My Holiday Gift Guide for Runners and Wackos Like Me

Is is too early to post a gift guide?  I hope not, because I can’t really post anything running-related.  My peroneal tendon has been throbbing like a mother all weekend (like looking at a smoke detector light, only instead of waiting for the blink every few seconds, it’s been like waiting for the throb/shot of pain to shoot from just inside my ankle bone.)

I have an appointment with my podiatrist on Thursday.  I really can’t take much more time off from running.  I am dying inside, and meanwhile, I am growing outside, putting on my winter layer of chub.  Boo.

So, today I bring you my first annual Holiday Gift Guide, with plenty of items for runners and a few odds and ends for the non-runners in your life!  Be warned:  like Sir Mix-a-Lot, this list is long, strong, and down to get the gift buying on!

(That was so lame.)

I sort of had a holiday gift post last year where I discussed my Xmas list items, including Tifosi sunglasses (love them!), Zensah compression  leg sleeves (love them too!) and the Handana (a fail for me…just couldn’t get used to it and felt like Michael Jackson wearing it…He-he!)  I’m ramping it up this year, though, and giving it the official “Gift Guide” title, so it feels like a first, and as the wise and much-loved-by-me Sade says…

it’s never as good as the first time.

Gifts for (Mostly Lady) Runners

Here are some fun items that you can buy for your favorite runner or put the word out for if you pound the pavement…

Lululemon Light as Air Hipster:  I have raved about these before.

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If you are going to be out there in the elements, don’t you deserve a brush of silk against your delicate regions?  Your totally tight ass and rock-hard glutes will thank you once they feel the caress of this fabric and realize that you actually spent (or got someone else to spend) $18 on a pair of underwear that doesn’t show panty lines.  True fact:  I wear these sometimes when I am couchathoning, and I think I’m worth it.  Also true fact: they are extremely fragile, so wash them in cold with other Lulu or polyester fabrics and air dry.  Some reviewers have said on the Lulu web pages that theirs didn’t last, but mine have and I believe Lulu would make it right if they fell apart (but maybe keep your receipt?).

Tested tip:  Buy a size up?  Some reviewers said they didn’t cover their butts enough.  I wear a M.  Also comes in a thong, Sisqo style.

Oiselle Lux Armwarmers:  I want a pair of these bad boys.

lux-arm-warmers-fp-f_1They look so cozy and, well, lux.  Any fabric described as “buttery soft” has me at hello.   The heather flame pink color is speaking to me, and I think it wants to replace my old Nike arm sleeves in boring black.  My pink arms will totally look like ladylike flames as I whir down the streets at a solid 9:30.

Oiselle Cable Knit Armwamers:  Yes, I realize I’m repeating, but these look hella comfortable too.  Plus, I like the way she is staring at her own hand like a pubescent teenage boy who just left his first long shower (omg, did I just type that?  Sorry not sorry!)

 

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Maybe it’s because it’s frigid outside with a wind chill of 7 right now, but I think I could wear these all winter.  They would be great for a Netflix binge in a chilly basement if I can’t get back to running soon.  They could keep my arms nice and toasty while I reach for more popcorn.

Athleta Fast Track Half Zip:  I love Athleta, but I never wear their pants.  They always ride down searching for a place of less resistance somewhere below my saddlebags.  Their casual clothing is the bomb, though (just scored my some of their Metro leggings in gray with their Merino wool Soma sweater and it will be totally worth the high price since I plan on wearing the outfit every damn day ’til it drives the kids to school on its own.)

I also dig their jackets and tops, and I am coveting this half zip.  The website describes it as a great base layer, but I don’t normally like half-zips as base layers.  I don’t like to feel a zipper pushed against my skin, so if I’m layering I will usually put something compression or just zipperless as my base with a half-zip over it.

I like the ruching on this jacket…makes me think it would hold down in place and keep drafts out.  Several reviewers just wore it for the NYC marathon (let me pause to dry my tears) and said it was great with the wind.

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Speaking of Athleta, they are offering this cute little Strobe Light for $10 online and in stores.  It’s made by Nathan, so you could probably find it in your local running store too (or something similar.)

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Wish I could buy a hundred and spell “Watch the f*%k out!” on my chest.

Brooks Nightlife Essential Running Jacket III: I have no idea if this is a good jacket or not.  I include it simply because the picture is irresistible…

220783_305_mf_ZM She loves the nightlife

She’s got to boogie on the disco round

Yeah

Please don’t talk about love tonight.

iTunes Gift a Song: Did you know that you can give someone an actual song from iTunes?  This applies to my high school sensibilities…I used to love making mix tapes, and I blab all the time about my running playlists!

When you are on iTunes, just click to the right of a song under the purchase price (the down arrow,) and it offers the option to gift the song.  You can send it to the person’s email on the day of purchase or a day of your choice, and you can even customize the appearance of the “card.”

I just sent myself a song to test it and make sure it works.  It’s perfect!  You could send someone a great Christmas song or some kickass running songs as gifts.  Want to know what I just bought myself?

Dim All the Lights by Donna Summer…yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oiselle Big O Yeti: This is my favorite.  Did I ever tell you about the time last year that my sister and I were goofing around in Forever 21 and found some full-body cow snuggies?  We went into the fitting room to try them on (and yes, we bought them) and were howling with laughter.  Hello comfort, goodbye self-esteem!  What made the whole scene funnier was that a few months later my hair stylist asked me if I had been in Forever 21 once laughing in the dressing room…she had been in there and heard me laughing and thought it sounded like me.  How embarrassing…and now I’ve shared it with the internet.

Anyhoo, this full-size Yeti French fleece snuggie is just what you or your loved one need after a long run in frigid temperatures!

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Yes, it’s a little pricey at $98, but did you just come in from your run looking like this?

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You need a Yeti in your life.  Or maybe a hairy Yeti man to cuddle with.  Whatever’s cheaper.

Vintage Stamped Spoon: This is a perfect stocking stuffer.

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It’s just $16 from the Etsy site hyperlinked above.  She offers a few variations too…check her out.

Unusual Gifts for the Crazy People in Your Life (i.e, those who don’t run)

Here are a few items that you aren’t going to find at your local department store…

Celebrity Prayer Candles from Illumidol: I saw this Etsy site in a Buzzfeed article and just had to check it out.  My order of Christmas gifts for my son, nephew and sister came today, and I am pleased with the quality.  My 14-year old nephew and major baller is getting a Kevin Durant candle, and I’m not telling which one I got for my sister because she reads this blog.

Here is my son’s candle (don’t hate me, Catholics!)–Notorious B.I.G.–

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I love it when you pray to me, Big Poppa

(I hope I’m not going to hell for that, but then again if I am it’s probably for other things that are way up on the list of sins before that statement!)

In fact, I would probably be headed to hell for buying this little number–

Atheist Stocking from Archie McPhee: I bought this to give at our family’s 2nd Annual Christmas Eve White Elephant gift exchange this year, but I told my sister about it last week and she mumbled something about it not being cool and not wanting her kids to see it.  I thought it was a funny joke, but she says it won’t be a hit gift, which of course is totally unacceptable.  Never fear, though, as I have an atheist friend with a Christmas birthday who shall be excited to unwrap this beauty!

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Personalized Dog Stocking: If I wasn’t wasting my money on celebrity prayer candles and atheist stockings, I would be wasting it on these adorable dog stockings.  This Etsy shop offers a ton of different bow colors…I include this pic because I would like to have a dog named Manchego (such a delightful cheese!)

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Bottle Koozy:  I really like everything on this gal’s Etsy site.  I have one of her coffee mug cozies that says “Wrong week to quit drinking.”  She offers a ton of mugs, mug cozies and bottle koozys…some clean, some nasty (she’s my kind of gal.)

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EOS Lip Balm Ball from Target:  I think I am late to this party, but I just bought one of these (in Summer Fruit) and am a total fangirl.  Big ball balm?  This couldn’t be more fun to apply!  I bought my boys each one in different colors so we all have our own balm ball (that’s just fun to say, but I won’t take it any further.)

Jane Austen action figure:  This last one is a personal fave; in fact, I’ve already bought it for myself, and I know one of my favorite bloggers would want one for her personal collection!

JaneAustenDo I take her out of the box or do I keep her in pristine condition like my mom does her Native American Barbies (I’m serious, my mom really does that and I tease her endlessly.)

I think I have to take her out…complete with her special P&P book.  I can speak Jane all day, mostly as Elizabeth Bennet…

He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman’s daughter; so far we are equal

Till this moment I never knew myself

My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me

and (I wish)…

Go to hell, Lydia, and grow a pair, Jane!

What’s on your Christmas list?  Any good gift ideas you’d like to share?  What song would you gift?

 

 

 

Running Memes I’d Like to See

Happy Friday, readers!  I am far too busy watching the Ryder Cup to head to the gym, so you benefit from my laziness.  I’ve spent the last 30 minutes generating running memes I’d like to see.  Enjoy my creations, and if you share them, please link back to me or give me a shout-out!

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rmemeyuno rmememurray rmemeobi rmemepicard rmemepulp rmemescumbagsteve rmemesealion rmemestark rmemesuccess rmemeted rmemetimeforthat rmemewonka

chhws rmeme3rdworldkid rmemeclarity rmemeconfessionbear rmemedino rmemedosequis rmemedrevil rmemeeveiltoddler rmemekermit

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

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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!

Thoughts on Yoga

Everyone touts yoga as a perfect complement to running.

ImageThe stretching and flexibility gains in your core, quads, hamstrings and hip flexors can only help your running, right?  Where running brings out the inner freak in many of us (what’s my last split? Trample the weak, hurdle the dead! Outta the way, bitches!), yoga brings balance and peace.

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“In this rare hand-tinted portrait from the Kutte Ka Studio in Agra (c. 1900), we see Swami Chote in Kukkutasana pose. This swami known for his diminutive size (chote means tiny in Hindi) and amazing flexibility became a sensation throughout India at the turn of the 19th century.”

Yoga Dog photos by Dan Borris, found here with hysterical captions!

So I have now attended a few yoga classes, as I bridge the gap between the Heartland 39.3 series and the official beginning of training for the NYC Marathon…the running wedgie, if you will, where I crank up my base miles and turn my thighs into Flo Jo lookalikes (minus the muscle.  They just look big and flabby.)  These are just easy yoga classes offered up at the club we belong to…nothing too heavy, no bikram or hot yoga (ew!), just the basics.  Frankly, the basics are difficult enough.

Here are my initial thoughts on yoga, recognizing that I’m not an inner peace kind of gal.  I like to think I’m laid back, but in a tightly wound sort of way.  That’s probably why running appeals to me…I can zone out on slow runs, but in a focused manner (that probably doesn’t make much sense.)  So yoga is a stretch for me (get it…a stretch?  Damn, I am funny!)  

1:  The Happy Baby Pose.  This feels ridiculous, especially when she tells us to roll around.  I’m paying money to roll around on the floor like an asshole?  Then you tell me it’s also called the Wind Pose and that many people fart here?  If I smell gas, I want a refund.  That old guy next to me looks like he’s primed and ready.  Point your happy baby some other direction, mister.

A word of advice?  Don’t look around during this pose.  You don’t want to see everyone’s junk.  Eyes on the ceiling.

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2: The Downward Facing Dog.  Ok, I get it after a few sessions.  This is a base go-to move, and it feels amazing.  Still, I can’t help but think of all the raunchy jokes I can make here.  My mind races in this pose.

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I feel like Fifty Cent every time I get into position…

Face down, ass up!

and I’m pretty sure that singing Just a Lil Bit is not what I’m supposed to be doing right now.

Get it cracking in the club when you hear this shit!

3: The Vinyasa Flow/Sequence/Whatever.  I love this.  Start in the DFD, get out to the plank position, lower with elbows tucked, push up into Cobra, back down, and back up into DFD.  I really like repeated exercises of this, but it is work for my twig arms to support my body weight (these a-cups really add some heft.)  My friend calls this the Fuck You Pose.  You can probably see why we get along.

4: The Block.  Block?  I don’t need no stinkin’ block!  I’m better than that!  I can reach my foot/the floor/my ass without any help.

A few seconds later…where’s the damn block?  I have all the flexibility of a fence post.

5: Warrior III Pose.  Yep, it’s a fight, alright.  Me against the floor.  Floor wins.

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6.  Child’s Pose.  The name for this resting pose is a joke.  I’ve had two children.  Children don’t rest, and apparently, neither do my hips, because they will not lay down in this position.  Maybe it’s my muffin top getting in the way.  Damn kids.

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7.  The Tree Pose.

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I can’t find the article now, but I read something about thinking of your inner thigh and the sole of the other foot as two pieces of bread, and that you’re making a serious panini.  I can hold this pose, but it’s like I’m a tree during a hurricane.  I wobble like a weeble, and I want to fall down.

The answer, my friend

Is blowing in the wind

8.  The Eagle Pose.  We had a new instructor the other day…British Charlotte.  She had the voice of someone who was on downers, and the attitude of Satan’s minion, as she introduced us to the Eagle Pose.  Any pose that takes four different steps to even get into puts me one step closer to a sprained ankle.

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How do you breath between your shoulder blades?  Do tell.

I loved it when we got into the position (somewhat) and then she told us to lower our asses and sit on that leg.  If I could have unwrapped myself, and if she had been a little closer, I might have backslapped her.

9.  The Attitude.  Ok, so I like yoga so far.  I admit it.  I just don’t like the attitude, the soft voices, the comments to breathe into our tightness (WTF?) and to let our thoughts go without thinking of them (in the corpse pose.)  It just makes me want to laugh.  And when we finish in the corpse pose (I’m great at that pose), the one instructor comes by and scares the bejesus out of me by suddenly rubbing my temples and pulling my hair out of my headband so I’m left looking like a Chinese Crested dog.

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Still, I will be back, because I am somewhat hooked.  What do you think of yoga?  I would love to hear any thoughts!

I will leave you with a link to a great article on drunken yoga poses…

because this is funny!

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Namaste, bitches!

Taper Advice Request From Mrs. Richard Simmons

I just wrapped up Week 10 of training for the Heartland 39.3 Challenge, which is the highest mileage week of the program…the crescendo, the height of pain and pleasure, the peak in the training program where I always either start to feel like the shit or begin berating myself up for not being in a better state and begin talking nonsense like “I just want to enjoy the race!”

This training program has been interesting (Hal Higdon’s Advanced Plan), as I’ve discussed before.  I’ve basically modified it every week, since I can’t bring myself to run 6 days each week–3-5 race pace miles on Fridays, then a long run on Saturdays (up to 2 hours now), continuing Sunday through Wednesday with speed work and tempo runs included.

I’ve adapted the program most weeks by dumping the easy run the day after the long run (although I did do it last week and felt great.)

So last week I had a kickass 5-mile race pace run on Friday (averaging 8:22 without very much effort…riding on the NY Marathon high perhaps?) and then followed up with a fantastic 12.3 mile easy run on Saturday (averaging 9:35).  I made a very mellow playlist and took things soooo slow and easy.  My playlist was pretty ridiculous…like Sweatin’ to the Oldies.  I am an elderly woman.

Here is a sample…find any running inspiration here?  I did.

oldies

I have to ask, looking at this playlist photo…does an explicit version of Kenny Loggins’ Heart to Heart even exist?

Tell the truth, bitch

Don’t fucking turn away

From this one last chance

To touch each other’s heart

Is that out there somewhere?  Dare I dream?

I came home on a runner’s high, which is not good for HH, since that means I will talk about my run in infinite detail.

airplane meme

Poor HH.

Now for my question…I am hoping for some advice from my fellow running fiends.  The Advanced plan calls for me to do another 2-hour long run this weekend (the weekend before the first half.)  It then calls for a bit of tapering during the week (2 miles instead of 3, a speed workout, a 30-minute tempo run, and then two days rest before the race.)

Does this seem like enough tapering to you?  Basically, I am just wondering if it’s okay that I will be running over 12 miles the weekend before.  Most plans that I’ve followed in the past have called for a reduction in mileage for the last long run before the race.  I know that Hal knows what he is doing with his plans, but I am just wondering if I’m up to heeding his call or if I would be better off to run something like 9-10 instead.  I felt strong this weekend and completed the 2-hour run easily, so that makes me think I’m okay to do another one, but I don’t want to come in tired and not at my potential, especially when I’ve worked so hard this cycle on speed and have another two half marathons in the four weeks following the race.

I will appreciate and welcome any thoughts/suggestions/advice.  Many of my running readers are far faster and more experienced than I am, so I am looking to you for your expert judgment (and any info on whether Kenny Loggins ever released a raunchy or explicit version of his seminal song, Heart to Heart.)

The Ten Types of People Who Annoy Me During Races

Wanna know a secret?  I’m competitive.  Super competitive.  Like kick-my-own-child’s-ass-at-a-game-because-he-shouldn’t-win-unless-it’s-for-real competitive (I did make exceptions in the preschool years, so don’t get all judgy on me.  The boys have won plenty of Candyland games in their day, but now we’re on to poker, chess and Blokus, and the gloves are off.)

It’s like I’m one of the new Ben and Jerry’s core flavors, but instead of peanut butter fudge down the center, I’ve got a stubborn streak of dog-eat-dog.

This ruthless streak has nothing to do with ability.  I can know that I’m not going to do well at something, maybe even that I’m horrible at it, but my desire to compete rears its ugly head regardless of my chances, and I go all out.

I once strained a muscle outperforming my 10-year old niece on her new Dance Dance Revolution game for Wii.  Yes, I realize it wasn’t a competition.  No, I’m not proud.  I just had to have a high score.

Ain’t no shame

ladies do your thing

Just make sure

you’re ahead of the game

Is it any surprise that I turned to running in my thirties after having two kids and becoming a stay-at-home mom?  No, likely not.  Running fulfills that need for competition, that drive and goal orientation that marked my teens and twenties and is so missing in my SAHM life.  It brings my increasingly scattered mind to heel and then frees it in a way that the rest of my day can never do.

It gets me firing on all cylinders, and I love it.  I love random running, I love training and I love races.  I imagine that much of what I’m typing is here resonates with all my running readers.  I am not unique in that sense.

Would you be surprised to know that I run a little bitchy during races?  Yes, my snarkiness is directly proportional to my level of suffering, which is usually on high during races as I tend to go all out.  I’m never afraid to turn my physical/mental struggle into hatred toward other runners, and here is where I wonder if I differ from the running pack a bit.  I read a lot of runners’ stories about the great atmosphere of races and how amazing they are.  There is personal pain and agony, to be sure, but the overall theme of race recaps is so positive (I’ve written a few myself..my last half in October was a wonderful warm and fuzzy race for me, but it was an abberation.)  Where’s the nastiness?

Does anybody get as annoyed as I do by others during races?  Maybe I’ve been reading a little too much Angry Jogger (dear lord, I love that Irishman and his angry streak), but I’m letting it all out today…

Here is my list (perched on my throne of running perfection, of course) of the 10 types of runners who annoy the living shit out of me during races!

You people annoy me:

Type 1:  You can’t Fing line up in the right spot–You see those pacers?  Those flags they’re holding up with projected finish times?  They mean something, idiot.  If you’re expecting to run a 2:45 half marathon, DO NOT line up near the 1:55 pace group.  You deserve my size 9.5 foot and custom orthotic shoved straight up your ass.

Not knowing your projected time is not an excuse.  Take the time to make an educated guess.  If you aren’t even to that point with your running, then err on the side of starting further back in the line.  You cause real problems for other runners who have to work their way around you (often with a stampede of thousands of runners behind them, just waiting to crush the course!), and that screws with my potential PR and could lead to twisted ankles.  AND PLEASE, GOD FORBID, DO NOT LINE UP WAY AHEAD OF YOUR PROBABLE FINISH TIME IF YOU ARE TYPE 2!

Type 2:  You do jog/walk intervals–Hey, welcome to the race.  I mean it.  I know that intervals are how some people do their races, and I’m not trying to bag on the method.  I’m just saying that you annoy me when I’m behind you and you suddenly stop for your walk break.  Some of you try to be nice and look behind you before you do that or move to the side first, and bless you!  But some just suddenly come to a halt.  You deserve my size 9.5 foot and custom orthotic shoved straight up your ass.

Please, Type 2ers, line up further back.  Most of you tend to be slower runners anyway if you’re not up to running the whole race.  Just let the main throng pass, and then get out there and get after it!  Good luck to you!

Type 3:  You come to a stop in the middle of the course and then stroll sideways toward the aid station–Seriously?  Does anyone else see this sometimes?  What are these people thinking?  Do they want to kill the rest of us?  Oh, and their kissing cousin is the runner who grabs a drink then steps casually back out without looking first.  Just go away.  I am aching to shove my foot up your ass.

Type 4:  You’re running in a group with matching t-shirts–Okay, so it’s not the shirt that’s the problem; it’s what it typically signifies.  You are likely jogging 5-6 wide, chatting about what a dicksmack so-and-so is and giggling as you amble along.  It’s often your first race, you’re in it together (girl power!), and you’re only as fast as your slowest runner.  Camaraderie rules, you usually line up too close to the front, and you’re often spotted running right up the middle of the street.  I can never get around you easily.

Move bitch

Get out the way

Get out the way bitch

Get out the way

Guess what?  I wish I had four more feet, because each of you deserves my foot shoved straight up your ass.  Best of luck once I get past you though!

Type 5:  You’re wearing a Camelbak, and it’s a 5k–This really is snarky, and I know it’s not anything I should care about.  I’m willing to admit that I’m a bitch.  Your hydration is your business.  I’m just being honest…it makes me laugh and yet somehow annoys me at the same time.

Type 6:  You’re wearing a singlet/tank, and you have copious amounts of shoulder and back hair–I get it, dude.  You’re bringing along a fur coat that the rest of us aren’t burdened with, and the shit gets hot!  Still, if I could run up behind you and fashion two Heidi braids from your shoulder hair, then I think I speak for all of us when I plead for a short-sleeve mesh tee or at least a tank with wide coverage across the shoulders.  Having said that, I should now apologize to anyone who ends up behind me and gets a detailed view of the stretch marks on the backs of my thighs.

Type 7:  You’re a real fit bitch–You’re often found racing in just your sports bra and teeny shorts.  Your thighs are the size of toned hot dogs, but with insane yet feminine amounts of muscle.  You don’t sweat, you just glow.  I often catch a glimpse of you as we run in the same pack (usually briefly, as you are always faster than me)…me with stray frizzy hair flying around my beet-red race, half-drooling and arms flailing, you gliding along like the beautiful talented runner that you are.

The foot and orthotic that I’d like to shove up your ass dwarf your entire body…except for your perfect boobs.  You probably pushed out two lovely kids with no drugs and don’t even pee when you sneeze.

Type 8:  You insist on running right up the pacer’s ass–I’ve only tried to run once with a pace group (last year’s marathon.)  I might have stuck with it longer, but one gal really annoyed me.  She would do anything to make sure that she stayed directly behind the pacer, literally on his left heel.  She was ruthless and infringed on people’s space many times.  As I was running at the back edge of the group, I saw it all and found it irksome and distracting.  I left the group at the Mile 9-10 aid station.

Type 9:  You’re a persistent spitter/belcher/snot rocket blower–At the side of the course is one thing, but right in the middle is rude, imho.  Boogers on my Brooks?  Not cool!  Anyone with me?

Type 10:  You can’t run in a Fing straight line or drastically change pace out of nowhere–Annoying as hell and takes me out of my zone.

Who annoys you during races?  Surely I’m not the only bitchy runner during these things!

I hope no one takes offense to this post…I was just trying to have fun, and I am far from perfect!

The Good, the Bad and the Coronita, Plus Running Truths for Newbie Runners

Let’s sum up the weekend quickly.  Friday night involved dinner at our friends, a raucous game of Cards Against Humanity and a few too many of these…

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I didn’t win at cards, but when it came to next morning hangovers, I was the champ.  Those sneaky Coronitas left me feeling pretty pathetic on Saturday, so I scrapped my scheduled 3-miler.  I lounged on the couch instead and chilled with the family.  That was bad.  I felt like a loser (mainly because I was one.  Let’s call it like it is.)

The good part of Saturday?  My baby turned 12!  Here he is last night with his second birthday cake of the weekend (HH provides a lovely photobomb here.)

I love my new 12-year old!  And he loved his new Lego King’s Castle that you see on the counter…

ImageThat was the good…well, that and my 9-mile run yesterday morning.

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I needed to get out and have a good long run to finish my second week of training, and I did.  The wind was calm, so I was nice and comfy the whole way, though I did feel a little like Randy from A Christmas Story.  My splits got faster with each mile, and I had to hold myself back so I wouldn’t go under 9:15.  It felt wonderful, and I finished with no fatigue.  Yippee for me, and hooray for my new Garmin Forerunner 220 that I purchased with Christmas gift cards.  I needed this thing like Anthony Kiedis needs a shirt and a stylist!

Some things you just can’t unsee…

So. Damn. Bad.  I think you can skip the belt when you’re shirtless, dude.

And now I leave you with a short Monday list of Running Truths for Newbie Runners…self-evident to me, perhaps not to others.  Feel free to add contributions in the comments and/or to disagree.  This might become a regular segment.

If You Are a Beginning Runner:

Never do an out-and-back run with an untried distance or a big jump in mileage.  Having to quit or come up with a muscle strain/cramp/injury with a long walk home sucks.

Always stretch after runs.

Never get in a race on a treadmill with some random person next to you (I admit that I race with unaware strangers to this day, but I don’t recommend it for newbies!)

Never decide one day that you’re going to start running and set a marathon as your first race (see my previous bitchy post on this topic here.  And may I add that the lovely gal and fabulous blogger got sidelined with a common running injury during Jeff Galloway’s pathetic training program and couldn’t run for months.  No marathon for her.)

Always invest in decent running socks, and if you’re running beyond three miles a few times/week, get yourself a proper pair of running shoes (preferably with a treadmill analysis at a running store.)

Never underestimate the potential pain of bloody nipples.  If yours can cut glass when hard, tape them, men, please.  Every time I see bloody nipples, I die a little inside.  Please, think of me and have some compassion.  🙂

Never run in 100% cotton.  You don’t have to spend a lot, but get yourself some moisture-wicking gear.  Please.  Chafing is a friend to no one.

Never increase mileage more than 10% per week.  Did you just start running last week, got high on the endorphins and now you ran 4 miles three times already since Sunday (and it’s Thursday?)  Oh my God, you are so kickass…and when you come up lame here soon, let me know.  I will send you a sympathy card.  Seriously…start slow.  Don’t be afraid to start with a jog/walk regimen.  Build up the time on your feet, with at least 70% of your running time spent jogging at a comfortable slow pace.  I always put a few songs on my long run playlists that I can’t help but sing to…and I sing them under my breath to make sure that I am keeping my pace where it needs to be (and just to show you that I have no shame, I will list those songs at the end of this post.)  Your entire body–muscles, ligaments, tendons–needs to get used to the pounding of running.  It’s not just about willpower.  I want you to be a lifelong runner, so don’t get hurt or give yourself a chronic injury right off the bat.  Oh, and if you are one of those exceptional people who was born to run and can just take off like a fricking gazelle with no running background?  I hate you :-).  Mazel tov!

Always be thankful.  Every run is a gift.  A good run puts you closer to nature, closer to your pure sense of self.  Your heart, lungs, legs, everything working together, testing your mental and physical limits…it’s pure perfection, and so many would love to be doing what you’re doing.  Take a moment to appreciate it.

And finally…Always act promptly when a BM feels like it falls off a cliff into your lower bowels and then starts chug-chug-chugging through your colon.  Take it from an experienced (average, but experienced) runner…the time to act is now!  Just google “chocolate rain” if you have a strong stomach.

Happy running, readers!

Cheesy-ass songs I check my pace with because I can’t help but belt them out:  We Belong Together by Mariah Carey, Giving You the Best That I’ve Got by Anita Baker, Jukebox Hero by Foreigner, Forrest Gump by Frank Ocean, Love on Top by Beyonce, Solid by Ashford and Simpson, Alive and Kicking by Simple Minds, We’re in This Love Together by Al Jarreau, Takin’ It To the Streets by the Doobie Brothers, Baby-Baby-Baby by TLC.

Pain, Embarrassment and Toxic Exposure in 1.67 Miles

I am now signed up for the Waddell and Reed half marathon on October 19th, and my  12-week training starts next week.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve decided to go with Hal Higdon’s Intermediate program.  He got me through my first marathon, and so I think he must be a god.

I’m debating training paces and goal times in my head, and I’m basically all over the place, which is kind of how I roll these days in general.  Anything over 2:00 for the race will probably result in heavy drinking and self-flagellation.  No question.  

A 1:55 is the most reasonable target, I think.  It would not be a PR, but it seems closer to my best possible time at this stage, since I have not been running too fast and since I no longer do CrossFit, which I think helped me run faster back in the day (the bursts of the WODs and their high intensity were much like interval training.)

I decided to head out yesterday to do some speedwork–5 x 400m repeats.  I’m scheduled to start running them next week, and I wanted to see if 1:55 was a manageable pace for them.  I mapped out a straight 400m section in our neighborhood and jogged a leisurely warmup to my designated spot.

I should mention at this point that I woke up Monday morning (an off day for exercise) feeling like I was developing a urinary tract infection (UTI).  Men, imagine the end of your penis constantly burning and a sensation of needing to pee every two minutes.  You want to go to the bathroom constantly because you have this strong need to go to try and get rid of the burning feeling and sensation of fullness, but it hurts when you do (and when you don’t).

Genius that I am, I didn’t think it would affect my running.  Dork that I am, even if I had thought it would affect my running, I would have given it a try anyway.

Imagine my dismay when I approached my starting point and saw a posse of construction workers about halfway down my 400m stretch, standing around doing nothing.  Apparently the city is repaving one of the side streets in the neighborhood, and this group of guys must have been in between duties (I am not going to be rude and make snarky comments about how many men have to stand around doing nothing on the taxpayers’ dime.  Surely they were just waiting for something to dry/cure/arrive.)

And me in my hot pink tank.  Oh dear.  If there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s folk music Honey Boo Boo social conservatives attention.  Could there be anything more embarrassing than me flailing by these men at what I consider breakneck speed, wheezing for air with my boat-sized feet flapping out to the sides while not even running the equivalent of an 8:00 mile?  I think not.

Further, the smell of tar was everywhere.  It was noxious, and it permeated the air, hanging there about head high just waiting to bury itself into my cilia the moment I took a big honking death gasp.

And I’m going to run by these guys five times (and jog back by them five more) for my first speedwork session in close to 10 months?  While giving cancer a personal invitation into my body?

I decided that I was not about that scene and fled, choosing instead to just turn my run into a 4-miler.  Easy and productive, right?

UTI = UT OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!

Ladies, I have advice for you.  If you have a UTI, don’t run.  Don’t even try.  That feeling of pain and burning is magnified by 1,000 when you run.  Every time my feet hit the asphalt, I felt like I was going to pee spicy salsa or straight-up acid.  

I tried to stick it out–I did.  But after 1.67 miles, I realized that I wasn’t doing my body or my running any favors, and nobody was around to hand out medals for toughness.  I walked home and drank approximately 50 gallons of water to try and make enough urine to flush the demons or at least cut down the level of pain.

I am headed to the doctor today, conveniently enough, for other issues, but my first act shall be to grab him by his coat and shake some Cipro right out of him.  Then I will mention the bald spot on my left temple and the fact that I am gaining weight at an unprecedented pace.  Then I shall shake a thyroid test out of him lickety split–perhaps a tough task given that he tested my thyroid back in October and it came back as a top performer.

Sorry for the TMI…this balding weight-gaining hurting chick has no filter today.  Hopefully I will be back to running pain- and construction worker- free soon!  And BTW, a big thank you to those who left comments and good wishes on my anniversary post.  I appreciated them very much!

Happy running!

This is How Stupid People Run in the Summer: Eight Simple Steps

Step One: get up late on what is predicted to be the hottest day of the year.  You don’t want to get out there too early when the temperatures are low.  Remember, you’re stupid.

Step Two: take an hour or two to sit on your butt.  It’s summer, after all!  Play with the dogs, catch up on the internet, watch Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles with your kids and read the paper as the morning hours pass.  Start a load of laundry so that you can feel productive.  None of these things could be done during the heat of the afternoon.

Step Three: get hungry early.  Tell yourself around 10:45 that you are simply too famished to go get dressed and squeeze a run in pre-lunch.  Donger need food!  Fix a big Curry Chicken Salad sandwich on a fattening croissant (be sure to lick the crumbs off your fingers.)

Step Four:  Regret the croissant.  Grab your belly fat with your hands, shake it around a bit and commit to a run as soon as you digest.  Forget your commitment (and the laundry) as you cover Chapters 4-5 in Blockwick (your new favorite iPhone game since you got stuck on Level 56 in Candy Crush.)

Step Five:  Head out around 2:00, when the temperature finally reaches 95 degrees.  Tell yourself for the first mile that it’s not so bad.

Step Six: Get agitated around 1.5 miles in when the heat starts to get to you.  Run faster because you’re miserable, and hey, isn’t it helpful to run tempo pace in the heat?  Start repeating, “Ain’t so bad!  Ain’t so bad!” in your best Rocky voice as you reach a semi-delirious state typically reached only in the desert.

Step Seven:  Try out some hills in your third mile, because you’re stupid and chose a route that was downhill on the way out and uphill on the return.  Hold in your vomit as you pass the country club pool.  That would be embarrassing, after all.

Step Eight: Bail at 2.7 miles into the run when you realize that you are near death.  Walk home cursing yourself.  Blog your experience to the world!

What I’m running to:  The Stars Are Ours by Mayer Hawthorne.  Has a great Steely Dan vibe and fabulous lyrics.  Just a great feel-good song–love it!

Punch a Higher Floor!

A world of never ending happiness

You can always see the sun

Day or night

The aftermath of the race was physically brutal, and it started the second I stopped running.  I could barely walk.  The pain from the PF in my left foot sent such godawful pains shooting up my heel–I was hobbled.  A volunteer undid my shoelaces to remove my timing chip, and I then had to sit down to retie my shoes.

I didn’t think I’d be able to stand.  I honestly would have used crutches, had they been available.  The heel pain and the instant tightening of my muscles (particularly my left hamstring) was so severe.  I limped forward to have my medal placed around my neck, and for a second I felt AMAZING.  The physical pain didn’t matter.  The joy was just so incredible!  Then I tried to walk over to my family and friends and felt HORRIBLE.

Everybody looked so cold.  I felt so bad for them.  I got some quick hugs and we took some photos, and Erin brought me a banana.  Then we scampered for our cars (well, others scampered and I gimped along behind.)  I was in such a hurry to leave that I forgot to pick up my finisher t-shirt.  Damn!  I wanted that shirt!

Food was the top priority.  I needed grease and salt pronto!  TiffeeG came with us to eat, and we headed right across the street for burgers and fries.  I described the race and we laughed about how bad I looked coming back down the trail at Mile 22.  As we were eating, I checked the live results website for my exact finishing time.  It had me listed as 17/19 in my age category.  I checked back a few minutes later, and it still had me at the same place.  I knew it just hadn’t updated yet, but I told HH and TiffeeG that it had better update soon or I was going to be pissed.  17/19 was NOT going to cut it!  I couldn’t live with that!

Once home, I crawled onto the couch and didn’t move for almost two hours.  I didn’t even take off my running clothes.  I just couldn’t move.  I obsessively checked the website until it finally updated my place.

Finally, I made it up the stairs (walking sideways and grimacing) to take a shower.

I can’t even express how good it felt to take off that sports bra.  My tiny chest felt like Jessica Simpson liberated from an A-cup bra.  Oh sweet release!

The rest of my body was another matter.  Suffice it to say that every part of my body that came into contact with that damn incontinence pad looked like it had been on the losing end of an battle with a sadistic Lego minifigure.

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Boo.  The hydration belt left my back bruised, I had little cuts all over my lower body, my hamstring felt like it was jammed up into my shoulders and the front of my toes ached from where they had banged up against my running shoes.  I knew I needed ice all over, but what I wanted was heat, so I stayed in that hot shower for.ev.er.

And that’s a race wrap, folks!  I’ve only run three times since that day…haven’t had a great urge to, and I’ve been really trying to rest my legs and feet.  I got a sports massage the Tuesday after the race (mercy it felt good!), then ran that Thursday (hello, pain, you beyotch!), then went to New Orleans.  I ran on Tuesday this week and again yesterday.  My leg is still stiff and hurting some, but it feels like it’s healing, so I want to focus on that and not get too anxious to rush things.  It did feel good to run yesterday, though, and I enjoyed not running for a specific distance or speed.  I just did 3.6 miles and varied my pace from a 10:10 down to an 8:15.  I’m sore today from the faster speed and more tired than I think I should be, but I just need to be patient.  The healing is more important than my fear of losing the fitness.

Waiting for HH to arrive in NO to join our party…I must admit that it was a fantastic weekend!  Libations, great food, checking out art galleries, karaoke, a brief reunion with HH and the company of dear friends…heaven for this tired marathoner!

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I don’t recommend Patron shots at 4:00 in the afternoon, but I am a team player…
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I can’t stop laughing at my face here…notice that the other two ladies were too classy to partake…I am the dumb one.
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They killed it at karaoke…then we all had a great dinner together at a fabulous steakhouse.IMG_1292

Thanks for checking in!  I will post again in a few days.  I’m trying to decide what to do next with the blog, running and racing…