Friday, October 31, 2008

Must be Friday

Court this morning was so slow, I could actually hear the wheels of justice grinding to a halt. At one point (after my caffeine withdrawal had become so intense that I was starting to hallucinate), I had to physically restrain myself from standing up and disrupting court. I don't know why it would be so inappropriate to just say, "Look your Honor, I know we're busy bringing justice to the people and whatnot, but I have a giant chocolate cupcake with orange frosting and little black bat sprinkles on it that I need to eat right now. And if I don't get my Diet Dew soon, people could get hurt."

I have to go finish licking orange frosting off my fingers. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Getting faster . . .

I was a little nervous about my track workout Tuesday night, but it was great. I usually run at the track with my super speedy friend Cheryl, so I was wondering whether I would have enough motivation to push myself as hard when I was running alone. I ended up doing the 1.3 mile warmup (from the office to the track), then did 5x800 (3:46, 3:46, 3:44, 3:45, 3:46), and then ran a hard 1.3 miles back to the office. Gotta love the feeling of accomplishment after finishing a good run!

Yesterday ended up being a rest day. Sophie came down with some sort of virus and has had a super high fever. She's home with Dad today. Hopefully I will still get a chance to get out and run this evening. It is warm, sunny and beautiful here today. I know these days are numbered, so I have to get out and take advantage of the good weather while it lasts.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What Speed Work?

With races the last two weekends, it has been a couple of weeks since I hit the track. But after Saturday's 25:18 5K, it seems like it wouldn't be completely out of the reach to break 25:00 at the Turkey Run 5K in November. And I think a little bit of speed work might be in order.

So tonight, it's back to the track. I'm going to leave work a little early (let's be honest, I haven't really been working that hard today anyway) and get some 800's in. For most of August and September, I was doing a really simple workout - run 1.3 miles from the office to the track, do 4x800 (with 400 rest intervals), and then run back to the office. I walked my rest intervals. I'm thinking maybe I should step it up a little. So I might add another 800, and try to jog instead of walk for my rest intervals. I'm worried about my workout taking too long, so I thought about driving to the track and doing a warm up there, but I really love my runs down the Main Street of our little metropolis here. All my friends honk at me as they're leaving work, which is like having built-in cheerleaders!

Also, figured I should get around to posting last week's training recap before I get too far behind:
  • Sunday, Oct. 19th- 4.5 miles
  • Monday, Oct. 20th - 3 miles (a.m.), 3 miles (p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 21st - 5 miles
  • Wednesday, Oct. 22nd - 2 miles
  • Thursday, Oct. 23rd - 3 miles
  • Friday, Oct. 24th - 3 miles
  • Saturday, Oct. 25th - 5K race

Total weekly miles: 26.6

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dear Santa

I know it's early, but I've seen your stuff out at Target and I hear you're coming to the mall soon. So I thought I should get my list to you now, before you get bogged down by all those snot-nosed little kids and their wishes for ponies and whatnot. It's really small, and I've been a very good girl this year. So please, pretty please, just bring me a Garmin already. I can't take this inconsistent pacing, complicated math while running on the brink of dehydration anymore.

Love, Heather

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Race Report - Anoka Gray Ghost 5K

At about 10:30 yesterday morning, Sophie and I headed out -- we picked up Erin and Jim in Pine City, then stopped in North Branch to pick up Mac and we were on our way to Anoka for the Halloween festivities. My sister, nice girl that she is, recently bought a house about 6 blocks from the start line, so we were headed there. Race photographer/babysitter extraordinare (aka Mom) was meeting us there to take over Sophie duties.

I don't know what it is about this race, but we are ALWAYS running late and racing to get there on time. Two years ago, my mom actually dropped Jim and I off, we ran three blocks to the start and jumped a barricade as the race was starting. Nothing like a little pre-race warm up . . .

So even though I thought we had plenty of time, I still felt really rushed once we got to my sister's. We had to get into our costumes, and Mac's 70's porn star getup took forever! He's lucky he had me there to help with the porno-stache.

Eventually we were all ready and we took off for the start. We had to rush to make it before registration closed, but once we were all registered and had our bibs pinned up, we had some time to hang around and take pictures before the start.

Once the race started, we were off down Main Street along the parade route. Anoka is know as the Halloween Capital, and people come out in droves for the Grand Day Parade. The first 1+ of the race run along the parade route, and both sides of the road are completely lined with people. Combine this with the large number of people who walk, push strollers, and bring their dogs in this race, and you have a lot of dodging and weaving. The first mile felt really slow (and of course I had forgotten my watch), so I thought it would be a pretty slow race.

Once we got off the parade route, things spread out a little more, and I was able to settle into what felt like a good pace. The sun was out and it was hot during that 2nd mile -- I was glad I decided to wear shorts instead of tights under my Little Red Riding Hood skirt (and I was about ready to rip my hot, heavy cape right off!).

There was a guy calling splits at the 2nd mile marker and I was right at 16:05 - just over an 8:00 pace! I was super excited and tried to convince myself to just keep pushing. I slowed down a little the last 1.1 miles, but finished in 25:18 -- a new PR! Someone must be putting crack in my Wheaties, because this is my second PR in a week. I really am not sure how this is happening . . . I don't feel like I have been training that hard, and certainly did not expect to PR at this race (wearing a costume and all). But I'll take it. I had sort of convinced myself that I probably would never be able to beat my pre-pregnancy race times. I have now convinced myself that post-pregnancy me is a total rockstar. Lovin it!

Friday, October 24, 2008

An Anniversary

Tomorrow's Halloween Race will be an anniversary for me -- one year since I returned to running after having Sophie. Last year when I ran this race, I was three weeks post-partum. Jim registered for me so I could nurse Sophie right before the start of the race. As soon as we finished, I rushed to find my mom and Sophie so I could nurse her again. Last year, it took me more than 30 minutes to run this race. I had run twice the week before, but otherwise hadn't run since my 5th month of pregnancy. While running the race, I felt like I was having an episiotomy performed on my still-sore girl parts all over again.

A lot has happened in the past year: I've lost all the baby weight (putting me at a nice 35 pounds lighter than I was at this race last year!), ran a marathon, two half-marathons, and a good fistful of shorter races, and finished breastfeeding and completely healed the girl parts.

This year's Heather (or should I say, Little Red Riding Hood -- it is a costume race, after all), is going to kick last year's Heather's ass. I don't really set any time goals for this race because it is more about having fun running along the parade route (the kids love the Little Red Riding Hood/Big Bad Wolf deal), I know I will beat last year's time. And, coming off last week's PR, I'm thinking I can hit a post-pregnancy PR for a 5K at least. Which, considering everything that's happened in the last year, is good enough for me!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

TIART - Running and Weight

This is my contribution to Runner's Lounge Take It and Run Thursday . . .

Any discussion about weight for me has to start with a few basic truths: (1) I like treats. A lot. (2) I feel like I have spent much of my life obsessing about my weight.

When I first started running back in college, it was to lose weight. Somewhere along the way, that has stopped being the goal and now I run for the sake of running (and enjoy all of the rewards that go along with it). My thoughts about running and weight have gone from, "I better run and starve myself so I can lose weight." to "I'm running a lot, so I can eat whatever I want." and finally to "Food is my fuel. I need to eat the best I can so I can run the best I can."

After a lot of trial and error, I've come to feel that my ideal running weight is one at which I can run without feeling like total crap (most days -- some days are just bad days and it doesn't matter how much you weigh) and maintain that weight without thinking about food all the time. Because if I am obsessing about what I eat, or thinking about how much I want "forbidden foods," I am miserable. And I run to feel better about myself, not worse.

I've discovered that I feel the best, and run the best, when I eat a diet that is high in protein and calcium (I drink milk for my post-run recovery drinks), cut out fried foods, and get in as many fruits and veggies as possible. And, of course, eat my treats. I know that I could lose 10 pounds if I counted calories religiously and restricted my diet (because I've done it before). But I've come to accept that the healthiest weight for me is one that also keeps my mental health intact -- and that means keeping food from being my enemy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Leisure Lady

I can't remember the last time I had more than one day off work and didn't spend that time on an actual vacation or as part of some busy holiday. (And maternity leave doesn't count -- all that sleep deprivation and hormonal rollercoaster crap means that maternity leave DOES NOT equal a vacation.)

Today is my second day off in a row, so instead of jumping (I mean prying myself) out of bed at 5:45 to get a run in, I didn't worry about it. Around 12:30, Sophie and I headed over to Jim's to run with him. We ran five miles at an easy pace, but it was a pretty tough run for me. The wind was kind of insane. It was gusting. And FYI, pushing a jogging stroller into the wind sucks. Pushing a jogging stroller into the wind through loose gravel . . . double suck. Thank goodness Jim was willing to help with the stroller. I probably would have just crawled into the ditch and waited for someone to pick me up.

After the run, we came home and have been just hanging out. Sophie went to bed early (she got her shots this morning, so has been a little tired and off all day), and I got out my scrapbooking stuff. Now, I think I'll do some reading and go to bed. I could really get used to this schedule.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Training Recap - Week of October 12th

Low mileage week last week . . .
  • Monday, Oct. 13th - 3 miles
  • Tuesday, Oct. 14th - 3 miles (a.m.); 3.6 miles-hill (p.m.)
  • Wednesday, Oct. 15th - 3 miles
  • Friday, Oct. 17th - 3 miles
  • Saturday, Oct. 18th - 5 miles race

Total weekly miles: 20.6

I have another race coming up this Saturday, so I'm trying to get in more miles at the beginning of the week to get closer to a 30 mile week. Sophie's daycare is closed this week, so I took today, tomorrow, and Wednesday off to stay home with her. Thursday and Friday, she's on her own. Just kidding. I figure she should be at least 18-months old before I leave her home alone.

After dinner, I went out for an easy 3-miler. I don't run by myself very often, and, as a rule, don't really like it. But tonight I took my i-Pod, set it on a more mellow playlist (as opposed to my usual strip-club soundtrack), and just took it easy. I love running at that pace where you feel like you could just run forever. Might not be the best workout, but it was a nice mental break.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Race Report - Run for the Apples 5 Mile

Yesterday, my running partner, Jim, and I ran the Run for the Apples at the Pine Tree Apple farm in White Bear Lake. This was my third time running this race -- skipped last year because I had just had Sophie. This is a very hilly race through the hills of the apple orchard, and I was a little apprehensive going into the race.

At the start, everyone was clustered together and it was a lot of juggling to break through the pack and get past the start. The first mile felt pretty slow, and I expected to see a near 10:00 time when we hit that first marker. So I was shocked when I saw 8:47 on the clock. Going into the second mile, we ran up a HUGE hill . . . and then turned a corner to run up another huge hill. My memory of the course came crashing back to me, but I was happy to remember that this really was the worst of the hills. I just kept pushing.

There was a water stop at the halfway point and I stopped to walk and get some water. Although it was a cool morning, I was regretting my choice of long sleeves and was really hot by this point. I looked at my watch and saw I was right at about 22:00. I realized then that I was on course to set a PR not just for this course (prior best time - 46:30), but for 5 miles races. I stopped walking and busted my butt. My thoughts were alternating between," Man, I'm really tired, I should slow down and save myself," and "Keep going as fast as you can -- the worst thing that could happen is that you crash and burn, and have to walk in -- you can live with that."

I felt pretty strong until the last mile. About 3/4 of a mile from the finish, I was going up some smaller hills (I refer to this as the "moguls" section), and I looked down and felt like I was hardly moving. We hit the 4.5 mile mark and I told myself, "Two laps around the track, you can make it." By the last quarter-mile, I could hear people cheering at the finish line. This last section runs down a big hill and curves, so I had to save my kick until I was past the point where I felt like I could fall down. I came around the last curve and could see the clock, and was shocked to see that I was just over 43:00. I crossed the finish line in 43:17 -- a PR on this course by more than 3 minutes! I was ecstatic. This is one of the most fun races I run, and it was thrilling to run such a great race. I found my mom and Sophie and watched Jim come in about a minute later. Then it was on to the yummy apple treats!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Friday

Okay, so I had a bad attitude yesterday. I'm over it. Today has been a much better day so far. I won a case this morning that I thought I had no chance of winning, and got a decision back from the judge on a case I tried in August -- same thing. Thought I had no chance of winning, and I won. I guess the Home Depot paint department is going to have to get along without me for a little while longer.

Ran an easy 3-miles this morning. Got really excited because I thought we had really beaten the bus (didn't even hear it coming!), and then remembered that the kids are off school today. Oh well. I'm looking forward to my 5-mile race tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be good, and, once it's over, yummy apple treats. I don't have any real firm goals for the race (why set myself up for disappointment?), but I guess my sort of secret goal is to finish in under 46:00. We'll see how it goes. It is VERY hilly. Hopefully all those runs pushing Sophie up hill in the running stroller will pay off!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

One of Those Days

Don't you just hate it when certain people just do what they do or don't do without any consideration of the consequences? And that's all I can say about that . . . Sometimes I wish I worked at the paint department in Home Depot. So the pay might not be that great. The benefits: sniff paint for a little pick me up when customers get on your nerves, and of course, maybe end up in one of those awesome Olympic commercials. (Have I mentioned that I miss the Olympics?)

Anyhow . . . today is just one of those days. I definitely need to go for a run after work. The only other alternatives would be to kick puppies or trip old ladies on the street, and I'm just not ready to go that route.

What time is The Office on? Too early for a countdown?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


As a rule, I try not to be too competitive with running. Running in small races around here has given me the chance to win some age group awards, and I certainly love getting a little bling every once in a while. But I always try to remind myself that the only person I'm really in competition with is myself, and as long as I keep improving, blah, blah, blah.

But I have one enemy. My running partner and I meet this enemy out on the road every morning, rain or shine. Yes, this fast (and I mean fast, not fat) bastard is a big yellow school bus. The bus picks up kids on either side of my driveway, and our daily mission is to beat that damn bus. A couple of weeks ago, we were running in the last 3/4 of a mile of our route when we heard its engine roaring down the hills and around the curve of my road. We picked up the pace. The bus got louder and louder, and we knew it was going to be close. My running partner threw in a kick like I have never seen (and we have run A LOT of races together). I thought he was going to fly, or maybe have a heart attack. I decided I better haul ass too (because of course, the kids waiting for the bus are watching this little competition). We beat it, but barely.

Yesterday, we beat the bus by a long shot. They must have filled up with the cheap gas, or maybe one of the juvenile delinquents put ice cream in the tank, because that thing just could not catch us. But this morning . . . we ate its dust. The bus was long gone and we still had a good 1/4 mile to run. I could practically hear the bus driver and the three kids who are on the bus that early taunting us.

Tomorrow? That bastard's going down.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Training Recap - Week of October 5th

Aside from missing a long run last week, overall got in a good week of training:
  • Monday, Oct. 6th: 3 miles (a.m.), 3.6 miles - hill (p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 7th: 3 miles (a.m.)
  • Wednesday, Oct. 8th: 3 miles (a.m.), 3.6 miles - hill (p.m.)
  • Thursday, Oct. 9th: 4.6 miles - track
  • Friday, Oct. 10th: 3 miles

Total weekly miles: 23.8

I had good intentions of running 8 miles on Saturday morning, but some stomach issues presented themselves. I firmly believe that it was a little stomach bug and NOT the 1/2 bottle of wine and pizza consumed Friday night. No matter what the cause, fear of crapping my pants kept me from running Saturday.

On the non-running side of things, a great weekend. I had a blast scrapbooking Friday night with Erin (Sophie cooperated, went to bed early, and I got four pages done). Saturday, Sophie and I headed down to my mom's where we canned applesauce all day - a sign that fall is indeed here. Sunday morning, my mom and I played a couple of two-piano duets at her church. Had a a yummy lunch at Acapulco, and then did some shopping. Now it's back to the grind . . . It has been raining steadily here all day, so the evening run may not happen. Got in an easy 3 miles this morning, so I won't be heartbroken if I have to stay inside tonight (I'll have How I Met Your Mother to ease my pain).

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Randomness

I'm glad I got my rainy 3-miler in this morning, because this girl is NOT running tonight. No siree. I'm going to be hanging out, scrapbooking, and drinking wine. With my friend Erin, who's been so busy running around the world, that I haven't hung out with her in a month.

Last night I finally sucked it up and sort of cleaned out my car. All I can say is thank goodness I didn't get an Explorer like Eugene wanted and got the Escape instead -- an Explorer would have had me out there until midnight last night. Among other things, here's a list of things I removed from my vehicle:
  • 4 half-eaten cinnamon graham crackers
  • 2 skirts
  • 3 1/2 pairs of shoes (if anyone sees a pink strappy high heel anywhere, it's mine . . .)
  • 2 pairs of running socks (1 clean, 1 dirty)
  • 7 Goldfish crackers
  • 1 sippy cup
  • 3 G2 bottles, in varying stages of fullness
  • 1 black slip (which I have been looking for for about two weeks - so to everyone who's enjoyed looking through my skirt at the courthouse for the last 14 days, the show's over)
  • running shorts, shirt & sports bra
  • 2 empty tupperware containers

And my vehicle is still pretty full, because I left the following items inside: approximately 17 pens bearing my office name, 1 pair of shoes, 1 set of golf clubs, and a big bag full of baby toys. Why did I suddenly become a slob when I became a parent?

Finally, a word of advice: don't walk into the front of your office (where the secretaries sit) and ask, "Why does it smell like a pile of crap up here?" Apparently that's offensive to the person who caused said pile of crap odor. And she will proceed to send all the crazy-ass phone calls through to you all day in retaliation. Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Big Fat Dork

Last night, after Sophie miracously went to sleep before 9:00 for the first time in about a month, I sat down to create my friend's 5K training plan (or, what I am now referring to as, "Sarah's TTFU* 5K Countdown"). Of course, working on her plan got me thinking about my own running. I've been working on increasing my mileage since Grandma's, all in the name of building a solid base for my next marathon training. I am convinced that one of my major downfalls with Grandma's was the lack of base (that whole getting knocked up thing really threw me for a loop), and I don't want to make that mistake again.

But I'm weirdly excited to start the marathon training. I printed out a FIRST program and, using my goal marathon pace of 10:12 (a sub-4:30 marathon), wrote in all of the training times for the long runs. I spent almost an hour doing this crap last night -- three months before I'm supposed to even start training. Which of course got me thinking that I should just start now - because if 16 weeks of training is good, wouldn't an extra 12 be even better?

Loser. I know if I start running those crazy long runs now, I will get burnt out. I need to stick with the current plan - build my base mileage, shoot for weekly "long" runs for 10-12 miles, and run my super fun fall races. And settle right on down. Save this energy for the marathon. Good thing The Office is on tonight . . . another night alone with my running calendar could lead me to do something really crazy.

*toughen the fuck up

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

New Convert

Sarah has been my best friend for about seven years, and for almost that entire time, she has been completely adverse to exercise. She joined the YMCA a couple of years ago and got into step classes, but decided to quit the Y after hassles with the health insurance reimbursement. Over the seven years of our friendship, I can't count the number of times she has referred to my little running habit as completely crazy.

This morning we had the following conversation:
Sarah: "I don't even want to tell you this, because I think you'll get all crazy on me." (She may have even used the word harassment, but I don't really remember.)
Me: "What?"
Sarah: "Well, if I were going to start running, would you be able to help me?"

YES! I live for this stuff. Within five minutes I had her (I think) convinced to run a 5K with me on November 29th - a little over six weeks from now. I can't wait to finish traffic court Wednesday and get home to make her a little training plan.

Speaking of traffic court, I'm out of here . . . since the new trend seems to be to count how many times our presidential candidates repeat their catch phrases ("my friends"), I'll be counting how many times I throw out the phrase, "valid driver's license." Good times.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rainy Day

Thank goodness I ran this morning, because it has been raining all day today and I probably won't run again this afternoon. Because the sun never came out, I feel like I should still be sleeping. I've been making it through the day by drinking Diet Mountain Dew and eating chocolate (thank goodness for the senior trip/band uniform/improving school lunch fundraiser - I have a lifetime supply of mint meltaways). It is supposed to be nice tomorrow, so I'll shoot for 3 miles in the morning, and another run after work. But tonight, I'll be hanging inside the house with Sophie, watching the Biggest Loser and the debate.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Training Recap - Week of September 28th

I had a great week last week, training and everything. The recap:
  • Sunday, Sept. 28th - 3.6 miles
  • Monday, Sept. 29th - 3 miles
  • Tuesday, Sept. 30th - 3 miles (a.m.), 3.6 miles (p.m.)
  • Wednesday, Oct. 1st - 3 miles (a.m.), 3 miles - hill (p.m.)
  • Thursday, Oct. 2nd - 3 miles (a.m.), 4.6 miles - track (p.m.)
  • Saturday, Oct. 4th - 11 miles
  • total miles: 37.8

I had some pain in my right leg nagging me through most of the week, and after Saturday's 11-miler, both calves were sooooo tight. I busted through the pain by mega cleaning in preparation for Sophie's birthday party, and it seems to have worked. After taking yesterday off, I ran 3 miles this morning, and they were only a little bit tight.

Sophie's birthday was so much fun - I can't believe I have a one-year old!

I'm hoping for another good solid week of training this week. I want to keep a strong base going, so when I tackle the next marathon training at the end of January I will be ready.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy October

I love October. It is the perfect distance between the humidity of summer and the 3-month period of depression and freezing my ass off that is January through March in Minnesota. My two favorite races are this month -- the Run for the Apples at the Pine Tree Apple farm in White Bear Lake, and the Anoka Gray Ghost run before the Halloween Parade. We're celebrating Sophie's 1st birthday on Sunday, and I've got a wine tasting weekend planned later in the month. Life is good.

I didn't hit the 100 mile mark in September -- but was close. I'm not going to beat myself up about it, because we had two weeks with Sophie really not sleeping much at all. I might be superwoman, but really, even superwoman has to get a little bit of sleep! I'm going to work hard to get in more than 100 miles this month.

My track workout last night didn't happen AGAIN. Last week it was lightening, this week, crazy high school football players swarming the track. I feel old enough running past the cross-country team as they are out practicing. I don't need to make it worse by letting a bunch of pimply 15-year olds run me down while I'm traying to hoof it around the track. So I turned around and took a meandering route back through town (got to take advantage of every last second of babysitting offered by my mother-in-law!). I have plans to try to the track again tomorrow after work.