Tuesday, March 27, 2007

T minus Tempo

That's how I felt all day. The day started with me counting down the hours until my tempo run...it slowly dwindled down to mere minutes and I knew it was time to face my torturous hour head on.

Let me back track a bit. I'm not the greatest runner who ever lived, shit, I'm barely in the running for my age group as it is, BUT I still think of myself as a fairly good accomplished runner. I've run fast 5k & 10k's. I've run a marathon (nearly two in fact). I've trained myself into injury as well as many a PR. You wouldn't think that years into this journey of putting one foot in front of the other I'd still get freaked out at the thought of certain training runs...but I do. To me, tempo runs are like the evil stepchild in an otherwise beautiful functioning family. They need attention, they need constant reassurance, they need every ounce of my focus for an extended period of time and I'm really starting to resent it. Long slow runs can actually be interspersed with enjoyment-the scenery, the conversational pace etc.,etc. And speedwork has a certain je ne sais quoi as well...definite start/stop times which push you hard enough but only for short bursts of hell on earth with an ever loving recovery following each of those-see THAT I can handle. Give me small sips of the poison and I can somehow immunize myself to it. It's really quite a shame that Lucifer himself has somehow managed to get his hands around the marionette strings of my tempo runs. I'm well aware that I'm supposed to be uncomfortable during them but you see, that's the problem. I'm not out of control uncomfortable so I'm with it enough to be my own worst critic during these said times. I'm acutely aware of how much I'm hating it, how much I'm sucking at it, how much I cannot do it. I'm probably not explaining it right-I'm at as much a loss for words with this part of training as I am desire.

Anyway, it was supposed to go down like this: 1 mile warm up, 5 miles at tempo pace, 1 mile cool down (all on the treadmill so as to be able to be anal about getting the precise split times). I ran my first warm up mile and didn't feel that great but pressed on to start the increased pace. Then after that I stopped. I gave in to the voice in my head that said "there's no fucking way you can sustain this for another 4 miles". I layed down on the treadmill...I waited to cave to my inferior feelings. Then I got pissed-pissed at myself for giving up so easily and pissed at the treadmill since it was OBVIOUSLY the real reason for my woes. So I figured that if I had already done 1 mile at tempo that I could just go to the park and run like hell and finish out my other 4 tempo miles. Surely the park is where I would catch my groove. So off I went, juiced up on anger and intimidation-great combo, very soothing to soul, I tell ya. I got to the one mile mark and wanted to quit. I rationalized that I could just do three miles in addition to the two I did at home and count it as my easy run for the week. I huffed and puffed and thought of a myriad of reasons for my failure and an equal number of reasons to just give up and put off the inevitable until my next day of running. I reached my car and looked at my watch-well whatya know, my splits were about what I needed my tempo pace to be. So that means the 1 mile warm up + the 1 tempo mile I did at home + the 3 I just did at the park meant I had a measly 1 mile left of that horrific pace left to do and my 1 mile of cool down. I hopped in the car and sped home, hoping that nothing happened upon my peripheral of delayed dedication. Once I got home, I ran down to the basement, put my CD player on shuffle and dialed the volumed up to 10. I shit you not, as I started the treadmill, "Push the Tempo" by FatboySlim blared out in retaliation of my dreadful, nearly concluded workout. I can't believe I almost let it beat me.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

It's a beautiful morning....

I think I'll go outside for awhile...and just run!!!

What a beeeeeeautiful morning! The sun was out, the roads were quiet. :::sigh!!::: A peaceful run!

After I left the house I forgot that I wanted to borrow that darn IPod again. Not motivated to turn around I started to hum the last song I heard when the alarm went off this morning..."You want me. Come find me. Make up your mind." That was the first and last song I heard this morning when I woke up....darn it! I can't remember any other lines. How am I going to run with only three lines from a song playing over and over in my head! Ugh! I hate that! I believe it's called an ear worm. You can't get the song or part of the song out of your head. So there I go. "You want me. Come find me. Make up your mind. You want me. Come find me. Make up your....." It's going to be a long run.

Saved by the bell!

After making my turn I heard the chiming and clanking of the bells from a local church! Oh thank you Lord!! It was playing something else for me to focus on. I can't recall which it was, but I was so ever grateful. Enough to sustain me. Enough to change the tune in my head. I went from whatever was playing to other little church ditties that came to mind. He does seem to work in mysterious ways! I know it wasn't a miracle, but that Evanescense song is gone. And to some that may be a miracle!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Sane & Beautiful Need Not Apply

I needed to run 5 miles. I needed to want to. And I needed a reason to make sure it happened. That little voice that was so exuberant and raring to go this morning had faded into a slightly breathy sigh which mimicked that of a dying woman. My motivation for anything seemed to rise and fall with the tides of my sugar rushes. Work was crazy and my uncontrollable candy binge was slowly choking out all hope of a productive run, or any run for that matter. But then like a little sign from above, my e-mail chimed and I noticed a new message from my sister: "want to run outside with me today my little chachi (shut up, that's one of our many nicknames for each other)?" Unfortunately she had sent it to me at low tide so I declined, siting the wind and chance of rain as possible deterrents. I managed to get through the rest of my day, although the right side of my head was starting to throb and any inclination towards running had all but disappeared.

Then 4 o'clock hit. I walked to my car and was inspired. I did want to run. And I wanted to run outside with my sister-she had evolved into my reason (ok, either it was her or my total hatred of the treadmill or the lovely marrying of the two).

I picked her up and we got to the park in no time. She likes to run with an ipod (I don't) but as we went along I could hear from the ear buds the faint beat of the bass to songs that I knew well, songs that were kinda like "our" songs. As we made our way along the path we seemed to sink deeper and deeper into sync with one another. It's nice when the connection is so strong that words are superfluous. We'd pass strange people and share a look of "what the fuck?" or see something funny like a lady rolling logs into the back of her van and smile at each other, all the while knowing the other was thinking the same things. She hates running outside in the winter so this was her first time back outside this season and it was all I could do to not burst at the seams with happiness to be back out there with her again.

So it sounds like a great run, doesn't it? It sounds as if I shook the cobwebs from my motivation and got out there and kicked some ass, doesn't it? If there is a possibility to be two people running as one, then I would like to nominate myself as president of that ill-fated sector of the masses. The run was great but my mental self ramblings were out of control. There's a blog by Kristin Armstrong (yep, Lance's ex-wife) I read on runnersworld.com. Her entries are always so poetic. She, along with many other I'm sure, really find themselves during runs. Personally, I find running lends itself well to my schizophrenic inner voice that never seems to A. shut up and B. land and stay on one topic. My internal banter volleyed around my head kind of like this:
  • I think my stomach is jiggling
  • it feels like I'm wearing a midriff shirt...oh wait that's just my fat inching my shirt up
  • boy, I really am pigeon toed, how have I not tripped myself before?
  • maybe I can blame my weird pigeon toed gait for the way my thighs rub together
  • shit, it's humid-I can almost feel my hair revolting-I think it might be puffed out in some sort of twisted crazy frizzy helmet in the shape of a lion's mane
  • there's dissension in the ranks of my bowels
  • I just burped up pink flavored jelly beans....hhmmm, not as bad as I would have imagined
  • did those stupid teenage boys just say something about my "headlights"?...it's a little windy but I'm not that cold...maybe one of my boobs are smashed down and I accidentally got one headlight pointin' at the ground...oh god, I hate getting older
  • seriously, is Andre the Giant palming my head like a basketball?? Why isn't this run getting rid of my headache??
  • I think I have something hanging outta my nose
  • I can smell my sportsbra-oh yeah, I forgot to do the laundry last night
  • am I so retarded that a nice run like this can't be serene? Think calm, think clear...pretend you're Kristin Armstrong (minus all her over the top religious shit)
  • I suck, I can't even keep a concise train of thought going when I'm just pretending
So the war between my running side and my self loathing side continued on until my stop watch stalemated the fight. It was over and despite the lack of depth and clarity in my thoughts, one thing was for sure-accomplishment couldn't see my hideousness nor did it care to indulge in my insane ramblings any longer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My daughter, her IPod and I hate drivers!

I had the honor of running with my daughter yesterday. We've hit the road a few times (I even ran once with my son when he was home for spring break) and it's such a good thing. It brings back memories of when she and her brother were young and we used to go outside to play. I loved those days. I was a stay at home mom for a few years (something I highly recommend in spite of any financial hardships it temporarily causes). We'd all be outside in the sandbox or the playhouse in the morning then back at it again after naps and lunch. Those days fill my head with the most perfect of memories! The sandbox is now gone, the playhouse is packed up, but when I think about it, running with my daughter is like playing in the backyard. It's time together doing something fun (relatively speaking!). Time together is the most important part after all!

When she completed her length of run (she's just starting out), I still had a bit longer to go. So as we headed back to the house she offered me her IPod. I never used one before, but she had it all set up and she created a great running play list filled with pounding rock beats that filled my ears and helped me keep pace. It was just what I needed to continue on! So on I went.....

And then there were cars....ugh!! As a runner and a driver, I am in tune with pedestrians. Even before I was a runner I knew that pedestrians (whether they are walking or running) have the right of way. Did this law change and no one sent out word?? I am so frustrated by people turning in front of me and AT me. I quick-stopped and started so many times yesterday I thought I was going to blow a knee cap!!! They don't even put their blinkers on so I can stop sooner and let them go on ahead or past me!! Oh, and let's block the sidewalk and then pull your car up to the rear of the guy blocking the sidewalk and then they tell two drivers and so on, and so on, and so on, so you are either running in place for what seems like forever or going around so many cars that you've added milage to your run!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

Okay, enough venting. I'm going back to the sandbox!!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Just Because

Sorry if this is boring but I went for a nice long hike yesterday along my favorite trail so I could snap some shots of the path I run. Hopefully someone will enjoy this

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

You Know It's Spring When...

...chub rub makes it's first appearance!

The day brought fantastic temps and I just had to pull out the shorts for this run today. But alas, the one lone item that didn't find it's way into my bag this morning was my body glide. Ok, um, does this mean my inner thighs have gotten fatter since last shorts season??? Whatever the case, no amount of chafing could have put a damper on my run this afternoon. 6 miles at a tempo pace (for me anyway) and loads of people in the park make for a very enjoyable run. I saw the most adorable little girl in bright green rubber boots walking along the path with her mom and I just HAD to tell her how sassy she looked! Everyone else I passed looked so happy, so thankful for that huge change in the weather. My one sister always jokes with me when we run-she says I turn into a much nicer person when I run...saying hello to anyone I pass or waving if I'm currently battling a hill of some sort. Running makes me feel nicer. Too bad my husband can't just continually have me running to stay that way-he would benefit the most for sure.

After my 6 I met Pier a little later for her 4. She couldn't join me earlier since her "mom-ly" duties had other plans for her after work. But nonetheless, she worked around her other obligations and I met her at her house later in the evening. The great run from before just continued on with her. But by mile 2.5 I was realizing that I was starving...I mean STARVING! And since I was just in Pier's house earlier today I knew exactly what was there-my all time favorite, my all time love, and also my all time nemesis...peanut butter. I've found that I can't be left alone with peanut butter-it's not good for me and it certainly isn't good for the peanut butter...cuz it doesn't stand a chance against me and my trusty spoon-jars have perished in my presence (it's no wonder I have chub rub!). Anyway, that's all I could think of! Two slices of wheat bread with peanut butter and a glass of cold chocolate milk (hey, it's soy...I can consider it healthy)!

So we got back and sat in her kitchen and chatted as I hoovered up my delicious post run snack. Her daughter joined us and I once again was reminded of how much I look up to Pier as a mother. She and my oldest sister always come to mind-both were single moms for the majority of their children's lives and they turned out absolutely fantastic kids. I can only hope I can do the same someday...hopefully the common denominator isn't the singlehood-I think George would have a problem with that.
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Friday, March 9, 2007

I Remembered My Resolve

I remembered my resolve
it's buried deep within.
I remembered my resolve
although definitions can still be binding.

The past merged with the present
and stoked the eventual future.
I run because I can and
I run because I can't.

My steps were so familiar
yet their echo was slightly new.
So I quieted the buzzing
despite it's curious abundance.

And once I did...
My resolve remembered me.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Finally Running in the Sun

Here's a great song that always runs through my head when I'm out in the sun-I think it lends itself nicely to this post

I'm choosing to type some of this in yellow as a tribute to the glorious sun I finally got to run in this morning! It sounds so corny but I draw such inspiration from being outside. The path always looks so much more do-able when dappled with sunlight. It made me realize just how much I miss the days of spring and early summer...(note I said early summer cuz once the humidity sets in, no amount of sunshine can take away the agony of the sweat inducing, electrolyte depleting, make-me-want-to-vomit type of runs those inspire). But as winter wears away into spring, you remember what life looked like before it was frozen in place.

My run was nice-I tried to concentrate on slowing it down a little bit and just enjoying it...that worked for the most part, but going into my last mile I just felt so thirsty (oops! I forgot my water bottle in the car) and my legs were a tad bit tired. I had done a tempo run on Thursday and for some reason, those kick my ass harder than any long run or speedwork combined! The hip flexor and top of my right quad had a twinge that was mildly annoying but hey, I got it done... check another run off for me.

But alas, my long stupid list of things to do is calling-it doesn't give a crap that I ran 8 miles this morning.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Understated elegance

In my opinion, the east side of Cleveland is really different from say, the south or the west side of northeast Ohio. Running seems to course much more freely through the veins of the inhabitants there. Now, I'm not saying that there is no running community here but it just doesn't seem as prevalent or intense as the aforementioned. Everyone there has their Lock 29's, miles and miles of Buckeye Trail, and the ever beautiful Hinckley Lake. But here on the east side we seem to have more rolling bass thumping SUVs than hills.

Unless, of course, you let go of the stereotype of the Euclid Creek Reservation. For years I was told very bad things about that park. Shit, even now when I tell people where I run they seem a little disbelieving of the perils that surely await me (in their own heads, mind you). I've never felt more at home or at peace than when I go there. It reminds me of everything that was basic in my journey to becoming a runner. When I was so overweight a couple years ago my dad took me there to help motivate me to return to what I knew was still buried inside-even if it happened to be under pound upon pound of McDonald's and KFC and Mr. Hero. I remember not even being able to run a half mile straight with him. But he always knew how to help, he always knew what to say. So I can't help but think of him every time I make those familiar turns. It's nothing noteworthy really-some might even dislike it...the path is close to the road, it's kind of a short course so if you want any type of lengthy run you have to turn and trace your steps back and forth and back and forth, and in essence, the entire one leg of it is all uphill. But I love it. It fits me like my most comfortable pair of Asics does.

Tuesday gave us warmer temps thankfully so the run Pier and I had was all that better! I ran my first five before she got off work and then joined her for two and a half of her miles. Running with her invigorates me-it's nice when someone that you're choosing to spend your time with makes you want to be a better friend, a better person and more importantly, a better runner.