November 2005 Archives

Watch out, Woman running!

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Made it out to Swan and back on the River Path, woo hoo! I did it in 11:34/mile, which is quick for me, yay! Plus I had a negative split - 44:36 vs. 42:05 for a distance of about 3.75 miles. Alright!!! Another thing I've decided to chart is my weight, before and after runs. Today, I was 140 pre-run, and 137 post-run (with clothes - generally I weigh myself sans clothes, but it was too cold today). So I lost three pounds on the run. I know I should try to make sure my weight stays the same before and after. I'm new at this, and am trying to figure out the significance of losing three pounds...hmm...any insight appreciated!

I've read that women runners often get their monthly visitor during a run or race, and sho'nuff, I'm three days early - and was unprepared on the run. As I've referenced before, I've decided that epic training runs are par for the course! So "epic" may mean different things for different training runs, and today's version of "epic" has to do with being a woman runner...

Any other women runners out there with "epic" runs/races? What's your story?

Lunchtime Training

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I've got to get out some time! Paki and I both have been dying to get out together for a run during the week, but it's too cold for her in the morning, and she works a second job, making it hard to us to hook up and get out. So we decided to run at lunch today, since we work at the same place. Noon hit, we quickly changed, and headed out and about for a convoluted, candy-cane out-and-back that ended up totally 2.3 miles (I checked on my way home from work). Done in 26 minutes, so about 11:18/mile - not bad at all. We had a lot of fun, revved-up metabolism for the afternoon and got in our run. Yay!

Going for an 8-mile run on the river path tomorrow, so I'll get my 10 miles for the Monday through Friday portion of the week. Got my "race" with my mom on Saturday, and 13-15 mile scouting/clearing run on Sunday - will hit my needed mileage of about 26.5 miles, woo hoo!

(Ankles are hurting a little, will ice tonight. Should be fine tomorrow. Ate better tonight - no ice cream! Large bowl of Barbara's Shredded Spoonfuls [like LIFE, but healthier], with non-fat milk. Yummy. Healthy. Good job!)

Cute pic of Beautiful, our cat, totally conked out on an equally conked out me last night (after all that yummy ice cream...mmm...) Please forgive the 80s glasses (my "nighttime" glasses as my mom calls them). Yes, I had a pair just like them in 1989. After breaking my glasses (see One-eyed Runner) I am stuck with these.


Uhhh...sure ice cream's nutritious!

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As Johnny comes home from his run on the river path and mixes up his nutritious, healthy protein/electrolyte drink, I am sitting on the floor in front of the TV watching Monday Night Football (go Steelers!) and gloriously wallowing in fat-free mint chocolate chip brownies smothered in low-fat French silk ice cream and topped with fat-free cool whip...mmmmmm......after eating a low-fat slice of pepperoni pizza......mmmmm........

Got to Run the Pemberton Trail!

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Ash's Portrait of Mama Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a happy holiday, doing whatever makes you thankful and joyful. (Which was...?)

To be thankful and joyful this holiday, I chose to do one loop (15.4 miles) of the Pemberton trail - to prepare for my big race. How exciting!

On Thanksgiving proper, Ash and I made fat-free blueberry muffins while Johnny slept in, then we went to Johnny's family's house for dinner. Ash was sad that his cousins weren't there to play with this year (they moved to Michigan in September), and John's dad wasn't there this year (he was in Kentucky). But overall, we had fun. Plus, Johnny's mom wanted to have Ash over for pajama party, which meant Johnny and I got to go watch Harry Potter - in the actual movie theater! - Thursday night.

Friday morning, Johnny and I packed up and had major drama over how we wanted to attempt getting the trail run in up at Pemberton, and still make it to my Mom's house in Mesa in time enough for Ash's bedtime (7 p.m.). By the time we picked Ash up at 11 a.m., we were way behind schedule - the trail is up in Fountain Hills, an hour beyond my Mom's house, and three hours from home. Yikes!

We finally made it up, by 2 p.m. Ash had only a short, fitful nap, and I decided it was too late for me to make the entire 15.4 miles before dark. I'm too slow! Plus, I'd have to run by myself (I'm a scaredy-cat), and Ash would stay up way past his bedtime. No good all around.

After using the restroom and taking a few deep breaths, I decided that epic training runs were par for the course, and therefore I would run the entire loop. We decided that I would start in one direction, and Johnny and Ash would start in the other direction. Once the sun starting setting, Johnny would pick up speed to make sure he met me before it got dark.

I headed out at 2:25. After stopping to tie my shoes a little tighter, I settled into an easy jog. I made it through the first flat-to-downhill mile in 13:42, not a bad pace. Not too fast, not too slow. The trail turned out and away from the broad, gentle wash, and began climbing the bluffs to a hot ridge above the wash. I had to walk most of this long section of trail - it was very warm, and mostly uphill. The afternoon sun shining through the grasses, which were waving in the breeze between the giant saguaros, was brilliant and put me at ease. I felt so at home out there, the opposite of the fear I usually feel. I could make out a granite rubble of a hill to my left, but the sun was directly above it, and I could not see detail. I look forward to experiencing it on the morning of my race - I think it will be beautiful.

I finally made it to the end of the ridge, and began a small descent. At this point, I experimented with standing up to relieve myself - I had heard of many women doing this on ultra-runs, and thought it made sense. I am glad to announce that it worked well :)

At this point, the trail began it's roller-coaster ride through rolling terrain. I was beginning to get nervous, wondering where the next trail junction was. I had been out for about 5 miles, and knew the next junction should appear soon. I noticed a cool rock knob in the distance, and hoped the trail would go near it. I thought about how cool it was that I knew I would be out for a long distance, much longer than usual (in the past), and that it was possible that the trail would go near that rock knob. That idea was so cool to me - I'm so un-used to doing distances like this!

As became the norm for this trip, I ran into two bicyclists and a trail junction - there wasn't a trail junction without a bicycle or two! Whew, I was relieved to hit it. I was one-third of the way done.

The middle third was a gorgeous cross-country ramble up and down hills, through rock gardens and cool washes. After passing the rock knob, the trail wound it's way up through two grassy knolls, and down the backside to another wash. A roller coaster trail - just way too much fun. The sun fell behind light clouds (clouds in the desert, what a novelty!), finally causing a cooling.

The trail hit the upper boundary of the park, creating a half-mile of boring, straight, flat, wide service road running. Yuck. I hit the 9-mile mark, the point where I turned and began the final third. I looked at my watch and did the math - if I could average 13.5-minute miles for the last 6.4 miles, I would make it back to the car by 6 p.m. - not bad! I decided to try. As soon as I decided to do that, I ran into Johnny and Ash!

They were having a blast. Ash had hiked for part of it, and the rest he did in the backpack on Johnny's back. Johnny thought I would walk back with them, and was surprised and a little hurt when I wanted to keep running - he wanted to be a family! He decided to try jogging with me - yes, with Ash and 2 liters of water on his back. He did well, and Ash did relatively well (I don't think he likes the jiggling of jogging on Daddy's back!), until Ash decided he wanted stop and look for animals. He was very loudly persistent. I finally decided that being with my family was more important than making my time for the trip, plus I figured that the sun was already setting, and there was no way I'd make it back before dark - and there was no way I was running by myself in the dark! So I was stuck with a poor time. Oh, well.

Once Ash felt better, he started running down the trail, then decided he wanted to be in the backpack again. Johnny decided he definitely wanted to jog with me, and said he wasn't hurting himself, so I said, "Awesome, let's run!" I made sure Johnny went first, so I wouldn't run too fast and have him hurt himself.

Well, putting him first wasn't necessarily the best thing to do. He took off. I couldn't keep up with him! He decided his natural gait kept the backpack moving the smoothest, and felt best for him and Ash. The last 4ish miles passed in an ever-darkening blur of Ash talking about night-time animals, and me attempting to keep up with Johnny. My glutes were yelling at me with every step, and my knees were groaning. It was mostly downhill, but I was breathing hard. Finally, I made Johnny slow down, then I went first. By then, it was totally dark, and I was sloshing all over the trail, trying my darndest to stay upright. I was literally moaning with every exhale, and finally popped out at the trailhead - at 6:16 p.m.!!!!!

Even with slowing and stopping with my family, I completed the 15.4 miles in under four hours - in 3:51 to be exact. WOW! If I am going to complete the race in the 8-hour cutoff time, I need to complete the first loop in under 4 hours (I'm aiming for 3.5 hours). So this was a great training run!

We were a little freaked out - our headlights were on. We didn't know if someone was breaking into our car or what. Johnny cautiously approached the car with the keys, and activated the alarm. Turns out Ash must have turned the lights on when he was playing in the car prior to his hike! Too funny.

Enjoyed an Arby's Beef-n-Cheddar sandwhich and French fries on the way to my mom's house - gallbladder be damned. It tasted so incredibly delicious. There's nothing like cheesy, salty beef and fried potatoes. Thankfully, I had taken care of my gallbladder in the last two weeks, so that this over-indulgence did not keep me awake that night. Whew!

Had fun on Saturday with my family, and enjoyed football and fall-cleaning the closets today - got rid of four garbage bags to charity, six to the dumpster and two will be going to the local used bookstore as trade. Woo hoo! Also got my damn haircut fixed, finally! It had been KILLING me this week.

And - to top my wonderful holiday weekend off - I am not very sore from my long run, woo hoo! I love feeling my fitness improve! Just my shoulders are sore this time around, and not too bad...

Yay!

I was hardly sore after my last long run (yay!) and was ready to head back out. Tuesday morning, I was supposed to meet Barbara on the river path, but we missed each other. I was running back and forth on the section I thought she'd come from, while she was running back and forth on the section she thought I'd come from. We both waited for 15 minutes before we took off - she to do the planned 8-mile run, me to go get an extra hour of sleep (much needed). Darn it!

Tuesday night, I went to the community college's track - my first time on a track in 13 years. (The last time was when I was a freshman in high school, and hated running. I did manage to run one mile twice, once in 9:15, once in 9:25 - so I guess those are actually my PRs for one mile...huh. I was faster in high school when I was out of shape and starving myself. Interesting.) Okay, anyway, I finally managed to get out with Paki, my training partner from this summer. We did three miles at dusk - 3 glorious, conversation-filled, 3-minute-lap miles. Okay, so it was slower than I wanted - I was out of breath pretty much the whole time - but we were talking the whole time. So much fun, and so needed. Then we both went our separate ways - to shop at the same grocery store on the way home! (We live right around the corner from each other.) Good, soul-fulfilling, easy training run.

Tonight, I managed to convince Johnny and Ash to come out with me. I thought a run at Sabino Canyon would be a fun way to kick off the holiday - and I've got to come up with 24 miles this week! I convinced Ash to go by telling him we could bring a flashlight and look for night animals, a la Blue's Clues. He dug that, and got ready quickly, easily and with minimal fuss (extremely unusual). We headed out, and my first mile was slow. The second mile was full of unplanned stops - Ash needed the windshield on his stroller, I needed to take off my hat, etc. I had planned on doing 6 miles, but we decided to cut it short and only do 2. Better for the whole family (Ash won't stay up too late, and Johnny and I won't over do it - I have a tendency to want to overdo things...). Of course I was faster on the downhill, but there's a wicked steep hill as part of the last mile out. I hate that hill. It took me forever to run it, and tonight I almost started walking it from the beginning. But I kept jogging, and found that I was able to speed up - faster and faster up the damn steep hill! YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!! Then I was able to keep up the speed back to the parking lot. I ended up with a 10.25-minute mile. Awesome. Felt great - even with wearing 2 3/4 inch boots (that's high for my poor feet) today at work. So cool.

I need to get 17 more miles by Sunday. I don't think it'll be a problem, with a four-day weekend. Plus, we're going up to Mesa to see my family on Friday/Saturday, and we're thinking of checking out the Pemberton trail - maybe hike one loop (15.5 miles) with Ash in the backpack on Johnny's back. Just to get a feel for the course. That way I can dream about it for the next two and a half months. Then, maybe I can prepare for it better...

Am looking forward to a scouting run I'll be doing on Dec. 4 with Ross from the Tucson Trail Runners (TTR). TTR does an annual 50k from Sabino Canyon up to Molino Basin and back each December. The fires on the mountain have altered the landscape, so he needs to re-route part of the route, and also clear the existing trail. Since it'll be slow going and about 13 to 15 miles, it's a perfect fit for my training. Should be fun!

Not Sore!

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Yay! My right knee hurts just a little bit, but other than that, I am not sore. Wow, I expected to be really hurting today. After such a huge amount of soreness from last Sunday's run, this is a pleasant surprise!

Trail Running 12-mile Douglas Springs

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So Ash woke me up at 5:25 this morning, just 10 minutes before the alarm would have gone off. I managed to get out of bed, and prepped for my run, relatively easily today. Note: I weighed 137 this morning, ignore my previous gripe.

First customer at Starbucks, walked out with my grande half-caf with peppermint syrup and cream. Mmm. Picked up new friend Barbara, and drove out to the trailhead. We were supposed to be seven, then it was four, and only three showed up (Tommy "Danger Boy" was the other one besides me and Barbara).

We wait for fifteen minutes in the freezing cold discussing rattlesnake encounters before we decide the fourth member is a no-show. Tom and Barbara laugh at how over-dressed I am - but this time, it is just for the trailhead. I strip off my pink fuzzy fleece and warm fleece hat to reveal a long-sleeve thermal top over my tank top, and a fleece headband for my ears. I keep my rainbow mittens on.

7:17: I set my watch to go off every hour to remind me to eat a gel (yes, I finally experimented with gels as I've been longing to do - and they worked impressively well!). Then I set the chrono feature to keep track of our time. And we're off!

Tom stays with us for awhile before taking off (he had a family get-together this afteronon in Bisbee and needed to get back in time to carpool). Barbara, who is faster than me, decides to stay with me for the run. We make sure to keep to the left at the many trail junctions in the first mile or so. She leads the way to the first hill - eroded granite, yuck! I immediately begin to walk. The sun still has not risen over the huge Rincon Mountains, but it is shining on the Santa Catalinas across the valley. I am smiling as I breathe heavily to propel myself up the hill. I quickly get too hot for the headband, and Barbara's lead lengthens as I fuss with taking my headband off, put on my visor and take off my gloves. The gently rolling terrain is beautiful and easily takes my mind off the hill I am climbing.

8:15: I am anxious, knowing the first hour is almost up, and I'll need to take my gel, which is buried in my camelback. I also have to take off the long-sleeve thermal shirt, and "water a bush." I call out to Barbara to keep going, as I find a nice shrub with no cactus under it to take a break. I am on an exposed ridge, with grasses waving all around me. The sun finally rose over the mountains in the five minutes prior to my pit stop. I stuff my shirt in my pack, and feel the breeze on my backside. I am very dehydrated. I grab my first gel, and take off, thinking Barbara is way ahead of me. I am surprised to find that she was a short distance off, having waited for me - very cool!

We begin the ascent in earnest. Stairstep after stairstep after stairstep (note to current and future trail-builders: please do not create stairs out of hiking trails. It hurts. Thank you). Switchbacks lead up to a ridge, and the views are ever-expanding. I am pushing myself. I watch Barbara glide through the waist-high golden grasses, swaying in the breeze, catching the sun as it glints off the tops of the stalks. I make a mental note to self: put sunglasses on head when driving to trailhead, even when it's dark out, to remember to take them on the trail. The sun glares off polished granite in the nearby, dry creekbed.

I begin to wonder why I like doing this. My body cries out to me to stop pushing myself, "Make it hike. You can stop on a hike. You can take your leisurely time on a hike. Why must you push yourself to go fast?! I know it's a 10-foot flat spot, please don't run it!" I begin to wonder where Tom is. I think we are close enough to the 6-mile turnaround point, Douglas Springs Campground, but no sign of Tom. I am with it enough to look around and realize we have made it out of cactus land, and into brush land. A few oaks dot the grassy hillside. I wonder how I ever thought it looked like an African savannah out here - there are too many bushes, too many cactus. I am grateful we didn't have to duck to avoid a swarm of bees, like Johnny and I did years ago - back when I backpacked the trail.

9:00: I wonder if we will make it to the campground at my targeted time of 2 hours. I doubt it. We being the undulating, up-and-down portion of the trail. I know we are close, but it seems so far away. Barbara takes off, not nearly as exhausted as I am. I have to walk a lot of the gentle downhill, and make another mental note to self: when body feels like hiking, slow the pace - it's telling you something: you are pushing too hard!

I keep checking my watch, worried over time, yet unable to move any faster. I finally turn a corner to see Barbara talking to Tom. "Are we there yet?" I whine, trying to make a joke out of my exhaustion. "Almost," replies a sweaty Tom. He makes sure we are well-supplied with gels before he takes off to catch his carpool to Bisbee. I know we are close.

9:13: Not there yet. Another saddle to cross before we begin going downhill to the campground. I see the hill where years ago, Johnny and I camped out under the stars. I kept my contacts in that night, so I could watch the stars shimmy and shake - and also make sure no animals were going to eat me!

9:15: Still not there. I push myself to make it before the 2-hour mark. Suddenly, I see a bathroom - we are there! We make it in 1:59:34 - before two hours!!! I am excited. I grab another gel, "water a bush" - I am still dehydrated - and pause for a moment to take a breath. Four minutes later, we head back up the hill.

I am exhausted. I can barely crawl up the hill. We top out, and Barbara begins running down the hill. I am speechless at the expansive views. I begin to jog, taking it easy. Each uphill I walk - slowly - and each downhill I jog. I smile, enjoying the views and the wind and the endorphins that are finally kicking in.

We pass three people. The first two ask how much farther to the springs. Neither Barbara nor I are with it enough to accurately answer. "Uhh, 25 minutes? 1 mile? 2 miles?" The third doesn't ask, and we are relieved.

10:00: I realize that we are on pace for me to stop at the same place I stopped on the way in to take off my shirt. I am excited. I jog at a decent place down the hill. My mental state is beginning to recover from the earlier exhaustion.

10:17: Once again, I wave Barbara on as I "water a bush" - this time I am well-hydrated. I grab another gel, pack up my handheld water bottle, and take off down the hill. I cruise over the smooth trail, seeing the fall colors in the creek-bed aspens that I missed on the way up. Three horses pass by s l o w l y, and I sit down to wait. I make another mental note to self: do not sit down during run - too hard to get back up!

We reach the eroded hill again, and I know we are less than 2 miles from the start. Barbara goes slowly down the hill, which gives me a good rest. I worry about our time, when we have to stop and wait for numerous people to pass, keeping in mind that uphill traffic has the right-of-way - even if I'm running pell mell down the hill. I notice that my knees are hurting a lot - especially my right knee.

We get to nice flatter trail, and I take off. I am feeling good, and I cruise down the trail. I laugh at all the hiker's faces as we come up on them, running - huffing and puffing even downhill. I see Barbara stop and walk over each of the large, rock water bars, and think to myself, "I don't have to walk. I'll just hurdle each one!" and promptly trip. THUNK! I caught myself on my left knee and both hands - not too bad. Plus, now, both knees hurt equally!

I go faster and faster till Barbara reaches the register - she signs us in, and I take the lead for the first time. I explain the significance of "onepinkfuzzy" as we race to the end - faster and faster and faster. Whew!

11:04: We made it in 3:48:15. Allright! Woo hoo! We are excited. Good job! We throw ourselves into my car, and take off down the road. We have to watch out for all the bicyclists, as it's El Tour de Tucson today. A huge contingent of thousands of bicyclists have converged on Tucson to ride the 109-mile perimeter. We make sure to not hit any of them, and no cars, either.

Raging Sage is our coffee-stop on the way home. I have an iced, decaf, non-fat mocha and Barbara orders an espresso con panna - 2 shots of espresso topped with whipped cream. We enjoy good coffee and good conversation before heading back to the car. I drop her off and head home.

I don't feel too exhausted or too sore yet. I'm sure I will tomorrow. Now I have to figure out how to get my miles in during Thanksgiving week! I need to take next weekend off - I understand now why it is suggested to do long runs every OTHER week. My muscles had a HARD time today! Overall, I am very satisfied with my run. Yay!

World's Greatest Boss

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So our 10-year wedding anniversary is fast approaching, and I had no clue as to how we would celebrate. I wanted to do something big and fun, but Johnny really didn't seem to care as much as I did. So that meant no fun, let's-plan-this-together thing. Damn.

I had cat-sit and delivered wedding packages for a friend while she was back home in Indiana getting married, and she wanted to know how she could repay me. I mentioned staying at an awesome bed and breakfast in Tucson, but since our anniversary is close to a holiday and falls on a Friday this year (Dec. 30), they wanted a two-day minimum. Too expensive, so that was out of the question. I was crushed.

Yesterday, I e-mailed my boss saying that we should have a celebration. We just finished up five grueling months of planning, organizing, coordinating and facilitating public meetings, events and dedications for our clients (last night was the last one for the year). For our small firm, it was an amazing feat of incredible teamwork, coupled with intense hard work. I figured we should celebrate - have some brownies, some beer or champagne. Honor our hard work.

My boss immediately replied, "Absolutely! Tomorrow afternoon. Coordinate it. Now." Wow, that was fast. I expected something the following week. She wanted champagne, goodies, etc. She also insisted that I not let ANYONE out of the building before 4 p.m. She even made two people who had the afternoon off come in. I thought it was a little strange.

So this afteronon, as everyone is chowing down on brownies smothered in ice cream and warm chocolate sauce (I had my gallbladder-size portion, of course), she said she wanted to show her appreciated and recognition, so she had gift certificates for everyone, including a grand prize trip of a trip for two to San Diego or Las Vegas, complete with airfare, lodging, food for two - and two days paid vacation! Of course, I immediately thought of my anniversary. Oh, I wanted that grand prize with a vengence.

She lays out the envelopes on the table, for each of us to grab one. She counted to five, and we started opening them. My friend (the one who went to IN for her wedding) told me to start screaming to throw everyone off. So when I opened it, and saw "Trip for two" I started screaming - loudly. My friend said, "wait a minute" and I looked at her hands - it took a few seconds for everyone to realize that EVERYONE had won the "grand prize."

Wow! My boss bought all 15 employees a trip for two to San Diego or Las Vegas, complete with airfare, lodging, food and best of all, two days paid vacation.

I know what we're doing for our 10-year wedding anniversary! Now if only the grandparents will watch Ash for us....

Nutrition

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Been wanting to go over nutrition - got this cool sport nutrition book to help. I want to approach nutrition scientifically - and I want to make sure that I listen to my body with fueling myself. After watching Johnny struggle with fueling issues (Trial by Ultra Running), I want to avoid that!

So nutrition is two-fold: before/after/during runs, and also on a daily basis. I will be experimenting with gels tomorrow, on my 12 mile run. It will be the first time. I have to be careful about what I eat, due to my gallbladder. So I think gels will work before/during a run. After, I try to eat Clif bar (chocolate brownie, mmm).

On a daily basis, I am still attempting to lose more weight, so I don't want to overeat. Plus, when I eat too much (even if it's low-fat), it hurts my gallbladder. I've eaten too much in the last few days. Most of the time, I've got a rhythm (sp?) down, and it goes something like this:
before work: coffee with torani syrup and half/half:
115 calories, 3 g fat
breakfast at work: yogurt:
170 cal, 1.5 g fat
(now that winter's coming, it will probably change to oatmeal: 160 cal, 3 g fat)
mid-morning snack: wheat thins or comprable:
130 cal, 3 g fat
lunch: frozen lean cuisine:
200 - 340 cal, 2 - 7 g fat
mid-afternoon snack if I had a lower-calorie lunch:
clif bar, 250 cal, 6 g fat
mid-afternoon snack if I had higher-calorie lunch:
3 small peppermint patties, 160 cal, 3 g fat (yes, horrible I know! I need to fix this one)
dinner: varies, but usually
300 - 500 cal, fat content depends on what I ate throughout the day (tofu stir-fry, frozen low-fat pizza, boca burger on a bagel, low-fat or vegetarian beans rolled in a low-fat tortilla, instant mashed potatoes - a HUGE favorite, etc.)
dessert: only eaten every now and then: ben & jerry's low-fat frozen yogurt (190 cal, 3? g fat) or reduced-fat oreos (150 cal, 3 g fat)

It usually adds up to about 1500 calories/day. I get 900 - 1000 calories by 5 p.m. (when I leave work), and leave the rest for dinner and dessert. I generally aim for about 1300 - 1400, but often go over. Sometimes, it's alot (on run days, that's fine), sometimes it's a little. I rarely go under, now that I've really upped the exercise level. My fat content is usually about 30 g, mostly mono- and polyunsaturated fats - I can only have maybe 3 g saturated fat/day, before my gallbladder begins hurting.

I'm quite surprised that I've stayed the same weight for a few weeks now (140). I reassure myself by thinking it's because I'm gaining muscle from upping the vertical elevation, and also mileage.

Today, I've already eaten:
"Skinny" grande peppermint mocha from Starbucks: approx. 300 cal, 2 g fat
2 bites full-fat and totally delicious choc chip coffeecake: approx. 50? cal, ? g fat?
Plain bagel: approx. 300 cal, ? g fat
1 Tbs reduced-fat cream cheese: approx. 50 cal, 2 g fat
8 oz gatorade: 50 cal, 0 g fat
Frozen turkey dinner: 210 cal, 7 g fat

So by 1 p.m., I'm up to approx. 960 calories - YIKES! And we are having a celebration at work this afternoon, which means dessert, beer, champagne, too many tempting treats! If I eat nothing at the celebration and skip my afternoon snack, I can stay on target.

As if.

Dora vs. Diego according to Ash

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Inspired by Dirt Runner's post , I asked my almost three-year-old son, Ash, who would win if Dora and Diego were in a race. His first answer was, "Dora!" Then he decided it would make a great game, so he told me to ask him again. I did, and his second answer was, "Diego!" Then he told me to ask him again, but reminded me to include Baby Jaguar. So this time, I asked him, "If Dora, Boots, Diego and Baby Jaguar were all in a race, who would win?" His answer was, "Boots!" Then, of course, he requested the question again, and this time his answer was "All of them!"

Oy vey, what have I done? I am going to be asking this question 100 times for the next month! :)

Monster Ash
Raging against the Machine Ash (Ash's favorite band, next to the Wiggles: Rage Against the Machine - this is what happens when Mama goes to work, and Daddy stays at home!!! :)

Personal Records

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My legs feel pretty good this afternoon. I am excited that I was able to run for 10 miles this last weekend, and now do 7 before work. I am enjoying getting in shape so much! I am looking forward to my long run this weekend. It started out as me just looking for a running partner, and now 6 or 7 people are going to come out. Should be fun!

I wanted to get some personal records down, so, as of today:
Longest race: 7 miles
Longest run (intention of running): 10.25 miles
Longest hike (did run some of it): 15.5 miles
Most elevation gained: 2700
Fastest downhill mile: 10 minutes
Fastest flat mile: 11 minutes

Yikes! I need to get more under my belt before Pemberton

One-eyed runner

Note to self: must ALWAYS wear contacts when running...

I met my new friend Barbara out on the river path this morning at 5 a.m. Woo hoo! I woke up in time! Of course, since I have to run through a vacant dirt lot, I was petrified. But I had my pepper spray, cell phone and very cool new toy from my friend Karen - it emits a shrieking noise. So I made it through okay.

We took off running - she was much faster than I - and not 5 minutes later, I tripped on old chewed-up concrete and took a dive. Totally scraped off my skin down my right calf and thigh - right where the skin just grew back from the last nasty fall I took! Got up, kept going. Through construction, over bridges, lots of fun. Turned around about 45 minutes into the run, and about a mile from home, I pushed my glasses back up my nose, and out popped the left lens! I found it and put it in my pocket, but man alive, it is no fun to run with just one eye.

My right leg was still throbbing from the fall I took earlier, and the last mile home is full of rocks and dirt and stuff that will trip me up so easily! Thank goodness, I didn't fall again, and I managed to weave my way home. Yikes!

Turns out I did 7 miles this morning - yes - SEVEN MILES!!! Woo hoo! I'm learning how to go farther and farther without feeling like it's farther! I'm hoping to eventually get up to the point where 10 miles before work is nothing. Plus, I did it in 80 minutes, which worked out to about 11:26/mile - for that many miles, that is a great pace. (Yes, I know, I'm slow.)

On track for Pemberton, yay!

Feeling Better

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So the soreness has decreased from feeling like an injury to just feeling sore. A little tight, stretching feels good. Looks like I'll take it easy tonight, with just a nice three-mile walk. Tomorrow morning, go for a little longer of a run, and this weekend I'll do a 12-mile, with 2000+ vt ft of elevation. All around, sounds good!

Oh my aching body

I am so sore. All day, every time I got up from my desk, I was groaning and moaning. I stumbled about the office, hunched over like a 100-year-old woman. I used my arms to literally move each leg forward. I could not walk up the stairs to my apartment. I have so far to go in my fitness levels! If 10.25 miles and 2500 vt ft does this to me, what will 32 miles and 1600 vt ft do to me?!?!?! At least Pemberton has less vertical, but still...

I've done well on refueling - haven't eaten too much. After long runs in the past, I've wanted to eat fast food, greasy pizza, or some other form of spasm-inducing, saturated-fat-laden food. I also haven't gone nuts on the calories. I've found that if I eat something somewhat substantial (such as a chocolate brownie Clif bar...mmmm....) within 30 minutes of a major run, I feel much better, and I don't get much of the "oh my god I have to eat that giant slice of pizza RIGHT NOW" feeling.

Sometimes I really hate having gallbladder issues - it's so damn inconvenient! But then I get instances like this weekend, when I was talking to someone about it, and she commented on how she had hers taken out, and how it's no fun if you can't eat good greasy Mexican food. She weighs probably a good 50 lbs more than I do, and it just hammers home the point that if I had my gallbladder taken out, I wouldn't be able to do what I do! I wouldn't weigh 140 (5'4" - striving for 130 and hopefully 120 eventually!), I wouldn't be running, I wouldn't be getting in shape! I'd still be a 200-pound, lazy, sluggish person, laying on the couch all day long - yuck! There's no fun in that!!!!

So I'm looking at walking on Wednesday night, with the hiking club from work, and possibly running with my usual running partner, Paki, after the walk. She's been sick, and is finally ready to start running again. Paki was so instrumental in getting me started in running this summer - meeting me three days a week at 5 a.m. on the river path, going slowly with me when I couldn't even run a mile, reassuring me that as long as I kept this up, I'd get faster and be able to run further. We're having issues trying to get training in. Can't meet that early in the morning any more - I'm too scared of encountering random homeless or evil people in the dark, and Paki, being a native Tucsonan, can't stand the cold (yes, in Tucson anything under 60 degrees is cold). Can't meet at night more than once a week, because that cuts into my Ash time - I made a commitment that my son is more important than my training. Can do weekends, so it looks like long, back-to-back runs is predominately how I will be getting my mileage in theis winter. I will be up to 30+ miles a week in mid-December, and need to keep that up until mid-January, at which point I'll begin tapering (the race is in early February).

Wow, got way off my point there. Wanted to discuss my miles for this week. Okay, walking Wednesday. Hoping to run on Thursday and/or Friday - met a woman through a Tucson trail running group who, unlike me, is not scared of the river path. So she might be able to meet me in my apt. complex's parking lot, and then we can go for miles on the river path - and she'll get up at 4:30-5:00 a.m., woo hoo! Hopefully this will work out...keep your fingers crossed for me! Am hoping to get in a 12-miler on the east side of Tucson this weekend, in Saguaro National Park.

Feel confident about my training. Yay! Okay, time to go relax - watch some football, one of my other passions. Go Eagles!

2500 VERTICAL FEET OF ELEVATION GAIN!!!!!!

Wow!!!! Johnny just added up the vertical feet of elevation that I climbed today - I thought it was about 2000, which would have been decent. But it was 2500!!!!!!!

The most vt. ft. I've ever done, period, is 2700 (over 7 miles on easy trails up in Flagstaff to a saddle on the way to Humphries, when I was unaware that I was three weeks pregant.)Wow! I'm already gaining fitness!

My pace for 10.25 miles (Ross thinks we did 10, and I think we did 10.5, so 10.25 is a good compromise) and 2500 vt. ft. was 18:27/mile (just over three miles an hour), which sounds slow to me, but when I realize that the stats for this run reflect what used to be an advanced hike for me, I am excited! In the past, I would have averaged two miles an hour, or 30 minutes/mile, for a 10.25m/2500vf hike! It would have taken over five hours, instead of three!

Wow! Look how far I've come already!

Okay, it was worth it

Johnny managed to drag me to Safeway last night, so we got Gatorade endurance formula, which came in handy today. We were totally overwhelmed, trying to get us both ready for a trail run at the same time - but we did it.

We managed to get Starbucks and still make it to the trailhead at Sabino Canyon on time. Johnny took off with about 17 or so other trail runners to run up to the top of Mt. Lemmon. I spent a few minutes talking with Joyce V, a great woman I met doing the Romero Pools run a few weeks ago. Her husband was going to bike to the top of the mountain, via Catalina Highway, which is how I was going to drive to the top.

Blaring Edie Brickell and the New Bohemian's Ghost of a Dog, I sung my way to the top of the mountain. It was chilly (in the 40s or so), so I put on long johns under my shorts, and wore a tank bra with a medium-weight fleece over it (a pink fuzzy fleece, to be precise). I packed up the camelback, and slipped my pepper spray (turns out it was unneeded) into my pocket, and ran to the restroom. Once I returned, Bruce G (the run director) and Ross Z pulled into the parking lot, along with Julie A. I introduced myself as Johnny's wife (since they hadn't met me face to face yet). Ross's first words to me, "You're overdressed!" proved true later in the run. Julie took off down the trail to meet up with her husband, Duane, who had begun hiking the 18.5 mile trail with 6500(ish) vertical feet of climbing at 10 p.m. the night before. Bruce and Ross finished preparing (I should have taken Bruce up on his offer of sunscreen!), and then we took off down the trail.

My plan was to run about 5ish miles, past the Wilderness of Rocks junction, to the point where the trail gets very steep (as opposed to just steep), and then turn around and climb the 2000 vt. ft. back up to the top. After 40 minutes, I needed to "water a bush" as Ross put it, and peeled off my sweaty long johns and fleece. Bruce decided to turn around, since he was run director, to make it back to the top before any of the runners arrived. Ross and I kept going. And going. And going. We had a three-hour, non-stop conversation ranging from rebellion (my favorite color after years of rejecting it due to socialization reasons is pink - I can't stand the fact that girls are expected to like pink! So I hated it for years! But then I realized that I was allowing that socialization to still color my world view, so when I finally made the choice to disconnect from what was expected/not expected of me, I realized I really loved the color pink. Ross's favorite color is blue - the expectatation that boys love blue be damned!) to discussion on spirituality and whether or not a god exists, to training, to family history, to school and intelligence, to Johnny's fueling issues, and way more. Too much fun! We were both slow, albeit for different reasons - Ross is on a running decline; a doctor told him the issues he had with his leg were due to flexibility - he was born with it and it would never go away - and I am a newbie, just barely beginning training and still getting in shape from years of obesity. Two runners passed us on the way up (remember, they started way down at the bottom!), and quickly. Ross said, "Isn't it disgusting that they can climb that hill so well!?" and my reply was, "No! It's inspirational!"

We were going to turn around at a predetermined point, but once the top two runners passed us at about that point, we realized Johnny wouldn't be far behind. So our turn-around spot was at Johnny. Ha! It was about 5 - 5.5 miles down. Johnny stayed with us for awhile, until Ross wanted us to see a view ("Where's your soul, Johnny!" Ross shouts as Johnny takes off and leaves us behind). So much laughter and fun on this run. We gave a guy named Julius a ride down, and had a great time on the way home, as well!

Since we went pretty slow on the downhill, and stopped to talk to runners on their way up, we finished in 3:09:05. I am very sore! I actually got 21 miles in this week - awesomely amazing and right on target to make Pemberton a reality. So next week, I need to get about 23 miles in to stay on track - upping my mileage by 10% each week...

Trail Run Tomorrow

Prepping for an early morning trail run while buzzed from an awesome pitcher of margaritas is tough.

Ash is at his Nana's house tonight, which leaves Johnny and I alone - amazing! Dinner out - hence the margs - and back to the house we go. I wanted to see a movie; it's so rare when we get a chance to see a movie in the cinema. But no money. Oh well.

Trying to get both of us prepped for a run is tough - we share so much of our gear, we're not used to us both being able to go out for a run at the same time that we don't know what to do! Who gets the watch? Who gets which handheld water bottle? (Not all straps are made equal, you know.) Who gets which pair of pants, which shirt, which long johns?! Being the same size is great (for me, anyway - twice the wardrobe!), but means that when we both need technical clothing, we are low on options.

Plus the margs buzzing around my head makes it difficult to think. What do I need? This will be my longest run yet (although I've hiked farther). Johnny is doing the full ascent with the trail running group - up Mt. Lemmon from Sabino Canyon. I, however, being a beginning trail runner, will merely be descending from the top about 5ish miles, and then running back up. I'm looking for a total of about 10 miles. Johnny will end up doing 18.5, with over 6000 vt. ft. of elevation change. Yikes! (I do look forward to being able to accomplish that.)

We ran out of gels. No gels! I wanted to be able to experiment on this run...but alas, tis not to be. Stuck with Clif bars and Gatorade (mmm...delicioso!) - which will make me have gas, I'm sure of it. Listen to me, so down! I should be looking forward to this - an actual run - on trails - no worries about Ash!

Johnny wants me to go to Safeway right now. Ugh! I don't want to leave the house. He says I don't have to think - but I'd have to move! That's almost worse. I'm pouting.

Tomorrow better be worth it.

Training

At the finish line of my first race - inspiration to keep me going during a week like this! Oy, so slow this week! Had a tough week training last week, wracked with a cold. This week, I was still sick and trying to get miles in anyway! If I am going to run 31 - 32 miles in 8 hours (that's the cutoff time) on February 4, 2006, then I need to get my butt in gear!!! I've got to start getting my miles up.

I'm trying to do it in a smart way - I don't want to get injured. I just started running this summer, after losing weight from gallbladder disease. My body was crying out for exercise, and once I started running, my body cried out for more and more! I'm up to about 15 - 20 miles/week, but need to get to 30 - 40 miles/week before I taper...we'll see how that goes. In addition to the holidays, I have many personal important dates arriving (10th wedding anniversary, Ash's birthday, etc.), which make it hard to train as well. Plus I have to fit Johnny's training in! He's doing the Old Pueblo 50 mile and the Zane Grey 50 mile this spring...

Am looking forward to my next race - a 5k Mother/Daughter race in Tempe. Think it'll be a blast, running (okay, walking) with my mama!

Had the worst training run EVER this week. Was running to work (about 3.5 miles) and realized I was getting MAJOR intenstinal cramping. Had to walk - still cramping. Realized I wouldn't make it to work on time! Thankfully, there's a public restroom at a park along the way - but there are no locks on the doors!!! I'm sitting there on the toilet, groaning as I am spewing my guts out, with my pepper spray pointed firmly in the direction of the door, hopefully profusely that no evil person saw me walk into the bathroom alone. UGH! No one bothered me, and I was able to run for about .25 mile before the cramps came back. HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!

Have to work tomorrow, which makes getting a run in hard...especially since I want to do a longer one this week. Johnny is doing a long ascent up the mountain on Sunday, so I'll probably be watching Ash (unless his Nana does?). We'll see how it works...

Gallbladder Disease

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In February 2004, I began having difficulty sleeping at night. I had intense, painful gas that kept me awake. I noticed that pizza made it much, much worse. By August of 2004, I had stopped eating pizza for dinner (although I would still eat large quantities for lunch), and I drank lots of soda and ate lots of tums - all to alleviate the constant pain, which worsened through the fall. By mid-December of 2004, I was in agony. One week of holiday dinners and festive desserts culminated in intense vomiting and diarrhea, with excruciating pain eminating throughout my midsection and into my back. I couldn't eat anything, and I developed a fever. A friend said it sounded like gallstones, and told me to immediately go to a doctor. The doctor confirmed it - I had gallbladder disease.

Gallbladder disease occurrs when there is an imbalance of bile and cholesterol in the gallbladder. It can be hereditary, and is much more likely in fat, fair, forty-year-old females. I was not over forty, but I was fat, fair and female, which made me a likely candidate. Gallbladder disease occurs when there is too much cholesteral in the gallbladder, and not enough bile (which the gallbladder is supposed to produce, store and then secrete to the liver to aid in digestion). When I ate anything with saturated fats (pizza, french fries, ice cream), I overloaded my gallbladder, and it would start to spasm, causing pain, nausea and diarrhea. The doctor found a large gallstone in my gallbladder, which is what caused the fever - it must have gotten lodged in one of the bile ducts because of the intense spasms created from the crazy amount of fat I was putting into my body. By the time I made it to the doctor, the stone had dislodged, the fever was gone, and I was out of danger.

I have to be careful and watch my diet for the rest of my life, in order to make sure I don't cause spasms, and therefore launch the gallstone into a bile duct, again. That can cause infection, fever and gallbladder rupture - which means emergency surgery to remove the gallbladder and thus save my life. Gallbladder surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in American hosptials, and is routinely done, as most doctors think one's gallbladder is not really that important. I chose to keep my gallbladder - I don't feel comfortable having a body part that does something (even if the doctors don't think it's important) taken out of my body and removed. Plus I hate hospitals. The final reason I chose to keep my gallbladder was because I could control the pain, nausea and diahhrea through my diet. As long as I don't eat any saturated or trans fats, and I eat much, much smaller portions, the pain stays away...and I have a built-in mechanism to lose weight!

I have lost 60 pounds this year from the gallbladder disease diet! My friends comment with envy on the willpower I have to stay away from fatty foods - but it's not willpower! It's pain! There's nothing like the threat of imminent, agonizing pain and emergency surgery to keep yourself from eating more than a bit of Ben & Jerry's (although they make a great low-fat frozen yogurt!).

Before - this is in January 2005, after I had lost about 10 pounds.

After - this is mid-October 2005 (with my Daddy, who was in town and visiting, yay!) after having lost 60 pounds

Trail Running

Well, I decided that a blog would be a great way to express everything that goes into my trail running. Trail running is loosely applied here, as I often have to run on the roads to get my miles in. I am attempting to train for the Spring 2006 Pemberton 50k...hopefully I can do that! Here's a picture of a recent trail race - the Cactus Cha Cha seven-miler on the west side of Phoenix.

I will be posting more about my history, and why this is such a big undertaking for me...

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