Saturday, December 31, 2011

My new laziness PR

I've reached a new PR - the longest I've ever gone without exercising in my adult life. Even when I had swine flu, when I had bronchitis last year, or after I recovered from running 50 miles, the longest I took off was five days. Today is day 7, with no end in sight. 

Well, I guess I'll spend the last day of 2011 the same way I've spent the entire last week - on the couch, in my pjs, half asleep, and coughing my brains out. Things could be worse though, I'm lucky enough to have a handsome man waiting on me hand and foot. I was supposed to finally run this morning with Lily. I went to bed at 10pm last night, and then when I was still up, coughing like crazy, and unable to catch my breath at 1:30, I thought maybe I wouldn't be getting up at 6:30 to run. Eric made me some Theraflu and watched reruns of The Office with me until I fell asleep sometime around 2. I'm constantly trying to convince myself that there are worse things than a week of being bedridden, and I won't be completely out of shape when I can finally run again.

I appreciate all the ideas for resolutions on yesterday's post. I'm surprised so many people suggested procreating for 2012. If all of those people could just send us a donation to pay for childcare while my husband and I both work full time and attend grad school, Baby Lindsey will be on the way!

I am most certainly adopting 3 of the suggestions: 

1. Place in my age group in a race - I really need to find a smaller race for this. The last 5K I did had 2,500 runners and a girl from my running group won my age group doing something like 6 minute miles.

2. Do a pull up. Emily, I will join you in this goal. 

3. Have a Hunger Games themed party. Consider my 29th birthday planned.

I feel like I should do something in honor of it being New Year's Eve, and all. I already did a look back at NYE through the years post last year, so I'll copy Kari and answer some questions about running in 2011 that she posted on her blog a little while back.

  • Best race experience? Running the Baltimore Marathon for the second time, and getting a shocking sub - 4 hour time. I love this race, and I had no idea I could run a marathon this fast! 
  • Best run? It's really hard to say I had a best run, because I did so many runs with good friends, and had a lot of fun, but I think the Baltimore Marathon course preview was maybe one I was most proud of. I separated from a friend to finish the run at my goal pace, and built up some confidence that I was a little faster than I gave myself credit for.
  • Best new piece of gear? My Nathan Endurance hydration vest  
  •  It's huge, holds a ton of water, and helped me survive my first 50 miler. And it's super comfortable. And cool looking.
This vest has totally helped me fit in with the popular crowd.
  • Best piece of running advice you received? "Don't look down." Kara told me not to look at my Garmin during a metric marathon and it turns out when I'm not obsessing over the pace, I can actually run faster.
  • Most inspirational runner? There's no way I can choose just one - I have so many amazing friends that I love to run with, and I read so many inspirational blogs - just being part of the running community is incredibly motivating.
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? WTF did I get myself in to?
In 2011 I went from having run one marathon to completing four full marathons, two 50Ks, and a 50  mile race. I also went from being terrified of riding a bike to completing my first triathlon. While I had planned on the triathlon, when I thought of my goals for 2011 last year at this time I had no intention of becoming an ultra runner.  I couldn't have done it without some fantastic running buddies, and I can't wait to add some more ultras to my schedule for 2012!

In the comments, answer some or all of the above questions, and tell me something to make me feel better about my lack of exercise. It's mandatory.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Bronchitis is lame

I've graduated from being completely unable to speak, to being able to speak, but being unable to complete a sentence due to constant coughing fits, to finally being able to carry on conversations like a normal person. As long as someone who has been smoking for 40 years sounds like a "normal person". It's really too bad schools aren't in session, because I could probably get a part time job for DARE speaking to children about the dangers of smoking. I considered doing a vlog of myself trying to talk, but I don't want to torture my readers, especially around the holidays.

I was finally able to sleep last night without the assistance of codeine, and only woke myself up with coughing fits like 10 times or so. Oh, I also have to sleep sitting up, otherwise I can't even go a minute without coughing.

First world pain - I had to waste my whole vacation from work being sick, and didn't even get to use any sick days.

Other reasons I love bronchitis - Eric and I were supposed to visit my grandma at the nursing home on our way back to Baltimore last night (she lives about halfway between my hometown and Baltimore). Well, we did stop, and Eric did visit her, but I had to just sit in the car playing Words with Friends, because the chance of bringing bronchitis into a nursing home was way to dangerous to risk. So, lame.

Let me summarize my training for the week. Helping carry a car full of Christmas gifts and suitcases up three flights of stairs. I didn't even help pack the car up yesterday morning because I was still exhausted and high on codeine so I laid on the couch while Eric packed up everything we owned. I would award him husband of the year for all that, but he'd already won that when he went out on Christmas to get me medicine, not once, but twice, the second time driving around for over an hour looking for a drug store that was open and sold Vick's Vapor Rub.

As if Eric didn't take good enough care of me, I really can't complain about getting sick while being home (maybe someday when we actually own a house or something, I won't call my childhood house "home", but until then, that's what it is). Obviously, the only thing anyone wants while being sick is their mom taking care of them, and I had that, plus Eric and my stepdad, so basically I had a never ending supply of tea, Popsicles,  various medicines, pillows, and sympathy (really, the number one thing to help me get well) at my disposal. It could be worse.

I'm still completely exhausted (I could barely even stay awake in the car to listen to Catching Fire), but I think I'll be recovered to do my normal amount of karaoke for New Year's Eve. I haven't even thought of a single resolution yet, so I better get working on that list. 

Based on this  blog, why doesn't everyone just come up with some resolutions for me in the comments. I think I've shared enough of my shortcomings for that to be a pretty easy task.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The long awaited Christmas recap

Wow, it's been awhile. I haven't taken a blogging break like this in quite some time, but I am still in upstate NY visiting my family, so I thought I'd give them my full attention. Unfortunately, those non-teachers had to return to work today, so here I am. I don't even know where to begin....

In my Christmas Traditions post, I explained how my family does Christmas fairly comprehensively, so I won't go through it again. Also, I'm guessing a lot of you had Christmases that involved everyone sitting near the tree, opening presents, and sitting around a table eating, so you probably have a pretty clear idea how it all went down. I do have some pictures to share, however.

My Christmas pjs - open me first knows me so well!

Eric is a great person to buy for, he always knows how to show excitement.

I know, this outfit is completely new and different! I totally didn't wear it to school on the 23rd, either.

As if I didn't already love Christmas enough, Eric made me love it even more when he proposed on Christmas Eve, 2006. 

Awww....look how young we were
5 years later, same picture, different tree

Santa still comes in our house - the lack of children doesn't dissuade him
Stockings are the most important part of Christmas

Deep fryer and pizza stone - eating healthy is a true priority for the Lindsey household

Half Ironman here I come!
My teacher friends understand my excitement here

My sister got me the best gift ever. Eric got me a photobomb.
On Monday, we met up with some good friends that all live out of state now. We hadn't seen most of them in quite awhile, so Eric was extra excited to show off his new gift from my mom.

In Saturday's post, I mentioned I lost my voice, but felt ok otherwise. Well, the "ok otherwise" part rapidly went downhill as the holiday continued. By Monday night, I couldn't even get through a sentence without a coughing fit, so Eric took me to an Urgent Care facility. I'm quite the expert on these type of places now, and we both rated this one as by far the best we've seen. Just look at what the waiting room had to offer:

We were then escorted to a private room.and given the remote to a private TV. In a similar facility near our house in Baltimore, I was lucky to have a curtain pulled around a chair separating me from the other patients. 

The doctor was nice enough to examine me, but I'm pretty sure the receptionist could have diagnosed bronchitis. Eric having to give all my information because I couldn't speak without nearly falling out of my chair due to coughing was a clue.

Needless to say, I haven't been running since Saturday and my enforced rest has no end in sight. 
That's basically how I spent Tuesday.
I got to watch Love Actually (my first time!), Bad Teacher, and Super 8 in my convalescence. I loved them all.

When you can't work out, it's important to maintain your health by eating sensibly, so we busted out my Christmas gift to Eric.
Fried peeps

Believe it or not, fried peeps didn't work out exactly as we'd envisioned

We immediately followed the fried peeps with fried pickles and fried peanut butter.

Bright side to being sick - I've had lots of time to enjoy my new obsession.

Ironically, I have done a long run with bronchitis before and ended up in Patient First. That's not the the ironic part. The ironic part is that I've used that as both a cautionary tale to other runners, and as proof that I've learned my lesson. Well, apparently not so much. Everyone, enjoy your runs a little bit extra for me this week, and I promise to enjoy my controlled substance (codeine) cough syrup a little extra for you.

To cheer me up, tell me a time you thought you learned your lesson, but then totally relapsed. Or just something totally dumb you did. Don't be embarrassed, we all know I share enough dumb things on this blog.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Running without a voice

It’s hard to believe in just one day, my running outfit went from this:

to this.

I guess that’s what driving 400 miles north will do.

I lost my voice on the ride up. I was talking on the phone to a friend with no problems shortly after we left. My mom called probably only a half hour later, and I could barely even squeak out hello. When I lose my voice, it's gone. After trying to tell Eric something three times while we were in line at a gas station, I finally had to text it to him in order to relay the information. I had to text him, while he was standing right next to me. Needless to say, I was a pretty boring road trip companion. 

We passed the time by listening to comedy shows and The Hunger Games on audiobook. We arrived at a very exciting part, so Eric was unable to interact with anyone until he finished listening on my ipod.

If you've read the book, you understand why this was necessary.

Since I was coughing up a lung, unable to speak, and my throat was on fire, I wasn't sure the 16 miler I had planned for Christmas Eve morning was going to happen. My throat felt better and I wasn't coughing when I woke up, so I headed out. 

I was so unmotivated to run, it was shocking. My family was hanging out in their pjs, drinking coffee, and spending several hours running on snow in temperatures well below freezing (21 degrees when I started!) was so unnappealing. I had a beautiful out and back route by the lake planned, so I tried to do my usual trick of pretending I just had to get to the turnaround to fool myself. Until a bridge repair threw a wrench in my plans.
Somehow, I became even less motivated to continue
I rerouted myself to take a nice little tour through my hometown (the mall, my high school, two ex boyfriend's get the idea). I was seriously struggling to continue at mile 7 (my little tour would have made stopping at about 9 miles nice and convenient) so I had to give myself some tough love and bring myself back to the hell that was the Stone Mill 50 Miler. Once I remembered that I had made it through those tortuous last "nine" miles, I realized this was nothing, and my mood finally improved (relatively speaking), even though it had started to snow.

The rest of the run was uneventful, except I tried my first Gu Roctane. Oh, and I ran 16.5 miles, because that would bring me to 40 for the week, and I like even numbers.

I wasn't terribly impressed, but maybe this awful run wasn't a fair assessment.

I have worked out for the past 8 days, with no rest day in there at all, including a race, two long runs, and speedwork. I know a lot of you hardcore athletes can handle that, but not this girl. I need a day off. My legs are begging for it. It was well worth it to schedule my rest day on Christmas though. Tomorrow, all the movement I'll be doing will be to get up and get more cookies. If someone puts the plate near me, I won't even have to do that. 

Are you working out tomorrow, or does your "exercise" plan resemble mine?

I've gotten up early and ran or exercised on Christmas before, but since Vince brought alcohol into our Christmas traditions, I prefer to have nothing holding me back from drinking copious amounts of wine on Christmas Eve .

What do you do to get your head out of your ass when you need to complete a run but you cannot think about anything except how much you want to stop running?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Traditions

Once I publish this post, I'll have a workday to get through (though, it includes a Polar Express party, so it won't exactly be torture), followed by a 6-7 hour car ride, and then I will be officially on Christmas break!

I know we're all sick of seeing Facebook posts, tweets, blogs, etc about the unseasonably warm weather, but I just can't get over running in this outfit, before sunrise, the day before Christmas Eve.

I was thrilled to get a text last night saying Lily would be at my house at 5am to join me for a run. We chatted through an easy 9 miler, average pace 9:40.

Tomorrow, it will be time for the Christmas traditions to commence. My mom, sister, and I refer to ourselves as Christmas Nazis (extremely ironic, since my sister and I are both half Jewish), and we allow no one to deviate from the traditions in even the tiniest way. Some are longstanding, since childhood, and some have developed recently, since we've added a few members to our family.

This Christmas gang, taken by Eric

1. Christmas Eve dinner will consist exclusively of appetizers. This isn't exactly revolutionary, but it is delicious. Shrimp cocktails, various dips, crackers and cheese, veggie get the idea. 

2.The most wonderful grocery store ever, Wegmans, closes for the only day all year (Christmas) at 6pm, so it's important that a vital ingredient must be forgotten, leading to a frantic mad dash to Wegmans at around 5:43 pm. 

3. Everyone must have pajamas to open on Christmas Eve. The tag must read "From: Open me first" on the pajamas, and everyone must open them in turn, then retreat to separate rooms to put the pajamas on, and return immediately to resume more traditions.

4. Everyone must choose another gift to open on Christmas Eve. It's important to give this gift the same deliberation that an inmate on death row gives to his or her final meal. If you don't care (Vince and Eric), pretend.

My sister and I agonizing over our Christmas Eve choices

Unofficial tradition - matching gifts

My sister and the other black man in my life

 5. Drinking must occur. This is a new addition, since Vince joined our family, that, personally, I believe is quite an improvement.

6. First order of business on Christmas morning - get hot coffee in everyone's hands. Actually, that's a tradition every morning.

7. Stockings must be opened first.

8. Gifts must be opened one at a time, and all eyes must be on the opener (sorry, a little teacher talk snuck in there, but I promise to give it up the second the final bell rings tomorrow).
Pictures can also be taken of the opener
9. Showers are optional, but pajamas must be worn all day. It's important to be prepared for any post gift opening naps.
He was exhausted from eating an entire forest of Reese's trees
So, there you have my family's Christmas traditions, in a nutshell. What's your favorite Christmas tradition?

I may not be as dumb as I appear

I'm having serious issues with blogging. I like to blog in the morning, but my snooze button has been my best friend, and now that I'm actually training again, I can't just shorten my workouts, so I just push those until the last possible second and skip blogging. Then I try to blog at night when my creativity is at an all time low. This summer I got in an argument with a professor because she was insisting on posting an assignment so that we would only be able to work on it at night, and I kept insisting I needed it up at like 6am so I could get a good grade.

Speaking of grades, my grade is a 104% percent for my fall class. So if you thought I was really dumb based on things I've said on this blog, well, I understand, but that's a real grade from a real university! I'm actually a pretty big nerd when it comes to school, but ignorant at real life, like keeping up on politics or balancing a checkbook. Basically teaching and learning about teaching is all I got.

 The training plan had hill repeats on the schedule for today. Since my marathon is flat and I consider all of my neighborhood runs "hill repeats", I went with last week's speedwork, which was 6X800s (running at a faster speed for a half mile, then resting by running at a slower speed, repeat 6 times). It's been so long since I did any sort of real speedwork, so I was actually kind of excited.

I have always professed hatred for the treadmill, but, I'll admit, it's great for speedwork. It's a lot easier to just push buttons than try to see your watch in the dark while running on uneven, cracked sidewalks. Intervals are basically the only workout I don't hate on the treadmill, because constantly changing keeps me from dying of boredom. Plus, it is nice to be able to put in both headphones, and totally zone out, and not continually stop for lights, watch for cars, try not to trip on debris on the sidewalk, etc, etc.

I warmed up for half a mile at a 10:00 pace, then started my 800s - the first three were at a 7:30 pace, the next was 7:13, and the last two were 7:08. I did a slow jog for a quarter mile to rest in between each one. I swear we should tell the drug addicts about the high runners get after speedwork, they may never go back to crack if they try it. 

Most of my last half mile cooldown was at an 8:34 pace - it felt easy after 7:08!

Unlike nearly every other teacher in the country, I still have to go to work today. And tomorrow - all day. Oh, the humanity.

What time of day are you at your most productive? 

What are your thoughts on speedwork and/or treadmills?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Double Holidays

Tuesday was a great day for a Jew/2, like me. (Jew/2 was my nickname in college). I engaged in my annual Christmas present wrapping tradition, while drinking decaf coffee and watching my favorite Christmas movie, Elf.

Ignore my weirdness in this picture, Eric said he was taking a picture to show the tree/wrapping extravaganza.
Check out that big one in the back Mom and Vince - that's for you!
It was also the first night of Hanukkah! Hanukkah overlaps with Christmas this year - double score. So we paused Elf to light the menorah. Classic melding of cultures.

Pop Quiz: why are there two candles even though it's only the first night? Beware - wrong answers may indicate anti - Semitism.

I am trying to stick with Wednesday morning being for swimming. The week before Christmas is a great gym week, I had the pool to myself for almost the whole time, until an elderly gentleman joined me for what I could only guess was some sort of pool dancing workout. I'm sort of embarrassed to even post my swim "workouts" on here or Daily Mile because they are just so slow. My only consolation is most of my readers are runners and have no clue what a good swim time is (like me).

Santa came a little early and dropped off a brand new iPhone for me! Since I've previously posted that I've gone from being all "I'm too cool for a smartphone" to "I can't go four seconds without my smartphone", this was pretty exciting. 

It's actually been a huge debacle getting one, and I really wanted to post about my frustration. I didn't because the whole "boo hooo my new iphone isn't arriving on my doorstep the exact second that I decided I wanted it" was so ridiculously first world pains that I simultaneously wanted to scream at almost every Verizon employee and punch myself in the face. 

I'm still trying to figure the whole thing out, but what apps does everyone recommend?

A field trip to poop

Happy Hanukkah! I'm celebrating as soon as Eric gets home with the candles.

 I've sort of decided to follow Hal Higdon's Advanced Marathon training plan for the Myrtle Beach marathon, but possibly adjust some of the mileage and trade out the easy run days for cross training. So, in other words, it's a loose estimate of what I'll be doing, but don't look at the plan and call me out for slacking, because I know everyone really cares to put that much time into cross referencing the blog with the hyperlink above.

It called for three easy miles Monday morning. My knee felt off during/after my run on Sunday, so I decided to hit the elliptical for a 40 minute hill interval workout with, my favorite, magazine reading.

I'm pretty sure my knee was annoying me because my old shoes had approximately 428 miles on them, so this morning, I busted these babies out.

The new Brooks Adrenalines
Please ignore my orthopedic old lady socks, I don't like blisters.
Hal told me to run nine miles this morning, and I had a little anxiety, because that kind of seemed like a lot.  I've run more than that since the 50 miler (a grand total of three times), but those were all long runs, not just a midweek run. I don't know why I was freaking out, I just felt like I wasn't ready to dive back in to that early wakeup call and long miles in the dark. Plus, morning runs always just feel so much harder than afternoon runs.

I ended up with 9.25 miles before sunrise, and was feeling pretty good about life. Mentally, I enjoyed the run, but my legs felt totally sluggish and my heart rate was higher than it should have been. My average pace was 9:44, and I really struggled to even keep that up.

I blame not eating enough the previous day, and not eating before I ran. Anytime I eat less than an NFL lineman, I consider myself underfueled and my training suffers. I blame poop.

Apparently, a local Baltimore landmark is these Golden Poop Eggs, also known as Poop Epcot. They are named that because that's what they smell like. Yesterday, we took a field trip there, and it turns out that they are actually filled with poop.  Note: I did not plan the field trip to the Water Purification Plant.

Here's the poop before it enters the eggs, when they thicken up to make it easier to remove from the water. There are three kinds of sludge removing machines.

And then eventually you get this! 

MMMM, ready to bottle and drink.
The other teachers and I considered burning our clothes when we got home. I never lose my appetite, but I could barely choke down the yogurt I brought for lunch (a sad lunch to start with, I know). Thus, a slow run the next morning. 

You're welcome for the pictures.

On the bright side, the Civic got its first Christmas present last night! The bumper never looked so good. Thanks, Emily!

Eric thought the race organizers sent them to everyone, as an apology.
Do you have a unshakable appetite, or do you lose it easily? I'm weird because I have a weak stomach in the sense that I completely freak out about having to see any sort of needles, even on TV, yet my appetite never leaves me.