Monday, March 30, 2009

Getting My Groove Back

I'm slowly working my way out of my funk. It's an uphill battle, as I'm sitting here watching the weather forecast for buckets and buckets of snow. I am so over winter. My husband on the other hand? Yeah, he's out ice fishing. Winter is apparently his mistress, and ice fishing is his dirty whore.

Anyhow, the running . . . yesterday, Sophie and I headed down to the cities to hang out with my mom and niece. Mid-afternoon I headed out for a four mile run on some trails near my mom's house. It was sunny and warm, and I had a great run. Today after work I got in some speed work. The track was finally snow free (until tomorrow, supposedly) and the high schoolers were running sprints on the grass in front of the school. So I had the track all to myself. I did some 800's, which felt great. I'm planning on an easy run tomorrow morning. Now if the weather will just cooperate . . .

Saturday, March 28, 2009

9 is the new 20

Alternate title: I need to get my shit together.

I've been feeling a little funk coming on for the last couple weeks. I'm halfway through my marathon training, stuck in that place where I feel like I've already run SO much, but still have a long way to go. The funk came for an extended visit this week. I ran a race Sunday, and until today, didn't run another mile. I have all sorts of excuses (I mean, perfectly valid reasons) -- the weather, work, husband out of town, pure exhaustion . . . the list goes on and on.

So today, a big 20 miles was staring at me from the schedule. Even though I was dreading it, I fully intended to run the whole thing. Jim came over at 7:30 to run and we were off. He's in a little funk too, and it was too easy for us to talk ourselves into cutting it short. We ended up doing nine miles. Not even double digits. And each of those nine felt like complete crap to me.

I'm trying not to make too much of this wimpy little run, and not to get panicked about the marathon. "Just get back on track" is my new mantra. I've got to figure out a way to keep this minor setback from becoming a complete trainwreck.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Race Report - Human Race 8K

I never have a hard time figuring out my race calendar at the beginning of the year. I have so many races that are "must runs," the calendar kind of decides itself. The St. Paul Human Race is definitely a must run. On Sunday, I ran the race for the fourth year.

There are a lot of things I love about this race. It marks the beginning of spring for me. It's a very popular race, and a lot of people bring their St. Patrick's Day spirit to the race. It starts near St. Thomas and runs down Summit Avenue, does a loop around William Mitchell (where I went to law school) and goes back to St. Thomas.

This year, the weather was perfect. I had seen rain on the forecast, but it held off. There was a strong wind that we ran into for the first 2 1/2 miles, but that meant a nice wind pushing us towards the finish.

I made it to the race in plenty of time to meet up with my mom (for her dual duties as race photographer and Sophie watcher), get registered, and use the restroom. We even had time for a group picture at the start.
Jim and I have been training for the marathon together and ran 18 miles on Friday afternoon. So at the start of the race we decided to shoot for just under 9-minute miles and treat the race as a sort of tempo run. When the race started, I could definitely feel that 18 miles in my legs. But we settled into a nice pace for the first mile. The first two miles were nice and consistent - 8:28's.

I slowed down for water in the third mile - it was warm! The third mile definitely felt the toughest and was an 8:45. Near the four-mile mark a group of four guys passed me. They were singing. Loudly. Badly. Shortly after they passed me, a girl wearing a tutu passed me. Nothing kicks you in the ass more than seeing people that make you think, "How in the hell is that person passing me." The fourth mile was still pretty tough (I think I kept expecting that wind to push me, and it just wasn't living up to my expectations). Another 8:45. The fifth mile, I just wanted to be done. I pushed and ran an 8:05 that mile, for a finish time of 42:31. Then it was on to Chipotle for a yummy post-race burrito.

Sophie had a great time being outside around all the people (and dogs). She cheered for all the runners, tried to steal a doll from another little girl, and picked up trash off the ground. She's getting the hang of this race thing - next year, she'll be ready for the kids races! She enjoyed the post-race Chipotle too, and ate almost a whole container of guacamole.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Goodbye Winter, You Miserable Bitch

Hello Spring, I've been waiting for you. Not in a creepy, wearing a face mask in a dark alley kind of way, but more of a shipwrecked and treading water, waiting for a life boat way. I'm so happy you're finally here. But I've got to tell you, for your first day . . . well, wrong foot. Snow? Cold? Wind? No thank you.

Just so you and I can get off on the right foot, I thought maybe we could lay down some ground rules. Come to an agreement of sorts. First, what I expect from you: No more below freezing temps. No wretched winds that make the weather people use that nasty word "windchill." If it could only rain in the middle of the night when I am not trying to run and walk through a crowded Walmart parking lot with an 18 month old, super.

Because I don't want our little agreement to be completely without consideration, here's what I promise you. I will not complain about you (even when all my floors are covered with mud day after day). I will profess my undying love for you, your sister Summer, and your 2nd cousin fall. It's only that bitch of a stepmother, Winter, that I can't stand. I also promise to come outside every day and show my love by running, walking, biking and whatever else I can think of.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pity Party

Work is kicking my ass this week. When I looked in the mirror this morning, I was shocked that I didn't have any bruises. (Well, except for the one on my knee from falling outside the courthouse yesterday.) My mom and I are fighting. Speckled Egg Peanut Butter M&M's are my friends.

I'm looking forward to catching up on all of your blogs. And some laugh therapy tonight from The Office. Good news: my weekend starts at 4:30 today. And I don't have anything on the schedule tomorrow. Except for a little 18 mile run.

Hope you are all having good weeks. I'll be back to reading & commenting tomorrow!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Perfect Saturday

After a week of really crappy weather (seriously, below zero temps & windchills in MARCH?), it's already pushing 40 degrees here. This week, the folk's at FIRST decided to show a little mercy on me and only have 13 miles on the schedule. I got out at 8:00 this morning and got my thirteen in. All in all, it was a good long run. Right on pace, and felt blissfully short after the last few weeks of long runs.

After the run, Sophie and I hung out. Now she's napping. In half an hour, my husband will be home from work and I am off for a scrapbooking night with my friend Erin. Oh but first, we are headed to my fave Mexican place for chips, cheese, and margaritas!

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Speedy Monday, Snowy Tuesday

Let's start with the good. Yesterday the weather was beautiful -- the temps were above freezing, the sun was shining. I could hardly sit in my desk chair in the afternoon, I was so anxious to get outside and run. I quit a little early, changed into my running clothes and headed out for my speed workout.

The track was still snow covered, so I did my 6 by 800 on some neighborhood streets. I love 800's, they are definitely the speedwork I feel most comfortable with. I have an easier time motivating myself to run faster at the track where I can visualize the finish line. Running according to Garmin was a little more difficult for me, but I managed some speedy 800's. My iPod was definitely messing with me - it was like 8th grade all over again. New Kids on the Block, Spice Girls. There must be a little iPod fairy laughing her ass off somewhere as I'm running like mad woman singing along to NKOTB.

Now onto the bad. I did not believe the evil weather people when they said we were going to get a blizzard today. Apparently they were not lying. I was supposed to go up to Duluth this afternoon/evening to judge the high school mock trial state championships (I'm nerdy like that). I left the office at 2:00 and drove about 20 minutes before I decided there was just no way in hell that I was going up there. The freeway was completely snow covered and I am a total wuss about winter driving. I kept driving north as I had my secretary call and make sure they would survive without me. As soon as she called and gave me the okay, I turned around and headed back to the office. I HATE going back on commitments, but it just wasn't worth it to drive that far in this weather. Now I'm sitting in the office alone (sent the secretaries home - they don't have four-wheel drive) and wondering when I'll be able to run again. . .What happened to that spring-like weather?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Taking Off My Clothes

No, there aren't any pictures in this post.

Why is it so hard to part with my winter layers? In the fall, when it is in the mid-30's, I wear one pair of pants (no tights) and my favorite long-sleeved Hind hooded shirt. No jacket, no hat, no gloves. But it seems after months of mindlessly dressing in my warmest tights, my even warmer outer pants, two long-sleeved Under Armour shirts, my jacket, my fleece hat, and my gloves, that I just can't quite let go.

Thursday night, I went out for a four-miler with my friend Erin. It was about 6:00 and and definitely above 30 degrees. I wore my light tights, the warm pants, two shirts and my jacket. Sweat much? I was roasting, especially because my friend Erin is a speedy speedster and I was running like Satan was chasing me to keep up with her. Erin is so fast because she weighs half as much as I do. Seriously. If I didn't love her so much, I would hate her.

Anyhow, you'd think I would have learned my lesson. Yesterday's long run -- 10:00 a.m., 27 degrees. I had the good sense to skip the jacket and trade my warm pants for a pair of lighter ones. But I just had to cling to the tights and the hat. Sixteen mile sweatfest. I had my sleeves pushed up and was carrying my hat by the halfway point.

I'm planning a speed workout after work tomorrow. It's supposed to be in the mid-30's. I am going to pack my backpack now and purposefully omit anything that even resembles tights. The Under Armour is going to stay home. The Hind top (provided I get my butt in gear and get it out of the washer and into the dryer before midnight) is going in. By the time I get this whole dressing down thing figured out, our little midweek cold snap will rear its ugly head and I'll be rooting around in my closet looking for that damned Under Armour.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Adding to the Schedule

Judging by the receipt in my inbox 25 minutes ago, I'll be running the half marathon at Grandma's this year. They determine the 4500 participants in the half through a lottery. This year was the second year I've tried to get in. The first (2006? can't remember exactly), I really, really wanted to get in. And didn't. This year, I was sort of ambivalent.

On the one hand, I want to replace last year's mostly crappy experience at Grandma's (when I ran the full) with a positive one. On the other hand, the race is about a month after my marathon in Green Bay. I've never turned around and ran a half that soon after running a full before, so I'm a little bit nervous. Also, I'm going to avoid the whole hotel/lodging chaos and just drive to Duluth the morning of the race. It's only an hour away, and there are plenty of places to park and take a shuttle to the start. But the 6:30 a.m. start time means I'll be getting up at oh, 3:00 in the morning. And while I do that often to shove the Nuk back in Sophie's mouth, I don't usually stay up and go run 13.1 miles.

At any rate, now that I know I'm in and have had about 28 minutes to get used to the idea, I'm already getting completely pumped. Marathon training has been going really well and I hope to retain the fitness I gain from the marathon and have a great half. And, my friend Cheryl is in too, so I won't be there alone.

I better get to bed so I can get up early and run. I'm going to need all the training I can get!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Recovering from the Long Run

Ever seen that commercial about "Having a baby changes everything"? Apparently that even includes post-long run rituals. Go figure.

For example, in the pre-Sophie days, as soon as I finished a long run I would lay down on the floor and spend some good quality time stretching. Yesterday when I got home from my 18 miler, I did lay down on the floor. And I did do some stretching, however, it was all done with Sophie either lying next to me holding me hand or sitting on my stomach and bouncing up and down.

In the pre-Sophie days I would also ice my legs before getting into a nice hot shower. Yesterday, I hurried upstairs to take a quick shower before The Wiggles were done and Sophie would demand my complete attention.

Other post-run rituals that have gone by the wayside (along with my relatively flat stomach, a full night's sleep, and a clean house) include a good post-run recovery meal and a leisurely afternoon resting with my feet up. Although I did manage to chug down a glass of chocolate milk. And while Sophie was taking a bath last night, I laid on the bathroom floor with my head on the scale and my feet on the toilet. (Note to self: must clean bathroom.) See, I can improvise!

Despite the substandard recovery, the run went really well yesterday. It was cold, about 16 degrees, and I could definitely feel the increased stiffness in my legs which I think must be due to the cold. It's March now . . . bring on spring!