Sunday, April 26, 2009

A negative split

I did an easy long run of 10 miles Friday and it was one of my best long runs yet. And dang if I didn't manage a negative split-on a 10 miler! I've gone over the numbers about a gazillion times and it comes up the same-a definite negative split by 2 minutes and some change. I knew between mile 7 and 8 that this was a good run. I got into that "zone" that on rare occasions I enter where the legs feel good and the body can do whatever I ask it to do. I was chomping Shot Bloks and swilling Cytomax during a short walk break every 2 miles or so, and I started with a really slow pace-that's probably the major factor in my ability to do a negative split; it's easy to run faster the second half of a run when the first half is so slow.

I have a race in 2 weeks and I was debating how to handle a taper before the race. I've learned that all I really need for a 10k is a week of easy running. The problem is, I'm scheduled to fall back this week, not next week. Shame on me for not studying the calendar a little more carefully-I've known about this race for months and I could have planned for it better weeks ago. So, do I run an extra week at my now customary 35 mpw and take next week as a fall back, which will be tiring but will put me on schedule for a good taper before the race, or do I take 2 weeks as a taper? I've decided to split the difference. I'm going to run a couple of good medium-long runs this week (maybe 3), then skip my 10 mile long run and have a little longer taper for the race. My runs lately have been really good so a few extra runs before the taper will probably be ok, and a couple of extra days of taper shouldn't hurt. I'm not really planning on racing, I just want to run this race; so I could probably do it without a taper at all. But who knows-I might get out there, get race-crazy, and go for it. I'm still trying to do a 10k in under 1 hour and this could be the race. Or not...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Happy Runniversary

I know my runniversary is around this time of year, but I can't find my very first running log so I can't pin down the exact date. I count my runniversary from the first 1 mile run I completed, and I distinctly remember being elated to be able to run 1 whole mile! Here I am, 3 years later, contemplating a marathon in December-go figure!

So, now that I am a runner, here's the stuff I did not know about running, but I know now:

  • A marathon is 26.2 miles. I had no idea-I just knew it was a stinkin long way to run. Ask me after December 6 how long I think 26.2 miles is to run.
  • Runners generally don't run every day-they take rest days. Oh, sure, there are runners who do run every day, but most don't. I thought if you take a day off, all that training would somehow just fall away from your body and the next day, when you went out to run, you wouldn't be a runner.
  • Shoes wear out really fast. And they don't look worn out-they look fine, but they're worn out anyway, and your legs will know they're worn out and you will think something has gone terribly wrong when in fact you just need new shoes.
  • People have different gaits and need different shoes to compensate. Now I know that's why there's about a gazillion different kinds of running shoes on the market.
  • Runners taper before a race. They actually cut back on their miles and rest up. I figured you just ran as much as you could right up to the race, and then you just ran the race.
  • Runners aren't jocks. At least the runners I've met aren't jocks, and by jocks I mean anyone who is a snob about their sport and doesn't like talking to neophytes. Sure, there are probably runners out there like that, but I've never met them. When I ran my first race, and the other runners found out it was my first, they were really friendly and helpful and cheered me on.
  • When you run a race, you put the bib (that's what runners call the number they pin to their shirts) on the front, not the back.
  • Don't ever, EVER, wear the shirt they give you at a race before you run the race. Seriously. This is like a very bad race etiquette thing-I think you're supposed to earn the right to wear the tshirt by running the race first.
  • Cotton is evil. I ran in cotton tshirts when I first started and it was fine for short runs. Somewhere around my first 2 miler I realized cotton is evil and there was something better out there for running

There's a lot more I learned over the last 3 years or so, but those are the highlights. Some time ago, fellow blogger Bruce reminded me of my own words whereby I had said something like "I don't need to run any farther than 5 miles". Funny how stuff like that changes with time. Now, 5 miles seems like nothing-a throw away run. I'm glad I've learned all this stuff and I hope to learn a lot more as time goes by and I continue to run. Happy runniversary to me!

Monday, April 20, 2009

What I like about Asics

I had to arise before the crack of dawn today in order to get in an 8 miler before the heat. After a week of clouds and cool weather, we're having another mini heat wave and if I'm not out the door by 6:00 I'm screwed. It's a delicate balancing act-it has to be light enough to see and be seen, yet early enough to be cool. This will be the case for probably the next 2 weeks, so my mornings of sleeping in and cruising the net before I run are over.

I received comments on my new shoes from Lauren and Patrick, both wondering how I came to choose the Asics Nimbus 10s. It's simple, really; the shoes were chosen for me. That's what happens when you shop at your FNRS and they know what they're talking about.

I shop for running stuff at GH Sports, a local store dedicated to running and cycling. When I started running, like most neophytes, I just ran in whatever shoes I had on hand, which in my case was a 5 year old pair of Nike crosstrainers I picked up at an outlet store because they were cheap. When it became obvious that I would continue to run, I bought a pair of Avias at a big box store, again because they were cheap and they said they were for running-I didn't know squat about pronation, superpronation, cushioning, stabilizing-all that stuff we learn when we become "serious" runners. The Avias didn't hold up very well and were falling apart after about 3 months. That's when I started researching running online and realized I needed proper running shoes. I found the website for GH Sports and when I read that they did a "gait assessment" I figured even if I didn't know what a gait assessment was, I wanted one.

So one Saturday afternoon Hubby and I drove to the big city in search of my gait assessment. It turns out a gait assessment is kind of a big deal-it involves a treadmill with a camera at foot height; a foot print was taken to show what my arches looked like; and some measurements were taken of my feet. Honestly, if I had realized what was involved I would have gotten a pedicure. then after all this running and measuring it was determined that I have high arches ad a neutral gait and a very nice pair of Mizunos were recommended. I loved those shoes-my first real running shoes! They served me well until I got into longer runs; suddenly I was losing toenails right and left because the toe box was too tight. Another trip to GH Sports and I was fitted with my first pair of Asics-the Nimbus 9s. they were cushiony, lightweight, and my toes had enough room to throw a party and invite guests.

I went through 3 pairs of the 9s and then switched to the 10s simply because they were the upgraded 9s (I think in my previous post I said I wore the Asics Cumulus, but they're actually the Nimbus-my bad). Again, this was at the suggestion of the guy in the store. He runs marathons, he should know his shoes, and he does.

This is why I shop at GH Sports. I know that I could get shoes cheaper on line, but I like supporting a local business. They're friendly, they're knowledgable, they're runners. They don't roll their eyes when I say I'm going to run a marathon; they want to know which marathon. I hope they stay in business forever, or at least as long as I'm a runner.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Shoes

I was bored yesterday, with nothing to do but house work. Wednesdays are my rest day, and I didn't feel like doing gardening, and I didn't want to wash my embarrassingly dirty car, and no one was home to go visit-except me. So I decided to cruise to the big city and visit my FNRS and see what was on sale. And besides, while I haven't had that "dead leg" feeling I can attribute to shoes that have lost their bounce, I knew I would soon be due for a new pair, and why wait for the inevitable? So I took the back roads to the big city, cruising along at my usual leisurely pace. It turns out, not only did I get a new pair of shoes (Asics Cumulus 10s, my current favorites) but they had tech shirts on sale for 5 bucks! I bought every one they had, even though they're size large. They're big on me but big is fine. How can you turn down good shirts on sale? And I happen to like the fact that they're made right there in the store where I buy shoes and stuff-they have a workshop attached to the store and produce their own clothing line for runners and cyclists.

Fellow blogger Lily asked how it's going, regarding the robbery at my home in December. Funny you should ask, Lily-I just got a call from the detective yesterday about the case, and I met with an officer to look at some jewelry he recovered recently. None of it was mine, so if anyone out there is missing some cheap costume jewelry and a very nice expensive looking pair of lapis lazuli cuff links, let me know-that's what the officer showed me. He told me the files on 3 of the rotten bastards have been turned over to the DA and will probably be in court soon. The detective is still trying to get one of the rotten bastards to turn over one particular item they stole from me that I really, really, badly want returned.

The officer I talked to yesterday told me that the person that was selling my stuff told officers that "Some Dude" gave him the stuff and offered him 20 bucks to sell it. Rotten Bastard said he didn't know the name of Some Dude. Yeah, right. So some complete stranger comes up to you, gives you a hand full of expensive looking jewelry, and offers you 20 bucks to take it to a shop and sell it? And you think, yeah, this sounds like a good idea, I think I'll help Some Dude out and sell this for him. Sheesh. I am not that stupid, Rotten Bastard, and the detectives aren't that stupid either. We know you're the one that broke in to my house and stole everything. We just can't prove it. Yet.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fooling the brain

I won my Ebay auction and I'm one happy camper. I found an antique oak jewelry chest, I'm guessing circa 1920 or so, that was the perfect replacement for the jewelry box some rotten bastard stole from me in December. I'm a sucker for anything that's a mission style, arts and crafts, quarter sawn oak kind of thing and this is the first jewelry chest I've ever seen in that style. I got my last bid in 5 SECONDS before the auction closed and it was nerve wracking. That's what you gotta do on Ebay if you really want to win something!

I did an easy, slow 8 miler today. I'm getting really bored with my same old running course; seriously, I've been running the same streets for so long now that I'm convinced there's a rut in the pavement. So I decided today to change it up a little without actually leaving this neighborhood. There are a lot of cross streets on my route and I started doing a criss-cross kind of thing-down one cross street to a main road, then back the other direction down the next cross street, then back again down the next cross street. The crazy thing is when I came to my next mile marker, which normally would have been the 5 mile mark, I was at 6.2 miles! I gained a whole mile by criss crossing and the weird thing is I felt like I had shortened my run by a mile-how crazy is that? I mean, I still ran 8 miles, I just left off the top loop of my usual course and ran a more direct path home. It just felt shorter, somehow, like my brain was saying, whoa, dude-Garmie says you've done 6.2 but this is always where Garmie says 5. You're a whole mile ahead of the game! you don't have to run up the hill past the big poodles and the horse barn! Man, my brain is really, really stupid sometimes.

And why, you may ask, do I always run the same old roads, day in and day out, when I live in a nice, quiet rural community with some lovely potential runs past strawberry fields and green pastures? It's because I'm a woman and I run alone. There have been a couple of times when I've been on an isolated road and my "spidey senses" start to tingle a bit and I start feeling a little scared and insecure. I've actually had runs where I felt like somebody was watching me and it creeps me out. So I stay where I feel safe, where there's lots of people out walking their dogs or taking kids to school or where I see a sheriff's car drive by occasionally. By now, I know all the walkers, and they all know me. Better safe than sorry!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ebay obssession

I ran 10 miles yesterday at my usual snail's pace. I now walk up the one big hill on my run and it really makes a difference in how I feel at the end of the run, and surprisingly, it doesn't much affect my overall pace-that's probably the only advantage to being a really slow runner.

Ah, Ebay. Lately I've been so addicted to your siren call. I won an auction just last week and now I'm watching another item that will end today. And I really, REALLY want this particular item. I'm not telling you, faithful readers, what exactly I'm looking at because I don't want you to see it and start bidding against me. I go in spurts with Ebay-I will check for my favorite stuff for weeks without finding anything I absolutely have to own, then suddenly there will be all sorts of goodies that I just can't live without and my "watch" list will be long and varied. So I will spend my day today watching and waiting...watching and waiting...then BAM! Get my bid in and it's mine mine mine!

It makes me think of Lord of the Rings-my precious....gollum gollum

Monday, April 6, 2009


I did a nice slow 8 miler practically at the crack of dawn today and it was COLD-cold enough that there was still frost on the grass. I had no choice but to run early, and it was Ebay's fault. There was an auction I've been following for days now that closed this morning so my choice was to run before it closed, or after it closed and run in the heat. Given that choice, I'll take the cold any time. And remember-that's California cold, so it was about 50ish degrees.

I got back from my run with plenty of time to watch my auction. I was bidding on a letter written by my ancestor in the 1600's and I really wanted that letter. There was someone else also bidding furiously right along with me and we kept upping each other's bid (he's probably a cousin-who else would want a 400 year old letter?). So I let him keep the high bid for about 2 hours-this gives him confidence, you see, and he might think that I've given up and perhaps he'll leave his final bid and I can POUNCE in there at the last minute and win the auction. So with 10 seconds left, I put in my final bid and I was high bidder-for 5 seconds. That's when cousin #2 out pounced me and entered the winning bid. I hope he enjoys the letter from great (insert several more greats here) grandpa John.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Healthy Diet is Good for You!

So a new study comes out regarding the DASH diet (DASH=Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). The study concludes that a diet high in vegetables and fruits and low in meat, sodium and fat, and combined with regular exercise, is good for your heart. Really? Wow. Who knew that eating a healthy diet would be healthy? Amazing that a healthy diet and exercise is good for you. I mean, who knew? We REALLY needed this study to tell us to stop eating crap and get off our rear ends and exercise. I wonder how much money was spent on this study. Because honestly, faithful readers, even though I don't know how much money was spent on this particular study, they could have given me half the money and I could have told them the same thing. Seriously.