Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday 9th, 2011 – 3.12 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was an interesting run. I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. I also didn’t expect to run 3 miles.

Because I was with the kids, I could only run in my neighborhood. This meant that I had to run laps… back and forth from cul-de-sac to cul-de-sac and yes, it’s typically as boring as it sounds.

But I had to get this run in. Not because I particularly wanted to but because in my last post, I got a reprimand from Coach Dion.

Don’t get me wrong, Coach Dion is super cool, but he keeps me grounded and he calls me on it when I’m settling for mediocrity.

In my last post, I mentioned that I hadn’t run in several days because it had been so cold. Coach, in his wonderfully diplomatic way, told me I needed to get myself some winter running gear, something I would be excited to wear so I would be motivated to get out in inclement weather to see how well it works.

Reading between the lines, what I read was: You’re in Southern California!!! Get off of your ass, Girl and get it MOVING!!!!

Well, he’s not just “Dion”, he’s COACH Dion! And when Coach tells me to get off my ass, I usually do. Even though he is literally half a world away, he still kinda scares me a little bit.

So I put a leash on the dog and decided to run some speed intervals. Because one thing I’ve learned after 2 years of running is that a boring route becomes an awesome route with two things: hills or speed intervals.

So I power-walked Sarah from my house at the tip of one cul-de-sac, all the way to the tip of the other cul-de-sac (approximately a .35 mile distance) and ran back home (same distance) at my 5k pace. Sarah’s pretty fast, so I was essentially racing her back home.

It was really awesome. I was only going to do one lap but it was such a great run, I did it four times. I pushed pretty hard and it felt good. Another reason why I always listen to Coach Dion, He’s always right.

When I got home Sarah was exhausted. Poor little lady. But she hung in there and I’m sure she’d be up for going again with very little persuasion.

I got out the door a little later than I’d like and when I run so close to bedtime, I usually have a hard time sleeping. I will frequently allow a late run on a Friday because I don’t usually have an early rise on Saturdays so a restless night is a far less serious thing.

Usually when I have a hard time sleeping, I just deal with it. I spend the entire night staring at the ceiling and trying to get as much rest as I can even if I don’t get much actual sleep.

On the rarest of occasions, I’ll have a tiny glass of sherry before I go to bed. Now, I’m not a drinker by any means so a tiny glass of sherry is enough to make me drowsy. And when I say, “tiny”, I mean TINY. I have it in a proper sherry glass, which is essentially a tiny wine glass that only holds 2oz of liquid. It’s cute, isn’t it?

I really enjoy a good California Cream Sherry. Mmmmm……
It’s smooth and nutty. Goes down very nicely. But it does make me thirsty hours later so I typically have restless sleep, even when I do have sherry.

A friend introduced me to Melatonin. It’s a hormone that your body produces naturally to induce sleep. Melatonin increases naturally when the sun goes down and teaches your body to feel sleepy when it’s dark and decreases when the sun rises so your body knows to be awake during the day.

This is an artificial hormone and it is used to treat insomnia. The blind are often prescribed Melatonin to train their bodies to recognize regular sleep cycles.

Melatonin can be had OTC and is safe to take over short periods, although I know people who take it everyday. It really helps bring on a good night’s sleep when I run too late and I wake up feeling refreshed.

After my run, I had some pasta for energy, 2 prunes for… you know, and Naked Juice brand Coconut water. Coconut water promotes rapid hydration and has high levels of potassium which guards against the cramps that I sometimes get in my feet after a run.

This one also contains Lychee juice. I have no idea what a Lychee is but I wanted to try it because the Naked Juice brand is considerably cheaper than the Zico brand. This one was fine but it wasn’t great. Largely because coconut water is kinda hard to take if you’re not ready for it. I drink it gladly and it keeps my cramps at bay.

I still have a mango-peach flavor to try, so I’ll do that one with my next run.

All in all, a good day and a GREAT run. Thanks again, Coach!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December 7th, 2011 – 2.31 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

I have to admit, this run was not the greatest. I hadn’t been out since the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The truth is I just didn’t want to get out there. I allowed my schedule and the Arctic temperatures to get to me.

Now, I am very aware that there are people across the country who think nothing of going out for a run in sub-zero weather but I live in Southern California! And in Southern California, anything below 50 degrees is cause for MAJOR concern.

Granted, I’d think nothing of running during an earthquake and would only cut my run short if a major brush fire broke out but temperatures below 50 degrees give me pause. If you add winds over 10 mph, I’m done!

I was not built for cold weather. I am a Weather Wimp and I admit it without shame.

I say that to say, we have been having some pretty severe weather lately. By that, I mean, after dark, you can sometimes see your breath when you talk…. And for that, I hung up my running shoes for a bit.

However, after it had been 10 days since my last run, I couldn’t stand it any longer. My body was starting to rebel against this lack of activity.

Still, my schedule was working against me. My baby girl was turning 4 and this was a very BIG deal. I did the Mommy thing. I baked the cupcakes for her class, bought her a new outfit to wear to school and got her exactly what she asked for. When she told me she wanted “a baby” for her birthday, I immediately ran to the American Girl Doll website and ordered one, for nothing is too good for Lady Jay!

She got to decide what we’d have for dinner and of course any pre-schooler with impeccable taste wants the best McDonald’s has to offer, so it was Happy Meals all around!

It was still cold, but after dinner, I made sure everyone was settled with their favorite pre-bedtime vice, strapped on my high visibility gear, gloves and performance vest and hit the road. I knew it was going to be a short run, just in my neighborhood.

This is my least favorite route because I am literally running laps from one cul-de-sac to the other. I really do hate running laps but again, it had been too long and I was afraid that if I let this opportunity slip, I would never get back out there. I am so proud to be a RUNNER that I can’t imagine going back to being a regular citizen.

When Jayda, in her cute little footed PJs, pretty face and fluffy afro-puffs caught me at the door holding her new baby doll and said, “Mommy, please stay with me…”, it almost completely wrecked my resolve. But I kissed her sweet mouth and said, “I’ll be right back, Baby” and hit the road.

Was it worth it? Probably not….. But I’m glad I got it in. And I was back in time for prayers. So I’m calling it a win.

Happy Birthday, Pretty Girl!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Running on Empty: An Ultamarathoner’s Story of Love, Loss and a Record-Setting Run Across America (REVIEW)

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

I bought this book because I love reading about other runners’ experiences. It got rave reviews, was reasonably priced and readily available in Kindle format. All pluses in my book.

This story is mostly about Marshall Ulrich’s run across America. He runs from City Hall in San Francisco to City Hall in Manhattan.

I liked this book for several reasons. First of all, getting the first-hand account of how a person could push himself to that extent just boggles my mind. Secondly, he was very “human” about it. The story about how Dean Karnazes ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days and gets to the end of that without even the slightest soft tissue damage is not inspiring to me. He’s Superman, for sure. But I can’t relate to Superman. I can relate to everyday Human Man.

Sure, Mr. Ulrich is an amazing character but he was very open about the fact that the joint pain started on Day 1. Heat exhaustion met him on Day 2. Muscle cramps and Tendonitis came on Day 3 and so on. He was seriously uncomfortable by Day 5… But he kept moving forward. He moved forward through some serious medical issues and mind-numbing pain.

He was open about the days the he woke up in tears because he didn’t want to keep going. There were days when he was very tempted to throw in the towel as his partner in this venture did. Their friendship was ruined forever over this run.

He was also very open about the fact that all running does is make you a runner. It doesn’t make you a better person. He confesses that his life is littered with broken relationships and he is largely at fault for it. To come to terms with those kinds of shortcomings and put it out there for the whole world to see is a ballsy thing to do.

Finally, he ends the book with several Appendices with information of his route and running schedule, what he ate, his sponsorship, what he wore, who he visited, what the RV crew were doing, medications, injuries and treatments and his recovery. He also told of injuries that, as of this writing, were still unresolved.

This run aged him in ways that cannot be reversed. It injured him in ways in which he may never recover. Still he’s a hero to many. Having done the quadruple Badwater Ultra and many 24-hour and 100-mile runs, he is definitely not your average Joe but his book made him seem very accessible to me.

I can’t say that this book made me want to get out and run like ”Born to Run” by Chris McDougall did, but it did inspire me and reminded me that everyday people can do extraordinary things. It also showed me that there is a limit. There is the proverbial “Line” where I can and should say “Enough!” And I respect him for admitting that while he was proud to have finished this amazing feat, he’d overdone it and would likely not do anymore like it.

Still, his “taking it easy” running schedule is amazing me. I think he said something like 100 miles a week. AMAZING!!!!

That’s all I can say.