Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nine miles of heaven!

I did my 9 miler yesterday, and may I just say it was fan-freaking-tastic! I felt comfortable the whole run and even considered stretching it to 10 miles but I held back-I've stretched my miles enough this week, no need to over do it. I used Clif Shot Bloks again at 3 mile intervals; I don't know if the Shot Bloks are the reason for my last 2 long runs being so comfy but if that's the case, I'm addicted. No leg aches, tiredness or heaviness, even at the end of the run. I even felt just a little sprint might be possible for the last half mile or so. Could it be-is it possible, that I'm finally truly becoming a distance runner? I really needed this run as a mental confidence builder. Next week is a nice easy fall back week, then I go for a 10 mile long run.

I have a friend who's returned to running after a year long hiatus; I'm hoping to entice her into entering a race with me in May. Her Hubby is friendly with my Hubby, so I figure the guys can keep each other entertained while we do our thing during the race. I've learned my lesson, however, with racing with friends. I told her that while we'll start together, once we cross the start line, we race-meaning she can run her best pace, I'll run mine, and we'll meet up after crossing the finish line. She's a lot younger than me, so this actually means that she doesn't have to plod along at my pace during the race, and I think she was glad I made it clear that entering a race together does not mean finishing the race together.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I had a really good 4 miler today. It certainly wasn't fast, but somehow it just felt right, like ok, this is what I've been working towards all this time. I felt really comfortable throughout the whole run, and I felt great afterwards-no soreness or achey legs. Could it be the improved diet and stretching is helping? I hope my 9 miler Friday feels as good...

As I mentioned before, I have started a blog to track my progress for the Las Vegas Marathon, posted here. I think I will only post occasionally there until I actually start training this summer. I'll let you, faithful readers, know when I have something pithy to remark at my second home-it will be sort of like a summer home for my blogger friends. We can head over there when the weather warms up; we'll drink beer, eat chips and guacamole, and play cards while we swat mosquitos. In the meantime this location that I've had for a few months will remain my daily bloggy home.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Please stop raining!

I'm sitting here at the computer, staring out the window, praying that the rain will stop so I can run outdoors, and it ain't happenin! I did a 3 miler on the deadmill yesterday and I'm dreading 4 miles today. So, yes, I know we need the rain and I'm probably the only person in the county wishing for clear skies. All I need is 40 minutes, 50 tops-is that too much to ask for?

I'm questioning the plan I was going to use for the Las Vegas Marathon. My concern is that there aren't enough miles during the week to support the long run. I know the rule of thumb about the ratio of miles in the long run to weekly miles (25% to 30%) and this plan has a lot of weeks where the long run is 50% of the weekly miles-that's pretty extreme. In the one week that I would run a 20 mile long run, there would be only three 5 milers that week prior to the 20 miler! This plan will get me to the finish line-the question is, how comfortably will it get me there? It's going to take a lot of tweaking on my part to make it workable, and an 18 week plan is morphing into a 24 week plan. I think it's finally hitting me how huge this is. Huge as in Holy Crap, what am I thinking? A marathon? Seriously? I have GOT to get my marathon blog up and running because I need help. Seriously.

Finally-I have, as promised, started my new blog just for the Las Vegas Marathon. I haven't customized it yet, so it's a work in progress, but it's here none the less- . I hope to see you all there in the future! If you can't get there from here, go to my profile and click on it there.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Shot Bloks

I did an 8 miler this morning, and as promised to you, faithful readers, I tried one of the free samples I received at the health fair on this run-Clif Shot Bloks. My completely unbiased and unscientific review follows:

I decided that in the interest of scientific observation, I would take a shot blok at 1/2 hour intervals during my run. So somewhere soon after mile 3, I pulled one out. These things are big-quite a bit bigger than the sport beans I'm used to. And they are gummy, as in stick to your teeth, gooey, messy gummy. They are also sweet but the flavor isn't too bad, definitely better than gu's which I can't stand. I did notice during today's run that while I didn't feel a huge difference in my stamina, there may have been a slight decrease in the usual discomfort I've come to expect in a long run. And I still had some gas in the tank at the end of the run. I considered going an additional mile but decided in favor of sticking to my plan and heading home after 8 miles. Here's the interesting thing about this run-I checked my log and realized that this was the fastest pace I've ever done for an 8 miler by almost a minute. So I'll give credit to the Shot Bloks for allowing me to finish the run in 1:23:03 and I'll give them a thumbs up. We'll see how the other products stack up. But the next time I use these things, I'm cutting them into more bite sized pieces. Seriously-these could choke a horse.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I feel the need...the NEED FOR SPEED!

Went out on an easy 4 miler this morning and it was perfect for running-crisp, cold, and clear; I left the cold weather gear home and opted for shorts and a t shirt just because I needed to feel the air on my skin. I started the run at a pretty decent clip for me; and somehow I managed to maintain it for a 9:40 pace. That, faithful readers, is as good as it gets for me, the last place runner who does her best work at the back of the pack!

I spent most of the day today on the computer trying to figure out what the best, cheapest package is for a satelite dish tv thingy. I have a theory that the companies that provide this service try to make it as complicated and convoluted as possible, thereby stunning and confusing the potential customer/victim so thoroughly that he finally cries "Uncle" and signs on the bottom line without regard for hook up fees, extra box fees, local channel fees, fees service fees, salesmen's christmas bonus fees, well, you get the picture. I finally gave up after I developed a horrific headache and had downloaded about 5 gazillion pages of useless information. I'm almost ready to unplug the stupid tv and just start reading books by lamplight. I would definitely do that, except that Amazing Race just started a new season and I'm re-hooked on Grey's Anatomy after a brief hiatus due to dumb story lines.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Good Day, Sunshine

Finally, FINALLY, after death by treadmill for what seemed like an eternity, I was able to squeeze in a run between rainstorms this morning. I sat at the computer, watching the weather, hoping for clear skies. It finally brightened up a bit even though there were still lots of dark clouds. The thought of another run on the deadmill was like an arrow in my runner's soul and I just couldn't do it again. I decided to run outdoors, stick close to home in case the skies opened up and we got another downpour, and take a risk. I planned a 6 miler and did 7. I did get sprinkled on but it wasn't anything serious, and as I learned as a child, I'm not made of sugar and I won't melt (Hi Mom!).

My absolute favorite show, Amazing Race, started Sunday. I'm ridiculously addicted to this show. I love the tasks the contestants are given, and Hubby and I debate endlessly how we would approach various challenges-which of us would be best to do certain things, how we would work together as a team; We both know that anything requiring serious analytical thinking would be best handled by Hubby, and if animals or running (natch!) were involved then I would step up and take charge. I was surprised one season when a team had problems right from the get-go because neither of the teammates could drive a stick shift. If you watch the show enough to want to be contestants then you should know that you will be driving cars in foreign countries and chances are good that the cars will have manual transmissions. Learn to drive a stick, at the very least, before you apply to become a contestant. And you should learn to read a map.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dante got it wrong.

When I was going through my intellectual hippie stage (circa 1973) I read a lot of the classics, including Dante's Inferno. After today's deadmill run, I can attest that he had it all wrong, probably because treadmills weren't invented in 1310. I did 8 miles on the mill because it was raining. I kept waiting, hoping against hope, that the rain would stop. It didn't. So here's my view of hell:

You are on the treadmill, and it's set for 8 miles. You have no tv and nothing to look at but a closet door. You get within 1/4 mile of finishing the run, and your treadmill suddenly sets back to 0 and you have to do it all over again. And again. And again. At least, that's the way it felt. And oh, yeah-your Ipod? Well you do have one, but the only song it plays is the Pina Colada song. Over and over and over.

That's what my run felt like. And about 15 minutes after I finished the run, the rain stopped. And my new tv was delivered later this afternoon. Sigh.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Biggest Loser

I've been stuck in runner's hell on the deadmill all week due to rain. I have a love/hate relationship with my mill. I love the convenience-there it sits, in my bedroom, at my complete disposal any day or time. And yet, especially without my tv, the boredom is mind numbing. I think I can actually feel my brain turn into cheese curds while I use it. I'm praying for clear skies tomorrow because honestly, folks-I can't even imagine 8 miles on the mill while staring at my closet door.

I'm a huge fan of the tv show, "Biggest Loser". I've watched every season, and when it first came on I used to watch it while doing my thing on the elliptical. I truly admire the people on that show. I'm at a normal weight, I have been for a few years now, and I still wouldn't get on a scale in front of millions of tv viewers wearing nothing more than a sports bra and shorts. These people are truly brave. And the changes they experience-when they have finally lost the weight, and we see them in the final show-they look like different people. I wish the producers would show us some of the contestants from previous seasons. I'd be interested in seeing if they managed to keep the weight off.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Today is crosstraining day, as I am transitioning to the same schedule I'll be following for my marathon training. My plan calls for 4 days of running, 1 day of crosstraining, 2 days rest. So I'm experimenting by doing a half hour of the elliptical and 1/2 hour of treadmill walking while playing with the incline.

I have a thing for free stuff. I will walk around Costco ten times if that's what it takes to get the equivalent of a full meal from their free samples-Hubby calls it a "cheap date". I will spend 40 bucks in gasoline to drive to the big city to attend a health fair because I will score free stuff. I always walk out with bags full of freebies. It's just my frugal (translation: cheap) nature. So at the last health fair I attended, I scored some running supplements that I intend to use during my next few long runs. I got Power Bar Gel Blasts, (cola flavored); Clif Shot Bloks, Life Fitness energy beans,which are basically caffeine and B12, and Cytomax performance drink. If I understand the labels correctly, any one of these products will increase my stamina, enable me to run hundreds of miles without fatigue or pain, and make me look like Angelina Jolie when I'm done running. Hubby is really excited about the Angelina Jolie thing.

So stay tuned, faithful readers-let's find out if these things actually do any good. Heck, if they work as well as they claim, I should be able to run to your homes all over the western hemisphere and personally let you know how I'm doing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thanks Mom

First, faithful readers, a big thank you to Mountain Mama (aka Mom) for giving me a nice even number of 20 followers. It really, really bugged me that I was hanging at 19. What kind of number is 19? 20 is so much more satisfying, and as you all know by now, I'm all about the round, even numbers! So thanks, Mom, and I swear your birthday present is in the mail. Or it will be. Soon...

So, you may be asking yourselves, where the heck have I been? Well, my computer has been sick and I haven't had internet access since Sunday. After several calls to my provider, a technician finally made it to my house and discovered I had a sick modem. We plug in a new modem and voila! I'm back in touch with the world!

I have managed a few runs, but nothing longer than 6 miles. I'm up to 15 miles per week, and will start stretching my miles to get back to my 30 mile base. I'm a little concerned about my stamina; it still isn't what I think it should be. It could be, as fellow blogger Bruce and others have pointed out, due to flu recovery plus stress plus a dash of post-robbery depression thrown together. And not eating well certainly doesn't help. So I hereby resolve to eat healthy, sleep well, and generally take better care of myself in an effort to get back to running.

Now, since I have been out of touch for a few days, how about a potpouri of thoughts, totally random and floating around in my tiny little brain just screaming to be shared?

So, we have a woman, who already has 6 children, who uses in vitro fertilization to give birth to 8 more children. Am I the only one here who thinks this is wrong for so many reasons? I am not opposed to large families. If someone is financially, emotionally, and physically capable of caring for 14 children then God bless them and go for it. But this is a single woman living with her parents. It just feels wrong. And how will this family cope when Pampers stops sending the free diapers and the children get older? Don't children from multiple births often have serious health problems? Who's going to pay the bill for the birth? And finally, there are so many children in foster care who need permanent homes. If this woman needed more children in her life, perhaps adoption could have been the answer for her as well as for a child who desperately needs a loving home.

Now-on to marathon training plans. I spent all day today cruising the internet for training plans and I see a trend that makes me wonder. So many of the plans are based on low weekly mileage. One plan I looked at had 4 runs per week with half the weekly mileage tied up in the long run. If you run 2 5 milers and 1 8 miler, are you really prepared to run a 20 miler? Or is it going to work because you aren't wearing yourself out on shorter runs? I reviewed the plan I downloaded that I will follow for my marathon this year, and I realized it's pretty much the same kind of plan with the exception that it includes one day of crosstraining. It's 18 weeks, but I'll stretch it out to 21 weeks. The problem with running my first marathon is that I won't know if my training plan is sufficient until the day of the marathon. Scary thought.

Stay tuned, faithful readers. When things settle down around here I'm going to start a new blog dedicated to my first marathon, the Las Vegas Marathon in December. It will be all about running and while it will be open to any and all who want to read and comment, I will especially invite anyone who is running this particular marathon to join in the conversation with advice and comments.

I only watch the Superbowl for the halftime show and the commercials; I don't know anything about football nor do I care to learn. But the commercials are always pretty good and I do love those Budweiser horses. So, now that Budweiser has been bought out by Heineken, will Budweiser trade in the Clydesdales for Belgians?