December 2005 Archives

9.5 today; 14.4 tomorrow

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Surprise, surprise! I have actually managed to stick to my training schedule for this week. I haven't done that in awhile! Yay!

The 9.5 today were on the river path - the sun was mostly behind clouds, and I was able to run mostly on the dirt on the side of the path. Very nice. J and Ash met up with me at Children's Memorial playground, and I took a break while they played. It was fun today, especially considering I didn't want to go out at all! I felt so shaky and nauseous. I'm still feeling that way, but on the run I didn't. The last three miles were awesome - I picked up some speed, due to the energy gels I took at the playground. I love them gels (crank e-gels).

Tomorrow, I'm supposed to go out on a trail run with the Tucson Trail Runners. I thought it was a 15-mile run, but it turns out to be a little less. The total elevation gain is 3400 - it would be the most I've ever done. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to do it (hello, it's 7:16 p.m., I think I should figure this out!). Johnny wants me to do something that's a little easier for him and Ash to join me on, and I'm also unsure of doing such a daunting, un-race-specific run in the middle of my monster month. At the same time, I want to do it - New Year's Day run with a great group of people, in the mountain range I am most familiar with (Tucson Mountains). A goal of mine this winter was to do this run. I have a chance to do it with people - not alone! And what a great way to ring in the new year. Ah, but...

I've gone and done it

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I've committed - I put the registration form and check in the mail today for Pemberton. How exciting! (and oh so scary)

Well, I'm pleased to announce that so far this week, I have stayed on schedule, training-wise. Got both lunchtime runs in, and forced myself to go out tonight, even though I really really didn't want to. It felt like I was running pretty hard and fast, but only averaged 12:36/mile! Wow, that sucks. But it's better that I got the miles in, no matter how slow, than to not get the miles at all. (At least, I'm trying to convince myself of that.)

Thanks to everyone who gave such great encouragement on my last post! I was feeling really down and cranky. The positive words really helped. And Happy Festivus from Bad Ben. :)

Tomorrow's a rest day (thank god) and then I'm going out for 10 miles on Saturday. Really. I promise.

And Sunday - oh bloody Sunday - I'm supposed to do 15 miles on/around Wasson Peak, with 3000+ vertical feet of elevation. I don't know if I'm going to do it. It's not race-specific training, and J thinks I might be overdoing it. I'm a little scared of trying for 35 miles in a week, with such vertical elevation. Pemberton only gains 1600 total over the whole 31 miles! I don't know....

I'm also looking ahead to the following weekend - I'm planning on getting a 20 - 25 mile run in. I'm not sure where or how, but I've got to figure it out.

Man, I'm overwhelmed!

Oy Vey

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Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, Blessed Solstice, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy New Year! Okay, so I was supposed to get back-to-back, medium-sized runs this weekend. On Christmas Eve, I managed to get 9.3 miles at Sabino Canyon in 2:11, making it something like just over 14-minute miles - with 1200 vertical feet and 4.something miles of rocky terrain, that's not too bad of a pace. I didn't fuel correctly and ended up walking on the road on the way out. :( Lesson learned: must lose fear of fueling. (Once again, I have a whole topic on my history of disordered eating, but I haven't gotten enough of my thoughts down yet to post it.)

I was exhausted by the time we got home. Ash was sleeping, so Johnny decided he'd stay in the car with Ash while I went upstairs, showered and fueled. After searching frantically throughout the entire car (very quietly), we realized that somehow Johnny lost the house key. *#*$&@^@#$&%^!!!!!!!!!!! I trudged the .5 uphill to the front of the apartment complex to the office, to get a key. I walked the .5 back to our apt, and then pulled myself up the #@%"ing stairs. Insert key. Try to turn. *&^*ing thing won't open. Pull key out. Stare at it in puzzlement. Insert. Jiggle. Won't turn. &^%$#&!!! Did I mention I was exhausted? I was cursing J in my head as I hiked back to the office. Got a different key. Hiked back upstairs - it's uphill both ways!!! At least this one worked. Had to take it back to the office, then head back. I was miserable. Low-fat pizza and a diet cherry Pepsi helped.



We spent that evening with Johnny's family. Ash had a lot of fun. I managed to make the salad my entree and didn't eat too much. Whew. There were so many people and so many presents, it was overwhelming! This year, we didn't go to my family's on Christmas day like we usually do (they live in Mesa, AZ, about 2 hours away), which made Christmas slightly less overwhelming than it usually is.

So we woke up Christmas morning, and opened our stocking gifts. Runner's paradise: I received a new water bottle pack, socks, sports bra and shirt. Very cool. So I put on my new gear and we headed out to Saguaro National Park East, to run 8 miles on the (very) hilly road. I would add another 2.something miles on trail to make my goal on 20 miles over Saturday and Sunday.However, this overwhelmed, exhuasted, PMS-ing mom was in no way able to handle an overwhelmed, exhausted, tantrum-throwing child, in addition to the boiling temperature of 81 degrees. (Yes, I can handle 100+ degrees in the summer - when I run in the morning! I hate running in heat in the afternoon!!!!) I turned around about a half-mile in, and pushed Ash in the stroller up the steepest hill I've ever been on with the stroller. So at least I got a good strength-training session in. I let J finish the road, while Ash and I played at the visitor center. We sought out a Chinese restaurant on the way home, which we usually enjoy, but the food really sucked.

Today, J went for a run while Ash and I chilled at home, then J's mom watched Ash while we went to dinner and to see Chronicles of Narnia - a childhood favorite of mine. J had not read the book before so it was fun for me to be able to share it with him. Plus, we got to go out - just the two of us - together. Our 10 year anniversary is this week - wow!

Goals for this week: 3.3 miles on Tuesday and Wednesday at lunch; 3.5 miles after work on Thursday with J and Ash; 10 miles on Saturday morning; and 15.2 miles on Sunday morning with the trail running group. (With close to 3000 total vertical gain, it stands to be one of the hardest trail runs I've done yet. Not exactly race-specific training, but I really want to do this one - it'll be the first one where I've done the entire route. All the other trail runs I've done with this group have been modifications on what everyone else is doing. Plus, it's over and around Wasson Peak in the Tucson Mountains, which I love. So I really want to do it.)

If I can actually complete the goals I have for myself this week, I will have just over 35 miles for the week - which will be awesome. With how this past week was (only 25 miles and no back-to-back runs as planned), I really highly doubt I'll actually do everything I want to do. Okay, so I'm a little cranky.

Fun Holiday Lights Run!

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So I finished up shopping for Johnny yesterday afternoon - my boss gave her usual call at 3 p.m. to let us all go home - paid - early. Woo Hoo! Then I came home, and the three of us headed out to run to Winterhaven. It's a cool development in midtown Tucson that always goes all out every Christmas. Legend says there's a rule in their CCRs that says they have to put holiday lights up. They close down the streets to cars and open it to walkers and horse-drawn carriages/hayrides. Last year, we drove to Winterhaven and let Ash - then 2 years old - run his heart out. We ran and ran and ran! This year, Johnny and I strapped Ash into the stroller, and J and I ran and ran. He hasn't had a chance to run with me at the new, faster pace I can go, so he had a blast running with me at about 10:14/mile. My favorite part? Ash didn't have to tell me to "run, Mama, run!" like he used to when I'd just jog.

Poor Ash was so exhausted. Once we got there, we let him out of the stroller so he could wander. It took maybe 10 minutes before he sat down and said, "my engine's broken." How cute! So he went back in the stroller and felt better.

On our way home, I realized I should have brought my headlamp! It was pretty dark. While on the streets that lead to the river path (which leads to home), we had to rely on cars' headlights to highlight the bumps in the road. Once we made it on the river path, it's so smooth that the velvety black of the night can envelope us safely.

Overall, 4.2 miles at 10:14/mile. This weekend: back-to-back runs (my first) of at least 8 miles, and hopefully 10ish miles each. Today: Phoneline Loop at Sabino. Tomorrow: running out at Saguaro National Park East. Happy Holidaze to everyone and enjoy the pictures!

Ash and I dancing at Studio 54 degrees below, with DJ Frosty
Star Wars Christmas
You can't see it very well, but there are 40-foot tall palm trees that have blue lights all the way to the top! Ash petting a polar bear

Santa Claus
Ash's engine broken
My personal favorite: "Eight maids a-milkin'"

Great lunchtime run

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Awesome 3.3 mile out-and-back from work, pace at 11:02/mile – and it felt like jogging! I remember when doing 11-minute miles was so hard. Gasping for air, pushing myself. Now it’s a jog. Woo hoo!

Ate a Clif bar about an hour and minutes before, and that seemed to be okay, although I did get a stitch about 2/3 of the way through. I don’t know if that was attributed to the Clif bar, or the fact that I didn’t take any water with me (I did drink plenty throughout the morning, and had 8 oz of Gatorade just before the run). Still trying to figure out the whole food/water thing (which I think I should figure out before doing 31 miles – ha!).

Feel good. Strong. Capable. Secure.

Silly Solstice Run

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Happy Winter!

I went out for "Barbara and Angie's Silly Solstice Run" this morning. Silly because we were going to run to a sun circle to watch the sun rise, but then realized we couldn't make it to work on time because the sun would rise too late (it is the longest night of the year after all), so we altered it to still be to the sun circle, but during the early morning hours (how silly!). Then, once we got out there, I realized I would be late to work if we extended the run to the sun circle, so we ended up just doing our normal run.

Note: must stop eating large meals the night before a long run. I hate intestional distress!!!

And...I was in the Arizona Daily Star (local morning paper) yesterday!

Ash's birthday wish and catching up

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First, thanks to everyone for happy birthday wishes for Ash! Thanks, Rae, for sharing about your dad and your friend - I've been thinking about making it a tradition to put up Xmas decs the day after Ash's birthday, to help separate the two. And dirtrunner, we didn't get him trail runners (he is so picky about shoes!) but we did get him a chillin' new sofa to relax on after he's had a hard day's run.

Ash's wish before he blew out his candles: "I wish to go RUNNING!!!"

I can't believe it was three years ago today that I ended 54 hours of labor with giving birth to such a gorgeous, beautiful child. (bday pics coming soon)

Kim - off the top of my head, I'm not sure I know either of your sisters. But I plan on digging through my old school pictures - I think I actually have an old yearbook from Mission Park - to see if I can find/place them...enjoy Tico's for me!

I am definitely going to look into electrolyte pills to help my electrolyte levels - I think that would help the cramping I've been getting; not to mention helping me run better. (Easier?) I ate a zbar (Clif bar for kids) on my run on Sunday at the half-way point, and while I didn't experience any upset stomach (like I did with adult, full-size Clif bars), I think it slowed me down - something my body had to digest. But it sure tasted good! Something other than gels, you know?

Quick note on Sunday's run: Since I did two loops incorporating the road up Sabino Canyon, I ran into the same four/five couples who were hiking on the Phoneline trail (here's another phoneline link). For most of them, the woman whispered to the man, "Didn't we see her?" or something to that effect. One set of two men both went, "Hey, didn't we just see you up there?" and when I said "Yep, getting 16.8 miles today," they said, "Impressive!" One couple I actually passed THREE times - once on the phoneline, once up the road, and the final time as I was running pell-mell down the road. Very cool!

Also - drum roll please - I got more miles than Johnny last week. [!] 32-point-something (Check out the link to my training log on the right for specifics. I'm too lazy to check right now.)

Oh, I just ate a lunch that will kill my gallbladder: chicken breast on focaccia bread with caeser dressing, lettuce and shaved parmesan, plus half of a maple oat scone. Youch!

Need to post on disordered eating...have a draft started, but much more to say, so that's coming up soon.

This week's plan: take it easy. Tuesday through Friday, 2 to 3 mile easy runs with Paki. Wednesday morning, 9 mile solstice run on River Path - hopefully I will NOT get sucked into tempo running. Repeat after me: Recovery. Recovery. Recovery. Good job.

A bee sting and broken barriers

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I finally did it. I broke the 15.5 mile barrier. Today, I did 16.8 miles. I still can't believe I actually did 16.8 miles! I can't stop saying it. 16.8 miles. Plus 1900 vertical feet of elevation. No wonder I was so exhausted by the end! Could barely walk the last .5 mile...okay, so that may have been because I ran my heart out for the previous two miles, but more on that later.

Stats:
16.8 miles
1900 vert ft
Total time = 4 hours, 35 minutes (16:22/mile)
Run time = 4 hours, 11 minutes (14:56/mile)
Break time = 24 minutes
Slow, but worth it...

So I started out up Sabino Road from the visitors center, and did my first Phoneline loop (a common loop for trail runners out here). Up the Road, then up a trail from the end of the road, back down the trail for a really long, lonely 3.9 miles down to Lower Sabino Road, near the dam, and then out to the east end of the Sabino parking lot. I managed to run the first 3 miles up and down the Canyon, and had to walk the last .7 up the "big" hill - I used to be intimidated by that hill, but now that I went up it twice in one day, I'm not so intimidated anymore.

Then up, up, up the hill. Then down a ways, then back up again. And again. Okay, I was tired. Kept going and finally hit the down. Down, across and down some more. Looking down on the brilliant fall colors below me in the canyon, breathing in deep in every nook (and there were plenty of them) to capture that moist smell of morning, enjoying the feeling of my body moving. Then it started getting monotonous. Into a nook, around the nose of a ridge. Into a nook, around the nose of a ridge. There was no one out there. Into a nook, around the nose of a ridge. More morning smell. More brilliant fall colors. No one out there. I got really lonely. Stopped, ate a gel, then went around another nosy ridge, and promptly ran into four different groups of people. Whew! Felt much better. Finally hit the "cheese-grater" rocks (imagine running down a cheese grater - yuck) and knew I was close to the road. At the road, had to hit a restroom for a pit stop, and make the mistake of bending over without bending my knees to retie my shoes. I stood back up, and my left hamstring let me know it was FURIOUS. Oh my god, the pain. I wobbled up the slight hill, and slowly jogged down the last .4 on dirt to the parking lot.

Hit up my aid station - the trunk of my car - then headed back up the road. I walked most of the 3.7 miles up to the end of the road. I was able to run some of it, but I was so sore; I just walked. It was at this point that I began having serious difficulty. I have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from a traumatic childhood. I have been able to manage it really well for the last two years. Well, I got one mile into my last out-and-back, and got "triggered." The emotions just started to overwhelm me. I think it was due to two things: stuff going on in my life right now, and then being utterly wiped out from the run. My defenses were down, and the emotions just slammed me. I wanted to throw myself down on a bench, take a few breaths and slowly walk back out. But I didn't. For the first time in my life, I didn't let it stop me. I kept moving. I KEPT MOVING. I told myself to just keep walking. Take all those emotions and channel them into my tired legs. Use the energy to propel me. I wasn't going to shut down. Not this time. No way.

I made it to the top. At the top, I sat down to eat a get, and felt something brush my neck. Not thinking, I squished my neck and shoulder together and promptly got stung. OUCH!

So I started down. I tried to run, and made it down the .7 on the hill running. Then I had to walk. I was so sore. I tried to run a little more, but my legs just kept going numb. Then the PTSD-related emotions started coming back, and I got mad. I am so tired of these emotions. I want to move through them; I want to process them and get on with my life. I started pushing off angrily and realized that I was kicking off the ground. That connected with me, and I started running - hard. I repeated a mantra - "Kick for all the times/they didn't let you kick" - and I ran. And ran. And ran. I ran so hard, so fast, for two miles, with tears just streaming down my face. I got a few funny looks, but I didn't care. I was defending myself, feeling my legs kick and push, finally, all these years later. I couldn't defend myself then - but I can now. I can move my body however I want. I can run. I am powerful. I am strong. I ran.

I had to walk the final .5 mile after running so hard, but I didn't care. I did it. I broke through my 15.5 mile barrier. I broke through my 30 miles in a week barrier. I broke through my emotional barrier. I ran.

So excited!

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Ash's third birthday party is today. Yay! His official birthday is on Monday, but the party is today. J and I had fun last night shopping for him. Anyone else out there have birthdays near Xmas, either for yourself, a friend or a family member? Has it been tough to distiguish between the bday and the holidays? It is my personal belief that one's birthday is the most important day of the year. Our families think the holidays are more important, and have a tendency to put more emphasis on Xmas - bigger/"better" gifts, etc. I want Ash's bday to stand out more....what do you guys think?

Hopefully I'll get a run in this morning, just three easy miles. Jogging, Angie, jogging. (Hard to remember.)

Instead of the 15.2 mile trail run with the TTR group that I was planning on for tomorrow morning, I'm going to go to Sabino Canyon and do two out-and-backs on the road - total mileage about 15.5. Darn it, I can't break that 15.5 barrier. Maybe I'll add a little more; there are so many trails around there. I have to break that barrier! I decided to do Sabino instead of the TTR run, because J did the TTR run yesterday, and it took him 3:20 - which means it'll take me something like 6 hours, yikes! Pemberton isn't about steeps or wicked trails. I need to stay focused on what I am training for, and stick with that. I don't want to overdo it, or hurt myself, by running trails that aren't really pertinent to my goals. That said, I am excited about the run tomorrow - using my car as an "aid station," having lots of choices in where I run - totally different kind of training run for me. Too cool!

Ok, so I wanted to add lots of hyperlinks in this post, but my family is calling me...I might come back later and add the hyperlinks to Ash's pics, Sabino Canyon, TTR and more....

I've been tagged (infected?)

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Okay, I'm it. Rae has tagged me. (Rob the runner calls it being "infected.") I think I'm supposed to write five things about myself, and then tag five others. So I tag: Johnny (yeah, yeah, easy way out, I know), Dirtrunner, Mike, BadBen and because I just found her blog, and am enjoying the fun read, psbowe.

My five things:
1. I married Johnny when I was 17 years old. No, I wasn't pregnant (side note: I thought I could not have any children. Six years into our marriage, a wicked bout of "PMS" led J to think that maybe it wasn't just PMS. He convinced me to get a pregnancy test (he promised me french fries if I left the house). Lo and behold: Ash. Major kudos to anyone who can figure out either of the inspirations for his name). We are celebrating 10 years on Dec. 30 (two weeks away!).

2. I grew up in John Steinbeck's hometown of Salinas, CA, near Monterey Bay - I miss the ocean intensely. I can't wait to do a run out there; I keep seeing ads for "runs that aren't races, in beautiful places" on/near the California coast. I got all nostalgic reading Scott Dunlap's recent post about a run he did in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

3. I love my job, working as a public involvement (community outreach) coordinator and event planner. I have the greatest boss.

4. I adore Upstate New York. I wish I could live in Lake Placid or Saranac Lake. We did one winter - worked at McDonald's and rented a tiny, $200/month, one-room (not one-bedroom, one room) cabin. Then we got homesick and missed the sun, so we came back to Tucson (for the fifth time at that point, I think - Johnny and I spent the better part of our first five-six years of marriage roving about the country. NY, VT, WA, CA multiple times/places, AZ. Lots of road trips. I miss it. But I don't miss working the minimum wage jobs at fast-food joints.)

5. I love to ski. Especially Mammoth Mountain. (yes, another place we've lived)

It was the best of times: sub-10-minute-miles for the first four miles...for the first time ever....WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was the worst of times: one mile to go, pace right at 10-minutes miles, and I got a severe cramp in my right leg. Youch!!! I sort of crumbled to the ground, and then quickly made my way to the side to stretch it out. It had been aching slightly earlier in the run, but I wasn't too worried as my legs usually ache during the early-morning tempo runs. This was the first real cramp I have gotten during running. Barbara and I had to walk the last mile - it took us 21 minutes because every time I tried to speed up, the pain came back! We spent that 21 minutes discussing why I got a cramp. Potassium levels? Sodium levels? Calcium levels? Dehydration? Not enough fuel? It was a different kind of gel this morning, maybe that's why? The two burrios last night? (All opinions welcomed and much solicited.)

Once I got home, I had to run to the bathroom immediately, as I was seized with lower-intestional cramping (yes, disgusting, I know!). Dry heaves of the intestines - NOT FUN. I'm still feeling a little strange today.

Later evidence says: I was seriously dehydrated.

How to prevent this in the future:
1. Take 20 oz gatorade in my hand-held for these runs.
2. Take one gel before running.
3. Take another gel half-way through.
4. Pre-hydrate the day/night before.

Best laid plans...

So I ran after work on Monday down at the UA with friend, coworker and very first training partner Paki. We wanted to get about 2 miles in, but I think we were just shy of that, with about 1.75. It was a good recovery run, after the 13.1 on Saturday that really hurt my body. Took Tuesday off, and ran at lunch today. Once again, we (Paki and I) wanted to get in more mileage than we actually did - I think we maybe got 2.1 miles, when I wanted three. I still think I'll get 30 miles this week. I really want to hit this goal, as the first week of my "monster month."

How I will accomplish this:
1. Run 8-mile tempo run tomorrow morning
2. Run three miles prior to Ash's birthday party on Saturday
3. Run 15.2 as part of a TTR trail run on Sunday in Santa Catalina mountains

The above mileage added to the 1.75 and 2.1 with Paki = 30.05. Provided my approximations of mileage with Paki are on, and provided I actually do my planned runs (oh, such a hard thing to do!), I will get 30 miles this week. Woo hoo! (Ok, maybe I shouldn't celebrate yet...)

*gasp* I ate two burritos for dinner tonight - yes, count them, TWO! I haven't eaten that much at dinner since I developed gallbladder disease. I felt a bit like the naughty kid sneaking cookies. They were at least healthy burritos - fajita chicken, pinto beans and corn wrapped in whole wheat tortillas - and on the small size. But I've really held myself back from eating in large quantities since the gallbladder began hurting, because that generally sets it off. But I've been so hungry since I've upped my mileage! I enjoyed every bite, and am pretty sure they won't hurt my gallbladder (fingers crossed).

Half-marathon distance on pavement whupped my ass today! I headed west on the Rillito River Path from Campbell Avenue. It was a beautiful 60-ish degree day, with a slight breeze to ease the sweat off your body. Johnny and Ash headed out with me, to run part of the half-marathon distance, to a playground along the route. Since J has the 50k trail run with the TTR group tomorrow (the one that I went out and helped scout for last Sunday) he wanted to take it easy and just get in a "warm-up." I ran into a colleague at the start who did a 50k last weekend in Phoenix, and who might do part of the TTR 50k tomorrow. The first five-ish miles were great - beautiful fall colors, nice breeze, great conversation with my boys - then it went downhill (not literally, unfortunately). My right calf began cramping. It was twingeing before, but now it really kicked in. My left hamstring where it connects to my knee on the inside of my leg also began complaining - loudly. I kept going, jogging slowly, since J commented awhile ago that I have a tendency to stop for brief breaks or walk during longer runs. He wanted to know how far I had actually run non-stop. I couldn't figure it out - maybe 5 miles? So I was focused on running all the way to the turnaround point - just over 6.5 miles.

Whew, I did it. I limped up to the park, used the facilities, refilled my water bottles and stretched out my aching legs. I just kept reminding myself that today's run was not about the time - it was about covering this distance on flats. Pemberton has a long, seven-ish mile stretch of barely downhill service road that I'll have to cover twice (it's a double loop), and I know I've been running trails with much more elevation change than Pemberton. They are great trails for strength-building, but I know that last six miles at the very end of the race will be the hardest - I need to be training for flats, big time!!

I tried to start heading back to J and Ash, but kept having to stop: retie my shoelace, stretch my legs, etc. Argh! Suddenly, a guy on a bike with a pit bull pops out of the bushes ahead of me. No one is in sight, and I get nervous. I pull out my pepper spray in preparation - there are so many strange/weird/homeless/vagrant/scary/scuzzy people who travel the river path, so I am always prepared. He stops to let me catch up (red flag! red flag!) and tries to start a conversation. I sort of grunt at him (don't want to ignore him and make him mad, but don't want to engage in a conversation either). He tails me for about a quarter mile, then spies a bridge up ahead (the river path goes down under each of the main roads that cross it - so every mile or so, it dips under a bridge, where homeless people like to hang out, drink and sleep - they are dark and no one can really see under the bridges). So he's speeding up to enter the bridge ahead of me, then starts looking over his shoulder to see how far behind him I am, and if I'm following him (danger! danger! abort! abort!). I veer up to cross the road at a nearby crosswalk - stay in the public, away from the bridge where no one would see me, etc. - and cross back to the north side of the river (I had been on the south bank to hit the park with the drinking fountain). I look back to the south side bridge, but he's nowhere to be found. I didn't see him traveling on the south bank, either, so I have no idea where he went - and I was safe, whew.

My legs were really beginning to kill me by now. I was looking forward to meeting J and Ash at the park; I figured I'd sit down and rest for a good 15 minutes before heading home, but alas, they had left the park and ran to catch me. So I started walking. I took the last of three gels I had brought with me and related the story of the scary man while Ash fell asleep in the stroller. After about a third of a mile, the fuel kicked in and I began running again.

Never underestimate the power of running with someone with whom you can have a heated discussion. Hoo boy! J and I got into it on the way home, totally misunderstanding each other's feelings over our topic of conversation, and I began speeding up - hell, all the pain went away! I managed to speed up all the way home, too cool.

Not counting my 10-minute break half-way through (but counting the other little breaks), I did 13.1 miles in 2:40:32 - 12:15/mile, not bad at all! The hot shower after helped my muscles feel better, and I actually managed to do dishes, clean the house and vaccuum after the run - pretty good for me, I usually crash!

So, new plan for prepping for Pemberton - one 8-mile tempo run each week with Barbara in the mornings; a couple 30-45 minute jogs throughout the week (I didn't do that this week and it shows); and a long run on the weekends - with two weekends having back-to-back 15.5 mile days - one weekend with a 20 - 25 mile run - and I haven't figured out what the other weekend will have....we'll see.

I am entering my monster month on Monday, wish me luck!!!
Oh, and I was wondering - do you fuel on your training runs, and if so, how?

Holidays and the Monster Month

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Oy vey!

Too much food...gallbladder can't process...not enough running...help!

After a great run Tuesday morning, I have collapsed into utter exhaustion. Lots of sleep and eating, and no running. I was supposed to go out yesterday morning, but knew there would be no way in hell I could get up at 4:30 a.m. and run in sub-freezing temperatures. I'm still planning on running a half-marathon distance on Saturday, on the river path. I think running that far on the flats will be good training for Pemberton, since a good six miles of it is mostly flat, dirt service roads. I'm going to run at lunchtime again (not quite four miles like ShoreTurtle, should only be 2.5 miles at most) with Paki (summertime training partner who managed to get me this far). I'll still be off by six miles for the week. Maybe I'll get six miles in on Sunday, when Johnny has his TTR Sabino 50k. We'll be giving a ride to my winter, early-morning runner partner, so it should be lots of running fun.

I'm still stressing about the over-eating at last night's company holiday party (all borderline ok stuff for my gallbladder to eat - just too much of it!!!), and not being on track to get the 29ish miles I needed this week. But I am exhausted, so maybe I was/am overtraining? I don't know! All I know is I'm about to enter my "monster month" - along with Ash's birthday, the solstice, christmas, Johnny's and mine 10-yr wedding anniversary and new year's. Then in mid-January, at the tail end of my last 40 mile week, we'll be in San Diego. Then it's Johnny's bday and he'll be outta town for a school seminar. Then it's Pemberton. AHHHHH Too stressful to think about!!!! How am I going to get through this?!?!?!

A Personal Best!!!

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After spending the day in bed yesterday (instead of at work, due to utter exhaustion - I think mental exhaustion - too much stuff!), I went out at 5 a.m. with Barbara today. We have changed to running to the west on the river path, to avoid the construction at Dodge. Before running to meet her at the Campbell bridge, I downed an espresso Hammer gel (mmm...yummy!). It was 31 degrees (at the airport; it's always colder on the path) with a 25 degree wind chill - BRRRR. We took off at a pretty fast pace, but I felt okay to keep going. The wind was at our back, making it a somewhat toasty run in the light windbreaker, midweight long johns and heavy fleece cap I was wearing. We made it to our four-mile point (bathrooms past La Caņada) in 41:13 - I was surprised! I was hoping for 44 minutes (11-minute miles), which would have been right about where I thought I was, fitness-wise. So to know I did it quicker was a great energizer. We turned around and ran into a chilly headwind - and Barbara took off! The gel was wearing off, and my legs were beginning to hurt a little - right behind my left knee, especially. I noticed that I was actually breathing hard, and needed to concentrate on breathing with my pace - something I haven't done in awhile (I guess I haven't been running to my potential!). I thought I must have slowed down, because Barbara kept having to wait for me. My lips went numb by the time we made it back to Campbell, so I could barely say "Great Run!" to Barbara, although I was able to express my appreciation for running with someone - I know I would have walked on the last four miles back, if I hadn't been trying to stay with another person! The mischevious devil turns to me with a glint in her eye once we finish, and asks, "Did we do negative splits?" Ha! She knew she was setting the pace faster all along! And here I thought I was going slower...I love it! Yes, Barbara, we did negative splits! Total time: 1:21:31. Way out: 41:13. Way back: 40:18. Average pace: 10:11/mile - WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alright! I had done most of these trails, but had a few new miles to connect what I had done. Very fun. Beautiful weather, great company in Ross and Pam. This was to be a scouting run for the 50k to be run next week on these trails (which is too advanced for my fitness level, so Johnny will do it, while Ash and I pitch in at the one aid station). Turns out that someone had been through recently and flagged, cairned and cleared the trail! No hard work on the run. Ross had fun taking lots of pictures and playing with new gadgets. There were comforting grasslands, oaks large and small (burned and alive), cactus, fun on the Sabino road. I had a blast running the last 1.75 miles from Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Area to Molino campground on a great ridge. Sped up for the last .25 mile, too fun. Felt like with a rest and some more substantial food, I could run an additional 5 to 7 miles, which is a good thing. My tummy was feeling a little strange, and I left the watch at home, which meant that I had no way to make sure I ate a gel every 45 minutes. It was a weird for me, fuel-wise. I just listened to my body (gee, what a concept!) and that worked well. We stopped a lot (for the above-mentioned photos), so we didn't set any speed records; we did it in about 5 hours. Ross said he thought it was 13.5 miles, but one of his gadgets said it was actually 14.5 miles - so the total mileage is still up in the air. Was great training for an ultramarathon - keeping me on my feet and moving for that long - other than hikes I've done, that's the longest I've been out and keeping myself moving.

Iron Girl 5k Race Report

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Ran the Pacific Trail (why pacific trail when we're in the middle of the desert in AZ?!) , Iron Girl Mother/Daughter 5k with my mama. I expected to walk 15-minute miles with her, as she is really more of a power-walker than runner, and hadn't been training too hard for this race.It was perfect weather. We ran a great course along Tempe Town Lake, over a couple of large bridges (the distance of both Mama managed to run, woo hoo!), up and down, past Army men and women doing PT, past horses, past highways. Very interesting course.

Mama got into the racing part of it - once she noticed that we were going back and forth with another mother/daughter duo, she wanted to stay ahead of them, and that motivated her to run even more! (BTW, we did finish in front of of them.) It was a lot of fun for us - she kept talking about how when she was my age and I was a kid, we both hated exercising, and now we were out together! We finished 21 out of 26 - and my first-time mother came within a minute and thirty seconds of my first-time 5k race pace! And I had trained for it for months! So, way to go mom! We finished in a time of 42:16, 13:36/mile - that's awesome for not running even half of it.

Overall, we had a blast - and I think I may have convinced her to do the Jim Click Run'n'Roll with me next year!

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