August 2006 Archives

Exhausted

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I'm exhausted. It's taking every last ounce of self-will to get myself out to run 2 miles or go to the gym. But I'm doing it. Gym on Tuesday night, run last night, run this morning. Planning on the gym tomorrow. Not sure how I'll get my long run in this weekend, since I'll probably be going up to see my mom in Mesa. Have no energy to record my workouts in my log. Must. Enter. Workouts.

This morning, I woke up at 5:45, all on my own - no alarm, no Ash, just me. I tossed and turned for a little bit before deciding what to do, I mean what's really the best way to spend a nice morning? Running, of course. So out I went. A little later than normal, and I forgot the watch and my cell phone (although I had my pepper spray and gatorade. and clothes. always important.). I went pretty fast on the way out, and slowed dramatically on the way back. It felt good to be in a groove.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow morning's gym session.

I'm looking for an inexpensive bike, so we'll see where that goes.

Because of everything I'm going through right now, I am unable to keep up with the blogging world. I will be around, but probably not commenting much. I'll be thinking of you all (and Rob and Olga, I have read the CCC100 reports, but it would take too much emotional energy for me to actually reply in the way I'd like to). Also, this blog is going to become dedicated to purely running. I'm sure y'all enjoy my random ramblings (note dripping sarcasm), but I think my energy would be better served rambling in a personal journal. I also think it'll be good to focus my running energy here.

Hopefully, the next two weeks will see me start to train for OP50. Ha. We'll see.

Transitions

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First, I got promoted (yay!). I'm very excited, prepared, ready, ecstatic.

Second, Johnny and I are divorcing. This is hard to write about, because many of you know him and are friends with both of us. I care deeply about Johnny; we remain friends and committed to supporting each other and Ash through this difficult time. We are beginning the process this week, and I am reclaiming my maiden name. We have many details to work out and don't really have any answers yet. I don't know what the future holds, but I hope I will stay steady and hold true to a thoughtful, mindful, pink fuzzy approach to my life.

Cactus Forest

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This morning was a different sort of run for me. I generally run alone or with one other person, unless I'm on one of the trail group's runs (in which case, I'm usually alone, cuz I'm waaaay in the back).

Today, Lisa picked me up and we drove over to Beyond Bread to meet Kiera and Donna. We were a minute early - 6:16 - and piled into Kiera's new Pilot (very cool, although the seat belt for the middle seat in the middle section was very interesting - I had to put it together myself...). I admired Kiera's awesomely huge sunglasses (mine were left at S&S AS 4 in KY this summer) as we headed over to the Cactus Forest system of trails at the base of the Rincon Mountains. I was hoping desperately to not get us lost in the maze of trails!

It was a fantastic run. Four women, almost non-stop talking (of course, there were moments when we were all too tired to speak, but in a good way). It reminded me of running Sugar & Spice 50k earlier this year. Just a great community; great camraderie. The cactus forest was succently green. We saw a black snake, I saw a slug, lots of birds were out and something that was big that scrambled into the bushes too quickly for me to determine it's species. We passed two other women running, a couple of guys out running, quite a few hikers and two horses. I found someone who is willing to wake up early in the winter to run the River Path in the dark (Lisa (and possibly Donna, but it sounded like she'd have to go waaay early)), which will help tremendously while I'm training for OP50. Lisa may also join some of the trail group's runs - she comes from a hiking background like I do, and finds it fun to run the trails (you get to see so much more so much quickly!).Oh - and we did not get lost (thanks to Donna for reading the top of the Pink Hill Trail sign as I was trying to figure out where in the world we were). We enjoyed chilled gatorade at the finish (thank you Kiera!) as the gnats buzzed all around us.

We followed up with breakfast at Beyond Bread (maple scones...mmm....) before heading our separate ways.

No run with Kiera next Saturday; we'll both be too tired from watching Mike's band, Starcrunch, rock out at Club Congress on Friday night. Should be fun!

Eye Candy...The Whole Story

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So Donald's response to my last post was, "A man who "cranks up Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears"? And you have no other comments on this? That's totally funny."

So I e-mailed him back the whole story...

He was of middle eastern descent, dark-skinned, athletic, with long black curly hair tied loosely into a ponytail at his neck. A prominent nose stood out from his face, but his eyes were most arresting, deep-set jewels glistening in the early morning gym light. I lost myself in those dark eyes as he walked into the room. I stopped midstride, and the force of the elliptical trainer thrust me forward with an awkward jerk. I hit my nose on the display, but managed to stay upright. I hurriedly moved the pedals forward, as though nothing had happened, and my heart started fluttering as he mounted the machine next to me. His muscles rippled under his shirt in a most appealing way, and I admired his strong quads as he began pumping his legs forward. My favorite kind of eye candy to keep me company on this early stormy morning.

Then he turned on his iPod.

Donald's response? "THAT'S what I'm talking about!"

Thus, you get the whole story too.
___
Ash stayed up all night last night, so I skipped my planned early morning run. I decided to hit up the gym tonight, and it's a good thing I did, after the nutritious food I ate today: a scone for breakfast, pizza for lunch and a death by chocolate cookie for a snack (note dripping sarcasm).

I walked out of the house to drive to the gym, and it was so beautiful, I decided to stop at the River Path to go for a run! I was in my strength training gear (i.e. all cotton) and "dead" shoes, with no handheld water bottle or pack to hold anything, but I just had to run. It felt great to let loose, and watch the clouds dance over the mountains. About a third of the way in I caught sight of a woman in front of me, and decided she'd be my rabbit. I chased her down for the middle third, and when I finally caught up to her and started to pass her, I looked over to say "hey" only to realized it was Lisa! She and Kiera and I are planning a run this weekend (hopefully we won't get lost), and we were both out for spur of the moment runs.

I finished up, knowing I had pushed my speed. That felt great. Then it was off to the gym for 30 minutes on the bike, 30 minutes strength training, 30 minutes stretching, and a few minutes in the hot tub and pool. Nice relaxing evening.

Got home and plugged in my numbers - lo and behold, my pace tonight was 10:26/mile! Woo hoo!!!

So Donald's response to my last post was, "A man who "cranks up Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears"? And you have no other comments on this? That's totally funny."

So I e-mailed him back the whole story...

He was of middle eastern descent, dark-skinned, athletic, with long black curly hair tied loosely into a ponytail at his neck. A prominent nose stood out from his face, but his eyes were most arresting, deep-set jewels glistening in the early morning gym light. I lost myself in those dark eyes as he walked into the room. I stopped midstride, and the force of the elliptical trainer thrust me forward with an awkward jerk. I hit my nose on the display, but managed to stay upright. I hurriedly moved the pedals forward, as though nothing had happened, and my heart started fluttering as he mounted the machine next to me. His muscles rippled under his shirt in a most appealing way, and I admired his strong quads as he began pumping his legs forward. My favorite kind of eye candy to keep me company on this early stormy morning.

Then he turned on his iPod.

Donald's response? "THAT'S what I'm talking about!"

Thus, you get the whole story too.
___
Ash stayed up all night last night, so I skipped my planned early morning run. I decided to hit up the gym tonight, and it's a good thing I did, after the nutritious food I ate today: a scone for breakfast, pizza for lunch and a death by chocolate cookie for a snack (note dripping sarcasm).

I walked out of the house to drive to the gym, and it was so beautiful, I decided to stop at the River Path to go for a run! I was in my strength training gear (i.e. all cotton) and "dead" shoes, with no handheld water bottle or pack to hold anything, but I just had to run. It felt great to let loose, and watch the clouds dance over the mountains. About a third of the way in I caught sight of a woman in front of me, and decided she'd be my rabbit. I chased her down for the middle third, and when I finally caught up to her and started to pass her, I looked over to say "hey" only to realized it was Lisa! She and Kiera and I are planning a run this weekend (hopefully we won't get lost), and we were both out for spur of the moment runs.

I finished up, knowing I had pushed my speed. That felt great. Then it was off to the gym for 30 minutes on the bike, 30 minutes strength training, 30 minutes stretching, and a few minutes in the hot tub and pool. Nice relaxing evening.

Got home and plugged in my numbers - lo and behold, my pace tonight was 10:26/mile! Woo hoo!!!

Cross Training

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After my surgery, I have ramped up my mileage somewhat quickly. I went from 0 to 11 to 18 in two weeks. No wonder my knees are a little sore. I have six months till OP50, giving me plenty of time to train. I decided that I would take this first month to build up my aerobic base. Run around 15 miles a week, and spend the rest of my time cross-training. I think this will help me get stronger while taking it easier on my joints. I also think I'll be taking a close look at my nutritional strategies.

Yesterday morning, Paki and I were scheduled to go out. This time, I called her at 5 a.m.
me: It's raining. Is it raining at your place?
paki: yes
me: it's thundering. are you getting lightning?
paki: yeah
me: what if the lightning hit one of the electrical poles at the river?
paki: yeah, I was going to wait to see if it goes away
me: I don't want to get hit by lightning
paki: yeah, we probably shouldn't go
me: no, I think I'll go to the gym instead
paki: darnit, I really wanted to go today.
me: I know!
paki: oh well.

So I stumble through the dark house, trying to find my strength training gear (separate from the running gear I set out the night before), and manage to get out of the house and on my way by 5:25. As I drive over, I notice that it hasn't thundered in at least 20 minutes, and the rain has settled to a drizzle. I second-guess my decision the entire 5-minute drive over, agonizing that I made the wrong choice. Finally, I decide to live with the choice I made, reminding myself of my new goals: not miles, but base.

The gym is surprisingly full 5:30 a.m. I want to get on one of the stationary bikes, but they look like they are off. I'm not sure how to work it (I'm still a newbie), so I get on an elliptical machine instead. Since the goal is to get my heart rate up, I actually peruse the various workouts and choose one that looks hard in a good way. As I spin my legs round and round, I pay close attention to the people getting on the bikes in front of me, the bikes I thought were off. Aha! All you have to do is pedal a little, and the displays will light up. I file that away for future reference. A man hops on the elliptical next to me, without signing in on the board, and cranks up Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears in his iPod. I bounce along, first moving my legs forward, then moving them backwards as directed by the programmed workout. I'm happy to see my HR moving up. I don't have a HR monitor at home, so to be able to get a feel for my heart rate while working out is pretty cool. I'm suprised at my body's response to a HR in the 150s - I can feel my heart pounding, my head pounding and I'm breathing surprisingly hard. I thought my HR would be higher for that sort of physiological response.

I hop off my machine as a woman is getting upset that the man next to me didn't sign in. She wants a particular machine, and according to the sign in board, two should be available. She hops on mine as I wander over to the weights. I am feeling good. I am ready to up it to three sets per exercise. I am serious, focused. So focused, I fail to realize until half-way through my exercises that I am doing the wrong day's exercises. Oops! Oh well. I keep going. I am delighted as I do reverse crunches to feel that I'm starting to be able to lift my butt off the mat. I'm also excited to feel that I can keep my balance doing squats. I finish up and head out to stretch.

My gym has a nice balcony area overlooking the basketball courts, with mats and other assorted floor equipment. I snag a mat and start my ITB stretching. Ahhh, it feels so good. I work through all my leg stretches, and then head back out. What a great workout.

I spend the rest of the (stressful) day satisfied. I can feel the burn in my muscles throughout the day. I feel strong, confident and solid. By the end of the day, my muscles are sore, but in such a pleasant way.

This morning, I decided to sleep instead of run or go back to the gym to bike. Rest is an important part of training programs; I am taking this to heart!

Mt. Lemmon Fun

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Headed an hour and a half up the mountain today with the boys. Drove around while Ash napped to view the incredible green hills (like Scotland!). Decided to go up and over Mt. Bigelow via the dirt roads and Butterfly trail. Photos here.

Johnny and Ash ran the first 2.7 with me up to the top of Bigelow, where I dropped down Butterfly to gain some extra miles and they played. Running on Bear Wallow and Bigelow dirt roads is fantastic. Nice, soft dirt underneath, beautiful trees surrounding me, lush grasses and flowers on the sides of the roads, pungent fir smells. The only problem is that the roads are at the perfectly wrong grade - too flat to walk (felt guilty, should be running), but too steep to keep running (at least at my fitness level)! It still felt nice to boogie up to the top. Dropping down Butterfly, I was a little nervous. The trail was overgrown, and trees were down near, across and next to the trail. To top it off, there were deep prints in the drying mud - some looked like horse prints (horses?!), but others looked like bear prints (yikes!!!). After finding horse droppings on the trail, I relaxed, deciding that all the prints were horse shoes. The "bear" prints were where the horses stepped on rocks, causing a strange mutation to their print. I followed the trail .8 down to the trailhead - I was alone the whole time. Where were all the people? Must have been at Marshall Gulch. I moved slowly as the trail was rather technical. I actually got to cross two streams! Streams! On Mt. Lemmon! I refilled my water bottle at the trail head and turned right back around to head back up, just as two lovebirds were getting out of their car and smooching up a storm.

Heading back up was awesome. Killer workout! The birds were chirping, the streams were flowing, the squirrels were playing. I came across two backpackers retracing their steps back to their car, since they couldn't find the rest of their trail down the backside of the mountain. Made my way up up up to the top of Mt. Bigelow, where Johnny and Ash were heading down the trail to meet me. I kept going down the road to get to the car, knowing Johnny and Ash would catch up, which of course they did.

The run back down was brilliant. I got into a groove, and just relaxed. Perpetual motion, smelling the firs, feeling the wind through my hair, deep breaths, keep going, smooth ride. Ahhh. This is why I run. I made it back to the car in 1 hour, 53 minutes, the longest since my surgery. I kept about a 16-minute-mile pace, counting all my water/shoe-tying/print-studying breaks (except one where we took lots of pictures). Actually not bad of a pace, considering 1400 vertical feet of elevation gain, lots of breaks and oh yeah, the fact I'm getting back into things after recovering from surgery (which, as Jess pointed out, actually takes something out of you).

I managed 18.25 miles for the week, woo hoo! So satisfying.

The run we didn't take

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Yesterday morning, I didn't meet Kiera at 6:30 for a run at the mostly closed Sabino Canyon. We didn't have to wait for Mike to show up; he wasn't late. While it was a fantastically beautiful morning, we did not enjoy it by running some trails. We didn't take off down the trail head on the east side of the parking lot, and we didn't run back to Phoneline Trail to find the first slide. We didin't get our feet soaking wet crossing the still-flowing creek, and we didn't hike up past the cut-off trail, and we didn't didn't find the first slide, and we didn't turn around early, and we didn't see ranger trucks down at the Rattlesnake washout far down below us. We didn't have an awesome conversation, we didn't run into two other people on the trail and a woman at the creek on her cell phone, and I didn't baptize my new cap in the waters of Sabino. We didn't have an awesome, hour-long run.

Nope.

We went to Starbucks, where I enjoyed an, um, iced grande non-fat mocha. And a maple oat nut scone. And we had a fantastic conversation about what a perfect run would be (see above).

(PS thank you to everyone for the outpouring of support and acceptance regarding my last post. It's a tough thing to bring into the open; I'm hoping bringing it into the light will chase away the shadows. I still have a long, hard road ahead of me to heal, and life will ebb and flow as it always does. I am grateful that I was able to melt some of the fear away, and I am so appreciative of the acceptance of this community. Thank you!)

I'm off to run the mountain.

And then, it happened

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Today, Olga's post finally broke through the barriers I've kept around my heart and soul for so long.

I'm sure most of you know about the arrest made in the JonBenet case. What most of you don't know is that when I was six years old, I went through a similar hell in my life - only I lived. They told me they loved me, that these things would allow to join a secret society of acceptance and love. Then came the horror, the violence. The news this week has re-opened so many wounds, so much pain, so much fear, so much horror. I've been walking around in a daze, just trying to stay moving. Using my ultra-training to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Knowing that I can keep moving through the pain. I can still live, even with the pain. I don't have stop, don't have to freeze, like I did for so many years.

Olga boiled it down today. Those events in the past? They were just that - events. My therapist keeps telling me life is about the *process* not the content. Trauma as a child - the content. It's how I keep moving through the content, the events, that makes up life. Olga says, "What happened were mere events, what is now is how I respond to them, what choice do I make for myself. I want myself healthy in every possible way. Only this way I can have healthy relationships with my kids, my family"

I WANT TO BE HEALTHY. I DESERVE TO BE HEALTHY. I AM ALIVE. I AM NOT DEAD. I AM NOT STUCK BACK THEN. THEY NO LONGER HAVE CONTROL OVER ME.

What is now is how I respond to the event. What choice I make for myself. I choose to live. I choose to move. I choose to run. I choose to celebrate my life, my existence. I choose to leave my past in the past and and see my beautiful self now. I choose to accept what happened to me and comfort the small child inside me who is still crying. I choose to be strong and look forward to the beauty and hope life has to offer. I am now. I am alive. I am here to make choices. I have that opportunity. And I will take it.

I had a nice easy run this morning with Paki. We went out for four miles, the longest I've run since my surgery. Done in 49 minutes, which was an over-12-minute-mile pace - slow! But I did it. I am surprised at the amount of fitness I seemed to have lost. By the end of the run, I could feel that I was getting warmed up. I'm ready to get out there for longer runs.

So instead of hitting the mountain with JD on Sunday, I'll be heading up with Johnny and Ash. They promised me at least 6 to 7 miles. I'll bring the camera to get lots of pictures :)

I wish I had more to say, but alas, my brain is fried.

Training, woo hoo!

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I'm back! And I'm training!

I'm sore from the gym on Sunday, and made it out this morning to run with Paki, even though it looked like it was raining. (5:15 phone call. me, racing to the phone: hello? paki: it's raining. me: oh, yeah. the ground is wet outside. paki: it's raining. me: yeah, it looks like it is. you still running? paki: i don't know. it'll be muddy. me: well, i'm going to run. paki: well, if i'm there, i'm there. otherwise, go without me. Paki did show up - turns out it wasn't muddy or raining. But it did get muggy on the way out.)

I'll be heading back to the gym tonight, followed by running Thurs morning. Friday morning = gym again, then Saturday I'll do Sabino with Kiera. Hopefully Sunday I'll get out with JD up on Mt. Lemmon, but I'm awaiting Johnny's thoughts on that matter...

So, awhile back, I was sent some Accelerade to sample and review. One gel burst open during shipment, so the envelope it was sent it smelled disgusting, and it was a mess!
Accelerade
After washing everything off, I put it away in the cupboard, and it's been sitting all alone in my kitchen while I've been recovering.
Johnny cleans the Accelerade container...
Finally, last week, I took it out on a run. I want to save some for a long run - a real test - but I needed to at least try a little bit. Accelerade uses protein in it's mix, in addition to my favorite, electrolytes. I'm intrigued to see if the protein makes any difference on a long run. For the short run, I didn't find any real difference in performance (hello, it's only a short run!), however, I loved the taste. It's a lemon flavor, but the protein adds a creamy texture, mmm. Johnny had been looking longingly at it for the few weeks the canister just sat there, and so I let him have a go at it as well. He and I agree - it tastes too good to be a sports drink! But for me, taste is not nearly as important as performance. My preferred methoed of fueling has been crank e-gels and water (supplemented with clif zbars or other random foods available) - a fantastic way to fuel during long runs and races. It would take a lot to get me off that habit. E-gels are the cheapest gels per oz, and I enjoy the taste. Like I said, I'm very interested in seeing if Accelerade will meet the same electrolyte and caloric needs so wonderfully met by my current system. It's always good to have variety!

Hello Party Photos

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As I sit here sipping my cinnamon hazelnut coffee, with the morning sun hidden behind gray clouds and my son curled up on his toddler-size couch contentedly watching a favorite movie, I am happy and grateful to have such awesome friends and family. My hello party last night was a resounding success (at least from my point of view!). Great food, great friends, great family, fun time.

Angie enjoys her newfound freedom of food!

Before the party, I managed to get the clutter around my house cleaned up, get rid of a few leftover boxes from moving, and together, Johnny and I finally hung all our pictures/artwork/photos on the walls - which feels good too, and makes our place more homey.

Kiera, Haiden and Finn came over, and Mike stopped by after work. My mom, step-dad, sister (Kate), brother-in-law (Josh), their kids (Lily, Taylor, Isaak, Kendall), friend Elaine and her hubby Nate, and Irene (Amari) and her daughter Ariana all joined Johnny, Ash and I in the celebration.

Mama makes SOS
Mama makes SOS

Irene (Amari) and Elaine
Irene and Elaine

Nate and Johnny
Nate and Johnny

Kate with Taylor, Lily and Isaak
My sister, Kate, with three of her kids (Taylor, Lily and Isaak)

An array of food

The food? In addition to the virtual food (thanks guys!), we had incredibly buttery and chocolatey brownies, my mom's SOS (hamburger gravy over rice, a favorite from childhood), Taco Bell burritos and tacos, mini mint-chocolate cheesecakes topped with chocolate, french silk pie, doritos and Nate's homebrew. Yummy. Johnny started things off by bringing me an "appetizer" from Jack in the Box - a double bacon cheeseburger and fries. What a husband.

Angie bites into a previously forbidden food

Kids galore

Ash always has a little difficultly with large, loud crowds, but it was even worse with no nap and the large, loud crowd was at *his* house, playing with *his* toys. We tried to do the whole "special toys that others won't play with" but it didn't really work. So there were quite a few meltdowns, which I was expecting. But considering this was the first time we ever had a party at our house, I think he did well! We never had room at previous places we lived; this is the first larger place. I think he'll just get better as he gets older and more used to it. He did take some great pictures of Haiden, and at the end of the night, he was really enjoying one-on-one time with Ariana. I thought it was pretty cute that within 5 minutes of Haiden arriving, they had started a band. Such musical kids!

Marching Band

The rest of the photos.

Coming up this week: I officially start training for my 50-miler and a review of Accelerade.

It's Party-Time!

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Hello Invite
The "hello" party is today! Friends and family will be gathering at my house to celebrate my new-found freedom of choice in what I can eat. Join in the fun - bring a "virtual" dish and leave it in the comments :)

This morning, Kiera and I went out for a heart-pounding, fun flying run at Sabino, followed by scones and triple mocha espresso "kiera-ccinos". Yummy. The run was fantastic - exactly why I love running. Flying over the trails, feeling my body move. On the way over, singing at the top of my lungs to Concrete Blonde, I noticed the sun beaming through the valley between Agua Caliente Hill and the Catalinas. Blue silhouettes and mountain shadows reawakened the yearning in me for a long run. Feeling my body move through the desert, up into the mountains, for hours. The peace and joy it brings. Then I stepped out of my car into Tucson's heat, and I was glad to only be going out for 45 minutes. (But it wasn't too muggy this morning - I was actually able to keep my car windows down on the way home and stay pretty cool.)

The party today marks the end of my gallbladder surgery recovery, and the beginning of my training. Time to start getting serious! Yay

(Anne posted a link to this hilariously awesome video of treadmill ballet by ok go. I loved it (as did Ash), so I'm sharing.)

Warm gooey chocolate cake

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There's nothing like warm, gooey chocolate cake to make a stressed-out, PMSing woman feel wonderful. Mmmm....

Work is crazy busy. That's awesome - I hate to be bored - but stressful. Still, it's fun. But combine busy work (= shorter lunch hour) with training again, and I'm one remiss blogger. I've not been able to keep up with y'all, but I will catch up soon.

While I have a few moments, an update:
1. Joyce and I hit the gym Tuesday night, and it was fantastic. I've trained strength training before (out-of-shape ultrarunner seeks six-pack, anyone?), and it didn't work very well. I just didn't get it. Well, having Joyce there to show me the correct form, answer every single one of my many questions and laugh along with as I struggled in vain to stay on the dyna discs made everything awesome. Plus, I actually enjoyed feeling my muscles work and move and fatigue as I made my way slowly through all the repetitions. I enjoyed strength training! Wow! I'm back to the gym tomorrow. Should be fun.

2. I got to run trails for the first time after my surgery, finally! Johnny's mom watched Ash last night, so Johnny and I headed to Sabino. Most of the trails are closed, but enough remain open for me to get 3.5 miles. It was so cool to see the aftermath of the floods, the slides on the canyon walls, and all the critters! From a roadrunner out in the open and just watching us at the bathrooms (unusual), to a Gila monster waddling on the trail (highly unusual), the animals were out in force. A thunderstorm rolled in while we were out there, and although we only received a few sprinkles, the lightning show was fantastic. While Johnny ran another lap, I stretched. It felt so good. I could tell I've lost fitness - my breath was labored on even the flatter portions, and my kick at the end was the slowest end-kick ever - but I know I just need to keep going, and I'll get my fitness back. I'm well on my way.

3. Research into schools has gone on hold. It's more important for me to focus on getting our family ready for our big transition next week: Johnny starts student teaching. Also, as I mentioned above, my workload has increased. So we've got big stuff going on in our family. I've figured out that many people have degrees in the field I'm looking at (thanks to everyone who e-mailed me - GingerBreadMan, I know I haven't replied yet, but I will!), and only Gary and Nikki are pursuing a career with their degrees. I'm worried that I'll get this degree, but not be able to do anything with it. I'd really like to pursue learning about how our bodies and nutrition works in endurance sports. It interests me...but is that enough to make a career out of it??? I've got time to think about this; the earliest I would start school would be January, and even then, it'd be only part-time.

4. I'm so happy to be running again. Even though I'm PMSing, I'm feeling like my life is more under control again. I understand my world and my place in it. When I get overwhelmed, I can lace up my shoes and squish all the angst out with every step and kick. It's peaceful, relaxing, relieving and wonderful.

Getting Back

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Getting back into my routine. Feels good. Went for a run with Paki this morning, our first together since "my last run with my gallbladder." How awesome. It was pretty muggy out this morning, so afterwards I decided an iced mocha sounded really good. I stopped by our old Starbucks, and while I was there I figured I'd get my boys some goodies too. Ash woke up early with me this morning, so I knew Johnny would be tired and extra appreciative of some deluxe coffee. And Ash adores the fruit-slice cookies (sugar cookies with icing to look like oranges or limes) and his "cow's milk" (Horizon Vanilla Milk), so I got him his standard. I was proud of the fact that I ordered a tall iced non-fat mocha, instead of a grande or venti like I (sort of) wanted. I'm trying hard for this moderation thing. Last night for dinner, there was no moderation, and I really want to get there. I'm also working on teaching myself that even though I don't feel physical pain or see the number on the scale rise when I eat high-fat foods, they are still unhealthy and harmful to my body. I remind myself of hardened arteries, heart disease, etc. So each time I eat more than I should (another Taco Bell taco anyone?), I'm trying to remind myself of why I don't want to.

I'm ready to start doing a long run each weekend. I'll be heading out with Kiera on Saturday, and hopefully I'll be able to hook up with JD on Sunday morning. Even though I had to walk a portion of this morning's run (due to a side stitch and the horrid humidity), I still feel ready to run longer distances. My body is ready.

Tonight, I'm meeting Joyce at the gym to go over my strength training plan! Yay! I'm so excited.

Further notes on research into the course of study I'd like to take: it's looking like I'd rather get a degree in Exercise Science (or Exercise Physiology or Kinesiology, depending on which school you look at) with an emphasis in Nutrition. It's also looking like if I really want to pull the two together, I'll need to get my master's degree. I'm very excited about researching this information. But because I did not attend college, I have to start at the very beginning. I'm looking into our community college's options for getting the first two years done. They have a great alternative program where I could attend school once a week, year-round, in the evening and get my associates degree. I like that idea. I just have to figure out when to start. January? But then I'll be in my monster month. That might be hard to start. But better than now, when Johnny's starting student teaching and I have a number of public meetings to attend in the evenings (the same evenings the school's program meets) for work. I really don't want to have to wait very much longer. I have so many years of school ahead of me, I'd like to start asap!

PS thanks Gary for your suggestion to check out SCAN's Web site. I'm still not done exploring their awesome Web site!

The Coolest Thing EVER

| 19 Comments

Okay, I'm finally going to come out with this: I recently decided that I want to go to school for sports nutrition and be a coach. So today, while my boys are on their way home from a father/son bonding trip to Flagstaff, I started my research. Along the way, I found this awesome, awesome tool: A Healthy Body Calculator.

My stats:

Your Data
Measure: US
Age: 28 years
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 4"
Weight: 132 pounds
Pregnant: No
Breast feeding: No
Activity level:
(hours/day) 8 hours - Sleep
13 hours - Very Light / Sedentary
2 hours - Light
0 hours - Moderate
1 hours - Heavy
Calorie distribution: Fat 30 percent
Protein 10 percent
Carbohydrate 60 percent
Weight goal: Lose 1 pound per week
Elbow breadth: 3 inches
Waist circumference: 31 inches
Hip circumference: 35 inches

(Insert neat chart that didn't copy over)

Healthy body weight range is: 108 to 132 pounds
You are within the healthy body weight range

Explanation
This is a healthy weight for you based on your height, gender and pregnancy status.
The weight range does not consider your level of fitness. If you are an athlete, your weight goal based on your percent body fat would be a better indicator of what you should weigh.


Body Frame Size

You have a large frame size for your height

Explanation
Your skeletal frame size is most easily measured where there is little overlying skin and muscle, such as at your wrist or elbow. The elbow breadth could be more accurately measured by placing a calipher (a pliers-like instrument used to measure thickness), on the prominent bones on either side of your elbow.
Persons with a small frame should weigh closer to the lighter end of their healthy body weight range.
Persons with a medium frame should weigh toward the middle of their healthy body weight range.
Persons with a large frame should weigh closer to the heavier end of their healthy body weight range.

Body Mass Index

(Insert neat chart that didn't copy over)

Your BMI: 23

Explanation
Body Mass Index calculates how much body fat you have.
Lean BMI means you have a low amount of body fat. If you are an athlete, this can be desirable. If you are not an athlete, a lean BMI can indicate that your weight may be too low which may lower your immunity. If your BMI and body weight are low, you should consider gaining weight by eating more food and exercising to increase your amount of muscle.
Healthy BMI means you have a healthy amount of body fat for your age.
Overfat means your amount of body fat is too high which puts you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease and some cancers. You should consider losing weight by eating less food and exercising to decrease your amount of body fat.
If you are a trained athlete, your weight based on your measured percent body fat would be a better indicator of what you should weigh. If you entered a current percent body fat that is lean, you will not get a BMI calculation.

Waist to Hip Ratio

Ratio: 0.89 - Apple shape: increased health risk (I have to insert that I think this is because it wanted me to measure an inch above my belly button which is where some - really gross alert - excess skin from previously weighing 70 lbs more hangs on my body. I'm not sure this is accurate...)

Explanation
This tells you where most of your body fat is located.
Apple shape (a ratio of .80 or greater) means your body fat is located above your waist which indicates a higher health risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers.
Pear shape (a ratio of less than .80) means your body fat is located below your waist which indicates a lower health risk, but fat located in the lower half of the body may be harder to lose during weight loss.

Nutritional Facts

Your Nutrition Facts

Calorie Daily Value 1,990 Calories from Fat 600
Total Fat 66 g
Saturated Fat 22 g
Cholesterol 300 mg
Sodium 2,400 mg
Potassium 3,500 mg
Total Carbohydrate 299 g
Dietary Fiber 25 g
Sugars 50 g
Protein 50 g

Vitamin A 5,000 IU Vitamin C 60 mg
Calcium 1,000 mg Iron 18 mg
Vitamin D 400 IU Vitamin E 30 IU
Thiamin 1.5 mg Riboflavin 1.7 mg
Niacin 20 mg Vitamin B-6 2.0 mg
Folate 400 mcg Vitamin B-12 6 mcg
Biotin 300 mcg Pantothenic Acid 10 mg
Phosphorus 1,000 mg Iodine 150 mcg
Magnesium 400 mg Zinc 15 mg
Copper 2 mg

Explanation
The calories, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate and protein are customized to your calorie distribution and are adjusted according to your weight goal (gain or lose) as you indicated on page 2. Note, the lowest calorie recommendation is 1,200 calories per day.
Food labels contain the amount of calories and nutrients per serving of food. To achieve your weight goal, subtract the calories and grams of fat on the labels of food you eat from the calories and grams of fat in Your Nutrition Facts as a maximum recommended daily amount. For foods not labeled, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, the calories and grams of fat are low as long as you don’t add fat or deep fry these nutritious foods.

The remaining nutrients are the Daily Values on US food labels. With the exception of pregnant women who need 30 mg of iron per day. This level can best be reached with an iron supplement. Talk to your doctor about this.

See? Didn't I tell you this was the coolest thing ever???

PS you are likely to hear a lot more about nutrition, as I research this course of study. It fascinates me.

PPS I've had an awesome, luxurious weekend. Read a gigantic novel, hung out with Kiera, watched Elaine's hubby Nate's band Preposterous! Theory play at the Monkey Box downtown, go to sleep when I want, wake up when I want, baked some bread, baked some muffins, putter around the house, etc. I even did some (very light) yoga! But I'm ready for my boys to be home. I'll let Johnny fill you in on the adventures of their weekend (poor Ash got altitude sickness!).

PPPS Oh! I'm so excited! Joyce - who I mentioned a few posts ago who's hubby is doing Javelina Jundred this November - is a certified personal trainer who know does it for fun. She volunteered to help me set up a strength training plan for this training cycle. How cool is that!

Instead of going to Sabino Canyon this morning, Kiera and I headed to the River Path, to run the gentle 2.25-mile loop I ran earlier this week. She started out at decent clip, which was nice encouragement to get me going. It was warm out, and on the return portion of the loop, I needed to walk twice for a little ways. All in all, a great run. Afterwards, we hit up the nearest Starbucks for frappiccinos and more conversation. I think my favorite of our many topics was the interesting - albeit messy - window art :)

My trail running group's series is in doubt for fall. The floods washed out Sabino Canyon. As in decimated it. As in the road is covered in feet of dirt and gigantic boulders and the Phoneline trail is washed out. Major landslides occured along the canyon wall. I'm bummed because I'm not sure I'll get to do my big goal for the winter: climbing from Sabino Canyon to the top of Mt. Lemmon! Bummer. Although it is pretty darn cool to see geology in action. As Kiera so eloquently put it, "Creation and destruction are fascinating, but more so when they do not interfere with one's carefully orchestrated training plan."

I was getting ready to lay pen to paper regarding my training plans for OP50, but now that my main trail running resource is closed indefinitely, I'm not quite sure how to go about setting up my training plans! I'll at least get the general part down - how many miles per week, which days are running and which are cross training, what strength training and yoga I'll be doing and when, etc. Once I know more about the trails in Sabino opening, I'll be able to write in exactly where I'll get those miles.

Here's a news story on the washout in Sabino, with a quote by one of my favorite running buddies from the group - Ross. And Bruce, who just completed Badwater, is in a photo on the right hand side.

Here's the forest service page with great detail about the flooding and washouts, along with video and pictures - you can really get a feel for where I do, scratch that, did my running.

View of stop 9
This is how the top of the road used to look. Note the bathrooms in the foreground, and the fence on the right-hand side.

Top of Sabino Road
Here's what it looks like now. This view is down on the road, looking at where the fence and the bathrooms used to be.

Here are more photos of the destruction.

"A study from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, in Bethesda, Maryland, found that exercisers felt tired, irritable, sad, and self-critical after two weeks of forced inactivity. Those with the highest fitness levels had the biggest drop in mood. Source: Psychosomatic Medicine" - August Runners World

Ohhhh. So I just need to run again.

Okay, I can do that!

Heading out on Saturday to run with Kiera; should be fun. I'm also starting back up with Paki a couple mornings a week on the River Path. And today, I discovered a new trail running buddy! Not sure if she's okay being identified on my blog, so I'll just refer to her as JD. She's training for a road marathon, but wants to run trails for fitness gains. She's my speed and likes to run moderate to long trail runs. We have a tentative schedule of Saturday mornings on the River Path come fall (to be the first day of my back-to-backs once I get going in my training cycle), and Wednesday morning - get this - trail runs! I've only run on the River Path during the week, because I didn't think I'd have enough time to drive all the way out to a trailhead and then get a decent run in before work. But I think we've got it worked out. I think that'll be very neat - to run out on trails before work. So cool.

Got to check another food off my "to-be-eaten" list :) Last night we had fun at Applebees. Great Fat Tire beer to start, followed by a fanTAStic Cowboy Burger (Michelle, you might want to skip this part - my carniverous glorification of the burger) - it's a giant beef hamburger smothered in two cheeses, bacon, fried onion peels and BBQ sauce. Oh my word. I dipped my french fried in full-fat ranch dressing, and finished dinner with 3/4 of a maple butter blondie - it's a blonde brownie with ice cream and maple butter poured on top. Bliss.

Still waiting for all this food to show up on the scale. It's not there yet. I think it's cause I'm losing muscle and gaining fat - creating a wash on the scale number. I don't want to a slave to the scale, so I'm only weighing myself about twice a week. Mostly, I'm keeping an eye on how my clothes are fitting. Mostly they are okay, and I'm back to wearing my normal outfits (which were too small while I was swollen from the surgery). So that's good. And the most important thing I'm keeping in mind is that I'm about to unleash training for a 50-miler. If I gain five or even 10 pounds right now, I'm not very concerned. Running 50+ miles a week will erase all that and more, I'm sure. On my last two training cycles, I let myself eat however much I want (although it was all low-fat, due to my gallbladder) - and I still lost weight (about 3 to 4 pounds) both times. So I'm not worried about the weight gain (or lack thereof). I'm more intrigued by it.

I felt the best today by far. I feel like I'm starting to get my "spark" back. My energy. My desire. My willingness. My choice. My thoughts. Me. I feel like I'm coming back.

2.25

| 21 Comments

2.25 miles isn't much to an ultrarunner, but this morning, it was 30 minutes of (slow-like-honey) bliss. I was able to jog the whole time, without side stitches or ab pain. My intention was to go through my early-morning run routine, even if I just walked for 20 minutes. I was up at 5:30, and took my time prepping.

I ran next to a still-flowing Rillito (Ree-ee-toe) River, and had to avoid debris strewn across parts of the river path (debris included tree parts, soda bottles, torn-up pinecones and styrofoam pieces). Much of the path was covered in a fine muddy silt, from when the river overflowed it's banks. The first part of my run kept me closer to the water, and I observed what appeared to be numerous boulders on the non-flowing part of the river. The second part of my run was on the side of the river with all those rocks, and upon closer inspection, they were not so much rocks or boulders as much as they were giant broken slabs of concrete. I wondered where the concrete came from, and if there were additional bridges destroyed besides just the one over Rattlesnake Canyon. The humid air kept my legs moist and dripping as I stretched out afterwards. It was just a gorgeous morning to be out running.
__
UPDATE
Rajeev wrote an incredible, beautiful post this morning that I wanted to share with you all. Go read it, you'll be glad you did!

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