Tuesday, May 31, 2011

You know what they say about persistence...

There's a route in my neighborhood I mapped out some time ago which has always proven to be an excellent workout.

It's just a bit over five miles, doorstep to doorstep, and mostly rolling hills - with one or two that are (at least for me) the kind that turns my entire body into an sorry, oxygen-starved slug of lead.

This evening I graduated to a not-quite-as-sorry, slighty more oxygenated chunk of aluminum.

Oh, Progress.

Next up.......foam core? Balsa wood?  Perhaps!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

This Is Why

Tonight's run - 5.63 miles in about 1:18 - was so amazingly awesome that it deserves a happy picture.  I took this about 10 minutes after I'd finished:

I almost didn't go, because generally speaking, workouts at the end of the day have never been very stellar. In fact, they usually suck. And it was very grey and cloudy and threatening to downpour at any moment. I knew I needed to go, though - I've got the Timberline Half looming on the horizon - and the thought of trying to grit my teeth through 75 coma-inducing minutes on the treadmill was literally the worst possible thing I could think of doing, so I dressed down, popped in the earbuds and headed out.

I have rarely been as glad as I was tonight that I decided to go. This run was one of those amazing experiences that literally defines in nearly every way exactly why I do this.

Legs = power from the toes up. Felt stronger than they have in weeks.

Lungs = wide open. Cardio Party for the win!

Mind = totally engaged, in the moment, no whining.

And - for the first time ever - I managed to run all the way up a certain hill that has kicked my ass every single time I've ever tried it, up until tonight. No walking, except for a 30-second stint when I got to the top!!

And speaking of walking...I estimate I walked for a total of 5 minutes or less  - and the only reason I stopped moving at any point was due to crosswalk signals. Five measly minutes of walking during a 5+ mile run is phenomenal for me right now.

I think the only downside was that for the latter half of the run, I kept wondering when the other shoe was going to drop - it was going too well, I felt way too good, something was bound to start bitching, cramping or just plain crapping out, because this has been a pretty common occurrence lately. By the time I hit mile 5, I was getting a small, hinky twinge in my glutes and hip flexors, but it was low-key enough so that I was easily able to just flick it off the radar, like an annoying little bug.

It started to rain as I headed back up my street for the last ten minutes or so, but it was great. There was absolutely nothing that could ruin this run, short of taking a face plant in the middle of the street. The little (but steep) hill right before my house forced me to walk a bit, but by then I was so pleased with the whole experience that it didn't even matter.

I owned it, totally owned it this evening, and this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I run.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Just Doing It

After I got home from work today, I was feeling pretty wiped out. I've been up late every night this week and it's catching up to me.

I'd decided before I left the office, however, that I really needed to get in a run today since I've done nothing since Saturday's epic 14-mile crampfest. Nicholas had Taekwondo class tonight, and I had to play chauffeur, so I didn't get home until about 6:45. I went straight from the front door to the bedroom, draped myself somewhat unceremoniously on the bed and let the debate bang around in my head for about 15 minutes or so before I finally decided to get out there and do it.

The initial plan was to do my usual 5-mile circuit to the Bany roundabout and back, but it didn't take long to figure out my legs weren't really feeling up to par, so I only went to Murray Blvd. and back - a bit over 3.5 miles. In this case, caution really was the better part of valor, in my opinion.

I went out with no watch and no iPod, which was nice - every once in a while, it's good to just get out there and go with no mind towards time or distractions - just you and your breath cruising on down the road. Unfortunately, the legs were complaining just enough to keep it from being one of those awesome Zen runs, but I know that sometimes, it just goes with the territory so I've learned to not let it be an issue.

I'm very much looking forward to my 5K this Sunday - Nicholas is also going to do the Kids Mile and he's very excited. I am hoping I might just be able to turn this kid into a runner, so I'm crossing my fingers that this is going to be a positive experience for him.

Speaking of Nicholas - last evening when we were sitting on the couch together, he snuggled up to me, gave me a big smooch, and said, "I love that you're a runner, mom."

It was quite possibly the most awesome thing anyone has ever said to me.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

One Tough Run

Oh, if only my Saturday long run with Jenn ended up as beautfiul as the weather was.

We were blessed with glorious weather, and we got a bit of an earlier start than normal (although it would have been earlier, had we not decided to have a little "bagel party" at Jenn's house before we left.)

The Burnt Bridge Creek Trail in Vancover is gorgeous - it was Jenn's idea and it was a great one! The run started out fantastic - not too hot, not too cold, and mostly overcast. The hills were gentle and most of the scenery very much worth the drive. We got a great start, and I did pretty well up until about the time we hit 7 miles and the planned turnaround - by then, I was starting to feel a few bits and pieces really start to complain and I silently wondered at that point how well I was going to finish.

Somewhere between 9 and 10 miles was where it started getting iffy, and the walk breaks grew more frequent and lengthy. I was plagued with leg cramps - not the kind (at least) that were completely incapacitating, but ones that traveled to different spots - quads to shins to calves to hamstrings and then back around again. I managed to stretch a bit a couple times but it really didn't do any good at all.

By mile 12, I was in serious pain and about a half-mile later, I was completely finished with any and all running and gimped my way back towards the car. Jenn had gone on ahead at mile 12, which was perfectly ok with me, because I was feeling bad that I was holding her back...she's training for the Vancouver Marathon which is only 5 short weeks away, and she really needed to get in a solid run. She came back for me when I was about a quarter mile from the car; I was glad she did because I needed a big distraction from my muscle woes.

So, I got back to the car, and we stretched out as best we could, but I was just trashed. I am pretty sure that the main problem in this case was dehydration, and of all things, too-tight shoelaces. If I'd been smart about it, I would have stopped at least at the halfway mark to loosen them up, because I did the entire run with that niggling little thought in the back of my head that they were too tight. Jenn suggested this might have contributed to the cramping because of circulation issues, and she's probably right.

And for the Love of Pete - H Y D R A T E!

Here's what hydration *should* look like: steady, serious fluid intake every single day. Not drinking much for two or three days, and then slugging it down like a drunken sailor the afternoon/evening before the run just doesn't cut it.

Anyway, lesson learned.

Next Sunday I've signed up to do Run Like A Mother. Only a 5K, which seems a bit anti-climatic consdering the distances I've been putting in for the last several weeks, but Jenn is doing the Cinco de Mayo half - I would do it too, but I refuse to pay $100 (WITHOUT a shirt, for crying out loud!!) for the registration....and I really want to do *something* other than run by myself this weekend, and it's appropriate for Mother's Day...so.....off we go! 

Besides, I'm thinking it's time to really pull out the stops for a race. Normally, I treat races like training runs - I never go into them with a "racing" mindset. I'd like to see what I can do if I really push the envelope speed-wise, and a 5K is the perfect way to test those waters.

We shall see how that goes.