Friday, August 20, 2010
I'm pretty excited about this weekend. When I read Jeff Galloway's "Half Marathon: You Can Do It" and found the beginner half marathon training program, I was amazed at how perfectly it fit into the time running up to Disney's Princess Half Marathon. A key example? The weekend "long run" for week eight is a 5K event. It just so happened that I was kicking around the idea of signing up for the "Run for the Hills" 5K in Farmington Hills, MI and it lined up with week 8 exactly. So tomorrow morning, I am running in my first 5K. For moral support, company, and because I had planned a pre-back to school "girls' night in," I am dragging along my 13 year old niece. We went on a run at the beginning of the month, so I know she's good company on a long run. Afterward, we will eat pizza with the other racers, then go home and watch movies and play games on the Wii. I'm also plotting a reasonably healthy dinner to make up for the pizza... brunch? What else would you call pizza at 10:00 AM?
I was unable to run on Wednesday (stupid, sexy Dream Cruise traffic), so I had to fit it in after golf last night. Yesterday, I learned that KARVY09 had ordered her Bondi Bands the day after I did and got hers in the mail that day. So, between the golf course and the fitness center track, I made a quick stop at my mail box- conveniently located halfway between both locations- and checked. Not only did I get my new Bondi Bands, I also got my reservation confirmation letters for my Disney Trip! It was a very good mail day.
I was a little self-conscious about wearing the Bondi Band I selected to run at the gym. Sometimes, I still feel like a running fraud. I think it's because I'm not built like a runner, I run slow, and I take one minute walk breaks for every two minutes of running. My new band says "SLOW... it's the new fast." Would people read it and roll their eyes? Or judge me for my walk breaks? "Screw it, " I thought. "It's truth in advertising. I AM slow. I DO take walk breaks. Slow and steady may not win the race, but it gets me to the same finish line as the faster runners." (Not coincidentally, one of my other new Bondi Bands is a cute cartoon turtle with the message "Wanna race?" I am definitely the tortoise in that fable!)
I was concerned about how I'd feel running after golfing for 2.5 hours. Sometimes, I get tired out and sore from golf and I didn't want it to jeopardize my run. I guess I didn't need to worry, because my run was great. I equaled my fastest pace so far (12.45 min. mi.) and felt good and strong the whole time. My Bondi Band did an excellent job containing my hair and keeping sweat off my face. It was so nice to run without having to wipe my face on my shirt. I only had to wipe a little sweat out of my eyebrows (I know- weird, right?) and even then, it was only once. As for my fears about what people might think, I did get a comment from a couple of ladies walking around the track. I had passed them several times over the half hour, and one of my last walk breaks happened just as I was passing them. They immediately started asking me questions. The first was: "Are you a racer?" Me: "Not yet, but I will be. I'm running a 5K this weekend and a half marathon in the spring to celebrate my 40th birthday." They were both very impressed and excited for me. They also asked me about my knees because I wear neoprene supports on both when I run. Rather than tell them that every crunch and creak tells me that I'm surgery-bound in the future but I'm not seeing an orthopedic surgeon because I'm afraid he'll tell me not to run, I just said, "Well, before I took up running, I was a skier for 36 years." One of the ladies instantly recognized that I am "full of all kinds of arthritis." Yup. Full of insanity, too. Hence the running.
But it's a good kind of crazy.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Yesterday evening, I finally got around to my weekly long run. I'm not sure why I kept putting it off. I was tired, sure. But that's no reason. Anyway, I started my run around 7:30 in the evening. It was starting to get cooler and was about 82 degrees when I started. That's actually the upper limit of what I will tolerate for an outdoor run. It was overcast and kind of misty, but not outright rainy.
As is my preference, I ran around the park a couple of miles from my house. I like that there's no motor traffic to deal with and the paths are fairly flat and made of asphalt. The heat started to get to me and I never really felt settled into my run. My feet were tired, my knees hurt and I was so sweaty. But I kept going. After the first mile, I felt sure that I'd have to quit halfway through. Or at least quit running outside and have to flee to the indoor track for the remainder. But I kept going. At mile three I started to get eaten up by bugs. Mosquitos and biting flies think I'm their own personal candy. I got a fly bite on my shoulder and my elbow and one right at my hairline. I'm also pretty sure I got another one on my face somewhere because the left side of my face is so puffy I can see my own eyelids. I kept going. I kept going until I got to 4 miles, which just seems monumental to me.
I think I'm going to have to start getting more consistent about when I run. I like running outside, but the evenings aren't working for me. Between the bugs and the humidity, I barely made it through my run. How come I was able to wake up at 5:00 AM to run in Chicago, but not at home? I think I should try a little harder at that. I've never been a morning person, but I think it's worth the effort.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Well, I am back at work after staycation and my conference in Chicago. And whatever excellent progress I may have made while resting and staying home was obliterated in the four days I was in Chicago. Way too much food and free booze. However, I did do some things very well on my trip. I stuck to my guns and ran two out of the three mornings I was there. There was a 1/18 mile track in the fitness center and I was on it by 5:30 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I made so many left turns I felt like a NASCAR driver! And yesterday, when I realized that I had a free period and a long break, I took a break from the air conditioning and walked the couple of blocks to Lake Michigan to look at boats and then walked around Grant Park for a while. It was horribly hot, and every particle of my being said to nap until my next session, but I needed to get out of the hotel. Best decision I made that day! Even though it left me drenched in sweat, it also left me refreshed and feeling like I actually did something other than sit in a conference room trying to learn about CAD or celebrating wins by our various teams.
Speaking of the Chicago heat, one of my co-workers ended up in the hospital on Tuesday night because he collapsed at a rooftop party we were having. Some people on our team thought it was too much to drink, but my instincts turned out to be right about that one. He came around while I was asking the bartender to call 911 and getting a cold damp cloth for him. While checking his pulse (I couldn't see my watch but his pulse was strong, slow and steady), I asked how much water he'd had to drink that day and the day before. He told me he'd had about 4-5 of the little cups they had in the break areas instead of water bottles. Which is not nearly enough, especially when you're drinking in the city in August. Three IVs later, the ER docs diagnosed heat stroke and dehydration. I'm so glad that the SP water habit and my "stainless steel security blanket" kept me well hydrated this week. I hope everyone is keeping up their water intake! It's been a hot summer and this was the second person I know who has ended up in the ER with heat stroke.
Needless to say, this also confirmed for me that sticking to the track instead of running around the lakefront was the right decision for me! I would have loved to run outside, but it never seemed cool enough.
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Today, I woke up pretty early for a Saturday. I think "sleepcation" has finally normalized my need for sleep. I went to bed at about 12:30 AM and woke up at 7:00 on the dot, with no alarm. I've been getting a full eight hours a night since last Friday, which has been really nice, but I suspect it's more than I actually need. I've gotten a lot accomplished on my staycation. It's been more like a chorecation. But it's also been really relaxing. Kind of perfect, actually.
So, anyway, when I woke up, I checked out something on my computer and saw that the current temp was- allegedly- 55 degrees. Since I know that's the approximate temperature the half marathon start this year, I decided I needed to get outside and run right away. Of course, by the time I got out there, it was warmer. How much warmer, I have no idea, because I oh-so-smartly wore all black. Capris and a t-shirt. It was like I absorbed all of the sun and warmth in the entire town! When I got to the park, I found that the parking lot was a little more full than I would expect at 8:45. Then I saw several tents and people putting up signs and wearing matching t-shirts. "Oh, great," I thought. "Some kind of event going on. Hope it doesn't tie up the walking path." I asked one of the people what was going on, and he told me it was a fundraising walkathon and that the opening ceremony would be at 9:30. I decided to do as much of my run around the lake path before the opening ceremony and then switch to the more distant soccer path. The run was great! I kept reminding myself that Galloway says slower is better on the longer runs and the goal is to keep a consistent pace and stick with it for the distance. 3.51 miles later, I felt tired and sweaty, but absolutely awesome!
On the way back to my car, I decided to walk on the lake path past the event and see what it was all about. As is so often the case, the opening ceremony was a bit delayed and had just started when I got there, so I got to see the whole thing. The fundraiser is for a disease called Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT). According to the informational brochure I picked up, HHT is:
"a dominant genetic multi-system blood vessel disorder affecting the lung and brain, which may result in stroke, hemorrhage and death."
It affects approximately 50,000-70,000 people in the US, but the number is hard to pin down. 9 out of 10 people affected by HHT are not yet diagnosed because of lack of knowledge of the condition by medical professionals. There are only ten HHT treatment centers in the US. So here's the bottom line- 1 in 5000 people have HHT, statistically 50% of their children will also have HHT, and there is no federal funding for this disease. I heard three families speak. The driving force behind our local fundraiser is married to a man with HHT. All three of her children have the disease. Same story with the second woman to speak. The third woman has HHT herself and her two remaining children have HHT. She lost her oldest to the disease when he developed Arterio-Venous Malformations (AVMS) in his brain at the age of 17. Twenty percent of HHT patients suffer death or lifetime disability. Despite this, the disease is highly treatable.
More than local fundraising, what the people affected by this disease need is more widespread information and above all, federal funding/recognition. Last year, the Senate passed a resolution making June National HHT Month. A similar resolution was introduced in the House. It needs 50 co-sponsors, but in over a year, only 31 have signed on. I had never heard of HHT before this morning. I suspect that most of the people who've made it this far in this blog entry haven't either. It was a little less than four months ago that I took part in the local Relay for Life in the exact same park. Thousands of people took part in that event. The entire lake was ringed with sponsor tents and our Relay raised over 800K. And that was just one Relay for Life location out of hundreds across the country. The HHT walkathon had about 150-200 participants and the HHT Foundation representative informed the crowd that it was the largest fundraising event in the history of the foundation. The contrast just amazes me. I felt compelled to write about it here. My heart goes out to anyone who has been affected by HHT. I hope the situation changes for the better very soon.
Monday, August 02, 2010
After pestering my boss, I was able to convince him that this week is the ideal time for me to take a last-minute, week-long vacation! I got the final confirmation on Friday afternoon. You know it's bad when you think of things you can do on vacation and number one on your list is "Alphabetize my CDs." I know there's good running music in my CD closet, I just need to get it into my iPod.
Anyway, so far, what I have done on my staycation is: sleep for eight hours; eat a big (but need-for-snack-eliminating) breakfast; watch a little TV; read; cuddle with my cat; color my hair. Next up: start the CD project; put together a new running music track; take that running track out for a run. Today, I will be moving from 2 min/1:30 min running intervals to 2/1 intervals. I think I never really needed the extra 30 seconds of recovery time, but I didn't want to push too much.
I had a great visit with my parents and my niece this past weekend. No excessive snacking and reasonable portions. We also took a three mile run on Saturday. Poor kid was nursing a side stitch for half the run, but she refused to quit. I actually felt really good after the run, not just physically, but mentally as well. It was raining the whole time, so I feel particularly intrepid running my longest distance so far!
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