Day 33: Oreos and Milk and Ryan Adams

Today was one of those days that clicked along happily, no sharp points or draggy lows. I love days like today.

On my run (a mellow, untimed 5.6 miles) I went into the happy zone too, accompanied by Rocco and the magic iPod, some perfect weather, and a bit of self-generated mojo based on reframing any possible excuses to not run. Go me! My thoughts were kind of like this:

I love running.
I love the way I feel right this second, strong and powerful.
I love Tom Petty. Grateful for so many songs, but especially, “Wildflowers.” And the entire album, but especially “Wildflowers” because it is my personal anthem.
I love watching Rocco run. I miss that Duke cannot anymore.
I love the smell of the magnolia trees on the path.
I love that my braided pony tail is drenched with sweat all the way through.
I love catching the hot dads checking me out.
I love Oreos and milk, today’s pre-run snack.
And I so love that this little Ryan Adams video is what started my morning with that dash of perfection. Click it and watch it and love and warm fuzzies will beam out of you because that is the only response that fits.

Sweet dreams.

Day 34: Long-ish Run, Feeling Better-ish

After using up all my adrenaline watching the Women’s World Cup Final (Team USA lost in a nail-biter to Japan on penalty kicks), I had to use my intended long run for comfort instead of celebration.    And long runs are not necessarily comforting, especially since it is the first “real” one of this training schedule I have concocted.    I had two fantastic 4.75 mile runs with Rocco earlier in the week, and I have actually done a stretch here and there as opposed to my usual zilcho, so I was actually looking forward to doing seven miles.

Here is what “happened,” with explanations and disclaimers after the pic.

Look for the little grey dots for the "pauses" and that's where I made up the .26!

Although the GPS does not lie, it also does not record when I pause the program, and so when I factor back in the paused distances, I did actually run an additional quarter mile, so my total was 6.0 miles.  Whew.  That means only a mile short of the day’s goal, and that is okay with me.  Also, when I paused, I was fumbling around trying to figure out my route, because after mile three I decided to change it up and run toward a path I’ve never been on and so, had to stop for directions so to speak.  That added several minutes on to my split times, so I am thinking I was more like 10:30 per minute.  (I had a slight hangover to contend with too, damn you tequila, yet so delicious.)

On the asthma front, I am no longer in denial of needing the daily medication and have noticed my breath stays calmer longer throughout a run.  Fitness will still help me, so mileage is on the rise until the week before to get stronger.

The two earlier runs this week resulted in a creative breakthrough  too.  Am excitedly drafting a new project and will share soon!

AFC Half Day 46: Running Metaphors Collide

Get your ass in gear sugarleg!

With less than seven weeks to go to the AFC Half, I am well aware that I am under-trained at this point, yet my stubborn resistance to get my workouts higher on my priority list is all vintage procrastination.  I really do place much of the blame this time on the Boredom Factor,  but even that just gets to be a really lame excuse when there is a goal to be attained.  At least now that I let myself admit how much the work situation has affected me, I can move past it.  And there is no better way to do that than to run.

In a moment of to-do list drafting I came upon a wonderful Lewis Carroll quote from Through The Looking-Glass.  It is from the Red Queen to Alice as they are playing chess.  I will not go further into English teacher context shrouded quote explication mode, but since it is important to me to know something about the context of a quote before applying it to my life, I can affirm that my small amount of research allowed me to keep this one around for enjoyment and inspiration.  It goes like this:

Now, here you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.  If you want to get somewhere else, you must at least run twice as fast as that!

I feel totally validated by the notion that when we are stuck, we are also running.  But it is running in place, running in fear of change, in that hamster wheel that just keeps spinning, but going nowhere.   I liken this to my Boredom Factor and that I got stuck because I got lulled into being complacent through a false sense of security.  Obviously I am dealing with some business-related factors that I must wait out, but big picture, this is not the right place for me to be working or perhaps even living.  So, guess what?  Time to run FASTER, twice as fast in fact!  I need to meet or exceed my time goal in the half-marathon in August and I need to way exceed even my greatest imagination of the perfect job that aligns my talent and skill.  It is out there, and I am coming to get it, and soon.  For all the naysayers and the haste makes wasters out there, yes, I agree with you on rushing-is-bad theory, but that’s not what I am doing.  This increase in speed is actually an increase in awareness AND action, and that is what I have been lacking.

Here is a hamster who speeds himself up fast enough to get flipped out of his wheel.  Don’t go and over-think it my human friends, yes, he goes back for more, because he is a hamster with a brain the size of pea.  But see that speeding it up definitely does work to gain some perspective.  (Also, how great is this video?)

AFC Half Day 62: Mojo Rising

Ahhhh, thank you SUMMER!!  With the arrival of weather that is actually above 70 degrees and for more than one day in a row, I finally basked in the joy of an intensely awesome sweaty workout, pranced around in my cutoffs and bikini top while watering the flowerpots and drinking a near frozen cold beer, and have gotten eaten alive by mosquitoes.  I’ll take it!

I have also released my denial that Duke can no longer go  on runs with me, so I have adjusted our schedule accordingly.  Tonight, I got changed into exercise clothes and trail runners, rolled my sore hammies out on the foam roller, then the three of us did this:

The nightly walk through Cutesville still counts as mileage.

After a quick pit stop at home and settling the boys in to rest, I grabbed my water belt with phone and headed back up the mountain with the goal of doing five miles total in an out-and-back.  It was gorgeous and clear, no wind, dry, and the sun with a few hours to go before retiring after its near longest day.  As I made my way up the first ascent to get to the trail, I realized the previous two days of hiking were having an extended hangover in my glutes.  (The first ascent is no joke.  If you are familiar with hills in San Francisco, it’s steeper than Fillmore Street where there are STAIRS to help pedestrians navigate the incline.)  Well good, I thought, it’s about damn time my backside learned to increase its tolerance for exercise.  And there are those short-shorts to contend with.

Once on the ridge line, I settled into a nice pace of running the flats and downs and marching the ups.  I did not bring music because I find that I prefer to listen to nature and it forces me to really focus on my alignment and pace.  I am irrationally terrified that I will fall and break things, so I am intent on picking a good line to run and to watch where I am putting my feet amongst the gravel and crags.  Although slightly OCD, I find that I can zero in on each muscle group, each twinge, my breath and then make adjustments as necessary.  Realizing you are not using your abs and then suddenly engaging them is like having a stash of turbo power under your cape.

The sunset turned to twilight, so I took off my hat and stayed at pace, thankful that I did not need my inhaler I forgot.  (Oops.  Not so smart.)  As I descended and the first hill became the last, I took out my phone to check the RunKeeper and was stoked to find that what I thought was five miles by my time and pace was actually five miles.  Having the connection between your body and the distance you cover on the ground is invigorating.

Part II of the workout is below.  Tomorrow, a walk, the roller and pushups.  God I hate pushups.

Staying Out of Palookaville

I have officially hit the wall, fell into a slump, plateaued… whatever metaphorical cliche works for you, I am there with my training.  And I HATE it.  I hate being out of sync with my run routine, but I suppose the good news is that I am fully aware of it and after only about four-ish days of feeling particularly perplexed,  I am ready to fix it.  During the four-ish days of fitful reflection I realized a number of things that are different now than they were last time I trained for the America’s Finest City Half Marathon in 2009.   I have nearly arrived at Solution Station, here’s a travelog of my wanderings along the Training Trek.

Distraction Town
This little enclave is both seductive and dismissive.  Being busy with a fundamental responsibility like work did have me disciplined and on schedule.  Big flurries of action this spring with my company left me no room for error and required heightened discretion.  Running kept me focused.  But then, once the deal was done, Distraction Town beckoned.  All of the sudden I could talk, and so I caught up on all the socializing and silliness I was semi-avoiding due to the work project.  But Distraction Town has a Wrong Side of the Tracks too, and that is where I found myself when my old car was diagnosed with certain death.  I had to pull it together and concoct a new transportation plan out of thin air, and running time got used to accomplish this.  It’s weird here, because everything else gets done: chores, hosting visitors, road trips, spring flower planting, cooking… it was just the running that got moved lower on the list.

Dogburbs
The Dogburbs are sprawling and ephemeral.  One issue leads to another to another to another and before you know it you have driven past  the same vet clinic about 400 times, but you still might have to go back tomorrow.  This is a place about which I have lingering denial.  It is inevitable that you arrive in the Dogburbs at around nine canine years, but you still think you are cool and hip and that a seven year old dog is not that much different.  Well, yes, in fact there is a huge difference out there in the Dogburbs, especially when one of your pooches has some health issues and simply cannot run as fast or far no matter how much you coax or cajole him, and that vet and all her damn tests and follow-ups to get the meds just right are the new normal.  Here’s to hoping the meds are now right, his arthritis pain subsides, and that I can figure out a new normal schedule for me to run my needed miles at the correct pace and that they get their exercise too.  Running without them makes my eyes sting and my heart hurt.  The Dogburbs can kill your spirit just a little, mostly because there is a furball of mortality staring you right in the face with big brown eyes, only you’re the only one who knows it.

Lazyburg
When the distractions and dogs are done with me, my next stop is usually Lazyburg.  Here in Lazyburg good bad-TV is always on, the weather sucks, all your peeps are otherwise engaged, but really, who cares?!  Lazyburg loves me and sent my ginormous couch to give me a huge, cozy hug.  Since the casita is clean and there’s tons of delicious food in the fridge, and the dogs seem fine to just sleep at my feet, why leave?!  Oh Lazyburg, stop being so charming.  Because you’re not.  You’re actually a bore and I am over you.  Time to move on.

I am relieved to be close to Solution Station, and also know with certitude* I will be back for visits to the other locales.  For now though, I am going to try to start small, with something resembling a schedule, and working backwards, I am going to start with sleeping more.  (This roughly translates into going to bed earlier on school nights.)  The first pass at my training re-org looks something like this:

  • Sleep more.
  • Eat less sugar AKA step back from the vending machine and candy bowls at work.
  • Pay attention to meals/snacks as fuel.
  • Possibly do two-a-days.  Run in morning, walk dogs and strength/stretch in evening.
  • Consider Crossfit… maybe…  remember, I did say consider.
  • Be disciplined.
  • Have fun.

No palookas here!

*ew.