Saturday, June 28, 2008

HOT hot hot.

As it turns out, I can run 5 miles, and I DID this morning! As predicted, it was hot like the devil. The words melting and sweltering and wilting come to mind. I only have a few minutes to write at the moment, so I'll try to give you the condensed race report.

We arrived later than I would have preferred. I noticed that our pace was linked to our bib number. My number, being 5569, gave away my turtle pace to everyone I'd seen. BOOOOO! I caught myself a time or two staring with jealousy at some quick little skinny girl with a mere 1037 or whatever... Anyway, I was nervous but we eventually got all lined up in our corrals, ready to go. There were ~5000 people racing. And after the anthem was sung, I popped in my earbuds, ready for a race full of audio-book (a first for me). Then... oh no!.... dead Shuffle battery. The battery on the shuffle is legendary, ok? It NEVER dies. But it would not start for me at the beginning of this race. I tried to hand it off to SoxFan (leading to one very humorous start-of-race photo, to be posted later) but he wasn't allowed near enough to me to take it. So I just stuffed it in my sports bra and was on my way.

The first little bit was intimidating, as I always tend to take off quickly with the crowd and then I wilt later on and end up having to walk. This time I was determined to keep my own pace, no matter how many walkers passed me. I felt great, and it ended up being a blessing that I didn't have an iPod to listen to... there were times when my breathing started to get away from me and I needed to be able to focus completely on my breathing. The first mile went by with no problems. Then the second, and still, no problems. When I hit 3.5 miles, I sort of decided that I was just going to run the whole thing. I was feeling great, keeping a steady pace, and I knew it would be a challenge but I also knew I could do it.

The crew was great. There were 4 water stations (in a 5 mile race!) and they had folks standing along the course spraying runners with water. It was GREAT. The water always came at just the right moment. The crew was also very encouraging!

Finally, when I had only 0.75 miles left, I started to feel a bit tired, but I absolutely refused to stop running at that point. I kept thinking: "it's only 7-8 minutes... I can do this for another 7-8 minutes." And eventually, I did. SoxFan met me just a little ways from the finish, and he snapped a couple of pictures (which I will share later).

For the record, I sweated BUCKETS. Buckets, people, I swear to you. I don't know if I've ever sweated so much. The fastest man ran the race in 23 minutes, and the fastest woman ran it in 28 minutes. CRAZY.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Holy crap, watch out for that car!

2.2 inches. That's how much clearance our taxi had on either side while driving 50 mph through the crowded streets of double parked cars in rush hour on our way from the airport. I only took a couple of taxi rides in my last trip to NYC, so I'd completely forgotten just exactly how exciting (and life-threatening) they are.

Once we finally made it to our hostel (Jazz on the Park) and got all situated, we did a rush rush rush trip across the city to get to the New York Road Runners office where I had to pick up my bib for Saturday's race by 7PM. We took subways most of the way, but we had to run the last 3 blocks. And... well,... if that's a preview of Saturday's race, it's going to be a VERY depressing race report. We did make it there in time, and I'm happy to report that my race t-shirt (which is a lovely navy blue with a cool logo on the front, rather than some hideous lime green atrocity forced on participants of the Denver Marathon) is a LARGE rather than an X-LARGE! And it actually FITS! Yay. Oh! And my green singlet (that's just a fancy word for technical tank-top) is LOOSE, whereas it used to fit so tightly that I would ne'er be seen in public in it. I plan to post picture-proof of this come Tuesday.

Other good news: I am officially not the only slow runner in NYC. On the way back from picking up my race packet, we walked all the way across the park, exposing us to a LOT of runners. Some of these runners are MY PACE! I know it's irrational, but for some reason I'd figured that everyone in NYC must be fast and thin and fit and PERFECT. Now I know that just simply isn't true.

The bad news: It is hot like the devil's butt here. The humidity is definitely going to play a big role in my performance (or lack thereof) on Saturday. In fact, just while waiting to use this computer, I ran across an article that said that NYC is one of the "sweatiest" cities in the country. Apparently, if every person in NYC took an hour long walk on a typical summer day, they would produce 1.3 million gallons of sweat. Well... NYC doesn't know from sweat yet. That's all I've got to say about that.

Tomorrow morning we head out for our bike tour. I think it's going to be a lot of fun, really. I just hope I can still walk/run on Saturday.

More updates to come! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

And, we're off!

So, tomorrow morning we leave for NYC! I probably won't have a chance to get a run in between now and the race on Saturday morning, so everyone wish me luck! I'm a little worried that the race is scheduled for the morning after we do a 7 hour bike tour of the city... Oh well... details, right?

I hope to post a bit while vacationing, but if not, I'll be back on Tuesday with loads of pictures to share. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It really is a happy new year.

Time just gets away from us, doesn't it? Not too long ago, I was writing about how scared I was to turn 29. Not too long ago, I was writing about how scared I was to do a group run with TNT. Well, it's about halfway through the "new year", folks, and I think this is a good time to stop and take inventory.

It seems like a lot of us run into a period of self-reflection in the days between Dec 28-Jan 4ish. I met 2008 with the same feeling that I'd met many other years. I felt like I'd wasted another year. I felt like I had spent 365 days twiddling my thumbs, sort of, and hadn't gotten any closer to being who I wanted to be. I didn't especially like my life, my outlook, my prospects for the new year... But I figured, as I had in so many other years, that this was just my life, and I had a routine and an outlook and a job, so I might as well get used to it.

And then something just slightly different occurred to me: This is just my life.

Maybe it was because I bumped into the ex over Christmas. Maybe it was because this year I turn 30. Maybe it was because I had a sugar blockage in my brain from all the carrot cake I'd enjoyed over Christmas. But all of a sudden those words--- "This is just my life"---took on a whole new meaning. All of a sudden, the thought of spending another year doubting myself and having no confidence made me want to be sick. All of a sudden, I realized that I'd beaten myself up for long enough.

And so I decided. I decided on the flight back from my parent's house in Tennessee to my apartment in Colorado that I would learn how to be kind to myself. I didn't know what that meant, really, but I could feel in my gut that it had something to do with working on myself and allowing myself to change. I promised that I would learn to treat myself with as much respect and caring that I reserve for my friends and family. I didn't decide to try to be kinder to myself, I simply decided to do it.

That was all there was to it. There was no "New Year's Resolution". There was just a decision made and a promise to myself.

A little background information would probably be helpful at this point...

Up to this point in my life, in general, any thoughts I'd ever had about myself had always been "disordered." For years, I never allowed a positive thought about myself to enter my brain. If I had actually done something for which I felt proud of myself, my brain quickly countered with a rationalization for why I'd been able to accomplish such a feat; "You were only able to do that because XYZ... so you really didn't do anything great..." These are the things that I repeated to myself day-in and day-out for the last 10 years or so.

With only these types of thoughts in my head, therefore, it stands to reason that I had no self-worth at all. The only times I'd ever felt good about myself were when someone else gave me a compliment. My ex used to dole out compliments every so often, and I cherished each one as if it were a gold nugget. His one little statement of "You're so smart..." would keep me afloat for weeks. But, if the compliments stopped coming, so did any good feelings I had about myself or life in general.

None of these things changed on Jan 5th with my big decision. I still had a lot of negative self-talk going on, and I still yearned for approval from other people to make me feel like I was worth something. Unfortunately, making a decision didn't make years of bad habits just go away.

What did change, however, was my fight. I fought hard to learn new ways of thinking. I struggled with every negative thought that came into my brain and eventually found a positive replacement for it. I struggled to feel like I was worth something for many weeks and months, searching for someone - anyone - to give me compliments the way my ex had done, before I realized that I had only to depend upon myself for the approval that I had so greatly desired. I began to see myself objectively, in the clear light of reality, and once I stopped judging myself and beating myself up and began treating myself like I would treat a friend, what I saw in myself wasn't so bad after all.

Once these pieces came into line, things that had previously seemed impossible just seemed like things I needed to do. I needed to lose weight, and therefore I would. There would be no "trying to lose weight" there would just be "losing weight". I needed to run. I needed to feel strong. I needed to enjoy my life. I needed to be working toward something. I needed to laugh more. I needed to worry less. I needed to develop a calm confidence. And I have now done those things!

Please don't take this the wrong way! I, obviously, still have days where I struggle with my old demons. I still have days where I don't feel great. But I went from feeling great 5% of the time to feeling great 90% of the time, all by making a decision and being willing to work to change myself. Call it an epiphany, call it growing up, call it divine intervention.... call it whatever you want.

I call it lucky. I happened to be in the right frame of mind at exactly the right moment in my life and I happened to be ready for a drastic change. I had just the right friends supporting me and just the right people reminding me daily of what I was working toward. I feel like I've stumbled upon this great nugget, and I just want to share it with all of my friends who I know fight the same struggles with self-doubt that I did for so many years: The answer to your problems is right there with you all the time!

It's been an amazing six months! I feel like I've come farther in six months that I did in the last 10 years! And, now that I know that I'm capable of more than I ever thought possible, in that clear light of reality, I can't wait to see what the next six months brings.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I'll huff and I'll puff....

OK. In case there is any confusion whatsoever.... Trail running at 8000 ft = not for sissies.

We took Ini the dogbeast to the doggie park up in Evergreen this morning, because we'd heard it was a great dog park with a trail that ran the circumference of the park. I thought it would be a great place to make my trail running debut. However, when the gentleman told us about said dog park with the "great running trail," he neglected to mention that the park is situated on the side of a mountain. I don't mean a gentle rolling trail. I mean the park climbs at 45 degrees at times. I couldn't even walk around this park without getting winded. Ini had a great time, though.

So, I tucked my little trail running tail and got back in the truck. We decided to try a trail at a park that is closer to where we live. I thought (i.e. rationalized, licked my wounds) that would be a better idea anyway because it's close to the house and therefore it will likely become a route that I frequent. Also, I'd seen this route from the road, and I was quickly impressed by the lack of 45 degree slopes.

All the way there, I was terrified. I felt like I'd left my "Trail running for dummies" book at home. I was intimidated on the way there. I'd seen Trail Runners before, after all, and they're always these totally hard-core, completely fit, uber-athletes, and I felt like I had no business crowding up their trails with my slow shuffle/jog/run. It didn't help matters that I'm accustomed to shuffling/jogging/running at 5280ft, and the run I was about to attempt started at 8000 ft. OK, so it only climbed about 80ft total, but even still....

So, we started out walking, just like I normally do down in town. I figured I had enough new variables thrown into the mix. After about 7 minutes of walking, we broke into a slow (read: uphill) run. The trail wasn't crowded, but we did meet a few folks along the way. And I was amazed to find that they were looking at us with the same awe and amazement that I typically reserve for runners I meet along hiking trails. It was crazy! I had these folks fooled into thinking that I knew what I was doing out there! They thought I was hard-core! Insane!

Before we started we'd agreed upon a turn-around point, so when we got there, we took a break to check the map. I was feeling pretty good (because we'd just settled into a comfortable [read: downhill] pace). Due to my abundance of downhill-gained optimism, we decided to push a little further down the trail. A little further quickly became a little steeper, which became a little slower, which became not so much running anymore. So we walked a bit to let my aching lungs recover, but I ended the day strong by running most of a mile to get back to the truck.

All told, we covered 2.5m, and I ran 1.75m. Not too shabby for my first trail running experience 3000ft higher than I'm used to in the middle of a 90 degree day. My pace was all over the place, but I am blaming it on spotty GPS signals. I know I'm slow, but I just don't believe some of the data I got from the good ol' Garmin today. And even though it put a dent in my recent "swift" pace, and even though I was humbled (but not demoralized) by the terrain, I think I will come to enjoy trail running as much as I enjoy road running. You truly can't beat the scenery, and there's always the added benefit of the potential adrenaline rush that comes from a mountain lion encounter.

After the run, I got to thinking about it... If gaining 3000 ft of elevation can make this big of an impact on my running, how much of an impact will losing 5000 ft be? Could I actually have a comfortable 4-5 mile run at sea-level? That's right, folks. I've decided to just go for it for the 5m race in Central Park on Saturday. I'll probably have to walk some, but I don't care. It'll still be fun and active and it'll make me feel good to do it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back on the farm...

Silly me. I seriously thought that I'd be able to get my new modem and wireless router working on Friday. I seriously believed that there would be no interruption to my blogging schedule. Alas, it's Tuesday, and while I did get the whole setup working yesterday, I was far too tired to string together more than 7 words. And 7 words does not a blog entry make.

First things first: I've been running. Today, after work, I ran on the dreadmill for 2.5 miles. I kept a consistent 13:03 pace and listened to my audiobook. The scenery was... wait... it was the dreadmill. I would have preferred to actually do the run outside, but I only had a small window to do the run at all, which didn't leave enough time to actually drive to an appropriate running location, etc. I suppose sometimes these things are necessary. I still have yet to try out the trail running, but I'm hoping to be able to take a try at it on Saturday morning.

A week from Thursday, Soxfan and I are headed to NYC for a bit of a vacation. A vacation from what, you ask? Isn't living in the mountains enough of a vacation? I'll get to that in a second. While we are there, I am considering racing in the Front Runners New York Lesbian and Gay Pride Run. It's a 5 mile course through Central Park. I would have preferred a 5K, but unless I want to run in New Jersey, this is the closest thing I can find. I haven't signed up yet, mainly because I'm not sure that I can run 5 miles. More than that, I'm fairly certain that I can't run 5 miles in the sweltering NYC heat and humidity of late June. That being said, I do have the advantage of having been training in Denver... so maybe I'd win! ... ok, back from dreamland... This race would be a big challenge for me, but it would also be a lot of fun to complete a race in NYC, I think. I may give it a go. Worst case: I walk when I get tired. Worse things have happened.

Now, as far as the rest of my life goes...

Did you ever see that movie "Funny Farm"? With Chevy Chase and that woman who looked just like my neighbor? I'll give you the jist... Two city dwellers decide to move to the country. They move with all these romantic ideas about how wonderful and peaceful everything will be... But things go wrong right from the start.

That basically sums up my experience in the mountains so far. We heaved the newly purchased washer and dryer into the wrong positions, forcing us to remove both machines back out of the laundry room. Once we got them back in, the dryer exhaust hose was too short to reach. We finally got that problem solved only to find that the hot water valve to the washer not only leaked, but sprayed the entire room with water as if we were trying to grow gardenias in there or something. The plumber came and fixed that problem and ran an entire cycle without ensuring that the drain hose from the washer was properly attached to the drain, so we came home yesterday to about 1 inch of water throughout the entire laundry room. Turns out the hose from the washer to the drain is too short, and the extension that we tried to add just leaked water like a colander. So now we have 4 completely soaked towels and no way to do laundry. And that's just the laundry room!

The upstairs toilet routinely clogs and/or overflows. There was a hair clog the size of Texas in the upstairs shower that caused the water to be at ankle level 0.14 seconds after turning on the shower. There are about 872 missing electrical faceplates throughout the house and several light switches appear to do nothing whatsoever. In the kitchen, all of the cabinets open from the stupid direction, leading me to believe that the owner must have been left-handed (apologies to any southpaws out there...I have been pulling on the wrong side of the cabinet doors ever since Friday). Outside, there are birds living in the kitchen wall and a squirrel tore down my birdfeeder, which had hung for all of 4 days. Ini the dogbeast has figured out how to open the gate for his enormous dog pen, but when that becomes too tedious for his ADHD brain, he simply jumps the fence. After it gets dark up here, I am too scared to move by myself between the upper and lower floors (I am just completely ridiculous), so I have to make sure to get myself in the proper location before nightfall.

All that said... I love it up here. Sure there are loads of annoying things about the house and about unpacking and about figuring out a new place. But it really is peaceful up here. And I really do enjoy waking up in the mountains, just like I knew I would. We've talked to our property manager about all the little nuisances, and he's been very prompt about taking care of things for us. All that remains now is for me to lace up my running shoes and try out some new routes.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It looks like my house is made of cardboard.

Well, the verdict is in. Moving. Officially. Sucks.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Could you carry this kayak for me?

Like I said earlier today, I've had lots on my mind recently, so I was looking forward to a good run this evening. I delayed the run until 7:30PM because it was blazing hot out. (By the way, when did summer arrive in Denver? I generally prefer to sort of ease into it rather than being shoved kicking and screaming into the 90+ degree heat.) I tried to take a nap between work and running, but for the most part I just ended up lying in bed worrying about all the things I needed to do (including running).

Finally, I got out there. It had cooled down considerably, and there was a teeny bit of a breeze, at least at first. Unfortunately, before I laid down for my "nap", I ate dinner. I seem to remember posting about how I should never eat before running (at least no more than a banana or something), but that didn't stop me. I had a full on dinner at 5PM then laid down until 7:30PM then got up for a run. I'm a genius.

I ran 2.5 miles today in a record 32ish minutes, and I covered just over 3 miles total. My pace went as follows:

Mile 1: 12:55 min/mile
Mile 2: 13:06
last 0.5 mile: 7:05 (13:49 pace)

It felt great to be out there tonight. I was sweating a lot and I certainly regretted my untimely dinner, but all in all, I felt good. No knee/hip pain or anything. I'm really enjoying my audiobook, too.

The extra 2lbs of "food weight" that I carried through this run got me to thinking about the weight that I used to carry on every single run, whether or not I'd just eaten. I thought it would be interesting to come up with some kind of physical representation of the weight I've lost (nearly 40lbs). So, for your viewing pleasure...

I have lost:
This dumbbell. This is an obvious choice, I suppose.

This desk chair. You'll just have to take my word for it. The online store had specs that listed this chair at 40lbs.

This kayak (not including passenger). Seriously? I mean, I realize kayaks are probably optimized for mass, much like the Orion spacecraft. But seriously? I've lost a kayak?

This 4 year old child. I have no idea who this person is, but she must be 4-5 years old, and apparently she weighs 40lbs. I have lost the equivalent of a large toddler. Nice.

So, if you can, imagine me running around the streets of Lakewood with a kayak or a kicking toddler strapped to my back. I suppose it's no wonder that running is easier and less painful than it was 6 months ago. :) I'll take it.

The world is my spin cycle...


I am officially an adult (and it's about time, too). Yesterday, I bought my very first ever washer and dryer. They are made by GE and they are white and they have lots of buttons and knobs and lights... they are also heavy. And now that SoxFan and I have wedged them into our laundry room, we've discovered that the washer is on the wrong side, so now they both have to come back out... Good times.

Either way, I'm excited to finally have a set of my very own. We found them on Craigslist for a mere $175. Where did I get things before Craigslist?

Anyway, as you can probably tell, I'm burning out at work (blame it on ridiculous meetings that are meant to last 20 minutes that actually last 2 hours and 20 minutes) and all I can concentrate on is the massive moving task that lies before me. A bit of good news is that I've already got my high-speed internet connection all set up at the new house, so there should be no disruption to my blogging and/or facebooking. (whew!)

In other good news, tonight I run. I'm going to shoot for 2.5 miles. I figure that's just slightly more than a 10% increase from last week, so it should be do-able. I am hoping that the run will help me clear my head, too, because lately I've been worrying a lot and only sleeping a little. In addition to the stressful things I've mentioned here, I've also had some happy things in my head lately. I am trying to get those things filtered into something coherent, because I really want to share happy thoughts here. Stay tuned...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ch- ch- ch- ch- changes.

This weekend, I spent most of my time not running. Instead, I spent my time cleaning, packing and searching for usable boxes. I also spent a fair amount of time painting and driving and carrying heavy boxes. Now, if it sounds like I'm moving, that's because I am moving. And that's not all...

SoxFan and I... are... moving in together.

I know, I'm a little freaked out by it, too. For a while now, we've been... dating. If you can really call it dating because the only things that have changed are now we smooch and hold hands and he does all the really nice boyfriend things (like killing spiders and letting me pick the movie and worrying about me when I'm sick). It's a little weird because we have been friends for a long time, and now we're more than friends.

So, I'm packing up my sweet apartment in Lakewood for a 3 bedroom house in Conifer (up in the mountains). The new house has lots of trees and a nice big yard and window boxes and hummingbirds. It's quiet and peaceful up there, and I'm looking forward to already being in the mountains when I wake up on the weekends, rather than being in town when I wake up and having to drive to the mountains.

But I'm a little nervous, obviously. I learned to run in Lakewood. I have running routes that are like home to me. I know the potholes and the smells and the hills. I know where all the dogs live, and I know which ones are friendly and which ones aren't. I know the mile-markers. I know that once I make it over "that hill", I'm home free and the rest of the run will be a breeze.

And my current apartment is where I learned that I can be healthy.

It's where I learned a lot of things about myself.

I'm worried that by leaving, I'll forget how to run and I'll forget how to be healthy. I'm worried that this change to my environment will cause me to backslide into my old (unhealthy) habits.

But, one thing I've learned (while living in Lakewood) is that if your attitude is right, then nothing can stop you. So, rather than being fearful of this change, I'm going to try to view it as an opportunity. I'll have the opportunity to learn how to become a trail runner, in addition to being a road runner. I'll have the opportunity to train at an even higher elevation, making races in Denver seem easier. I'll have the opportunity to prove to myself that I am in control, even when my environment changes.

I've had such a great attitude lately. I've felt unstoppable! But, it's easy to feel unstoppable when everything is going great, right? Now I get to test myself: Can I maintain a great attitude when things are making me anxious?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Get these metal instruments OUT OF MY MOUTH!

On Wednesday, I ran. I ran with SoxFan and Ini for 2 miles, and it was great. It had rained earlier that day, and the temp had dropped by 10-20 degrees, so it was cool and wet out. I listened to my audiobook again, but this time I managed to do a better job of focusing on my breathing and my pace. My pace, therefore, was much more consistent: 13:08 for the first mile, and 13:10 for the second mile.

Yeah yeah... you may be laughing, but that's quick like lightning coming from me.

It was a great run. The kind of run that makes me remember why I like running. I felt strong and solid and tangible. I felt like I was working, but I wasn't breathless or exhausted. And then at one point I was breathless and exhausted, but I pushed through it and once again learned that I'm capable of more than I typically believe. It started to rain just before we got back to the house, and it felt amazing and real. Runs like this one make me want to go for more runs.

Yesterday, however, presented no opportunity for a run. It was a TERRIBLE day. Craziness at work, a skin-fold test (I brought this one on myself, I realize, but... oh, the humiliation) and, even worse, a dreaded trip to the dentist. Because I don't want to bore you with the minutia of my boring life, I won't go into the details at work. But, I have a few things to say about yesterday's other events.

First, the skin-fold test.
I'll start with the positive: the girl who did the test was very approachable and kind, and had all kinds of great things to say about the weight I've recently lost, my diet, and my running and boxing. She had lots of tips to help me stay on-plan and active, and was very encouraging. Also, my body fat percentage wasn't as high as I figured it would be.

I've only had it measured once before, and that was 4 years ago, and even then I'm not sure it was done correctly. But that time (bracing myself for being the laughing stock of the world), my body fat percentage was 44%. EEEK! I figured, since I haven't done a lot of weight-lifting and stuff, that my body composition probably hadn't changed, so going into the test, I was braced for the worst. BUT, this time I was only 35% body fat! That's great news, no?

Then I got to thinking. If I currently weigh 185lbs (wow, I must be brave today, sharing all this personal info), and I'm 35% body fat, that means I have 120.25lbs of lean mass. The goal weight I'd set for myself was 135lbs, but that means I'd only end up with 11% body fat. Is that even reasonable? Maybe it would be better to increase my goal weight? I don't know how this all works. When I picked a goal weight, I just tried to pick a weight somewhere in the middle of the "healthy" BMI range. Maybe that was my first mistake. Any ideas?

Anyway, on to the dentist. (dum dum dummmmm)
I have such a fear of the dentist that, when I was a little girl, I would worry myself into physical sickness in the days leading up to a trip to the dentist just to get my teeth cleaned, and thus my parents constantly had to reschedule my visits. I truly cannot remember a time, as a child, when I was able to go in for a check-up and leave with a happy report. I got pretty good at it, too. I knew all the hygienist's tells... I could tell when she'd found a cavity. I was 6. I have to suck nitrous oxide just to have my teeth cleaned. When a filling or root canal (or any kind of drilling) is necessary, I require nitrous oxide and Valium. It is truly the only way I can get in the door.

I blame this horrible dental luck on my mom's genes; she has always had the same problem that I have: weak teeth. I have to use special toothpaste with prescription strength fluoride, I brush 2-3 times a day, I don't drink pop, I don't eat candy, I don't chew gum... It seems nothing I do helps my teeth become stronger, and thus to this day, I dread going to the dentist with the same passion that most people dread an IRS audit.

So, I had nightmares earlier this week about my upcoming trip to have my teeth cleaned yesterday. And all day yesterday, I felt like I was marching to my death. But, it wasn't all that bad, in the end. As an adult, they're willing to really crank up the nitrous, to the point where I can hear people talking, but I can't make any sense of what they're saying. Everything seems to move in slow motion, yet my thoughts seem to come incredibly fast! It is quite bizarre. I know she must have been scratching and poking around in there with her pointy little metal instruments with some zest, however, because a couple of times I felt what seemed like pain... I started to shout out, but the nitrous haze was too thick... I eventually gave up and enjoyed the floaty feeling.

This hygienist was really friendly and generous with the nitrous. And she didn't even pester me about how often I floss.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A day full of perfect

As I left the house for what was to be tonight's "easy" run, I may have been a bit optimistic. The weather was fantastic, I had a fully charged Garmin, I had a freshly purchased audiobook on my shuffle (Songs Without Words)... It was... perfect.

My running, on the other hand... not quite perfect. You see, I had all this residual confidence from Friday's huge running success, all of which promptly blew up in my pretty little face as I began to struggle less than a mile in. I honestly believe it has to do with the audiobook. If I focus my attention on listening to my footsteps and my breathing, my running is cake. If I try to listen to an audiobook or, heaven forbid, music... I get all out of whack. It's always been a bit of an issue for me, but I learned how to combine running and audiobooks before, and I will do it again. Besides, there's no turning back at this point. I've already spent $21.95 on the audiobook.

Tonight's run, all in all, wasn't too bad. I did 2 miles of running, and covered 2.6 total. In general, I felt really strong. I felt tired and winded at times, but it wasn't anything I couldn't push through. I noticed, at one point, that I was worrying about my pace. With Friday's run floating around in my mind, filling me with unrealistic expectations, I found myself thinking: "I know I can run faster than this..." Worrying about pace probably isn't the best thing for me right now, but tonight's pace ended up being almost exactly my pace from Friday anyway.

In other great news, I am happy to report that I passed my physical exam for disability insurance! (the crowd goes wild) True, I had to take a physical exam to qualify for disability insurance, which I'm not entirely sure is normal... maybe they thought because of my size/medical history/lack of coordination I am not a good candidate for disability insurance? Either way, my blood pressure has dropped from normal-high (130/80) to practically perfect (112/62). I'm so proud of my blood. I always knew it was talented, it just had to apply itself.

Things I've been up to... besides running

Well, the stomach bug didn't allow me to go for last night's easy run. But I plan to take a run this afternoon (stomach bug be damned!).

So, because I don't have any running news to report, I'm going to talk about some other (unrelated) things.

SoxFan and I have taken up Boxing recently. And not just your ordinary old "cardio" boxing class. I mean for-real, honest to goodness boxing, where we punch each other in the face. It's great fun. It's a great workout, and it forces me to work muscles that I don't normally work, and it's spectacular for stress-relief. I haven't bled yet, but I've been beaten and bruised a time or two.

In the absence of running, I've been doing a fair amount of hiking. In fact, I will provide some pictures to prove it. Recently, we did an 8 mile hike west of Colorado Springs in beautiful Cheyenne Canyon. It was a fantastic day, and even Ini was worn out.

Weight Losing:
I've been pretty successful with this so far this year. I began a program with Weight Watchers on January 5, and so far, I've lost nearly 40lbs! I still have a way to go, but I can definitely tell a difference in how easy/difficult certain things (like hiking and running) are. More important than that, I can definitely tell a difference in my confidence and outlook, which has historically been a problem for me. I have definitely learned a lot about myself over the past year. But, that is a topic for another day.

Alright... That's all the rambling I can manage for now. I'll write again soon, about running next time.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Get these cobwebs out of here!

You know that weird, awkward moment that inevitably happens when you bump into a friend whose calls you've been avoiding for 6 months? That's this moment.

Now that I've taken a 6 month (seriously?) hiatus from running, I'm happy to be back. It's not as if I haven't done anything active (I've lost 35lbs, in fact!), I just haven't been running. And I realize that perhaps I should have just written about my lack of running, but I was... ashamed. I've been inspired by some incredible folks in the blogosphere, and I couldn't bear to show my (non-running) face around here and bear the ridicule of taking 6 months off. But I did. I took 6 months off, and where I used to be able to run 8 miles, now I can only run 2 (I think). I put my half-marathon aspirations on the shelf. I was warded off running by snow and ice and cold weather and... I admit it... laziness. I am not proud. I hang my head in shame.

Now that all of that has been said, however, I'm glad to announce that I did go for a run on Friday, and it was a HUGE success. I went out for a run with SoxFan and Ini the DogBeast on Friday morning and ran a quick (for me) 1.5 miles.

My ability to run this measly 1.5 miles was a huge surprise to me. I anticipated being able to run ~100 yards, which is as far as I could run about a year ago, when I first began trying to become a "runner". This time out, I ran an easy (seriously, I could have done more without much pain at all) 1.5 miles at 12:30-13:00 pace!

I know, I know... you thought I said "quick" right? Well, just you ease up there. That's faster than I was able to run 6 months ago, when I could run 8 miles! It's called Slow Girl Running for a reason, after all.

As I was running, I realized that there were lessons I learned 6 months ago that have stayed with me: I've learned how to control my breathing, which is essential in continuing the run. I've learned how to differentiate muscle annoyances from real pain. I've learned that if I focus on something other than running, I can actually go quite a bit further than I thought.

If all goes well and this anti-nausea medicine continues to take effect, I plan to head out for a run this evening, as well. Maybe this time I'll make it 2.5 miles.

It feels good to be back.