Chestnut Hill Reservoir, with sun glare, even!!

I’m writing today just because I feel like it.  The pics I’m posting are to show why I love living where I live right now. I’ve got this beautiful piece of water so close to where I live, I am blessed.

All I can say is, I cannot WAIT to run outside again. I don’t care if it’s cold enough to make my eyes water and ears hurt, it’ll be nice to run on hills again, see the sunrise while I run, and generally have no fear of becoming human roadkill from slipping on ice just as a car rounds the corner. We all know how impossible it is for drivers to turn their head right when turning onto a road (of course, when I’m driving, that never, ever happens.)

I am still running inside, can’t believe it myself. I’ve become such a wimp. This afternoon, I took Ruthie for a walk and saw the hill I used to run every single morning, the one that would tell me how hard or easy the run would feel for the rest of the time.  It looked high/tall.  I really miss it, though. Running a “random hill” workout on a treadmill just isn’t the same.

So, I’ve been downloading lots of new music, and trying to distract myself as much as possible on the treadmill. I’ve been *trying* to do speed work on my trainer’s advice, basing it on time over distance, but might start doing some of my running club’s coaches workouts, because well, the ‘time” option is kinda boring.  I do a minute each at 7, 7.5, 8.0, 8.5, and 9.  When I’m feeling really daring, I kick it up to 9.5.  Of course this means I have to kick the incline down to 0. (Like I said, I’ve become a wimp. Go ahead, slap me.  I won’t even try to escape.)  When I tried running at 9.5 with the incline set to 1.0, I literally felt like I had to hold on for dear life, or the whole machine would go flying apart or shove me off the back.  And I figured I kinda looked like a jackass doing it, so I gave that up.  (Although it did make the 8.5 seed not seem so bad, and the 8.0 kinda manageable!)

What I wish the reservoir looked right now, because it'd be warm out!

I blame my wimpiness/aversion to the cold/ice running on the fact that I’ve not raced in about 2 months now, and on the really beautiful scenery at the gym.  (No, I will not elaborate, but I may giggle/smile a bit. Yes, I’m 14. Leave me alone. 🙂 Hey, I’d rather be smiling every day than feeling sad.)

My brother was here on New Year’s Eve and that was a late night at my older brother’s. So, yeah, the New Years Day race was soo not happening for us. Then I was signed up for a 10K on Super Bowl Sunday. With all the freaking snow we’ve had, the state police decided they wouldn’t allow the organizers to have the streets closed, and it was probably a field of a few thousand, so even after postponing it for another week, it just never happened. The kicker – no refunds, UNLESS you made a $20 donation to LiveStrong, to get your $30 back.  Yep. Supposedly we will be able to use our entry fee to run another race they host in December, but it’s only a 5K. Bleck.

Reservoir this morning in the sun, snow still covering the running path

I am planning on running the An Ras Mor race on St. Patty’s Day (it’s run by the Somerville Road Runners, my new group.) And the BAA 5K, because it’ll likely be my only opportunity ever to cross that finish line. (I’m not bummed personally about the Boston Marathon changes, I was never dreaming of qualifying anyway. I do think it sucks though for people who might work their ass off to qualify, only to still be shut out because they’re still not fast enough.)  After that I need to find some good 10Ks so I can measure my improvement from all this treadmill running.

I am also hoping to go on some runs with someone new pretty soon. He’s much faster than me, and really nice and laid back, so it’ll be great for me to run with him (emphasis on the phrase, “much faster.”)  We’ve both been kept captive inside on the treadmill and I don’t know about him, but I’m about ready to shoot myself soon from not running all my hills! I hope he just doesn’t die of boredom since my speed will be so slow for him.   I’d say he’s at least as fast as my brother, if not more so, for the shorter distances. So, I guess I will have to depend on my sparkly personality and wit to keep the coma look from crossing his face (I know, this is where you scratch your head and go, ‘um…should we tell her?  Should we tell her she doesn’t have any? Nah, her drugs seem to be working, just let her be….” 😉

Ruthie perfecting her "pathetic" look so I will pet her on the head. She was wagging her tail too.

I’m hoping to run again with my friend Dan eventually, too, but he’s not been running much lately. Not even inside on the treadmill.  (WIMP!!! J/K, Dan.)  Last week, we agreed that right now, I might even be able to kick his ass. Happy Dance! Happy Dance! Nothing says an ego boost like being able to kick a natural fasties’ butt.  (Actually, wait, there are a few other things but I won’t elaborate.)

My first of four sessions with the trainer is tomorrow. I am hoping I feel really dead afterward, since I also plan on running long afterward, then probably taking Monday off, because yes, I have to work. Enjoy your day off for the rest of us if you are a lucky enough bastard to have it off.  (And don’t worry, that’s not jealousy you feel coming from me…not at all…)

Of course, I will then be taking off Patriots Day to watch the Boston Marathon while the rest of you can only dream of doing such a thing….(evil laugh.)

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I couldn’t resist posting these photos of Ruthie.  I put a few of them on Twitter, but I know not everyone is on there, so I hope it’s ok to also post them here.  She is definitely one of the apples of my eye (in our house, there are three of them, of the furry sense: Ruthie, Chloe and Callie. The latter two are adorable cats!)

Thank you to all of you who left comments on my last post.  I felt so much better about reading them. Thank you for reminding me, I need to take joy in what I have done, and not worry about what I’m not doing.  Lis reminded me yesterday, it’s all about balance.   I’ve been enjoying running less, and I have been writing more on this blog, and both of those things make me happy. I need to not compare myself to what others are doing, anymore!

Due to the Special Election to replace Senator Ted Kennedy taking place today in MA, we dind’t have track practice this evening.  It bummed me out because I missed last week to attend a board meeting.  But, they sent us the workout early, so I did it this morning on the treadmill.  I had a great morning! (If only the rest of the day went as well, but I’m going to try to mentally put myself back there again.)

One of the coaches told me I should set the incline to .5 or keep it at 0 for the speed work.  What a difference that little .5 made! Or, was it the fact that I finally added my playlists back onto my iPod?  Or, perhaps smart beans with caffeine and propel that I was guzzling? For some reason, it just seemed so much easier this week.

Today’s workout: 8-12 400 repeats, at 5K pace (didn’t specify goal or actual), with 1 minute standing rest in between, water stop halfway.

Here’s the thing.  Treadmills don’t allow you to stand still. At least our gym’s treadmills will say “user not detected” and shut off. So I just put it down to 1.0 in between to simulate no movement. Also, instead of taking a water break halfway through, I just drank when I needed to. And, as best as I could, I tried to keep the breaks to 1 minute, but we all know that the treadmill doesn’t “ramp up” in speed like we humans do.  

I DID 12!! I DID 12!! AND WAS DONE BY 6:40 AM!!!!

 I told myself that I’d start them out at a speed that would allow me to get faster toward the end. After all, it’s always easier to start faster and then get slower, right?   Lis and I had been emailing each other yesterday and we decided to call the pace I’d do them at as “I feel like I’m going to die” pace.  We all know what that pace is, right?  (She’s been reading through a book I’ve mentioned before, and have used, call Run Less, Run Faster.)

Anyway, our treadmills measure pace like this (others may be a bit different, I realize):

  • 8.1 mph=7:24 pace
  • 8.2: mph=7:19 pace
  • 8.3 mph=7:13 pace
  • 8.4 mph=7:08 pace
  • 8.5 mph=7:03 pace

How I did the 400 repeats, to the best of my memory (hey, it wasn’t even 7 am! LOL):

  • Repeats 1-3: 8.1 mph (Wow, this doesn’t feel too bad at all.)
  • Repeats 4-6: 8.2 mph (Time to kick it up a notch)
  • Repeats 7-9: 8.3 mph (Just keep thinking, over halfway!)
  • Repeats 10-11: 8.4 mph (Wow, this is weird, my legs moving like this! I don’t want to fall off of the machine!)
  • Repeat 12: 8.4 and 8.5 mph (Wanted to be done!!  It’s not even 6:45!)

I am so bummed – because of my having to teach next Tuesday night, I’m going to have to Gump it all alone again.  But, I’ll try to remember how it felt when I finished up today and try to feel that way again. Wish me luck!

P.S. I’m still working on my new Music Page – now that I’ve got my playlists back, it should move along faster! Also, I think I may be looking at races for the year, including a half marathon.  Maybe.

I don’t know about you, but I think this dog has the right idea about what to  do on a treadmill. 🙂

Dog Sleeping on Treadmill by Normanack, on Flickr.com

Dog Sleeping on Treadmill by Normanack, on Flickr.com

Because the schools in this area are now on mid-winter break (soooo jealous of high schoolers right now) so we all have to do our track workout on our lonesome.   For me that meant this morning before 6 a.m., which is kind of a good thing because your brain is not completely awake for the entire exercise. Thing is, your body is. And sometimes yelling out, “are you blankety-blank-blank KIDDING me?”

Ok, done with the dramatics. The only potentially dramatic point was when I got unceremoniously kicked off of the first treadmill, by the treadmill.  I was walking along at first and it was fine. Then I kicked it up into high gear (literally, 8.1 mph, which is 7:24 pace on that thing) and it said “NO USER DETECTED” and decided it would just take a break, as in caput.

I was like (internally only, of course) “I’M A USER, I’M A USER!!” And then “WTF???” (this part might have been out loud.) Hey, it was before 6 a.m., and mot of us at that point have headphones on anyway.

So I jumped on the treadmill to its left and did my workout from there.

I decided to do a combo blend of what our coach suggested for Group G and Group F (Group F being the faster of the two.)  I put the treadmill on 8.1 for most of the “fast minutes” and down to 7.0 for most of the slower minutes in between.  It was a bit faster than what he suggested for Group G, but a bit slower than what he suggested for Group F.

Lindsay, I did figure out what he meant by using the PACE of Mile/5K estimated effort.  My mile pace was 7:24 (8.1) and my 5K pace was 7.0 or 8:34 on the treadmill. That made sense once I got going.

I have to admit, during repeat 4 of the “fast minute, steady minute, fast minute, steady minute, fast minute” intervals, I did have to hang onto the side of the treadmill for about 15-20 seconds during two of the “steady minutes” and I did bring the “steady pace” down to a mixed blend of 6.8 and 6.9,    But at the last repeat, I was able to get it back up to 7.0 and 8.1 speeds again.  I also made my last “fast minute” last for 90 seconds. See, I can even manipulate time!

****************************************************************

On a totally unrelated matter, Bill and I figured out where we are likely going on vacation.  OOOHHH, I CAN’T WAIT…  swim-up pool to your room… it looks and sounds like heaven. Please God, let it not be too good to be true, and that my boss is still cool with giving me the time off when we can go… (and in case you’re wondering, it was the fact that Bill could take three steps out of his room and step in one of 12 pools that made his choice.) 

Did I forget to mention we might be going three weeks before my half-marathon?  Sigh.  But it’s vacation, I refuse to feel guilty, especially with the crap winter we’ve had.  Even if it will cost more than what we originally planned. We don’t have kids yet and we’re not big spenders, and it’ll be our first REAL destination vacation in just about 5 years.  Since our honeymoon. I think it’s alright to want to go, don’t you?