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


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


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!