Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ice Queen

Last night after work, I decided to try my first track-less speed workout. I figured if I ran in town I would have less slippery roads to deal with, so I didn't bring my yak-trax. After a 1/2 mile warmup out the front door of my office, I turned into a residential area and started my first interval. And promptly felt like I was going to fall flat on my face. Pure ice. I immediately adjusted my goal from speedwork to (1) don't fall and (2) try to keep up a halfway decent pace. I ended up doing 4.6 miles at 9:08 pace. I almost blew goal (1) coming around a corner. My feet started to go out from under me and I had to flail my arms around to stay upright.

This morning, I woke up to a few inches of snow on the ground and it was still snowing. It is supposed to get really cold again tonight (below zero with nasty windchills), so I knew I better run because tonight and tomorrow morning might not happen. Three miles of three inches of snow over solid ice, with snow blowing in my face. Ahh, gotta love winter.

My back is starting to feel the running on ice. I'm prone to lower back problems anyway, so I'm always nervous about pushing it. After sitting in court for an hour this morning I stood up and could feel my lower back tightening up. I'll do some yoga tonight to see if I can loosen things up a little.

Is it spring yet?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Santa Loves Me

I may be the last person in the world, but I finally got my Garmin. My husband came through (like he always does when I beg, plead, and whine). I've gone for three runs with it so far, and I'm loving it. Although the first run, I was so busy staring at it that I sort of forgot to pay attention to where I was going. Not the smartest idea on icy roads. Kind of like last year after Christmas when I got my new iPod - running and messing with it at the same time, and I ended up waist deep in snow in the ditch.

I also got plenty of other running loot - lots of Smartwool socks, which I love, a fuel belt, a new short sleeved shirt, and a new face mask. Also, my mom made me an awesome quilt out of some of my race t-shirts. Even though I knew it was coming, I was super excited. One side has all the t-shirts from the first year I ran races, and the other side has some other cute ones.

This morning, Jim and I went out for a balmy 8 miler in the 7 degree weather. In general, December has been a "rest" month - until today, I hadn't done anything longer than 4 miles. It felt good to actually get a good run in, even if my face was covered with ice.

I'm off to make a lasagna for some friends who are visiting tonight. Hope everybody had a good Christmas. Back to work tomorrow!

Friday, December 19, 2008

2009 Goals

I've got to hurry up and post my 2009 goals or else they'll sound like New Year's resolutions, which would just be the kiss of death. Also, I've sort of gotten a head start on the office Christmas party by taking swigs out of the flask under my desk and it's not doing much for my motivation to work. So . . .

Realistic Goals
1) Run a sub 54:00 10K.
2) Run a 4:30-ish marathon.
3) Run a sub 2:05 half.
3) Do yoga 1x per week (she is my mistress, after all).

Just Call Me a Rockstar Goals
1) Get a Mora Classic medal (all you need to do to get this is complete their 4 events in one year: a cross country ski race, a canoe race, a half marathon, and a 50 mile bike race (actually, I think they call it a tour, much less intimidating)). My friend Cheryl and I are going to do this one together.

2) Win the Mac vs. Heather challenge. This is a four-sport event: bowling, golf, running, and tennis. The loser has to wear a t-shirt designed by the winner at our annual local "Bastard's Bar Association" golf/dinner event. The t-shirt I am already designing for Mac (because I am that confident I will be the victor) is pink, has a picture of yours truly on it, and says "Princess Heather Rules All." He's gonna look awesome.

Just Call Me Freaking Crazy Goals
1) 2009 miles in 2009. Yes, I know.
2) Isn't that one crazy enough? I don't think I need to add any more. . .

I've got lots of races on the calendar to help me accomplish my goals. I'll add them to my upcoming races list as soon as the dates are confirmed and I get permission from my husband for the race fees (and yes, paying $30 to run any number of miles is a good use of our $, so quit your bitching).

Tonight? Not working on any of my goals. It is still 2008, after all. Instead, I'll be living it up redneck, backwoods style by drinking at the Casino. Yeah, that's how we do it around here. And then tomorrow morning? Getting up early to get to a rehearsal at church. Because that's how we really do it around here.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Taking Me a Mistress

Running and I have had a monogamous relationship for quite some time. Way back in the early days, before I called myself a "runner," I really played the field. I'd do the stairclimber one day, lift weights the next, go to class at the gym, and once in a while jog around the lake for good measure.

Once I started running races in 2004, running and I started to get more serious. I still had the occasional fling with Tae Bo and the likes. But gradually, running and I became exclusive. Running's efficiency and slimplicity have always been attractive to me, and the longer we were together, the more I started to love it.

Compared to running, with its mysterious sunglasses and sleek, sexy sweat-wicking pants, yoga has always been a little like a Gap commercial. Dull, predictable, khaki pants and a polo shirt. If I only have a certain amount of time per day to commit, I want to get the most bang for my buck. My mom has tried to set me up with yoga for a long time. She swears it will help my lower back problems. I believe her, I just thought yoga was such a dud.

But last night, I decided to preview a new yoga DVD I bought for my mom for Christmas. It was too cold for running and I to hook up outside, and the treadmill just gets in the way of our happy relationship. And yoga? Kinda cool. I was shocked when our 30 minutes together was over and I realized I hadn't stared at the clock fantasizing about running even once. And while running has always been very attentive to my legs, it completely ignores my upper body. Yoga gave me something I have been missing - a reminder that I actually do have muscles in my arms and back that long to be used.

So running, I hope you don't mind, but I think I might take yoga as a mistress. You'll still be my number one, and we'll get together pretty much every day. But once or twice a week, I'll take 30 minutes away from you to be with yoga. I have a sneaking suspicion that being with yoga every once in a while might make things between you and I even better.

And Mom? You probably won't be getting a new yoga DVD in your stocking. Sorry.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brr Flippin' Cold

Because the wind chill is 30 below, and because I value my extremities, I will not be running outside today. My friend Mac called earlier and asked if he should run today. I told him that if he could go at noon when it was sunny, it would probably be okay. And then I walked a block and a half to the post office to mail my Christmas cards. Holy freaking freezing. Hopefully I will not see him frozen solid to the ground on my way to court. Hopefully he knows by now that I don't have a clue and he should ignore all advice that comes out of my mouth.

After Sophie goes to bed, I'll go over to Erin's and run on her treadmill. Heated garage with TV? I can get on board with that, even though I despise running on the treadmill. Any run that will leave my fingers and toes intact and my face frostbite-free is good enough for me today.

I've already proven my hardcore nature by running outside in yesterday's little blizzard. Running to the south and west? Easy, beautiful, looked like a Christmas card. Running to the north and east? Like running in hell. Frozen hell, with wind flinging chunks of snow and ice at my face.

Anyone in California or Florida or some other warm place need a roomate (and a half - can't go without Sophie) for the winter?

Friday, December 12, 2008

In the Doghouse

As I was sitting in my office fulfilling my duties as a slave to justice (or, surfing the internet, whatever), my husband calls. "You want me to move out?" I was confused until he reminded me about a recent post in which I may have said that I SOMETIMES wished my husband would move out and my mom would move in. Oops. One, I didn't know you read this blog. And two, it was just a joke, really.

In the interests of preserving marital bliss, I think it's important that I point out just a few of the MANY things I appreciate and love about my husband.

(1) He is a WONDERFUL dad to Sophie. Every time I see him with her, I love him a little bit more because of this great thing we did together and of how super he is with her.

(2) He never lets me feel sorry for myself and is constantly pushing me to be tougher and stronger.

(3) He takes care of all the finances and pays all the bills. I hate math and I hate paying bills.

(4) He has supported me through college, law school, the bar exam, and put up with all of my super cheeriness in between!

(5) He's always making me laugh with stupid little jokes.

I know this wasn't at all about running, but hey, every now and then, a girl just has to suck up a little. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Christmas Miracle (two weeks early)

A miracle happened at our house last night. At 7:30, I put Sophie to bed. And she stayed there, without a midnight snack, without me giving her Nuk back 17 times, without three hours of Baby Einstein, until 8:00 this morning. When my alarm went off at 5:30 and I realized that she hadn't been up all night, I ran into her room thinking she must be dead. When I heard her little baby snores, I went out into the hallway and did a little dance to the god of sleeping through the night. Please don't let this be a fluke.

During Sophie's marathon of sleep, I ran TWICE. Last night, I went over to my friend Erin's and ran 3+ miles on her treadmill. This morning, Jim and I ran our usual pre-dawn 3 miles. And, because of the Christmas Miracle, I was able to do my sit ups and push ups after the run. It felt so good to have my little routine back.

I hate to push my luck, but Santa, god of sleeping through the night, and whoever else out there who has $350 they want to spend on yours truly, I still want a Garmin for Christmas. And a Wii. Hell, throw in a little white pony while you're at it. Because if Sophie can sleep through the night, anything is possible.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Back at It

Earlier today, my face was freezing. Ice was forming on my eyelashes, and my cheeks were stinging. My chest felt tight from breathing in the frigid air. My ankles and calves were aching from the constant battle for traction on freshly fallen snow. I felt like I was running into a wall of wind. But I didn't care. Because I was finally RUNNING.

After four long days off, I got out for a measly little three miler this morning. It was really hard work, but it felt so good. And the three miles makes for a whopping 7.5 total miles this week. Oh well. As my husband likes to remind me, life does not revolve around running.

With the start of the last month of the year, I totaled up my miles for 2008 so far: 870. At the beginning of the week, I was optimistic about getting in 130 miles this month. I knew it would take some work, but figured I could get it in. I've now adjusted my goal to 950. With the slow start to the month, it will be work just to get in 80 miles. Jim graciously offered to run 20 miles per day with me next week, but I don't think that will happen! (Although think of all the Christmas cookies I could eat . . .)

After my run this morning, I got my Christmas decorations up. My mom came up and stayed last night so she could help me double team Sophie in order to actually get the decorations done. Am I the only one that sometimes secretly wishes their husband would move out and their mom would move in??? She's just so damn helpful. (And Mom, I said SOMETIMES!)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Positive Thinking

I really don't want to be a whiner, so here's my glass half full take on this week:

Having the stomach flu on and off for two weeks builds character. And ab muscles. And I know I'm really going to appreciate food one day soon when I can smell it without the accompanying waves of nausea. And NO, I'm not pregnant.

Staying up all night with Sophie last night as she screamed bloody murder because of another ear infection was nice mother-daughter bonding time. And I'm learning a lot of sign language from the Baby Wordsworth movie.

Sitting at the courthouse for three hours this afternoon for Ask an Attorney is a good public service and I can make a real difference in people's lives. They will also make a real difference in mine as they expose me to even more germs and illnesses. That's good. I relish the opportunity to build my immunity.

Not running since Monday is a nice rest. I can remember this week in the middle of marathon training when I would give anything for three days off in a row.

See? I'm freaking Pollyanna.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Race Report - Jingle Bell 5K

This will be my last race report for a while - nothing on the calendar now until the end of January!

A few months ago, my friend Sarah asked me to help her get into running. I set her up with a little training plan and convinced her to sign up for the Jingle Bell 5K at Anoka High School. Of course, this meant I had to run it too. I graduated from Anoka, so it's always fun to go back.

So, after a week with the stomach flu (bonus: always good to lose 6 pounds before the holidays), I wasn't expecting much. My main goal was to finish without puking. The race started and I took off at an easy pace. A lot of walkers and people with strollers started right in front, so the first half mile was a lot of dodging, which always seems so exhausting. As we came around a corner and up a short hill, a couple of kids were calling out the mile split. 7:35. What? I actually asked whether we were at the mile yet, because I didn't think I had run that fast. Go figure.

This was an out and back course, and I felt really good when I got to the turn around. As I ran back, I saw my sister and then saw Sarah. I screamed like a maniac for her (and I'm sure embarrassed the crap out of her, but oh well). The last mile was tough. I don't know why I get so tired at the end of races. I really need to work on that. I knew my mom was going to be at the finish with Sophie, so I just kept reminding myself of that. I also kept telling myself, "Only 3 more minutes. You can do anything for 3 minutes."

I came down the last stretch and could see the clock, and knew that I was going to beat my time from last week. I crossed at 24:45 - a new PR by 7 seconds! By far the best part of this race was watching Sarah finish - I'm so proud of her for sticking with it. When she first started, she said she couldn't imagine running one block, let alone one mile. And now she has finished her first 5K, and she e-mailed me today asking when the next race is! I think she's hooked.

Now I'm off to get my running clothes on and brave the wind gusts. When I asked our daycare lady to keep Sophie a little longer tonight so I could run she looked at me like I had sprouted horns and told her I was planning on cooking Sophie for dinner.