06 December 2011

that one time I had a blog

In case the crickets on my running blog haven't clued you in, there hasn't been a whole lot of running happening in my world.

There HAS been a whole lot of: cooking (I can cook, who the hell knew?!), eating Papa John's, watching Toddlers & Tiaras and feeling sort of generally restless and unsatisfied but not really being able to do anything about it.

I get sort of stuck in these ruts sometimes...I think part of this was standard post-marathon-ing, where you work toward a goal forever and then it's over and that's a letdown, but I think more of it was just me and my general inability to deal with things sometimes. This probably sounds confusing and I don't think I can explain it any better than that; it's just a pattern of inactivity and unproductive-ness that I tend to fall into and a tendency I don't like about myself, really.

Anyway, so my running coach was all, "You can totally do a March or April marathon! Here are my long and detailed thoughts about the races you are considering, which I took time out of my busy life to send you because I'm amazing! Let me know what you think!" I read the email, went running twice and then retired to the couch for more Papa John's and DVR'd programming. YOU KNOW. PRIORITIES.

It's too late now to register for any of the races I was considering. I don't have enough time and because I've only run a tiny bit since Chicago, I'm starting from square one again. But I think about the marathon pretty much daily. I want to do another one. It's probably time to just bite the bullet and do it.

In order to make this work, here are some things I am going to have to accept:

1. I'm going to have to learn to be a morning runner. The weather here is perfect for training - the coldest it's gotten so far is 40s, which to this Wisconsin girl is still pretty balmy - but it still gets dark super-early so I can't run after work unless I do it on a treadmill. And no. No thank you.

2. I am going to have to up my mental toughness and run when I don't feel like running. I struggled with this a lot in my last training cycle; I was mentally weak and while it didn't ultimately affect my race performance much, it stressed me out brutally during my training. I don't want to do that again. I want to do this correctly.

3. I am going to need to cross-train. I am an injury-prone runner (well, let's be honest, I am an injury-prone human, and I can't run daily. Depending on the day, it's difficult for my body sometimes to run two days in a row. I think that's okay - it worked fine for me in Chicago - but cross-training on the off days will obviously help my fitness immeasurably. I think it'll also help prevent training burnout.

So I'm perusing marathons again. (Okay. I never really stopped.) I don't want to do another fall marathon because I have no interest in trying to train through a North Carolina summer, which as far as I can tell starts in May. Also while I would LOVE to do a destination marathon, it's just not feasible for me financially right now (Forever Alone, no one to split a hotel room with!), so it's a matter of finding something in a city where I have peeps. Yes. I just said peeps.

I'll step up my game - both running and blogging - soon, hopefully. But for the meantime, enjoy this mostly uninteresting update of my thought process. :)

17 October 2011

Lull

Post-marathon I have been a bit of a sloth. Most of that is justified, I think, but it's been a week and a day, my legs feel fine and I have yet to strap on my Mizunos and head out the door for a run. I got the sad guilt-trip email from dailymile today that says, "Your friends miss your training :(." I mean, probably they don't, really, but I kind of miss my training, so now I am pondering my next move.

I'd like to do a second marathon and I would like to do it properly. I would like to have a Training Plan and maybe some potential training partners so when I'm all "ugh, why would anyone ever want to go run 17 miles on a weekend?" I can know that someone's counting on me to get my butt out the door. I would like to actually complete those weekend training runs by waking up early and getting it done than by waking up whenever I wake up, having breakfast, digesting and then going outside finally at maybe 11 or 1 or 3 or whatever and then it's HOT and I've been SITTING AROUND and WHATEVER, I WILL JUST DO IT TOMORROW.

Properly, is what I am saying to you now.

For this purpose, I have been eying this guy:



It's on St. Patrick's Day in DC. Because I have a mondo huge base built up at the moment I think the timing would be good; I could ease back into full-on training mode in about two weeks and be ready to go. And I have bffs in DC who would be happy to let me crash and also be happy to come support me, possibly while drinking out of flasks. (I mean it is St. Patrick's Day.) Importantly, this means that I can do DC on the cheap. I get the impression that other running bloggers make bank, because y'all are always planning trips to run races in fun places (New York, Vegas, even Chicago), but I, sadly, do not. I am a journalist. I get paid crap. So supporting my racing habit is an exercise in financial wizardry.



I never read Harry Potter but I'm pretty sure this is what wizards do. Anyway, so I'm about 60 percent ready to commit to registering, I am just waiting for an email from my running coach confirming that he is willing to work with me on a training plan (aka willing to deal with my ridiculous and frequent emails that involve me panicking about various things, only some of which are related to running). Until then I'm going to remain here on the couch, eating Papa John's and watching DVR'd Project Runway. It's season one. Things are ugly.

14 October 2011

Chicago Marathon recap (of sorts)

Oh hey. I'm a marathoner now. No big deal.



Just kidding. It's a ginormous huge deal and I am still, five days later, riding a bit of a high from it. After all the months of training (and all the weeks of not training), the moving to North Carolina, the heat and humidity, the semi-injuries, the foam-rolling and twisted ankles and quality time with ice packs, it's all over in 26.2 miles and 4 hours, 36 minutes and 32 seconds.

I can't remember when I first decided that I wanted to run a marathon. I think it was something I always knew I would do, from the moment I first put on racing shoes and ran in my first cross-country meet when I was 16. I put it on my "do before I'm 30" list and then slipped on ice in January and bruised my tailbone and couldn't run for three months. I was living in Wisconsin at the time after quitting my job in Virginia to move to California with my boyfriend, only to be there for a grand total of two days before breaking up - painfully, and messily, and horribly. I was supposed to spend that winter in the desert with palm trees and sunshine and love; I was not supposed to be walking on black ice at 6 am in the dark by myself, falling so quickly it took my breath away. In retrospect, it was a fitting metaphor for my life at the time. I limped back to my mother's house. I waited for my tailbone to feel better. I watched it snow and snow and snow. And then I decided it was time to stop waiting, and I registered for the Chicago Marathon.

I picked Chicago for no reason other than geographic location. Chicago was within driving distance of Madison, where I was living at the time; I knew my family could easily make the trip down to see me race, and I also knew that if PLEASE, GOD, PLEASE I found a job and got the F out of Wisconsin, I could easily fly back into Chicago with no hassle. I knew almost nothing else about the race when I clicked that register button. I didn't know it was one of the big five. I didn't know that 45,000 people would line up with me behind the starting line. I just knew it made sense for where I was at the time.

In the weeks leading up to race day, I was extremely nervous. My training, as I have written countless times before, didn't go as planned, for a lot of reasons but mostly because I didn't dedicate myself to it as fully as I wanted to. I did my one and only 20-mile run 12 days before the race. My left hamstring and my right IT band were bothering me right up until I walked to Grant Park on race morning. I knew I could do the race, sort of, but I also really didn't know that I could do it. People say, "trust your training." I didn't trust my training because I hadn't fully done my training. My father said, "It's okay to walk." My stepmother said, "All you have to do is finish, and you can do that." My friends signed up en masse to track my race progress via text message and told me they knew I could do it. But I wasn't so sure. All I knew is that I would try.



I ironed my name onto my tank top the night before the race so that people would cheer for me. On race day, I woke up at 4:45, got coffee, got dressed, popped ibuprofen and walked to Grant Park. Because I raced with a charity, I had the option of checking my bag at the Team PAWS tent, which was great because it allowed me to avoid the lines at the general gear check. It was not so great because the Team PAWS tent was about a 15-minute walk from the corrals. I trekked over, dropped off my bag, stopped in two Port-a-Potty lines, and finally got back to the corrals minutes before the gun went off. I couldn't find the entryway, so I made friends with a group of runners hanging out by the fence and we all jumped it together. One of the guys sort of caught me - I warned them that I was clumsy and would probably die if I tried to do it alone - and he stumbled and fell off the curb and I had a moment of panic where I worried that I had injured him and he wouldn't be able to run. He was fine. Also, awesome.

And from there it's kind of a blur. I stood in the open corral telling the people around me that I was nervous. Then the gun went off and I crossed the starting line and for about the first 10 miles the only thing I could think was, "I. Am Running. A MARATHON." I couldn't stop smiling. Spectators screamed my name and I waved at them and laughed and high-fived kids with their arms outstretched. Shortly after the two-mile mark, we ran over a bridge and I saw my dad. My heart kind of exploded with happiness as we waved and shouted at each other. He snapped this, the only non-official photo of me racing. It's early in the race, but this is what I looked like pretty much the entire time.



I saw him, with my stepmom, again at mile 10; she said later, "I couldn't believe how happy you looked!"

Honestly, I know this will make me sound like an asshole, but I had the greatest time ever running that race. My legs started to hurt around mile 12 and I just told them to shut up and kept going. The race didn't feel great - and I went out conservatively and was running at about a 10:30 pace, which for me is really really slow and really really comfortable - but I did. I kept thinking in my head, "My legs are unhappy but I'm not." I broke the race down into five five-mile sections, but when I got to mile 20 I got to switch to my plan of dedicating each of the last six miles to someone in my life and honestly, it's the best thing ever. Because instead of focusing on the pain and how far I had to go, I got to spend each of those miles thinking about someone amazing in my life and how much I love them.

I never hit a wall, per se. My legs hurt, and I was ready to stop when the race was over, but there was no wall; no feeling like I couldn't go on. After mile 20 I walked a little, but not much at all. I kept telling myself to walk for one song and run for two, but I'd walk for maybe half of one and then run for 10 or 12 or 15 minutes. And before I knew it, I was turning the corner to go to the finish line. And just like that, I crossed it, they put a medal around my neck and now I've run a marathon.

When I got back to my phone it was full of text messages from people who had tracked me; people I had no idea cared. Coworkers. People who donated to my charity that I haven't spoken to since I moved. My mom. My bff. Then I collected my things and met my dad, stepmom and stepsister and that was the end of my marathon day.

It was one of the happiest and best things I've ever, ever done. It was the perfect way to end the crappiest year of my life. And I can't wait to do it again.

P.S. I did not fall down even once!

06 October 2011

yeah.

I sent my dad an email yesterday asking if he could call me at my office so I could have a Chicago panic attack. So he rang me up and I proceeded to talk quickly at him for about three minutes without taking a breath, mostly about my gear-check questions, and then he said:

"Why don't I just hold your post-race clothes for you?"*

I started to explain that that wasn't really what I MEANT, that I would have all this OTHER gear and then I stopped and actually thought about it and ... oh. Um. I might not even need to do the gear-check thing, here's why.

Things I will be carrying:
- gels
- nuun
- water bottle
- iPod (my 2005 shuffle, word)
- throw-away sweats

The end. Gels and nuun go into my Spibelt, ipod goes into my water bottle pocket, throw-away sweats get thrown away. WHAT. IS LEFT. TO CHECK. Do you see what I am saying to you??



Except not confusing, because I AM JUST A MORON. Running the race may not kill me (though it may, my hamstring still hurts), but getting to the starting line in one piece is likely to do me in. Headdesk. Pray for my soul. Etc.

*Why no, post-race clothing had not occurred to me at all, thanks for asking. FML.

05 October 2011

final countdown

*I wrote this on Sunday and then never posted it because follow-through is my #1 strong point. So I am editing it to make sense...but it might not, still, I'M SORRY.

I am leaving for Chicago in two days. Things I need to do before then:

Go for a pain-free run. I went out to do an easy five miles Saturday and capped it at three because my legs were so tight and sore. I haven’t been stretching lately at all, mostly because I keep doing super-long runs right before I have to go to work. This is stupid. My legs hate me and I don’t blame them. I am doing lots of foam-rolling and telling my legs how pretty they are. We will try to run again tomorrow. Please stop hating me, friends. It's Not Sunday Anymore Update: My legs and I ran three miles last night and we are sort of on speaking terms again. The spot where my IT band connects to my right knee is sore but I don't care about that; it's an injury I have been dealing with for more than a year and I know I can push through it and that it is okay for me to do that, per the advice of the fabulous Dr. Weber. It is my left hamstring I'm more concerned with - it's tight and kind of a dull pain. After my run I spent about a half an hour doing hamstring-focused stretching and then I foam-rolled and iced and it is MUCH MUCH better today. Yesterday's run was super slow for me (9:50 pace) and I kept thinking "If I had to run 26 miles on these legs I could." But it's easy to say that when you're running really slowly and it's, you know, not necessary to actually run 26 miles. SO WE WILL SEE. Fingers crossed! And legs! Toes! Etc!



Yeah. You better get over that quick, bitches, because we'll be spending a lot of quality time together on Sunday.

Buy a suitcase. I have attic storage in my house, which is where my suitcases are, but the ladder comes down on my dresser and moving the dresser is a pain and anyway the zippers on the suitcase that fits into the overhead compartment are broken and I am NOT. PAYING. To check a bag even though buying a new suitcase will probably be more expensive, also I’m broke and run-on sentences and logic like this are probably the reasons why, whatever. Shiny new suitcase!



PACK. UGH. I know what I’m going to wear for the race, sort of (if you are wondering if the outfit involves tiny shorts, the answer is yes, yes it does). I’d like to get a new tech tee in an annoying color so my family can find me, and stick my name on it so strangers will cheer for me, but I don’t know where I can do that around here. I think they sell these types of things at the expo, right? Anybody? Bueller?

Buy gels. I take them every 45 minutes, so just to be safe I should buy…what? Six? Seven? Math is hard, time math is harder. English major for life.



Figure out if I should run with a pace group or what. Here’s what I know: This race is going to hurt. I don’t know at what point, but I know it’s going to hurt. I don’t have a time goal in mind, really; I’d like to finish in around four hours and I think based on my training runs, that’s realistic, but I also think that after 20 miles all bets are off. I think it might be smart to latch onto a slower pace group (say, 4:45? 4:30?) for the first 13-17 miles, see how I feel and then increase or decrease my pace as needed. I also think maybe I should just run how I feel. Does anyone have thoughts?

Buy throw-away clothes for the starting line. The forecast is showing 65-ish degrees and sunny, but it’ll be cold in the morning for sure. So I need to get some super-stylish sweats. I guess I should look for pants that I can take off easily, in case I want to actually run in them for awhile.


Y’all, I’m flailing a little here. Any advice is appreciated. I am capable of getting to the airport and on a plane on time, but after that it’s all pretty much up in the air. The biggest race I’ve run so far is the Charlottesville Half Marathon. A) that race was not big and B) I ran it with my exceedingly-good-at-life father who took care of all the logistics.



I know where and when to get my packet and that’s about it. I mean, I know where the race starts, I know I’m supposed to get there early to check in my gear, etc. BUT. FOR EXAMPLE. I am running with Team PAWS (the charity I did fundraising for), and they have their own gear check. So I should go there, right? They're "strongly recommending" that people get there at 5:30, do I REALLY need to do that, because the race doesn’t start until 7:30 and I won’t know anyone so that’s just a LOT of time to stand around in the dark wishing I had more coffee? How do I find my gear after? How do I find my family after? Should I bring my handheld water bottle even though there will be water? (Duh, yes. That one isn’t a real question. And if I get tired of it I’m just going to chuck it at my dad as I run by him. WHICH MAKES FINDING HIM SORT OF A NECESSITY.)

Anyway, all of the crap I have left to do notwithstanding, I am mostly looking forward to the race. Yes, it is going to hurt. I did not train (or blog about training) as much as I wanted to going into my first marathon. But I don’t care. I still think it’s going to be really fun. Because I believe the last six miles will be awful, I have picked six important people in my life and dedicated one of those miles to each of them. (Actually, I picked eight, but two of them are couples.) So in addition to the money I raised for homeless animals, in addition to the crazy experience of training for a marathon then running it with 40,000 other people, I have those wonderful people to get me through the hardest part of the race.

AND! SPOILER ALERT! I decided to run that last 1.2 miles all for me. It turns out, in the crazy way my life works sometimes, that the day of the race is the one-year anniversary of the day I got back to Wisconsin after breaking up with my boyfriend and leaving California. For the most part it’s been a spectacularly crappy year for me; I have gone through and dealt with and, most importantly, overcome a huge boatload of crap* and I can’t think of a better way to close that chapter than by taking a 26.2-mile race and kicking it square in the teeth. If I can overcome everything I have in the past year, I can sure as hell tackle a marathon. Bring it, Chicago.

*I also managed to have a little fun. Take that, past year!

27 September 2011

things I learned on my 20-mile run

1. If you have a route planned out, and a running partner lined up, and it starts raining minutes before you are set to walk out the door, and then you check the forecast and there are going to be freaking intermittent thunderstorms all morning, it is really 100 percent okay to decide you are not going to run outside.

2. But two weeks before your first marathon when your longest run so far is 17 miles, it is not okay to SKIP the run entirely.

3. Which means your only option is to go to the gym and YES, even the IDEA of running 20 miles on the treadmill is gross, but it is YOUR ONLY OPTION and also you already ATE AN ENERGY GEL so if you don't go you will just have syrup sitting in your stomach and it wasn't even particularly good syrup so whatever, just go to the gym.

4. It is a freaking fantastic idea to break that 20-mile run up into four five-mile segments. You are kind of a genius for thinking of this, especially since the treadmill FOR WHATEVER REASON only goes to 99 minutes. Not that you really think it's illogical on principle because really nobody should ever be running on a treadmill for more than an hour but because it is stupid to pick a cut-off point BECAUSE THE DISPLAY CAN'T HANDLE THREE DIGITS.

5. Once you are over the rage of the treadmill's lack of logic, you will realize it's a good idea, also, to use the breaks between each five-mile segment to run to the bathroom and refill your water bottle and stretch your legs.

6. If you can find Titanic on TV while you are running 20 miles on the treadmill, it is a nice distraction, particularly if you happen to turn it on at the exact moment the ship hits the iceberg because then for the rest of your run you can just keep thinking, "Well my legs hurt, but at least I'm not dying on the Titanic."

7. Golden Girls are also nice.

8. Energy gels are not as disgusting as you think. They are not GOOD; you probably won't want to snack on them in your spare time but they are actually easier to get down than the much-tastier Gu Chomps because there is no chewing involved. And when you are a person who has trouble walking without falling, chewing and running is a hazard. Swallowing and running, though, you can probably handle. Downside: opening a gel packet with your teeth while running is a similar hazard so it may all be a crapshoot.

9. Nuun is amazing.

10. Twenty miles is not awful, really, except for the leg pain, and if your legs were already hurting thanks to a 12-mile trail run two days before, then it's a pretty safe bet the leg pain isn't all the 20-miler's fault.

11. If you can find a terrible, terrible song about your beloved football team, it'll probably get you through those last two miles just fine.



Thank you, Pop Evil, for existing, I am not sure how I ever lived without you.

12. When you finish 20 miles with not terrible pain and no lack of energy and a sizable boost in confidence, it is more than okay to think that you're a little bit awesome and that your marathon will be fun.



Because I feel pretty awesome.
And I think my marathon WILL be fun. :)

My legs aren't so sure but I'll convince them before next weekend.


Angry legs. Angrier because I had to rush to work and had basically no time to stretch and definitely no time to ice. Will soothe with ibuprofen and a temporary moratorium on heels.

26 September 2011

it begins (or ends? I don't know)

THERE ARE NO FANCY PICTURES HERE BECAUSE I AM VERY BUSY EATING CRUNCHY FOOD.

My cough/sickness/plague of death lasted through Saturday and I woke up Sunday still feeling like crud but I had made plans to knock out a 20-miler with some similarly crazy-minded coworkers so I got up early, ate toast and headed to Blue Clay bike park for some trail running.

UNFORTUNATELY it had rained the night before and UNFORTUNATELY I didn't know exactly how trail-like the trails were. They were very trail-like. We were doing a six-mile loop that my coworker informed me was broken into "the hilly side" and "the rooty side." As in, tree roots. As in, jutting out from the ground waiting to trip me. As in, they'd be doing that anyway but also did I mention it rained the night before so now it was also slippery and muddy. My coworkers have seen my bloodied knees and scraped palms, they know I am clumsy and always within two feet of death at any given time. I decided not to interpret their choice of running venue as a referendum on how they feel about me.

SURPRISINGLY I only fell once. I fell not on a tree root or a slippery downslope or a wet-rock uphill, all of which I encountered. No. Instead, I fell in the place where the trail crosses a nice flat paved road. I was in front at the time and wasn't sure which way I was supposed to go, so I stopped running - full stop - paused, turned around to ask if I should turn right or left, and fell. Flat on my face. On the pavement. Sigh.

My 20-mile partner bailed out after six miles because of knee pain and after 12.2 miles of sliding, twisting my ankles, jumping puddles and almost falling, I decided to call it a day. This was not a bad decision as I am SUPER sore today (my puddle-jumping muscles are apparently not used often; they are also apparently located at the tops of my thighs and hips), and it started pouring rain about five minutes after I got home. Death would have been imminent.

But unfortunately this still means I have a 20-miler looming on my schedule. The marathon is 13 days away, and I have been informed by no less than three running rockstars that you don't reap the benefits from a workout until 10 days after it is complete. So tomorrow morning I will do the unthinkable: I will run 20 miles and then I will go to work.

I MEAN. CAN YOU IMAGINE THE LEG PAIN. I know this is kind of insane, both in regard to proximity to the race and in proximity to the work day before me tomorrow, but I need to do it, mostly for my own mental toughness. I need to know I can run 20 miles and survive. I need to know that so I can stand at the starting line in Chicago and feel even semi-prepared. I need to do this so I can feel like I can do that.

So, done. Went to a bike store today and bought a handful of gels, Nuun and post-exercise drugs. Talked to an Ironman who told me that if I can do 20, "you'll reach the finish line just fine." I'll eat carbs for dinner, wake up and pound it out and then run easy for the next week and a half. Go time. Done.

23 September 2011

Cornucopia

Enjoy this post of random, don't say you weren't warned.

1. Since about May I have been venturing back into the world of online dating. I don't know if it's because I'm using a free site or of it's because I am a magnet for the crazy, but the guys I end up going out with are insane. In my experience with men from the internet, there tends to be a severe emotional meltdown around dates two-four. With Elroy, the guy I mentioned briefly back in July, it happened after a perfectly nice evening of dinner, when he had a panic attack, started crying and told me it was all just TOO INTENSE and he just DIDN'T WANT TO FEEL LIKE THIS ANYMORE and then he left at 2 am. I'm currently seeing another guy - tonight is date five - and he's already had glimmers of breakdowns so I think the full-blown emotional meltdown is probably going to happen tonight, at a cocktail party event for his job. Stay tuned! At least when this one happens I'll be in a cocktail dress and heels. I don't know, somehow that makes it better.

2. It is the first day of fall. It is 80 degrees, because here in the South it is apparently always 80 degrees. RIP corduroys, scarves and boots, I miss you.

Source


Don't get me wrong, I am ridiculously over the moon about no longer living in Wisconsin and also a little bit in love with my new job and new location, it's just....the heat, people. FALL IS SUCH A GOOD SEASON, NORTH CAROLINA, I SWEAR IT IS. Give it a chance!

3. There has been a lot of drama in blogland this week. It's the internet, people. Play nice like I do, which is to say that whenever a blog irritates me Melissa and I have a gmail dialogue about it, usually involving a lot of capslock and hilarity, and then I move on. If you don't have anything nice to say about a blogger, just say it to your friends instead, duh.

4. I have been sick this week and have not been running. I am going to go here in a bit, after I eat a baked potato and watch a lot of DVR'd cartoons. I just got a DVR for the first time ever and if you judged me solely based on the content that I choose to record you would discern, probably correctly, that I am low-brow. Here is a sampling for you:

- Project Runway
- Bridezillas (this show is apparently on all the time)
- Toddlers & Tiaras
- Family Guy
- American Dad

Mmm. I'm not sorry.

5. My dad and stepmom are coming to Chicago for the marathon, which is nice of them in general but EXTRA nice since the marathon takes place on my stepmom's birthday weekend and watching someone run for four hours is a decidedly not awesome way to spend your birthday. My dad's a marathoner (he did Boston twice) so we have been discussing strategy a lot lately, but not really running strategy so much as "where should we eat pasta?" and "what will you wear so we can find you?" I have not picked out my own clothing yet but have decided that my family should dress in yellow and that they need to make a sign so I can pick them out of the crowd, and that that sign should have Hannah Montana on it. My dad was confused by this and I had to send him a step-by-step instructional email complete with a link to my Hannah Montana head of choice (here, if you're interested) and a description of glitter glue and where to buy it. My stepmom is a guidance counselor at an elementary school and so I told him to tell her to deal with it because she is used to prop-making for small children (like me), but I talked to him last night and after mocking me about football for 10 minutes ("the road to the national championship runs through Madison Wisconsin this year," barf) he told me he had yet to tell her about it. SIGH.

6. Apparently there is a marathon in March 10 miles from my house. Apparently it costs $25. The outcome of this information is pretty much preordained.

The end. Happy Friday, internet! May your day be much more productive than mine. Because oh yes, now I am watching non-DVR'd 90210 (the original). Dylan and Kelly are breaking up. It's intense.

17 September 2011

mustard (not catch-up)

Every time I think about blogging I think about having to write a catch-up post and then I lost all interest in blogging. Meh! So I'm just going to go ahead and not catch you up! Take that, internet!

Okay, kind of a lie. What I do want to say is this:

The Chicago Marathon is three weeks from tomorrow and my training is just not where I wanted it to be at this point. This is the result of a lot of things; of taking a part-time job in Madison that ended up as a 60+-hour-per-week job; of Kismet dying, of moving to a brand-new city and starting a brand-new job in the middle of heat-wave and hurricane season and having zero idea of where to go to run, but mostly, when you get down to it, is it the result of a lot of excuses and a lack of mental toughness. After about three weeks of failing to stick to my training, it also turned into a situation where I would plan to go for a long run, then instead of going I would sit in a corner and eat my hair with panic over the fact that the race was fast approaching. All of this sucks. I am unhappy about it. But, it is what it is and at the end of the day if I don't want to die on the streets of Chicago, I need to suck it up and do what I can for the remaining time. So, thanks to my brand-new running guru (acquired on dailymile; if you're not on dailymile, stop reading this and go join immediately), I am on a new plan and I am still running the marathon, I just believe it will be much more painful (so much more painful) than it would have been if I had been smarter about all of this. (Also, my new plan started two weeks ago, lest you think I am busy trying to cram unrealistic training into three weeks. ALSO, it's not like I didn't train at all, I just didn't train the way I wanted to, moving on.) Y'ALL REALIZE THAT MEANS I AM GOING TO HAVE TO DO ANOTHER MARATHON RIGHT, in order to see if I can Realize My Potential? LET'S NOT TALK ABOUT IT.

Instead let's talk about this: this morning I got out of bed, drank some coffee, ate a breakfast sandwich, sat around for awhile thinking about how much I did not want to go running, got dressed, drove to the starting point of the 17-mile run I had mapped out, sat in my car at the starting point for awhile thinking about how much I did not want to go running, then got out of the car and ran 17 miles. WHAT.

Here is the thing. I live in a beach town now. So I ran on the beach. Well, sort of, actually I just ran adjacent to the beach because I didn't feel like dealing with sand in my Mizunos, but I ran over a bridge on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and up and down a beachtown admiring the big houses and then back which is just so much better than running other places, like in Wisconsin by the BP station. I was only supposed to do 16 miles today, but I found this route online already plotted for me, so shrug. JUST TACKED ON AN EXTRA MILE. WHO AM I. I listened to music the entire time, which I don't think I've ever done on an outside run, but it was exactly the extra boost I needed to get out the door. 17 miles later my legs hate me, but whatever. I am especially excited that I brought neither water nor nutrition on the run (it's finally cooler here, I actually ran in capri leggings), and while I did make a water stop the lack of energy gels didn't get me at all. I also took two walking breaks, one for about two minutes and the other for about four. All in all, pretty good stuff.

I'd like to thank Papa John's and Indian food for making my pre-night fueling happen, and I would also like to thank the Michigan Wolverines for winning so handily today that the game was over when I got back. After last week's shenanigans against Notre Dame, we needed a little bit of a break from each other, but don't worry boys, I thought of you many times on my run.

01 September 2011

the return


Internet, I'm not even kidding you, I have not blogged in so long that when I came to Blogger today, the site informed me that its interface is new. Fantastic.

So, hi! Uhhh it's been forever, so here, in laundry-list form, is what's been happening:

1. I ran the Full Moon Half Marathon and it was amazing. I finished in 1:53, well ahead of my "less than two hours/less than my tumor time of 2:13" goal. It was an especially big deal for me because
2. that morning, Kismet, the cat love of my life, passed away.



I've never lost a pet before, not really. Kismet was the first cat who was ever all mine. I had him for six years and I loved him like crazy. He had heart disease, but was doing very well, so his death was both expected and completely, totally, wholly unexpected. Losing a pet is a very weird and very hard thing. I miss him all the time. And I ran that race like hell but I started crying literally three minutes after I crossed the finish line. It was a weird day. Then

3. I moved to North Carolina just in time for my first hurricane, and then
4. I started my new job.

So, that about brings you up to speed, and this would all have been much more entertaining if I'd blogged about it while it was happening, but I didn't and there you go. I'm back now, and I live in the South, and Michigan football is back on Saturday, and I ran 16 miles on Tuesday, and that is all you really need to know. That, and apparently there are cockroaches down here, and they call them "waterbugs", and that just doesn't make life any better because they are roaches and they are disgusting. Sophie (my little orange cat) keeps killing them and bringing them to me all proud-like. And I can't yell at her, because I'm GLAD she's killing them, and I also know they are GIFTS, but I wish she would go to Kate Spade or Modcloth instead because it can't be good for her self-esteem that I just flush every present she brings me.

Also, this happened on my very first North Carolina run (also, the day before I started my job):



Nothing like showing up to work looking like roadkill. I'm glad my losing battle with gravity persists even in my new home state.

12 August 2011

hodge podge update

Does anyone else ever sit around and hate on other running blogs? I do this a lot. Mostly in my head. Sometimes I make Melissa listen to me. It's super productive. Just, there are a lot of annoying people in the world, and some of those people have running blogs, and I am a judgey person with a lot of rage and sometimes I need to gmail-chat about it with many CAPSLOCKED sentences. The end.

Running has been going well, interestingly. INTERESTINGLY. I killed a 14-miler last weekend - set out with a handheld water bottle and a Spibelt full of peach tea Gu Chomps and rocked that mother. Unsurprisingly to everyone who is not me, the handheld water bottle is the best thing ever. (Have you noticed that I say this about every piece of running gear I acquire? Just wait until the day I get a Garmin; my head might explode.) I thought carrying it around would be a huge pain, but having the hand strap made it a non-issue. I could drink whenever I got thirsty; having water on hand made it easy to plan out my Chomps consumption and as a direct result I did not feel like dying even though it was hot while I was running. My legs felt fantastic until about mile 11 when they started to hurt and get tired, but mentally I was great on this run. Personal distance record: done. Confidence: restored.

Then I flew to North Carolina to look for an apartment. Moving sucks, and while I am so happy to be moving to an awesome new city, I am not thrilled about having to pay ODDLY EXPENSIVE water bills once I am living there. In Virginia (BOO HISS), my water/sewer/trash bill was $38 per month. In North Carolina, the same services are apparently going to run me $74 per month, and that's without the actual water consumption charges. Wtf. I can only assume this increase in cost is due to the fact that waste management workers have realized that dealing with sewage is a pain and have demanded more money to do so. And I understand that dealing with sewage is not fun, but I still do not think I should have to pay you $74 per month to do it. Did I force you to go into waste management? No. No I did not. (LOGIC!)

I got in a tempo run while I was there. It was hot, on concrete, an out-and-back and generally miserable. Though I'm going to be living on the water, it is still possible that moving to the bonafide South at the end of August during the last month of marathon training is perhaps....less than ideal. And yet, still better than living in Wisconsin, BOOYAH.

Then this morning I went for what I thought was a super-slow shake-out run before tomorrow's half-marathon. Turns out I ran that sucker at an 8:35 pace. INTERESTING. It really did feel to me like I was chugging along at around 10 minutes per mile. I think this bodes well for tomorrow. I also think it is interesting that I am at the point in marathon training where running a 13-mile race doesn't faze me at all. Seriously, it's less than I ran on my own last weekend; I'm looking at it as just another long run with other people around. Marathon training is weird. In what world is a 13-mile race no big deal?



Mmm. I don't like you.

The end. I am off to eat many carbs. The race is at night and I'm not really sure how to prepare for that; my guess is that I will eat some pita chips and sleep late. SHRUG.

05 August 2011

In which I stick to a plan (!)

Speed workout = done! I was thinking last night how ridiculous it is that a six-mile speed workout is a refreshing light day in a marathon training schedule. Six miles! Nothing! Meanwhile a year ago six miles was a pretty long day of running. Mostly this just means I am a rockstar.

I went to the gym to do my speed workout because I like the fancypants treadmill (built-in TV, virtual track display, iPod docking station, personal fan) and also because using said treadmill makes it easier to monitor speed and know exactly how fast I'm going. I wanted to know my mile pace for this workout and when I do speedwork outside it's a lot of "I will run harder for one minute!" without having any idea what that really means.

Last night's workout looked like this:

One-mile warm-up: 9:40
First mile: 9:05
Second mile: 8:57
Third mile: 8:42
First half of fourth mile: 8:27
Second half of fourth mile: 8:20
One-mile cooldown: 9:40

I watched some Project Runway and, during the faster miles, listened to some music. I occasionally look like a spaz on the treadmill because I get really enthusiastic when my iPod hits on a song that perfectly matches my pace. I have trouble finding running music because most of it is too slow. Songs that you think would be great for running (Ke$sha, Lady Gaga, Britney/Christina) don't work for me when I'm on the treadmill because once you go under 10 minutes per mile you're running at a much faster clip than the pace of the songs. As a result some of my best running music is pretty random. For example the song I was super excited about last night was "How Far We've Come" by Matchbox 20. (I know. You probably forgot that Matchbox 20 even existed.)



I am also a perpetual fan of this gem:



OHH YES RICKY MARTIN. Anyway, when one of these songs pops up on my iPod I have a tendency to do matching arm/hand motions and to mouth the words with corresponding facial expressions. I'm a freak. People at the gym are probably afraid of me. At least at this gym the treadmills face a wall of windows, so nobody behind me can actually see the full extent of my insanity. That's saved for the lucky pedestrians outside.



The next run on my schedule (I have a SCHEDULE!) is a 14-miler tomorrow. I have a great route all mapped out and am excited, but also nervous, because this will be the longest distance I've ever run (previous record: half-marathon in April 2009). I will be packing two flavors of Gu Chomps (watermelon and peach tea), my handheld water bottle and the iPod shuffle. I keep taking that thing on my long runs and I have yet to use it, but I like having the option, at least. I also plan to, you know, EAT SOMETHING before I go. No more moronic running for me.

This run will also mark the official reunion of me and MY WATCH!! We were reunited this week after the watch place decided they could take a watchband off of a watch they had in stock. It took six weeks to arrive at this conclusion. I should probably be more annoyed but frankly am just excited that I got the thing back before I move.


I love you in primary colors!


Wish us luck!

02 August 2011

success!

Hauled my butt out of bed this morning and ran 8.09 miles CHOCK FULL of hills. I wore my new shoes and my quads do not hurt, take that other shoes.



Whatever bitches. You're dead to me now. And I think dead to everyone else, because I'm pretty sure that Tom said you'd be damaged out. To whomever's quads get saved because of my sacrifice: you're welcome.

Interestingly the new shoes are also Mizunos, but a different model. I don't remember what they're called, I just know they're blue, they were cheaper than the shoes of rage and they don't make me want to die. Two thumbs up!



These men are excited for me! Also I can't even with this photo; and it came from a website called holytaco.com. Win all around.

Anyway, my run was really good. My original route was only about 7.5 miles but I added on extra - and another big hill - at the end. I wanted to be at or close to my marathon pace, which I am hoping will be 9:09 or below; my average pace for this run was 9:08. I did not: get lost, fall down, twist my ankle, want to die or feel dehydrated. I did sweat. A lot. It was humid. And cloudy. And on a conference call this morning I learned that there is YET ANOTHER severe heat advisory for the area, coupled with a forecast that includes large particles of hail. So the fact that I got my run out of the way is EXTRA exciting. Because dodging large particles of hail is not really on my to-do list for today.

I also have news that I did not mention in my last post (on account of it is good news and that post was dedicated to whining): I got a job. :) I will be moving to North Carolina in about three weeks and starting the new job at the end of the month. It is a real grown-up job, with benefits and a salary, which is different than what I have been doing. I work full time currently (I actually work around 50 hours per week), but I am a full-time freelancer. Freelancing is a fabulous way to supplement your regular income but it is not a great way to earn your regular income. This is true for several reasons (no benefits, no job security) but for me the biggest one is that freelance income isn't taxed, so I have to pay my own taxes as a self-employed writer. Being self-employed is horrendously bad from a tax perspective; you pay about 35 percent of what you make to the IRS, and if you don't do it periodically throughout the year, you get slammed on your taxes at the end of the year. I know this from experience, because when I first started freelancing in 2008 I thought it was just all TAX-FREE MONEY WOOHOO! Yeah no. Anyway, I am very excited for a lot of reasons, like the fact that it's just an incredibly awesome job and also the fact that I will finally be getting the F out of Wisconsin. If you are new to my blog, the short story is that last August, I quit my full-time grown-up reporting job in Virginia to move to California with my boyfriend, and then we got to California and broke up. So I moved home. And have spent basically every day since then trying to not be at home. I really love where I am from and I really love visiting here, but I just do not enjoy, at all, living in my hometown. So! This is all happy!

To make the job offer all official-style I had to take a drug test (this is pretty standard for newspaper jobs, at least in my experience). I went to take it last week on a hot day after doing a seven-mile fartlek. After I came out of the bathroom and handed the lady my sample she told me that the testing service would probably reject it for being too diluted. Apparently drug addicts overload on water in an attempt to mask the drugs in their system. I considered calling the testing service to explain to them that I am training for a marathon and it's freaking HOT all the time and I drink a lot of water in general and also how on earth are you supposed to make sure you have to pee when you get to the testing place IF YOU DON'T DRINK A LOT OF WATER BEFOREHAND?! But I did not do this and they accepted my sample and everything was fine on account of I am drug-free.



Anyway, employed! Moving soon!

The end. This is very long. Next up: 6-mile speedwork session on the treadmill, either tomorrow or Thursday. Bring it.

01 August 2011

Revelation

You know what? Marathon training kind of sucks. I thought it would be more fun and that I would be more into it. Mostly it just makes me want to die. Just wanted to throw that out there.

As you may be able to tell from my super-positive intro, my AWESOME PLAN did not go awesomely. I am down on myself like whoa: I'm not running enough, when I do I'm running too slowly, blah blah blah, I have nothing good to report. (Melissa, I just know that after my marathon that woman who left you that comment is going to come over to my blog and point to this entry and be like "YOU DESERVED TO SUCK ON RACE DAY.") So instead I will regale you with tales of the Worst Run Ever, which took place Saturday morning.

Typically I like to do my long run on Sunday. I wanted to do between 12 and 13 miles this week, so my Saturday run was going to be around eight. I set out and was feeling okay and then thought, "Well, I'm already OUT here, maybe I should just tack on some extra miles and get my long run out of the way."

So! I did! This was a brilliant plan, except for the fact that it was 90 degrees and I hadn't brought any water and I did bring some Chomps but not really enough to keep me fueled since I HADN'T EATEN ANYTHING before I left and since I hadn't planned the route ahead of time I didn't really KNOW if I was going to hit 12 miles and I also didn't really KNOW if there would be any water fountains but whatever! Logical! Get it out of the way!

You can see where this is going. It was awful. I wanted to die. I was dehydrated and I felt like ass, probably because the sum total of the calories I had ingested that morning were three Gu Chomps and the half-and-half in my coffee, and also because it was eleventy billion degrees and I was dying of thirst. I finished the run after finding a water fountain and making out with it for about 10 minutes, but I walked a bit toward the end, and then just to add insult to injury, when I got home and mapped it out I discovered I had only run 11.3 miles. And let's not even DISCUSS how long it took me, though the super-slow time was at least partially due to the fact that a large chunk of the run was on trails and turned into a hike/run and whatever, it sucked, is my point.

I should also mention that my broken watch is still not fixed. The guy at the watch place is very confused whenever I call him; I dropped the thing off three weeks ago and am not sure that they have even made steps to order the watchband needed to fix it. In the interim I am using my dad's watch, which is from 1989 and has a plastic band. He also found an iPod shuffle in his office and gave it to me for my long runs. It's the original one, with the USB drive built in. If you average together my current running gear I am essentially running in 1995.



+




=



At least someone understands me.


After my run Saturday I returned my evil new running shoes. They were making my quads hurt all the time. I think secretly they were setting them on fire somehow, perhaps when I was sleeping. I left Movin Shoes with a new pair, plus a handheld water bottle and watermelon-flavored Chomps, because my bff salesman Tom said I had to try them. (He also told me that he ran 10 miles that morning and it also sucked, so it wasn't just me.) WE'LL SEE HOW IT GOES. Then last night I registered for another half-marathon.



It's on Aug. 13 and it's an evening race, which is happy because I like running in the evening; also partially scary because it's semi-rural Wisconsin and thus will be fairly dark and so there is extra-high potential that I will a) get lost and/or b) fall down and die. I am not so worried about the falling down and dying as I have my RoadID so at least the authorities will know who I am and will be able to notify my dad, though he will be on vacation then so it may be days before they come to identify the body. If there's no race recap by Aug. 15, just assume I'm in a better place.

TO SUMMARIZE: training sucks right now, and my mental state sucks worse, but I'm determined to crack this thing. So there!

25 July 2011

Epiphany

I decided yesterday to start following a training plan. I decided it might help me stick to a schedule. I know you are all falling out of your chairs due to the brilliance of this idea and also the fact that it took me three months of training to consider it. What can I say, I AM AWESOME.


Painfully true.

Source!


I arrived at this brilliant conclusion after an 11-mile run OUTSIDE yesterday. That's right, folks, the great heat wave of 2011 broke late last week, making it a comparatively cool 88 degrees with 85 percent humidity during my run. As is regular for me lately, I spent about the first five miles mentally defeating myself by thinking about how I can't run a marathon because I have slacked off the past month and how even this training run was going to suck. (I am a really awesome running partner, it turns out.) Then I got to mile six, found a water fountain, ate two Gu Chomps and found a running trail and just like that, I was back into it. I don't know what happened or why, it was just like everything flipped, instantly, and I was happy to be out on a long run and happy to be training for a marathon and looking forward to all of the rest of it. Endorphins, maybe? The intense magic of the Gu Chomps (I LOVE THEM AND THINK THEY WORK SO WELL THAT USING THEM IS BASICALLY CHEATING)? I do not know. All I know is that even when my legs started to tire out around mile 10, I just kept on trucking until I got home. I was a rockstar yesterday. And I want to be able to keep that feeling going, and I think the easiest way to do it is to have a specific plan for each week and each day so that instead of waking up and thinking, "Well I think running around eight miles today makes sense," and then at night thinking, "OH DARN I GOT STUCK AT WORK UNTIL 9 AGAIN OH WELL I CAN DO THIS RUN ANOTHER DAY," I can wake up and think, "I am going to do a one-mile warm-up and a five-mile tempo run and a one-mile cool-down and it is On The Schedule so I better Get Up Now At 5 AM to get it done." With the random capitals, and everything.

I also think sticking to a schedule will effectively eradicate all of the naysaying demons in my head. Yes, I am behind on training. But yes, I have built enough of a base and I have enough time left (10 weeks) to be fully prepared for the marathon if I get myself in line right now.

So! That is my plan! And here is my plan for the week:

Today: rest or cross-train
Tuesday: 10-minute warm-up, 5 x 3 minutes fast, 3 minutes easy, 20-minute cooldown
Wednesday: six-mile run
Thursday: high/low (7.85-mile run with lots of hills)
Friday: rest or cross-train
Saturday: four-mile run
Sunday: 12 miles

Obviously that's a LOT more running than I have been doing, so Saturday may turn into a cross-train or rest day as well, just because the last thing I need to be doing is aggravating my random injuries. (Note: I did twist my ankle again on my run yesterday, but it was very minor. Also, wtf with that? Am I really that clumsy of a human? [Answer: yes, it is ridiculous that I even feel the need to ask this question.]) I am, for the first time in a long time, optimistic about my training. Which is happy. And fueled by Gu Chomps. (Seriously, they're AMAZING. I love them more than I love cotton.)

18 July 2011

OH HEY

I am back! My cat is ... okay, mostly, I think. I will not bore you with the long and ambiguous details of her illness, but she was at the vet's for IV fluids and forcefeeding for a few days and she is home now and seems mostly back to normal. I'm waiting on test results that will hopefully tell me if she has an actual condition or if this was just an episode, but either way things are much better than they were a week ago.



I guess, Sophie. I GUESS.

I didn't run at all last week, as a result of both the unbelievable stress of the combination of making no money and having a really sick animal, and of my schedule last week. I flew to North Carolina on Thursday for a two-day job interview, got back late Friday night and spent Saturday running around town picking up my various pets from their boarding places and then sleeping to recover. I had taken Henry to a bunny boarding place downtown and had a minor freak-out when I left him there because the photos on the business's website were EXTREMELY misleading. I thought I was going to be leaving him in a big well-lit room where he'd be able to run around and play with other bunnies. Instead I left him in a dark hallway in a cage.



Normally when I'm on a short out-of-town trip I just leave him in his man cave in my apartment and have my pet sitter feed him along with the cats, but after Sophie was so sick I felt like spoiling all of them, which is why I decided to board him in what I thought was going to be bunny paradise. Instead it was like bunny Auschwitz. Of course he is fine. But NEVER AGAIN.

So I was all set to go do a fabulous long run yesterday to restart my training and general good-at-life-ness, but then this happened:



Ugh really. REALLY? I debated my options (while eating some garlic breadsticks) and eventually arrived at the conclusion that I just couldn't miss another run. I've gotten way off-track training for the past month and I needed that to stop. So I sucked it up and went to the gym. As soon as I walked out of my apartment I knew I was making the right decision, because it was literally like setting foot inside of a sauna. Just DISGUSTING. I got to the gym, found Mean Girls on TBS and ran 10 freaking miles on the treadmill. TEN. It sucked and was boring and I wanted to die. I took three 40-second breaks to drink water (my Nalgene does not lend itself well to drinking on the go, I can barely drink standing still without sloshing all over myself), but otherwise I just pounded that mother out. I'm proud of myself, for going at all when it would have been easier and nicer to stay inside in the air conditioning watching Grey's on my computer, and for running a full 10 miles on the treadmill when I was ready to stop at around five and gave myself permission to stop at around eight. Basically, I'm proud of myself for (finally) sucking it up.

I'm still feeling sad about missing the half, though I know it was what I had to do for my own sanity that day. I found out the next day that the race organizers ran out of water at mile 2 and that people were dropping from heatstroke the entire time, so it's probably not a bad thing that I missed it, but I'm still kind of bummed. I don't want to register for another one because I'm (knock on wood) not sure where I'll be in a month (the interview went well), so for now it's up to me and my training. But now that I've knocked a 10-mile run out - on the freaking TREADMILL, no less - I feel more confident about things. Now if the weather would just cooperate everything would be golden.

10 July 2011

the little orange cat

My silly wonderful beautiful cat Sophie got pretty sick this weekend, so I didn't go to Milwaukee to run the half marathon. It sucks. But I got next to no sleep last night, haven't been able to eat anything and have spent the better part of the past day crying out of frustration and fear, so I don't think it would have gone well for me had I tried to compete.

I'm not sure what's wrong with her; she's been in and out of the vet's and will go back this afternoon. It seems likely that she ate something weird and has an intestinal blockage. :(





Thank you guys so much, though, for your encouragement on my last post - I will need to find a new half to run asap.

Apologies for the total lack of entertainment in this post, I am pretty numb and sad.

08 July 2011

the weekend of my idiocy

Soooo the Rock n' Sole Half Marathon is Sunday. I feel wildly unprepared for this race. Work sucks and I am bad at running in the mornings, so the past few weeks have just been sucko for my training. At this point I am looking at the half as a big kick in the butt to re-jumpstart things. Because I am NOT going to be standing at the starting line in Chicago in October feeling the way I do now. Which is a lot like this:



That being said I really do think, in the very small part of my brain that is logical, that this race will be okay for me. I will finish it. I did two long runs last weekend, each about 7.5 miles, and they were both hot and gross and I wanted to die, but I didn't stop and I finished both of them, and I think I'm going to feel much better than that on Sunday.

I also twisted my ankle again, then fell down, skinned my knee and got lost. All in the same run. I'm pretty sure the ankle is now a bonafide sprain because it's still pretty swollen; if you look at my right leg from the outside I look semi-obese with a huge cankle. ASK ME IF I CARE ABOUT ANY OF THIS. I went running on it again two days later; I taped it first to make sure it was more stable and it was fine. MY POINT IS THIS: I am nervous and I have slacked off the past few weeks and I am beating myself up for that, but I'm also owning it and changing it. SO THERE HALF MARATHON.

I still want to beat my tumor time. Unfortunately because my one and only half marathon was run in Virginia, they of course don't keep past-year times online. (Why would they? That would make my life easy. At least you are consistent in your suckitude, Virginia.*) From what I remember my official time was around 2:13 and that included bathroom breaks. Just as a recap, I was ordered to stop training for that race by my doctor, so when I lined up on race day my longest training run was 4.5 miles. It hurt like hell but I finished that thing without walking once. That course was beautiful but it was also hilly as a mofo. My point is this, if I can do those hills on little training I SURE AS HELL KNOW that I can finish this one too.

I'm equal parts pep-talking and berating myself here, can you tell? The "I can do it" part is the most important and the bigger part of me, for sure, I just like to surround it with a nice candy shell of WTF KATE-ness.



Anyway. The race starts at 8 am, is almost two hours away and I have yet to pick up my race packet so I'm probably going to be hitting the road at like 4:30 Sunday morning. I know you all are jealous. My dad and stepmom live about a half hour closer to Milwaukee than I do so I'm staying there tomorrow night and my AWFULLY GENEROUS father has offered to drive me there in the morning. This is amazing for many reasons, including the obvious ones like it means I don't have to be super-awake at 4:30, but also because the likelihood of me getting lost and missing either the packet pick-up window or the start is about 110 percent if I have to deal with any of this alone. THANKS DAD! (He totally doesn't read this blog.)



Here's my running to-do list between then and now:
- Laundry. All of my wifebeaters are dirty. Obviously this will not do.
- Run an easy 4 miles in my new shoes to see if the horrible quad pain I'm having in every run is a result of them. If quads hurt during run, run in old shoes on Sunday then deal with taking new shoes back next week.
- Go to the running store for a spibelt. I want to eat some chomps during this race, and I also want the option to listen to my iPod. Y'all, I used to judge music-listening runners; now I just think they're all training for marathons and need the music for sanity, because long runs start to become awfully boring when you're doing them 4 days a week. I've never run outside with music and I have DEFINITELY never listened to it during a race, but I don't know what the crowd support is going to be like in Milwaukee and if I'm dying, you better believe my bad pop music is going to help. Ke$ha understands my pain, probably because she hasn't showered since 2008.
- Carbs carbs carbs!

I also want you to know that I recently started seeing this guy who is pretty great, but unfortunately lives in Chicago, which is a good 2.5 hours from me. He told me this morning he is going to come spend tonight and tomorrow with me which is SO HAPPY. I will force him to give me many running pep talks, join me in my carb-fest and accompany me to the running store; he is a lucky one, for sure. He is an astrophysicist. For the purposes of this blog, I shall refer to him as Elroy. (Note: I sometimes refer to him as Elroy in real life too.) Oh my god, NEVER MIND. If I ever start another blog detailing the adventures of my dating life I will let you all know, but suffice to say that people are freaks and I am likely to remain the spinster of the running blog world until the end of time. (Seriously, have you all noticed that every running blogger is married, engaged or in a relationship? DON'T WORRY SINGLE PEOPLE, I'M STILL HERE, GOTTA GO GET MY CAT FROM THE VET NOW.)

THE END. PLEASE WISH ME LUCK AND LEAVE ME MANY ENCOURAGING COMMENTS, LIKE MAYBE ABOUT MY ANKLE OR ABOUT HOW I AM NOT GOING TO DIE OR ABOUT HOW I SHOULD STOP BEATING MYSELF UP BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY, WITH THE FALLING DOWN AND THE TWISTING OF LIMBS, I AM ALREADY DOING A GOOD ENOUGH JOB OF THAT.

* Dear Melissa, I know that you are from Virginia and I hope that you know that my constant berating of the Commonwealth is not personal and I hope also that it doesn't piss you off because I think about it sometimes and if you were always being all, "OMG WISCONSIN IS THE WORST STATE EVER, BLARGH" I would probably be cranky, basically you are great and I heart you. Plus I bet your Virginia hometown doesn't smell like kibble even some of the time. Harrisonburg = worst. LOVE KATE

30 June 2011

Radio silence

Apologies for my sucktastic non-blogging lately. I am very busy getting sick, having meltdowns about running, mildly spraining my ankle WHILE running and freaking out about my upcoming half marathon. Too busy to blog obviously.

Let's just run through all of that in bullet-point form. Speedy like running.

- I AM SICK. Sorta. My throat started hurting about halfway through the work day yesterday and by the time I went to bed last night I was in full-on head-cold mode: sneezing, runny nose, fire-throat and all. It's slightly better this morning, sort of. Then I left my cough drops at home so to compensate I ate half of the intern's orange. Thursday = winning.

- I have been having many a running freakout lately. Things are changing in my office and I am basically in charge of everything now, which means my work day is about 10 hours long. Instead of just filing my own stories, I also have to wait for everyone else's to be edited, send emails to our media partners and do website maintenance. It sucks and did not come with a pay raise. Since I prefer to run in the evenings, this has mostly resulted in me completely slacking on my training for the past few weeks. Then I get stressed that I'm not running, and then I get stressed that I'm stressed, and that makes it even harder to run, etc. It's annoying and paralyzing and LAYERS DEEP, obviously. Here is a highly scientific diagram to help you understand.



I know. You don't want to get in my head. Anyway, so in my Tuesday-night panic I ate a metric ton of peanut butter then called my dad. He has been a runner for longer than I have been alive; he did Boston twice and the same 20-mile race for something like 25 years in a row, so I trust his judgment. He told me that I am entering a phase of training where I need to be mentally tough. Then he said, "And don't worry, it gets harder!" Then I melted into a puddle of stress and tears, and then we decided that I need to suck it up and run in the mornings so that I can just get my miles done and not have to stress about it at the end of the day. So I asked him to start calling me when he wakes up every day. The man is nutso and gets up at 5:15 with no alarm clock; whatever gene that is obviously skipped me. Anyway, he called me yesterday, I had coffee and ran 7.85 miles full of hills. My quads hate me, but it was lovely. Except for this:



I over-pronate like crazy when I run, so it's not unusual for me to roll my ankle when I'm training. I think it's the winning combination of a complete lack of coordination and the way I'm physically put together. I do it pretty often, and it's always the right ankle. I don't know why. Yesterday morning it happened just after I finished climbing a BEAST of a hill. I tripped on nothing, my foot bent in a way it's not supposed to and it hurt like hell. I stopped for a second to try to kind of peer at it, then realized that was dumb and so I just kept running. Three more miles, to be exact. I am smart. It hurts still and is quite swollen, but I can walk on it fine and will probably go running tonight, ANKLE AND SORE THROAT BE DAMNED. Because like I said. I am smart.

- Half marathon is in 10 days. I am pretty unprepared; the past two weeks really needed to be spent upping my mileage and doing speed/hill workouts instead of generally sucking at running. My longest run is still 9 miles. I know I'll run the whole thing and it'll be fine, it just probably won't be as good as I was hoping it would. I'm going to try to find another one to register for later in the summer, and in the meantime I am determined to go into this one focused on having fun, enjoying the experience and remembering that I am 110 percent capable of running 13.1 miles. Which of course I am!

The end. My bff Doug is coming to visit me this weekend, I have not seen him since I left Virginia almost a year ago. Doug does not run, so this is really not related to this blog at all, but I am excited and wanted to share anyway.



Doug is totally the only good thing about Virginia. If you ever move there (DON'T), you should look him up.

24 June 2011

Emails I've actually sent today

I like to compile these from time to time just as a reminder to myself of how ridiculous I am.

A series between me and my father:

Me:
remember those fun watchbands we found for my running watch in high school? what is the brand name? I want to order one.

Dad:
Oh boy, that's a test! Keva? Or something like that?

Me:
no! try again! THIS IS DRIVING ME BANANAS.

Dad:
I hardly remember what I did yesterday!

So then I decided to call Movin Shoes, because I was pretty sure that's where we got them. Mike, a sales guy we know, answered the phone, so I talked to him for like two minutes trying to make sure he knew who I was, then asked him about the watchband. He thought they were Timex, but apparently they don't sell them there, I don't know.

Me:
MY BOYFRIEND MIKE SAID HE THOUGHT IT WAS TIMEX BUT THEY DON'T SELL THEM THERE. where the hell did I get that watchband?!

Then I did more Googling and found the bands here. So Mike was wrong! WRONG. And then after all of that, I hated every single design on the site.

Me:
Unfortunately it looks like they're all fug now. All that research for nothing.

Dad:
"fug"

Me:
is that a question?

"f-ing ugly"
=fugly
=fug

Dad:
It was; I am not literate with all the social networking acronyms.

OH DAD. I did not have the heart, or really the motivation, to explain Mean Girls to him.



He's not really their target audience anyway, though we did see Rachel McAdams in Midnight in Paris last weekend so perhaps he would have been pleased to know more about her body of work. I don't know.

ANYWAY, so then I sent the following message to the Chums people:

Hi! So, I had one of your watchbands awhile ago and I LOVED it and I want to buy a new one, but (sorry) I kind of hate all the patterns that are available right now. Are there any others available or will there be soon? Okay let me know because I really want to buy one, like now. Thanks!

Then I sent this email to the spreadsheet guys that work for my company for help with a story:

Hello men,

My story for today is about costs for the Supreme Court recount here in Wisconsin. There are two spreadsheets I'd like to link to in the story. One is my own because I'm awesome and one is from the Government Accountability Board. Probably the easiest way to do this is via Google Docs, but [my editor] said I should ask you guys to do it. LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK and please don't ignore my email, I'm looking at you, [spreadsheet guy].


True to form they haven't answered my email. I am essentially done with work for the day but am probably going to have to sit here all day waiting for them to stop ignoring me. Life is hard.

Whiny Friday

Whiny point 1: I went for an eight-mile run on Wednesday night, through the nature preserves in my hometown. It was lovely except for some, ahem DIGESTIVE issues that started to plague me about halfway through. I figured it was no big deal; I finished my run, found a bathroom and went home thinking I would be fine. Two hours later I was balled up in bed with horrible chills and ongoing painful issues. They continued into Thursday; I took a sick day to deal and to also not disgust everyone I work with. I feel fine today and am planning to run tonight, though I'm a little terrified, considering my last two runs resulted in illness, dehydration and a general sense of wanting to die.



Whiny point 2: I lost my first toenail to running a few weeks ago (yay! I'm totally official and hardcore!). The part that's growing back in is now apparently ingrown and I think it might be infected (sadface). It hurts. I have had ingrown toenails before, on the same toe in fact, and I have always fixed them at home with a lovely cocktail of epsom salt soaking, hydrogen peroxide and Neosporin. I hope to fix this one too. But it hurts. And I am sure running on it isn't helping. And I can't stop running, obviously, so, sadface.

Whiny point 3: My watch is still broken (sadface). I took it to the watch repair place in town and it turns out it is a super-easy repair, they just have to order a new part (yay!). The part will take 2.5 weeks to get here (sadface). So in the meantime I'm just rocking my busted watch. I found out on Wednesday that I can still wrap it around my wrist, it's just crooked and ridiculous and hard to start and stop. I just hope they get the part in before the half marathon (sadface).

Whiny point 4: I have been meaning to write about this for awhile. You need to brace yourself because you may not want to be my blog friend after you read this, but:

I cannot. Even deal. With running skirts.


Okay look. I know that there are people out there who are faster and better than me who run around in running skirts. I saw some of them on my run Wednesday; those girls would have left my shorts-wearing booty in the dust at the starting line of any race. But it doesn't matter how good you are, if I see you running in a skirt, I cannot take you seriously. I just can't. There is NO REASON to be wearing a skirt when you're running. THERE IS JUST NO REASON. I am all for looking cute, I love clothes (particularly skirts and dresses), but just NO. Running is hard and it's fierce and it's awesome and if you do it regularly, you're automatically hardcore. There's just no reason to throw a little skirt into that mix. I assume those skirts have shorts under them, so really, what are you getting out of wearing one except looking like you are a tennis player who got lost on the way to a doubles match? I JUST CAN'T. I AM SORRY. And I need you to know that this is coming from a girl who used to try on her mother's tennis skirts in high school and wish I had a reason to wear one. STILL NO.

I am happy to have gotten that off my chest. These are the things that keep me up at night, you know?

SO. In less whiny-pants news, my blogging bff Melissa gave me a blogging award! I don't really know what this means, but I like her, so I am happy!



So, 10 things about me:

1.I'm a vegetarian. I stopped eating meat when I was 13 and went to see the movie Babe with my grandma. We walked out of the theater and I said, dramatically, "I am never eating meat again." My grandma apparently didn't take me seriously because she ordered a sausage pizza for dinner, then got very angry when I wouldn't eat it. "It's COW, NOT PIG!" was her argument. I haven't eaten meat since then, though it took me some time to completely phase out seafood. Obviously the reason I don't eat meat now has little to do with Babe and more to do with animal welfare, but that is, in fact, why I stopped initially.

2. I can't dive. I am a pretty good swimmer, but I never advanced beyond the "intermediate" level of swimming lessons because I just can't dive. I can't do it. I don't know how you contort your body in that way, I don't know how you do it without getting water up your nose and I don't know how you don't freak out and belly-flop at the last second. I would like to learn how to do this at some point, though frankly holding my nose and jumping in works just as well.

3. I'm an only child. I'm always sort of shocked when people in my real life are surprised by this fact because I think I'm a pretty textbook only child. I don't think I'm particularly spoiled, though my parents are amazing and are very, very, very good to me, but I was mature from a young age because I hung out with a lot of adults; I am extremely comfortable meeting new people, I'm extroverted and I still, at 29, have to frequently remind myself that I won't always get things my way.

4. I don't really have any body hang-ups. This is a fairly recent development, I had a really unhealthy relationship with my body for a long time. I don't know if this comes from getting older or if it comes from realizing that nobody's perfect, but these days I'm happy with and thankful for my body. Of course there are parts of my body I would change (for me, it's pretty much just my stomach), but I don't care or stress about them like I used to. It is what it is. My body lets me do what I do, and for that reason alone, it's perfect.

5. I kind of miss my tongue ring. (SADFACE) I had my tongue pierced from the time I was 22 until last October. I took it out right after my trainwreck break-up because I decided, in one instant, that it was time to be a grownup. I loved my tongue ring, for no reason really other than that it was fun to play with, but I think that at a certain age you start to look a little ridiculous running around with piercings like that. I decided awhile ago that 28 was that age for me, but I never felt compelled to remove it until my world kind of fell apart. That sounds dramatical. But it's true!

6. I can't keep a plant alive to save my life. I thought I would have good luck with a cactus. But then my cat ate it.



7. I would like to own a house solely so that I can rescue more animals. Not a TON more, I'm not a crazy hoarder. But I would like to get my rabbit a companion, and I would like to have a dog. I will not do any of this in the near future. Apartment people already think I'm insane with my three pets, and that's before they meet said pets and realize how ridiculous all of them are. I just can't help it, I'm so passionate about animal rescue. I don't understand how people dump their pets at shelters and I also don't understand why anyone ever goes to a breeder when there are so many homeless pets out there.

8. Possibly I have a little bit of a bleeding heart.

9. Peonies are my favorite flower. I think because I feel like they are the flower embodiment of my life: big, messy, ridiculous, clumsy, falling all over themselves and above all, beautiful.

10.I have double-jointed arms. Here is a photo I just took that will hopefully illustrate this:



This usually grosses people out. My grandmother and my mom both have arms like this, and I never really understood why people think it's gross. Maybe YOUR arms are the gross ones! (Also, I realize that photo is going to make you super-jealous of the hot wood paneling in my office. I know. It's okay.)

The end. If you are:
Stopping For Daisies
Tami Taylor or
Words To Run By, you should participate. :) *

*there are other people I want to tag but then I would have to out myself as a blog stalker of people who don't read my blog so I am not going to. STEALTH.