Monday, May 31, 2010

A month recap and a bee attack

It is Memorial Day...the last day of May. I ran outside 11 times this past month - an average 2.5 times per week. I would tell you the mileage totals, but I'm at work and all that information is at home. I also can't tell you my yearly tally of runs outside. I counted last night, but have no idea right now.

Last week was a rough one. I ran outside for 4 out of 5 runs. Let me tell you...I could feel it! My hips were sore by Thursday. My legs need a little more time to get used to asphalt. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, run on the grass and all that jazz, but I don't think the homeowners would appreciate it.) Plus, I am in dire need of a massage. I think my entire body is one big knotted muscle - from my shoulders to my back to my glutes to my calves. Anyone know a cheap masseuse? One that won't cost my $70 per hour plus tip?

Don't get me wrong, I think they deserve that much (considering some of the people they have to touch!), I just can't afford it. Someday I hope to have that luxury in my weekly budget, but I don't right now. I do have a foam roller and a stick, but they're not the same. I think tomorrow I'm going to break and get out the credit card.

Anyhoo...I ran with my running group on Saturday. I haven't ran with them since March because of my work schedule. Saturday they started at 7am and since I'm not up to high mileage yet, I jumped at the opportunity to join them. I ran 7 with the group, broke away with Denise for another 4, and then I HAD to run 1 more to get to 50 miles for the week.

As I was running my last mile, ALONE, I felt something hit my left shoulder, then my right shoulder, then my left again! AAAACCKKK!!! A BEE! ITS A BEE! I'M BEING ATTACKED! ITS FOLLOWING ME!!! A BEE!!! I tried to run faster, but the bee stayed with me. After about 10 steps I mustered up all the courage I could and tried to swat the bee off of me.

Turns out...not a bee. It was my stupid headband. Its a two strap thing and one strap had fallen and was whacking me in the shoulders. I was thankful to be alone it my freak out. Bee attacks on a treadmill are rare. I may have figured this out earlier had I been inside.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The things I get myself into...

I work at a Golf and Country Club. It is well known here that I am a runner. (It also well know that I am a gerbil.) I have been asked on numerous occasions to run the golf course. I have never done it for a few reasons. 1. It is outside. 2. They run at 6am. 3. It is dewy in the morning. My shoes will get wet. And covered in grass. 4. I don't know if the people I work for should see me sweaty.

But as part of this outdoorsy endeavor...I finally said yes. I set my alarm for 5:27 am. I packed my bag (bonus of my work: showers available!) and breakfast last night. I even fell asleep before the new American Idol was announced.

I showed up on time and ran 2 laps around the course for 9 miles. My shoes are wet. My socks are wet. I think I am bringing home enough lawn clippings to mulch. But I survived. I didn't even see any creatures. I thought for sure I'd see a deer (Did you see the season finale of The Middle? Sue takes up cross country and on her morning run she gets hit by a deer - histerical!), but no deer. And no squirrels.

I have to admit, watching the sunrise on a golf course is one of the most beautiful things one can witness. The green grass, the tall trees, the blooming makes you happy to be alive. I was thankful to have people to run with and access to an amazing trek. I mostly see golfers at work and it was nice to get to know another segment of our membership.

I ran probably 8 of the miles on the grass. I have to say...I think my shins and calves are going to be sore tomorrow. My legs are not used to undulation. Grass is supposed to be easier on your joints, but I'm a hurtin. Thank goodness tomorrow is a rest day. I think.

Monday, May 24, 2010

You can skip this one...its boring

I ran 11 miles outside this morning between 10am and noon. I finally got off the couch at 9:50am, after my morning nap, after I slept past 8:30. My plan was to run 10 miles with 8 miles being acceptable.

Once I was on my way, however, I decided to finally figure out how far it was from my apartment to the entrance to the Wedgewood neighborhood. I ran this neighborhood once during my Boston training, but I entered it from the north side and our starting place was the running store. The Wedgewood neighborhood is one of the hilliest in Columbus. I plan on using this neighborhood to do hill workouts and build my overall running strength.

I knew I was close to this neighborhood from a few of my earlier runs. I just didn't know how far I was from the north entrance. I chose this as my goal because it was the midway point on our 23 miler this past March. Wendy, a good friend of mine and fellow marathoner, used the sign at the entrance to hide our water and fuel. I knew once I could figure out how to get to the entrance, my runs could be limitless from my front door. I set a goal to find out one day how far that sign was and I decided that today was the day.

I wasn't overly concerned with how far away the entrance was. When I started running I used to worry that I would run out too far and not be able to make it back. I had images of myself walking and crying and being stuck out in the middle of a trail. But now...distances no longer intimidate me. I have the confidence to run to a specific point. That point could be 5 miles away, 10 miles away, 20 miles away and I know I can make it. I am healthy and strong enough to make it.

That health and strength also tranlates to other areas of life. I could go to New York City tomorrow and I could walk all day around the city. I could go to Disneyland and have the energy to spend the entire day at the park. I could do most cardiovascular challenges on the Amazing Race. I even told a cardiologist that if I ever have heart trouble I will be PISSED.

I can still remember being a fat kid. Hating to run the mile in PE class. Knowing that I sucked at sports and never being picked in the first half for teams (I wasn't last pick, but often close). I still think before each marathon, while waiting for the gun to go off, "what am I doing here? I can't do this." Then having to remind myself that I can. I have before. I will again.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

51 miles total, 16 outside

I was a total wimp last week. I wussed out Sunday (not technically since Sunday is a designated indoor day), Monday, (rest day Tuesday) Wednesday, and Friday. Thursday and Saturday were outside for 9 and 7 respectedly.

In my defense, it rained a lot this week. Like every day. Seriously - I thought I lived in Forks, WA and vampires were going to move in. Then one would fall in love with me, I'd find out BoyToy is really a warewolf (wearwolf?), we'd get to go to Italy to fight the Volturi and then I'd never get old and always be really pale. Ahem...

Wednesday I ran at 6:00am and you know I refuse to run in the dark (that darn fear of being hit by a car) AND it rained. I have been shopping for more yellow running tops. I love my electric yellow Boston shirt from 2009 - you can see that thing from space! If a care were to hit me while wearing that all you'd have to do is take the shirt to court. The judge would take one look and the Kari-smasher would go to jail. I am all about being super visible.

I am taking baby steps in my outdoor running, which is an apt description because I am such a baby about it. I think through June, I'll stay with my goal of 3 days of outdoor running per week. July I'll step it up to 4 and complain about humidity. August is a crap shoot, as will be September. I don't know if I'll get to the point where I'll be an "outdoor" runner. I promise you there is a post in your future about how dirty my shoes are. I'm making progress though (and this better get me a fricken PR this fall!)

Its hard to believe training will start again in June. My friend, Greg Coplen, will be helping me along the way - writing my plan. I like when someone else does my running thinking for me. Like the treadmill does - I set the pace and try not to fall off the back.

Pacing has been a challenge for me outside. I'm always running too fast. The majority of marathon training is done at what is known as a "general aerobic pace", or GA pace. For me, this is 9:15-9:45 a mile. GA pace is 60-90 seconds slower than your marathon pace. My default pace seems to be about 8:50 per mile - it takes effort to go slower (maybe effort is the wrong word. Consciousness is probably the correct word. I don't like to think while running.) Running the slower pace gives your legs a break. It lessens the pounding.

It took me a long time to buy into the whole "train slow, race fast" philosophy. But its been one whole year since my last serious injury so there may be something behind it. Stay tuned...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back outside, back inside

We have so much to talk about. After 2 treadmill runs in a row, I ventured back outside on Thursday after work. Surprising, because I was running at 4:00pm, aka "Scary Heavy Traffice Time." As you recall, Scary Heavy Traffic Time is only .42 miles, or less than 4 minutes of running. Don't make me quote all those statistics about seconds between being alive or dead - we've all gotten that email (probably a dozen times). I wore my new bright yellow tank in order to plead with the drivers to see me and not make roadkill out of me.

The new yellow tank top is a Nike compression top. Why, oh why, can I never learn that if something is compression I should buy a size larger? I ran my 11 miles basically in a bra, as the shirt rode up so far I looked like Britney Spears - without the abs. Or, as John King would say, like the Louisville Footloose doppleganger. I apologize to all the young children (including the one who past me on his bike, and then stopped to walk with it???).

Anyhoo...I did more "Kari exploring" and discovered that I live only 2.5 miles away from some really, really nice neighborhoods that have a disproportionate number of homes for sale. I feel very safe in the nice neighborhoods, with their invisible fencing, mowed lawns, hidden parks. Plus, if I were to be hit by a car I know they would call it in quickly. No one with a house that nice wants a yellow topped tummy barer messing up their strategically mowed lawn.

I enjoyed my exploration, I feel now that my runs are much less limited than I originally thought. Before my 3 recent runs from my front door, I would always drive to the running/biking path. I heart my path. No need to stop for traffic, no getting lost, 15 miles mapped out for me with no worries. Neighborhoods have limits. They come to abrupt ends at busy streets. You turn a corner to find a dead end. You run up someone's driveway thinking it is a path ( does a car fit up that thing? You must have a Mini Cooper or a Smart Car.). The neighborhood near my though, may be just right. I ran 11 total miles only having to double back once and upon my double back, discovering a new wing of neighborhood to explore. One of the parks has their drinking fountains turned on. I might even be able to do a 20 miler from my front door. Crap. All signs are pointing outside.

All in all it was a happy run in my happy color. I returned home having a run a few more miles than planned. Then, 35 minutes later, the internet and cable went out - and you, my 4 loyal fans I am up to, had to wait to hear of my new adventures.

Friday I was back inside. I was really tired and only running because BoyToy and I had dinner plans that night. 6 slow miles were done and beer was drank thanks to them. Saturday I wanted to head back outside, but I worked all day. I worked to early to run before and then late enough that I lost my motivation. Then I fell asleep on the couch at 6:30pm. Today was my usual - a 45 minute spinning class followed by 8treadmill miles. To all my tri friends, does this count as a brick workout?

Week 3 starts tomorrow. The plan is to be outside, but rain is threatening.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Treadmill, I Heart You

Tuesday's run was a FAIL. Not an epic fail, mind you, just a fail. I went to the gym after work. I think I worried about it raining. Or being humid. Or possums chasing me. Or something. Maybe I just lost my outside mojo. Turns out I had no inside mojo either. I ran 2 slow, clunky, horrible miles. With walking breaks. I blame Oprah. And Justin Bieber.

(Sidenote: I am now officially old as I just don't understand the allure of Justin Bieber and his weird hair.)

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Us "runner people"...we don't love every run. Some days...we even dread the thought. Yesterday was one of those days. I just wanted to stay home, curl up on my couch, read a book and watch some Glee. My legs felt sluggish, my motivation was somewhere off in the stratosphere. I envied those who can just go home and lay on the couch. No negative self talk. No thoughts of weight gained and fitness lost. No constant review of the past days' meals and miles. One part of my brain knows I need the break, the rest. The other side won't let me stop.

I went back inside to the safety of the treadmill. The feeling of knowing that however much or little I ran, I was right where I started and the car and ride home were mere yards away. If you're on the treadmill and your entire body is saying, "Please STOP running." I can. And I don't have to run (or I guess walk) the way back. I was thankful to be on the treadmill because my run was so craptastic. I stopped, I went home, guilt-ate a bunch of Cheez-Its, and rested.

I rebounded nicely this morning. I ran 9 miles. I again opted for the treadmill this morning. The was a big threat of storms this morning. My adventures outside do not include thunder or lightning. Or hail.

(Sidenote #2 Only idiots run in hail. Guy who was featured on Runner's World because your arms were bruised up from your hail run. You're an idiot. I don't know who you are because I refused to read the article. I know some people hate the treadmill, but you can suck it once in a while. Especially if its hailing hard enough to bruise you.)

I realize I have to head outside either tomorrow or Friday. I'll go. I'll go. I'll go. I'll go. I'll go.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Week 2, Day 1

I almost wimped out today. I wanted to wimp out. I really did. I woke at up 8am, heated up my banana bread and parked myself in front of the television for the weather report. Ack! 41 degrees. Boo. That's cold. Sure, I've ran in colder (believe it or not), but I'm not in the mood this morning. Its fricken May. It should not be 41 degrees. This could be a treadmill day. Warm, cozy treadmill. Only needing one layer of clothing treadmill. Television watching while running treadmill. I don't have to play in traffic treadmill.

I said I almost wimped out. I put on my big girl pants (i.e. running capris), my new long sleeve Boston shirt, my new Nike vest, my ear warmer, my gloves. I stepped outside. It wasn't bad. It was actually sort-of-not-cold in the sun. I don't think I need the ear warmer. Or the west. This is brave of me. I'll keep the gloves on.

I am doubly brave today, as I am doing only my second step-outside-the-door-and-go-run. (According to the Garmin, I ran 384 yards before I had to stop, hike up the big girl pants, and tie them tighter. Note to running tights maker: stronger waist elastic. Seriously. The arm motion needed for running has nothing to do with hitching up your pants. Repeatedly.) My first was Saturday.

I live .42 miles from a trail head. The problem is, it is .42 miles down a busy street with no shoulder. I am really frightened about getting hit by a car. Saturday I felt safe because there was very little traffic. This morning, I missed rush hour and school bus pick-ups, but it was still a little busier than felt safe. I survived, though. Saturday I took the trail when it branched north. Today, I kept going straight.

For 1.5 miles until I hit the turn around. I then did "sub division miles". Meaning, I entered a neighborhood, ran through the cul-de-sac and back to the road. 2 of the areas were still under construction (sweet! Port-o-johns!) I found a few mini-sections of trail connecting a few neighborhoods, but no long stretches of trail. I found a few hidden, almost rural areas tucked into the urban landscape. I felt like an explorer! I am Lewis! Or Clark! Or maybe the chick (squaw?) that really lead them, Sacajawea! Hear me roar, people!

I ended up with 10 miles. A feat considering that when I hit the 1.5 mile turnaround I honestly considered simply heading back home with 3 miles in the books. If Saturday's run was all thanks to Dairy Queen, today's run was thanks to bad body image. I just feel fat lately. Yes, I realize that I am not fat. I realize that there are many people out there who wish they could weigh what I weigh and would trade bodies in a heartbeat. However, I am 6 pounds heavier than I was when I ran Boston (4 weeks ago) and 6 pounds away from being designated as a "cruiser". (By the way, who the fuck determined that? An asshole, that's who. I'll bet they still use height/weight charts from the 70s, too!) I'll cut myself off from the rant now. I'll also admit that there is a small part of me that considered trying to acheive cruiser status so I could win things. I won't go into my history today. Its always on my mind, so be aware it will come up again. Suffice it to say for now, that my next few runs will most likely be too far, too soon. The lesser of two evils, if you will.

For today, I will be happy with being (doubly) brave and exploring. And not getting hit by a car.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Today's run brought to you by Dairy Queen

The alarm was set for 6:45am. The clothing laid out the night before. The Garmin charged.

The alarm was silenced and I went back to sleep. Bed is warm. Quads hurt from stupid squats. Bed is warm and not windy. Gym doesn't open until 8. Sleepy.

I awaken naturally. Bed is still warm and cozy. I can skip a day of running. I'm not in training. My quads still hurt. I have The Soup on DVR to watch.

I should run. But its cold out. And windy. I can sleep 15 more minutes and just go the gym for 6 quick miles before work.

You told your 2 readers that you were going outside today. If you disappoint them and one quits you, your total readership is cut in half. Eh...I can hit the gym later. They don't realize how warm this bed is.

If I leave now I could run at least 8 before work. You and BoyToy went to Dairy Queen last night. Crap. Stupid Dairy Queen. Stupid Chocolate Malt going straight to my thighs. I really should run 8 instead of 6 to burn off the malted goodness (which wasn't that great. Team Fail at Malts DQ!). I still ate it. Moments like this I hate having such little self control.

I'll go. I'll go. I'll go. I'll go. I'll go.

7:50 - 9:04
I'm going. Its windy. I should have worn a hat. I hope I don't get lost. This wind is making my eyes water! Great. People in the cars are going to think I'm crying. Now I have to pee. Who knew I lived so close to stables? And a park! Do you think BoyToy would fit in the red swing? Why are those people walking with a cooler? That's not a bad idea. Crap! What if they mug me? Thank goodness I have my pink heart ID tag. Whew! Past them. Ugh. Still windy. My hair is a mess. Note to self - wear hat next time (or just stay in the non-windy indoors).

I'm back. 8 miles in the books. Thank you, Dairy Queen for motivating me to get out the door. Same time next Friday? I'll stick to the always loyal Blizzard this time. I stepped out of the DQ box and fell flat on my face. Oh...I have to go. I need to sign up for the Blizzard of the Month club.

Friday, May 7, 2010

For the love of squats

I hurt. A lot. Why? Because I (sort of ) lifted yesterday after my run. I only did 3 sets of 20 squats with a 30 pound bar and 1 set of walking lunges. I can't walk today. If I sit too long, when I get up I'm frozen stiff. My legs feel worse today than they did after Boston. 26.2 miles, no problem. 60 squats with a pathetic weight? My kryptonite.

I still managed to run 7 very slow miles after a lengthy walking warm up on the treadmill this morning. I had the People Most Beautiful people list and GMA & The Today Show to listen to. I had a revelation last night at dinner. Since I ran outside Monday and Wednesday and took Tuesday off, I had no idea what was going on in the news. UVA lacrosse player killed! Lawrence Taylor with a 16 year old maybe prostitute! They now have an oil dome?!?! Something about the market crashing? What to get mom for Mother's Day? What else have I missed?

I use the treadmill to multitask. I watch the news, I read the gossip. I start each day able to have an intelligent conversation based on world events. I have shuddered at Wilard Scott's atrocious attempts at humor. I know if I need my umbrella. I can tell you who got kicked off of Dancing With The Stars. Through channel surfing I may also see the traffic report or maybe just watch a little West Wing.

On the downside to that, I do not cry while running outside. Even when the squirrels taunt me. I have cried on the treadmill (twice if you must know). Today was the second time. GMA was honoring a woman, Almez Gebremedin with Breakfast in Bed from Emeril. She was crying and couldn't talk! She was so surprised and overwhelmed. Then her 5 kids showed up! I'm telling you, its a feel good story. Even if I was crying on the treadmill.

I also read my People and Entertainment Weekly. Iron Man 2 comes out this week. Does Mickey Rourke frighten anyone else? I don't think he operates in the same reality the rest of us do. Remember during awards season last year? He was always wearing sunglasses (which SCREAMS drug user or plastic surgery). Dude, you're inside. You're not cooler because you're wearing sunglasses. You might trip and fall. I've worn my sunglasses can't see that well. Plus, you're not Paris Hilton. You don't have to bring your dog everywhere. For the record, I also think its lame when she does it, too.

Speaking of lame...the entire People "Stars Without Makeup" section. Is it also "Stars without Airbrushing?" I didn't think so. Black and white photographs to hide supposed "imperfections"? I'm not buying it (well, I guess I did buy since I am a loyal subscriber and I faithfully read every word every week).

We've covered a lot today. My stiff, aching legs. Mickey Rourke. GMA. Willard Scott. Tomorrow I am back outside and all I'll have for you is a few Glee songs to get stuck in your head.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 4

Back on the cushioned treadmill, today. You realize if I get hurt during this grand experiment I may never run outside again. I'm easing myself onto the roads slowly. 2-3 times a week at most for the rest of this month. Plus, I have to keep up on my celebrity gossip.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 3

I couldn't sleep last night. Running outside gives me so much anxiety that I lose sleep. I ran outside every Saturday in March and April and slept crappy on every Friday night. Part of the crap sleep was worrying that I would be late. Part was worry that I wasn't going to be dressed correctly. Part was worry about being attacked.

I bought a RoadID on Monday afternoon. This way if I am attacked the Police can call BoyToy to come and rescue me. Its actually not an official RoadID. Its a dog tag. For a collar. Purchased at the pet store. I wear it on my shoe, not collar. It only cost me $7.13 and its pink and heart shaped and matches my shoes! I am still worried about being attacked, but no longer worried about lingering unconscious in an ER with no one knowing my where abouts.

I did another 8 miles on my 8 mile out & back, loopy thing. This loop is also easily converted to a 7 mile out & back with no loop. It was 50 degrees and sunny. One of those days where the trees are dazzlingly green and the air smells of spring (good spring like plants, not bad spring like dead animal). I can see why people get into this.

I was almost attacked by 2 geese. They stared me down as I ran past. One stupid squirrel wouldn't get out of my way and (deliberately) ran right in front of me. I screamed like a little girl.

I ran about 3 miles of my 8 on a wood chip path and 1 mile on a dirt path. If I'm going to be running outside so much, I'm going to try to be as nice to my joints as possible with soft trails. My shoes are dirty now...I'm trying to be mature about it. Tomorrow I will be back on the treadmill. I don't want to shock my system too much. I have an Entertainment Weekly to read as well.

Day 2.

Rest day. Yesterday was strenuous enough.

Day 1 - The Quest begins

You know that scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off where Cameron is sitting in his dad's car in the garage and repeating to himself, "I'll go. I'll go. I'll go. I'll go." That is me trying to pump myself up to run outside. I literally have to spend an hour in postive self talk. I have to remind myself to breathe at regular intervals.

I used to run outside. Back in the day. Around 2004. I did it for close to 5 months in preparation for my first marathon. Here is what I remember from that fateful summer: having to lift my legs out of my car and onto the ground. My hips were so sore I couldn't get them out of the car. All I can think of is how everything hurt. All. The. Time. All summer long into the fall. I ran the marathon and qualified for Boston. I jumped on the treadmill to train through the winter.

It was miraculous. I could walk everyday without pain. I could get my legs out of the car. I could watch TV while running!!! I have one talent in life in that I can read magazines will running on the treadmill. I am always up to date on my celebrity gossip and I know way to much about movies and television shows I have never seen. This is how I get my news - the Today Show and Good Morning America.

Recent attempts to run outside have been met with resistance on all sides. My car was broken into and my purse stolen (along with a winter coat, a sweatshirt, a pair of jeans and my Frozen Four bag). I got crapped on by a bird. My shoes got dirty. I tripped and fell. I am much safer on the treadmill.

Not to mention all of my rational fears. Running in the dark. Being attacked by all types of creatures from humans to reptiles to birds to squirrels to geese. I am not one with nature. I do not like dirt. I sort of hate creatures.

I will not run in snow or on snow covered roads. Not worth the risk of injury from falling. Not worth the wet shoes, either. I will not run in rain. I have run in light rain, but I was trying to get done before it started raining. I ran too long. I will not run outside in 90% or above humidity. That's just gross. Especially since the gym is dry, temperature controlled, and air conditioned.

Its not like I've spent all of the past 5 years on the treadmill. I did run outside 24 times in 2009. I ran all of my long runs (weather permitting) outside in preparation for the 2010 Boston Marathon. I ran well in Boston. Well enough (though not a PR) that I felt really strong. I felt capable of running this marathon thing well. Well enough that I have started wondering how strong I would feel if I ran more outside.

Which brings us to May 3, 2010. (I realize I should have started on May 1, please see the opening paragraph.) I slept until 8:00am, took my time eating and dressing and drove to the trail head by 9am.

The ipod is loaded up with new songs (I heart you Glee cast!), the shoes still has the Boston chip on it. I look smashing in my pink top. Here we go.

I ran 8 miles. It felt ok - not stellar or life changing. I noticed that my comfortable pace (i.e. slow) was 30 seconds faster than what I would have ran on the treadmill. I was not attacked or excreted on by anything. I left my purse at home and my car was intact upon my return. My left hip had a slight pain by the 7th mile, but nothing I'm worried about - just the shock of asphalt.

Day 1 in the books.