Friday, August 31, 2007

California Dreaming

Just when I thought I was for sure going to move out of Florida because I couldn't take the humidity any longer...SWEET RELIEF!!!

This morning the humidity was only around 78% (as opposed the the usual 89%) and you could REALLY tell the difference. It's so funny, how I actually thought it was cool out. Mind you it was still 80 degrees outside, but compared to Monday's run it was a breeze. Monday the weather was so hot, humid and still at 6:30am I vowed to quit running FOREVER unless I moved to the arctic tundra...or north Florida at least. I really had had enough. But thank goodness for today. It really restored my faith that one day, even if it still is a few months away still, the weather will cool down and running will not be so torturous.

The good news is that for the next whole week I wont have to worry about it because I'm off the CALIFORNIA!!!

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Woo-hoo!!!! My long lost vacation has finally arrived!!! I know I just went to Denver but that was only for a weekend and not really a vacation, but more just hanging out with the kids. And while this week we are hanging out with J's family the first few days (all of whom I love and can't wait to see), we are managing a few nights on our own.

Tomorrow through Monday we will be in Riverside and then on Tuesday (my BIRTHDAY) we are driving to San Diego to spend a night in the Gaslamp District then the next two nights we'll be at the Hotel Del Coronado. I really am so excited to go on a real vacation, I can't control myself. It's been over a year and I am soooooo ready to be away from work and Miami.

Speaking of which, most of you know that I work as a graphic designer therefore I am CONSTANTLY on the computer. This makes it hard for me to post often since when I get home from spending all day stressed out on a computer, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of another one and write a blog. This is why I am such a slacker lately when it comes to posting and responding to posts. I love everyone's comments and feedback and please know I am reading everyone's blogs as well, its just usually in between jobs at work and when I have a few minutes at home. So if I don't respond right away, just know that I am thinking of you and reading yours as well. I love learning and laughing from everyone's running/life experiences. :)

All that being said, I am not TOUCHING a computer for the next 8 days, so I will catch up on everyone's running when I get back as well as updates on how awesome it was to run in the "arctic tundra" of San Diego!!!

Monday, 8/27 - 5.65 miles/54:16 - 9:36 pace
Tuesday, 8/28 - 5.6/54:30 - 9:43 pace
Wednesday, 8/29 - 6 miles/1:00:14
Thursday, 8/30 - OFF!
Friday, 8/31 - 5.6 miles/52:26 - 9:21 pace
Saturday, 9/1 - Going to CALIFORNIA BABY!!!

Total Weekly (week and a half) Mileage: 22.85

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Boomerang Effect

I realized the other day that it had been over a year since I started writing this random tale of running.

I can't believe how far I have come as a runner since my very first post. I had just overcome some medical problems, given up smoking after 16 years and had never run more than 4 miles outside in my entire life. As a matter of fact, on my third post I dedicated an entire entry to my very first SIX MILE RUN!!! Haha, maybe one day I will look back at my post from a few weeks back when I did my first twenty mile run with the same sense of disbelief.

"Sheesh, I can't believe I thought a 20 mile run was such a big deal. Silly girl."

O.K. Maybe not.

Since starting my training for last years Miami Half Marathon (shortly after starting this blog) I have run appoximately 777.5 miles, if my calculations are correct. That is insane! I am really excited that I had a list of goals and actually stuck with every single one of them. (This concept if fairly new to me in life). Well, O.K. I didn't do the Ft. Lauderdale Half Marathon. I did Sarasota instead, minor details since I added Columbus to my list of goals. Most of all, I am happy about the person that running has helped me to become. It has made me more responsible, less stressed, and more aware of taking care of my body for health and performance rather than trying to be skinny.

I also believe that training for the half marathon last year played a HUGE role in my quitting smoking. While I had slowly been weaning myself off of cigarettes for the past two years, running regularly made it so much easier to just cut that cord. Running is a lot more fun when you can breathe (Captain Obvious here), but it also just gave me something else to focus on. Anyway, it was cool to go back and read how much things had changed in the past year. I love it when people go on and on about how they could never do what I do. I always think to myself, "If they only new me ten years ago when I was overweight, ate like shit, smoked a pack a day, partied waaaayyy too much and slept in till 2pm, they would realize that ANYONE can do it if you just suck it up and do it.

Damn, I should work in the Nike marketing department or something.

So, now that I'm done with my little motivational speech, I was such a slacker last week. Ha! This entry just took a total 180. After my last post I ran an 8 mile run with my friend Mercy around her place which was cool, then I had my second Footworks training run for Miami. I met with the group in the morning for a 6 mile run and it went really well. The group members started talking a little bit more and I didn't feel so awkward about being a "team leader" for some reason.

Unfortunately, the next day, J and I had a 16 miler scheduled for our training run for Columbus. We could have tried to combine the two and done 16 total on Saturday morning, but there is no way we could have run 10 miles by the time we were done with our Footworks training. In Miami 8am is waaaay too hot to go ten miles and getting up earlier to try and fit a 10 mile run in before we met up with Footworks would have meant we needed to start running at 4am. Um,

We still had to start at 4:45am though. You know you are getting up way too early to run when you are doing a 16 mile run and you get to the 8 mile turnaround point and it's still dark out. It's almost hilarious to me. I was surprised at how good I felt for the most part. I think running in the dark makes me feel like I'm not really running, but sort of in a weird dream. It was easy for me to zone out. Unfortunately for J, he wasn't feeling it. He was feeling sick the whole way and was having a hard time not wanting to turn around early. He kept telling me how the tables had turned and now it was me helping him get through these long runs, which was a funny thing to hear considering I would have never even been out there if it wasn't for him. Once we got about 2 miles from home, the heat kicked in and we were both done but knowing we only had a short bit left, helped to get us home and we actually finished pretty strong.

Of course we were completely useless for the rest of the day, but that's besides the point.

The rest of the week I totally mean rested. I did one 7 miler with Mercy that killed me, then I had another Saturday run with Footworks. This week we had a shorter run scheduled for Columbus training, 12 miles and a 7 miler scheduled for the group Miami training so we decided to combine them to give us Sunday off (yay!) Of course that meant running 5 with Jeremy at 4:45am, ending our run where we meet our Footworks groups then separating to run another 7 with them. Actually, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be and the best thing is we didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn to run today! Last weekend our "sleeping in day" was Saturday and we "slept in" till 5am. It's sad when you are looking forward to going back to work on Monday so you can sleep in.

What has happened to my life?

Thursday, 8/16 - 7.9 miles/1:17:54 - 10:06 pace
Saturday, 8/18 - 6 miles/1:07 - 11:03 pace
Sunday, 8/19 - 16 miles/2:48 - 10:29 pace (right on pace!)
Wednesday, 8/22 - 7 miles/1:11:47
Saturday, 8/25 - 12.5 miles/2:12:44 - 10:38 pace
Sunday, 8/26 - Gym (abs and lift)

Total Weekly (week and a half) Mileage: 49.40

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rocky Mountain High

I'm still alive, just busy, busy, busy...

I missed my long run this weekend because I was outside of Denver visiting my nieces and nephew. Their father (my brother) in serving in Iraq and their mom is swamped trying to take care of three kids so my mom and I went out for a visit.

Here is a picture of my brother with the kids before he shipped out in June.
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We had a good time. Played a lot of games, went swimming, jumped on the trampoline (my childhood dream finally came true).
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I had never been to Colorado before and it was beautiful. The view from their back porch was amazing and the sunsets were out of control!

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I did manage to get in two short runs while I was there (4.9 miles). I was concerned with the elevation so I decided to take it slow and just see how I felt. I mapped out a run around their neighborhood and compared the elevation in Colorado to the elevation to my "highest" run in Miami (our "hill" workout over the Rickenbaker).


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Highest point 30ft above sea level.

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Highest point 6040ft above sea level.


I was pretty worried since the first night I got there I could barely make it up their stairs without almost passing out, so I decided to be a little conservative. But when I got out there an amazing thing happened. All my humid Miami runs actually paid off because the altitude was nothing compared to Miami in August (or July, June, May...). The weather was beautiful, sunny and cool at 7am with no humidity at all. The only thing that got me a bit was the first 1/3 of the loop I ran was all uphill, so that sucked. Oh and the sun felt like it was resting on my face since the atmosphere is non existent. Nothing a hat couldn't cure though. My shirt was even dry as a bone when I was done. Amazing. I can't remember the last time my running clothes where dry after a 5 mile run, even in February. It was a nice change of pace. And running the hills were cool since I knew in my head I would be returning to flat land soon enough.

Other than that, not too much going on. I did get new kicks!

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They are the same as my old ones that had over 450 miles on them (yikes), but the newer version. I also decided to go up another size. I usually wear between an 8-9 and my running shoes where a 9. They never bothered me until recently, when the longer mileage combined with the higher temps caused my feet to swell like water balloons. J convinced me to go up to a 10, and I thought he was nuts at first, but I've gotta say, he was right. They are sooo much better to run in. I actually have room to wiggle my toes. And my toenails and heel have not been bothering me at all since I upped the size.

Moral of the story: Listen to the people at the shoe store even if you think you will look like bigfoot.

Wednesday, 8/7 - 5.65 miles/55:54 - 9:53 pace
Thursday, 8/9 - 5.65 miles/56:191 - 9:58 pace
Saturday, 8/11 - 4.88 miles/53:57 - 11:03 pace (scared of heights, no wonder I felt so good!)
Sunday, 8/12 - 4.88 miles/50:24 - 10:19 pace (picked it up a little)
Wednesday, 8/15 - 6.11 miles/59:57 - 9:48 pace

Total Weekly Mileage: 27.17

Monday, August 06, 2007

There's No Denying It...

I am a runner.

No really, a real runner. I know this for one reason and one reason only. Only someone as stubborn as a runner would be stupid enough to go on a TWENTY MILE run, their FIRST twenty mile run, in Miami in August when it just so happens to be the day that Miami is setting a RECORD BREAKING TEMPURATURE...FOR MIAMI!

I never did win any awards for being smart.

But I am training for a marathon and I do live in Miami. It's not like I am the only person to ever run 20 miles in the heat, so I did what I had to do. I kept running.

And running, and running...and drinking, and running and some walking. A little whining too, lets not lie. I even came up with a new mantra:

"Every step is one step closer to the end."

Maybe not the best mantra for say, life in general, but a pretty damn good one for running. Maybe even the best I had ever heard. And it actually WORKED. I am not a mantra/positive speaking type of gal. But repeating this new phrase over and over to myself as the tempuratures gradually rose and every ounce of salt seeped through my pores actually kept me going. Maybe because it's not so much positve as it is common sense. I may even make tshirts. I can sell them to runners, runners and owners of funeral parlors. I'll make millions.

I came up with it after we had just crossed the Rickenbacker Causeway for the second time around mile 11 and J and I were both feeling pretty much done. But we couldn't stop, we were NINE MILES from home. We couldn't walk, it would have taken forever. And give up? How could I finish a marathon if I can't run through a little heat? So we kept going because the sooner we got there, the sooner it would be over. Ahhh, the power of positive thinking!

Overall, the run was ok. I got plenty of sleep. We started running at 4:45am. The temp was 82 degrees with 80% humidity...BEFORE 5am. Sigh. Whatever, the problem was that it just got so much warmer so much faster than normal. I felt great for a long time. Our pace was good (between a 10:30 and 11:00) and the sun didn't start rising until mile 9. Then we crossed the bridge. It was hard, but not impossible. Then we turned around at mile 10 and crossed it again. Thats when it all went downhill, literally.

My stomach felt pretty good the whole time so that was alright. We drank a ton of water (almost every 5 minutes and I took three Gu's on top of the mini cliff bar before I ran so I was OK there. However, I really need new shoes and was getting a blister on a heel spur that I have. The spur actually dug a hole into the back of my shoe that I have to stuff with cotton before I run (I know, I know). Anyway, it started bothering me around mile 7 so I knew I was in trouble. Then there was the bridge fiasco. Then the sun was up and BLAZING. Absolutely NO cloud coverage. It was completely draining. Then around mile 17.5 we got back to a park where we had hidden a couple of bottles of Gatorade in a tree. They were still there when we got there (I believe someone above was answering my prayers). That helped a little, but it was pretty much too late. Those last two and a half miles were some of the most intense, self-actualizing moments of my life. It really is a testament to how much I have changed in the past year due to my running.

The old me would have NEVER finished this run. I don't even know what came over me. I just kept plugging along. I was so beyond hot that I didn't even notice it anymore. Mainly because I was soaked from head to toe. I mean, my feet were actually "sloshing". I was on the verge of hallucinating and would just zone in and out. I actually even had moments where I forgot I was running. When I had to stop to take a walk break I would almost start crying from the tightening in my legs, but I had no water left in me to come out of my eyes and was too tired to make any noise so I just sort of panted really hard. Yes, it was quite a sight. Running is sooo sexy.

However, I never felt sick or dizzy and I never got chills. I also had no actual "pains" other than the blister and my legs becoming two balls of flaming knots, so I knew I was technically OK and had no real reason to quit.

And thank goodness for Jeremy. He was so awesome and knew right when to stay quiet and right when to chime in with:

"You got this. If you can do run 20 in this weather an Ohio marathon in October will be nothing."

Or my favorite,

"Twenty miles is not supposed to feel good."

Smart ass.

It was exactly what I needed to hear though. Come to find out later he wanted to give up at mile 9 because he was so exhausted and only kept going because he knew that mentally, I needed to get in 20. He told me he was really shocked to see how how tough I was and that it made him sort of feel bad that he wanted to give up. Awww :)

When the run was finally over the hardest part was walking the .25 mile back to my house (we start and end the runs at the end of our street and use our street as a warm-up/cool-down). Although, it would be a bit ambitious to classify what i was doing as "walking". It was more of a dragging/waddling/shuffling/sort of movement. I now know what it feels like to be 90.

The rest of the the afternoon was filled with icebaths, snacks, Gatorade and naps. I couldn't function until about 10pm last night when I finally got the feeling back in my legs and could get up from the couch without feeling as though my kneecaps were going to explode. I must have done something right though, because I feel great today. No problems whatsoever. I wasn't even tired. That's right, I'm a badass! ;)

The rest of the week was good. We had our first training day for the Miami Marathon Group on Saturday. There are about 12-15 people in our group and it is supposed to grow over the next few weeks. I kind of just tagged along and let the the main leader take over as we did our initial 3 mile run. Of course I felt stupid later when he took off and left me and the other female leader to go over stretching with the group. The other leader didn't know any streches, so I had to pretend like I knew what I was talking about. Here's me:

"Uhhh...errr...this one is good for your...uh...groin. Yeah, sit like this and put your feet together. Pull, yeah, not too'll break yourself."

Soooo, professional. Remember how I said I never won any awards?!?! So yeah, I need to learn some stretches. I just know a few and I'm no doctor. I mean, I don't know a lot of the names of all the muscles or the stretches for that matter. I just know what feels good and not to overdo it. These poor people are probably wtf kind of marathon "leader" is this?!? Sigh.

Wednesday, 8/1 - 3.22 miles/29:51 - 9:16 pace
Thursday, 8/2 - 5.65 miles/55:01 - 9:44 pace
Saturday, 8/4 - 3 miles/31:40 - 10:33 pace
Sunday, 8/5 - 20 miles/3:38:07 - 10:53 pace

Total Weekly Mileage: 31.87

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