Tuesday, July 25, 2006

My Vacation Paradise!!!!

Yes, Campo, Colorado! Smack Dab in the middle of the dust bowl. Population 150 (not counting the rattlesnakes, horny toads, and prairie dogs). Median income $20,000. Median house value
$19,300--I kid you not ! And I'm not even visiting Campo proper, but about 5 miles outside of town.

This is not pretty hilly, foresty, South Parky, Colorado, but Southeast Colorado, just North of Oklahoma....Gosh...got that "Oklahoma" song stuck in my head from that darn musical now.

I'm going to visit my Mom and step-Dad, and No! I didn't grow up there. My Mom had an internet romance about 10 years ago and married a man who has a homestead there. From Northern California to Campo. And she loves it there and her hubby--we all think he's great too. I do love them both tremendously and I'm happy to see them. I just wish he was from Maui.

I'm not going alone. I'm dragging (almost literally) my 16 year old daughter along. My marathon partner sister and her kids are coming too. The main reason for this visit is to introduce my 3 month old nephew to his grandparents (my mom claims she's too old to travel, but she's in perfect health and not yet 70). Sis and I plan to continue our marathon training there--and we'll get a little high-altitude training to boot.

Traveling should be interesting. We drive the gang to SF airport (1 3/4 hours away), fly into Colorado Springs, and then rent a car and drive 4 hours to Campo. My sis swears her 2 year old is a GREAT traveler. I'll let you know...

Although my mom does have a computer and internet connection, her connection is normally only 14.4k per second. You know like 56k modems...she's got one, but she also has horrible phone lines. You'll be lucky if you hear from me at all.

So what to at Mom's:
1. Watch satelite TV (she's one up on me here...I don't have cable tv...by choice)
2. Eat mom's meat n' potatoes cooking
3. Play dominos
4. Eat Schwan's (they deliver to my Mom's)
5. Read
6. Eat more
7. ride horses (if not too hot)
8. Eat 2nd supper
9. Marathon train
10. Eat lots and lots of ice cream (I'm bringing her a few jars of Fenton's fudge sauce)--I'm going off the wagon sugar-wise.
12. Wait for internet pages to load
13. Visit with family

Well you get the point.

Hey, if you happen to be in that part of Colorado look us up! Just ask anyone around (they're bound to be a cousin of my step-dad). Just ask them where the folks from California are visiting--they'll point you in the right direction.

Until next time..............................

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Heat is not one of the secret ingredients

The short version of yesterday's 10 miler--We did it but it wasn't pretty.

I told my sister Friday night that it was forcasted that the temps would reach 105 on Saturday and that we should start out by 7:00AM. Sis veto'd that. She's not an early riser. She said as long as we're out of the door by 8, we should be okay.

I arrived at my sis' house at a few minutes before 8, and she hadn't finished feeding the baby. Long story short, we left the house around 8:30, and it was already feeling warm.

We did everything the same as last week. We brought our camelbaks, sports beans, we were doing the same route that has lots and lots of shade in the middle miles. I was feeling pretty good at the start, my sister was sluggish. About a mile into the run she told me she "forgot" to drink her standard 2 cups of water before we set out, but was drinking from her camelbak to make up for it. I suggested that she eat a package of sports beans and maybe that will give her a pep too.

She just kept saying "nope, this isn't gonna be my day".

Around the 4 mile mark she sheepishly asked to use my cell phone. She drank all of her water and wanted to call my brother to bring us more. The Camelbak carries 48 oz of water and somehow she guzzled all of it before our half-way point. My brother (always a good sport) arrived and filled up both of our waters.

She was still slow. Around 4.75, we reached a really hurrendous hill (I still have to sync up the garmin to find out how steep it was). The proudest moment of this run, maybe even ANY run. Is we both "ran" the whole ugly thing.

At 6 miles my sister announced she was out of water again. Holy cow! 48 oz lasted us almost the entire 9 miler we did last week! I still had plenty of water so we just shared it until we got to a hose 1.5 miles from home.

I'm pretty sure the heat was in the low 90's on our last stretch. To make matters worse, it was pretty humid, which is something we're not used to in California. We were both slow at that point, doing the marathon shuffle at 8 miles. Heat will kill you. Every time.

But...we did do the distance, we kept to our 3/2 routine, so that's something to be proud of. We celebrated when we got back home with a good lunch, a nap in her air conditioned house, a good dinner and blackberry cobbler a la mode for dessert--I'm not eating excess sugar right now, but 10 miles is a milestone, right?

We had a record high of 111 in her town yesterday. It's 8:30AM now and it's already81 degrees. Yuck.

Next week is a recovery week, thank God for that, because we'll be running it in one of the most godforsaken places in the United States......Stay tuned......

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Warm ups

How do you guys warm up during runs? What works best for you?

One of the strongest runs I had recently (ok yesterday) was when I met up with my sister for a 5 miler and we started off doing 3/2's and when that was not a challenge anymore we just decided to run until we felt like stopping. Needless to say, we ran the last 3 miles without a break. It's not really that distance that's special, but the fact that we were both felt relaxed and really, really strong...Like it was easy (JINX). I know it takes a couple of miles before your body stops rebelling and gives in, but what y'all do until you get to that point?

I've read lots about the subject, but really want to hear it from the "real experts" out there.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Careful Speed Racers....It's Freaking Hot Outside!!

It's 6:30pm at it's 96 freaking degrees outside! I don't have air conditioning, so I'm doing a white-trash, poor man's version. What's that? I got sprinklers going on my front lawn and there's finally a gentle breeze that's creating a very weak swamp cooler effect through my front door. Pitiful, huh?

I just looked at the national map, and I see it's hot EVERYWHERE in the USA. Global Warming?? Maybe Daughter and I will go see "An Inconvenient Truth" tonight...At least the theatre will be air conditioned.

Today is my rest day, but I'm thinking about all my running friends out there running in this shit. Please, please, be careful! Stay hydrated, and don't push it.

Here's hoping for some relief soon!!!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

How to Bottle a Run

I don't rightly understand it. How can some runs be so bad, and then a few days later, you have one of the best runs of your life?

We had to do 9 miles yesterday. We decided on a new route, on a country road that went for many miles, with lots of beautiful scenery and rolling gentle hills. I actually purchased 2 Camelbak Flashflows and packed them with a couple packets of JellyBelly Sports Beans (I just can stomach the thought of taking in the Gu--I am not one that really digs that consistency).

We started out shortly after 8:00AM. I think one of our problems in the past was that we went out too late and got zapped by the heat (and we weren't carrying water with us--yeah..we were pretty stupid). On our longest run of 7 miles we were both pretty wiped out without bringing any sort of water with us. There is a park with water available, but we only hit it our 1st and 6th mile......

Anyways...armed with a good breakfast, hydration system and sports beans we set off. I can't say that anything really profound happened. We started out really slow, walking the first 5 minutes and then doing 3/2 intervals. I felt pretty good for the first few miles and sis was dragging a bit and falling a little behind. I had to slow my naturally slow pace so she could keep up. At about 3 miles she had a package of sports beans. We were still doing fine at this point, but I was worried that my sis was losing steam.

Around the 4.5 mile turning point, my sis got her 2nd wind and was starting to do the pacing for us. We both got pretty chatty at that point and the miles just melted away. I've got the garmin set for intervals and it beeps for our rest periods. On our long runs, I'm always waiting and waiting for that darn beep to go off. On this run, it would beep and we would look at each other and wonder where the 3 minutes went.

At 7 miles, my sister told me she wasn't feeling challenged enough and maybe we should do four-one intervals. So we started running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute. Even then, I had to watch the garmin and we kept running over 4 minutes (like 4:30) before I notice that we should've started walking 30 seconds before.

It was almost surreal how easy it was--I didn't even say a loud or think "fuck me" the entire time! We came back to the house in great shape and hungry for a good lunch.

Later that day I took my daughter and friend to Berkeley to go clothes shopping. We must've walked 4 miles there too. I did start feeling sore towards the end of the day.

Today I feel a little sore, but overall I feel great.

I can't believe I'm saying this but I'm looking forward to our 10 mile next week. I don't know if it was one of those things that made that run so good or the fact that we were well hydrated, or had energy beans, and it wasn't really hot, or what.....If I could bottle the secret recipe of that run I would.

We won't change a thing for next week's 10 miler. Will we have the same result? Time will tell.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Spilled my Chi, Lost My Mojo

So, I've been reading ChiRunning and went on my run last night with the intention of trying out ALL of the techniques. Never mind about just trying one or 2 at a time to get used to the concepts. Never mind the warm up exercises--I don't have time to hassle with that...I wanted to run!
So Run I did. There's a lot to remember with ChiRunning, and I'll describe what I tried to do:
Good posture: Head up, body straight, chest back so I can see my shoe laces if I looked down....
Deep breathing: Out for 3 steps, in for 2 (This actually feels natural to me)
Arms at 90 degree angles: Pump those arms behind you...Keep em bent.
Feet: Pick up your feet, like you have to step over a pole.
Stance: With your posture straight...Lean forward...This WILL propel you forward.
Muscles: Relaxed. Keep you calves feeling loosely goosey (and everything else for that matter)
Mind: Non-judging
Any guesses on what happened????

I lasted almost a mile until I notice my heart rate up around 90%. There's a photo in the book where the runner had an incorrect lean (bending at the waist) and the caption noted that she was losing her CHI.
Losing her CHI.
Instead of positive visualization or no-mind. I visualized my warm energized chi spilling all over the road with my bad posture! My precious energy gone.
And my MOJO too.
It turned out to be a lovely evening for a walk.
Lessons learned:
1. Follow the guidelines in the freaking book
2. Don't do too much at once.
3. Patience! Doing correct posture for 100 feet doesn't mean mastery!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sunday's Boring Bits and Pieces

I'm reading the book CHI Running. I like the concept that running doesn't have to be hard and that we spend a lot of energy running inefficiently. Sounds like a great thing to learn. I plan to start trying the techniques on my runs next week.

That "race" I did on the 4th really took a toll on my runs on Wednesday and Thursday. I ended up walking a good portion of both of them. It was hard not to beat myself up about it.
Sis and I did a great 5 miles yesterday however, considering the temperature was about 90 degrees. We saw a Coyote off the road too. First time I've ever seen a coyote in the wild... WILD

Today is my cross training day and it's looking like it is going to be another HOT one. I'm thinking about going on a quick 40 minute hike and then finishing my cross training by doing some sorely needed yardwork before it gets too hot. Is mowing good cross training?

We're doing 19 miles next week including 9 miles on Saturday. I'm a little nervous. I think I'm more nervous the week we do 40 miles (including the 20 miler) than doing the actual marathon itself.

Hope you all have fab runs and a great week.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

4th of July "Race" report....Me against the World...Part II

So the 1st mile of my run was pretty uneventful. The pace felt faster than normal, but I was careful not to go out too fast only to run out of steam for the last part. The footraces already started so I looked like a lost straggler out there on that course.

My Garmin beeps. 1 mile 12:23. Not the fastest mile I've ever done (I think I grazed 11:59 once ), but I'll take it.

I soon heard the familair sound of a runner behind me. I turn and see a runner catching up to me.

"Hiya." He says "Run this route often?" I try to keep focused on my running, but can't help to notice this guy is cute. Is this a runner pickup line?

"Yep--sure do" I replied.

He is faster than me, but we run side by side for a minute or so. I keep up with him.

"So, does the 10k turn up here" Pointing to an approaching road with a steep incline.

"Yep" I reply again. Gosh, I wish I was more of a converstationalist on my runs. "But, I normally continue along this road where the hills aren't so bad."

"Well," He says "I think I'm going to give this hill a shot. Have a good run"

"Bye" I reply feebly, and once again I'm on my own.

Everything feels pretty good at this point--I feel myself running a little faster. Unfortunately, my heart monitor is doing something really funny today--either saying I'm at 225 or not reading a hear rate at all. Just as well, because I'm racing dammit!

I reach the half way point at 1.5 and turn back for home. I'm still doing fine. My breathing is getting a bit heavier, but my legs feel strong and my strides feel steady.

Things start to get tough at the 2 mile mark. Both brain and body start to revolt. My brain starts complaining "well you've just done a 2 mile PR, isn't that enough? It's a holiday for gosh sake. Give yourself a break and take a walk break." My breathing is getting more labored, it's an effort to keep up my mile 2 pace.

But still I run on.

My brain tells me, "no one knows you're doing this, no one is waiting for the results!" But I am, I answered back. Plus, this would make a nice post if I actually do this. And I would be so proud.

"Fuck me..." my brain says...over and over and over again.

Still I run on.

I pass a group of girls that have finished the race and are walking home. One of the girls has a shirt that said, "Pain is Temporary, but _________ lasts forever." I didn't catch the whole phrase. But that's my new cadence...

Pain is temporary, pain is temporary, pain is temporary......

1/2 mile to go, I rejoin the running course. Some 10K'er (10 mile pacers at this point) are doing their last 1/2 mile. And I run with them for a hundred feet--I try to draw from their energy....I plug on.

I turn off the main road towards my house. I look at the Garmin 2.80. Only .20 left to do...
Pain is temporary...fuck me....pain is temporary....fuck me....pain is temporary...

Garmin beeps at 3:00. Total time 35:15!

I "run" into the house and check all my 3 milers. My previous PR was 39:50! I beat it by over 4 1/2 minutes!
Here are my splits (negative splits!)

Mile 1 - 12:23
Mile 2 - 11:28
Mile 3 - 11:19

I can't say I invented slow, Jeanne stakes claim on that, but I'm really happy with these times. So maybe in a year or so........

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th of July "Race" report....Me against the World...Part I

I know what you're thinking..."Hey, she didn't say nothing about running any race"

Well...up to about an hour and a half ago, I didn't know I was running one either.

The noise started early this morning--5:45AM to be exact. The sound of cars going slowly down my street. I live in a very small town with a population of about 1000, and on a very quiet street where I'm lucky to hear 1 car go by every 1/2 hour. One day a year the entire town gets taken over completely. By completely, I mean between 5000 and 10,000 people (many on Harley's) appear out of the abyss and congregate at a little quiet park 1 block away from my house.

For what you ask??


You ready for this??

The World Pillow Fighting Championships!

Yes, you got that right. Here's a pic for the disbelievers....

I actually competed for a couple of years (on dares from friends and family). I stopped after one year, my opponents actually growled and snarled at me on that pole (and yes that's gross muddy water that we get the pleasure of being knocked into).

Anyways....before the pillowfights, the town hosts a 3 and 10K run that starts at 7:30AM sharp. Eager runners start showing up early...Today it was 5:45 AM!

They broadcastin from the sound stage at exactly 6:45 AM (I can hear every word from my backyard). A very unique warbling (warbling is what it was) of the Star Spangled Banner was presented at 7:00AM. Nothing compares to waking up to that, I tell you...but then I was already up at 6:00

At 7:00, I'm on the computer (just like I am now), looking up past race results for the 10k. I'm told it's a very fast run and very challenging (crazy hills). Last year...the last runner come in with a 14:30 average pace (we run/walk our long runs at this point). So, not unless I want to come in dead last, take 1 1/2 hours from my 4th of July prep, I would have to pass. I considered doing the 3K, but I'm supposed to do 3 miles today, and I had a hard time justifying paying a $25 entry fee to run 1.86 miles on a route that I run all the time.

Without having breakfast, I lace up my running shoes and strap on the Garmin. I decided to do my normal 3 mile route, but pretend that I'm in a race. There will be plenty of runners out there this morning (part of my run will be on the actual course, I will just run on the opposite side of the street), maybe I'll feel the spirit of the race (whatever the hell that means).

I'm doing this, because I really don't know how to race, or how to pace. My objective these last 4 months was to do the distance. I never cared very much about pace before. I usually run the 3 miles in around the mid-13 to close-to-14 minute pace. But that pace, is getting rather comfortable.......

So...what happens if I really push myself? What happens if I just keep on running even though my heart and body is begging me to stop? What kind of time would I get. Could I even do it??

OMG...the time! I'm supposed to be at Morton's in 45 minutes to reserve a bbq spot and I still have to pack and blow-dry my hair...

I'll post part II (The Race) later....

HAPPY 4th!!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Our 7 miler yesterday went pretty well for the most part. We both felt our breathing and our heart rates were under control. It was hotter than we anticipated (about 85), but we were both sufficiently hydrated--although we both agreed that we needed some kind of hydration thingie now that we're doing longer runs. I'm looking at the waist mounted Camelbak
rather than a fuel belt where I have to mess with little bottles. Anyone have any opinions on this? I would LOVE to hear them.

Anyways....we did do a pretty hilly course, which felt pretty good going out, but coming back our legs starged feeling like gumby legs--rubbery and without much strength. I'm sure you have all endured this in your runs. So is this something that can be prevented, or something that will go away as we get stronger, or something that just happens no matter what shape you're in? Even after the run, just walking around the house was tiring on our legs.

Today my legs feel pretty good, I went on a 2 mile hike without issue.

Any words o' running wisdom is always appreciated!!!