Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I realize that running isn't everyone's idea of a great time, but I had no idea that SoxFan would stoop to physically injuring himself to get out of our nightly runs! The poor guy has gone and "sprained an ankle" while playing ultimate frisbee, so now he's on crutches.

That's his story anyway... Of course, knowing him like I do, I'm able to see through his deception to the real truth that he is simply intimidated by my running prowess and is embarrassed to be schooled by me anymore. Either way, he's back in a week or so, if he doesn't manage to break his neck trying to get around on those crutches. Here's the scenario at work today:

SoxFan: "click..... step.... click....."
Me: "It isn't a race, for the love of pete, slow down!"

Jeesh! In all my life I've never seen a person try to run on crutches.

It is getting COLD in Denver. Therefore I have purchased yet another piece of technical running gear...the Under Armor shirt. Spectators, consider yourselves warned. Hey, at least I'll be warm, right?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Berate me gently?

I dragged my feet on the way to the computer, and I'm having trouble looking at the computer screen as I type this. I am so ashamed of myself. Remember those paper towel commercials with the little kid with these huge sad eyes and the music plays "I'm sorry... so sorry..." because the child has accidentally spilled something?

Yeah. That's me.

I thought long and hard about the "to TNT or not to TNT" question all day yesterday and today. SoxFan and I even came up with a list of ideas that seemed to lessen the enormity of the $3000 mountain I was being faced with. However, a lot of those ideas fell through today (our company doesn't do matching gifts anymore, I can't get anyone at my potential corporate sponsorship to return my calls, the company party I was planning to bogart with my fundraiser is happening a mere 10 days from now) and left me with the only logical course of action. I had to quit the team.

I called and spoke to one of the TNT staff about the situation, and she said that if (by some major miracle) one of my corporate sponsorships comes through within the next month, they can add me back to the team.

As you probably can remember, I definitely do struggle with "perspective" at times. In this instance, I could see the situation positively: "I raised nearly $1000, and that money will go to help people. I tried very hard, and I accomplished some good things. I've come a long long way, and I feel good about what I've done." But instead, I mostly see the situation negatively: "I am a huge giant hang-my-head-in-shame disappointment and failure." I know, as I get over the pain of having to back out on something that I'd committed myself to (emotionally, physically, financially), that I will begin to see this in a more positive light, however. My parents were right: the right decision is usually the hardest one to make.

Thank you so much for your donations. In the last few days, several people that I've never even met have made donations, and it has been good for my soul. Your generosity has helped to restore my faith in people, which has recently been severely depleted. 100% of your donations will go to the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and will ultimately go to help folks like Janie, who relies on the research done by LLS supported doctors to keep her alive. All of my sponsors have done a wonderful deed, and I thank you!

Many tears have been shed over this decision, and I'm sure I haven't seen the last of them yet. Thank you all for your support.

*As a side note, many tears in general have been shed over the past 4-5 days, what with the Rockies losing the World Series (knife in my heart) and the having to quit the team and the craziness at work and .... you get it... lately I've been feeling like the universe took a nice steamy dump right on my doorstep. I'm quite sick of it, honestly, and I'm about to come up swinging, universe. *

NOW. .. Just because I'm no longer a member of TNT does not mean that my running shoes are being retired. I have EVERY intention of completing what I set out to do (er, at least part of it!). I would sooner eat nails than give up the hard earned benefits that I've received from running up until now. It took me a ridiculously long time to work up to being able to run 8 miles!

So, I'm hitting the road (albeit as a solo act for this tour) to MARATHON again, with newfound confidence and willpower and discipline and determination. OK, I'll still be slow. But I'll still be out there. Which leads me to my next big question...

Phoenix is in January. I was planning on doing the full marathon in Phoenix, and that is what my training has been geared toward. However... most of my family and friends are "back east" (that's what they say here... not "out east" or "east of here" or just plain old "east"... it's always "back east"), and there is a marathon in NashVegas at the end of April. SO... should I shoot for doing the half-marathon in Phoenix and the full in Nashville? Or should I do the full in Phoenix because that is what I've been training for? Or should I forego Phoenix altogether and just train for Nashville?

As you can see, this latest change in direction (BTW: thanks to Red and her man---RedMan?--- for using this phrase at the party on Saturday... I can already tell it's a helpful phrase for my perspectively challenged brain) adds a whole other level of complexity and worry and stress to this venture. ***Alright, LIFE, I get it already! I need to learn how to handle stress!***

I'm looking for your ideas, folks. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pickle on the side...

First things first... Long run yesterday = fantastic. I had to de-layer early on in the run and hide my sweatshirt (note to self: buy proper winter running gear and stop trying to run in oversized sweatshirt) in a bush, but after that, I felt great (thanks be to my spandex "tights"). I ran all the way to the water/Gatorade stop, which was about 5 miles out, without stopping. And can I just say: Lemon-Lime Gatorade never tasted so good.

When I turned back, I just kept running. In total, I ran over 6.5 miles before ever stopping to walk! And I felt great. My legs felt strong, no weird knee issues, not overly breathless... all in all, it was a great run. An Academy Awards Speech type of run, according to the list published by Half-fast (do check him out, he is H to the I to the L to the A-R-I-O-U-S!).

All in all, I covered 9 miles, and ran 8! A new PR. The even more impressive PR is that I felt comfortable doing it. Sometimes my long runs can be a bit treacherous, me weaving and huffing and puffing by the end of it. But I actually felt great during this run, and my splits confirmed that I didn't get too worn out with this one.

***Side note: We ran yesterday at "Bible Park". So, I'm thinking that it's near a church, or a lot of churches? NOT SO. Apparently, it's named after a person James A. Bible. Don't I feel like an idiot? But I wasn't entirely wrong... in this area of Denver, there are a churches aplenty, one seemingly in every flavor!***

And, at last... the long awaited photos of me in my fabulous Halloween costume!

That's right. I was a bag of jelly beans. Fun? = YES, Practical? = NO. I looked like a pregnant mom in her final weeks of her third trimester trying to sit down. Finally, I just abandoned the effort and resigned to stand all night. And everyone kept trying to pop me!

Some of my friends showed up in some pretty fabulous costumes, as well. Here are HarmonicaMan, dressed as a Wii remote, and RunnerBoy, dressed as a cowboy (complete with a horse!). I didn't get a picture of my other friends who had dressed up, though. Thanks to Red (who made a lovely Angel) and her boyfriend (who was a great Jason) for coming out, and to Kev-bones and SoxFan, who came dressed as Rockies Fans.

Here's me with all my homies: (L to R) HarmonicaMan, RunnerBoy, Kev-Bones, SoxFan, and ME!

Though fun, last night's turnout = small. We had TONS of food and drinks and we'd decorated for hours, but only about 15 people showed up. It was still a good time, until the Rockies lost. Then it was just terrible. I wanted to pop my own balloons by that point. In the end, I think our group made just over $400, which has to be split 3 ways. I had dreamed that my share of our earnings from last night would be $300-$400, which would be enough to get me to my required amount for re-commitment, which is why I posted last night in such a sad state. My deepest apologies. I try not to let my sad feelings and disappointment related to running seep into the posts I leave here, because who wants to read that crap, right? But I haven't been completely honest with you all... and it's time to come clean.

That is part of my re-commitment paperwork for TNT. The official race entry form. And, as you can see in the top right-hand corner in the gray box, I have checked "Marathon" rather than "Half-Marathon".

The entire time that I've been training, I've been following the training schedule for the Full Marathon. And I've been able to hang, so far. In fact, yesterday while waiting for the run to begin, I noticed that the longest training run for the Half Marathon (on the TNT training plan) is 2:20. Which I've now done a few weekends in a row! Surely that is evidence that if I keep pushing myself, I can make it the whole 26.2miles!

Until this point, I wasn't prepared to advertise that I had my heart set on the full marathon. I'd just told everyone I was planning on the half, because in the back of my mind, I was worried I would fail.

But I haven't failed... at least not yet. I've been getting stronger and more confident with each week, and I've actually started to believe that I could do the full marathon! My long runs have been getting easier, and I am actually getting a little faster... I thought I could make it.

*sigh* So, this is why I'm so disappointed. I've invested a lot of heart into completing this marathon, and I want to do it with TNT. But I am at a crossroads, so to speak, with my fundraising. If I sign the re-commitment paperwork, I am obligated to raise another $3000. Which I'm not sure I can do, as I haven't yet raised $1000 (which I am required to do by 10/30). If I don't sign the paperwork, I have to drop out.

It's a dilemma, and I only have a couple of days to get it figured out.

Bad news bears

A short update for now, since it's been a few days.

I did 9 miles today in just over 2 hours, and I actually ran 8 miles! It was a good run. It was really cold, but after a mile or so I felt fine.

Tonight was the big group fundraiser. We had very little turnout for our costume/world series party, so at best I'm only going to make $140 from it. Which leaves me $160 short for my recomittment date (I am meant to have raised $1000 by 10/30).

As you can see, I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I want to continue with TNT, but I am having serious trouble raising money. I may have to drop out.

See, this is why I shouldn't post late at night after a big disappointment.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My, my, what flattering tights you're wearing!

What a monstrous disaster. I sincerely hope the Rockies' plan of getting the first loss out of the way quick and easy works out. Because tonight's display of baseball... well... you've all seen it... I won't go into it here. Let's just say there was plenty of weeping and gnashing of teeth going on, and at many points, I had to stoop to insulting the physical appearance of the Red Sox players simply in order to fight off the overwhelming sense of despair and hopelessness that overtook me as my team went down in 13-1 flames. (I am sure, despite appearances, that Manny Ramirez doesn't really drown puppies in his spare time. And Big Papi doesn't look that much like Shrek, does he?)

*sigh*... Setting the punch bowl of sour grapes aside....

Last night's run went off without a hitch. SoxFan and I did a comfortable 3.5 miles. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately, for the purposes of this blog) there was nothing extraordinary to report. It was dark and cold, but the full moon was nice.

Tonight, however, was my first experience at the track. I have to admit, I was quite nervous about the idea of meeting up with people and running around in circles. Especially when we all got there and I saw that I would clearly be the one pulling up the rear again. Don't get me wrong, it's all fine and good to be pulling up the rear when you're running a long out-and-back run and no one can really tell that you're dead last. But when you're running in a circle...well, I just imagined that everyone would finish their lap and then stand around chitty-chatting while I dragged my slow butt in. (note: this is not how track workouts operate!)

So, we started off with a couple of hearty make-you-look-completely-ridiculous stride exercises, as if my running "tights" weren't already accomplishing that task.

*****And by the way, running "tights" are just another name for Spandex, friends. You can use whatever euphemism you like, but in the end, it's just good ol' Spandex, just like it was back in 82. And just like back then, I consider it a privilege, not a right, and therefore I choose to run in "tights" with shorts on over the top. Now who's ridiculous?*****

After the drills, we took off running fast/slow intervals. I thought I knew what I was getting into here. So, I took off! And it felt unbelievable to be running so fast! I was taking these holy-moly long strides moving gracefully and effortlessly, and I felt the breeze whipping past me at an alarming rate. I'd finally tapped into my inner Kenyan!

But after lasting a mere 200 meters at a lightning fast pace of 8:30ish (yes, you read that correctly, and no you're not in the wrong place) I CRASHED AND BURNED... My slow intervals became walking intervals, and my fast intervals returned to a more reasonable 11:30ish. Much better. We only did this three times (which ended up being about 2 miles), and while I was kindof tired at the end of each fast interval, I left the track feeling like I needed to go work out.

But, the game was know...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Vacation running, new babies, good friends

A funny thing about running in new places is that you don't know what you're in for until you're already in it. In an extraordinarily ambitious move, I woke at 6AM to go for my long run on Vacation Saturday. I had planned my route meticulously on Friday night, even. I picked a route that was a bit short (only 9.25ish miles) for the time I was supposed to run (2:45), but it was HILLS... so I was hoping it would balance out.

The run started out well enough. It was a gorgeous morning with lots of sun and the temperature was perfect. I was enjoying the thick air (running really is a lot easier outside of Denver!) and the views, and even the way my legs were hurting a bit. And I surprised myself by climbing a few hills that I thought looked impossible! All in all, things were great. My amazingly awesome friends even drove out to meet me at the halfway point to bring me a fresh cold bottle of water. They're the BEST!

At some point, I made a wrong turn, however... and things began to get ... interesting. The shoulder got more and more narrow (the word non-existent comes to mind), the cars kept getting faster and faster.... the road kept getting twistier and turnier (ok, those definitely aren't words)...Finally, I met a local and decided to ask a few questions to regain my bearings, but the poor guy I was talking to seemed completely befuddled as to WHY I was out there at all. I tried to explain that I was running, just for exercise, that I wasn't lost, I just needed to make sure the road I was on would eventually connect with the one I was looking for.... no such luck, though. After completely creeping me out ("I don't even leave my driveway without a gun around here..." ?????), I took off again and followed the directions that the guy had given me to get to where I wanted to be. As I turned off the main road and down a less populated one, though.... I got scared thinking about how this creepy guy knew where I was headed, and now here I was on a deserted road all alone...ok, deserted is probably a bit of a stretch....

So, I was 2:20 in, and I called my amazingly awesome friends to just come and pick me up. Long story short, I only made it 8.5ish miles. BUT, it is still a HUGE success because I was on vacation, and everyone else slept in while I was running! I have more willpower than I realized.

I had a great time spending time with my friends, too. We had lots of laughs and good conversation... we played board games and watched stand-up and mostly played with the new baby. It was good times all around. I have some things I'd like to talk about here, but I haven't had a proper chance to really get it all down on paper yet. Soon, though.

And, just because she's adorable, here's a picture of the little angel herself.

Things on the horizon.... recommitment paperwork with TNT, fundraising, long runs that are actually short runs, and my latest thoughts on life as I know it. Oh, and a smooch.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Babies and running gods...

So, I've made it to NashVegas, finally... And things are GREAT! My friends and I are all doing our best to assist NewMama with the baby, but she's fussy with us when we try to feed/change/clothe/rock her... What can I say. She's a momma's girl. It's just part of what makes her adorable. :)

I haven't been running in Nashville yet, though I was supposed to go last night. Instead, I stayed in and we ate pizza. NICE JOB, huh? Tomorrow morning, though. I'm hitting the asphalt at 6.

In other strange news, someone arrived at my glorious blog today after google searching "running gods". No kidding. On the other hand, a few days ago, someone arrived here after googling "slowness in runners". Eh....

Good luck to everyone going on long runs tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

blah blah VACATION blah

Alas, my long awaited trip to NashVegas has arrived! I head out tomorrow, and I won't be back until Sunday... so, if you don't hear from me.... let's just hope that I'm still running. :)

Today was my typical panic-before-the-vacation day. I spent the first few hours flurrying around work, then realized I had tons of things to do outside of work, as well... so I left and flurried around town for a while. I've been dogsitting for SoxFan all week, and I inadvertently locked Ini and Tux (my 5 year old cat) in the same room while I went for my run tonight. I generally try to keep them separated, and this is the first time they've been alone together. The good news is: both are still breathing.

Tonight's run was a bit tenuous. I was in a rush, so I didn't do my typical walk 0.4 miles at the beginning... I just ran straight from the door. So in the beginning especially my legs were sore and tight. I made it 3 miles in nearly 45 minutes, so I was pretty happy.

Alright, alright. This is officially the lamest post in the history of the world, but I have GOT TO RUN and pack. Yay for vacations! I will write more once I make it to Nashville.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Big Mistakes and the Denver Marathon

In a word: Soggy. That describes this weekend (as it relates to running, at least). Also: cold, wet, damp, freezing, numb and what-the-heck?

I'll start with yesterday's long run. As I was reaching for cereal for breakfast, I realized that it was already 6:35am and I was thereby late. So, I rushed out the door, not even bothering to dump the teeny gravel out of my shoes from my last run. I was heading to a new meet-up spot with the TEAM, so I was rushing while not knowing exactly where I was going, and I nearly caused an accident trying to make the turn into the correct parking lot. In my haste to not be late, I did not fill up my water bottle before leaving the house. (This shall be known as Big Mistake #1.)

It was about 50 degrees and misting rain when I got out of the car. I noticed that the typical TNT personnel weren't present, and that the coaches were in charge of setting up food/gatorade/water for the run. I kept looking around trying to find some water to fill up my bottle, but it wasn't readily available anywhere. We were about to leave, and I had only a couple of squirts of water left from last week, so I figured "oh well, I'll just not carry my water bottle this time... there'll be a table of water at the turnaround spot..." (This shall be known as Big Mistake #2.)

I'm running, running.... listening to my new audiobook (by the way, if you'd like a review of Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer, let me know)...and I'm actually feeling pretty good. Aside from my t-shirt which is cotton and has by now absorbed about 3 gallons of mist from the air, I'm doing good.

About 4 miles in, I am starting to get pretty thirsty. I ask another TEAM member who's on her way back "How much further to water?" "I didn't see any water." OHHHH dear. My turnaround point ended up being a little bench on the side of the trail, where I pulled over to stretch my muscles. A lovely lady TEAM member saw me and asked if I needed anything, and she was kind enough to give me a couple of squirts from her water bottle to wash down my shot bloks. We walked for a few minutes together, and then she was on her way. (Thank you so much, kind lady!)

I ran as much as I could on the way back, but I was struggling. SoxFan's words kept ringing in my ears "It's the part at the end, when it really hurts and you want to quit, that makes you stronger!" Finally, I got back to the start point and saw that most people had already left. I was confused. My Garmin said that I'd only been gone 2:24. Where was everyone?

And then, it's as if the entire thing was in slow motion... I saw the cooler... the one that usually holds all the delicious gatorade and water bottles for after the run.... it was upside down in the parking lot... empty. NOooooo! By this point, I am basically coughing up sand I'm so thirsty. The coach thought everyone was in already, so he just gave a bunch of bottles of gatorade to this one woman. (This shall be known as Big Mistake #3, and I'm not even responsible for this one.) I actually stooped down and grabbed ice cubes from the top of the pathetic little pile and ate them... off a dirty parking lot. How thirsty was I?

Then I find out that it's actually 20 til 10... so it's understandable that they thought everyone was in... My garmin stops every time that I stop moving... so all my little stretch breaks added up. :( Sadface.

Afterwards, I had so many little errands I needed to do, I didn't properly stretch, so by the time I made it to Kev-bones' concert, I had a serious knee/ITband issue. (Obviously, Big Mistake #4.)

In good news, I finally did get something to drink (and eat! I was ravenous by the time I made it home). And, I covered about 9 miles and ran 6.9 miles! Yay! Another weekend, another new PR.

Today, I volunteered to work at the TNT water station for the Denver Marathon. Again, the weather was perfectly dismal, except that now the temp had dropped to a mere 40 degrees. It was amazing seeing the elite runners come through (they actually maintain that speed for 26 miles?), then the normal folks (they actually maintain that speed for 26 miles?), then the back-of-the-packers (they actually maintain those smiles for 26 miles?). It was cold, wet work, but I left with a warm feeling inside anyway. There were thousands of brave folks out there in the cold and rain, when they probably just wanted to quit. But they kept going, teaching me a thing or two:

  1. If that woman, who probably weighs 300+ pounds, can keep can you.
  2. If that man, who is probably 80 years old, can keep can you.
  3. If that woman, who does not have legs and will run this entire race with the strength of her arms, can keep can you.
  4. It's good to be kind to the volunteers! So many people shouted "THANK YOU!"... it kept my cold, wet hands a little warmer.
  5. It's hard to be at the back-of-the-pack. Try hard to ignore the people sweeping up cups as you pass by. They aren't trying to rush you or crush your spirit or make you feel bad... they are just trying to keep the cops happy.
  6. The weather is only going to get worse in Denver, so I best figure out a way to suck it up.
  7. Even when it hurts, you've got to keep your smile... it's where your strength comes from.
Hope everyone had fun, safe runs this weekend!

Friday, October 12, 2007

General flighty non-sense...

Hurrah, Rockies! And Hurrah Larry Vanover for making the right (if un-popular in the home field) call. I tell you what: just like most of the country, I am being swept off my feet by these Rockies lately. Baseball, I find, is similar to basketball in that it’s many many moments (months, minutes, whatever) of slow, tedious play, followed by a few moments of total excitement. Hurrah for Rocktober.

In other news, I have come up with the cutest halloween costume for our TNT fundraiser (of course you're all invited!). I don't want to give away the suprise just yet, but I can tell you that it's adorable and delicious and quite poignant. In my quest to come up with the perfect costume, I hastily passed over the more obvious choices (the ghost, the hobo, the kitty-cat, the cowgirl...). No, I prefer to dress up as in-animate objects, so my considerations were more focused around being an iPod Shuffle, spaghetti and meatballs, or a giant shoe. Hilarious pictures will certainly be taken and posted for your viewing pleasure.

Tomorrow’s long run is 2:20! Yikes! Figuring that I made it 7 miles last weekend in 1:52, I think that I should be able to safely make it 8.25 miles tomorrow. Aside from the fact that it’s completely insane that these are the types of distances that I run now… (anyone with me here?)...Also tomorrow I must do all of the following things:

  1. I must try to be clever and come up with something funny/witty/purple/green to wear to the Denver Marathon on Sunday.
  2. I must figure out the situation with my season ski pass and buy something…(Do I branch out and buy the Colorado Pass or do I go with my old standby, the Rocky Mountain Super Pass? Will Copper feel betrayed if I slide down other hills this season? Will I feel like a traitor? I am not kidding, this is how my mind works.)
  3. Tomorrow night is Kev-bones big concert with the Boulder Philharmonic (they’re excellent!), so I’ll be going to that...

Ahhhh! These are the types of days when I feel like my head might actually explode. But it will definitely be good to spend some time with friends and it’ll be nice to take care of these things because it’ll make me feel productive (which I could really use after the way this week has gone).

Next weekend is NashVegas! And NewMama has promised to take some running-related photos that I can share! She's quite the photographer, NewMama. Hurrah, NewMama!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Crash and sleep...

You know how you often hear people say: “I do better when I work out with someone… that way, I’m accountable to them, and so I’m less likely to skip a workout…”

NOT SO in my case. Apparently I am some type of as-yet-unidentified scum with no conscience. Because SoxFan got up this morning and drove to my house, dogbeast Ini in tow, and was ready to make up last night’s skipped run with me at 6:30AM, and I sent him away so I could get an extra 45 minutes of sleep… Clearly, I am not human. And I feel completely terrible and horrid and insensitive and ungrateful and all things bad.

But, public self-deprecation aside, this begs the question: Why was I even attempting to run at such a ridiculous hour? I’ve mentioned before that I’m not geared to run in the pre-dawn hours, that I do better in the evenings anyway. Well, it’s funny you should ask that…

A few days ago, I was talking about aesthetics. And how I thought it would be nice to see more of an aesthetic benefit to all the running I’ve been doing. And I mentioned how I was going to make some changes to my diet, to see if that helped with the running and the aesthetics. Shortly after making these comments, I weighed myself, and I’d lost about 12 pounds! It isn’t a ton, no, but it’s enough to show, and it isn’t too bad for only 4 weeks of serious training.

I was excited, so when I went grocery shopping this week, I bought items that the nutritionist recommended, and I began trying to have smaller portions of good-for-you foods at every meal. Then… I became……i….c. And this sensation was all too familiar.

A while ago, my brother announced his wedding day. And then his (then) fiance’ announced her bridesmaids’ dress selection. And then I announced my ridiculous and scary and not-at-all-healthy crash diet. I was taking in about 700 calories per day. I know, I know, it was stupid… but I was a desperate woman! Had you seen this dress, perhaps it would make more sense.

Anyway, not only was I eating next to nothing, I was also exercising compulsively (3 hours a day for 6 days a week). So, naturally, the pounds started melting away. Alas! My plan was working! Hahaha, I win this round, Slinky Red Dress!

Eventually, though, I became ……i….c and more than a little insane (it’s silly to be afraid to eat dry toast!).

This time around, I’m not insane (thank goodness), but I do think I might have swung too far on that “diet” spectrum. So, today, I’m trying something new: taking in enough calories from foods that are actually good for you. I sincerely hope that is what is wrong with me lately, because otherwise, I may just be one of the lucky few in this world who has managed to catch mono twice!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

It was worth the purple mylar eyelashes!

I suppose it's a good thing that I do a written weblog, rather than a video weblog, because I can hardly talk today after all the SCREAMING I did last night as the Rockies swept the Phillies in the NLDS! I was finally able to answer in the affirmative when SoxFan asked me "Is this anything like an Auburn game?" Yes, just add twice as many screaming fans, and you're there! It was, hands down, the most exciting MLB game I've ever been to, be it Rockies/Cardinals/Sox/Marlins/etc. And, for your viewing pleasure, here is a shot of my very favorite Rockie: Matty. *swoon*

There was a sentimental moment during the pre-game hysteria when Mike Coolbaugh's sons (5 and 4) threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Mike Coolbaugh was a former big-league player who had recently been hired as a coach for one of the Rockies farm teams. He was killed in July by a line drive foul ball down the first base line. Mike's wife is still pregnant with their third child. The Rockies players recently voted to give Mike's family a full-playoff share. Heart, people. It's difficult to come by, especially in professional sports.

OK. Back to running... sorry for the detour.

Yesterday's group run was good. It was chilly and very windy, yet there were 50 or so TNT team members out for the run. And it was an especially fantastic day because I finally won one of the little prizes that they always give out: the one for being present at all of the group training runs so far. Yay me!

The plan for yesterday was to run 2 hours, out and back. I figured this would be about 8 miles for me. So, in my customary way, I walked the first 7 minutes, then I began running. And, in my customary way, I was hating it for the first 1.25-1.5 miles. After a while though, I settled into my slow pace. On the way out, I figured out that I can't run with my latest audio book selection ("Giving", by Bill Clinton); I am sure it's a wonderful read, it is just a bit too dry for running purposes. I'm going with a thriller next. Oh! And I figured out that I can listen to music and run. I just have to focus on running, rather than on the music.

By the time I'd run 52 minutes (3.5 miles), I was spent. I knew I should keep going the extra 8 minutes, but I could see the shade on the trail disappearing, and I couldn't bear the thought of 8 more minutes of running staring into the sun. I was finished. So, I turned back and began walking so that I could re-fuel.

My fuel selection for yesterday were Orange Shot Bloks by Clif. They were OK. The consistency was similar to a gumdrop, and the taste was fine initially but they packed a pretty severe aftertaste. Also, I'm not convinced that they packed the same energy punch as the GU.

On the way back, I decided to repeat exactly what I'd done on the way out. So, I kept walking until I'd walked .37miles, then I stopped to stretch, and then I was off again. (Wow, that makes it sound fast!) I made it nearly 2 miles before I had to take a walk break (only 2 minutes of walking, though!). I walked one tenth, and then ran some more. After a while, another walk break... And then, I ran it the rest of the way in.

So, totals... I covered 7 miles. And I ran 6.07. Yay for PR's. No problems with my knee at all, at least until I got back and sat down for a while. All in all, I felt great!

Afterwards, TNT held a nutrition seminar for us. The nutritionist was very helpful, and she taught me something I didn't know: Pop is bad for you. OK, OK, I guess I already knew that. But, I didn't know exactly why. Is it because a can of pop has a whopping 10.2 teaspoons of sugar in it? No, your dentist loves that.

Pop (almost every brand, diet, regular, Coke, Pepsi, Dr.P., brown, green, otherwise) has phosphoric acid in it. This is part of what makes the bubbles, which we all know, makes the nectar of the gods stay fresh. Now, do you know what else has phosphoric acid?

Tilex. Scrubbing Bubbles. Things you use to de-scum your shower. And why is this so? It's because phosphoric acid clings to calcium. It sticks to calcium and drags it right off your bathroom tiles, and similarly, right out of your bones.

Well, maybe I'm the only idiot out there who didn't know about this, but.... I didn't know about this! So, considering my troubled joints and my recent decision to take a vitamin supplement to help increase joint strength/cartilage production (thanks SoxFan!), I think an equally important step is to eliminate things that will defeat the purpose of said supplement.

She also gave us a very handy list of things that we, as athletes (I could hardly contain my laughter imagining myself an athlete), should be eating every single day. It was good, sound advice, and I'll make some changes to my weekly shopping trip.

I decided to miss the Komen 5K Race for the Cure this year. I sent in my first of many Student Loan Repayment checks yesterday, and I'm still in the money shock. Also, I didn't get in until nearly midnight (go Rockies!). Also, I did 7 miles yesterday. I was tired. My legs were sore. Clearly, I have no lack of excuses for my slacker self.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Testing... 1-2-3...

After a brief hiatus (i.e. I took Thursday night's run OFF due to impending knee doom), I am back in action and ready for another group run tomorrow. This time around, it's me vs. 2 hours of running. Smart money is on the 2 hours.

Other than feeling nervous about the knee issue flaring up again, I'm feeling good about tomorrow's run. The weather is supposed to be nice but cool, which typically works in my favor. And we're running on the nice gravel-ish shaded path, rather than the concrete torture trail of last weekend, so that will be a huge improvement. I have decided to try Shot Bloks tomorrow instead of GU, so I'll let you know how that works out. (I know, I know... you're absolutely riveted, right? Can't wait to hear about the taste/texture/smell of Orange shot bloks? Why can't we all have exciting vacations to MEXICO to report on? :) )

Very shortly, however, I get to go and visit my bestest good girlfriends in NashVegas! Isn't it funny how the weeks leading up to a vacation always seem to l a s t ... f o r e v e r ?

Good luck to everyone heading out for their long runs tomorrow!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

An open letter to the running gods...

Dear running gods---

I appreciate the consistency that you introduce into my running schedule-really, I do. No matter what else is going on, I know that I can pretty much depend on you to follow up one fantastic run with one that is equally dismal. But this time, oh running gods, you have outdone yourselves.

The finesse with which you patiently allowed me to run along at a quick pace, foolishly believing “hey, this looks like it could be another PR,” was legendary. You really had me going there! I felt strong, confident and comfortable. It was the classic “jerk-the-chair-away” trick nearly 3 miles in, therefore, as you struck my right knee (ah! My good knee, even!) with a pain the likes of which I have never experienced. As we used to say in the South, this pain would “make you wanna slap yo’ momma!

I imagine you all huddled around, some chuckling in quiet guilt and some outright having a nice hardy laugh, while watching me hobble the rest of the way home. Quite certainly the most humorous moment of all must have been witnessing me trying to climb the stairs back into my apartment, only to collapse on the couch before reaching the ice-pack in the freezer, a mere 20 feet away.

Ah, those were good times, last night. I am glad to have provided such vulnerable fodder for your tomfoolery. Hahaha, the joke is on me!

However, I fear that continued bullying in this manner may lead to a strained relationship between us. And, as I have professed on more than one occasion, I just want us to get along and be happy with one another. So, if you will now kindly remove the remnants of said pain from my knee, we can get back to our regularly scheduled running schedule.

Yours Truly,

Slow Girl Running

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Planets align for Rockies... and ME!

First of all, can I just say... GO ROCKIES! And perhaps equally important---MATT HOLLIDAY is the cutest bald man on the planet. SoxFan had the amazing foresight to buy tickets early to go see Game 3 of the NLDS (Phillies @ Rockies). Woohoo! Playoff games in Denver! I am excite.

Today's run was grrrreat! I skipped Sunday's scheduled run (shhh, don't tell anyone), so having not run since Saturday, I was expecting tonight's run to be more of a death shuffle than a pleasant 45 minute run. I got home late from work and it was already getting dark, and I had a weird blister-ish feeling on my right heel... generally it did not appear that planets had aligned in my favor. So, what did I do?

I PR'ed.

Mile 1--->13:27
Mile 2--->14:15 (darn side stitch)
Mile 3--->14:13
.11 miles to finish---> 1:36 (13:26 pace!)

That's right, friends. My fastest ever 5K at 43:31. And it felt really great. Just like I've said before, the first mile and a quarter sucks pretty bad, but after that, it gets a lot easier. And, I tried out my new sports 'lady garment', and it is just splendid. Minimal bouncing = happy slow girl running. This weekend's Komen Race for the Cure should be a great time challenge and a good time, to boot!

I was really worried about missing Sunday's 30 minute run, but I skipped it because I was still really tired from Saturday's run and all the successful shopping on Sunday afternoon (it's hard work finding loads of great deals on clothes!). So, since I wasn't feeling up to it, I took a chance and *gasp* shunned my running schedule and instead chose to listen to my body---which told me to sit on my couch for a while and drink sleepytime tea and then crash into bed early. My legs felt all the better for it, though I'm not sure if this is a good idea in the long term.

So I ask you, because you guys are knowledgeable in such things, when training for a 1/2 marathon in 3 months, is it better to listen to your body or tell your body to shut the heck up and just get in the miles?

Ahhh... the post-great-run euphoria is setting in, and so I'm off to bed. Happy running tomorrow, folks!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Excuse me, ma'am, your skeleton is showing.

In all my ravings about the joys of running, I have been neglecting to mention one small hiccup. Aside from my legs becoming visibly stronger and more muscular (thanks a lot, legs, as if you don’t look absolutely Herculean and manly already), I have not noticed a marked change in my appearance as a result of the running. Please don’t take this the wrong way, I am not a vain person (as anyone who has seen me leave my house for work/school/other outing with no shower/makeup/comb through my hair can attest), but I do desire at least a minimal aesthetic benefit from all this running. Alas, I was bemoaning this fact on Saturday afternoon with SoxFan, and I resolved to make a few small changes to my eating habits (namely, eliminate my eating habit).

But yesterday, oh blessed day, everything turned around.

Typically, I arrive home from a casual shopping trip in one of the following states:

  1. Crying,
  2. About to begin crying,
  3. Red-faced and puffy from crying all the way home, or
  4. Gleeful and ecstatic because I bought electronics and did not venture near the clothing stores.

However, yesterday I went clothes shopping and I returned with a HUGE smile on my face. I bought a very smart pair of trousers and a couple of sweaters and a t-shirt and … oh, you get the picture, I bought a lot of stuff (mostly on sale, even!). But perhaps my happiest moment was buying lady garments (you know, the ones you wear under your shirt?). I usually have terrible luck in this particular department, but yesterday, I was successful 3 times. Hahaha, clothing gods, I win this round!

All of that should have made for a near perfect day, no? Oh, I’m not finished yet.

When I was getting ready for bed, going through my normal routine… turn off the lights… drink a glass of water… yummy the cat… wash my face…WHAT? What is that? A strange shadow has appeared on both sides of my face… I’ve heard rumors of these, but… surely not… I never imagined that I actually had them…

Cheekbones, my friends. On my face.