Monday, August 30, 2010

August 27th, 2010 – 5.88 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.”

Tonight’s run was great in many ways. I knew it was going to be a hilly one, so I made no demands on myself regarding speed. I just wanted to keep moving and finish the run. After I scouted the route on, I expected it to be 6 miles even, but it turned about to be just shy of that.

Mile one was great. It was really easy and the incline was very slight. That part of the run was very well known to Sarah and me, but it threw Sarah off a bit because it usually comes at the end of our runs.

At the beginning of mile 2, we start the incline and Sarah is pulling and tugging on her leash the entire time. I was doing the 4 and 1 so I was able to take several breaks but even during the breaks, it was a constant tug of war and she is winning much of the time. She is getting to be stronger than me. By now I have decided that the next time I do this run, I am going to leave her at home.

Just before the mile 2 mark, the street ends and I have to make a turn. It is still uphill but the neighborhood is so great and the weather is so perfect that it hardly matters.

I get to the turnaround point. I am just shy of 3 miles, but I turn around anyway. The downward trek is much easier on me or would have been if Sarah hadn’t been pulling so hard on her leash. I knew my form was off but there was no way I could adjust it and hang on to her at the same time. I decide to take a HUGE risk and take her off her leash just to see what it would be like.

Oh, the bliss!!! It was so much easier to get a good stride. She ran ahead, but didn’t seem to want to get too far away. After about a tenth of a mile, I see a couple with a dog coming from ‘way up ahead. I know Sarah can see them too, so I quickly call her and get the leash on before she darts across the street and gets herself killed.

The downward trek is much nicer and even though I know it’s going to be hard on my hips and AT, I know I am making up some serious time.

At about mile 4, I take Sarah off her leash again. This turns out to be a disaster! There are two yellow labs in their backyard barking like mad. The sidewalk is up higher, so I can look down and see right into their backyard. Sarah bolts through the fence, the wooden farm type, and goes for the dogs. They can’t get at each other but the racket they’re making is definitely going to draw the attention of the owners of the house. So I call her. After that has zero effect, I hop the fence and go after my girl. I have to admit that I’m a little panicked that this point. What if she never obeys me and I actually have to throw myself between her and these dogs? I have pepper-spray and I’m not above firing on my own dog, but then what? Then she’d be excited and pissed!!

Fortunately, once I got close enough to her and called her name, she just walked right up to me. Now I am squatting on this rather steep slope and the footing is very precarious. So if she decides to make one last attempt on the other dogs, she could easily pull me down this hill. So I attach her leash and put on my most formidable Mommy Voice and tell her to “COME!”

She obeys and we make is back up the slope and over the fence and on the running course. This is when I realize that I didn’t bother to pause my RunKeeper so my time and pace are all screwed up now. Any time I’ve made up was eaten away by this little interlude. Ah Well…..

So we just run it back home. By now my daylight is all gone and I have beaten myself up pretty badly on this run trying to restrain Sarah and get a decent time.

So I gotta get home, cook dinner and get some ice on both ATs. Could have been better. Could have been worse. I’ll try it again soon.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

August 25, 2010 – 3.70 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.”

Tonight’s run was really nice. I’d read my last few blog entries and noticed that they were all kind of a downer. The last half decent run I had was the 10-miler on the 10th. The common denominator, other than myself, was that I’d been working on speed. Pushing myself to gain more speed was stealing my joy, my comfort and my sleep. This time I was determined to take it as slowly as I wanted and just reacquaint myself with the love of running. And I must say, it was *so* worth it.

I didn’t stop my RunKeeper the whole time, so every stop at every traffic light and crosswalk was recorded. My time was atrocious, but I didn’t care. I was just happy to be out there and determined spare my body.

The first mile was as usual: Ugh! I couldn’t get my footfall right. Every time I planted it, my AT was screaming at me. This was a problem. What if I can never run without pain again?! While I was adjusting my stride and considering new shoes or inserts, I realized I was approaching mile 2. The pain had subsided and I was feeling good.

Mile 2 was really good. I was making no efforts to increase my speed. I was just making an effort to keep my chest up, my shoulders down and tucking in my rather fantastic, albeit substantial bum.

I lost my daylight somewhere in mile 2. By mile 3, I was thinking I should have worn more reflective gear and brought Sarah. Next time.

When I got back home, I felt *great* the kids seemed a little cuter and Chris, well…. Chris always looks good. I had no pain. No discomfort. I decided to skip the pain medication and ice. That might have been a bad idea, but I just really didn’t feel like I needed it. I drank about 20 oz of water and had small bowl of cereal.

What a great way to start the school year!!! I read the next chapter of my new Bible Study and I slept like a rock! It was awesome!!! Got to work the next day and received my quarterly bonus, so after paying bills and tithes and transferring money to savings, I allowed us and extra $50 in our Allowance Accounts.

If you had an extra $50 to spend on gear, what would you get?!

Monday, August 23, 2010

August 22nd, 2010 – 2.39 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.”

Tonight’s run was OK. Just OK. I almost didn’t do it. Chris and I took the kids to two parks tonight. First we went to a park I wanted to check out for a running venue. There is a pond and I brought some bread so the kids could feed the ducks. Turned out the park was pretty, but nothing I’d go out of my way to run.

Then we took them to a local Dog Park. That was a smashing success!! The kids and Sarah had a *great* time. Even Chris loved watching Sarah interact with other dogs. Great time. Great neighborhood. I should have taken pix, but I let it slide.

Recently, I’d been having a lot of pain in my AT and it wasn’t going away. I didn’t want to make excuses, but I didn’t want to run on a sore AT and cause greater damage, so I compromised and promised myself a 2 mile run on the track at the high school.

This was interesting. I figured since I knew I was going for a shorter run, I could try to bump up my speed. Still, I was aware of the AT, so I took the first 2 miles at my normal pace and for the last .38 mile, I jogged the curves and sprinted the straight-aways.

As was expected, I was sweating like a horse when I got to my car. I felt great during the run and felt like I’d really accomplished something. But the euphoria didn’t last like it does when I take the run slower and for longer.

Here’s the thing: The level of activity I’m currently engaging in keeps me satisfied as a runner and it keeps me in my skinny jeans. I think I might just forget about trying for speed and just enjoy the run. If speed comes in time, so be it, but striving for it is stealing my joy, somehow.

I may change my mind later, but for now, I’m stickin’ with joy.

Another thing I noticed is that I am not as enamored with my CamelBak belt & water bottle.

It fits snuggly enough and I love that it has 2 little cargo pockets for keys, gels and whatnot, but the extra weight was kind of a downer this time. I know I need to carry water even during the shortest of runs but there's gotta be a better way. Any advice?

On Saturday, there was a 5k in support of the Vikings.

I really wanted to go, but Chris had an errand and would have the car. I thought the race might be close enough to my house, so I could run to it, do the race, then run home, but then there was Jayda, and I never invested in a running stroller. Also I really didn't have the extra $30 for the registration fee. But really, this was one of those things that I will try not to let slip in the future. Aside from the 4pm start time and the ridiculous heat that was sure to accompany it, I really regret letting this one slide. It's a great cause and I always want to support local runs.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August 17th, 2010 – 3.88 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 more of a stroll. It was supposed to be a rest day, but Chris was going to be busy every night this week except tonight. So even though I ran last night, I had to get out again today because if I didn’t get this run in, I may not be able to get another one until Saturday.

So I set out, meaning to run the 1.5 to the high school, do intervals around the track for about a mile, then jog the 1.5 miles back home as a warm down.

Just before the 1 mile mark, there is a creek with a bike trail that runs along the sides. It’s part gravel and part asphalt. I changed my plan on the fly and decided to run the creek. I’d run it before so I knew the distance there and back is about 4 miles. That would be a fine work out and I thought the change in terrain would work different muscles and be a little easier on my knees and AT.

Mile 1 was slow, but fine, of course. With this route, I start the run out on a slight decline, which is different from my normal run, but I took it slowly anyway because I want to get that extra kick at the slight incline at the end of the run.

Mile 2 was quite a bit rougher. I was at the turn around point and the pressure on my AT and heel is enough to make me walk for about a tenth of a mile. Then I picked it up *very* slowly.

I made it back home without any issues. AT’s gonna need ice, but I won’t need any pain meds and that’s good.

This run was pleasant enough. No pressure, just a Maintenance Run to keep me in the habit of doing it. Tomorrow will be the rest day. I promised the kids we’d make cupcakes from scratch for no reason. Ya can’t beat that with a stick!

Pretty kids' toes!!! Just 'cause.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 16th, 2010 – 3.66 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 run was really disappointing. The weather was the usual SoCal nirvana, the route was the same ole route and I didn’t bring Sarah, so there were very few distractions, but I set out to really push myself and really shave some time off my normal run.

When I got to the end of the run, according to my RunKeeper, I only shaved 2.5 minutes off my best time this month and 36 seconds off my usual pace. I was *really* killing myself the whole time. My AT was killing me when I got home and the sciatic pain was almost unbearable.

I thought surely I was keeping an 8-10 minute pace and I would come home feeling like Super Woman. But no…. I came home feeling like I’d torn my body down for no good reason.

So I ate a pile of rice, topped with roasted chicken and bowl of grapes for dessert and allowed myself to wallow in self doubt and pity while I watched an episode of “How I Met Your Mother”.

Next time will be better. Whether I actually improve my time, or I take it easy and enjoy the run.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 10th, 2010 – 10.03 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.”

Tonight’s run really was great. It was slow and incredibly sloppy at times, but it was 10 miles. I survived it, so that makes it a great one.

When I set out, I knew it was going to be a long one, so the only goal I had was to finish it. This was the first 10-miler I’ve done in many weeks. Maybe when I’ve been at it longer, a 10 mile run will be the standard, but for now, it’s a MAJOR undertaking for me.

I took Sarah and I did it in my usual 4 and 1. I knew I would lose my daylight before I was done, but I just wore my high visibility cap. I put Sarah in her vest. I highly recommend both, by the way.

I started my music and set my RunKeeper to start. If you are fortunate enough to own an iPhone, but not fortunate enough to own a Garmin, I highly recommend Runkeeper to track your miles, speed and calories burned. The basic package is free online.

It shows your progress as you train and maps your route. You can link directly to Facebook or Twitter, if you like. I like that you can post your stats while keeping the map of your route private. You can pause it without ending your session and you can listen to your music, receive messaging and even answer a phone call without leaving the program. But anyone who knows me well knows not to call me during church or a run.

The first 4 miles were fine. They went off without a hitch, other than Sarah bolting after the occasional dog. Fortunately, I had her leash locked so when she bolted after a dog barking out the window of a passing car, she didn’t get herself killed. Stupid dog. What if I didn’t have a firm enough grasp on her handle? She’d be gone and I’d probably get sued!

When I got to the 4.5 mile point, I knew I was getting to the turn around point and I needed to add another .5 mile to the run. Otherwise, I would be shy of 10 miles and I was determined to get a full 10 miles in tonight. So I turned into a park I’d been meaning to check out since the first time I did the 10 mile loop. It has a nice lake and a golf course. So I looked it up online to see if it was a private park and it turned out it isn't. This was the perfect time to check it out. I was dead tired but I only had to run a quarter of a mile in and back if I wanted to get the miles in. Well, that was a mistake!!! I thought there might be dogs that I might have to contend with, but the geese were quite literally, a whole different animal…… And geese have SEVERE attitude problems! Really…. If you’re a dog, you don’t want to cross a goose. She will kick your little canine ass! So I had to get her outta there quick.

At mile 6, I had my first Shot Blok. Black Cherry. Not bad.

Under normal circumstances, I would recommend them. They did the job and gave me that extra charge I needed to keep going, but they are clearly only meant to be taken once per workout. However, I took one at miles 6, 7 & 8. More on that later.

At mile 7 I lost just about all of my daylight but that’s OK because Sarah and I don’t mind running in the dark. I only have 3 miles left and I’m feeling OK. My knees aren’t killing me. I know I’m going to hear from my AT later on, but that’s par for that course and nothing to seriously worry about. I’m feeling good but by mile 8, I really am ready for this run to be over and so is Sarah. She stopped to take a dump on the sidewalk, so now I’m running with a little blue baggy full of poop! Just before that, I ran into two ladies who were out for an evening stroll. One of them had the 3-Day Avon Walk for Breast Cancer shirt on.

I stopped to ask her if she’d actually done it and they chatted for a few minutes about how great that experience was and to compliment me on how pretty Sarah is. I didn’t stop my RunKeeper, so my time is off, but that’s OK, it had already turned into a bit of a sloppy run at that point. I was very sure to tell her that I admired her greatly for doing it. She said she’d done it 3 times. Wow!

The last 2 miles really were great. This portion is very well known to me and Sarah and we just sailed right through it. I was tired, make no mistake, but I was happy to be there.

My body had been beaten and I was hoping I wouldn’t regret it later but at the moment, I was feeling pretty good. The 3 Shot Bloks I took were fighting to get out of my system and they were NOT happy about being entrapped in my colon! I was cramping and needed to get to a bathroom quick!!! It was getting worse and worse.

I was on the home stretch, and right when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, I caught sight of my house and Chris was standing in the driveway waiting for me. I almost cried. All pain and discomfort vanished. All I could think about for the moment was that I am loved by the best of good men.

I unhooked Sarah’s leash and said, “Go!” she ran home so I was able to do the last .10 of a mile completely unhindered. Doesn’t sound like much but that was great! She’d been pulling on me for the whole run and it was nice to let her go.

When I finally got inside the house, I was ready to pass out, but I couldn’t. Jordan stayed up to get Mommy prayers and Chris said he was worried about me because I’d been gone so long. So we prayed and thanked God for bringing me back home safely.

While I was trying to decide if it was more important to shower or have a recovery meal, I discovered that I had worn holes in the shorts I was running in! Not anything gross or embarrassing, but worn, none the less. Granted, these shorts were years old, but there was no sign of holes when I put ‘em on! That’s never happened to me before. No more cheap running shorts for me!

Now the Shot Bloks are making me so noxious….. Somebody grab a bucket!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 9th, 2010 – 3.69 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.”

Tonight’s run was really great. The weather was perfect and I decided I would make this an interval run. I sprinted the first and third miles and walked the second and fourth. I’d never done that before and I think next time I’ll do it on the track to get more accurate distance measurements.

Mile one was actually really good!!!! Usually, I don’t like mile one at all. But I was in a zone and determined to push myself as hard as I could without destroying myself. I’d never even tried to break my typical 12-minute mile pace, but I did this time. At times I got down to a 7:59 mile pace (but not for very long). I think giving myself permission to fully recover at the end of mile one gave me the strength to keep running hard when I wanted to stop.

Mile two was strange. I was happy to stop running, but I had to force myself to walk. I started to get a sting in my hip and I just *knew* that if I started running, it would go away. But I was as determined to sprint the third mile, so I knew I had to fully recover over mile two if I was going to do that.

Mile three was great! I was on the homeward stretch and this part of the course is on a very slight decline, so I did a short stretching session at the stop light to relieve the sting in my hip and began my sprint toward home.

I decided to leave Sarah at home because I really wanted to focus on speed and form. It was a terrible shame. I don’t think I ran into a single dog. She would have loved this run.

The end of the run was easy. A nice walk with a brief sprint toward home at the end. The kids had spent the day with their grandmother. She took them to the fair and was on her way to our place to drop them off. I wanted to wait until they got home before I did my run but I knew I needed to get out there. I would just have to see them when I got back.

I was thrilled to pieces to get home and find that they hadn’t made it back yet! They showed up right after I got home. I was so glad to see them, not that they would touch me, dripping with sweat as I was.

After a quick shower, I got a hug and a pic with my BIG boy. Look how beautiful his skin is! I could just kiss him and kiss him and kiss him!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

August 4th, 2010 – 4.11 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.”

Tonight’s run was unexpectedly pleasant. I went to the local high school to run the track. They have a nice rubberized track. I’d been dealing with some AT, knee and hip issues so I thought I’d better take it easy. I could have run the streets, but I thought I it would be better to choose softer turf.

I would have preferred to find a nice trail, but I didn’t do the research. I figured the track would be insanely boring, but better than skipping the workout all together, which I was talking myself into doing.

I drove the mile and a half to the school, as opposed to running it because the last time I tried to get on the track, I found that I couldn’t. I didn’t want to run all the way out there, only to find that I couldn’t get on the track. If I couldn’t, I would drive home and just do my normal 3.5 mile route and take it *really* easily.

When I got to the parking lot, I ran into some nice kids who told me the trick of getting onto the track. Apparently, there is a part of the fence that’s been damaged and people just step through the hole that’s been made. It seemed that it would be a very easy repair, so my guess is that the school knows it’s there and allows the trespassing to go on.

There were several people there, but only 3 (including myself) serious runners. So I did a quick stretch and set out. I told Chris I would just run until I got tired and figured I would consider myself a HUGE success if I could stand the tedium for 3 miles.

Running around in circles on a completely smooth surface has its advantages. I was able to literally close my eyes for several seconds at a time and transport myself. It was like running in my dreams. It really was great. I was able to get into my music and actually forget I was out there.

It was much easier for me to get into “Zen Running” when I didn’t have to worry about stop lights, dogs on leashes or stopping. I could just run…. With no worries about obstacles.

There was a lady out there with a few of her kids. Her very porky son kept running across my lane when I’d pass them. Many times, I didn’t see him until it was too late so it is well that he didn’t seem to want to get run over but just needed some attention. It was also well that I never ran him over because I would have been supremely unconcerned and that might have pissed off his mother. But I was ready for that too. Why would someone show up at the track with their kids and allow them to disrupt other people’s workouts? It’s so rude! It’s like those ladies who show up at the gym and spend *hours* on the stationary bikes, barely pedaling and reading a book! Or on the treadmill in full hair, make-up, sports bra and body glitter! Sometimes I wanted to scream, “Get out! and make room for someone who’s actually trying to get a work out!!!”

But I digress, other than the rudeness, it was a really great run. I ran until I lost most of my daylight and I was starting to feel a sting in my right ankle. That was at about the 3.86 mile mark so I completed the circuit and got off the track. Didn’t want to press my luck.

I was really surprised to find that I enjoyed running the track so much. I remember being in high school and seeing the “older folks” running the track after Track Practice. Now I’m one of the fogies. Feels good!

Monday, August 2, 2010

August 2, 2010 – 3.23 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.”

Tonight’s run was very good. I had Chris leave me at Tae Kwon Do class so I could run home. I took the long way, but it was still a relatively short run. I was very much OK with that. I wanted to make sure I got out there without hurting myself.

This run was a little bit faster than yesterday’s run. There were far too many stops along the way with all the lights and whatnot. Then toward the end, I ran into my neighbor and stopped to talk for about 5 minutes without stopping my GPS, so my time was all shot. Then Chris passed by me in the car with Jayda, on his way to pick up Jordan from class. I was in the car for a good 45 seconds before I stopped my GPS.

This run was pleasant all the way around. I didn’t push myself very hard. The weather was typical SoCal perfection. Sarah was good for most of the run. I didn’t have any serious AT, knee, lower back or hip issues.

The only noteworthy event was when Sarah tried to bolt across a busy street to chase after another dog. I instinctively grabbed her leash and pulled. It just zipped longer and longer until it hit its end. I should have just used the button to lock it. The rope burned my finger. I wish that hadn’t happened.

Other than that, it was a great run. Right down to interruptions by Chris and the neighbor. It was a blessing all the way around.

August 1st, 2010 – 3.67 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.”

Tonight’s run was after a very busy weekend. We had people over yesterday. Just a group of good friends. One of those things where it had just been too long. We blew up the kiddie pool and fired up the grill and asked everyone to bring something fun to eat. We got the house clean (enough) and had a great time. Today we skipped church [blush] and went to visit a lady with whom I went to high school and went swimming at her house. Good times.

It felt good to be busy but I was I still having a LOT of tenderness in my right AT. Enough to make me really consider skipping this run. However, July was a really bad month for fitness for me. I ran about 36 miles all month and there were far too many days when I could have run but didn’t. Then there was that 6 day stretch when Chris was out of town so I only got to run once during that whole time.

I am determined that August should be a better month, so I couldn’t allow myself to start the month off with excuses. So after a lovely, but tiring visit with friends, I strapped on the Asics, grabbed my current issue of Runner’s World Magazine and went to the bathroom. Yes, the bathroom! I decided I would sit, until something happened. Either I would wait for the 2 lbs of pineapple I’d eaten at the pool to do its job and fight its way out of my system, find an article that would inspire me to actually get out the door since I already had the Asics on, or both!

Turned out, the pineapple did its job brilliantly and there was a great article in Runner's World about “easy day” training. It extolled the virtues of the easy day training session, saying it was essential to get those rest days in and if you were one of those people who just couldn’t sit on the couch and do nothing, to really take your workout down quite a few notches and take it really easy. It said to add as many as 2 minutes to your race day pace! I felt like I could do that with no trouble at all!

So I set out, without the dog, on something I could only call a glorified stroll. It was little more than a power walk. Some wouldn’t even call it that. I mean, I was going INSANELY slow, even for me! My average rate was a 15 min mile. You can walk a mile in 15 minutes most days.

At about the .75 mile mark, I was considering making it the 6.5 mile route, as long as I kept up this pace. Then I had to tell myself, “No… You are injured. If you really mess up your AT, you might not be fit for Race Day. So just praise the Lord you are out here now and take Sarah for a short walk when you get home if you really feel like you haven’t done enough”. So I maintained this ridiculous pace and turned the corner for the regular ole 3.5 mile route.

At about the 2 mile mark, I was really feeling terrible and trying to adjust my stride to relieve the pressure on my AT and in so doing, I think I was putting pressure on my hips, so this run was mostly about getting my form and footfall right. From mile 2 to mile 3 it was adjustments, mental notes and mental snapshots.

When I was turning down the home stretch with about half a mile left to go, I turned on Christine Aguilera’s “Fighter” and just ran it out. Not hard, but with determination.

Was it even worth it to post this run? Maybe not…. But even a bad workout is better than no workout and I think, when I wake up tomorrow, I will be very glad that I did it this way. Certainly gladder than if I’d run it too hard and had to stop and confess myself defeated and immensely gladder than if I’d skipped it all together. Besides, this was really good practice in case I have to do the race injured. But let us pray against that.