Friday, October 31, 2008

The deathly hand

I did my now customary 10 mile long run, and (gasp) could it be that it's getting easier? Well, perhaps not so much easy, as that I'm getting used to it. I just know that my legs don't ache afterwards, no aspirin necessary, just a nice ice shower does the trick. I'm hoping that by keeping a 10 miler every week I'll stay within striking distance of doing an occasional half marathon now and then.

So, in honor of the holiday, I will share my one and only first person scary story, circa 1974. I was 19 and living with my family in a very old, very isolated farm house in the middle of a walnut orchard on the outskirts of town. Now, while I do in fact believe in aliens, the Loch Ness Monster, and zombies, I am not as a rule subject to fanciful or capricious thoughts. So I did not believe our old farmhouse was haunted. I knew that the doors swung open and shut on their own because the floors were uneven; and the sounds I heard in my bedroom closet were merely wayward mice.

Late one night, while the rest of my family was asleep, I was sitting on the floor in my bedroom trying to find Dr. Demento on the radio. There I sat, completely alone, fiddling with the radio, when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I remember it clearly; the weight and warmth of the hand, the fingers gently curled round my right shoulder, and I thought that my younger sister had come in to my room. I turned around, and....THERE WAS NO ONE THERE! My bedroom door was still firmly shut. the entire house was deadly still, and the hand on my shoulder disappeared. Was it a ghostly appearance, or merely the imaginings of a solitary teenager? You be the judge. As for me, I spent the rest of that night in my sister's room.

Sleep well tonight, faithful readers. Sleep. IF YOU DARE-BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I did an easy 4 miler today, completely unplugged-no Garmie, no music, just me and the road. Sometimes simpler is just better.

Check out this website: I'm getting 38 miles to the gallon-not bad for a '55 American model! Dang-I'm a hybrid. Those things are just plain ugly. I wish I got worse gas mileage and could be a Corvette. No, wait-why not get horrendous mileage, and be a Ferrari? Based on my year model of 1955, I could be a 410 Sport-a V12, 380 horsepower race car, worth somewhere around a gazillion dollars! That would be fantastic, until Hubby figured out what I was worth on the market..

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A reliable source

Today was a rest day and I took that literally. Not only did I not run, I also did not weight train, I did not do core exercises, and I only did the bare minimum requirement of house work, which means the bed got made. Barely. So this is what it feels like to be a couch potato!

My forum friend and fellow runner, Bosco, started a thread asking what source of knowledge we runners first went to when we started running. I was lucky in that I discovered that a friend was an experienced runner and I credit him with giving me some advice that probably kept me from seriously injuring myself as a newbie runner. I thought I was supposed to run every day, increasing my mileage daily, until I met some murky goal in the distant future. He bluntly set me on a more reasonable path, explaining why beginning runners don't run every day and why mileage increases should be gradual.

Soon I was also delving deep into the internet looking for that magic formula that would make me a runner-one of those lithe, lean, graceful people I saw occasionally running through the morning fog. It didn't take long for the information I found to become rather overwhelming. The number of plans, theories, diets, and schedules goes on and on.

It's taken me a while, but I've finally discovered that the best way to learn about running is to talk to runners. I have a forum I visit often and I still talk to my friend about running. I've discovered that all the scientific studies, running plans, diets and such just don't have the credibility of an actual runner who hits the road on a regular basis. Hopefully some day I will have running knowledge worth sharing with a newcomer to the sport. I can't think of many things more fulfilling than sharing knowledge gained from personal experience.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The need for speed

I had another good run today, 7 miles through the fog. I managed to actually think about my pace and trying to speed things up a bit and it worked. I was spent by the end of the run but spent in a good way. I'm thinking I'm ready to push forward and go at least a little faster. At least if I do that I'll be done with my runs sooner!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Avila Beach Concours

I had a very nice 4 miler this morning; our fog is back! I love running in the heavy fog. It's almost like running in a light rain and I'm usually soaked by the time I get home. I picked up the pace a bit and that actually seemed to help me get out of the running funk I've been in for a while. Maybe my problem is not that I'm running too much, but I'm running too slow?

We spent yesterday at the Avila Beach Concours d'Elegance. Thats just an upscale car show. Think Rolls Royce and Ferrari rather than Chevy and Ford. This one is a bit more easy going than your typical Concours; not many women in expensive dresses and elaborate hats or men in suits. The caliber of the cars on display, however, was outstanding. In particular was a hearse from around the 1920s, beautifully restored, with amazing woodwork on the body. Talk about "going in style"!

Hubby and I worked as volunteers, a great way to experience a nice car show. We worked crowd control, not too hard as most people that go to these events are pretty laid back and friendly. Then after our 3 hour shift we visited with lots of friends, walked around admiring the cars, and visited the food and wine tasting booth. Actually we visited the wine tasting booth several times. OK, I spent a considerable amount of time in the wine tasting booth. The proceeds from the event went to our local hospice program so I hope they made lots of money.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pugsley is sick

I did my customary 10 mile long run today at a ridiculously slow pace but I finished the run and that was my only goal. I managed to get out the door early enough to take advantage of the cool morning and that helped; I also got to bed early last night and I think that helped even more. Tomorrow is a rest day-Woohoo!

Pugsley, my bug eye Sprite, is a sick little roadster. We were driving home Thursday night, down a very nice country road, and suddenly BANG-a very loud, very bad noise and we're coasting with no gears. So I'm thinking, crap, we've blown the transmission. Hubby coasts to the side of the road, and a cell phone call has my brother coming to our rescue. So brother and Hubby leave to get the truck and trailer and I stay behind to protect Pugsley from predators. I wasn't nervous at first about being alone on an isolated country road because it was still daylight and I figured Hubby would be back before nightfall.

It took longer than I expected for my rescue and after watching the bats come out at dusk and talking to a curious cow in a nearby pasture I realized I might be the one that needed protection from predators. So there I sat, clutching a fire extinquisher, ready to bonk the axe murderer on the head if he tried to kidnap me (we all know that axe murderers kidnap you first so they can take you to their old farm house and chop you up at their leisure). But neither the axe murderer or the bats attacked and Hubby and brother finally showed up with the trailer. Brother thought it was pretty funny that I was sitting there with the fire extinquisher in my lap; he said he felt sorry for anyone that might try to attack me.

So we get Pugsley home and the good news is it isn't the transmission. Pugsley broke an axle, which is easier and cheaper to fix. We already have the axle and when Hubby has time we'll replace it. That's what I like about LBCs*-they're so easy to work on!

LBC: little british car

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How hard can it be?

I ran a really good 4 miler today; it's the first run in a week that actually felt good. It may be because I managed to get out the door early enough to take advantage of the cool morning weather. I'll know if that's the case tomorrow, I'm going to try a long run and I'm going out as early as possible.

So, faithful readers, you've probably all heard by now about the debacle at the Nike marathon in San Francisco on Sunday. The elite runners started 20 minutes ahead of everyone else. However, a runner in the "all the rest of us runners" group actually had a faster time than the elite runner who was declared the winner.

The most common comment I've read on the blogosphere is that this woman should have declared herself an elite competitor and then she would have been in with the proper group. And yet, I also read that the elite group was by invitation only; you couldn't just declare yourself an elite and join in. And what's wrong with everyone starting at the same time? If the elite runners had been put in the first corral to leave, and everyone had started the race at the same time, wouldn't that have eliminated this mess? Isn't that one of the great things about racing-that anyone can give it a try, and if you happen to be the fastest person, you win? Isn't that what we all learned when we were kids, and we wanted to know who was the fastest kid in school? You all lined up at the start; you all ran a certain distance; the first kid across the finish line was declared the winner. It's not that hard.

And Nike blew it big time. This could have been an amazing promo for them. A 5th grade school teacher beats the elites-sort of a Rocky style running story for women. Instead, they originally stuck with their first ruling about the winner, then they gave this woman the same prize and declared her "a" winner.

"A" winner, indeed. In my book she's "THE" winner. Nike should be ashamed of themselves.

Monday, October 20, 2008

asics Nimbus 10

I ran yesterday in my new shoes, the Asics Nimbus 10s. These shoes rock! The cushioning is excellent; the arch support is excellent. The lacing took a bit to get used to-the laces are asymmetrical, running toward my big toe. I can feel the difference when I run, it's just a very slight feeling along the top of my foot but certainly not uncomfortable. The clerk that recommended the shoes told me I would feel it but that I'll get used to it pretty quickly. He was right; by mile 3 I really didn't notice it.

This is why I buy my shoes at a real running store. I don't consider myself experienced enough to make a good decision regarding shoes on my own. I can go to the store, talk to an experienced runner, and get practical advice on the shoe that's right for me. And he gave me a free pair of socks, too-I love free stuff!

So my plan is to wear these shoes to about the 100 mile mark and then buy another pair and rotate them. I'm thinking that I will get more mileage out of both pairs this way. Oh, the joy of new running shoes!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New shoes again!

My legs have been aching from the hips down the last few runs. I went out for a 10 miler yesterday and called it quits at 7. The legs just didn't have any juice left. So I decided that maybe my shoes had lost their bounce even though the mileage is only about 270. I let the clerk at my FNRS talk me into an upgrade to Asics Nimbus 10s and I'm thinking they'll work for me. I pay a little more for shoes at this store; I could probably get them cheaper at a big box store or online, but I like supporting local businesses, and I like that everyone that works there is a runner and I trust their advice. And this clerk just finished a marathon in these same shoes.

I just discovered a great reason to rotate shoes. I've never done that, I just wear them til my legs hurt then get a new pair. However, I read on a runners forum that if you rotate newer shoes with older shoes you can tell if the older shoes need to be retired because you can compare the feel to the newer ones. Genius! That's why I love running forums. You just never know what gems of wisdom you can pick up! I'll know tomorrow if the shoes were the problem; we'll see how my legs feel after 5 miles in the new shoes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Men in Kilts

I did a slow 7 miles today. Sheesh..I cannot figure out our weather; it's weird even for us. The last 2 days have been cold enough to break out the sweatshirts so I'm thinking I'll head out late for my run and avoid the cold. Then it turns out we're back to 80 plus degree weather after 2 days of cold and my run was warm.

Saturday we spent the whole day at a Scottish festival. Bagpipes are played, all things Scottish are sold (my favorite tshirt: "Items under this kilt are larger than they appear"), and there are many men (including Hubby) wearing kilts. My favorite event is the caber toss. Think of very large men and some not so large women throwing a telephone pole. They try to get the caber to flip end over end and land perfectly straight in front of them. I watched a woman not much bigger than me toss the caber perfectly every time. the contestant has to pick it up and balance the caber on one shoulder, take several steps forward and then hoist it up and over. It takes not only strength but balance and technique as well.

so we watched the games, enjoyed the pipers, I walked in the parade with my clan, and generally had a really great day. If there is a Scottish festival near you, I highly recommend that you go. You don't even have to be Scottish to enjoy it. Hubby has a great time, and he's French!

Friday, October 10, 2008

You know you're a runner..

I did a very slow 6 miles this morning; it was early and it was cold! I had a good run, though, compared to all the rest this week. I think I've been on the verge of a burnout with no enthusiasm for running this week. This was the first time I actually looked forward to my run. Perhaps the running gods have chosen to smack me down a notch after having so much success with my 10 milers in previous weeks?

The subject of "you know your a runner when.." came up on a forum I belong to. I discovered my own version:

You know you're a runner when you're driving somewhere with your spouse, and you're having a really important convo with said spouse; spouse is saying "Something something mortgage, something something call the bank and ask something something.." and you miss the whole conversation because you just passed a sign that said the next town is 10 miles and you think, "yeah, I could totally run that". And then you start imagining yourself running the road you're on to the next town. So you're running in your head along the road, still saying mm hmm to spouse so he thinks you're listening to him when you're not.

Now, all I have to do is figure out what I'm supposed to call the bank about.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

1000 mile year

I did an easy 4 miler today. It's been really weird weather lately; Saturday it was cool and it rained; by Monday we were into the 90's which continued into today. It makes planning a run hard; I got out the door at 6:30 and it was already a little warm. To say this time of year is unpredictable here is to put it mildly.

So, I'm looking at my running log and I realize something. I have 761 miles logged for the year as of today's run. That means I only have to average 24 miles per week to meet my goal of 1000 miles for the year-a first for me! I should be able to do that easily, even taking in to account my fall back weeks. I know, I know-it's only a number. But it's a BIG number!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Last Place Runner for President

No running for 2 days now. Not a single mile; not even a casual walk. The reason is I am TIRED! Hubby and I were up really late Saturday, what with pizza and beer and a movie with friends; I didn't hit the pillows until after midnight. So we took it really easy Sunday. Then we were up at 3 am this morning to see someone off at the airport. I came home with the intention of doing at least a short run, but you all know what they say about good intentions. I figure it's ok to add an extra rest day this week. It's a fall back week, so I'm just really falling back a lot!

I think I have never in my life been so unenthusiastic and uninterested in politics during an election year. I just can't get behind either candidate; I have serious issues with both. So, since I don't like either the "blue" or the "red" candidate, maybe I should run. I can tell you right now, I would certainly whip things into shape:

All running gear and exercise equipment will be tax free. Food is tax free because we need it, so I'm thinking since exercise is necessary it should be tax free as well. That includes everything from socks to treadmills.

If you don't follow your doctor's advise, you have to pay him double. That's to cover his frustration for all his patients who refuse to lose weight and exercise.

Entry fees for races will be tax deductible. Just keep the receipts with your tax records.

Any military personnel serving overseas don't have to pay income tax until they come home. Just send the IRS proof of your service overseas and you're good to go. I just don't think we do enough for these guys and gals.

If you have any health problems that you yourself caused by irresponsible behaviour, such as smoking or eating bacon every day for 20 years or trying to jump a skateboard ramp with an atv or refusing to wear a seat belt while driving a car, and you have health insurance, your deductible will automatically be increased by 200%. If you don't have health insurance, you have to pay the medical bills for your care even if it takes you years and years to pay the bills off. I just figure you should step up to the plate when it comes to your own health.

All politicians will have an implant that reads their vital signs and gives them a shock whenever they tell a lie. It would be enough to hurt at least a little and make them jump a bit so we can all tell when they lied (oops, I think the current PC term for this is "mis-spoke"). Of course, with some of them they would be jumping around like idiots with every word that comes out of their mouths.

I am Last Place Runner, and I approve this message.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Learning to cope

I did my usual 10 mile long run yesterday. I won't say it's getting easy to run 10 miles, but I am learning how to cope with the distance. I've realized that physically, my body can do a weekly 10 miler. It's the mental aspect that I'm still learning to cope with. Long runs are really boring when you're as slow as I am. It means running for 2 hours without stopping. my music will only carry me so far; mental games (counting white cars, composing this blog, working on sewing projects) will get me a little farther. But the most important lesson I've learned so far is that when I hear that voice in my head just screaming "you have to stop running-NOW!"-that's when taking a quick assessment of the situation is important. Are the legs ok? Are they tired but not injured? Check. How about the cardio picture? Still good to go? Check. Not overheated or dehydrated? Check. So that means the need to stop is mental, not physical. That's when the trick is to shut down the "stop running"message and replace it with the "you've done this before, you can do it again" message.

Easier said than done...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's all good

Today is a rest day. I'm going shopping for needlepoint supplies; I promised the Scottish Society that I would make a needlepoint tapestry for the silent auction at Burns Night in January. That means I need to get my butt in gear and get started-NOW.

I noticed something interesting just this week. My resting heart rate is definitely down. It's just a couple of points, mind you, but it is lower. And my blood pressure is WAY down! It's low enough that when I see the doc in December I'm going to ask if I can stop taking the blood pressure pill, just to see if it will stay down on its own. I'm thinking that I'm finally starting to see concrete evidence of the benefits of running and healthy eating. Aside from that ridiculously huge, monstrous meal I ate over the weekend, I've been really careful with my food choices; I may have finally kicked my salt addiction. And the other really totally cool benefit-you should see my legs. Seriously. I may never wear long pants again. Cuz my legs are hot.

And now, faithful readers, how about closing today's blog with the dumbest news story to come out of Matt Lauer's mouth? It's your classic vehicle vs. train in New York; the driver turns onto the track in front of a commuter train. While the passengers managed to escape without injury the car was DOA. And why, you ask, would a driver turn on to a train track? He turned onto the track because his GPS told him to turn. So... I guess if your GPS tells you to jump off a cliff...