Wednesday, November 28, 2007

2 Layers = HOT

2 long-sleeved layers are perfect for sub-50 degrees, I learned, but if the temperature is even borderline at 50, then I should just go with 1 long-sleeved layer. First winter running with real running clothes means that I'm still learning a lot about how to dress myself!! I also wore gloves and a stocking cap this morning, and while the hat stayed on, the gloves came off around a mile and a half. I hate running around with gloves stuffed in my pockets, but I think I'd hate having freezing hands for the first 15 minutes more... (hoping for some less-bulky running gloves and one of those neat caps with a pony hole for Christmas, Santa)...

This morning I felt kind of heavy, lumbering, slow, creaky, plodding... then I looked down at my watch and was shocked to see that I had run my loop in about 11:15 - pretty quick time for me. But all those adjectives continued to describe how I felt for the rest of the run, even though that went pretty quickly too, pace wise. But, oh, it didn't mentally feel quick!! I must have been off my mental game this morning.

4 miles in 41 minutes for about 4.5 miles in 50 minutes. Going to go lift with Preston tonight.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving Damage

I was really worried leading into Thanksgiving about weight gain. My goal was simply to minimize the damage, since I eat such a controled diet there is almost no way to meet or assess my normal caloric goals when I'm eating food cooked by someone else.

It began the Thursday before Thanksgiving with a potluck lunch at work. By some cruel twist of fate, I had finally starting dropping again from the weight loss plateau that I've been at for the past month or so. I went through the line taking small samples of only my favorite stuff: sausage, ham, turkey, mashed potatos, sweet potatos, and a roll. I took only a very small amount of each, making sure no portion touched any other portion. I was given some flack by my colleagues, who I assured I was saving myself for dessert. When dessert rolled around, I went back for one very small piece of the cake I had made (knowing I had used all of the low fat substitutes, etc.). The next few days I was pleasantly surprised to see that I hadn't gained from my foray into Thanksgiving.

I kept dropping weight all week leading up to Thanksgiving. I weighed 129.6 (goal weight is 125) on Thursday morning before the 5 miler. I made a mistake on Thursday, though. I ate a small breakfast before running (Snickers marathon bar and a banana). Then after running I had another banana and a bagel (around 10am). I thought that would hold me 'til lunch at 2, but lunch wasn't ready when we got there at 2, and I felt like my stomach was eating itself by then, so I started grazing on crackers (leaving off the cheese - I was still trying!). Finally lunch was ready, so I ate mashed potatos, turkey, and 3 rolls with butter (love rolls with butter!). For dessert 2 of the yummy white chocolate covered Ritz and PB that I had brought (and estimated at 100 calories each).

Theeeen (oh, no, it doesn't stop there!) on Saturday we went for *another* Thanksgiving with my husband's Dad's family. I made another mistake that day. I had eaten a good breakfast, but hadn't lunched before we went over there. Preston and I were both starving, and his dad and step-mom busted out the crackers with cheese and summer sausage. That stuff is goooooood, let me tell you, and I ate it like I only see it a few times per year (which is true, but not wise) and like I was incredibly hungry when I saw it (also true, also not wise). Then they took us out for Mexican food for dinner, where I had half a chicken quesadilla with guac for dinner. I really fell off the wagon that day.

My best work friend left the company yesterday. It is possible that I took him out to Starbucks for a 400 calorie toffee almond bar (each - one for him and one for me). I'm just sayin'...

So the end result of all this debauchery? 2 pounds gained. 131.6 pounds. (Which is the exact weight, ironically, that I was plateaued at right before I started losing again right before the holiday.)

Lessons learned? Don't go places hungry. Bring your postrace nutrition with you if you aren't going home after a race. Have a plan and stick to it.

I'm back on the plan.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Saddle Sore

The new goal from now until Christmas holidays is to go to the gym to lift at least twice per week. Starting yesterday with Preston.

I decided that since I hadn't done anything aerobic since the 5 mile run on Thanksgiving, I should ride the bike for half an hour at the gym to warm-up. I thought riding their bike would be a nice change for me, since mine is a recumbant and they have an upright.

O.M.G. Let me just say that riding an upright is soooooo much harder! And my butt hurts sooooooo badly today.

So the new goal is to hit the gym at least twice per week for weights, and to ride their upright at least once (but preferably twice) a week so that my butt is ready for a real bike when the weather warms up.

Preston did C25K Week 1 Day 1 yesterday!!!

I had a nice, but cold, recovery run for 30 minutes and 2.8 miles this morning.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Run Thru The Woods 5 Mile Race Report

I ran my very first 5 mile race in the Woodlands on Thanksgiving Day this year.

A cold front had blown through during the night, and the temperature had dropped approximately 40 degrees from the mid-80's to the mid-40's on race morning. This was frustrating because it was the first incidence of such a cold front this year, so I had no practice for what to wear and how such conditions would effect me. I finally decided on my under armour compression long-sleeved shirt with my new Target pull-over with built-in mittens on the top and my standard Old Navy shorts on bottom. I topped all of that with a stocking hat, sweatpants, my Nike jacket, and a sweatshirt for the ride over and the wait at the start line. Luckily I have a loving husband who wasn't running, so I was able to wait until just minutes before the start before I had to strip down to running gear and feel the cold.

I seeded myself about 2/3 of the way back in the crowd. WHen the gun finally went off, we all stood around for another minute or so, then began the slow stroll to the start. The pace picked up when we were almost there, and I started running.

I figure I seeded myself well because I was being passed about as much as I was passing people. It was actually pretty frustrating - by far the most tight race start I've ever experienced. I tried to just relax and go with the flow near the center where the fasters could get by me on the left and I could left-pass the slowers. There were plenty of both.

Going with the flow served me well the first mile - 9:33 (by my watch).

Unfortunately, that fast first mile freaked me out a little. I mean, I had 4 more to go, and I was running at near my best 5K pace. I pulled in the reins mentally, and soon was forcibly slowed when we were squeezed into one lane when the course went onto a 45 access road. Hit mile 2 at 21:30 (their clock - so probably about 20:10).

The next mile was really quite uneventful - hit the split at around 30:30 and proceeded into uncharted race territory. Fortunately the fourth mile went really well also. We hit the one and only big hill for the second time on the return trip over 45. It definitely seemed steeper in mile 4 than it did in mile 1!! One guy near me yelled out "Love the hill and it will love you!" I thought I'd go with that, knowing that I was almost to my final mile. People down on 45 were honking at us as we ran over the overpass. It was pretty cool.

Hit mile 4 at over 41 minutes, so that hill did slow me down some. Then I tried to pick up the pace a little bit, concentrate on my posture and the fact that I was almost there. I was a little out of breath from the hill, so I tried to get that under control.

Before I knew it, I was on what I thought was the home stretch. I had done really well at visualizing myself in the course map up to that point, and I think it really helped me mentally with running the unfamiliar course, but here I got it wrong. But I learned from the Dad's Day 5K in June, and even though I couldn't see the finish line, I knew I was really close, so I just kept running through it.

Finally I turned the corner and saw the finish line. Crossed in 52:50 by the clock. Forgot to stop my watch til my chip was off, stopped it at 52:18, so I was hoping I had pulled a sub 52 time, but I wasn't sure.

I did. 51:26 for a 10:17 min/mile pace. I achieved all but my most ambitious goal. I'm really pleased with this first 5 miler, but I can already see that if I hadn't psyched myself out about that fast first mile I may have had a shot at a sub-50. I can't wait to give this distance another try. Sooo... next up = the Jingle Bell 5 miler on December 9th.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Exercise is Still Better than Not

Last Thursday, I received a call from my neurologist, who had ordered an echocardiogram approximately one month ago. A call is not what you want from this doc. My echo showed atrial dilatation. I have an appointment with a cardiologist now, and will know more after that next week.

Who knew that some simple facial paralysis could lead to all this: scars on the brain, an enlarged atrium....

Given that, this seemed appropriate.

Time to Bust Out the 5 Miler Goals

With Thursday fast approaching, I've been doing some thinking about this race, my A race for the second half of this year--my very first 5 miler. Actually, technically, it will be my very first 5 mile run ever. Although I've covered the distance in training several times, I've never done it without walking. So I'm a little nervous. But also excited about my first racing foray into distances greater than 5K.

Calculator fun abounds on pre-race days.... This pace predictor based on 29:40 as my 5K PR says I should be able to pull a 49:06!! Running Times gives me a 49:14. Galloway's 10K predictor pace translates to just under 55 for a 5 miler.

So, with all that in mind, what are my goals?
1. To finish.
2. To finish without walking.
3. To finish in less than 60 minutes/less than 12 minute miles.
4. To finish in less than 55 minutes/less than 11 minute miles.
5. To finish in less than 50 minutes/less than 10 minute miles.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Run and Packet Pick-Up

Saturday Preston and I went to go pick up my packet for the Run Thru the Woods. We were standing in line behind this incredibly annoying woman who insisted on taking out all of her t-shirts and checking the sizes even though the guy told her that he couldn't exchange them, but that she could exchange them on race day. The other guy who was pulling the packets came up, looked directly at Preston (who was on the far side of me and not looking at the guy), and asked our names. I responded, he asked if 1 or 2 people, I said 1, and he brought me the packet. Then he asked me which race I was running.

I'm sure he didn't mean to make me feel like I wasn't part of the club. Like my husband who is out-of-shape is more likely to be part of the "runner's club" than I am. But he did. Even though I'm sure it was unintentional.

This was after our waitress at lunch always looked at Preston. *sigh*

Yesterday Preston was really awesomely helpful. I always have trouble with running motivation if I don't run first thing in the morning. It is like I can't find a time where food intake and desire coincide, and thus I often won't run. Yesterday around 1 it had been about 3 hours since I had eaten, and I was toying with the idea of running, but feeling lazy. I told Preston I was trying to decide between running "today or tomorrow", and he says, "why don't you just go ahead and go today". And I did. Couldn't very well wimp out after that, could I?

So yesterday: 3.6 miles in 35:52. Yeah, baby, a training run in sub-10s. Hells yeah. I have Podrunner to thank for that - 179 bpm sped me up without me even really realizing it. Sweet.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pimp Definition

The results of Unshelved's annual Pimp My Bookcart contest came out today, and an e-mail thusly circulated amongst the staff at the library.

A 76-year-old colleague says to me, "Please tell me there is a juvenile definition of p-i-m-p." And yes, she did spell pimp instead of saying it.

I say, "Well, no, not exactly. It is the word you are thinking of used as a verb to mean 'making something really neat'."

Pat on my back for not saying "tricked out", "ghetto-fab", or "blingbling".

Bat Run!

Went for another run with my ex-work buddy, hereafter known in this blog as BB down at AP. He still kicked my ass, but I held up a little better this time! I didn't walk until 25 minutes into the thing. Then it went like this:

Me: Screw it, let's walk.
BB: Isn't that the parking lot just up there?
Me: Shit. Let's run it out then.

I need to work on my mental game! Obviously I had the ability to run it out, since I did. So it seems that it was just that I couldn't see the finish line that killed me. I know that that is a problem I've dealt with in my 5Ks, but not in my neighborhood runs since I'm so familiar with my running grounds now. It definitely illuminates a need for me to get out into unfamiliar territory and slog it out, whether I can see the finish line or not.

The most badass part of this run, though, was that we were approaching the Bat Bridge right at sunset. We could see the bats swirling around under the thing, so we decided to run up on top of it. As we were passing over, they started flying out en masse, dipping and diving and stretching into a long twisting ribbon in the sky. Beautiful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Pulled the Trigger

I am officially registered for the inaugural Rock n' Roll San Antonio Half-Marathon next November. My inaugural half-marathon.

Holy shit.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Back to Running

Ran this morning 3.8 miles in 40 minutes. Felt good. Felt not-splinty. Felt like I could have kept going if I had the time.

So I think I'm going running with Billy again tomorrow after work. That'll be another short but ass-kicking run, I'm sure, so I'll try to run Friday for 40ish minutes again. Then take Sat and Sun off, run Monday 40 minutes before the big day on Thursday. I can't believe my first 5 miler is only about a week away!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rest in Kitty Peace, Sugar

When I woke up yesterday morning, I had 3 cats. One may have been old and her ass may have been drunk, but she was there, and she was doing fine. By the end of the day she was gone and buried.

Sugar was a small (7lbish) siamese mix cat. She died near her 17th birthday. She was a Christmas present to me in 1990. Best Christmas present ever. I remember that Mom and Dad and I went out to this lady's house (who I forever after nicknamed The Cat Lady). She had tons of cats. She brought out this one tiny little siamese kitten and asked if we wouldn't mind taking this specific one, because she was the runt. We took her. I remember her getting all carsick on the way home - nastiness coming out of both ends, and how we joked about how much nasty smelling stuff could possibly come out of such a tiny cute little kitten. She quickly discovered that her favorite spot was curled up just below my right ear once we got home, and she purred like a motorboat. The white parts of her siamese-ness were so pure white that my 9-year-old self named her Sugar. She was polydactyl, meaning that she had an extra toe on each of her front paws, so we called her Sugar Mittens. She also loved laying in front of the fire. Soon enough she discovered that older people are stiller and quieter than young ones, and attached herself to my Mom. When she was about 3 years old, she got out of the house and was gone for about 2 weeks. It must have been Spring or Fall, because we were sleeping with the windows open and Dad woke up in the middle of the night to hear her crying. He followed the sound down the street and found her in front of the elementary school. He brought her home. She must have been drinking out of people's hoses, because after that she always preferred to drink her water dripping out of the sink. It really wasn't surprising that she could wake Dad up with her cry in the middle of the night, because boy, did that cat ever have a set of lungs. I once had an apartment neighbor tell me that she always knew when I left town for the weekend because she heard the cat crying. Sugar followed me to college at the end of my junior year when my roommate had moved out. That is when I will tell you that she saved my life, just by being there and being dependent on me. I actually told Mom that I'd only take her on a trial basis, because I knew she was more Mom's cat than mine, and I thought she'd be really happier with Mom. But she adjusted well, and even seemed to become attached to me, and we lived 5 years together happily after that. She was never an overly friendly cat, to the point that Preston and I nicknamed her "Old Biddy" in the past year or so, but she and I had an understanding. I would provide the food, water, and petting when she arrived on my lap, and she would arrive on my lap at least once per day. That was our arrangement, and it worked for us. She'd even show up specifically at times when I was stressed out, as if she knew that a purring kitty was just what I needed. I'll never forget how much she helped me in that way one miserable junior high piano recital day. We've had a couple of scares in recent years. In 2004 when I was in Denton, she was facing off with another cat on the other side of the window when she became entangled in the pull cord for the blinds and practically hung herself from her abdomen. I rescued her, but not before she sunk her teeth into my wrist in fear. That little puncture wound got terrible infected, one of the most painful happenings in my life, but I was just so glad that Sugar was unharmed. More recently, back in January when her ass got wobbly, I thought we were near the end. But she coped with her wobbliness really very well - so well that I was really quite startled when I found her paralyzed yesterday. And even more recently she escaped for a final time while I was away getting married. I though surely I'd lost her for good and was wracked with guilt, but 4 days later Preston found her a mere 5 houses down the street, seemingly no worse for wear. She lived in 7 places. Had 5 seperate kitty companions, all of which she tolerated and hated equally. I will miss her terribly. I'll miss her yowling every night when Preston and I are trying to watch tv. I'll miss having to lead into the house with my foot because she's trying to escape as usual past any unwitting human coming into the house. Most of all I'll miss getting out of the shower and laying down on the bed and having her arrive for her attention without fail, because she loved clean humans. I'll miss her crawling up me and sticking her nose against my lips for me to blow gently on, and I'll miss the motorboat purring that never ran out of gas.

I may not believe in God or heaven for myself, but I hope that there is a kitty heaven, and I hope she is outdoors in it where she always wanted to be, playing like she was young and napping in sunny spots, and finding someone's lap to purr in and be petted in, but only when she wants to. She was a good cat. We had an understanding. I loved her, and I will miss her.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Running with a Buddy

Yesterday I went for a run with a buddy of mine from work.

I learned something: running with someone is very different from running alone. For me, much harder (though it probably didn't help that we had selected a hilly route - AP). Well, make that several somethings that I learned, because I also learned that conversation pace is slower (or slower feeling) than I normally go.

He ran me so hard that I had to stop to walk twice (twice!!) in a 30 minute run.

But I'm taking it as a challenge. As long as I didn't run him off with my slowness, I'm so going to keep doing this 'til I stop sucking at it. It'll also be like finally starting some speedwork/hill training, which I've been meaning to do anyways.

Afterwards, Preston and I went over to the Museum of Natural Science to see Lucy. Wow, Lucy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Do you smell something fishy?

I take a fish-oil liquid cap every morning for cholesterol-happy-hunting. For some inexplicable reason, I like to play with the pill first. Well, not totally inexplicable. The pill is really big, and when cold, lodges in my throat sometimes. So I kind of roll it around in my hands and squeeze it a bit to soften it up before I swallow.

Yesterday morning it burst. Oh yes. At my desk at work. The damage was mostly limited to my hands. I immediately got up to go wash them, but after countless washings yesterday and two showers, my hands STILL smell fishy.

Moral of the story? Just like mom always told you: don't play with your "food".
Another 40 minute run for 3.6 miles this morning. Stopped to stretch calves/shins once in the first mile.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My Purple Shirt and a Compliment

Last week I got out one of my favorite shirts that had been sequestered in my closet because I (read here: the girls) had gotten too big for it and it was gaping in the front when I sat. It is this lovely deep purple shirt (almost black) that I brought on a whim for too much money back when I still did stuff like that (read: pre-mortgage). I love that shirt. It is also the only shirt I have that accomodates my amethyst necklace (won in a work auction for $15) and earrings (X-mas present from hubby last year to go with the necklace) well.

The purple shirt is too big. You read it right. The formerly gaping bra revealing shirt is now *too big*. WTF?? It looks like it freaking swallowed me. Hangs limply all over me, hiding everything about my upper body. Waaaaaaay too big. I guess I'm making progress after all. RIP, purple shirt. Hope someone at the Goodwill loves you as much as I did.

On Thursday when I was leaving work, my purple shirt joy was re-inforced. I was headed to the 5K, and a woman who I work with asked if I was going to the gym. I said no, to a 5K for a short run. Then she said that she had noticed last week in a meeting we were in that she thought I was losing weight. I said yep, almost 20 pounds. 20 pounds!!! She seemed totally shocked. Then she started backtracking to make sure she hadn't offended me.

I'm never offended. If you can tell I lost weight and you think I look good, bring the compliments on!!! You may just give me the impetus I need to get over a hump. I swear I'll never think you were implying that I was fat before. ;-) Because I know I wasn't. And I actually think it is cool that no one realized I had that much weight to lose. Who knew that my body could hide it so well?? Well, good for my body, but let's not go back there, m'kay? 6 pounds to go (yes, I'm currently stalled - have been for almost a month, but at least it is holding steady). 6 pounds to go!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

4 Mile Fun Run - Opted Out

The Optimists' Club 4 Mile Fun Run down in Sugarland was on my schedule for Sunday, but I opted out after a going away party for a work friend went to almost midnight. Preston justified it for me. There'll be lots of runs, but this particular friend will only leave work once. Good call.

I have a little guilt about it, though. I really wanted a longer-than-5K-but-shorter-than-5miles under my belt before Thanksgiving. I'll check out the local schedules, but don't hold too much hope for it.

So, ran 40 minutes this morning for 3.6 miles. Shins are still pissy. I stopped twice to stretch them and my calves, which seemed to help a lot, but I'm getting pretty frustrated with it. Thanksgiving 5 miles is my freaking A race for the whole damn year, and I'm not happy with feeling like it is being threatened by my stupid shins. I'm in practically new shoes (less than 50 miles on them, I think), I am not adding tons of new mileage, and I've noticed some new definition in my calves, so I suspect that it is just a case of my calves being too strong for my shins. I'm trying to add some shin-strengthening exercises each evening when I'm watching tv, and at this point can only hope.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Rice Owls 5K Race Report

As I said yesterday, I knew I wasn't running for a PR. 30:53.3 @ 9:58 minute miles.

It is funny: I've gotten so used to each and every race being better than the last, I am actually feeling a little down about it. But I know I'm being unreasonable. I'll get it right soon - this is still my 3rd best 5K time ever!

I was right to be concerned about time. I got off of work at 5, changed clothes in the bathroom (forgot to bring a plastic bag for jewelry, so raced in full work jewelry!), and didn't hit the car til 5:20. I made it to the race with just 15 minutes to spare. For my hyper-early neurotic personality, this just isn't enough lee-time, and because of that, I was having a little rumbly in my tummy. Just perfect for racing. (Sarcasm.)

I had also had a long day at work. My two best friends there are both leaving for bigger and better jobs this month, and my emotional nerves are starting to get a little frazzled.

My car thermometer read 85 degrees right before the race. It might have been a little high, but there is no doubt that this was my hottest run in the past three-ish weeks.

Anyways, with all of that in mind, I found it un-fun that once I hit the event and got my chip (very cool chip-holder, btw, a velcro strap for around the ankle) I actually had a lot of standing around by myself time, not knowing anyone there.

Finaly, we started. The best part of this race, for me, was the Rice U Naval ROTC unit, which ran chanting about 100 yards behind me for pretty much the whole race. Really helped to keep my mind off of things - thanks NROTC!

Ran the first mile in 9:58, what would ironically be my pace for the race. Second mile in 9:47. Third mile must have been a bit over 10. Unusual for me to slow down in the third mile. The second mile felt longest, as usual, but the third mile was unusually tough for me this time too. Don't know if it was my mind, my left shin (stoopid shin!!), or my body after the long (10 hour) day at work, but I just didn't have it. I am proud that my pacing was relatively even throughout, even though I didn't follow my normal pattern.

Only complaint: no food at the end, and only one line for water with little tiny cups that had to be filled (took forever). I'd like to see bottled water at the end.

All in all, nice training run for me. I would always prefer Preston be able to come to these things with me - might not bother in the future if he can't. Not too sore at all today, so hoping to be primed and ready to go on Sunday morning (assuming I haven't overdone it the night before in one of said work friends' going away party)!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Twisty-tie Pwnage

This morning, Preston and I watched as Cal, the big black cat, lay quitely next to the twisty-tie that he had been attacking earlier.

Suddenly, his brother Grimmy comes flying around the corner, makes a stealth attack on Cal, and withdraws.

Cal sits there looking confused for a second, then smacks the twisty-tie emphatically and calmly walks off.

I look at Preston, "Cal really is your son."
P: "Why do you say that?"
Me: "Because he killed the twisty-tie when he was really mad at his brother."
P: "Maybe he was just showing Grimmy what he would like to do to him."
Me: "I'll pwn you like I pwned this twisty-tie, bitch."
P: "Uber-pwnage."