Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It Won't Stop Raining and I Won't Stop Eating!

Didn't do a trail run on Saturday. My friend backed out due to a work issue and I ended up sleeping late. Lately I'm tired and hungry. Its like I have a cold and I'm hitting the comfort food and wanting to sleep all the time. Its not a cold, its worse, its allergies! They don't go away no matter how much medicine you take, no matter how many shots you get and no matter how much you use the neti pot. It sucks!

When I did roll my growing butt out of bed, I found I had a text from a friend asking about my running plans. I told her that I was going for a run soon and she agreed to meet me for 6 miles. It was a good run even if we did linger at the drinking fountains a little long. But in general nothing hurt. Yay! I also ran all of the course, including the hills, so again, Yay!

Later during the day we did the only Memorial Day related activity that I did the whole weekend, volunteered at the Patriot Festival. Basically you gave a $5 donation to hear some ok bands/performers and there were kiddie rides. But you had to pay extra for the kiddie rides. We were originally assigned to the stage area, but there was nothing for us to do there, so we were told to go to 'cockpit.' Cockpit it turned out is a life sized fighter jet model. You could pay $2 to sit in it and marvel at all the buttons and switches. Oh and there was a helmet you could wear (but ewwww!). After about 5 minutes I was sent to work the VIP tent where I checked to make sure people had the proper tickets to enter. It was less than thrilling but gave me a front row seat to see the Black Daggers parachute into the festival. I won't go into details about who the Black Daggers are (yeah, wasn't paying attention to that) but they parachuted from a plane (2,500 feet? maybe?) with red smoke shooting from their feet and with great precision landed in the middle of the festival. Very cool.

It was a soggy weekend in Charlotte and the rain has continued off and on throughout today and the forecast is calling for rain all week. But don't worry, we're still in a drought. At least until they realize drought is the new norm. I'd planned to go to the group trail run tonight but currently it's storming. Rain I'll run in, thunder/lightning not so much. So I'm sitting here waiting out the storm listening to Pandora. I've developed a new interest in Folk music with blues and bluegrass influences. I started a station with The Wood Brothers and added G. Love to it with The Avett Brothers and Brett Dennen. It's not exactly running music, but it really is fun to listen to.

So lately the number of miles I've run has decreased to roughly 20 a week and the amount of junk food calories I've eaten has increased to way more than I can burn in 20 miles per week. This week (if we start it on Saturday) I've pigged out on Fish Tacos, Nutter Butters, Pepsi, an entire box of Chocolate Jo-Jos, and cheese. Lots of cheese.

Whoa!! WTF?! When did Pandora start adding commercials?! Just heard something about Wendy's. Not cool! Just read a little further and apparently you have to pay to upgrade to get away from ads. As if I need another bill.

Anyway, the storm has passed and I think I'll venture out for a 4.5mile run in my 'hood. Laters.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The B*tch is Back!

Cleo has returned! Uneventfully Wednesday night she showed up at the back door and cried to come in. She's a bit skinnier than she was when she left, but appears to be in good health. She's her old self again and I'm happy to have her home.

My trail run Tuesday night turned out to be a 4.5 mile run through the neighborhood. I just didn't feel like driving to run by myself. However, I've talked the Tuesday night trail run organizer in my club into moving the scheduled tral run to a trail closer to me so I see running it more often in my future. Wednesday's run was rough. It was a warm night to run 6 miles. I walked a lot of mile 5, but was able to finish the last mile running. Thursday night's run went better than expected. I ran all of the almost 4 mile route. It's very hilly so I was excited even thought it was slower than I'd like. The after party at CM was a blast and while it's normally fun, it was a particularly good group. We ended up at TST to watch the hockey game, but truly just drank more beer over there. Me and a couple of other people ended up at the Penguin across the street for a late night dinner. I don't know why I thought fried pickles and black bean hummus were a good idea at midnight but I knew this morning at 7am that it was not a good idea. bleh!

I've really noticed that my hamstrings are incredibly tight. They're always tight, but lately there's a lot more resistance. I know I should stretch more, but it's just not fun. I've only been going to yoga once a week and even that hasn't been regularly. I'm planning to start going to a spin class once a week and I'm hoping that will help. I'm not sure I can break any personal records this summer if they don't loosen up.

So it's a 3 day weekend and my plans are a mixture of exercise, painting the last room in my condo and socializing. I plan to practice the Run for Peace course in the morning with a friend or two. I'm hoping it goes well but it's been a good 9 or 10 months since I've hit the trail. This could be ugly...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Recovery, Runaway Cat and Rabies

I've been recovering well after the Flying Pig Marathon. Actually I've been pretty lazy. I imagined I'd get a lot done after the marathon. At least all the things I'd been putting off. I did manage to get my den painted. However, I'd hired that done! I also got new den furniture. But again, that really didn't take much on my part.

Sadly as the painters were taking their stuff out after they finished, they propped open the front door and Cleo, my indoor cat, escaped. Unbelievably it was 4 days before I found her under the porch of a condo in the neighborhood. She approached me cautiously when I called her. I was able to get hold of the back of her neck, which she wasn't thrilled about, but then a nearby A/C unit kicked on and she FREAKED and bit my arm until I had to let her go. I couldn't get hold of her again after several attempts and more bites. The viciousness of the bites is due to her being outside, but being that she's a feral cat, biting is not out of the norm for her. The bite on my right pointer swelled up and I couldn't bend the finger. So I had to go to my doctor's for antibiotics. My doctor had to report this to animal control. Animal control had to report it to the health department. While I'm confident that she isn't a rabies threat, they aren't. I'm waiting now for directions on next steps and will have to research my rights on this. I'm really against unnecessary medications.

To date, Cleo's still 'in the wild.' I haven't seen her in more than a week now. This has been incredibly difficult because she's been with me for 13 years. It's really been a life changing experience not having her home. It's not unlike being dumped. I keep running to the back door hoping she's come back. I call for her randomly during the day. Wonder if I missed her calling me to the back door when I'm out. There's now new furniture in my den that's she's never sniffed, claimed or slept on. It feels really wrong. But I remain hopeful that she'll return. There are people in my neighborhood who feed strays so I'm confident she isn't starving. I've also heard of cats returning from these sabbaticals, sometimes months later and acting as if nothing happened. And they say cats are like women, tsk!

But back to recovery. I've started running again. I've run twice and plan to run this evening. Tonight I'm running a trail run and I'm excited to get back on the trail. I plan to run about 3 miles. My next race is a 5K trail race, the Run for Peace at McAlpine Greenway. Last year I placed in my age group and I'm hoping to do well again this year. Of course that will take some speed work and I have less than 2 weeks to get that done. Glad there's no pressure =).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

At Least I'm Not Laying on the Side of the Road Thinking I'm in Memphis!

Cincinnati is a very hilly town. The elevation map on the race website is less than accurate. I certainly broke a record for how many hills I've run in a long run. It was a brutal course. But it was also very beautiful. It was very green and very interesting. The houses were unique and the crowd support was great. They weren't lined up like in Chicago and other large cities, but where there were people, they were very enthusiastic. There were bands randomly along the course. Other people played stereos to encourage you. I saw one group grilling out even though it was only 8am.

Of the signs I saw along the course, the funniest ones were 'Run Skinny Bitch' and 'These Nuts Got Guts.'

I saw a couple of houses that were about 3 or 4 stories high that were burned out. I found out later that the race last year was postponed 20 minutes due to a fire on the course. I also saw a house whose front porch was being braced by 2x4s! This may not have been in the best area of town.

The rain really wasn't an issue during the race. Luckily it stayed overcast the whole race which helped keep the heat away. It was about 56 when we woke up and it was probably that temperature for most of the race. The last 6 miles I ran in just my bra top as it was pretty warm at that point.

The first 5 miles I maintained a 9 minute pace. It was tough, but I was able to keep a good pace. Then I got a side stitch. I was able to work it out and get running again pretty quickly, but that was when I started slowing down. By mile 11, I switched my watch to time instead of chrono. I didn't even want to know and was fairly disappointed to get to the half at a time of 2:07. It was a struggle threw most of the race but particularly the last 8 miles. Even though miles 21-25 contained a lot of downhill, it was still a tough stretch. It was also the warmest part!

Just before mile 23, an ambulance passed me on the right. I saw up ahead a guy laying on the left side of the road with a bag of ice under his head and people holding his legs up. He looked like a pretty strong and fit guy, in his late 20s or early 30s. As I got closer I heard the ambulance driver ask the guy if he knew where he was 'Yes sir' the guy replied. The ambulance driver asked 'Where are you?' and the guy replied 'Uhhhh, (mumble)" I couldn't quite make out what he said, but I swear it sounded like 'Memphis.' A few steps later I saw mile marker 23 and saw that I was only 4 minutes short of my overall goal of 4 hours, but I thought 'at least I'm not laying on the side of the road, thinking I'm in Memphis!' And that became my mantra through the next 3 miles. If I had to walk, if I wanted to give up, if I whined about my time, at least I was still running!

At mile 25, I realized I was going to finish close to the same time that I ran Chicago in October. Which means that I ran a really hilly course in the same time I ran a really flat course (in extreme heat). So I really think that shows some improvement and strength. When I got home I saw that I was actually about 15 seconds faster in Cincinnati. It's something anyway!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Flu Masks and a Rainy Forecast

Sooo the weather in Cinci for Sunday couldn't be more promising! A low of 49 (6:30am start, so that will be the temp) and rain. Normally I would think it bites to spend a weekend day like that, but what better weather to run in?! That was the same scenario for my 19 mile run. My first 20 was rainy as well, but a bit warmer. So I'm prepared. It's actually the optimal conditions for me to PR!

If you don't count that I've been injured. As for the injuries, they've seriously subsided. I ran/walked 4.5 miles last night just to see how I'd feel. My only issue was the heavy amounts of pollen in the air! It did remind me to pack my proventil inhaler. Always good to breathe in a marathon.

A friend asked me if I'm nervous about my flight. She was alluding to the Swine Flu pandemic. Another friend recommended a mask. I'm not nervous about the flight. I've had the flu, how much worse can it be? I'm not going to wear a mask, unless they're passing them out at the airport. The I'd take it as a sign. I am taking hand sanitizer and plan to use it often.

I don't know how I'm going to feel at 5am Sunday, but at the moment, I'm looking forward to the race. I think it will be my best one yet!