Thursday, May 28, 2009
Last night I mentioned to Brian36 that if I got up and ran this morning that everyone would know about it because I'd be -ing all over the place. Maybe you can tell that I'm not normally a morning runner . So, for what it's worth, here's the story . . .
My goal this morning was to run for 1 hour. Over the last few weeks, Iíve only been running once or twice a week and none longer than 30 minutes. Itís cool today, but the humidity is near 100%. And, Iím without music; the ipod died a while ago and I havenít replaced it yet. All perfectly good excuses to skip out on this run, but I didn't give in.
The first mile started off slowly, but I felt good. About 20 minutes into the run, I started to feel light headed. I have low blood pressure, so that isnít too unusual. By concentrating on my breathing pattern and rhythm, I can control it. And if that doesnít work, then I slow down until it passes. Within a few minutes it had passed, so I continued through the park.
I love running through the park. Itís one way and very few cars go by, especially in the morning or just before it closes at dusk. There are speed bumps throughout and about every other one has 3 ft. letters spelling ďS L O WĒ painted in front of them. As I came up to the first one, I saw ďslowĒ and immediately felt my gait slow. Itís amazing how our minds control our bodies subconsciously.
At 33 minutes I finished my second lap through the park and Iím still on the other side of town. As long as my feet keep moving, Iíll definitely meet my goal. Breathing is going well, legs feel like theyíre getting a workout, but they arenít tired yet. My obliques are pulling a littleóI added a new exercise that focuses on them and they are recovering from that workout.
Fifty minutes into it, I had to run in place to wait to cross an intersection. Thatís when I felt the post-run ankle pain flare. Itís been going on for weeks, so a trip to the doctor is probably in order. I tried new (different) shoes thinking that might help, but it hasnít. I can take the shoes back and theyíll work with me to find the right shoes or maybe an orthotic placed in my right shoe will help. My self-diagnosis is that a nerve in the Achilles tendon is slipping out of its groove and becoming irritated.
The last 11 minutes were a bit of a struggle. While the ankle doesnít hurt when Iím running, I worry that by continuing I may be causing damage. On top of that, my legs were beginning to feel like rubber bands. Through training for a half marathon, I knew that when it came down to just 10 more minutes, I can herald my strength and push on no matter how I feel.
The last 5 to 6 blocks to home are a series of 3 hills ranging from long and gradual to short and steep. As I turned onto the first, I re-stated my goal to run for 1 hour and then I claimed a second goal: run up the first hill. I exceeded both goals, but it was a squeaker. I ran for 61 minutes and continued to run up the second hill for a few yards before walking the rest of the way home.
My highest heart rate was 180; average was 159. 180 is a bit high for me, but the average sounds reasonable. Cool down was about a 10 minute walk. The coach of our running group has us rest between running sets until everyoneís heart rate is at 90 or below. The quicker your heart recovers, the more fit it is. This is something I want to more carefully monitor in my training. It will ensure that Iím neither slacking nor over-training.
Later this morning Iíll drive the route to find out how far I ran. Overall, the run felt wonderful, and itís good to know that I donít have to start all over from scratch to train for the next half marathon in September.
Over the summer I will alternate biking with running. Cycling is my first love and it complements the running as it uses a different set of muscles. It also provides a day of rest for my ankle while still building aerobic endurance. In addition to the half marathon, I have scheduled a 3-day bike ride in early June, a metric century (62 miles) in August and a Century (100 miles) in October. Hmmm . . . thereís nothing on the calendar for July.
PS: 5.75 miles
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The target has been identified. Several members of this raiding party have been caught, but none are talking. Efforts are underway to move them to a secure location for further interrogation. Watch out, fellow gardeners, there may be sleeper cells in your area.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Yesterday afternoon for about an hour we had low, deep rumbles of thunder. Usually when a storm moves in, my DH and I start making plans to get out of the house. Our sweet 10-year old dog, Daisy, has storm phobia, and it's manifested by non-stop barking and racing window to window or door to door. She pants heavily and long ropey strands of thick drool drip hang from her chin. We've tried everything from drugs to de-sensitization to music to herbs to try to make it less stressful for her, but nothing has worked. When she was much younger, my DH and I would shout over the barking, "One of these days she'll be an old dog and her hearing will be gone and we won't have to deal with this." How I wish I could take those words back.
Daisy isn't deaf, but she is losing her hearing. Yesterday she never lifted her head once from her bed while it thundered. I've noticed she doesn't always hear the car pull into the driveway. And sometimes when we call her she doesn't respond. It seems to be low, deep sounds that she's having trouble hearing. The sounds of kids, birds, chipmunks and squirrels still capture her attention.
She is moderately energetic and with her new summer haircut, she is sometimes mistaken for a young puppy. But it makes me sad when I see these signs of aging.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Our community was privileged to have an amazing young woman, Katie Visco, run through it's rolling hills and mountains on her way to San Diego, CA. Yep--that's right--she's running every step of the way as a fundraiser for GIRLS ON THE RUN.
Imagine the determination it must take to get up in the morning and know you are going to average another 17 miles on your quest to run 3,200 miles from Boston to San Diego. When she succeeds, she'll be the youngest woman ever to accomplish the feat--only 11 have ever done it.
Along the way, she is stopping at schools to talk to young girls to encourage them set and meet goals and to live their dreams. There can be no doubt that she has succeeded in at least one of her goals--being an inspiration.
Here is a statement about why sheís doing this: ďI am doing this to inspire people to pursue their passion in life! I have a mantra, Pave Your Lane, which represents the idea of finding your passion, and pursuing it - you do not need a scripted track or "lane" paved out for you to do this. YOU are the one who will pave your OWN lane, and you can do so with your passion as your guide.Ē
Find out lots more at her website, http://www.paveyourlane.com/
After hearing of her journey, it was impossible to skip out on my run Friday evening, even though I wasn't in the mood. And, as usual, I was glad I ran. Along the way I gave a lot of thought to Katie and what it would be like, say, as a 2nd grader, to meet her. Would I have had bigger dreams growing up? Would I have truly appreciated and understood the enormity of her quest? Would I have realized how privileged I was to meet her? Would her visit have influenced me to take more risks?
I'll never know for sure the answers to those questions. But I can guess at them from the great year I've had on SparkPeople (one-year anniversary is May 31).
In January 2008, I joined a gym for the first time ever to build strength for a 300+ mile bike ride. I knew I would be intimidated by the equipment and the buff bodies there, so I hired a personal trainer for 6 weeks to get me started. It was a smart investment. She showed me how to use the equipment and then challenged me to push to my limits at every session. The training paid off, and I found that I loved strength training and continue it today.
Then, in April 2008, I started taking the first steps to running a 5K. Those were difficult days. I didn't really like running, but I wanted to run with a group of my co-workers in a benefit race. So I persevered and ran the race. I figured I'd stay with running just enough so that I could compete in more 5Ks, but there was no dream of ever going any further.
Then I joined SparkPeople and everything turned upside down and inside out. There were so many amazing people running faster and farther, people competing in tris, and people transforming themselves from couch potatoes to marathoners, from 230 lb. weaklings to 130 lb. athletes.
Since that humble 5K start in April 2008, I have run a half marathon, am in training for a 2nd, and have a marathon on the schedule for 2010.
Dear friends, you have inspired and motivated me to dream bigger dreams, to set and meet long-term goals, and to appreciate the small accomplishments and set backs along the way. They are all way points on this wonderful journey. There are so many spark pages I have visited without leaving a footprint behind, but you, too, have given me encouragement and at times made me laugh or cry.
I'm grateful to belong to such a supporting and caring community. The bottom line--thanks for making this year so wonderful and know that like Katie, you are an inspiration to many, many others.
The Climb (Chorus)
There's always going to be another mountain
I'm always gonna want to make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna to have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb, It's the climb!!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Yesterday I was so excited to get my day started--I was putting in my first sizable vegetable garden -- 10 x 15 -- and then going for a 6-mile run. A friend and I applied for one of the community garden plots at the university and were going to split it between us, but Friday she called to say that she wouldn't be able to help and that if I wanted to take the entire garden, I should.
A local organization was having a plant sale so I stopped there first. I was like a kid in a candy shop--8 heirloom tomatoes, 4 broccoli, 2 eggplants, 1 cucumber, 12 lettuce, 6 spinach, 4 brussel sprouts, 4 bell peppers, 4 jalapeno and 1 cayenne pepper, rosemary, cilantro, and parsley. Then I realized I hadn't seen any beans, sugar snap peas, radishes, or carrots, so I ran to Lowe's and picked up seeds for them, plus Cosmo and Lavender. When I took the inventory I was a bit worried that there might not be enough space in the garden.
When I arrived at the garden around 10, there were already about a half dozen gardeners hard at work. Some gardens had already been planted, others were in progress, and a couple hadn't yet had ground broken. I met my "neighbors"--either grad students or their spouses and we learned that we were all novice gardeners.
I was surprised when I saw that I was going to have to dig up and turn over all of the soil before I started planting. So I went to the shed, pulled out a shovel, rake and hoe, and started to work. The ground looked as if it had never been gardened before and was packed and hard. I turned over the first couple of shovelfuls and realized that it would probably take me hours just to break up the soil and work in some compost. Boy, did I wish that I had a rototiller handy!! I walked around the other plots and could tell that everyone had done it by hand.
After two hours, the ground was all broken, but still too rough to plant. It was time for lunch, so I brushed myself off and got in the car to run out to grab a bite to eat. I scared myself when I looked into the car's mirror. Sweat had been seeping into my eyes and every time I wiped them, a little soil was left behind. It was very windy and my hair was sticking out in 50 different directions. I cleaned up as best I could and got some lunch. It felt wonderful to sit, but I was afraid my back was going to stiffen too much, so I didn't rest for long.
Shortly after 1 p.m., I started breaking up the large clumps of soil. This was as hard as breaking ground. Another 2 hours flew by. By now, I wondered if I could keep on going. My hamstrings and back were as tight as violin strings, and the foot I was using to push in the shovel was beginning to ache. But I had 3 trays of plants and just couldn't abandon them. I took a second break and walked around the plots again to meet some new people and see what they were planting. It was nice meeting new people and hear their enthusiasm when they talked about their gardens. By the end of summer, I'm sure we'll all have made some new friends.
Now I had to work in some compost, so I grabbed a wheelbarrow, loaded it and began working it in, still trying to break down any remaining large clumps. Another 90 minutes went by. It took 3 trips to mix compost in the entire garden. Finally, it was time to set in the plants.
At lunch, I had taken graph paper and mapped out my garden. Too bad I left it in the car, and I was too tired to walk to the car. After another hour, I had all of the plants in, but hadn't planted all of the seeds. Monday I'll plant the beans and peas and I still have to buy some Genovese basil. Then it was several trips back and forth with the watering cans to get everything hydrated--the plants had already begun to wilt.
At 6 p.m., I called it quits. I looked around and saw that I was the only one still there. But it felt great knowing that most of the work was done, and I had done it all myself. I will really appreciate those vegetables when the harvest comes in.
It's about a half hour drive from the gardens to my home. I could barely peel myself out of the car; every muscle in my back and legs had stiffened. At first, I was dreading the thought of waking up Sunday--muscles always hurt more the day after and the worst 2 days after. And then a second thought occurred to me that brought a huge smile to my face. All of the strength training and aerobic exercise allowed me to do heavy work all day long doing something new. How wonderful is that??? Those muscles aren't just for looks (I'm finally seeing some definition!!) . The gardening would have been more difficult a year ago, and I doubt I would have been able to get it all done in one day by myself.
Today I am a bit sore and tight, but I've already done some yoga which has loosened my back considerably. A half hour session this afternoon should have me back to as good as new.
I was disappointed that I didn't get my run in, but I'm sure I made up for it considering I spent at least 5 1/2 hours digging--surely that's strength training and aerobic exercise all rolled into one.
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