So since Life had other plans for me last week, I ended up taking 4 whole days off running. In a row. (Not even a nice long walk or hike to bridge the gap!) I know!!!! I am choosing to pretend that I was actually just resting up for the next few hard (mileage-building, back-to-the-track-workout-type) weeks I've got coming. And house painting (the kind where you hang off a 32-foot ladder and oh-so-carefully paint the entire exterior of the house...with a brush) is cross-training, right? Well, now that the interior painting is done and the house put back together, and the exterior is 80% (...ok maybe 70% done, hubs gets the rest), I am back to the training plan. Today that started off with a nice, brisk 4.4 mile-morning run. The weather was actually quite chilly and fall-like--I even wore a long-sleeve, something I haven't done since about March--and made me salivate in anticipation for the upcoming fall running season. My gawd, but how I love to run in the fall!
1 - I guess Life hadn't quite released his grip on me yet today, as a busy morning resulted in me forgetting my lunch and midday snacks and thus forcing me to supplement with a gyro and approximatly 5.4 pounds of peanut butter M&Ms. Peanut butter is a power food though, right?
Here I am!
Here I am again, averting my eyes from the camera's evil stare.
Except she has a tighter tanktop...and cleavage!
And cool sunglasses! And I bet she's faster.
Triple bonus: me plus TWO IROTs!
make them to go, and give me a side of sweet potato fries, thanks.
I think you girls will agree.
I don't typically get this kind of drama in my races.
He/she is either going balls/boobs-to-the-wall, or about
to fall on his/her face. A vote?
This is pretty much the ideal race outfit.
I am guessing she finished Top 10.
In race news, I just signed up for my Labor Day race, the Park to Park 10 Miler, which I am pretty excited about. (I also steathily signed up hubs without his actual permission, simply because I don't want to have to get up that early and head to the race and figure out the parking logistics alone, and because my folks will be here to watch the Shorties so I am going to take advantage of that shit.) This will be my first 10-mile race, so it's a guaranteed PR! What's not to like about that?!
a) not pushing yourself to achieve what you know could have, whether time or distance ("I'm just not that fast/I just can't run that far")
b) cutting a run short, just because you were "tired" ("I'm too tired to do 8 miles; I'll just do 5")
c) skipping a run entirely ("eh, I'll do it tomorrow...")
d) skipping a week (or God Forbid more) of runinng...and you aren't injured..or doing any other cross-training sport ("I think I need a week off from exercise")
e) quitting during a race ("I just can't run anymore...")
f) all of the above ("I'm just not a runner" or "I "don't like" running")
Last week, was kind of a toss-up for old Mindf*ck and me. On Tuesday, he got to second base with my morning run, inflicting a case of SRS and cutting it short. Oh, but Tuesday evening I claimed an "early curfew" and held him at bay to finish those 3 cheated miles. Take that MF! No love for you tonight, beyotch!
Then on Thursday (for spousal harmony reasons) hubs and I both ran again at the inside track. I planned to do about 20 or 30 minutes...and then, 6 minutes (that's 7 already-boring laps) into my run, the iPod ran out of juice. Whoa, running inside is barely tolerable at best (and that's giving it a LOT of credit), and that's with the assumption of constant iPod music being pumped into my frontal lobes in order to sedate me into staying on the track. But running inside (35 or more laps) sans music? Uh oh. No dice. However, I quickly realized that this is JUST what Mindf*ck wanted. He was buttering me up with cheap wine, hoping to get me drunk enough to agree to bump uglies with him later. Realizing this, I knew I could not give in so easily. If he expected to get this run to strip, he was going to have to work harder than that. A LOT harder (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).
So when at 20 minutes I had to start dodging and weaving through the S-L-O-W mom-walkers going two-and three-abreast, I again considered nuzzling up with Mindf*ck. Hey, I did my 20 minutes, I am not a complete slug; maybe MF deserves a little kiss? But when I felt MF's fingers circling my waist, pulling me tight, tugging at my shorts...oh no, this fool ain't deflowering me! So I slapped that cad in the face and kept on running. For 40 minutes. 40:39 to be exact. And then I smiled over at old Mindf*ck and went home with my husband.
After this stunning Thursday victory over him, I couldn't believe when I saw MF skulking around the parking lot at the trail on Saturday morning. I was up for my first-ever 16 miler; he couldn't possibly think I would let him touch me again after the affront two days prior?! And on this important day in my training?! He started jogging slowly behind me, but I was just feeling to good to let him catch up and start sweet-talking me. I chugged along, enjoying the trail and waving at all my fellow runners.
By miles 10-11, which I managed to run at 8:35 pace, he was nowhere to be seen, so I guessed he had given up on me and gone home to get friendly with his hand instead. Imagine my surprise when I rounded the bend at mile 14 and there he stood, off to the side in the bushes, wearing only his Burberry raincoat....(he knows how to dress, I'll give him that)...but, wait, there aren't any rainclouds? Then *BAM!* he opened that raincoat and showed me his full glory. Shocked, I stopped to walk. I tried not to look but couldn't avert my eyes. He crept closer....then my favorite Blackeyed Peas running song came on the iPod and it broke the trance. I shook my head, got my wits about me, decided that I was not going to be MF's next Penthouse "It Happened To Me" story and picked up the pace again to finish out my run. As I ran away, I looked over my shoulder and saw him standing there alone, raincoat drooping, stunned look on his face. He looked so forlorn and lonely. I laughed, waved, and ran on home. Run tally: 16 miles in 2:49 (including water refill stop).
I've been running since I was a sophomore in high school in 1993: 16 years. There have been ups and downs; good years and bad years; high-mileage years and low-mileage years; fast years and slow years. I may have made out with MF here or there over the years, but I'm still here and still running....so on the days I feel weak and tempted by his smooth talking ways and hansome facade, I'll just remember that no matter how good it feels at the time, there is always the chance that Mindf*ck will pass on some incurable running STD that will sideline me for good. And I'll keep my shorts on, knees pumping, and feet moving.
Well, now that I have work--a job that is people-intensive--spouse, kids, dogs, organizations, kids' activities/sports, cleaning, cooking, laundry, groceries, etc. I don't get much time all to myself anymore. Yet, I don't need it any less. I just make-do with less. And it occurred to me that, though running IS an addictive drug, the Alone Time is the real whatfor that I've SO enjoyed adding distance to my running this year. It's the increased time alone! (yes, I too was in shock when this occurred to me...I always thought I ran for the t-shirts or medals. Or maybe even for the glamorous race pics. Yet there I stood, reeling at the contradiction this new truth presented.) The glorious, magnificent, heavenly, QUIET, time alone! I do run with buddies a bit, but the vast majority of my runs are solo. And I love that.
Perhpaps I should create my own home-made running clothing article...say, maybe some de-compression shorts to celebrate this breakthrough?
Perhaps my de-compression shorts might look a little something like this?
In non-running related news, I was in line to drop Shortie1 off at school this morning, when a mother approached with her school-age tyke trotting alongside, and another little one in a stroller. A (though she was clearly not a runner, it was a baby BOB, of course) stroller covered with mosquito netting and heavily-blanketed. A stay-at-home mom, of course she knows all the other stay-at-home-bunko-club-neighborhood-moms milling around (I'm not bitter though, do I sound bitter?!). Natch. And (as they tend to do) they then begin loudly discussing their little darlings. Hers have apparently been infected with H1N1 for the past two weeks, the smaller of the two (the mosquito-netted-and-blanketed one) further developing secondary infections. The bigger of the two, coughing and hacking like an emphysemic old hag. And standing in the kindergarten line with my Shortie. Awesome. Just one more thing for me to worry about.
So, since it was Tuesday and my morning run sucked, I decided that I must make it a Twice on Tuesday again and do a two-a-day with an evening run at the indoor track. That run was slightly better and significantly faster, and I ended up doing 25 minutes which was probably in the neighborhood of 3 miles. So, I ended up with my 8-miler after all. (And I would like to thank my hubs for being a good sport and letting me draft him around the track, which probably accounts for the speediness.)
In other news, I did have a very successful solo 14-miler last Saturday, probably my best long run (without running company) to-date. It was, of course, on my favorite Highline Canal Trail. Also, there are some great contests going on this week: Cross Country Squared and Red Head Running are each giving away $100 to Dick's; Runner Dude is giving away $50 to Running Warehouse. And finally, I have been off my regular allergy medicine for about a week now, and I think that is the major source to blame for my SRS and the tiredness that I've had all week, despite going to bed early. I'm not sick, but the misery of my allergies has got me all itchy, stuffy, sneezy and generally grumpy as a result. BUT, I go in for skin testing Friday morning, which will hopefully result in qualifying me for allergy SHOTS instead of daily medication for the rest of my life, as I have been doing for about 10 years now. And you better believe I will be packin a Zyrtec-D for the second the testing is over!
My team ended up with a 7:00 start time and planned to meet at the starting line at 6AM., Because I had opted not to drive up to Ft. Collins the night before, I had to get up at 3:30 in the morning on Friday in order to get going and arrive on time. Of course, I was up until nearly midnight Thursday night (freaking/packing/freaking some more/unpacking my over-packing/freaking yet sill more) so this promised to potentially start out very badly. But, I think because I was so excited and nervous, I didn’t really have any extra emotional room left over to be tired Friday morning. I was in Van #2, which meant that we wouldn’t actually be running until close to noon. So I spent a leisurely morning lying around and getting to know my vanmates. We made a breakfast stop, a grocery stop, and then headed up to the first van exchange to wait. At the inactive van waiting area, I kept seeing other runners and thinking, “wow, that guy/girl looks REALLY familiar” and it was kind of an odd, surreal thing. I mean, EVERYONE looked familiar, but obviously I didn’t know 99% of them. It was all a very déjà vous experience.
hey kid, don't I know you?
As for my runs, I ran legs 12, 24 and 36, which logistically speaking are the best legs to run IMHO. I got plenty of rest time upfront. I got to run into the van exchanges, which were the most heavily-populated with cheering crowds and music. I got to take a hot shower (commence 17-year-old-boy's-fantasy: 25 naked, in-shape chicks, 4 to a group shower, in a high school locker room--you're welcome GQH) after leg 24 and the promptly fall asleep for 5 hours all warm and clean. I got to run into the finish, joined by the rest of my team to cross the line together. Perfection!
amazing mountain views
Amazing! Cows! Next to the highway! Mooing loudly!
At the start of my first leg!
My first run (leg 12) was about 3:00PM on Friday. It was sunny and hot and about 8500’ elevation, but I only had 2.5 miles so it was completely manageable. My second run (leg 24) was a heavenly, wondrous 5.5 miles at 3:00AM on a rural highway, under the full moon and a gazillion stars. I passed several runners on this leg, as though it was at 8000’, it was fairly flat with just a few gently rolling hills. The thought I kept having over and over and over as I ran was, “THIS is why I run.” It was so dark, quiet, peaceful, and the weather was perfect (about 40 degrees or so). I just felt so happy and grateful to be there and able to do that run. I felt strong, fast, and free, and my heart was full. It was probably one of my top 3 runs of all time. I then got some good, solid sleep after this run and felt refreshed when I woke up Saturday morning to enjoy a hot pancake breakfast at the van exchange site.
van exchange #2, early, before it got busy & turned into a
full-on party scene. what, you didn't know
that Woods Landing, WY is where the Partay People go?
the sweet little babbling brook where i cooled
and de-stunkified my feet at van exchange #2. it is now
classified as a Superfund site...
My last run (leg 36) of 5 miles was about 1:00PM on Saturday. It was back down at about 6500’ and was another lovely leg that ran along the river in Steamboat., where I could hear and see all the tubers having fun on the water. It was warm and sunny and I SO wanted to jump in the water and join them! This run for me was just ok; I was hot and by the last little uphill at the end, my legs were starting to get tired. I knew that Hubs and the Shorties would be waiting for me at the end, so I was eager to see them, along with the rest of my teammates. And I was ready for some food!
My camera battery died. Must. Get. Pictures. From. Vanmates.
especially the one of us cleverly putting bunny ears on one
another at Rabbit Ears Pass. It was a lot cuter going on minimal sleep.
My team (the Greatful Treaders) finished the race in 30:16:50 0 with an average pace of:09:08 and 61st out of 142 teams overall. We were 10th in our division (Mixed) out of 33. It amazes me that the winning team finished in only 19 hours and 37 minutes, with an average pace of 5:55. That freakin knocks my shorts off! (really, literally, they are sitting here next to me on the floor as I type this now! Ok so maybe that’s because I changed out of them after my run and left them in a sopping wet heap on the carpet, but whatev.) I know they passed us at some point, but for the life of me, I never saw them. Obviously they were going too fast for me to notice more than the swift breeze sent up in their wake. 12 people running 5:55 up THOSE mountains for 200 miles! Now THAT is some serious crazy.
Ok so perhaps I may have already decided which (more challenging, more miles) leg I want next year. And I might have been mulling over trying the 6x6 Ultra category. And it’s possible that I have been secretly googling “ultra running races” the last few days. Full-on Nuts-o, here I come.
My second session of the day was after work, at the rec center on the indoor track. I did 31 minutes, which was probably about 3.2-ish miles. Surprisingly, my legs were not tired, as I expected them to be. I did 10 minutes at 9:30 pace, then sped up to 8:15 pace for 11 minutes, then back to 9:30 for 10 minutes. If I'd been outside, I probably would have kept going, as I felt pretty good. However, the indoor track was monstrous and I was not enjoying all those right-hand turns, so I threw in the towel and did some core work instead.
Overall verdict: Thumbs-up for two-a-days
I will fairly steal by giving the correct credit for this lovely
poster to: "Runner/cartographer Paul Petersen of MarathonGIS
has created beautiful poster souvenir maps of the WWR route.
They will be for sale at the finish line for $20 and will be
packed in a mailing tube. "
So last night I actually took the time to read the "last minute instructions" from the race director...holy shit, there is a lot of important stuff to remember in there! A sampling of gems:
""Open Range" is a ranching term. This means cattle are roaming freely and are not penned in by fences. You will encounter this situation on the Wyoming section of the relay route. There's nothing quite as scary as coming around a bend in the dark and finding black cows standing in the middle of the road." YEAH, I'LL SAY. IF I ENCOUNTER A COW, THAT BEYOTCH IS GETTIN' TIPPED.
Ah, so THAT'S a cattle guard. Shit.
"A common comment after a relay is how someone found themselves off the course. The signs are put in place many hours before runners appear. Therefore, anything can happen to them – the wind could blow them down or some idiot could move or steal them....Remember, a relay race is a form of an adventure race - runners and teams must pay attention and take responsibility for themselves. Therefore, if you get off the route, especially if you were not carrying a map, you will receive no sympathy." BUT I DEPEND ON THE SYMPATHY VOTE!
"Leg 36 starts on the Core Trail and goes through downtown and residential Steamboat. Study the route map carefully before you run this leg!!! The leg also crosses Lincoln Ave (the main drag through Steamboat). There is a stop light at this intersection. You are required to wait for a green light to cross. Steamboat will ticket jaywalkers. STUDY AND BRING YOUR MAP FOR THIS LEG!!!!" SHIT, THIS IS MY LEG. FUCK NOW I ALSO HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT REMEMBERING TO BRING MY MAPS. PREFERABLY LAMINATED. (AS ANOTHER BLOGGER RECENTLY NOTED, I TOO NEED TO GET IN THE MAP, JOEY TRIBIANI-STYLE, TO FIND MY WAY. AT LEAST IT WILL BE DAYLIGHT WHEN I DO THIS....I THINK.)
- How will I apply body glide to somewhat intimate parts (i.e. sportsbra areas, bikini line where built-in running shorts underwear rub when they get wet with sweat) with 5 strangers looking on?
- I have been instructed to be "self-sufficient." Exactly what mix of food do I bring to tide me over 30+ hours, with running sprinkled in?
- How much water will I really need?
- Is it rude to bring a book and expect a little reading time while on the road? Or will everyone expect me to talk to them the whole time?
- Don't even get me started thinking about the outfits I'll need nor what will happen if (ok let's be honest, when])I have to pee every half hour...
Ok now it's time for me to distract myself again with work, before I start to pull out my hair and wander through the halls muttering and foaming at the mouth. Tomorrow I'm sure I will share more freaking out, probably centered on my legs of the race, and the hills/heat/middle-of-the-night running. Or nutjobbing about my lack of ownership of a blinking head lamp and sleeping bag.
And on the home front, I am glad to say that apparently a 5-year old can be fairly easily placated with a purple Hello Kitty battery-operated toothbrush and one gold dollar coin. Point Tooth Fairy.
Now, I'd like to claim to be all scientific and hi-tek like Lam, and use something ingenious like The Grid. However, I am neither and so use less of a "Grid" and more of a "simple-chart-type system," which I lovingly call the Luddite's Marathon Training Plan, for my training. I am doing the Denver Marathon on October 17. I have a 16-week training plan. Hence, I need to subtract 16 weeks from the 17th and start on that date, and then do what the plan says each day. Easy, right?
Somehow, I either started on the wrong date, forgot what training week I was in, or both. When you "tweak" damn near every training run on the plan, this can tend to happen. So, my response was to take my original training plan, which was really just sort of a calendar-y table in MS Word, and slap it into Xcel to see what simpleton customization and basic math I could weasel out of it. Here is the result: The All New & Improved Luddites Marathon Training Plan...Now with Math! (for calculating* your over/under stats, guaranteed to make you feel like a rockstar or an utter failure...depending.)
As you'll notice, I could call the "Over/Under" column simply "Under" based
on my training habits. As a wise woman once told me, "Think of the training
plan as more of a guide than an exact plan." Those are obviously the words I live by.
And to answer the question I know you are all going to be asking...yes, the plan is available for purchase from me for the low, low price of $5.95 per spreadsheet* cell. You do the math on that my friends.
*Validity and correctness of equations contained in training plan not guaranteed by seller.
Then the weekend was full of still more fun activities like riding the alpine slides and nasty, sketchy (and probably highly unsafe) rides at Heritage Square...hiking up The Hill, going for runs (both mom and dad), and all the rest of the regular household duties. Then on top of all that, I have the Wild West Relay this week, which I am totally stressing/obsessing about. So when Shortie1 lost her 4th tooth yesterday (thank GOD, she's been whining about it wiggling for AGES) it was just the straw that broke the proverbial duty-worn mythical fairy-type creature's back. Yes, I am referring to the fact that the Tooth Fairy was apparently, ahem, a little overloaded, and may have gone to bed early last night, and thus forgotten she had a very important stop to make at the M2 household.
Let's just say Shortie1 was not amused this morning. She was already pissed the last time the Fairy visited because the Fairy was evidently more careful with her tracks and did not leave large sprinklings of "fairy dust" (very similar to Martha Stewart glitter, in case you were wondering) all over the floor like she had on the last visit. Woops. Now THIS time, not only was there no fairy dust, but the beyotch had the nerve to make no visit at all! I fear Shortie1 is starting to lose her faith in this tooth-stealing ephemeral being-ette. And of course, her first question (naturally, with an endearing and slightly pathetic little crushed look on her face) was, "Didn't the Tooth Fairy think my tooth was good enough to use in her castle?" Because that's why the Tooth Fairy needs all those little teeth in the first place: to use as building material so she can add on to her tiny little castle wholly constructed of kids' teeth. Obvi.
So now, this mother must face the task of seeking out the Tooth Fairy (does she have a website (apparently she DOES!)? We know she has a cellphone because that's how she knows to come to your house...she gets a text when your tooth falls out, alerting her with your name and address, duh) and seeing exactly what her excuse for missing our house last night was...
a) Swine flu
b) Had too many stops to make on the east coast over the weekend and couldn't make the red-eye flight to Colorado
c) Ate some bad oysters and was laid up in her castle puking her guts out
d) Had the Annual Fairy Convention and got drunk with Tinkerbell
Perhaps I should stop making up such elaborate backstories for the fictional creatures that visit out house. It leave a lot to clutter up the head; and my Shorties are going to really kick my ass someday when they find out about all the many, many lies they've fallen for. But hey, it's good fun in the meantime. (And I am comforted by the fact that at least I don't have imaginary email correspondence between my kids and the Fairy like This Guy...)