Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Sweat-Fest

Today was a plucky 11-mile run around Champoeg Park.

The weatherman promised 90+ degrees today, so we got a nice early start - about 7:30, although we would have started earlier if we hadn't had to wait until 7 for the gates to open. The park is a delightful place to run; it has a nice paved bike trail that runs from end to end, as well as a network of gently rolling single-track trail. It is a genuine Oregon park with plenty of towering pines and forest, and it almost compares to my favorite Tualatin Nature Park (but not quite.)

All in all, it was a good run. The last couple of miles were a bit of a challenge, but then again, the long runs always tend to be this way as we are slowly increasing our mileage every week. I was drenched, dripping, red-faced and a bit crampish - so it was a workout.

These long runs are important - the Eugene Women's Half is right around the corner, two weeks from tomorrow. Jenn and I figure we should be able to finish somewhere in the neighborhood of 3:05 -3:15; we shall see. I am hoping it won't be nearly as warm as it was today, especially since the race doesn't start until 8am.

After the run, it was off to Shari's for French toast and bacon. Then I scrambled home, took the fastest shower ever, and then Charles, Nicholas and I went off to the air show in Hillsboro, courtesy of my friend Christee who gave us a few free tickets that she and her family couldn't use. The air show was fabulous, but it was so bloody hot and we were sitting right out in the open and practically baked ourselves into the plastic of our seats. I ended up coated in a fine, salty crust once again, and in the course of our attendance, we probably ended up walking close to two miles, from having to park our car pretty far away from the gate to wandering around looking at all the cool planes after the show was over. So yeah, I probably did an actual half marathon today.  :-)

And now, I am bone-deep exhausted. I need to go take another shower and then curl up in my nice cool bedroom with the ceiling fan and find a Law and Order marathon on TV - you just know there's got to be one on somewhere.

Toodles for now!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Three Things Thursday

So, all my friends are doing it...I may as well jump on the wagon!
  1. Yes, I changed the blog layout once again. I'd never been very happy with any of the previous renditions, but this one's going to stick around...and with minimal tweaking of the template - love the colors, the background picture, the font, everything. Get used to it!
  2. Jenn and I did 4 miles this morning, and tonight I also did a yoga session. I thought I might be a little tired this evening, but I wasn't - in fact, I managed to twist myself at least halfway solidly into most of the poses, even the ones that have been really hard for me, such as Downward Facing Dog. After the session I felt incredible - I'd built up a dripping sweat - which I am coming to appreciate more and more over time - and the stretches felt so good. Even with just 5 sessions under my belt, I can already see an appreciable difference with how my hip flexors and my glutes feel after my runs, so I'm thinking yoga is definitely going to become a permanent part of my routine.
  3. Nicholas wants to sign up for the Kids Run Festival that is going down the day before the Portland Marathon. While we were looking at the web page together, one of the first questions out of his mouth was, "Will I get a medal?"  That's my boy - jonesin' for the bling!
Thus goes my very first Three Thing Thursday. Hope ya'll have a Fabulous Friday!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Running Angst.....and a quick CATnip 5K recap

It could be that I'm about to do a bunch of blathering and carrying on about Things That Sound Awesome but that will, in practice, end up being Things That Don't Happen, especially when the person trying to do them is me.

This is what I do. I think about excellent and exciting goals I want to achieve, and because of either money, time or my enormous propensity for procrastination and rationalization, I never get to where I want to go. I am my own worst enemy (as I'm sure I've already mentioned about eleventy-thousand times on this blog alone.)

What triggered this latest round of angst, I suppose, boils down to envy. Recently, I've been checking out a lot of other running blogs with the intention of establishing connections with other runners and thus broadening my horizons a bit in terms of shared information and experiences, and if nothing else, to simply make some more friends, because I really like making new friends. The common thing I have noticed amongst many of these blogs is consistency - consistency in training, in dietary habits, and in posting. In other words, these runners are really serious about their practice, and it shows - in their PRs and their routines.

This had made me really pause and think about my own running practice. There are things I think I really need to do - Things That Sound Awesome. Like, for instance: become very conscious about what I fuel my body with, and how much. And make the running and other sorts of exercise a non-negotiable part of my day, rather than allowing it to be eliminated from my schedule as a casualty of poor time management. And....posting more - allowing my writing to become the method by which I ingrain my experiences, thoughts and feelings about running into the very fabric of my practice. In other words, all of those consistent habits that many of my blogging brethren seem to have incorporated into their routines - or at least, that's what their blog posts indicate!

Here's the thing: I like to think I'm a runner, but this isn't about whether I actually am or not, because the definition of "A Runner" is quite variable and broad. And I'm not all that concerned about what others might think. But it does have to do with how honest I am being with myself, and coming to understand what exactly I want to receive as a benefit of my running - and to a lesser degree, what my ultimate "running goal" might be.

There are some things I know are certain, and are NOT necessarily in order of importance:
  • I want (need) to lose weight. Other aspects will, I strongly suspect, fall into place if I can just get this done, finally, once and for all. 
  • I love the act of running.
  • I love participating in races.
  • I love the running culture and community.
  • I feel I need more discipline in my practice.
  • I am slow, slow, SLOW.
Then, there are some things that are a bit out there in my brain, again, not in a given order:
  • Regular participation in marathons vs. shorter distance events - since marathons greatly affect the shape and style of one's yearly training regimen.
  • Ultrarunning - and if so, how far is far enough? 50 miles? 100K? 100 miles? (See the above bullet.)
  • Working for a Boston Qualifier?
  • .....and running Boston?
  • Perhaps not bothering with marathons or ultra distances at all? I do indeed love the halves. And you still get bling, generally speaking.
  • And related to that: bothering at all to concentrate on improving my speed? Should I work towards running a nice, "fast" half?
All this stuff just rattles around in my head and quite frankly, it's the time of the month that generally dictates just how much I pay attention and how hard I chew on it (you ladies surely know what I mean there.) Were I not such a slave to my cycle (so to speak) - all this might be a little more clear, but.....oh well. I guess I'll just do what I can with what I've got and hope it all starts to fall in place, or at least make itself a bit more obvious.


Anyhoo, the CATnip 5K last Friday evening was quite warm, in the mid-eighties, and I didn't run well as a result. Or perhaps it's just that I wasn't meant to run well no matter what - who knows. I came in just under 45 minutes, which....well, it is what it is.

Jenn finished great, about three minutes ahead of me. I knew I was on my own in about the first 30 seconds of the race, but more power to her - it's so awesome to see her come back from that stupid stress fracture that kept her from the Vancouver Marathon this year. Our training for Portand in October continues to progress, and we have both agreed that we will stick together on marathon day, so that gives me a lot of hope to have a much better experience than I did last year.

Nicholas ran the Mouse Miler with my friend Donna, since I was pretty much wiped out at the end of the 5K and couldn't imagine trying to keep up with him for an entire mile, since as I predicted earlier, he was off like a bullet, and essentially "sling-shot" himself all the way through......runrealfast! stop. gasp. runrealfastagain! stop. gasp. gasp!-- etc., etc.  He crossed the finish in a bit over 14 minutes.  In retrospect, I might have at least kept him in my sights, but in any case, I was just glad that Donna volunteered to tag along with him because I was a sweating, thirsty, tired, hungry, cranky mess at the end of the 5K.

And the official pictures that just came out today? Ugh. Just.....ugh. Someday, I will smile, and will not look like I'm trying to run over a bed of hot coals, and my legs won't look like they should be on a bull elephant instead of my body.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sunshine and Rainbows and Cupcakes AND Unicorns!

Heh - well, how's that for a nice, syrupy-sweet intro...?

I'll tell ya, there's nothing quite like being able to start the morning with a nice 5-miler that energizes the body and the mind, "girding the loins" for the day! And all before 8am.

This week Jenn and I will do the CATnip Friday 5K in Sherwood, since we didn't do our usual 3 miles on Monday. I'm looking forward to it - finally, a race -!  Even if it's just a small, low-key local 5K.

Nicholas continues to show interest in running (which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy) and will do the "Mouse Miler" which is scheduled directly after the 5K. He wants me to run with him, but I'm pretty sure it will actually pan out to be something like this:

1. Gun sounds
2. Nicholas goes out like Rocket Man with his tights on fire, leaves mom in the dust
3. Mom catches up about an eighth of a mile later, finding him sitting on the curb gasping for breath
4. Nicholas and mom run together for about five yards before he's outta there again
5. Mom catches up, coaxes him up off the curb....or the ground.....
6. Lather, rinse, repeat several times...........

I did talk to him about pacing last night, and he nodded and agreed with me, but I think once we're there and he's all psyched up and then sees the pack fly off the gun and thunder on ahead, the last thing he'll want to do is pace himself. We shall see!

I'm just happy that at least one of my kids seems to like running. I hope to nurture this desire in him - encourage him to join the cross country or even the track team when he gets to middle school, which is only two short years away - plenty of time for me to work on planting a strong seed. Although I must say, I hope he chooses cross country instead of track.  :-)  Speed, schmeed - it's all about endurance for the long haul!

Anyhoo - run lovely and long, my pretties! Let the endorphins out to play!