May 2009


Do I get the award for the longest blog post title?

Thank you to everyone for the kind thoughts the last few days. Through the beauty of what is the weekend, I’ve calmed down and gotten over things. Phew!

Anyway, yes, people, me, scrawny me, did a plank pose this morning for 4 minutes. It might have helped that it was the first thing I did at the gym, rather than last, but hey, 4 minutes is 4 minutes. I was pretty solid too until around 3ish minutes. After about 3:15, then the legs and arms started shaking, I have to admit, but I stuck to my guns and held it. And yes, I am proud of myself. ūüôā

I’ve never been a “recovery run” runner. It annoys the crap out of me to have to tell myself to run something like 2 minutes per mile slower than I normally do. Last summer, I decided I’d ride the bike on those days.¬† This summer, I have to admit, I am worried about the elevation chart for the Boilermaker road race.¬† I think¬† I may take a weekend trip home to my mom soon, so I can drive as much of the course as possible. (Yes, it’d probably be wise to run it but I don’t know that I’d have the time to get it in. Ok, ok, we’ll see.)

So, after lifting and using various weight machines,¬†to bulk up my arms more than they¬†already are¬†by virtue of carrying a backpack daily, I decided¬†I’d use that blasted stairmaster machine that looks like an escalator that goes nowhere. I will now dub it the Stairway to Hell.¬† That machine makes every single person who uses it sweat like there’s no tomorrow. But it does get your heart rate up, and some¬†articles I’ve read said it can help with running hills. So I climbed something like 109 floors, which is almost¬†2 miles. I put it on speed intervals, and then on the “speed” intervals, I¬†take the stairs two at a time. It’s a good workout for¬†what I think¬†are my quad muscles.

Then I rode the bike for about 15 minutes or 5 miles, and read my book, which is very good by the way, Third Degree, by Greg Iles. They say that if you want to be a good writer, you have to read a lot of good books. So, there you go. I am finding myself to be a more discerning reader now, and I find myself trying to pick out different literary techniques out of my reading.

Ok, and on to the review, which is one I’ve been meaning to write for a while.

Women’s¬† Running Magazine:

Why did I subscribe?¬† I figured I would try out the first 3 months for free, through one of those Active ads that you are forced to see when you sign up online for a race. Y’all know what I’m talking about. (Did I just say/write y’all?¬† I’m not even from the south!)¬† I digress…

When I first got it, I thought, “eh, nothing special. I can take it or leave it.”¬† Some articles on food, hydration, ads on running bras, etc.¬† More yoga stretching poses, this is nothing special that I can’t find in some of my other magazines. Then I was talking to Jill on Facebook (of Jill Will Run blog fame). She said she’d met the people behind the magazine at one of her race expos and she wanted to support what they were trying to do. I decided I’d give it another month.

I got the next issue. This one had a pretty in-depth article about 2 women and how they faced the juggling act of being moms, having families and still trying to fit in their running. It talked about what experiences they had when trying to run while pregnant, and what it was like coming back from that ordeal. I really liked that article because it didn’t shyaway from saying it like it is. And I think you all know from some of my earlier posts how I am worried that if I did ever get pregnant, that I wouldn’t want my running to be interfered with, but I can’t imagine how that could be possible. In short, that article spoke to me.

They also have a section called “Women Who Move” which provides inspiration from runners like us. And I don’t get the impression the magazine is only aimed at marathoners, unlike Running Times (which I’d outright just cancel if it didn’t have so many interesting articles on elite athletes that I love.) So, I think I’m going to continue getting it when the paid portion kicks in.

New blog on the blogroll:

Oh, and one last thing – a new blogger (or should I say, new to me) found me by virtue of one of my recent posts about a long run) and I’ve taken a look at his blog.¬† I¬† like it! We’ve got something in common in addition to running¬†(the law, although he probably still likes it at this point whereas I am not so much in love with it) and it’s too funny – he has the same WordPress theme my blog started with!¬† I’ve added him to my blogroll, in case any of you are looking to add some new ones to your lists – Just the Distance. So, check out his blog, drop a comment or two, and give him a reason to procrastinate on studying for the Bar! (Speaking as someone who has taken 3 bar exams (and passed), believe me, I know, he’ll be looking for any excuse to do so! LOL!)

Plan?:

In addition to doing¬† more strength training, I am considering returning to my 3 mile/5K Monday morning runs to remind myself how it feels to run really fast (relative, of course).¬† I’m worried that as I continue to do these longer Saturday runs again, I’ll continue to slow down again like last summer. It gives me 36 hours before my track workouts because they are only in the evenings.¬† But as of right now, I’m not so sure how my legs will feel at 4:30 a.m., since I worked out so long at the gym!

Ah well, thanks for reading. I’ll post pics of my garden with all of its glorious mulch later this week – this post is already long enough!

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Today’s run was more of a labor, not a labor of love.¬† A lot of it was due to my mental state.¬† I was still angry from dealing with that person yesterday and I was pissed at myself for still being angry and letting it get to me.¬† I even tried channeling my friend, Lis, who used to be able to talk me through times when I’d get bothered by such little things, on our long runs together. That helped for a bit, but not having her physically there was just not the same.

But I did work out what I wanted to do, in my mind.¬† I decided to tell the faculty member what had happened.¬† I did, this morning, and it was a like a weight had been lifted off of my chest.¬† I have just gotten to the point where I’ve decided, I am not a doormat and I don’t deserve to be treated like one.¬† So many times at my university, I’ve realized from my colleagues that we have now accepted it as a norm to feel unappreciated and really undervalued, by both students and faculty alike.

What I have to remind myself of is that¬†this particular faculty member appreciates me.¬†I have to remind myself that there are students out there like Elisha who are normal, and do appreciate others.¬† There are good eggs, I just need to look hard and far to find them, and then pray that their experiences at my school don’t change them, that they can keep that genuineness intact.¬† Some of them have even commented¬†or emailed me about this¬†blog in the past.

And I have to not let¬†the negative thoughts get to me so much.¬† Allowing¬†that to happen gave this person and¬†his actions so much power. Way too much, in fact. Just a few minutes ago, I read this post on ZenHabits – Things We Think About But Do Not Say, and thought, “well, that’s timely.”

My running this morning was way too slow as a result.¬† A few times I walked just to try to talk myself into a better mood.¬† I suppose it would have also helped if it had not been so humid, and sunny.¬† The time for Endurolytes has definitely returned. I much prefer running in fog/mist/grayness, like Penny. Next week, I’ll try much harder to keep my mileage within a certain time frame and pace.

I’m going to head out to my garden now to plant some perennials and (hopefully) finish up with that last 3 yards of mulch we had delivered last weekend.¬† We’ve had 3 straight days of rain here, so at least my vegetables don’t have to worry about having parched throats.

Anyway, thanks for listening.

So good, then so BAD and then so good again.

The Good (early):¬† By 6:40 a.m., I had run 5 miles in 46 minutes. A PR for me, but it is one of my flatter routes.¬† I was a bit sad to see the 6 on the watch – I really wanted to see 45 on the clock, and then I got mad at myself for having taken two very quick walk breaks in Mile 4, bringing that mile’s pace to 9:36, but still it’s a PR.¬†

How many others out there can say that they’ve already run 5 miles by 6:40? (Other than all of you readers, of course.)

The Bad (midday): Long story short – email is a great thing.¬† Because it can vindicate you.¬† I had to deal with someone on the phone who was talking to me as if I was mentally challenged and he needed to speak slowly to me or otherwise I wouldn’t understand his condescending tone.¬†¬†Please¬†know¬†that this person did not even work at my school (a large chip resides on his shoulder as a result, I believe), so I have no duty to help him.¬† He does, however, work with one of my favorite faculty members on a book she is writing, so I tried to work with him. Thing is, this person said that something had NEVER worked for him in the past.¬† Funny thing is, I had an email to prove I was¬†RIGHT and he was WRONG.¬† So as his tone got more and more condescending, I started to take a¬†different tone with him. Not condescending, I really tried, but enough so he knew I thought he was being an¬†A-Hole.¬† (Sorry, not PG-13.)¬†

Needless to say, I didn’t mention in my follow-up emails that I thought he was a jerk (I am being PG-13 right now, that is definitely not the word I used to describe this person as I lightly slammed the¬†phone down on my end).¬† I just let his own email, which I referred to in my own,¬†prove me right.¬† Oh, and I copied my faculty member on my emails.¬†¬† Hopefully she’ll remain blissfully ignorant of this whole episode because that poor woman has enough to deal with.

And, well,¬†hearing someone “eat crow” on your voicemail – well that was nice.¬† Not an apology but a much kinder tone was used.¬† Hopefully we’ll either never have to deal with each other again, or he can prove¬† himself to be a human next time around.

Let me say it again – I love email some days.

The Good (lunchtime):¬† Right after the phone call, I had lunch with an undergraduate from my university, whose name is Elisha.¬† We met last year because I’ve been helping her and some other students work on a very long-term (read: multi-years long) research project where they look up a lot of laws in a particular area of the law and then “code” what they find, to create a dataset.¬†

Elisha is one of those rare breeds that is incredibly down to earth, is beautiful, is smart, and is just a genuinely good person.¬† I saw her, and said ‘I need 5 minutes to vent, can I vent?”¬† She then heard me use more obscenities than she’s probably ever thought a librarian could use.¬† And that’s the thing. She doesn’t look at me as a librarian, but as a¬†person and a friend first.

Then, she told me that she has decided she doesn’t want to go to law school after all, even though she’s signed up to take the LSAT next week. At this point, I hugged her.¬† I would not suggest to ANYONE that they go into law school these days.¬†

The job market generally sucks, but with this field, it’s only going to get worse.¬† The mid-level associates are getting laid off every day, and incoming classes to law firms are getting deferred for at least a year. (And, usually they are getting paid to do that, to the tune of $60-75K, sometimes to do non-profit work, and sometimes they are getting paid that to do nothing.)¬† Yes, you read¬†that number correctly. ¬†That means each succeeding class of graduates will have more and more competition in a field that is already glutted.¬† Kristin, I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this. (For those of you who’ve not yet met Kristin, of Running with the Runner Girl fame, is a practicing lawyer, who I had the good fortune to meet, last year, at a half marathon.)

But, Elisha did say she wanted to know more about my field and does she need a law degree to do what I do.¬† And she told me that basically the reason she’s become interested in it is because of me.¬†¬† Quite a compliment coming from this girl, who with her undergraduate degree could probably go just about anywhere. Oh, and I’m invited to her wedding next year as well.¬† I told her I had not expected that, and I know how expensive weddings can get,¬†and she responded “you’re special to me.¬† You’re a given on the list.”

Wow.

Good to know there are some really good human beings out there some days.  

Thanks for listening. (Sorry to steal your line, Willie.)

I had toyed with the idea of running a 5 mile race last weekend on Memorial Day. That is, until I saw the price.¬†¬† $30 for a 5 mile race?¬† I started doing the math. That’s like $6 per mile.¬† Wait, that’s more than $1 per quarter mile.¬† Are they serious??!!

Bill started laughing at me because he said he’d never heard someone talk about the price of a race like that before.¬† In “these troubled economic times” (a phrase that, I swear, if anyone says it around me again, I swear I will smack them silly) I just couldn’t justify the cost.¬† Bill and I are meeting with our financial advisor and I’m trying to put all of our expenses together, and well, it’s enlightening to see where money escapes through your fingers. The price of races can really add up, but I don’t have to tell any of you that.

And yes, all of this coming from one of the biggest gearheads around! I’ve realized I have so many running clothes that they are busting out of their designated drawer so I am going to try to not buy any more this summer.¬† Wish me luck!

On a non-financial, but running subject, have any of you ever hurt the back of your knee where it hurts sometimes to keep it straight?¬† I think the other day I overextended my right knee while I was stretching.¬† I’m hoping it’s feeling better enough so I can run tomorrow – I took the safe way out this morning and rode the bike instead.¬† Yesterday it hurt to walk on my right side for most of the day, and today it’s better, but it does hurt sometimes when I’m driving.

Not so descriptive I know, but would anyone care to diagnose? 

In case I don’t get to the blog tomorrow, I’d like to wish a HUGE HUGE HUGE¬† SHOUTOUT TO LISA, of the Discovering the Meaning of Stonehenge blog. She’s running the RNR Marathon in San Diego this coming weekend, and I don’t want to jinx her by saying it out loud, but I think she’s going to hit some of her major goals.¬† I¬†really don’t want to jinx her on saying them out loud, so I’ll just point you to her goal post. ¬†In case you’ve not read Lisa’s blog, well, I’ve been reading it for over a year now.¬†¬† She was fast to begin with, she’s only amazed with me with how much speedier she’s become, and oh, by the way, she’s incredibly, incredibly nice, and a very genuine person.¬† I’ve even had the good fortune to speak to her live on the phone after we’ve each had a¬†big race.

Oh, and anyone¬†out there read the Running While Pathetic Blog last year?¬† Well, Karen’s back!!!¬† What are you waiting for – go and read it!

Ok, I have to get back to writing my novel (yep, I’ve been trying to be good and really work with the new idea I came up with a few weeks ago and write consistently.)¬† Oh, and I’ve got to get up tomorrow around 4 or 4:30 to run!

Happy Running everyone.

Until tonight, I was feeling kind of down about my last few track practices. I have been going on Wednesday nights because of my work schedule, but now, I should be able to stick more to a Tuesday night schedule, except when I have a Friends of the Library board meeting. I think on Tuesdays it’s easier to find people to run with – there seem to be more of a certain pace group than on Wednesdays when it tends to turn into a lot of pairs.¬†

Karen and I were both glad we switched to Tuesday.¬† One of the coaches even made a point of coming up to the two of us and introducing himself as he had never seen us before and wanted to know about our goals. I thought that was really cool of him to do.¬† And, the people seemed really friendly.¬† I was able to see my friend Bob again, who I’ve not seen since indoor track.¬† He’s a really good guy who joked tonight about bringing up the rear and not being a “runner” but I have news for him. He’s more a runner than he will ever know. How many runners are out there who never do speed work or try to improve? You show up every week, you put in the time, and in my book, you’re a runner!

Tonight’s workout was a bunch of 500s,¬†8 to be exact.¬† We walked 300s in between, which was more than enough for me to recover.¬† ¬†I know, a 500¬†is a sorta weird distance, right?¬† I personally like it because we ended each one on a straightaway and Diane said I used to always take off as I saw and reached the straightaway. It’s like my body just knows it’s almost at the end.

There was one girl there tonight that was clearly a very talented runner, most likely a pretty successful college cross-country runner.¬† She took off on the first one, way ahead of the rest of us. Luckily for her, there was another guy there who could keep up with her, so for the rest of the night, they had the two of them run together.¬† The rest of us ran in one large group, which wasn’t too bad once we all figured out where we should start in the beginning so we were able to get into our pace groove quickly from the beginning.¬†¬† There was a lady there named Lana, who tended to lead and I was quite content to just try to keep pace with her.¬†

I had a feeling I could really run all out on my last repeat, and it felt really good.¬† I was running behind Lana, and at around the 250-300 yard mark, I think she could hear me right on her heels, and she moved outward in the inside lane.¬† That’s really unusual for someone to do, I think, and really nice of her, honestly. I was all prepared to go on the outside, but she moved aside, and I just kind of kept on going.¬† I actually felt myself speeding up, and it’s kind of hard to put into words how it felt.¬† I ended up doing the first 400 in 1:41, and finished up in 2:00.¬† That actually meant my last 100 was faster than the rest!!!

Anyway, this picture below kind of describes how it felt to run tonight on that last 500 РI felt like I could have kept on going Рmy legs were getting lighter toward the end, rather than heavier.  And I realized, there was not a soul around me at the end, a weird, but beautiful feeling.

Photo by Sideran, on Flickr.com

Photo by Sideran, on Flickr.com

Hey, if Willie can call his Garmin Paula, and treat it like a woman, then I can certainly treat my long runs like a man. Sometimes you love him, sometimes you hate him, sometimes¬† you’re in a fight for the entire way, or you’re arguing and you’re not even sure what started it all. But time apart can definitely help.

Of course, “long” is all relative. For me right now, that’s 8 miles. I could have run with The Ladies as I sometimes do on Saturdays, but I just felt like running alone.¬† You ever have days like that?¬† I wanted to just be able to think, and see if I could do my own pace the entire way. It averaged out to about 10:07 miles, which is good for me for the Long Runs. I ran around our little Silver Lake, which is about 1.85 miles, took a very quick bathroom break, threw off my arm warmers and took off for the rest of it with my water bottle, Gu, and sports beans.¬† I am beginning to wonder if I can take Gus anymore. Long story short, everything was pretty good until just before I hit mile 6 on the Garmin.¬† Then all of a sudden, I was like “ohh,…oh…this is not good. It was as if everything, well, kicked in, if you know what I mean.”¬† So I walked a bit for about 30 seconds or so, and then I felt ok. My last two miles were 9:47 and 9:20, which I was very happy about, considering at one point, I was beginning to think maybe I’d have to knock on someone’s door, look pathetic and ask to use their bathroom. Please, God, let it never have to come to that!

I didn’t run Sunday – instead Bill and I unloaded about 3 yards worth of bark mulch.¬† That means we only have about 3 more yards to spread. For those of you who have ever spread bark mulch, please just know that 6 yards is a LARGE, LARGE pile.¬† We have it delivered in a dump truck. Enough said.

Yes, my back did hurt yesterday, and I felt it this morning on the beginning of my 5 mile run, which I only did about 9 a.m. Normally way too late for me to run, but this weekend has just been absolutely, well, glorious is the only word I can use to describe it. Not too much humidity, the right amount of cloudiness on Saturday during mylong run, and the right amount of sun the rest of the weekend. We could not have asked for a better Memorial Day weekend.

My 5 mile run was not the best, but I am not going to beat¬† myself up for it. It’s a holiday weekend, I’ve eaten hamburgers two nights in a row, my back hurt from all the gardening and mulching, and the Female Bane of Existence is in town (you know what I mean).¬† 5 Miles in 48 minutes. Only walked about 15 or 20 seconds up a huge hill. From now on, I am going to concentrating on how good that first breath feels when you reach the top of a hill, and think about the whole way up, no matte how much it hurts.

And now, I really do want to be reading more of everyone’s blogs. Work has been busy (yes, we are still busy even when the students are gone because that’s when we get everything else done), and I”ve been keeping up on updates on Twitter from some of you but Twitter is a poor substitute for reading about everyone’s running progress.

Anyway, enjoy the picture below – there are some amazing photographers sharing their talent on Flickr!

Photo by Jesuscm, on Flickr.com

Photo by Jesuscm, on Flickr.com

Before I say anything about track, I have to tell you about my niece and nephews from last weekend.¬† For some reason, their dad was talking to his brother about doing plank exercises and they heard him talking about it. So they decided they wanted to do it. Yes, the 8 year old and the 4 year old. I think part of the attraction was that they could challenge each other for times, and also that they could press the buttons that beeped on my watch.¬† The next night, my little niece, Katie, decided she wanted to play with my watch. I KNOW she really liked hitting the buttons on my watch and making it beep over and over again. Then she looked at me and said “Now ME” and then laid down on the floor. It was way too adorable.¬† After about 7 seconds, she turned around and gave me such a big smile, it was way too cute.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, she looks like Suri Cruise (my sister says it is her haircut) but honestly she is MUCH cuter!!

Tonight’s track workout was the capnote (is that a word, or did I just make it up? Not sure, oh well, anyway…) to a very productive day. I had today off, so I got up at 6:30 with Bill (actually felt like I had slept in, believe it or not).¬† I spent a good 3 hours or so playing in poop (well, manure anyway) and garden soil. A total of 26 bags of it to be exact, so yes, my back hurts now.¬† I went grocery shopping, ran tons of errands, and then went to track practice.

I ran with a girl named Karen who ran indoor track this past winter. She used to swim in the mornings of track practice, so she ran with a slower group than me, but she’s actually about the same, speed-wise, as me.¬† We were supposed to run a total of 16 laps, but Karen and I started a few minutes after everyone, so we only got 15 in, but that was fine.¬† We were supposed to do short bursts of 200s, immediately followed by 200s that were just about 10 seconds slower than the fast bursts. Try doing that without taking a break for about 2 miles straight. Today was over 80, and both of us (but probably more me) needed a break after each 4 laps.¬† We tried to do short bursts of 50-55 seconds, with the “back in” portion of 200s around 65-80 seconds.¬† Our coach said it’d be alright if we needed to pull back on the slower end of the 200s.¬†

It should be interesting to see if I can improve more with these types of workouts than the ones I’m used to. I hope so!

I’m getting caught up on people’s blogs again – everyone’s been so busy, wow!

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