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!

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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

 

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Allow Myself to Introduce…Myself

Any Austin Powers fans out there?

I’ve been gone for so long…and I’m sorry.  Not that anyone’s been unable to go on without reading my special blend of running encouragement mixed with a healthy dose of swearing and negativity, but still…I apologize.

I’ve missed writing.  I’ve missed reading about my fellow runners/bloggers and their lives.  I’ve missed it all.  I just can’t quit you!

I mulled over several possible post titles in my head this morning, all of which happened to be song titles and have me singing–

Please forgive me cues Bryan Adams…

I know not what I do

Please forgive me

I can’t stop loving you (yuck!)

Baby I’m Back cues Akon…

Now I’m back in the flesh

Feeling so blessed

Back in your corner, suga suga don’t stress

Forget about the rest

Let’s go inside

I’m back in your zone, baby

Back in your vibe

Alive and Kicking cues Simple Minds…

You turn me on

You lift me up

Like the sweetest cup I’d share with you

You lift me up, don’t you ever stop, I’m here with you

And basically this kind of shit is the reason I can’t get anything done lately.

I’m all over the place.  I might have seasonal ADD, if there is such a thing.

December came and went in a flash.  We had the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tapdanced with Danny Fucking Kaye…complete as always with a family viewing of White Christmas.

My family White Elephant gift exchange was a big hit.  Gifts included a horse mask, cold hard cash, a picture of an astronaut sloth, a singing toilet snowman, a handpainted coffee mug, and my husband entering the room in a parody of Dick in a Box (no one wanted his gift but me!)  My gift was a cross stitch…I am horrifically UNcrafty, so my gift was truly a labor of love.  It read, “Your Awesome.”  HH battled it out with my sister and came up the proud winner.

I also spent many hours stitching a (still unfinished) gift for my sister…Jocking the Bitches and Slapping the Hos (any Boyz-N-The-Hood fans?)

I had another birthday…41!  It’s not the years, it’s the mileage, right?  Right.

We had a frozen water line…damn you Polar Vortex!

Our fridge went out and we spent over a month heading out to the one in the FREEZING garage while a very strange repair guy kept coming out trying to fix the old one (and engaging me in strange conversations about his dancing Border Collie and other random thoughts.)  After six weeks, we gave up and bought a balls-to-the-wall kickass new one, but not before said repair guy dropped one final gem.  He told me that he had discovered a pill that makes bugs explode but comes in a food grade that kills parasites in dogs.  He and his wife occasionally take it for more energy, and they recently gave it to their 4-year old daughter and later found clumps of worms in her diaper.

Yep, I’ve been busy living the dream, folks!

As for running?  Well, I pushed it aside for the holidays and only managed 1-2 runs/week, so any posts during that time would have been titled, “Run, Says the Sloth!”  I tried to run just enough to not lose my fitness.  After a few weeks of few running endorphins, but lots of peanut butter balls, cookies, and holiday vino, I headed out with my running coach Oscar (my dog) and had an exhilarating, mind-clearing, sanity-restoring 4-miler on my birthday…so fun that I posted on facebook my goal for a 1:50 half marathon sometime in 2014….

then I woke up the next morning with bursitis in my hip.

At first I thought it might be my IT band, just really high.  The pain was on my side, lower hip, not my glute but not far enough around to be my quad.  I applied my tried-and-true adaptation of the R.I.C.E.(W!) regimen…sitting on the couch with my ass and saddlebag hanging out on a pack of ice while nursing a medicinal glass of wine postdinner.   I tried to run again with Oscar two days later.  Same problem, and pain with every step throughout the day, especially on stairs.

So I rolled it.  Big mistake.  I made it angry.  Finally, I consulted Dr. Internet and realized that it was the start of bursitis, and instead of rolling out sore muscle tissue, I applied a significant (ahem!) amount of body weight on the bursa sac in my hip.

Oops!  My bad!

trochanteric hip bursitis

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Disclaimer:  My ass is not this ridiculously tight

hip bursitis

source

Bursitis scares me.  It makes me think OLD, for some reason, maybe because it makes me think of bunions, which I know are totally unrelated.  Still, it just seems like an old person injury.

“Boys!  Bring me an icepack…my bursitis is killing me!”  See?

It also scares me because I know it’s one of those injuries that can quickly become chronic, and between you, me and the entire internet, I’ve got enough chronic pain with my plantar fasciitis (“Boys!  Bring me my frozen water bottle…my plantar fasciitis is killing me!”)

So I took a few more days off and tried to figure out what went wrong.  I knew that I’d pushed it with my lack of running, but please—after ten years of running, I know my running base and my injury inclinations, and my hips don’t get injured (they don’t lie either…wink!).

FINALLY I figured it out.  The problem was the waist leash I wear with Oscar!  I was wearing it too low across my hips…like an airplane seatbelt or this year’s Christmas cookies.  It was a trauma injury from where the belt smacked my side.

Adjustment made…now I wear it at belly level, where this year’s Christmas cookies also reside, but where there are no fluid-filled sacs.  Problem solved.  I also spent some extra time at the gym working on isolated hip strengthening exercises.

If you have bursitis or are trying to figure out hip issues and pain, here are a few great articles that I found helpful, including some exercises…and I found the single knee bend exercise to be very helpful and informative.

http://www.active.com/running/articles/5-common-hip-injuries-you-can-fix

http://www.rehab4runners.co.uk/running-injuries/hip-groin-pain/trochanteric-hip-bursitis/

http://getrunning.net/when-hip-bursitis-isnt-really-hip-bursitis

http://getrunning.net/this-simple-test-can-improve-your-running

http://fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/1662/recovering-from-trochanteric-hip-bursitis

Now I’m 100% and one week into my training for my next racing goal–the Heartland 39.3 Challenge.  It’s three half marathons in five weeks.  The first race is Rock the Parkway on April 12th.

I’m on the fence between Hal Higdon’s Intermediate and Advanced Half Marathon programs.  I want to run the most that I can in order to feel prepared, but the Advanced program calls for 6 days/week of running, and the first long run was 90 minutes with the last 1/4 at goal race pace, and my buddy Hal said you should finish feeling refreshed, not fatigued.  Um, right.  I decided to run 6 miles slow and 2 at close to goal pace, which ended up being around 9:25 for the slow part and 8:45 for the last two miles (my legs were getting tired and I was running into hurricane-force winds.)  I ended up stopping at 1:16 and figure that’s good enough for Week One.  I also took the next day off because my legs felt like they needed it.  I’ll try to do the full 6-day program next week.

If you’ve stuck with this long post, thanks for reading and not giving up on this post or on me!  I am so glad to be back writing, and I’ve missed you!

What I’m running to:  Psylla by Glass Animals, Shake Your Body Down to the Ground by the Jacksons

NoWriNoMo and My New Running Coach

NaNoWriMo is now NoWriNoMo (No Write No More!)  I’m on my third idea, and I’m only 1,022 words in when I should be around the 5,000 word hurdle based on a words per day average.  

Deciding on a story idea and then the narrator has been exhausting.  You can only read so many articles and advice on writing before you become paralyzed.

Don’t write what’s trendy!  Don’t bring your baggage (seriously?  You’re telling a potential writer not to bring their baggage?)!  No memoirs!  Write a memoir!  Write what you know!  Outline your project first!  Just start writing!  Choose your narrator carefully (along with 15 pros and cons for each type!)  Don’t think, Meat, just throw!

(Okay, that last one was actually advice from Bull Durham, but it sums up a lot of what I’ve read.)

So I’m not thinking.  I’m just throwing.  We’ll see what hits the fan.

In other news, my handsome young men had a great Halloween.  We even got Alex to dress up one more time and take Max out–because he fell in love with the following costume (as did I.)
 
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He said he was quite popular with the adults (“Gumby!  How retro!”)  Max loved his Grim Reaper costume as well (a nice not-too-scary/gory compromise between Mom and son), so a good time was had by all.
 
On to my new running coach…he’s a killer!
 
Basically, he runs ahead of me at a soul-crushing pace with me tethered to him.  He’s raring to go for the first few miles until he finally gets a wee bit tired.  I really think he could be the key to breaking 1:50 in my next half-marathon, because he simply won’t accept anything slower than a 9:00/mile pace.  He just isn’t having it.
 
It’s obvious that it’s Oscar the lovable dog and running hardass.  He is going to whip me into shape.  We are in a good routine now with our running and did almost 5 miles yesterday with no problems.  He runs ahead of me and knows to keep to the curb when cars pass, he still listens to my commands for left and right turns, even though he’s in front of me–it’s really going well, though he did make me pee my pants the other day when he lunged at a squirrel unexpectedly and almost knocked me off my feet.  That sucked bigtime.
 
I’m definitely learning to keep a better eye on him for cues that he’s about to jump at something…
 
Happy running and writing!  Back soon with a longer post on pre- and post-run stretching!
 

Indefatigable (Translation: Pain in my Ass) Oscar

This is Oscar.  He is a bad dog.

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We bought Oscar in France back in March 2012, a few months before moving back from Switzerland.  We had just put down our Dachshund, and though HH wanted me to wait, I couldn’t live without another dog, and I was determined to find a running partner.  I did my research, searching for a non-shedding breed with plenty of energy.  I settle on the Wire Haired Pointing Griffon breed and knew it would be perfect.  High energy, non-shedding, wash-and-wear, born to hunt but happy to just be with its family…sold!

When I met 10-week old Oscar, it was love at first sight.  HH thought he was ugly and strange-looking.  I thought he was the most perfect puppy I had ever seen–and given that he had one undescended testicle, he was 200 euros cheaper.  Discount!

Oscar then…

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Oscar now…

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Oscar sailed through his international move and passed basic and advanced obedience classes.  He is an angel.  I almost think he could be a therapy dog that visits nursing homes, because he has the sweetest and most gentle temperament—but he suffers from two major issues.

He is a major crotch sniffer/bell ringer, which I can’t imagine would fly with the elderly.

He pulls on a leash RELENTLESSLY, especially if he sees a bird or squirrel, which seems to happen every few seconds in our neighborhood.  Haters gonna hate, hunters gonna hunt!

I can give up on the therapy thing, but the pulling is a major issue for my running plans.  He drags me down the street, all 60 pounds of him, and by a mile or two in, my arm is killing me, my whole body is out of whack and I’m feeling barfy because I’ve been sprinting.  Also, he NEVER gets tired, no matter how long I try to stick it out.

I’ve tried various chest harnesses and the Gentle Leader.  Nothing works.  When I give the correction and his body/nose turns toward me, it’s almost like he just gives me a smile like, “Cool, huh?” and keeps going.  I even bought a belly harness that was guaranteed to lift him up by the stomach back near his hind legs when I jerked on the leash.  All it did was inspire him to start bounding and pushing off with his front legs.  He is just too strong.

When I walk him, he will heel for short periods.  He knows to sit when I stop walking, and he knows the commands for left and right turns.  But he will NOT heel for runs.  Ever.

Until this past summer, he wasn’t really old enough to run with yet, so our runs were sporadic and exhausting.  Then over the summer, it was easy to just leave him at home.  He was too overheated to run anyway (he’s very French, and the extreme Midwest temperatures are too much for him, I think.)  But now, it’s gorgeous, and the beast needs more exercise than he gets from just chasing little Stella around the house.  

I tried a leash of last resort today–a waist belt.  The belt attaches around my waist, so I don’t have to use arm strength to try and keep him under control.  I crossed my leash-free fingers, and we headed out for my first shake-out run since last weekend’s kickass half marathon.

Heaven!  I just went ahead and let him go in front of me.  Most of the time, he stayed over to my left side but up in front.  He was pulling, but I didn’t feel it nearly as much since it was against my whole body and not just my arm.  Even better, he still listened to my left and right turn commands, so we navigated the route perfectly!

They see me rollin’

They hatin’

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We ran an easy 2.75 miles, and I was able to keep the pace I wanted (that is, SLOW) instead of being forced along at his desired 7:00 mile.  I am so excited.  The leash and the pressure didn’t bother my back or anything, so I’m hopeful that I will have a constant running companion in these upcoming winter months.

Even better than the run?  Seeing a tired dog relaxing in the family room…

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Good dog, Oscar!

Songs to Run To With Your Dog:  Been Caught Stealing by Jane’s Addiction, She Wants to Move by N.E.R.D., Bitter Rivals by Sleigh Bells