Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Long time no post

I was checking my last blog entry - almost 2 weeks ago! I updated my stats, but had nothing interesting to say about my running.

I did pull a calf, on the treadmill (go ahead...laugh at the irony). Its my left one. I haven't had to skip any runs. The calf feels ok during the runs. Its been sore so I went to the running store to buy a calf sleeve. Instead, the sales lady gave me a sample of Rock Tape. Similar to K Tape which was made famous by Kerri Walsh in the Beijing Olympics.

Taping a calf is easy. You tape a long strip from your achilles' tendon to the botton of your knee, and then tape a short piece across it near the bottom of your calf muscle. It's a cross on the back of your leg. I did both legs because I think my right calf feels left out and is having sympathy pains. It was not attractive and the red tape totally clashed with my pink and black outfit.

Verdict: the tape is worthless. I am very happy I did not waste $18 on a roll. First of all - part of it peeled off. On the left calf the top part of the vertical strip rolled down to hang over the horizontal strip. On the right calf, the entire horizontal strip came off. I'm not sure when or where. I apologize for littering. The time it was on I wasn't sure it was making any difference.

I'm all for gimick products. I own a TrionZ bracelet (one of the magnetic/ion/voodoo things you see a lot of athletes wearing). I don't know if it works, but I figure it can't hurt. Plus, it's pink so it matches the vast majority of my running outfits. I would buy a Phiten necklace, but they are expensive. TrionZ bracelet: $10, Phiten necklace: $40. Homegirl is on a budget.

I also buy socks that are specific to my left and right foot. I don't know if this helps either, but it makes laundry sock matching much simpler. I own compression socks. They are also bright pink. I wear these for the remainder of the day after my long runs and on other days where my legs are feeling tired. Again - not sure if it works, but I figure it can't hurt. I actually do think the compression socks work. I honestly think they've been helping my calf.

Rock Tape, however, is a gimick not to waste your money on. I was told it could remain on for up to 3 days (including showers), but it didn't last through 6 mile repeats. I also didn't dig how it said "Rock Tape" all over it. Simple, basic colors please (pink!). I am open to trying K Tape, but I think I'll have a professional put it on.

An update on my nutrition plan:
I've actually been pretty successful with it. I would give myself a B+. I'm disappointed that I haven't lost any weight, but I will say that overall I feel better. Less bloated. My energy level has stabalized. I no longer feel the late afternoon drop. Up until last week I also thought my clothes were fitting better, but the past two days they haven't. I felt like giving up, but after an entire month and with the wedding less than 50 days away, I might as well stay the course.

Running updates:
I ran 21 miles on Sunday - 8 with Linda kicking my butt. I don't think she knows how to run slow. We'll talk about taking it easy, but we still end up doing most of the miles around 8:00. Since I run less than half of my long run with her it's a good marathon pace simulation. We talk the whole time, so I know I can handle the pace. Plus, she runs the middle portion of the run with me. It is my goal every Sunday morning to wake up early, run 10-12 miles, meet up with Linda, run the remaining 6-8, and be done. I always fail at this plan. I can't get out of bed to save my life. So I end up rushing around, being late, running around 7 miles, meeting Linda, and then finishing on my own. At least its a cool down.

I also did my first speedwork OUTSIDE today!!! Milestone!!! I had been doing my speed work on the treadmill, but I couldn't motivate myself to do mile repeats on it today. Believe it or not, I now have a workout I would rather do outside. How the crap did this happen???

I will throw in this small disclaimer - it was only in the upper 70s today and the humidity was very low. Had it been 90 degrees with over 80% humidity, I would have probably gerbilled it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Things to not Listen to when Running at 4:30am

I am now more so of a hyprocrit than before. Why, you ask? Because this experiment has caused me to do yet another thing I swore I would never do (and often called other people stupid for doing). I ran in the dark. From 4:30am-6:00am last Friday morning.

I work at a golf course and last week we had our annual Invitational, a 4 day golf tournament with 192 players. What this means for me (and you) is I have to be at work at 7am. Meaning I have to be done running by 6am so I have time to shower and make myself look pretty.

I skipped my Thursday run and, God forbid, I skip 2 days in a row, so I found myself on the roads at 4:30am. Because not even the gym opens that early. I learned a few things:

#1 - My running route is not well lit. At all. The first mile of my route is along scary street (please see first few posts) and then past a grocery store. This part was ok. The second mile is along a busy street and I (very wrongfully) assumed would have street lights. When I hit mile 3 I chose do a pond/neighborhood loop that is 1.68 miles around (this would also ensure that I could head home at any time). I again (very wrongfully) assumed that people would have yard lights. They do, but they were small and not as helpful as I wanted.

#2 - Running in the dark makes you trip a lot. Mostly at the small undulations in the path. When you can see them it's not a problem, I guess your eyes and brain do all the adjustments for you. Take out the eyes, my brain fails.

#3 - You should not listen to This American Life's "Held Hostage" podcast. Learning about people who are kidnapped in the South American jungle will not help you feel safer and makes you frightened of telephone poles. Needless to say, I listened to less than a minute of it.

Here I am though - alive and well and hoping to never have to do that again. Or if I do, I'll have a dog by then. Who is not only scary, but a good runner.

Back to my new obsession: This American Life podcasts from NPR. LOVE them. For whatever reason my longer, slower runs are better when listening to people tell me a story than when I listen to music. I have learned about the world financial meltdown, two women who were switched at birth, infidelity, how New York's state budget is falling apart, etc. I have also been entertained by tales of partying at Penn State, the happenings at a rest stop on a summer weekend, how to talk to kids, urban legends, etc. I now subscribe to the free weekly podcast, but also buy podcasts from iTunes - only 99 cents per an hour of running! I can't recommend these enough!

Monday, August 2, 2010

BoyToy may have lost his mind.

The strangest thing happened this morning...BoyToy asked if I wanted to go for a run with him! WTF?!?!?!?!

This is strange for a few reasons:
1. BoyToy barely runs. Maybe a mile or two on the treadmill at the gym before he lifts things.
2. The last time we ran together (July of 2009) he told me very specifically that we were "never doing this ever again!" Granted, that was after a 4 mile race in which he ran 7:40 miles and I signed him up for without telling him, but he was very adamant. Not taking the hint, I still ask him at least twice a week if he wants to go on my run with me and he always politely declines.
3. He always tells me how much I smell after I run so I never thought he'd want to experience it in real time.

But he asked, so I wasn't going to pass it up (even today is my scheduled rest day). We ran 2.5 miles at a 9:46 pace. It was very relaxing, just being outside with him and talking about the neighborhood. We were like 2 explorers trying to find the Dairy Queen (even if it was 8:30am and DQ is not whole grain - we didn't stop).

That's it. Not much else to report, but in case BoyToy starts exhibiting more signs of having lost his mind, I felt I needed to put this on the record.

Next Topic: Friday I did tempo and didn't think I was going to die (unlike 2 weeks ago when I ran in the inferno).

I had an 11 mile workout on Friday with 5 miles at tempo (7:40 pace). In addition to being bad at math, I also struggle to figure out my Garmin. I have it set on autolap, so I can't read my splits. I didn't think of this until I was running my first tempo mile and by then it was too late. I ran them blind. 5 hard miles. I figured I would look when I got home and either be surprised or disappointed.

It was a workout, that's for sure. I ran hard, but tried not to go all out. It was hot, but not humid. I felt like I slowed down each mile, except for the last one where I hauled ass the last .25 mile to make up for the lost time. I needn't have worked so hard. I was shocked when I read my data and my miles were: 7:27; 7:25; 7:13; 7:19; 7:08. Once again, I had done it wrong (much too fast!). But I was shocked to find out that I could have held back and still done the workout successfully.

I called Coach Cope to grovel and ask for forgiveness. He told me not to worry. It was ok to do the workout too hard, but if I did that all the time, my other workouts could suffer. As usual, he was right. My Sunday 19 miler was tough. I had nothing in the tank. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

This could also be attributed to the fact that I forgot to eat before I ran. Normally I never, ever forget to eat. I eat too much. But I woke up late and in my haste to leave I forgot to grab something. I did manage to grab 2 Gu and 2 bottles of G2, so I knew I would survive the workout. And I did. Survive, that is. But it was tough. I made Linda stop twice so I could catch my breath and drink and pretend I was in shape. The last 3 miles were horrible. I should have just called it good at 16 (when Linda left after running 10 with me), but I’m too Type A to do that. So I HTFU (barely) and chugged through the miles. I won’t mention the MAJOR chaffing that also added to the misery of this run. Suffice it to say I’m surprised my thighs weren’t bleeding.

Final Topic: The new diet.

I am done with my first full week. I must say, I was rather successful (minus the whole forgetting to eat thing on Sunday and a pita attack on Saturday). It was easier that I originally thought. I’m still eating all the same foods, just in different ratios and proportions and forms. I went to Trader Joes to ease my shopping. I still bought the same things: bread, tortillas, pitas, cereal – but all in whole grain. I added the morning snack at 10am (usually 2 sting cheese and a piece of fruit) and its really helped me make good choices since I’m not starving at lunch time.

I thought dinner would be tough because I eat it with BoyToy, but he’s been amazingly supportive and my new diet hasn’t affected his normal diet. For example, one night we had burgers, but I didn’t have whole grain buns. He had a normal burger with chips, and I had my burger with sides of wild rice and green beans. Not bad.

I only had one moment of food envy. They had pizza for lunch at work one day. I love work pizza – its doughy and saucy and yummy. But not whole grainy. Boo.