Late to the Party, Slow in my Pace

Has everyone seen the viral video of the tortoise chasing down the guy who interrupted his mating mamba?

I feel like that postcoital tortoise could beat me running.

You want a shot at the title?

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Yes, it’s an exaggeration, but (as I often want to say to my husband), reality isn’t the point.  The point is how I feel.

And I feel slow.

Coming back from injury is more difficult with advancing years.  In my thirties, the injuries I faced that forced me to take significant time off from running (IT band, plantar fasciitis, tissue trauma in my heel) were easier to fight back from…I regained pace within a few weeks each time.

This time has been different.  Age, fear, and 5-10 pounds of additional fat are holding me back, and I’ve been consistently running about 45 seconds below my previous pace per mile on my easy runs.  I know it’s all relative, and I know there are many people who would still love to run at my pace, and it’s just that I tend to focus on all the people who run faster paces.  But still, it’s frustrating to compete against a previous level of personal ability and consistently come up short.

And that’s not exactly motivating stuff to blog about.

But FINALLY I feel like I’ve broken through the wall, saddlebags and all.

No more crying, finally flying!

Not as slow, ready to go!

(Is it any wonder I don’t have many readers, when I write stupid stuff like that?)

In the past two weeks or so, I am back to running easy runs at about a 9:30-9:40 pace/mile with no problem, and my trusty Garmin is occasionally flashing those dips below the 9:00 mark during easy runs that I have missed like I am missing size small underpants.

Thank you, running gods.

And THANK YOU, Spotify, for finally entering my world.

Here is where I am late to the party.  I didn’t know until last week that if you have Spotify, you can play their playlists offline.  That was news to this old lady, but now I am hooked and listening to Spotify on all my runs! (I am currently on a free 30-day premium trial, and I’m not sure if you can also do this with their free version.)

So I am currently dazzling the neighborhood with speedier paces, fueled by Spotify playlists.  My current old lady favorite running playlists include 90s Slow Jamz and 80s Workout (Retro Hits.)  Check out this option for music if you are tired of your music library, and as Olivia Newton John say, Let’s Get Physical!

So if I wear a high-waisted leotard and tights with this headband, could I be the olive-skinned version of Olivia Newton John?

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Better yet, could Oscar?

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My Mea Culpa and an 80s Playlist Offering

I promise to be a better blogger.  I really do–especially now that I am running again and all healed up from my stress fractures and my entirely mental defeatist running stagnation of late 2014.  I hope you’ll forgive me…especially you fellow bloggers whom I’ve neglected to read over the past two months.  It’s hard to read about running when you aren’t doing it yourself.  If you were celibate, would you want to read about sex?

Some quick life updates and then I will talk about running and humbly submit a great 80s playlist as a peace offering to my readers….

Christmas came and went, along with bouts of typhoid/flu/virus hell for most of our family.  I spent about three weeks coughing like a two-pack-a-day smoker but credit running and strong lungs for seeing me through without an antibiotic.  Take that, respiratory bug!

I have joined the committee for a 4-mile run here in KC called the Trolley Run, and I am thrilled to be part of such a great group and helping with a race for the first time!  This run is in its 27th year and benefits the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired (CCVI), an AMAZING school that provides services for blind and visually impaired children from infancy through kindergarten.  I believe it is the largest 4-mile run in the country, with over 8,000 runners participating each year.  If you are a local reader or someone looking to visit KC, come run it with me!  We on the committee have been working hard to make sure that this year’s race will be incredible…it’s a flat to downhill course with a fantastic after bash.  What’s not to love, right?  I’ve written a few blog posts for the run (which you can read here and here if you’re interested!),

I am close to opening a cross stitch shop on Etsy and will put info in a sidebar once I have it up and running.  Old lady crafting is a current passion, and I will be able to take custom orders too.  To be fair, I will mostly be offering snarky patterns and song lyrics, so please don’t contact me hoping for an elaborate stitched pattern of a playful kitten and a yarn ball.  Contact me if you want some Kendrick Lamar lyrics stitched up nice and crafty-like.

I turned 42.  Let’s skim over that one.  I tried to look happy about it…and honestly it’s not that bad.  I would rather be the me I am at 42 than the half-formed idiot I was at 22, and I’m knock-on-wood healthy and happy, so complaining about it seems like a waste of time, and wasting time is for suckers.

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HH and I played some winter golf this weekend…and wondered why we haven’t moved to Florida yet.

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This little beast has decided that it’s fun to snack on poop in the back yard…a real homemade all-you-can-eat buffet!  So much for having a fellow princess in the house…

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The other dog continues to volunteer with me each week at a local rehabilitation center.  He is clearly the house favorite.

My love for running has returned after a few months off.  I am definitely slower (like running through Jello slow!), but much happier.  I am trying to take it easy to allow my body and especially my weak feet a chance to rest, build back up, and accommodate the extra pounds I’ve put on from not exercising for several months.  I am scheduled to run the Trolley Run in April, which will be my first race (I think) since last 4th of July’s Ward Parkway Four on the Fourth, where I patriotically kicked some ‘Murican ass and barely snagged an AG medal (all the really fast people must have been out buying fireworks that morning.)

And now, I present on one apologetic runner’s knee, a list of some great 80s songs to kick up your run, including some standards and a few new ideas.  I don’t know if my running playlists ever generate any interest, though my blog stats say otherwise, so if you like them, leave a comment, tweet me a pic, or send a shoutout to @TwistedSwisster (bonus respect to anyone who runs in pegged pants or one-shouldered sweatshirts!)

Part One:  Betcha no one runs to Midnight Blue, but you can’t go wrong with that song.  He ain’t got no regrets, and he ain’t losing track, and neither should you.  Your following days are over, baby, now you just gotta follow through!

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Part Two:  A bunch of somewhat obvious yet totally bitchin’ running staples, and they’re solid gold just like the dancers.

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As always, thanks for reading and HAPPY RUNNING!  You’re simply the best!

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?

 

 

 

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!

Spitting the Bit: The Summer of My Discontent

It’s been so long…I’ve neglected to post and basically abandoned the blogosphere for months, including following the blogs of so many readers. I apologize and hope all has been well and that everyone is smashing PRs. I just needed a break.

Though writing is easy for me in general (if not quality assured), writing about running can at times be a bit tedious. There are only so many ways to describe a Wednesday morning run, right? Plus, by the time I write about my run and then read the blogs of thirty other people describing their morning run, then go out for another run myself, the world can end up looking pretty small.

What’s more, writing burnout has coincided with running burnout.  No surprise, huh?  I have been mentally and physically fried.

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I talk about how running is a gift, and though I’m snarky as hell, I hope that my overall message is a positive one.  I love to run.  I appreciate the gift of good health and am grateful for each day that I am able to lace up my bright Smurf shoes with the custom orthotics and head out the door to kick some ass.

Still, the summer running has done a number on my attitude and my running times, and so I haven’t wanted to write much because it would have been 90% bitching, and who wants to read that?  I’ll try to condense my whining in this post yet keep it real as I describe what I’ve been up to this summer (assuming anyone will still take the time to read…and if you do, bless you!)

I’ll start with the running and then move on to some personal summer bits and bobs in the next post for those of you who love all of this very special flower and not just my running petals.

NYC Marathon Training

(Quick summary:  FML.)

If you’ll recall, I got into the NYC Marathon on the lottery drawing.  I did not expect to make it, but when I did, I (like many others) freaked out with excitement.  If I can make it there, well, you know…I can make it anywhere!

Here’s the problem.  I am a complete lazy bitch princess when it comes to summer running.  I fucking hate it.  What’s more, it doesn’t like me one bit either.

I typically run spring races for longer distances and take most of the summer off to rest my body and just do maintenance running.  It gives me a mental and physical reset.  I have run one marathon (Spring 2013), and I chose it specifically for those winter training months (Viva la Winter Running!)

Unfortunately, the NYC Marathon doesn’t set its calendar based on my training whims, and so I’m stuck with summer training for the first time ever (I will run fall half marathons, but those are much easier to train for.)

Now, I’m all full of admiration for those of you who knock out the lengthy summer runs with nary a complaint, especially you Texas folk, as I lived in Houston for 12 years and still remember the weather.  Some of you get up at 4 or 5 am to power through long miles and then go to church, work, etc.–

but as for me on a Sunday morning?  I love my king-size bed and the chance to sleep in.  So does HH (Handsome Hubby for new readers), and I hate to wake him up.

I’ve been getting up far too late (no one to blame but myself) and heading out the door too late in the morning to escape the heat.  In fact, the one morning I did get up at 6am and get out the door, I came in dying around Mile 9 only to have HH ask me if I’d checked the forecast and noticed that cooler weather was going to blow in around noon that day.

Such has been my luck, and boy have I paid the price.

I now know my sweat patterns and can time their appearance down to the half mile (do you know yours?).  The first running river of sweat always trails off the inside of my right elbow starting at the end of Mile 1, followed by the river trailing down the front of my tank followed by buckets of sweat dripping into my eyes and burning my corneas from Mile 2.5 on.  I have tried bringing a towel (tucked into the band of my SpiBelt) to wipe or at least hopefully redirect the flow, but by Mile 6-7 the towel smells so bad I can’t bear to bring it to my face.

I read once that more experienced runners might in fact sweat more (source), and I think that’s true.  I didn’t used to be a heavy sweater, but in the decade-plus that I’ve been a runner, I have turned into a SWEAT MONSTER.  I don’t just glow with sweat, I open a faucet somewhere in my pores and MAKE IT RAIN!

Just don’t come near me.  It’s gross, and what’s more, I’m flicking beads of it off my ponytail.  Be warned if you are running behind me.

All this sweat distracts me and makes it hard to relax and just get into the zone–not that I could anyway because my heart rate is elevated and I feel like I’m running through a sweat-flavored milkshake.  Humidity and I are not friends, and it makes 10 miles seem like an ultra.  Suck it up, right?  I know…but I’m just being honest.

To complicate matters, my plantar fasciitis in my left foot is as bad as it’s ever been, to the point where I am hobbled after runs and can barely limp for most of the day after a run.  Given that I run 5 days a week, this means that I am walking around like an invalid the majority of the time, which means that if I am not running, I am gimped out.  Fun stuff!

I think this is mostly due to to the plan I am using this time around.  I am a Hal Higdon devotee, and for my first marathon I used his Novice 1 plan.  This time I decided to step it up to the Intermediate 2 plan.

That lasted a few weeks until I recognized that I was cutting too many corners for other obligations/laziness/time issues/injury and leaving off too many miles.  So I dropped down to Intermediate 1, which has the same basic problem as Intermediate 2–a required medium-length run the day before the long run.  Hal says the medium length run the day before will ensure that you are tired so that you run the long run at an appropriate pace.  I say that Hal, you are the damn devil, and why not just trust me?  To quote Tommy Boy,

“I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take a butcher’s word for it!”

For example, on Sunday I ran 7 miles at goal pace, which ended up around 9:30/mile, followed by 14 yesterday (I’ve adjusted the schedule so that my long runs are on Monday, and I will adjust back a few weeks before the Sunday marathon.)  It was just too much for my foot (the total for the week was 36, which isn’t so bad.)  Usually my PF only hurts in the morning and after runs, never during, since running loosens up the fascia.  Right now, though, it’s intense pain through the whole run, plus I’ve got pain shooting up both sides of my ankle, which I think is tendon pain from not landing on the foot right and from limping around when not running trying not to put weight on it.  I am icing tons and applying my special compound cream, but the pain and inflammation is winning.  I made an appointment with my podiatrist for next week.  She loves seeing injured runners limp in and insist that backing off miles is not an option.

If it were any other marathon, I would bail right now, but I can’t.  It’s New York!

So I hang by a thread, bitch and moan a lot, rub my cream, ask my kids to fetch me stuff, and run with a bad attitude, because I am running with pain, mentally am not in my happy place and further have nothing to prove, which was a huge motivation for my when training for my first marathon.  I wanted to show myself that I could do it, I was raising money for my sister’s disease, and in a strange way I think I felt like I was running those miles as an apology..a penance for being healthy while she suffered.  I had mental motivation and strength out the wazoo.

This time I feel like I have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else but plenty of things I ‘d rather be doing other than spending quite so many painful hours on the hot asphalt, and I am struggling to find the desire to run the training miles, which is is the REAL marathon as most of us would agree–not the race itself with the support of family, friends and strangers and the medal and perhaps the Facebook/Instagram/Twitter bragfest, but the lonely miles, 20-40-60+ each week, known only to you and spent in your own way, one minute, one mile and one sweat drop/river at a time.

I am not giving up, just searching for some healing in my foot and some mental motivation.  It’s been a fantastic summer, just not where running is concerned.

What I’m running to: I’m Not the Only One by Sam Smith, Pusher Love Girl by Justin Timberlake

Coming in my next post…what I’ve been up to this summer and a description of Penis Thumb!

bandage

 

 

 

 

 

With a Rebel Yell…Bitchin’ ‘Bout (Ear)Buds

With all my carrying on about the past two half marathons, I forgot to mention one MAJOR problem in each race…my damn Yurbuds.  Let me be clear…the debate about whether to run with music is a nonissue to me.  Like margaritas with Mexican or mayo on a BLT, I gotta have it, and everyone else can just shut up and leave me to my tunes.  Be a purist if you will and soak up the zen, but I shall listen to my music during runs and races (you name it…mostly alternative but lots of cheesy pop, Rocky music, R&B, rap, jazz and 70s music thrown in too, kept low enough so I can hear ambient noise and the incessant cheers of “Jesus, lady, you are so damn fast!” as I fly down the streets.)  I am still present in the moment and soaking up my surroundings, but a little Vampire Weekend or Billy Idol never hurts when I am climbing my own personal version of Heartbreak Hill.

I’ve gone through several cheap headphones in the past several years, and I’ve hated them all.  I am a heavy swearer sweater when I run (yet amazingly delicate at all other times), and the stupid things constantly slip out of my ears after the first few miles.

I thought I had solved the problem once I discovered Yurbuds, which are supposed to “twist-lock” into place and are guaranteed not to fall out.  I asked for the Ironman Inspire Pro series for Christmas in 2012, just as I started marathon training and began logging more miles.  Sis and bro-in-law delivered, and I thought my problems of sweaty ears and slipping buds were solved; plus, the set came with the cool controller on the cord to adjust volume, move through tracks and accept phone calls on the run (“No, honey, I’m not cooking tonight, care to pick something up on your way?”).

They’ve inspired nothing but failure ever since.  The silicone enhancers (which come in several sizes to fit your ear perfectly) fell off easily, and I lost one about thirty seconds before beginning my marathon last year (mon dieu!)  I’ve lost several more since.  I ordered a replacement set, and they worked for a bit, until the last month or so, until they started falling out around Mile 3 of every run.  I followed the website instructions and washed them thoroughly.

Alas, at about Mile 3 of Rock the Parkway a few weeks ago, before I got bitchslapped by the urge to vomit, they started slipping out on me.  I twisted more than Chubby Checker, but they just wouldn’t stay, a fact which bothered me less and less as the urge to die became more and more pressing.  I let it go (along with my PR dreams and a significant amount of water weight) and hoped for better last weekend.

They fell out again, and I lost the left enhancer somewhere in a sea of Runegades and Lycra around Mile 4 of the race.

So, F*&^ you, Yurbuds, right?  Well, wrong.  I wandered into my local running store last week to nab a 20 oz. handheld water bottle for the race and noticed that Yurbuds has come out with some behind-the-ear earbuds made specifically for women…the Focus for Women series.  They were under $30, so I bought them on impulse and got so excited that I ripped the package in half getting them out.

Bummer.  No mic controller.  Seriously, Yurbuds?  WTF?  You know we want this!  I hate you!

I was going to try and return them, shredded package and all, but I decided to take them out for a quick spin yesterday, as I needed to get my first shakeout run in since the race.  Despite several days of rest and a fairly intimate relationship with my muscle stick, you can still bounce a quarter off my calf muscles (sadly, the only part of my body that can qualify as “tight.”)  They just won’t seem to relax, though I have rolled, cajoled and sat on my ass to no end.  So I’ve rested, until yesterday.

Strange how restless I feel having taken three full days off from running…I don’t normally go crazy during tapers or feel like a lunatic if I miss a run or two, but I have definitely felt it these past few days.  Oscar the Running Coach also was feeling it, having not run with me for close to a week.  The bad thing about training your dog to run with you is that you train your dog to run with you, meaning that if you shortchange him/her, somebody’s going to get it.  This time his fluffy dog bed paid the price, as he ate the stuffing out of it in a clear plea for a 3-miler, minimum.

We headed out, with my new earbuds in place, held in the perfect spot by the behind-the-ear piece.  I wanted to hate them, but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t feel them at all.  It was like I had nothing in my ears.  The earpiece held them in place perfectly, the sound quality was better than my Inspire Pro losers, and I could still hear ambient noise…they were perfection except for the lack of the controller.

Did I mention they were perfect?

I was in a quandary…I found comfortable headphones that I’d already purchased and used, but I still wanted an external controller so I could tuck my iPhone in my SpiBelt and not have to deal with it!

Well, problem solved, I hope.  I got my Active Gearup email this morning advertising various types of headphones and noticed the Outdoor Tech Adapt, an adorable little doohickey that turns your iPhone into a wireless device.

I googled it to find an image for you, and this came up, which is frankly too priceless not to share…when I get mine, I’m going to hoist my A-cup boobs into the top of my sports bra and take a selfie just like this, because I just have to!

Image

Now that I’m done giggling…

So I can clip this to my belt, singlet, whatever, and just plug my headphones into it instead of my iPhone.  Genius.  Active.com had it on sale for $19.95, which will bring my grand total to still less than the Inspire Pro Series.  I’ve read several good reviews, so I pulled the trigger.  I can’t wait!

More, more, more!

What I’m running to:  Fancy by Iggy Azalea

 

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.)