Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My greatest fear

Stats for the past 3 days:
Miles ran: 0
Bananas eaten: 6
Nights I've gone to bed prior to 8pm: 3

Despite all this, last night I came face to face with my greatest fear.
Fear fear
If only it were that easy.
Not needles or dogs, although those are both terrifying.

Leg cramps. I swear, if you ask any of my BFFs what my greatest fear is, they'll tell you dehydration, and it's not because it can throw months of training out the window during a race, it's because of leg cramps. 

Specifically, the kind where a giant ball forms in your calf, and wakes you up in a panic about half a second before the pain sets in. Please tell me someone else has experienced this.

This event is so traumatizing for me that I remember exactly the last time it happened, so I know it was 10 years ago, when I was a sophomore in college. Actually, realizing that I was a sophomore in college 10 years ago was also pretty traumatizing. 

Since I'd gone to bed earlier than my 3rd graders, what I considered "the middle of the night" was probably what normal adults consider "evening". So when I woke up screaming my head off (remember how I mentioned yesterday that I have zero pain tolerance?) I expected Eric to come running in immediately. He never even noticed.

Luckily for me, my mom knows everything, and I have no idea when or why, but at some point she'd taught me to flex my foot to stretch the muscle if this ever happened, and it worked like a charm. I think that's the first time I've ever remained calm in the face of panic and actually thought through what to do.

Once I regained control I limped to the living room where Eric was passed out in front of the TV to inform him of this horrific turn of events and inform him of his failings as a protector. He didn't really buy into my "it could have been an intruder murdering me!" argument and kept insisting that no one was going to use grappling hooks to break into our third floor window Spiderman style.

He's out there, waiting for me.
The point of the above statistics was that I shouldn't have been dehydrated or lacking potassium, both common causes of cramps. So I don't know why this gremlin from hell came back to haunt me in my calf. Here's hoping I have another 10 cramp free years now.
bananas!!! bananas!!! bananas!!!
I'm going to start wearing these to bed.
So in news other than more proof of how pathetically babyish and whiny I am, my Achilles has been feeling totally back to normal, even on my feet all day at work. The big test is the one time each day that I go down stairs, when I leave my apartment in the morning, and even that felt fine this morning. 

I took a 2 mile test run tonight after work and it felt completely fine (although my other leg was sore from the nighttime cramping). Naturally, I did all sorts of foam rolling, stretching, icing, and compression after. I'm planning on doing about 6 miles tomorrow morning, and hoping that will be my official triumphant return. Amazing how listening to doctor's advice and resting when something hurts instead of blindly plowing ahead because I need to get the miles in actually works! I really need to remember this lesson in the future.

I'm really not alone in these weird calf cramps am I?

What's your greatest mundane fear?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The first day of school

Yesterday I survived my 8th first day of school. After the first day is over, I always feel so much better. 

Submission: CP

I'm a creature of habit - I like to eat the same foods, watch movies I've already watched, go to places I've already been, because I know I'll like them. So I hate the chaos of the first day. It's horrible. I crave routines, and can't wait until a few weeks down the road when we are in them.

Submission: Ms. Smith

Last year, my whole class thought that Ryan Gosling was the sub that was ready to take over at a moment's notice, because my friend Kristin printed out a "Hey Girl, I'd love to watch your class while you use the restroom" and taped it to my desk. I tried really hard to find it, but you'll just have to imagine using the image above. She had the same one up in her room, and a kid thought it said "Hey Girl, I'd love to watch you use the restroom", which ended up being a whole different discussion.
This is funny to me because we have to write essential questions this year.
While my colleagues claimed to be tired during the school day, I never had that problem. I took a tylenol pm at 7:30 Sunday night, was asleep by 8:30 pm, and since I wasn't running Monday morning, slept until nearly 7 am. Of course, all that extra time in bed meant that I ran out of time to eat breakfast, but that was a separate issue. Don't worry, I made up for it when I got home by eating a gigantic dinner.

I was wisely advised not to wear flip flops until my Achilles is better, since they have no support for your feet, and aren't really going to help any sort of injury. So I thought I was being all smart wearing black pants and flats, even though I usually only wear dresses until my classroom temperature gets under 90 degrees, which usually isn't until at least October.

Well, obviously I hadn't worn anything other than flip flops or running shoes since probably April, and my feet weren't used to these weird prisons I inflicted on them. Before the kids even arrived, my heels were bleeding.

Naturally there was only one solution (not bandaids, I was sweating too much for them to stay on), and I looked super professional when my boss came in and the kids were going wild trying to organize their supplies and I was walking around barefoot. Amazing.

Submission: aricheyuk
I really need to get back to Glee.
My strict schedule of 10+ hours of sleep, icing, and ice cream seems to be helping, because my Achilles is feeling back to normal when I walk around, and even when I probe it with the golf ball. Just when I was getting used to this schedule of laziness, too. 

Let's all vote: how many more days off running do I need? Because I was just kidding, I really can't freaking wait to run. 

Has your boss ever caught you doing something totally unprofessional? I forgot to mention, after I dismissed the kids I took my shoes off again, and was walking down the hall with them in my hands, and a parent came up to introduce himself to me. This is my level of pain tolerance, and this is how I already know I'll be getting an epidural. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Achilles heel turned out to be my Achilles heel

Hey, who wants to hear the old tired story of a runner getting injured? Probably no one, but that's all I've got. 

Mine's incredibly generic and predictable so I'll try to keep it brief. I'll use bullets to make it more visually appealing.
  • Ran 10 miles Thursday, right Achilles tendon started to hurt.
  • Achilles hurt all day Thursday, so I followed the normal course of action - did shots and took Friday off.
  • Woke up Saturday, Achilles felt better.
  • Went to work. 
  • Attempted to run 10 miles with BFF Carolyn after work.
  • Pain came back at mile 4.5 (after only feeling tight prior).
  • Made it to 5 miles, walked to Carolyn's car, and made her drive me back to work, wasting her time and causing her to finish her run in the rain. Friend of the year.
  • Whined to Eric, drank wine, ate copious amounts of ice cream.
  • Lots of RICE-ing occurred for the rest of the weekend (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).

My running store manager suggested using a golf ball in addition to foam rolling, since it's smaller and you can really massage the Achilles that way. It has the same "hurts so good" feeling of the foam roller, so that's probably helping.

Then there's the usual "let's look at the positive side!" crap. More free time, extra sleep, etc, etc, but we all know I think in terms of food. We ordered Indian food last night and got the most delicious Garlic Naan there is.

So, enforced rest is upon me. I should probably swim or something instead, but I was really excited to not have to do any more laps at the YMCA or smell like Chlorine until next triathlon season. Tomorrow is the first week of school with kids, which is always really stressful and busy, so I kind of just want to be a little bitch and say "well, if I can't run, F all the exercise then". 

I heard a healthy attitude helps heal people, but I'm relying more heavily on the ice cream. 

The good news is it feels better today than it did Thursday or Friday, so I'm thinking ending the run as soon as it started to hurt was the right choice.

I had to cancel my 5K group this morning because we had crazy thunderstorms and flash flood warnings, so I stayed in bed super late and read Games of Thrones during that time I'd normally be running, and it was pretty awesome. 

The only reason I finally got up at 10:15 was to throw on my Girl on Fire shirt so we could go to Carolyn's and watch The Hunger Games. Yes, we just watched it last weekend, but that was just Eric and I, this was with a bunch of other diehard fans who helped to validate our "but they didn't do it that way in the book!!" comments every 45 seconds. 

So, we all know this part of the movie, right? The totally pointless part when Katniss is randomly looking out her window in the training center and pushing buttons to change what area she is viewing? The one that should have been eliminated in order to fit in Haymitch falling off the stage at the reaping?

I couldn't find it in google images, so I had to go old-fashioned and take pictures
of the DVD playing with my iphone.

Well, both times I've watched it in the past week, I've made this comment:

That's a clear cinematic connection, in my humble opinion, but no one agrees with me. First, Eric nearly forced me to leave him when he admitted to never even seeing Beauty and the Beast (and this is someone who randomly recites lines from Lion King at least 3 times a week). Then, my girl friends majorly let me down by having no clue what I was talking about and calling it an "obscure reference". 

Am I totally crazy for seeing this connection?

Should I do some boring crap like swimming or just be a lazy POS for a few days?

Friday, August 24, 2012

I married a social butterfly

Last week, my mid week run went so well that I decided to recreate it, especially since I have plans that may keep me out late tonight, and my 5K group Sunday morning. I gave myself an extra challenge and scheduled it the morning after I had to close at Charm City Run.

Note the time I'm setting the alarm.
I began my run prior to 4am on Wednesday morning (3:57 but why split hairs?), which I believe is a new record for me. I enjoyed 10 miles in the dark listening to The Maze Runner, then picked up Lily for the last 8.  

I'm surprised my beauty didn't cause any car accidents.

After my pre-work 20 miler the week before, I was exhausted all day and could barely function. Surprisingly, after only about 4 hours of sleep Tuesday night, I felt pretty normal after my long run, and even did things like attend meetings and make (what I thought were) intelligent comments. 

I had my 5K group Wednesday night, and only two people showed up. I took turns walking or running with them, but I got to run on my own in between them (we do a big mile long loop around Fort McHenry). I did a walk/run that was at least 70% run for another 4 miles, which left me with me 22 miles for the day.

Thursday morning I dragged myself out of bed prior to 5am again, and met Lily downtown for a ten mile run along the harbor. My Achilles started bothering me on this run, so it wasn't really my best effort. It was sore and tight the rest of the day, so I iced it and decided to take Friday off. Today, the pain is gone, but it still feels extremely tight after I sit for awhile or go down stairs. Naturally my reaction is full blown panic, nothing even remotely close to a reasonable response. I'm planning to see how it feels after my shift at Charm City tomorrow and run in the afternoon if it's still pain free.

On a much more cheerful note, yesterday was Eric's 32nd birthday! Or, as I like to think of it, an excuse to bake. I decided to make chocolate chip blondies with peanut butter frosting

I got fancy and grated a Hershey's bar to go on top.
A lot of people at work asked me what blondies were. I don't know the technical terms, but my impression is that they are brownie consistency, but made with brown sugar instead of cocoa, so they aren't chocolate flavored. It tasted like a giant, thick, chocolate chip cookie.

Eric was a fan.
Everything looks better with an instagram filter.
I got him tickets to the Ravens/Browns game next month, because he's a super diehard Cleveland Browns fan and he's never seen them play in Baltimore. Wife of the year, right here.

Then I dragged him to my work party that my boss threw at his house. If the situation were reversed, I'd probably spend the night huddled awkwardly in the corner, simultaneously praying and dreading that someone will come make small talk with me. I'm just bad at social situations, especially ones where everyone knows each other and I know no one, which is why I like to write and read blogs and make friends on the internet. Eric is the total opposite, and was immediately off making new friends and at least 5 people came up to me to tell me how much they loved him, and my boss begged him to leave his job and come work at our school. I want to be like him when I grow up.

Please make me feel better and tell me that the fact that my Achilles is tight but not painful today is a wonderful, positive, perfect sign. 

Are you more like me or Eric at parties?

Which do you prefer, blondies or brownies?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cake is my number one priority

This may sound a little bit confusing, since I talked all about being back at work last week, but now I am officially back at work. Last week was actually optional, and only for reading teachers at my school. There's just a different feeling knowing that I actually have to show up now, as opposed to just opting in because I like getting paid more than not getting paid. Plus, I have to give all these presentations to the staff, which I'm just terrible at. Luckily, I refuse to act professional or even wear normal clothes until the last possible second, so I have one more week of living in running clothes.

As you may imagine, I'm facing a major challenge as I begin this school year: which picture of my nephew do I frame to put on my desk? I struggled enough to choose one for my phone and laptop background, and this is even more of a commitment. Every time I try to decide I just get sucked in to looking at them all and each one seems cuter than the last, and I'm left right back where I started.

Quite suspicious of the camera here
It's my sister's birthday today, so go over to her blog, wish her a happy birthday, and then give me some feedback on which picture is the cutest!

I think this picture sums up our relationship.
I got a cruel text today with a picture of the birthday cake that my mom made for my sister. It's a salted caramel cake with Nutella buttercream frosting.


I knew I had to have some of that cake in my life. Kari and I are going to visit when we run the Wineglass Marathon in 6 weeks. I was planning to drive home directly after the race on Sunday, but after receiving that text, I decided to fly home Monday morning instead. I texted my sister to see if she thought my mom would make it again for a post marathon dessert (she thought she would). Then I called my mom to confirm 100% that there would be cake before booking my plane ticket. I'm not proud, but after hearing "salted caramel cake with Nutella buttercream frosting", that became my number one priority in life.

I've been teaching for 7 years, and I can safely say I've never been prouder of anything a child has done.

Less than 3 weeks old and already knows the meaning of life

This morning Lily came over for a run, so it was just like the good old days! We ran 4 miles before hitting my new discovery, the high school track a mile away. I did 3 mile repeats, which were lame because they were supposed to be at an 8:00 pace, but they were 8:00, 8:06, and 8:07. But my visit wasn't wasted, I met a guy who is a super ultra marathoner - as in, he's done over forty 100 milers. He's training for some world championship 24 hour run. He's done JFK 10 times, and gave me some good advice.  

I just happened to ask if he'd ever done Umstead, the first - timer friendly 100 miler that Kara and I plan on doing eventually. It wasn't like I'd immediately recognized him from the time he wore an "Umstead" shirt to the YMCA months ago or anything. Turns out he's not only done it, he's won it. Four times. 

Just take a guess how many miles a week he usually runs to do all this. 

If you're anything like me, your guess was way too low. The answer is 190. ONE HUNDRED NINETY MILES A WEEK. And he's a regular guy with a full time job. Unbelievable. 

Which picture of Harrison should be framed on my desk for me to constantly look at to reduce my stress level at work?

How many mile did you think that guy would have run a week? I was thinking more like....90. I wanted to run 20 more miles with him and pick his brain. If work was optional this week I totally would have.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Two ends of the spectrum

If you only take one thing away from this post, let it be that my sister updated her blog with her baby story, and even better, all sorts of adorable baby pictures! I wouldn't hold it against anyone if you abandoned my boring running talk now to go look at that instead.

Also, as I strive for accuracy here on my blog, I wanted to address some of the comments that I got a few weeks ago saying that my life was "exciting". Yes, there was that one weekend that included a triathlon, a wedding, and meeting my new nephew/BFF/favorite person ever. But here's a look into my most recent Friday night, which is far closer to a typical one in my world.

Yup - living the high life, right here.

Now, my weekend wasn't boring by any means. I sampled this new kind of chocolate from Trader Joes on Thursday, and got hooked on it. Sounds gross, tastes amazing. Too bad I already ate it all.  Salt? Good. Pepper? Good. Chocolate? Good.

Everything tastes better when eaten in a leopard print snuggie.
As for the most exciting part of the weekend, I'm sure we can all agree on that one.

My friend Kristin brought it right to my door for me. Life does not get better than that. Eric and I both had to work last night, so we are super excited to watch it together tonight.

Naturally, this begs the question that I'm sure is on the forefront of all of your minds. Which Hunger Games shirt do I wear to commemorate such an important day?

After much deliberation, I choose the Girl on Fire shirt for Saturday, and the Peeta/Finnick one for Sunday. I may work in a casual running store, but I thought promoting skinny dipping might have been crossing the line.

With that settled, let's discuss some running. When I tell people I'm training for a 50 mile race, a lot of times they want to know how far I run for my long runs, expecting something like 35 or 40 miles. Which would make sense, given that most people train up to or at least close to the distance of their target race (ex., for a marathon you'd run up to 20 or 22 miles before the race). Ultra running can be tricky though, because most people can't just run 40 miles on Saturday and be ready for another tough week of training on Monday (or at least, I can't). There's a fine line between getting in high mileage, but not making it so high that the recovery time hinders you. Also, most ultra runners are regular people with jobs and families and things to do, so running for 10 hours  straight every Saturday just isn't realistic.

To compromise, the ultra plans that I'm following have each long run followed by a long-ish run, usually 8-12 miles, the next day, so you are still getting in something close to 30 miles on the weekends, just not all at once.

I decided to mix things up this week and do my planned 20 miler on Friday morning before work. Ashley recently posted about how she's been doing that during this training cycle, so I figured I'd try it. It was supposed to storm Saturday morning anyway, and I've really been struggling to get up and run while it's cool(er) without a specific deadline to make.

It ended up being great. I woke up at 3:30, started at 4, and enjoyed the first few hours in the cool darkness. Even when the sun came up, it still was far from that hot, torturous, I'm going to melt you into the sidewalk feeling. 

I took the run at a nice, slow pace (10:08) and even had the energy to bike to work when I was done.

Of course, the school year hasn't begun for the kids yet, so I didn't really have to talk to anyone or act professional. I could get by doing tasks like taking about 900 of these stacks

Foot provided for size reference
into this.

And turning this hot mess

into these. 

I'm not sure I could handle doing the long run during the week when I actually have to supervise kids using all this stuff, on top of, um, teaching all day. Time will tell. 

But when Saturday morning rolled around, sleeping in until 9am felt amazing and was well worth it. I went over to the other side of the running start time spectrum and lounged around drinking coffee and reading until noon, when I finally did my 10 miles. 

Which would you rather do on Friday night - a crowded, wild bar or reading a book? I'd like the middle ground, drinking wine with Eric and some friends at home, but that wasn't an option for me this week, so it's not an option in this blog question either. 

What's the earliest you've ever woken up to run?

What weird food combination do you love?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Training essentials: fried food and wine

I was going to say something like "it's safe to say my JFK training is off to a great start", but apparently, when you have runner friends who are injured, nothing is safe to say. In fact, innocent comments might even elicit death threats. 

Last week was my second week running over 50 miles in 2012 (51 miles to be exact). I'm looking to try to keep my mileage over 50 for most weeks throughout training, which seems a bit scary. So far, this week has included:

Monday: semi - speed work, 8 miles with 2X2 miles at half marathon pace
Tuesday: 7 miles easy
Wednesday: 9 miles with 3 at marathon pace - I definitely haven't done enough training yet to have a goal marathon pace in mind, but the three miles were 8:43, 8:54, and 8:36, so that probably did the trick. 

This weekend I have my first 20 miler of training coming up - a little intimidating! Other than the 50K, it's been awhile since I've ran that far. 

As always, I'm nailing fueling. Last night, Lily invited us and a few other friends over for some authentic Colombian cooking, courtesy of her and her parents. I didn't take any pictures, because she was such an excellent hostess that I was never without a full glass of wine in my hand. (See? Nailing fueling. Good thing today is a rest day). Luckily Google images is always ready to help me out.

The main dish was arroz con pollo, minus the pollo for me.

 Cuban Arroz Con Pollo - Chicken with Rice

There were arepas, the one type of Colombian food I'd had before, these delicious little corn cakes.

Patacones, which are fried green plantains, apparently different from regular plantains.

They get fried, flattened, and fried again.

Obviously double fried is superior to frying just once. So tasty.

We dipped these in some sort of delicious red sauce, and there was also homemade fresh guacamole, which I could have eaten by the spoonful.

I also reintroduced chocolate into my diet for the first time since the traumatic tooth breaking incident. By the way, I really appreciate all the hilarious fatty mcfatpants comments on that post. It's good to know I'm not alone.

That's about all I have to say, making the takeaway from this post: to train for a 50 mile race, it's important to eat lots of delicious fried food and drink large amounts of wine. Bonus points if you can get someone to cook for you and not only provide, but continually refill your wine.

Do you like trying new ethnic foods? What's your favorite? So far, nothing has usurped Ethiopian for us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

All you never wanted to know about 5K training

I'm really and truly ashamed to admit this, but I am just the tiniest bit glad to return to work since it will divert my attention away from how much I miss the newest member of my family.

Photo: One million dollars
My sister already taught him to pose like Dr. Evil
Random totally unplanned segue - hey, speaking of new members of the family, 5 years ago today we welcomed in another one! Happy Anniversary to my mom and stepdad! 

We're all so young and innocent here...
A few people have asked (I swear, I get questions) to know about my 5K coaching, so I thought I'd explain a little more about the program. It's really designed for those completely and totally new to running. A few people have done one 5K previously, but for the most part everyone has a clean slate. 

I loosely based the plan on the couch to 5K program, and tweaked it once I met the group and we did our first couple workouts together. Everyone started with a one minute run/4 minute walk ratio, and later in the week we did a half mile time trial (so they can see how much faster they get). We started with 25 minutes for our long walk/run, and we'll work our way up to 50 minutes before the race (September 8).

I email the week's workouts (5 in all) to the members each Sunday. They do 3 on their own, and we do two "together", Thursday nights and Sunday mornings. The ones we do together are pretty spread out, because now everyone is doing different lengths for their walk/run intervals, and going at different paces. After we all stretch and walk for five minutes to warm up, everyone kind of does their own thing, and I run around and periodically check in with each person. I usually start out with those doing more walking, so it ends up including some sprints for me as I try to make my way up to the front runner.

One thing I've noticed about newer runners that is that they equate running with "sprinting for your life as fast as you possibly can". Based on that, people are usually shocked when I say I ran something like 10 miles. I agree, sprinting for 10 miles would be pretty impressive, and for me, impossible. So one thing I try to do is engage each of them in conversation while they are running, to get them used to a sustainable pace. Everyone in the group is really cool, and I'm really having fun getting to know them all.

I schedule my own training around these workouts, and so far using Thursdays and Sundays as my rest days has worked out pretty well. Maybe you could get in some of your long run training a marathon or half marathon group, but for 5K coaching it works better to keep them separate. 

As far as my own training goes, this week I've been slowly readjusting to early runs before work (work starts a little later without the kids, so I'm able to ease into it). Monday my training plan called for 7-9 miles with 2X2 miles at HMP (half marathon pace, which I decided was going to be 8:30). I tried to go to a local high school and use their track, but apparently I got the high school and middle school confused and there was no track. Somehow this ended up with me doing my first 2 miles up the biggest hill in my neighborhood and they were at an 8:41 pace. Fail. The second two I did on relatively flat ground and managed 7:57 and 7:50 for them. Obviously pacing is something I need to work on. I did 8 miles total, and then 7 easy miles Tuesday morning. 

How long after you started running did you enter your first race? What distance was it?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fatty McFatpants

Based on the comments, I think I need to clarify my meaning in my post from Friday on cross training. I'm not against cross training - in fact, I'm all for it. I could never run 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year - I get massively burnt out on much less. I love bike riding, classes like Body Attack, zumba, yoga, doing Jillian Michaels DVDs in my living room, etc. All those types of exercise and any other kind you can think of are obviously going to be good for you, and there's your science lesson of the week, you are welcome.

 I was trying to get across that if you are training for an event in one thing, you should really do mainly that thing. I'm not going to run 50 miles a week in order to train for a Strongman or skeet shooting competition, so I don't really get the people who do crossfit four times a week to train for a marathon. I thought spending 3 hours and 15 minutes on a triathlon last weekend would kind of count as JFK training, because, you know, I was racing, my heart rate was up, my muscles were burning, but turns out biking and swimming don't really do squat to prep you for running long distances. I really just had to get that out there in case my hero Jillian ever finds this blog, it's important I set the record straight. 

In other news, it seems like I was just giddily skipping off to the bar midday to celebrate summer's arrival, and now it has come to an end. 

This is my life. Foods that require microwaving are not an option.

Perhaps it's a good thing that I am returning to the ranks of productive members of society, so my lazy ass will be forced to get out of bed prior to 8:30 am, and I run before the temperature reaches "pure hell". I slept in again on Saturday, and paid for it dearly for 10 miserable miles.

Here's another random thing: I experienced the ultimate Fatty McFatpants moment this weekend. 

Funny Sports Ecard: Sorry you make a bigger splash in a pool than all the Olympic divers combined.

I was relaxing on the couch Friday night, covered in compression gear, which we all know is the only acceptable condition after an 18 miler (other than lounging at the pool, which my day also included). I was innocently watching season 3 of The Office, simultaneously laughing out loud and crying about how the new seasons are so sub par without Michael Scott. 

With my reruns, I enjoyed a frozen dark chocolate bar, because we all know chocolate is better out of the freezer (mainly because you don't risk losing any due to melting). Suddenly, I spit out a piece of my tooth. Yes, I was so deeply into eating my chocolate, that I broke my tooth on it. No picture #proof, because that's just nasty. 

I was so horrified, I haven't had any chocolate since then. Considering the title of my blog, 48 hours without chocolate is significant. 

Ever had an embarrassing Fatty McFatpants moment? It would really make me feel better to read some.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cross training doesn't do it

Thanks for all the sweet comments about how cute my nephew is! In my effort to declare a moratorium on emotions this weekend, I'm going to now only talk about running.

This morning, I took a different approach to my long run. I had to do an 18 miler, and since this is my last day of summer break (let's not discuss that, I've cried enough this week). I had my alarm set for 6:30, but when I woke up, I saw it was 77 degrees, and the high for the day was only 85. My thought process was something like "F&^% it, I'm not dragging myself out of bed for 8 degrees" and turned the alarm off, figuring I'd run whenever I felt rested enough.

I woke up around 8:30, relaxed with some coffee and toast, and didn't get out the door until almost 9:30. 

The first 8 miles were in pouring rain, so that's always fun. I was actually pretty thankful for it because it kept the temperature down.

Side note - don't you love when you don't have any pictures for a post and then you get race pictures just in time? I sure do. I think my expression looked just like this, too, so just imagine tons of rain and a hydration pack. 

Running on grass is always great during a race
 Then the rain cleared up, and it got to that level of mugginess where it feels like you are breathing soup. It was way too humid for me to dry off, so I spent the entire three hours running in soaking wet shoes and socks. I'll spare you the picture of my feet, since previous ones haven't gotten positive reader ratings. 

This was my longest run since the 50K three weeks ago, and I could feel it. I've backed off running mileage a bit, trying to get in some last ditch effort biking and swimming. The last two weekends I've had 16 miles on the training schedule, but haven't done it. The first, I did 13 miles on the AT trail to preview the JFK course, and last weekend was the triathlon. While both workouts were about 3 hours in length, I don't think biking and swimming quite took the place of the running.

I get the slowest swimmer and weirdest runner award

Did you know I can bike with my eyes closed?

So, I've come to the groundbreaking conclusion: to train for a running race, I need to exclusively run. I might give my knees a little break with some biking in place of easy runs here and there, but there will be no more skimping on my weekend long runs. 

Do you believe cross training can help you prepare for a race? I still love cross training, but let's face it, I'm not going to have the option to hop on a bike during my marathon in 7 weeks. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Warning - cheesy post ahead. The type that would make me roll my eyes and consider unsubscribing from this blog just a few short months ago.

Everyone already knows I have no soul because I hate dogs, so here's another unpopular confession. 

Prior to this past Sunday, I never had even the slightest desire to hold a baby. 

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I found it distasteful. Once I picked them up, I've enjoyed holding babies. It's just that I've never yearned to do so. To be brutally honest, any time I've helped welcome a new baby into the world, I wouldn't have been upset if all I could do was look. 

Anytime a friend has had a baby, I've been thrilled for them. But it's always been in the "I'm so happy that you've had a life change that makes you happy!" sort of way. Kind of like when a friend  gets a new job that she really wanted. I'm so happy for them. I want to celebrate with them, and hear all about it. Go to their new office and hold their new stapler? Eh, I mean, it's not really doing anything for me, but sure, if that's what they want, I'm certainly happy to hold that stapler.

I'm kind of coming off like an asshole here, comparing babies to staplers. Look, it's far from a perfect analogy, but this sort of thing is hard to describe. And for what it's worth, I get really excited when my friends post baby pictures on Facebook and make Eric come over and look at them all, which he really enjoys and looks forward to.

Given all that, I wasn't really sure what would happen when I met my nephew. I had an idea that it might be vastly different, given how I felt when my sister first told me she was pregnant. 

I was in no way prepared for what it would be like meeting Harrison.

Holding him for the first time was incredible. I couldn't get enough of him, and wanted to hold him and stare at him and touch him forever.

Even when someone else holds him, I'm still taking pictures.
Every night, after we got home from the hospital or my sister's apartment, I looked at the pictures I'd taken over and over and couldn't wait to go back and see him again the next day.

On Tuesday, the last day of my visit, his grandparents held him first and I was so antsy for my turn I couldn't even take it. 

I've been to parties or gatherings where people bring new babies, and seen this sort of thing happen, except it never happened to me. In these situations, as everyone hurried each other and jostled for their turn, I would be really mystified about what all the excitement was for. In fact, I usually just gave up my turn, since it seemed so important to everyone else, and I never really knew what the hell was going on.

With Harrison, there was no polite "oh, no, you can have a little more time". Every time someone offered him up to someone else in the room, they were all over it like white on rice.

Can you even believe how small these hands are?

My mom teaching us her patented burping method

I got home on Wednesday right as Eric was arriving home from work. After he grabbed some bags for me and met me in the apartment, he apparently got really scared and thought there had either been some sort of tragedy or I'd been in a horrible accident, because I was hysterically crying. He couldn't have been more shocked (since no one knew about my apathy towards babies better than him) when I finally managed to choke out the words "". 

If this is how I feel about a nephew, I'm a little scared about what will happen one day when we have our own. 

So now I'm in a deep depression over being 400 miles away from him, but let's focus on the positives of last night - Mom and Baby are healthy and doing great, I had a coupon for frozen yogurt at the place right next door to my running store job, and there was a bottle of wine chilling in the fridge. 

I know how to deal with sadness in a healthy way.
There has also been a little running going on. Monday, I did a ten mile run in 64 degree, cloudy weather, and it was glorious. Tuesday, I ran 2 miles to a local high school track, and did 4 mile repeats. I was aiming for 8:00, and they ended up being 7:50, 7:57, 7:42, and 7:30. Not bad considering my last speed workout was in May, and I've never done mile repeats that I can remember. Wednesday, after a fun 7 hours in a car with broken air conditioning, I did an easy 5 miles, back in Baltimore's 90 degree, humid weather. Not the most fun, but I needed the endorphins so I didn't sob all over anyone's new running shoes at work.

My plans this weekend don't include anything except running, and selling running shoes.  My number one goal is to experience zero emotions, because I'm tapped out on those.

Too sappy, didn't read, here's the cliff's notes version: I've cried more than the baby because I miss him so much, I'm a fatty, I ran some mile repeats.