April 2004 Archives

Monthly Report: April

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Running: 26:08:44 | 172.19 miles
Elliptical: 1:30:00 | 5.93 miles
Weights: 5:17:00
President's Challenge points: 19008

I've made it into New Mexico on my Road Runner Sports Run Across America log.

This was a good month of training, and my second highest monthly mileage ever.

Puppy encounter

42 degrees | felt like 36 | wind 10 MPH | overcast

8.36 miles | 1:18:52 | 9:26/mi. | 889 cal.

Ran a tiny bit longer than planned (8 mi), but I was in the middle of a steep hill at the 4 mile point and I wanted to finish running to the top. Today was mostly uneventful run; I had a brief period where my back hurt, and I got a weird side cramp, but they weren't too much of a factor. I did have a bizarre dog encounter. I ran on the DT today, and it was pretty empty. On my way back from the hill, I started to approach a guy and his two (unleashed) dogs/puppies. The guy heard/saw me approaching and immediately called his dogs and started to leash them. We exchanged good mornings as I passed. I guess one of his dogs got away from him at that point and started chasing after me. The guy called out "no" and for his dog to stop and come back, apologized to me and ran after the dog. It wasn't a big deal and I kept going. Since I was running and facing away from the guy and his dogs, I don't know what was going on, but all of a sudden I got tangled up with the dog and had to stop. I guess the dog kind of tripped me? Now, you'd think I'd be really angry about this. But no! I actually found the words (as the guy is catching up, apologizing) "oh, you're a friendly guy aren't you?" coming out of my mouth as I petted the dog. What in the hell has happened to me? The guy responded that his dog is friendly, but he was really sorry. I said it was okay, and I felt bad because I think when the dog caught up to me he got kicked. The guy retrieved his dog, and we went our separate ways.

Afterwards, I realized just how odd that was for to not be mad at all about the loose dog running after me. I'm normally pretty annoyed by the people that let their dogs run around the DT. I chalk up my lack of response to a couple things: 1) that the guy saw me approaching and immediately called his dogs and started to leash them. 2) When his dog started running after me, his immediate response wasn't "oh, he's friendly" or "oh, he won't bite" but "no" and orders to come back/stop. He also was apologetic for the disruption. I appreciate people who take responsibility for their dogs, and recognize that not everyone enjoys having a dog run after them. 3) The dog was probably a puppy, but it was pretty small. If it had been a big dog, I think I would have been terrified and pissed off. A big dog probably would've knocked me over.

I might be turning into a dog person. I blame the Engineer.

Yesterday's shopping trip was somewhat successful. I tried on a ton of shorts at the running store, but hated most of the ones with pockets. They were mostly short shorts, and I hate shorter shorts because they make my legs look fat. I know that a race isn't a fashion show, and I'll never be one of those women that shows up to race with a full face of makeup and perfectly styled hair. But I do like to make an attempt to find semi-flattering running clothes. Sometimes the little things can provide a big boost, and cute running clothes often work for me. I found 2 pairs of Moving Comfort shorts that looked okay, and a sleeveless top. I didn't have any luck finding a new sportsbra, though. I did get a new pair of shoes, and I like the new color scheme. I also picked up a small waist pack and a different gel flask - hopefully one of those two will work so I can carry my gels during the marathon without my shorts falling down.

I decided to take a different route home so I could stop at the Gap Outlet. I love the Gap Outlet, and most of the time I think it's way better than the actual Gap. I miss having a Gap Outlet 10-20 minutes from my house. While there, I found 2 pairs of khaki shorts that didn't make me want to cry. I think I've mentioned my problems with buying shorts before, but it ranks as a worse activity than swimsuit shopping. I just cannot wear the bitty shorts that most stores sell. Like with the running shorts, short shorts make my legs look really bad. I don't think I have fat legs, but because they are so big from running the wrong cut of clothing makes them look fat. (Of course, the odd thing to me is that the same length of shorts that makes me sad is a length I don't hate if it's a skirt). So I was pretty happy to find 2 pairs of non-scary, non-overpriced shorts, along with two tanktops for under $7/ea. I also bought a ton of shirts for the Engineer. The only bad thing was that I picked up a cute purse but was overcharged for it. Now I need to either drive 45 min back to the outlet, or wait until I visit my parents to take care of it. I'm kind of tempted to go back up there next Tuesday and re-buy everything anyway because I just remembered that I get an extra 10% on the first Tuesday of the month with my GapCard.

I'm hoping to get down to my parents for Mother's Day. My mom wants me to do the Y-Me Mother's Day Walk with her. (She's also trying to convince me to do a triathlon with her in July, but I don't know about that). We found out yesterday that my brother has been separated and will be home in 7-10 days. Until I know all the details, I don't know how sad I feel about this. All I know is he'll be home soon and that he got the "good" separation where he has the option to return. Hopefully I'll be able to get down there next weekend and he can fill me in in-person. I can't believe I haven't seen him in 4 months!


weights | upper body | 30:00

I'm registered!

I'm all registered for TCM! I passed over the "in training" shirt, even though it's CoolMax and guaranteed to be better looking than the last in training shirt I got. I didn't want the Engineer to flip out even more over the amount of money I'm going to spend today: marathon registration, new running shoes, hopefully new running shorts for Med-City, maybe a new sports bra, maybe a new running shirt, and maybe/possibly some kind of gel carrying device for Med-City. Besides, I'm pretty sure that you can order the shirts later, and I learned last year that they don't even ship them out until late June or July. So no big hurry.

In other shopping, I think I need this shirt. The mall that has the Minnesota Delia's looks pretty decent (it has a Sephora), but lacks a J. Crew so it doesn't fit with my plans today. (I have to return things at J. Crew and Ann Taylor). If I don't go visit my parents soon, I might ask my mom to pick one up for me. Speaking of ... I need to talk to her this morning to decide if I am going down there next week. I still have half of a plane trip from Christmas, and the return date we picked was Mother's Day because that seemed like a logical weekend I might be visiting. Aside from liking to see my family, there are a bunch of things I could do down there. The biggest thing would be taking care of my hair. I haven't had it cut since Thanksgiving and it is getting ridiculously long. That last time my hair was this long was probably elementary school. Getting my hair done hasn't been a real priority up here, and I have a gift certificate to the salon near my parents (where I had been going) which probably helped me put off finding someone here. I might also see about having something done with the color; I decided in March to start dying it closer to my natural color (had to guess since I haven't seen that in over 6 years), but now I'm kind of tired of that and want to have lighter hair again. I also still need to find a dress for that wedding in June. My mom is great at finding good dresses for me. (She bought my Homecoming dress when I wasn't with her, and it was better than anything I found on my own). It would be nice to have someone with me when finding a dress because I'm not always the best judge of what looks good on me. There are also a million malls, stores and outlets near my parents' house so the chances of finding a dress would be greater. And they live near an H&M, home of cheap stuff!


Well, I'm stupid. I was kind of looking forward to going to the TCM Kick-Off Party tomorrow after picking up my new shoes. I just went to the website to look for directions and found that the party was tonight. I guess I never actually looked at the date before. I knew registration started on the 29th, so I just assumed that was the date for the party, too. If I had been thinking about it, I would've realized that made no sense - the whole point of the party is that it is your first chance to register, so why would it be the same date that online registration opened? I guess I'll see what the fees are tomorrow morning when I can get into the online registration.

5 miles

upper 50s | wind 24 MPH | sunny

5.05 miles | 46:39 | 9:15/mi. | 495 cal.

Today's weather is pretty nice, aside from the wind advisory (20-35 MPH winds, gusts up to 40 MPH). I was going to run the hillier 5 mile route, but I didn't feel like running 2.5 miles directly into the wind. I decided I'd rather run across the wind, because it didn't seem so bad. So I ended up running the bike path along the Engineer's work. I haven't run on the southern paths before; they go through some trees and then wrap around the baseball and soccer fields. It was a nice route.

Remember how I was whining about not losing any toenails? I was talking to my mom yesterday and she told me that she lost her big toenail. I wouldn't want to lose it how she did, though. She was at the grocery store and some impatient woman caused a 2L soda bottle to fall off the top shelf onto my mom's foot. Ow!

More weird weather

Minnesota weather is crazy!

Today: high 52, low 35
Tomorrow: high 85, low 55
Thursday: high 56, low 35

I've made a decision!

39-42 degrees | felt like 34-35 degrees | wind 7-14 MPH

5.04 miles | 47:35 | 9:27/mi. | 521 cal.

Stupid wind. When I got up this morning it was 31 (and felt like 20 something), so my taking forever to get going wasn't such a bad thing. I wonder when it starts staying warm here. I do remember wearing shorts and it being warm when we closed on the house last year and that was mid-May. So maybe I just have to wait a few weeks.

Last night, I went to watch one of the Engineer's softball teams practice. I thought it was going to be a nice evening. And temperature-wise, it was okay (50). The only problem was that there was a 25-30 MPH wind that made it feel a lot colder. The wind didn't affect their practice that much, aside from making it cold. Apparently, hitting the ball with the bat was kind of painful. What I found painful was sitting on the bleachers. I think bleachers are hard to sit on anyway, but they are even worse when you are cold. I got up occasionally because the puppy we baby-sat was there and I wanted to see what he was up to and/or pet him. He managed to wrap his leash around the bleachers, so I bent down at one point to see if I could untangle him. But then he startled me and I moved quickly and banged my head on the bottom of the bleachers. OW! It still hurts today :(

I think I've made my marathon decision: TCM. I did some more reading yesterday, and I saw that DMM might end up having some problems with their volunteers. I've decided that since I'm doing a small, local, no-frills marathon I want my fall marathon to be a big spectacle with lots of hoopla surrounding it, and I want it to be extremely well organized. I think I'm more likely to get those things from TCM. I've heard there's lots of crowd support, they have a course photographer (I'm really sad that my next marathon doesn't have that and there will be no official pictures of my big PR), and since it's been held for over 20 years I think it's probably pretty well organized. I also think that staying in the state will be easier to plan for.

TCM is having a big kick-off party on Thursday, and that's the first time you can register. I was planning on going up to the cities that day anyway, because I need to return some stuff and I am in dire need of new shoes. I had planned on rotating a pair in before the marathon, and only having around 50 miles on the new pair before the race. With the mileage that I've been doing, my current shoes will be shot in about 2-2.5 weeks. So I really need to start breaking a new pair in. So since I have all these errands to run in that area anyway, I think I might try to go to the kick-off event. There's supposed to be stuff for sale at big discounts, and I like discounts.

Forerunner software

I am a slow poke getting out the door today. I took Richard's advice and downloaded TopoFusion this morning, and got distracted by it. I found that the problems with my watch during my last two long runs were caused by a crazy track point. I deleted the points and it seems to have fixed things. It appears I underestimated the distance for the 17th by a tiny amount. And unfortunately, last Saturday's run was over-measured by the Forerunner and I didn't quite make 21 miles. Oh well. Now if I could just figure out how to get the modified tracks back onto the Forerunner ... I'll have to do some reading/searching on that later. But now I really need to go run!

5 miles

41-44 degrees | felt like 31-35 | wind 23-24 MPH | sunny

I'm in a pretty decent mood today, despite the wind. I was going to run from the house, but couldn't decide on a route that wouldn't be horrible because of the wind. So I decided to drive out to a park so I could run on the bike paths. I normally start out at the lake, but I decided to start from the south end of the bike paths so that I could start out running into the wind. The most annoying thing about the wind is the noise - it is so loud running into it! I've decided not to stress about my running speed slowing when running into the wind. It's only about a 10-15s/mi difference from my normal easy pace. From previous wind experiences, I know I can push myself when needed (that 5K was in 30 mph wind), but I don't think I need to be pushing myself too hard right now. With 5 weeks to go, I think being a little slow is probably better than a little fast.

I had intended on crossing over to the downtown bike paths, so that I could be shielded from the wind by the buildings. But a construction crew was working and had closed a section of the path. I could have back-tracked and run along the other side of the river (there are bike paths on both sides of the river), but I didn't feel like it. So I kept running into the wind, and then decided to try out a different section of the path. After the railroad tracks, the path splits. I normally go to the west, but today I went out on the east section. I don't know if I'll run that section again. There were 2 spots where the path crossed the street and I had to wait for cars. A large part of the bike path's appeal for me is avoiding cars, so that was not cool. I overshot my distance a little today, because I miscalculated my turnaround point. Since I had started to head off towards downtown, my route wasn't a simple out-and-back. Not a big deal, though.

I'm still not any closer to making up my mind about the fall marathon. I'm not that concerned about the time difference anymore. I got some advice about it, and it matched what I read Hal Higdon advise someone else to do: follow a post-marathon recovery program and then drop into a training program. There are a bunch of people running Grandma's and TCM and the time difference between those two is less than 18 weeks. I did realize today why TCM is suddenly so appealing: the chance to get the wave start. Qualifying for that would make me feel special, and who doesn't like that? I think that's some of the appeal of qualifying for Boston - outside validation that you're talented/a good runner, or that it's something that sets you apart from everyone. I don't have any plans on actually running Boston (not with $300-400/night hotel rooms!) but I definitely want to run a BQ. I don't know if I explained that all well, but it helped me understand my sudden change of heart regarding TCM.

1.0 | 9:25
2.0 | 9:18 | 18:43
3.0 | 9:26 | 28:10
4.0 | 9:13 | 37:24
5.0 | 9:01 | 46:26
5.15 miles | 47:46 | 9:17/mi. | 495 cal.

unning: 6:41:07 | 44.01 miles
Elliptical: 0:25:00 | 1.60 miles
Weights: 1:35:00
President's Challenge points: 4964

XT Day

My legs have been feeling pretty good since yesterday. I have a little soreness in my hips, but that's really about it. I think that icing my knees when I got home, and rolling a frozen lemonade can under my feet helped. Today was a fairly normal cross-training day. I did alter my weight routine a little bit, to do lighter weights with more reps. It wasn't a huge change, though, since I don't lift very heavy anyway. I only have 2 weeks of lifting left before stopping for awhile. It'll be nice to have a break from lifting. I did cut my elliptical time down a little. I think I would've been fine to go for 30-35 minutes, but decided not to push myself since I ran so far yesterday. I think having some activity the day after my long runs has been helping to keep my legs less sore.

weights | upper body | 32:00
elliptical | 20:00 Cardio/5:00 CD | 16:39 in zone | 1.60 miles | 371 cal.


Is it wrong that I'm disappointed I don't have any purple/black toenails and/or that I haven't lost a toenail?

Long Run

40-51 degrees | felt like 33-51 | wind 10-16 MPH | sunny

Awesome run today, although my watch went a little haywire again. It was a little chilly at the start, especially since I was running along the water. The shorts were okay, but I was glad I had on long sleeves. I wore a long-sleeve hoodie that has a full-zipper on the front. So I was able to zip/un-zip as needed and that helped me avoid needing to take it off.

As for the haywire watch ... it told me I ran a 6:14 mile. Okay, aside from the unlikeliness of my running 6:14 in the middle of a long run, I haven't run anywhere near that speed since 1997. I then supposedly followed up that mile with an 11:04 mile, which again is extremely unlikely. (I think I would know if I slowed down by 2 minutes/mile). I think I remember Richard encountering something like that during his marathon, so I wasn't too surprised by it. I'm confident that my final distance (and splits aside from those) is accurate, though, since the majority of my run was done on the bike path and I was able to check my distance against the half-mile markers.

There was some kind of March of Dimes thing going on today. There were all kinds of signs around (telling me I was a hero) along with more chalk arrows than usual. The lone good thing about this, as far as I was concerned, was that there was a portapottie along the bike path downtown. Even though I used the bathroom a bunch of times before I left home, I apparently needed to pee again. I was going to make myself wait (to make sure I really did need to go), but when I saw the portapottie right next to the path during the 3rd mile I decided to take advantage of it. I managed to avoid all the MOD walkers, aside from a brief area near downtown. A large group walking/blocking the path saw me approaching and no one made a move to let me pass so I had to run off of the path onto the grass. Jerks.

I took all 4 bottles to the fuel belt today. I think next time, I'm going to go with 3 water/1 gatorade, as opposed to the 2/2 split I did today. I find I don't really like gatorade, especially the lemon-lime flavor, and I need more water to take the gels. I took gels at 5, 10 and 15 miles today. I think every 5 miles is a good plan for me. I attempted to take my gel flask with me today, after reading about people using it to hold just the gels (I had thought the point was to dilute the gels). I liked the idea of not having to deal with the packaging/trash. But the gel flask I have is stupid and fell off as soon as I started running. Luckily, I was prepared for that and had brought along my Gu pocket with gel packets, so I just went back to the car and switched.

I'm finally a little stiff after a long run. I've been surprised so far that my long runs haven't made me sore and I haven't needed to ice my knees. I guess that says a lot about my training and fitness this time around. I felt pretty good for most of the run (even managed to kick out the last couple miles around MP). Since I was on the bike path along the river and through the woods, I was able to run basically without any interruptions/breaks. I drank my fluids and took my gels without breaking stride since I am hoping to do that during the race. Of course, dealing with cups is different than bottles but whatever. I did have one traffic light to deal with, near the start/end. It wasn't a factor the first time around, but stopping for it towards the 19 mile mark SUCKED. I hate having to stop near the end of a long distance run because that gives my legs time to think about what's going on and a chance for them to seize up. Luckily the break wasn't too long so I didn't have any cramping.

I'm feeling really good about my marathon after today. I came home and made the Engineer listen to me blab all about it. He may not be a runner, but he is picking up on a lot of stuff. This became evident when I told him how far I'd run and the time. He then said "... so a marathon is 5.2 miles farther? Assuming 10 minute miles at the worst..." And then because I'm impatient, I did the math for him and confirmed that yes, today indicates I will definitely break 4 hours. But how cute is he, talking like a runner? That's exactly the kind of thinking that I do.

edited, 4/27: I analyzed my run using TopoFusion and found that the cause for the funky splits was an odd trackpoint. I don't know how or why that happened, but I deleted it from the run and then my GPS-drawn map matched what I actually ran. However, it meant that my watch did mis-measure my route and I didn't quite run 21 miles. The corrected figures are:
20.83 miles | 3:12:27 | 9:14/mi. | 1943 cal.

Weather Whining

Stupid weather. I can't decide if it's going to be warm enough for me to wear shorts, or if I need tights. Weather Channel currently says it's 40 degrees, but feels like 33. I just stepped outside and it felt okay ... I don't know. I am going to be outside for a long time today. I'm already concerned about wearing a long sleeve shirt, because if/when I get warm wrapping it around my waist will be difficult since I'll have the fuel belt on. Minnesota needs to pick a temperature range and stick with it!

Tempo run

Finally a day with decent weather! It got up into the low 50s while I was running, which was nice. I'm hoping that we get some 60-70 degree weather over the next 3 weekends. I NEED to do a long run in warm/hot weather. After reading a lot of Boston race reports, I'm worried that race day will be hotter than predicted. That could be bad, since I've done most of my training in the cold and I need time to get re-acclimated to the heat.

Anyway, today was a tempo run. I had thought about running it as a MP run (marathon pace), but felt like running faster. I think I like the idea of tempo runs, at least for the shorter distances. After running 7:50s, 8:20s and 8:30s feel really easy. I did my cool down at what turned out to be 8:42 pace, and I felt like I was running 10:00+ pace. I did get a side stitch/cramp in the last mile that was pretty annoying. I couldn't get it to relax with my usual methods, so I did end up slowing down a little bit.

45 degrees | felt like 39 | wind 12 MPH | sunny

Warmup: 0.50 miles | 4:39 | 9:18/mi. | 42 cal.

1.0 | 7:54
2.0 | 7:50 | 15:44
3.0 | 7:46 | 23:31
4.0 | 7:38 | 31:09
5.0 | 7:52 | 39:02
5.00 miles | 39:02 | 7:48/mi. | 450 cal.

Cool down: 0.50 miles | 4:21 | 8:42/mi. | 45 cal.

Slight stress

I got to sleep in a little today, so I'm feeling a little more cheerful. While at the same time I lead a very stress-free life, I've had a bunch of stuff on my mind lately: this wedding we have to go to in June (I have nothing to wear and can't find a flattering dress for under $125), I am going on 11 months of no job (as my husband pointed out yesterday), and worrying about my brother JC. He was supposed to have a bone scan on Monday, and the results determine what happens next. He'll either spend a little more time in MRP before getting RTFD, or he'll get sent home to recover. We're hoping he doesn't get sent home, because I think that will be really hard on him after having been out in CA since January. (He should've graduated from boot camp over Easter weekend, but he's gotten injured twice. The second time was related to the first, and they decided at that time to keep him in MRP for a couple of weeks so he could fully heal). One of his friends just got sent home, and my mom has been anxiously waiting a phone call to let us know what's going to happen. One of the most frustrating things about this whole boot camp experience is how little contact we've had with my brother. I've gotten one letter from him, and got to talk to him for literally a minute when we were visiting my parents. My parents have gotten a couple of letters and a few phone calls. The recruits aren't given a lot of time to write letters, and phone calls are very infrequently granted (and mostly when something bad has happened, it seems). So most of the time, we have no idea what's going on out there.

weights | upper body | 33:00

Still trying to decide on a marathon ...

Okay, I know I said I didn't want to do Twin Cities. But then today I got my entry form in the mail (I'm on their mail and e-mail lists). And I was looking at the information and it started to sound kind of fun. And I noticed something interesting about the wave start: Contrary to the website, you can enter either a marathon time (sub-3:45) or half-marathon time (sub-1:45). I e-mailed the information contact about this, and was told that I'd have until August 13 to submit a qualifying time. (My concern was that I wouldn't have a qualifier at the time of registration - April 30 - but I would before September). August 13 doesn't completely help me, as far as getting the half-marathon time since the local half I plan on doing is August 21. But a quick perusal of active.com and CARA's calendar shows that the Chicago Distance Classic is the first weekend of August and I could use that to qualify.

So now I'm kind of confused about what I want to do. The negatives to TCM still exist, but getting that first wave start would be awesome and not having to travel as much would be pretty good. I've read the Marathon Guide reviews and did a forum search on Runners World this afternoon. I think I'll see how this weekend's running goes, and then maybe post my "dilemma" to LCAR and RWOL. It would be good to get advice from people who've done both. Plus, I've been concerned about the time difference between spring and fall marathons (18 weeks for TCM and 20 weeks for DMM) and want to get some advice on how to transition from marathon-taper to post-marathon to marathon training.

I need to just make a decision! See how I drive myself nuts?

My terrible running form

Okay, I said in the comments of Rebecca's blog that I'd post a picture of my terrible form. Here it is. That was taken during my 2nd half-marathon, around the 12 mile mark I think. I wish I could say that the odd placement of my feet was due to the fatigue I felt that day, but I'm afraid that's not so. My coaches used to tell us to pretend there was a line running down the center of our bodies, and that are arms shouldn't cross the center line. My old running store analyzed my gait by filming me running on the treadmill, and the video showed my legs crossing the center line. I don't know how I manage to do that. I haven't had the chance to see myself running in awhile, and I'm hoping I look a little less odd. I'm not pronating as much as I was at the time I was filmed (around the same time as the 1/2), so maybe there's some chance my form has corrected itself.

More wind

43 degrees | felt like 34 degrees | wind 20 MPH | partly cloudy

Another easy day ruined by the stupid wind. I'm feeling kind of frustrated this week, and 3 days of 20+ MPH wind isn't helping any. The second mile today was pretty tough. The first half of the last mile was really tough; I was trying to run in a northwest direction, and the wind kept pushing me back southeast. Having the wind push me to the side makes me run even funnier than I do normally. Another annoying thing about today was that I had to change my route due to a loose dog. I was running down the state trail and had just passed a couple with a dog on a leash. As I was looking ahead, I noticed an unleashed dog come out of the trees about a quarter of a mile ahead. I paused, and waited to see if a person followed the dog. The dog ran off down the trail (away from me) without anyone following it, so I decided to turn around and go a different way. I've had enough problems with unleashed dogs who have people with them, so dealing with an unleashed, unattended dog doesn't sound like a good idea.

I'm not sure what's going on with me and the frustration. I think part of it is that I'm tired of training. I get like this sometimes, where I just want to take a big nap and avoid stuff for awhile. I remember feeling similar back in the fall with the weight loss. I reached a point where I was just so tired of having to make the effort, and it just seemed so daunting and I wanted to not care about my weight anymore. I don't remember how I snapped out of it, but I did. And I'm sure I'll snap out of this funk soon, too. I think it's just that I've been focusing on my marathon goal for so many months and now the marathon date is rapidly approaching. And I have a very good chance to actually achieve something that is a huge life goal for myself and I think know that's intimidating for me. I'm probably going to drive myself nuts before May 30th rolls around.

1.0 | 9:26
2.0 | 9:41 | 19:08
3.0 | 9:13 | 28:21
4.0 | 9:33 | 37:55
5.0 | 9:13 | 47:08
5.05 miles | 47:36 | 9:26/mi. | 524 cal.

Windy, inconsistent run

42-46 degrees | felt like 35-39 | wind 15-22 MPH | overcast

Ugh. Today was just stupid and annoying. I ran directly into the wind again today, and it was hard. The first couple of miles were frustrating because I felt like I was running so much harder than I was. And then once I was running with the wind, I ran too fast. Check out the splits - way to run inconsistently! And stupidly! I need to not be running hard on my "easy" days.

It was just kind of a crappy run. I was supposed to run 8, but I cut it back because I felt kind of tired. I was going to cut it to 6, but then I felt okay at the 3 mile point so I decided to just do 7. Eh, whatever. That does give me a mile "cushion" if I want to do a w/u or c/d with Friday's pace run.

The wind blew off my hat when I was almost home. I was worried it was going to blow off as I was running over the highway. That would be my luck - to have my running hat blow off onto the highway where I couldn't retrieve it. I didn't have it on as tightly as it could go, because I noticed I was getting a red mark on my forehead when I tightened it all the way. So I've started wearing it a little looser, because I'm afraid I'll get a chafed spot otherwise. I think getting a chafed forehead would be up there on the list of stupid running injuries, along with the belly-button chafing incident. (Important lesson: if you have a pierced navel, take the ring out before running with a Fuel Belt cinched across that area).

1.0 | 9:16
2.0 | 9:48 | 19:04 - directly into wind
3.0 | 9:30 | 28:35 - directly into wind
4.0 | 9:25 | 38:00 - mostly calm, trees blocking wind
5.0 | 9:17 | 47:18 - with wind
6.0 | 8:54 | 56:12 - with wind
7.0 | 8:40 | 64:53 - mostly with wind
7.05 miles | 1:05:16 | 9:16/mi. | 708 cal.

weights | upper body | 30:00

Site Stuff

Testing out a new template.

The Engineer's suggestion for a new journal name: Who Needs A Toenail?

Colder weather, again

45 degrees | felt like 36 | wind 24 MPH | overcast

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday it was 80 degrees, and today it's back in the 40s. At least the wind died down from the 35-50 MPH we had all day yesterday. While 24 MPH isn't much fun, it's a lot better than yesterday. We had to get groceries yesterday, and I made the Engineer come with me. It was so windy as we walked into the store, that I thought I was going to blow away. I was glad he came with me, because I don't think I would've been able to keep the cart from blowing into stuff on the way out of the store.

Anyway, so today saw me back in tights, long sleeves and gloves. While 45 is normally shorts weather, I knew I'd want the extra protection from the wind. And that was a good idea, because running into the wind (as I did for at least 3/5 of the run) was cold. I was slow again today, although I know some/most of that was due to running into the wind. But I am starting to wonder, because lately mine easy run/not paying attention to speed pace has gone from around 9:15 to 9:25-9:30. I don't know if this means my legs are tired (I hope it's not tired legs) or if it's related to my eating. I'm thinking it's something food-related, since the slowness is a recent development and the only thing really new recently is my going back to food tracking. So I'm going to try to increase a little, since I think the act of tracking has been making me eat less.

1.0 | 9:27 - into wind
2.0 | 9:37 | 19:04 - into wind
3.0 | 9:20 | 28:25 - half in wind, half with
4.0 | 9:32 | 37:57 - mostly into wind
5.0 | 9:08 | 47:06 - with wind
5.08 miles | 47:46 | 9:24/mi. | 513 cal.

Running: 6:04:34 | 39.21 miles
Weights: 1:42:00
President's Challenge points: 4315

Another decent week of training - I'm feeling like a broken record. I can't believe I only have 3 more weeks of actual training, and then my taper starts. It seems so close, but yet the marathon still seems so far away. I'm anxious for it to get closer, as that means less time for me to obsess over all the prediction calculators out there.

Two small annoyances:
1) My refrigerator is freezing stuff. Super cold apples are one thing, but half-frozen cottage cheese is kind of ucky.
2) I apparently need to start bringing a towel or pad with me when I go to the lake, so that I'm not stretching on just the pavement. Aside from the pavement being dirty (I have a nice dirty stain/patch on the back of the shirt I wore yesterday), it's really uncomfortable to lay on my back due to my hip bones. And I noticed this morning that I'm actually bruised right where the bone is, which I think is due to stretching on the pavement. So bringing a towel or pad should help cushion my lower back. Stupid hips.

Bad weather

The Engineer went up to the cities yesterday with a bunch of guys for a bachelor party, so last night was also my first night alone in the house (there isn't much to do here, so they go up to the cities and stay overnight). Of course, last night would also have to have shitty weather so I was really unhappy about being home alone. (I'm not a fan of being home alone at night anyway because I am a wuss with an overactive imagination). I was watching TV, and the corner of the screen was taken over by doppler screens. At first, we were just under a thunderstorm warning. But then we got upgraded to a tornado warning. Great. I don't think I've mentioned it here, but I'm both frightened and fascinated with tornadoes. (My favorite part of my atmospheric science class was the section on tornadoes; my brothers and I used to check out books with titles like Tornado! and Earthquake! from the library when we were in elementary school; I actually TiVo'd the Weather Channel's Storm Week show on tornadoes). I've never actually seen one, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to see one in real life although I love to see them on TV.

Anyway, today it's just rainy although the radio weather guy said that there might be a chance for a tornado this afternoon. I'm glad today wasn't a running day, since I don't enjoy running in the rain. I think I might actually rate rain as my least favorite weather-thing to run in. Well, maybe tied with lower than -20 wind chills. So I just went downstairs to weight lift. I've been cross training on Sundays, but I have decided that my legs need another rest day. My upper body can use some work though, so weight lifting still fits in. And, I get to call today an "active rest day," a term I picked up on LCAR. Active rest means that you took the day off from running, but were still active. I think I'll be incorporating more active rest days.

weights | upper body | 34:00

I hate shopping

Okay, know how I was whining about dress shopping the other day? Apparently the answer is to shop at more expensive stores. Ugh. Isn't that just typical?

Long Run

47-59 degrees | felt like 44-59 | wind 6-12 MPH | sunny

Another nice day. I wore just shorts and a short-sleeve shirt, so I was a little chilly at the beginning but I quickly warmed up. I ran all over the place today, although I did have to repeat one section to get some extra distance. I ran alone, but I passed the track club group twice, and caught up with the tail end of the group around 12 miles. I ran about 2 miles with a woman from the group; my pace dropped below 9 mpm at that point, but I was talking easily. I had thought about doing today's run as a 3/1 run anyway (The last 1/4 is faster than the first 3/4, as per Higdon).

I ran with the dork belt, aka the Batman Belt, aka my Fuel Belt. I only brought 2 of the 4 bottles though. It wasn't a bad thing, but I kind of wished I'd brought the extra bottles along. I would've liked to have had more water for when I took the gel. Today was kind of odd in that I was hungry before starting. So I felt kind of sluggish for awhile. I'm still getting that weird feeling in my left calf, so I think I'll take tomorrow off (aside from maybe upper body lifting).

Ooooh my watch pissed me off today! It had a major malfunction towards the end. I was running along with it in lap mode (shows the lap pace, lap time and lap distance). I looked down and noticed that there was no distance displayed, although the time was still going. I switched back to normal mode (shows total time, pace and total distance) and noticed that it was almost like it had lost a mile. It was showing 14 miles, and I knew I'd passed the 14 mile point already. I stopped briefly to try and figure it out but couldn't make sense of it. So I reset it and took off for another mile. I checked out the splits while stretching, and noticed that the 15th lap had a time but no distance. Using my math skills (ok, my excel spreadsheet), I have figured out that I ran about 0.87 miles that the Forerunner chose not to count. Stupid watch.

edited, 4/27. Analyzed the run with TopoFusion, and found an odd trackpoint was the cause of my problems towards the end. By deleting the wayward trackpoint, I was able to get the correct distance of the missed section. I've made the corrections below.

Messed up splits:
01.00 | 9:04
02.00 | 9:30 | 0:18:35
03.00 | 9:29 | 0:28:04
04.00 | 9:30 | 0:37:34
05.00 | 9:33 | 0:47:08
06.00 | 9:39 | 0:56:47
07.00 | 9:13 | 1:06:01
08.00 | 9:15 | 1:15:16
09.00 | 9:21 | 1:24:38
10.00 | 9:13 | 1:33:51
11.00 | 9:11 | 1:43:03
12.00 | 9:22 | 1:52:25
13.00 | 8:42 | 2:01:08
14.00 | 8:57 | 2:10:05
14.90 | 7:44 | 2:17:50
15.90 | 9:04
15.93 miles | 2:27:06 | 9:14/mi.

Idiot's Guide to the Boston Marathon

Yesterday, I saw ESPN's Idiot's Guide to the Boston Marathon and thought it was kind of funny. Here's my favorite part:

Q: Why is it that you can't buy most products unless they have tamper-proof packaging, but when you run the marathon, you eagerly accept oranges and water from complete strangers who might be raging psychopaths? No idea.
The author forgot to mention the beer that spectators often offer to the runners. I'm not a fan of beer anyway, much less while I'm running, but I don't know that I'd take anything from some random person on the side of the course. At least the water, gels and oranges come from people in official volunteer outfits.

I also enjoyed the explanation of what happens when you finish the race ("Since you smell like holy hell, nobody wants to come within five feet of you") and the breakdown of the race.

Hot run

60-66 degrees | wind calm-8 MPH | sunny

Today felt HOT. I now remember why I hate running outside in the summer: the sweat. I hate having a layer of sweat everywhere. Yuck. I especially hate when my wrist gets sweaty, because then my watch starts moving around. I was so tempted to take my shirt off while running, but then I would have had to carry it which wasn't an appealing option. I also don't know that I want to run shirtless along the busy road. Maybe on the lake bike paths, but not on the heavily-trafficked road. If it's in the 60s for tomorrow's long run, I think I'll be either busting out the sleeveless shirts or the long sportsbras. I need to do something about my shorts situation. The bagginess of today's shorts was kind of annoying, and I think would lead to chafing during a real long run.

I ran my hilly 8 mile route today. I know it doesn't sound possible, but that route is seriously uphill both ways. I felt a little sluggish today, but I think that was due to the heat and the hills. I had a weird tight feeling in my chest around 3.3 miles. That was right around a dusty construction site, so maybe that's why. I felt it again towards the middle/end, too. I had to stop at a stop light around 6.7 miles and I felt kind of pukey. I think that was due to dehydration - once I got home, I pretty much immediately drained my 20-oz. water bottle. The first few runs in hotter weather always take some getting used to, and I'm sure everything will be okay by next Friday.

The blister is making me angry. Yesterday, it looked really good as it had finally flattened out and the skin was healing back together. But it felt kind of funny during the run today, and it looked a little puffy when I got home and could look at it. It's not filled again, just puffy. I'm tempted to just pull the extra skin off, but I know that's supposed to be a bad idea.

1.0 | 9:09
2.0 | 9:31 | 18:40
3.0 | 9:25 | 28:06
4.0 | 9:33 | 37:39
5.0 | 9:19 | 46:59
6.0 | 9:30 | 56:29
7.0 | 9:30 | 65:59
8.0 | 8:52 | 74:52
8.03 miles | 1:15:07 | 9:22/mi. | 817 cal.

President's Challenge

It's been awhile since I've posted a President's Challenge update, aside from my weekly point totals, so here we go:

The Silver Award is taking a lot longer to earn than the Bronze Award did, even with my increased amounts of activity. I'm estimating I have another 4-6 weeks. Also, if it takes 90,000 points to earn the Silver, I wonder how many it takes to earn the Gold?

5 + weights

44 degrees | felt like 39 | wind 9 MPH | sunny

Another nice day here (it's already up to 60!), and I got to wear shorts again. I'm sure I'll get tired of shorts soon, but the newness of being able to wear them again is still exciting. Ran the same route as last Wednesday, so I got to run up and down the overpass. I need to be incorporating more hills/slopes into my runs, which I did today and yesterday. The blister is starting to flatten down and heal over finally. I don't want it to affect (effect?) my long run this weekend.

I'm not sure what I'm doing about my long run yet. I had originally planned to flip flop the runs for this and last weekend (#8 on the schedule was 18 and #7 was 13. Since I wanted to do the 12.4 mile race, I figured I would do that in week #8 and run the 18 in week #7). But then I started wondering if that was a bad idea, since this is supposed to be a cut-back week. I could shorten Friday's run so that the weekly mileage is lower. But then I'd have 4 hard weekends in a row (17 mi, race, 18 mi, 20 mi) before another cut-back. I don't necessarily like the idea of not doing an 18 mile run. I've posted my "dilemma" to the gurus at LCAR and will see what they all suggest.

1.0 | 9:12
2.0 | 9:24 | 18:37
3.0 | 9:19 | 27:56
4.0 | 9:19 | 37:15
5.0 | 9:20 | 46:35
5.04 miles | 46:56 | 9:19/mi. | 501 cal.

weights | upper body | 34:00

Training plans

Responding to comments (since the post got buried) .... thanks, Rebecca! I'm still kind of amazed that I actually ran like I did. As for my training program, I really like the one I'm using (Higdon's Intermediate-I). I'm not really a fan of speedwork, and one of the things I like about the program is that it doesn't focus a lot on that. I wanted to run higher weekly mileage than I did in my previous efforts, and most of the other increased mileage plans also included hill intervals, intervals/repeats, and/or yasso 800s. This plan's only speedwork is pace runs, which I finally found out should be done at marathon pace (I haven't been doing them correctly, in other words). So it's a good plan for people who aren't interested in doing a lot of speedwork.

Mean people

What is wrong with people? Some JERK stole my brother's bag from the mess hall. The bag had some items he'd bought, and all the letters and pictures he's been sent. He was able to re-buy the items, but pictures and letters aren't as easily replaced. And of course, those are the things that probably meant the most to him. I hope they find the thief and he gets punished. Some people are just assholes, and I'd hope that wasn't tolerated there.

I just sent him off a letter today (before I found out about the theft). I was kind of amused when I went to the post office and I was offered floral stamps. For some reason, sending a letter to a Marine recruit with a flower stamp on it seems wrong. I almost bought this pretty pink stationary at Target, but then I realized that sending my brother letters in pink envelopes was probably not a great idea. While you never know what they'll give the recruits shit for, I'm pretty sure pink envelopes are on the list.

Fall marathon planning

33 degrees | felt like 27 degrees | wind 7 MPH | sunny

Another day that felt nicer than the temperatures would indicate. I didn't bother with gloves or my jacket, but I did wear tights and 3 shirts.

On joy_of_running a few weeks ago, I declared myself to be the "grossest runner ever" because of my perpetually runny running nose. Everything will be fine until I start running, and then my nose starts dripping. It's pretty annoying, and I don't know of any way to deal with it other than to continually wipe at it with my shirt while running. (Although I did read on the RW Forums, I think, that this could be an actual medical problem and I should see my doctor. My nose runs year round, so it's not a seasonal/cold thing). So the skin around my nose is usually a little red from the irritation, and I try to moisturize several times a day in the winter to combat the dryness. Well today, my problems got even worse. About a mile into my run, I wiped at my runny nose and noticed that something was bleeding. So now my formerly clean white Reebok shirt has bloodstains around the wrist. GROSS! I don't know if my actual nose was bleeding, or if it was the skin around it, because it stopped by the time I got home. But still, gross, ew and yuck!

My toe is better today, and I skipped the band-aid. The blister looks odd now, because while it's not flat, it's not filled either. It's almost like it's turning into a callus or something. It's a good thing I've already accepted the fact that my feet are ugly, because otherwise I'd be pretty sad.

I'm still trying to figure things out as far as my fall marathon. I know I haven't even run my spring one yet, but I like to be prepared. Besides, registration for Twin Cities opens (and closes) in around 3 weeks so I need to be thinking of these things. While TCM has a few advantages:
- 1.5 hour drive, so would only need hotel for Sat night
- hotels aren't too pricey
- supposedly beautiful course
- allegedly good support
- you get to wait in the MetroDome for the start instead of outside
- 7000 runners

there are also disadvantages:
- have to register 5 months ahead of time
- the 18-wk training program for it would start the day after Med-City
- hilly last half
- no official pace groups like Chicago
- to get the first wave start you have to have a 3:45 marathon time. Other races with qualifying standards require either a marathon or half-marathon time (or sometimes a 10K)

Part of me thinks I should just suck it up and commit to TCM. But the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, in my mind. The time interval between it and Med-City is a big one for me. I've never done 2 marathons in a year, but I think I'd like at least a week or two of easy running after Med-City before starting the training back up. I really want to do Chicago again, especially now that I know I'd get to have the preferred start. But it's not going to be an option unless something changes with the job situation soon. And that's part of what annoys me about TCM having such an early registration. If I hold out until June/July to see if anything changes and it doesn't, I've missed my chance to run it.

Regardless, I'm currently thinking that I am going to hold out til June/July for Chicago. Chicago just has so much more going for it than TCM:
- nice course, no hills (after running in MN those overpasses won't count)
- great crowd support
- very well organized aid stations
- I'll have the preferred start entry
- I'd get to meet half of the Let's Chat About Running group and run with them
- they have pace groups

I think if Chicago falls through, I'll do Des Moines. It's about a 3-4 hour drive, and the hotels don't look to be that expensive (well compared to Chicago, but then what isn't?). It appears that the 2003 reviews on marathonguide seem to be pretty favorable, too. Plus, running it would give me a 2 week break between Med-City and starting the training program.

I went shopping yesterday in the hopes of finding a dress to a wedding the Engineer and I are going to in June, and to look at spring clothes. UGH. The trip started out promising, as I actually felt like I looked small in the mirror at Old Navy. (I may still post an entry sometime about my body image issues, but let it be enough now to say that I never think I look small and almost always find fault with myself in the mirror). But the dresses I tried on there looked really terrible on me. I did find a pair of shorts that could work, but it's not really warm enough yet to buy shorts at full price. I headed over to the mall and tried on dresses at Marshall Fields, Gap, Charlotte Russe and JC Penney. I still had Express, Sears and NY Co. left but I'd had enough. I would never have imagined that I could be at my lowest weight ever and still not like how clothes look. I did learn that I can't really wear spaghetti straps anymore (that makes me sad), and that halter-style necklines and thicker strapped sleeveless tops work best for me. I haven't found a bottom half of a dress that works yet though. I think I need to head up to the MSP suburban malls where they have J. Crew, Banana Republic and other department stores. But still, ugh. Shopping should be fun. There was one bright spot, though. The Gap had a pair of jeans in my size on the clearance rack for $19.99. I never find anything I like in my size on the clearance rack, so that was nice.

Official results from the race were posted today. My official time was 1:37:53, and I was 79th overall. There's supposed to be an article in today's paper; I might end up in the background if they took pictures near the start.

1.0 | 9:19
2.0 | 9:35 | 18:55
3.0 | 9:30 | 28:25
4.0 | 9:26 | 37:52
5.0 | 9:13 | 47:06
5.04 miles | 47:27 | 9:25/mi. | 521 cal.

Run + weights

30-34 degrees | felt like 24-29 degrees | wind 6 MPH | sunny

I can't wait for my blister to heal over, because it is really annoying. I had more to talk about, but it'll have to be later.

1.0 | 9:13
2.0 | 9:22 | 18:36
3.0 | 9:22 | 27:58
4.0 | 9:25 | 37:23
5.0 | 9:05 | 46:28
5.17 miles | 47:58 | 9:17/mi. | 505 cal.

weights | upper body | 34:00

Marathon Training Week #8, April 5 - 11

| No TrackBacks

Running: 5:55:12 | 40.31 miles
Elliptical: 0:30:00
Weights: 0:59:00
President's Challenge points: 4491

Another solid week of training, running-wise. The weight lifting amount is a little low, because I only lifted two days this week as opposed to the three days I've been striving for. But I definitely didn't feel up to it yesterday, and can't do it today. I'm not worried about missing the third day, though, since this was a week with a race. The race was the highlight of the week, and makes me feel really good about my training so far.

8 miles

33-38 degrees | felt like 28-33 | wind 6 MPH

I felt so stiff getting started this morning! I had some soreness yesterday, mainly in my left leg (considering that's the leg that was giving me trouble during the race, that's not a big surprise). I gradually loosened up, and had a decent run. I went back over to the lake again, but instead of running along the river towards the high school, I followed the other river through downtown. That's a nice section of bike path, and I think I'll add it to my regular routes.

1.0 | 9:10
2.0 | 9:27 | 18:38
3.0 | 9:30 | 28:08
4,0 | 9:09 | 37:18
5.0 | 9:24 | 46:43
6.0 | 9:11 | 55:54
7.0 | 9:03 | 64:57
8.0 | 9:34 | 74:31
8.08 miles | 1:15:16 | 9:19/mi. | 774 cal.

A few more race tidbits

Updated my side bar with some new stats, a link to the new report, and my new goals. I've also taken off the link to the Fit Portal because I've decided to delete my link from the directory. I don't think my site really fits, judging by the popular categories and the popular sites. I didn't start blogging until after I'd stopped losing weight (and don't talk that much about my weight issues). It's something I've been thinking about for awhile, and while I was updating the sidebar decided this is the time. I think the Fit Portal is a great resource (I've found some great sites through it and skinnykat's old dietblog portal, so I'll probably still check in there every once in awhile), but I don't think it's the portal for me. Maybe I'll join Jonathan's portal, if I decide I need more traffic.

Things I forgot in my report (to be added to as I think of things):
The course non-markings were pretty bad in the last couple miles. At one spot, I slowed down so I could ask the guy I'd been running with (he was behind me) which way to go. At another point, I actually skidded to a complete stop because I was confused. The sudden full stop probably is a good source for some of the slowness of mile 12 and the soreness.

Speaking of ... how awesome is it that my slow mile was 8:12? That sounds like such an odd thing for me to be able to say. It increases my confidence as far as what pace I can hope to maintain for the marathon.

My left leg felt kind of weird, starting around 2-3 miles. I say weird because I don't know how else to explain it. It was kind of a tightness, but mainly just a weird feeling. When it started, I was a little worried that it would get worse and I'd have to back off the pace. But while it didn't necessarily get better, it also didn't get worse or interfere with my racing. It was mainly the calf, but a little bit in the hamstring, too. I think that maybe wearing the band-aid is causing me to run a little different.

The first water stop was annoying. I intended to grab a cup and drink it on the run. But everyone around me (there were still a good number of people around at that point, it was shortly after the stop that it became me and the men) came to a dead stop and I actually had to stop just so I could grab a cup. I grabbed it and took back off running.

Clothing: tights/RTC shirt/2 Dri-Fit long sleeves/gloves/fleece hat. Took off the outer LS in the second mile and tied it around my waist. Took off gloves at some point (before halfway, I think) and carried them. Put them back on at the end because hands were cold. Wore the race belt, which was good since I didn't keep the same shirt on the whole race.

And a condensed version of the Garmin data:
warm up | 0.50 miles | 0:04:38 | 46 cal.
20K race | 12.50 miles | 1:37:47 | 1147 cal.
cool down | 1.03 miles | 0:10:25 | 140 cal.

Why is blogger sucking today?

Fetzer 20K

The 20K race report is now posted.

Back from the race

I'm back, and here's a short report:

Woo-hoo! That's the sound of me being extremely happy. I ran 1:37:47 (sub-8 mpm), and placed third in my age group.

However, my legs are trashed and my toe is fucked (the blister GREW). So I am off to shower, eat and maybe nap. Back later with full details.

Pre-race jitters

Brrr! After a couple of days of nice weather, we're back into the 20s! It's currently 29 (feels like 20), and it's supposed to be only 33 (24) at the start of the race. In some ways, I'm not that upset about the colder weather. I'd been wondering/worrying about what to wear for the race, and the colder temperatures made my decision for me. If it was warmer, I'd want to wear shorts. The only problem is that I've only done short runs in shorts. Most of my shorts are a little baggy, because they are 2-3 years old and were therefore bought when I was a little bigger. I don't know how that bagginess is going to be on a long run, and I was worried about finding out during a race. I've done all my long runs so far in tights, so it's not such a bad thing that I'm going to have to wear them again today.

I slept really crappy last night. I kept waking up, and then having trouble going back to sleep. I guess I'm more nervous about this race than I thought I was. I think it's because this is my first real distance race. While I've done 2 marathons, I've really just run them, not raced them. Today will be my first attempt at actually racing a long distance, and that's a little scary. The farthest I've raced before is 10K and I'm going twice that. I'm not used to worrying about how fast I'll travel a distance. I think I'm also nervous because I've had some ideas floating around as far as marathon goals, and this race will help me determine if I am thinking crazy or am on track.

Need to finish getting ready .... I should be back with a report later this afternoon.

XT Day

I decided to cross-train today, and take tomorrow as a rest day. I don't think I can handle 2 rest days in a row (I feel lazy on rest days), and I don't want to go into Saturday's race too rested. That may not make sense, but I'm not tapering for this race. I want to see how well I can run coming off a semi-normal week. My thinking is that if I can race well under those conditions, I'll perform at least as well, if not better, after the full marathon taper.

I changed the stride length on the elliptical today, from #4 to #3. (Our elliptical has 4 different stride settings: #1 is "walk," #2 is "jog," #3 is "run" and #4 is "sprint"). I normally use #4, but I think it adds to my calf soreness. I think I've figured out the cause for that and my hip pain: hills. I haven't been running my hilly routes as much, so when I do, it makes me a little sore. So next week, I need to start going back out onto the hilly courses.

Elliptical | 25:00 Cardio/5:00 CD | 21:38 in zone | 2.01 miles | 459 cal.

Band-aids and Milk

I had to pick up some stuff for the Engineer at Target today, so I went ahead and got the Blister Band-Aids. I just put it on, and I like the shape and size of it. I think I could actually run with this on my toe and it wouldn't start moving around during the run. I hope it heals up before Saturday so I don't have to test that out. I was looking at Band-Aid's website, and noticed that they also have Blister Block Band-Aids. I wonder how those work - I guess maybe if you consistently get blisters in the same place? I am pretty lucky in that I rarely get blisters, although when I do they aren't in the same spot.

My trip to the store revealed that I'm still going to have problems locating my milk. I'm on the last container out of the 4 I bought last month. Neither Target, Hy-Vee North, or Econo Foods (I don't think I'm going back there) carried it. I went ahead and picked up some 8th Continent as a backup, but I'm hoping one of the other Hy-Vees will have my brand. I've gotten really used to the flavor, and I like that it has added protein. I don't want to switch milks!

5 mile run

49 degrees | felt like 44 | wind 14 MPH | sunny

Desktop Weather was broken this morning, so I had to get my weather info from regular weatherchannel.com. For some reason, DW got stuck at 8:39 AM and wouldn't refresh. It kept telling me it was 39 degrees and colder, and I was hoping that wasn't the case. Checking the website showed that it wasn't, thankfully. I really didn't want to wear tights again because I am so tired of them!

Ran down the trail for the first time in a couple of months. It was nice because none of the smoke breakers were out, nor were the rude dog walkers. My watch worked on the trail, but I don't know if that will change as the leaves fill out. It was nice being able to figure out at least one of the mile markers, since I was confused by them before (couldn't figure out what was considered to be the start of the actual trail). I was also able to confirm that my estimated 4 mile route was actually 4 miles. I love when distances I calculate by pace turn out to be correct.

I have a blister - ARGH! I got home and went downstairs to stretch before weight lifting. My foot felt kind of odd, so I took off my socks and found a blister on the side of my left big toe. I hate blisters. I'm not sure why/how I got one today. It's not like I ran that far, and I wore the same socks I've been wearing for 2 years without problems. What gives, stupid toe? I drained it, and hopefully it'll heal over quickly. I'd go get those blister Band-Aids, but I never have much luck with bandaids on my toes. On the subject of feet, I'm surprised my toenails haven't been giving me trouble. I half expected the troublesome toenail (left foot, second toe) to be purple by now. Instead, I have a callus-type thing on my right foot's middle toe.

As I get older, the changes with my feet confuse me. I used to always have to get motion-control/stability shoes, but now I wear cushioned shoes. I used to have problems with my metatarsals, but I ran 17 miles on Saturday and they didn't hurt at all. I've been using the same shoe lacing method for the last 10 years, but lately it's been causing problems. I kept feeling like my shoes were laced too tight, and I was getting this sore spot on the side of the top of my foot. On Monday, I laced my shoes up normally and the too-tight feeling went away, and I haven't felt the soreness either. I guess I don't need to use the special method anymore.

Look - I was almost consistent today!

1.0 | 9:16
2.0 | 9:12 | 18:28
3.0 | 9:14 | 27:42
4.0 | 9:16 | 36:59
5.0 | 9:06 | 46:06
5.06 miles | 46:35 | 9:13/mi. | 512 cal.

weights | upper body | 25:00

8 mile run

51 degrees | wind 16 MPH | sunny

I think I've mentioned some of the stuff that creeps me out while running. The Engineer and I were talking about that yesterday (he thinks I should stay out of the wooded trails for safety) and I said that I know I'm paranoid of a lot of things. But I think it's better to be hyper-aware of your surroundings than to be oblivious. Today, I added another thing to the list of creepy things. So I've started going over to the lake for my mid-distance and pace runs because I like the bike path over there. The only thing is that that area seems to attract men who like to just sit in their cars. I find that kind of ... odd. When I got back to my car today, there was a guy sitting in the car next to me. I did my standing stretches, but skipped the sitting ones. I'm not sure why people drive over to the lake, and then sit in their cars. What's that about?

I'm back to using FitDay this week. I stopped logging my food because I was pretty sure I had a handle on things, and I'd been at the same weight for almost 2 months. But I'd told myself that if I started gaining, I was going to go back to logging until I had things back under control. Over the last 2 weeks, I've gone up 2 pounds. Now, that isn't a lot and it's not something I'm panicking or getting freaked out about. But since I know how easy it is for things to get away from me, I'm nipping this in the bud. When I log, I'm a lot more conscious of what I eat. The last couple of weeks, I haven't been paying much attention. Well, that, and I've done some baking and I like baked goods. But I'm going to get back on track and it'll all be good.

I'd better wrap this up so I can let the puppy out. Not to get all TMI or anything, but I'm getting pretty annoyed with my bladder. I kid you not, I go to the bathroom 4-5 times before I go run, to make sure it's empty. But the last 3 runs, I've needed to pee. I hate that feeling!

1.0 | 9:00
2.0 | 9:19 | 18:19
3.0 | 9:11 | 27:31
4.0 | 9:20 | 36:52
5.0 | 9:14 | 46:06
6.0 | 8:55 | 55:02
7.0 | 9:04 | 64:06
8.0 | 8:58 | 73:04

8.10 miles | 1:13:57 | 9:08/mi. | 768 cal.

Run + weights

44 degrees | felt like 36 degrees | wind 17 MPH | sunny

1.0 | 9:04
2.0 | 9:37 | 18:42
3.0 | 9:20 | 28:02
4.0 | 9:19 | 37:22
5.0 | 8:52 | 46:15
5.04 miles | 46:34 | 9:15/mi. | 540 cal.

weights | upper body | 34:00

Running: 6:17:13 | 41.29 miles
Elliptical: 0:35:00
Weights: 1:39:00
President's Challenge points: 4648

This was a very solid week of training, and I'm feeling really good about my progress.

Cross-training day!

I'm actually feeling pretty good today. I seem to remember my 16+ mile runs making me more sore than I am. I'm actually not really sore at all. This is also a good sign of my training fitness. I decided not to do weights today, partly because I didn't want to, but also so that I can lift on Monday and Wednesday. If I lifted today, I'd only be able to lift on Tuesday (I haven't fully decided what I'm going to do on Thursday and Friday, but it won't be much). So this way I'll get at least 2 days of weights in next week.

Elliptical | 30:00 Cardio/5:00 CD | 26:39 in zone, 2.32 miles, 530 cal.

Long Run

40-44 degrees | felt like 29-35 degrees | wind 22-26 MPH, gusting up to 35 MPH | Sunny

I went out with the track club again today, even though I needed to do 17 and they were running 15. The first half was kind of miserable for me, and I kept promising myself I wouldn't come out again and that I would turn around at the 3rd water stop and run back alone. I run my long runs between 9:10-9:20/mi and that pace feels relaxed and easy. But when I run that pace with the track club, I feel slow and anxious. Most of the runners that come out run much faster than 9:00/mi, and there are maybe 10-12 that run slower than that. So during the first part, I ran all alone, with a big gap between me and the runners in front of me. And it made me anxious and stressed out, because I don't want to be the last runner. And while I could run with the people ahead of me, it would be too fast of a pace for a long run and to do so would be counter-intuitive.

I decided to stick with the group, though, because I knew the route they would be taking would involve less wind that heading back the way we came. (That damn stupid gusty wind was back again today. Argh!). Luckily, the 3rd water stop was in a McDonald's parking lot, so I took the opportunity to use the McD's bathroom. Some of the people in there looked very confused by my appearance. But anyway. Unfortunately, my pit stop messed up the splits on my watch. I think if you stop it yourself it counts that as a lap; it took me awhile to figure it out and then I tried to get it back on target. I took half of my gel and some water and set back off. I think the gel helps a lot mentally, since both times I've used it with the group I've felt better immediately. I know it doesn't kick in that quickly.

After the 3rd water stop, I had more people around me so I didn't feel as alone. And I knew that there were people behind me, which helped make me feel better, too. (I really hate being the slowest person). My back did start feeling a little sore around 11 miles, but it never got as bad as during last week's 11 mile run. I had some gatorade at the 4th water stop, and caught up with D at that point. He and I ran together for the rest of the 15 miles, which was good because I needed the company and because that section of the course wasn't as well marked. The last couple of miles, the wind was really bad. D joked that I must bring the wind with me, since it wasn't that bad last week when I was gone. I started getting a sharp, stabbing pain right around at the end of the 15 mile course (this week it was a little long, so this was around 15.2 or .3), which freaked me out a little after reading David from rec.running's ATB 30K/Hell report. I stopped to stretch it and say goodbye to D, and then continued on so I could get my 17 miles in. Once again, I'm not sure I understand how mile 16 was so slow. Even taking the cramp into account, I seriously doubt I ran that mile that slowly; I think I'd know if my pace dropped by that much. More watch wackiness, I guess.

01.00 | 9:05
02.00 | 9:04 | 0:18:10
03.00 | 9:13 | 0:27:24
04.00 | 9:02 | 0:36:26
05.00 | 9:14 | 0:45:41
06.00 | 9:06 | 0:54:47
07.00 | 9:16 | 1:04:03
08.00 | 9:18 | 1:13:21
08.87 | 7:55 | 1:21:17 (9:08/mi)
09.87 | 9:27 | 1:30:44
10.87 | 9:14 | 1:39:59
11.87 | 9:24 | 1:49:23
12.87 | 9:25 | 1:58:49
13.00 | 0:48 | 1:59:37
14.00 | 9:22 | 2:08:59
15.00 | 9:24 | 2:18:23
16.00 | 10:33 | 2:28:57 - bad cramp, stopped to stretch
17.00 | 9:20 | 2:38:17
17.03 miles | 2:38:56 | 9:20/mi. | 1743 cal.

Pace Run + Weights

42-28 degrees | felt like 38-44 | wind 7-8 MPH | Sunny

A little chilly at the start, but it quickly turned into a beautiful day! I drove over to the lake again and ran along it and the river. I like not having to deal with cars and stop lights and that area is just so pretty. I took a different turn by the high school (which is a really cool looking building), and ended up running in the woods. My watch continued to work in that area, but that's probably because the trees are still bare. I didn't go too far in the woods because it kind of creeped me out. The rest of the bike path is surrounded by park areas, so there are people around. I was all alone in the woods, and the noises made by the animals running around made me nervous. So as neat as the wooded area was, I didn't want to go too far in there by myself.

The schedule called for another pace run today. Some of the LCARers said that they think I should be doing the pace runs at marathon pace (MP). I still don't know what my MP is, though. I have some ideas, but I'm not really ready to actually set those as my goal. Maybe if my race goes as I want next week, I'll be ready to admit my true marathon goal. Anyway, I was going to just run today as an easy pace run, since I ran hard last week and am racing next week. My legs didn't like that idea, so the run ended up being some kind of a pace run. I felt really good, which is why I kept going with the pace I started out. I'm kind of amazed I kept it up, since I kept getting these stupid side stitches. I am so tired of those! But the pace felt good, not hard, which I think is important since that says to me that my fitness is increasing. I did notice my breathing pattern was faster, but other than that (and the stupid stitches) I just felt relaxed and good; I didn't realize some of the miles were as fast as they were until I checked my watch after the run. Interestingly enough, some of the miles were my side bugged me the most were some of the faster miles. Weird.

1.0 | 8:48
2.0 | 8:58 | 17:46
3.0 | 8:54 | 26:40
4.0 | 8:23 | 35:03
5.0 | 8:35 | 43:49
6.0 | 8:17 | 51:57
7.0 | 8:04 | 60:02
8.0 | 7:50 | 67:52
8.03 miles | 68:03 | 8:29/mi. | 746 cal.

weights | upper body | 31:00

Day off

I had a semi-productive day off. I actually ran errands in the morning, and went to 3 stores before 11:30. I went to Wal-Mart, Ghetto-Vee and the bike store. I'm getting kind of pissed off about the orange situation. First of all, they are so expensive right now ($0.99/pound at Ghetto-Vee today; they were under $0.50/pound for most of winter). I guess it's not as bad as the price of nectarines ($1.99/pound), but the quality of the oranges has decreased sharply. I normally pick up close to 10 pounds of oranges at a time, but lately I'm having trouble even finding 2 oranges that aren't scary looking. I guess it's just that time of year where produce is not good and costs more. I decided to go to the bike store to pick up gel today, since there's a store right across from the Ghetto-Vee. I've decided to just stick with the Strawberry-Banana PowerGel so I picked up 10 packets of it. I know that it works for me, and it's the easiest brand of gels to find here in town. I also don't want to have to worry about buying gels for awhile. I still need to try out the Hammer Gels, and I did pick up a few packets of the Vanilla Bean Gu, but I think in the future I'll be going with online ordering. I think the price cut you get for buying in bulk with take care of the shipping.

I also did some cleaning. We're trying to get the house in order 1) because we're puppy-sitting this upcoming week and I think it'd be better for some of the clutter to be gone before and 2) the Engineer's parents are coming to visit over Easter weekend. Since we'll have the puppy until Friday and they arrive on Saturday (and I'll be gone all morning at the 20K), we need to get as much done now as possible. I cannot stand for people to come over to my house without it being clean. People (in general) always say that they don't care, which could be true but I still want the house to be clean.

While I was cleaning, I started going through my closet. As much as I want warmer weather, I'm fine with it staying in the 50-60s for a long while. While going through my clothes, I realized I do not have a single pair of shorts that fit. There are one or two pairs that I might be able to kind of get away with by wearing them low on my hips, but eh. I really don't want to buy new shorts. I absolutely detest shopping for shorts, because I can never find a good length. I'm 5'4" and my legs are the same length as my 5'9" husband. So shorts are either really short, or down to my knees (I hate knee length shorts and skirts). I do have one skirt that fits, so I'll probably wear that a lot when it gets hot. Old Navy is supposed to be having a sale this weekend, so maybe I'll head over there to see if they have anything non-scary.


Yippee! Wal-Mart has installed self-checkout lanes. I can scan and bag my own groceries - no more having my stuff squashed by the cashier's careless bagging!

My favorite running ad

While I was home this past weekend, I found a bunch of my stuff. I have a lot of missing items, and all I know is that they are somewhere in my parents' house. See, our old house was up for sale the summer after my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. In an attempt to make the house more "sellable," they had the carpets replaced that fall. I had had a ton of boxes and items stored under my bed and on the floor of my closet. Since I was away at school and not home to deal with it, those things all got moved to the basement. When the house finally sold, we had movers come to box everything up. All the stuff that had been moved to the basement got boxed with other basement items. When I came home to the new house that summer, I dug through boxes but couldn't find anything. I'm still kind of mad about it (not at anyone, just that I can't find my stuff), especially the loss of my big box of t-shirts.

So when stuff of mine turns up that's been missing, it's kind of a big deal for me. This past trip, we found my junior year cross country sweatshirt and my USATF cross country shirts and sweatshirts. I also retrieved my running bulletin board. I wish I could find a picture of it in it's full glory. I love that board. I cut out ads from Runners World and Running Times for the background. At the start of each year, I created goals and posted them on my board so I could see them every day. I also hung all the ribbons and medals from races on the board. Some time ago, I took all the medals off (they are in a box that I do know the location of), so the board looks kind of bare. I need to find a place to put it, and start hanging stuff up on it again.

I also found a copy of my favorite adidas ad ever. Anytime I saw this ad, I cut it out (there's a copy on my board, and I also had a copy in my locker). I tried to get the owner of the running store to give me his poster copy of it, but I can't remember why that didn't work. I scanned it, but it's kind of big:

The text reads: "Remember Chutes and Ladders? You move ahead one square at a time. That's how it is. You conquer a goal here. You kick butt there. You screw up in college, and fall back 10 spaces. But then you start back up again. You're always just trying to get to that next level."

I just liked the message of it, and I find it even more inspiring now. That screwed up in college part? That's definitely me. And when I started running again, I felt like I was at least 10 spaces behind. I still feel like I'm chasing after the level I used to be. I don't know if I'll ever get back to that point (although lately I feel like I'm finally on the track to do so), but as long as I keep working hard that's okay.

And that's one of things that has always appealed to me about running. I'll never be an elite athlete, I'll probably never run a sub-20 5K and I may never qualify for Boston - but I can still be successful. Over my running career, I've actually won a couple of races, but those races aren't necessarily the ones I remember the most or the ones that mean the most. The races that have meant the most to me are where I achieved a goal. My personal records may not be the best, but they are mine and I've worked hard to earn them. I like that everyone and anyone can be successful in running as long as they put the effort in.

I started thinking about some of this after reading Dani's post yesterday about her new longest run record. It was the phrase "insert goofy grin," because I know what that feels like when you enter new territory for running. I remember my first long run was at cross country camp. We were sent out onto this trail and told to run long. Some of the girls from my team went out for 9 or 10, I think, but I stuck with a group that was going to do 8. I think I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep up with the longer group. But I conquered the 8, and ran that distance a couple more times over the summer before moving up to 9, 10 and 12. I wish I could remember more of what the 12 felt like. I know I liked it because I made 10-12 mile runs a regular part of my winter training that year.

My first 20 mile run was a disaster, and I ended it at 17 miles. I re-arranged my training schedule so I could try again (I wanted to at least have covered that distance in training). I drove out to a park and ran a giant loop around town. I was pretty giddy the last 0.5 mile because I was actually going to finish the run. Driving home, I couldn't stop smiling and almost laughing every time I thought about how I'd just run 20 miles. I couldn't believe I'd actually done it. And then to actually run the marathon ... for weeks afterwards, I couldn't even think about the finish without wanting to cry. I'd had running a marathon as a dream for so long that to actually achieve it was an amazing feeling.

I'm kind of rambling here, and should probably stop so I can go run my errands.