Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fabulous run!

On Sunday, I ran about 10 miles with a couple of friends. They are running the Seattle half marathon for the first time in two weeks; I've done it a bunch, so I offered to show them the route.

It was so wonderful. From the minute we started, I felt strong, confident, light - everything a distance runner should feel. Even by the time we finished, despite not running more than six miles since the marathon, I felt awesome. I could have run more.

It's a testimony to the weight loss. It's way more important to my endurance than long runs, I think. Not that I'd skip the long runs during marathon training - but I do think it speaks to how right I am to work on weight loss before endurance training again.

Then yesterday I did six something on the treadmill with the "deck of cards" run - so fun, so hard, and I felt so great when it was over.

Yay running!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

28:03

I've been thinking about this for a few weeks now, and this morning decided it's time.

I'm never going to be a fast runner if I don't start running fast. Again.

So from now one, once a week or so, I'm going to run the 5K profile on the treadmill. Every week, I have to run it faster than the week before.

This will be impossible if I'm heavier than I am right now, by the way (weight's back down after my bingey weekend, thank goodness).

Today, though, was the baseline. I deliberately didn't want to push too hard and make it harder for me in subsequent weeks. Plus, I coerced my workout partner to do it too, and she doesn't run very much yet, so I knew I'd be on the treadmill for 45 minutes or so anyway.

So, 28:03. Not horrible for a hilly profile where I didn't bother to run very fast until the last kilometer.

Next week, though...drop a minute? We'll see.

(And just so we don't forget, my non-runner friend who I'm training to be a runner did 46:09.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sugar = depression

So this weekend was a little nutty.

First, for some reason I decided to eat popcorn Friday night. Calorie-wise, I ended up okay for the day - but I still wasn't awesome.

Then Saturday started out well, but we had a potluck Saturday night and I was drinking and friends brought over stuff like homemade macaroni and cheese, some crazy gourmet mushroom-on-bread appetizer and Mexican casserole...and combine that yummy stuff with alcohol and I pretty much ate what I wanted to instead of on plan.

So Sunday, of course, I wasn't feeling awesome as a result of the vodka and soda I'd been consuming...and food, especially carbs, did make me feel better. So, I ate really poorly compared to lately, and by Sunday night had a stomachache and, although my hangover was gone, I felt horrible because of what I'd eaten.

I started down these stupid lines of thinking: maybe I'll fast tomorrow. Maybe I'll force myself to vomit right now. Maybe I'll get my ass out of bed and start exercising RIGHT NOW, even though I'm tired and cuddling with my daughter and should be sleeping.

Finally, I forced myself to stop thinking about stupid things and resolve to go back to the right diet tomorrow (meaning, today). I fell asleep...and had terrible dreams, like that my laptop was stolen, I was lost, I didn't have all this information I needed, etc.

And then I couldn't get out of bed the first time my alarm went off...or the second...or until we had barely enough time to get the kids ready for school. It was just like last winter/spring, when I was actually depressed and couldn't get out of bed until the very last minute before I had an obligation.

I remembered why I felt so awful - the eating, the alcohol - and got my behind out of bed. I got the kids ready and drove to work.

Today is a gorgeous, warm day. I'm wearing a shirt that didn't fit five weeks ago, and I weighed myself and my morning weight was only a pound higher than it would have been had I not had all the sugar yesterday (I know it's not real weight, but water retention as a result of the sugar).

I ate turkey bacon for breakfast and brought a salad with chicken breast to work today. I know how to go back on track.

And I'm amazed at how just one crappy weekend can throw everything into a tailspin - temporarily, at least, until I catch myself and put myself back on the right path.

No more sugar. It is evil!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Notes from the last few weeks

I've been meaning to blog; every day I practically write an entry in my head while I'm working out. But then I get to work, get busy, and don't get to writing.

Today, though, I'm not so busy, so it's time to write down some of the thoughts I've had over the last couple of weeks.

First, I haven't backslid into poor eating habits. In fact, I'm on the third week of a "Stage 2" diet of the 20/20 program - basically eating protein, vegetables, and berries. I have made an exception for pineapple and apples, though, when I get sick of strawberries.

I have had two days where I exceeded 1200 calories - but I still meal-tracked every bite and sip, and haven't had a single day where my calorie expenditure didn't exceed what I took in.

I'm down about 13 pounds. My fat pants are too big, all of my clothing fits and looks normal, and I'm feeling amazing.

When I run, nothing jiggles. I remember writing at some point last winter about needing a "butt bra" - not anymore.

My legs and arms have defined muscles in them, thanks to my consistent three-day-a-week weight lifting routine.

I ran three days this week - six miles each time. Somehow the ends of my runs - the last couple of miles - ended up faster than the beginnings. Yesterday, the last 1.1 miles was uphill. Before I realized it, I was ahead of the other girls - and they never caught back up. I think I ran that mile faster than any other - and when I was done, I wanted to go further. I finally don't feel like an imposter running.

I know that might sound ridiculous - I just ran an entire marathon a month ago - but that's how I felt. Like I was faking it, not like I was really a runner. Now that I'm back to normal, I remember how easy running used to be. It feels awesome!

I'm a little sick of my food choices, but it was easy to forgo Halloween candy. It's harder to not binge on things like nuts - and last night I had a little breakdown and ate a mix of banana chips, dried cranberries, and cashews. By my calculation, it was 350 unnecessary calories (even after I'd brushed my teeth for the night!) - and I'd love to punish myself for doing it, but I am trying to not develop the "buy food with exercise" habit right now, so I'm just meal-tracking it and moving on.

I will not be setting a new exercise goal until I am at my goal weight...which I hope to be at by Christmas. Six pounds more. I know I can do it...slowly and safely.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Off sugar!

So the diet is getting easier (especially now that I'm letting myself have some vegetables). I haven't gone over 1200 calories in a day - even if I go out on the weekend and drink alcohol (vodka and soda is my poison of choice right now).

And it's totally working - I fit into my clothes again, I'm sleeping better, waking up more easily, and most of all, just way happier!

Like, I go to work and can totally tolerate people I normally can't stand. And annoying things happen and I take them in stride.

I attribute this change in attitude to being off sugar. My head just feels more clear.

So, it's all worth it!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Full, but not satisfied

Well, the diet is going really well. I have managed to consume fewer than 1,200 calories each day, and I eat every time I feel hungry.

But, tonight is tough. Friends are over, one of whom makes amazing fajitas and rice and beans and homemade salsa - and I'm eating the fajita meat (flank steak) and...nothing else. Well, shrimp cocktail, too. So, shrimp and steak. And the fact is, I'm no longer hungry. My belly is full. But how I would love to have some chips and salsa right now.

But I'm down eight pounds since Monday. People are noticing already. So this is going to be worth it.

In other news, on Thursday I ran by myself for the first time in forever, and on Friday I did cardio and weight lifting alone. I haven't been able to motivate myself to do these things without friends in a year; it felt good to get through it alone (but I'd still prefer to do it with friends).

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Day 3 of 20/20, take two

I said on Saturday, before the marathon, that Monday morning I start back on a 20/20 diet.

I meant it, too! I allowed myself to not work out Monday and just recover from the race - my legs and back were sore, but mostly fine if I didn't sit still for too long.

But I did go straight to the Pro Club Monday morning and bought a case of ready-to-drink shakes and a couple of hard-boiled eggs, and started the new diet.

It works something like this, for me:

  • 3 nasty shakes a day
  • Nuts (1 teaspoon at a time)
  • Strawberries (1 cup at a time)
  • Protein (eggs, turkey, chicken, ham, shrimp...pretty much plain, maybe a tiny bit of mustard with it)
So, yeah, gross and boring. The shakes pretty much make me gag, and I pity the food that has to enter my stomach after it and share space with the nasty stuff.

But the amazing thing is, it works. I'm not hungry. I eat five or six times a day, little bits at a time, and reward myself with real food for downing the shake.

And my mood is improved and already I feel better about myself.

I saw the pictures Danielle's boyfriend took of us while we were running; they reminded me way too much of my fat pictures from "before."

I don't want to be a "before" ever again - and finally, I'm properly motivated to get back to where I belong. 135 pounds or less and a much faster runner.

I'll do this diet for a week, maybe two, and then I'll add vegetables back in. I don't think I'm going to add dairy for a while, and definitely not grains, beans, or other crazy carbs. I just want to focus on weight loss.

It's a slippery slope; now that I'm dieting again, I remember how easy it was to feel full on 1200 calories a day when I eat the right 1200, and how it took a few years before I had slipped back into poor eating habits (but never as poor as before!).

Now that I've had the slide, I think I know better how to prevent it. So we'll see what happens this time.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Portland Marathon race report

So, I did it. It wasn't even that bad, despite the unpromised rain!

I went to bed early and slept until 2 a.m. pretty well, but from 2 to 5 I tossed and turned and had nightmares about being late. Finally I got up and started getting ready.

Usually on race mornings I take a shower to wake myself up, but since my hair is such a pain in the behind right now (it gets wet and bleeds pink), I decided to forgo the shower and just clean up and get dressed. The hotel was serving breakfast downstairs, and happily they had perfect runner food: for me, a cup of coffee, a bagel and cream cheese, and a banana with peanut butter.

I could only choke down half the bagel, but it was fine. I finished getting ready upstairs, then headed out to Aleks' hotel to meet her, Danielle, and Heather.

Danielle, Heather and I were all wearing pink skirts and tops and pink cowboy hats. We were a sight.

We headed down to the race start with just enough time to say goodbye to Aleks, who needed to line up ahead of us, and find a place close to the pace we planned to run. Right when we got close to the starting line, a woman behind me totally stepped on my shoe and pulled it completely off!
Fortunately, it was easy enough to get back on, but that was a freaky moment - all these bodies moving forward and my shoe isn't on my foot!

We started out running a comfortable pace, and pretty much never left it. I knew from the first mile marker we were running between 11 and 12 minute miles and we were a little more than 10 minutes back from gun time.

Between mile 4 and 5, both Danielle and Heather had to go to the bathroom, but there was a pretty significant line. I turned my watch off so I would capture only our run time, but at the next mile marker I figured out that we lost about five minues waiting. I decided then that if I were to really enjoy this race, I needed to stop playing with math and figuring out pace and projected finish time and all that. It's not like I was going to be fast no matter what; why would I torture myself with something totally irrelevant?

So I put my HRM on heart rate/time in zone only, so I didn't know what time it was or how long we'd been running. They still announced the time at every mile marker, but I stopped working so hard to do the math and figure out where we were.

By mile six, I felt like being done running...but weirdly, from mile 8 to 18 time just flew. Seriously, suddenly we'd see the balloons for the next mile marker and I'd be like, wow, we just past the previous one a minute ago!

This was probably for a few reasons. When we stopped for five minutes, we ended up behind a lot of slower runners; so for much of the rest of the race, we were passing people. So we always had someone new to look at.

Another reason is just Danielle. She was singing, yelling, being crazy, and just thoroughly enjoying herself. I tend to get quiet and inward when I race; she becomes super-fun and her energy is just infectious. It's amazing.

It started to rain maybe around mile 7 or so, which was unexpected. But it was a light rain, and it felt refreshing. It rained until past mile 20 - almost to the end, but not quite.

The one major hill was completely no big deal. You go up before going over the St. John's Bridge, but we just powered up and it was over way before I expected it to be. The bridge itself was gorgeous and reminded both me and Danielle of the bridges of the NYC Marathon.

Plus, we knew that after the bridge, the course was largely downhill. Heather's boyfriend Ben met us on the other side of the bridge to run the last eight with us, and at one point he ran to a friend's house to get a beer. The four of us took turns taking swigs until it was gone; I used it to wash down a GU. Way better than water!

We realized around mile 23 that not only were we likely going to break five hours from our start time, we could also break five hours gun time, if we hustled. We picked up the pace pretty significantly from there, with cheerleader Danielle egging us on. But man, at this point, it hurt. I'm sure we weren't running that fast, but my heart rate was 10 bpm higher than it had been all race, and I was nervous that I'd burn out before the end.

When we hit the chute, Danielle wanted to run hard. She grabbed our hands and basically pulled me across the finish line. I barely remember this part - I was totally in a daze. When we stopped running, I felt completely out of it - people were coming towards me with space blankets and medals and I was confused. They kept putting things in my hands, like water and chocolate milk. I was worried someone would try to take me to a medical tent.

But within a few minutes, my head cleared and my heart rate dropped, and all I wanted was to see the family. I couldn't eat or drink; nothing sounded good. I picked up my finisher's shirt and called John to see where he was.

Well, he and the kids hadn't bothered to come out and see me race, at all. I was so hurt. I said goodbye to the girls and walked alone back to the hotel.

When I got there, I burst into tears. I just couldn't believe John would think that I wanted him to come all the way down to Portland and that I'd think it was okay for him and the kids to just wait for me in the hotel and not see me at least finish. I know it was raining, so I didn't expect them to be all along the course, but you'd think they could show up towards the end and just see me go by. It hurt that John actually thought I would want the kids to stay in because of rain.

I'm like, no way! We live in the rain capital of the world. I've always lived here with the belief that if you were going to do something, and it rains, you still do it - otherwise you'll never do anything all winter! So of course I wanted him and the kids out!

So, anyway, we got over that. I guess.

In re-reading this, there's one thing I failed to mention. The cowboy hats and pink outfits got us a ton of attention - duh. But the nice thing about it was that it seemed to make other people - like onlookers - happy. They cheered for us and yelled out to us, and it gave us a boost every time (in fact, it made Heather and Danielle run faster!). I think there's something good to not being anonymous in a race - it makes you keep moving, and it makes things just a little more fun.

And the cowboy hat, after the first couple of miles, wasn't even annoying. I don't like running in hats usually, but once I got used to it, it was fine. I'll post pictures when I get them.

So, our final time was 4:49:41 - not my slowest marathon, but the slowest (outside of Ironman) in which the pace was totally within my control (meaning, I was the slowest of a group that was staying together). And interestingly, Danielle and Heather hadn't trained at all for this race. But since they're both personal trainers and extremely fit, they had no problem getting through it.

Now I'm focusing on weight loss. I've been heavier than I want to be for more than a year, and I'm ready to commit to fixing it now. This week I'm back to shakes and protein - the week 1 of the 20/20 program - and perhaps I'll do this for a few weeks to kick-start some weight loss and start feeling better about myself. We'll see.

I don't feel bad about this race; seeing all the people out there of all shapes and sizes running faster and slower than me made me remember how amazing it is to run a marathon at all, whether it's in four hours or five. But I just know I can be better than I am right now, and I won't be satisfied with myself until I am.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Marathon eve

The last three weeks, as I've allegedly taped for this race, have been crazy busy at work and in my personal life, with school starting and routines changing and all that.

I'm reflecting, though, on this training period and whether I accomplished what I set out to do - regardless of the race's outcome tomorrow.

I wanted to put back some discipline and balance in my life. I think instead I learned just how far I could push things without going over the edge.

Sure, I had some successful long runs; but I weigh more now than I have since I became athletic, and I certainly did not regain all of my "speed" (I was never fast, but I'm less so now) during this training. In fact, I think I slacked off about as much as I completed what I planned to do.

So I know the taper period is supposed to make you feel restless - wanting to go, go, go right now! Not wait until race day! - and at the same time rested. I feel rested, sure...but not excited.

In other seasons, I arrived here feeling nervous and ready: today, I honestly feel a little embarrassed. I didn't train like I should. Yeah, I'm going to go out and jog a marathon. I'm trying to tell myself it's enough to dress up and wear a silly hat and go play in the streets of Portland and run a five-hour marathon, but it's not. No matter what, I'm not going to feel good about tomorrow.

So I'm going to go out there and put on a smile and try to have fun. I might even have fun for a while. But in the end, I know I'd feel better about a performance so strong I don't have the energy left to smile than one where I'm skipping and running into the crowds and goofing around. I know that I'm going to wish my name weren't right there in the results with some really long time next to it, and know that I could have done better, but chose not to.

I am trying to remind myself of the girl who never thought she could run a 5K, let alone a marathon. She's going to complete another marathon tomorrow, and that's cool and inspirational no matter what the time.

I guess I'm just so competitive with myself - and to know that I got here without doing the most I could to prepare bothers me. Even though I wasn't fast on Ironman Canada, I did every hour I planned to for my training. I'm sure for this marathon I've done a third of what I said I would do.

Anyway, I'm writing this all out to expunge it from my head, and it's leaving me as I type. Tomorrow is going to be fun, and I am going to be proud of being able to have that fun. So there, little voice in the back of my head that tells me constantly how not good enough I am!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I'll have some humble pie with that...

You know, I'm going to have to go back and look at old training schedules, but I'm pretty sure that none of them included an 18-mile run during the "taper" period.

So last week, we ran 22 miles. It felt great. In fact, for weeks all of my long runs have felt great. So knowing that 22 was the longest put me in this mindset of, "It's all done! Easy from here on out until the race!"

But, honestly, I think in other seasons, my longest run was 3 weeks out from the race - not four. So for this training season, it totally made sense to run one more long one - 18 miles.

Except for the simple fact of thinking I was in a taper meant I treated this long run a lot less seriously - to my detriment.

The last time I did 18 miles, I did go out Friday night (and big, too - Saturday was total recovery from Friday that weekend), but that Saturday during the day I hydrated well, ate properly and went to bed at 8:30 p.m.

This time? Um...well, I had plans to go out last night, and I made the brilliant decision to put my curfew at 3 a.m. - then I decided 3 a.m. was the "start to head home" time, not the "be asleep in bed" time.

In my defense, the run wasn't until 9 a.m. - but I had to bring the kids to their grandma's house for babysitting, so I had to wake up by 7:30 anyway.

I actually woke up at 7:15, before my alarm went off. I felt pretty much okay. Got a bagel and some coffee down, took the kids out to grandma's, came home and finished getting ready. Aleks was on time, as always, and we headed out at 8:59 a.m.

The first five miles was good - even fast. The next three miles were okay. And the next two - now we're five miles away from Nancy's car, who met us at mile 5 - were bordering on torture.

My left knee was doing that thing where it feels like the leg from the knee down had turned around in the knee socket. Because of the knee pain, I was running funny and making my calf tight and sore.

And then I got weird side stitches and pains very low in my belly. So I decided at mile 10 to walk a while.

I told Nancy and Aleks to go on ahead to 6.5 miles before turning around; I thought at worst, I'd walk the five miles back in the time they took to run what they had left (8 miles), and we'd finish together.

And walk I did. Not the entire time - I did go one full mile, just to see how long it took me to walk a mile (14:30, if you're wondering), but the rest of the miles I walked until I felt like running, and then ran until I felt like walking. I timed two of these: one was 11:30, and another was 12:30. I actually found this slightly annoying: If I'm running 10s to 11s, shouldn't my run-walk miles be way slower? Doesn't seem like running is all that efficient for me!

So, I got back to the car, and Nancy and Aleks were not yet in sight, so I ran-walked another mile to get 16 or so, then saw them. I didn't get 18 in, but I am not really beating myself up over it: it's a good lesson for me. How arrogant am I, to think I can party until 3 a.m., sleep a few hours, then go run 18 miles?

I feel good about recognizing my arrogance. It's good to learn from your mistakes, right - and now I see very clearly that I wasn't respecting my run, my running partners, or my body by trying to prove I could do it all.

16 is still nothing to be ashamed of, of course. Next weekend when we run 15 miles, I'll remember what happened today - and not let it happen again.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I was certain I could do it...

But I was totally and completely wrong.

So Gabriel has been practicing a rock beat. It's like this:

On the hi-hat, with the foot pedal depressed, 8 beats to the ? measure? I don't even know. But it's 8.

On the bass drum, with the other foot, 4 beats to the measure.

On the snare drum, hit on the 2 and 4 for the bass drum.

So two hands and one foot are moving at different rates, but all together.

I know what this sounds like. I know what this looks like.

But when I sat down to try it...NO GO.

It was SO HARD. I know I'm old and the kid is young, but still.

It was impossible!

I mean, for me. Gabriel continues to make it look easy.

Spent $1,000 on a drum kit for him today. Obviously it's pretty nice for an eight-year-old.

Thank good ol' uncle Bill for a bonus, I guess!

Pics later...the card I'm using in my camera doesn't want to be read by my laptop, and I'm too lazy to go find a computer that will read it.

Oh, and in other, but related news: If you ever want to see a kid motivated to clean a stinky garage, promise a drum kit, complete with a little rug to put it on. Gabriel has never been so helpful before, and my garage has never been so clean. :-)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gabriel goes to the School of Rock Music

Okay so I know I'm a proud mommy. But oh my goodness, yesterday I could not wipe the silly smile off my face for Gabriel's entire first lesson at the Seattle School of Rock Music.

Seriously. Gabriel's been taking guitar lessons, but he really wants to be a drummer. And he's got some natural talent. So, despite the fact that the school is like 30 miles from home, and lessons and rehearsals are twice a week, and gas costs a million dollars for my beloved but gas-guzzling car, I signed him up. Oh and I didn't even mention the monthly fee, the noise associated with having a child practice drums in the house, and the expense of a real drum kit.

But he did promise to give me $10 million from his first billion, so that's pretty generous for the woman who spent 19 hours in labor with him, right?

So, really, the kid is coordinated and has rhythm. By the end of his first lesson, he had his foot and each hand going at a different rate (I don't know anything about music, can you tell?) and it sounded great. His instructor was even smiling when Gabriel couldn't see him.

Here comes my next role: stage mommy. Gotta love it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A silent house

I've been so behind on blogging again, mostly because school started and chaos ensued and I'm only now starting to feel back in control of everything.

And right now, as I sat alone at my kitchen table to eat some dinner, I realized: my house is silent, except for the hum of the washing machine.

Camille is next door; 10 minutes ago she came home and asked how long she could stay at her friend's house and whether she could have ice cream. Gabriel went to a neighborhood community center with his friends to go swimming. John is taking a nap.

I woke up today at 5:45, worked 7 to 3:30 in the office, picked up the kids from school, worked again from 4:15 until about 6, then picked up the house and folded laundry. It's 8 p.m. and I have nothing left that I have to do - I even managed to help both kids with their homework and piano and guitar practice while I was cleaning up.

It feels like a little glimpse of what's to come: the older these kids get, the more independent - and the quieter the house. It's weird. And frankly, it makes me uncomfortable.

Oh, and in uneventful running news, I ran 22 miles yesterday, then had brunch with the girls, then went shopping for birthday presents, then spent the afternoon and evening at a birthday barbecue on the beach in Seattle. Got home late, had to bathe both kids, get lunches and uniforms ready for school tomorrow, and prepare for work today. Just a typical weekend day, right?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Four five-mile runs

Today we had 20 miles on the schedule. Despite running pain free this week, the leg workout Danielle gave me Wednesday basically destroyed my quads, so I didn't run much up to Sunday. I did go out dancing...in heels...twice.

So Aleks and I really wanted to run a flat course for physiological reasons - my knee and her hip issues are exacerbated on hills. And Portland is a really flat course, so I felt okay with an easy run.

We decided to leave her car at a park along the Cedar River Trail and run out five miles, then back five, then meet up with Nancy and Sarah and run five out the other way.

Running this way - with four five-mile sections - made it feel so easy. I felt like every 2.5 miles was actually a milestone: we were halfway through that section!

The first 10 miles was pretty easy. Nancy and Sarah weren't quite ready when we got back to the parking lot, so we stopped for a potty break. I walked around the parking lot for a few minutes and felt...nothing. No soreness, no pain - only the tiniest bit of tiredness.

The second 10 miles was much more interesting, both because of the scenery and because Aleks and I played a game. We had to work into our conversation certain obnoxious words...and every 15 minutes I had to mention that I was an Ironman. It was kinda easy to do that, since today is Ironman Canada 2008. But the other words...including "sausage factory," "beaver," "butt plug," and "corn hole" proved to be a little more challenging...but super-entertaining for Aleks and me. We did let Nancy and Sarah in on the joke by the end of the run.

Whenever I run, no matter the distance, I feel done at 75 to 80% of the run - whether the distance be 6 miles, 16, or 26. Today was no different. I felt fine, but by mile 17, I wanted to be done. But nothing hurt, so I just kept moving.

Aleks decided at 17 to empty the gas tank, so she ran ahead. When I finally reached her, I said, "Am I done? Did I hit 20?" I knew she had her GPS and would have run right up until 20 miles - not 19.9 or whatever. She told me I had to keep moving to a sign down the street a bit, so I took off sprinting to finish it off. I really wanted to get exactly 20 today.

When I finished, I felt amazing. Sure, my legs are exhausted - even now, seven hours later, they're so heavy and tired and I feel almost ill. But seriously, my runner's high today was a flood of serotonin: I felt awesome! I couldn't stop smiling! I ran 20 miles pain-free and in 3:40 - which is an 11-minute mile average, but whatever! I can run happy, if slow.

And now, Aleks and I have one more long run two weekends from now - a 22-miler - and then we taper for the marathon. I'm almost through my hard training!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We're doing WHAT?

Met Danielle for weight lifting today...where she said, "We're doing legs today!"

OW!!! Pyramid sets of lunges and squats hurt. I mean, you know you're going to be sore the next day when you finish the workout already sore.

But it's all good. I need it.

Ran yesterday; just six miles, but for the first time in a while, the six felt completely effortless. I mean, I did my 18 happy, but I haven't had a truly effortless run in a while. So yay!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Party like a rock star, train like an athlete

This weekend was slated for two events: Christopher Lawrence at Last Supper Club, and an 18-mile training run.

Accomplishing both would be a major feat. After all, a good night in the club means drinking, staying up late, partying, dancing - and to run 18 miles means eating well, hydrating, getting lots of rest.

Hmm. They don't at first seem particularly compatible, huh?

Not even just at first: They're NOT. But I'm happy that I managed - with the help of my lovely husband - to do both.

I took Friday off of work to spend with out-of-town family and the kids. Once my out-of-town relatives took off on the cruise they had scheduled, the kids and I ran errands and got ice cream together, so we spent a pretty nice afternoon. (They were semi-fun errands: getting a microphone stand for Gabriel so he can sing and play guitar at the same time, getting Camille's school uniforms - more adorable than you'd think.)

The kids and I played and made dinner together in the late afternoon, and the babysitter arrived around 9:30. By the time we hit the club, we were ready for a good time. Tons of friends there, great music - it was a blast. Per Danielle's advice, I drank vanilla stoli and soda, but in a tall glass - so only one shot of liquor at a time and lots of soda. I think that helps to stave off some dehydration.

But you know how when you're out at night and you're having a good time, and you don't want the night to end? Well, John and I both felt that way - and he had been invited to a bachelor party in a hotel nearby. The bachelor party had been to the club earlier, so they knew I was with John - and they said it was cool for me to come, too! So I attended my first bachelor party. It was really just a bunch of guys we knew sitting around and being silly, but it was fun.

So we were out until about 4:30. I slept until around noon (John barely slept at all), and then hung with the kids until it was time to go to a birthday party. The birthday party rocked - all the kids were entertained, all the adults sat outside and chilled.

That evening, though, everyone was invited over another friend's house, and that's where I had to draw the line. I said I'd be in bed by 9:30 p.m., and actually I was in bed at 8:30 with two Tylenol PM. I fell asleep and slept until 5:45 a.m. - woke up feeling refreshed and happy. John was awesome - he really wanted to go out, so he got a babysitter even though I was home to make sure I didn't have to referee. We also had a couple extra kids over, doing a favor for another friend.

So I got up, choked down half a bagel and half a banana (so hard to get the calories in in the morning!), and Aleks met me at the house.

I planned a route that involved a two-mile climb half a mile into the run. Ha. Then the rest was all rolling hills - the next 2 on pavement, then nearly 10 on trail, then the rest back on pavement.

At mile 9, I got a terrible pain in my left knee. It felt like my lower leg was unscrewing itself from my knee - like my leg could turn around backwards and was hanging by a thread. It sucked. I could tolerate the pain as it built, but then something would happen and it would get really sharp and painful - so much so that I cried out.

But I was determined to do 18 miles, no matter what. I haven't had a solid long run yet; the 16-miler was difficult cardio-wise, and it was really important to me that I break through and have a good run. And this one, honestly, felt great up until then. I could breathe easily, I felt comfortable, I felt like, frankly, I could run a marathon. So how dare my knee act up?

I walked a few steps - very quickly - and realized it didn't hurt at all while walking. It also didn't hurt much on flat or downhill ground - just uphill. So I decided to run as much as I could, and walk when I couldn't take the pain any longer.

I did this for the rest of the trail route - six miles more. Scheris stayed with me, while Nancy and Aleks ran ahead. We met up with Nancy and Aleks at the trailhead (it's a loop), and Scheris left. The three of us decided to change up the route to stay on pavement, and end at a Starbucks. :-)

On pavement, my knee hurt less - but still hurt. Finally though I realized it hurt the same no matter what speed I ran. The pain changed only with the grade. So I ran as much as I could - and honestly, I pretty much ran the rest of the remaining 3.5 miles - and finished pretty happy.

Weirdly, I feel a lot less sore than I did after the 16-miler. Pretty much I have no muscle soreness, except a tight right calf (which I had before I started the run anyway, I woke up with it yesterday). And my knee isn't too bad - it doesn't hurt at all really while walking, and it only hurts a tiny bit climbing stairs.

I'm probably going to do a short run this afternoon to see how things feel. And I kind of want to see a doctor to figure out what could be the problem and whether I can fix it. At the same time, I don't want to be told not to run...not now, when I feel like things are finally coming back together.

So, my house is mess, my laundry isn't done, I haven't gone grocery shopping...but I balanced the best I could to accomplish some goals. There's always tomorrow for chores!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Remind me to work out when I feel bad

I've been lifting and on a much better workout schedule for the last couple of weeks, and I feel better. Already I can lift almost as much as I could before, and today in a circuit training class I noticed my balance was way better than it has been.

I knew I lost it pretty quickly; looks like it's coming back just as quickly.

Thank goodness! I also am in a better mood...then again, it's only Monday. :-)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Wow, you're fat!

So last night, I'm in a bar. And this is what often happens in my scene - electronic dance music in Seattle, specifically trance and progressive. There are like way way more men than women, and I'm married and somewhat oblivious, so I don't really notice people. Or, it takes me a while to notice them. And I'm busy dancing anyway and trying not to make eye contact with anyone I'm not married to.

Guys, though, they don't have too many women to look at, so they look at them all - including me. Often because they've seen me over weeks and months at the same clubs they're going to, they decide that they know me - and maybe because the scene is small and everyone is connected by probably three degrees, let alone six, they think we've been introduced.

We haven't. I remember people once I look at them and talk to them.

This guy is talking to my friends, and turns to talk to my husband. It's quite possible John and the guy have met before, but I know I haven't met him, though he looks vaguely familiar. We've probably been to like 20 events at the same time and I didn't know.

We start talking; he tells me he works on the same campus as I do, so obviously he's seen me at the office. Hmm. Okay. Then we start talking about bar fights, and how he's never seen one in five years of going to this particular club. And John decides to tell him the story of my bar fight.

So I say, "Well, you know, this was Thursday night after I completed an Ironman on the previous Sunday. I was still all pumped up about being an Ironman and feeling strong and stuff."

He confirms what an Ironman is - "A full marathon, after how much swimming and biking?" and I tell him. He asks where, I tell him in Penticton, in the mountains. And then:

"I thought you had to look like Lance Armstrong to do an Ironman! Wow!"

Of course I smile and brush it off, saying, "Well, no, all you have to do is train properly. I didn't win, but I definitely did it."

A few minutes later, after a change of topic, he's back to: "So, you really did all of it?"

I reply, "Well, yeah, I wouldn't be talking about being an Ironman if I didn't!"

So of course I'm just thinking, wow. This guy thinks I'm totally fat, not athletic, not capable of finishing an Ironman.

I should kick his ass!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

16 miles? Yeah, I can do that.

That was what my schedule said for this week: 16 miles. And although I was positive I could do it, I was less sure I could do it with other people who might run faster than me.

Couple that with the fact that I knew Aleks had a particular pace range in mind and that it was important to her to run continuously - not stopping and starting - and I was nervous.

I debated bringing my Zune; I knew if I had it, I'd feel more like it was okay to run alone, but if I didn't and I ended up running alone, it would suck for me.

I brought it.

The first four miles were easy; both Aleks and Allison had their GPS thingys on, and though they each said different speeds, it felt like we were running really comfortably (and we finished the four miles in between 40 and 45 minutes, which was the goal pace). My heart rate was in the low 150s except on the uphills.

But after the four, we picked up another friend of Aleks' and the pace. He was also wearing a GPS, and all three of them showed pretty dramatically different paces. So I always go by RPE and heart rate anyway, but soon we were running a pace that put me in the high 160s on flats - which to me said we were running faster than we started out. And since I thought the pace we started out was what they wanted to go, I felt like we were going too fast.

I didn't want to say anything and look like a whiner, though! The fact is, I'm nowhere near as strong as I was last year, and I look at myself and think, "Maybe you're getting tired. Maybe you're weak. Maybe the pace hasn't really picked up and you just can't cut it."

Except realistically, it had. Aleks' friend is a much, much stronger runner - he's done a 3:02 marathon, she said, and qualified for Boston three times. At the same time, I had nothing to back up my assertion that we were running faster now except my RPE and heart rate - which are really only good for telling how *I* feel, not anyone else.

So we ran together, we sped up sometimes, we slowed down sometimes, and we got to 13.2 miles together when we hit this massive hill.

Oh wait - to this point I had no abnormal pains. Obviously my heart rate was happiest closer to 160, and at times my legs felt heavy and my muscles felt tired, but nothing bad. I did start out running on a really tight left hamstring, but after the first four slow miles it loosened up and felt normal.

So we start up the hill...and I slow down a lot. I let my heart rate climb to about 174, and then just slowly jogged up the hill. I put on my headphones without stopping and just kept moving. The hill was long - nearly a mile - and they waited at the top for me (which I felt bad about).

The rest was not bad. Once you hit 14 miles, you know you're getting the 16. Aleks and I ran slightly faster the 15th mile, then she asked if I minded if she ran it out for the last mile. Of course I didn't, so she took off. I actually sped up too, lengthening my stride. My heart rate climbed, but I felt good. I think it might be better for me to change my pace while doing long runs - spend 30 seconds each half mile or so really running it out, to change things up. It made my legs feel way better.

When I reached the end, Aleks told me I was a couple tenths of a mile away from 16. She had run a little further to get the full 16; I wasn't going to worry about it. I'm okay with approximations of distance. No race I've ever run was perfect against someone's GPS. Mentally for me, the cafe we parked at was the finish line; I crossed it feeling really good.

So, I didn't do 100% of it with the others, but I did do most of it. I didn't really feel totally prepared for this run, but to be honest, now, after showering and stuff, I feel pretty darn awesome.

Nothing hurts very much; I have a little muscle soreness (but way less than I had the past few days from circuit training) and I get stiff if I sit for too long. My left knee hurts a bit - probably from the compensation I did at the beginning of the run because of my sore right hamstring - and going up and down stairs kind of sucks. But I feel good. I always feel like the first run you do in marathon training beyond a half-marathon distance is a breakthrough run - it's going over what I feel like a totally reasonable running distance is into the "wow" territory. And I did this one way happier than I did my first 14-miler my first marathon season.

So I'm on my way back...this run proved to me I've still got some catching up to do to be back 100% with my friends, but I'm pretty close. And I certainly know what to do to get there.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I can barely walk

And it feels great!

I went to circuit training for the first time in forever yesterday, and my old 20/20 trainer happened to be the guy teaching. He pushed me through a tough class - obviously you get out of it what you put in, but the format was tough and then of course I did as much as I could.

Jeff came with me; he said part way through the class that he'd forgotten how much harder you work when a trainer is at the front of the room checking on you. Yeah, me too. I thought for the longest time I could do it on my own - and I know that physically I can do it, I know how to do it - but that external motivation helps, too.

This morning Sarah and I ran in Bridle Trails. Despite my sore hamstrings, the run felt good (probably really slow, but whatever). It was nice to get out of bed and feel motivated to do something.

I'm working on a few different things, with regard to my ongoing unhappiness. First, exercising close to daily is a must. Even if the restlessness and anxiety doesn't go away for the entire day, it goes away while I'm working out, and then I have a little reprieve for a bit afterwards. I'm also trying to make amends with the known problems. I really don't want to have any confrontations, but they're coming - and I know they have to.

I'm also thinking about getting away for a while. I'm asking for permission to work remotely, and I have a place to stay, oh, about, 1300 miles from here. By myself. On the one hand, it is running away, which is immature and silly; but on the other, it's time to myself to focus and try to break out of whatever is going on with me.

But we'll see. If I were to go, I'd want to leave this weekend and drive, but my hair really needs to be re-dyed and I don't have an appointment until August 9, and it looks so bad and I'm so loyal to the person who does it that I think I might have to stick around.

And this illustrates the maturity of my thought processes these days. Oh well.

Monday, July 28, 2008

When friendships end

What's the natural end to a friendship?

Obviously when one friend moves away, friendships drift apart. Or, when interests change, and schedules no longer align.

But what happens when you just decide you don't want to be friends with someone anymore? Can you even do that, if the person you don't want to be friends with is in your social circle?

And shouldn't I have learned this in high school?

I feel like right now, I have a handful of friendships that are in limbo. A gal who lives nearby, but who I never see. A set of friends in another nearby city, who have totally different social interests. Someone who has done something I can't forgive - yet I see him fairly often. Someone who hasn't forgiven me for something I did, and maybe won't.

There are people to whom I want to be closer, and people I wish to separate myself from. But it seems like this doesn't happen deliberately. When that guy lied to me and I caught him, I decided then and there I was no longer going to be his friend. Saturday afternoon, I texted him and said I was going to hug him and be over it for real this time when I saw him Saturday night. I did, and to be honest, I am. I was positive once, just two weeks ago, that our friendship was over; it's not. And I'm positive now that my "in limbo" friendships are still alive - but maybe they're not. Who really knows?

Facebook too makes the notion of friendship kind of weird. I'm in "Facebook touch" with a number of people I would have lost touch with long ago, had it not been for a saved email address. I like it, actually; when I get silly status updates from those friends I wouldn't have otherwise kept in touch with, I feel like I'm still connected to them, and them to me. But aren't they really strangers at this point? Isn't it just a bit of voyeurism that keeps us linked to one another?

Who knows. I just wish I knew where I stood with every single person. I wish all the unresolved conflicts were fixed and I was over it, instead of being here knowing something or somethings are going to happen, and I'm going to feel something. That's what's so unsettling right now - the idea that emotions are coming, and I'm going to have to deal with them. I'd rather just turn them off.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hike-running, or run-hiking?

This morning I went out with a couple of gals to run Rattlesnake Ledge. It was advertised something like this:

"This will be a beautiful and relaxing run. Trail starts out in some light woods and then opens up onto an exposed, steeper section where you can see some small wildlife. You’re immediately back into the woods for a cushy ride on a soft, pine-covered trail that meanders up and down through the woods for a few miles. It smells great and you can’t hear the freeway. It’s lovely."

Uh, yeah. So it actually goes like this:

The trail starts out uphill in the woods. It's pretty, but it's uphill. Then it opens up onto an exposed, steeper section where the view is amazing, if you can lift your head to look at it. But if you do, you'll see that there's a lot more uphill to go. You're soon back into the woods, where you continue to gain elevation for, oh, about the rest of the time on the "out" part of this run. The trail will be lovely, and you won't be able to hear the traffic on I-90 anyway because you'll be breathing so heavily. You won't really go "down" per se, unless it's opposite day and down means up. There might be one tiny downhill section...followed by yet another steep uphill.

Yeah, that's more like it.

So I ran for the first 20 minutes; the next 10 was mostly running with a few walking steps; then the next 42 was primarily speed-walking with some running when my heart rate dipped below 170. You read that right...170. At the end of the uphill portion, I stopped my HR monitor and the AVERAGE was 170. Let me reiterate: for an hour and 12 minutes. So it was pretty intense.

Oh, and the other girls beat me up the hill - by a lot. Very humbling - but in a good way. I'm out of shape and I can't pretend I'm not. The proof is in the walking.

On the way down, I led the way, until a cramp got the best of me. I walked for a few minutes and it seemed to go away, but when I picked up running again, it came right back. I slowed down, lost the girls, and pushed through the pain.

Downhill was kind of hard, but not cardiovascularly. It definitely hurt my knees, but I loved how I needed to work to maintain my balance. I don't think I could have walked down anyway; it seemed too steep.

So in all, it was 9 miles in two hours. I originally had 10 miles on my schedule, then changed it to 13. But given the intensity of the run, the work of all my muscles to stabilize myself (both up and down), and the amount of time spent running, I'm satisfied that I did the solid workout I needed to get in today.

And best of all, I woke up easily, pre-alarm, with no desire to hide under the covers. First day this week I've felt that way!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Unhappiness

So this week has been impossible, and I really don't know why.

I was okay earlier in the week, but my inability to get out of bed has escalated toward the end of the week. This morning, I was positive I wouldn't get out of bed at all; yesterday, I got out of bed late and took a couple of naps during the day when I couldn't bear to have my eyes open any longer.

And I'm not actually tired. I'm...I hate to use the "d" word.

What really sucks is that when John is depressed, there's always a reason or a set of reasons, and we can talk, and make a plan to fix the issues he faces.

When I am down, there's never an obvious reason. If there were, I would fix it. I'd just figure out what to do, and start right away. I make plans. I do stuff.

No fair that I have no idea what to do this time.

I guess its good that all I do is sleep when I'm low. I could be abusing susbtances, I suppose, and even though I have easy access to alcohol in the house, I don't bother. And no, not because of the calories. I just don't have that kind of personality...which is odd, considering many people in my family do.

I just feel like giving up, starting over...I want to move to Portland. With John and the kids. A new city, new job, new friends...I know it's ridiculous, but doesn't it sound great, too?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Forgiving

A couple of weeks ago, I casually - and with no motive other than making conversation - asked a friend what he was doing that night.

"Nothing," he replied. "We're really tired, we're just going to stay in and chill."

I believed him...sort of. Something in the way he said it made me feel a little bit like I'd been lied to.

Well, a few hours later, as we stopped by his house to pick something up (that he had asked us to get that moment!), we discover a car belonging to some other friends and those friends hiding in the closet.

My friend was caught in a bald-faced lie.

I actually felt good for a moment. That uncomfortable feeling I'd had had blossomed into a full-on suspicion that I'd been lied to...and knowing I had made it easy for me to change my myspace status to "Jessica says when your friends start lying to you, that's when they're no longer your friends."

On Monday, he instant messaged me. At first I was going to ignore him, but then he said, "If you're there but ignoring me because you're pissed, I understand, but at least give me the opportunity to explain to you what went down and why it went that way before you shut me out. If you still feel the same way, I'll completely understand, but at least hear me out please."

I replied, "Okay. I am here."

He proceeded to explain why he kept the information from me, and what he should have done instead, and how he's sorry I was hurt and offended.

I didn't say I forgave him; all I said was, "Okay. Thank you for the explanation."

Two days later, driving home from work, some feeling came over me and I decided to text him and say this: "I am over it. I don't even want to explain why it was important. Done, finished, moving on."

What I felt done with was my anger; what I wanted to do was avoid this person and not be his friend any longer. Sort of. I wish I could really want that; the fact is, I want this situation not to have happened. I really care about this friend; I don't want to let him go.

The following Saturday night, he was out at the club we went to, and he smiled at me and waved and tried to be friendly...and I immediately wanted to run away and not talk to him. But he wanted to talk - he reiterated out loud everything he had said over Instant Messenger. I was like, you already said all that. And he said, well, I just wanted to say it out loud. I let him say what he had to say, and then walked away.

So, okay. I'm gone for a week, and when I come back, we decide to go out on a Wednesday to see a DJ friend play in a bar. I know this guy is going to be there, and until we arrive and I see his car parked outside, I feel okay about it.

But then when we get in, I just feel so awful again...so unimportant or irrelevant I can be just lied to directly, to my face.

I want to forgive him and move on. I've often - but not always - felt like out of all the people in our group, this guy and I have a lot in common and sometimes we have a special bond. Maybe I'm wrong and that's only there for me.

Regardless, just being reminded of the lie hurts! I can see it in my own frame of mind - I had two drinks at the bar, then a glass of wine at a restaurant with John later on - and instead of getting happy and fun, I got depressed and felt horrible.

When we got home, I texted the guy. "I don't know why it's so hard to feel like I forgive you. I guess it really hurts to be lied to, regardless of motive."

He responds: "I understand - all I can do is apologize, admit to my mistake, and refrain from making the same mistake again :-( ."

So he's done the right things. He knows he's wrong, he knows he hurt me, and he feels bad and will try not to do it again.

How do I get over my hurt and forgive him now? For real, no looking back?

The funny thing is, I'm in the opposite situation with another friend, where I did something wrong, apologized, and am not being forgiven. I'll write about that later.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Talking to my eight-year-old on instant messenger

It's a really weird experience.

I mean, does he even know how to read? Does he read sarcasm and tone and whatever the way adults do?

Here's an excerpt from our conversation (note that he's logged in to John's account):


Jessica says:
okay. will you get camille or should I/
John says:
its up to you its G now daddy left
Jessica says:
you are closer, so you can get her. What do you want for dinner?
John says:
yes
Jessica says:
"yes" is not an answer to the question "what do you want for dinner"
Jessica says:
You want to eat "yes"?
John says:
NO we can pick cz up
Jessica says:
I know. I also asked what you would like to eat.
John says:
I want to make QD
Jessica says:
QD?
John says:
tortilla.....cheese
Jessica says:
quesadilla
John says:
yes ........ I do not how to spell that
Jessica says:
That's how. Is this still Gabriel?
John says:
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jessica says:
No need to yell, dude. Did you know that using capital letters on the Internet is yelling?
John says:
ok

Okay, I'm a bad bad mother. Oh well!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Belonging

Today we had 13 miles on the schedule, and decided to do one of my favorite runs: Bellevue to Seattle and back. It feels like an accomplishment - to run to Seattle from the east side - and to be honest, 13 miles is an accomplishment anyway.

I went to bed fairly early; I was exhausted last night. There were a couple of things going on, and we even had childcare if we wanted it, but nothing was exciting enough to get me out. Anyway, we went out Thursday and had a blast, so I think I'm done with Fridays. Thursday there were no slimy guys out, only people who love music, and lots of friends. Friday brings the frat boy crowd, and I don't need my ass grabbed in a club by a stranger, thank you very much. But back to the point: I stayed home and got decent sleep, waking up naturally before my alarm (around 6:15).

I haven't quite figured out what I should eat for breakfast while I'm trying to lose weight and marathon train (yeah I know they're not very compatible)...so I took the poor option of a butter croissant from Starbucks along with my coffee. 39 grams of carbs, though, and 290 calories - I probably should have more protein, but I could do worse, I guess.

The run is quite hilly - honestly, hillier than I remember. I thought it was just short ups and downs...but some of those ups felt not-so-short. And when we started it was 62 degrees; I know that's nothing for most of the country, but in Seattle at 8 a.m., that's a sure sign the day will be what we consider warm (maybe up to 80! Oh my goodness! How easily the girl from Massachusetts forgets what summers are really like!)

I felt pretty good for most of the run - unlike last week's 11 miler. I fell behind Aleks and Nancy on some of the hills (which was only annoying because Nancy had said early on "I don't think I have 13 miles in me today!" and I was like, yeah, whatever).

At one point, Aleks told me I'm a stronger runner than she is. I laughed and said for sure not right now - and she basically told me that she knows I'm just coming back and two weeks from now I'll be 30 seconds per mile faster. I love the confidence my friends have in me - it's so different from how I feel myself.

I know I haven't been running as much or lifting weights or cross-training. And my body shows it: While I'm only a few pounds heavier, I'm positive that my body fat is up and lean mass down. My knees hurt when I run - which they always do when I'm over 140 lbs - and I feel jiggles. The shoulders and arms I used to be proud of are now embarrassments. (And still I have no desire to lift...which we talked about, too. I think Aleks and I are going to try to do it together in August.)

But the thought that creeps into my head when I fall behind isn't "I did an Ironman last year, I can totally come back from this" - instead, it's "Here's proof you don't belong with these women, Jessica!"

It's silly. Intellectually I know it's wrong. But emotionally, it's how I feel.

So today, finishing the 13 miles alone (Aleks and Nancy ahead, another girl behind), I had to force myself to pick up my head and run tall. And then I picked up my stride and stretched out my legs on the way to the car.

And when I stopped running to do my cool-down walk and the runner's high hit, for a moment I could almost believe I was wrong, I really do belong there.

Almost.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wednesday speed work!

Aleks set out a workout for us today; it looked like this:

1 mile (slow) warm up (5 laps)
1 lap @ 6:45 pace
1 lap recovery
6 laps @ 7:45 pace w/ 1 lap recovery after each
1 mile recovery

The track is 1/5 of a mile, not the standard 1/4 (it's around a soccer field), so this amounts to just under 5 miles.

I was nervous, but not couldn't-sleep nervous like I often am before a long run. I worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up; after all, I haven't even tried to run fast in almost a year.

But I woke up without knee or foot pain, so I just went. How bad could it be?

Well, turns out, I'm not sure what my actual pace was for any lap, as I couldn't quite hang with Aleks and Allison but I was ahead of Nancy (who also had a Garmin). For the first five fast laps, I was about 5 to 7 seconds behind; which translates to 25 to 35 seconds per mile behind, but I think they actually went faster than the advertised pace.

So I was slower, they were faster, and I finished five out of seven pretty well. The last two fast laps were HARD and I slowed down a lot - but got them done.

For a first speed work workout, that's fine by me.

Aleks and I made our plan for the Portland Marathon, too. It basically looks like this:

Monday: Recovery runs of 4 or 5 miles
Wednesday: Speed work (5 miles including recovery laps)
Friday: Marathon pace runs of 6 to 9 miles
Saturday or Sunday: Long runs at endurance pace; we'll have a 19, 20, and a 22 miler before the big day.

I'm actually excited to have a plan again and a training log. It feels right.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I sleep with Darth Vader and I love it

For as long as I can remember (since I met my husband), I've always had much more energy than him.

In the past few years, though - after I lost weight and became athletic - it has been a serious issue between us. I might go so far as to say an issue that made me question our marriage.

This year has gotten especially bad, too. It's not just that we go out more than we used to; it's that John uses Red Bull or other stuff like that to stay awake, and then he stays awake for way too long (even if I go to sleep) and then pays for it the following week. Stimulants - caffeine, energy drinks, etc - really affect him.

He needs them to be able to go out and have fun, but then he crashes hard. He'll fall asleep standing up, while driving, or whatever. He goes to bed at night and wakes up just as tired (maybe more so) in the morning.

Now, I've never had a problem falling or staying asleep. In fact, part of the reason I didn't realize for so long how serious John's sleep deprivation was is that I hit the pillow and fall asleep right away.

Recently, though, John started falling asleep before me. And I learned something: if he falls asleep first, I never get to sleep - because he snores and stops breathing.

I started to suspect he has sleep apnea, and that's why he is so tired all the time and never wants to do anything.

I forced him to go to the doctor, and two sleep studies later, we've learned that he does indeed have sleep apnea - it's even classified as severe. He wakes up 33 times an hour to breathe during lighter sleep and 66 times an hour during deep sleep. So obviously the poor guy never actually gets deep sleep.

This angel of a sleep doctor pulled strings to get him a CPAP machine prior to the Fourth of July holiday. And lo and behold - I have a new husband!

He's awake, alert, and feels great! He had no idea how bad it was until he finally felt well-rested. He wears this mask over his mouth and nose and it's connected to tubes and whatever - he says it looks more uncomfortable than it actually feels.

It's very quiet, too - all I hear is the sound of regular, light breathing. It's actually quite peaceful. (The Darth Vader thing is an exaggeration...but it's funny, so I keep saying it.)

There's no cure for sleep apnea; he'll be on the machine until something else is invented, I guess, or a cure is found. John's sleep apnea isn't about weight, unfortunately; it's the structure of his mouth, tongue and throat. When his muscles relax, his tongue basically blocks his airway. Surgery is possible, but they say only 50% effective...and very serious and painful. So it doesn't seem worth it if the machine works.

And so far, so good! Sweet, huh!

Monday, July 07, 2008

When does 11 miles feel like 20?

When you're out of shape and cocky, that's when.

Ugh. It was a flat 11 miles, too - and I have more pain in my feet (front of my ankle on the left, top of my right connected to my big toe and running across to the outside of my foot) than I've ever had.

And one of my knees hurts, too.

I'm trying to remind myself that running hurt in my first marathon training season; and with my lack of discipline around, well, everything right now, this is to be expected.

But it's annoying! I thought I already worked through all this stuff and could run forever! Blah!

Okay, done whining.

At least it was a nice day, and Gabriel came with me on his bike. He was so adorable - around mile 9 or so I fell behind in a futile attempt to get rid of my foot pain, and another girl was a ways behind me, so he kept riding between our pack leaders, me, and the girl behind to make sure everyone was okay. So cute!

And he asked if we could go for a ride today when I get home from work. It's so gorgeous outside that I might just shirk my household-cleaning duties to do just that.

This is going to be an interesting marathon training season, for sure. But I finally feel like I'm back motivated to run. Saturday night, we were out with friends and I just up and left so that I could get enough sleep to feel good Sunday.

I didn't even feel bad; in fact, when a friend looked at me and said, "Priorities!" in a resigned voice when I said I was leaving, I said, "Oh, no. It's not priorities; it's balance. I got to come out for a while, and I get to run tomorrow."

Hopefully this will last through October 5...Portland Marathon!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A test of balance

It was pretty much an insane weekend.

So beginning with Friday evening, when I got home from San Francisco, John and I had concert tickets. I wasn't really down with going...but it was important to him, so I did.

BUT! I had to be headed home and in bed right after the show. On Saturday morning, I was a volunteer running buddy with Girls on the Run, and we were doing the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K. My buddy needed me to be ON - show up on time, and ready to run.

I'm happy to say all was good - I was in bed by around 2:30, up at 6 to be ready to leave by 7, get there by 7:30.

The thing that made it all more complicated, though, was that I also wanted to attend my friend Brian's bar mitzvah...at 10:30 a.m. Since the race was at 8:30, that didn't leave enough time to race, watch the other girls finish, say goodbye to my running buddy, get home, shower, dress, and get back into Seattle to the synagogue.

So, guess what I didn't do! Yup, shower!

The race was really fun - my buddy had had a cold, and I could tell she was suffering a bit. But she wouldn't walk a step - she wanted to get it done running, and she did. She even "emptied the gas tank" at the end and sprinted to the finish line. By my watch, we did it in about 35 minutes - not bad for a 10-year-old! She was the first girl from Redmond to finish and the third overall from the program.

I had John pick me up at 10 nearby - he and the kids were already ready. I changed my clothes in the car (putting on a dress in a car is HARD), pinned up my hair, and slapped on a little makeup. And off to the bar mitzvah we went.

Saturday afternoon was uneventful; we just hung out at home. But Saturday night we again had plans to go out.

And Sunday I had a 10-mile run planned.

I set a rule before we went out: no matter what time we left the club, I was going to be in bed by 2:30 a.m. No exceptions.

Our friends left around 1:15 to go back to one of their houses. I was actually happy about that, because that house is really close to mine so I knew I could hang for an hour or so before heading home.

At 2:20 a.m., I stood up and said, "Okay, time for me to go!"

My friend said, "FAIL! You can't leave yet!"

And by then, I didn't want to. People were still coming in to chill out after a fun night of dancing and great music - but I had two goals: re-discover the athlete I seemed to have lost a few months ago, and still enjoy my friends and going out. And it's just not possible to do both at the exact same time.

So 2:30 was my turn-back-into-a-pumpkin time; I apologized and took off.

After driving the three minutes home, getting undressed, getting my makeup off, and brushing my teeth, I looked at the clock. 2:33.

But the clock is a few minutes fast...so I figure I made my goal.

I woke up at 7:50, 10 minutes before my alarm. Plenty of time to drink some coffee and prepare for the run.

The girls arrived at my house at 8:45, we were on the trail at 9:15 or so. And the 10 miles? Not so bad. I could definitely feel myself fading a bit after five miles; a GU perked me up a bit, then gave me a tummyache (so much for the Iron Stomach I built last year). But I finished the 10 relatively happy with my performance - I mean, I'm not breaking any land-speed records, but I'm moving - and the pace was a decent 10:35 average per mile. Just fine for an early long run on the way to a 4-hour marathon! Oh yeah I'm going to run Portland. I should sign up right now to commit myself!

So then we had brunch and in the afternoon, I went hiking with a couple of other families and our kids. Four miles round trip, not super-steep, but it took 50 minutes to get to the top. Then Gabriel, one of the girls from another family and I pretty much ran down.

That was super-fun - and I felt great that I could go run 10, then hike and feel pretty good about that.

So that's what the weekend was: a test of balance. I hung with the kids, I volunteered, I exercised, and I stayed up pretty late to hang with friends. And all in a weekend between two pretty busy weeks at work.

Some days I really do feel like I can do it all: be a great wife, mother, employee and athlete. I just wish those some days were every day...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gotta love a business trip...

where you come and go in the same day.

I'm in San Francisco right now. Specifically, the airport. I've actually spent more time in the airports today...and I will have spent 6 more time on the airplane, too, once I get home, than I did in the meeting I had.

Wake up 4:30 a.m.
Wake the entire family so they can bring me to the airport (because we only have one car right now that fits everyone and John won't let me drive his NSX...or leave it at the airport for a day).
Get on plane at 6:30. Suffer with Starbucks coffee instead of the good stuff.
Confuse cab driver on the way to my meeting.
Arrive at the SF office in time to walk to good coffee with one of the people I was meeting with. Yay, one good thing.
Have a productive meeting for 3 hours or so.
Go back to airport.
Fail to get on standby for an earlier flight home....so wait in the airport for three and a half hours.
That's where I am.

Looks like the flight on which I'm confirmed, though, is on time...can't wait to sit in my middle seat!

Anyway, at least everywhere I go there's internet access. And I'm sure I'll have a nice dinner with the family when I get home.

Then John and I are going to go see Above & Beyond tonight; hopefully that will be a good time.

Tomorrow I'm running the Komen 5K with Girls on the Run. I'm a running buddy to a great girl who actually can run a decent 5K - 30 minutes or so! So I'm very excited about that.

Just need to get out of this airport!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dieselboy made me a drum and bass fan

Last July, John and I were at a club, totally dancing and enjoying the music. Suddenly, he says, "Let's get out of here!" and pulls me toward the door. It was so abrupt that I was like, what is going on? Are we being threatened?

But no. John could hear a drum & bass song being mixed in, and knew that the tone of the music was about to change. He so dislikes drum & bass that he didn't want even one song to mess up his great night - so it was time to go.

So I guess I thought drum & bass was to be avoided at all costs.

But sometime this spring, my friend Ryan brought over a CD and played me a song - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang by High Contrast. I was hooked on the song - and really the rest of that album - immediately.

I started asking friends for recommendations for more drum & bass, and I found Dieselboy.

The sound is much harder, but there's something in it that pulls me in. I thought it would make me angry with that 180 beats per minute or whatever, but it doesn't - I actually can focus really well at work while listening to drum & bass. And while there is something that ties the genre together, it's much more complex than I think John believes.

So Friday night there was a show called "Monsters of Jungle" (jungle and drum & bass are either the same sub-genre of electronica or similar, depending on who you ask) here in Seattle, and I wanted to go really bad. And John wanted to stay home really bad.

We agreed that I'd go without him. He warned me I'd probably be shot at or knifed; apparently dangerous types go to drum & bass shows.

Whatever!

So first off, the show wasn't in a club - it's just a space where there are lots of shows, all different types of music. So everyone who was there was there for the music.

I have never felt so comfortable so quickly in a place I'd never been. The vibe was great - people were chill, either sitting down up in the balcony or dancing on the floor below. Nobody was obviously drunk and obnoxious. Nobody looked me up and down to check me out. Sa-weet.

We arrived right when Evol Intent was taking the stage. The music was great; you couldn't help but dance. But I was also fascinated by the MC. He talks and rhymes along to the music, and my friends who are in the know said that typically it really is just off the top of his head, playing off the crowd and the energy. It was cool.

When Dieselboy went on, though, oh my goodness. I couldn't help but run down the stairs to the dance floor. My friends followed. It was like a million degrees down there, but we couldn't stop moving. We took a break 30 minutes in so some people could go outside and smoke and cool off, but then we were back in the thick of it for another 45 minutes. Oh, and at some point, he played a drum and bass version of the Nine Inch Nails song "The Hand that Feeds" - which is like my favorite song to sing in "Rock Band." At the end of the night, we were pouring sweat and totally gross - but happy.

A friend of a friend told me I dance like a cat. I don't know what that means, but she says it's a good thing.

Anyway, the whole night was a massive contrast to a night we had just a few weeks ago in a club. We saw Judge Jules - in a regular club in Pioneer Square. That night - despite not being really dressed up, despite not wearing makeup, despite wearing my wedding ring, and despite BEING NEXT TO MY HUSBAND ALL NIGHT - I got my ass completely grabbed by a stranger, really obvious up-and-down looks from slimeballs, and shadow-danced with so much that my male friends had to push the guy away. UGH.

So I'm all about dnb now. I just have to get John into it. I promise he won't have a heart attack dancing to 180 bpm, really!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hot. Ow. Yay!

So, here's me. Once upon a time, maybe a year or so ago, I thought it would be impossible for me to go even three days without exercising.

Oh how we change. I've since learned that when you take things one day at a time and just DON'T do something, it gets easier and easier not to.

I certainly haven't totally given up exercising...but it's a lot easier to skip now than it used to be. And as such, my weight lifting and yoga have basically completely fallen off.

So yesterday Danielle was teaching yoga at 8:15 p.m. It was a fairly important day for her (her own personal reasons), so I said I'd spend the evening with her and take her class.

Well, 8:15 p.m. at the hot yoga studio is CRAZY. There's a 90-minute class from 6:30 to 8 right before, and there were like seriously 45 people in a studio where 30 feels crowded. So in the 110-degree heat, it was humid and sweaty and stinky, before my class even started.

And I haven't done hot yoga since last September, and when I put on my yoga clothes, I saw all these lumps around my thighs and bottom than used to be there. Gross.

But anyway, I was going to go through with it.

Danielle is a seriously talented teacher. No matter what's going on in her personal life, she sets it aside and gives everything, every time, to her students. She's fun, encouraging, and just makes you both want to work hard and appreciate where you are right now.

So even though it was a zillion degrees and I'm nowhere near as flexible as I used to be and I weigh more and my head hurt every time it was lower than my heart, I pushed through and did as much as I could of the class. When it hurt the worst, I tried to recall the first few times I took hot yoga - how it was so hard, but how I walked out of the studio into the cool day and felt energized, cleansed from the inside out.

We laughed the entire way home. Sweating three pounds of water out can do that, I guess.

And today...I kinda want to go again!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I am unbalanced. The Wii Fit told me so.

I'm totally not going to write exclusively about diet/exercise/training for triathlons any longer, because obviously I don't have too much to say. But ever since I got the Wii Fit, I've been dying to write about it.

I've wanted one of these things since I first heard of it, long before you could even order them in the US. I don't know why - it's not like I don't have a reasonable exercise regime, and I already know I hate working out indoors if I can go for a run outside.

But still, something about it drew me in - so I pre-ordered it on Amazon so I'd get it the day it came available.

I have to say, I'm somewhat impressed with it. It knows I'm unbalanced - it told me so right off the bat!

I know it actually means I put more weight on the right side of my body than my left (which I didn't know before the Wii Fit measured it), but still. Nice translation. And totally accurate anyway.

It also tells me I'm fat. So I know this about myself: my BMI always puts me right on the edge of normal weight and overweight. Some days I'm normal, some days I'm overweight - depending on clothes, time of the month, I ate too much yesterday, or whatever.

So when the Wii Fit weighs me and I come up "overweight" - even though it's BARELY in the overweight category - my little character (called a "Mii") grows a potbelly and looks down at it with a sad expression on her face.

It cracks me up every time - thank goodness I have reasonable self-esteem.

It does bug me, though, that it does that to my kids. Both kids come up as "overweight" even though, in my opinion, they're not fat. They're both solid. You can count Gabriel's ribs, and Camille gets kindy pudgy, then grows like three inches, then gets pudgy again. But neither is skinny. Gabriel doesn't care what the Wii says about him, but I can see the expression on my daughter's face and I know I'm going to be preventing eating disorders for the next 15 years. For now, though, I tell her it's calibrated for adults (a lie) and that she's perfect (the truth).

The games are kinda fun - Camille does a lot of yoga, and you can see her balance and posture improving. Gabriel and I prefer aerobics - I like the step aerobics games, and when I'm alone, I'll hula-hoop; Gabriel loves running. One night he ran around our kitchen island for - I am not exaggerating - 90 minutes. I was like dude, go outside. Seriously. If I wanted to run in place, I would have bought a treadmill and I'd be watching Law & Order re-runs, not listening to cheesy music and watching cartoon characters run.

I'm positive that the game is just a fad for us, just like Wii Sports was. We played a ton when we first got the Wii, like you do any video game, then you lose interest. But at the same time, I have worn my heart rate monitor while playing Wii Fit to see whether it can replace a real workout, and I think it can - though for someone like me who already knows how to exercise and enjoys it, I probably don't need to.

The one thing I wish it would let you do is count non-Wii Fit exercise in the log - it would be nice to be able to keep all of that data together, so even if today I go out and run six miles, I could weigh in on the Wii Fit and tell it I ran for an hour.

But anyway, since I'm not officially training for anything...I really don't need to track stats like that for now. :-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Where's my blog, dude?

Seriously, I stopped training for an Ironman (because, like, I did it) and I stopped blogging. But I kind of miss laying my life out there for the general public to mock, so I might start again.

I'm more interested in writing more generally this time though...so we'll see where this goes.

However, I'm not ready to start writing today. This was just an intro post to make Jeff stop bugging me. He should really write some code or something - seriously!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Running on empty is still running

I didn't quite make my five-days-a-week this week; Thursday I ran outside for an hour (in 25 degree weather again, yum) and lifted. Fortunately the lifting is getting easier.

Friday was super-fun: it was a cold day, but sunny, and I ran at noon. The sun makes me happy. I forgot though that running in 30 degree weather in sun is dramatically different from 30 degrees in darkness! So I had to shed some layers, but that only contributed to happiness anyway. Warmth is good this time of year.

I wanted to work out yesterday, but family took priority. We took the kids to "Baby Loves Disco," and I wanted to dance but it was too crowded - too many little kids to trip over. But Camille liked it; Gabriel was too cool, of course.

Then last night, I sort of worked out - we went out dancing, and danced for nearly four hours! So much fun. I really want to wear my heart rate monitor some time and see how many calories I burn from dancing. But that's so dorky I don't think even I could do it for real.

The thing is, Danielle and I were planning to run today. Since the club closed at 2, I figured I'd be home by 2:20 at the latest. But we went with friends, and we drove, and they didn't want to stay out quite as late, so we gave them our car and got a ride with another friend. But that got us home at more like 3:20...and then I stayed up until 4.

I was meeting Danielle at 9, and unfortunately when I know I have to get up on too little sleep, I sleep even worse. So I dozed on and off until about 7:30, when I just gave up and got out of bed.

Maybe this was lucky: today it's really icy out. Danielle and I had to run slower than we usually do; I actually slipped and did some sort of baseball slide on the sidewalk before I realized how slippery it was. I bruised my knee, hip, elbow, and wrist...but fortunately, it's just bruises and after I walked for a minute, I could run again.

We ran for a little more than an hour, and it felt just fine. But when I got home....whoa. I felt horrible!

So now it's past noon, I'm back in my pajamas and bathrobe, and I'm considering not getting dressed today at all. My legs are sore and tired!

It's a great day to play board games and Rock Band with the kids, anyway. :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why did I want to start this up again?

Ow I lifted weights today!

I did last Wednesday, too, and I thought today would be easier. Nope. It's hard!

I was doing that Crossfit class until mid-December, but since then - so a month - I haven't done any sort of weight lifting. And it's amazing how quickly you lose it! I needed to go down in all weights, and I'm sure to be sore tomorrow.

However, I do know why I wanted to start this up again. I feel better when I feel stronger. I just have to remember that when I feel...less strong.

Although, how about this for resolve! It was 24 degrees this morning, and I got my behind out of bed and went to the gym and ran OUTSIDE with Nancy. Woo-hoo!

It was cold, but not so bad - I wore my SkirtSports ToughGirl running skirt/pants, a tank top, a warm running shirt, a light jacket, two pairs of gloves, a headband, and a hat. Overall, my face was a little cold, but the rest of me was pretty much just fine. So 24 degrees = many layers.

In other news, I ran for 75 minutes on Sunday and felt fabulous. It was a fairly slow pace - I hurt my big toe wearing cute heels, and I can feel the bruise when I run - but I loved that I could just go out and do it and feel totally normal. That reminds me that even slow, I'm a runner.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I'm back

So it's been so long since I blogged that I couldn't remember my password.

I guess this is how most bloggers probably end: you mean to blog the next day, and the next, but you get busy, and you can't think of anything to say, so you sort of drift away.

Well, I've worked out for four days in a row now! That's more than anytime since I was training for the Ironman!

And I have to say, it feels good. I've been sleepy and tired too much lately, and as much as my weight is normal, I haven't felt strong and athletic. Then yesterday I spent a little time with a co-worker who wants to do his first half-Ironman, and I remembered that training is fun! Plus, on Wednesday I had dinner with the running girls, and two of them said they might do one of the Pacific Crest races....so it's time. I'm back, and I'm blogging.

I'm not 100% sure yet what goals I'm going to set; one of them is likely going to be "never exercise or train more than 10 hours a week in 2008." I want to keep the volume and commitment low; I just started a new job and I'm excited about that, and I want to continue to focus on the kids and hubby. We've been having a blast together as a family (four family members form a perfect Rock Band - game for the Xbox 360, in case you're unfamiliar) - and I think John and I are finding a balance between going out and partying and staying home and partying with the kids. It's working.

And I'm happy. Not every minute of every day, but definitely more happy than unhappy. I don't think I could really ask for more than that!