It Ain’t Easy Being Green…

Two of the three following statements are true…can you spot the fake?

  1. I’ve had Turkish coffee with Bedouins in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan.
  2. I told my eldest son this week that when I die he is allowed to put me in a drive-thru window for the funeral service as long as “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” is looping the entire time on a loudspeaker.
  3. I’m doing really well with this whole not-running thing.

It’s been 15 days since I last laced up my Smurf shoes, and I feel like I’ve been through a bad breakup.  I’m over the initial shock of the loss of the NY Marathon, to be sure, but the fact that I can’t run at all has turned me into a raging bitch inside (it’s a short trip.)  It’s maudlin, really.  I keep humming “One Less Bell to Answer” in my head (I’m serious, and yes, knowing this song ages me!)…

I encourage you to check out the video of that song, not only because Marilyn McCoo has an amazing voice but because the second guy from the right has on a can’t-miss outfit!

One less egg to fry, people.

Checking the weather first thing in the morning to plan out my run and clothes for the day…Turning around my favorite running gear in the laundry so I can have my Athleta Presto shorts ready for the next run…Charging my Garmin and Outdoor Tech Adapt…

All out the window.  I wander around the house a bit aimlessly and sing Faith No More to myself…

You want it all but you can’t have it

It’s in your face but you can’t grab it

It’s a pity party, fo ‘sho, not because of the race but just because I can’t get out for any type of run.  It’s like not realizing how hot you thought your boyfriend was until you dump him…and then suddenly he’s the sexiest guy you’ve ever known and you’ve just got to have him back!

The fact that fall is my favorite time of the year to run is that extra kick in the ass…like the ex-boyfriend dropped twenty pounds after our breakup and reclaimed his mojo.

The fact that all I do now is drive by runners is like the ex-boyfriend just hit the scene with a gorgeous new girlfriend…it’s more than I can bear!  Runners in race t-shirts, runners with fuel belts, casual joggers, speed demons…they torment me everywhere I look.  I am very jealous…

I’ve already missed the Plaza 10k, which I LOVED racing in last year, and I will be missing the Kansas City Half Marathon as well next month.  I probably would have skipped the half with the NY training anyway, but missing the 10k hurt a bit, because it’s such a fun flat course.  Waaaaahhhh!

It’s not easy being green…

DISNEY MUPPETS

source

Meanwhile, I am learning to make friends again with the Cybex Arc Trainer and will probably dump my butt onto a low bike this afternoon.  I love to row, and my gym recently added a Concept 2 rower, but I am afraid it might put too much pressure on the heel.

The pain has diminished substantially, though I do still limp sometimes, especially after golf.  I have set October 15th in my head as the first possible run day, no matter how good my foot feels, so I will try to stick to that date.  I need to use my off time wisely and make it productive…an opportunity to build some strength and work on different types of cardio.

I still wonder if the treadmill is the culprit behind my problems.  The mileage should not have been an issue, I didn’t add speed work or excessive hills to this training cycle, etc.–nothing was different except that I subbed the treadmill for about 30% of my long run miles due to the summer temperatures.  I also played a lot of golf this summer, which I did not do during my training for my first marathon, but I just can’t imagine that causing such problems.

Maybe it just wasn’t my time…no sense in looking back too long on it, right?  I will just remember that, as always, I HATE the treadmill and will not use it in the future!

Here are a few articles on stress fractures that might prove helpful to runners:

http://www.drpribut.com/sports/stress_fracture.html

http://runnersconnect.net/running-injury-prevention/runners-guide-to-stress-fractures/

I will have to rebound and then put a new race on the calendar so I can have something to look forward to!  My last race was the Ward Parkway Four on the Fourth 4-mile race, which was great because I placed in my age group with a 32:41 (average 8:10 pace.)

While I waited for my age group award (ooh, a sticker and a water bottle…score!), I took some artsy fartsy pictures for you…

See?  Artsy…

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Fartsy!

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Happy running, readers, and enjoy every mile!

What I’m Running To:  Nothing (want me to complain again?), but I plan on knocking out an amazing low-impact workout later to “What’s the Difference?” by Dr. Dre this afternoon!

Training Update, My Fall Running Playlist, and Reevaluating My Last 10k

Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope you’re having glorious fall weather.  Here in the Midwest, we had an amazing weekend–sunny skies, temperatures in the mid-60s to 70s, and a light breeze. 

It was perfect running weather.  FINALLY!  I have struggled so much with the heat and my running these past few months (mostly because I am too lazy to get my ass up and run early like the smart people do.)  Also, between my recent illness, some health stuff that I seem to have going on, and general life circumstances, my half-marathon training has been a joke.

Normally, I am the runner who is religious about training.  My training runs are my security blanket, and I don’t like to show up to a race having missed any or having any reason to feel that I’ve not given my all to prepare for a race.  It helps me live with the disappointment that invariably follows when I see my finish time :-).

Yet, this time around, I’ve missed or shorted several weekday runs.  I’ve been sick.  I’ve been tired.  I’ve been hot (my God, the heat!)  I’ve been mentally all over the place.  I’ve not been myself.

A sampling of thoughts that have sprung into my head during recent training runs–

  • F*&$ this!
  • I should take up competitive knitting. 
  • F*&$ing ignorant drivers!
  • S*%$!  My feet hurt!
  • S*%$!  My entire right leg hurts!
  • Why am I out here?  I suck at this!
  • Ten years?  Ten years I’ve been doing this, and I’m tired at Mile Two?  F*&$ this!
  • I’m never racing again.  F*&$ this!
  • I’m hungry.  Would it be bad if I quit?
  • F*&$!  Why is he/she/that dog faster than I am?
  • Am I moving in slow motion?  It feels like I’m running in slow motion?.
  • If this run doesn’t end soon, I’m going to lose the will to live.
  • Is that a hill?  F*&$!  That’s a hill!
  • I hate myself.

Yes, I’ve been a beacon of classy positive energy these past two months or so.  I’m hoping that my visit to the endocrinologist tomorrow will start me on a path to:

A) stopping my recent hair loss

B) helping with my fatigue (I am seriously tired lately.  Like exhausted for no reason tired.)

C) better running.

Until then, though, I am pressing on with my training as best I can.  This past weekend called for a 9-mile training run.  Now, just a few months ago, 9 miles would have been a cakewalk, but not at this time.  I was nervous about the run, because my 7–miler was cut to 5.3 during a disastrous summer heat wave, my 8-miler wasn’t exactly a shining moment in my personal running history, and I should have run another 9-miler a few weeks ago that turned into a very ill 4.7-miler on a week with virtually no running.

Yuck.  I wasn’t exactly psyched about my chances of having a good run, much less finishing.

The first 3-4 miles were mentally painful.  I thought about quitting and scrapping the half marathon.  The thought of just taking a week or so off to physically heal and mentally recalibrate was tantalizing.  I was thiiiiiissssss close…but I pressed on.

Finally, I hit that happy zone around the end of Mile 4, and it saw me through.  By Mile 6-7, I was cruising.  It was like rediscovering an old friend.

I’ve never needed it more.

I am reinvigorated, and though I know my upcoming race is going to be far from my best, I will be there, happy to show up to the starting line (as long as my peculiar leg issues don’t get worse.)

Every run is a gift.

Also, I downloaded the photos from my recent 10k, and one caught my eye.  It was taken around Mile 3, I think…

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It makes me laugh, because I look so unhappy in a way, but yet I find it inspiring.  I was running my ass off at that point.  The look on my face is one of total determination.

Maybe I was being too hard on myself about that race.  Maybe I deserve a pass and should give myself a break.

Finally, like so many others, I love fall.  Fall is pumpkin candles, football, the return to red wine, and for me, heavy doses of jazz in my music rotation.  Here are my favorite mellow songs to run to in the fall…obviously best for long, slow runs!  I hope you find some that you like…but I warn you, I never put them all on one playlist without any peppier tunes mixed in; otherwise, I would end up sprawled out on someone’s lawn staring at falling leaves and calling out for a glass of Pinot Noir and a decent cheese board.

All in moderation, right? 

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Here’s to fall running, the joys of red wine and cutting ourselves some slack!

Plaza 10k Recap and Searching for Speed

I can’t decide if I love or hate the 10k distance.  Really, there’s so much to appreciate about each racing distance and the effort/strategy involved in each, which is something I’ve grown to appreciate with each year that I run, but don’t we all have personal favorites?

I am much more of a tortoise than a hare, so I have a natural love for the half-marathon distance or greater, but the 10k is that great sweet spot–a distance that weeds out a lot of the people who run races with no training or regular running under their belt and thus rewards the more dedicated “regular” runners, but still a distance short enough to reward flat-out balls-to-the-wall effort.

Unfortunately, I tend to be a bit deficient in the flat-out effort department.  It’s a personal weakness.  My balls don’t like to go to the wall, I guess.  Such a shame.

Recent illness and ill-preparedness aside, I was excited to run Sunday’s 10k.  It’s my first time running this race, and I knew it was a popular one.  I could tell as I was warming up that the hardcore local dogs were here to run.  Fun!  Having only been back here a year and only running one small marathon and one tiny 5k since my return, I was excited to see how the running would go with the local peeps.

I lined up at the front of the 9:00/mile corral and told myself to stick to my plan of a slow first mile…don’t look at other people and don’t run faster than a 9:15 pace to start, I reminded myself.  You want to try to have a finishing kick for once in your racing life, I told myself.

And of course, that plan went right out the window (as always!) as I judged all the people around me, deemed myself able to hang, and went right along with the crowd setting off at about an 8:30 pace.

I don’t know what it is with me.  I should run like a horse with blinders on.  My inability to let people go is a real problem.  I just can’t stand seeing a pack of runners surge ahead of me…and the only thing I hate worse is lining up waayyyyy too far back and then having to work to pass a bunch of slower people.

It was enjoyable at first.  The hum of a crowd of runners and the positive energy that I feel when running along with a group of runners with similar ability is a great feeling.  A few cheers, some coughing, and my awesome playlist were all I heard in those first few miles.  I was feeling great, I had a decent amount of energy (something that’s been lacking these past few weeks with my cold) and I was fully entertained by checking out the other runners.  I love checking out running gaits and how people dress (unless they are men wearing tanks with copious amounts of shoulder and back hair).  I also am constantly looking for that next slightly weaker runner to set my sights on passing.

In short, everything was hunky dory for the first several miles, and I was impressed with the group of runners around me and comfortable with my pace.  By around the Mile 5 mark, I was still in the zone, with mile splits of approximately 8:30, 8:07, 8:26, and 8:14 so far.  I had a PR in my sights.

Then I hit the wall.  I’d like to blame it on my recent illness, but I truly don’t know if it’s the cause.  My lungs just started feeling heavy, and I knew I had no finishing kick (have I ever?).  Other runners were keeping up their pace, and I knew I couldn’t.  It was frustrating dialing my pace back, but I had no choice.  I tried to stay positive and tell myself that I’d done pretty well to make it to the last mile before turning to the Dark Side, but I hated seeing other runners with more energy than I had at the very end.  It made me feel like I have a weakness…something that I need to address in my training or preparation if I truly want to improve my running.  I decided that I am NOT happy with where I am at right now with my running!  Like I do every race, I felt like never running again!  No mas!

I finished the 5th mile at an 8:46 pace and started to feel ill…suddenly chilling and nauseous…big fat bummer.  Then I saw some blond runner go by, and I recognized my high school friend and former college roommate passing me and finishing strong.  She caught my eye because her hair was down and flying everywhere…yikes, how can she stand that?  I knew she was racing and ran similar paces to mine, but it cracked me up and totally motivated me to see her strong finish.  I tried to speed up just a tad and made up a few lost seconds, coming in at a 53:56.

Not a PR, but only 19 seconds off.  I finished 31st out of 291 in my age group (Mature Sophisticates 40-44), with my friend finishing in the spot ahead of me (8 seconds faster.)  I wasn’t thrilled with my time, especially with my finish, but I know I’m being pretty hard on myself.

Catching up with my friend was so fun!  She is running her first marathon next month and will crush it, no doubt!  Wish her luck!

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Post-race, I have some decisions to make.  My average pace was about 8:48 for the race…not where I want to be.  If that’s my 10k pace, then I feel like I will probably run next month’s half-marathon in just under 2 hours.  Again, not where I want to be at all.  My half marathon PR is 1:52, so the thought of rolling in at just under 2 hours feels like a giant setback.

I’ve been telling myself that I will form some spring running goals after next month’s race.  Do I gear up for another spring marathon?  Right now, I am thinking no.  My speed, or lack thereof, is really irking me.  I think I am leaning toward the Heartland 39.3 challenge, a late spring event here in KC that involves running 3 half marathons in five weeks.

If I do that instead of training for a full, I think I could really work on both building my base mileage back up and incorporating more speedwork/tempo runs.  I just really want to be a little faster.  Maybe I should set my sights on a 1:50 half marathon time and a 50:00 10k.  

Does that sound possible?  I would love any tips/suggestions/feedback!  Am I crazy?