Thursday, October 04, 2012
Everyone knows the old question "which came first? The chicken or the egg?" I've got a twist on that. Chicken btw, or who would sit on the egg to hatch it?
Lately I've just been TIRED, like all the time, no matter how much sleep I get, TIRED. Tired is a common feeling for me. Low thyroid has fatigue as a prime symptom. In fact one of the most common symptoms and one of the prime symptoms that gets doctors on the right track for a thyroid diagnosis. So tired is an old, old friend. Not to mention I have three kids, when I go running I go at an inhuman hour once a week and a really early hour twice a week. I have a daughter who regularly wakes up anywhere from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. and demands an answer when she asks if she can "get up now". Which answer is always yes because we've learned that no is the wrong answer and 95% of the time a yes answer just means she closes our door, turns on the t.v. and goes back to sleep. Tired and I have learned to co-exist quite nicely.
I'm really convinced that this tired isn't thyroid related. It is alleviated by a nap or one really good night's sleep. No, I think this tired is a combo of at least two other things, the question is which came first? Thing 1 or Thing 2?
Thing 1:We've just been through one heck of a hellish summer. I live in a hot climate. I know this, but generally, our summers follow a very predictable pattern. June is very warm, shifting between very high 80's and low 90's with a 100 or above thrown in here and there but not often. July starts out very warm and gets very very warm, generally spending most of our time in the high 90's and more 100's thrown in). August is HOT, almost always over 100 and many days around 110 or so. August likes to get really interesting by throwing in a few humid days and a thunderstorm here and there. September we usually drop back down into the 90's and still hit 100 here and there, but we've usually seen a few high 80's and if lucky even low 80's. This year we spent very little time piffling with the 90's and jumped right into the 100's and stayed there and stayed there and stayed there. To make things REALLY interesting we threw in an entire month of humidity and September never came, we just stayed in August the entire time. FUN. AND we did it without air conditioning. Heat and I don't get along. Heat drains me. Heat sucks every last drop of energy from my body. Heat is my enemy, I really should just move-lol.
2. Fuel. I've discussed before that what we fuel our engines with affects how our engine runs. My fuel lately has been HORRIBLE. It doesn't help that when it is 100 degrees inside you don't want to turn on the oven and add to the temp. Halloween candy showing up in September just added to the problem. My eating has been ATROCIOUS. Maybe my engine is sluggish because it isn't getting the right fuel.
So, now that the air is FINALLY starting to cool down I am feeling a bit more energy. My brain is waking up. We joke that I'm a reverse bear. I hibernate in summer-lol. I feel like one night's sleep is starting to be enough. Now to tackle to food problem. Time to get back on track, time to eat smart again. Time to make sure my protein is high quality protein. Time to make sure that my nutrients are whole foods. Time to enjoy the fruits of fall. Squash..YUM. Pumpkin..SUPER YUM. SOUP. I can't wait to make soup. Last week we had a really cool morning so while I was shopping I picked up a packet of soup (NOT the really, really good kind that I make from scratch, but a good enough kind to dip my toes back into the soup pool). I had EVERY intention of having soup with ham that night, but by evening it was too hot to have soup-lol. I am so looking forward to soup!! I am feeling the energy of fall coming and I'm getting things done again. I'm fixing the house, I'm getting organized and I'm planning all sorts of fun things for the next few months.
Maybe, like Thing 1 and Thing 2 in Dr. Seuss they came at the same time, in the same box.
Now, I just need to get the urge to exercise every single day back.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Whew, what a morning. Up at 4:30 to get ready to go running with my sister and mom. In hind sight the alarm should probably have gone off at 4:25 (maybe even 4:20 instead). It took a long time just sitting there ("there" will remain a private location-lol) trying to wake up and get my clothes on. Just as I was ready to run out the door my phone went off. Sis, dealing with an upset tum tum wouldn't be running, darn...Still had mom to meet though so that kept me going out the door. Mom has to work on Saturdays so her time with us in the morning is always limited. On the plan was eight miles. I spent WAY too much time yesterday trying to plan a satisfactory route and with just mom along I knew we'd make it probably 2 or 2.5 miles before she would have to head back and get ready for work.
So, with these developments came an internal battle. How far do I go? Do I stick to the plan? Do I cut it a tiny bit short? Do I cut it REALLY short? Ugh, what a choice-lol. Finally decided that I would make the turn that would take me away from my mother's return route and towards my much longer route and take it from there. There would be multiple points along the route where I could turn back and cut it short.
Met up with my mom and it was still dark outside, it's only 5 something in the morning at this point and off we go. We reach the return point and were discussing that it was still dim out and I'd be headed off on my own little lonesome with no companion. She suggested I could go and leash my sister's German Shepherd, Pepper, and continue on with a rather large companion. I briefly considered it. It was still pre-dawn at this point, but knew that if I got anywhere near the house I'd probably quit. I took a quick survey...dark, but after 6 a.m. now, on well traveled roads, heading towards the High School, which is always oddly busy on Saturday morning and headed into more housing tracts. I balanced the positives to outweigh the negatives and made the turn. Next time my sister can't join us maybe I'll leash Pepper from the get-go or change the route to my house so my beagle can go. He isn't big and scary, but he is LOUD :). If you've never heard a beagle in full beagle mode you haven't experienced a dog using a megaphone :). Beagles are bred to communicate over far distances, they can BARK.
Anyway, got distracted there for a moment. Made the turn and headed deep into the route. Had to stop at a park for a moment, both socks were giving me issues in different ways. I was developing a hot spot under one foot and the other sock was rubbing my toe in a weird way. Paused the tracker (it's not my fault the socks were being naughty and this pair will be saved for shorter runs from now on, love them, but only over shorter distances) and fixed the problems. I didn't turn around and go back. :)
Headed into the first tract of houses and determined to see how it was going. Good. Headed into the second tract of houses and determined to see how it was going. Good. Now between 5 and 6 miles into the run and determined to hit 7 before heading back into sis's neighborhood. Now I had a choice to make. Head, one more time, into another tract of houses or repeat a section I had done earlier.
Quite the internal battle over that one. The tract promised nice, flat, easy running. The section repeat included hills...lots of rolling hills. Up and down, up and down. This section is a section we run all the time and included the bridge sections I mentioned yesterday. Over the hills, cross the bridge, cross over the street at a light, back over the other side of the bridge and into my sis's neighborhood. I REALLY wanted to choose the tract of homes, but opted instead for the second set of hills. The half we are training for is hilly so I figured better do it :).
The best part was when I discovered that by doing that section I had nearly finished my run. Into the neighborhood and wanted to run the lake, but landscaping was there spraying some stinky stuff all over the grass. Okay, don't poison me today, thank you. Ran the street instead. Ran the other lake and paused, just for a second to take in all the variety of ducks present at the moment and the apparently mated pair of geese and off again. One more lake trail and DONE. 8 miles completed on a morning I really though I wouldn't ever do it. Yay me! My max pace for the half (hills included) is something like 18:22. Beat that pace, even with two half mile long walking breaks and a couple short walking breaks. I'm working on running more and walking less so the deal today was 2.5 miles running, .5 walking, repeat. In the last two miles that fell apart, but I still ran more than walked. In fact, as I got into it, overall my paces got faster. Even my walk breaks were faster than the first one and a few were only barely slower than my running pace. I was getting tired and it was all blending together-lol. Proud of myself :).
So, let's move on. Fall has officially arrived and the days are getting shorter, that means that there is a greater chance that many of us will be out there doing our thing in the dark or near dark. Do us all a favor, be careful out there (remember the t.v. show?). Wear your reflective gear or get some if you don't have any. Run in populated areas where people will hear you if you need help. Choose well traveled areas if they are safe, don't want you running down a busy two lane road with no sidewalk, that might not be good. Don't go to the secluded areas of parks or other areas even if you are part of a small group. How long would it take for the rest of you to get help for the one in trouble? Use wisdom and be safe. Don't be one of the people who gets on the news because they did something stupid. You have real friends and real family and Spark friends who would be devastated if something happened to you. There are ways to still get your fitness in while the days are short and be safe. Please, please, please use caution when you are out there, even in daylight. Thanks....would hate to lose a friend. :)
Thursday, September 27, 2012
First, a couple of explanations...I am not good at running plans or tracking or running paces or any of that "technical" stuff. I am a really poor runner and really, really, really, really slow. So, I am working on learning how to actually train instead of just going out and "running" and I am feeling like Alice through the looking glass-lol. There is so much I don't understand, but I can feel myself getting smarter :). So, when I get technical in a bit just remember I don't understand much of it myself and when you see my times be kind :).
Oh my goodness the alarm went off early this morning. I used to run at insane times with my mom and sister every Tuesday and Thursday with Saturday runs slightly less insane at anywhere from 1-2 hours later depending on a variety of factors. It's been a long, long time since the alarm has gone off at 3:30 though. Luckily I was so busy having a really bizarre and active dream I was glad to wake up-lol. (Wandering through a huge store trying to find hubs, helping an old lady find water ph strips for her pool, lost her, found son, didn't find strips, but did find pools set up in the store with people swimming in them. See really weird)
I was excited for this run too since I had a goal and was planning on doing my best to hit the goal. Oh, and I had new shoes :). Asics of course, seems to be my brand so far. Today's workout was Tempo runs...do your darndest to hit a set time over the course of the entire run. I did read the plan wrong and was thinking the workout was more varied and longer than the one actually on deck, I go the right set eventually though :). So the REAL plan was a short warm up, then 5 miles at mid-tempo pace. Okay, mid-tempo pace, this was my first "what the heck", how do I know what a mid-tempo pace is and how do I maintain it for 5 miles? I can't maintain a slow 5 mile run without a couple walk breaks.
Luckily, I have an awesome, awesome, sister, okay she deserves one more AWESOME. She got this plan from a book she read and she seems to understand it, she is smart that way where I am not, and has shared the vital items with me so that I can at least understand the basics :). The book included a chart of all the different paces and times you needed to know based on some sort of race pace (5K maybe?). The chart did NOT go to my pace. See, really, really, really, really slow. So what does awesome sis do? Put her smarts to work on expanding the chart based on the info already included and took the times up to close to my race pace. She was really kind and estimated my time about 5 minutes faster than I'm REALLY comfortable with. Here are the paces she came up with.
Short Tempo: 16:07 pace, Mid Tempo: 16:22 pace, Long Tempo: 16:37, and Easy Pace: 17:42. I am pretty happy with that easy pace (except it is about 15 seconds too fast-lol). The short pace is pretty decent as long as short is just 1 mile. I was a bit concerned about the mid and long tempo paces. That's kind of fast for me for any extended period of time.
But, here's the thing. The half marathon I'm running has a 4 hour time limit. 4x60=240. I have 240 minutes to finish the race. 240/13.1=18.32 (minutes to finish divided by distance to cover=pace). I have to maintain an 18 minute pace for 13 miles. That means I'd better be faster than that over short distances or have super good stamina. The further I go the slower I get. Most of the time. The chart my sister adapted has me running a half marathon pace of 16:34. I have seldom run that pace over a sustained distance and never for 13.1. I have a lot of work to do-lol.
So, back to this morning. Do my best to cover 5 miles in 16:22 minutes per mile. Here's what I actually did (every time I changed something, particularly my pace for any reason, I hit the "new lap" button on my phone so I could break it down into pieces instead of having one long average. I wanted to know what I could do and for how long.
2.03 miles at 16:54 pace (much faster than easy pace, but not quite long pace)
.39 miles walking at 19:21 pace
1.12 miles at 16:24 pace (close enough to consider it being right on the pace I was seeking)
1.30 miles at 20:51 pace
A total of 4.84 miles. Just shy of the 5 mile goal and an overall pace of between 17:47 and 18:02 (my tracker "lost" me for a bit and always gives me an overall and an active number).
For 5 miles, not a distance I've done often, I am very happy with my overall time, even though it is slow, it is about right for me for a shorter distance on a lazy day.
My 2 mile time is decent enough, especially since I am a slow starter anyways (totally aware that it takes me about a mile to really get into a run). And I was especially surprised by the 1 mile time after my short walking break. I was FASTER in that mile.
So, what I learned is that....
I have a lot of work to do
It is not as bad as I thought
There is HOPE
I can get faster
I can be faster even if I'm already feeling tired
Maybe I can understand this technical stuff if I try really hard
I can push really hard and still be okay
I love my new shoes
The route we ran today was fun and felt safe (well traveled and super well lit)
I like running over bridges, even if there is nothing quaint about the bridge itself
Okay, I guess that last one deserves an explanation. My sister lives in a very nice and safe neighborhood, we have seldom felt "weird" about running there at any time of day. The longer distance requires we leave the neighborhood or risk going insane running circles on ourselves. Just outside the neighborhood is a long and very well traveled road. There are three streets leading out of the neighborhood and we discovered that if you leave through the middle street the distance you can run in either direction before wanting to turn around is half a mile. So, round trip is a mile each way. Turning left you run and run and run and when you are almost to the end of the street there is a bridge going over a drainage wash. This time of year absolutely no water in sight, just a bunch of scrub brush. But, you are on a bridge and it is kind of fun, you are separated from the traffic on the road by a wall and metal rail. You can see the brush over the side. And, if it were a bit lighter, one might see some of the wildlife traveling through the brush, might see coyotes, bunnies and who knows what, if it were light :). The bridge was really fun and interestingly really cool. Literally, as you come to the bridge there is a noticeable dip in temp. Probably because there is underground water running through the wash. Kind of fun :).
I really enjoyed this morning's run and had a blast. My new shoes did a great job and running with my family during the week was a fun return to our running roots. I am feeling optimistic about how this training plan is going. I still haven't figured out how the Tuesday running plan is supposed to work, but since it is even more technical than today's I might need to just resort to fartleks or a speed work plan I can do in my neighborhood and with out a Garmin. My gps tracker on my phone is adequate for the basics, but when it comes to specific training plans it falls far short of ideal.
This half marathon is going to be AWESOME. Before I sign off....I found this great looking virtual race, meaning you can sign up and run/walk it wherever you might be. It runs just under $30, but they mail you a shirt (sizes up to 3x) and a medal :).
No requirements, but if you choose to participate I'd like to know so that I'll know who I am running "with" that day :).
Hope everyone has had a great week and let's be careful out there :).
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Every parent who ever walked the earth has multiple examples of things they learned through, or from, or due to, their children. I am no different and it seems that this list is ever growing.
Well, this weekend it came about in a really cute and fun way and it was more of a reminder than a new lesson.
Middle daughter, "K", who is 8, is my "not of the mold" child. Oldest and youngest were cut from similar cookie cutters. Not identical and one being a boy and the other a girl brings out additional differences in personality and likes and dislikes. The boy is 110% boy, I know that is mathematically impossible, but somehow he managed it. While youngest is 200% girl, again, somehow she managed it. I say she was born with glitter in her veins and a tiara on her head. But, other than that they are quite similar children. Anxious to do the right thing, studious, generally cheerful (although son seems to have hit teenage angst about 5 years too soon) and book smart. The middle, is totally different. A girl who is equally happy on the playground running, or in the house with the dolls. The other two fit the model of what a teacher wants in a student, the middle, well, not so much. The middle has her own ideas about EVERYTHING and follows her very own path, which means she has to work really hard to create her road. That makes me sad, but I see in her an extremely creative, nurturing (born a mother), and interesting person.
I want to nurture her on her own road, unfortunately, there are certain things that simply must be done and fitting into a mold generated by educators for the next several years is one of those things. This is going to be a bumpy road, but whenever she sets her mind to something she does just fine. Reading has not been her forte, ever. I am a reader and the other two are readers, I don't have to work with them. But, that means they miss out on cuddle/reading time. When I read with K she enjoys the time and does the work. So, this weekend we read a book together she brought from school...
courtesy of amazon.com
Loudmouth George and the Big Race.
Hmmmm, wonder why she was drawn to a book on running? Oh, did I forget to mention, she is my most enthusiastic runner and loves when I sign her up for things. It's something she finds a lot of satisfaction in.
Basics of the story. All the characters are different animals, George is a rabbit. There is a big race...2 miles, and George and all his friends decide they are going to participate. Harriet and Ralph, both apparently dogs, decide to start training right away. George, over confident because he is a rabbit, decides he can wait until tomorrow. Then the story continues with all the reasons George can't start training. It is too hot on the day he sleeps in, then he is watching t.v., then it just keeps going, swim lessons, too cold, too windy, raining, you get the idea.
The day of the race arrives and lo and behold George hasn't trained one single day, but he has boasted about how he will beat everyone. The race starts and at first George is in first place, but quickly falters, after two blocks to be exact. He does finish by crawling across the finish line while a baby in a diaper runs over him (my daughter loves this part). His friend Harriet wins the race. George is wiped out and blames his shoes being too tight for losing. Harriet tells him that it's okay, she understands and there is a three mile race in a couple of weeks and George can start training with her that afternoon. Can you guess George's answer?
I'll start tomorrow.
Whoever wrote about George trains for events-lol. They are fully informed about the desire to "start tomorrow". I'm glad my daughter and I got to read this book together because it isn't just about running. It's about life. There are so many reasons to put things off. There are so many other choices out there to get our attention. Daughter and I can both understand the concept as shown by George. If you don't put in the work, you won't get the reward. Next time she wants to not read or not do her math I'm going to remind her about George.
Next time I want to ignore the alarm, I'm going to remember George. No tomorrows. Today is the day. Today we start making changes. Today we do the right thing.
. George will learn his lesson someday, but for now, don't be a George!! Who will you be today? Hopefully today we will be Harriet or Ralph!! Now, go out there and be great!! :)
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Well, once again, I haven't been around for awhile. The computer had to go in for repairs and was gone much longer than we expected, but, joy of joys, it is back again.
My real life challenge came to a close and I nailed ever goal some better than others, but overall it was a hugely successful endeavor and I am currently struggling to keep on track until the next round starts. Sad, but true.
Had to excise a truly toxic person and that was kind of sad, but you know, there are some people that are really just draining and you don't need them, so freeing and nice when they are gone and you don't have to worry about what stupid thing is going to come out of their mouth next. Nah-yah, oh well. Not really a friend, just a person who was hanging around so not a big loss.
One thing keeping me from putting my best efforts forth continuously right now is this darn weather. And, yes, that is a major excuse but I gotta say, this summer has been the WORST I can ever remember. I have lived here, in this exact town, for thirty-two years. Yes, 32 years. Yep, that's a long time. I spent two summers away when I lived in Germany for a year and a half. I lived away for three years of college, but always came home for the summer. So, out of 30 summers this one has been the absolute worst I can ever remember. My geographical area is considered semi-arid. Almost desert to those who live in the true desert and desert by everyone else. We have the benefit of being right up against a fairly decent mountain range that does an okay job of catching some rain for us and close enough to the coast that we get some nice breezes most evenings that cool things down considerably once the sun goes down. We generally do NOT experience humidity to any degree at all. There is the wayward day here and there and we are no strangers to summer thunderstorms and the humidity they bring with them, but most years we get no more than one week accumulated yucky days.
This year, it started in July and lasted into September. The ENTIRE month of August was simply miserable. Hotter than Hades AND humid as a swamp. It was hideous and draining and exhausting and just yucky. And, we did it all without air conditioning. How on earth did people survive before electric fans and a/c were invented? I have no clue. The humidity has finally blown away and we are now just left with the heat, hallelujah!! Now, if the heat would depart and allow fall to come in I'll be a happy camper. This weekend we've still been setting high heat records and I'm just SO over it all. I feel tired, like, all the time.
Running has been okay, not spectacular, but okay. I'm making slow and steady progress and finding out that I am more in tune than ever before. Shin splints are showing up again, but I can banish them fairly quickly most days by analyzing what hurts. It is never the shin itself, but usually tight hips, or tight hammies, or a tight ITB causing the problem and it just happens to show up in my shins. By figuring out the source of the real problem I can stretch it out, relax and restart with a better pace and form and be good for the rest of the run. Summer pushed a lot of my runs into walks instead of runs, not really where I wanted to go, and the time is being spent right now getting my endurance back. Doing 3 miles 3 times a week and focusing on running more and walking less. Which is good because....
I've done it again. I've jumped off the scary, scary cliff I've already jumped off of twice with limited success. I'm doing another half marathon.
The Temecula Valley Half Marathon to be more exact. A four hour time limit. Scenic route through hilly terrain. Google Temecula if you've never heard of it. It's roots go back to the wild, wild west, but its current claim to fame is wine country in Southern California. This little town is So. Cal's response to Napa. It's a pretty place, hilly though, that might not be good-lol. The real treat here is that Temecula is "right around the corner". When you live where I live you get used to the idea that NOTHING is close and that EVERYTHING requires a drive. There is no freeway leading into or out of town. Really, we have things we call highways, at best four lanes total, two in each direction, at worst a two lane death trap. They have stop lights and heavy traffic almost around the clock and really low speed limits. We have no four lane, no six lane and no eight lane freeways, those super transporters so important to life in California and most of the U.S. Temecula is the next closest thing to the south of us and really, we consider it to be local to go to Temecula. No one and a half hour or two hour drives to get to this one. A quick hop around or over some hills and we are there.
Here you go, from the webpage montedeoro.com, this is where the race starts...
and some of the scenery around the winery...
But, hilly, huh?
This race has been on our radar for a few weeks and we've all been considering doing it since it is so close, on a Saturday, not until January and has one of the longer time frames for a race of this type. What pushed me over the edge right now? A free technical running hat if you registered before midnight today. Lol-over the edge for a hat :).
So, the hilly factor has me a bit rattled, so does the 4 hour maximum time. I DNF'd my last half at mile 10 due to a cramped calf and not meeting the time limit. My first half was torture, mental and physical torture and I came in at 4:11. Despite carrying some of my own fluids it was a tortuously hot day and the water stations packed up ahead of the last walkers/runners. I now have a fluids pack that goes to most races and really should go to every one since water stops can be so random. About 10 of us scrambling along at my first half without aid in the last 5 miles was not great. So, best of circumstances can I do it? Well, yes, of course I can. Has my mind convinced my body yet, well no. Well, anyways, it is MOTIVATION, pure and simple, to get my tuckus moving and moving faster and longer and faster and stronger to make those hills. I've got a plan in place and training has already started. Weekly mileage is going to play a bigger role in this training round than in the previous two. I'll still have my Saturday long runs, but my weekly mileage is going to increase also. I think this will give me the cardio boost I need to really make some changes and make this body of mine behave and cream those hills and PR while we are at it.
So, here I go, jumping off the cliff again and hoping that it doesn't backfire and that it'll be as fun as I think it will be. I have until January so that is a huge plus. Lots of time to train for this one. And then? Oh, who knows, another half? I seem to be getting addicted and feeling a need for at least one a year. Maybe 2013 I'll do two...gasp...guess I like jumping off the cliff-lol!
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