Monday, December 14, 2009

Neglect

I've been letting a lot of things go lately...I'm not sure it's necessarily a bad thing, just different. Firstly, I haven't written in a while, but it's not like that's new. There just hasn't been much to say. But really, I haven't been running much. It took me a long time to wrap my mind around it and to be okay with it (and I'm not really sure I'm "okay" with it yet), but I think I'm burnt out. For anyone who's been reading my ramblings since Day 1 - or for those of you who's known me this whole journey - it's not unusual for me go through phases where "I love this!" or "I hate this!" with running. I'm not loving OR hating it right now. I just don't wanna. And when I don't wanna, I won't. I'm all about good intentions, and every weekend I'll have something planned out, but the majority of the time something better pops up (shopping, cleaning, movies...yes, you really did read "cleaning" in there). I thought for sure that after I finished my exam I'd jump wholeheartedly into running, but nope, it didn't happen. Instead, I just want a break.

I think I need something new. I still plan to run Chicago in October, so as much as I'd love spend the next decade sitting on the couch, I can't. I want to really investigate this bikram yoga thing, so I think I'm going to go that direction. And like I said, Chicago is still on the calendar, so I can't stop running altogether...I'm going to send out a couple of emails after I'm done rambling here to see what I can do to keep moving without wanting to cry at the mere thought of it.

I feel better though, coming to this conclusion. I didn't do it alone...it came through the words of one of my greatest friends. As usual, she (and everyone else) had asked me if I was meeting up to run on Saturday morning and I finally just told her everything I'd been thinking. And all she said was "It's okay." And you know what? It really is. All the pressure to go go go go go went away...and just because everyone else is doing it, I don't have to.

And now that the pressure is gone, I was able to go out and do a 3 mile run this morning. Without a watch. Completely pressure-free.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving! I think it's safe to say that we all - myself especially - have a lot to be thankful for. I try to keep these things in mind year-round, but it's not always easy...it's easy to lose sight of things and to start to take some things for granted.

The hubs and I got up this morning and participated in the Turkey Trek 5k in Albuquerque's Nob Hill. It was our second year doing this race, but it was a new course. While the race was even more well-organized than it was last year (which was surprising because I thought last year was run very well), the course was a slight disappointment - a less than 1 mile stretch along Central that we looped, which includes a pretty significant hill that you hit twice. The hill, I can handle...the loop, I can handle....passing the finish line 3 times and not being able to go through it - that's kind of rough. It was a great day though - about 30* when we started, clear, perfect weather and a huge crowd (probably about 800 people) with spectators along the street. This leads to the most important thing I'm thankful for today - my ability to get up and run or do something active every day. I realize that there may come a day at some point where I don't have that luxury and I need to take advantage of this while it's here.

We were there with the group of friends that I met initially through Albuquerque Fit, most of whom are helping out with the No Boundaries program that Fleet Feet - Albuquerque sponsored this year. They are an amazing group of people who have pushed me through so much stuff - not just running stuff, but life stuff too. Francine, Denise, Cindy S., Kayleigh, Randy, Leisha, Cindy E., Rona, Bobby, even Terie was there in her boot to watch us and cheer us along. I don't normally mention people by name in my blog, but these friends are wonderful and I wanted them to be mentioned. I'm thankful that I've had the opportunity to know this group of people and that they've put up with me through a lot of stuff over the past year. It's been hard between work, studying and a different training schedule but I couldn't have done any of it without them.

The hubs - Mike to those of you who know him in real life - ran this race too and he kicked ass, as usual. We got to warm up together and I realized that it was the first time we'd ever run together...it was nice. I liked doing it, but I also like knowing that we can go out separately, have fun and that he'll be at the finish line cheering for his super slow wife 15-20 minutes after he's done. Our families didn't come to this race since it's a holiday and they're all doing a lot more cooking than we're going to do, but they were there in spirit. They rock though...there's been plenty of times they've dragged themselves out the door - or even across the country (or in my dad's case, across an ocean when he came to watch me in NYC - he was working in London) to spectate a race. There's also the other friends who don't run and think I'm nuts (Alicia, I'm looking at you) but they listen to me go on and on and on about stuff they probably don't understand and/or have no desire to know about. Finally, it's for these people, the people who deal with me and my "obsession," that I am thankful for.

And my finish time? 38:20...about a minute slower than my PR, but I'm damn happy with it. I ran the entire thing with the exception of ~20 second walk breaks at the two water stops. This is the most I've ever run consecutively and I'm planning to build on that and to work some speedwork into that in 2010, along with marathon training for Chicago now that I got the hubs roped into that. :)

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone. Eat too much, take a nap, plan out your Black Friday shopping trip and remember the importance of the day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Little Different, A Lot New - Bikram Yoga Review

This is late and I apologize for the delay. Last Wednesday (11/18/09) I attended my very first Bikram Yoga class at Hot Yoga in Albuquerque. The studio is on Central, just a little bit west of I25. I'd noticed it because the side of the building facing Central is nothing but windows, so you can see inside as you drive by, but I didn't realize it was a Bikram studio until I was doing some research on yoga studios in the ABQ area about a month ago. While I've done hatha yoga before - and absolutely loved it - I'd always been intrigued by Bikram, even though I generally (okay, always) hate the heat. For those of you that don't know, Bikram is done in a room that is heated to about 105 degrees and consists of 26 poses done over the course of 90 minutes. Under normal circumstances, that doesn't sound like fun to me, but I'd like to think I can keep an open mind about things and I've been wanting to try this for a few years now.

I got to the studio about 20 minutes early because I wanted to make sure I understood what to expect and how and where to set up my stuff. Luckily, I was able to meet the instructor before class began and she gave me a high-level overview of what to expect and made it very clear that I could leave the room if I felt uncomfortable at any time. Yes, the point of the class is to push your limits, but it shouldn't make you sick or anything like that...after reading some pretty negative reviews on other studios around the country where students weren't allowed to leave the class once it began, I was relieved to hear this.

The room is hot and humid - you'll sweat a ton doing this - but it's not unbearable. It wasn't the relaxing yoga that I was hoping for...instead, I got a serious workout from it, but I really enjoyed it and felt my muscles working. I can understand how people can hurt themselves though if they don't know their limits...it's very easy to stretch too hard in that kind of heat and I can see how you may pull something. We only did a handful (3-4) familiar poses, but I still got a great stretch. I'd gone in with some upper back pain that'd been around for a couple of weeks and my left hip had been screaming at me since my run the night before...it was gone when I walked out.

If you decided to go, a few tips:
- Wear as little as possible. I wore spandex shorts and a running singlet.
- Bring a towel to throw over your mat...you'll need it and it'll reduce your chance of slipping on your sweat-soaked mat.
- Bring a bottle of water and hydrate well before, during and after the class.
- Know your limits before the class. You'll feel like you can twist yourself up like a pretzel, but if you normally can't, don't try it now. It's an injury waiting to happen.
- Go in with an open mind. It may not be for you, but give it a shot and make the decision after the class is over.

This is something that I think I'm going to stick with. I'm not sure I'm going to dive into a monthly membership just yet, but I think I'll go here and there when I have the time. It was fun and definitely not your every day thing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Now What?!

Well, I'm *kinda officially* a CPA! I got my last score online on Friday night (Yikes, Friday the 13th!) and I PASSED! I'm still in a little bit of shock, but I'm so excited about it! It's been a long, crazy journey and I'm so glad it's over.

15 months of studying
12 months of testing
6 actual exams (for a 4 section test)

It won't be official official until I get sworn in by the state, and that won't be until May, but this is close enough for me. :)

But with this, I'm kind of left with a feeling of "what now?" My race is over...my exam is over. Those are the two things that took up the majority of my time. I've been kind of bumming around the house with no direction for the past week or so.

I'm feeling a lot better now, so I'm going to start running again on Tuesday with the Fleet Feet group. I'm also going to give Bikram Yoga a try sometime this week to see how I like it (report to come, I'm sure...I don't like the heat very much, but I've been intrigued by this for years). And I'm going to take the big plunge...I'm going to go see the graduate advisor tomorrow to see what I need to do to finish up that half a Masters of Accountancy that I have. I hate the idea of studying and tests all over again, but even more than that, I hate paying student loans on something that's not finished. Hopefully there's not much left for that.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1 City, 5 Boroughs, 26.2 Miles - NYC Marathon Race Report 11/1/09

I am in love with New York City. Not the kind of love that you want to wake up next to every morning for the rest of your life, but small doses here and there is just fabulous. My friend moved to the city a couple of years ago and this was my second trip out there - although this trip was completely different from the last, I feel like I was able to get much more intimate with the city and learn a lot more about it in the short time I was there.

To get to the start (which is on Staten Island), I was assigned to the 8.00 ferry from Manhattan. The hubs, my dad and I left the hotel around 7.15 on Sunday morning to walk over there,
ensuring I'd make it to the ferry early and hopefully onto an earlier boat. Although I was expecting 44,000 runners - the largest crowd ever for this race - I was surprised by the sheer mass of people waiting for the ferry. There were thousands of people waiting, and this didn't include the thousands that had left earlier or who had gone over on busses or from New Jersey. Luckily, because we'd arrived early, I was able to say good bye to my spectators and get on a ferry around 7.45. (Please note my rockin' sweats and very excited and awake expression. I just love being anywhere surrounded by tens of thousands of people at the crack of dawn.) I noticed on Saturday that a cough I've been dealing with for about a month (allergy-related) had gotten worse, and now I had a sore throat to go with it. During our walk to the ferry on Sunday, it seemed to be even worse, but that just wasn't the time to worry about it! I decided to ignore it for the day since it wasn't terrible and make a doctor's appointment for when we got back home to see about getting an inhaler or allergy pills or something. Considering this happens every year, I was tired of dealing with it.

Everything started moving really fast once I got on the ferry. We were shuttled to Fort Wadsworth, I checked my bag at the UPS truck in my start village and the next thing I knew the cannon was firing (seriously, how cool is that? They start the race with a cannon and not a wimpy little gun) and a crowd of people were running across the Verrazano Bridge above me (it's really hard to see, but there are tons and tons of people running on that bridge).


The wave starts were great, and honestly, with 44,000+ people running, I don't see any other way to do it. <---- That is all that I could see as I was walking to the starting line. A sea of people and porta-potties. As soon as we turned the corner, though and saw the actual "start" line, the crowds lightened up and it was easier to move.

The course starts with a ~250 ft climb up the Verrazano Bridge, the steepest climb on the course, and I was glad it was in the first mile. It wasn't a hard hill by any means, considering the excitement of the race and the fact that I did all my long runs (15-20 miles) on hilly courses, but it was enough of a reminder that you've got a long way to go and not to kill yourself just yet. It was after getting to the top of this hill, and somewhere about halfway on the way down, that the entire right side of my body decided to revolt. About 2 1/2 miles into the race. It started with the plantar fasciitis in my foot, which had been flaring up for about a week, but had never bothered me during a run before and eventually travelled up into my right hip (also not weird, but it usually waits till after I'm done) and my lower back. I knew I'd be seeing the hubs and my dad at Mile 8 and again at 16, so I'd just ask them for some Tylenol then.

The crowds were indescribable. It was nothing like anything I'd
ever experienced before. I think I had a perma-grin on my face through Mile 18 just because the crowds were so amazing. The noise they made got to be too much at times. It blew my mind that people got up and out of their houses on a Sunday morning just to watch a bunch of crazies run by them. Bands were set up throughout the course and at one street corner you'd hear hard rock, and at the next you'd hear someone playing a cover of a Beatles song, while at the next, it'd be a Reggae band.

I eventually got to the Queensboro Bridge, linking Queens to Manhattan, at Miles 15-16 which I'd been warned was terrible. It's not quite the same incline as the first bridge, but it's a long, steady hill on a bridge inaccessible to spectators, so you're all alone. I've heard people describe it as the place where they've really questioned themselves and their ability to finish and I knew that I couldn't allow myself to get to that point that early in the race. By this point, my legs were feeling the work I was putting them through, but again, the incline wasn't too bad. It was easy to ignore everything going on around me and focus on all the training I'd done leading up to this - most of which was worse than what I was going through at that moment. Coming off the bridge, which is pretty quiet without the spectators, you burst onto the street in Manhattan and into the screaming crowds. It was amazing.

The rest of the race was really good. I missed the hubs and our dads (by this time, my father in law had joined up with them) at Mile 16 by mere minutes and expected them at 20, hopefully with my Tylenol for my foot/hip pain. 20 comes and goes and they're not there...I wasn't worried about any of this because I knew they were using the subways and were on their own, so I expected us to disconnect at some point. Finally, at Mile 22, I see the hubs and our dads in Harlem.

The end of the race is kind of a blur. I didn't really start falling apart until the last 4 miles or so, and even at that, I hesitate to call it "falling apart." It was harder once we got into Central Park, it seemed like it was hill after hill after hill, and even though I know they weren't steep, they were just at a very unwelcome time. When I got to Mile 25.5, I pulled off my headphones (I'd resorted to them around 22) and forced myself to run the last .7 miles to the finish line. People around me were screaming, crying, stopping to take pictures. It was the happiest group of people I'd ever seen. With Abba's "Dancing Queen" blaring from the speakers (my friends from many years ago will understand the significance), I finally stepped across the finish line.

After getting my medal, heat blanket and posing for a quick picture, I began the looong walk to claim my bag and exit the park. In all, after getting my bag and then going to meet the hubs and our dads, it was about an extra mile tacked on. Ouch. All I wanted to do was lie down! But it was all worth it when I was met by the hubs and a little blue Tiffany's box holding the necklace I had been unsuccessful in buying the day before at the expo. :) Between the walk to meet everyone and forcing myself to walk all over the city the rest of that night and the next morning, I can honestly say that I haven't been very sore. For Denver last year, I was severely sore for about a week.

To sum it up, this was an amazing race. I'd hoped to not repeat races so I can experience as many as possible, but I think this one may have to be a repeat. I know that I'm leaving out so much for the sake of not going on for hours and hours, and I'm a little out of it so I may come back to edit later. Which leads to this...that cough and sore throat? It turned out to be the beginnings of H1N1. Yep. Hooray. I've been camped out on my couch ever since we got home Monday night (it hit while we were traveling home). The hip thing comes and goes. I'm going to keep an eye on it because it's been around for a while now but it generally goes away on its own. I think my foot is going to require a follow up with the podiatrist. It feels good now, but it didn't feel good for a while.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased. It's not a PR but I'm not out there to win anything...this is all for fun and time doesn't matter as much to me as it does to other people. Yeah, I had a secret time goal that I didn't meet (no, I won't tell you what it was), and who knows...maybe if all these random pains/flu things weren't happening, maybe I'd have met it. But what makes me really proud is that 1) I ran way more than I did in Denver last year. I stuck with my 5 min run/1 min walk intervals until Mile 17.5, where I switched to 4 min/1 min and stuck with that pretty closely until the end. 2) My pace was really consistent. I don't set my watch up to show me my pace so I don't obsess about it, so I have no clue how I'm doing while I'm running. All I can see is elapsed time and distance, but I don't take the time to figure out my pace.

So, what's next? I'm not sure about Phoenix RnR. I just don't know if I have it in me for another marathon in 2 months (I think...ask me when I can get up off the couch without losing my breath). I have some friends going out to Long Beach to do that half in February, but it's not a good weekend for us. I'm trying to convince the hubs that Chicago would be a lovely trip for his birthday - which just happens to be in October. ;)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rome was not buit in a day

nor was it built by someone with H1N1. Race report coming this week sometime...lets suffice it say that I survived. Not sure if I'll survive the swine flu though. I feel terrible...off to sleep some more.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Response to the NYT Article - by Mary Wittenberg

The following is written by Mary Wittenberg, the President and CEO of the NY Road Runners. You can see her Wiki page here. I do believe that Ms. Wittenberg is my new hero.

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I love that the New York Times covers running as much as it does. I also love that we can count on the Times to “be at the center of the debate.”

Let me share New York Road Runners’ side of the debate as to whether "plodders" have a place in the marathon. Our answer begins with this: Both the term “plodders” and the question posed miss the essence of the beauty and power of the marathon.

We at NYRR stress the strenuous, demanding nature of the marathon. We don’t say that it’s for everyone. We conduct over 50 events a year from the mile to the marathon, and clinics and classes that ensure we “have a place for every pace.” We promote the marathon as the Mt. Everest of running. In other words, the ultimate goal. One that takes careful and rigorous preparation. But we specifically don’t say – “you’ve got to be fast to do it.”

To us, it’s about conquering the distance and conquering self doubt. The marathon is about dreaming to achieve and putting in all the work to make that dream reality. That quest, and the runner's ultimate success, routinely changes people’s lives in rich and meaningful ways. Our runners, no matter the pace, typically overcome all kinds of hurdles and challenges to reaching the marathon finish line. It is that ability to persevere that translates to other parts of their lives. Making them stronger and better for the pursuit – well beyond improved physical fitness.
We don’t encourage people to walk the marathon or to take 8 hours to complete it. It is a running event after all. But, it is 26.2 miles – a huge challenge – no matter how fast you are. Ask most marathoners – we’ve all been humbled by the distance at some point. It tends to make us appreciate the efforts of others. Most faster runners I know have a great deal of respect for slower runners (it is tough to be out there longer) and vice versa (it’s “incredible” how fast “they” run).

The marathon is not easy. I am a pretty serious runner. Though occasionally tempted, I haven’t run a marathon in 15 years. I know what it takes, and I know what it takes out of you. There is no debate about how hard it is. So it’s okay – you need to walk a little? Then walk a little. Do what it takes to accomplish the goal of finishing, and be smart about it too. In NYC, our roads reopen at a rolling 6½ hour marathon. We score at the finish until 8 hours, because sometimes folks have a really tough day. They don’t plan on 8 hours, but it happens. And, we are pleased to host the largest contingent of disabled athletes of any major marathon, and the extra time helps them too. We are fortunate – with our final miles largely inside Central Park rather than on the streets - that we can offer this possibility.

On Sunday, November 1, we’ll host 40,000 runners from around the world. We’ll celebrate our superhuman champions who cross the finish line first, stand in awe of all of those that break the coveted 3 hour mark, high five those who qualify for Boston and cheer those that crack the formidable 4 hour barrier. Then you can bet we’ll welcome - with open arms and a hard earned medal - each of our finishers who, despite the challenges, cross our rarified finish line.

A marathoner is a marathoner regardless of time. Virtually everyone who tries the marathon has put in training over months, and it is that exercise and that commitment, physical and mental, that gives meaning to the medal, not just the day’s effort, be it fast or slow. It’s all in conquering the challenge. Ask any marathoner you meet in NYC on Monday, November 2.

- Mary R. Wittenberg

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Judgmental much?

I just found out that I've never run a marathon. And, there's a very, very good chance (unless the stars align just right and the angles sing and I'm granted with some kind of never-before-heard-of miracle) that I will not run NYC next week either. Apparently, according to this article in the NY Times, and according to a couple of lovely ladies quoted therein, unless you run faster than a 6 hour race, it's like you never did it. AND, to top it off, not only have you not run the race, you have ruined it for everyone else who "deserves" to be there (aka: Speedy McSpeederson).

Funny. I feel like I've trained for the last several months. And I vaguely remember participating in some large, long distance event in Denver last year (silly me, I thought it was a Marathon, but I guess I was wrong). I guess I'll just be heading out to New York next week to run around the city (but not literally, since I don't do that) and take in the sights. I'm so glad these women set me straight before I embarrassed myself!

But now seriously - I'm out there for hours, upon hours at a time. Do you think I wouldn't like to be faster? Trust me, I'd love to get out there, bust out 26 miles and get home in time to catch the morning news. The fact of the matter is, it's just not gonna happen, at least not this time. I've trained hard, trying to keep a balance between running, exam studying, working and trying to remind the hubs that he's still married. I don't think I've worked any less - or any more - than most people. Yes, there are some that put in 100 mile weeks...and there are some that put in 10 mile weeks, but I really think that for the most part, I'm right there in the "average" section with most of them.

The thing is, being out there for 6+ hours is a long time. It's that much more time to allow negative thoughts into your head, more time to question your sanity, to wonder if you're capable, if you've done the right thing, if you should keep going, for injury to set in or flare up. I'm not saying that being slow makes me (or anyone) better than someone who's fast, but being out on a course for that much time really messes with your head and your body in ways that being out there for 3 hours can't.

I usually hate it when people tell me that I'm their inspiration or a superhero or things like that. I don't deserve any of that. I'm just a girl who decided to try something one day - the same as anyone else can be. We ALL have the ability to do things like this - and even more than this. But when there are people out there saying "No, you don't deserve the opportunity to be out there because you don't meet my standards," it really bothers me. It takes away some of our ability and it hinders some people who already have doubts. I think we need to remember that there will always be the people you can't please, and as long as you're making yourself happy - and doing things for YOU - you'll keep on rocking on. And that's what running is about anyway.

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I need to give credit to The Athena Diaries, which is where I found this article. The Athena Diaries is written by a tough, amazing triathlete, marathoner, ultramarathoner that I've met once before at a race. She probably doesn't remember me, but her blog has helped me through my training many, many times.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

How Slow Can You Go?

I found this RunnersWorld.com today and I thought it was perfect. There have been so many times I've had this question myself. Most times I manage to keep the mindset that as long as I'm not walking (or crawling - there are times I want to do that!), I'm running, no matter how slow...but other times, it's hard to NOT get down on myself for my speed - or lack thereof.

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October 07, 2009

When Is a Runner a Runner?

Dear John, I'd like your honest opinion about something, not the "politically correct" answer. How slowly do you think it is possible to actually "run" by the accepted definition of running? Although I know there are extreme possibilities, I am talking about the most likely scenario for an average person. To be more specific, do you think it is possible that a person can "run" a 20-minute mile? If so, have you ever actually witnessed someone running that slowly with both feet coming off the ground?

I hear the politically correct answer all the time: that anyone who says they are running is really running, even when it's obvious that they aren't. However, with all due respect to the folks who make that claim, I just don't think it is true anymore than a 6-year-old who jumps off a table and says he's "flying" is really flying. Honestly, John, what do you think? - Mary

Hi, Mary. Thanks for giving me a chance to address this issue. It comes up all the time and, to be honest as you request, the answer also changes all the time.

First, a little history. If you go back to the late 1970s or early '80s, most of the training books talked about running as a 7-minute-per-mile pace or better. Anything slower was considered jogging. So, joggers were all of those who didn’t run at a 7-minute pace. Runners knew who they were by their pace.

Somewhere, as the first signs of the second running boom began to appear, running came to be defined as anything faster than a 9-minute pace. Again, joggers were defined as those who went slower than that. And, again, runners defined themselves by their pace and finish times.
About 10 years ago, however, runners stopped being defined by their times and were instead defined by their activity. So, runners ran. Walkers walked. Cyclists cycled. Triathletes triathaleted. You get the idea.

These days, I don’t think anyone can define anyone else by any objective criteria.
One of my favorite stories is of being in the late stages of a marathon and a volunteer asking me if I wanted an orange slice. I said “no,” that I had to stay focused on running. He said “That’s OK, I’ll just walk along with you.” In my mind I was running, and running hard. The truth was that I was moving at an easy walking pace.

So, who runs? At what pace? I don’t think anyone can say. What’s running for me today may not be running tomorrow. What’s running for someone at 25 years old will be very different when they’re 45.

Why worry? Only you can decide for you. And you can’t decide for anyone else.

Waddle on,

John

John “the Penguin” Bingham, Runner’s World columnist

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hills

This is the elevation chart from my 18 mile run, which I did on Friday. I'm still sore. The hubs and I had a friend who would tell us "You live in Albuquerque. You can't escape the hills," every time we would complain about riding our bikes uphill. I loved to point out to him that the Bosque trail is flaaaat and in Albuquerque, but still - I got his point. NYC is 4 weeks from today and considerably flatter than this was. There are really only a couple of hills (the nastiest is at Mile 15 and is really only nasty because it's on a bridge with no spectators). You can see the elevation chart here. Oh, and this 18 miler was done at a minimum elevation of 5,911 feet....NYC? 0 feet. :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Getting there

Slowly, but surely, the weeks are ticking away and I'm getting closer and closer to the end of October, which is going to end in a very exciting 8 days for me. On October 23 I'll be taking what will hopefully be my last section of the CPA exam. I got my results for the third section last week while I was in Dallas for work that I'd passed (very unexpectedly) so now I'm on to the last leg of this long journey.

Then I'll be leaving on October 30 for NYC. I can't believe that the one month mark will hit this week! Like I mentioned before, I only have two long runs left - 18 this week and 20 next week. I know they're going to be long and hard, but I'm really exited for them. I've moved my 18 to Friday so we can celebrate the hubs's birthday on Saturday, so keep me in your thoughts while you're at work Friday morning. I almost wish I'll be sitting at my desk, visiting with friends and getting through the giant stack of paperwork I have instead of dodging rush hour traffic...but I think I'll survive. The thought of taking a nice, long nap that afternoon will get me through. :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I Did This?!

After last week's shin issue I took this week super, super easy. I figured I'd rather have a completely craptastic, slow, miserable 15 mile run than a non-existant 15 mile run because I was still in pain. It turns out that I actually did the right thing (for once). And the run was actually not completely terrible - for the most part. It was slow, just the way I wanted it. I really took my time and I focused on my breathing and form, stopped to stretch when I needed it. It was good. I ran along the Sandia mountains, 4 miles north and then back to my car (total of 8) and stopped to fill up my bottles again, call a friend and the hubs to let them know I was alive still, and then headed out south, this time doing 3.5 miles and then heading back to my car. I'd never gone south this far before (I think I'd gone about a mile south, but no further)....so imagine my shock when the trail starts doing this steeeeeeeeep downhill drop, along with some random uphills (just to keep things interesting). Yeah, I wasn't happy. And because I got a late start - thanks to the fact that I decided I didn't feel like eating dinner the night before and wasn't feeling so hot in the morning, lesson learned - it was HOT now. My water was quickly diminishing.

I turned around when I hit 3.5 miles and texted my friend to let her know (she was the back up support crew) and attempted to head back. Attempted. Remember that steeeeeeeeeeep downhill? Now that was a steeeeeeeeep uphill. Which doesn't look like much when you look at this (click the "Elevation" tab and please ignore the pace, time, etc. :-P ) : Garmin Connect -Activity Details forUntitled

I ended up running out of water about 2.5 miles from my car, and while I would have been fine, my awesome friend, F, ran out to meet me with two giant bottles of cold water. All in all, it was an awesome run, and I'm really proud of myself for doing it. I only have 2 long runs left - an 18 on Oct 2 (I'm moving it to a Friday because the hubs's birthday is the 3rd) and a 20 on Oct 10. After that it's all about the taper! And as much as I love the long distance, it's nights like this when I'm sore and tired (and still feeling like I could eat my arm) that makes me question my sanity. I'm not 100% sold on Phoenix anymore, but I'm sure I'll keep changing my mind back and forth over the next several weeks. When all is said and done, I really do love it - trust me, I'm too lazy to do something like this if I didn't. I'm just not sure my body is capable of two marathons 11 weeks apart.

Oh! And some exciting news! My dad is able to come out to NYC with me and the hubs! He works overseas and had to miss Denver last year. In fact, the NM Half Marathon was the first event he's been able to make since my high school cheerleading days. It'll be a quicker trip than my NYC trip will be - he's stopping over for 2 nights on his way back to England, but I'm really, really excited! Hooray!

AND I just realized that yesterday was my two year running anniversary. What a way to celebrate. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This happens to everyone, right? Right??!

I did something unspeakable yesterday. I bailed on my long run. It's not like I've been doing this for years and years or anything, but I've never had to do this before. NEVER.

I had 14 miles on the schedule...no big deal, I've done 14 before...and considering I did 13 last week (which was supposed to be 12), I wasn't worried at all. I went in a lot more prepared for this than I ever had been before. The hubs and I managed to get to bed much earlier than usual, I really paid attention to my hydration and the type of food I was eating all week...I got all my Gatorade and water and everything ready Friday after work since I was going to be on my own. I really felt good about it. Even though I took it super easy in last week's half, I was really sore afterwards in my quads and ITBs, which I blamed on the downhill. I'd done a lot of stretching, self-massage with The Stick and icing and I'd been feeling a lot better by the time Wednesday came. I'd felt a little discomfort in my shins on my 5 mile run on Thursday and when I do my stretches for my Plantar Fasciitis in the mornings, but I just chalked that up to soreness too....well, come Saturday that was a different story. I did my PF stretches (which are a nightmare to do while you're laying in bed...I usually accidentally fall back asleep while doing them) and I felt the sharp pain in my shins. I figured it wasn't going to be a fun morning.

I got up to Tramway and tried to get started...painful, but I assumed I just needed to get warmed up and would be feeling great by the time I got to my first turn around point. Because I was on my own for this one, I was going north 3.5 miles and then running back to my car to re-fuel, then going south 3.5 miles for a total of 14 miles. By 2.5 miles in I knew that it just wasn't going to happen and I texted my friend to let her know what was going on. I managed to (slowly) make it to the turn around and then to get back to my car for a total of 7 miles and after doing some stretches I packed up and headed up to my friend's running shop for some advice.

It's a bummer. I know I'm not completely out of NYC and unless something really crazy happens, I'm still going to make it. We were able to re-work my training schedule and I'm actually still pretty much on track. Instead of 16 next week, I'm doing 15, taking my regular cut back week the following week, and then I'm back on track. Lets just hope that this is the only little bump in the road and the rest of it is easy (well, as easy as marathon training can be).

Oh, and in case you didn't see, I added a few race pics in the last post. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Race Report - New Mexico Half Marathon 9/6/09

Pictures have been added as of 9/13/09...see the bottom of this post. Yes, I'm too lazy to try and disburse them throughout.

This started as an early morning after a loooong night. The hubs and I decided to do this race together (as in we would be starting at the same place at the same time and finishing at the same place about an hour apart). The half-marathon starts at 6.30 AM, 13.1 miles from the finish line, requiring that we park at the finish and take buses to the start. No problem, except that it STARTS at 6.30 AM and the LAST bus leaves at 6.05. Since I’m slightly neurotic, I can’t handle the thought of being on the last bus (even though I’m habitually late to everything) so we planned to be there at 5.30. In the morning. Which meant leaving the house at 5.00. In the morning. And waking up at 4.00. In the morning. All of this would have been okay (in another life) if we’d gone to bed and fallen asleep at 8.00 the night before as planned…alas, this did not happen. Somewhere around 11.00 the hubs gave up and asked me if I wanted to give up and go watch an episode of Friends on DVD that we’d just received from Netflix. Needless to say, we spent a portion of our night with Monica, Chandler, Ross, et al, instead of sleeping and the 4.00 alarm came too soon.


Once we parked (at Hotel Albuquerque) and were bussed to the start at Tram

way and I-25, just west of Sandia Casino we had just a few minutes to mill around, talk to friends and do some last minute prep for the race. The start of the race was directly under the I-25 bridge and the first 3 miles descends into a sharp downhill. This sounds great in theory, but luckily I’d been forewarned and managed to keep a slow, gradual pace. At this point I felt a little bit of rubbing on my left foot – like a blister was threatening to come in. I decided to ignore it for the time being, figuring it would just be a little red. At around Mile 6 we turned onto the Bosque Bike Trail, where we spent the next three miles. In reading the reviews of this race (primarily for the full marathon), many people had complaints about running on the trail – primarily because it’s “boring” and because the cyclists are “rude.” Maybe it’s because I run on this trail at least once a week (usually much more often than that) but I normally don’t find it boring. It did get a little monotonous, but again I think it’s because I know each and every tree and crack in the trail. As for rude cyclists, this comes down to rude runners. The trail cannot be closed just because there is a race…therefore, we need to abide by the rules of the trail and either run on the dirt part of the trail or keep to the right. I lost count of the number of runners attempting to run smack in the middle of the paved trail and ignoring the cyclist

s who had right of way. But, that’s a post for another day. From the Bosque Trail we headed down Rio Grande to the finish on Mountain in Old Town Plaza.


I’d gone into this race with 10 miles being my longest run, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect for the last 3. I only had 12 miles on the schedule for this past weekend, so I figured I’d take it really easy, forget about time and do this just for fun. The hubs wanted to do this one, my really good friend was doing this as her first full and I figured I had nothing to lose, so why not sign up. It was like my body knew I only had 12 on the schedule. I kept up with the 5 min/1 min run/walk intervals until 12 miles and then I pretty much shut down. It got really hard…I’m not sure if it was a mental thing or if I hadn’t taken in enough fuel, or what. I’m sure it didn’t help that every time I took a sip of Gatorade my stomach flipped (so I know I didn’t drink enough) or the fact that that little rubbing on my foot at Mile 3 and turned into some major pain by Mile 5. I still managed to run more than I walked for that last mile, but I stopped paying attention to my watch. When I finished, the Garmin said somewhere around 3:10 and a few seconds but the official results say something around 3:15 (thank you, bathroom stop). I’m happy with it.

The course was well marked and incredibly well organized. I had no issues getting water from any of the aid stations, although for once in my life, I was in the middle of the Marathon pack. There were spectators throughout the course and they were always excited and happy to cheer you on. The medals are very unique – handcrafted New Mexican pottery (pics coming) and everyone received one, regardless of which race you participated in (5k, HM or

Marathon). This race is a repeat – probably the full next year. Yeah, ignore that post from a few weeks ago that says something about how I’m not doing a full marathon next year.


Oh, and the major foot pain that started out as a little bit ofrubbing? It turned into a blister the size of a quarter. It was even big enough to earn its own name. :)



Pics above (in order): The hubs, just after finishing, Me finishing, both of us enjoying delicious cookies.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I think I deserve a psychology degree

While on my 2 mile run last night my right shin started hurting. Because I have a race on Sunday, I decided that this is something that should not be ignored, so I stopped to stretch it...due to my overzealous stretching, I felt something pull in my calf muscle. OUCH. I then attempted to limp over to a bench to stretch further (and safer) when I felt something pop in my left (read: other) knee and was overcome with intense pain. At this point I had to stop and wonder if the pain was really happening or if it was all happening in my head because:

1) I was tired (as in sleepy tired, not exhausted due to running tired),
2) had my new laptop at home that I really wanted to go play with instead of being out on a deserted trail (more on this later because I'm THAT excited about it),
3) was out on a deserted trail and honestly thought I may be attacked (seriously, I didn't even have my iPod on...not sure why, it just seemed like a good day to be attacked), and
4) it really looked like the sky was about to split open and pour every drop of rain it's ever saved for the last 100 years at that very moment.

Whatever the reason, I really was in a lot of pain and wound up waddling down the last 1/2 mile of trail towards my car cursing myself for not running enough this week. I have this half marathon on Sunday and even though I can justify it as "tapering," I'm not really supposed to be racing...it's just a training run so I'm supposed to do everything as normally as possible. And, just as I suspected, as soon as I got near my car, all the pain went away...and I forced out another mile to punish myself for slacking.

Anyway, new laptop. The hubs totally rocks and builds our desktops computers because he's a computer geek like that. It's cool because when things break he can usually have them fixed within a matter of minutes. I haven't had to take a computer in for repairs in years...I haven't BOUGHT a computer in years. Last week while I was studying the day before my exam (results in about 2 weeks) the computer pretty much died and the hubs said "no more saving this one." After a few pleading looks he broke down and agreed to purchase me a Macbook. Yes, I feel a little bit like a traitor, but he's taking my dead PC and turning it into a server. Don't ask me why we need our very own server, but apparently all the cool kids have one. :)

I'll give you all a race report Sunday evening/Monday morning sometime. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wow! That IS Slow!

My work gave us the option of getting health risk assessments done a few weeks ago. Basically, they took our blood to test our cholesterol, tested our blood pressure and body fat percentage, calculated our BMI and had us fill out pages and pages of questions on our lifestyles. When all is said and done, a health coach is supposed to contact us to talk about our results and – if we want – to guide us through our journey to better health.

I participated in this despite the fact that I knew what the coach would say (“You’re too fat!”)…first of all, I was intrigued. I’d never had my cholesterol tested before and wanted to know more about that. But secondly, this qualifies for my “safety” goal at work, so I figured I’d knock it out. I got my results in the mail last week and everything tested out normal, except – surprise – I’m too fat!

My weight is a touchy subject, and not the point of this post at all. It’s taken me years to get to a place where I’m okay with how I look…and a lot of times, I’m still not okay with it. Regardless, I brushed the “too fat” comment off (and for what it’s worth, no one actually said the words “too” or “fat” to me) and agreed to be coached. I got the phone call from the health coach about 30 minutes ago while I was sitting at my desk at work. When the woman on the phone identified herself and said she was calling because I’d expressed an interest in being coached, I immediately knew what I was “supposed” to say. And the second she asked the magic question, “What is your goal?” I had my answer – the “right” answer – all ready for her.

“Well, I’d like to lose weight.”

“Really?” She replied. And silence.

Now what? She didn’t start in with the spiel on how it was a great goal because I’m too fat. So I did what I do best when I get nervous. I started blabbering on and on with no direction. Somewhere in there I mentioned training for a marathon and maybe losing weight isn’t really the main goal I had in mind.

“Wait. What race are you training for?”

“New York. But this will be my second marathon.”

After she expressed her excitement with that (and there was some squealing…and yes, it may have been me squealing) and told me how she’d run four in the past, we got down to business. When she asked me how I fuel during my long runs I admitted that I’m only using gels right now but planned on adding in some pretzels due to the fact that I can’t stomach the sugary gels after hours and hours of taking them in…I’m just that slow. We continue our conversation and she eventually asks me how fast I’m running right now, considering I’d mentioned that I’m slow.

“I averaged just over a 14 minute mile on Saturday.”

“Wow. That IS slow.”


Cue the sound of my heart breaking, my hopes and dreams being crushed, the wind being sucked out of my sails. I know this. It’s not breaking news. I’d just finished talking to my co-workers about my slowness…but none of them had said those words to me. NO ONE has ever said these words to me. She continued with “What kind of speedwork are you doing?”

“None,” I said. “My coaches suggested I lay off of it since I’ve been injured since Christmas.”

And the subject is changed.

My goal is to finish. My goal has always been to finish. If I do it in 14 minute miles, that’s awesome….but I’m not going to kill myself trying to do it in 8 minute miles. I’m not going to take something that I like and enjoy doing and turn it into something that I dread. Yes, it’s work. It’s hard. It sucks knowing that I’m going to be out there for 6 hours working my ass off. But I enjoy those 6 hours. I like knowing that I went out and I did the best I could today and that I’ll do the best I can tomorrow. Maybe I’m not doing this coach’s best, or the hubs’s best, or my co-worker’s best….but I’m doing MY best.

I still think this woman is nice and she seems to know what she’s talking about. I’m supposed to send her my workout and food log for the past few days so we’ll see where that goes. And I’ll get faster…but I’ll get faster because I do…not because I’m not meeting someone else’s expectations of where I should be.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

100 Degrees...

...is what the giant, digital thermometer read as I drove by to my weekly run around the Academy - the one I've been neglecting for a few months now because of the heat. It took everything inside of me to keep from turning around and going home for a couple of hours at that moment, but I made it (okay, and I almost drove off again once I got there but my friend saw me pull up). Trust me, I completely understand the importance of weekday runs...but in the summer? This really makes me re-think a fall marathon ever again. Anyway, I started out committing to 30 minutes, but at the 15 minute turn around I was already over a mile in (yes, remember how slow I am) so I decided to go the extra < 1/2 mile and get my 3 miles in that way. I also managed to avoid running up Harper. :)

I think I've made the decision to NOT run a marathon next year (okay, except RnR AZ, but that's in January, which is still almost this year and that doesn't count). I really want to devote some time to my bike and I have my sight set on some bigger things that I need to start working towards. I really want to do an Ironman in the next few years and I know I need to spend a lot of time on my bike to get there. The tentative plan right now is to do RnR AZ, 1-2 century rides, 2-4 half marathons and all the local triathlons. The most important part of this plan is to eliminate studying for the CPA exam...so if everything goes the way I'm hoping it will, that will be done and out of my life by the end of October. Now to chain myself to the study materials for the next 2 1/2 months. :(

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Race Report: Chile Harvest Triathlon - 8/01/09

Where to start on this one? I was really looking forward to this...I actually registered for it within a couple of days of finishing Jay Benson (my first) and I had all these grand plans for training and making this my big, priority race of the year and focus on just running a half marathon locally this fall. However, about two weeks after registering, a wrench got thrown in my plans. I got accepted into the New York City Marathon. Although I was really, really hoping to be accepted, I knew that the chances were slim and with my job it'd be really hard to go for even a long weekend. Well, not only was I accepted, I received an amazing job offer a few weeks prior...so nothing was holding me back from actually going (ignoring random, repeated injuries, but lets not dwell on that). Thus, marathon training began immediately and this triathlon was just a tiny blip on the screen and no longer that important to me. All that said, I actually did do more training for this race than I did for Jay Benson...which is why the actual results of this race are so, so devastating.

The race was very well organized. I've read a few reviews on it today and everyone seems to rave about how friendly the volunteers were...I must have found the 2 grumpy ones. But at 6AM I can't even pretend to happy to be anywhere, so I'm just going to give them a pass on their nasty attitudes. Packet pick up was easy and I noticed they explained things very well to the hubs, who was doing his first tri (and finished in a disgusting 1:26). The transition area was set up by race number, which also corresponded to how you start the race (this one was traditional: swim, bike, run). Let me tell you, it was weird to be up near the front with all the "good" racers. As a back-of-the-packer I felt very out of place, but everyone was really nice.

The swim is 8 lengths in Socorro's outdoor 50m pool. I've raced in this pool countless times growing up, so it was familiar and I liked it. I felt like the swim went well and I was able to run into transition (something I was too wiped out for last time). I thought T1 went really well and I didn't have any issues getting socks on my wet feet - I know a lot of people don't use socks, but that not only hurts, it skeeves me out. I was able to run through transition with my bike and was off. Or I tried anyway. My legs just absolutely refused to move. This bike course is hilly - not steep, mountain-like hills - but long, never ending, gradual hills that make you want to cry. On a steeper one, there were a couple of dead rabbits in the road - I took this as a warning that I would be laying next to them shortly.

T2 seemed to go well too. I was able to run again through transition and all I put on were my shoes and hat...everything else I put on as I was running. Or something that may or may not have resembled running. Stupidly, I never got around to practicing this particular brick and now I understand why I should have. I gave my all on the bike and I knew right away that the run was going to be the end of me. My friend was watching and told me to just keep running and the feeling would come soon. Um, sure. Maybe 1/2 a mile from the finish. This 5k reminded me 100% of the last 5k of a marathon - miserable.

Even through all of this, I felt really good about the race. I couldn't get my computer going on my bike so I had no clue how fast (or slow) I'd done it but I knew that I was about 3:40 minutes slower on my run than I'd wanted. Even knowing what I knew, I was shocked when I saw the results - about 8 minutes slower than Jay Benson. I'm sure it was the hills on the bike that got me. Sure, I've been riding to work when I can, but that's a flat ride. I'm going to have to try and make the time (HAHAHA!) to ride hills after work or something. Anyway, it was a great race and I'll be back next year - even though I announced (loudly) that these things suck and I will never, ever do another one. Next up - NM Half Marathon on 9/6/09.

Splits:
Overall - 1:53:33.3
Swim (400 meters) - 8:11
T1 - 2:57
Bike (12.39 miles) - 57:14
T2 - 1:22
Run (3.1 miles) - 43:51
7th Athena

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Seven

Today I ran 7 miles. I know it's not a ton, and I know I'll be running even further than that very soon, but it was pretty exciting. This is the furthest I've gone since I ran Denver in October of last year. My last scheduled 7 mile run was supposed to be the day after Christmas, but it turned into a 3 mile walk because of the knee pain that turned into a hamstring injury and resulted in about 4 months off. I think that this was something I've really needed to do though - just for the mental aspect. Every once in a while I'll get a sudden burst of excitement for NYC but it's quickly overshadowed by doubt since I'm *only* at 4, 5 or 6 miles. A part of me still feels behind in the training, but I know I need to get over that. I have a good plan, put together by a good (and very knowledgeable) friend and it'll get me there.

7 miles today...98 days till 26.2!

Friday, July 24, 2009

And the Verdict Is...

I have Plantar Fasciitis. I finally made it down to see a podiatrist this morning and I’m glad I finally have an answer. I’ve been doing a lot of icing lately and really focusing on stretching before and after I run, which has helped a lot. The doctor is contacting my insurance company to see if they’ll cover custom orthotics, which I’ve assumed I needed for some time now. Even if it’s not covered, I’ll be getting them – I figure they’ll last a really long time and it’s worth it to not be in pain.

For now though, they taped up my foot and that alone has made the pain vanish. I can’t get it wet, so that canceled my plans for a swim tomorrow, but hopefully I can get into the pool on Sunday when the tape comes off. I was instructed to continue running…the tape will work the way orthotics will and I have a pretty good handle on how to treat it on my own for the time being. We’ll see how the tape holds up for 7 miles tomorrow morning – the longest I’ve gone since Denver in October.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pushing Through

The heat here has been completely, totally insane. I heard on the radio this morning that temps reached 100 yesterday, and it’s been in the upper 90’s for a couple of weeks now. Needless to say, I’m hating this. I can’t get myself out when it’s that hot. I tell myself that I’ll get up in the morning and run before work, but then I stay up too late studying and have a hard time dragging my behind out of bed at 7.00 for work. On those days I say that I’ll run in the evening, once it cools down…but it’s still over 85 at 8.00 PM and I have to study…starting the cycle all over again. I somehow still manage to get it done, usually in the evenings, but it’s not even enjoyable and I’m hating life the entire time.

I only rode to work once over the past two weeks too. After forgetting my water bottle at home and just assuming I could make it on the small bottle I had at my office, I learned the importance of proper hydration in the heat. There were a couple of times I got dizzy and almost crashed into the guardrail separating the trail I was on from a very busy street. I’m teaching myself to let go of my handlebars to grab my bottle now though and I feel a lot more confident that I’ll be able to ride without dying from lack of water anymore (yes, letting go of the handlebars is a new trick for me, I realize how lame I am).

I’m up to 6 miles for my long runs now. I know it’s not much and I spend a lot of time wondering if I’ll really be ready for NYC, but I’m putting all my trust into my schedule. I know it’s not ideal for me to even attempt this race considering the injuries this year, but I really, really want to do this. I’m trying to make smarter decisions and have finally made an appointment with a podiatrist for later this week to see what we can do about my foot pain. Hopefully a set of orthotics is all I’ll need to continue.

I have my second triathlon a week from this coming Saturday. I haven’t specifically trained for it, and I’m not going to worry about my time or about the people I know getting competitive with it. I think I let other people get to me too much when I did Jay Benson and that kind of took away from the fun of it. I’m generally a competitive person, but not with stuff like this. I like to just be out and enjoy the moments surrounded by like-minded athletes (I still feel weird calling myself an athlete)…if I beat my PR, that’s awesome. If not, I had fun. And like I’ve always said – someone’s gotta come in last, and at least I know I can have a good attitude about it. If I hadn’t gotten into NYC I’m sure I’d be making a bigger deal out of this, but right now it’s just not my priority.

The hubs and I are also 99% sure we’ll be participating in the NM Marathon festivities in September – but we’re only doing the half. Mike’s been racing amazingly well lately. He did his first half marathon in 2:02 and a 10k last weekend in 54:00. I think he said he’s hoping to break 2:00 for this race. If I can do it in about 3:00, which is what I did my first (and only) half in, I’ll be pleased. One of my really good friends is also doing the full – it’ll be her first and I’m excited to be involved knowing she’ll be out there somewhere on the course too.

I’ve also gone back to my roots – timed intervals, the way I learned how to run almost 2 years ago. I attempted the 1 mile run/1 minute walk thing for Denver and for all my training before and after that and it just wasn’t working for me. Before I knew it, I wouldn’t even pay attention to the time on my walk breaks. I’m sure they stretched into 2-3 minutes. I tried a 5 min run/1 min walk interval last week on my 5 miler and finished it 2 minutes faster than the last (and fastest so far) 5 miler. I did it again on Saturday’s 6 miler and finished in 1:23…3 minutes slower than my fastest 6 miler, which was run about a month after Denver when I was in the best shape of my life. I’m finishing feeling great and the only times I’ve extended a walk break was if my heart rate was through the roof (I’ve also started using my HRM), but never by more than an extra 30 seconds. I’m pretty excited…I feel like I’m actually progressing now.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Alive and kickin'

Yeah, I'm still here...barely. I've been insanely busy and the whole blog thing kinda got forgotten about...yadda yadda yadda.

Anyway, I have the Chile Harvest Triathlon in Socorro coming up in about 3 weeks - getting a little excited for that. It's amazing how much more fun these things seem when you do at least a little training. I've been attempting to bike to work at least a couple of times a week - the main goal is 3 times a week, but by the time Friday comes it takes all my strength to get out of bed at any time...much less the 5.45 that is required. I'm also going to start swimming in the mornings before work (I hope...this will require waking up at 4.30 and I just don't do that). I know it's bad, but the swim is my strongest leg and I don't work on it as much as I should. The running is a given...I have a marathon to train for, making this triathlon pretty low on the list of priorities. Although running is my least favorite of the three (imagine that...and I'm training for my second marathon!) it needs the most work and I'll dedicate almost as much time to that as I do studying.

Speaking of marathon training, I haven't really been able to meet up with my group lately. I think I've made it to two meetings since we started in April. First, I've had a lot going on lately on Friday nights/Saturday mornings making it impossible, but second, I just feel kind of out of the loop. I'm using a schedule that a friend designed for me, so I'm way off what the group is doing (for instance, the last time I went with them, they did 10 and I did 5). I'm trying to make Sunday and Tuesday meetings with my core group of friends, but even that has been pushed around the last couple of weeks. It's a bummer...I love these people and have a good time with them.

Today was a Saturday that I had a prior commitment though. The hubs decided (randomly) to run a local 10k...and I know, I know...he could do just as well without me watching, but I know I like having people there to cheer for me, so I went to watch and will make up my 5 miles tomorrow (with my friends!). He did amazing...he finished in about 54:00! Our friend did awesome too...she finished in about 56:00. This made me kind of glad I didn't run with them...they'd have had to wait a good 20-30 mins for me. :-S

I plan to start using the Garmin software and maybe even my heart rate monitor tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have some of those snazzy graphs and stuff that other people post in their blogs. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ouch!

I have a lot of things that "ouch" can refer to right now. First and foremost, my friend Frank got in a motorcycle accident a couple of nights ago. He seems to be feeling fine and will be released from the hospital tomorrow, but he has some broken bones and some road rash. We can't do our triathlon relay next month now, but there will be others. I'm so glad he'll be okay...this crash could have been so much worse.

I'm trying to seriously get into my training for NYC now too. The plan I'm following was put together by an awesome friend of mine and she has me increasing my mileage slowly. It's still hard...I've had one thing after an other pop up all year so even just a few miles is rough right now. I'm not really sure how I'll ever do 26. I did 2 miles tonight and it was faster than normal, but my Achilles is hurting pretty bad now. I've been stretching, icing and putting a heating pad on it, but tomorrow will tell the truth. If it's another morning that I can't walk, it's time to go see a doctor.

Boo...not a good past couple of days.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Oh. My. GOD!!!!

Valerie Selinger
Entry Number: 341582


Congratulations! You have been accepted into the ING New York City Marathon 2009. We are thrilled that you will be joining us on Sunday, November 1. Be sure to bookmark our site and visit it often for the latest news. Good luck with your training.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Countdown Has Begun...

I'll find out about NYC is less than 24 hours! My hopes are ridiculously high and I know the chances of me getting in are very, very slim...but I REALLY need something good to happen right now!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Blah.

I'm having a really hard time. I don't have a race on my calendar and it's bumming me out. Actually, forget that...I DO have a race on my calendar and it's staring at me, taunting me every day - every TIME - I look at that calendar. I was supposed to do the Seattle RnR Marathon on June 27 but that's not happening now. I thought I was okay with this...I didn't drop because I wanted to...I had to (thanks, hamstring), but it really wasn't bothering me. Until today. I flipped my calendar at work over to June and there it was, in big, black letters with what looked like a million exclamation points after the words "Seattle RnR Marathon!!!!!!" I think I need to find some white out or something to fix that.

In addition to my bummer-ness over that race, it's starting to look like I have Achilles Tendonitis. I've had some heel pain after almost every run for a couple of months now (not that there's been a ton of running over the past couple of months...thanks, tax season). For a long time I was convinced it was just heel spurs and I was going to have to accept the fact that it's time for custom orthotics...but the pain started to travel up my Achilles Tendon and my calf feels tight all of a sudden. I mentioned it to an awesome friend of mine, who is also the co-owner of the local running shop I frequent and she threw out this whole Tendonitis theory. I figured I'd take her advice, rest it a little, ice it a lot and wait...but I refused to jump into my regular habit of obsessing over things like this and resort to hours of internet research (which always ends with a diagnosis of cancer). I woke up Sunday morning, swung my legs out of bed and stood up...and promptly hit the floor, almost screaming in pain. I have never felt anything like this before...it was horrible. I managed to crawl - literally on my hand and knees - back into bed and wake the hubs up to tell him that I was on my deathbed...this resulted in an angry, although concered hubs, going to get me a bag of ice (note to self: Do NOT fall asleep with a bag of ice in bed...it melts into water).

So now my whole plan of not obsessing and relying on internet research to figure out what is truly wrong with me is completely out the window...so far it looks like I do indeed have Achilles Tendonitis (or cancer). I spent today with a bag of frozen peas strapped to my ankle/heel (I upgraded from the bag of ice) and an unsuccesful attempt at riding my bike because my calf muscle is still really tight. Hopefully tomorrow it will be better.

In *slightly* happier news, I should find out about NYC this week or next. This can be both good and bad.

Good:
I'll have a marathon on my calendar that I WILL NOT MISS.
This is something I really, really, really, really want to do.
I'll get to see my best friend who lives in NYC a few weeks earlier than currently planned.
It gives me something new obsess over and check daily (so far in the past two weeks I've gone through obsessing over CPA Exam scores and now my Foot Cancer).

Bad:
If this foot thing/cancer turns out to be bad, it could jeapordize the race.
I'm not the smartest person when it comes to training...have I mentioned that this has been bothering me for a couple of months and I'm just now looking into it?
NYC is expensive. Both the race and the city.
Considering I'm only up to (a painful) 4 miles right now, I'm not sure I'll have time to train properly.

Eh, who am I kidding...see the first "Good" reason. I WILL NOT MISS THIS ONE!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Changes...And Random Thoughts

Whew a lot has happened in the past couple of weeks. First off, the hubs and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary on May 19. I can't believe it's already been 2 years! To celebrate, he bought me a cycle computer for my bike. :)

In addition to that, I made the hard - but very good - decision to leave public accounting. Again. I really like what I do and I love the people I work with, but this is a good opportunity that I couldn't turn down. It also helps that I won't have to travel anymore and will have much better benefits...and one of my best friends will be working right down the hall. And one thing that I really, honestly, seriously considered and helped make my decision - I can bike to work. It's about 15 miles one way, so it's not something I can just jump into, but I'm really looking forward to it. My goal is to start a couple of weeks after my first day and to eventually bike at least 2-3 times a week. The route is hilly for the first few miles, but it flattens out after that so I don't think it will be a problem. I am very, very excited for this (the commuting AND the job). I'll start on Monday, June 8.

Even though I'm leaving the CPA firm I work for now, I've decided to stick with taking the CPA exam. When I first started that "adventure" I didn't care much about it...it was just something I was being forced to do. But now that I've given up months of my life for this, I've come too far to just stop. I still haven't passed anything, but I should get my next score around June 20. My next exams are scheduled for July 16 and August 29...wish me luck. After taking a month off to relax, I started studying again tonight. No fun...I can't believe I'm willingly doing this.

After participating in Jay Benson (I feel wrong saying that I "raced" it considering the minuscule amounts of effort I put into training...ok, some that time was spent healing my stupid hamstrings), I immediately came home and signed up for the Chile Harvest Triathlon in Socorro. It will be on August 1. My goal for this race is to train and to go into it feeling a lot more prepared than I did for Jay Benson...I think doing it this way will make it fun. I hate to say it, but I did NOT enjoy anything about Jay Benson until it was over. Don't get me wrong...it was an awesome race and I'll be back next year...this was all my fault. At least I won't have tax season and an injury (I hope) to get in my way anymore.

Lastly, the application deadline for the NYC Marathon is next Monday, June 1. I should find out shortly whether I made it in or not. Either way, I just need SOMETHING on the calendar at this point. I decided that if I do not make it in, I'll just run the half at Duke City since it's local. The hubs and I were already planning a trip to Phoenix in January for RnR AZ, so if I do Duke City Half, I'll run the full there. If I get into NYC, I'm doing the half in Phoenix...unless I have some kind of brain damage and decide to attempt a full for both. Someone remind me of the hamstring injury from a couple of months ago if it looks like I'm headed that way...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Race report - Jay Benson Triathlon 5/10/09

I always pictured my first triathlon to be a lot like my first (and so far - my only) marathon...lots and lots of hard work training and then a great big pay off at the end. As far as Jay Benson goes, I kinda skipped out on that whole "training" part of it and skipped right to the "pay off" part. Not the smartest way to do things and I'm convinced that this is why my legs are still sore (no, it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I did NOT stretch after the race...I never claimed to do anything smart while preparing for this race, why start now?). All in all it was an awesome, amazing experience and I loved it. Also, my estimated finish time before the race was 2 hours.

The day started early...my friends, D, T and I decided to head over to the base around 6.00 AM, so that meant leaving my house around 5.30. Of course, when it comes to being on time, I'm always 5-15 minutes late so it was no surprise when it was 6.00 and Mike and I were pulling into a drive thru Starbucks nowhere near the base. We managed to get in, get parked and get me into the transition area, where I promptly set up my stuff next to my buddies (wrong - my triathlete friend came and fixed it later) and then milled around for the next hour or so saying hi to the gazillions of friends I had that signed up for the race and the other awesome friends who came out to be the best cheerleaders ever. The men started at 8.10 or so and by that time it was already heating up...before I knew it, it was time for me to line up. I joined the crowd of women and wandered towards the back of the pack till I found D, who was talking to a few friends of ours who'd come to cheer us on. Luckily that took my mind off what I was about to do. I wasn't even paying full attention when the buzzer sounded and the race started...I just moved forward with the crowd and the next thing I knew we were off!

The run was hot and I started out too fast, but luckily I reaized this very early on before I bonked too much. I also had been walking around with a bottle of water I forgot to throw away (I'm telling you, my mind wasn't in this) but I'm so glad I kept it. There was one water stop at 1.5 miles, but I ended up drinking my entire bottle of water. I was in the very back of the pack, alone for the most part, but I didn't mind. It was weird running without my iPod (unallowed) or watch (purposely left at home) but I think I kind of liked it - at least the watch-free part of it. I walked when I need to, wanting to save any energy I could for the bike, but I was still dizzy and neauseated when I finished. By the time I got to my transition, my triathlete friend (Frank) was standing outside the ropes but near my bike and he saved me...he walked me through everything I needed to do. I kept hearing "Ok, put your helmet on. Drink some water. Change your shoes. Get your bike." I knew what needed to be done, but I think if he wasn't there I would have taken even longer in transition than I did.

The bike was good. It felt amazing to be on my bike...I've always loved my bike, but I was worried how I'd feel trying to ride while being so hot, dehydrated and tired...but I loved it even more. The ride was hilly and the hills did get to me, but I remembered that a friend of mine said "When you get to a hill, you put your head down and you pedal...you never walk," so that's what I did. I kept repeating that on the uphills and singing Margaritaville out loud on the downhills - hey, I had to do something to get my mind off how tired I was! I got to transition again and was pretty disoriented though. I've never gotten the hang of the whole drinking while riding thing, so I didn't take in any fluids on the bike, a big mistake. I attempted to run to the pool, but after a few steps my legs yelled out "Eff you!" and I stopped and walked. I couldn't, there wasn't anything left in them.

Swimming has always been my strongest and it comes naturally. It's never felt so good to jump into a pool before...all I could think was "this is it, just get through the pool." Of course, it wasn't that easy. The pool was FULL of people and it was so hard to pass. Most people would move over when tapped, but not everyone. And to top it off, my goggles decided that this would be the perfect day to leak. Overall, it wasn't my greatest swim ever, but I was still happy with it.

It was a very fun race and it took a lot out of me...it also taught me how important it is to train properly. I must have liked it though...I just signed up for another one in Socorro in August. :)

Splits -
Run (3 miles): 40:20
T1: 3:00
Bike (20k): 50:07
T2: 2:40
Swim: 9:38
Overall: 1:45:49.45

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Unser Half Marathon

Unfortunately, this is not a race report. A few months ago I had planned on being able to give you all a report on this race, but nope...I didn't do it. Instead, I'm hovering around a slow, painful 3 miles right now, which I'll take over not running at all. Instead, this post is to brag a little bit about the hubs. :)

The hubs, for those of you who don't know him personally - and I feel bad for you, is quite the character. He goes about a million miles a minute, asks thousands of questions of anyone and is really pretty gullible and come up with funny and random things all the time, but he'd kill me if I told you that (oops). In fact, my friend T and I say we're going to compile all the Mike-ism we've heard over the years and become millionaires over his hilarity. So when he told me about three weeks ago that he was still going to run the Unser Half Marathon I thought this was another one of his jokes, or something that he got mixed up. He'd been running, but only about five miles at a time for a month or two at the time...but nope, he was serious. So here we sit, at Dion's (geez, now I feel REALLY bad for those of you who don't live in NM, seriously, the BEST food!) and I'm trying to figure out how to keep him from dying on this race.

It turns out I didn't need to worry...not only did he manage to get himself up to the distance in time (although not in any way I would suggest to anyone wanting to run their first half) he did an AMAZING job during the race! I don't have a race report since I didn't personally do it, but maybe I can get one out of him in case anyone else is considering it for next year. He finished in 2:02 and was 121 out of 226...I was very impressed! And now for a couple of pictures (all courtesy of Mugshots & Pawpritnts)...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I can breathe!

I'm finally crawling out from under the rock that is known as tax season and am happy to say that I survived yet another year. Considering I don't actually DO taxes (normally - every Saturday from the end of February till April 15 this changes) survival is a huge feat in itself. I thought this year went much better than last year...at least I knew where I was messing up and could give the reviewers a heads up.

Jay Benson is less than a month away and I'm not prepared at all. I'm trying to go into it with a good attitude - it's just for fun, I'm not in it to win, blah blah blah. It's all true, but I know I'll be bummed when I do worse than I predicted back in November/December when I was figuring this stuff out. It's lame and I need to get over it. Outside of the hubs and the familia, I have three priorities - work, exam and working out. Generally I can balance all three okay but between the little injury at the beginning of the year plus the insanity of work the past few months, plus the pressure that's been put on me with the exam, something had to be scaled back on. As much as I love running, it doesn't pay the bills (or harass me every time it sees me about passing the exam it paid for).

And now for my random vent of the day. I almost feel like I have a few friends who are sitting back and waiting to watch me fail at next month's race because I wasn't able to work out as much as I'd have liked. They question me all. the. time. about how much I ran this weekend, did I bike, have I been to the pool yet? And it doesn't feel like the supportive conversations it started out as...it's more like "hmm...you and you actually think you're going to do this?" A part of me wants to scream and point out that it's not like I'm spending 12 hours a day sitting on the couch watching Oprah and eating ice cream, but the other part - the more rational part - realizes that they probably don't understand how nasty things can get. It's rough meeting my co-workers at 7AM to go out of town to a client's, working through lunch, and getting back to town between 6 and 7PM and having to decide between working some more or studying. And this isn't just through April 15, folks...my real busy season is September - December 15.

Ok, I'm done whining about how hard my life is. Now I DO feel like sitting on the couch for a few hours.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Continuing on...

Thanks to the joy that is tax season and studying for the test that I really don't want to talk about right now (I swear, this is just a quick, 20 min break!) I didn't realize it's been a while since I've been here. A lot has actually happened.

Due to my 1) lapse in judgment; 2) peer pressure from friends I won't name here; and 3) did I already mention lapse in judgment??? I have signed up for my first sprint triathlon. It's on May 10 and it's one I've actually wanted to do for a long while now. Of course, in my crazy dreams and thoughts of doing a triathlon of any distance there has been some kind of serious training plan in place that I stick to. Such is not really the case here. After the hamstring/knee/leg/whatever it felt like injury that knocked me on my ass for two months, I've had a *little* trouble getting back into the swing of things. It's not that I don't want to, it's just that I've found that maintaining a job and the money it brings in is essential to my well being. And that pesky test we're not talking about has interfered a little bit too. Oh, and have I mentioned that I'm lazy? Yeah, during those two months off I rediscovered this little thing called "sleep." Yes, the link is important because I'm sure I'm not the only one who had no clue what it was for a while. Nah, once April 15 comes and goes (and I celebrate with all my work buddies with copious amounts of adult beverages) I'll get a little more serious.

And to help with the seriousness, the world's most awesome, amazing hubs and parents (mine) bought me what you see pictured to the right ---->
It's an early birthday gift and I am super, duper, totally, extra excited about it. I haven't taken it out on a "real" ride just yet (unless you count my driveway) but I'm dying to.

AND beyond all this excitement, the hubs and I leave for our Jamaican vacation in 40 days. FORTY DAYS! Yeah, it's probably not the BEST idea to spend the week before my first triathlon sitting on a beach with unlimited pina coladas, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, right?



Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It eff'ing figures

12

As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Poor (Failure)

Take the test!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Explain to me how this happens.

I randomly got my CPA exam score today for the last section I took on Jan 16. I wasn't expecting it until next month, so imagine my shock and horror when I saw a huge, glaring "70" staring at me instead of the usual "Error: Score not found...blah blah blah" that I was used to seeing. Just to recap for those of you who haven't heard me stress out over this, you need a 75 to pass, so this was not quite up to par...and add to the fact that I got a 71 on the last section I took, I was not in the best of moods today. In fact, this really explained the jumpy, nervous, overall horribly bad feeling I had all morning...at least that feeling went away as soon as I saw that disaster.

So I'm flarking pissed. I studied way harder for this section and got a worse score...funny how that works. I'm retaking the first failed section on April 3 and I guess I'll be trying to reschedule this one for the end of May now and move one new section to July (the other new section will hopefully be in August/September). At least I forced myself to run this evening and it was awesome...weather had to have been around 60 and I went out in shorts and long sleeves. Granted, that good mood ended as soon as I got back in the car and had time to think about it, but still...it was good while it lasted.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hooray!

Ok, so it's been a really long time since I've had anything to say besides some pissing and moaning (which I'm really good at)...but I decided that rather than sit here and moan and groan, I'd just avoid the whole thing until I had something good to say. Well, I can finally report back.

After weeks of physical therapy, two orthopedic surgeons who have no clue what they're doing (again, if you have nothing nice to say...) an MRI and gaining who knows how many pounds (I took the battery out of the scale because the hubs needed one for his car clicker thing...seriously, a car clicker thing is so much better than seeing the proof of my weight gain) I have *FINALLY* been cleared to run again! It turns out that this whole pesky knee issue wasn't entirely a knee issue to begin with. Granted, the MRI did show some thickening of the plica, but it also showed that I had a very, very low level sprain in two hamstrings, which was most likely the cause of my pain. I didn't find that that out from my ortho (his answer was "No! You don't need surgery!" followed by "Run again...wait, NEVER run again...wait, run whenever you feel like it." and further followed by "Well, if you still have pain, we can always do surgery."). I guess I suck at this keeping my not-so-nice thoughts to myself thing, huh? Oh well, I'm still frusterated that I spent $40 and almost 2 hours to get no answers from him when my PT took 3 minutes to look over the MRI report and told me everything I needed to know. She rocks.

So I went out for my first run yesterday doing intervals of 2 min running and 2 min walking for a grand total of 28 mins (ok, it was probably closer to 30 mins because I wound up doing a little extra running at the end with out my watch on...hey, I had to get back to the parking lot somehow...) I went a whopping 2 miles, which I won't complain about...I won't even cry about how I should have done something like 14 miles in preparation for Seattle this summer (which I'm dropping out of). It was awesome...it was amazing! I'm sore as all heck and my legs are screaming at me in disbelief that I would make them do this horrible thing again...but I'm so super happy.

And to celebrate my return, today I entered the lottery for the NYC Marathon which will be held on November 1. I am entrant number 341582. :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It feels like 5 years

but I can (semi) run again! The ortho kinda cleared me yesterday and I'll be talking about it with my physical therapist on Friday. If things go the way I expect, I'll be back out on Saturday!

I have more to say, but it's almost 11 and I'm exhausted...tomorrow.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

MRI on Wednesday

and it's been six weeks today since I've run. Since I have nothing good to say, I'll leave it at that. I should be in bed anyway...it's almost 11 and I have PT at 7 tomorrow morning.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

4 weeks...

That's how long it's been since I've run. Four long, long weeks. Seattle is starting to look like it may not happen...or if it does happen, it'll be only as a half. I originally thought I'd be back after a couple of weeks off and if I could be going again by the beginning of February, I'd definitely be doing the full, but I'd be surprised if I can even get the MRI scheduled by then. So we'll see...Speaking of which...

I had my 2nd opinion this past Wednesday and I really liked this doctor A LOT! He examined me and said it seems like I have plica. I'm on anti-inflammatories for a couple of weeks and will be doing physical therapy to try and help that. Basically, it's not life threatening or anything (and by non life threatening I mean I'll be able to run again...someday) it's just painful and in the doc's words "it just makes you lose interest" because of the pain. If it doesn't go away, it can ruin my joint though, and that's kinda scary...and that will involve some type of injections (see two posts ago), but we caught it early enough and with my age, we should avoid that. He also said the he didn't think I have a meniscus tear, but considering I was told that I did (and as we all know by now, meniscus tears don't heal on their own) he has ordered an MRI. It has to get insurance approval first, so that could take up to a week to get, then who knows how long to actually schedule. His orders were definiately no running until after the MRI, but I can do anykind of low-impact cross training so long as it doesn't bother me.

I'm trying to formulate a plan though because this sitting around and doing things as they come thing is not working out for me. I'm really one of those people that has to keep going, otherwise watching TV or sleeping will become a priority. So far I haven't had much time to do either one of those activities, thanks to my lack of CPA exam passing abilities, but I'm afraid I'm going to have a really rough time when I can get started again. So I'm going to go lift weights Monday, Wednesday and Fridays (just upper body since my knee won't cooperate) and I'm going to swim on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I really want to bike, but it's been painful...I may try again next Saturday though, just to see. Our Jamaica trip is coming up so fast (exactly 3 months from today!) and I hate being like this, but I really want to look a little bit better in a swim suit. I feel ridiculous saying that because that is NOT the reason I even started working out, but there it is.

Our beginners group, In Motion, also starts in a couple of weeks. Both of my younger sisters have joined and I'm super excited about that. I'm hoping to be able to get out and do something - anything - with the In Motion group since they'll be there, so cross your fingers.

And I know I've been whiney lately and I've done nothing but complain...I know it's annoying. But at least by getting it out here, it's out and I'm not dumping it on everyone 24/7 the way I normally would (well, not as often anyway).

Monday, January 19, 2009

It continues

After talking to a few people (physical therapists and nurses included) I've decided to skip out on the injections. Coupled with the fact that the orthopedics' office wouldn't "allow" me to talk to my doctor - or anyone, for that matter - I'm going for a second opinion with a new doctor on Wednesday. This whole thing has made the pain in my knee travel up into my head. :( Even after the cortisone injection 10 days ago, I'm in pain and my knee now feels like it's going to give out on me. That has me worried.

In totally unrelated news, I sat for another section of the CPA exam on Friday and it was about as fun as dealing with all these knee issues. I should have results for that section in March sometime. I also sit for the section I failed on February 27 and a whole new section on April 20...5 days before we leave for Jamaica, unless I need surgery, in which case I may need to postpone the trip...news that the hubs doesn't quite believe yet. I don't want to plan for or against surgery, but it would really suck to have it come out of the blue and then to have my vacation ripped away...but our vacation policy changed at work and unless we can save up some serious amounts of money (kinda hard when you fail an exam that costs $250 to retake EACH SECTION plus whatever the insurance company won't cover for the actual surgery) I'm not sure I can afford vacation for fun and then vacation for misery.

Ugh, tell me it gets better.