Friday, May 30, 2008

Running Anniversary

Today is a rest day before my 5k tommorrow. It's a race I've never done before, which always makes me a little nervous; I don't like not knowing the course. However, I know the town very well, and I think they're just sending us down a main street that they will have blocked off for a parade later that day. If that's the case, it will be an easy no brainer kind of run. And it's only a 5k-we're not talking any great distance here. Hubby calls them my sprint races!

Today is my running anniversary. On this date in 2006, my journal says, "ran the full distance of Eucalyptus road, twice, without stopping!" That makes it the first full mile without walking breaks. I remember telling Hubby I had no intention of racing or running more than 5 miles; I just wanted something I could be passionate about and that would help me stay healthy. And here I am, 2 years later, several 5ks and 10ks and 1 half marathon later, preparing for my second half, and contemplating doing a full marathon in 2010. It's funny how running gets under your skin. Now, I want to see how far I can go; how fast I can go; and how many years I can continue to be a runner. I hope I'm still running in my 90s..

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Race Pace

Yesterday I ran 3 miles at my 5k race pace-which came to a 9:28 pace. I know, I know-so many runners are looking at that and thinking "good grief-that's the best you can do?" Yes, that is indeed the best I can do. We can't all be Speedy Gonzalez, now can we? I happen to be very proud of that pace. It's been hard earned for me. I ran an easy 2 miler today, was supposed to be 4 but I needed to get home asap and decided to cut it short. I have a race Saturday, and decided that 2 miles 2 days before the race really wouldn't improve my race day much.

And why, you might ask, did I need to be home? Well, Hubby drove our little British car to his meeting this morning. It's an Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite (a Frogeye for those of you in Great Britain), and I wanted to be home in case the car broke down and he needed rescuing. It's something I'm used to, having played with British sports cars for years, really no big deal. In fact, now that everyone carries cell phones, it's made driving a somewhat unreliable car much easier. When we drove cars like the Bugeye years ago (when dinosaurs ruled the earth...) breaking down meant walking to a pay phone or an occupied home to borrow a phone. When I drove my MG to work every day, I used to pray not to break down on certain stretches of road because I knew I would really be stranded.

It's a whole different mindset from driving your average, reliable piece of American or Japanese iron. Even today when we're cruising around in an elderly British car, I find myself thinking, "Yeah, this would be a great place to break down.. plenty of room to get off the road, I know my cell phone works here...hey, I'm within 5 miles of my brother's house-I could run that if I needed to..."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I did intervals today. Usually when I intend to do intervals, it works like this: I leave the house thinking I'm going to do intervals. I do the warmup, then start a fast interval, then decide it's too hard and I'm not ready for it, so I decide to just run x miles and do fartleks instead. Because fartleks are the same thing without all the watch checking right? So I do one fartlek. For maybe 10 yards. And then I just give up and just run.

Today was different. I was going to do a tempo run instead of the intervals my plan calls for since obviously I'm not going to really do the intervals anyway. But I felt really good at the start of the run, picked up the pace, then decided what the heck, let's put the pedal to the metal and see what I can do. So I ran really fast for a 1/4 mile by my garmin and thought that wasn't too bad; did a 1/4 rest and did the interval again. The bottom line is I did 4 real genuine intervals!
Yay me.

Hubby was completely disgusted last night by a promo we saw on TV for a reality show where a bunch of Hollywood B listers perform circus acts. We are so not going to watch the show. And it led to a conversation in which we invented a reality show that I think would be much more entertaining-Celebrity Dueling! Here's how it works:
Get a dozen celebrity types together. They each will get an antique flintlock rifle; the kind carried by our forefathers in the Revolutionary War. Each celebrity will be given training by an expert on how to load and shoot the gun. Then, they will face off in a duel. The beauty of the concept is that these guns are notoriously inaccurate; when a flintlock rifle was bench tested, it hit a man sized target only 4 times out of 100 shots.

You could have Sean Connery and Simon Cowell face of with Scottish pistols from that era. You could have Lindsay Lohan and Brittney Spears in skimpy costumes complaining about how heavy the guns are. I haven't worked out whether they all have to be a duel to the death, or if the celebrities are eliminated if they just get wounded. And there should be some sort of point system with judges. And definitely voting by the public.

If any Hollywood producers read my blog-call me.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Yesterday was complete rest, which means my butt did not leave the sofa pretty much the entire day. No laundry, no gardening, no cars were washed; I literally did'nt do anything except watch the race and then read.

So today was a nice comfy 4 mile run. No soreness in my hips and legs afterwards so I'm thinking the extra day of rest is neccessary. And no dogs today, either!

We went to a Memorial Day service this morning; Hubby and I have been attending this particular service for several years and we take a selection of guns for display, everything from Revolutionary War period to Vietnam era. The kids are so funny. I can tell they would love to actually hold a gun that was around when Ben Franklin was alive or that may have been used in a civil war battle, but they're usually a little shy about asking. So I will offer to let them hold the gun and Mom or Dad will get a picture. They are always shocked by how heavy the guns are! And often the gun is taller than the kid.

So, in honor of the day, may I just say that it's important to honor those who currently serve this country, those that have served in the past, and especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice as well as honoring their families.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Last place

I ran my long run of 9 miles today and had a very good run, except for dogs. For some reason every nasty dog in the neighborhood was loose and I had to stop 3 times so they would'nt chase me. They were all the little yippy kind, the kind that would just love to tear a hole in your ankle. Otherwise, it was a good run-good in that I finished the distance, and I met my pace goal. I found a pace calculator determined by my race time. I like it because it gives a pace range for several types of runs- long, easy, tempo and recovery. My long run pace should be 10:50 to 11:50; today I ran 9 miles at 11:18. Now you know why I'm the last place runner!

Speaking of last place, Hubby and I met an aquaintance of Hubby's at Costco yesterday, and Hubby mentioned that we saw his name on the results page for the 10k I entered last month. So naturally we talked about running and racing, although he is way beyond my level-he and his wife have done several marathons. Anyway, I asked if he was entering the local half marathon next month, and told him that last year I came in dead last. He laughed, said he and his wife were running it, and that he came in dead last when they first had the race, 27 years ago!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Running unplugged

Yesterday I ran without all the usual accoutrements I carry on a typical run. It wasn't intentional, I just forgot to charge my Garmin, so decided what the heck, I'll leave the MP3 home too. So, 4 miles sans music or splits or checking my pace. My training schedule called for race pace, I just decided to run at a high percieved effort since I have no idea how fast I actually ran. I didn't run as fast as I should have, I still had a little gas in the tank at the end of the run. I have to work on pushing myself more. I know I'm capable of a faster pace, it's just so darned hard!

I actually enjoyed running without all the stuff. Maybe my recovery runs should all be unplugged.

Today is a rest day. We will be shopping for plumbing fixtures to mount a brass faucet I have that a friend brought me from her trip to Venice. It's very beautiful and looks like a dragon. Unfortunately, the threads are European and don't fit our stuff over here. I have a perfect idea in my head of how I want it mounted. Hubby says it's going to be really hard to mount it properly so it's functional. Unfortunately for him, I'm just the idea person. It's his job to implement my ideas. I'm sure he can figure out a way to hook it up so it works and it looks just like I want it to. He has'nt failed me yet.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Today is a rest day, which means I will do a little weight training and walk a couple of miles to do my errands downtown. Of course, living in a small town means downtown is a post office, drugstore and supermarket. None of that stuff existed when we moved here 14 years ago. If you ran out of milk or your kid needed cough syrup, you went to the liquor store. Now, we're a bedroom community of extremely high priced homes, and by high priced I mean million dollar homes in the newer part of town. Hubby and I bought our lot and built our home long before the building boom that so changed this little town. While I'm not completely against growth-after all, I can now buy groceries in a real supermarket instead of a liquor store-I'm sad to see some of the changes. This used to be a really great place to live if you had horses. You could buy a couple of acres, build a house, and keep your horses on your property. While there are still a lot of horse owners in the older sections of town, the new expensive neighborhoods don't allow you to keep livestock.

When we were trying to decide where to move to, we were driving around this town checking out houses and lots. I remember seeing a young girl walking down the main street of town with a kid in her arms-kid as in baby goat. I knew then that this was someplace I wanted to live.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Another good run

I did an easy 5 miler this morning, again in perfect running weather. Upon my return, Hubby asked,"was it a good run?" "Well, I replied, I finished the distance, so yes it was a good run."
So then he compared running to landing an airplane-if you survive the landing it was a good one. I haven't done very well on my resolution to stop labeling runs as good or bad. The fact that I can run makes them all good. If I do them a little faster than usual they're really good.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Finally, a good run

I planned an easy run today in place of crosstraining on the elliptical. When I peeked out the window this morning and saw heavy fog, I knew it would be a good day to run. Sure enough, I had a really nice run-it felt good enough that I decided to turn my easy run into a tempo run. No achey legs or hips, breathing felt good as always, and running in fog is the best. Maybe I have my running mojo back...

Now, about treadmills. I finally got one with the intent of using it when time constraints and weather make running outside difficult. I thought it would be really helpfull in the winter when we can have days of rain without a break. I've used the thing 3 times now and already I hate it. Even with a TV to watch while I'm on it, it gets boring. I've done 4 miles on it and I can't imagine what a long run would be like. I'm thinking I'll have to play with the pace to break up the boredom. Oddly enough, I'm more tired after the treadmill than I am when I run outdoors. I wonder if that's because the treadmill forces me to run a steady pace?

So I will use it, and my husband will use it for walking, and it will be a good tool. But I still hate it.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Rest Day Trivia

Today I am not running. I should be doing a short recovery run; I'm going to not run today and change my Monday crosstraining day to a running day. In other words, I'm tweaking my training plan for the half marathon. Remember-no running plan is cast in stone; we can tweak, change, modify, and adjust to our hearts content. I'm new enough to running that I still don't really know what works best for me.

So, today will be a trivia question. I will give one point to the first person who can tell me the name of the movie this line comes from:

"You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!"

You get an extra point if you happen to know it, and don't just look it up on the internet.

This is from one of my all time favorite movies. As I continue to blog, you will discover more about my taste in movies; there's a bit of everything in there. It's a lot like my taste in books. Honestly, I will read anything that's printed. Except romance novels.

I baked chocolate chip cookies last night; not my absolute best effort. I was a bit rushed, took a couple of batches out too soon and they were just a hair underdone. Here is my scale for chocolate chip cookies:
scale of 1 to 10

1= those cookies you get at the mall, that are gooey in the middle and way too sweet, and they only appeal to very small children.

10=these cookies are so good that they are what you will want to eat as your last meal on Earth; Just one perfect cookie, and then you can die happy.

The batch I made last night was a 5.5.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A tough run

Today was supposed to be an 8 mile long (well, long for me) run at an easy pace. I got out the door a little later than I should have and consequently it was warm when I started and just got warmer. Couple that with side stitches and I'm surprised I completed the distance. I had to walk twice, I completely stopped once in an effort to alleviate the stitches. The only good thing about the run was one stretch at mile six. As I was turning a corner I began running into a light breeze that really cooled me down, and I managed to run through some sprinklers that were spraying into the street. I did complete the distance but it was slow and ugly. I guess they can't all be good runs...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Skirting the issue

Today should be a 4 miler, but I'm considering taking an extra day off. My legs just plain ache, and I think I'm feeling the effects of 6 days of running. I'll see how I feel this evening when it cools down and maybe I'll give it a try then. Or not...

Running skirts. When I first saw one, I thought it was very cool. Sort of like a tennis skirt, but without the pockets. So I finally got one, but I can't bring myself to wear it to a race. I will wear it on training runs around my little 4 mile loop, but not to races. The problem is not the skirt, but my age. I have finally reached the stage in my life where I have to be careful about wearing something that's just too young for me.

Go to your local big box discount store-Walmart, Kmart, that sort of thing will do. Hang out for a bit, and take a look at the women. Eventually you are going to see a woman who is obviously over 50 who looks like she raided her granddaughter's closet. It's not pretty. A 50 year old woman in a mini skirt and tank top is just wrong. And it's not about her figure. Even if she has a good figure, it just looks wrong.

Don't these women have a friend? A really good friend who will say to them, "You look ridiculous. Go home and change now. You're not 18 any more."

I will stick to my somewhat conservative, boring attire-shorts and tshirt in summer, jeans and sweatshirt in winter. I'm retired. I don't dress up. And the running skirt will just have to be reserved for my weekend long run where the only people who will see me will be the dog walkers and stroller pushers in my neighborhood.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

lessons learned from racing

Today's run was an easy recovery 3 miler, since I did a tempo run yesterday. My training plan for the half mary is a little aggressive for me, since it only gives me one full rest day per week. I have one more week of 6 days of running, then a fallback week with 2 whole rest days! I hope I can make it. If not, I plan on changing my crosstraining day, where I do the elliptical, to a full rest day.

My last race was a local 10k, and I didn't do well. My time was pretty much the same as last year. When I think about the race, I realize that I never got into "race mode". I treated the race just like any other average old training run, and as a result I didn't push myself. I definitely wasn't thinking about the race. It's a shame because this is a course that I could really conquer. It's an out and back with a gradual climb going out, leading up to a killer hill. Then you turn around, and it's all downhill from there, baby! I should have run an easy, even pace going up, take it easy on the big hill, then really pushed for the return. I know I could have broken the 1 hour barrier. At least I learned something about racing. It isn't all physical training-you really have to focus on the task at hand.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Please allow me to introduce myself

Can a 50 plus woman with zero athletic ability throughout her life become a lean, mean running machine? I intend to find out. Here's the story so far:
I started running just shy of 3 years ago when I retired. I had all this time on my hands and I wanted something that would challenge me; something that would be my passion; and if it somehow improved me then all the better. I had 3 options: I would either take French lessons, learn to play the piano, or take up running. Since I am very frugal (translation: cheap) I settled on running since I already had tenny shoes, shorts and tshirts and I didn't have to hire an instructor.

So very early one morning, I laced up my shoes and headed out the door. I knew I looked pretty dorky so I didn't want anyone to see me, hence the early start. I didn't run far, I certainly didn't run fast, but I did run. Turns out, after a couple of months of false starts and a pretty steep learning curve, I decided I enjoyed it.

So here I am, still running. I have a few races under my belt, 5ks and 10ks and one half marathon which I will post about later. I am still slow and clumsy. But I am a runner.

My blog will be primarily about the trials and travails and joy of running, with a sprinkling of travel and sporty cars and shooting tossed in. And I will keep everyone posted on my 32 year quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe...