Monday, June 30, 2008

Wake Up!

Saturday was a huge wake up call to me that I need a wake up call to get myself out of bed earlier if I am going to keep running this summer.  It just gets too hot even by 9 or 10 in the morning and it doesn't really cool off either.  So I made myself get out of bed this morning a little before 6 and was able to get out the door by 6:15.  It was a beautiful day and it was already warm.  I decided to run my 5 mile route backwards (did I mention I'm sick of my route?) before heading over to the stables to ride Ritz for a little bit.  I detoured a bit onto Main Street where all the drinking fountains are.  Then I headed over to ride.  Ritz is a really patient horse.  It was my first time putting the bridle on by myself.  I usually have my mother in law or Janzen or Justin there to help me, but I think I got it on right.  Good thing I didn't have to mess with the saddle or I could have been there an hour just trying to get it on.  I rode around for about 15 minutes bareback to get that good inner thigh workout and then headed home to finish my weights.  It's so hard getting out of bed early, but I'm always glad afterwards that I did.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

It's been a week...or two

I decided after the Bear Lake 1/2 that I would take a complete week off and just rest this bod of mine.  I'd been working it pretty good and it was time.  It turned out to be a great week, one where I didn't have to worry about fitting it in or about the heat which decided to finally arrive.  But by Saturday, I was missing it and was thinking about going on a run.  However, Justin was at Youth Conference and Janz was at a service project that went until about noon and there was no way that I was going out in that heat after noon.  So it would have to be Monday then.

I woke up bright and early Monday morning ready to hit the road and discovered that I couldn't move my neck without being in terrible pain.  I had really kinked it this time.  I couldn't stand or sit in any position without it hurting so badly.  I found a position on the bed that I could be in and pretty much stayed there the whole day.  I looked at my running shoes sitting on the floor by my carefully laid out clothes and wanted to cry.  This happened about 8 years ago and it took about 2 weeks to get better.  I got myself into the chiropractor and even though I was pretty nervous about seeing him, I think it helped.  I tried to run once this week.  I only made it three miles with a little bareback riding in the middle of that.  (That's my new inner thigh workout!)  The movement just hurt my head too bad and it was worse for the rest of the day.  I iced, heated, stretched and repeated several times during the week and by the last appointment on Friday I had almost full range of motion.  So I thought I'd try a long run today.

I wish I would have gotten up earlier.  The heat has been in full force for two weeks now and I've missed out on acclimating myself.  I really am a fair weathered runner and hate the bitter cold and the blistering heat.  I like spring and fall.  I need to move or adjust because it just isn't like that here.  I didn't have time to eat anything.  So I just grabbed my stuff and headed out.  It was a hard one today.  My ipod died about 2 miles in and was on a really good song too.  I am so sick of my 5 mile loop, so I decided to just wing it and go wherever I felt like it.  With that new snazzy watch it's easier to decide how far to go before turning and heading for home.  I ended up in the next town over on some very hard hills.  I guess it's not called "snob hill" for nothing.  I went down a nice dirt trail where the grass on the sides was as tall as I am.  I had a mama bird dive bombing me for a while.  She must have thought that this nice little runner was after her young.  I'm pretty luck not to have poop on me, because I think that I was definitely her target.  There were tons of dragonflies zooming in and out of the grass and the pond out there that I have heard frogs in was pretty grown over.  Out west seemed much hotter than in town probably because there was NO shade.  I crossed the highway and ran into a gas station to use the potty and splash water on my face.  From there until home was pretty much a struggle.  It was just so hot and it was all uphill.  I looked for the shady streets.  I ran through the sprinklers.  I passed a lemonade stand and wished I had 50 cents on me.  I was pretty beat.  I really couldn't wait to get home and in a cool shower.  I rounded the corner, saw home and finished the eleven miles.  Janz was outside washing the cars and at my request, he hosed me down.  Felt so good.  Even though it was tough, it felt good to be out there.  I think it just takes something like a little injury or sickness and you come back that much more grateful for the ability to just move those two legs forward.  To quote a friend, "It's a good day to be alive."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bear Lake Half Marathon

Last week didn't end up being very productive.  After I ran with Jody on Tuesday, I didn't run again until Thursday with Janzen for 2 miles and then another mile with Logan in the stroller.  (He was pretty jealous that Janz went running with me and begged to go when we got home!) I just didn't feel like running.  I was having a rough middle of the week and was so tired and just didn't want to do anything.  I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.  I was just blah.  I kept thinking it was o.k. since I had the half coming up on Saturday, but then I'd get worried about being able to do it.  It was kind of a last minute decision to run the Bear Lake half marathon.  I had to call them since online registration was closed and it looked like they were full.  But they had some cancellations and were able to fit me in.  I didn't start getting the jitters until the night before, so that was good.  

Janz and I got up at 4:30 and were out the door by 5:00 a.m.  I ate a bagel for the first time before a race that Holly brought me over to carb load on.  It was good!  I decided to wear my camel bak during the race since I wear it on training runs and wouldn't have to waste time at the drinking stations.  This is the first race that Janzen has taken me to and I was glad for his company.  It was calming.  The drive up was beautiful.  Logan canyon was gorgeous.  Because of the cooler temperatures and the all the rain, everything was green and there was still snow once we got higher up.  It was fun reminiscing as we drove up.  We spent a lot of our dating time and early married years in that canyon fishing.  He drove me up there early one morning and made me breakfast in the canyon and then took me to Bear Lake for the first time.  The drive there and back was as much fun as the run itself.  I was a little worried about the temperatures.  It was 32 degrees right before we descended into the Bear Lake Valley, but quickly warmed up to about 53 as we got into the sun.

I picked up my packet, hit the bathrooms, and then we waited in the car for about a half hour since they changed the bus times.  I pinned my number on my shirt.  I kissed Janzen goodbye and got on the bus.  Then I waited for about another half hour for them to go.  While waiting I sat and listened to other runners talk about their past experiences and it was fun to hear people talk about their Salt Lake experience with the wind.  There were several who had run Ogden and some were talking about their past Bear Lake experience.  I am a people watcher and I love the bus rides up and just watching and listening to people.  I sat next to a cute couple who had run the Ogden half and couldn't help but think, "if only I had started this running thing before I had kids."

We were really late in getting started.  I don't know what the problem was.  However, once we got to the starting line they were ready to roll.  Just one problem.  As we got off the busses and started to look for the porta potties, there were none to be found.  A whole slew of guys just walked up the hill relieved themselves in a big line across the horizon.  Now don't get me wrong, I love being a girl.  I love all the perks that go with it.  I love letting my guy baby me and open jars and lift heavy things for me.  But in this desperate (no exaggerations here!) moment, I wished I was a guy.  It's just not fair.  We (several other desperate gals) found the race volunteers and asked where the bathrooms were.  We were told politely that they were one mile behind and in front of us.  UNBELIEVABLE!  I was not happy.   Then at the starting line there was some explanation going on about starting your watches and the timing chips not working.  We overheard at the packet pick up line that their computer equipment didn't arrive on time so I don't think the timing chip I was given even worked.  There was no pad to cross at the start and none at the finish either.  No big clock to see your time and a volunteer writing down the numbers of who came in.  I started my Garmin and took off.  I started in the middle of the pack and was moving along o.k. but needed that porta potty.  I saw it coming and of course there was a line.  What was I expecting?  There was no going another 2 miles until the next one so I stopped.  And waited.  And waited.  It was driving me crazy!  There were 3 girls ahead of me and with every girl going in and coming out I debated just going on, but knew that would be crazy!  So I waited and watched as every single runner passed us by.  Yep, every one.  Even the walking grandmas.  (I'm not being rude, it was written on their shirts!)  So after I made my lightning fast stop, I was headed out again, only this time at the very back of the pack with 5 or 6 minutes to make up.  I mean really!  How was I ever going to do that?  After I passed the walkers I played a game the rest of the race.  It was called, "Get the girl in the (insert color here) shorts/shirt".  I was pushing it the whole race and still felt good.  I kept doing a mental inventory that I need to NEVER do again.  It was all about "where do I hurt?" and then the list began: my calves and ankles are tight, my hip flexors are tight, my right foot hurts, my lungs are on fire, my shoulders are tight.  I tried to relax everything and knew that the calves and ankles would work themselves out by mile 5.  I tried longer strides to stretch out the hip flexors and would periodically roll my shoulders.  The foot pain disappeared as mysteriously as it came.

About half way through I could see Janzen parked up ahead off the side of the road and it boosted me.  I took the shirt off that was tied around my waist and got ready to hand it off.  I stopped and gave him a quick kiss, he told me how proud he was of me and I had a little jolt and took off again.  I started my game again and girl with green shorts was finally within reach.  At mile 7 I decided to take a gel.  The station was within reach and so I squeezed it in and looked for water.  No water.  Now what to do?  I had already swallowed it.  I didn't want to drink Powerade on top of it, but what choice did I have?  I drank a little bit of my drink and just hoped I'd be o.k.  It wasn't too long before I could feel it settling in my stomach like a big rock.  The next station had water and I drank it hoping that all the running would slosh it around and it would mix o.k.  I continued with my game and although the gel didn't feel good, I kept going.  I took several little walking breaks and then could push it again.  Girl with gray tights and black running skirt, I never could get you!

Before long, I was back in town and it was just a mile left.  I could see where the finish line was and pushed it more.  I could see Janzen.  I was hurting, but was so excited to be done and feel good overall.  I never saw an official finish line.  I didn't know when to stop running.  I collected my medal, handed in my timing chip and grabbed some bread and an orange and we took off!  I don't know what my "official time" was, but my Garmin said 2:10.  I was happy with that.

It was a pretty flat course with just little rolling hills.  It was along the lake for the most part and was perfect temperature.  It was a beautiful day and the best part was having Janzen there all along the way.  In every sense of the word, he is my partner.  He is my support, my biggest cheerleader, and my best friend.  I am so grateful for his sacrifice in my behalf, his encouraging words, his understanding me even when I don't, and his belief in me.  I know I'll never be a world class athlete or even a city class athlete, but I know in his eyes I'll be great.  And that's good enough for me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oh the Wisdom and the Pain!

The alarm clock sounded and I simply couldn't believe it was really time.  I had woken up on my own about an hour earlier to eat a banana.  Well o.k., child #3 woke up and surprise, hubby got to her and I didn't hear her!  I just woke up when he got back in bed.  I've been trying some earplugs out for a couple of days to help me sleep better and they work!  However, I was so tired this morning and so I laid there doing a self diagnosis.  Did my calves hurt still?  Yes, but not bad enough not to run.  Did I have a sudden cold or fever hit me?  No.  Dang.  How about my toenails?  Did the two that fell off by force yesterday hurt enough?  No.  I just couldn't think of an excuse that sounded good enough to call Jody and tell her I wasn't going.  So I checked the temperature, 58 degrees, dressed accordingly, got a quick drink and headed out the door.  It was simply one of the most beautiful skies I had ever seen.  Beautiful puffy clouds all over the whole sky with just a hint of what the sunrise would have been, against that perfect blue sky.  I almost ran back inside to take a picture, especially of the mountains in the background.  I am so glad I didn't miss that view.  Gorgeous.  
I picked up Jody and we headed out.  She was really cruising down the first street and I thought to myself, as my calves were getting tighter and tighter with each step, that I was in for it today.  I hoped I'd be able to keep up with her.  We ran up the first big hill and that made my legs hurt even more.  But by about mile 4 or so, they were completely loosened up and feeling good.  I don't know why it takes my legs so long to get in the groove.  I know I was sore and all, but still!  Jody kept me entertained as she sung to me what was on her i pod.  I really like running with her.  We have about the same pace and I hope she'll make me faster and I'll help her go farther.  So as we were about ready to turn the corner for the downhill to home, and we were both discussing our body hurting places, I was complaining to her (imagine that!) about how I wished that I could just have mind over matter.  Wouldn't that be nice?  I could do anything!  Then Jody, in all her wisdom, said, "Then it wouldn't ever be Heavenly Father's will."  Wise girl.  She probably didn't know how deeply that hit home to me.  But it's something I'll probably remember forever and repeat to myself often.  So thanks Jody, for the run, the pain, and the wisdom!  Oh and Jody, I did go back to bed.  Sorry, but it's summer after all!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Stairway to heaven?

So my friend and personal trainer Holly, convinced me to run stairs with her and some friends on Saturday at the high school since I had already done my long run for the week.  I has been YEARS since I have run stairs, so I knew it was going to be bad.  I used to be really good at running stairs.  Of course that was when I was doing it 3 times a week.  We did one minutes intervals with a one minute recovery.  I only had time to do 18 sets.  It kicked my rear end!  There were times I thought I was going to puke.  It was way harder than any speed work out!  I think I need to do this more often.  But for now, I need to nurse my aching calves and rear end until they aren't screaming at me.  Hopefully running Monday will loosen them up!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Long Run Early

I decided to get my long run done early since Saturday is going to be a busy one for me.  Jody called about 6:30 and wasn't feeling good so I went back to bed.  While laying there, thinking about how I should be up and running anyway, I decided to do my long run.  I called Jodi to see if she wanted to keep me company but she is sick too!  This just isn't right!  Maybe this crazy weather we're having is making everyone sick.  The highs have been in the 50's this week and it doesn't look to get over 75 in the next few days either.  It's great for running, not so great for going to the pool with the kids!  I really didn't feel like going out, but knew I had to.  I decided that once I got out there and ran for a bit, I would decide how far to go.  I'm still figuring out the Garmin thing and how to start new workouts.  The first 5 miles were a struggle.  The lower half of my legs just did not want to loosen up.  My calves, shins, and ankles were so tight.  I stopped several times to shake them out and stretch, but until I hit about 5 miles, they were just tight.  I ended up going 11 miles and the rest felt pretty good.  I hit a couple of really big hills and had to walk part of them to keep my heart rate from skyrocketing.  I didn't keep it down as much as I did the week before, but it stayed pretty steady at the high end of the spectrum.  My friend, Holly, suggested I get my VO2 max tested so that I could see exactly where my percentages should be.  Maybe.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Jody the surgeon

Jody somehow managed to separate my rear end from my mattress.  It was quite the surgical procedure, but once she did, wow, what a great morning to be out!  I wish it would stay these temperatures all year long!  It was about 46 degrees when Jody and I headed out.  Everything is green still and we even had a nice breeze going.  Well, it was nice until, we were turned and headed uphill against it!  Those winds sure do like to blow down the canyon!  It ended up being about 5 1/2 miles.  I got home and took the kids on a walk to the park.  I did my weights while the kids played.  I did 2 sets of push ups, step ups, tricep dips and walking lunges.  Then I tried to do pull ups and could only do 2!  And I tried 3 different times!  Pretty pathetic!  I like the park workouts!  They're different and the kids get to play while I'm working out!  I think they're kind of worn out all ready!  At least Logan is.  I think he's ready for a nap!  It's only 10 and it's been a great day already!  Thanks, Jody for making me get up and at 'em a little earlier than normal!!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Quick Catch Up

Thursday:  Just did weights today.  I was still pretty sore from the last weight session and was short on time this week due to it being the last week of school and trying to find teacher gifts, dance teacher gifts, and other such things.  
Friday:  I have a conversation with one of my best friends Holly, (awesome personal trainer lady!) who is trying to educate some of her clients about heart rates and the "fat burning zone".  Her clients were hearing conflicting sources about this zone and the benefits of training in that specific zone.  After hearing what they had heard and their now fear of training hard or above the one, I in frustration blurted out, "don't they realize that no one but a very long distance runner needs to worry about that!"  Well duhhh!!!  I had one of those light bulb moments turn on in my brain.  I'm one of those people that should be worried about that!  Yet  time and time again I push it and train my body to need fuel instead of burning fat.  New plans develop in my mind for Saturday's run.  Don't get me wrong.  I recognize the need for and love speed training, but maybe I've finally realized why I need to run at a slower pace on my long runs.  I'm kind of a slow learner.  Oh!  I also received my Garmin on this day and sat down to read the 900 page book of instructions.  My 13 year old pretty much had it figured out before I did.  He set up some screens for me and I couldn't wait to try it out.  
Saturday:  I decided that as per my plan, I would try to stay in the "fat burning" zone of 70-85% of my maximum heart rate.  I figured that out using a calculator I found online that figures in your age and resting heart rate.  Without doing some testing, I think this is closer to accurate than just the old 220 minus your age routine.  Starting out was o.k.  I tried not to look at my pace (although it was really fun to see real time pacing instead of trying to guess where I was!) and just concentrate on my heart rate.  I didn't bring music so that I could hear the alarms go off and was worried about the distance without any companionship or music in my head, but it went by surprisingly fast.  The first couple of miles were hit and miss.  I'd speed up and feel o.k. only to hear the beeping sound of the alarm telling me I was going over.  So I'd slow down and the heart beats would go back in the zone.  After the first 6 miles, my heart rate was staying pretty steady up near the 85% range and I'd have to walk to get it to lower even a few points.  So after a while I just let it stay up there and continued to run slow.  To be completely was one of the hardest runs I've ever done.  It was so very frustrating to feel good and want to go faster and not do it.  I kept reminding myself of my goal of using fat for fuel instead of sugars, so I kept on doing it.  At mile 8 I knew I only had 2 left and decided to just book it home.  I totally ignored the beeping and just took off for home.  My heart rate raced up and then stayed steady, but high.  I hope I didn't ruin what I had just done, but I couldn't take it anymore and really needed to just get home.  I'll try it again next Saturday and see if I can make it farther.  I will admit that I felt totally great during the run and didn't have to stop once to catch my breath.  That was nice.  I fueled well afterwards, but didn't do so great the rest of the afternoon and so between not eating and drinking enough and not getting much sleep the night before (sick kids!) I got a monster headache that night.  Note to self:  body does not function without water and food especially after a run.  One more little side note:  I love checking out how many calories I'm burning!  It's been a while since I've run with my heart rate monitor and I forgot how much fun that can be!
Monday:  Ran 5 miles this morning.  Tried to do mile repeats.  I had to stop twice during mile 3 because it was very uphill.  Perfect temperature of 58 degrees, beautiful morning, couldn't ask for a better day than this to run.  It looks like all week will be perfect!