Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Schwaggle Deal and Another PDR Weekend

First off, have you seen yesterday's Schwaggle deal yet? 50% off PRO Compression Socks plus free shipping ... which is a really great deal for great quality! I have a couple pairs of PRO Compression socks and I LOVE THEM! They are pretty much neck-and-neck with my Zensah socks/ sleeves and I actually DO prefer them in the warmer months (they're thinner). I may need to talk mom into buying me a late birthday present ... I see a couple colors I want and don't have yet. :)

It was an interesting weekend for me. Besides the Olympics (SO proud of our USA Rowers! Makes me miss that part of my life even more!), I pulled off another double PDR.

Running ...
I've been doing my long(er) runs on the towpath trail to take advantage of the shade and scenery, but there was ABSOLUTELY NO WAY I was going to purposely dirty my "pretties" (how long can you still call running shoes brand new? 20 miles? 50? 100? Until they finally get dirty?) in the dirt and stone. So, I got up early Saturday morning and plotted a BORING route that would keep me on roads and the paved W-C Trail AND within a couple miles of a restroom at all times (thank you, Metroparks). Even with hitting the "snooze" a couple times, it was still blessedly cloudy and in the 70s when I finally made my way outside (a first for this summer). The first 3 miles felt great as I just let my body cruise along and warm up a bit. I even got a catcall or 2 from guys sealing a driveway as I ran by [I sped up after I heard the first one - I HATE catcalls!]. Right around the end of mile 4, I could feel my GI starting to rebel and I remember grumbling under my breath more than once "THIS is why I can't run a more interesting route. #$!&^@ bathrooms!" To make a long story short(er) and less uncomfortable (for you readers), the nearest restroom was almost a half mile BEYOND my planned turn-around point. So, a planned 10.5 mile run became 11.26 miles. It really WAS a nice run, though. I didn't follow a regular hydration/ nutrition strategy, just took a drink when I felt like it and sucked down a Power Bar Gel around halfway. I don't know if it was the cooler temperatures or that I was on pavement instead of uneven trails, but I felt like I used less effort for these 11.2 miles than I used for my 10 miles last weekend. Probably a combination of both. I think I need to complete the rest of my long runs leading up to the half marathon on pavement to get myself ready.

And waiting for me at home, my favorite post-run meal ... 2-egg omelette with bacon and cheese, my beloved diet coke (Save me the lecture, I know it's bad for me. It's one of my 2 major vices [the other is my love of profanity], so sue me. I'm not giving it up any time soon.), and my recovery drink. One note about that omelette, the bacon has to be crumbled up and mixed into the eggs before they cook and it needs to be colby-jack shredded cheese in the fold. Also, that omelette took up 3/4 of that plate when it came off the stove, I swear. I just devoured that much of it before I thought to take a picture. Oops. Same deal with the recovery drink, that glass was full. lol. Seriously, this meal is what I CRAVE after a long run.

I also decided it might be a good idea to take an ice bath. I've read many reports and articles on these and they contradict each other so much it's ridiculous. Actually, the arguments kind of remind me of the climate change debate when the first couple data sets were released. Anyway, I've been experiencing some CRAZY soreness/ stiffness in my legs an hour or 2 after long runs, even with my compression socks and stretching and laying with my legs propped up (usually against a wall), so I figured it was worth a shot. Anything [and I mean ANYTHING] that ends up helping, right? My family, of course, thought this "ice bath idea" was hilarious and ridiculous. Though, I'm not really sure if they were laughing harder at the idea of it or at my reaction to the cold. Cursing is my other major vice and I "let it fly" when I eased myself down into the bathtub. Pretty sure the family was laughing as loudly as I was cursing. I amazed myself and was able to stay in the water until well after the ice had melted. And, just so it's out there - this picture was taken about 3 seconds before my gimp of a mother (she's walking better and better every day, stitches come out this week and the pins in another 2 weeks, hopefully) hobbled upstairs and dumped another cup of ice down my back when I was trying to focus on biting my tongue. So nice, isn't she?

Cycling ...
Saturday is my long run days and Sunday has become my long RIDE day, I guess. I rode all the way east on the W-C North Fork, across the highway overpass past the Fallen TImbers Monument, and down the (ridiculous) hill to SideCut Metropark and back. 18ish miles, another distance record for me. Had I known that hill was there between the monument and SideCut, I wouldn't have ridden it. I even forced myself to RIDE it all the way back up! "It's just another little challenge. Come on, you LOVE challenges." Holy Crap. On a good note, I now know of the perfect place to practice running hills. :)
That big dip there in the center? Yea, that's me going down the hill and coming back up.
The bit of a hill on either side is the overpass. Basically right at the top of the hill. Ugh.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Five For Friday - 7/27 Edition

We now had ATT U-Verse instead of DSL for internet. Some things are running faster, but others aren't loading AT ALL! At least I haven't been kicked offline yet. To be safe, I'm saving everything I do on-line obnoxiously often and still working on my bigger stuff from a coffee shop or on-campus. Dad isn't sure if he likes this new internet service yet, either, so who knows what'll happen.

(1) One (1)

I want to start with the most exciting news ... I spent my birthday money and finally bought myself new running shoes! It was well past time, according to my shins. When I say I get excited about new shoes, it's a bit of an understatement. If we're friends on facebook (under my real name, not the blog name), you know just how ridiculous I was Tuesday night after I bought them.

Saucony ProGrid Ride 5s. I've run in them twice now and I LOVE THEM! They're OBVIOUSLY lighter than my Ride 4s (a welcome change) and I'm LOVING the 8mm toe/heel offset. I'm still trying to decide if I need to get different shoe laces, though - These are slightly stretchy! So I'm not sure if THAT is why my feet bounce around a little bit or if my feet just haven't sunk down into the sole yet. Dad warned me that my shin splints might get worse for a little while, but I haven't noticed it (and I've been running without my compression socks so I can more accurately gauge how my legs are feeling).

(2) Two (2)

Mom is doing well after her surgery last week. She had hammer toes fixed on both feet. Originally, she wasn't allowed to walk around much and spent most of her day kicked back on the couch (we have one of those awesome recliner couches from la-z-boy). Now, she's walking around a bit more, barely using the crutches ... and driving the rest of us crazy. Since dad works all day and Sean is at the new house he and his friends are renting for the next school year, I'm dealing with her the most. My mom isn't an idle person, which is why we laugh every time she talks about retiring soon. So, when she's sitting there "watching" Let's Make A Deal and Ellen, she's making a mental list about a mile long of things that need to be done around the house. Which clashes directly with me busting my backside to get my dang Masters paper done. Lucky me. The better mom feels and the more she sleeps at night, the less sleep I'm getting. As soon as dad gets home at night, I go for a run and then/ or run upstairs and hide in my bedroom until after they both go to bed.

(3) Three (3)

Mother nature is still wonky. One day it's cloudy and comfortable in the high 80s and the next it's 102 and sunny and the next it's in the 70s and freaky storms every couple hours. And don't trust that the weatherman knows which one it'll be next. I need to start getting in my runs in the morning to avoid the worst of the heat and the storms.

(4) Four (4)

Group run last night was a bit of a mixed bag for me. We were the guinea pigs for the new course of the Soul to Sole 5k (being held next Wednesday - I'm not racing) and we had a bunch of new people joining us who will be racing it and wanted a first look at the course. The course itself wasn't bad, but maybe I liked it a bit just because it went the opposite way around the shopping center/ industrial park. It took me a bit out of my comfort zone and I could focus on ME instead of the mileage. I had planned on just taking the 3 miles easy and hanging with one of the others girls, but then THAT mom and daughter wound up in front of me and I decided I needed to speed up.

I can't remember if I've talked about the girl whose whole family runs with us and she's usually ridden her bike along side up until recently. She can't be more than 6 or 7, max and used to annoy the crap out of me by ALWAYS cutting across in front of my WAY too close on her bike. Anyway, I've gone out of my way to stay out of hearing range of this family before runs after I happened to overhear a lecture from the father a couple weeks ago about religion and how it should be a part of all of our lives. Ok, here's my deal ... If you're religious, good for you, but I don't want to hear about it (too much). Maybe if the church hadn't given up on my dad's mother and my mom's mother hadn't dragged our behinds to church a couple times a year just to show us off like little dolls, I would feel differently. But I don't. My cousin is actually a creative arts pastor for the local mega-church (Cedar Creek, if you're from NW Ohio/ SE Michigan) and he's one of my best friends. But I can't STAND when people talk religion non-stop and try to force it down other people's throats. If someone is on campus and tried to hand me a bible, I'm more likely to pretend I'm on the whole and take the long way around them just so I don't have to interact. So, back to the family. Like I said, I've avoided them pre-run after that day. But, now the mother is pushing the daughter to run. And I think it's a bit much. I know some kids are capable, but this little girl is being pushed to run faster than 10min/mi, isn't allowed to stop at the water station (it's been 90+ for the last couple weeks), and OBVIOUSLY isn't enjoying it anymore. And more than once I've heard "Don't slow down! We're doing this for Jesus!". *glare* And people wonder why I NEED my ear phones in at all times? Shoot me.

Would YOU say something to them? I don't want to tell them how to raise their kids, but I feel BAD for this little girl and I'm SO tired of hearing the comments. Being completely honest, I'll probably just keep doing what I'm doing ... avoiding them as much as possible and quietly feeling bad for the kid.

But I had a rocking playlist ... and my new Ride 5s felt awesome on my feet ... and there was just enough cloud cover to make it comfortable ... and Matt set up the sprinkler for when we were done ... so it was a good evening.

(5) Five (5)

I'm slowly catching up on my blog and article reading, I promise. I spend at least a half hour every night clearing out my email inbox and my G Reader.

... cutting this short. A couple of gabbers sat down halfway across the coffee shop and I can still hear their entire conversation with my headphones in. And it isn't exactly a conversation most people would want broadcast to the world. Just about everyone in here is glaring at them and they just don't get it. Time for me to find someplace else to work for a couple hours. lol

Monday, July 23, 2012

Birthday and 2x the PDRs!

I turned 26 on Saturday and I'm still not used to it. It's really weird to think of myself as an "adult", but maybe it wouldn't be so hard if I was out on my own and working a "normal" job. Oh well. Going to have to wait a little while longer for that.

I didn't slack off my long run just because it was my birthday, though I did decide I'd rather sleep in a little longer and then run when it was a little warmer. My training plan called for 9.5 miles, but I've been trying to stay a half mile or so ahead of my long run distances [just call me an over-achiever] which meant ... my first double-digit run. Ever. *insert dramatic music here*
That tenth mile is about 2 minutes longer than the others because I had a moment where I was deciding if I was going to throw up or not. It wasn't pleasant, trust me. I haven't felt like that since the finish line of Happy Trails 5k over a month ago. But, I was able to enjoy the run for most of the time. I had an awesome playlist and there was a nice breeze blowing off the river in areas. It might have been a bit easier on me if I had run on pavement, but there isn't consistent shade on any roads near my house and I knew I could plan in a water bottle refill along the towpath.

One thing about my run that I WASN'T happy about ... it was also the day the metroparks was hosting the bike tours and I was running on the towpath trail that connects a couple of the parks. Most of the cyclists were very courteous of others on the trail, but there were a couple who REALLY ticked me off. I was yelled at to "get out the way" by a group of cyclists who were riding 2-wide in a really narrow area of the trail. I was already on the edge of the stone when this happened so I just held my ground and forced one of them to drop back and slide over. And then when I got closer to the Farnsworth shelter house the cyclists were using for lunch [near my turn-around point], I actually had someone ride down the MIDDLE of the trail [nobody else around] and clip my shoulder with their mirror. Of course, I yelled at him and he just looked back over his shoulder at me like "What?". Come on, jerk. You rode up on ME on a straight part of the trail, so you knew I was there [how could you miss the BRIGHT orange shirt?!] and your mirror hit me hard enough that it moved out of position, so there's no way you didn't notice that you hit me. No "sorry". Nothing. And, yes, I do have a light bruise on my arm. I didn't even notice it until I was leaving for the evening and my mom pointed it out. I have a few friends within the metroparks organization and I sent them an email about the situation. I know they won't be able to find out who it was, and I wouldn't expect them to, but maybe they'll say something to the specific program organizer and they'll stress the "rules of the road" next time around. Metroparks have been stressing the rotr with runners on their trails so maybe the cyclists need to be included in this crackdown.

I did have an awesome evening with some old friends, though. We got Chipotle and took it to a little seating area around the "pond" at the Fallen Timbers Mall, where we hung out until movie time. I've had a tradition for over a decade now of seeing a movie on my birthday, almost always either a Harry Potter or Batman flick. This year is was "The Dark Knight Rises". Freaking awesome. Besides the awesomeness of the movie, I got to see one of my favorite football players (Hines Ward) run across my favorite field (Heinz Field) one more time [PS - GO PITTSBURGH! Less than a month until pre-season starts! :D]. There was actually a kid in the theatre who yelled "Run Hines Run!" I nearly fell out of my seat laughing. Of course, we finished off the night with chocolate fudge cake and my favorite wine from Heineman Winery :)

This weekend was actually a double PDR weekend. I had planned on getting up "early" Sunday and going for a bike ride. I figured it would be a good mental and physical detox after Saturday. Instead, it go put off until the hottest part of the day and I took a route I hadn't so far ... the west end of the W-C Trail loop. A couple days away from the bike this past week must have been a good thing because my backside didn't hurt AT ALL at the end of this ride, so maybe that's the trick to putting in longer mileage rides?

I'll probably set 2 more PDRs next weekend, but I'm going to enjoy these ones while they stand. The double-digit run on my birthday was pretty darn special to me :)

It's official. I've registered for my half marathon. It's slightly more real now. I usually snail mail my race registrations to avoid the service fees, but I just wanted to get this done so I couldn't talk myself into backing out [which WAS a possibility of even with me being halfway through my training plan].

Also - Does anyone use special software or program to write your posts off-line ahead of time? Our internet is iffy at home right now so I've been working from either Panera or a coffee shop a LOT lately (I don't like going into campus unless I have to ... I just feel trapped in that basement lab). Preferably free? This is one of the reasons my posts have been so scattered lately. Sometimes I write out as much as I can in a word or basic text document, but I almost always end of having some weird formatting error or I can't get the post to look the way I want it to in the end and I have to waste time retyping everything once I get to internet. We're supposed to be up and running (and faster than before) by the end of this week, but I have a feeling I'm going to need this option more and more once/ if I get the kind of job I want. I can't spend ALL my time sitting in coffee and sandwich shops on blogger. lol

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Six for Saturday

I know, I've been falling behind on my blogging again. I REALLY need to update my side panel and pages too. *smacks hand* Bad blogger! Oh well ...

(1) One (1)

I SEVERELY procrastinated getting in my long run today. I just felt so sluggish (must have been all that hilarity from my cousin's wife's surprise birthday party last night) I didn't know if I could do it. Most of my aches and pains were probably mental too. I swear I told myself "I'll just get one more thing done and then I'll go run" half a dozen times. Finally, I decided I just had to go do it. By then, it was too warm and sunny to be running the roads around my house so I made the 10-minute drive over to the river and the old towpath trail.

I amazed myself. Once again. As soon as I started running and finding my rhythm, all the aches and pains disappeared, my lethargy melted away, and I realized I mentally needed this run just as much as physically. On long runs, I normally won't eat, drink, or take any walk breaks for the first 3 miles (sort of a mental training thing for 5ks). Today, I reached 4 miles before I even thought to take a sip of my Gatorade. By then, I was almost to my favorite halfway point ...
PS - I can't believe how low the river is right now! You can walk all the way across in a
couple places! Kind of hard to use the river as a post-run "cool down" when the water is super
shallow and almost 80*!
I finished off my Gatorade, ate a couple of my Power Bar Energy Blasts, and took off again. I slowed down twice on the way back, once to dump the water from my smaller bottle on my fuelbelt into my handheld bottle (I'm more likely to drink if it's in front of my face) and once because I somehow got a rock down in my shoe and I wanted it out before it snagged my sock or I stepped on it wrong and hurt myself. 9.58 miles (distance PR) in 1:50:58. That's an average pace of 11:34/mi.

(2) Two (2)

Is anyone else using Earndit? I've been using it for a couple weeks now and I'm loving it. From the website:

Sometimes we could all use a little extra motivation to exercise. While you’d think that the allures of better health and a leaner body would be enough to kick us into action, the reality of the matter is that they’re not. In fact, behavioral economists have a scientific explanation for this called "hyperbolic discounting".
In practice, hyperbolic discounting means that humans discount the value of a reward that occurs far into the future, preferring instead a more immediate reward even if its absolute value is less. For example, if I gave Harry the option to receive $10 today or $20 in a month, he’d probably choose $10 today even though it’s financially wiser for him to get $20 in a month. Hyperbolic discounting is the reason why better health and a leaner body down the road are not compelling enough to make us exercise today.
So we’ve created a system that gives you more immediate rewards for your exercise. Our hope is to foster a more active lifestyle in each of us, and in turn play a small role in improving the health of our users.
Go exercise. Get rewarded. You earnd it.


It really is easy to use. Mine syncs with my Garmin Connect. When it comes to the "rewards", there's some awesome stuff. You can earn stuff for yourself or you can donate your points to a couple causes Earndit champions. I decided as soon as I started on the site that I would donate to every cause before I scored anything for myself. So far, I've donated to Heifer International, Shining Hope, and Christmas in July for US Troops (which is near and dear to my heart).

(3) Three (3)

I've been spending a LOT of time with Roadie lately ... and I love it. I'm slowly cleaning and fixing things as I find issues and riding further and further each time. My butt still hurts if I spend too much time in the saddle, but it's getting better. There's no ache right after a ride, but you can bet I'm feeling it the next time I sit in that saddle again. I think I'm developing a "groove" in my butt. lol.

(4) Four (4)

I've been noticing a bunch of these showing up around our yard lately ...
Yep, that's a hole. Big enough I could shove a garden hose down it. And yes, that really is our backyard right now. We live on the edge of the Oak Openings Ridge (basically, a giant ridge of old sand dunes) and we've NEVER [in the 21 years we've lived here] been able to grow a decent lawn. And this summer's extreme heat has burned the heck out of any grass we DID have out in the open areas. Up around the house, you can tell exactly how far the water spreads out after exiting our downspouts and where is shaded most of the day. Those areas are the ONLY green in the yard, expect for the trees.

But back to the holes ... I finally figured out what they were when I saw some movement around one of the holes yesterday ...
Cicada killer wasps. I guess they prefer really loose sandy areas for their burrows ... and they hit the jackpot with our yard. I actually took THIS picture today, but the one I saw yesterday was in the process of dragging a cicada down the hole. It was pretty cool to watch. I was a little nervous about having wasps this big in our yard, but then I did a little research. Apparently, they aren't aggressive. I accidently put that to the test his morning with this guy in the picture. I was sitting under our pool deck fixing something and this guy flew over and landed on me several times. I brushed him away every time and he never got aggressive.

So, I'm still not completely comfortable with them, but now I'm more interested than scared. We'll see what dad has to say about them when he gets home. I'm pretty sure his reaction is going to be drowning the holes in wasp killer spray and then flooding them with the garden hose, but we'll see.

I'd take these guys any day over the ant assault that's happening in our kitchen right now. The really nasty thing is that the ONLY place they show up in the kitchen IS ON THE COUNTER!!! No matter how clean we keep it, they seem to flock to the area around the sink. Mom put out "bait traps", but that would require the ants taking the material back to their colony. Dad, brother, and I have the philosophy that they shouldn't make it that far. We're having ant-smashing contests and spraying (probably way too much) chemicals. And it's lead to some pretty spectacular arguments over who left dirty dishes in the sink ...

(5) Five (5)

With the parents gone this week and my brother spending most of his time packing up his apartment (he's moving into a house with friends for the next school year), I've been trying to balance "cleaning out the leftovers" and eating healthy. I've ended up with some interesting creations too ...
Ramen noodles with soy sauce, tuna, celery and grape tomatoes. It was pretty good, actually.

(6) Six (6)

I've talked before about taking aluminum cans to the recycle center to pay for my race registration fees. I made my latest run this morning. 43lbs of metal brought me $17.52. The price of aluminum went down again. Drat. Oh well. It's better than nothing and I'm lucky my half marathon will be small and cheap. :)

If we're friends on DailyMile, you know how often the neighborhood munchkins have talked me into riding bikes with them up to Oak Openings (they aren't allowed to go that far alone) for the sole purpose of picking up cans for me. I love that they want to help me and the environment at the same time. I always hope I'm setting a good example for them and this is one of those times I know I am. It sickens me, though, that I can completely clean the 2-3 mile stretch and we can ride by less than a week later and still pick up SO many cans, almost exclusively beer.

I could have waited a bit longer to take the cans in, but dad went on one of his rampages before they left on vacation. With the bags out of the garage, it's one less thing he can blame the ants on. It'll take me a while to build up enough of a stash again to out-grow the old garbage can and worry about bags sitting around. Though, hopefully I can find a semi-steady job soon and I won't have to be so concerned with collecting them for money.

Oh well. The parents will be home sometime tomorrow so I'll be spending every waking moment until then scrubbing and cleaning and organizing. Mom is having surgery on both her feet this week so we want to have the whole house cleaned and stocked before then. I think the plan is to take a MASSIVE shopping trip and cooking marathon the day before. I can cook for myself, and dad can cook for himself and mom (usually), but we're all a bit particular about our food (different medical issues, I refuse to eat beef and starch every night, etc.) that it's just not a good idea to have dad in charge of food for everyone. Or me, for that matter. lol

PS - At what age is counting down to your birthday "immature"?

Friday, July 6, 2012

June Recap and July Goals ... and A NEW PR

I know it's already a week into July. Too bad. I write best when I have a lot pent-up that I need to talk about and I just didn't have that this week. I went out and lived my life and just let things happen. It was refreshing.

First, June.

10.39 miles walked
89.58 miles run

Longest Run: 9.5 horrible miles

Happy Trails 5k ... 29:18
Global Distance Project 5k ... 29:16 ! Yep, that's right. Even with walking up that #$@%! overpass and not having my Garmin, I PRed. I don't care that it's only by 2 seconds. It's a PR. And proof that I'm doing SOMETHING right. :) 94 of 228 overall. 20 of 111 women. 5 of 13 in my age group.

Now, July.

#RWRunStreak is COMPLETED! Woo! I can't believe I did it! :D

I don't have any races planned, which means I need to focus on completing my long runs and figuring out my hydration/ nutrition strategy. I printed out the map of the race course today so

I'm going to work on my favorite forms of cross-training: biking and swimming. These were my loves LONG before rowing and running.

Except for a strained muscle glitch earlier this week, I'll be following along with Amanda from RunToTheFinish's July Challenge: Strong Like Susan's 30-Day #AbChallenge. I'm excited about this because I know my core is weaker than I would like. My abs have always been a sore spot in my challenge to be comfortable with my body too.

It's time to buy new shoes. My poor Saucony Guide 4s are looking pretty pathetic. Now to decide if I'm going to hunt down another pair of Guide 4s or take a chance on the Guide 5s ... or something else.

And my last goal for July ... enjoy my 26th birthday (without blowing up my half marathon training plan). I'm completely in shock I'm this old already. I feel like I should be waking up early tomorrow morning and still going to high school. Sheesh.