29 January 2011

sometimes, not always

I forgot to add one thing to my list of "you should know's" regarding my blog which is this: I am not a write-every-day type of blogger. And probably I never will be, unless someone decides to sponsor my blog and pay me lots of money to write ridiculous things from my bed while I wear pajamas. I just get all twitchy if I start thinking of it as something I Have To Do every day, and also I am not interesting seven days a week. Tuesdays are boring and sometimes I take naps on Thursdays. It's just a fact.

Since my last post I have run twice. The first was indoors at the gym - 4 miles in 35 minutes flat, 6.5 starting speed, 8.1 ending - and the second was today, OUTSIDE, in the BALMY 32 degrees weather. My ears were very excited to be muff-less in the great outdoors for the first time in a month; my quads were less jazzed about the hills we encountered. It went okay, and I felt happy to be out again. I did 3.23 miles in 27:49, which is an average pace of 8:21, thus proving my theory that treadmill training will make you fast but it will also make you a big fat hill wuss. Since it's supposed to drop back into arctic temperatures next week, I am contemplating some treadmill hill workouts. I'm not sure how effective they are but it is probably better than nothing, so we'll see.

Because I don't listen to music when I run outside, I always gear up for my runs with a dance party in my bedroom. I do this with the door closed lest anyone wander past and see me, because I dance like a freak. Like this:

Except instead of joining in my cats just look at me with sadness and pity. Today's warm-up song was "Raise Your Glass" by Pink which morphed into "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry while I was running. I then spent a good chunk of my run contemplating how pop music all sounds the same to me now, which I believe officially makes me about 86 years old.

Kindred spirit.

I was chatting with my blogging bff Melissa the other day (we go way back, like to the days of livejournal), and she pointed out that I had never explained my reasons for choosing to run the Little Rock Half. They are simple and boil down to this girl:
That is my bff, who I affectionately refer to as the Baby Giraffe due to her gangly awkwardness. She is living in Little Rock for the year with her husband, Cute Comm Boy (so named because I mildly stalked him in my sophomore year communications class), and suggested that we run the race together as a bonding thing. The giraffe weighs 10 pounds and could cut you with her hipbones and as such has never run a half marathon, which frightens me a little because I fear she may break in half right in front of me en route, and I can't sew or do CPR so I will be of no use if/when this happens. She has had the flu and has spent the past week or so vomming, and before that I think was right around my awesome running benchmark of 4 miles, so it remains to be seen how this whole half-marathoning-in-the-name-of-friendship will go. Because in case you have forgotten, allow me to remind you that the race is

36 days

away. And yes that did fill my heart with fear and panic when I typed it.

Obviously I do not have any grand GOALS for this race, although I would like to beat the time from my last half, which was 2:13. My training for that one was very on point until I went to the doctor for what I thought might be a stress fracture and left being told it was a "shadowy mass," most likely a tumor. My tumor sucked. I named her Phyllis, she was a wench. She looked like this:

The fugly whore is technically still in my leg, hanging out, and since it never changed shape or grew the doctors didn't see a need to biopsy it, and declared it benign ("enchondroma" is Phyllis' full name, if you are into the Google). But while they were discussing all of this I was told to stop running, so by the time the half rolled around my long run consisted of a single 4.5-miler. I was running the race with my dad, who has been a runner longer than I've been alive and has done Boston twice, and he was very kind to me when I hit the wall at mile 9. But I didn't walk once and still managed some semblance of a sprint into the chute, and of course I didn't lose my sense of humor or powers of persuasion, as some time around mile 7 I managed to talk my dad into doing this for one of the course photographers:

Why yes, I am racing in a cotton T-shirt.

So really my goal here is to get in at least one long run of about 8 miles and finish faster than my tumor time of 2:13. I think it's doable, especially since the giraffe told me to feel free to ditch her after the first mile. I don't know how likely that is, on account of I like her, but I am glad to have the option. And since I won't be listening to music on the course, I already have my pump-up strategy all planned out. It basically involves playing this on a loop in my head:


Edited to add: I just reopened this post to let you know that I cannot watch that video without dissolving into laughter. I have yet to make it through one time. I am a dork.

25 January 2011

you wouldn't like me when I'm angry crabby

I went to the gym today for my second training run this week, which officially makes this the most productive running week in a month. On the one hand, snaps to me; on the other, what the f that I had such a lame January. I could be doing tempo runs or speed work right now, but instead I am Building A Base. But at least I am doing it!

I am not a treadmiller by nature and whenever I start to get comfortable with machine-running I try to switch it up and head outside, which is difficult to do in January here in the Great White North. Planning an outdoor run requires a lot of forecast-stalking and calendar-pondering to make sure you're outside on the right day, and then the right time of day to maximize the chances of returning with all of your fingers and toes frostbite-free. I checked the weather report for the rest of the week this morning and saw this:That is downright BALMY. I can run in capri-length tights and NO EARMUFFS when it's in the 30s. Cheered with this knowledge, I headed off to the gym.

When I got there I saw that, for the first time in my Midwest gym membership experience, one of the fancypants treadmills was available. I do my treadmill running on your basic treadmill — low to the ground, with a really basic display; the kind of treadmill that makes your knees hurt just looking at it. It fits with my low-tech running style and my general clumsiness (I feel I am much less likely to hurt myself on the simplest machine in the gym), but I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I gave the upscale one a go and GOOD LORD. It had many things that are of no use to me, like a Nike + interface and internet connectivity (how would I...? I can't even). But it also had things that pleased me, like a ridiculous "virtual track" setting that showed my lap count and had a little screen projecting what it would ostensibly look like if I were actually running on a track. Note: I used to run track; it did not look like that. AND. IT HAD A TINY LITTLE FAN. I liked this because it kept my face dry but mostly because it allowed me to pretend I was beach-running a la Heidi Montag.

At the beginning of my run there was a chick on the treadmill to my left and a dude on the treadmill to my right. I am a competitive person so I like it when there are other people running near me so I can compare our speeds and then gloat internally if I'm faster, or glare at them and speed up if I'm slower. I tend to be an angry gym-goer, by which I mean I like to find one person in the gym who annoys me and then dedicate my workout to them, because I find that it makes me work out harder. When I was living in Virginia I discovered that this strategy translates into glaring, as I would frequently run into people from my gym at the bar and they would all run away from me. Finally one of them told me that they all referred to me as "grumpy gym girl," which basically means that I just look crabby and not INTIMIDATING, which is what I imagined I was projecting. I keep doing it anyway because if I look crabby enough it may come off as intimidating, if only in a "she might snap at me if I ask to use that machine" kind of way. (The joke is always on me: once spoken to, I am a super-nice gym person. I will move benches for you and let you read my magazines. Be my friend!)

The focus of today's workout rage was the girl next to me, who was cruising along at 6.7 mph when I started. I started my run at 6.4, but tragically had only sped up to 6.6 by the time she left. This is a crushing blow, clearly, because I'm sure she spent the rest of her day gloating over her treadmill victory. Or, more likely, she had no idea she was battling me and is off somewhere now having a life while I blog about her. WHATEVER.

Anywhoozles, I ran 3.63 miles in 33 minutes, starting pace 6.4, ending pace 7.6.

When I was leaving the gym I noticed a really cute, tall guy coming out of the locker room. I realized then that I am in the interesting spot post-breakup where I care enough to notice the cute guys at the gym and to make sure my hair isn't doing this:
But I still don't care enough to shave my legs. Probably better, since I'm almost certainly glaring at the cute guys the whole time I'm there anyway.

23 January 2011

One down, a bajillion left to go

I did not actually end up running yesterday. Instead I went to the movies and snarfed popcorn with butter, then to dinner at a tapas place. I had two dishes to myself, then ordered a cheese plate "for the table" but, obviously, ate 95 percent of it. And had two glasses of wine. I was primed to feel like it was maybe REALLY time to run this morning, basically.

So I went to the gym to log some miles because it is still cold and also the NFC Championship game is on, and as I am from and currently residing in the Midwest, missing this game would mean that I would have to renounce my citizenship. I started with a 20-minute warmup on the elliptical to ease my old-person joints. Then I stretched, hopped on the treadmill and pounded out 3.32 miles in 30 minutes. I started at 6.3 mph (9:31 per mile) and ended at 7.6 mph (7:54 per mile). This is deceptive, because I ran most of the time at 6.8-6.9, but I am a strange and sadistic person and I feel that if I am going to be running on a treadmill I should be constantly increasing my speed, and I always end on a sprint. So there you go.

Then I spent some quality time with my bff the foam roller and called it a day.

I should also mention that a little more than halfway through, my hair — styled in a librarian-type bun from work this morning, which is what I do when I don't feel like showering (most of the time) — started to come undone and slide down the back of my head. Around the same time one of my shoes came untied. By some miracle, I managed not to die/flail/fall off the treadmill/trip/injure myself as a result of either of those things (because I was obviously not going to stop to take care of either situation; see above note about my strange and sadistic tendencies).

I felt really good throughout which was happy, but mostly I am just excited that my sad mileage counter no longer reads zero. I am judging myself less for having a running blog now that I have actually gone running. I'm legit now.

22 January 2011


I used to be wicked good at running and am trying to get back into it consistently, which is difficult given my many lasting running injuries (apparently one of my legs is longer than the other and this makes me all unstable; I am annoyed by this because it hurts my parts but also secretly vindicated as it presents a plausible explanation for the many times a day I fall down). I am in the wake of a traumatic train crash of a breakup, one that forced me to move back home to the frigid Midwest into my mother’s basement while I look for a job. It is not awesome, for many reasons, including the fact that most of my belongings — including my shoes — are in storage. I miss my shoes.

When I got here in the fall I was running consistently, but now it is winter and -4,000 degrees all the time and there has been many a day I have decided to eat bagels instead of put my shoes on and get out the door. I would like this to change for many reasons, including the fact that I am signed up to do a half marathon in Little Rock in March. I am so in denial about this that I have to Google to find out the date of the race every time I decide to think about it. I will now post said date here, on the internet, which will disarm my denial because as the spurned girl in The Social Network pointed out, the internet is written in ink not pencil. That’ll teach me.


So my first blogging goal is to keep track of my training, which will hold me accountable to complete said training. In the interest of full disclosure, I will add that it’s 2:15 pm, I’m still in pajamas and I spent the morning eating my weight in Saltine crackers and peanut butter, watching OnDemand episodes of Teen Mom. What can I say, I go a little nuts when I have the house to myself. I might do laundry next. Shit’s off the hook here.

If you decide to read my blog here are some things you should know going forward. 1.) I swear sometimes. 2.) I have many pets (two cats, one bunny) who drive me crazy frequently and since I am a whiner they will probably pop up here and then. 3.) Since I have been running forever I know about running things, like fartleks and tempo runs and negative splits. But since I started running in 1995 I am completely oblivious about many other things. I don’t know what a Garmin is. Nike+ (if that’s what it’s even called) is a mystery to me. I don’t run with music unless I’m on the treadmill; I sometimes still drive my runs to figure out how far I’ve gone. I’m a low-tech runner, is what I am saying to you now. Also I frequently wear cotton T-shirts (or wifebeaters) when I’m running and they do not cause me any problems. I realize this is sacrilege to many runners.

I have run one half marathon before, in April 2009 in Charlottesville, Va., with my dad. I had to stop training in the middle thanks to a tumor in my right shin (it was later ruled benign), so I finished the very hilly course in 2 hours and 13 minutes which for me is pretty slow. I would like to run a full marathon before I turn 30, which is a little more than a year away, and also hello, I am old. But of course I need to take baby steps here which today means I need to get off the couch, turn off the OnDemand and think about going go running. It’s still -4,000 out so this means I will have to put clothes on and go to the gym. But first I have to digest those 11 pounds of crackers and peanut butter. Cheers to a big Saturday.