and just go ahead and get a refund.

(Well, I'd actually trade them in for a pair of stability trail shoes!)

Well...thanks for listening to my inner lament of the day; come again soon!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Will I Make It? I WILL MAKE IT!

Well, I "had to" back out of the 13.1 training group I joined.  I still have a bit of time to get up to running six miles, but I'm just not on track at this point to be there in time to start this group.  Not only that, it would mean an extra two nights away from home.  It's hard to justify that kind of "me" time when I'm home all day alone.  I can't say I'm not disappointed, because I think the training group is fantastic.  But, I have to listen to my body, and it's saying "not quite".

But, if you'll recall, my original plan at the beginning of the year when I first started out was to train for Rocket City using Hal Higdon's Novice Supreme plan.  I counted it up and I would be on week nine right now.  Although I'm not running the full distance (I'm still walk/running), I'm pretty much doing the miles.  Last week should have been a total of 12 miles, which I did-just in 3 running days instead of 4, and not running the whole distance--but the miles were done.

I'm going to do it.  I might not be fast, but I'm going to do it.  I'm putting my stake in the ground here.  From tomorrow on (until Rocket City) I'm following Hal's plan, with a walk/run adjustment and some rearrangement on the days.  Sunday will be my rest day. 

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can. 


Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Crying Wolf??

Wednesday in spin class my right calf cried, "OUCH".  I did listen to it; I sat down in the saddle and slowed down a bit.  I didn't do any kind of exercise yesterday at all and just let my legs rest.  Today was another planned run with Turtle...but on the way over to her house, my left calf (the one that was injured) started crying, "OUCH"....I was just walking.

I decided the "OUCH" was really just "wolf", and decided not to listen to it.  I planned a slower paced 1.5 mile run, then walk/run intervals for us today.  It's amazing to me how much "helping" her is helping me!!  I plan out what kind of running we'll do and try to think it through more than just, "I'm going to run X miles today".  I can't explain it really.  Also, it's reminding me how I felt just a few short months ago and how I couldn't run more than 30 seconds or a minute at a time without thinking I was going to die.

Somehow I missed a blog post from Run Like a Mother that was written last month...and found it today.  One of the book's author's has been plagued with injuries and was trying to decide whether or not to run the NYC marathon.  In the post I just read today she made some promises to herself.  Basically
  1. listen to her body
  2. be more concerned about form instead of time
  3. not set a time goal, but run stronger and healthier (rather than train herself into the ground)
  4. have unconventional training (swimming, biking, Pilates, strength training, trail running for time not distance)
  5. be willing to cut training short to stretch or roll (foam roll that is)
I think it's easy to make those promises in the beginning of training.  The problem comes when you start to mistrust your body.  See, when I started running in body routinely told me, "you can't do this" and I had to push past that feeling or I never would have been able to run a minute, much less a mile.  My body cried wolf, and I had to call it a liar.

But, at the same time listening to our bodies is the only way we can run injury free.  We have to be able to discern the difference between an indolent whine and a true cry of pain.  Honestly, I'm still not really there yet.  My body has cried wolf so many times, I don't know when to really listen to it.  I do not want to hobble through another training plan like I did last time, but at the same time, I don't want to cut short of what I can realistically accomplish by pushing myself.

I won't know until later today if my calf was serious or guess is that it was just kind of yawning a bit since we run pretty early...maybe it woke up on the wrong side of the bed, didn't get to finish the good dream it was having.  It sure would make "listening to my body" a lot easier if we could just speak the same language and if it wouldn't color the truth!!  I'd like to believe that my body just doesn't know what real pain is.  Remember, I'm a princess, and even a pea can feel like it hurts!

That reminds me...I don't think I ever posted the real picture of the blister I talked about in that post (The (Almost) Princess and the Blister).  I think I was truly ashamed.....but, what the heck.  The blister that my body was crying "OUCH" over looked like this:

Can you see why I have a hard time believing it when I hear a body part tell me something hurts??

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Overdoing It??

I'm supposed to be coming back to running "slowly", without "overdoing it". 

Well, what exactly does that mean??  "Overdoing".  In true NORK* fashion, I looked it up.  (*Yes, I made that word up--part nerd, part dork..."derd" just isn't right!)  Mirriam-Webster says it's doing something in excess or to exhaust.

Well, I think I got very close to "overdoing" it today...if I didn't in fact cross over that imaginary line.  The thing is...for all you runners reading this...don't we all overdo it?  Isn't that kind of the point of training?  You find that line where you think you've given all you have and then go just a bit more.  You run as fast as you can, and then just a bit faster.  Or you run as long/far as you think you can and then just a little longer/farther.

Today I started my run with my Newton's...only about a half mile (I'll write more about them later).  Then I changed shoes and joined up with Turtle.  The run I planned for us was three minutes running a bit faster than "comfortable"/two minutes walking for a couple of miles....and that's almost exactly what we did.  (We did 3/2, 3/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/cool down.  Man!  What a great run.  I can tell I've improved a great deal because I seriously didn't feel like I needed to stop after the first three minute interval.  Running with her is SERIOUSLY helping me.  She doesn't realize what good shape she's in.  She struggles, but not like I did when I started out.  She reminds me of Speedy-she wants to say she's "slow" or "can't" go further...but she certainly can.

Anyway, I digress....our average pace over all was somewhere around 12 (I forgot to stop the Garmin when we finished).  The best I can tell, our average running pace was about 10.  Our average "best" pace was about 9!!

But, really, that was a digression as well....because what I was really talking about was "overdoing" it.  After my great run, I went to a spinning class.  Today was the first time I stood up on the bike.  Talk about HARD.  I could sit in the saddle "all day", but standing up?  Jesh!  That really took it out of me.  Another neighbor went with me and she said her experience is just the opposite-she could stand "all day" but sitting is harder for her.

About half or two thirds through it, I felt what I can only describe as a bee sting in my right calf.  Ouch.  It didn't last long, but, at that point I had a decision to make, a decision I didn't even realize I was making.  I had to decide what "overdoing" means to me.  I quickly sat down and slowed down, but I kept going.  The sting pretty much went after spinning I went to the Extreme Abs class!

My abs IMMEDIATELY started screaming at me, "YOU'RE OVERDOING IT!!!!"  I seriously couldn't do half of what I did Monday.  I tried, but I just simply couldn't.  Thankfully, my neighbor (who I conveniently rode with) had to leave before we started glutes.

When I came home I took an ice bath and then (after my real shower) I iced the "sting" (10 on, 10 off) for about an hour.  It isn't hurting so I think it's okay...  I think I found that fine line that runs between quitting too early and overdoing it...and I might have crossed just a few toes over it.  I think in order to be classified as "overdoing" the whole foot has to be over the line, so I'm good!

I think I'll wait until tomorrow to decide if I'll do Body Power or take a rest day.  After all, I don't want to ...well, you get it.


I don't think I've done a food update in a while.  I have given up the food on my list of allergies for about a month, with only a few little snafus here and there.  I feel much better when I'm not eating the stuff on the list.  My appetite is great-I don't feel hungry or have food cravings like I usually do.  Eating out is the hardest thing.  It used to be one of my favorite things....but now, it just completely stresses me out.  I hate it.  Just thinking about it makes me feel anxious.  We're going to Olive Garden tonight for my daughter's birthday dinner (her choice)...I'm NOT looking forward to it at all.  (At least not the eating part.)  It's hard to figure out what I can and can't eat, and garlic is in just about everything! 

But the good news is that I feel great.  I've maintained the weight loss, although I'm not losing any more.  And...amazingly enough, my thyroid (that's been swollen for about 5 years) feels completely back to normal!!  I've been on Synthroid for almost 8 months...I don't think that's what has caused the shrinkage that's happened just this month!

I am fast on my way to becoming a zealot about the dangers of food allergies!!

Thanks for stopping in; come again soon!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Running With Turtle

WOW.  What a great rulk this morning!!  I covered a total of 5.12 miles (not including my little warm up).  It was slow going, but it really felt great.  I went out with a new neighbor who's just started running.  I can remember how I felt those first few times going's SO nice to be able to tell her, without any hesitation, "YOU CAN DO IT", and know that it is certainly true.  I remember people telling me that, and although I wanted to believe them, there was a part of me that felt like I would be the exception.  "Everyone else can train to run faster or further, but not me.  I won't "ever" be able to run without feeling like I'm going to die.  It will always be really hard."

Lies.  All lies.

Granted, I'm keeping my walk breaks in there for now, but I was "easily" able to run a full mile pain free...and most likely could have kept going for another "easy" couple of miles if I were with someone slow.  My new running partner just started and has been doing about a mile at about an 11:00 or 11:30 pace as best I can tell.  She said she is usually completely spent after a mile.  Today I tried to slow her down a bit (SO HARD TO DO in the beginning), and after a mile we did some walk/run intervals.  After just over two miles she stopped.  I ran alone for a mile and a half, and then did some long intervals--never once feeling like I was pushing myself past what I could easily do.  I am determined NOT to get hurt again!!

Interestingly enough, my calves haven't hurt at all.  My knees have grumbled just a little bit-not enough to make me feel the need to stop, but just enough for me to know they don't quite like it that I'm out there!  But, boy does it feel good.  For a while there, "good" runs were few and far between.  It seemed like every time I got out there I had to battle pain for at least a mile or so (sometimes longer)....and then I had to battle worse pain from 12-36 hours afterwards until I had gone the first mile of the next run.  I was to the point at the end that I forgot just how amazing it feels to have a good run...because even the runs that felt good were tainted with the dread of the pain that was certain to come later.  I've gone a whole week of training without pain!!!!!!  And, not the 30 minute waluns* I started out with, but decent rulks**.  I honestly think I could have "easily" jogged two-three miles today with no walk breaks at all.  I'm sorry, I know I'm gushing....but I'm just in shock over how great it was!!

What's in store the rest of the week:

Later today:  Extreme Abs class
Tuesday:  Power Yoga (I have to say, I'm just a tad nervous about this!)
Wednesday: Walk/Run with my neighbor-I have to think of a nick-name for her.  (We're going to do 2.25 miles of probably 3/2 intervals.) Then I'll do Group Ride (spinning class) and Extreme Abs.
Thursday:  Group Power (weights)
Friday: Walk/Run intervals with ....hmmm, what to call her...I've never been good at creating nick names...I think I'll call her Turtle--ONLY because she is a new runner (that's what they called new guys in the army), NOT because she is slow (like I said, very soon, she'll be running circles around me).  So...Walk/Run intervals with Turtle, and then I'll double what we do for a longer run and finish it off with Extreme Abs.
Saturday--I'll see how the week has gone... I might venture out for a run with Speedy and the others from my 10K group.  (I might need another week to get up to their level though--IF that's even possible at all...) can tell from my ambitious schedule, I'm feeling pretty cocky right now.  Time will tell.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon.

If you're new to my blog:
     *walun--more walk than run
     **rulk--more run than walk

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saving on the Run

I went out of town this weekend to my friend's house.  If you've been following me for a while, you might remember me talking about my friend who lives in the country...the first time I trained on HILLS!

I planned on doing 3/1 walk/run intervals.  But....just into my first interval, I saw this poor creature:
You can't tell, but it was about 5 inches long!!  It was the biggest caterpillar I've ever seen in my life!!  If you notice, it's on it's side.  I was so scared it was dead.  Scared because I can only imagine the butterfly this thing would make!!  Well, I had to do, after I poked it a little with a long stick (hey, I don't know if those things bite!)...and found out it wasn't dead because it moved a little...I got a big piece of bark and gently moved it over to some grass.  I don't know if it was going to recover from the apparent coma it was in...but at least the move would give it the best chance in life--only to be given over to the beautification of the world by morphing out of it's crawling body into a winged one.

After that minor delay...I started running again.  I heard the bleet of a billy goat and looked over to see not one, but TWO goats caught in a fence.  They had apparently been trying to eat the tiny bit of green weeds just outside of their acres upon acres of "pasture"...and couldn't get their horns back through when they were done.  I was brave enough to walk up to it, but not quite brave enough to attempt to free it from it's prison.  Hey, if I was afraid a caterpillar would bite (and I was), did you really think I would try to touch a GOAT??!!  NOT.  So I called my friend to find out who owns them...and she wasn't sure.  So I turned around and ran back up the hill I just ran down to the closest house I could find.  That particular farmer wasn't the owner, but came out to help anyway.  And...I found out that goats do indeed bite--but not the hard way, just word of mouth from the farmer! 

After the second good deed of the day, I got to start my run in earnest....but by then it was absolutely sweltering and I was sweating buckets!!  In all, I ran and walked about three miles.  When I checked my splits from last time, the average pace was almost EXACTLY the same!  Since it was literally freezing last time, I think these results are fairly decent.

I really hope the caterpillar lived. 

I'm going to believe it did.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How Do I Love Thee...

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee on the roads and greenways and trails
My soles can pound, when feeling full of wails
And at the ends of my wits and loving grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most shrieking need, when all my patience has deminished.
I love thee freely, as women strive for the finish.
I love thee selfishly, as I run for praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I'll never lose
If I have a choice. I love thee with the breath,
Gasping, wheezing, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Elizabeth Barret Browning has nothing on me!! 

I had a great walk/run yesterday. 
I walked about 10 minutes to warm up. 
I planned on doing some walk/run intervals but I decided I needed to just 
see what my running legs would do if I just went for it ...
I ended up running about 18 minutes. 
Doesn't sound like much, but I think it ended up being about a mile and a half distance wise. 
(Yeah, doesn't sound like much, 
but...again, lest anyone (including me) forget, I'm coming back from an injury 
and I do NOT want to go back there again! 
After that I walked two minutes, then ran two...
then I walked a good bit because I was on the section of the trail that is a long steady incline. 
It's not a hill, but it's just "up".  So I walked until I got to the crest. 
Then I ran and gained speed until I was at an almost full sprint.  And, it felt GREAT!!! 

I loved every single footfall!!  Every time I get to that section of the trail I RUN. 
It's a quick down hill section that comes just after a pretty "steep" (relatively speaking)
incline...I'm warmed up by just feels right.  And, every time I am running that section,
I imagine what it WILL feel like when I am able to run that way for miles. I know it will happen
one of these days...I don't think it will be a sudden thing, but a gradual increase 
in distance and pace.  Kind of like my son who is now about to be 18 and is now
6'5"!!  Granted, he started out big-he was 23 1/4" long when he was born--but when I look UP
at him now I wonder how he got that tall.  I hope one day I am out RUNNING and I suddenly
realize how fast I've been going for the last several miles.
...For now, I'm just happy to have pain free running--and still be pain free the next day!
Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!
((BTW-something really strange happened with my formatting.  Sorry for how strange it is.
Hopefully it will resolve as magically as it showed up!)) 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Yoga Ain't For Sissies!

Images borrowed from HERE

Since I ran for the first time in five weeks yesterday, and since I don't want to go too hard too fact, I decided today should be a bit of a "recovery" day.  I considered doing "Group Power" (weight lifting in a group to music).  The last time I did that I was sore for days, so it didn't seem like much of a recovery.  When I saw "Body Flow" on the schedule of my fitness club I thought, "Yoga, some stretches, some relaxation...that would be a fairly easy class."


Yoga ain't for sissies, lemme tell ya! 

Images borrowed from HERE

In addition to that little known fact (by anyone who has never taken a yoga class), I learned that I'm much more flexible than I thought I would be.  There were only a few moves I had to do the "option" (meaning, "If you can't contort your body into a double pretzel, the 'option' is a single twisted curly-que.").  That was mostly a product of the other thing I learned....

I have virtually NO strength in my lower back.  When I did the "Extreme Abs" class I found out I have no glutes at all, so I think my lack of muscle goes from my mid back all the way down to the top of my leg!!  It's very hard to work a muscle you just can't find!!

Images borrowed from HERE
Overall, I liked the class.  I think it's very good for balance and flexibility.  It didn't SEEM to work my core, but I'm fairly confident I'll feel it more tomorrow than I do right now.  My ankles were screaming at all the balance work, but I'll definitely go back.

I'm having a hard time trying to figure out a good workout schedule.  "IF" I'm able to get back up to 6 miles, I'll be doing the 1/2 marathon training.  My weekly mileage will start ramping up, but I know I still need strength and cross training.  I'm just not sure when to schedule everything in.  Can I strength train on the days as the "shorter" runs?  Is yoga considered "cross training"?  I think these are the kinds of questions that "should" be covered in the training I'm signed up for.  CAN'T WAIT!!

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Clouds Parted...and Sunshine Blasted From the Skies!

(no, I didn't take this picture)
After my food binge yesterday I woke up not feeling so good this morning, but I had already decided today would be the day to lace up the Sauconies and pound some pavement.  So, I did just that.  I cajoled my darling husband into joining me for a "walk" on the trails...only telling him after he agreed to go that I planned to test my running legs a bit, too.  Thankfully, he had already committed to going and didn't back out.  (He's an "off again" runner right now...I'm working on turning that into "on again".)

I'm surprised at just how nervous I was going out.  I just had no idea what to expect.  Would I be able to run?  Would I be starting completely from scratch?  Would it hurt?

My plan was to walk a mile, then (depending on how I was feeling at that point) run some.  I hadn't set any kind of goal, other than to take it VERY SLOW and not "overdo" it.  But, really--what the heck does that mean?  "Overdo" could have a variety of meanings depending on where a person is in their personal fitness.  And, I have NO idea where I'm at!!

I noticed immediately I was feeling good when I could easily walk at a 15:00 pace.  No aches, no pains.  When my Garmin chirped signaling one mile, I fired up the running legs--and they responded perfectly!!  Deciding to remember my "go slow" goal, I did some slow intervals the next two miles (3/2, 3/1, 3/2 2/2, 3/2, 3/1---plus or minus) When I got to the three mile mark, I had a quick 30 second "sprint".  I didn't just burn up the trail, but I just wanted to see how it would feel...and....all I can say is (press the play button)

Wow.  It felt GREAT.  It was slow.  It was only 3.41 miles.  But, there wasn't even one point in time in the whole thing I felt like I was pushing myself....and there wasn't one point in time in the whole thing I hurt.  I had a little grumble from a couple of spots...but they weren't "complaints", it was more like a forceful sigh!!  After I finished the loop, I really wanted to do it again!!  It's going to take a lot for me to slowly increase.  But...I can do it.  I can go slow.  I know I can.

I found a great blog post today titled, "I Run".  Yup, that about sums it up. 

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Slipping Off the Wagon...Spending Time in the Mud

Didn't I just say YESTERDAY, "I'm not going to eat the food that's on my list"??  You know, the food I've found out I'm ALLERGIC to??  The food I have found out makes me feel like crap??

Well, the best laid plans....  I made a huge banana pudding to take to a 4th of July cookout-and didn't even so much as lick the beater blades, not even so much as a taste of the Cool Whip or Nilla wafers.   After I made it, I had a spinach/blueberry/rice protein/almond milk smoothie for breakfast.  Then I came home from church and made a salad for lunch.  I used more spinach, peeled and cut up some cucumbers and carrots, threw in come Canadian bacon and topped it off with Basalmic vinegar and a touch of olive oil.  I was sitting there all proud of myself because what I really wanted was egg salad on wheat bread (all bad for me).

My husband was cooking up some french fries and asked me if I wanted some.  I decided it was fine to have a couple of them...and did even though I had written in my food diary twice last week that I was sick of eating "garbage" food like french fries and potato chips.  (They don't contain anything that's on my allergy list, and feel like a "treat" but I don't really like you know what I mean?) I was eating my third fry, I told my husband they didn't taste as good as they have in the past.  He said, "well, it must be from using PEANUT oil instead of Crisco".....PEANUTS are on "the list".  Darn it.

Well...I was thinking it shouldn't really matter, after all, it's not like I ate peanuts.  Am I stupid?  It was almost an instantaneous thing-my nose ran, my throat hurt and I got really sleepy.  What did I do...ate more of the yucky fries...because if I'm already feeling bad, I KNOW I'm going to eat some of that banana pudding I made this morning!!

I was really trying to make good choices....but here I am planning my food binge.  I'm like a recovering alcoholic who's planning what drinks to have at the bar tonight.  How can I seriously be planning out something I know will make me feel like I've been run over by a truck?? answer my own question...because I feel like I slipped off the wagon so I might as well "enjoy" rolling around in the muddy muck while I'm down here.

I'll jump back on first thing in the morning.....

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

On Your Mark...

The doctor said 6-8 weeks of no running.  Monday will be five weeks...but I didn't run at all the week before Cotton Row, so I'm going to count that as week one and start back NOW.  I've been really good.  I've done Spinning, Body Pump, Extreme Abs, and Group Power...and the last two weeks, NOTHING (I've been on the longest road trip of my life, so I mostly did a lot of sitting in the car.)  I am more than ready to get back out there.

I.  Must.  Run.

I went ahead and ordered some Newtons.  They haven't come in yet.  I'm really hoping they'll be here early in the week.  I think it would be good to start fresh with them rather than start back with my Sauconys then switch.  But, if they aren't here soon, I'm not waiting.  I can't.

I.  Must.  Run.  (I said that already, didn't I?)

Great news on the food front:  Cutting out the stuff I'm allergic to, even though I have been on vacation, has "caused" (allowed?) me to lose a total of SIX pounds!!  I'm sure it's mostly water, but even so, it's six pounds of water I've been carrying around with me for well over six months that my body has NOT wanted to rid itself of....and I'm not going back to eating those foods, so the water that's gone shouldn't come back.  I think one of the main things that's got me super excited is that I've lost it even though I haven't been working out.  That "should" mean I "should" be able to lose more after I start working out again.  But, the BEST thing of all.....I feel GREAT.  ((Until I think I can have just one little bite of something on the list....which I've done three times now-once by accident, the other two where conscious -stupid- choices.  All three times, my nose started running immediately, my throat hurt, and I got very tired.))

What's coming up:

I'm going to mentor for a 5K training group.  (It's like the 10K group I just finished.)  I am really looking forward to it because most of the people doing this group are where I was in January (some might not even be there yet).  I'm excited to get to be a part of a new runner's training experience.  I met a new "neighbor" (not like on my street, but in my little neighborhood) today who has just started...I blathered on much longer than I should have, but she seemed just as excited about running as I am.  It's shocking to realize how much I've learned in such a short time!

Also....(if I can get back up to six miles by the end of the month)....I'm signing up for 1/2 Marathon training!!  I keep telling myself I won't push to be back up to six miles, and I'm going to do my very best to hold on to that plan....but I have this horrible disease.  It's called, "I-want-what-I-want-RIGHT-NOW"-itis.  It's awful.  But, as I'm finding out, the only cure is to practice patience.  We'll see what happens when I pound pavement (or trail) this coming week.

Naturally, I'll let you know.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!