Thursday, August 31, 2006

Indulge Me

Number One Daughter has left the country. I repeat: NOD has left the country.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006


These are the transcripts of actual conversations between me and Number One Daughter. First up, last Thursday morning, on the elevator in our apartment building, going down:

NOD: Hey, Mom?
Me: Yeah?
NOD: You do realize that you are wearing your dress inside out ...?
Me: $#!@#!~

NOD tried to hold the elevator door closed AND the door to the parking garage closed simultaneously (which isn't easy under normal circumstances, nevermind when you are laughing your ass off) as I did a quick change.

Fast forward. Yesterday morning, elevator in our apartment building, going down:

NOD: Hey, Mom?
Me: What now?
NOD: Um, you do realize that you have that blouse on inside out ...?
Me: #~!@%^~!!

What's that saying? "Dress as though you already had your ideal job."

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bring It On

Adeel, of And With Your Help, I'll Get That Chicken, writes a provocative piece today about the worthiness of the "50 marathons in 50 days" phenom that is currently all the rage.

And how those feats usurp truly stellar athletic running performances. In fact, I didn't even know half the people he mentioned. (But then, I'm all about me.)

Here's a taste:
Running one marathon or a dozen is not that impressive. It takes very little ability to run a marathon in the 21st century, and even less training, it seems.
Whether you agree or disagree, his words are bound to provoke some reaction. Drop by and tell him what you think.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Ten Miles and Bob's Your Uncle

My running friend, the Other Jen, sent this to me as her new motto. I'm stealing it.

Today: 10.2 miles: Uphill. Both ways. 2 hours 3 min. A bit faster than marathon pace. Whoo hoo!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Calling All MCM Runners! And, a Hillish Night

Leave me a comment or drop me an e-mail if you are coming to D.C. for the main event, please. Bex and I need to put together the welcome committee; you know, hire the band, find a hall, dancing girls, etc. Either that, or a nice dinner on Friday night.


In other news:

Last night hills were on the menu. I ran the 1.75-ish miles to where the hill starts. I was really really sureas in positive— that this particular hill, at the base of Mass. Ave. and Little Falls Road, was 1/2 mile. Bex said to run it at a 10:20 pace. And what Bex wants, Bex gets.

So even I can do that math! The hill is 1/2 mile. Hence, my goal time was 5:10. My goal was to do five repeats. I left work around 7:00 p.m., trotted down to the hill, and the fun began. I ran my little fanny off. Up once, down once, blah blah, etc. This time I didn't stop between each repeat because, let's just get the job done, OK? No foolin' around.

I let myself stop for a quick drink after the second repeat, then while running up that hill for the fourth mind-numbing time, the bargaining started.
It's been at least three weeks since your last hill workout, and you did four then, so you should stay at four. Five is pushing it.

Then Bex was suddenly whispering in my ear:
It's SUPPOSED to be hard, dummy!

SO up I went for number five.

(God I'm good.)

Goal: 5:10

hill 1: 4:56
hill 2: 5:04
hill 3: 5:09
hill 4: 5:02
hill 5: 5:17

Oh boy was I feeling proud! I half-jogged/walked the way back to work, taking my good sweet time. By then it was dark.

At work, I just had to re-measure that hill. Because I never believe that I can actually do anything hard even remotely fast.

So at 9 p.m., I sat at my desk at work, dripping sweat, and measured. Over and over. Because, no, it's not 1/2 mile. It's .459 miles.

I should leave well enough alone.

On the other hand, eh, close enough.

In other, other news:

I officially start my vacation today. To kick it off, I'll be having this, and this done today. In about an hour.

And the rest of my vacation? I will spend at home, helping Number One Daughter get ready to go to Spain on August 30. Seven days from now. Spain. Across that giant ocean. Where she spends three weeks in orientation, learning Spanish, and then moves in with a Spanish family. Until December.

She's a lucky girl, and I'm a nervous mommy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I Fought the Law ...

... and you can guess who won.

No, not that law.

The The Law of Specificity. Which explains why you can swim a good distance at reasonable pace, but have trouble running, while you, on the other hand, can run "...three miles with no problem, but get out of breath after a few laps [in the pool]."

This Washington Post article explains it all:
When you practice a certain activity repeatedly, two key things happen: The primary muscles used in that task become more efficient at recruiting and using oxygen for the activity and (assuming your form progresses with practice) your mechanics often improve to the point where you are exerting less effort per stride, stroke, kick, racquet swing, mosquito slap, etc.
Foiled again.

There's more. Read and learn.


In other news, you all know by now that the Complete Running Network has been re-incarnated, born again, and reinvigorated. Go, win a prize. Oh and don't forget to read all the cool posts while you are there. This site seriously rocks. (And, in the interest of full disclosure, it's entirely possible that I am in some small way connected with it. Blush.)

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Of course, I ran the 18 miles today, and I'm glad I did. My serratus thing-y didn't bother me. Still sore, but not too bad.

So, I ran 18 miles!

Slowly. Not my best long run, but I got the job done.

In the interest of disclosing the good and the bad: It took 4 hours, 14 minutes.

That was a good 45 minutes over my anticipated time. I went out very very very slowly. I was running with a fellow who keeps a very steady, slow pace. Which is great for me. Unfortunately, he faded, and I slowed down to stay with him. (Am I saying this is his fault???? Nooooooooooo, most definitely not. It was my choice.)

Anyhoo, the turnaround was at 10.5 miles. I hung there for a good seven minutes (oh, if only I hadn't! I could have done 18 miles in four hours and SEVEN minutes!) Then ran back with my friend, Jen, who was running at a good clip. We made it to the 16-ish mile water stop (who knows what mile the water stop was at? Not the coaches!). I asked for directions back, and was told we should take a shortcut or else we'd be running 19 miles.

Wha...?? A shortcut???

OK, this was from the same coaches who sent an e-mail earlier in the week suggesting we bring money on our run so we could stop at Ben and Jerry's. Or Starbucks. Or go siteseeing. Or stop for brunch. (I only made up the last two suggestions. For real. I can show you the e-mail if you don't believe me.)

As if!

So, thanks, but first of all, I don't believe the route is 19 miles. And secondly, I ain't takin' no short cut! WTF????

Poor Jen. She had to hear me rant about that coach for the remaining miles. (It took 37 minutes. Was that two miles?? Not possible.)

The good news is I ran the entire way. And I ran—and felt—strong on the way back. And good thing we didn't take the shortcut. One woman who did (and who had a Garmin) said she ended up doing only 16 miles ... because of that coach. Grrr.

Whoo hooo! I'm learning to run, people. And despite all my moaning, I really do love these long runs.

I'm learning to run. And I'm learning that there's good, there's bad.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Win Fabulous Prizes!

Complete Running, offspring of our beloved blogfather and his trusty companion (and parents to the RBF) has undergone some big changes, to be revealed Monday, August 21. Stop by on Monday for the chance to win Fabulolus Prizes! Oh, and to see all the cool new stuff, too!

So if you haven't already, bookmark, blogline, or subscribe to
Complete Running now so you won't miss a thing.

Serratus Wha...?

Thanks for all the suggestions and help. RBF! Whoo!

So, I did nada last night. And it was good. Won't make for the most exciting post, but hey. I did no further damage. Went to bed early, with an ice pack strapped to my chest. Good thing I'm single, huh?

This morning, I can breathe, turn, move. Still some pain in my ... serratus anterior, but nothing like yesterday. (And yes, I diagnosed myself. As usual.)

So, I'll see how I feel tomorrow at 0400 hours, decision time for the 18-mile-run.

I usually consult my friendly neighborhood expert in equivocation (a statement that is not literally false but that cleverly avoids an unpleasant truth) before my longish runs, and it never fails that she comes up with a way to wrap my head around a long run so that it doesn't totally freak me out.

Today was no different. Here is how a. maria suggests I tackle tomorrow's 18-miler. Enjoy!:

18 miles.

well, there's the obvious breakup of 6, 6, 6... but since thats the number of the devil, i don't suggest it!!

here's what i'm thinking.

18 miles is rough, no matter how you dice it. so, to get a big chunk outta the way, and fast...

6. right outta the gate. a 10k. you've already established this is a good distance for you, and by the time you're done... you're 6 miles in.

then, 5 more miles puts you past half. 11 miles in... thats substantial. you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

so you want your last few mileages to be small.

say.... 4 miles? 3 miles?

so you break it up into 4 sections. 4 manageable sections... none of which have to do with the other...

horrible 5 mile run? SO WHAT!! you're not on that run anymore. now you've got a 4 miler. 4 miles.. 12 minute pace... 48 minutes of running...

please. money.

you start out with a 10k. something a little longer, but... its an 18 mile day, so... you gotta get distance in somewhere. and every next batch is shorter than the first.

and then, next thing you know, you're looking at a half hour of running (+) to finish you out for the day and then YOURE DONE!

bada bing bada boom. 18miler.

Little Miss a. maria never fails to bring it on home.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Oh, How the Mighty Tumble

Thanks for all the kudos, people. My high lasted oh, til around 7 p.m. last night. That's four whole days!!

Last night was a pace workout. One mile warmup, two miles at 10K (10:30ish) or faster pace, one mile easy, two more fast miles, one mile cooldown. Something like that.

So off I tottered.

In my new shoes.

Same make, Nike Pegasus, new model. Salesperson said: "Make sure you wear these around the house before you run in them."

Bah! What do salespeople know?

Around mile 2, I could feel a blister developing. In yet another place on my foot. I got one on Sunday but ran right through it, no problem. Last night's? Was like the bottom of my foot was on fire.

But wait! That's not all!

Somewhere around mile 1, my side started hurting. I thought it was a side stitch, so I did the breathing thing and ran thru it. Eventually it dawned on me: this was so not a side stitch. This was ... like a cracked rib! Or maybe a muscle pull.

Of course, a little pain and misery are to be expected on a pace run. So, I pushed through all of it, and did this:

11:01 (warm up)
9:53 (way faster than pace!)
10:08 (ditto!)
11:50 (easy mile)
10:30 (pace)
11:33 (supposed to be pace; not)
13:48 (cooooool down)

Limped back to office. Realized this side/back/front thing was really hurting. What is this?? I can't even google it. It has no name. But it woke me up several times during the night. I used a heating pad and ice. And ibuprofen.

So, I have an emergency foot doctor appointment today for the blister, because I am so sick of blisters! And because I have this little 18-miler coming up on Saturday. Which the resident office jock just told me I'd be "stupid" to attempt.


I didn't run this morning. I'm supposed to do Bikram tonight, but am debating the wisdom of that move. If this is a muscle pull, I'm afraid I'll do more damage by trying to stretch it, cuz RICE, right? Right now it hurts if I breathe in or out deeply. Or at all, actually. If I lean forwards or to the right, or try to stand up, ouchie.

I'm good if I sit still.

So, your thoughts? I can't see a sports doc this week. And I really think that would be a waste of time since I'm pretty sure it's a pull.

So, try the 18 miles? Go to Bikram tonight?

Cast your vote here.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

You Know How to Whistle, Don't You?*

This morning I ran the Leesburg 20k with (OK, far far behind) my good friend and highly unpaid coach Bex.

My goal for this race was to run it at marathon pace. According to Mr. McMillan, if I can run a 10k at 1:07, I should be able to run a marathon in 5:14, which is a 12:01 pace. But we all know he's insane. So instead, last night, I ran all the numbers backwards, and found that for a 5:30 marathon (my goal), my pace should be 12:36 min miles. (It's fun playing with numbers! Try it!)

It was a gorgeous fall-like day out. I got to the site at 6 a.m., a wee bit early for a 7:30 start. But no lines at the portapotty.

The course was an out-and-back thru downtown Leesburg, Virginia, (a lovely historic D.C. bedroom community surrounded by farmland which is quickly being taken over by big bad and ugly developments) and then onto the W&OD trail, which was beautiful, and shady. It was 64 degrees F, and 64 percent humidity. It doesn't get much better than that, people.

Here's what the W&OD trail looks like:

It's positively bucolic. We ran past horse farms, and a few cows.

So, here I was, planning on running 12:10 min. miles for the first half and then maybe speeding up to 11:50 min. miles the second half. Hope springs eternal!

I started out running with a girl who was going my pace—slow—but who was huffing and puffing by mile two. I knew that today I wanted to run my own race, so I said goodbye, and ran off to see what I could do.

And here's what I did:
1: 11:46
2: 12:14
3: 12:04
4: 12:12
5: 11:52
6: 10:49 (whoa)
7: 11:27
8: 11:39
9: 10:11 (more whoa)
10: 10:34 (all right!)
11: 10:11 (ditto)
12: 10:09 (excellente!)
.4: 4:28 (um, .4?? Who knew?)

Total: 2:19:41 (11:14/mile)

(By the way, does everyone but me know that a 20k is 12.4 miles, not 12.2?? Wacky metric system.)

Maybe it was the fallish weather? Or the fact that the course was slightly uphill out and slightly downhill back (except for one big mother hill at mile 7)? (Or that I'm an exceptionally talented and fast runner?) I dunno. I just know at one point I noticed a 10:11 min. mile and said to myself, Self? You are running your 5k pace after running for eight miles. At the end, I knew I could have gone farther.

I made my grande finale to find Number One Daughter and her BF and Bex and a friend, P., all waiting. (Bex had an awesome run, but I'll let her tell you about it. Let's just say she had to hang around for a good long while to see me.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I came in 20/22 in my age group.


I don't care.

This race was a much-needed confidence booster. Now I know I can do this for 12.4 miles, but do I know how to do it for 26.2?

*Sure, you know. You just put your lips together and ... blow.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thanks to You

jeff (that party-pooper!) wants us to think of things to be grateful for.

After the fearsome eight miles on the treadmill on Tuesday morning, I was truly wiped out. All day Tuesday, and all day Wednesday. Someone at work asked me on Wednesday morning what happened to me the night before? (A pleasant good morning to you, too!) Which was funny, since my torture session was Tuesday morning, not night. Apparently, I didn't look so hot.

So for once I listened to my body, skipped the track, and went home and slept. This morning I got up, and as usual, thought that my running days were over because I had skipped a workout. As in I thought: you will never run again. (Yes, Craig: Running Is Mental.)

I decided to go out nice and easy and try, try, try to just enjoy it, for God's sake, and screw the time. I ran four miles (brain to jeanne: you can't run four miles!) very s-l-o-w-l-y. It was early a.m., coolish, and a soft drizzle began.

I'd have to have been dead not to have loved being out on the trail in those conditions.

So let's roll back 'round to jeff. I remembered this morning to be thankful that I can run, walk, move, at any speed, because it makes no difference whether I'm fast or slow. I'm moving. And I'm gonna keep moving.

So there.

Then I went to Bikram tonight and wanted to upchuck.

Just so we keep things in perspective.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

There Is No Such Thing as Catching Up

Let's face it. In this world, once you've fallen behind, (kinda like in a race!), you're toast.

So, where were we?

Ah, yes, I was Very Upset at not being able to do a track workout last Wednesday night. But never fear: Of course I did it anyway! (What kind of hack do you take me for??) I borrowed a watch and did it on the treadmill at work. I did the very fearsome 4x1600 with 400 recovery, and I did it like this:

10:00, 9:50, 9:31 (meaning, I kept upping the speed for the last mile).
whoo hoo!

It felt good. I seem to actually like track workouts. Who knew?

Saturday was 10.48 miles; a step-back week, through lovely Rock Creek Park. (It was supposed to be only 10 miles. Someone lied to me, which, as you know, I always appreciate.) I did it at marathon pace, which for me is around 12:10 minute miles, and sped up at the end again. A really good hard run. (For me. At that pace. For that distance.)

And Monday was spinning.

And that brings us to today, Tuesday. When eight miles was on the schedule. How do people get in eight miles before work?? HOW?? Last night the air was impossibly thick and humid. I was afraid to go back out there this morning. So, I decided to get up at 5:30, get to work and run my eight miles there on the treadmill, since my last encounter with it went so well.

See, I forgot: I hate and detest the treadmill.

It was miserable. My pace was all over the place, topped off with a 14 min mile. (In the middle though, was a lovely 10:30 min mile! Maybe more than one!) See, because I hate the treadmill so much, I try to keep going faster on it so that the horror will end sooner.

On the plus side, I realized that I really need a point to every run. Like is it a tempo? A pace run? What?? What am I trying to do here with these eight miles? I had no idea.

It was not a winning strategy on that evil machine.

There, now we're all caught up. Or rather, now I've caught all you (all one of you) up.

So far, by the way, the no TV thing is going great! As is the no reading blogs at work!

So, I have no idea what anyone is doing, and now I have to go to bed!

Stop the insanity.

(I miss Stephen Colbert. I miss him Truly, Madly, Deeply.)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Do You Ever Feel ...

... that no matter what you are doing at any particular time, you should be doing something else?

I am having trouble prioritizing, people.

It's Sunday, and there's a big fat ol' newspaper sitting on the coffee table, just begging me...

Then, I'm trying to finish up a little bit of freelance work that's due tomorrow.

Of course, there's always blogging ... but forget that, there's reading blogs, and that, my friends, is a full-time job. At which I am currently sucking.

Then, there's that phone call to the elderly 'rents that I have put off making for far too long. Not to mention phone calls to friends who have no doubt given up on my being alive. If they are still speaking to me.

E-mails to reply to. E-mails to generate.

Plus books to be read! More things to write! Training! And let's not forget actually working while I'm at work. And groceries to buy, cleaning, laundry!

I don't know how people do this. It's spinning outta control over here at whine-o-matic headquarters.

I decided this morning to see if I can go an entire week without reading non-work-related blogs while at work. (Not that I ever do that, mind you. Just sayin'...) I need to give up tv completely, which shouldn't be hard since I barely watch any as it is, so already I can't relate to any Sex in the City, or Desperate Housewives, or Idol, or Runway convos, though I do have a Colbert jones that needs feeding. (And Masterpiece Theater. But that's only on Sunday nights. Surely I get Sunday nights!)

Of course, I found time to write this brilliant post. But I should have been doing something else. Which is in fact, the story of my life.

Whoops, time to take my chill pill.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Bob beat me to it, reporting on his ridiculously low heart rate which he took while at his desk. After coffee and after annoying phone calls.

Well, here's one number I can beat. (Come on, let me be better at something. Please.)

My heart rate, taken last Wednesday at my doctor's office (way more official!) came in at ... 42 bpm !!! (Wait ... am I even alive??) Apparently, I am alive. I mentioned (read=bragged) about this to Number One Daughter's insanely in-shape-bound-for-the-Olympics bf, and he scoffed. "Not possible," said he. His heartrate isn't that low, how could mine possibly be??

Good question. I've always had low blood pressure. And even when out of shape, a low heart rate. But 42!!!

And the fun didn't stop there.

I've also apparently grown taller. At my last doctor's appointment, approximately two years ago, I checked in at 5'8 1/2". Which was maddening, since I've always been 5'9". My whole life. I'm not ready to start shrinking yet.

But last week? I was 5'9 1/4"!!! I get to weigh more now!! I mean: I get to not have osteoporosis!!

I totally attribute my restored height to evil Bikram yoga.

And while we're on the subject of numbers: my watch died. My favorite Ironman Triathlon Timex watch, with it's ITS antiquated functions of keeping track of splits and timing and cool stuff. It's officially a goner.

Which meant, on yesterday's six-mile run, I had no idea how fast/slow I was going. So, I just made something up for my running log. Something conservative. Very conservative.

Tonight's track workout is in grave jeopardy if I don't find a way to get a watch. Which would be a dirty shame, since the "realfeel" temp will be (here's another number): 101 degrees F.

I'm very upset about missing a track workout. Very. Upset.