NEXT EVENTS: IRONMAN BOULDER 2014, Run Rabbit Run 50-miler

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

This blog is about my journey as an asthmatic, hypothyroid, formerly plus-sized endurance athlete. It's occasionally interrupted with things that have nothing to do with that or whining about my weight and horrible eating habits. "You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Thirteen.

1. I was worried about IT band syndrome after Palo Duro last week wearing NB811s. I recalled that the last time I wore these for trail running, I developed IT band syndrome. Suffice to say, they are now is trail shoe heaven.  The IB stuff has since gradually faded to nothing.
So, I asked the guys at the Albuquerque Running Store if shoes cause IT band syndrome, and if so, how?  The told me it would have to be over correction, shoes that throw your feet to the outside, putting a strain on the IT band. 

2. My beloved New Balance 768s, which i started wearing in 2006, got redesigned. Well, of COURSE they did. The men in black heard that I loved those shoes. They redesigned them on a different base with a narrow box and now they don't work for long runs any more. Bastards.
So, I'm going to step out of the N 1) stability, 2) cushioning, and 3) trail sole. Meanwhile, a bitter email to New Balance is in order. DO YOU HEAR THAT? NEW BALANCE?  YOU JUST LOST A CUSTOMER!!!!

3. I'm watching a TV show with a baby in it and seriously, that child ain't right. Looks like he's touched by something.

4. I watch way too much TV.

5. I got two phone calls from two kids this week. One of them wanted to know how long to let an older alcoholic, unemployed homeless adult relative use this person's home for storage.  The other one wanted to know how one gets a passport. All in all, I prefer the latter type of question from my children.

6. Not long ago, Sweet Baboo was thumbing through a Trail Runner magazine, and I heard him make a noise.  I glanced over and saw these:



Oh-h-h-h-h-h-hhh!  Why didn't anyone tell me?
Must.  Have.....  Sexy..... Toe.....  Compression socks.

7.  They put up the Palo Duro results, and they show me at 8:00:11.  LIARS!  11 seconds is how long it took me, at least, before I made it to the start line, from my spot in the back of the pack.  At Least. 

8.  "Hey, let's go for a walk," Baboo said one evening.

"What kind of walk," I asked, suspiciously.

"Oh, just a short walk.  I don't want to be out too long," he answered.  Here's our evening walk: It included some bouldering.

9.  I've run 137 miles this month so far.  Will I get to 150 before the end of the month??  Will I????

10.  Well, if I do, I might have to do it by treadmill.  Last week, we had a very nasty rainy day with hail and everything.  I spend a goodly portion of the day Saturday cleaning out the garage, and then Baboo followed up and hung up the bikes and organized all the rest. The next time the weather is cruddy, I'll have my own gym.




11. Okay, I wrote number 10 on Sunday.  This was yesterday.  The downside was that I haven't yet made myself some screw shoes for running when it's snowy.  But that was okay because....







This is the garage now.  It doesn't look like much, but it's got a huge tv.  I got to try out the arrangement today.  It's wonderfully chilly in there, but not too chilly, for running, cycling (onthe trainer) and weight-lifting.  I can do quick bricks and circuit.  Cool! 

12. I'm crewing at the Javelina 100 this weekend.  Baboo is doing it.  I'm going to set up a tent for him. I'll also be pacing him on one of his loops.  I'll put up a link to track him online when I get one.  He's\numbe 192 and their website has a way to track him.  (Shh.  He has had one successful 100 to date...
cheer silently but feverently for the Sweet Baboo!

13.  I just spent some time workingo on Sweet Baboo's new Shuffle.  I've discovered that Falco makes for good running songs.  When asked: Falco.

///

Sunday, October 25, 2009

For real people who just want to finish.

50 tips and tricks. 


Training:

  1. If you want to run fast, you've got to run fast.

  2. If you want to bike fast, you've got to bike fast. 

  3. "Go fast" training is speed training. Of course, when I say "fast," what I'm really talking about here is beating the cutoff or maybe not being last.  Those are my goals.

  4. If you're heavy or new to running, be careful with speed training because you can injure yourself.  Meanwhile, you can fake 'run fast' training (aka "speed work") by training on hills.

  5. Another way to speed up is to lose weight.  Don't yell at me.  I'm just the messenger.  Why do you think I'm trying to lose weight?  I'm happy with how I look; it's the slowness I can't stand.

  6. Cultivate medical professionals who are themselves runners; you're more likely to get solutions to keep you running. 

  7. In fact, cultivate relationships of people who have done what you what to do.  Join a triathlon or running club.  They'll help you through the tough times with their own sad stories and stuff they've learned.  It's like cult, see.  You can only listen to people in the cult. 
    Ignore the non-runner people...they aren't your friends....WE are your only friends....the mother ship is coming...


  8. If you're running, your kids can run with you. If they're little, they can ride their bikes along with you. If you're cycling, you can pull them behind.  Unless you're speed training, it's the total time on your feet or in the saddle that matters, so bring them along if you can.  This will go a long way to scoring points with the significant other who is not, themselves, into whatever you're into. 

  9. If a dog charges you, squirt him with your water bottle.  Even plain water stops them.  Even the charging ones.  I don't know why, but it does. 

Eating:
  1. If you're a sprinter, you can't eat as much solid food, but you'll be done earlier when there's still pizza left, so who cares? The more intense you are, the less solid food you can handle.

  2. But intensity is relative.  I may be slow, but as a reminder: I'm still moving 170 pounds over that course, which is pretty intense.  Sooo....

  3. For the rest of us, you can train your stomach to handle more stuff or different stuff.  But do all your experimenting in training, not on race day. 

  4. Your body needs water to process carbs.  It's a chemical thing.  Each time you take in anything with carbs during a race or training, you need to drink.

  5. Speaking of which, You should drink a minimum of 2 cups of water with each meal.

  6. Unless you're an ultra runner, you really don't need protein or fat during a race. 

  7. I'd avoid high fiber, too.  (During a race)

  8. If you train enough, eventually you won't need much for shorter races. 

  9. Just a tip for those who like to eat: take up ultra running.  Their aid stations are like buffets.

Comfort.
  1. If your butt hurts, you need more time in the saddle.

  2. If your crotch hurts or goes numb, you need a saddle with a cutout or maybe a different nose configuration.  (The saddle, not you.)

  3. Cultivate relationships with bike shops, online or IRL, who let you try things out and return them if they are unsatisfactory.  LIKE SADDLES.

  4. You can never have too much body glide, or sportslick, or Aveeno baby creme - whatever you use.  You can't have too  much, is what I'm saying.

  5. If your feet hurt, you need to spend more time on them.  Feet time is like saddle time; your feet need to get used to supporting you for long periods.  Your spine needs to get used to you being upright and moving for long periods, too.  I had a good head start being a teacher when I started all this.  So, that's what the long run is for.  It's not just that you're moving a long time. It's that you're upright, on your feet, and moving a long time.

  6. Pretty much everything from Zombie Runner is awesome.  Peruse their web site.  They are a favorite among the crazies who run 50, 60, or 100 mile runs.  Also awesome for marathoners: Race Ready.

  7. For trail running, get yourself some Dirty Girl gators.  They come in a lot of different colors.  If you are dumb enough to be worried that they look weird, then fine, you can stop and clear all the sand out of your shoe.  Often. 

  8. Athleta and Moving comfort are my picks for big girl workout clothes.  If you're not a big girl, then you can wear pretty much anything.  If you're a big guy...leave me a comment.  I would like to know what you've found is the best clothing for big guys.
Transitions & Races.
  1. Save time by not wearing socks.  Practice this first.  For shorter sprints, you may find that you don't need them.

  2. Do not.  Do not.  DO NOT. Do a flying dismount for the first time in a race.  I've seen this done, by a friend who was coming down a hill, too.  He shall remain nameless.  Dude.  It was u-u-u-glay. 

  3. I stick all my bike stuff in my helmet.  I take it out and put it on, standing up, while stomping my feet on the empty space at the front of my towel.  I may not win the race, but I usually beat people out of transition.  It's the little things...

  4. In sprints: Unless the water's cold, whatever small advantage you get from the wetsuit will be negated by the time it takes to get it off. 

  5. If you don't already know about them, get some speed laces.  The cheap ones with bungies and slides are just as good as the expensive ones with the complicated attachments and lacing...so go cheap.|

  6. In a marathon, you should feel like you're moving too slowly in the beginning.  If you feel like you could be going faster, don't.  You're doing just fine. 
Heat.
  1. Don't put ice in your hat.  It screws up your body's thermostat.  Put it on the back of your neck instead. 

  2. If you're a chick, put ice in your bra.

  3. If you're a guy, get one of these

  4. Everyone can put ice in their pants.

  5. Be careful about getting sprayed by the locals during marathons and triathlons; if your feet get wet, you could be in for some problems.

  6. Drink, drink, drink.  When it's hot out, convert all your calories to liquid form. 

  7. You will slow down, and/or your perceived effort will rise, when it's warm out.  For long runs, it's something like 20 to 30 seconds added to your average mile pace for every ten degrees over 50, or something like that.  Look it up.  So if it's 70 degrees, your pace has already slowed by a minute a mile.

  8. If you're comfortable at the start line, you'll be too hot probably before the first mile. 

  9. If you have sweaty feet, get yourself some Injinji socks.

Cold.
  1. If you're too cold and slender, you need more body fat.  Nyah.  Go eat some cake.

  2. Otherwise, wear a jacket that zips up the front.  Heavier runners overheat, even when its cold, and you want something you can take off and put on quickly.  

  3. A general rule of thumb is that it will feel 20 degrees warmer once you start running, so use that as a guide for dressing for runs. 

  4. For ice and snow, Baboo has an old pair of running shoes with small machine screw screwed into the soles for traction.  I'm going to try that this winter.  It goes without saying that one should be sure the screws are short enough not to punch holes in the wearer.  Oh, and they're called screw shoes

  5. If you like listening to music, get yourself some hatphones.  There are earwarmers called 180s with built-in speakers--skip them.  The advantage of the hatphones are that they still let other noises in, like cars or charging dogs.  I also own a fleece ear warmer headband with built-in speakers.  I think it's called Tuks. They don't make them any more, but I have taken the speakers out of my Nike hatphones, made a small slit in a fleece headband/ear warmer, and slipped them in there.   

  6. Don't stretch before you're warmed up.
Finishing.
  1.  After an intense event, recover the next day by walking or cycling.  Don't just sit.  Not only will your muscles stiffen more, but you'll lose the benefit of the physical activity you've done.

  2. Immediately after a very long run, sit in an ice bath.  It's startling at first, but it's so good for your legs.  It calms inflammation of very P.O.ed muscles.
     
  3. Take Tylenol after a race or workout, not aspirin or ibuprofin.  There's some research that NSAIDs interfere with recovery.

  4. Chocolate milk is an awesome recovery drink. 

  5. Within 90 minutes after your workout, replenish with some lean protein, carbs, and lots of water.

  6. If you finish before me, leave me some pizza. 

    ...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Idea for a T-shirt: "I am a jogger. Suck it."

So many people referred to Piddle Izumi Ads that I had to look at them myself.  So I did. Here's a link for you to look at them, too.

I especially liked the "No one has ever felt a jogger's high."  What balls.  How do they know what highs I've felt?  How do they attach meaning to the speed someone is capable of running?
Now, I will be the first to admit that when I go to log my exercise into Weight Watchers, it insists that I am jogging.  (The Daily Plate has a category for running 12 min miles, though, and so I love them) Although the movement and mechanism (jogging v. running) is the same, it would seem that the two are differentiated by speed. (According to princeton, a jogger is someone who runs a steady slow pace (usually for exercise))  this fits me; I generally pull an 11-minute to 14-minute mile, depending on the event.

Still...I decided to take an inventory of what this jogger has done since 2005.  As of  October, 2009, I have completed:


2 Iron Distance Triathlons, 4 Half Iron Distance Triathlons, 6 Olympic Distance Triathlons:
34 Sprint Triathlons, 8 Duathlons, 7 5k runs (including a snowshoe run), 2 10k runs, 3 Half marathons, 2-25k trail runs, a 15 mile trail run (many runs have been well above altitude), a 25-mile trail run, a stage race, 8 Marathons, 3-50k trail races, and a 50 mile race. 

Too bad for them that as much as I am involved in athletics, it won't be their logo I'll ever wear again.  I sent them a letter saying as much, too, because the pen is mightier than the sword, but email is faster, cheaper, and lends itself well to impulsive acts.
Their stuff is not so unique and fantastic that I can't spend more dollars at the many other companies out there who are welcoming and inclusive and celebrate any and all of us who get off are butts and get out there and move. 

Suck on that, PI.

...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Don't give me your elitist crap.

Dear Adrienne and Julia,

As the daughter, wife, and mother of current and former military personnel, I believe in your right to say anything you want, about anything you think.

But that also means I also have the right to call you an elitist jerk.

Who are you to scoff and my finishing time and tell me I didn't finish?  I was up and on my feet and I went the distance.  Moreover, I carried more weight and was working at it longer--making me a stronger endurance athlete than you.

My youngest son joined cross country in his sophomore year at school, to improve his running speed.  Why?  Because his parents, neither of them elite runners, had joined the world endurance sports, including traithlon, marathons, and ultras, and they looked like they were having fun, and he wanted to try it, too.  He would not have done that if we had just been exercising.  It was going to these events and seeing people finish that inspired him.  Then, he noticed that he was more fit and slimmer when he ran.  So he runs now.  This chain of events started because he saw his mother running in races.  He liked the social aspect of it.  He enjoyed being part of a community.

Who knows how many potential elite runners might exist in someone, but because you discourage them from trying, they will never try...never get better.  Who knows how many people you discourage in your daily life - if you're willing to say that publicly, who knows what you say to those around you on a day-to-day basis.

As a former educator, and parent, I'm stunned that you are each apparently involved in the field of education, stunned and saddened.  I note that Adrienne runs a local track club.  Does she turn people away who don't meet her expectations?

You can sit on your laurels and feel threatened that others are participating in your sport, or you can be happy that people are endeavoring to be fit and healthy and try something they've never tried before...and then to try and try again to get better at it.

That's all I have to say to Julie (whose email may or may not be jgiven@explorelearning.com) and Adrienne (whose email may or may not be crosscountry@cnr.edu). 

Other than, girls, seriously.  Get over yourself.

...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Boy, do I feel good! (Thursday Thirteen)

1.  Recovery. It might make some people sick to hear this, but the day after the Palo Duro trail 50K I went for a 2.6 mile hike with Baboo.  I wanted to try a new strategy: after a race eat and drink lots of clear liquids and lean protein, and do lots of stretching and yoga or yoga-like stuff.  I woke up Sunday with just a hint of stiffness in my hips, and by evening when I did the hike with Baboo, it was gone.  I never had ANY stiffness in my calves or quads, which means the hill training is right on target. 

2.  Weight: 171. I swell up a bit after ultras. 

3.  Eating.  Bear Creek hot-and-sour soup is the bomb.l  I added bits of seitan to it and noshed on it for two days.

4.  Monday morning, I did something new: I grabbed a long carpet runner, rolled it up with a yoga strap inside it, and hiked it about 3/4 mile to a high, flat landing at about 6300 feet, overlooking the city of Albuquerque.  I did this just before dawn.  I unrolled the runner, and did a bunch of yoga and stretching, and then hiked back down to home.  I loved it.  I'll do it until it gets too cold to do it.

5.  Shutting up.  Okay, I'll shut up about the yoga now.  but SRSLY.  It's working for me.  Okay, I'll shut up. Oh, wait--Okay.  Never mind. 


6. Makeover.  I've decided on a new project: I'm working on ditching the blond soccer mom look.  I'm tired of it. It's not that anything is particularly wrong with it, I'm just tired of it.  I haven't seen my natural hair color in about 13 years, so I'm curious what it is.  I'm thinking of long, and dark, and straight.  With bangs.  We'll see. I miss pony-tails, too.  They are so lovely when you're having a bad hair day.  Plus also, (dare I say this out loud) although I didn't vote for her, I loved Sarah's hair.  Loved.  it. 
See, I originally went for the blond thing when I got my first grey hairs.  I had about 7 of them in my mid-thirties, so I went blond.  Now it's nearly 10 years later, and I appear to still have about 7 grey hairs.
Anyway, who cares.  A few greys.  Big deal.  Right?  RIGHT? 

7.  School girl.  This semester is WEARING ME OUT.  But I'm happy to report my midterm grades: A, A, A, A, B. The B, of course, is in Law.  I suck, suck, suck at memorizing facts and lists of things.

8.  Ultra-Crazy.  The same crazy friends who did Palo Duro with us have signed up for Ghost Town 38.5.  Buwahaha.  Welcome to the dark side, friends.  And yet...

9.  Excelling.  Last night I was sharing with Baboo how I wish I were faster, how I wish that there was something that I excelled at.  I have so many fast friends, and it seems that after I've leapt into something crazy, like ultra running, my very fast friends eventually join me and kick my ass.  I know, I know...it shouldn't matter.  But sometimes I get tired of being last all the time.
Baboo talked to me about the possibility that what I excel at is courage, and that perhaps, just perhaps, once I do something stupidly crazy, then people feel that they might be able to do it...I don't know.  Still working on this one.   It's an area of personal growth, I guess.

10.  Training.  Very light this week.  A hint of ITB stuff going on; I'm afraid of Mr. ITB.  I don't want to anger him.  But I did do a 2+ mile hike on Sunday, and a light jog on Tuesday.  Today, I'll try to do 4 miles and see how I'm feeling.

11.  Cold.  it's cold here now.  I like getting to wear my big knitted wrap cape.  I like the drama of throwing it over my shoulder.  I'm all Hi, [swoosh] how's it going? It's very warm and cozy.  Plus, it goes down nearly to my knees, providing a lovely cover up for clothes that are still a bit too tight for me.  Win-win.

12.  The author of Frazz, the comic strip, has written a book about triathlon.  His publicist has asked me to review it here.   That will be coming soon.  Just as soon as I have time to read the book.  (see the earlier comment about school)


13.  Internet Porn.  I'm now addicted to Ancestry.com.  I don't know what I'll do when my free 2 weeks is up. 

...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's all GOOOOOOOD. Palo Duro Race Report.

 “I hammered down the trail, passing rocks and trees like they were standing still.”    --Red Spicer, founder, Palo Duro Trail Run

 ...with pictures shamelessly stolen from others...

To repeat from my former post:
My goal: To beat last year's time of 8:25:51, even if it's by seconds. I would be happy with, say, 8:25:49.  My only other 50K run was 8:26:55, so I'd like to PR on this trail. I'll go as far as telling you that my FANTASY goal is coming in under 8 hours.  yep.  that's a fantasy, alright!  Reality is somewhere between, right?


Okay.  So. The Palo Duro Trail run is a 25-year-old race in Palo Duro Canyon, which is the 2nd largest canyon in the United States.  The 50K race is a 6-mile loop, and then a 12-1/2 mile loop, run twice.   5054 feet of climbing, total, spread out over 50K.  While the climbs and descents are short, this is definitely a race you want to practice hills with. 

The terrain is rugged, with short steep climbs and descents, and it goes through some open, unshaded areas and some slightly boggy, shaded areas.  You never actually run through water, and most of the time you're in the open.  The aid stations are nearly exactly 3 miles apart, with friendly accommodating volunteers.  At the aid stations there are chips, Gatorade, water, coca-cola, m&ms, boiled potatoes, and salt.  For breakfast, I had 2 packages of oatmeal 3 hours before the race, along with fat-free tapioca pudding and apple sauce.  During the race itself, I had little solid food, about a gallon or so of gatorade and some coca-cola.  

When the race starts, is chilly and dark, and you're walking the first mile or so because it starts in a narrow, u-shaped single track trail.  So you're in the dark, and there's a long line of you snaking your way up through the canyon, waiting patiently for it to spread out enough for you to run.  

I wore my race-ready long-distance capris and my injinjis, and an Athleta top.  I had a headlight, thoughtfully provided by my Sweet Baboo because "you always forget your headlight," and my iPod.  I wore my New Balance 811s, which I took out of the closet, puzzling over why I don't wear them more often.  Well, I got my answer.  They have very little cushioning, and the numb toe nerve thing that I get on my right foot from time to time started barking about mile 18.  

Anyway.  It was cloudy and chilly and glorious for the first 18 miles, but then the clouds went away and the Texas sun came, uninvited.  There were enough cool breezes from time to time to make it bearable, but eventually I was in my running top/bra, because I didn't have the foresight to wear a short-sleeve shirt, and the long-sleeve shirt I was wearing, although wicking, was nearly unbearable formy big self. 

One thing I did do that helped a lot: After about mile 20 my back started aching from all the climbing. I stopped at an aid station and bent down at the waist, touching my feet.  Then I twisted a bit to the side, and held it for a about half minute, and then grabbed my right shoe with my left hand and pulled, stretching out my back.  I repeated that on the other side, and my back never ached again after that.  I'd managed to stretch out my IT band, hamstrings, and back, all at once.  

After the sun came up and my feet started barking, I had to start walking, but I was power walking. 

My Garmin died a few miles for the finish. 


Right: At the finish line, Bones, Mo, Sweet Baboo, Me, DP.  Bones drew the enviable "666" race number, so the girls stapled horns to his hat.   

 I was surprised and VERY pleased to find out that I'd made my fantasy goal of coming in under 8 hours!  I'd knocked nearly 30 minutes off my time from last year.  I don't have actual time yet, but I think my pace was around 15:05.  

Of course, Sweet Baboo, et al, kicked me butt.  And that was every considering the mongo blister SB had on the bottom of his foot, that he decided he'd "practice" running on.  Read his race report.

Training: ask for it by name. 

What makes that even more amazing is that last year, a wayward volunteer pointed me in a directino that caused me to take over a mile off the course.  I didn't find out until after I was finished and was discussing the course with Baboo as we were leaving, but she's pointed me away from about a 3/4-mile-out and back that I was supposed to do, and so not only did I do this faster, but I did it longer than last year.  I was determined to do this course again and actually do the whole course this time.

So, I ran about a mile and half longer, nearly a half hour faster, oh, and I'm about 15 pounds heavier than last year.   Couple of hotspots on my feet, but no blisters (I hardly ever blister)

After crossing the finish line, I took a shower in the camp shower area.  It was dirty and smelled funny, and it was the best, most awesome shower EVAR.  If I could have sat down, it would have been even better.  And so, clean and happy, the Daily Plate says I burned 6000 calories at the race.  I'm pretty sure that once I deduct the gatorade and coca-cola, I'll have enough to eat the large, alfredo pizza with mushrooms and provolone that is my fav.  Baboo and I also follow up long runs and races with orange crystal light mixed with citrus Nuun.  Tastes like orange crush.  Yumm.
Oh, and everyone else did really well, too.  DP, Bones, Mo, and others...DP also PRed.

We drove back to Albuquerque straight away. So now I'm going to eat a fistful of tylenol and go to bed.  Cheers, y'all.  I'll post pictures soon.


Next up: Ghost Town 38.5, in January, although I won't rule out any fun local trail runs in between.
...

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's marathon season! WOOT!

Today we leave for Palo Duro Canyon, for the Palo Duro 50k.  Am I ready? 
Let's see...


  • I ran 88 miles in August, 100 miles in September, and 80 so far in October.
  • I'm not injured (last year I had shin splints)
  • I've got a working iPod.  I've even got a backup iPod.
  • I've got my injinjis and pink leopard gaiters. 
  • My hair is finally long enough to put into two, two-inch razzy-spazzy little pony tails. 

Hell yes, I'm ready.  What else do I need?  Oh, I mean other than athleticism.  SERIOUSLY. 


Joining me on this quest--well not joining me but also doing this race--is DreadPirate, Sweet Baboo, and a host of buddies who don't have blogs.  It's supposed to be really nice this weekend. 

My goal: To beat last year's time of 8:25:51, even if it's by seconds. I would be happy with, say, 8:25:49.  My only other 50K run was 8:26:55, so I'd like to PR on this trail. I'll go as far as telling you that my FANTASY goal is coming in under 8 hours.  yep.  that's a fantasy, alright!  Reality is somewhere between, right?


Happy Trails, y'all.  See you Saturday night!



...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

1. Training: I've run 80 miles in October so far. 80. EIGHTY. Miles.

2. My new boss (me): I'm teaching therapeutic parenting classes and building a caseload of clients. I used my Social Worker and counselor contacts, and now the phone is ringing. There's a shortage of this being taught by people such as myself, who are licensed therapist.
More on this as it develops. The really cool thing is that most of what I need, I have: a home office, lots of teaching supplies, and a laptop computer. Oh, and a spouse that tolerates my career flights of fancy. 

3. BTW: Did I say I ran eighty miles so far for October? EIGHTY.


4. Bleh: I've had kinda of a shitty week. That's right, I used the "SH" word. I had a social work law midterm, and I suck at memorizing lists of words and facts, so while I passed it I probably did not do as well as I am used to doing on tests. Then there were other sources of stress and no nice long runs to burn it all off because I'm tapering. No comfort eating either because I'm not training! This weekend, I'll have a nice lovely run for about 7 hours--oh, who are we kidding, probably EIGHT hours--and then it's back to training, thank goodness.

5. Thyroid stuff: One week on the new meds, and I feel more like my old self again.  Also, I'm 4 pounds down since the beginning of the month.  That may be the meds, or it may be the extra training, or both.

6. Testing, 1...2...3:  In the past, my training has consisted of a 3 or 4 miles run (one) during the week and then a long run on the weekend. This time, the long run wasn't as long, but I put  a lot of volume over 4-5 days a week. It will be very interesting to see how my experience at Palo Duro compares to last year.

7. Ohmmmmm: I've really gotten into Vinyasa yoga. I've never really stuck with it this consistently before, though I've always liked it.  I'm getting better at it, too, less wobbly. It's good core work. It's a great compliment (or is it complement?) to ultrarunning. Plus, the stretching. The stretching, y'all. Feels n-i-i-i-i-ce.  I really like Yogatic!on YouTube.

8.  Cheap: Didja know you can download videos from YouTube using Real Player? It converts them to iPod format too. I haven't yet figure how to make use of Yoga videos on my two-inch iPod screen, but I will. 


9. Stages of Change: I have a repeated experience where friends call to say they've "really got to do something" about their fitness, then ask if they can come run with me.
Then, there's several weeks in a row where they cancel, cancel, cancel, and then I stop hearing from them.  What up with that? 

 10.  Looking back: In January of 2005, at 194 pounds, I joined WeightWatchers, and by eating sensibly I lost nearly 30 pounds.  Then after I started training for my first marathon, I lost another 15 pounds.  Then in 2008, the weight started creeping up again; I think that's when my thyroid started failing.  If I'm back to more of my "normal" self, then I can start back toward my goal of 145 or so pounds, which is a sensible weight for my height of 5'6".


11. Purr baby: I have a cat who will not WILL NOT give up my office chair.  Finally, I move her; if I lean forward while in my chair, she'll leap up into the space behind me, and stay there, and won't move.

12.  Hyperfocus: I have to set a timer once an hour when I'm working in my office.See, my computer not only has internet access, it has a TV card.  Once an hour, I get up and do something housework-y or fitness-y. Exceptions: writing a paper or studying for a test.

13.  Social Work School: The semester from hell is half over.  Looking forward to a break. 

...

Monday, October 12, 2009

China people.


I started unwrapping my mom's bone china today, to ascertain its condition.  Sell it, I will.  As I'd hoped, every piece was still intact.  I hadn't unwrapped it since the day the movers wrapped it after she died in 1998.  It's been moved five times since then.

We lived in Japan for a couple years when I was a kid and my mother dragged me along when she bought this set of eight, five-piece place settings with completer pieces directly from the Mikasa factory.  At the same time, she bought my sister a similar set of bone china, except that my sister's china is a conservative white-on-white design with a platinum band around the edge.

I asked her why *I* didn't get my own pattern--the proper thing for a young southern lady--and mother looked at me.

I don't think you're going to be a china kind of person. 

I didn't understand that then.  But I do now.

My sister was a cheerleader, and then a cheerleader mom.  Her china, rarely used, sits behind sparkling glass doors in a beautiful, cherry-wood china cabinet, which is in a formal dining room with a sparkling chandelier, a room also rarely used.  Her tasteful home is full of matching cherry furniture.  It looks to be right out of Southern Living magazine. It's beautiful to look at. 
My sister sings in the church choir, and goes for walks.  She has a nice life.  A china kind of life.  My sister is a china kind of person. 

FiestaWare is in our kitchen cabinet; it is both our everyday and special occasion dishes.  We bought it in as many different colors as they had that day.  I don't have a formal dining room I do have some matching mexican talavera pottery, though, that includes a giant talavera lizard that Sweet Baboo carried over the border when we walked over, bought it, and walked back.  It's very cool. 
Our home is filled with the things that came from our life.  Everything has a story. Walk in our home, and you'll notice that our life, like our dishes, is not something we just look at and never use.  Step through our back door, and you step between two racks full of trail running shoes, hiking shoes, running shoes, and gardening shoes.

I repacked the china carefully.  It will go to a consignment shop. Hopefully a china kind of person will treasure it. It has no meaning for me.  Throughout my childhood, it sat in a beautiful cabinet and behind glass doors and was rarely used. Always waiting for the right, special moment, until there were no more moments to wait for. 

That's not how I live my life.  That's not how I want my life to be.

Because, I'm not a china kind of person.

...

Pill-popping Me,

I only ran about 39 miles this week, since I'm "cycling down" (that's ultrarunningspeak for "taper") for the Palo Duro 50K.

I have a confession to make.
I tell as many people as possible that I ran 44 miles in a week. I mean, I guess it sounds pretty impressive. It impresses me, and I did it. That's hard to admit out loud I impress myself but there it is. I've told fellow-counselors, my kids, pretty much everyone who's standing still and has ears. You'd be amazed how I slip this little tidbit into conversations.

But anyway, I went to the doc Thursday afternoon, and of course I told him. As in, "the last time I trained for a marathon, I dropped down to about 150 lbs. Now I'm running nearly twice as much, and my weight won't budge. " I weighed in at 176 pounds at his office.

He agreed that my situation was curious, albeit not unheard of. My cortisol levels are fine, although he wants to do a test of my adrenal gland function in a couple months if nothing changes.

He added a T3 supplement to my daily regimen. Side effect watch: I have to watch out for heart palpitations.

I asked the pharmacist if there was any food or drink that I should avoid or limit while taking this medication, and before I'd finished my sentence he said, "Don't eat soy. It interferes with thyroid meds."

Crap. He's the third pharmacy person to tell me that. As in, NO soy. NONE.

I was hoping he'd say something different. I make killer chicken-fried tofu, and I've missed it. I'll have to develop a chicken-fried seitan recipe, I guess. (Wheat gluten is one of our main sources of protein)

So. I've been on them for three days now, and I do feel differently. I feel more like my old self. These new T3 meds have a very short half-life, so we'll see in about a week or so if I'm feeling a placebo effect or not.

Meanwhile: Chicken-fried seitan. I'm on it.
...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Closer to God: The Pajarito Trail Fest Race Report

I got closer to god today.

Here's the Garmin Output for this run.

It wasn't because it was beautiful, although it was. In fact, I say without hesitation that it was most beautiful run I've ever done. Imagine hearing this song on your iPod:

Okay. Now, wait for 2:20 when the chorus sings...wait for it...wait for it...

because it was right at this point in the song that I rounded a corner--and found myself alone in an aspen grove-- and just as i did that a faint breeze rustled through the trees -
not a wind, just a bit of a breeze -

just enough to cause a sprinkling of aspen leaves to flutter down around me.





No, I wasn't closer to god today because it was beautiful.

Although it was.

Here's some more pictures:



101009 Pajalito Trail Run
Valles Caldera from 10,000 feet.

101009 Pajalito Trail Run


101009 Pajalito Trail Run

101009 Pajalito Trail Run


It wasn't that I was closer to god because I was up really, really high, although I was...

Photobucket

The race starts in a ski resort at 9200 feet, and climbs
up to over 10,000 feet in the first couple miles, which is where this picture was taken...
101009 Pajalito Trail Run

No, I was closer to god because I THOUGHT I WAS GONNA DIE.

You will never, ever, ever suck wind like you will at 9000 to 10000 feet. More than once I stopped, looked around, took a picture, just to catch my breath. And it was pretty. But also because I couldn't breathe.

But it was so worth it. At one point during the run, when I was in the midst of that Aspen grove, I almost cried, it was so beautiful. Right at that moment, I was just so incredibly lucky that I could power myself up a mountain to that spot and be there right at that moment.

I was the last place finisher, and got some gloves for that prize. I finished behind a woman, who mysteriously finished 30 minutes ahead of me, despite being just ahead of me about halfway through the race. In fact, on an 9-mile out and back, although ahead of me, I never saw her again. Somehow, she managed to slip past me in the woods.

Can you say "CUT THE COURSE?" I can.

Anyway.

It was gorgeous. Totally worth doing again and again and again. Fantastic aid stations, wonderful volunteers, very well run. Even if it took me over 4 hours to do. (Of course, Sweet Baboo finished this in 3 hours. Of course he did) I would do it again. Few things move me to tears with their beauty, and we can all use a little of that in our lives. Maybe we can use a lot.

I assumed this sign wasn't meant for me -->

And now I will eat ice cream and drink chocolate wine.

...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

1. Thyroid stuff: Lab tests this week include checking my current level of TSH and T4, as well as checking my cortisol and ATCH. Don't ask me what the cortisol and ACTH tests mean. I'm still learning.


2. BUT. there are some signs that my body has finally given up trying to hold onto the fat. I think my parts got together and said, hell, she's never going to feed us the way she used to, so we might as well burn the furniture for heat. I woke up this morning and noticed that my legs are smaller. Not a lot. But a little.
Yeah, you better get smaller, legs. What did you say? Oh, nothing? Yeah, that's right. that's right.

3. Cheap: since I'm a lowly unemployed student. My hair dresser did a "half foil" and didn't cut my hair this time. It cost about half the price and took an hour less to do, and will require touch-ups every 2 months instead of every 5 weeks. This wonderful man made me look good in about half the price. I love him for that.

4. Training: I'm now able to run continuously with no more scheduled walk breaks for about 15 miles. Gee, it only took me, what, 9 months to get back here? I still take walk breaks in races because it's results in my fastest overall pace, but not in training.

5. Mileage:
This past week, I put in 44 miles in on the trails and roads near where I live. FORTY-FOUR.

That's like, 22 twice.

So, Saturday afternoon, after entering my long run data into the Daily Plate, it told me I had 2000 calories left to eat. I didn't eat them all, but I sure as hell had some Dulce De Leche ice cream, which is my current indulgence. It tastes like Kraft Caramels. I eat it and roll my eyes around.

6. Turn, turn, turn: I picked the last of the fresh tomatoes from the vine in my back yard. >sniff.< farewell, Summer...

7. Car: This past week I vacuumed 3 pounds of play sand out of the back, threw away documents with 2008 dates on them, shampooed out all the spilled gatorade, green tea and ginger cooler, and coffee. My car is now clean and smells good and I'm no longer ashamed to allow people to see inside it. including my husband.

8. Rumors are true: Sweet Baboo is attempting another 100 miler October 31st. He's also
put in his name for the Western States Endurance Run lottery. Me, I'm sticking to the smaller races.

9. My new boss: is me. I have some time and unemployment compensation coming, so while I'm in school full time, I figure this is the optimum time to put together an idea I've been considering for a while. So. this week, I got a tax ID number, filed a DBA, and the paperwork to be an LLC. I'm a little scared.
At this point, though, I figure I've done a few scary and difficult feats. And, I'll have more anxiety to burn off on my runs.

10. 2009. 25 years ago this week I produced my first offspring. I told him, I won't waste your time with telling you how big you were or describing your long, natural childbirth...8 pounds, 13 ounces; and it was EIGHTEEN HOURS after I was admitted that you were born, and I was TINY, only 19 years old...
but ANYWAY I told him that next year, when he's out of the Army and living here, I would be able to take him out to lunch on his birthday. Anway. Twenty-five. Shit. I'm old.

11. School. I've survived midterms.

12. Old School. I have discovered what makes me happy what makes me feel good:Running and Yoga, first thing in the morning, in that order.

13. Training runs. I'm considering this as my final training run before the Palo Duro 50K:

They offer a last place prize.

Race ya for it!

...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

>Gulp!<

Registration Confirmation for:

Congratulations! You are now registered for Old Pueblo 50 Mile Endurance Run. Please check the event's official website for updates: http://www.oldpueblo50.com


Oh. My.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Ramping up for 31...38.5.....maybe another 50?

Mulling....mulling...mulling...

So, this week I've run, lessee...15+4+5+8 = 32. 32. MILES. in a week. I've never done that before. WOW. It's been a mixture of hills, flats, (mostly hills) on blacktop and trails.

And here's the weird thing: I seemed to have turned some sort of corner. I don't know if it's that I got my base back, finally, from being injured and off running for 4 months last winter...or if it's the yoga I'm doing every Monday and stretching and muscle work I'm doing on Fridays. But so here's what happened:

During my third run this week, after the first couple miles, my legs suddenly felt really loose. Not fast. But easy. There was no pain, no stiffness.

Since I've never run 3 days in a row before, I don't know what to make of it. I liked it. Even today, after a week of running 32 miles, I feel good. I feel loose, there's no tired or stiffness in my legs. My feet feel good.

I'm eager to see if it happens again.

Meanwhile, I'm mulling THIS over:

THe cutoff is 15 hours or so. Hmmm. Mull...mull...mull....



mulling...mulling...mulling...

...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

1. Bad angles. You know how you bend over to stretch your hamstrings? In Yoga this is a pose called "down dog". If you're over 40, do not look back at your thighs. It's tempting...they're right in front of you...just look away.

2. Miles for September: I ran 100 miles in September!! That's lower than it should be, but higher than it's ever been. Most of the miles, I'll have you know, have been very hilly. This will continue to increase. Oh, yes, it will.

3. Calories for September: on average, I kept it under 2000 a day. On non-workout days, it was around 1200, and higher on workout days.





4. Weight. Still holding steady at 175 pounds, give or take a pound, despite tracking my calories and exercising regularly. This has been my weight now for about ten months.

5. Fad Diets. I remember when I used to scoff at fad diets, back when it was easy for me to maintain my weight. "How can anyone fall for that?" I wondered. But now, I know. I know. I'm not buying into them. But I understand.



6. Grades. I've passed my midterms, so far, and gotten good grades on my papers. I feel pretty darn smart these days! I like writing papers, actually. I like laying out my argument, or thesis, and researching the information that supports it. My research professor even asked me to explain how I do my literature reviews to the class. I was awkward, and a couple of the girls in the back rolled their eyes at each other, crossed their arms, and sighed deeply in feigned patience.
Yeah, go ahead beeyotches. see if I ever help you with your grant applications.

7. Oilcloth. I have a pretty oilcloth tablecloth. It wasn't expensive, but it makes me happy to see it. It's sunny yellow with fruit on it. It's completely ridiculous.
And yet: happy.

8. Speed. Sorta. I ran a very hilly 4 miles in my neighborhood the other day - including a long, 1-mile uphill - and kept it under a 12-minute mile average. For me that's pretty darned good! Lookout, world: WHOOOSH!
(Yeah, I know. Speed kills. I'll take my chances.)

9. Clean Car. It's finally cool enough so I want to go clean out my car, which looks like a homeless person has been living in it. Or a graduate student. Either way.
Tomorrow: I clean the carpets, divesting them of their spilled lattes and Gatorade.

10. Rituals. Every now and then, when I have some calories left to the day, I sit down with a small amount of dark chocolate, wheat thins, and some hummus or reduced-fat brie. Rounding out this experience is a small glass of a sweetish white wine. I sit with this plate and this glass of wine on the sofa, look out onto the hills, and feel very, very good about my life. I remind myself of all I have to be thankful for, and what a good person I am.

11. Exercise. I may be currently an unemployed bum, but I'm a bum with a gym membership and access to running trails. I'm staying (mostly) with my training plan each week. In addition to the running, I'm doing yoga, swimming, and I try a new and different class at the gym each week.

12. Frustration. There is something medically wrong with me.
  • In 2005, at 194 pounds, I joined weight watchers, and dropped 30 pounds in one spring, just by watching my calories and portions. Then I started exercising, and lost five more.
  • Throughout 2006 and 2007, my activity level increased steadily, and my weight stayed steady, a bit heavier in winter, fluxuating between 155 and 165.
  • Then in 2008, I did 7 marathons and an Ironman. I gained 10 pounds. After I injured my leg, I gained another 10 pounds.
  • Throughout 2009, my activity has increased, and in September, I ran One hundred freaking miles. My calories are tracked on The Daily Plate as those of a 150-pound sedentary woman.
Does it seem unreasonable to anyone but me that I have to run 100 miles a month (in addition to occasional cycling, aerobics, yoga, et cetera) and eat like a woman weighing far less just to maintain my weight? Well, it does to me.

But when I talk to people about it, I get suggestions that I'm feeling sorry for myself or that I look fine. I know they mean well. I know they care about me. But it's not an answer. I hate feeling vain for worrying about what I believe is a medical problem.

Well, I don't feel fine. I've never exercised at this weight before and it's awfully hard on my feet. It's hard on my knees. My hips hurt.
Most importantly, it's not who I am. I was not a heavy child, or a heavy adolescent, or a heavy young adult. I wasn't tiny or bony. I was healthy. This is something that has come upon me in the past couple years.

It came on my mother, too, who was also a slender child, adolescent, and young adult.

Look at it another way: If you knew someone who, despite being apparently healthy, started losing weight until they were 25 pounds below the ideal weight for their frame size, and they were unable to put it back on despite very reasonable efforts, wouldn't that be worth getting concerned about? Why should this be any different?

So.

13. NO MORE WHINING. I'm headed back to the doctor. I want answers, not platitudes.

...