Friday, June 30, 2006

Things, They Are a Changin'

I hope!

So far, my training for Chicago has sucked, for lack of a better description. It's been hard and frustrating. It has reduced me to tears on two separate occasions, and has had thoughts of quitting running through my mind more often that I want to admit.

I can't believe how much I lost since Indy, and how miserable it's been getting going again. I'm mad at my knee, and the world in general for things being harder than I thought they would. I knew it would be hard later, but now? Hard running 4 miles? That is ridiculous! But, it's been a fact for the past 3 weeks.

But, finally.

FINALLY.

Things are starting to feel right.

They are starting to click.

I feel like a runner again!

Last night my schedule called for 3 miles. So, that is what I set out to do, but it felt so great I decided to go a little further and pull a few more lost miles out of the abyss. Surprisingly, there haven't been too many miles tossed in there. Somehow, I've managed to pretty much stay on schedule.

So, I ran an amazing 4.25 miles. It felt perfect.

Absolutely perfect.

Nothing could have been better. The temperature was just right. My knee didn't hurt. The new music I was trying out was great. The slightly altered route I was running was good.

There was even one mile where I felt like I was flying.

Well, flying for me that is.

I never post my splits, and I really don't know why. I always wear my Garmin and look at them after every run. I just never think to post them I guess. So, I am changing that and posting them. So here they are:

Mile 1 11:12
Mile 2 10:20
Mile 3 11:22
Mile 4 10:46
Mile .25 2:36
Total 46:19

Not the most consistent, but oh well. It felt amazing and that's what matters.

Part of the inconsistency was the fact that I ran a new route, and the 10:20 mile was on the new part which is mostly down hill. It is also on the shoulder of a major road, and I NEVER run along the road. EVER. But, I thought I'd give it a try and actually enjoyed it. The breeze of the passing cars kept me cooler and watching the passing motorists gave me something to do to pass the time. Plus it helped that the shoulder is really wide along the stretch I was on.

Normally, I always run around my house. My neighborhood, or "addition" as we call them here, connects to four others. So I can run for miles and never leave the neighborhood streets.

In some ways it is nice because I am never that far from home for emergency bathroom or water breaks. I could cut across people's yards and be home in a mile in necessary! There is never much traffic, and the cars that do go by are always very courteous and give me lots of room.

But, at the same time it gets very boring running in circles staring at the same houses over and over every day. I am becoming an expert on what cars people own and how often they mow their lawn.

To mix it up, I have tried running through the back country roads that are just a short 2 mile drive away. A few turns and I can be smack dab in the middle of nothing but corn fields. Yipee. Now there's some excitement for you. If you've never watched corn grow you are really missing out.

Or I might get really crazy and drive to a park and run in circles around the golf course and dodge flying golf balls.

But all of my runs have been limited by the fact that I need to be some place that I can essentially run in circles, so I can keep coming back to my car or house for water.

Well, I finally broke down right before Indy and bought a fuel belt. I tried it on my last long run of that training season and HATED it. I bought it hoping it would sit around my hips, but it wouldn't stay and kept popping up around my waist. Of course it was too big to fit my waist and just bounced around freely.

So, I went back and exchanged the belt part for a smaller size, and decided I was just going to have to deal with it around my waist.

Today was the first time I had used it, and I expected it to drive me crazy. But, It really wasn't bad after the first few minutes and I loved the freedom to just wander around through some different areas without worrying about where I was going to find some water.

The only bad thing about it is I have a hard time getting the bottles out of the back holders. But I found that it isn't too bad if I just switch the front and back ones as soon as the front bottles are empty. That way I only have to get into the back holders once on each side.

So this morning I got in my 8 mile long run before the holiday weekend. The first 3.5 miles my legs felt pretty sluggish. I think it was partly from last nights run and partly from the fact that my body doesn't wake up before noon and it was 7:30 am. But the rest of the run wasn't too bad. I took more walk breaks that I usually do, and I was more than ready to be done during the last mile, but I made it. My knee wasn't too happy, but I stretched it and iced it and it isn't screaming too loudly at me.

Again, here are the splits:

Mile 1 12:11
Mile 2 11:35
Mile 3 12:09
Mile 4 11:36
Mile 5 10:51 (that same down hill as the 10:20 mile last night. I am in love with that hill!)
Mile 6 11:32
Mile 7 11:35
Mile 8 10:41 (just get this over with!)
Total 1:32:14

The weekend plans consist of... a party tonight, work Saturday, a 4 mile run on Sunday - followed by a party at the lake, work Monday, and a 4 mile race on Tuesday. I'm actually not that busy between now and the 4th, so I'll probably be posting. But, in case I don't, I hope everyone has a great 4th of July!!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I Just Run

I've been spending a lot of time reading other runner's blogs recently.

Probably too much time, as a small child could now get lost in my grass and the weeds are taller than the actual bushes in my landscaping beds. But, whatever.

And in all of these blogs, written by all of these wonderful runners, I read about their training.

I read about their tempo runs, their strides, their lactate threshold runs, their long runs, and their recovery runs.

I read about them discussing what pace they should be doing their short runs at vs their long runs if they want to finish their marathons by x:xx time.

I read their discussions on proper nutrition and how many calories they should be eating. And about how much water they should be drinking.

I read about how people love GU, and hate GU. And about how some people like sports drinks, and some do not. About how some people prefer sports jelly beans or blocks. And about some that don't like any of those things and prefer more "normal" snacks.

I read varying ideas of when GU or other supplements are really needed during a long run. And is Gatorade really better than water.

I read about the importance of cross training, and weight lifting.

And I find all of this so, so unbelievably overwhelming!

Because you see...

I. just. run.

One foot in front of the other until the miles are over.

End of story.

My pace is whatever I can do without passing out.

My goal time to finish my marathon is before they kick me off the course.

If I can manage to sneak in a few meals that don't consist of pizza followed by Dairy Queen, it's been a good week.

I NEVER get enough sleep, or go to bed at a decent enough time to get up for my runs.

I've never tried anything other than GU for my long runs.

The only thing I do "right" is hydrate. Because you see...

I actually LIKE water. Most of the time it is the only thing I drink.

Honestly, the only real sacrifice I make for my training is that I give up alcohol. Not that I am a huge drinker, per se. But I hang out with a group of friends who, quite honestly, like to party. So a party or a trip or two to the local bars are the norm for my weekends. And if I am actively training for something my drink of choice is good ol' H2O. My friends give me crap, but at the same time they always have a driver, so who can complain about that, right?

So, I look at what I do...

and I compare it to what everyone else seems to do...

And feel like the hugest slacker on the face of the planet.

I wonder why I am doing this the hard way. Why I can't seem to get my act together to eat better, sleep better. I wonder if I am missing the boat, by not trying to do strides, and tempo runs.

And recovery runs, whatever those are! My idea of recovery is a nap, not a run.

Should I be seeking out these things and trying to incorporate them into my training? Does it take more than just an increase in miles, week after week? If I'm not concerned about my time, should I be worried about tempo runs, and strides, and pace?

And what about my knee?

Yeah, the knee!

The reason I backed off my training is because I am worried about my knee holding up. I don't want to end a running career because I over do it training for Chicago. So, I am opting to go with a too easy beginner schedule, to lessen the stress on it.

I'm so frustrated over my lack of improvement since I started running, but at the same time I'm scared to start training too hard and do permanent harm to my knee.

I'm just so confused.

Ugh.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A New Found Respect

On a completely unrelated side note....I am sitting at my home computer with my window open, and I can hear the children outside playing.

They are a sister (age 4) and brother (age 2). The girl is pushing a cart along the sidewalk and her brother is following her back and forth.

She just turned to him and said, and I quote, "Would you stop following me? You are giving me a headache!"

Hmmm...

Wonder where she learned that?!?!


And onto today's post...

Today was my third day of PT, and Sean has devised a new way to torture me.

He thinks that it is necessary for me to "warm up" before his ASTYM torture sessions.

Could he be nice and generous?

Possibly allow me to warm up doing something I am comfortable with?

Something that I do on a very regular basis?

Something that I am used to?

Something that I am, dare I say, good at?

The treadmill, perhaps?

OF COURSE NOT!

Instead, he put me on the stationary bike.

the bike?

Has anyone ever read a word about me and a bike on this blog?

Um, yeah.

That would be because.....

I. do. not. bike.

The bike and I?

So. not. friends.

The bike makes my butt hurt. The bike makes my thighs burn. The bike is my enemy.

I started out at a slow pace, with minimal resistance. And every minute or so, Sean walked by and turned it up.

By the end of 10 minutes.

Yeah.... I said 10 minutes.

10 pathetic, measly minutes, and I was covered in sweat, with my thighs burning like they had caught fire.

I was so out of breath that I couldn't carry on a simple conversation, and my heart felt like it was going to pound right out of my rib cage.

I got my ass handed to me by a 10 minute ride on a stationary bike!

OMG!

And I call myself a runner?

I am so humiliated.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

So here is the weather.com 10 day forecast for where I live.

It looks like lots of wet runs for me! When is this rain going to end?


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Success......Barely

I opted to go for the 6 mile run on Friday instead of running the race.

It would have been nice to run the race, since I don't have a lot of opportunities to run smaller races. Most of them are on Saturday mornings, and I'm always at work.

But, it looked like we could end up having another storm....... which we did. And I didn't want to get caught in it. The storm was nice enough to wait until the race would have finished, but I would have ended up driving the 30 minutes home in a torrential down pour.

Plus, I felt like running the race would have been a cop out....... an "acceptable" excuse to avoid the 6 miles, but an excuse never the less.

So, I gritted my teeth and decided on the 6 miles.

I decided to run on the treadmill to avoid the aforementioned storm.

The run started out not too bad. I was running a pretty slow comfortable pace, trying to conserve some energy for the end of the run.

During the first few miles, I finished the end of the movie, "The Butterfly Effect", which I had started watching a few days before.

Anyone out there seen that movie? I saw it in the theaters when it came out, and really liked it. Mostly because I think it is very thought provoking, not because it has great acting!

I had never watched the director's cut. So, I wanted to see the different ending. I think I liked the director's cut ending better, but it was a little disturbing and I understand why they didn't release it like that.

Anyway, back to the run....

When I run on the treadmill, I always take a towel and cover up the display panel. I don't want to watch the miles tick by one slow tortuous .01 mile at a time. And I don't want to see how dreadfully slow I am going. So, I avoid the torture by hiding it from sight.

The movie finished and I took a peek under the towel to see where I stood, and had gone about 2 miles. So, at that point I put in my ear phones and listened to some new tunes that I had put on my mp3 player.

So, I'm cruising along doing great at that point, and decided to speed up a little bit.

I'm just running a long and I'm sweating like mad. I grab the towel to wipe the sweat out of my eyes and unfortunately glance at the display and see that I have gone 2.87 miles.

"2.87?!?! You lying sack of @$#%. I know I've ran farther than that."

"I'm going to die."

"I'm not going to make it 6 miles."

"I'm going to fail again."

"No, you aren't!"

"You are going to keep running, until that display says 6 miles or the treadmill flings you off the back and you go crashing through the window behind you."

And that's what I did for 3.13 miles.

Cursing the entire time.

And when I was done, I felt like I had just conquered the world.

And was reminded just why I do this.

Bring on that next long run, baby.


Success of a different kind...

Thank you so much to everyone who sent letters to Matthew at camp. He received 65 pieces of mail, and broke his record by one letter. Sounds like he got to visit the lake many times. So, a huge huge thank you to all of you. If you want to read more details, head on over to his site.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Extremely Disturbing

Someone just found my blog by googling the following words:

"torture schoolgirl pin rolling with shins"

And even worse:

my blog was the very first site that came up.

Does everyone else find that as disturbing as I do?!

On the running front, I FINALLY feel like my running is getting back to normal. I made it through two 4 miles runs this week without feeling like I was going to keel over. So, I consider that major progress.

There is a 6 miler on the schedule for today, unless I decide to run a 4 mile race this evening. I'm still undecided at this point. I'm not really up for a race in the rain, and we've been getting our fair share of it the past few days. So, I'm just going to wait and see.

If I do the 6 miles, it'll be the first longer run since I started back. I've set out to go 6 miles three other times...

and not made it!

Boo. Hiss.

But, I am feeling more normal again, so I am hoping that it goes smoothly.

I've been a little freaked over the running feeling so hard the past few weeks. I keep wondering how I am going to complete this training and the marathon if I'm about to die after 3 miles again. I really need to get a decent longer run under my belt to boost back up my confidence.

My knee hurts like you wouldn't believe, but for once it isn't from the running.

It is all bruised up from the ASTYM. While the bruising is making it a little hard to find a comfortable sleeping position, it isn't affecting my running. And yesterday was the first run that I have finished in 2 months without my knee hurting afterward.

Yipee!!

Progress.

I hope.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Reclaiming My Miles

I just got off the treadmill where I managed to reclaim those 3 miles that I tossed into the abyss yesterday.

I actually went 4 miles, so I managed to reclaim an extra one that got tossed in over the weekend, as well.

I'm hoping to reclaim 2 more miles over the next 2 days to put me on target for where I want to be for the week.

I managed to redesign my training schedule after Tuesday's PT Visit. I am basically following a modified version of Hal Higdon's novice schedule.

I need to modify it for two reasons.

The first being that I am running this 30K in September, and it doesn't fall quite right with the increase of miles for the long runs.

I am treating the "race" as a normal long run, it'll just be with a few hundred more people than I usually run with! I will NOT be racing! The 30K is in my old home town and I just couldn't resist running it. Any of you Michiganders out there running this?

The second being that my schedule is kind of nuts. My "weekend" is Thursday and Friday, and I work every Saturday. So Saturday long runs are out. Sunday is the only day that both my boyfriend and I are off work, so I try to spend at least part of the day with him. So, that really doesn't work so great for a long run on Sunday, either.

But, honestly I have no problem getting my long runs in over my "weekend" when the rest of the normal world is at work. It is actually the shorter runs that are harder for me to fit in during the rest of the work week.

So, because of my crazy work schedule, I have to shift the days around and actually start my weeks out on Saturday instead of Monday. It worked well when I was training for Indy, so I figure it'll work just as well for Chicago.

So, I have a goal. I have a training schedule.

Now if I can only survive the next month of PT torture sessions, I'll be all set.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Abyss

I picture this big black hole out there in space where all my lost miles go.

An abyss that holds those miles that I MEANT to run, but some how managed to let slip by because life got in the way.

Yeah, those miles.

Well, I'm starting off my official training by contributing my first 3 miles to the big black hole.

But you know what.......

oh well.

I am so not stressing over 3 missed miles.

Because, you know why?

There are going to be more of them.

A lot more.

Because, while I want to run this marathon, and I'm willing do to the work....

I am not willing to give up my life, or the people in it.

So, tomorrow I will reclaim those miles.

Or maybe I won't.

Either way, they'll be waiting for me in the abyss.

Music To My Ears

The Report on the Knee:

Last Thursday morning, I got up and ran 4 miles before going to the doctor to have my knee checked out. I wanted it to be acting up, just like it usually does after a run, and sure enough it was in typical achey form.

So, the doc took a look, moved it around in all these ouchy awkward positions, and came up with the enlightening conclusion of...........

"I don't know."

Gee, thanks for the insight. I had already figured that one out on my own.

Then she went on to say that nothing felt out of place, torn, or broken. Once again, I concur.

So, she decided to send me for an x-ray and some physical therapy.

As predicted, the x-ray showed nothing. Which left the therapy.

The doc asked if I knew of any therapists to go to, and I said, "YES! I know the best therapist and I want to go to him."

Even though he just opened his own practice on the other side of the world, and I will have to drive over half an hour each way to go see him. He is awesome!

I meet him five years ago when I was having problems with my right shoulder. I had been having some major pain issues. It was at the point where the entire upper right quadrant of my back would go numb when I had a long day at work. I was unable to even mop my floor or run the vacuum without major pain, and I couldn't reach out to grab something with my right arm.

The doctors felt that it was an over use issue related to my job. They told me to find a new one. Yeah, right. I had just spent 8 years of my life in school to have this job, and had been out of school for 9 months, with more student loans than I wanted to think about.

Get a new job? You people are freaking nuts!

So, that left the physical therapy.

I had been seeing another therapist, with minimal results.

One day I came in for therapy, and got the news that my regular therapist went into labor 6 weeks early, and therefore was out on maternity leave. So, I would be seeing Sean.

Boo. Hiss.

I don't like changing people, be it a doctor or hair stylist, it just doesn't sit well with me. So, I wasn't happy, but what could I do.

I went through the therapy session with Sean, and left hating his guts. I'd never worked so hard or hurt so much in my life. But a day later I actually felt better for the first time in a year.

So, I transferred my records to his regular office and spent many months visiting him 3 times a week, until he released me into a blissful life, free of shoulder pain. And 5 years later, my shoulder still feels fine 98% of the time. He is a miracle worker!

Sorry, I digress, but I have never actually given any back ground on the shoulder issues that I elude to on occasion when it acts up during my long runs (one of the very few times it still bothers me).

Back to the knee...

So, I went to my first appointment with Sean this morning. And he told me the 7 best words in the English language........

"I give you permission to keep running."

Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

He thinks it is over use, combined with the fact that I pronate. He recommended orthotics, and strongly hinted that I need different shoes. (I don't think I mentioned the fact that I decided the asics weren't going to work and returned them, so I'm back to my old ones until I have time to go shopping again.)

He is doing this horrible ouchy, but very effective, procedure called ASTYM.

And making me stretch every 3 hours.

Boo. Hiss.

I'm not quite sure how I am going to manage that at work. Considering most of the stretches require me to lay down, one even needs my leg to be hanging off the side of a flat surface (ie bed, couch). My coworkers are going to think I'm nuts when they come in my office and find me laying on my desk, dressed in a business suit, with my leg hanging off the side or all twisted up on the floor.

But, hey, whatever it takes, right?!?!

So, I go twice a week for the next 4 weeks for these torture sessions. Sean thinks it will be resolved by then. Yeah.

The catch being that I address the underlying cause of the pronation.

The bad news is that Sean wants me running a "reasonable" training schedule.

Boo. Hiss.

So, there goes the schedule I was going to follow. I was planning on trying it improve my speed, and improve myself as a runner. I was really going to push myself. Give it my all.

But, essentially I just got permission to continue along my lazy path, and not over do it.

So.... I have re-evaluated the goal, and re-designed the schedule.

The goal, once again, is to crawl across the finish line before they kick me off the course for being too slow.

The schedule will be something very beginner-ish, with some cross training thrown in for kicks.

And I make a solemn oath to try really really hard to get back to doing some yoga to help me with my hatred of stretching.

I hate stretching.

I love yoga.

I am so not normal.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Please Help Me


If you have been following my blog, you know that I started running with Team in Training back in January. Matthew, my honored hero for my first event, is pictured above. He is the one on the far left in the front row.

Matthew is an amazing young man, who has been battling Leukemia for the past 5 years. But even more amazing is the fact that he is a runner. Currently, he is training to run with his high school cross country team. Matthew's strength and courage continually amaze me. He is what keeps me going. When I am having a tough run, I just think of Matthew and tell myself that if he can do it, then so can I. If you want to read more about him check out his site.

Matthew has had a lot of special opportunities to do some pretty cool things with other kids battling cancer. The picture above was taken a few months ago when he got to go on a trip to Washington DC and meet President Bush.

Another fun thing that Matthew is getting to do is attend a week long camp with other kids his age. This camp has a tradition that any camper who receives five pieces of mail gets thrown in the lake that day. The past few years Matthew has received enough mail to get thrown in the lake every day that he was there. He currently holds the record for the most pieces of mail ever received by any camper there. So, we are trying to make sure that he holds on to his title again this year. So, if you can find it in your heart to drop him a quick hello, please do so.

He will be at the camp from June 18 - June 23. The address is below:

**address removed**

Thanks for helping us out with our evil, get Matthew thrown in the lake, plot!!

Mornings Are Evil

Scene: Christmas Morning, 5 AM, Runnergirl Age 12, My Bedroom

Dad, opening bedroom door. And singing (in most horrible high pitch screeching voice imaginable) "Deck the Halls..."

Me,"Grrrr", as I put the pillow over my head.

Dad, "with boughs of holly."

Me, "Go Away!"

Dad,"Fa La La...", as he flicks on the light.

Me, "DAD! Turn off the light! Go Away! And STOP SINGING!"

Dad, "La La La La La La. Get Up!! Time to go to grandma's."

Me, "NO! 10 more minutes!"

Fast forward 10 minutes. Repeat sequence.


Scene: Any morning, getting ready for school, Runnergirl grades 9 - 12, 6 AM, the ONLY bathroom in the house.

Me, stumbling into bathroom, squinting as to avoid being blinded by light.

Mom, "Good Morning."

Me, "Whatever."

Mom, "What are you plans for tonight?"

Me, "Grrr."

Mom, "Do you know what time you will be home?"

Me, "NO!"

Mom, "What do you want for dinner?"

Me, "Do we have to talk about this now?"

Mom, " I was thinking that maybe this weekend........."

Me, "MOM! Why do you do this every morning? Can't you let me wake up in peace!?!? I wish we had another bathroom!"

Turn on water and slam shower door, escaping further argument.


Scene: Yesterday Morning, 7:15 AM, Runnergirl Age (HA! Like I am going to tell you!), Boyfriend's Bathroom

Me, stumbling out of bed and into bathroom, where boyfriend is talking on the phone/getting ready for work.

I simultaneously squint at the glaringly bright light out of one eye and scowl at Boyfriend, as he is cause of said light.

He hangs up the phone and starts singing to me, "You are my sunshine.."

Me, "Shut Up"

"...my only sunshine..."

Me, "Seriously, Shut Up!"

"You aren't being very nice."

Me, "Whatever. Just Shut Up."

I brush my teeth, pull up my hair, and leave his his house with one backwards glare.

Cursing the sun the whole drive home.

I don't know if Boyfriend is still speaking to me.

I may have to do some serious begging for forgiveness.

I wish I could say it was because I'm still sick, but I feel much better. The truth is I'm just horrible to be around in the AM.

My brain doesn't gain control of my mouth until I have been awake for at least 30 minutes. Before then, there is no filter. Whatever I think just comes out.

This is not a good thing.


Scene: this morning, 6:30 AM, My Bedrooom

Alarm starts blaring.

Me, "Ooy." Snooze.

Me, thinking..."snooze means it'll go off in 7 more minutes. We can't have that. Shut it off. Reset it for an hour."

I drug myself out of bed 30 minutes later and put on my running clothes. I laced up my shoes and hit the pavement.

And managed to complete my first decent run since I got back to my training.

It was perfect. Not too hot. And I don't think my mind or body was actually awake enough to register any pain.

I may continue to fool it for a while until it catches on to my plan.

So, I am joining the dark side. Morning runs here I come.

However, I suggest no one speaks to me until I'm finished and my filter is firmly in place for the day!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Knee News

As I have mentioned, my right knee has been bothering me since before I ran Indy. I took 3 weeks off after the race, hoping to give it a break, and come back pain free.

But, no such luck.

When I started back 3 weeks ago, my knee was hurting worse than ever and I was pretty concerned about it. So, I made a doctor's appointment to have it checked out.

That first week, it pretty much hurt non-stop.......except for when I ran. The only time it felt comfortable and "normal" was while I was running.

Explain that one to me!!

But, I am very happy to report that for the past 5 days it seems to be feeling better. It still hurts for a while after I finish running, but after a few hours it feels normal again.

The appointment is tomorrow, so I guess I'll see what she has to say. It is with my primary care practitioner, so I'm pretty much expecting an "I don't know" and a referral to an orthopedic specialist.

So, for now, I'm just going to keep on running.

Until someone tells me not to.

Then I'll stop.


Maybe.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The good: I'm getting sick.

The bad: I'm getting sick.

The ugly: I'm getting sick.

Good because it explains why running has sucked so much.

Bad because.....well duh.

Ugly because when I get sick I don't sleep well. When I don't sleep well I turn into a huge horrible crab and no one can stand to be around me. So I fear that my friends and family will be fleeing my presence very soon. Not to return until I can successfully breathe through my nose again.

Why oh why does this always happen to me? Just when I get started again a sick bug has to slow me down.

The running gods hate me.

I fear it is punishment for past sins.

I must find a way to repent.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Remind Me Why!

Disclaimer: If you care to join me for my pity party, read on..... If you aren't up for some good old fashion whining, then I suggest you skip this post.

Will someone please remind me why I am doing this?!?!

I have been back at my running for a little over 2 weeks now. And it has done nothing but suck since I started training again!

Why did I take 3 weeks off? Why oh why was I so stupid?

I thought I had good reasons. Really. Honest. I did!

Mentally I felt I needed the break, and I was trying to give my knee some rest time. But I am regretting it so much now. I feel like I have lost so much ground. Every run since I've been back has been slow, and hard, and miserable.

My lungs hurt. My legs hurt. My mind hurts from the thought of 4 1/2 months of this!

Yesterday was "long run" day. I only set out to go 6 miles. Hah.

I made it 4 and felt like I was going to die. May 6 was barely more than a month ago. Did I actually make it 13.1 miles a month ago? And feel good about it? Did I imagine that entire race?

This morning was the first group training session for TNT. So, I got up at the crack of dawn to be there by 7:00 AM. And we all know how much this runnergirl loves the AM as stated here and here.

So, I get to the training 30 minutes early because I am anal retentive and wanted to be on time, and wasn't positive that I knew where I was going. I'm sitting in my car waiting on everyone else listening to Dave Matthews (whom I saw in concert last Saturday night - Awesome!) and it starts drizzling. Great. The longer I sit, the harder it rains.

By the time Coach Mike and everyone else get there it is pretty much a down pour. We went to a pavilion in the park to cover the first training basics and get to know each other a little, etc, etc.

Then we break up to go run. I set off with Coach Mike for a run of undetermined length. It was my 5th day in a row of running and I was just plain tired. Technically today was supposed to be an off day for me, so I was just gonna play it by ear.

I was talking to Mike and quickly getting out of breath. I was trying to keep up a steady pace and not bounce around like I normally do. I'm kind of a wimp, so when I run on my own I slow down and speed up quite a bit as I get tired, and recover. I didn't want to keep changing pace on Mike so I tried to keep constant. We keep running and I keep getting more and more tired. Mike was letting me set the pace, but I felt like I was running a lot faster than normal.

We neared the end of the 2 mile loop, and I felt like I was going to pass out. It was down pouring, water was running off my hat, my glasses were fogging up, and my legs felt like spaghetti. I told Mike I was bailing on him, and jogged off to my car. I stretched and got in for the drive home.

Before I took off, I looked at my Garmin, fully expecting to see a 9:45 min/mile pace because it felt SOOO much faster than my normal 11:00 min/mile.

Hah.

Fooled again. We ran both miles at an average pace of 10:30.

Can running make you insane?

I swear we were running faster than that! And I really think I ran 13.1 miles on May 6.

But then again, maybe I've just lost my mind.

Please, oh please, someone make it get better!

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Pure Bliss

So, have you seen the movie "What Women Want"? The ad that they are making for Nike very much describes how I feel about running at night. "No Games, Just Sports." Yep, you got it.

There is just something different about running at night. Something that I never seem to find during the day. I don't know exactly why the difference. Is it simply the darkness? Is it the coolness? Or is it something else? I've never figured it out.

When I began running with any regularity, I lived in Mississippi. It was hot, and horribly humid, and the only time I was comfortable to run was at midnight. So I spent the majority of my time there running in the middle of the night. Which was rarely a problem, because I was in school and sleeping was something that other people did. I was always up at all hours studying anyway, and the running just served as a study break.

So, that started my long lasting love affair with night running.

My night runs are never planned. They are never part of "the schedule" for that would ruin them completely. They are never about the guilt of making up for a missed run. They are spontaneous, spur of the moment runs simply because the impulse strikes.

They aren't about the training or the speed. They aren't about the miles.

NEVER about the miles.

They are about something else entirely. They are about the feel of the night air against my skin. About the feel of the pavement under my feet. About the sound of my breathing in the quiet night air. About the feel of my lungs. About the strain of my muscles.

They are about feeling invisible. About being able to accomplish anything. They are about me.

Ahh........at night.

At night I can fly.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Blogging Block

I am finding myself in a strange place. I feel like I have been at a loss for what to blog about recently, and I don't know why. It is just so unlike me. Normally, you can't shut me up. I am the queen of babble. But the last few weeks, I feel at a loss for words.

You'd think it would have something to do with the running. That maybe I was stuck in a running rut, but I'm not.

I am, however, trying to internalize the changes in my life that have come about from running. Maybe that's it.

I'm trying to figure out exactly what I want out of this whole running experience. I'm trying to decide what I'm willing to give up.

And what I'm not.

I'm trying to figure out what changes need to be made to make running a permanent part of my life. I'm trying to find its place among a life that felt too busy before I started spending hours each week pounding the pavement.

I'm trying to figure out what I need to hold on to and what I can let go of.

I'm also trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I am no longer the same person that I was on January 10, 2006, when I walked into that TNT meeting with absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.

I am forever changed.

Maybe not in ways that are visible externally, but internally I am a different person. I'm trying to come to terms with the "new me". I'm trying to reconcile the old me, with the new one. I'm trying to readjust my opinion of who I am.

I'm trying to make this my new reality.

I am so unbelievably happy with myself, my life, with who I am, with where I am going. But it has taken so much work to get to this place. And so much more work is still ahead to finish this journey. I have never worked so hard for something, nor been so affected by the result of my efforts.

When I was training for Indy, I honestly experienced more dread and fear than anything else.

I dreaded the pain and feared the unknown.

I resented that I was sacrificing so much to my running, but was in love with the sense of accomplishment and new found confidence I was experiencing. I hated some of what I was giving up, but loved what I was becoming.

But, as I am setting out on the next leg of my training I feel differently. I have this overwhelming sense of acceptance regarding the training that is ahead of me. I feel like I am losing my love/hate relationship with running. It is becoming who I am instead of something that I do.

I've come to terms with what it is going to take to get me across the finish line. And I know I'm willing to do the work.

Most of all, I'm no longer scared.

I know I can do it. It's just one foot in front of the other, over and over, mile after mile, week after week, until you cross that finish line. I no longer have doubts. And that is a good feeling. I am confident in the fact that if I do the training, I'll finish the race.

Well, I put some words on the page, so it's a start.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Reality Check

The Chicago Marathon has a time limit. You must finish within 6 hours and 30 minutes of the official start.

Reality #1: I am NOT going to be starting any where near the front of the pack. Therefore 30 of those minutes will probably be taken up just getting to the start line, leaving me 6 hours of running time.

Reality #2: I have read that to get an estimate of your marathon time, you should take your half marathon time times 2 plus 15 minutes. Ok, doing that estimates that I will finish in 5:40:04. Ouch! That's a little too close for comfort in my opinion

Reality #3: Someone needs to light a fire under my butt and get me running faster!! All you runners out there in blogger land....please help! I am open to any and all suggestions on the best way to do some speed training.

There is a local trainer that is hosting speed work training sessions 1 day a week. I plan on attending at least the first few and see what pointers I can pick up.

I have also read that you speed up about 10 seconds per mile for every 10 lbs you lose. Anyone know if there is any truth to this?

On a really good week I'm just under the upper limit of normal for my height and frame. On a really bad week, I'm just over the limit. I could easily lose 20 lbs and still be well within normal for my height. This just might be the motivation I need to kick off those extra pounds.

I can hear the clock beginning it's count down to marathon day in the back of my head.

Tick. Tick. Tick.