March 2005 Archives

Still here

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Still in Minnesota. We got about 20 inches of snow total (a new record, apparently), and our street didn't get plowed until almost noon. I checked the road maps, and while our section of the state was clear (aside from warnings about drifting snow) I-90 was still red. Wisconsin also had some red sections, and I heard that they might get some of the snowstorm, too. So travel looked like a really bad idea.

I stayed inside while the Engineer went to tackle the driveway. After he'd been out there an hour (and I'd been up for almost 3) I started falling asleep while watching TV. So I went to lay down, and ended up falling asleep for 3 hours! I had gotten a full night's sleep, but apparently I was still tired. It's from the cold/flu thing I have, and it's gotten worse today. I am so stuffy and sneezy, it sucks.

So while I'm disappointed I don't get to run the race, it's probably better that I can't. Hopefully this will be the only race I DNS this year.

This week sucks!

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Three reasons that this week sucks and blows:

1. I started getting a cough on Tuesday night. It hasn't turned into anything more than that (ie, no fever, no real aches, no nausea) but this cough is really annoying. It's not even a productive cough, so it is really pointless and annoying.

2. I had another review at work. I'm not going to go into much detail here, but on the one hand this was a good thing because I was praised and improved in many areas. The reason that this is in the "sucks" category is that I'm not going to get the raise that I deserve. If we had had a competent HR person back when I was hired, I wouldn't be in this position... So frustrating!!

3. I am supposed to be on my way to Illinois right now, to run a half-marathon on Sunday. Unfortunately, I live in Minnesota and it decided that today would be a good day for a snowstorm:

The Engineer got my car stuck in the driveway.

Looking south from my garage. There was no snow at all anywhere yesterday, so this is all new crap.

And looking north.

So we've got at least 1 foot of snow. I hate snow. MNDOT has a road information webpage, and our section of the state is all red for dangerous conditions. My boss let us all leave work early today since the roads are really bad (especially since it's windy), and I went to the store since we're out of cereal. Driving was a little scary, but the worst part was trying to push my cart through the snow. As I'm dragging it, a guy drove by and called out something like "Gotta love Minnesota!" I yelled back "I hate Minnesota!"

Hopefully the snow will stop soon and the roads will clear up by tomorrow so that I can still get down to IL to run my race.

EBT outside

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It was sunny and above freezing when I got home from work, so I decided to go outside. I figured I'd attach the foot pod to my shoe, and run a route I know the distance of to see if the pre-set calibration was any good. So I went out to run the 3 mile route that I ran tons of times over the summer.

Playing with colors

Just for fun, I've added Google ads to my site. I doubt anything will come of it, but it seemed like an interesting experiment. I wonder what weird, fun ads I'll get. While I was updating my layout, I decided to play with the format and colors. I'm not sure I like what I just did, but "bruise" was my color inspiration. Seems like a good color palette for a blog called "ugly toes."

Had my eye doctor appointment today. Aside from having to wait awhile, I liked this doctor better. It turns out that the other doctor didn't bother telling me that toric lenses have to be put on in a certain direction. It makes a big difference, so you'd think he might've thought that might be important to mention but apparently no. New doctor filled me in on that little trick, and adjusted my prescription. Here's hoping the new contact works better.

Back again

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Didn't mean to let that many days go by. Here's what I've been up to:

Training Week: March 7 - 13, 2005

Running: 4:42:07 | 28.79 miles
Walking: 0:17:59 | 1 mile
Elliptical: 0:35:00 | 2.39 miles
Weights: 1:14:00


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So today Hal called for mile repeats at 5K pace. The suggested structure for the workout was to run a warm-up, stretch, run 3x1 mile with walking recovery, and a cooldown. So that's what I did. I ran a mile for warm-up and then did my stretching routine. Then I started the repeats, walking 1/4 mile in between. The repeats weren't too bad, they were hard but not as hard as I'd built them up to be.

And that reminds me of something I was going to post about last week, but slacked instead. I was driving to the eye doctor (sidenote: I HATE our eye doctor's office, but they are the only place in town that our insurance will cover. I hate them so much I think I'm going to start getting my eyes checked by my old doctor back in IL because at least he was competent), and getting there means driving over some of the race course from the 10K I ran in October. So as I was driving along, I realized to PR, I'm going to have to run faster than 7:20/mi. I've also been thinking about how I'd like to PR at the 20K next month, which means running ~7:50/mi or faster. Somedays that seems really intimidating. Back in high school, I never put much thought into getting faster each year, as my naive self just assumed it was a given that I would be faster. Now I know it's not a given, and I've got to work for it. And I think I lost my train of thought here.

Anyway. My Buh-Bump arrived today, so I got to test that out. I smelled it before applying it, because I was curious about what I was about to slather myself with. I hate the smell of Body Glide, so I was glad that it smelled kind of decent. Interestingly enough, it kind of smelled like Baby Magic. I'm not sure I would've made that connection had Kathy not mentioned that as an alternative, but now I'm wondering if they are in fact the exact same thing. I'll have to take the B-B with me Target this weekend to compare. I don't think I can say enough good things about B-B. The electrodes stuck to me like glue today, and the strap didn't move around much at all. The most interesting thing, though, was that my heart rate was a lot lower during my warm-up today - I even ran for a bit at 6.1 MPH, which I haven't really done since starting EBT. So I don't know if I was just having a low heart rate day, or if maybe I was getting higher readings previously because the electrodes weren't as connected to my skin.

My repeats weren't done at exactly 5K pace. I thought I'd aim for around 7:00/mi, but my last 5K was an average of 6:57/mi. Actually, my "goal" pace would be somewhere in the 6:40s, but that's more of a late summer goal (and not really something I currently plan to spend much time working towards, as I think I'm focusing on slightly longer distances). I started the first one a little slower because I wanted to make sure my hip wasn't going to be owie, and then I got kind of distracted by my shoes. They felt tight enough during my warm-up, but apparently they weren't tight enough for hard running. I fixed that after the first repeat, and then they were okay for the rest of the workout. I thought the last repeat would've been faster than it was because I increased the pace several times in the second half, but that's okay. It was nice to end the actual workout portion on a good note. (My cooldown, on the other hand, was kind of crappy because I got a cramp so I cut it off at 1/2 mile. I did stretch really thoroughly afterwards, though).

WU: 1 mile | 10:06 | avg. HR 136 | 59% PE
1 mile | 7:12 | avg. HR 175 | 85% PE
walk 0.25 mile | 4:20 | avg. HR 120
1 mile | 7:07 | avg. HR 180 | 88% PE
walk 0.25 mile | 4:43 | avg. HR 123
1 mile | 6:56 | avg. HR 184 | 91% PE
walk 0.25 mile | 4:35 | avg. HR 127
CD: 0.50 miles | 5:17 | avg. HR 145 | 65% PE

I was looking at the local race calendar the other day, and here's what I'm looking at doing:

03.20: March Madness 1/2 Marathon (entered)
04.09: Fetzer 20K* (entry to be mailed soon)
05.14: Spring 15K*
05.29: Med City 1/2 (relay w/co-worker)
06.11: Aviary 10 mile* ?
06.21: All Comers Mile* ?
07.23: Women's 4 mile* (a definite entry)
07.30: Douglas Trail 11 mi* ?
08.06: Jessica Murray 5K (gotta defend the title ;) )
08.27: Holiday Inn 1/2*
09.15: Mayo XC*
10.09: Chicago Marathon ?
10.29: Spirit 10K*
11.05: Bear Creek 5 (the time prediction run)

Asterisked races are for track club Grand Prix points; I'd like to win my age group by more than 1 point this year, so I need to run more races in the series (I only earned points in 4 races last year). Looking at the list, it seems like a lot of races and yet not very many. Weird.


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I'm feeling so apathetic when it comes to my computer. I think it's because I've been spending more time at work doing documentation stuff (on the computer). I actually cleaned the entryway to the house on Sunday (vacuuming up all the sand tracked in took awhile) and yesterday I actually sat and watched a movie. The Engineer and I TiVo movies all the time, but I never get around to watching mine.

Anyway, the EBT has been going decently. I ran 9 miles for my long run on Sunday, and think I'll probably do 10 this weekend. My run today was pretty good. My average heart rate was 143 (64% PE), and I had a good stretch of running at 6 MPH. So it's nice that I'm already seeing some progress, in terms of my pace increasing while effort decreases. Maybe I'll be able to run "normal" pace soon. The treadmill did temporarily worry me when I went downstairs today, as it had a message on it. I can't find the instruction manual, but looked it up online and it turns out it was just prompting for a cleaning. That message is supposed to come on after 500 miles, which is odd because we passed that point awhile ago. Anyway, the training log (link in sidebar) has been updated with the details of my last few runs.

I've decided to back off of the lower body weight lifting for a little bit. One of the muscles around my hip has been feeling a little sore, and I think lifting will just aggravate it. I've been stretching and icing it. I read a discussion about running slower, and someone said an advantage is that running slow develops the muscles differently which helps when you run faster. I probably paraphrased that wrong, and I'm not sure I totally believe it, but it would explain why I'm sore where I'm usually not.

I've done some shopping lately. Over the weekend, I went ahead and ordered Buh-Bump. I did stop at the treadmill store on Friday, but they don't carry it. It should be here this week sometime, so I'll be able to try it out. (Thanks for the Baby Magic lotion tip, Kathy. If I think the Buh-Bump makes a difference, I'll have to try that since it'd be a lot easier to buy!). I also bought a new scale. Our scale has been kind of wonky, and after Saturday, when it gave me a +2 pound reading and a +7 pound reading for the Engineer, I decided it was time for it to be replaced. I bought a Tanita 680; I've been curious about body fat scales, and picked that one because it has athlete mode (since my RHR is 45, regular body fat scales don't work on me). So far I've found the body fat readings believable, however, I'm going to just use them as a relative measurement and just as kind of a curiosity-type thing.

Tonight, I made a bigger purchase: I decided to get the Polar watch. I should have it in the next 7-10 days, which gives me time to come up with a name for it. I'm looking forward to going back outside, but I do think it'll be harder for me to control my pace. That's a really nice thing about running on the treadmill, that I can just focus on my heart rate and adjust the pace as needed.

Considering I also bought some new pants (and I had a whole rant about how stupid women's sizing is, and how irrelevant the sizes are, but that's kind of boring. Oh, I did try on the new "technological wonder" Jon posted about, and without getting TMI: totally not worth $45), I think the Engineer is probably going to take away my credit cards for awhile. But sometimes a girl needs a little retail therapy.

5 miles | 51:15 | avg. HR 143 | 64% PE

Training Week: February 28 - March 6, 2005

Running: 4:20:13 | 25.75 miles
Walking: 0:13:59 | 0.78 miles
Elliptical: 0:35:00 | 2.32 miles
Weights: 1:43:00

The internet returns

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Our internet magically reappeared yesterday afternoon, which was a nice surprise. I've managed to update my training log and reply to comments, but still need to tackle e-mail. I need to go run some errands, but will be back later with details on my training week.


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Our internet died last night, and they won't fix it until tuesday. I hate charter communications.


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So I'm loosely following Higdon's post-marathon training plan, and he called for mile repeats today. So mile repeats I did, around the 10K pace he suggested. The main interesting thing that happened was that I confirmed that I did test my MHR wrong. During my last mile repeat, I did start getting a little tired and my heart rate creeped into the 190s (it got into the 180s for the first two) as I increased the pace (I wanted to finish my last repeat a little faster than the previous two). I extended the interval a little to see if I could get my heart rate up (since I was so close anyway) ... I got it to 198 but then decided I needed to finish my workout. I guess I should've tried to keep going to see if my heart rate went up any more (like I theorize it will) but I think 3 miles of fast running was enough for the day. So I'm going to use 198 as my max for now, but I know I probably should do a real MHR test again.

I'm still being really tempted by that Polar watch. I was given a tip that has coupons for Road Runner Sports. I found a 15% off coupon that would change the price to just under $300, which is still expensive but slightly more tolerable.

0.5 mi. | 5:31 | avg. HR 142
1.0 mi. | 7:23 | avg. HR 177 (high ~185)
0.5 mi. | 5:34 | avg. HR 147
1.0 mi. | 7:20 | avg. HR 179 (high ~185)
0.5 mi. | 5:48 | avg. HR 150
1.05 mi. | 7:32 | avg. HR 182 (high 198)

Walk | 0.25 miles | 4:38 | avg. HR 139
0.55 miles | 6:05 | avg. HR 149

Better Run

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Today's EBT attempt was much better than the last. However, I do think there is something funny going on in my basement - I was running along about 140 bpm when all of a sudden the display showed 168! I pressed on the strap (for better contact), and it went back to the 140s. I had something similar happen at least one more, which made me glad I wasn't using the cruise control. I do think I'm onto something with the moisture. I did wet the electrode spots and my skin before putting the strap on, but I think it kept drying out. Our basement is really dry, and I'm not sweating as much. I did have to re-moisten the spots a couple of times during the run, and I found when the readings seemed weird that pressing the strap closer to my skin briefly helped straighten things out.

So I'm thinking the electrode gel may be the solution, but the Engineer thinks that's unnecessary. He says to just use Vaseline, but that sounds weird. Since I don't know where I'd even buy electrode gel (although I bet the gigantic major medical center here in town might just have a store that sells it), I should poke around online and see what people are using.

Found out we're getting our bonuses next week. Mine won't be that much since I only worked as a real employee for 1/4 of the year. I might have to talk the Engineer into letting me use it towards getting that Polar watch. I think it would be useful even on the treadmill, as I could do intervals and see my heart rate for the interval. I'm going to do some speedwork tomorrow, and if I want to get my heart rate for each interval, I'm going to have to stop and reset the treadmill after each one. That's probably what I'll do tomorrow, but it'd be nice to be able to do it continuously.

treadmill | 4 miles | 42:28 | avg. HR 145 | 66% PE
weights | lower body | 14:00