Monday, January 30, 2012
I think I've fallen in love.
Fallen in love with someone that I'm not still sure loves me in return. The trail. I'm tenacious though and will stalk out reciprocation.
Jan 28th, 2012. Eagle Creek Park in Indiana, the sight of my 8th half-marathon and 3rd trail race.
And just for reference, yes, it was a Kanye Half-Marathon.
Finish time: 2:50
Age Division: 8 out of 15
Start Time: 6:00 PM
Temp: 32 degrees
This was my second trail race sponsored by Planet Adventure. I can't say enough great things about how well they put on an event. The race fees are low, the race numbers are low and everything is run like a well oiled machine. In fact, I feel pretty spoiled the entire time. This race was $45, if you entered early you were guaranteed a t-shirt, if not, you had to pay $10 for a long sleeve one at packet pick-up time which wasn't an issue. I love their shirts, well worth $10. Plus, you were given a free Trail Running magazine and a set of LED light-up horns. That's right, horns.
Anyway, this was my friend Tammi's first ever half marathon. It takes a pretty great person, in my opinion, to volunteer up your first marathon to a trail, in the dark. I wanted her first race to be memorable, something she would love but trail racing is a crap shoot. Either you love it or you hate it. I knew she was strong enough and at the end of the day, that's what counts.
Yes, those are disco balls in the background. Watching the light from them bounce off the woods around us was one of the coolest things ever.
Pre race announcements / The ominous forecast:
"There are some spots out on the course around the creeks where there'll be 2 - 3 inches of water"
Me thinking to myself - "I'll jump those puppies no problemo"
"There are sets of stairs in the woods with ice on them, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RUN DOWN THE STAIRS! YOU WILL BE SORRY"
Me - "will hold hand rail with death grip"
Then I overhear someone near me who had been out on the course already ... "there is some serious mud out there".
The course was a 6.5 mile loop. You had to run it twice. You ran on and through boulder gravel, fine gravel, sheets of ice, wood bridges, icy stair cases, mud that was 4 inches or deeper, snow packed road, pavement, wet trail, dry trail and some other stuff I can't recall. Have you seen the show Wipeout?? I needn't say more.
There were times when it felt like we were cruising along at a 9 minute pace and maybe we were but when we came to some spots, we were earning 12 minutes. The mud. The mud. The ice. Sometimes we would come to a screeching halt and scan my headlamp over the ground to try and figure out exactly what it was we were running across.
Because frankly, there was a shit ton of this. I bit it twice and so did Tammi.
Finally, we made it. The second loop for some reason seemed almost a bit easier than the first. To me anyway. The first round was a bit of a shocker and the second you knew what was coming and how to navigate the terrain.
And we survived! Next stop was the homemade chili they had at the finish with a savory mountain of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
NOTE TO SELF: When you go to pee in the woods and you think you're clever by putting your hand over your main headlamp, don't forget that YOUR HORNS ARE STILL BLINKING!
Not exactly sure why I'm leaning over but....yeah, the mud.
Friday, January 27, 2012
I've been on the treadmill for nearly two weeks now. It's driving mad. Some of it is by necessity because I'm suppose to run immediately after I swim but it's forcing me into a state of shack happy. Yesterday I was suppose to do the same but chose to run outside, in the wind and driving rain. Four miles of it.
Pick out ten people you know and ask them if they would make that same choice, or if it would just be you? Then, do you ever ask yourself why that rainy run seems to be so exhilirating?
You might be soaked from head to toe, chaffed and shivering but YOU haven't stopped to take notice of any of those things yet, because you A. feel amazing in "da zone" and B. are the "king of the world".
When I first started running, a friend of mine owned a t-shirt. It looked just like this:
Shoes only cost about $100. Telling a real psychologist your problems - PRICELESS...because you won't want to ever open the envelope. Just chuck it in the trash and pretend that it doesn't exist.
I love running but I secretly know that I'm running for more than my health. MY running is a pie chart riddled with reasons and motivations. But last night as I was taking the wind beating, heading up a steep hill I could feel myself pushing harder and the song "shake it out" from Florence and the Machine came on my Ipod and I started thinking about the other parts to the pie chart. The song is about what we do with all those things rolling around in our brain. And I had one single thought that summed it all up -
"I can tolerate myself better when I run. I think I'm more tolerable to others. Shit this rain is making the sweat drip into my eyes and it burns."
Do you "shake it out" when you run?? Do you leave the crazy behind on the pavement?
Also, I would like to send out a special THANK YOU to singer Pitbull for putting out a song that I can not resist singing, very loud, in my car.
"I don't play baseball but I've hit a home run everywhere, everywhere". Classic.
It's the "everywhere" that really makes this song. Such a simple word really. Who knew.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
One of the first things I do before I start a long run with friends, is apologize in advance for the truckload of snot that my body produces while I run. A month or so ago, I read that this problem of mine has a name. Rhino something. It has to do with winter allergies. I've never had allergies, but yet I'm led to believe that on a 15 degree day I develop them? I'm skeptical. I'm not a doctor, although...I do drink Dr. Pepper which counts for something at the end of the day.
Anyhow, I know this is going to sound terrible and it's somewhat of a confession but I use running as a right of passage to be gross. I don't want to but I do. The worst part is that sometimes my brain has a problem remembering if we're in the throws of mile 9 OR if we're sitting at a nice Italian restaurant.
This is a true story from 3 nights ago. In the nice Italian restaurant.
Me - Just polishing off some chicken carbonara, I wash it down with Dr. Pepper. I'm an athlete and I'm treating myself to soda.
Me - 5 seconds later - BURP. "Did you hear that?" I ask my husband. Giggle. I look over at him.
Husband - Horrified look. Big eyes that read "unacceptable". He then points to a partition and there are people on the other side of us. Presumably not expecting me or my nasty running manners.
Me - "Gosh, I hope they're done eating"
Husband - "Because that makes it ok??"
Please tell me this has happened to you???
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
There wasn't suppose to be anything remarkable about yesterday's workout. 45 minute swim followed by a 35 minute run. Back to back.
But that was until my workout went Twilight Zone. I was in the ADULT WOMEN'S locker room changing when 3 boys between the ages of 7 to 10 passed right by me. In my best Forrest Gump impression: "I don't know what to say about that". Ummmm, ok. WTF? More ummmm, ok. So, I drag my stuff out to the pool....
And to my horror, I see this:
There is ONE lap lane open and there are no fewer than 12 children in it. Ever watch a National Geographic show on seals all in and out of the water, swimming together, flipping around? This is what it looks like.
I had a few thoughts:
There are so many of them...
What do I do now?
Will I have a rash on the outside of my arm pits from hugging the lane lines while swimming?
Exactly how much pee in the pool will I ingest today?
I knew at that very moment, I had a Kanye workout on my hands. Those kids were not going to kill me and that swimming amongst that urine could possibly make me stronger. I'm not sure how but it's possible.
I hopped in. They stared at me. All 12 of them. And the lady doing water aerobics at the corner of the lane by the steps too. I stared back. I dove down and pushed off the wall. I found it funny how they would cluster, to get out of the way, but I was only using less then half the lane. Oh my dear armpit.
I have three kids and a lot of times I feel like I can't be surprised anymore but just when I think I've seen or heard it all, I know that I haven't. Especially during a 45 minute swim that's intruding on their play time.
poked me in the ribs
they tried to out swim me
they called me names - "shark"
and they would get out of the pool and cannonball beside me just when I was swimming by. I almost flipped over twice and they laughed wildly.
And I survived.
Because Gloria Gaynor said that it was possible.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I beat him! I beat him! I beat him!
Everyone gather around for a chest bump immediately.
My brain is now as strong as I always hoped it would be. It did not let me down. Well, ok it did for the first 35 games I lost but that doesn't count now that I've won.
Please feel free to leave me words of encouragement that will catapult me to another victory over Albert Wordenstein.
I feel so good today!!
When was the last time you won big??
Monday, January 23, 2012
I said goodbye to Friday with the intentions of having some sort of easy day on either Saturday or Sunday. The only two training items I had were a one hour run on Saturday and a one hour bike on Sunday. Cake walk. I'm in week 5 of 70.3 and so far, so good. Well, kinda. I'll explain later...
Anyway, Saturday, my oldest had a swim meet and I volunteered to time Lap 1 of the event so I was able to snap this crisp pic, brought to you by the fine folks at Apple. She's the one in the black suit with the black cap. I smile every time I watch her swim. Being closer to the center lane means you have the fastest time for that event going in. Fun swim meet facts for your Monday.
I got in my one hour run before the meet started. I could practically pitch a tent at the Y. Plus, there's plenty of room in the main lobby.
Afterward it was over I came home and took a nap. One of those kind where you drool all over the place. My muscles were twitching big time so I knew that my legs were tired and needed a break.
Slept in on Sunday and took a stand against getting ready or joining civilization. I wore my pajamas the entire day! I only changed into my bike shorts for my afternoon ride. In the house. While watching football. Just like Burger King, yesterday I had it my way!
My loyal steed laying at the foot of my bike.
I wanna be able to balance myself on the bike like a tight rope. My ultimate goal is to be able to do a handstand on it. Go ahead and laugh. My husband does.
A special thanks to:
First and foremost, Google images. Way to go. Such clear pictures.
Secondly, to the Patriots who made my living room bike ride that much more enjoyable. Chest bump to a pay raise.
Third, to the Giants, who managed to hire a kicker who can actually get the football through the uprights from throwing distance. Way to go Gstrings. I mean GMen. I was practically holding my eyelids open at the end because the game took so long... but I was happy they won. I hope they beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. I hope Victor Cruz scores each and every touchdown so I can watch him dance because I firmly believe that all Super Bowl games would be better with some Latin dancing in the end zone. Even if it does result in a 5 yard penalty.
Today is suppose to be my day off but I feel like swimming. And so I will.
Did you watch the games yesterday? Who's your pick?
Friday, January 20, 2012
Swimming with my head too high. Old habits die hard.
Well technically my father is Thomas, BUT in this scenario, it's master swim class.
People stand up and take notice when you tell them you've swam 2000 meters. It seems like a long way and it is. But tell people that you swam 50 meters and we're begging for mercy because you were only allowed to use one arm and see how that goes over.
I was so excited and nervous. It was my first day of swim school. Not only that but my teacher is someone that I have massive amounts of respect for. As the saying goes..."her reputation precedes her". So, after filling out all the insurance paperwork in case I were to drown trying to fix my old stroke, I wandered out onto the pool deck and met my coach, the legend. She stands around 5' 4" tall, maybe, and has the kindest eyes you'll ever see. I set down my water bottle, slipped into my cap and goggles to notice she had pulled up a chair at the end of my lane. I looked over my shoulder and was met with a "get in and show me what you got!". Heart, racing. Breath, short. Don't F this up. No such thing as an easy down and back.
Less than a minute later, I popped up out of the water to see her smiling face reassuring me that not all was lost. Yes, I'm a pretty good swimmer but I have work to do. And so it began.
Conclusion: I don't rotate enough, reach far enough and for the love of swimming, only get one goggle out of the water when I breath, NOT BOTH!
Just like the jellyfish, every single time.
How do you get balance? Take notes from the jellyfish and replicate such wonder in the water..any which way you can. Stand up, put your head down in the water like your going to touch your nose to your knees, grab the front of your shins and let your body float to the top of the water in a ball. Back faced up. Obviously. Then slowly let your arms and legs, stretch out to make a swimmer dead man's float, only prettier and more structured. Arms against side of ears. And there you have it.
I did that up and down the pool 4 times and my abs were burning. Then we added a kick to it. Still have to keep your arms out still in front of you. No moving. Followed by worse burn. She warned me about kicking too much and bending my knees. I saw her make other people wear donuts between their ankles when they swam and I wanted no part of that. No sank ya.
The scene of my crimes against a good swim stroke.
I was the last person to get out of the pool last night and had felt like I had conquered the world, or at least my lane.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Who I wanna be like the most when I grow up and become a rapper.
I'm currently trying to remove my hand from my back. A constant congratulatory pat on the back for waking up early two mornings in a row to get my training in before the day started. Yesterday was the bike, today was the run. Albeit, only 45 minutes but still, me and my glassy eyes were making it happen.
On a normal day we're called to start our day by an alarm clock. One that's either blaring a horn or one that's playing your favorite radio station to get us up. I normally never set an alarm because my body will wake itself up, almost like a circus talent I have on my hands. The ability to get up without a clock. But what I'm getting at is that after I wander down the steps in the dead quiet of a house, I step onto the treadmill and pop in my headphones. I play it loud. I might take great care of my heart but my ear drums could easily be shot by the time I'm 50. My mind really isn't that awake but it dawns on me while I'm singing about that "underground gangster shit" a half mile into my run, that I'm a middle-aged mother of three who knows nothing about guns or weed or life on the streets. Yet, it's super fun to sing about.
Here's the line-up:
Wiz. Living young and wild and free. The way I feel when I eat ice cream two consecutive days in a row.
Snoop. My friends use to love to listen to him when we were back in college. I hated it then, love it now. Hmmm, makes me wonder if I need therapy.
With Ice Cube it's win-win. He's an actor AND a rapper. When I ran a ragnar about 2 years ago I carried my Ipod with me for my 3 am leg. I played Ice Cube the entire time and had a guy pass me while singing along. Uniting runners all over the world.
Sorry Beyonce but your lyrics aren't inappropriate enough for my ears. Plus, Jay Z sings with Kanye and he's the sponsor of my new KANYE TRAINING PROGRAM
So, I'm left to wonder...
Is it just me or are you singing about all things illegal while you're running too??
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Today's post involves nothing exciting, just pure junk, so join me in junking up your day with randomness.
A few weeks ago I posted about playing Words with Friends. I realize now that it's a work in progress. I haven't been playing for years like some people and I have no idea what words like "neath" mean. I thought about writing a blog where I would test out new words that have been used against me but then I realized that wouldn't be any fun. I don't care if I ever see those words again. Revisiting them would only drudge up old memories of 60 point words. 60 point words = death to my existing game. 60 point words = mass destruction of any chance I ever had of winning. 60 point words = swear words while I stare into my phone.
I'm currently on the receiving end of the beat down by someone that I'll refer to as Albert Wordenstein. In his defense, he's only innocently trying to win, but in my defense, the competitive side of me wants to challenge him to a street fight. When verbal exchanges don't work, move on to physical force. I went to college too, that just makes it worse.
I'm also getting beat by my mother. She's an accountant by trade. Sometimes I ask myself "is that word even in English?" How can an "x" sit next to a "p"?
This is me. How do I look? Yellow?
The big news is that tomorrow night I get to go to UK and take a swim class with Susan Cox, who around here is a triathlon legend. She's one of the most decorated age group triathletes in US history. I'm a little nervous. I'm sure I'll get picked apart, which is what needs to happen but almost as important....I need to invest in a new swimsuit. I'm about 5 visits to the pool from being see-thru. Thank goodness there won't be small children there.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Please tell me you watched the Olympic Trials Marathon?? If not, I'm guessing you checked the results and if not then lie to me and say you did. I watched the entire two hours while holding back a case of restless leg syndrome. It comes from watching other people run and your legs actually wanting to run with them. In my case I just happen to be twice as slow as my running hero Meb.... WHO WON THE WHOLE THING!!!!!
I was worried at first because Ryan Hall looked so comfortable on the lead but he hung in there and once they slowed the last six miles a shade and Ryan dropped off I knew that Meb had the race all to himself. He's 36 and so honest in the way he runs. I was smiling from ear to ear when he crossed the finish! He's the poster child for middle aged runners who still have the magic. You go Magic Meb!
Anyway, Saturday worked out perfectly for me. Sydney had a swim meet and I had a date with a 2 hour bike ride. Her meet was at a Y so while she warmed up, I joined spin class and then stayed on for an extra hour while everyone left. It's sad to see them go really. I had a Runners World and several games of Words With Friends going. I kinda feel sorry for my phone, it's disgusting. I drip sweat all over it and I think it's starting to wear away the layers of the Otterbox. Slow sweat erosion.
A hose attached to a wall.
I hopped out of the shower and realized.... I had no hair brush and no dryer. If you know me at all you won't be surprised. This thing above in my hand..that's the wall hair dryer. This is 2012. That thing is 1972. Circa. I vaccumed my hair for about 3 minutes, used my fingers as a comb as God intended it to be and hustled out to watch my daughters first event. People can say what they want, I'm an athlete...kinda, and as such, am entitled to certain areas that are automatically to be forgiven. Like sweat and bad hair.
Snow angel at mile 10.
Yesterday was my run day. The 70.3 schedule had me at 50 minutes of running which isn't acceptable for me on the weekend so I double downed and went for 14.25 miles. Sometimes it's just what I need to be ok in the world again. It wasn't fast but it was just right. It was my friend Tami's first ever 14 miles. Her longest up until then had been 10. Our last mile was in 9:20. I was exhausted at the end. Mission accomplished.
Did you watch the Olympic Trials??
If not, did you at least watch the Packers get beat? How did that happen?
Friday, January 13, 2012
Kicking ass....this is what it looks like.
I would love to be say that I'm not mechanically challenged and that I were a perfect athletic specimen like our Ironman Kona friend Miranda / above, but I'm not. If you're not following along with your Ironman scorecard, she currently holds the record for the fastest Ironman marathon. One of my favorite parts of watching the Kona recap on NBC this year was listening to her talk about how she was going to approach the day, etc. She takes no prisoners, she expects to win. I expect to win too, it just ends up being that I win the top 28% spot of my age group. Still a work in progress.
Kicking from the hips. Simple enough? You would think...
One of the things that I truly suck at is kicking. My swim kick is...well, nearly non existant. I'm not kidding. Whenever I compete and there are people in front of me and they have this great kick going I'm always jealous. For what they have helping to push them, I have to make up for in upper body pull to keep up. That's why my pectoral muscles are begging to rival those of Sylvester Stalone. I'm not kidding friends. My favorite Cold Play t-shirt doesn't fit me anymore around my armpits. Sad face. And it's not for lack of trying. I concentrate really hard. I feel like that white guy at a party who just can't dance no matter what... when finally, FINALLY, when I gave up trying...IT HAPPENED.
Lap 35 last night, my legs started kicking. Really kicking. Not that crappy version of a wee paddle I normally have going on, but a fluid, semi-brain inspired push of the water with my legs. I smiled underwater and then prayed that it wouldn't stop. It wasn't perfect but then again, neither am I. I kept thinking of Forrest Gump when he had those leg braces on but then found a way to run out of them. I have plenty of time to think while swimming. I also wondered what it would be like if someone dumped sharks in the pool? How cool would that be? For like 5 seconds till I peed and then got out?
I thought about Michael Phelps and wondered if he would be interested in helping me with my kick?...in that Speedo.
I managed to sneak in 78 pool laps in 45 minutes. I'm happy with that for now. It includes 15 seconds break in between each 250.
Got out, threw on my running shorts and went upstairs for my scheduled 35 min run. My goal is to squeeze in 4 miles in 35 minutes. I came really close which is awesome. There was an older guy on the treadmill beside me. Each time I would up my speed, he would hit the up arrow on his. We played this game till he couldn't keep up. I hate that I act this way but I know I'm not alone right?? I would have flown off the back of that thing into the brick wall before I would have given in. Oh, the games we play on treadmills with our running neighbors!
Finally, the beloved 6" meatball sub.
They said they were out of maple syrup so I settled for mayonnaise.
Do you ever play treadmill games at the gym??
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Slosh. Slosh. Slosh.
I know I waved my schedule around in my last blog post. When I was back in grade school I remember my teachers use to sometimes report that I had trouble following directions, that I pretty much just wanted to steer my own course. After 20 some odd years later, I can safely report back that not a lot has changed but when it comes to my training schedule, I try to adhere as much as possible. Trying to prove my elementary self wrong.
Last nights activities included:
Swimming - 45 minutes
Running - 35 minutes
These are my Tuesday and Thursday activities. They fall at a great time because I'm at the Y anyway with my daughter for swim team. I made the rookie mistake of referring to these nights as "easy nights". I will not disresepct them like that again. I digress. Swimming, followed directly by running means you need to outfit plan. I don't like to just hang for 5 minutes between the two. It's out of the pool, cap off, goggles off, socks and shoes on and double jump the stairs to the top floor treadmills. It's a Chinese fire drill.
Last night I packed my tri suit. Not an outfit that you see too often but to be honest, it makes the most sense. I don't wanna run in my Speedo and I don't wanna change. So, there you have it. I was able to sneak in 1750 yards in 45 minutes. I was positioned right in the middle of the pool between the older kids and the 10-12 year olds. The water is choppy. A tempest in a teapot if you will. It's like trying to swim from Ireland to England. I made that voyage by boat once and threw up multiple times. I kept swearing in my head half the time. Both on that boat AND in the pool last night. For the love of all things chlorine, how in the heck is the water so choppy??
I suppose one of the things they DON'T teach you about is how you'll become one big bulky muscle and you'll aquire a hunger for anything in a 10 mile radius. I realize that this takes more than just running BUT literally 1 hour after breakfast my stomach is hungry again. I'm trying to be careful with what I eat and use food to power this mill but it's so difficult not to just drive up to the Cracker Barrell and ask for the tallest stack of pancakes they have with extra butter and syrup.
This is me....after I morph.
Does it seem normal that I too would consider crumbling pop tarts on top of spaghetti?
So...do you feel that hungry?
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Did you know that it's illegal in most states to stay well through the enitre winter? If you have not yet gotten sick, head to your local Wal Mart and go lick some cart handles. I knew it was too good to be true that I would make it through the winter of my discontent without a sore throat or facial debacle. I wash my hands like a surgeon, yet without fail, can not escape the dreaded sinus infection that landed in my face last week. No training schedule ever makes allowances for illness.
Achilles, posing in the sunset. Sexy bike shot.
I started up a round of 6 month old anitbiotics from my last episode and then crossed my fingers, put on my pajamas and spent all extra hours I could get my hands on, lounging. In fact, I didn't run since last Sunday. I swam and I went on three bike rides, one of which was worth bragging about. It was almost 20 miles and I was able to average over 18 mph. I know, it's the new me, the one with Spiderman style hamstrings. I'm becoming a better version of my old self. I think.
Matt Lieto, the author and trainer of my world. I hope he doesn't screw me up. No pressure.
So, I thought since I was in the mood to show off my illness and bike ride, I thought I might as well brag about my new Half Iron training schedule. I've sorta tweaked it and written on it. I've made it my own. But, unlike marathon schedules that fit on one page....
Suck it Leo Tolstoy.
This one is a small book. It's like eight pages of sweat baking. I'm cooking a 70.3 cake and clinging desperately to the directions. I promised myself that I wouldn't look too far ahead, lest I fear that this thing will have me riding my bike to work into the next county and beyond... a plan my sinuses can't currently support.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Yesterday I had zero plans but when I got home and finished up hunting and gathering laundry and fixing a snack for the kids I decided I would hop on the bike for awhile. That turned into a 45 minute ride which led me into taking Sydney to swim team. I couldn't find my Speedo so I threw my Zoot in my broken down / all zippers broken down gym bag and headed with her to occupy the Lap Lane. It's pretty tumultuous but what doesn't drown me, makes me stronger. Something Kanye wouldn't know anything about.
I've had a lot on my mind lately and there's nothing better than a great swim for leaving everything behind. You're underwater, plenty of time to think. I didn't set out for my longest swim ever, it just ended up that way. I broke it down in sets of 250 meters. I swim 250, took a 10 second break and then did another 250. Rinse, wash and repeat until I hit 2100. I had a spot in my right arm that was bugging me a little but it actually seemed to loosen up the farther I swam.
Swimmings my favorite.
I was pretty sure that I would have a serious set of sea legs when I got out but oddly enough I wasn't tired. My face was burning from the chlorine but I wasn't tired. Small victory. Each time I write about swimming I feel as if I come off sounding like Buddy the Elf when he talks about his affinity for singing Christmas carols. I can pretty much quote that entire movie. Sad.
One of my favorite stories from this past year was of Diana Nyad who attempted the swim from Havana to Miami. After 47 hours in the water she had to stop because of the current and bad weather. There aren't many times that I swim that I don't think about the courage and strength that it took her to drag herself into shark infested waters and set out for 103 miles of ....... whatever you wanna call it. Try and wrap your mind around that little adventure.
I was telling someone the other day that I don't think that we as human beings ever reach half of our potential. That we don't dream big enough. That we make excuses for why we can't and why we won't. I drove past a street sign the other day that read "Faith Ln.". A sign within a sign I guess you could say.