Saturday, February 24, 2007

Says It All

Short. Sweet. To the point.

Boy, this sure summed up my run today. I saw it while I was crossing a bridge on my 15 mile long run today and had to get a picture of it.

I should have known to stay home when I woke up with sinuses about to explode but I thought that running would clear them out. It was about 26F out, clear and sunny. It was beautiful...until the wind started to cut through you.

Last week, the trail was covered in ice covered snow. Most of that had melted off today but I would guess that about 20% of the trail was still covered in a layer of ankle breaking ice, making you walk. More than once I did the cartoonish windmilling of my arms to prevent from falling smack on my rear. We had to divert off to the muddy horse trail at a few points because it was so dangerous going through the ice. After being forced to walk gingerly so many times, about mile 6 I started to question if I should even continue or throw in the towel right there. It would still give me 12 but not the 15 I had planned. I decided to tough it out.

We made it to my turn around point, 7.5 miles from our start. I had some Clif Shots (Chocolate, yummy), some water and some Clif Blocks (CranRazz...again, yummy). I made the call home to let husband know we were alive still (I had my 10 year old with me)

Things went along fairly well until we were approaching the 10 mile mark. At this point, we came to one of the large ice covered areas we had to cross. I heard a sniffle and saw my loyal support crew was in tears. She was cold, she was tired and the ninny had a jacket that didn't zip. I know, bad mom for not checking but I thought she would have the sense to bring one that zipped. Had I known, I would have sent her back for the zippable one or if I had known after we got to our start point, I would have forced my jacket on her. As it was, my jacket sat in the van since I knew I would not need it. Anyway, she didn't want me to call back up to come and get her and wanted to finish the run with me. I took over pushing her bike through the ice, pushing her bike and pep talking her. This went on for a few miles before she felt okay to ride again.

At this point, my legs threw up their arms (if they had them) and said "What? Are you serious? You want us to start running again after that nice, long walk? We thought we were done here. (insert snort of disbelief) Sure, try to run...see if we cooperate." I pushed myself into a shuffle, not really a walk but a far cry from the run I had been at.

I was still several miles from my finish and everything just came crashing over me. What was I doing? Why was I doing this to myself? I looked at all the other runners who went breezily by me and wondered why I ever thought I could run, let alone run a marathon. I miss my running buddies, I miss my running coach, I miss the running store and people who were so supportive of me. Despite the fact I had hundreds of people on the trail with me, I felt like I was doing this all by myself and really, what was the point.

My pity party lasted about half a mile. At this point, a couple ran by me again. I had passed them going out and took note of them. We passed this time near a patch of ice. The man was talking to the woman as they crossed it. "A little to the left, good, now go straight. We are passing a lady and her daughter, same ones as before." Then he smiled at me and said "Great day for a run!" They continued on their way and I shuffled on my way.

What was so awesome and humbling about this is that the woman was blind. Her partner had their wrists held together by something and he was her eyes for this run. I can't imagine trying to walk that path, let alone run it in the dark yet she was doing it, smiling and going strong. It made me feel like a big ole weenie.

So, I made it back to our start, we got warm, we got hot chocolate, hot showers and my 15 is in the book. It is over, it is done with and I can just put it behind me.

Next week's long run is an "easy" 11 miles. Woo hoo! Who would have thought I would look forward to a "short" run of "just" 11 miles?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Food for Thought

I read a lot more blogs than I have listed over there (and it is not a reflection on those not listed, it just means I have not taken the time to add them).

I was reading Lisa's blog and she was singing a familiar refrain: How do I get my miles in during this crappy weather? Bill, who is someone who also reads her blog, made the comment:

Instead of saying "I must run 12 miles today", which may keep you out slogging through the elements long after you're spent, instead schedule a 90 minute run. Whether you run 8 miles or 15 miles during that time, what matters is that you did the time, which is what your body needs more.

It is such a simple thing but it sure hits home. It makes sense, doesn't it? I know that yesterday I was working hard and it took me 45 minutes longer than it should have. In the space of time I took, I should have been at nearly 16 miles rather than the 14 I had to fight to finish.

Maybe this is what I need to do during this crummy weather. I have a 15 miler on my schedule for Saturday. Maybe I need to not be locked into 15 miles but instead, say "I am going to run 3 hours"

I dunno.....I am going to think about this some more. What do those of you who read along think?

Saturday, February 17, 2007 the Books!

I had a 14 miler scheduled for today and I was not looking forward to this since it was very likely that it was going to have to be done on the hamster wheel. Eeek!!

We have been under a layer of ice and snow all week and I knew that the W&OD trail was just going to be a mass of solid ice. I drove past my starting point on Thursday and sure enough, a mass of ice is what I saw.

There was no way for me to defer this or even break it up since I need these long runs to get prepared for the Pig. I looked for someone to do this run with but no takers for my distance and pace. I could not even bring along my normal support crew since she can't ride her bike on this kind of ice. It was looking more and more like the hamster wheel was my only option.

After walking very gingerly on the ice near my house, I decided to try the Screw Shoe option that was posted by Aluy over on Runner's World Beginner's Forum. Since our cordless screwdriver is located in a box in our garage somewhere, we predrilled holes using a drill bit. It worked out great. I used my Reeboks since they are the shoes that have the most milage on them and I don't use them as much.

I went outside to test out the shoes and after watching my husband slide down the hill and around the cul de sac, I had no problems walking as surefooted as a mountain goat. Baa!

This morning it was 6F when I got up so I waited until it was over 15F before I set out. I figured even if it didn't work out and I was forced onto the hamster wheel, at least I gave it a shot.

The trailed looked okay so I started out. Right off, I had to go to the side because the tracks made before the snow/sleet froze made the footing too tricky to safely run. The side of the trail was mainly smooth and made running nice. Crunch, crunch, crunch is what it sounded like as I made my way.

About 2 miles into my run, some yahoo had been on the trail with an ATV, which is not permitted. This made the footing even worse but I continued on and eventually got to trail that was nice to run on. I passed a few people walking dogs, one runner sliding down a hill and that was about it. I made it to my turn around point in the time I wanted, it felt like a nice, easy 7 miles.

I called home so husband would know I was still breathing and not gasping on the side of the trail with a compound fracture. I pulled out of my stylish Charizard backpack (because I could not find my fuel belt...see cordless screwdriver above) some Carb Boom to take and planned to chase it with some water.

Now, here is where my brain left me. I could have sworn I brought 3 bottles of water with me, 2 for after the run and 1 to have during my run. Before I left my van, I pulled 2 bottles out of the backpack...which should have left 1 in there. What was left in there was...none. Apparently, I only grabbed 2 bottles of water and they were both sitting on the passenger seat of my van...right where I left them. Auuugghh!! Carb Boom is not good without that water chaser.

Things continued along well on my way back even if I knew I was going a bit slower. About mile 9.5, I noticed a new sound that was replacing my crunch, crunch, crunch. It was slush, slush, slush. On the heels of slush, slush, slush was a WHOOMP sound as I would crash through the layer of ice down to the snow below. This was not a fun time but I slogged through a few more miles of this.

By mile 12, it was becoming dangerous. I had sure footing on the smooth side of the trail but the sun coming out was melting it enough for me to fall through the crust and twist an ankle. My other option was attempt to run the middle of the trail, where the jerky ATV riders churned up the snow making it incredibly uneven and an ankle breaker. That left the final option...walk and pick my way through the crevices of snow to the end.

Broken ankle, twisted ankle or slower time but finish the milage....c'mon, it was not that hard of a choice. Today's run was about the milage, not speed so of course I chose to walk. I did try to run on areas where I could do it safely but it would only last a few feet before conditions made me walk again. This added a lot more time to my run but again, it was about distance, not speed today.

I saw my van getting closer and closer to me and then I was done! I did it!! I ran fourteen freaking miles SOLO, on an ice covered trail, in below freezing weather and I did it!! Yeah, pass the sling so I can rest my arm after patting myself on the back here.

I am glad I did it. Except for the last two miles, it was an awesome run and simply beautiful to be out running in the fresh air, hearing the birds and just running.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snow, Ice and Buffy

Wowie, we got hit with some snow, ice and sleet...which made going outside to walk dangerous, there was no way I was planning to attempt to run on it.

It is not a secret that I am not a fan of the treadmill. It is a necessary evil, one that I deal with because I have no other viable option. I know a lot of people watch TV while on a treadmill but I never have. I tried to watch TV on the elleptical at the gym but I found it very distracting, all the other people and treadmills, different speeds and differing things on various TV screens.

I asked my husband to bring down a TV and DVD to the basement so I could try it out. We hooked it up, I popped in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I never watched Buffy when it aired so decided this was a good time to try it out. Netflix delivered a new DVD today so the timing was right. I cranked up the volume on the TV, put on subtitles and off I went. Yes, before someone asks...I normally always put on subtitles when I watch DVDs since there is usually a lot of noise in my house.

I am amazed at how much faster my four miles went tonight as opposed to running with just music. I think it is because there is something to look at other than the walls staying stationary and it engages the brain, if only a little bit. I also turned off a few of the lights so it was dim...much easier to not look at the treadmill display.

I am not going to break any speed records on the treadmill but at least now, it will be marginally better than a visit to the dentist (no offense to any dentists out there...a very bad childhood related dental visit is the root of my dread of dentists)

Monday, February 12, 2007

With Great Apprehension and Trepidation

One year ago, I was feeling the above and much more as I made my way, in the early morning, down to the fairgrounds to meet with my Couch to 5K group. It was our first meeting and I was convinced that I was going to be the slowest, oldest and most out of shape potential runner there.

I can look back now and laugh about it but at the time, it was quite an intimidating thing and I almost went back home several times.

It was a large group, over 30 people and most of them worked together in an office. I felt out of place since I didn't know anyone. It was 32F, with snow and a cold wind coming off the river.

Grant and Michelle outlined the schedule for us and with little fanfare, we began the process to transform from couch potatoes to 5K runners.

It was cold, it was blowing snow and we huffed and puffed our way through those first 60 seconds of running. 60 seconds? Was that it? It certainly felt like it was a lot longer than 60 seconds. The 75 seconds of walking went by much quicker. We did this for 20 minutes our first time out. I was whipped but elated. I wasn't the oldest! I wasn't the slowest! I wasn't the most out of shape!

Now, today, I find myself in almost a similar situation. I am trying to make my way into a new running club, to find my place among them. Even though I have several races under my belt, including a Half marathon, I still feel very apprehensive in approaching the group. My inner loser raises her snide little head and makes me question things.

What if I am too slow? What if I am not serious enough? What if....what if...what if? What if I never came out? Well, that one is easy...I would probably end up slowly drifting away from running.

I beat that loser down, suck it up and meet with the group. I smile at the friendly faces, nod to ones that I recognize from the week before and make my way to the back of the pack. Sure, I am slow and will be one of the last runners in but so what? I am out there, I am running and I like it.

The feeling towards running and my view of it, a year after starting, is very different. A year ago, I had no intention of ever running longer than a 5K race and even then, it would be maybe a yearly event. I certainly had no intention of running a 10K, a Half Marathon, a Marathon or even more insane...a Marathon and a Half!! I am.

It has been a great year. Without the help of the Clarksville Running Club and R3 along with the support from Michelle, Meredith, Grant, Chuck, Candi, Samantha, Jim, Brittany, Lucas and the Runner's World Beginner's Forum, who knows if I would have stuck with it. Of course, some of my biggest fans and the ones who provides more support than you can believe are my wonderful husband and children.

In the past 365 days I have:

» ran six 5K races with a PR of 32:06
» ran an 8K race
» ran two 10K with a PR of 1:07:01
» ran a Half Marathon in 2:33:04
» logged over 619 miles total (since April 20)
» am currently training for the Flying Pig Marathon
» am resgistered for the 2008 Goofy's Race and a Half

Here is to many more years of looking back on running and reflecting on how far I have come in that year.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Easy Peasy Five

I have come to the conclusion that I am just going to have to suck it up right now and do my long runs solo. Well, not really solo since I plan to have my 10 year old ride along on her bike.

Right now, my running club meets for a 5 mile run on Saturday and a 10 mile run on Sundays. That is great except I normally can't do the 10 mile on Sunday and be back in time for church, which starts at 10:30 am. I thought maybe I would ask on the message board for someone else who is running my pace and on my schedule but I think I may be just out of luck.

Luckily, I do live right near The Washington and Old Dominion Trail This is an old railroad line that is now paved for more than 44 miles and is used for running, biking, skating and horseback riding. Since it does go on for a looong way, it makes it fairly easy to do long runs on it. I can just jump on it near me, run out however far I need to and then come on back. I would rather run with friends but this will work for me. I can still meet for the 5 miler on Saturday too.

For the last two weeks, I have met on Saturday and ran with two ladies named Donna and Tina. They were nice enough to not mind me horning in on their run and hanging with them. It is nice to have someone to run with, more so when you are new to an area.

Today was a prediction run, you had to sign up and predict your time. I didn't sign up but I had a mental prediction that I was aiming for. I actually beat what I thought I would run by 2 minutes. Of course, it is still slower than I would like but I am blaming the hills, ice, wind and cold. Yeah, that is it.

So, my schedule for this week is:

Monday: Off
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: 7 miles
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: Off
Saturday: 14 miles
Sunday: cross

I would like to meet with the group on Saturday but I also think 19 miles in one day, even broken up, is probably not a good idea. I guess I could join the walkers for 3 miles rather than run the 5 miles

Thursday, February 08, 2007


SmileyCentral.comIt was 3F when I got up this morning! THREE!!

Three was the magic number since I had 3 miles on my schedule for the day but knew that I would never get on the treadmill tonight because of other things going on. I decided that I would just hold off today and go out in the morning for a quick 3 miles.

Wait a minute, what was wrong with going out this morning? Nothing other than the fact it was almost time for the bus and it was abouyt 14F outside. I decided to go for it so I raced up the stairs, jumped into my running clothes, spent a frantic moment looking for my ear warmer (never found it) and made it out to the bus to wave off the kidlets.

Despite the fact it was dang cold, the run felt nice after I warmed up. I had to watch my footing to be sure I wasn't going to hit any ice. Less than a mile into the run, I pulled off my gloves and pushed up my sleeves.

I was pretty pleased with my pace, after feeling incredibly slow on the treadmill. I was running uphill and still going faster than I do on the treadmill. Anyway...

On the way back, the wind kicked up and my ears started to feel abused without my ear warmer. I was less than a mile from home, knew I would be turning (and get out of the wind) so I just pulled on my gloves and ignored my ears.

I ended up doing almost 3 1/4 miles. Boy howdy, did my face sting when I got back into the house. Being outside felt so much better than running on the hamster wheel. I am glad I have the option of using the TM but I much prefer running outside.

I have tomorrow off before a 9 miler on Saturday or Sunday.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Look at Me!

I feel like a hamster running on a wheel when I run on the treadmill. Run, run, sweat, sweat and you get NOWHERE! Of course, I do get the benefit of the workout but it is mind numbing and boring.

The weather has taken an artic turn and it is actually too dangerous to run outside. It was 5F outside this morning with wind chills dropping the temperature even lower.

I have never made it a secret that I dislike running on a treadmill but really, what other option do I have? I already feel behind in my Flying Pig schedule and taking time out for weather is just not an option.

I fired up my iPod yesterday, got dressed and made my way to the basement. I set the treadmill at 3% incline and slogged through to complete a 3 mile run. THEN I checked to see where I should have set the treadmill. Apparently a 1-2% incline is recommended. Oh well, lesson learned.

A painful lesson learned was to watch where my hands are. Once I get going, I sorta zone out and tend to drift over to the left when I run...not sure why. If I am not careful....CRACK!!! My knuckles will make contact with the bars on the side of the display. Ouch, it was a painful lesson that I was subjected to twice before I got it. I think I may have cracked a bone since I have a spectacular bruise on my left knuckles today. When I say knuckle..I mean the one where my fingers meet my hands.

I looked at my schedule and quivered inside when I saw that I was going to attempt a 6 mile run. Yikes! I had to really struggle to make 3 miles yesterday and now I was going to contemplate 6?

I did approach it a bit differently tonight. I made sure that I was wearing a wicking shirt (it got darn hot in my cotton shirt yesterday), I found my gum and I sternly told myself that there would be NO skipping songs on the iPod.

I threw my towel over the display (or I become like a lion watching an antelope limp by...just out of reach....I stare intently) and started. Oh, I also adjusted the incline to 1.5% (lowest it would go) I was sweltering within 2 miles and my wonderful, sweet husband kindly brought a floor fan and set it up to cool me off.

It was a much easier workout this evening, for all that I went twice as far. Having gum really helped. I always have gum when I run and it was weird to not have it yesterday. The fan blowing on me helped. I counted songs...I would check my display every 5 songs (about a mile)

I am slower while on the treadmill, when I crank it to my normal outside pace, I feel like I am going to fly off the back. I did my six miles though! All six of them! I am pretty proud of myself for doing that. It was very tempting to stop at 4, then 5, then 5.5 but I stuck with it. I am really hoping the temps are up next week so I can run during the week. The weather looks good for my 9 miler this weekend.

Friday, February 02, 2007


I am back! I have been without a reliable internet connection since we moved.

As soon as we moved, we got some bitter cold weather that has just hung out. I don't think we have seen above 40F in at least 2 weeks. I did manage to go out for a run the other night. I attempted the treadmill but it felt like a hamster wheel.

Tomorrow, I am going to go join the Reston Runners for a 5 mile run. Even though I am a few weeks behind schedule, I think I am still in good shape for the Flying Pig.

I got my Goofy and a Half registration confirmation in the mail. It is official now, I have lost what is left of my mind.

I am glad to be getting back into the swing of things and settling in.