June 2009

Normally, I attend track practice on Tuesday nights. However, lately, especially when doing 200s, I’ve been feeling sharp, shooting pains in my right quad  muscle.  I tried changing my gait last week, trying to keep my legs from kicking up too high behind me, and keeping my arms down low, so I could still try to keep up a fast pace. That helped some, but when I looked at the workout scheduled for tonight, I just didn’t think it would be the prudent thing to do.  It involved 20 2oos.  I so love that short distance and the burst of speed that I can usually generate but lately it just causes pain.  That really bums me out.

Tuesday is my flex day off during the summer. I live for Tuesdays now!

I had dinner with Chris, the Gibtown Runner, last night, who is in town for work again.  If you read his blog, you know he’s trying to get a team together for the Ragnar Relay in Arizona in Feb. 2010.  I am seriously considering doing it but I do have fears about it at the same time.  As I said to Chris, when I first wake up in the morning and think about it, part of me says, “just tell Chris  ‘No!’ for sure,  just say ‘No!'”   Then I get out there running, and it helps to think of what it’d be like to meet people in person, feel like part of a team, and how knowing I’m depending on others and they are depending on me can be such a motivation to keep on going. (And yes, the idea of walking when the van is out of sight has crossed my mind, LOL!)  Then, I looked at the training for intermediate runners that is suggested on the race website, and I’m like “Are you friggin kidding me?  Three runs in the same day in January? No way in hell!”

I was inspired by Felice, the Happy Runner, to attempt to do 2 runs in the same day.  (You can click here to read her post.)  Like her, my first run of the day was crap. Ironically, my legs feel better now, at the end of the day, than they did before and after the first run of the day.

My first run this morning was 6.22 miles. Crap, complete crap. Maybe it was the humidity, maybe it was because it was my “hilly” run. Maybe it was because I couldn’t figure out if I should try to do it at my regular pace, or whether I should do it at a purposedly “easy” pace.   Maybe it was that I was getting a bit bored of my playlist. I tend to think it was the humidity and the overused playlist.  Anyway, I walked for very short distances, but frequently. At one point, I realized I was quite hot, and ended up taking off my shirt, which felt a million times better.  Also, I didn’t carry water, but stopped back at my house after 4.4, and took a lot of gulps of my propel water, plus a few Endurolytes.  After that, I definitely felt better, if a bit spacey (not sure about that, honestly) and the loop around my lake (which is awesomely flat) was much better, pace-wise and otherwise.

This evening, I only did 3.5 miles, and that was enough.  However, there really wasn’t much of an urge to walk, and the pace was much more even, about 9.33 for the entire 3.5 miles.  I made sure to listen to another playlist of mine, one which I hadn’t listened to lately, so it was almost like some of  the songs were “new” again.  Anyone else out there ever feel like that with some of your music?

It could have been that I knew the run tonight was supposed to be easy, that was the goal.  It could have been that I just knew it was going to be shorter and could relax.  It could have been because the route was more flat (I’m sure that had something to do with it.) It could have been that it was less humid.  It could have been the food or fruit I ate today in the interim.  Whatever it was, it just felt better this evening.

Now, could I do that for about 9-10 more miles over a 24 hour period?  In Arizona?  In February?  I’m not sure, but I’m getting closer to saying yes.  Now I need to check out air fares. 

Am I going to do this every Tuesday I have off this summer?  Probably not, I’m not insane.  But it is nice to see that my legs are still attached to my body.

My brother really wants to do the race, and it’d be an awesome experience to share with him too., if we can both afford it. We’d be traveling from Boston and NYC, so the flights won’t be cheap.   He’d be a great person to have on our team – he’s already done a relay like this twice in Texas.  He won’t care that not everyone is as fast as him (he’s hoping to qualify for a 3rd time, for Boston, this fall in Philadelphia.  My fingers, legs, and toes are already crossed for him.) He’s already offered to do a more difficult leg for me if need be.  (Hell, Lindsay’s already offering to do 12 mile legs for me!  I’ve told her to be wary of offering that sort of thing to me – I just might take her up on it.)

Do you hear me, Chris, I’m getting closer to saying yes, and sending you that check, so help me!

Two unrelated matters:

(1) Has anyone ever heard this singer before?  Would you expect this voice to come out of someone this young? At times she reminds me of Bonnie Tyler!

Lesley Roy, Slow Goodbye

(2)  You know you are getting too  much rain when your deck’s welcome mat starts to sprout weeds. I am not kidding about this, I will need to take a picture of it tomorrow to prove it.  🙂

Thanks for reading, and have a good run on the roads and trails everyone!


Seriously, people, I’m not exaggerating, I was beginning to forget what it felt like to have the sun on my face.   I was beginning to feel like we live in Forks, Washington, the fictional town in the Twilight series. It finally came out today. Hallelujah!

I did my usual 4.5-5 miles this morning, starting around 5:40ish.  Low 60s, but seriously, about 98% humidity. There was lots and lots of fog, making me glad that I can run on the sidewalks now and not in the streets like I do all winter.  I saw a turtle swimming really fast in the lake near me, that was pretty cool!  Those of you who have lived in the country, or smallish towns will probably understand me when I say that there was so much moisture in the air, you could literally smell it.

Some mornings, it can be really lonely out there that early.  Last week, I said a silent prayer I’d see a triathlete swimming in Silver Lake near my house, and it came true. Seeing someone else out there that early really lifted my spirits, and my speed.

Some mornings, such as today, even if it is lonely, I don’t mind.  It can be the music on my iPod, or my mood that keeps me going.  This morning it was both, and the thought of possibly doing the Ragnar Relay as Chris over at Gibtown Runner is trying to organize.  

This morning, I thought of what it might be like to meet a lot of my fellow bloggers in person, and how surreal that might be.  I thought of what it would be like to be part of a true team, and how running 3 times in a 24 hour period would really test each of us.  I know I can be a true bitch when I don’t get my sleep (I can see and hear my family members reading this laughing now) – could I really keep that in check? Can I really get in all the training I’d need, considering how cold it is here that time of year?  Not to mention the snow? What would it be like to be running in February and not be covered in 3 layers on top and bottom?  What would it be like to be out there running in the middle of the night and not be all alone doing it?  That last thought was at once shocking and oddly comforting, and made me smile to myself.

Now, I just hope that it won’t become prohibitively expensive for my brother and I to join in the fun.

That’s what kept me going today.  Even when I didn’t see one other runner.  Even when the quad pain started up a small bit (worries me, I admit, but I will do the Boilermaker in July if I have to crawl to the end.)   And Willie, since you enjoy hearing about races in the Northeast, I’ll try to provide lots of details about that race, as well as many pictures!

Ok, gotta hit the hay – since we finally have some sun here, and it’s humid out, like I expect it to be in July in Utica, I will probably run a very short, easy run tomorrow morning, maybe just 3 miles or so, to keep acclimatizing to it.  I need to be in two weeks.

Thanks for reading.

So much to do/mention, so little time! I’ve got to get to bed so I can get up around 4 a.m., but here’s the gist:

  • Work: guess I can mention this now – I am going to be able to do Foreign, Comparative and International Law librarianship again. It’s what I did at my old job two years ago, with a much smaller collection. I loved that part of my job there, and am looking forward to being able to do it with a HUGE collection (of course I need to learn more foreign languages, and do the best with what I can read until then.) I have good colleagues who are willing to work with me and help me learn our collection. Did I mention IT’S HUGE?  Sean, please never hesitate to ask if you need help with finding anything!
  • Pets:  Bill and I are thinking of getting a doggie companion.  Penny has just been amazing at helping me figure out what to get, answering a lot of my questions, suggesting quizzes I should take, etc.  I’m really looking forward to getting out there in the early a.m. with a doggie friend!
  • Boilermaker Prep and my weekend with my mom:  Unfortunately, my trip home got cut short. I had a temporary crown in my mouth that broke off. Of course, Saturday night at dinner.  280 miles from home and from my dentist. Came back on  Sunday, rather than Tuesday. Ugh. But we did get in our reconnaissance, and I feel better about the course. The ridiculous hill/mountain in the middle of it is more like a “switchback” on a golf course, so I’ll be able to see thousands of people in front of and in back of me.  That’ll be cause for motivation.  The course hills seem gradual in many places, or maybe more like what I am used to. Was happy to see that.  Can’t wait to run in front of such large crowds, my mom said it’s like the end line of the Boston Marathon but through the entire city of Utica, there will be tons of people everywhere. 50,000 people at the finish line party. NICE!
  • Vacation: starts on July 3rd, can’t wait!!!!
  • Track workout last night – quad pain started up again when we hit the 200s, but not as bad as last time. Iced when I got home and it was better. Still worries me though, although it didn’t hurt when doing an under 8 minute mile pace for a whole mile.
  • Gibtown’s Ragnar Relay: What the hell am I thinking? What have I done? Putting myself down as a strong maybe?!  I’m used to running in 3 layers in February, not one!!
  • Book:  still working on it! Still trying to do research for M too!  Still have to send in my submission for the Runner’s Lounge book, since they changed publishers and a bit of the theme!

Ok, time to get to sleep, I’ve got to get up in less than 7!

I had a great run on Thursday, the kind of run that runners run for. The kind during which you feel strong, and that you can run forever. Good conditions, cloudy, and cool.

Today’s run was more like two runs, with a break in between. The first 4.5 were like hell, in really humid and sunny conditions.  (Think 70+ degrees, with over 90 percent humidity. It feels much hotter.)  I’m not complaining because I need to get used to that weather if I want to run the Boilermaker in July and be acclimatized.  It is usually very hot and humid in central NY in mid-July.  My first 4.5 were my hilly route, and yes, they were slow, but I was just trying to get used to the humidity and wake up at the same time.

I headed home, and was debating whether or not to stop for a bathroom break at my house or just keep going. Something told me to stop, so I did as a precaution. I think I also needed the mental break to pull myself together. The remaining 5, while not at a speedster pace (and that’s ok, this is Long Run Saturday after all), were much more solid.  I felt much more solid too.

The only bad thing about the run today, other than the humidity of 90+% (like I said, I need to get used to it again) was that I wore my new Adrenaline 9s, just to try them out. I now have a blister on the back of my right ankle. WTH?

I am now heading home to my mom, and will be checking out the Boilermaker course so I can put my mental plan together and not be so freaked out by the large hill/mountain in the middle.  When I get back, I can’t wait to read everyone’s blogs and see what everyone is up to.  (And whatever will Bill do without me? other than yell out “runner!” all by himself whenever he sees one, as he does now anyway.)

Oh, and good news about my job. Starting in August, I get to do what I’ve been waiting for over two years to do.  I can’t put it all on the blog just yet, though, because not everyone has been told their roles yet.  More to come on that later!

Good running and weather to you all!

I wish all of you could work flex time. In fact, I wish I could do it year-round. I wish I’d asked to take off Wednesdays so I could have two days on, one day off and then two days on again before the weekend, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth!

We’ve had so much rain lately and today was finally a sunny day, starting around 10 a.m.  I think I’ve been feeling worn down lately, between the gum surgery, the lack of sleep (6.5 hours is the norm lately for me, setting the alarm at 4 a.m.), so last night we went to bed at 10, and I only got up a bit past 8 a.m. For me, I usually only get that much sleep on a Saturday night.

Our weather here has been about 20 degrees below normal – I remember sweating my butt of last year around this time.  But today at 10 a.m., it was only in the low 60s, and most of the humidity had burned off so it was kind of pleasant outside. I hadn’t run much since last week’s track practice and the whole gum surgery/percocet combo – just ridden the bike a few days. I ran for about 10 minutes on the treadmill last weekend, and it hurt a bit on my quads when I cranked up the speed, so I thought it would be better to run long and slow today than to go to track practice tonight.  I can always save the workout for a later day, right?

Today’s run was my longest in a long time – just shy of 10 miles (my Garmin stopped at one point so I’m going on my knowledge of distance from a few points on my route.)  I think the average pace ended up being about 10 minutes per mile, and to be honest, I didn’t really care it wasn’t in the 9s.  Lately, I’ve become so obsessed about times, even on long runs, that I think it was taking some of the fun out of things.  I realized this past weekend, the motivation behind wanting to run had just disappeared, and I remembered the advice of a friend of mine – you don’t want to do it when it stops  being fun.  So, waiting made it fun today.

I’m amazed at how different neighborhoods look during the daytime.  There are so many more cute doggies out going for walks with their owners/parents, and lots of little kids of pre-school age getting ready to go places with their parents, their arms loaded up with toys.  I saw one little boy standing alone outside of his house, making me wonder where his parents were.  He saw me running by and gave me a big smile. So I shouted “hi!” and then he started running toward me.  I was afraid he was going to run across the street and get hit so I slowed down, and we just kept yelling “hi” back and forth to each other, and then I waved and kept on going.  He was such a cutie.

Today’s long run was flatter than what I’ve been doing lately since I’ve been trying to mentally prepare myself for the elevation chart of the Boilermaker. This weekend, I’m heading home to my mom, and she’s going to drive the course with me, and walk the big hill/mountain in the middle of it, so I can mentally prepare for race day.  With me, fear of the unknown always makes things into bigger problems, so as long as I know what to expect, hopefully I won’t get too stressed.

For those of you who need a de-stresser these days (and who doesn’t, right?) I have a suggestion.  Take a few minutes, and a blanket, outside if you have a patch of grass nearby.  Lie down on the blanket with a good book, journal or pillow.  (Don’t take your cell phone or anything that can connect you to the internet.)  Just relax, and breathe.  Look up at the sky, and if you see clouds, try to figure out what they look like.  And then try to hold how that feeling in your heart, especially the next time you’re feeling really stressed.  It’s what I’m going to try to do.

Have a good night everyone, and have a good run out on the roads.  (In case you’re wondering, the picture below was taken in Nova Scotia, I wish, by me!)

Photo by jhoc, on flickr.com

Photo by jhoc, on flickr.com

I’m feeling a bit dizzy when I stand up – if I remember correctly from  my abdominal surgery a few years ago, that means it’s working.  Now I just wish it would really kick in where the aching is in my mouth.

As you might have guessed, I had some dental work today.  I took myself directly to the local Walgreens where I got my prescriptions filled, and bought some beefaroni and spaghettios.  Then I came home, and have been working, off and on, on a form for work.  We are going through a reorganization – or will have it in place anyway, by August 10th.

This is probably the only time in my life that I’ll be asked for input on what I’d like to do. So, of course, it’s very hard to write.  I’ve gone back and forth many times in my mind about what I’d like to do.  I do know that I’d like to feel like I”m learning more on a daily basis – for a while now, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been stagnating. We’ve all kind of been in a holding pattern at work for a while now – due to the reorganization and also because of the economy, with everyone being unsure as to whether people would accept voluntary retirement packages, and the possibility of layoffs ever looming in the background.  Our library seems to be in better shape than others because we’ve been holding lots of positions open for quite some time now, and we also have a director that really “gets” how to explain why our existence is so vital to our university.  But still, if you’ve ever been laid off, you never feel entirely safe again in any job. Ever.

One thing is for sure – this form will need a lot of reviewing by me tomorrow to make sure I’m not asking for unicorns, bunnies, and monkeys to fly out of my butt (READ: the “percocet talking” can’t appear in this document.)

Because of my mouth, my legs, and this narcotic, I may take tomorrow off from running.  I had originally planned on it, but I don’t think two days off in a row will kill me, especially when I think of how my legs hurt last night.  As many of you have said to me recently, it’s better to run for life than to run for just the short-term.  And I don’t want to fall over from the drugs and be human roadkill.

Until then, I wish you all good running and good frozen vegetables.  They’re not just to eat anymore, but are good for ice packs, whether it be on your legs, or held against your mouth! Speaking of, I think I have a date with my freezer now. 


Oh, and this is totally unrelated, other than the fact that I’ve seen the advertisement for this show several times today since I’ve been home, but how many of you out there can hardly wait for the new Melrose Place?! I grew up on that show and Beverly Hills!

Watch this scene below, and try to not be creeped out by the fact that Laura Leighton’s character also slept with David’s dad, Michael Mancini, in the original series!

Readers, don’t leave me – I’ll be back to normal tomorrow, I promise!

This sucks. Frozen fruits are for smoothies, not for my legs.  And frozen veggies are for cooking, not my legs.  This is not a normal after-track routine for me. 

I had to stop partway through tonight. Another thing that is not like me. 

Last week, I felt a bit of pain in my quads, specifically my right one.  I chalked it up that night to not  having stretched properly.  And this past Monday, I attempted to do a tempo run.  Something just didnt’ feel right. I thought maybe it was just a mental problem, my not being into it, or not having been completely awake to do something like that before 6 a.m. But I think my legs were not completely at 100% either.

So tonight they had us do one 1600 at what we thought could be a 10K pace. Well, another girl named Chrissy, and I decided we’d just run together and we did it in 8:12.  If we’d been doing a time trial, I would have tried to go faster but that was not the goal tonight.  We were able to talk pretty well the whole way whicih was good. I don’t think realistically I could keep up that pace for 6.2 miles, but it was comfortable nonetheless.

Then they had us do an 800 at what we thought would be 5K pace, with the goal of the second 400 being a negative split. We did that just fine – first 400 at 1:53 and second 400 around 1:45 or so.  Then came the 400s, and this is where my pain kicked in again.  As soon as I started, I said “ow” really loud, and pulled back from  Chrissy.  I managed to finish in 1:43 or 1:45 or so, but it definitely hurt. It felt like someone was taking a knife and stabbing it into my quad muscle.

We were supposed to do another 400 and then they were all going to do relays of 200s, where each person ended up running 8 of them.  You know how much I LOVE 200s.  As Bill says, those are “my thing.”  I love sprinting like that – they told people tonight they should feel like they are gliding, and that’s how I feel running them. But tonight I really didn’t think that was the smart way to go.

I did feel like a bit of a wimp because there was another woman that did the whole workout and complained of the same pain, but you know what?  I remembered how Lis felt last year when she finally had to admit defeat for the first time against her shin splints and sit out some long runs.  I remembered saying to her it was more important that she run the actual marathon rather than our 17 miler. And that’s what I kept saying to myself tonight. It is much, much, MUCH more important to me to run the Boilermaker with my family in a month than it is to run through the entire speed workout tonight.  I can do speedwork every week but I can only do the Boilermaker once. And, I don’t know when the next time will come when I can run a race with my brother and brother in law, and  have my mom, and my sister and her kids all watching and cheering for us. It doesn’t happen very often that we are all in the same place at once.

So, anyway, my coach had me try to run a  mile but at a pace where I didn’t feel pain.  To slow down to about 8 or 8:30 pace was alright for that distance. I stretched a bit and then tried to do a bit of a shuffle/cooldown. I did that for one lap and then I just decided to walk and stretch a bit. 

When I got home tonight, all I can say is that my quads have not hurt like this (and particularly my right one) since I ran the marathon last fall.  Honestly, every step I took downward hurt like hell. It even hurt to get out of the car.

The cold veggies and fruits feel really cold, but really nice.

My coach said he thinks part of it is growing  pains, literally and figuratively, as I’m getting faster. He asked me if I was a triathlete because in his words, I have muscular legs. And I believe he said I look like I have lots of Twitch Type II fibers in my legs, which explains why I am much better/faster at shorter distances, than people like my brother who just stays tall and quite lean no matter how much he exercises or eats. When I told him I was not a triathlete (I’m a sinker, not a swimmer), but that I rode the bike at least once per week, that made a lot of sense to him given my quad muscles.

So, anyway, this sucks, but if the icing will help, that’s what I am going to do. He wants me to stretch even more than what I already do, and also to use the ice 3 times per day. I sincerely hope he’s right and that it is just growing pains.

Anyway, I don’t want to end this on a downer note – so here’s a song whose message I really like. Enjoy!

Nickelback – If Today Was Your Last Day

And wow, I’ve neglected my music page for way too long, so it’s also going there RIGHT NOW!

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