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:

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

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


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.


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.

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


is that a question?

"f-ing ugly"

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.

20 June 2011

and then I died. OR AT LEAST I WANTED TO.

Soooo I ventured out yesterday morning for the first time in a week (thanks again politics). I was all panicky because as I mentioned before the half marathon is a mere THREE WEEKS AWAY which really means I only have two more weeks of training and then a taper week, and my longest run so far is nine miles, blah blah blah. So I decided to just kick it into gear with an eight-miler yesterday.

I felt great for about the first....I don't know. Two miles? About a mile and a half into it I passed this other runner, and then she took a shortcut to cross the street and I used the crosswalks (odds are I would die in some freak accident if I didn't), and so she ended up ahead of me again and the whole thing was awkward. I was worried she was going to be running the exact same route as me and I just did not want to deal with it, because I am annoying and competitive so I would have HAD TO try to stay in front of her and it would have turned into a tempo run and it was approximately 7,000 degrees with 110 percent humidity so I was not in any mood to do a damn tempo run. Luckily she turned a corner and I never saw her again so it was just me, my bad attitude and six miles to go.

I just felt like crap for basically this entire run. About five miles in I got the worst side cramp I've ever had in my life - it hurt so badly I almost started crying; I couldn't breathe at all - so I had to walk. I literally cannot remember the last time I walked during a run, I think I was probably 14 or 15. It's just not something I do, for a lot of reasons but the main one came rushing back to me last night and that is this: it is so mentally difficult for me to keep running after I stop. I am not beating myself up about walking, at all, because I had no other option, I literally couldn't keep running because breathing and moving at the same time was too painful. But once I started running again it pretty quickly became a case of, "Well I'm in pain now too so why not just stop again...I already did it once so this run doesn't matter now anyway."

I think the side cramp happened because - in my brilliance! - I didn't drink any water before I set out, just two cups of coffee. It was muggy and gross outside and I was sweating BUCKETS. In my quick walking break I found a water fountain and, though I didn't feel particularly thirsty, chugged a bunch and WHAT DO YOU KNOW, THE CRAMP WENT AWAY LIKE MAGIC.

Anyway, I slogged through the rest of the route and as I was about a mile away from home this SUPER PALE ALBINO MAN passed me and I just lost it. Seriously. And that was when I took my third walk break, the one for which I have no excuse. I was just SO FRUSTRATED. Frustrated that the run felt like crap and my legs were heavy and I couldn't breathe. Frustrated that I hadn't run all week. Frustrated that this race is in three weeks and I'm nervous that I'm not ready and it's going to suck. Frustrated with myself, with my job, with my weekend, with being in Wisconsin, with EVERYTHING. So I walked. For about half a block. And then I got mad and sucked it up and JUST BECAUSE, ran an extra three-quarters of a mile. Because, excuse my language, fuck that. I am not weak and I am not a big whiny baby, and I was acting like both of those things for the better part of that run. (And also for the better part of the weekend. It has not been a great few days for me.)

The extra mileage sucked and looking back I probably shouldn't have done it. I really wasn't feeling good and I think there's a good chance I was actually real-life dehydrated. When I stopped at the end of the run I felt clammy and had goosebumps, I thought I was going to puke and my legs didn't really want to hold me up anymore. Learning the balance between stopping because it's healthy and safe and stopping because you're being a baby is difficult for me; I pretty much always assume that I'm just being a baby so I keep going. (This is probably the only time I have been wrong, honestly.)

So! The good news is that my pace wasn't awful for all of my drama and wanting to die (7.89 miles in 1 hour, 12 minutes; 9:07 average) and...well that's about all the good news. Also my running watch broke somehow (NO idea how this happened, I just found it on my kitchen table all busted) - the loop that holds the watchband snapped, so to use it during my run yesterday I had to loop it around the strap of my tank top and tuck it into the bra, NOT AWESOME - so I need to go get a new one. I am sad. I get weirdly attached to things like my running shoes, watch, etc. It's just that we have been through SO MUCH TOGETHER, you know. It's like:

:( Goodbye Timex, I will miss you, and even though I will probably replace you with a clone of yourself, it just won't be the same, at least not for like two runs and then it will probably be fine.

17 June 2011

when life (with help from politics) spoils my plans

I cover state politics for a living in Wisconsin. I don't know if you all have paid attention to the ridiculous shenanigans that have occurred in Wisconsin during the past six months, but to give you a photo primer most of it looked something like this:

All of those people have been in Madison since February, protesting the tactics and proposed legislation of this guy:

Gov. Scott Walker. The biggest deal to protesters is the collective bargaining legislation, which Walker says will help close the state's deficit. The legislation effectively eliminates collective bargaining rights for most public employees who belong to unions, including teachers, construction workers and nurses. The legislation was tied up in court for months but the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that it could take effect. Additionally this week both legislative chambers passed the budget after hours of debate (13 for the Assembly and nine for the Senate), the bulk of which was Democrats and Republicans yelling at each other.

SO. I love politics. I am not paid to have an opinion on any of this and I am, truly, professionally neutral about all of it. I say that because I'm not writing about any of this here to make you feel one way or another about unions, collective bargaining, Democrats, Republicans or Scott Walker. You can feel however you want, I don't care. What I DO care about is the fact that it's Friday morning, I have already worked 45 hours, I am fried and exhausted and I have not run since my 10K on Sunday. This is me right now:

Except not at the royal wedding and not related to anyone with an engagement ring worth more than my apartment building. Just BLAAARGH! The company I work for has also been feeding me lots of free food, which I appreciate, but the end result is that I am full of pizza and sandwiches and chips and Diet Coke and I feel gross and sluggish. Hopefully, now that the budget is passed my life will become more manageable. I had a mini panic attack this morning when I realized that my July half marathon is a mere THREE WEEKS AWAY and my longest run so far is 9 miles. Now I know I can run a half marathon on the base I've built so far; I know it because I ran a half marathon once when my longest run was 4.5 miles. But I would like to be competitive and to actually race it, and to toe the starting line knowing I am prepared. And I don't feel that way right now.

HOWEVER. I am planning to go running tonight, and doing that will mean I have really only missed one run this week. That is not a big deal. I also know that sometimes life happens and training suffers and you have to GO TO BED so you can get up in the morning and spend another 14 hours listening to politicians argue with each other. I'm not really beating myself up at all about any of this, which is good; I am mostly just finding it annoying. Dear legislators, DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THAT I NEED TO GET MY TRAINING RUN IN? PLEASE WRAP IT UP.


I will now go crank out one more story and try to get out of here at a reasonable hour, like maybe 6 p.m. Dare to dream, kids.

14 June 2011

Fundraising update!

I keep forgetting to post this in any of my other entries so I am just going to go ahead and give it its own post:

I made my marathon fundraising goal last week! :)

Actually I exceeded my marathon fundraising goal by $90, because everyone in my life is officially 110 percent amazing. I'm thrilled that I was able to accomplish this but I'm even more excited that all of that money will benefit homeless cats and dogs in Chicago.

You're welcome, kitteh!

I'm going to leave the donate link on my blog until the marathon, just because it's such a great cause — you can read about PAWS Chicago, the no-kill shelter I'm running for, here — so if you have any extra dollaz and feel like supporting some kittens and puppies, you can just click there!

Otherwise, thank you so, so much to everyone who donated! I am honored and humbled by your support and can't wait to kick some butt in Chicago. :)

13 June 2011

Race Recap: Verona Hometown Days 10K

First of all, because I know you are ALL WONDERING: no. I did not get lost. YESSSSSSS, racing success!

I think it is maybe my destiny this summer, though, to be running in tiny tiny races. The Legend of Arlage 5K had maybe 40 participants and the Verona Hometown Days 10K, which I ran Sunday, had 35. (To be fair, there was also a 5K that attracted at least double that number.)

Because of its size, most likely, the race was low-tech. We didn't even have bibs, just strips of paper with our names and ages on them that we pinned to our shirts. I didn't mind the small field, really, mostly because everything was organized very well and ran really smoothly. The course was clearly marked, which is obviously important for my dumb ass, and because there weren't a ton of people there, the organizers were always around to answer questions.

The race was in Verona, a smallish town about 15 miles from where I live. It began and ended in Harriet Park:

View Larger Map

But it was mostly on pavement. The course was an out-and-back, which I didn't know when I registered for it. I don't tend to like out-and-back courses, not for races and not for training runs, because I dislike knowing exactly how far I've gone and exactly how far I have left to go (this probably sounds counterintuitive, now that I think about it). I'm glad, though, that I didn't know, because the half marathon I'm doing next month is two huge out-and-back loops, so this was good preparation.

As I think I mentioned before, I had never run a 10K before and so I really had no idea what to expect. It's a weird, in-between distance; you can't sprint it like you do a 5K and you can't pace it the same way you do a half marathon. To pick a goal time I looked at my training runs and settled on anything under 54 minutes, which I figured was an attainable goal because that basically meant running at a sub-9 pace which I've been doing easily for the past month or so. My SUPER-SECRET goal was to finish in under 50 minutes, but I figured that was unlikely because it would mean staying at 8-minute miles. So REALLY, my strategy was the same as it was for the 5K - go out at a pace that felt good, but try to hold back a bit so I could go for negative splits if possible.

So, we set off, I was feeling good, and then I checked my watch at the first mile marker to see 8:06 staring back at me.

I literally uttered "Crap," out loud. And then in the next second, kind of shrugged and thought, Well, I feel fine, let's just see how this goes.

A little bit after that my mom showed up, yay! :) The course was on streets a lot of the time so she was able to drive around and see me and take horribly unflattering running photos at a lot of different points. Like this one, right after she arrived:

I was actually talking to the guy next to me, who had come up beside me and said something like, "You have quite the fan club." I laughed and said, "Aw, just my mom!" and then thanked him for not passing me until after she'd taken the photo. WHICH CLEARLY IS NOT REALLY WHAT HAPPENED, WHATEVER.

The course was hilly, and the major out-and-back portion was one long huge incline. Getting up that thing was a motherf-er, not only because it was huge and it sucked but because at that point I started seeing people who'd turned around passing me on their way back - but I had no idea where the turnaround actually was. I wanted to die a little by the time I got there, but I just told myself I'd get to savor the downhill on my way back. I hit the four-mile mark right after the turnaround, at 32:20.

You can tell how awesome I am feeling after all of those hills. In case you can't, the answer is really not that awesome at all. But I finally made it back to the road without dying and passed the five-mile mark at 40:20.

This is the point where the small field was both a blessing and a curse. I was totally alone on the road at this point. I could see the frontrunners ahead of me, but eventually they turned the corner to the finish line and then I couldn't see them at all. It was nice, kinda, not unlike a training run, but sometimes having other runners around you pushes you more. I was also worried I'd somehow managed to get lost again (though these organizers had spray-painted bright orange arrows everywhere so even I would have had a difficult time losing my way). Eventually I turned the corner to the finish line, ran up yet another hill and passed a very kind woman who told me I was almost there and that the finish was downhill and right around the corner. I loved her mostly.

I kicked it in a little, sprinted down the hill and crossed the finish line in 50:05.

Y'all, I'm totally and 100 percent thrilled with that time. My splits, from what I can remember, were almost completely even - I think they were: 8:06, 8:11, 8:04, 7:59, 8:00 and 8:00 - and I felt great and paced myself well. Of course there's that part of me that's all "Ugh five seconds and you could have broken 50!" but it's a small part. Because I'm really proud of myself. :)

Right after finishing, sweaty but celebrating:

Why yes, yes I did race in a wifebeater.

That time was also good enough for third place in my age group, fifth woman overall, which meant I got a medal:

AND WHO DOESN'T LOVE A MEDAL, HONESTLY. (Fun fact: this race was a fundraiser for the Verona High School cross-country team. My first-ever cross-country race was at Verona and I am pretty sure they gave out this same medal then.)

My only gripes about this race are the fact that runners weren't even given the option to pick up registration packets before race day (I hate dealing with that on race day, it is enough trouble for me to get there on time, since I have to factor in extra time for getting lost), and that there were three different start times listed online. The active.com site said 7:30 am, mapmyrun said 7:45 and the Verona Hometown Days website said 9 am. I was all set to show up for a 9 am start and decided, at the last minute Saturday night, to call the organizer (whose number I found on mapmyrun) and double-check; good thing I did or I would have been posting a stabby entry about missing the start.

Up next: Summerfest Half Marathon, and then I gotta find something else to register for because I am on a total race high now; why did I ever stop doing this?!

08 June 2011

The hills are alive...with bugs

In an effort to be super-good at life, I hauled my booty out of bed at 5:30 am yesterday to go run hill repeats. I KNOW. I was very proud of myself, especially since I didn't have coffee first.

I went to Elver Park to do repeats on this hill, which according to the internet is the highest point in Madison:

Ugh okay. I know. It looks tiny. This is due mostly to the fact that I took this photo after I was done with repeats and also done with my cool-down run and was disgusting and wanted to go home so I could not be bothered to walk ALLLLL THE WAY back over to the bottom of the hill for a photo session; I shot it from near the parking lot with a wide-angle lens. It is also due to the fact that I live in the Midwest and we are a simple people living in a flat land. But just trust me, that hill is a beast and it's long and it sucks. Actually, if you make the picture big you can see a runner going up it, which should give you some perspective on its BEASTLINESS.

We used to run this hill in cross country, and as I was driving over to the park I tried to remember what those workouts were like. Mostly, I tried to remember how many repeats we would do. I failed. So I set out to do five. I ended up doing eight, plus a 20-minute warm-up and cool-down. It was weird, I think I have written about this before, but certain parts of Madison just smell a certain way in a certain season, and the whole time I was in this park I was 17 all over again, waiting for the evil Coach Spolar to come crack the whip and make me do more speedwork. It's kind of helpful in a way as I was awesome at life when I was 17 and it makes me work a little harder when I'm running. Hopefully that makes sense.

One of the main reasons I wanted to do this workout in the morning is that Wisconsin has been DISGUSTING this week. It's been in the mid-90s with at least 80 percent humidity since Monday, and by the time late afternoon/evening rolls around I am too busy wishing I was dead to even contemplate running. When I walked out of my apartment building before 6 am yesterday it was still a little humid, but mostly cool and dewy and lovely. The park was the same way until I started running the hill and ran into my friends the mosquitoes. They were EVERYWHERE and they LOVED ME. I felt like Lady Gaga with a swarm of paparazzi, except not at all because instead of taking my photo and not telling me my lady bits were exposed, they just wanted to cluster around my head and bite my face off.

It was good motivation to keep moving, because every time I stopped I looked like Pigpen.

Pigpen in a wifebeater with a ponytail, anyway.

I also looked like this when I was done:

And the bottom of my shoes were CAKED with mud. It was awesome.

The only downside to morning workouts is that I inevitably run out of time to do a proper stretch/ice/foam roll session. I halfheartedly stretched my hamstrings and quads before jumping in the shower to get to work on time. As a result my right IT band, from my butt to my knee, is SCREAMING today. So I'm going to push today's run to tomorrow and spend some quality time with my foam roller boyfriend tonight. HOT DATE FOR SURE. It's better anyway because it's in the 90s again today but tomorrow the high is 63 or something ridiculous like that. Thank you weather for endorsing my week's training plan, I appreciate it!

06 June 2011

in which I am salty

My 10K is in six days. I feel both prepared for this and unprepared for this.

PREPARED: I have run more than six miles and I know that I can race that distance comfortably.

UNPREPARED: Y'all, I don't know why, but the 10K is kind of intimidating me a little bit. It shouldn't, logically, because I know I can run the distance without problems and I've raced a half marathon before, so it's not even close to the longest race I've ever run. I think I'm intimidated because I've actually trained and am in shape and ready to race it, whereas with my half marathon I had to stop training halfway through due to a potential injury. THE TOOMAH, YOU KNOW.

The thing also starts at 7:45 am and there is NO pre-race-day packet pickup, so I have to get out of bed super early and haul my ass over there to make sure I can get my packet and still have time to warm up. I'm annoyed. Who doesn't even give you the OPTION to pick your packet up ahead of time? Apparently I keep registering for the world's most ghetto and unorganized races. The Summerfest half-marathon seems less so, though they refuse to mail my packet to me even though I don't live in Milwaukee so picking it up is going to be a road trip extravaganza.

Road trip rage, booyah.


Anyway, so that's that. I had a good week of running last week until Friday, when I got to spend 10.5 hours covering a Joint Finance Committee hearing at the Capitol. They were passing the budget, and because politics is nasty these days it was basically 10 hours of Democrats and Republicans bickering and being rude to each other. It was also about five hours of protesters standing up, singing and being carried out of the room by police. Those type of shenanigans are ongoing at the Capitol today, where I was covering a Supreme Court hearing:


It's fascinating to be reporting on this stuff but it's also a little hard to watch sometimes. Anyway, I was stuck there Friday night (Saturday morning?) until 1 am, so obviously running didn't happen.

I left Saturday to go up north and visit my grandparents, and I went running there Sunday morning. I had mapped out a route before I left home, but I got RIDICULOUSLY lost and ended up running all over their town; I had meant to do around 7-8 miles but instead did just over 9. I was pretty pumped about the distance but exhausted by the end because it was hot and sunny and my legs were hurting and hating me. And I walked in the door and my grandma immediately said, "Okay! How about some fresh coffee!" Since my core temperature at that point was roughly the same as the core temperature of the earth, I declined and instead went into the kitchen and guzzled about 14 gallons of water. All in all it was a stellar running day. My quads still hurt.

So, my plan this week is to do one more long run (well "long," you know, at least six miles) and one speed or hill session. The speed/hill thing has eluded me thus far because my hours at work have been f-ing ridiculous, and I have sucked at getting up to go running before work. The hill I want to use for repeats is a good 10 minute drive from my house; I figure I'll be running up and down it for 45 minutes to an hour; factor in a warm-up and cool-down and I think I have to be out the door by 5:30 am to get the whole thing done and still get to work on time. And come on. That is ridiculous. (Never mind that in Virginia I consistently left my apartment at 4:50 to get to the gym before work. WHATEVER THIS IS WISCONSIN, RULES ARE DIFFERENT.)

It's also disgusting, balls-hot here. It's 95 outside right now but with the humidity, the channel 3 meteorologist informs me, it feels like 108. I disagree because it really feels like about 193,343,090. Tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same, which is actually really good motivation to get my workout done in the morning because I am definitely not going to be pumped to go run if I walk out of work tomorrow evening and it feels even remotely like it does now. I saw a girl running while I was driving home; she was wearing black shorts and a black tank top and I legit wanted to roll down the window and yell "WHY, SERIOUSLY, WHY?!"

The end. This entry was kind of salty. Like my sweat will be tomorrow. Appropriate!!

02 June 2011

National Running Day!

National Running Day was yesterday!

I celebrated by going home after work, hemming and hawing for 30 minutes and then heading out for a run. I wore a wifebeater (yessss) and planned to do between five and six miles, but then I got lost and ended up doing 7.28. I love getting lost on runs, it's ridiculously fun and such a good distraction - you almost always end up going farther than planned but it never seems like it. All in all a great running day! :)

I should have posted this yesterday, but, you know, I didn't. I was very busy reuniting with my foam-roller boyfriend and eating cheese. It's a running questionnaire of sorts that I stole from sweaty Emily. I hope you will all reblog it so I can read all of your running stories!

1) What is your favorite distance to run?
As a former track and cross country runner, I have raced a lot of really random distances. In Wisconsin, female cross country runners race 4K instead of 5K (I don't know why. This was fun when I got to college though, because people would ask what my PR was and I would be all "16:55, no big deal" and they'd be SUPER IMPRESSED because everyone else in the world runs 5Ks). In track, I ran the 800, the mile and the two-mile, along with whatever other random distances my coach needed someone for (1,000 meters, and one disastrous attempt at the 400). In my grown-up life I’ve only run 5Ks and one half-marathon, so I’m not actually sure how to answer this question (I’ll have a better answer after this year for sure!). I guess right now I’d say 5K, just because it’s quick, it’s over fast and it’s very easy to pace and gauge how you’re doing. I’m running my first 10K in two weeks and my second half-marathon, with proper training and no tumor annoyances, in July, so stay tuned! :)

2) What’s the best race you’ve ever run?
Either the cross country state championships when I was 17, or the Charlottesville Half Marathon in 2009. The half marathon was with my dad, and even though it was physically horrible for me, the course was beautiful and amazing and racing with my dad was wonderful!

3) What is your favorite running attire?
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you know by now that I am a low-brow runner. When it’s hot, I adore tiny shorts and a wifebeater; when it’s cold I like running tights with long-sleeved T-shirts and earmuffs. COTTON, BABY. It's the fabric of my life.

I just found this on zazzle.com and obviously will have to buy it to run in immediately, BOOYAH

4) What is your favorite running gear?
My running watch (it’s an old-school Ironman, no GPS for me) and my RoadID bracelet. And my shoes, because you can't do anything without the shoes. (Well I guess those barefoot people can, but I can't.)

5) Biggest running accomplishment ever?
Making it to the cross county state championships my junior year of high school. I had wanted to be a runner and run cross country for years, but I was too intimidated and never actually joined the team until my junior year. My high school’s team was amazing. Before I joined, they had won state two years in a row, and the individual state champion was the captain of our team. I never thought I’d make varsity, which was fine with me because I loved cross country, instantly, and was thrilled to just be doing it at all. But I did make varsity, pretty early in the season. When we went to sectionals, which in Wisconsin is the race that decides who heads to state, we were HEAVY underdogs. During the race, I ended up passing one of my teammates right before the finish line, and after I passed her, I passed a few other runners from other teams. We ended up going to state by one point, and that one point was one of the other runners I had passed at the very end (I was the fifth runner on varsity that year, so my score was the last one to be counted). After the race, my coach pulled me aside and said, “We’re going to state because of you.” This remains one of the best days of my entire life.

6) Favorite thing to eat after a run?
I don’t get hungry for awhile after a run, but I LOVE refueling with chocolate milk. It’s cold and creamy and a little sweet and delicious, and I don’t ever feel like I have to force it down the way I do when I have to eat right after I finish a run. I highly recommend it!

If you fill this out please let me know so I can come stalk your answers! And happy day-after running day; totally better than the real thing anyway, whatever.