Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I had intended on having a Halloween-related post today, but frankly - I just don't have the time. I'm sorry. Come back next week to hear how my Halloween weekend goes and see pictures of me and Andrew. I'm hoping it's going to be legen- wait for it - dary! (A little shout out there to my fellow How I Met Your Mother fans.)

We're holding a seminar here at work today, so I've been spending my day running around like crazy.

Seriously. This morning, I had to get up a little bit early (ew) to make sure I got the rest of my bathroom stuff packed and in the car. I still feel like I'm forgetting something, but hopefully it's something like toothpaste. I'm positive that I've got all of my costume stuff. I tried it all on and made sure every piece got packed.

I stopped at the gas station to get 4 bags of ice on my way to the office. This is not fun when it's 37 degrees out and the sun has hardly risen (yay for falling back this weekend!).

No sooner had I got there with the ice, people started arriving. I made name tags and got lunch orders. I had to take the lunch order to Subway because their fax machine wasn't working (one that clearly had been purchased in 1980 based on how it looked when I saw it).

I was also on picture patrol all day. Then I had to go pick up lunch and stop by the dinner place to pay for it and try to convince them to deliver it since I wouldn't be here to go pick it up. It took a generous tip, but they're delivering when normally they wouldn't have been willing to do so. Score.

I got back with lunch and found that my sandwich was missing. I was glad it was mine and not one of the guests, and I headed back to get it.

The manager started working on it right away, clearly pissing off the people in line. They were talking about not understanding why I got to jump ahead of them. I politely said that I had a large order and got back to find one missing and had to come back. They still gave me dirty looks. Oh well. The manager threw in some free cookies for my trouble. Score.

It turns out that the tablecloths that we ordered with the tables we rented were too small. Fail. I called the rental people who seemed happy to credit our card back for the useless tablecloths. Score.

Food in belly, I took care of ny normal work day stuff and then continued to take picture.

Now, I'm mostly just waiting for it to be time to leave. I'm super excited about my weekend. I've got everything in the trunk ready to go, my dad is going to pick up my cat to take him to stay at their house all weekend, and my ipod is fully charged for the VERY boring drive to Memphis.

Yay! Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

100 MILES... and you thought 100 posts are a big deal, ha :)

I hit 100 miles for the month of October yesterday. It was a big moment.

And now I'm done.

Not for good - just for October. No more running until Monday. My body needs a few extra days of rest. I can feel it, so that's what we're going to do!

In the meantime, there have been cookies. I made a whole bunch last night to take with me this weekend, and you KNOW I had to test them out. I only ate 3, but I know they'll be taunting me from the counter when I get home tonight. Chocolate chip. Chocolate oatmeal no-bake. Yeah, you know I made two different kinds.

I'm about to leave work and go get a pedicure... the one I earned by running all 22 miles of my planned 22 miler this past Saturday. I'm really excited. I haven't gotten one in ages, and my feet could definitely use some TLC before I go slaughter them next week in the marathon. Plus, my halloween outfit calls for sandals (which may suck since it's going to be cold, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed we'll be mostly indoors tomorrow night)... so I want to have cute toes!

This post really has nothing of substance. In summary, I ran 100 miles over the past 28 days since October 1st, I made cookies that I love to eat, and I will soon have pretty feet again.

Yay!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kinda Sorta Taper

It's weird. I'm not really tapering. Technically, the marathon next weekend is my final long run, and THEN I taper until the second race 4 weeks from that day.

However, I am KIND OF tapering right now. I definitely need to take it a bit easy in between these long runs since they're getting SO long. It takes the body a while to recover from the really long runs. For me, I start feeling it when I hit 18-19 miles. I'm more achey for a few extra days. I feel really tired even when I'm getting plenty of sleep. My body is just getting worn out and needing longer to recover.

So, while I'm still one long run away from tapering, I'm definitely taking it easy this week. I went to run yesterday, planning to only run an easy 3 miles to get my legs loosened. It may be the hardest 3 miles I've ever run. I'm so not kidding. My legs just felt heavy and tired of running. Some days are like that no matter where you're at in the training, and I chose to just push through at a pleasant 10-minute per mile pace.

I'm going to do another light 3 miles today and then call it a week until next week. Ideally, I'd run 10 miles or so this weekend, but I know I won't do it in memphis. Plus, I think it's just time to take a weekend off and let my legs really recover so that I can do some light running next week and then be fresh for Saturday's 26.2 miler.

I feel good about all of this. At the same time, I'm nervous. I'm trying something totally new and I have no idea how it's going to play out. I know that I feel tired right now, and I'm nervous about what if I still feel this way on race day. However, I've done 3 marathons and I know that you feel tired when you're peaking... and that that is exactly why you taper. You get to rest and recover so you're fresh on race day. I need to remember to trust that knowledge.

I'm getting excited. Next weekend should be good. I'm going to take it easy and stick with a consistent pace. I will not try to "race." I just want to get the mileage in and in a slightly longer time that I hope to run in Memphis. I want my body to KNOW it can run for longer than what I want it to on my actual race day in December. Oh, I hope this works!

In other news, I had a very frustrating experience driving to work this morning. I was driving down my street and noticed a car about to back out of a driveway. All of of sudden, she went from sitting still to gunning it to back out, and I had to hit the brakes HARD to not hit her. I was mildly annoyed by that, but then I was behind her for 2 miles of my 3 mile drive (I know - my "commute" rocks!), going about 10 mph the whole freaking time. She kept just stopping in the road and then a couple of times driving over on to the other side and the oncoming traffic had to stop. I finally realized her back window was completely frosted over and could catch a glimpse in a curve that she was trying to run her windshield wipers. Apparently she couldn't even see out her front window! It was irritating. I think it was really irresponsible of her to go on the road when she couldn't even see out her window. Not only did she have like 10 cars being forced to inch along behind her, but she really put herself in danger.

AND - yesterday I was on a treadmill looking out a window to the gym parking lot. I saw a guy pull up on a motorcycle and park in the white lines next to a handicap spot. I came THIS CLOSE to getting off my treadmill and meeting him as he came in to tell him that parking in the white lines that are for the handicap spots is just as illegal as parking in the spot itself. But then I decided I'm not the keeper of the parking lot and I don't have any business telling him what to do. But still - annoying to see someone do that.

Here's the other thing about peak training: I think all marathoners agree that when we feel more tired from the high mileage, we also feel a little more easily irritated.

This girl is going to have to get to bed early every night I can over the next week and a half before the first marathon. And eat lots of good foods. I need to rest and recover.

(If you haven't noticed, a main purpose of this post is to talk to myself and remind myself that I'm supposed to feel tired and achey right now... and that I'm supposed to take it easy right now... and that doing so will enable me to feel fresh and rested on marathon day. Ok, I think I got it.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just a Random Tuesday

Whew! Today has been busy!

We're hosting a small conference here on Friday, so I have been trying to get everything all set up for that. I had to rent tables and chairs, go to Wal-Mart to pick up drinks and snacks, and place orders for lunch and dinner. It's not a huge event or anything, but it's definitely taken most of today to get it all organized.

I have a feeling I'll be sent to Kinko's tomorrow to get a bunch of stuff printed and bound. We'll see.

I like getting out of the office. It totally breaks up my day! (Unfortunately, the 30-40 degree temps have hit and I don't like the COLD!) I also had to go to the bank, so I decided to swing by Chick-fil-A for an early lunch. When I say "early lunch," I actually mean breakfast before they quit serving it. I had a chicken biscuit and a plain biscuit with jelly. Mmmm..

Of course, now I'm hungry again since that was at 10:30. I picked up some whole grain cheerios when I was at the store to have on hand for breakfast, but I'm totally acting like a toddler and eating them with my fingers right now.

I'm going to hit the gym today for a short run. I'm feeling pretty good since the 22-miler, so I'm hoping that some short runs this week will help my legs stay used to running and recover a bit before next weekend's marathon.

I feel like this post is rambling. I don't have anything special to say today. It's just a busy Tuesday following a busy Monday (seriously - last night I cleaned out my dresser and finally have finished pulling out everything I want to get rid of... and I cleaned... and did laundry).

I'm worn out. I'm definitely going to have to get my butt to bed early the next few days so I can be well rested for my weekend. :) Of course, I also need to pack, get a pedicure, and make some cookies to take at some point one evening.

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Voting

I have been really hesitant to say much on my position concerning the presidential election. This is in part because I know that you should never get into arguments with anyone, much less perfect strangers, about politics. I know that some of my readers will agree and some will disagree, and I don't want to start anything here. However, I feel like this little piece of the internet is where I can share what I think. You may agree. You may disagree. But I'm only writing about this today to share a teeny, tiny little piece about why I'm backing a certain candidate. Feel free to agree or disagree, but I'm only trying to share my thoughts.

I will disable comments on this post... not because I don't believe in the freedom of speech. I do. That's why I feel free to write what I think here. But I am not interested in debating or discussing. I've already voted. I've enjoyed reading all that you have posted and some of it was helpful when I was making my decision. I hope you'll recognize that this is just my opinion, my belief... I'm not trying to force it on you. It's just food for thought if you'd like, and if not then feel free to come back on another day as most of the time I discuss running and day-to-day life. I rarely talk politics. As for disabling comments, it's in part because I've already made my mind up and in part because I'm not looking to start anything. I'm just sharing a small piece of what affected my decision (and noticed I said piece, as there is MUCH more to it than what I'm sharing here).

In 2004, I was a senior in college. I took an honors lecture series my fall semester. Shortly before the Bush-Kerry election, we had a lecture on voting. I remember that I really liked what the speaker had to say. In summary, it was that all we can really do is vote our values. No one person will ever be the perfect person for the job. No one person will ever be perfect, period. We will never meet another person who sees every minute detail of life the same way we do. So in the end, this means we will never all agree on the right person to be president, and it's also unlikely that we'll ever be able to vote for someone and feel like we agree with that person on all issues.

In the end, we vote our values. Regardless of whether it's religion or something else, we all have something that shapes us and the way that we view the world. We all have an idea of what's right and wrong. While we may not ever all agree, we can all vote based on that life view... based on those values. If the person you voted for wins, you still may not agree with everything he/she does, but there's less chance that you'll disagree all of the time like you might with someone who has opposite values than your own.

Of course, this can be difficult to do. Who feels like they can believe what the candidates say anyways? But all in all, we can generally have a decent picture of what the candidates' values are and whether or not they're in line with our own.

So I vote my values.

I won't bore you with long commentary, but if you have any interest in getting an idea of one of many things in my head, go read this blog by someone smarter than me. I think he hits the nail on the head. That blog entry is kind of the basis of this one, so if you're interested in what I'm saying here then you should read it.

I understand why a lot of people are anti-war and all that jazz, but here's part of what I think: a little over 4,000 US soldiers have died as part of the war in Iraq since it began in 2003. I found that info here as well as other places all over the internet. Yes, add another 30,000 wounded. That's terrible, yes. I don't disagree.

Since abortion was legalized in 1973, we know of at least 32.5 million abortions. Abortions don't have to be reported, so there could be more. I found that here as well as numerous other places on the internet that give similar reports. 32,500,000 dead babies. Some early in the pregnancy, some much later (and if you want to read about something sick, then do a google search on partial birth abortions and read up. Sometimes there are even pictures.).

Remember the Holocaust? Six million people died. We think that's horrible, don't we? And yet we don't mind killing off 32.5 babies... ???

According to my faith, abortion is wrong. I can't get past that. There are tons of reasons why I'm not supportive of Obama, but this one is a big one for me. I might could look past other things, but I can't look past this. The first thing he wants to do in office is deal with abortion? Interesting. I think Randy Arnold's points are good... either he's lying or his character is a far cry from what I believe is good and noble.

Arnold's right. Obama is cool. But I don't think abortion is cool at all. I don't think it should be easier for kids to get one than it is to get aspirin at school (like Arnold's blog suggested).

I'm pro-choice all right. I have a choice every. single. day. about whether or not I have sex. And if I use the many birth control options available.

(Despite my disabled comments, I know some of you are probably going, "but what about rape?! what about when the mom's life is in danger?" I certainly can see the argument for there being a time and a place where abortion might be the lesser of two evils, but my point is that we're handing out abortions like lillipops and I think that's a problem, not the emergency situations.)

You don't have to agree with me. You don't even have to believe me when I say there are far more reasons behind my decision to vote how I did (but there definitely were other reasons). This is just a big one to me. Even if I agreed with Obama on everything else under the sun, my values say abortion is wrong. Maybe your values don't, and that's fine... to each his/her own. But for me, it's wrong. And I cannot support a candidate who doesn't share my values on that.

32.5 million abortions that we know of in 30 years.

I am not ok with that.

22 Miles. Done.

"Because when I arrive
I bring the fire
Make you come alive
I can take you higher
What is this, forgot?
I must now remind you
Let it rock, let it rock, let it rock"

I must admit - I was a bit nervous on Friday about the 22-miler I was planning for Saturday. I had some good reasons to be nervous.
  1. I was going to run 22 miles only 8 days after running 20 miles. Ideally, I should have a week in between such ridiculously long runs. I just didn't have the time to make that happen.

  2. It rained all day Friday. I knew the rain was supposed to be gone, but I've never believed much of what meteorologists have to say.

  3. I had a TERRIBLE headache all day Friday. Seriously, I thought I'd pass out it hurt so bad at some points. I took some of my mom's migraine medicine and went to bed at 9pm.

Fortunately, I woke up feeling rested and headache-free. I also found it to be sunny, although it was cold enough to run with pants for the first time all season. This left me with only my first reason to be nervous, and it was certainly a valid one.

I hit the park and set out to run my first seven miles on my own. I was not feeling good. My legs were heavy. Some of my aches from the week were letting me know they were still present. I started thinking how I might have to stop early... that it might be better to just do 18 miles and give my body a break.

Of course, I knew this would happen. It's easy on the really long runs during your peak weeks to start bartering with yourself about mileage. I was prepared. I knew that I planned on getting a pedicure this week so that my feet will be all pampered and pretty. I decided that I'd only allow myself to get one if I run all 22-miles. I even told Andrew about it the night before in an effort to give myself some accountability. I knew that if I want my training experiment to work, I had to hit 22-miles. So I kept reminding myself that I am capable of running 22 as well as that I would have 2 weeks to recover before running the first marathon. The pedicure reward was added incentive.

Bob joined me after I did my first seven. I wasn't feeling terrible, but I wasn't feeling as good as one would like to feel 7 miles into a 22-mile run. I had opted to not listen to my ipod for the first few miles in an attempt to save my upbeat music for when I really need it.

We set off and ran out 5.75 miles chit chatting and enjoying the cool weather. It was cool enough to keep us from getting too warm, but not so cold that it felt cold while running. Perfect. I still felt decent when we turned around, but I knew that when we got to the other end where the cars were parked that I'd be tempted to stop then at 18.5.

I turned on the ipod as we headed back and it landed on "Let it Rock." This is such a terrific running song! I decided it'd be my song for the day. When it'd get to the end, I'd pause it and run another half mile. Then I'd listen to it again. I never do stuff like that, but for some reason this was just a power song and it was all I wanted to hear. I must have listened to it 8-9 times before the end of the run.

We got to the end and I decided to ditch my fuel belt. I knew I'd only be happy if I went back out for the last 3.5 miles, so I turned around and headed out one more time. As I headed back after the turnaround, I was definitely feeling tired. However, I knew that I was accomplishing my goal for the day and that I was doing it in a decent time. I was running so much better than I ever anticipated I could do when I got started!

During the last half mile, I tried to pick it up some in an effort to teach my body how to pick it up even when I'm tired. It felt good to run a bit faster and to know that if I had to go 4.2 more miles, I could. I know it's cheesy, but I even tried to picture myself feeling that good as I run the last bit of my marathons to the finish line. Yay for visualization.

I "rocked" my 22 miler in 3:38. For those of you following along, I ran 20 miles last week in 3:47. Two extra miles, 9 minutes faster. This is what we like to see. I'm definitely glad I took it easier on the 20-miler. The whole point of building my training runs up to the full 26.2 is to teach my body to run for the length of time I want to run in Memphis. It needs to get used to running for close to 4 1/2 hours. Saturday's run was exciting because if I can keep up the pace, I'll definitely finish marathon 1 between 4:20 and 4:30. This is perfect. Then I'll have some time to taper and rest before trying to run Memphis in 4:20 or less!

After the run, I went home and took an ice bath. I hate these, but I'm finding that they really help a lot if I've run more than 15 miles. I called Andrew to help keep me occupied while I sat in the freezing water. I had neglected to let him know last week I made it the whole 20 miles until late that night, so this week I made sure he knew I had survived 22.. and earned my pedicure! I went on and cleaned up after that and met up with my mom to run some errands. In the evening, I went to a bonfire that my aunt and uncle have every year. I was pretty stiff, but I felt like it was wise to try to move around all day.

I definitely crashed hard that night and slept a solid 12 hours. I went shopping yesterday (and scored some great deals on some tops at The Limited and some shoes at DSW) and still felt a little stiff, but walking around felt good. I've got a few aches today, and I definitely still feel really tried. I'm glad I can take it easy the next 2 weeks and rest up a bit before I go for 26.2 at the Battlefield Marathon. I've only got some light mileage on the agenda.

Want to know something crazy though? I've run 94 miles so far this month. I'm sure I'll get 6 in this week to hit 100. Insane, but definitely on target.

It was a good weekend. I'm really pleased with how the run went. I had fun at the bonfire and caught up with some friends I hadn't seen in a while. I enjoyed finding some deals and getting some things I had been wanting yesterday. And I'm really looking forward to this weekend... I finally get to see the boy again. Things are going well in my world, other than it being cold. 30's tonight. I hate the cold.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. I'm looking forward to opening Google reader and seeing what you've all been up to!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gearing up for 22 Miles

There's really no way to prepare for a 22-mile run.

Sure, I need to get my clothes laid out (note to self: wash favorite pair of undies). I need to get the cooler out and make sure I have my water and gatorade bottles made and that there is ice in the freezer. I need to set out my breakfast and my fuel to take with me. I need my fuel belt and a fully charged ipod. I should eat a good dinner and go to bed early.

Past that - there's really no way to prepare for a 22-mile run.

It's going to be long. I'll do 7 miles on my own and then Bob will join me for 15. There will be moments when I'll want to stop. I will try to argue with myself that I should call it a day at 20, but the other side will keep saying that the point is to do 22. I will try to lie to myself about how many miles are left at each turnaround point.

Don't get me wrong. I know I'll feel glad that I did a 22-mile run. In 2 weeks when I do 26(.2), I'll be glad that only 4 miles are "new" miles to my body. I'll be glad I did some slow runs to get my body used to running for how long I want it to run on race day.

That doesn't mean the 22-mile training run sucks any less. Face it. It sucks. And I'm STILL concerned about my right leg that's all achy. I think I might go to the gym and ride the bike for about 30 minutes today. That seemed to help work it out last week and I never felt it during the 20. I guess we'll see what happens.

In other news, I watched Smart People last night with a friend of mine. I thought it was pretty funny, so I'd recommend it. It's not the best movie I've seen lately, but I enjoyed it.

It's pouring here today. This has managed to give me a headache and make me wish I was curled up in my bed all day... instead of balancing the company bank acount (which probably doesn't help the headache any).

(Tomorrow it should be sunny and ranging from 40-60 degrees during my run time. YAY!)

Meanwhile, today is one week until Halloween... which means it's one week until I see the boy again. Yay for that as well! I need to finish getting my costume stuff together this weekend. I'll reveal what we decided to go as after it happens so that I can show you pictures and surprise you!

I'm determined to put up a video blog sometime soon. I missed the 20sb video blog day, but whatever. When I find time, I'll make one and get it up here for you. It's neat getting to see other people's mannerisms and such, so I thought you might like that small joy concerning me as well. I thought about making it tomorrow after the run to show some insight into my training, but letting you guys see me for the first time at my absolute worst doesn't sound appealing. I'll get to it eventually.

I'll feel good tomorrow afternoon. Well, actually my body will be tired and achy... but mentally, I'll be done with all of my long runs that aren't races. It's exciting!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another Thursday Night of Yoga

My ankles have been feeling much better, but I still haven't quite gotten rid of this ache in my quad/thigh. My guess is it won't really clear up until I cut back on my mileage, but I can't really do that right now.

Instead of doing a 3-mile run today, I did opt to go to yoga class and work on getting stretched out. It was AMAZING. The teacher had us focusing on our hips, thighs and quads tonight. It was just what I needed.

I did have kind of a funny moment. We were doing a pretty difficult balance pose at one point. Even though my ballet days are several years behind me now, the 16 years worth that I did do kind of have had a lasting affect. My balance can be pretty good. The teacher looked around to see if anyone was doing what she had shown us and spotted me.

"Oh, she's got it!"

Everyone in the class looked at me. I immediately darted my eyes to the floor knowing that if I looked at others I wobble and fall... something you certainly don't want to do when people are staring at you.

Anyways, it'd been a while since I'd been called out in a class for something. It was kind of funny, but it also made me feel good. I'm strong enough and have good enough balance to hold myself in a really awkward position. That says something, right?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's Football Time in Tennessee!

Before I write about my weekend in Knoxville, allow me to share a few photos from our Wednesday night outing last week downtown. I even tried to curl my hair (and Amanda had colored her's... she's much more of a risk taker than me!) to look extra cute for the special evening with my canadian friend.





Friday we headed to Knoxville to go stay with our friend Bennett. I was tired, sore and very concerned about the knot I could feel in my ankle, but I was so glad to be with some dear friends. We hit up El Chico for a mexican dinner and then picked up another friend, Jenny, from the airport. We met up with a few of Bennett's friends at a pub for a bit before heading home to call it a night.

I slept like a champ.

We all slept in on Saturday, and I got up to find that my ankle no longer had a knot! I felt so much better about that and made do with the bit of soreness I still had.

We went to Wal-Mart to check out their UT gear. Here's the thing you should know about football in the south: it's big. Here's the thing you should know about UT football: it's big. Even when they're losing (kind of like they've been doing a lot this year), people love their UT football. When we walked into Wal-Mart, there were no less than 3 portable cd players around the front doors blasting "Rocky Top" over and over.

I found a great UT cap for $4, and the gals found a few items to wear that night and to take home. We stopped at Sonic for lunch, and then we spent the afternoon watching football on tv.

When it was time, we headed to go park and grab some food on the strip. Even the Bud Light bottles show their UT spirit in this town. They're orange and say Tennessee on them. Everything on the strip is orange. It's insane.

We had some awesome seats at the game on the 50-yard line. We even had the cushions with the back rests! This was especially nice because it ended up being pretty cold, and it allowed us to keep our bottoms off the cold metal bleacher.

We watched the band do their opening show. We cheered as the team ran on the field. We spotted Smokey the mascot. We booed when Mississippi State ran on the field. We cheered at the kick-off. It ended up being an awesome game. UT won 34-3... 2 of their touchdowns coming from interceptions. AWESOME.

After a touchdown, there are fireworks. Smokey is run across the field and back. (There is actually a hound named Smokey at every game.) Cheerleaders do push-ups. People hug and rejoice. Rocky Top is played for the 35th time.

"Rocky Top you'll always be/ Home sweet home to me/ Good 'ole Rocky Top/ Rocky Top Tennessee!!"

After the game we grabbed some food and realized we were all exhausted. We headed home to crash. In the morning we dropped Jenny off at the airport, and Amanda and I made the drive back to Nashville so she could catch her plane back to Canada.

The weekend was super fun, and it definitely went by way too quickly. It was so great to catch up with good friends and see a great football game.

Now if only I could find someone to take me next week to the Titans vs. Colts game here in Nashville. Did you know our TN Titans are the only undefeated team in the NFL? I have to admit... I'm a huge Colts fan. I love me some Peyton Manning. If I got to go, I'd cheer for both teams.

Here are some pictures from game day.



Bottles with UT spirit


Smokey on the screen


Power T




Smokey the dog


Random Knoxville street art... impressive

My Poor Body




So I've been pretty hard on my body lately, and today it started crying for mercy.

Today I set out for my first run since Friday's 20-miler.  The weather actually resembled fall.  I set out and tried to ignore the ache in my right quad that returned yesterday.  I can't make sense of it... It cleared up on Thursday, I didn't feel it during the run, and then it was a few days post-20 miles that it started aching again.

I got to the halfway mark and did some light stretching since my muscles were warm.  It seemed to help.  I finished the second half faster than the first half, finishing 5 miles with an overall time of 46:57.  I'll take it.  I want my mid-week runs to be easy on my weeks with super long runs like this one.

However, my ankles were also bothering me a bit.  No scary knot like I had on Friday... but enough that I felt like I needed to ice both of them along with my achy quad.  Thus, the above pictures.  Of course, Tucker had to get in on the icing action, too.

I think I'm going to really take it easy the rest of the week and hit up yoga class on Thursday.  I took the Arms and Abs class today after my run to get some good strength training in... my upper body was feeling a little left out.

I knew this week would be tough.  Last week, this week and week after next are my highest mileage training weeks before my marathon in Memphis in December.  I don't want to overdue so I'm trying to take it easy and listen to my body.  These high mileage weeks are always tough and lead to some aches and pain.

Still... I can't wait until after I finish the November 8th marathon because then I can officially start tapering and let my body have several weeks to recover before Memphis.

Yay!

PS - Yes, I do have on hot pink socks.  I always buy those rainbow pack of socks to have for wearing around the house.  

Thoughts on America

I promise a post about my weekend road trip and the UT game is in the works, but in the meantime I'm curious if other people have read this little blurb about something that David Letterman supposedly wrote/said...

Regardless of if he is the one who actually wrote it or not, don't you think it's got some truth to it? I know I've certainly thought a few of these things before.

It also reminds me a bit about when Ben Stein made a few confessions on CBS Sunday Morning back in 2005. You can read it here. Again, maybe he didn't write it or say all of it (I'm finding conflicting reports online), but regardless - the content is still worth giving some thought.

I'm not really looking for thoughts of feedback. These are just a few things that have come across my internet lately that I thought others might appreciate reading.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Race Shirt Exchange

I hear about people who exchange race shirts.

I'd like to be one of them.

I have a long-sleeved cotton t-shirt from the 2007 Tom King Half Marathon in Nashville up for grabs.  It's a size medium.  I have never even worn it (because it was too big).

Anyone interested?  If you'd like it and would like to exchange it for one of YOUR race shirts (never worn or only gently worn), then shoot me an email or leave me a comment. 

I have to be honest - I wear a size small and would like to exchange with someone willing to send me a small in exchange for this medium shirt.  If I can't find anyone within a month, then I'll send it to whoever the first person who emails me saying they'd like to have this shirt if I can't find someone to exchange it with.

Love a Good Mystery

I love mysteries. So I think it's super fun that The Preppy Little Dress is doing a mystery giveaway. Go check out her awesome blog (that is currently SO festive for Halloween) and enter for the giveaway here.

The Big 2-0

Before I get started... I voted today! Yay! I opted to go as soon as the doors opened this morning, and it only took me 20 minutes. VERY excited. So one cute little "I voted" sticker later and I've got this election behind me.

As you all know, I hit the 20-mile mark on Friday morning. In a word? Dang.

Thursday night Amanda and I had a good meal at a local restaurant with my folks and then did a little shopping at a few stores she doesn't have back in Canada. I opted to climb into bed early so that I'd be ready for my 6am alarm.

The weather on Friday morning was PERFECT for a 20-miler. Cloudy. Cool. Not too windy. I opted to start with shorts and a long-sleeved shirt, but I took a long a short-sleeve as well. I packed the cooler, ate a granola bar, grabbed my fuel belt and headed to the park.

I was very fortunate to find a new friend through the local running club that needed to run 20 and that also runs about my pace. We met up and set out for the first out and back section. We decided to take it easy and stopped once for a few minutes at our 5-mile turnaround point to eat a bit and drink some water. We finished the first 10 miles in about 1:54 (I think... my memory is fuzzy from all the running) and stopped to use the bathrooms in the town center and refill water bottles. I also went on and changed shirts since I knew it'd be warming up a bit. We set out once again, both of us still feeling pretty good.

The sun came out when we were about 15 miles or so on, but it didn't get above 60 degrees or so. I could definitely feel myself getting a little tired as we headed back toward the parking lot, but I never really felt like I needed to stop. In fact, I only stopped briefly every 5 miles to eat/drink. The rest of the time I was running.

We finished in 3:47, meaning we ran about an 11:2o pace on average. I believe it served us well to run it a bit slower like we did. First of all, it's always wise to have some runs where you're on your feet a bit longer than usual so that they can get used to it. Second, we were talking pretty much the entire time... not only did this cause us to run a little slower, it also really helped with increasing our lung capacity. Also a good thing!

For a 20 mile training run, it definitely went well. I'm so thankful I had someone to run it with because it certainly made it a lot easier than if I had to do it all by myself (and yes, I just heard Celine Dion singing when I typed that!)

After the run, I grabbed a bag of ice and headed home for another ice bath. Amanda hung out with me to talk the whole time and keep my mind off of how terrifically cold an ice bath can be! After a shower and a good meal at Fazoli's, we hit the road to head to Knoxville for the weekend.

I definitely felt a bit stiff the rest of the day (and not to mention worn out), but the biggest concern came when I got out of the car and found that there was some sort of knot popping in my right ankle. It didn't really hurt or make a popping sound, but it was definitely weird. I couldn't help but worry a bit about it, but when I got up on Saturday the popping was gone. By Sunday, my ankles weren't even sore any more. I think it was just something that had tightened in my ankle and formed a knot... and it just had to relax. In hindsight, we probably should have stopped a couple of times on the way to K-town so that I could get out and stretch a bit.

A post about the weekend will soon come... I need to do it from home so that I can add some pictures.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! I haven't even opened google reader yet, but I am willing to bet there will be a lot there for me to read.

20 miler down. 22 miler coming this weekend. Double Dang.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sing Us a Song Mr. Piano Man

First of all, I want to thank everyone for your thoughts yesterday. I ended up making a compromise between running and resting. I ran an easy mile and then did 3 miles on the bike. I actually felt my quad twinge less after doing that, so I'm thinking it just needed to be worked out. It's still present today, but it's hardly noticeable so it looks like the issue is resolving itself. This is great since 20 miles is going to be a pretty freakin' long run. I also realized I might need to ask for The Stick for Christmas.

So last night Amanda, my friend Crystal and I headed downtown. I know, I know... who goes downtown on a Wednesday night? Well, the three of us and about 15 other people.

I have NEVER gone out on a Wednesday night, not even when I was in college. I guess now I can say that I've done it.

Amanda wanted to hit up our piano bar, and since it's one of my favorite places I was happy to make it happen. Since we'll be in Knoxville all weekend, we decided to go on down there last night.

Sure, the place was dead compared to the weekend. Sure, the people that were there were older than us. However, it ended up being a total blast. It's like you're getting a private concert. We got them to play David Allen Coe's "You Never Even Call Me By My Name" and sang along at the top of our longs. We told them Amanda was Canadian and they attempted to sing "Oh Canada" (but none of us here know the words to that so it didn't get very far). They even played a little Britney Spears's "Hit Me Baby (One More Time)" for us... and the dude sounded almost just. like. her.

SO much fun. It ended up being a kind of late night after we drove back and stopped to pick up some Krystal's for a late night snack. We'll be taking it easy tonight with a laid back dinner and some shopping since we'll be heading to Knoxville to meet up with other friends and have a rockin' weekend in Rocky Top town.

On a completely unrelated note... I kept seeing people posting on Facebook about "Joe the Plumber," including one status change by a friend saying he was going as Joe on Halloween. I did a little research and came across this article to learn a bit more about him if anyone else is as confused as I was about the whole thing.

Early voting has started, and I hope that everyone is making an informed decision and then heading to the polls. Regular readers know that I have very little interest in politics, but I will say that I will be casting my vote and then not worrying too much about it. I feel like what a lot of people are saying is true... regardless of who wins, it's likely to only be a one-term presidency.

I think our leaders are pretty confused in general right now. All of them... not just the president. It is a problem that we have allowed laws to be passed that have enabled people to get loans who had absolutely no business getting them in the first place. I think it is a problem that our debt won't even fit on the debt sign in Times Square (do a google search to learn more about that). All of the talk about the economy and taxes and blah blah blah is stuff that is often confusing and difficult to fully grasp how it works... but it's not hard to understand that as citizens we can do our part not by just voting, but also by making changes in our own lives. We shouldn't be racking up gobs of credit card debt just to own nice things. We shouldn't buy things we can't afford. We should be saving and investing and living by a budget.

I'm not trying to express any political belief by saying this, nor am I trying to stand on a soap box (so please don't feel the need to argue with me...). I'm just saying that we have to do more than just cast a vote to make changes in our nation. It starts with us. Figure out what your part is in making our country a better place and do it. Voting is important, but I think that finding a way to live your personal life in a way that positively impact other people and other things is even more important.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To Run or Not to Run

I'm considering skipping my run today. Hear me out...

I ran the half on Saturday and pushed it. I did well.

I took Sunday and Monday off. On Monday, I felt an ache in the top of my right quad. Tuesday, it was still there. I still ran the 3 easy miles that were on the training plan.

Today it still aches. It's not really painful. It didn't really hurt while I was running yesterday, but I was aware of it. I need to do some 400m repeats today... it's not a long workout, but it'll be a quick one in terms of my pace.

I don't feel incapable of running the workout today. However, the only other thing I need to do this week is a 20-miler. Clearly that's kind of a big deal, so I'm wondering if it'd be worthwhile to give myself an extra rest day and skip the speed workout so that my quad can sort itself out before the long run...

Decisions, decisions.

Meanwhile, Amanda made it safely to town and after eating dinner, we spent the evening chilling out and catching up on some girl talk. Looks like our plans are to do downtown tonight and then make tomorrow evening a bit more leisurely again (dinner and shopping). It's so fun to have her here, and I'm really looking forward to getting the 20-miler behind me so we can head to Knoxville for a weekend of fun.

So what do you fellow runners think? Run today and hope that the running will work out the quad (because sometimes that's what it takes)? Or do I skip the run and just do the 20-miler and have a 23-mile week instead of a 27-mile week as planned?

I don't think the quad is anything serious. It doesn't feel "sore" like it might after a hard workout... but it's not really painful either. It's more of a dull ache that I'm aware of most of the day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Dr. Pepper

I didn't drink a Dr. Pepper this morning.

I'm sure a lot of people can say the same, but it's significant for me because I drink a Dr. Pepper every morning. It's my usual morning caffeine.

I grew up having no problems having a coke on a regular basis. Even when I started running in high school, I saw no reason to give up having one here and there. I've never felt like drinking one coke a day is particualrly harmful as long as I balanced it with water and such so that I could stay hydrated (since caffeine in any form can be a diuretic). I am personally of the opinion that one 1) diet sodas are worse for you than regular sodas and 2) most things are ok to consume (like sodas) if done in moderation.

I've never felt like I should give up my morning Dr. Pepper. The idea has never crossed my mind as being something that would make a big difference. Sure, 5 sodas over a week may seem like a lot... and it probably would be if I lived a less active lifestyle. I'm not saying that my health wouldn't be positively impacted if I never drank sodas... it would. I'm just saying that the 5 sodas don't have as big of an impact as they would if I drank more, was overweight, was less active, etc.

But I still knew a day would come. Yesterday I got to work. I settled in. I got my ice cold Dr. Pepper and my Kashi breakfast bar (good combo, right?). I made it about halfway through the can (because that's the other key... I only drink the 12-ounce cans and NOT the 20-ounce bottles). I had to throw the rest away. It tasted awful to me... like pure syrup.

So I didn't drink one today.

I'm not saying I'm giving up soft drinks. There are still occasions when I think they're a neccesity - like when I eat pizza. But I think that as I enter these last few peak training weeks my body is trying to say it wants better.

I don't stress over my diet like some runners do. I feel like I eat pretty well. I feel good about the things I put in my body, so I don't feel guilty when I want to indulge in something (like dessert... which I do OFTEN).

However, something feels good about rejecting the morning Dr. Pepper. It feels right.

I don't think it means I won't crave one and enjoy one every now and then. I do love the fizzies as it slides down after each sip. Dr. Pepper is about the only soft drink I enjoy, so I can't imagine that I'll be giving it up completely.

In other news, my Canadian pal Amanda gets into town later today. I'm pretty much going to be a rockstar this week. Not only will I need to get to work while she's here, I also have a 20-mile run to do and we've made plans to go downtown one night. Then, we leave Friday to drive to Knoxville for a weekend with friends and the UT game. That's a lot to cram in over the next 5 days. Sleep is probably only going to be a priority the night before the long run.

Stay tuned for fun stories as we enjoy an extra chance to see each other this year. It's going to be a good rest of the week.

Monday, October 13, 2008

By the way...

I did a little guest posting today...

Read my post for Sarah over at her site here.

Sarah is one of my favorite daily reads, and it was an honor to write my first guest post ever for her blog.

Race Report: The Middle Half

On Saturday, I headed up to Murfreesboro to run in The Middle Half. I ran it's inaugural race last year, so I of course wanted to go back for its second year. It's also run on and around the MTSU campus, so it's fun to have a chance to run again on my old stomping grounds.

I woke up around 5am (which is hard to do when it's dark outside) and started getting ready. Inspiration struck as I was washing my face, and I turned on Hot Fuss by The Killers to pump me up as I got dressed. I don't really have an elaborate pre-race ritual. I get dressed. I make sure my toenails look ok. I put blister block on my feet. I get my socks and shoes on. I wash my face and pull my hair up (and hairspray it back a bit to keep the wispies from falling down.. this is really the ONLY time I ever use hairspray). I eat a little something and brush my teeth. I grab my gels and my bag with a change of clothes and head out.

My parents wanted to go, so I headed to their house and then we headed on to the Boro... under the stars. We reached campus and parked around 6:30, and I waited for Bob, Rachel and Joel to show up. By the time we made our way to the start line, we had some daylight.


Rachel and I before the start


The gun was fired around 7am and we were off! I had planned on taking it easy and making a good effort to not go out too fast. Rachel and I wanted to finish around the 2-hour mark, so there was no need to get too eager. I had no plans or anticipation for running a PR at this race, but I did want to beat my time of 2:02:04 from last year.

The first couple of miles were run through the "historic main street" area of town, taking us past the Oaklands Mansion and then on down Main Street and around the square. There were two times in the first 5 miles where you turned around and passed runners coming the other way. I always like that. It's fun in local races to watch for people I know and wave at them.



Rachel and I somewhere between miles 5 and 6.

I ran the first 6.3 miles in 56:05 (I'm not sure why they did the split a little sooner than the actual mid-point, but no biggie). I had felt like I was running slower than that, so it was kind of fun to realize I was going faster and still felt pretty good.

I'm not sure when we lost Bob, but I realized around the halfway point he was no longer behind us. We kept trucking along and worked our way over to the other side of campus to run down some of the main streets that surround the campus.

Rachel decided around mile 8 to hang back, so I kept pushing along. Around mile 10, we got to turn and run on campus for a bit.



Me running on campus between mile 10 and 11


After running on campus, we turned back on one of the main roads. Shortly after the turn, I saw my friend Aleesha and her son. It was fun to run over and say hi right quick, her little boy flashing me a huge grin! She was thinking there might be a full and a half and she asked as I ran off. I turned to holler back, "No, it's just a half today!"

Then a couple of guys who heard me started heckling me for saying it was "just a half." We joked back and forth about it being their first and how I've run some full marathons. They were like, "then why aren't you up front with the Kenyans?!" and I was like "what, with these little white legs?!" They were running behind me for the next mile or so, and they were cracking me up! They were having a blast singing, talking, and cheering back at people cheering for us. They totally helped me to stay motivated for the last part of the race. Thanks guys, whoever you are!

A fire truck was set up around mile 11 and had a hose going for us to run through. It was starting to get pretty warm, so this was quite a wonderful blessing. After that, I tried to focus on running a steady pace. I know I'd beat my previous time for the course, but I had been encouraged to try to break the 2-hour mark and knew that if I kept pushing then I would do it.

We turned onto one last street. I could see the stadium off in the distance. I started looking ahead for runners to try to pass one by one as I made my way to the finish line. Sometimes this is the best way for me to motivate myself to keep running hard when I'm hot and tired.

I finally reached the end of the road and turned to head into the track stadium on campus.


Making my finishing sprint

I didn't really have much of a "sprint" at the finish, but I did feel like I was running hard and strong. I could hear not only my parents, but also the voices of my high school cross country coach and his wife (they were there cheering on Rachel, their daughter-in-law). It was kind of fun to hear Coach cheering for me as I ran toward the finish line. It reminded me of old memories from my high school days.

I knew I had finished in the 1:58 territory, so I was excited that I not only made my goal of beating my time for this course, but also that I broke 2 hours! I was hot, sweaty and ready for a popsicle!

After the race, I met back up with various friends who had run the race.


One of my ADPi sisters, Amanda, ran her first half!


Me and Joel after the race


I didn't really feel like eating any of the post-race food other than a popsicle because I felt so hot. I hung around for a little bit chatting with some friends and then headed home.

Unfortunately, I spent the rest of the day on the couch and unable to eat. My tummy was terribly upset, certainly a result of pushing myself in the heat. That ALWAYS bothers my stomach. I ended up sleeping for about 12 hours Saturday night and woke up yesterday feeling as good as new (other than a slight twinge in my right quad, but I'm hopeful that'll clear up before my next run tomorrow).

It was a great race! Another great time, another cool long-sleeve tech shirt, another medal... what more could a running gal want?

Friday, October 10, 2008

6 Things

The lovely Aron of Runner's Rambles tagged me to share 6 things about myself that you might not know.  Technically, you're supposed to tag 10 other people to do it next, but I've noticed that everyone under the sun has been doing this lately.

So I tag YOU, dear reader, if you haven't already done this meme.  Join the fun.

Here we go...

1 - I can't stand for food I'm eating to touch.  I will put things on separate areas of the plate to make sure they don't run together.  I will ask the servers at restaurants to have things put in separate dishes to ensure things don't run together.  When I was a kid and needed my parents to cut my porkchops up for me, I'd have them scrape them on to a new plate once they were cut so that the crumbs/juice from cutting weren't all over my plate when I put more food on it.  Oh, and I also eat each item one at a time.  Once I move on to a new item, I'm done with the one I was working on and it's up for grabs if there's some left.

2 - I have one pair of Body by Victoria panties that I wear in ALL races and most of my long runs.  Granted, it's the only time I wear them.  I have other panties just like this pair, but this one pair seems to fit just a little bit better and NEVER causes issues while running.  I bought them right before my first marathon in 2005 and happened to wear them because they did well on a long run.  Since then, I reserve them for 13+ mile runs and races.  I can't not wear them on race day.  It will be hard for me when they wear out.

3 - I don't drink milk.  I can't drink milk.  I'm not totally lactose intolerant.  I absolutely LOVE cheese.  I don't even eat much ice cream... more than a scoop or two leaves my belly aching. Last year during a race we were given Accelerade, and I felt like crap the rest of the day.  I found out it contains a lot of things that come from milk... so I think maybe that was the problem.  This means I also eat my cereal completely dry.  I always have and always will.

4 - I'm not a girly girl.  I hate pink.  I'm not terribly fond of purple either.  I never really played with Barbies.  Most of my childhood was spent reading (seriously... gobs and gobs of books ALL THE TIME) or playing video games (I can still kick ass at Super MarioKart).  I love to dress up and be cute, but I'm also happy wearing jeans and no make-up.  I'm not easily grossed out.  I can handle boy humor.

5 - My worst fear is not having a husband to share my life with someday.  I have a LOT of family and friends... the relationships I have mean so much to me and I wouldn't trade them for anything.  However, I still want to have that one special person... that best friend to come home to everyday and share everything with... I still want him, and the scariest thing in life to me would be if I never am fortunate enough to have such a man in my life. (Note:  I don't actually spend a lot of time worrying over this.  But when I let myself think about it, it's scary to think about what if this never happens for me... but then I laugh because deep in my heart, I know it WILL happen... it's just a matter of time.)

6 - I started a notebook when I was in high school with a long list of things I wanted to accomplish in my life.  I've marked a lot of things off, noting the dates that they took place and other relevant details.  There are a lot more to go, and I'm considering revamping the list, adding to it, and posting about it so that I can have some more accountability about getting things on it accomplished.  Stay tuned.  (Yes, this is foreshadowing that I might join in the 101 Things in 1001 Days train.)

RACE NEWS:

I've got my number and my timing chip for tomorrow's Middle Half!  I am really looking forward to enjoying the race with some friends.  I'd like to beat my time from the same race last year, but I'm not too stressed.  It's more part of my training for my full marathons.  It should be a fun day!  Look forward to a race report and pictures soon!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Halloween Help

I need your help.

Halloween is 3 weeks from tomorrow, and I don't have a clue what to wear!

I'll be making my way over to west TN to do Halloween with the boy I've mentioned a time or two. We're open to going as something together, but only if we can come up with something cool and fun. If not, we've already got some ideas on individual outfits to fall back on.

So help me out? What sort of "couple" costume ideas do you have? We won't be going to the same party, so no one will know if I copy you. :)

Bring on the ideas. Tell me what you'll be this year for Halloween (whether as part of a couple or not because it could spark some ideas in my head). What great ideas have you had that you have used in the past or want to use someday?

Help a girl out.. my creativity has been lacking lately.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mile Repeats

I got unbelievably lucky yesterday. As soon as I walked out to my car, the rain stopped and the sky looked more like daytime. I contemplated for a few minutes. Then I drove to the park. I knew I'd run better if I were outside, and I decided to risk it. I figured the worst that could happen would be if another storm rolled in, and since I wasn't going to run too far from my car I decided it'd be ok.

I always hated mile repeats back in my high school cross country days. I found that I'm still not a big fan. They're HARD. I felt determined to do my best, so after a short warm-up I did the first one in 8:53. I knew I could run faster. So I did the second one in 8:11. Dang! I decided to go all out for the last one and finished in 7:58!! My fastest mile ever was when I ran the mile race one time back in my track days... 7:51.

I certainly can't maintain such a pace for a long race, but it felt good to be pushing myself to go faster than normal. All in all, it was a good workout. However, it wasn't long after that I started to feel some aches in my legs. I think I'm going to scale back a lot the rest of the week so that my legs can finish recovering before my half-marathon on Saturday. It's not important to me to run the fastest half ever, but I would like to do well. I know that taking it easy the next few days will help the race and won't hurt my marathon training (especially since I have a 20-miler next week!).

Meanwhile, it started raining around bedtime last night. It. Hasn't. Stopped. I didn't mind so much when I went to bed. I LOVE hearing it as I'm falling asleep as well as if I wake up during the night. What I don't love is trying to get out of bed the next morning. Oh, it was so hard. It looks like nighttime outside, and despite getting 9 hours of sleep I feel sooo groggy. I brought my lunch today so that I don't have to get out in it. I'm also refusing to take the mail to the mailbox. It's just going to have to go out tomorrow. I don't want to get soaked and then be cold in the office.

This weather is certainly making me look forward to staying in tonight. Plans call for a little tv and catching up on my laundry. At this point, I have no clean running clothes. (And no, you wouldn't want to go near the basket where all the dirty ones are sitting!)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Change of plans...

It's almost black outside, there's thunder and lightning, and the radar doesn't show it letting up anytime in the next couple of hours.

Treadmill mile repeats it is...

I guess this is what I get for claiming I would be running outside today.

A Rainy Ole Day

I'm sleepy. As in, if I put my head on the desk, I WILL fall asleep.

I have no reason to be sleepy. I got plenty of sleep last night.

Maybe it has something to do with the 18 miles on Sunday. Maybe it's the rainy weather outside the window. Maybe it's the huge lunch I had a little while ago.

Regardless, I need to wake up so that I can go do some mile repeats after work. I don't like doing speedwork so soon after such a long run, but I'm only going to be doing 3 miles, so it shouldn't be so bad. I don't want to do it later in the week because of my upcoming half-marathon on Saturday. Normally, speed work shouldn't be part of a race week anyways, but since this race isn't the one I'm working toward I'm not really concerned.

Although I do want to run it faster than I did last year. I guess we'll see what happens.

I just don't feel very motivated today. I'll go do the run, but really? I'd prefer to be spending this whole day back home, in bed, with my cat, watching movies. I suppose I should be thankful. There could be a day when I'm some pregnant woman on bedrest who would love nothing more than to spend a whole day out of bed...

I think I'll run outside today. I have never minded running on treadmills in the past, but for some reason during this marathon training season I've been avoiding them as much as possible. I do prefer to use them for speedwork since I can force myself to stay on pace, but when it comes to mile repeats I feel like I need to be outside.

The rain has cooled things off. It's a plan. Mile repeats outside. Then I'll go home and be lazy (and do laundry since today's running shorts/sports bra/socks are the last clean ones I've got).

Monday, October 6, 2008

One Ridiculously Long Run Down, 2 or 3 More to Go (depending on how you look at it)

What a great weekend!

If you're following along, then you know the biggest thing going on for me was my 18-mile training run.

I got to bed early on Saturday and fell asleep quickly, but I woke up no less than 4 times during the night. I think that sometimes my brain knows that I'm about to put my body through something tough the next day, and even though I know I can do it, my brain starts to freak out a little bit about it... and wakes me up a lot. It's annoying.

I got up feeling surprisingly ok considering I didn't sleep as well as I would have liked, and I got ready, had some breakfast and headed to the park.

18 miles is a lot... but it really didn't feel so bad. I met up with a local gal I found through our running club's message boards, and she joined me for the first 13 miles. Having company definitely makes the miles go by a bit faster!

We chatted and got to know each other as we moved along between a 9:20 and 9:40 m/m pace. We ended up finishing 13.1 in around 2:06... a little slower than preferred for a half, but faster than I would have gone if I were running alone. She headed home, and I grabbed a new water bottle out of my car. (A tip: if you are going to be back where your car is parked at some point during the run, pack a cooler! It's great to grab COLD drinks in the middle.. and when you finish!) I also got my ipod because I knew I'd need some extra help to push through the last 5 miles.

I tried to tell myself I was only running 2.5 miles. In some ways, lying to myself works. When I got to the turnaround, I paused for about 30 seconds to stretch a bit before telling myself I "only had 2.4 miles to go!" Those last 5 miles ended up being considerably slower, and when I finished the last step of all 18 miles my watch read 2:59:50. I'll take it. That means I'm on track so far with the pace I need to run a 4:20 marathon.

My plan is to run consistent 10-minute miles the whole entire distance on race day, and then if I feel like I can pick it up the last 6 miles I'll go for it. I know if I start faster, I'll lose so much energy that I'll slow down too much and won't reach the overall finish time goal.

The last 5 miles were also a bit challenging because it ended up getting pretty warm before I could finish. I was a hot mess, and you could see all sorts of dry salt on my skin. I decided to stop and grab a bag of ice (the woman who sold it to me kept looking at me funny... they must not get a lot of salty people in there often) and head home to do something I'd never done before: I took an ice bath.

EEK! I've always heard how great an ice bath can be, but I'd always managed just fine without them and never felt a need to try one. When I finished the run, I knew immediately that my legs might not make it to today if I didn't ice them down. So, I poured the ice in the tub (the noise scaring poor Tucker) and filled it with cold water. I grabbed a book and followed some advice I read on another blog (I think it was on Aron's, yes?) by putting on my swimsuit and a sweatshirt.

If the loud noise of the ice hitting the tub didn't scare Tucker enough, my cries as I climbed into the tub certainly did. It took me about a minute of sheer agony before my legs were numb enough that I didn't feel it any more. Tucker eventually worked up the nerve to come in the room and started batting the ice cubs with his paw off the side of the tub.

After climbing out and almost falling down (because oddly enough, ice makes your legs numb enough you can't stand on them) I took a hot shower and climbed into bed. I only napped for about an hour, nervous that if I slept too much it'd be difficult to go to sleep later in the evening.

Today? I'm very aware of my legs... but they don't feel too bad. I won't be running any today, and there is a dull ache every time I get up from my chair. Other than that, they feel pretty good. They feel like the legs of a marathon runner. :)

So only a few more long runs to go. This weekend I'll be running in a half-marathon, and then next week I'll hit the big 2-0 in training. The week after, I intend to run a 22-miler before cutting back a bit. After that, all that's left is my 26.2 mile training run, which I'm conveniently running at a marathon. In some ways, it's definitely a training run for Memphis. However, it's also hard to count in the training run department because I won't have to run it alone or with only 1-2 other people like most training runs. That's exciting!

The rest of my weekend went well. I had dinner with a good friend at Chili's. I watched three movies I'd been wanting to see: Fool's Gold, What Happens in Vegas, and Made of Honor. I cleaned out my closet and will soon be rid of a lot of clothes I don't like/fit in/wear anymore. All in all, it was both a productive and laid back weekend. Just the way I like them.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A few of my favorite things...

I really do love running.  I almost have to love it if I'm going to be crazy enough to train for marathon after marathon, right?

I did this week's speed workout yesterday.  It's a little odd because I NEVER run on Fridays. Since my 18-miler has been moved to Sunday, I decided to take Thursday off and do my interval training on Friday.

Guess what I decided? I LOVE the gym on Friday afternoons.  There is no one there.  I didn't feel guilty about staying on the treadmill longer than 30 minutes.  I had a great workout, running 6 1/2 mile repeats at a little under a 9:00 m/m pace.  I'd like to do them a little faster than that, but progress takes time.  I've reached the point where I can run 1/4 mile repeats at an 8:30 m/m pace, so maybe I'll get there on the 1/2 miles soon.

In other news, I'm about to have way more magazines than I know what to do with... I LOVE magazines.  I dream of working for a magazine...  I want to do freelance writing and/or editing someday later in life, so I get really excited flipping through magazines and getting ideas. I seriously tear out cool stuff and keep it filed away for reference later.  I know - I'm such a nerd.

Currently, I only subscribe to Runner's World (big surprise there, right?) and Self.  I love sitting down with a new issue and reading it COVER TO COVER because that's the way I read magazines.  It's hard for me to pick one up in a waiting room because I know I won't get to finish it.  It's silly, I know... but once I start an issue, I want to read the whole thing.

I might have to get over this.  My grandmother had a gob of air miles, but since she won't be traveling any more my dad wanted to try to get them transferred to me.  This costs more more than it's worth, so the only other option was to cash them in for magazine subscriptions.

So that's what we did.  I'll now be receiving the following:

  • Entertainment Weekly (a quick read each week, and I'll only read what's interesting)
  • Lucky (it looked like it might be fun to flip through each month)
  • Money (because who can't use some advice about money management?)
  • Conde Nast Traveler (because I love to travel and would love to daydream about places I want to go)
  • Elegant Bride (not that I'm getting married anytime soon, but girls always flip through them at the grocery store as soon as they're old enough to understand weddings... why not have a few copies to peruse and daydream?)
  • Glamour (it's not my favorite, but I flip through it sometimes at the grocery line)
  • Redbook (it was one of the few magazines left that I might have any interest in when I was down to the last few points)
  • Sports Illustrated (because I do like some sports... and it'd be smart to stay brushed up on things)
  • TV Guide (it can never hurt to have one of these around)
  • W (another magazine for women that I've never seen before, but it looked like something I might like to flip through)
  • Time (I'll never read this one cover to cover, but it'll be good to read through things that interest me)
  • Travel + Leisure (again, I like to travel and daydream about doing more of it)
This is way more magazines than I could possibly need, but hey - they're free.  I might as well have some extra stuff around to flip through when I have downtime.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Motivation doesn't always come from other runners...

Yesterday morning I was on page 19 of Randy Paussch's The Last Lecture. By the time I climbed into bed last night, I had finished every word.

Randy died in July of pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancers around. This book is the story of the last lecture that he gave at the university where he worked as a professor. Randy left behind a wife, 3 small children, and a large number of friends, colleagues and former students who knew him, loved him and respected him. Definitely visit the website if you'd like to learn more. You can even watch the video of the lecture.

Andrew had passed the book along to me about a month ago, so I told him last night that I had finished it.

"Did it make you emotional?" he asked. Yes and no. It of course touched my heart. If of course made me feel sad for his family. But I also knew before I picked it up that this man had already died. I already kind of knew the story. For me, I read the book and discovered a man with a cheerful disposition in light of his cancer. I found a man who was determined to have fun and enjoy each and every day he had left on this earth. I found a man who clearly always possessed a personality that revolved around joy and optimism. It was hard to feel too sad as you read his light-hearted stories and touching words of wisdom.

I found that I could apply a lot of what he said to my own life. I know he intended to leave something of him for his children, but I believe his lecture can provide wisdom for anyone who hears/reads it.

Some of my personal quotes from the book?

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."

"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted."

"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They're there to stop the other people."

There are so many other fantastic lines from that book I could share with you, but by the time I do that then you could just read the whole book yourself. Randy seems to me to be a man that tried his best to live a good life, and I think he has some great recommendations for the rest of us.

As for being emotional? It hit me today. I was thinking more about what I had read, and the next thing I knew I was tearing up. One scene in particular came to mind... one where his wife hugged him and whispered, "Please don't die." I can't even imagine how hard it must be to lose the love of your life. I'm glad to know that their family knew what to expect and were able to spend some precious time together before he passed away.

I definitely recommend reading this book. It's not terribly long and provides a quick read with really short chapters. Check it out.

I know that so much of what he said has motivated me in a new way to go after my goals.. to go after my dreams...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A few life lessons...

***This post is part of Take It and Run Thursday over at Runner's Lounge.

I very purposefully named this blog Life is a Marathon because of my recognition that running has taught me many valuable life lessons. Marathon runners have heart. Not to sound conceited or anything, but we're tough as nails, self-motivated and self-disciplined. Oh yeah - it also takes a lot of self-control to train for a marathon.

All of these traits can be transferred to everything else that we do in our lives. I have found that running, only second to my faith, has taught me more about the way I want to live my life than almost anything else.

A few lessons:

Role models: They're important. We all have them. For me, my first running example was my high school cross country and track coach. He constantly reminded me that being the best isn't as important as doing MY best. I'm probably not ever going to win a marathon, but I CAN get out there and reach my goals. Other runners that I've never met have the same effect on me. When I read about the things that other runners (whether elite athletes or fellow bloggers) are accomplishing, it gets me excited and all the more motivated to go out there and reach my goals.

My running role models have taught me that life, just like marathon training, can be tough. We have to encourage each other to keep getting out there and doing our very best at whatever endeavors we take on in life. We must dream big, set goals, and then go after them.

Training Runs: Sometimes they rock! Sometimes they seem to last forever and cause every inch of my body to ache. To me, training runs are a lot like the ups and downs of our lives. We have good days and bad days. It's how we deal with them that matters. My body may be begging me to stop running, and some days I have to just keep pushing through. Life, just like most runs, must go on or else we never develop our strength and overcome weakness.

At the same time, sometimes you have to stop. Sometimes you need an extra rest day. In life, sometimes we can get overwhelmed and fatigued by our daily schedules. Every now and then we have to take a break from it all and spend some time doing something just for us. For me, I might just need a nap or a phone call with a good friend to reenergize and feel ready again to tackle my daily obligations.

Races: Runners often set goals for races. We're ecstatic when we meet them at the finish line, and we're often disheartened if we don't. The thing I've noticed that seems to be consistent among most runners is that when we don't meet those goals, we pick a new race and try again.

Life should be the same way. We need to know what we want to accomplish with this gift of life we've been given. We have to work hard to try to reach those goals. If ultimately we reach them, we should celebrate. If not, we should try again.

A few other lessons?

Running keeps you healthy, and when you're healthy you can enjoy the rest of your life better.

Running makes you passionate. You don't spend weekends doing long runs without having some sort of a passion for running (most days anyways, ha!). We should do the things we're passionate about and put our hearts into those things. When you know how to commit to running, then you can know how to commit to your other passions.

Running can give you a good reason to eat a little extra dessert from time to time and to splurge a bit on that killer dress that shows off your running legs. (This kind of self-confidence and positive body image definitely carries over in your life).

Most of all? Running for me is fun. In life, we should always make sure we do things for ourselves that are fun. If we don't then we take the risk of wasting our lives slaving away and never finding the beauty in each day that we have been given.

Happy running and living!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Variety is the Spice...

In no particular order....

Running/Cross-training:

I got my 10-miles in yesterday in about 1:36. I'm doing well at keeping my pace just under 10 m/m, which is AWESOME. If I can do that for the entire marathon, I will definitely reach my goal!

But can I just say I'd be even faster if it wasn't still so flippin' hot?! I'm glad I ran yesterday when it was 10 degrees cooler, but running in 77 degree weather still isn't ideal. Fall, what? I'm glad the mornings are cooler... that's going to make my upcoming LONG long runs a lot more manageable.

Today's plan calls for my push-ups and then a quick spin class at the gym for my cross training. I considered this other awesome class that does a variety of cardio and strength training, but it always makes me sore somewhere and that's hardly ideal for tomorrow's speed work and Sunday's 18-miler.

I've secured running buddies for the 18-miler and the 20-miler I'll be doing in a little over 2 weeks, so I'm pretty pumped. The only other really long run I'll have left is a 22-miler in a few weeks before I jump to 26.2 at the Battlefield Marathon. I'm feeling good about finding someone to run some or all of 22 with me, so that's exciting. I don't mind running a race alone since you're never really alone, but training runs alone? Not so fun after 10 miles or so.

Annoyances:

... that 3 people have turned up here today looking for a job. I feel like you should call. And not pound on the door when you find it locked with a sign that says No Soliciting.

... that the mail lady doesn't put the red flag back down after she comes by. I can never tell without going all the way out there if she came by yet or not.

... the headache I can't seem to get rid of today.

Exciting Things:

Dirty Sexy Money comes back on tonight! I never intended to watch this last year, but I did one night and got sucked in. I'm looking forward to it tonight.

It's almost time to start Christmas shopping. I LOVE to buy presents for other people. It's always way harder for me to develop a wish list for myself to give my mom and grandma (though also a necessity or I get a bunch of random things I don't want).

I'm going to help a few other fellow sorority sisters starts a local Alumae Association. Super exciting!

I feel like God has been showing me some answered prayers lately, and it's definitely a good thing.

Music:

Andrew introduced me to both Wilco and Amos Lee recently. LOVE both of them. Totally worth checking out.

I'm getting my sister's boyfriend to burn me a bunch of Linkin Park cds to put on the ipod for my runs. I'm definitely looking forward to having more of their stuff since I found it really pumps me up.

Random:

I had to run to Wal-Mart to pick up some things for the office, and on the way back I realized it wasn't quite 10:30 yet. I hit the blinker. Then I hit the Chick-fil-A drive-thru for a chicken biscuit. It. was. delicious. Best idea I had all day.