Day 21: A Good, Long Run

Today was long run day, and since I have been worrying about being under-trained, I was nervous that I would break down at mile five of my intended nine miles.  I have also been having some problems with my asthma, but instead of going with the sure to fail treatment plan of “Ignore It!” I called my doctor BEFORE I went into full blown post run attack, and he tweaked my medication schedule. Rather than admitting defeat based on having a chronic, incurable condition, yet one that has excellent management options, I took the increased meds and ran with full, calm breath.  I also hydrated and fueled up properly (man, I love my friends… such great cooks, what a beautiful, delicious Saturday night meal) and even had some wine and chocolate and ice cream and popcorn etc., etc.  Finally, I squelched the normally powerful Voice of Laziness and got out there for some mileage.

I expected to go into thought mode, but this was a much more physically present run.  Apparently I needed to be making connections to body signals more than emotions, and I embraced that fully.  My last race in December was a let down for me because I was denying the body connections even though all the signals were there.  I was not training hard enough so normal soreness was giving way to bad soreness; constant coughing was dismissed as weakness not a scary asthma attack; bad weather was an easy scapegoat to avoid another run.  As a result, I overdid it on race day, and came up badly injured.

Unlike last fall, for the past week and today for sure, I did everything right and even had drinks and snacks waiting for me in the car when I finished.  It seems obvious and almost trite to be reporting that I drank water (omg no way!) after running nearly 10 miles, but once again, running puts into stark reality the importance of self-care, the learning curve of which I have been on the steep side.  Had I rushed to the trail and left the drinks behind, I would have missed the emotional high of finishing well and instead started blaming myself for being so stupid as to just get out the door.  It’s pretty exhilarating to accept your own best help.  Now I have something left for everyone else.

Tomorrow, an update on this documentary I saw tonight.  Excellent.

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 57: A La Vey Altitude

Eeeeeeeeeee holay.  It is hotter than hell this afternoon, but I am proud to report that I hiked six miles in under two hours starting at 7,000′ feet, ascending an additional 1,700 along the way, and did not have an asthma attack.  (Pace is definitely slower, see below, but that is because of the altitude, hello, that shiz is intense!)  I then put away a very large plate of huevos rancheros, beans, and bacon followed with a nap back at the house.  Whew!

I am in New Mexico visiting my mom and many dear old friends on a totally last minute and way toooooooo short of a trip, but good for my soul just the same.  Work has been egregiously boring and I am not one who believes that boredom is a state that any human is allowed to claim as valid.  I associate it with whining, entitlement, lack of imagination, and immaturity.  Or spoiled children.  This is the first time I have understood it to be an actual predicament that is valid, and that it is perhaps, evil.

This all started because my company is in the middle of a merger.  We are expected to continue on with business as usual, not to mention, we need to be employed by our company at the time the deal is approved to receive our stock buyouts and severance packages.  The deal will be approved… um, well, sometime before the end of the year we think?  In my particular position the work flow has slowed to a trickle.  And I have run out of things to invent to do, and I have to seem like I have something to do, and so what was a simple twinge of boredom that I could readily put out of its misery compounded into a funk tinged malaise.  Making the decision to go out of town for 3.33 days on a plane to a tourist town in late June two days prior to departing seemed insane until it simply wasn’t   All the pieces came together as if I was the honored guest at the party of the year.

The boredom factor is real though, and it is not only knocking me off track at my present job, it has hindered my ability to focus on the future and what I want to do next/for real/finally achieve passion-work balance.  (I must also report that the first call I made two months ago when the deal was announced was to my recruiter, who congratulated me on being part of a company that will actually pay out its stock AND reassured me the market is good and could get me a job tomorrow.  Another whew!)  I tried to focus on that on my hike today and some clarity towards an action plan did come.  Naturally, it turns out I have to start with some gold medal networking, so thank goodness people do tend to like me a lot because I am going to be up on them next week.

Fan-tastic new dress for tonight!  And wearing mom’s turquoise!

And stats are below.

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.

AFC Half Day 63: Higher Gear

I love a good string of cuss words, especially used for self-motivation.  When I confidently declare, “I’m not here to f*cking f*ck around,”  you best not mess with me.  With the race date fast approaching, and my training woefully behind schedule, and understanding that is was ME instigating eight other friends to do the race together, it was painfully obvious that I needed to get my crap together and stop being so flummoxed by the bad weather, my dogs’ aging, general angst/distraction about what is next for me, or just good old fashioned procrastination.  I knew it was time to get my ass up the hill on a hike, since I knew I was not ready for any run over five miles but needed a good strong workout.  Plus, I had to get on with my day with the family, and make it to my bikini wax appointment on time.  Priorities!

Above is the RunKeeper synopsis of my workout.  RunKeeper is a free iPhone (and now, Android) app which uses GPS tracking to compile your mileage and, bonus, your elevation if hiking.  You create a profile with all your stats and what activities you do and can then share it all on Facebook or within the RunKeeper network.  I do not use any app that posts my GPS whereabouts publicly, so I just use it for my own stats analysis in the private profile format.  I am also wary of bringing my iPhone which is made of GLASS on a run with me, so hiking is the perfect place to use this.  My water belt has a  pouch that holds the phone nicely, so I feel more comfortable that I am not jostling the glass all over the place on a long run.

Today’s workout was exactly what I wanted to get done in less than an hour.  The climb is steep and strenuous and the ridge line allows for steep ups and downs to challenge a whole body workout.  Now I know exactly what the three mile course looks like and when I go up the hill again and longer, I will mark that too.  And killing 500 calories in 50 minutes is always a bonus, hooray hiking!  Because, as I say, I’m not here to f*cking f*ck around.


It’s serious now folks: I am signed up for TWO events this summer and have tricked inspired several dear college girl friends into running in one of them with me!   Oh, and I have decided to give myself a time goal <gulp> of two hours or less.  The pressure!  (Because without it, I will be lazy in training and then overdo it on race day and hurt myself again.  That is a lesson I only need to learn once.)  And the timing could not be better for all this exercise with bikini season looming.  I have in fact been accused of blatant bikini cruising with these very ladies…

Stay tuned, lots of fun tales to come of all the training going on right now, and I will share as much as my gals let me.

Overdone With No Run

It has been close to two weeks since the North Face Endurance Challenge half, and I have not run or written.  Boo.  And today, as a result, my attitude totally fucking sucks.  Yeah, no bleep on that one, that’s how pissy I am.

Besides the luxury problems that having so many to see, so much to eat and drink, and just so much to do create (namely some scheduling glitches and a lack of sleep), I have a real problem: I injured the hell out of my foot during the race.  Remember all those tossed off comments about not being really totally 100% prepared for this event?  Yeah, that was not fake modesty, I was undertrained.  However, like most amateur athletes, we run at race pace ANYway, and then wake up the next day unable to put weight on our left foot.  Ouch.  I have been limping since December 6th.

Since I am a generally healthy person, getting hurt or being sore or sick throws me out of whack in a way that I think others don’t experience.  I turn into a sensitive, distracted, pitiful mess.  The whining inside my head sounds like a daycare filled with fussy toddlers right before nap time.  I too am  mere milliseconds away from total tantrum meltdown, only it would be socially unacceptable for a grown woman to react this way to an actually quite manageable malady.  That I did to myself.  <Ahem>.

This brings me right back to the beginning of the problem that if I cannot run (due to self inflicted injury), then I write less, then I get all jammed up and systems start to shut down, and here I find myself falling off the cliff of oversleeping my alarms (yes, plural), forgetting to make or return calls/emails/txts/IMs, obsessing over shit I can’t control, not drinking enough water, eating way too much sugar, losing my ability to creatively solve problems (and my problems need energetic genius!), not to mention a diminished fashion sense which is also a self-fulfilling and downward spiral to Hagsville, and down and down I fall until I splat into a puff of smoke at the bottom of the canyon.  Here’s where I hold up the sign that says, “Okay, I get it.”

First, I need sleep.  Then, even though it is unaccounted for in my budget, I need to make another appointment with the A.R.T. therapist, because it is magic and I know, will indeed help my foot heal.  Then, more sleep, and then a really good conversation with my attorney (which is unrelated to the injury, ha).

And eventually, a run.  I am even willing to let it be a hike.  That would make me feel best of all.