Monday, June 30, 2008

Countdown to race day

Less than a week to go to the half mary. I did 4 miles this morning; the weather was very nice for a run and the forecast indicates cool and comfortable for race day. I don't know why I'm so nervous about the race. I think I'm prepared physically, at least if I'm not there's not much I can do about that now. So I decided to do the same thing I used to do at work when I was nervous about some big project I had to complete-fantasize about the absolute worst, most disastrous thing that could possibly happen and carry it as far out as possible. So here is my race day disaster scenario:

I arrive late for the race, and barely get my bib pinned on before the gun goes off. At about this point my shoes decide they've had enough and they reach critical mass, mileage wise and my legs start to ache at the 1 mile marker. I start doing a run/walk thing. My legs are still hurting and now my lungs and heart give out. I keep walking. 7 hours later, I make it to the finish line on my hands and knees. The few people left at the finish line are laughing and pointing at me. Hubby left hours ago in disgust and now I have to walk home.

I get a phone call that night from the secret running police. They tell me that my performance was so horrific that I've been permanently banned for life from running and racing. My name has been put on the "do not run" list. When I try to buy a new pair of shoes, my friendly neighborhood running store tells me they aren't allowed to sell me anything. I have to sneak into Cuba to buy running shoes.

I go out for a run on my usual course, and men with little wires in their ears tackle me and force me off the road. They tell me that if I try to run again, I'll be sent to a secret camp in Wyoming where they incarcerate offensive runners, as well as people who think they can sing but really can't.

Ok, I feel much better now.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

New picture!

Last night I did an easy 3 miler on the dreadmill. We spent the day running around doing errands, and I didn't get to my run until about 7 pm. But, that's why I bought the treadmill, so I could run when I dam well pleased. I'm never going to like the treadmill, but I may learn to tolerate it better. The neat thing was I watched the Olympic trials for track and field while I was running-that was kinda cool!

You've probably noticed I changed my picture. That's me with my Bugeye, Pugsley. Yes, I name my cars; it's kind of a girl thing and I've always done it, much to Hubby's embarrassment.

I've had Pugsley for about 7 years now. I've wanted one ever since I was kid. The first ride I had in a topless car was in my uncle's Bugeye, when I was 8 years old. I remember thinking that it was a brilliant idea to take the top off a car. Pugsley was pretty much a derelict when we bought him; the previous owners told us he hadn't run in 20 years and the engine was probably frozen. Hubby reached in the engine compartment and turned the pulley; when I saw it turn pretty easily I thought, hmm, that's a very good sign that the engine isn't frozen, that the pistons are moving as they we bought it. Hubby had it running within half an hour of bringing it home. Not only did the engine run, but it ran rather well for a car that had been sitting for so long. A little mechanical tweaking, a paint job and some new upholstery, and voila! We have the car you see in the picture.

When I bought Pugsley I was at the heaviest weight I had ever been in my life. Pugsley is a very tiny car and it was extremely uncomfortable for me to drive him-the steering wheel barely cleared my gut. He's a lot more fun now that I've attained my current svelte physique, and he's one of the reasons I intend to stay slender.

Friday, June 27, 2008

5 miles

Today was an easy 5 miler, I think I have one more 5 miler before the race and every thing else is a pretty short distance. So my goal is easy runs, lots of rest, and NO high heels until after the race!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Shooting and running

Today was a rest day, so no miles to post. We went to San Luis Obispo for the day, and foolish, vain woman that I am, I chose to wear heels. My feet are killing me and I have a big blister on my heel. But the shoes are so cute and they look fantastic with jeans. This is very out of character for me, I usually go for comfort rather than style.

I recently went shooting, something I love almost as much as I love running. It's probably the most relaxing thing I do, and a good day of shooting has an almost zen quality. When you are target shooting, you are forced to let go of everything in your mind except the task at hand. It's simply about you, the gun, and the target. You have to listen carefully to your breathing, and try to squeeze the trigger between breathes; and yet you have to be careful not to hold your breath. You must be aware of the wind, especially when you shoot a 22 as I do. Pull the trigger when a gust of wind comes up and your shot goes awry. And when you do well, and every shot goes exactly where you want it to go, it's magic! It's a lot like a really good run..

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Another tempo run

I did a 45 minute tempo run today, and it wasn't too bad, with a 9:30 pace. I've noticed something interesting with tempo runs and intervals-my legs feel fine; it's my lungs that complain a bit about the pace. Could it be possible that my leg muscles have finally caught up with my heart and lungs, and the speed work is making me work harder, cardio-wise?

We saw Get Smart this afternoon. Not a bad movie, but I think it would be less entertaining if you weren't familiar with the old series. Like Sex and the City, there's a lot of inside jokes that are just funnier if you remember them from the old show. They did have the little sports car from the series in the movie, a Sunbeam Tiger. It's actually a pretty nifty sports car and one I wouldn't mind having in my garage. And there was also a Ferrari (I didn't get a good enough look at it to tell what model except I know it wasn't a Testa Rossa) and a nice little VW Karmaan Ghia. My apologies if I misspelt that...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Target practice

I ran a basic 30 min. tempo run today, with an average pace of 9:30; pretty fast for me. I was pleased with it and now I enter the dreaded taper phase. I hate this period because this is when I'm most likely to doubt my training, and my ability to finish the race. I will just follow the plan with a few tweaks and cross my fingers.

Hubby and I went to the rifle range for some shooting this afternoon with some friends. I prefer going with just Hubby, since I can be selfish and spend the whole time shooting while Hubby mans the spotting scope. When we go with friends, especially friends who aren't experienced shooters, I spot for them and let them do most of the shooting.

So most of the day they fired various guns and I spotted for them. Then Hubby and friends moved down range to the handgun range and I had the whole range to myself. And by that I mean I was the only person on the whole rifle range. And may I just say I did really well considering that I haven't been shooting in several months! I shot several bulls eye targets at 50 yards with my trusty Russian 22 biathlon rifle, my favorite. I had several very nice 5 shot groupings right on the bulls eye. So then, I started aiming for the 100 yard target. I kind of forgot that when I'm shooting at that distance with a 22 I need to aim pretty high. My shots were all dead center, at the bottom of the target. If someone had been there to spot for me I probably would have adjusted enough to get some good center shots.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cool Weather

Oh, the blessed cooler weather is back! Just as the weatherman predicted. I ran 5 miles this morning at 7:00; I didn't have the fog that I love but it was cool and comfortable. Maybe, just maybe, the weather will be good for the half mary in 2 weeks. I promised Hubby that if it's hot, I'll walk it instead of trying to run the whole thing.

Every runner knows you need to listen to your body; it's one of the first lessons you learn as a runner. So what do you do when your body argues back? I sometimes feel a little schizophrenic on long runs; my body not only talks to me, it makes some pretty incisive arguments as to why we shouldn't run. Here's an example of what happens when I listen to my body:

Body: I need to stop. You're trying to kill me.

Brain: Good grief, we're barely at the 4 mile mark. You've done this distance a million times. Keep running.

Body: No, this time it's different. I'm really struggling here. Let's go home and have some pancakes.

Brain: It's no different than any other run, and you're not stopping. And when we get home, you can have a bowl of cereal and a banana, but no pancakes.

Body: You're no fun any more. I'm just going to stop.

Brain: DON'T STOP. You're fine. Keep running.

Body. I'm having a heart attack. I'm having an asthma attack. And what's that pain in my ankle? I think I just broke a bone.

Brain: DON'T STOP. I just checked-no heart attack, no asthma, no broken bones. Stop complaining!

Body: They're going to find me on the roadside, dead from running.

Brain: Will you PLEASE shut up and just run? Honestly, you're like a 3 year old.

And so it goes, for miles and miles. I suppose it will never get easy; as soon as it's easy I'll probably push to try for a whole new set of challenges in running.

Friday, June 20, 2008


I planned a rest day today, but it didn't work out that way. I woke up at 5 am and it was a really beautiful morning, cooler than yesterday and a full moon. So, I decided what the hey, let's go for a short run just because I can. So I'm up, dressed and out the door by 5:15. It was still warmer that I like it but not intolerable like yesterday. My plan was 4 miles unless my legs complained too much, but I felt pretty strong and managed all 4 miles without much difficulty. I did take a break at the 2 mile point-my inlaws are on vacation so I'm feeding the horses while they're gone. So 10 minutes to toss some hay in the feeders and pet 2 little noses and I'm on the road again.

I realized today that I can finally really tell there's some improvement in my running. I remember when any run over 10 miles would kill my legs the next day; I would be walking like an 80 year old woman with severe arthritis all day long. And here I am doing a nice easy 4 miler the day after an 11 mile run. I'm coming to the conclusion that my goal with running is distance, not speed. I know I'll never be fast, but I have no idea how far I can run. It will be interesting to find out just what my limits are.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Brutal run

If you read my last post, I wrote about how nice the mornings were here for running-cool and foggy; and I wondered if it would last. It didn't. Today was supposed to be a 12 miler. I knew it would be hot, so I started at 5:30 am. It still wasn't early enough-I was shocked when I stepped out the door and realized it was already pretty warm. I toughed it out for 11 miles with several water breaks throughout and some walking; by the end of the run it was just too stinkin hot to run any more and I knew only a fool would continue the run. It is now 9:30 and 93 degrees outside. I'm dissappointed in the run, but I figure one mile short on a long run isn't going to affect my half mary by much.

I would just like to say, to all of you runners who regularly run in hot weather, my hat is off to you (I'm thinking of Bruce and Bob here). Honestly, I don't know how you do it and I realize I am really spoiled, weather wise.

I checked the 10 day weather report and this hot spell should break by Sunday. I have a run for Saturday, but it's a short one, so I should be ok. I just hope the half is on a cool day. Hubby asked me if I would scratch the race if it's hot; of course I'm not going to scratch. If it's hot I will run as much as I can; I will walk if I have to; I will crawl if that's what it takes to cross the finish line.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Today was an easy 4 mile run, nothing much to write about except that the morning was absolutely perfect for a run. I could tell by the light coming in to our bedroom at 5 am that it would be foggy which I love. Sure enough, by the time I got up and out the door at 7:30 it was still very cool, foggy and quiet. I hope this lasts a while. This would be perfect weather for the half marathon.

I baked chocolate chip cookies last night. I tried different chocolate chips-Ghirardellis milk chocolate chips instead of my usual Hershey's. They were bigger and sweeter, which Hubby loved but a little too sweet for me. Otherwise, a pretty good batch; I give it a 7 on the 1 to 10 cookie scale.

We saw Sex and the City yesterday. I was totally hooked on the series, so the movie, for me, was good. However, if you didn't watch the series, skip the movie. There's just too many inside story lines that won't be as interesting if you didn't see the series.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Intervals again today and I still hate them. BUT I did them, complaining the whole distance. My fastest lap was 8:14, slowest was 9:20 but it was up the only real hill on my course so I'm using that as an excuse for the slow time.

I feel like I'm back on track for the half. The long run last week that went so well has gone a long way to boosting my confidence about the race. I managed to get in all my runs despite a really busy week with family in from out of town and various other commitments. Honestly, when I hear people complain that retirement is boring and they don't have enough to do, I wonder what they're doing wrong. I can't find enough time in the day to get everything done that I want to do. I seem to have developed what I call "retirement attention deficit syndrom". I have specific plans for the day; then something else that seems more interesting comes into my head and I do that instead. I currently have 3 projects half finished and I found myself on the internet looking for information for a 4th I want to start. And I haven't made it to the range to do some shooting in weeks!

Retirement-I highly reccommend it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Family Support

Today was a rest day and I spent the whole day with my brother and his family, celebrating my nephew's 11th birthday. Remember what it felt like to be 11 years old? We went to one of those parks that offers go karts, mini golf, and a huge room filled with video games and stuff. You buy tokens, play the games, accrue tickets, then turn the tickets in for a prize. As close as I can figure it, you end up spending 40 to 50 bucks for the tokens so you can get enough tickets to win a prize worth oh, maybe 3 bucks tops. I guess it's just one of those things you do when you have kids..

On the subject of family-I've noticed that in regards to my running addiction, no one in my family is on the fence; they either support me completely and think it's cool that I run or they just don't understand and think it's boring and stupid. On the supportive side is my brother and his wife, my in-laws, and my husband, with hubby being the most supportive. Here's an examply of how completely and wholeheartedly he supports me. When I had my first 10k race last year, he was invited to a friend's house to work on a Ferrari on the same day; if I remember correctly, it was a Daytona. If you aren't a sporty car type, then you need to understand that this is kind of a huge deal. I mean we're talking a Ferrari. To put it in running terms, a Ferrari is like an olympic gold medalist of the sports car world. So I told Hubby to go to his friend's house to work on the car, and I would go to my race, and then after the race we would meet up.

Hubby insisted on going to the race, waiting around for me to finish, then hanging around to watch the awards ceremony. We went to the friend's house afterwards and got there just in time to see them roll the car back in the garage; all the wrench twisting had been completed, and Hubby missed all of it. There wasn't a single word of complaint from him. He said he would much rather go to my race than work on a Ferrari. Now that, my friends, is a supportive husband.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I ran my long run of 11 miles today. I felt like this was a make or break run; if I did well it meant the half marathon next month would go well, and if I did poorly, then maybe I shouldn't be thinking of running the half. So I did everything I could think of to give me an advantage. I had a good dinner, went to bed early, and got up an hour early in order to eat breakfast before I headed out the door. And the run was great! My pace was slower than I would like to see, hovering right at the 12 minute mile pace, but that's ok according to my McMillan calculations, it's just on the slow side of ok.

I tried something different for this run. I've been reading a lot lately about visualization and how it can help with long runs. So I approached this run exactly as I would if I were in a race. Whenever I thought I wanted to stop or take a walk break, I visualized myself running the half. I pictured myself on the course with other runners around me, thought about how the course felt under my feet (kind of crunchy-it's a lot of packed gravel), thought about how you can smell the strawberry fields, and how good the fog felt on my bare arms and legs. And I reminded myself that if I were in the race right now, I certainly wouldn't take a break at that point. It did seem to help, we'll see if it works next week for my 12 miler.

I've noticed the weirdest thing that happens on a lot of my long runs. Somewhere around mile 8 I seem to catch a second wind and it gets easier. I actually opened up my stride and speeded up a bit and it felt good. It doesn't last long, maybe a mile or so and I'm back to my customary slug pace. I'm thinking this might be the point that I gain a little ground during a race; maybe I can work on extending that distance a little each time it happens.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gas in the tank

I was scheduled for a short 4 miler today at race pace. It sucked. I just had no energy, and it wasn't even hot out. I finished the run and came home confused and discouraged. Then I realized, of course it sucked. I skipped dinner last night and just had an apple and a glass of wine around 7 pm. And I didn't eat anything this morning before the run, just had a glass of juice. So I'm pretty much expecting my body to run on an empty tank. If I'm going to be serious about running, I have to be serious about the whole package, which includes nutrition.

I skipped dinner because I had a huge excellent lunch with my mom. We had fish tacos; grilled and with just a hint of lemon. Really tasty!

I'm either going for another run tonight when it cools down or I'll do the elliptical. I don't feel like I got much of a workout today..

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tempo run

I had a really good run today. I ran 4 miles on the treadmill yesterday which I hate hate hate, but had no choice; I didn't get out the door early enough and it was too hot. So today, I got out at 6 am and it was very cool and a little foggy-perfect running weather! I felt really good right at the start, strong and none of the usual aches and pains when I start; so I warmed up for a half mile then kicked it up a gear. According to the McMillan calculator, I needed to keep my pace between 9:24 and 9:49 for at least 20 minutes. I managed an average 9:30 pace for 25 minutes. So I was happy with that. I guess I can do speed work!

I really needed this run. I have had a string of bad runs. I have an 11 miler scheduled for Friday and I am really focused on doing it well. It's more of a confidence thing than a physical thing.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Long Run

Today was a dissapointing long run. I did 10 miles and bonked somewhere around 6. The last 4 miles was a run/walk with a very sad pace of 13 minute miles. This is scaring me-if I can't do 10 miles, how am I going to complete the half marathon I just signed up for on July 5? I just have to keep reminding myself-the worst thing that can happen in the race is that I crash and burn and do a lot of walking. I can still complete the race. I just really want to get a decent time, since I'm using this half mary to qualify for the Disney half marathon next year. I can still enter the Disney race, but if I don't have a qualifying time in another half, they will put me in the last corral. Of course, I'm so slow that I could still be in the last corral anyway...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rest Day

Today is a rest day, which means a little weight training and house cleaning-does vacuuming count as crosstraining?

A few days ago, while I was waiting for my car to get smogged at the dealership, I found a really great recipe in a magazine. I thought about tearing it out, and decided against that. I hate reading a magazine in a doctors/dentists/whomever's office and finding pages missing. Anyway, the recipe was so simple that I was sure I could remember it. It was cherry tomatoes stuffed with salmon, dill, a little lemon, and...something else. I could not for the life of me remember what the last ingredient was. I kept thinking ricotta cheese, but I knew that wasn't right. It was really bugging me. I just knew this was a really good recipe-I kept invisioning it as a sandwich filling, on ciabatta rolls, with fresh tomatoes, and maybe just a very thin slice of red onion. Then I remembered-of course! Avocado! Salmon, dill, lemon and avocado. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it...

Now I'm wondering if salmon and ricotta cheese would be good together..

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Nothing new here...

Just did a nice easy, very slow 5 miler-a run that some would consider junk miles. Lately I feel like I'm doing a balancing act between getting enough rest and maintaining enough weekly mileage so that my long run is doable and not too killing. I figure so long as I get in all the miles my plan calls for I'll be ok. Rest tommorrow, then a 10 miler.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I did an interval workout again-real intervals, and the whole set of 6. I'm pretty pleased with my times-the fastest was an 8:08 pace, slowest being 8:38. So I guess I can do intervals. I will never like them, but I can do them. I'm really curious to see how the speed work I'm doing will translate for my half mary; whether I will be faster, of if it will just make the race easier.

I didn't run yesterday; we spent the day at Hearst Castle and then had a very nice lunch at Morro Bay. Hearst Castle had a free tour to celebrate their 50th anniversary of tours (have I mentioned I'm cheap?). The last time I went to the castle was probably 20 plus years ago when my grandfather came out to visit. It's one of those places that most locals never go to unless they have out of state company who want to see it. We got in on the first tour, then saw the movie they show about how the castle was built, then a leisurely drive down the coast to Morro Bay and lunch.

I know everybody thinks Monterey, Carmel and the like have the best coastal scenery; that area is certainly the best known. But if you're willing to drive just a little farther south, and stick to the coast, it's just as pretty and unspoiled. Towns like Cambria and Morro Bay are really fun just for walking and window shopping and not as pretentious as some areas farther north.

Anyway, we got home around 4:00, and I meant to go for a run, I really did. But after sitting around reading and playing games on my Nintendo, I thought about skipping the run and putting in a few miles on the treadmill. Then that detiorated to thinking I would skip running altogether and put in some time on the elliptical. I ended up doing none of the above, and decided that skipping what would have been just an easy run anyway was not going to ruin my training for the half.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Never Satisfied

I ran a 5k yesterday. I crossed the finish line feeling very dissapointed-I knew I didn't beat my last 5k time. So Hubby and I were waiting for the results to come up and I was whining as usual about how I didn't push hard enough and I'll never be fast and blah blah blah, and Hubby asked me, "So, what pace would you be happy with today?" I told him if I did 9:20 or so I would be happy. Sure enough the results finally came up and I did 28:22 which works out to about a 9:07 pace. So of course, I was pretty happy. And then, as we were standing around, I saw a lady with an absolutely thrilled expression on her face-it was obvious she had a really great run. So I asked her how she did, and she told me "The best ever-I finally ran a 5k in under 30 minutes!"

Yeah, I remember clearly wanting to run a sub 30 minute 5k. I congratulated the lady, told her she did great, and I hope I see her at future races. It's all relative. There's always going to be a lot of people who are a lot faster than me and a few who are slower. I just have to remember to run my own race and be happy with my accomplishments.