Friday, July 29, 2005

The Poop, the Whole Poop, and Nothing But the Poop

It's Friday. So you all know what that means.

It means my stomach is twirled up inside of itself like tomorrow is, oh, I dunno, my wedding day, or the day I sit for the bar exam, or perform my first brain surgery.

What tomorrow really holds, of course, is nothing more than a short eight-mile run, after last Saturday's 16-miler, and per usual (god I love italics), I'm a total, nervous wreck about it (see above similes).

But 'nuff said about that, because I've run out of ways to describe freaking out.

So I thought I'd introduce a new topic: All About Poop.

The problem: Wake up early Saturday morning, jump around, eat a little something, drink lots of water (not a big coffee drinker these days), and um, that little business doesn't seem to want to happen.


Until I'm in the car, oh, 15 minutes from the running site.

Until I get to the running site. By which time it has gone away.

But where I then have to force myself to go to the nearby Safeway, where they let us use the single grody bathroom.

Where I know there are 10 people waiting in line for said bathroom.

And where, knowing that 10 people are waiting, peristalsis knows it too, and just stops dead.

So nothing happens.

Until about 10 minutes into the run when all of a sudden ... well, you don't want me to paint you a picture, do you? The hunt is on for a porta-pottie.

Last week I successfully forestalled this problem by following mom's advice and eating lots and lots of roughage! And it worked!

Today I am trying for a repeat performance: veggie sub for lunch, brown rice and veggies for dinner, eighteen gallons of water, (and, oh yeah, a mars bar after lunch, but only because I was stuck in a dark training room with someone babbling on and on about CSS, and it was right there free for the eating), plus about eight oatmeal cookies after dinner.

(This from the girl who gave up sugar. But I digress.)

If that ain't enough roughage, I don't know what is.

Point being, I am doing everything I can do except standing on my head (which would no doubt make it even more difficult) to make this thing happen before tomorrow's run. Because, people, I am on a Schedule, and this thing is just not cooperating.

So I thought I'd shed a little light on the subject, bring it out into the open, so to speak, where it can be faced and conquered.

After all, if Michael Stipe can sing about it, why can't I write about it?

      But me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

We Return You Now to Our Usual Programming

I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted by that last post. I cannot believe the number of words I spent moaning about not having a "fun" group. I can't even believe I actually wrote those words—except yes, I can, because I have actually met me.

And before we get back to me, I do want to mention our running family friend Stephanie, who has been relegated to the elliptical due to what it turns out seems to be a minor injury. Yippee!! (I mean not yippee that she's injured, yippee that it's not serious. Oh, you know what I mean.)

So, not to get all sloppy or anything, but yeah, you ALL reminded me, one way or another, that I actually already have a fantasticamally fun group I run with. All of you. Only we don't run together all the time. Or ever. But still. You're all there, bringing me back from Planet Jeanne.

So meanwhile, today it was twenty-seven-eleven-hundred degrees out. No, really. Topped 100. And I ran at 7 a.m. But the spectacular part is that I ran—are you ready for this?—WATCHLESS~!

That's akin to saying I ran topless.

I thought I had my watch in my backpack and then I remembered, no it was home, so that I could diligently enter all its little numbers into my training log over at cool running (cool, my ass. Do they know what's going on out there???)

This was my first time (the virgin metaphor again!) going watchless, and I felt, well, kind of naked.

I ran my usual four miles and I have absolutely no idea how fast or slow I went. Ok, I'm exaggerating. I have some idea. I did look at the clock before and after, but that's including cool-down and warm-up and stretching.

But whatever.

Point is, after all the whining and moaning about the whole pace group thing, I think it's slightly ironic, if not downright Freudian, that I forgot the watch.

It was very freeing.

Imagine how freeing if I actually did run naked.

And with that scary thought, I bid you good night.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

More About This Later

Welcome! to your weekly bitchfest.

I've been promising myself that I would write about my reasons for running this marathon, just to get really clear. Which they haven't been so much.

But on Saturday's run—and in fact, the entire week leading up to Saturday's run—one of my goals got crystal clear: I wanted to be the kind of girl who belongs to a big, fun, relaxed group of people pursuing a common passion. Like, um, say, running a marathon, for instance.

Everyone I'd met who did this training said, oh you'll have so much fun with your Group. The staff at the info session back in cold, bleak, dark February held out Group bonding as an incentive to get people to sign up. (And apparently, it worked.) Bloggers raved about how they'd found lifelong friends. Some even posted Group photos pre-, during, and post-Saturday morning runs (p.s. those are shots of the actual training site I run at on Saturday mornings. Cool, huh?).

And in the 7 gazillion Galloway articles and books I read, he never failed to rhapsodize about the power of the Group.

So, here I am, it's week 11170th and do I have a group? I do not.

The first pace group I was put in sort of fell apart.

I tried another, slower group the next week, let's call them "pace group 'B.'" But when I had to stop and pee (yep, that word again), off they went. By then I had met the Divine Miz M, and she ran with me, and waited for me while I attended to those sorts of things. PGB was not into waiting; well let's just say if you dropped dead on a run, I'm pretty sure they'd step over you. (Ooh that's harsh.)

So, I spent the next few weeks running with Divine. We have a grand time running together, but we have different paces. Plus, I was worried (what me, worry?) that I was becoming dependent on her. If one of us got injured, or ill, we'd be screwed. And I wanted a freakin' Group already...

So last Saturday I decided to give PGB another try, even if it meant not running with Divine (and thank god she is not the drama queen that I am, so she completely understood). So, off I went with PGB.

Now B's pace leader (as in the "one who sets the pace") refuses to set the pace, instead letting the fastest runner set the pace. Apparently all 10 people in this group agree with her, because I talked with pretty much all of them, until I'm sure they were ready to slap me silly to shut me up, about the point of sticking with the pace your group is assigned. One of them finally told me "hey, you really aren't gonna be able to get 10 people to do what you want them to do."

She had me there.

PGB trains this way: they charge out hard and fast, and die on the way back, like it's a race.

And they did this on Saturday despite being specifically told by our coaches that day to add a minute to our pace. Instead, I think they took 3 minutes off (for the first few miles).

So the long and the short of it is: I don't have a fun group, I'm not in synch with them, I'm not gonna bond with these people, even though I'm sure they're perfectly nice, I did run 16 miles with them and came out fine, I know what they're doing is dumb, and well, i I'm not sure what exactly to do about it. And yeah, I already talked with the coaches, who pretty much shrugged. I mean, really what can they do? We're all grown-ups.

And yeah, I know 40 kazillion people will be running the marathon, so I'm sure i'll find plenty of people to talk with and pass the time with, but ya know what? I'm just disappointed. Which sucks, because I just ran 16 miles! So I have nothing to be disappointed about!

In church Sunday, our priest talked about the "Melodrama of the Self."

So that's what this is, probably in spades. Everyone is happy but me, and I'm gonna go eat worms and die.

Like I said, we're all grown-ups.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

16 Miles and Whaddya Get ...

another year older, and deeper in debt. (That's probably too obscure a reference for you young 'uns, so just click the link and you'll actually hear the real song.)

And why would I be singing, you ask?

Because I just ran 16 miles!! And it was good! And I stayed with my pace group! (More about P.G. (pace group) angst-dramafest later; mostly my doing, i think.)

And I did it somewhere between 3:33 or 3:35 minutes!!! (I love using exclamation marks.)

Which is around a 13:19 pace or 13:26, whatever. Oh let's say I ran 13:19-minute miles, just for fun.

I'm deliriously happy because I kept up with this pace group—the 13:30 pace group—(more about that later), even though they were supposed to be running 14:30 today, due to excessive heat, etc., only they decided they didn't need to (more about that later).

I kept up, I was fine at the end, a little achey, nothing major, took an ice bath when I got home (aiyeeee!!!).

And, as a bonus this week: I beat my icky 14 mile run by like 15 minutes!

It's all good, people.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Optional?? What Means Optional???

So, we get a weekly uplifting e-mail from the D.C. National Aids Marathon Program training rep, giving details and reminders about the upcoming weekly run, along with motivational stuff, fundraising and running tips, and etc.

I really look forward to these e-mails because they are funny and fun and motivational and make me feel part of a group, and part of a bigger purpose in life. So, I like live for these e-mails!

This week's run, on Saturday, is 16 miles—16 long, hot, miles, but not really any hotter than any other Saturday. In fact, by 9 a.m. it's supposed to feel like 83°F. Which in this town? That's tepid, balmy, practically lukewarm for July.

But today's weekly e-mail had these very odd words in it:

It looks like it is going to be a hot one this weekend.
(Ed.'s note: Duh.)
Because of the potentially high heat and humidity, we are making this weekend’s run optional. If you don’t feel like you should be running in the high heat/humidity this weekend, then please don’t push yourself.


Come again?

"Don't push yourself??"

"If you don't feel like it??"

"This week's run is optional??"

I don't even know where to begin with this. Yeah, I know they are only concerned about our safety, but come on! I have enough problems being motivated without my coaches telling me things are optional.

And it's not like I can't do enough freaking out about long runs on my own. Now I have my coaches painting a picture of heat stroke and heart attacks and other dire outcomes for me.

This is a slippery slope, my friends.

And speaking of slippery (this is related, stay with me here), after having had a relatively sugar-free house for several months, ice cream made its way into my freezer, all because of NOD having her wisdom teeth out last week, after which she was told she couldn't eat anything but soft foods, and she was soooo sad, I had to run out and buy her all kinds of high-fat content ice cream, which I was certain I could safely ignore the presence of. In my freezer.

Um, not so much, it turns out, since I just downed a few bowls of ben and jerry' yuuuum! And I'm positive that that has nothing whatsoever to do with evil e-mail from running people.

To that e-mail, I have this to say: Am now putting hands over ears and la-la-la-ing, and ha ha I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bless Me Father ...

It occurred to me this morning that I need to get something off my chest to you, dear diary.

So here it is:
The blogs I really enjoy reading the most are the ones from runners who are slow. Not enjoy in a "thank-god-there's-someone-as-slow-as-me" kinda way, though I have to admit, since I'm in a confessional, that there is a bit of that in it.

No, mainly why I seek out blogs from slowpokes like me is because I want to be reassured that it's ok to be slow. And there are a few bloggers out there who are slow, but are totally ok with it. It's so not an issue. And friends (I mean Father), these days, that's what's really inspiring me. Because there's a goal I can embrace: my inner (well, and outer) slowness.

New runners who start out slow and then are soon flying up mountains in the desert are inspiring, too, just in a different way. The way Lance Armstrong is inspiring. Or Neil Armstrong, for that matter. Other-worldly inspiring. But just outta my league. And then after they inspire me, I start feeling bad, like I should be able to do that. And then I get jealous. And then I have to go to confession. Which sucks.

I can relate to slow runners. And the ones who are totally fine with it, are just, well, heroic.

Is this a bad thing? It's so un-American. I know I should be striving to get better, right? But does better always mean faster?

Eh, whatever.

In any case, this week on my two four-miler maintenance runs, I made a deliberate decision, after three weeks of successively running faster, to just slow down. To about a 11:35 minute mile.

And so far? No pain, no guilt. (Well, except I started this post as a confession, for god's sake. So I might be lying about the no guilt part.)


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I'm Famous!

Check out the "Rundown: A Runner's Carnival," hosted this week by Dawn, the Pink Lady, where your's truly merits a short entry, along with some other runners who have a few stories of their own to tell. Like Russ, who claims he slept with 1,500 women a few nights ago.

And here I thought running was a wholesome pasttime.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Like a Virgin ...

For the very first time, I ran an 8k tonight. (I guess technically that would be last night, by now.)

This was the 20th year of the Rockville Twilighter, with somewhere around 2,000 runners.

I planned to run with a friend from work, who runs like greased lightning, and a friend of hers, who makes greased lightning look slow.

The race started at 8:45 p.m, though my nerves started around oh, 9 a.m. Number One Daughter's Boyfriend (that would be NODB), who is a real athlete, and very competitive, finally asked me what I was so nervous about. He said, and I quote, "It's not like you have a coach who's gonna be mad if you don't win..."

These damn kids and their rational questions!! Of course I had—and have—no answer. NODB told me there was no reason to be anxious, because really, there couldn't be a bad outcome, as long as I finished.

Hmm. Kid had a point.

It's weird running at night. What do you night-runners eat beforehand? And when? I had taken a short nap in the afternoon, and ate half a bagel around 5:30. NODB had said to make sure to warm up for 15 min right before the race; he said something about heartrate and oxygen, etc., which I heard as "And don't forget to blah blah blah."

We got to the site, the other gals got their bibs, and as usual, I had to pee. So, I looked at the line for the portapotties, and then ... well, let's just say I hate lines, and leave it at that.

Did I mention the race was in a residential neighborhood? Me and pee. What can I say, it's a recurring theme. I found a little corner behind an air conditioner unit, outside a business (not someone's house! I do have standards, ya know), and, etc.

That little business taken care of, I ran up and down a sidestreet a few times to get the heart rate up, per NODB's instructions.

Then, I went to the waaayback of the start. Stood next to a lovely man who said "Where's the 'forever' pace sign?" ha ha. Cuz, as usual, the pace signs went only to those slow-pokey 10 minute milers.

My friends found me at 8:42, and all of a sudden the crowd surged forward and the next thing ya know, we were running!

I kept telling these gals "Please, don't hold back for me," but they both insisted they didn't care about time, so they did hold back. Which meant my first split was, roughly equivalent to warp speed.

My work colleague tried valiantly to talk to me, to distract me, but I was a huffin' and a puffin' and could manage only, "grunt, yeah," or "grunt, ut-uh." And that was during the first mile. Nice try though!

I tried hard to slow down. And they slowed down with me! They both said they didn't care about time, and ya know what? They really did not care about time. Weird, huh. I guess when you get really good, you can stop caring.

So I slowed to a 11:20ish pace, which still felt fast. By mile three, I was feeling depleted. But thanks to my friend, a.maria, who turned me on to him, I kept the blogfather's mantras in mind: "After," and "Onward." Those are so cool.

I run four miles twice a week without walking, which I consider a HUGE accomplishment, so I thought I'd last at least that long. But around 3 1/2 miles, mind just shut off, body took over and it just started walking.

Meanwhile, did I mention that there was this thunderstorm of biblical proportions happening? It was awesome! Pouring rain, ah, felt sooo good! And beautiful lightning.

So I walked a bit, shooed my friends onward, and tried to get my 3/1 run/walk interval thing-y going on my watch, which I have enough trouble with in the daytime, when I can see, nevermind at night, with rain-covered glasses. As usual, while pushing the 20 buttons on the watch to get to the interval timer, I managed to screw up my splits.

(God this post is longer than the race.)

The course was fantastic; through a lovely neighborhood, with people standing on their lawns cheering, spraying us with hoses and sprinklers, until God took over that part—and did a mighty fine job, I must say!

After about a million years, I was on the home stretch, that last freakin' .970969536th mile.

And suddenly, I saw my two friends, running away from the finish. Hmm. Hey, guys, you are going the wrong way!! Which came out as "jry, upt hiud, uptrtr s;flslfjgs!!" They didn't see, or hear me, and sailed right past. It then dawned on me that they were looking for me!!! They had already finished, and come back to find me! Awwwwww. That was really sweet!

I saw a firetruck in the distance, and got it stuck in my head that that was the finish, because the lovely balloon arch over the start was gone. Now why did they do that? Were they just messin' with our minds??

Thinking that the firetruck was the finish, I gave it a really hard kick, even though I was pretty sure I was dying. I got to the truck, and hello, THAT WAS NOT THE FINISH. (Cue cursing.) It was about 1/3 mile from the finish.

I walked for maybe a minute, then saw that the end was near (I told you this was biblical), gave it another kick (I was running, baby!), looked up and saw the clock ticking its relentless way toward 60 minutes. Damn if I was gonna let that happen. So, I revved it up some more (wow, I sound just like a runner!), and crossed the line around 59:40.

Which turned out to be 58:18, or an 11:44 pace. And my two gal pals had found me by now, and came in at the same time, which almost made me cry, because they could have probably finished in 30 minutes!

NOD was there with boyfriend. I couldn't talk, or remove chip from shoe. So NODB did that for me.

And the rest, my friends, is now history.

I am happy with my time; I am not so happy with my endurance, but that just means it's something I have to really work on. But I feel fine, and am looking forward to a nice long summer's nap. Right through 'til tomorrow morning, when I'm really really sure I will make the front page of The Washington Post.

Friday, July 15, 2005

And That's a Wrap!

Beautiful, lovely Fridays. Fridays are rest days! No training! Not if you begged me, because it's just not allowed.

And today is extra special because NOD is having her wisdom teeth out, so I had to stay home from work, too. Darn. While NOD is sleeping it off this afternoon, I will sit on the porch, read, and doze, because I am in training people, and resting is my job.

Today's rest will ensure that I kill tomorrow night's 8K, or rather, 4.970969536-mile race, my very first. I have never run more than four miles before without walking, but geeze, what's a measly .970969536th of a mile? I'm gonna kick that .970969536th of a mile's ass.

So I'm looking forward to this race, mostly, let's admit it, so I can brag and blog about it the next day. I'm sure there will be zany hijinks to relate, and the usual thrills, spills, and chills, with our heroine bagging a medal, or two.

Or not.

Cuz my stomach is already starting to hurt from thinking about it. Because I'm already getting my knickers in a twist about not having a strategy, and from staying up late reading McMillan Running, which has a lot, no really, a LOT, of info, about running—stuff like VO2, and sub-9 min. miles, lactate (not lactation—whole different thing), and breathing, and other important running stuff like this:

That orange line? I'm not sure, but I think it means the longer you run, the more likely you are to croak.

I think I'll just run it, and see what happens.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

What's Not to Like?

I already used up all my metaphors for hot muggy washington days. Let's see if I can pull a few more out.

Washington ... has a G in in, and that stands for "godforsaken" which starts with a G, and hey, there's a G in "muGGy"!!!

But muggy does not even come close to describing yesterday morning, 6:30 a.m., on the Capital Crescent trail. A place where there are lovely tall trees, and lots of shade. Kind of Amazonian. And my last whingy post about running through water-soaked air? Well that was when it was still cool out. Now, it's definitely hot. Hot, and did I mention muggy?

So following my own advice, I ran only three miles, and I didn't push it, and I did ok: 33:43, which is still thrilling. Anything under 12 minutes is now thrilling.

And then I made the mistake of standing by our office door to do my stretches, instead of behind the building, so that every single person who came to work yesterday got to hear me say "I can't do this, it's too hard, I want to quit..." Top o' the mornin' to ya!

Will I ever like running? All signs point to no. But I have this annoying thing about not quitting. So there's that.

I think it's high time to post about why I'm doing this (running this marathon, for those of you tuning in late). If I had a solid reason, maybe I could focus on that instead of how much I hate running? Just a thought.

And why do I hate running, exactly?

1. Too sweaty.
2. Too smelly.
3. Too much hard breathing (hmm... no comment).
4. Too scared of getting injured and not being able to run which MAKES NO SENSE, because if I hate it, I'd be dying to get injured!! Then I could quit with dignity!

So here's today's question: Does anyone else out there in cyberspace (who is running a marathon) also hate running? And part b) why do you still do it??

Monday, July 11, 2005

She's Baacckkkkk!

First, thanks for all the encouraging comments ... and for not pointing and laughing.

Today, I ran four miles in 43:41. That's a 10:55 min pace, for those of you keeping track, my fastest four mile run yet. I just had to show myself that I actually could run faster than a 17 min mile pace. (Come on! I still can't believe that.) And I can. And I can run faster than an 11 min/mile pace, too. So take that, you ego, you.

So, you ask, what am I doing right now, at 10 p.m. Monday night? Well, since you asked, I'll tell you: I'm sitting on the couch, resting icing compressing and elevating, because I went to my weekly swing dance lesson (you asked) tonight, and funnily enough, somebody swung me, and dunno what happened, but ouchie to front of mid-thigh, resulting in general limping and ouchiness.

After carefully considering all all my blog-mates charitable and enlightening comments (and believe me, I greedily soaked them all up (thank you thank you thank you), and having talked Saturday's 14-mile embroglio to within an inch of its life, I've come to some acceptance that a) these things happen, b) it doesn't necessarily mean that it will take me eight hours to finish the marathon, and c) my two fast runs last week just might have contributed to my little problems on Saturday. So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

In summation, I am now pretty much willing to admit that despite reading mountains (ha ha) of running advice, I so don't know what I'm doing, because d) in addition to running fast this morning, for no good reason, there's more! I e) signed up for the Rockville Twilight 8k RunFest this coming Saturday (I'm swapping that for my weekly short group run of 7 miles.)

I am so calling the doctor tomorrow. And I don't mean the head doctor, though that's a thought. ...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

...And the Agony of Defeat

(It was very tempting to write DaFeet, but I successfully resisted using hackneyed cliche!)

So today I "ran" 14 miles. And the quotes are on purpose, because I'm not happy about it.

I wasn't that worried about today's 14 miles, since I was pretty happy with my 12 mile run two weeks ago, and thrilled with my fantastic 5k on the 4th of July. I had also convinced myself to stop worrying about time on my long runs.

Oh, I so stopped worrying about time. And time stopped worrying about me. Or maybe just stopped ... because I "ran" my 14 miles in ... 3 hours and 48 minutes ... sigh... And David, oh I so hope you are right, that I really am fast, but just don't realize it yet?? I am hanging on to that thought.

At the end, a 50ish, 6-time marathoner asked me if I felt proud of myself, and I said, well, not really ...

When I got home, moaning and bitching about my terrible run, Number One Daughter told me that I am "psycho" about the "whole time thing." She actually said, "You do realize you just ran 14 miles, right?"

Yeah, sorta.

So, to make a long story short, I had to take two bathroom breaks within the first 3 miles ... so once more, our group left us in the dust... Then, Divine convinced me not to stop my watch everytime I stopped running because, as she so cogently noted, when you're running the marathon, your shoe chip doesn't stop just because you have to pee...

So, according to the pace calculator, I ran something like a 17+ minute mile... except, I know I can walk faster than that, for Pete's sake.

After getting off to slow start, and having a 2 min walk every 3 minutes (we changed to a slower pace group with a 3:2 ratio), I dunno, I just sort of lost any drive to even think about pushing myself. So we ran easy. Like really really easy. We stuck to the schedule pretty well right up to the turn around. (Gorgeous Capital Crescent Trail again.) Tons of "Team in Training" folks ran past us, and they were all running together and looked so happy and charged up! I was jealous! Even though Divine and I were laughing ourselves silly during most of our run.

I'd say around mile eight I started getting a little wiggly in my running, signalling brain not functioning so well. So, ate more gu, drank more gatorade. Then knee started hurting. Toes had been banging up against shoe for the entire run (this is a new thing: I wore different socks, and I think they gave my toes less room), so now feet were bothering me. Back started hurting a bit (this is also new, and scary, since I almost had back surgery two years ago and could barely walk for months on end, and I pretty much live in fear of a repeat episode. Yeah, I'm not supposed to run at all..)

So maybe around mile 9 was where I just totally lost my motivation... Ugh, bad feeling. I actually asked Divine to walk thru some runs with me. ... again thinking "time does not matter."

But guess what? Time so totally matters to me!!! I don't care about being fast, but I don't want to be dragging my butt, doing an 8-hour marathon...

I honestly don't know what happened today. I've been going thru the litany all day long: Did I not eat right last week? Did my two fast runs during the week do me in? Did I not sleep enough, not drink enough water? Was it because of the whole watch/don't time yourself thing? Do I need to time myself to motivate myself?

When I run well, I have no idea why, and when I run poorly, ditto. It's so damn frustrating...

I got home with numerous aches and pains, took a cold bath as advised (new torture device), and then took to my bed like a Victorian lady with the vapours.

There was, ladies and gents, no joy in Mudville today. Like the mighty Casey, I just struck out.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Freaky Fridays ...

Ok, I just had to post tonight because...because...I'm superstitious? Dunno. But I DID need to get into print, before I forget it, that I ran four miles yesterday in 45:46, which is faster than Monday. And Monday was faster than last Wednesday, which was faster than last Monday.

So, I don't know what is going on, but it is freaky. And believe me, I am not doing anything fast tomorrow morning, including driving to training at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. (see cost of running post below). I mean 6 a.m. is just evil, even if it is for our own good (to beat the heat). I plan a nice sloooow 14 min/mile pace.

All the reading I've done this week has got me convinced. And read I did: so many blogs, so little time! So many runner's world articles, so little time! So I read over and over that slow is the way for long runs.

The column I liked the best, I stumbled over quite accidentally, and then had to read all 100+ installments of, is this:
No Need for Speed. Now, that's my kinda runner.

I'm totally convinced that if I keep my long runs nice and slow, the way I've been blessed to be doing, ably assisted by the Divine Miss M., all will be well come Oct. 30. (Not that I could run faster on long runs if I wanted to. But by golly, I'm gonna choose not to!)

So everything is all laid out. The only potential freaking-out wrinkle tonight is: I bought new running bras and I'm going to wear one tomorrow. My old ones were ooooolllllddd (boys avert your eyes, this is so not sexy)—like eight years old! They were gross, but they did the job. Except, they didn't do the wicking job. So, I just bought three new ones from Title Nine and I tried one on the elliptical today (well, on me on the elliptical today), and i'm not 100 percent sure it will keep the girls in place, but i'm going to try it, yeah, tomorrow on my 14 mile run.

Sounds like a brilliant plan, no?

Maybe the girls will write the next post. From the hospital.

What Is There Left to Say?

London, yesterday.

Nothing, there's nothing to be said that hasn't been said. And my cute running blog just can't hold my attention today.

I'll be back, though, after 14 miles tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Baby, Maybe You Were Born to Run

Eve of July 3, coming home from a friend's house with No. One Daughter, 8:30 p.m. We pass by a local strip mall, when NOD points out a sign that says, "Cure Autism Now."

I'm for that, I say. No, she says, "Looook. 5k July 4, 8 a.m." and registration is on-site 'til 7:30 the morning of the race.

Hmm, methinks. I have to get up anyway on Monday (July 4) morning to run, because it's on the damn Schedule. Why not try my hand feet in a 5K??

My last (and only) 5k took place on the occasion of my 40th birthday. That would be eight years ago. I went s-l-o-w, coming in at 38:14 (or a 12:20 pace). (I still have the results tacked onto the kitchen bulletin board, for those of you requiring proof.)

Later that night I fell into a fitful sleep, where I dreamt a) I was late to register b) I forgot to bring checkbook c) I won't be able to finish d) and I have overslept and missed the entire race ... pretty much every variation on the show-up-late-AND-naked-for-your-finals-only-you're-the-teacher dream.

At 6:15 a.m. it's time to go! Grabbed a piece of burnt toast with p.b. on it. Wake up No. One and drive the 15 minutes to the start. Registration goes smoothly, despite maniacal dreams.

NOD registers for the one mile walk because she has bad knees. She is not as cranky as she could be for being dragged out of bed at 7 a.m., for which I am very grateful, because I, naturally, am a nervous wreck. We hang around, I try to look like a runner, we listen to speakers blasting Born to Run (ha! an omen!!), we warm up with insane trainer who expects me to do jumping jacks wearing only one sports bra (me, not him).

Finally, it's time to move to the start. I say farewell to my little 18-year-old girl, my stomach now wrapped around my lungs. To calm myself, I tell her, "D, I'm just gonna take it easy and do whatever I can do." To which D says these few life-changing words: "Well, try to push it just a little, Mom."

I move toward the start line, where I see the signs for the 6-min./milers, the 7-min./milers, etc., all the way down to those slow-pokey 10-min./milers (did I mention my pace is typically 12+?) So I hang in the back, chatting with folks, who tell me comforting things like, "There's a lot of hills."

I don't do hills. I don't train on hills. I live in fear of hills.

Now I am scared. Stomach rewraps around intestines.

We finally cross the start, I remember to turn on watch, and away we go, as Jackie Gleason used to say, up, up, and away, up a great big long, enormous, gigantor, big, huge, long hill. Weather is miraculously perfect—nice breeze, no humidity.

In my head I hear "push it just a little, mom," and decide I am going to PUSH IT. (Am not even sure what "push it" means at that point. Am now, though.)

So I do. I run as fast as I have ever run in my life. No holding back (well, except on the downhills where I'm certain I'm going to trip over thin air)... but technically? There were no downhills, so it didn't matter.

I don't run with headphones, because I'm afraid of becoming dependent on them. So I heard a few other voices in my head, besides #1 daughter's. They went like this, for the entire 3.09999999 miles:

"Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. "
Interspersed with: "You can do anything for three miles."
Interspersed with: "What if I actually came in in the top ten?" (Obviously hallucinating at this point.)
Interspersed with: "Just. Stop. Running."

Over and over and over, just like Rain Man!

I so wanted daughter #1 to be proud of me that I pushed and pushed. I actually passed people! Male people!! People of the male persuasion!! In between gasping for for my last breath and bracing for a heart attack, I envisioned myself collecting the trophy, thanking the little people, promising not to forget them.

In the end (god, this is a long story), I flew through the chute at 33:50, according to my watch. And according to the handy Runner's World pace calculator, that equals a 10:53 second pace.

I. Broke. The. 11 min./mile. Barrier.

I couldn't talk for a while, couldn't think, thought I would puke, but didn't. I cannot remember when I last felt so elated. And I know I say this every week after my group training? But really, this time I thought I should get a medal.

Well, I didn't get a medal, but I did get to regale all of you with this tale, along with anyone else who dared ask me what I did on the 4th of July. What didn't I do? I lifted tall buildings with one hand, I caught bullets in my teeth, I saved mankind. That's what I did.

Victory, my friends, is oh so sweet. And the coolest part? The only person I beat was myself.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Running Adds Up in More Ways Than One

  • Body glide, $2.95: check

  • New cool max top: $15: check

  • Collection of non-blistering socks: $25: check

  • New running shoes: $80: check

  • Gu, and more gu: $10: check

  • Whey protein, for homemade smoothies: $10: check

  • Contribution to my group for awesome food brought to training site last week, to which effort I contributed nothing: $5: check

  • Car registration up on June 30, today is July 2, hello! ticket: $100: check
    (and btw, did you know that you can be arrested driving with expired registration? oh yes, you can, but lovely officer chose not to do so, thank you thank you!)

  • Speeding ticket on way to this morning's 6-mile training run (going 45 in a 25 mph zone—the car, not me, personally), 6:45 a.m., in front of Washington Monument, that symbol of liberty, truth, and hope: $100: check

  • Number of fruitless hours spent turning office inside out trying to find registration renewal info: 3: check

  • Number of fruitless hours at home doing same: 5: check

  • Number of hours spent trying to pay registration online at Maryland's Department of Motor Vehicles: 2, on and off, because ONLINE REGISTRATION SYSTEM IS CONVENIENTLY BROKEN during July 4 holiday: check

  • Number of hours spent trying to decide if venturing out again in car is worth the risk: 0 (know answer, except had to get hair dyed today): check

  • Ran 6.5 miles by accident, instead of six, because we weren't paying attention (which is actually kinda cool): check

  • Life apparently out of control: check

Over and out.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Welcome to Your Weekly Friday Freakout

Or as Naomi so endearingly called it, Paralyzing Friday Fear.

I missed my Thursday cross train yesterday. I am so freakin' afraid to do anything that is Not on the Schedule. And said schedule reads: "Run 30-45 minutes Monday and Wednesday, cross train Tuesday and Thursday, rest Friday." Right, and no problem.

Except last week I missed Thursday's cross train (see Thursday freak-out below) and was afraid to Break the Rest Day Rule and do it on Friday. This week, hello, I missed it again. Only this morning, a Friday—rest day, please note—I said to myself, "the gods be damned," (please also note: little "g"), went wild, and did my x-training anyway.

Thirty elliptical minutes this a.m. Which is an interesting turn of phrase (ha ha).

So, for the record, please (and I do beg your indulgence here) once more note: I am taking an enormous risk by Not Following the Schedule. And we'll just pretend this is a little experiment in whether or not Jeanne is insane by being So Afraid to Not Follow the Schedule. (I could make Nazi references here, but will refrain, in the interest of good taste.)

Tomorrow is a short run of only six miles. So perhaps this is not the best test, but it gives you a glimpse into my own personal episode of "Fear Factor."

I really need to lighten up a bit, doncha think?