Before the big run on Monday, I made a quick stop at local outdoorsy outfitters store to get a fancy water bottle. I would have gone to the running store, but I think the guy in there thinks I'm a moron. Whenever I ask him questions, he answers like he is "Nick Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy." I will never again make the mistake of asking if he likes Cliff Shot Bloks or Gu better. He might as well have just said "DUUUUUUH-HUH. I like Gu, like every other person who isn't a complete noob." (HIS thought, not mine).

I have been hesitant to go with a Fuel Belt. I can't stand to have a shirt tied around my waist, so I would imagine that I would have a problem with 16-32 oz. of water bouncing around that area. As my long runs get longer I may have to suck it up and use one, but for now I will be using the Ultimate Direction FastDraw Plus. It holds 20 oz. and the little zipper compartment can hold a GU, driver's license, and a car key. It's a tight fit, but that's all I need to take with me at this point. Apparently the big deal is that this water bottle has the "kicker valve" which just means that you can only half-way push the valve down and it will just fall into place on its own (the website calls this "hands-free retraction"). We runners really must be conserving all the energy that we can, you know. If you really want to know more about this marvel of modern running technology, the folks at Ultimate Direction have a very well written description of the kicker valve, which you can find here.

I didn't really notice the water bottle during the run, so that means it must be A-Okay. I did have a bit of soreness on one of my hands when I first started out, but that subsided as I kept going and changed which hand the bottle was in every so often.

Oh by the way, YOU'RE WELCOME!


Weekend Wrap Up

A very busy weekend, and none of it was filled with running.

I was the dorm parent on duty for my dormitory both Friday and Saturday, so I had to stay mostly tethered to campus. It's really not a bad deal. I was able so spend all of Saturday afternoon in our apartment watching football. Friday night was homecoming here, so I got to see all our dorm girls get all gussied up and head to the homecoming dance. They looked so pretty, and I felt quite like a mom (I assume) sending them out the door to the dining hall that had been transformed for the dance.

Saturday night was very interesting as well. Well, not so much interesting as it was completely terrifying. The most condensed version I can come up with follows:

The girls have to do a face-to-face check-in with me at 5 pm. One girl says "My roommate isn't feeling well. Does she have to come up for check-in?" So I hand my trusty (dorky) clipboard off to one of the seniors so that I can go check on said girl. I could hear her coughing through her room door. I knocked, but she didn't answer, and it was locked. I got my keys and when I went in I found her on the floor, fetal position, coughing so violently she was gagging/throwing up. I asked her if she could get up (in retrospect, a very dumb question) so that we could go to the health center (thankfully located on the bottom level of our building), but she could not verbally respond.

Long story even shorter, we get the on-duty nurse to come up and she administers some oxygen and Benadryl. She was marginally better after that, but I get to call 911 anyway and go for a ride in the ambulance with our girl to the hospital. And we went to the children's hospital, so I got to watch 2 hours of "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide" on Nickelodeon. I almost hate to admit that it was entertaining and I didn't move to change the channel once. Oh, and the girl is okay, thank goodness. They sent us home a few hours later.

The girl that this happened to is a super-star soccer player. And she is allergic to grass. And she has asthma. So the combination of the fresh cut grass and pretty hefty athletic competition on said grass for 90 minutes happened to be the perfect storm that led to this violent asthma attack.

Sunday we got up and made the drive to Nashville to go to the dedication for my little baby cousin at church. I can't get over how big she has gotten since I saw her last in August. But I guess babies do that. We had a good time and it was great to family, as per usual. I was beat when I got home though. Maybe the excitement of Saturday night caught up with me, but I crashed around 8:30, and stayed that way for a good 10 hours.

I did my long run this morning. It wasn't as good as last weeks' long run, but it wasn't too horrible either. 9.54 miles, 1:39:24. So a pace of around 10:23. I was hoping to break 10 miles, but I'm not too torn up that I didn't. I'll shoot for that on Sunday.


55 minutes on the elliptical, and some ab work yesterday. Rest day today.

It's not very cold here yet, but it was cold enough for me to browse the cold weather running gear this afternoon. I was absolutely giddy about dragging my big sweater bin out of the storage room yesterday.


Five Dreary Miles

After taking yesterday off to rest, I got up and did my five this morning. Luckily there was a slight break in the rain, and I was able to finish with only getting sprinkled on a few times. Somehow it was still really hot though. By the end of the run, I would have welcomed a football player dousing me with the ice water from the Gatorade cooler. That certainly would have made for a more interesting blog post.

Today's run is what Vanilla over at Half-Fast would call "The Blog Buster."

Much like an episode of The Bill Engvall Show this run goes off without anything interesting or funny happening. Your time is as you expected it would be and there is nothing worth noting about this run. That's all great but now you don't have anything to blog about.

If there is any runner out there who is reading this blog, but hasn't come across Half-Fast yet (doubtful), get yourself over there - it's good stuff. He also has a list that details eight other types of runs, in addition to the aforementioned "Blog Buster."

My run was so blog-bustery that I just pretty much wrote about someone else's blog.

Vanilla has a very sternly written copyrght notice, but since I linked it twice, I assume we're square.


Warm, gooey, double-chocolate

Anyone who knows me knows that those words are heaven to me. But today it was warm, GU-ey, Double Chocolate. My first experience with Gu was a good one. I was running a new neighborhood, with no planned route at all. Dutifully following package directions, I stopped at 45 minutes to try my Gu. On first taste (just a little lick) I was pleasantly surprised. Like a very rich pudding. MMMMM, pudding. So I decided to down the whole thing. It tasted really good! But then I had to swallow. EH, it got a little gross then. I felt the slightest gag relfex. It was like shooting a Lemon Drop, Apple Pie Shot, or a Buttery Nipple or any other sweet shot from a bartender. Good at first taste, but then you have to pray to not vomit as you are actually swallowing said shot. I quickly washed it down with some delicious, delicious water.

The new route was great! Well, once I got used to the hills, it was great. They really aren't too big, there there were so many of them - look at that elevation graph! I also learned my lesson about how to choose which street to take when you are on a new, un-pre-mapped out run: avoid streets with names like Hill Crest Drive, Rolling Hills Lane, Ridgetop Avenue, and La Petite Montagne Circle.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to get 90 minutes in. And I was feeling good enough to do it. Like really good! By the time I had run back to my car, I was at the 82:00 minute mark. Maybe the Gu was clouding my judgement, but I decided to just run right past my car. You read that correctly, I willingly chose to keep running. I actually wanted to keep going. I remember asking myself, "Self, what is up? Are you sure you want to keep doing this?" I then took myself about halfway across the river on one of the bridges and then turned around to take myself home. So I didn't keep going for a super-long time, but I did round out to a solid 90 minute run. Runstoppble later reveal that I covered 8.9 miles of ground. I was very pleased with this time, especially considering the hills. I thought those had slowed me down, but apparently not (or I made up for it on the flat ground at least).

All in all, last week turned out to be a good running week for me. I am hoping that I have shaken the burnout monkey that was plaguing me the two weeks prior. And I broke 20 for my weekly mileage last week. I know that I have to add quite a bit more, but I am ready for it. Yesterday's nine miles was a great confidence booster. It was hard and all, but I felt great during AND after the run. Now I just have to keep it up for the four and five milers during the week!


Good Luck!

Just wanted to take up some space to wish good luck to some fellow bloggers who will be racing this weekend. Leana will be doing the Nike Women's Half-marathon in SanFran, Laurel will be running her first full marathon in Columbus, O-H-I-O (apparently you have to spell it out), and KdoubleA will be competing in the Detroit Marathon. You will all rock it out!

(and good luck to anyone out there that is racing this weekend whose blog I haven't come across!)


Back to the Business at Hand

Okay, since I've introduced the cat and posted my poorly thought out Blog Action Day post, it's time to get back to the running stuff. I didn't run on Saturday. Or Sunday. But I did get 4.5 miles in on Monday, and it was all good. Yesterday was a rest day (because I'm so lacking in those lately), and then I will be getting in 5 this afternoon.

I have decided that the change in scenery on my last two non-treadmill runs was good for me, so I have am going to try out a new route each time I run this week. I found 77 listed routes on mapmyrun.com for this area, and the majority of those are in the 4-7 mile range.

And I discovered that a good re-motivator for marathon training is to make your hotel reservations, AND reservations for your parents. A big thanks goes out to my sister-in-law for getting us a nice discount at one of the Disney Resorts :)

A New Addition

Surely this is the first time someone has put a picture of a cat on a blog! The Hubs and I couldn't resist when we visited the Humane Society last week, so here he is. His name is Jacob. He is not a fan of the dog, but that's really not much of a shock. We have kept them separated for the most part, but the Hubs is really looking forward to the first confrontation. I think he would sell tickets for it if he thought people would buy. The cat will dominate our wimpy dog.

(He was doing a quite impressive growl and staring the dog down when I took this picture).


Blog Action Day

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Okay, so it is Blog Action Day, and the topic is the environment. I have to admit that I didn't know it was Blog Action Day until I read some other blogs that reminded me of it. So the environment...

I would be a complete hypocrite if I were to slam on people who didn't recycle, or didn't use compact fluorescent bulbs, or who only stopped driving their beloved SUV because it died and the only replacement car they could afford was their sister's Saturn Ion. So I guess I can preach to do the little things (I am working on the recycling thing, I SWEAR!). I keep the lights out if we don't need them, I try to avoid using paper towels too much, I submitted my name to the "no more junk mail" list. The "no more junk mail" thing probably saved an acre of rain forest in and of itself. And since we have moved on campus, the aforementioned Saturn Ion has only been driven about 15 miles. So we are kind of a one-car family. Oh, and I re-use all my plastic grocery bags, but only one time, as we use them to pick up dog poo. And whenever we are car shopping again, we will go hybrid.

The closest thing to a rant I have that is sort of about the environment would be ridiculous amount of new housing I see. I understand that the population is growing exponentially, but let's try buying a house that is used before we dig up another 1/3 acre parcel to build a new house that looks like every other McMansion within a mile radius.

So I don't guess that I have anything else to add to what is out there about the environment. Just keep in mind that our children and our children's children will want a habitable planet on which to live.


. . . AND then you will run a mile

So it's 8:45 on Saturday morning. I've been up for a bit, and now I'm enjoying my coffee. According to the mercury (not the planet), it's a brisk 46 degrees outside. Nice and cool, excellent for a run. Excellent for a run, in theory, because I'm sitting here writing about NOT running this morning instead of actually running. Damn.

My body has recovered from its slight overtraining episode last week, but my mind has not. That, or I am letting my lazy shine through. I think it's the lazy. I have a cyclical relationship with lazy, if that makes any sense. And it is very inconvenient to be in the downswing of a lazy cycle while training for a marathon. But I would rather be feeling this way 90 days out instead of 30 days out.

Deep down I knew this would happen, and right about this time. I love the training schedule that I found, and one of the reasons why is that the first six weeks of training are based on minutes, not miles. Next week I start running for mileage. Well, the long run scheduled for this weekend is 90 minutes. Based on my times, I should be able to run at least 8.5 miles in that time. And I know that if I get off my John Brown hind parts I will be able to run that with relatively few problems. It will be hard and all, but it won't lay me out for the rest of the day. WELL, since next week calls to make the switch to mileage, instead of minutes, the workouts get a bit easier, compared to what I have been running. Lots of four milers during the week, and no ultra-intimidating long runs for a few weeks. It will build up of course, but the next two weeks of the program seem kind of like a downswing. So it is being timed with my lazy downswing.

Does that make one iota of sense? I remember choosing my training program and thinking "Oooh, that looks like kind of like a lull there around weeks 6-8. Jackpot."

There is a slight chance I will get a run in today, especially if my husband starts harassing me about it. I have to go work a football game today, and I need to be at the stadium around 3 bells. So the run will have to come in the next two hours at the latest. And I do have tomorrow too (procastinator!).

Photo caption: "I will break my foot off in your John Brown hind parts. And then you will run a mile." How cool would it be to have Denzel as a marathon coach?

And in other news...

Happy 5th Anniversary to Gnumoon and her husband!


Hi. I'm lazy, and I might not survive my long run tomorrow.


Riverwalk. Run.

And on Sunday she rested (again). Sunday I got up to run it, but changed my mind and churched it instead. I could have probably done both had I put forth slightly more effort.

Saturday's long run was really good. I know that I have been enjoying the "eating all I want and not worrying about gaining any weight" aspect of marathon training, but I may have been enjoying it too much. I think it has all gone to my thighs. Specifically, the area inside my thighs right where my shorts fall. I may have to invest in some of that body glide stuff that I always hear so much about. Or maybe some new shorts.

So I did have some rubbing issues on the long run, but that was really the only problem. I did an out-and-back route on the Riverwalk here in town. As the name implies, this trail is right next to the river. It's really a loverly route, except for the small section that runs alongside of a tiny sewage treatment plant (the picture is of an art museum on the route, not an architecturally stunning sewage treatment plant). I used that time to really breathe through my mouth instead of my nose. I love an out-and-back route. I have a huge mental thing about a halfway mark. During my half-marathon, I knew that once I got past the 6.5 mile marker, I could make it. Maybe that whole metaphorically "downhill from here" mindset. As I was shooting for a 70 minute run (I ditched the idea of a 90 minute run, based mainly on the advice of a marathoning friend who said it was too big of a jump from last weeks' 60 minute long run), I got on the trail and just ran for 35 minutes, not worrying about the distance at all. I got to the 35 minute mark and took about a minute's rest to drink some water, and then I headed back for home (okay, actually to the parking lot where my car was). I did have to walk a few times during the "back" part of the run, but I finished strong, and my overall time was 72:12. So even with the walking I only added 2:12 to my return trip.

Today I was on the treadmill. I know, shame on me. But I did a 4 mile fartlek (hehe) workout that I wouldn't have done had I been outside. I am thinking I may add a track workout later this week.


I have my long run scheduled for today, so I need to get to that before it gets too hot. I am shooting for 75 minutes. It is already 8:30 in the morning, so I really should already be done with the run by now, but I am still in my jammies.

Happy Football Day everyone!

I got my long run in before noon. It was really good, actually. 6.77 miles, 72 minutes.


Rest Area, 1 Mile Ahead

The sign to the left may be a tad on the dramatic side (and intended for sleepy drivers), but I have decided to heed its warning and take a rest day. That is in addition to the rest day yesterday. So today is more like a "just don't do your scheduled workout" day, as opposed to a day where the schedule calls to rest, as yesterday's did.

I went to the neighbors' plase last night to eat some peanut butter pie and watch The Biggest Loser. Kind of obnoxious, but in our defense the pie was made with low-fat peanut butter and light whipped topping. And I only had a teeny piece. I really don't care for reality TV, but I am a fan of Biggest Loser. I love The Biggest Loser in fact. I am sure there are lots of folks out there who think the show is like that god-awful Extreme Makeover (Face Edition), but it's not. These people actually work at it. And I'm so happy for them when they have a good weigh in. But I also yell at the people who are slacking off (read: working out 15 hours a day instead of 17 hours a day like everyone else there), and then get all weepy when they have only lost 8 pounds this week instead of 11.

Where was I? Oh yes, at the neighbors' house last night I was exhausted. And I had really done not much of anything yesterday to warrant that exhaustion. We have a little situation going on with a girl in our dorm that is somewhat stressful, but not to the point it should make my legs feel like lead or give me an achy back. After Biggest Loser was over (dramatic promo: next week there will be changes on the show like never before!!), I came home and picked up my new copy of Runner's World. Page 51, article on overtraining . . . hmmmm, that's not me, I'm not running that much. Somewhere in the article it states something to the effect how over-training can affect any level of runner. I thought to myself, "Self, you are only running like 20 miles a week. They aren't talking about you."

I get to paragraph two of the article and there is a quote about how "People think, How can I overtrain on 20 miles per week?" Interesting . . . a few other pieces from the article slowly convince me to take the day off. Blue mood? Check. Wonky appetite? Check. Sore arms and back? Check. Dreading lacing up my sneaks? Check. I am running 4 days a week, plus one day of cross-training. Maybe it is time to take a day off . . .

I do think some of this has to do with my body adjusting to the sleeping meds I have been taking and some of it is leftover sleepiness from the past busy weekend. I am afraid that I am completely using this overtraining theory to rationalize NOT working out today. Then again, a good doctor friend of mine once told me that if you think you are a hypochondriac, you aren't one. So maybe that is kind of what this is. Whatever the case may be, I am going to shut up now and try to enjoy my evening off. Hopefully the legs and mind will be fresh enough to attempt a run tomorrow morning.


So Saturday was a nice 60 minute run. As per usual, I wasn't exactly looking forward to it, but I wasn't dreading it either. It was just there. And it turned out to be a good run. Nice pace, tired a few times during the run, but I pushed through it. So I was jacked to see that the training schedule called for only a 40 minute run on Monday. FORTY MINUTES!!! That's it?? With the mileage and minutes that I have been getting in lately, 4o measly minutes should be a breeze. I was even kind of excited about it.

Can you tell where this is going? Yeah, I thought so. So yesterday turned out to be a spectacularly BAD run. I have experienced the full spectrum of quality of workouts over the last 10 months, and I've really only had one other one that was a poor as this.

Maybe I started out too fast. That is what I am REALLY hoping. I tried my "don't stop unless you can't breathe or something hurts" rule, and that wasn't really working. I kept on running and trying to pinpoint just what was so making it so rough. My legs were tired, but not any more that I had experienced before. I had been drinking water all day, so I don't think I was dehydrated. I did have some fat sausage fingers by the end of the run. I had convinced myself that that was indicative of some sort of impending brain explosion.

No brain explosion, and I finally crapped out after 30 minutes (and at least five minutes of that was walking). I am still disappointed in myself about yesterday's run - I guess I was mad that I didn't even shoot to walk 10 more minutes to at least round out to a complete 40 minute workout. I didn't suck it up and push through it. FOR A 40 MINUTE RUN.

So is this the whole mental part of training for a marathon that they talk about?


Weekend Wrap-up

Busy, busy weekend.

A very good friend got married here in town yesterday, so the weekend was filled with wedding hoopla, in addition to the usual Saturday of working at a football game for 8 hours. I had to miss the rehearsal dinner (boo).

The wedding was as loverly as they come. The location, weather, flowers, food, and bride were all prefect. And us bridesmaids looked pretty good too.

My parents came to town, and my mother is in one of her high-maintenance cycles. I don't know what I was (or was not) doing, but apparently I was insensitive and hurt her feelings in the process. Maybe it is adulthood, but the motherly guilt thing really has lost its magic. All it does is piss me off more.

I did get to spend a fair amount of time with Pookie, my best friend's sorta-new baby (15 weeks). I haven't gotten to spend any time with her to speak of, so I finally feel kind of like an aunt after this weekend. We also got to spend time with the BFF and her husband. It's getting so much harder to get together anymore, so time like that was at a premium. A good, immature time was had by all.

And I ran 6 miles on Saturday morning. I learned that the bathrooms at the baseball stadium on campus are NOT locked. VERY good to know. This might have been a far different (and gross) post had those doors been locked.