Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bumblebee, Wildebeast & a TRC Explosion!

Last night as I was methodically laying out all my running gear for this morning, I got this reaction from Hubs: “ You’re not really going to run tomorrow morning, are you?”

Me: Ummmm…..YEAH. (rolling eyeballs in disbelief that he would even insinuate that I might miss a long run!!)

I may have not been the best decision I’ve made in a while, but certainly not the worst either ;) I was feeling better – although not 100% yet. But I wasn’t going to miss another run.

The thermometer on my car was promising ~ 74 degrees ~ the best starting temperature we’ve had in a long time. Yes, it is already that warm in the dark at 6am. But for us, that is a real TREAT.

Our Tumbleweed Running Club exploded this week with the addition of several new runners! And can you guess….of course, they were all female. Yep, Pat remains the lone male of the group….today accompanied by FIVE other women. Other men on the canal must either envy or pity him ~ not sure exactly which! Luckily today there were no ramblings about female issues, crotch sweat or irritating husbands….just general banter about running and life.

The first portion of the run felt pretty good in general. I could tell early on that my breathing was going to be an issue. I had soooo much nastiness in my throat from being sick all week, that it really made it difficult to get my breathing under control. Then, combined with the fact that I ramble way too much on group runs (note to self: talk less, run more) it went downhill pretty fast. At the turn around point at just under 3 miles, it really hit me.

I made it to about mile 4 before I had to fall back a bit. We were running in two groups: three of us up front, the other 3 a little ways back. My intention was to fall back and join the other group, when I got attacked.

I was LITERALLY hit in the back of the head by the biggest BUMBLEBEE I have ever seen. You know, the huge black/blue ones that look like small aircraft? It hit the back of my pony tail, and then continued to swarm around my head. I tried dodging it, but it wouldn’t give up. So I did what any runner along the canal would do: I RAN.

I would run a bit ahead, and stop to catch my breath…..and then there it was – back in my hair!!! I must have smelled so good that it just couldn’t resist chasing me. Or, my all black running outfit may have made me look like the Queen Bumblebee….I’m just not sure.

So this thing won’t give up on catching me, so it was time to seek help. So I yell for Pat ~ who is not too far ahead of me ~ that I am being chased. And what do you suppose my running buddy does?

He laughs…and then goes on to yell back a story about how in the wild, bumblebees chase, and I quote – “the weakest wildebeast” – from the pack in order to attack it for food once it separates from the group. While still dodging the bee, I yell back to him that he’s full of crap and that it’s LIONS that chase wildebeast, and not bees. Oh, and by the way ~ did he just call me a weak wildebeast? Yes, he did. See what I tell ya ~ good running buddies are hard to find. I’ll have to take this issue up with Pat again on a future run ;)

So I ditch the bee finally~ but it didn’t help my running. I somehow made it to the 6 mile point where the group was going to stop. Pat and I had planned to run a couple more miles at the park to hit our 8 miles, which I still opted to attempt even after the lousy six miles.

So we ran about a mile around the park, and then it was time to let Pat move on. My breathing still hurt, my side hurt, my legs were tired ~ and although I didn’t mention it to Pat (I figured I had whined enough already) I had the slightest twinge of a cramp in my left calf muscle. So Pat went on and I planned to walk around the park back to my car.

So I walked a bit, stopped and stretched my calves, and felt marginally good enough to pick up the pace just a bit. So I reverted back to the old days and the Pokey Shuffle. There really isn’t a more accurate way to describe this ~ it’s really just a shuffle. Slightly faster than a walk, but definitely not a run. Not even a jog. But it got me through, and I shuffled around the park until I hit my 8 miles. I am getting more number-stubborn every day apparently ~ there was no way I wanted to come up short today. The splits ended up being pretty decent for the majority of the run ~ actually faster than last week. Not sure how that happened, but I’ll take it.

I still feel pretty decent, although my throat is a little more sore this afternoon ~ almost certainly from all the huffing and puffing this morning. In retrospect, it may not have been the smartest move to attempt so many miles today after a week of the sickies…..but you know, I’ve never claimed to be the smartest runner out there.

So the TRC is back in full action, with a great group for fall training! All six of us from today, plus Lisa and Eileen will all be running the RNR Half Marathon in January. I’m completely sad that I won’t be able to run with the group next weekend since we’re gone for fall break, but I’m looking forward to the coming weeks and more great miles!

And looking forward to settling up with Pat for the wildebeast comment….

Happy Running!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Apparently, I'm Average

I'm a number-geek, and this bothers me.

I got a C. I'm "Average."

I should have gotten a B and been "Above Average."

I'm talking about WORKOUTS. Workout COMPLETION, to be exact.

I have had 18 training workouts on my schedule so far for the month of September, and I've missed 5. So I get a 72% for the month of September. Fudge. That's actually a C-MINUS.

Had I not been sick this week, I would have gotten an 84% and been a little more pleased with myself.

Nooooooo, I'm not a compulsive number junkie ~ why do you ask? Me thinks I may have been hanging around with Lisa a bit too long now. But nooooo....I can still run somewhat uneven mileage and feel good about myself. So I'm safe.

And in case anyone asks, of course I included tomorrow's long run in my completion totals!!!'s going to be the highlight of my week :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


My great workout streak has been broken this week, compliments of a nasty throat virus and my kids. You guessed it ~ mom and dad now have the bug.

I missed my short run last night and will try again tonight and see if I can at least squeak out a couple miles. I was really trying to keep the mileage streak alive ~ even at a low level ~ but it just may have to wait for next month.

This week I'll settle for one short run and a good 8 miles again on Saturday.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Ramblings

That must be what my boys hear every morning when I grace the bathroom scale with my presence. I think the thing hates me ~ just like Garmin does. Hey.....maybe there is a conspiracy among electronic devices in my household??? You know, it's a definite possibility. I might need to launch an investigation.

The scale eased up on me a bit this weekend with a pound or so drop....which I will take with supreme gratitude. I have been exercising a ton (well, a ton for ME...maybe not other crazy people that I know....) and have been eating well, and all I can seem to do is maintain. Apparently my body really, really likes the weight it is at and doesn't want to drop down any further. So we are at a battle of wills.....with me chugging along each week just hoping to see the tiniest of losses. I won't babble on any more about what a difficult process weight loss is ~ I've whined about it way too many times before. So I'll be quiet and go eat some more carrots...

That was Ramble #1.

Ramble #2: Running

I had a mediocre workout week last week ~ one short run and one weight lifting class. I broke my streak of mid-week runs on Thursday night when my youngest son ended up at the emergency room with croup. Yeah, you can Google it ~ it's a stupid childhood illness that usually affects kids much younger than a 4 year old ~ so it was just dumb like that my little guy got it. We spent 5 hours at the hospital so that he could get a breathing treatment, and then called it a night. It was exhausting and sure FELT like a maybe I should count it anyway ;)

Saturday morning was a group run with Eileen and Christina, and it went pretty well. I had 7 miles on my schedule; Eileen had 8 and Christina had 5. So we ran 5 miles together along the canals, dropped off Christina, refilled water bottles and Eileen and I headed out for a few more laps around Tumbleweed Park. I love Eileen to death, but I think she tried to kill me :) This was her *low mileage* week following a 14 miler last weekend....but was a BIG mileage week for me. I hadn't run that far since the Valley of the Sun HM in March, so my body sure felt every mile of it! It was a bit hotter than I would have liked, and my legs just felt tired. I thought for sure I would be crazy sore the next day....but to my surprise, I felt great! I can definitely feel a difference in how my body recovers now, versus a year ago. All good stuff...

Ramble #3: Proud Mom Moment

My older son's football team has been getting a lot of publicity around Chandler, including the newspapers and an online publication called the Valley Sports Ledger. The Ledger is dedicated to kids's sports in the Phoenix area. Last week, his name was mentioned in a printed article ~ and this week his picture made the team highlights. He's the defensive lineman, just about to nab the quarterback. Not necessarily his best side, but you get the picture ;)

Yup, he gets all his athletic abilities from his mother. Happy Running this week!!

ORN: 8 looooong miles

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Running at the Office

Would that not be just the coolest office layout EVER?? Micheline sent me a link to the full article ~ asking me when my company was going to invest in this stuff. AWESOME. I need to start sucking up to my boss big time ;)

Until then, I will sit on my butt, talk on the phone, solve employee problems, juggle our finances and keep us legal each day.......instead of burning calories. *sigh*

On a positive note ~ I made it to Body Pump yesterday!!!!!! [jumping up and down with big happy grin] I took an opportunity to work at home another day this week ~ since my office was mostly empty, and there wasn't anything that I was working on that I couldn't do from home ~ and then took a little side trip to the gym while little T was in preschool ;) Yep, where there's a will, there's a way. I feel like a blob of goo if I don't get a weight lifting class in each week. Yes, Nat ~ I'm serious. I am totally addicted.

I'm paying dearly for it today though, as I think I may have been a little over-ambitious with my weight loads yesterday :) I'm pretty sore ~ all over really, but especially in my chest and shoulders. Oh, and my legs. Oh, and my abs too. See.....weight lifting is FUN FUN!!! ;)

Tonight I'm on schedule for a short run, which may not be pretty given my current state. We'll just have to see how well the ol' legs hold up. Then tomorrow it will be serious rest for a long run on Saturday.

Pat is trying to get a team together for this crazy Mad Mud Run. It reminds me of playing *Oozeball* in college....i.e. mud volleyball. But I'm older and much wiser I dunnnnooooooo. My main concern is who would push my butt up and over that wall?????

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

a little negativity...

...... goes a LONG way!

Not much to ramble about today ~ other than a great midweek short run last night ~ 3 miles with a big, fat negative split on mile 3. I mean BIG. Like almost a minute per mile negative BIG.

Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about.

Again, still just patting myself on the back for getting a midweek run done, so indulge me for a while until this becomes a habit, will ya??

I'm in a bit of grief that I don't think that a trip to weight lifting class will materialize tonight ~ darn kids ~ but I am plotting to see if I can work from home tomorrow and squeeze it in. We'll see what happens. I love me some weight lifting....gotta have it!!!!!!

It's also nice to see the mileage numbers in my side bar actually increasing for a change. Apparently this happens when you actually start running ;)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Check out them legs!!!

Somedays I really wish I looked like my shadow.....check out them super model legs!!! And look how TALL I am!!! Awesome!!! It must be Pat's expert on-the-run photography that makes me look so good. It's the only way I'll ever get legs that long in this lifetime ;) Can you guess which shadow is mine??? (I love stealing pictures from Pat)

Great run this morning with the TRC ~ 4 miles along the canal, plus another 2.4 at Tumbleweed Park with Pat. Weather was relatively good again, and my legs and energy held up nicely. I'm still on the high of getting back into the swing of running, and I'm over my garbage-disposal-style of eating from the past week. The goals this week include 2 short runs, a weight lifting class, and one other XT endeavor (probably a quickie Tae Bo session) ~ and of course, a week wouldn't be complete without a long run on the weekend. Seven miles this week ~ BRING IT!!!

ORN: Long Run ~ 6.4 miles

Friday, September 12, 2008

I've had a really lousy week food-wise. Not sure what happened, but I fell off the wagon and consumed way too much of the foods I've been trying to avoid ~ namely PIZZA!!! It's absurd the amount of pizza I comsumed this week. ABSURD. And I wonder why my stomach isn't getting smaller???

Enough of that. I guess I'm entitled to food diversions every now and then...and this one is over.

On a positive note for this week, I stayed completely on track with exercise, including two short runs!! Count em ~ TWO!!! You may wonder why this is such a big deal, but it really is. Mid-week runs are extremely hard for me to fit in my schedule ~ just trust me, it's not an excuse ~ they really are tough.

But I think that planning my training in two-week blocks has helped ~ it allows me to see where my other commitments are and plan my mid-week runs in the gaps. Sure, it's usually 9:00 at night ~ but they got done! Last night was particularly cool as I got to run again with Caroline, and another runner Kristina (who happens to be C's neighbor and friend). What a treat to run with others during the week!!! 3 miles passes nicely when there is chatter :)

I hate to break it to Pat, but it looks as though Kristina is going to be yet ANOTHER woman added to the Tumbleweed Running Club!!! Dang it folks, this man needs a friend ~ a MALE running buddy to help him counteract all the estrogen on weekend runs!!! Sorry Pat, buddy....looks like you'll just have to tough it out for a while ;)

6 on tap for tomorrow....happy weekend running!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

It's like Crack

(Or, I guess it is.....seeing as how I've never actually done crack, it's just an educated assumption!)

Running, I mean. Running is like my crack.

No, not like Plumbers' Crack......RUNNING CRACK! Are you following me now???

Nothing makes me feel physically and mentally better than a great, morning long (ish) run with friends. This morning Pat and Caroline and I (in our attempts to revive the Tumbleweed Running Club) met at 6am for the start of the long-run season.

We were blessed with better-than-normal weather, which included a mostly overcast sky ~ which in our temps, is a HUGE bonus. We hit 4 miles together on the canal, and then I added an extra mile around Tumbleweed Park to round off my even 5 miles for today. I started feeling pretty good around mile 3, which is typical for I decided to take advantage of the feeling and keep on keepin' on!!! And the first long run of the fall is in the books.

There is NOTHING better than coming home and taking a long shower after a great run. It boosts my mind, my body ~ and I just feel exceptional for the rest of the day! Days like today remind me why I run. It's my CRACK! I'm addicted.....I love it....and I need MORE!

See you next week TRC ~ same time, same place! I have 6 miles on my plan....could it be another 6 at 6???

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Virtual Mile + A Little Humble Pie

I really had not even remotely planned to run the virtual mile race (which happens to be sponsored by one of my fellow Zonies), until somehow some inspiration spilled over from Pat ~ and made me slap on some running shoes at 9pm last night and head out the door. It also helped that I had missed my short run on Tuesday night (due to an explosion of craziness at my house that night) so I needed to make up the run any way. I am committed to NOT missing a scheduled training run. I need to make it up some how, some way.

The mile really isn’t my favorite running distance. Especially the FIRST mile of any run ~ it is always the total WORST for me. It seems to take forever for me to find a groove ~ which if the planets align properly, sometimes happens between miles 3 and 4. So that explains why a 5K distance never works out well for me either. Maybe I am really a distance runner at heart????

Last night's run was also in celebration of my RACE-aversary, which as Wes articulated ~ really should be celebrated with a RUN. So I donned my Bridge to Breakwater shirt in honor of the occasion and headed out. It was still somewhere near 90 degrees at the time. No sun obviously, but toasty.

And to totally buck the system, I even took my least-favorite running partner out with me: Mr. Garmie. I had to dig, mind you, to find him after a long summer of 4-5 mile per week, Garmie-less runs….but we rediscovered each other after a relatively short search. I had asked hubby for assistance in locating my friend and all I got was this:

Me: I’m looking for my Garmin

Hubs: Oh, that watch-thing?

Me: (in utter disbelief, covering Garmie’s ears and walking out the door) I believe he prefers to be called a PERFORMANCE DEVICE.

Sheesh!!!! Non-Runners.

So the plan was simple: one mile out, one mile back. Shower. Bed. Sweet Dreams.

So I ran. And ran. And RAN….

I even passed a jogger up ahead of me ~ and believe me when I say that this kind of stuff NEVER happens. I am always the passEE, never the passER.

Garmie was tired, almost running on zero battery power….just like me. We made a perfect pair last night. I glanced at him 3 or 4 times during the first mile ~ and was elated to see a 10:18 or 10:20 smiling back at me. I was convinced that I was going to ROCK this Virtual Mile race with my fastest mile split ever. The fastest mile I had ever run was in June over in San Diego ~ about a 10:48 with hills ~ and I knew I was trucking along at a much faster clip last night.

It takes a lot for me to run that pace and not allow myself to stop. I thought of all the blogging buddies that might be running a Virtual Mile right along with me. I told myself that I should be able to do ANYTHING for 10 minutes.

When Garmie screeched loudly at me over my huffing and puffing, I came to a halt. I was excited to see the final verdict.

That’s when a big piece of Humble Pie came falling from the sky and landed squarely at my feet: 11:05.

I was in utter disbelief! Didn’t even break 11 minutes?? All that effort and I couldn’t even beat my June split? I believe a string of profane sayings came out of my mouth ~ or at least went through my head ~ as I took a quick breather and turned around for the jog home. I donned my usual comfort pace, turned off Garmie, and went over it all in my head again.

I tried to convince myself that maybe Garmie had a bad night. I mean, after all, he was totally on almost nothing for battery ~ so it can happen, right? I’ve read many accounts of other runners with messed up splits. Right? Or maybe it was too cloudy and the satellite didn’t pick up properly. Right? There had to be a reason. Maybe Garmie was just paying me back for the watch remark from Hubs? I wouldn’t blame him for being angry, you know.

But sadly, I am a logical person and while I believe that Garmie can mess up individual mile splits on a longer run, or even be vindictive on a whim, I happen to know that TIME is TIME and there was no way to dispute that it took me 11:05 to run the single mile. It was 11 minutes and 5 seconds after I had left home, and that could not be disputed.

It was time for me to eat the Humble Pie that had been served to me and make my way back home. I analyzed many things on that last mile ~ perhaps that maybe I should have timed my SECOND mile for the race, after having a chance to warm up…..or perhaps it was the heat…….maybe it was my new shoes not being entirely broken in…….maybe………maybe. But by the time I got home, I had a new appreciation for who I am as a runner….as well as who I am not.

I am not fast, but I AM a runner.
I am a runner that has to work hard all the time and not take things for granted.
I am a runner that has run 4 miles a week for the past couple months, yet expected to knock out a stellar mile on a whim.
I am a runner that has to do short runs in the late evening hours after all the work and family obligations are satisfied.
I am a runner that just a couple years ago would not have been able to run continuous mile at all, at any pace.
I am a runner that shouldn’t compare myself to others, but relish in my own accomplishments instead.
I am a runner that not long ago was still running 12-13 minutes splits, no matter how short the distance.
I am a runner that despite what I often believe, is making slow progress on a regular basis.
I am a runner committed to setting goals and reaching them.
I am a runner that will continue to be inspired by others.
I am a runner...

I could go on and on about all the things I learned about myself last night in 11 minutes and 5 seconds. And instead of coming home disappointed and deflated, I came home renewed and inspired. I have many, MANY things to work on in the coming months ~ last night gave me a very clear indication of that. It was both a wake-up call and a reaffirmation.

So thanks Reid, for the idea of this Virtual Mile ~ and to my buddy Pat, who without even knowing it, in an indirect way gave me the mental push I needed to go give it a try.

Today I officially registered for both the PF Chang’s RNR Half next January, and the Surf City Half in February.
The goals are officially out there again ~ now it is just time to do the work.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sing with me, willya????

Happy RACE-aversary to ME!

Happy RACE-aversary to ME!

Happy RACE-aversary dear Pokeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

Happy RACE-aversary to ME!

(applause….hoots & hollers…..)

Okay, so it was actually YESTERDAY and I missed it. Oh well, it is still a sweet day on my record books.

September 2, 2006 ~ the day of my very first “real” race (real long, that is!!) I had never in my life imagined that I would be able to complete an almost-8 mile race.

It was the Bridge to Breakwater 12K in San Pedro, CA ~ it was hot, humid and miserable ~ but after my finish you would have thought I had just won a world record. Time was 1:36:34, or about a 12:44 pace.

What a sweet, sweet day. It was the start of many great things for me, the most important being the pursuit of health and fitness. I’m not that much of a better runner today than I was two years ago (I’m still hecka slow!!) but I am a much healthier and stronger person ~ both mentally and physically. For these reasons alone, this day of running was a true success.

This was back before I discovered that running with a hat or visor in the heat is truly a necessity, but you will all be happy to know that even back then, I only wore black ;) In case it’s not obvious, I am the short dumpy one next to the two tall, skinny ones.
It also reminds me that I need to reconnect with my friend Lisa (in the hot pink) who shared this day with me :)

Thank you, Running ~ for such a monumental day in my life. I am ready for MORE!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

In the Zone

It is finally September.

And it is TIME.

Time to get moving again after the long summer heat. It is time for FALL RUNNING in Arizona!!

(well, almost) It is still going to be 106 here this weekend, but I am trying to block it from my mind.

I love this time of year when even the slightest notion of cooler temps hits my brain, and I can start planning out the next few months of running. Fall is prime running weather here in the desert, which is good because there are a couple of big race goals on my agenda.

But today isn’t about the races themselves, it is about my TRAINING GOALS.

Pokey Training Season officially begins today, so it is time for me to get back on the running wagon. And here is how I plan to do it:

Run ~ 3x a week ( a lofty goal for me due to a hectic family schedule in the fall, but it is a must this year if I want to see race improvement)

Strength Training ~ 1x per week (in the form of a Body Pump class where I get my butt whooped by an overly hot instructor on whom I have a serious girl-crush!)

Cross Training ~ 1x per week (not sure what form this will take, but it is a necessity. This will be the hardest for me incorporate into the regimen because my mind subconsciously wants to tell me that it is unnecessary)

I am committing to planning out my training weeks in 2-week blocks, so that I can shuffle training as necessary to help mitigate family / schedule conflicts. I already have the first two weeks of this month mapped out ~ now it is just time to go and DO.

Oh yeah, and did I mention I still need to drop some pounds? Yeah, just that little issue called “weight loss.” *sigh* It is so hard. I am really kicking the diet in gear during the month of September before training runs become really long. I’ve been doing well on the eating front ~ for the most part ~ and maintaining my weight….but now I have to focus on LOSING again. I need to be 10 pounds lighter before my next half marathon.

Now how many times have you all read THOSE WORDS??

Yeah, I know.

ORN: 4.2 mile weekend run ~ slow and sweaty