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

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Recovery.

Dear Diary,

I've been having a hard time recovering from my100K a month ago.  I mean, I can go out pretty fast on tiny little short flat runs, up to about 10K, but somewhere around 11-12 miles I've been blowing out on my long runs.  It's as if my legs are slowly recharging and each little run empties them out again.  I start slowing down pretty dramatically and my legs feel HEEAAAAVVVVY.

I hadn't been running any trails until earlier this week for the first time since then, and felt like I had never ever run trails.  Ever.  I forgot that running and climbing these hills is kind of like climbing stairs.

Today, though, I felt better.  We did a hilly 10k behind our house, Baboo and I, along with Bones, Wingman, and DP, and the first part I was having a hard time catching my breath but then I felt like I found my stride.  Baboo carried a flour bottle and marked turns in the run because they were so far ahead, which was helpful. I finished about a 10K and then finished my 10 miles by running down to Einstein's bagels,  and got a bagel thin egg white sandwich thing, which is "a limited time only" but I hope they offer it longer because it was just enough.  I got a total of 10 miles in, and felt like I could have run longer, which is the first time I've felt anything like that since Javalina.


So maybe I'm finally coming back.  But am I coming back enough to do the double this next week?  I imagine that whatever's in my legs today will be gone by next Sunday night.  I'm leaning back towards just saying, fuckit, put on my Elvis costume and wig and run the half, and have fun at Vegas, where they insist on telling me that I can run the full OR renew my vows on the course, but I can't do both, given the whole 5:30 cutoff.  Turds.

But I have hope.  I have hope that this winter I'll be able, somehow, to keep running.  This will be quite a trick, because I'll have classes Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  I'll be tweaking my training plan to adjust for the fact that three days, I simply can't run during 14 hour days. Thursdays I'll try to knock out a 10K, and then on weekends, I'll load up the missing miles by doing back-to-back long runs to condition me for the doubles I'm doing in May.  One of those long runs will have to be on trails.

I'm having some whisperings from my IT band.  Actually, it started as whisperings and now has worked its way to muttering.  I think it might be because I've been using the same shoe constantly.  I'm going to go back to switching my shoes out.  And speaking of shoes, I found out that there is a trail show built on the same last as the shoes I already love, which are mens shoes.  I'm going to get a pair and see how I like them.

...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thirteen things I'm thankful for.

Dear Diary, in no particular order:

13.  I'm thankful for cognitive behavioral therapy, and Aaron Beck.  Earlier this year I couldn't go on long runs because of panic attacks and worrying.  Saturday I ran from our house at the edge of town to downtown, where a friend picked me up and took me home.  I'm running all over the city, and there's lots to look at.

12.  I'm thankful for doggies. (although I know one doggie in particular that's going to lose a piece of her nose if she doesn't keep it out of my food)

11.  I'm thankful for psychopharmacological interventions. 'Nuff said.  Everyone complains about how over-medicated people are, until they get the right medication themselves.

10.  I'm thankful for my job.  As much as I complain about the low pay, I'm thankful to have a job.  I like it, and they're nice to me.  My office is air-conditioned and heated, and has a door that locks.  I park 20 feet from the door.  It could be much, much worse.

 9.   I'm thankful for my feet.  In addition to running, I've also been conditioning them to tolerate high heels.  At the beginning of the year, I could barely stand to be in them, ever.  Now I can wear them all day.  I can run a long ways, and I can wear purty shoes.  Win-win.

8.  As always, I'm thankful for my friends.  They forgive me for the times (or months) when I'm cranky, or depressed, or whiny.  I love them for that.  My friends are funny, interesting people and I'm happy to know them.

7.  I'm thankful for my new favorite cocktail: diet cranberry juice, ice, and diet mountain dew.  (Add vodka if you must.)

6.  I'm thankful for kittehs.  

5.  I'm thankful for fireplaces, for fires and the Baboo who builds them.

4.  I'm thankful for marshmallows.  They are little puffy pillows of joy, whether in cocoa, on candied yams, or stuck on the end of a fork and waved around inside a wood stove when Sweet Baboo is in another room.  Hypothetically speaking.

3.  I'm thankful for my in-laws. Yeah, you heard me.  All of them.

2.  I'm thankful for my legs. They do good stuff!  They've taken me places I never thought I'd go, up mountains, down valleys, through canyons, and across rivers.   They make it possible for me to eat baskets full of food, and then burn it off. They make it possible to see things that most people only get to see on those cheesy motivational posters.  They've made my heart rate drop by 20 points in the past 5 years.  They've made my family doctor all happy and giddy whenever he sees me, because very few of his patients do anything but complain, and few of them make lifestyle changes that stick.

1.  I'm thankful for decongestants and expectorants.  If you don't believe me, you can come spend a day listening to me when i don't have any.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mother reported hygiene as "Meh". Thursday 13.

Dear Diary,

13. Weekly wish.  I'm finding out that many of Sweet Baboo's relatives are getting into running.  That's pretty awesome.  I just wish my sister would start running. Or walking.  I shouldn't worry, but I do.  Both are parents are dead, and everyone in my mom's side of the family.  We don't have good genes.  So, I worry.

12. Superstition. I had a really great race on Sunday, and before the race I ate 2 packages of Quaker instant grits.  It's so funny the way I get superstitious about something like that.  I had a great run, so I was all, Eating grits makes me faster! 
(Of course:-->I ignore the whole "training, my ass off" thing and decide, yeah, it must be the grits.)

My fantasy of what I look like running.
11.  Non-runners.  Last friday, Sweet Baboo and I were emailing back and forth our weekend running plans.  My last email to him said, "I'm supposed to run 10 miles on Saturday and 8 on Sunday, but I"m going to run a couple extra on saturday since we have that 11K on Sunday.
"I'm not sure why you're running so few miles," he replied.

Now, when I received this there was a young, new therapist in my office, and she heard me chuckle, and looked over my shoulder and read that line.  "What does he mean 'so few miles'?"

"Well, it means that I'm running only 18 this weekend, he's wondering why it isn't something more like 25 or 30," I said.

How I actually feel
"That sounds like a lot of miles to me," she said.  And then (you'll love this) she tried to stage some sort of an intervention.  Which was ADORABLE.  

  • What was behind my "need" to run so much?  
  • Did I feel uncomfortable when I didn't run my scheduled amount?  
  • What did I imagine would happen if I didn't finish my full schedule?  
  • Did I feel less worthy if I ran less, or ran slower than I'd planned?  
  • What kinds of thoughts did I have before and after running?  Etc.

See what I mean? Adorable. 

"Don't try to therapize me," I said.  "Save it for the kids. I'm comfortable with my obsession."

"Well, as long as you're comfortable," she said, in her very concerned, patient, I'm-wiser-than-you-at-age-twenty-six-even-with-far-less-education voice .

10. Addiction.  I now have the following apps on my iTouch: Netflix, Fandango, facebook, Google, The Weather Channel, WeightWatchers, AllRecipes, Ebuddy, Amazon, Youtube, Amazon, Alarm Clock Pro, iHandy Level, Flashlight, two different sudoku games, and a couple others.
Oh, and there's music on there too.  I'm set.



9. Vernacular.  This week it was pointed out that I had put this sentence in one of my reports: Mother reported client's hygiene as "meh".  What did that mean?

"Well, it means that when I asked mom about the kid's hygiene, she shrugged and said, 'meh'." I said. "I put it in the summary."

"Oh.  well, if that's what she said, then that's what she said.  But maybe next time add a translation for the rest of us." 
I suppose it is a bit presumptuous for me to use contemporary neologisms in a technical report.  Next time, I'll say something like, "mother indicated that client's hygiene was not bad, but could be improved, either way she was unconcerned."  But "meh" just sums it up so nicely.  There are few words so simple, so succinct, as "meh," don't you think?



8. Local Races.  Sunday I did a Veteran's Day 11K, a smallish race in downtown Albuquerque.  I wasn't planning on doing all that well, as I ran 13 miles the day before, but I was very pleased with my results.
The funny thing that happened was that in the last 20 yards or so, a woman I had passed a mile or so back was suddenly at my shoulder, pulling ahead.  I didn't even think, I just hauled ass. 
WHAT was THAT all about?  When did I start caring if a twenty-something beat me by a few seconds?  What kind of person have I become?

Anyway, she lost.   >:-)

(Oh, btw, after the race, they gave us chocolate milk.  Best. Race. Ever.)



7. TRAINING.  This week, I start ramping up.  I'll be running 40 miles throughout the week. It goes up from there.  I'm getting very nervous about my chances of finishing the Las Vegas marathon under the cutoff.  But I keep reminding myself, I have already done it once, and it doesn't mean I'm not me if I don't finish it.  Still: Nervous.  It's coming up -=FAST=-.



6. NEW INSANITY CHALLENGES.  Marathon "doubles".  I'm now signed up for the Wisconsin marathon, May 7 and the Kalamazoo marathon, May 8.

5.  HILL WORK.  There is this nice, straight street near my house rises 200 feet straight up over about 0.8 miles.  I finally managed to jog up this thing, something I've been wishing I could do since I moved here.  I'm going to make hills repeats part of my run workouts.  I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Hill repeats are the heavier runner's friend.  It's like stealth speed work.  It's at the end of my new favorite 5-mile run.
My new favorite 5-mile run.
4.  OTHER STUPID THINGS I MIGHT DO.  I'm on the waiting list to do the 50-miler at Rocky Racoon.  The last time I did it, I had to walk the whole thing and it took me an insane amount of time: like 18 or 19 hours.  This time I hope to do it faster.  At Javalina, which is harder, I hit the 50-mile mark before 14 hours, I think, so I'm optimistic.

3. TUNES. "Sabotage" by Beastie boys.  Best running song.  Ever.  Here, see for yourself:

The song is cool, even though the video is kinda lame.  
I got back in touch with this song via the new Star Trek move, which I adore.  
Because remember, it says GEEKGRL on my license plate for a reason.

2. FAT PILLS, aka "candy".  Fresh from the dangers of Halloween candy in bowls on coworkers desks, comes Holiday candy on coworkers desks.
See, there is a woman down the hall from me who sells candy bars.  Good ones.  Reeses, Mounds, Kit-Kat, Almond Joy, Payday.  I deliberately do not bring money to work, figuring that if I get the impulse to buy a candy bar it will be somewhat tempered by the fact that I'd have to walk across the street to Wal-Greens and use my debit card.  Most of the time, this works well.

But open jars of candy bars on people's desks?  Oh, this is bad.  I know without looking that many of those jars will be full of various kinds of Hershey's kisses.  This is bad.  Very bad.  I can avoid the candy if it's not right in front of me.  It's so sad that I'm up in my office, hiding from chocolate

1. WILLPOWER.  But I am determined that this will be different from all other winters for the past 7 or 8 years, in that I will NOT gain weight.  No.  Not doing it.  We are supposed to have a mild, dry winter, and I expect to be able to run the whole time.

...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Several long examples of me thinking out loud: Thursday 13


Dear Diary,

13.  I am  considering back-to-back marathons "Country Music" and "Flying Pig" next year.  Two marathons, two new states, one weekend.

12.  Also considering back-to-back marathons "Kalamazoo" and "Wisconsin" next year.  The Wisconsin marathon calls itself "the cheesiest".  The finisher's medal is a piece of cheese in metal.  How could I not?

11.  Flying pig.  The Cheesiest.  OMG!  I can't decide!  You know...I might have to try and do all of them.  These pairs just happen to be on subsequent weekends in May.
  • Pros: Two weekends, four new states.
  • Cons: Well, I mean, c'mon.  It's four freakin' marathons in two weekends. I suppose I could think of it as two 50-mile runs, but with long naps in the middle of them.
10.  I went to this all-you-can eat Brazillian grill buffet thing Saturday night.  Meat, meat, and more meat, and salad, too. I saved up WeightWatcher activity points and everything.  But as I have often found, I can't shovel in the food like I used to.  It's hardly worth the effort to go to buffets, because the "all you can eat" is sort of wasted.  Still.  I ate bunches.  It was delish.

9. On Wednesday, our I.T. guy (hereafter known as "RatBastard") walked into my office on the pretext of looking out my window.  It is next to my CPU.  Into my CPU I usually have plugged an external hard drive on which resides a virus protector, music player, and my entire music library, as well as a portable sudoku game, for when I need a break AND YES, I KNOW THAT IS AGAINST COMPANY POLICY but anyway.

So RatBastard, who is apparenly passive-aggressive, mumbled something about the weather and then left.  Two minutes later, I got a call from the HR person downstairs, who is all perky and friendly and said what she had to say all in one breath:

HiMistyThisisMaggie!
Heyjustafriendlyreminderthatit'ssagainstcompanypolicytohaveexternal
harddrivespluggedintoyourcomputer. Okay? Okay.  Bye! >Click<

RatBastard.  I had a 2 GB thumb drive that is approved for use on the computers, so I loaded some albums onto that, for now, along with my precious sudoku.  I'm sure that will frustrate RatBastard, but I'm not breaking any rules at this point, so Bite. Me.

Meanwhile, Sweetface, who is a major gadget geek (currently majoring in computer science at UNM), mentioned casually that he just happened to have something called an iPod "touch" laying around laying around, mind you and did I want it?  I had to look it up (??) because I'm apparently out of the loop so I Googled and read about what it is and OH HELL YES I'LL TAKE THAT OFF YOUR HANDS.


The MORAL of this very long story is this:

Sometimes it pays to have kids. 



8.  Last week, I wrote about starting with week 5 of the training plan.  I was all yeah!  I'm a running goddess!  I don't need no stinkin' recovery.  

Well.

The legs had other ideas.  I ran 12 miles during the week, and then on Saturday, I headed out for 14 miles.  I stopped at 10.  My breathing was fine.  My feet felt fine.
But the legs.  Oh, the legs.  Bitch!  Why do you hate us? They said.

Whatever glycogen seeped back into them after last week's 10K (and the 10 miles I did the day before) got sucked out.

7.  So.  The iTouch thing.  I could get hooked on playing with this thing.  Like, not eating or managing my personal care hooked.  I love Genius.  And I owe a huge apology to all my friends with iPhones that I've mocked over the past couple years.  It has a KINDLE app in it.  I've been jonesing for an ebook app for quite a while, and now I have one.  Now, I need to find an ebook that I might be interested enough in to read on a 3 x 4 inch screen on an airplane, then I'm all set.

6.  I said recently that my "season was over".  I guess that's kind of an old habit from when I exclusively did triathlon.  What I was saying was that my A race was done, so I'll mostly be training and fun stuff.  When I say fun stuff, I mean good old marathon stuff.  And yes, I'm aware that saying a marathon is "fun" sounds strange, but there it is. 

Now, Baboo and I are still planning on doing the 3 marathons in 2 weekends thing.  This is to accomplish two things; going up to the next level in Marathon Maniacs, and renewing our vows at the Las Vegas marathon. 

However, the 2nd marathon, the Las Vegas marathon, has a glitch: they suddenly made the cutoff 5 1/2 hours.  Fuckers.

Now, Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but I'm doing the Death Valley trail marathon the day before.  Also, we're stopping at mile 3 to renew our vows 45 minutes after the marathon starts.  That leaves me less than 4 hours and 45 minutes to finish the other 23.2 miles.  Or less, if the vow renewing thing takes longer than they say.  This requires slightly over 12 minute/mile pace.  For 23+ miles.  My marathon PR right now is about a 12:23 pace.

Now, when I say "cutoff" what I mean by that is that at exactly 5 and a half hours after the race starts, the will pull all the aid stations and timing mats, finish line, course markers, etc.  Leaving me to wander the streets.

Now, I had been mulling this over, and figured I would just drop down to the half marathon.  But if I do that, I won't go up to the next level of marathon maniac.  So, what to do?

Well, I'm gonna go for it.  12 minute miles are faster than anything I've done at this distance, but it's a road marathon.  The worst that can happen is the exact same thing that would happen if I did the half; I don't go up to the next level of Marathon Maniacs.  As my friend Holly used to say, What are they gonna do, take your birthday away?  

5.  Oh, by the way, the half marathon in Las Vegas has a 4 hours cutoff.

4.  One more thing.  The 5-1/2 hour cutoff at Las Vegas is one of the shorter ones out there.  I figure this is a product of all the snobs out there who have bitched about how fast you have to go to say you "ran" a marathon.  Or not.  I don't care.  It doesn't take much for people elitists to ruin it for novices, so that they can feel better about themselves.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

3. I love the singing hamsters on the Kia commercial.  You can get with this, or you can get with that.  



DO - WAH -  DIPPITY!


2.  Sometimes, life is messy.  Distressingly, disappointingly, heart-heartbreakingly messy.  And that's all I'm going to say about that, for now, until a time comes that I'm ready to talk about what inspired that thought.

1. Here's what I had to say to a parent this week at work:
"I/We cannot magically transform your child back into his prepubescent self.  Sorry."

What I didn't add but really wish I could: 
"Your precious baby boy, your hito,  has been transformed by the magic of hormones.  He is now essentially a homeless man living in your house, eating your food, and telling you to get fucked.  That's life.  Actually, that's parenthood.  Meanwhile, there's wine. And xanax.


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