Modified Training, my 10k Playlist and Overcooking Miles

I am still producing voluminous amounts of phlegm.  This stuff is gross.  I managed to lace up and get out last Saturday, after skipping all runs since the previous Saturday.  My training called for a 10k race, but I have that lined up for this weekend.  So, switching the two weekends would have meant a 9-mile run for me.

Hell to the no.  I knew 9 miles wasn’t possible, but I hoped for at least 5.  I quickly readjusted my goals when I realized that I was having trouble even holding my arms up in the running position.  I was worn out by the effort.  I decided to just run very slowly and focus on getting as much time on my feet as possible.  The heat, the phlegm and the lingering fatigue were a nasty combination.  Still, it felt great to be moving after such a severe case of pneumonia typhoid pleurisy the common cold, so I tried to think positive and enjoy the fact that my ass was up and off the couch/recliner/bed.

Oh, if I could only blow a snot rocket.  I would have littered the neighborhood!  I also coughed up at least 5 pounds of crap from my lungs, which I had to swallow back down since I couldn’t spit it out.  I comforted myself with the knowledge that at least it was leaving my lungs and going to my stomach.

That is so gross.  God, that’s gross.

Anyhoo, I managed 4.7 miles at a 10:17 pace, which fell into the good-enough-girl-you-are-sick-go-home category of long runs.  I went home and gorged myself on football and couch time for the rest of the weekend and resolved to start fresh on Monday.

I got in 4.2 miles on Monday morning at a 9:49 pace.  I was happy with that.  I squeezed in a 30-minute tempo run yesterday on the dreadmill (I wasn’t able to get out until noon, and it was already blazing hot).  I am still not 100%.  Nowhere close, in fact, which is annoying because I have a 10k this weekend.  It will be my first time running the Plaza 10k, which looks to be a great race.  It runs through the Country Club Plaza, which is a beautiful outdoor shopping area here in KC.  The course is flat and would normally look to be a great race to turn it loose and try to PR.  Given that I’ve only run 1 10k in my life (in Bern, Switzerland with my Swiss bestie Pam back in 2011), the chances would normally be good, right?

Here we were in Bern post-race…I was so happy to be done!


And just so she doesn’t get mad at me for posting that pic (although she looks perfect), here we are with fresh makeup…


Well, no.  I ran that race in 53:37, which I would have no hopes of doing today under the best of circumstances.  I’m just not there right now.  Plus, this is not my goal race anyway.  So, I’ve come up with a plan.  It’s genius.

I’m going to start slow and just try to do my best and enjoy the race without killing myself and hating the entire thing and finishing the last two miles in such misery that I am cursing and swearing and hating life and promising myself that I will never run a race again or even jog a mile so help me God.

Now I know this is a novel idea.  I must be the first one to think of it.  I’m really going to try to embrace it, especially since I’ve been sick and still coughing like a champ.  It’s a good approach for my physical health (if not my mental).

Plus, I like the idea of enjoying a race DURING THE RACE for once.  I am the sort of person that overcooks (a great term a reader wrote in a previous comment on this blog) the first few miles of every race, then suffers for the remainder and nearly has a mental heart attack toward the end when I am out of juice and getting passed by runners who know how to run smart but really aren’t as fast as me, just not as dumb.

F you, intelligent runners!

Overcooking the first few miles is never good.  I’ve done it repeatedly, and I recommended the approach (in a way) to HH when he was training for his first half marathon.  “You can’t make up that time lost at the start, but you can always slow down!” I said cheerily.  He is such a faster runner than I am, and I honestly thought he had a shot at finishing around 1:40, even though he isn’t really a runner.

Here he is after taking my advice, flaming out and finishing at just over 2 hours.  He blames me to this day.

Is it just me being silly, or do I have an unusually long badass thumb?


God love him…he’s never run a race since.

I have an article somewhere (that I can’t find or I’d link it fo sho) that talks about how the first mile or two in a run sends a signal to your body.  If I recall correctly, and I’m plainspeaking it here, if it’s a mid- to long- distance race, you want to let your body ease in a bit so that it doesn’t think it’s a sprint.  Your body will react differently if you’re suddenly taking off like a bat out of hell…lactic acid and all that jazz.  Not sustainable for a longer race.  You want to ease in, let your body think everything’s groovy so it doesn’t freak and think it’s in a shitstorm, and then coax more and more out of it without inducing World War Z type panic.

Kind of like how I landed my husband.  Act all low-maintenance, then slowly make more demands over the years until he starts calling you Princess but is locked in for the long haul.

Just kidding!

Feel feel to elaborate and jazz up the wording in the comments, or to disagree.  How do you cook your first few miles of a longer distance race?  I have a hard time taking it easy, because all I can think about is how I’m losing precious time.

I plan on cooking this race nice and easy in the first mile, like it’s in a Crock Pot.  Slow and low, baby!  Then we’ll see how my lungs and body feel, and hopefully I’ll be able to crank things up a bit.  In short, I’m going to try and avoid my usual freak-out mode that I tend to go into when I cross a starting line.

I even have a 57-minute playlist lined up that is loaded nice and easy at the start.  What?  You want me to share it?  You love my taste?  Well, okay!

  • Here I Go Again by Whitesnake:  the first song on my first race playlist back in 2007.  An ode to solo training, not to mention hair spray.
  • Proud Mary by Tina Turner:  Hello?!  Just too good…lyrical perfection.  I hope to be kicking into a higher gear by the end of it, lungs willing.  Tell me how to run, Tina.

Y’ know, every now and then
I think you might like to hear something from us
Nice and easy
But there’s just one thing
You see we never ever do nothing
Nice and easy
We always do it nice and rough
So we’re gonna take the beginning of this song
And do it easy
Then we’re gonna do the finish rough

  • P.Y.T. by MJ:  Smoothness.  Hope I don’t waste any energy by shaking my ass here.  That would be counterproductive.
  • Dancing with Myself by Billy Idol:  Great beat.  Lots of hair spray (and gel.  And bleach).
  • Baby I’m a Star by Prince: ass shaking concerns here too, but I’m sure I can keep it under control.
  • Without Me by Eminem:  Strong beat.  Crazy good.

Let me just revel and bask

In the fact that I got everyone kissin’ my ass

  • Roar by Katy Perry:  I’m not a pop princess, but this one gets me.  Hope I’m rolling by the time this song hits.
  • Rebel Yell by Billy Idol:  The pace on this song is just perfect.  So many people run to this song.  
  • Houdini by Foster The People:  Nice and light, with a great finish.  “Focus on your ability” is just a great lyric.  Better to focus on that than the fact that I’m never going to be an elite runner.
  • Panama by Van Halen:  God, I love Van Halen.  More hair spray.
  • Talk Dirty to Me by Poison:  And more hair spray.  I clearly have a nostalgia thing going for 80s music that is not going away anytime soon.
  • Set Adrift on Memory Bliss by PM Dawn: A recent running fave.  It’s just mellow goodness.  A classic in my book.
  • Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie:  This should take me up to just under 55 minutes, which will be my signal to get the damn race over with already.
  • Main Title from Band of Brothers:  Always inspires me.  Always makes me grateful, thankful and glad to be living in the moment.  A great race ender.

Happy Wednesday, readers!



Thanks for the get well wishes, readers.  They’ve lifted my spirits…as has HH, who marched off to work yesterday chirping, “It’s not a death sentence!”  Very funny stuff from that guy.

I am definitely mending, though the voluminous amount of clear drainage coming out my nose and thick chain of phlegm sludging down the back of my throat plague me 59 minutes of every hour.  I sound like a 2-pack-a-day smoker, and I swear that all the cilia in my lungs beg for mercy when I cough.

One good thing about this illness has been that I’ve knocked out three books this week.  I am an avid reader, but I’ve been a little behind the past few months due to my first summer reading selection (which has become my only summer reading selection.)

Just a little light beach reading…I took this picture in Cape Cod at the start of our vacay in June.  That was three months ago…


It’s a great book, but it’s HEAVY, if you know what I mean, and what I mean is intense, slow, hefty and full of dates/names, etc. that force me to read slow.

Plus it makes me want to cry.  I’m over halfway through it now, and I really recommend it, especially if you’re like me and love to read about WWII.  The author does a great job with this one-volume history in both covering the aspects and framework of the war for people that might not know much about it yet focusing on the individual perspectives…the “bottom-up views and experiences” of the little people.  That’s what makes it unique.

It’s a great read, but it’s taking awhile, and it’s not appropriate for reading with a death sentence head cold.  So I tabled it this week in favor of three books, mostly read in a semi-comatose state in this very spot in my living room…


If you are looking for a good book, I give four Kleenex boxes out of five to The Girl You Left Behind (I would have given five, but Liz annoyed the snot right out of me) and The Light in the Ruins.  I am currently finishing up Ready Player One, and so far, as a child of the 80s I adore it.  It’s original and captivating.  I can’t wait to see how it ends.

I’ve also discovered a new free word game…Wordly.  It may kill my Candy Crush addiction (something’s gotta give, right?).  If you’ve got the cojones to take me on, I’m AnjN.  Send me a chat message if you start up a game with me so I know it’s you; otherwise, I’ll probably let it pass.

Finally, the real topic of my post…traditions.  I decided to start a new tradition for my boys this school year.  I call it Bacon Mondays.  Basically, it means that I’m going to cook bacon every Monday morning.  Original, no?

I hope that the sizzling smell of succulent sow (not to mention my alliterative prowess) will lure them out of bed and have them raring to go and ready for learning!

Along that same line, I’ve decided to start Frankie Fridays, at least with my 14-year old (since I’ve introduced him to so much good music, he’s giving me some slack.)  Every Friday on the drive to school, I shall hold him captive and force him to listen to Frank Sinatra for the ten-minute journey.  Today, between coughing and snotting, we listened to All the Way, Fly Me To the Moon, and That’s Life.

I’m raising a gentleman, and a gentleman should know the Sinatra catalog.  Don’t you agree?

Do you ever think that as soon as you can’t run for some reason, suddenly you see runners everywhere?  They’re all over the place, and they’re making me so jealous!  I’m going to head out tomorrow, Kleenex in hand, and test the running waters.  Wish me and my lungs good luck.

As always, happy running, readers!


Felled by the common cold.  Destroyed by some vicious godawful virus that started in my throat, spread to the outermost reaches of my head, then burrowed deep in my chest for the death blow.

I haven’t felt this awful since we saw that Ronald Reagan film!

Alex came home sick on Thursday, and I thought it was an allergy attack.  He stayed home from school on Friday, and I hit him with nose sprays and picked up his Kleenex from all over the floor.  Curse this ragweed, I said, as I cluelessly scooped up tissues with my bare hands.

I got in my 8-mile run on Saturday and then woke up Sunday morning with a raging sore throat.  I managed to play a spectacular 18 rounds of golf (if you can call shooting a 115 spectacular) with HH and my father-in-law, but by Sunday night my fate was sealed.  

My throat was under attack by knife-wielding germs.  An army of phlegm was invading every part of my head, and I was simultaneously clogged yet oozing snot at the same time.  

I even lost my appetite, and folks, that’s when you know it’s serious with me.

I slept Sunday and Monday nights flat on my back with my head completely upright to avoid any drainage spilling out of my nose.  I managed to get some laundry done on Monday, but other than that I have been immobile.  And (lucky me!), yesterday morning I woke up to that deep, deep ache that meant it had spread to my lungs.

This is about the worst head/chest cold I’ve ever had.  I spent at least 7 hours in bed yesterday, eyes closed and mouth hanging open to breathe, just willing the minutes to pass and the Advil to work on my fever.  HH left town, so I picked the boys up from school (and likely will forever be known as the crazy braless mom in the grey sweatshirt with the stringy greasy hair…I must have looked like a meth addict) and took them straight to the grocery store with a list of food to buy…chicken noodle soup and crackers topped the list.

The thought of running, or really walking up the stairs, has been terrifying, which completely throws off my training.  I’ve missed Monday’s 4-mile run, yesterday’s tempo run, and today’s 3-miler.  Though I’m starting to recover, I hate to think of the missed miles.  I’ve been blowing my nose every second possible and trying to cough up loogies (sp.?) like a 12-year old tough kid to get this shit out of my body so I can heal and run.

As I stared at the back of my eyelids for hours yesterday, I started to feel discouraged.  I know I mentioned a few weeks back that I had a urinary tract infection.  Well, I can’t get rid of it.  I’m just finishing up my THIRD round of antibiotics.  It’s weakened me, and it’s pissed me off.  Now this cold comes and completely knocks me on my ass.  What is the deal?

I’ve been eating okay, and I’ve even discovered this new tea/juice bar near my house.  They offer fresh veggie/fruit juices, and I’ve been stopping by a few times a week and getting their immunity boosting juice with kale, spinach, apple, orange and lemon (they also have another one with pineapple, apple, cucumber, lemon and green tea that I love.)  I’ve been hoping to build my immune system to beat this stupid UTI.  It doesn’t seem to be working.

Needless to say, I was frustrated, most of all at missing my runs.  But then my mood changed.  I realized, as I have many times before, that I don’t just run for racing.  In fact, I don’t race very often.  I run for so many other reasons, one of which is to take care of my body, including my lungs.  I told myself that what was knocking me down so much would hurt other people even worse, and that I would recover faster than anyone.

My lungs are strong.  I’ve worked hard to make them that way.  My running base is strong.  I’ve run for years.  I will bounce back from this stupid little cold, I will work harder to build up my immune system, and prices be damned, I will continue to frequent that snooty tea bar and suck up that kale smoothie until I run out of money!

Did I mention I’ve had a fever?  Something makes me wonder as I read this over if I might still have it…

Anyhoo, I am on the mend and hoping to run by Friday.  My chest and torso ache from coughing so much, but I at least feel alive and a little less dramatic.  I managed to shower and go to Panera for some soup.  I coated my hands in germ gel before going in and prayed that no one would notice the thin layer of Aquaphor I’d spread under my nose because it was so raw and dry. 

Happy running!  Wishing you no sickness in your near future…those head colds are killers!