Archive | January, 2012

Foot Stabbings, Creepers and Sunrise Running

25 Jan

Days to race: 40

Scheduled: 5 miles
Actual: 5.01 miles, 41:01, Avg: 8:13/m

Temp: 68F, Humidity: 91% – Oh, Florida. That’s cute. It’s supposed to be winter though, remember?

Gasparilla Half: I AM REGISTERED

10 minute post-race massage: Purchased. Sneaky fuckers.

Last week:

Huge sandspur spines that stabbed my feet: 2

Runs it prevented me from doing: 0

Tuesday Scheduled: 6 mile tempo run
Tuesday Actual: 6.0 miles (after cutting spines out of my foot), 48:16, Avg 8:02/m   Splits: 8:19, 7:46, 8:00, 8:27, 7:33, 8:06

Night running: Still easier

Morning running: Still nicer

Spinning bike: Totes my bitch

9 mile run: Should not be done without breakfast

Palm Bay: Rivals Rockledge for skeez-bags

I haven’t written anything for the last week because I have been extremely busy kicking ass at life, but now that I have a moment, I will fill you in.

Like wheat of death. This is a cruel joke by nature.

Last weekend I somehow had a stroke or mental episode of some sort and forgot that this is Florida and you can’t just run out to your car willy nilly barefoot through the grass to get your water bottle unless you have stone soled feet or hooves. I have neither. Thusly I got my feet turned into pincushions by a load of sandspurs. It happened to be the one chilly day of the year that locals endearingly call “winter”, so for an added bonus, they were frozen and extra sharp. For those of you fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with this atrocity of nature, I have included a handy dandy educational photo. There’s probably more of this than actual grass in any given area in this county. It’s horrifying neato. So after cursing profusely and leap-running back inside, I stood on the tile at the front door and gingerly picked them all out of my feet, trying to avoid having them stab my fingers too badly in the process and promptly set them on fire. Not really…but I should have. I thought I eradicated all of them without lasting damage, but I was mistaken.

Surgical implements used to dig out the offenders

Unfortunately I did not realize my oversight until the next morning when I got up and got ready to go out for my 6 mile tempo run. I tied on my shoes, stood up and…OMGMOTHERFUCK OUCHOUCHOUCH! I had 1 large sandspur spike and 1 smaller one lodged DEEP in the sole of my foot and the outside arch support of my shoe pushed directly on them. OK. This is not something I can just suck it up and run through. They were too deep to get at with tweezers (though that didn’t stop it from bringing tears to my eyes when I touched it wrong and sent a TWANG through my whole foot), even after soaking in Epsom salts. At this point it was too late for me to run before work, so I grumbled, got dressed and the run got put off. When I got home from work, I soaked my foot again and pulled out the big guns. Exacto knife and needle were sterilized and I gritted my teeth and dug those suckers out of the bottom of my foot like a badass. The big one was probably 1/8″ long. Not fucking around. Now that that is taken care of, I have 6 miles to run at tempo pace, if you don’t mind.

So very true.

I was so cocky about successfully digging those things out, I took my pre-run Gu and THEN sat down and started performing surgery on myself. I was going out. Better believe it. Stupid little devil plant isn’t sidelining me. I’ve dealt with way worse shit and still gone running. And I KICKED ASS. I rocked my tempo splits and kept a decent pace in the recovery sections. I’m pissed I had to stop and wait for a truck to pass to cross the street or I would have done 5 miles in under 40 minutes. Hit the 5 mile mark at 40:03. Next time, Batman. This was a good reminder that I have not totally acclimated to being a morning person. Running at night is still easier for my body. Pushing the pace just felt good. I’m able to hydrate and fuel better pre-run and that’s when my body WANTS to be active. But this race is an early morning race, so I’m trying to keep my runs in the AM hours.

The last few runs my shins and calves have been bothering me. Not sure if it’s because I’m running faster and so am pulling my toes up more than I used to or if my shoes are nearing the end of their useful life and not cutting the impact shock sufficiently. I still rocked even with screaming shins. Next tempo I’m aiming for 7:30 pace in the fast miles.

My worried about it face

My long run last week was a 9 miler. Due to alarm clock failure, I missed it on Friday so just pushed it to Saturday morning instead. I decided to do an out and back run from where I was in Palm Bay, which B-T-DUBS is the super redneck classy southern swamp portion of the county, like Rockledge’s southern cousin. I forgot to throw a granola bar in my bag, so I just hydrated really well and went out. I should also note that the previous night my dinner consisted of 2 brownies….and then 2 glasses of whiskey. Ummmm….that’s totes what distance runners eat before a long run, right? Definitely gonna get me through. Whatever. It’s fine. Let’s run.

Like this, but with less mountains and water and more traffic and houses.

I filled my camelback and started out just before dawn when it was still dark, foggy and chilly and headed east. The sunrise that morning was AMAZING. Just before the colors started showing up there were rays of yellow light shooting through the clouds into the hazy sky. Then the oranges and pinks started showing up on all the little scattered clouds and got super vivid before the sun popped through. It was BEAUTIFUL. I ran straight east for the first 4.5 miles and watched the whole thing until the sun was all the way up over the clouds. Even ran over the highway overpass and was tempted to stop for a second. SO pretty. One of those mornings when yea it’s early, yea I have a long way to run, but damn if I don’t feel good. By 8 AM I was finished and showered. I was so damn hungry I even ate McDonald’s for breakfast and it was delicious. W.T.F.?

On the way back, I passed a house with a skeevy lookin’ dude sitting on a bike in the driveway messing with his phone. One of those bikes that’s way too small for him but he thinks it makes him look “street” rather than developmentally stunted. About a half mile later I notice he is hanging behind me, pedaling slowly. OK creepo, I know you’re back there. Hope the view is nice. Try it and see how far you get before I relieve you of the few gold-capped yellow-brown teeth left in your skull. I moved onto the grass to make it clear I knew he was back there and was giving him room to pass. Eventually he did and hung about 200 feet in front of me for the next mile. He then slowed and stopped to mess with his phone and I passed him again. We did the hovering and “I know you’re back there asshat” again. This time though, he just got close and since I had at this point pulled out 1 earbud to keep closer tabs on him, he tried to string human words together into sentences aimed in my direction.

Skeez: “Dang, yu’r runnin faster than Ah’m pedallin’ ”

Me: “That’s kind of embarrassing for you.”

Skeez: “Nah, s’whatever. I dunn care. I can’t buhleeve you kep up that pace from all a way back there”

Me: “Yep”

Skeez: “Yu’r like the onny girl I know s’even up dis early”

Me: “Really? You know many girls?”

Skeez: “Haha. Haay, how far you go?”

Me: “9 miles today.”

Skeez:”Daaaaaaaaaannnnngg. Atsa long way. Whatchoo runnin’ that far for?”

Me: “Marathon”

Skeez: “Word. At’s coo. Whatchoo runnin’ a mayrthon for?”

Me: “Cause I feel like it”

I know. Be still my heart. At this point I noticed a break in traffic and used it to escape across the main road into a neighborhood before I succumbed to his charm and proposed marriage on the spot.

Sometimes I think there should be a missed connections section on Craigslist for creepers that stalk you and yell lewd things from cars while you run. There must be some emotionally damaged people out there who could find love that way.

“I was running along the side of the road Saturday morning when you glided up behind me on your super cool bike. I could tell you were environmentally conscious and an athlete like me since you were riding your bike instead of driving. The way you had your hood pulled up was really mysterious and sexy and I could tell by the way you stayed behind me as I ran that you felt the connection too. Tell me what color shirt I was wearing and let’s meet up again for a few more miles.”

“I noticed your super cool 1987 Oldsmobile with the 24″ rims and custom flaking rust paint when you yelled out the window at me as I was running on the side of the road. My headphones blocked out most of what you said, but I thought it was very flattering you would make a gesture like that in front of your friends and would like to hear more. I’ll be running again tomorrow night. I’ll look for those chrome rims and listen for your call.”

Ummmm……yea….this is why I carry pepper spray.

Tap It….and Run

15 Jan

Day Random:

Scheduled: Lift   (I still do that?? Umm…sort of…maybe…I mean, YES…that’s another post)

Actual: World of Beer Tap It and Run 5k

Chip time: 23:57, 2nd place in Women 25-29 division

Preparedness Level: Low to Medium

Breakfasts: 2

Redbulls chugged: 1

Redbulls I regretted chugging: 1

Weather: Oh my glob!! Sweet glorious majesty it is lumping gorgeous!!

Temp: 39F, “feels like” 27F and sunny

Attire: Shorts and tank top. It’s totally fine, it’s awesome out. NO I’M NOT CRAZY. IT’S NOT EVEN COLD YOU PUSSIES! NO, I AM NOT SHIVERING!

Today I ran a 5k race. My first real, well organized 5k. The last one in October didn’t even count. I could have organized a better race in a mental hospital while on nyquil. This race was put on by the Running Zone, a local store that I frequent for all my running goodies because they are awesome and dog friendly and super cool and I love them. GO THERE. They sponsor a shit ton of local races throughout the year and I will be partaking in more of them. I’d like to do at least 1 5k or 10k a month this year I think…just to keep me pushing the speed a bit and break up the distance runs. I’m entertaining the idea of a full marathon towards Thanksgiving, too….but that’s a ways out.

I tend to be a cheapass and not actually enter races ever because the $20-$25 entry fee for someone to tell me I have to run at 7:30 AM on a Saturday was…well…fuck that. But now that I’m a morning person and fiscally irresponsible and all, that’s no problemo. Sign me up!! And I didn’t have to run until 9 this morning! I mean, that’s sleeping in for fuck’s sakes! I think they made the start time late because they gave us beer at the finish and drinking before 9:15 is definitely alcoholic territory. I mean, really. Let’s have SOME standards here, people.

I got dressed and stretched in a REALLY half-assed sort of way this morning, chugged a redbull, put yoga pants and a sweater on over my running gear and got in the car. I ate my granola bar and banana breakfast on the way there and drank some water. This is a much better preparation already than the last time I ran a 5k. I even had a SALAD for dinner last night and went to bed early! Remember last post when I said 5k doesn’t really even count as a workout? Yea. I tend to not give it a lot of thought (or any thought for that matter), except that I was on a team for this race, the weather was SUPER nice, I wanted to see if I could set a new PR and all that jazz, so I actually ate, hydrated and (holy shit) warmed up when I got there by jogging around the parking lot, doing a few strides and some high steps and such.

This is what I look like when it's cold out. No, that's not me, but you get the idea.

In a half marathon it’s not such a huge deal if there’s a crowd at the starting line because you’re gonna be running for a long time and those few extra seconds/minutes to find a hole and clear the slowpokes you can pretty easily make up on course. When there’s only 3 miles and the race will be over in 25 mins or less, that 30 seconds to a minute it takes for you to get around the shuffling wide old guy and moms pushing strollers can mean the difference between setting your PR and not. Like today. That extra 30 seconds (and the redbull) killed me. I really should have thought ahead and gotten myself a sweet spot near the front, but alas, I didn’t think of it until the race had already started. Once I found a hole….and by that I mean once I got fed up and totally long-jumped over a planter and scared an old dude in fluorescent yellow spandex…*shudder* some things you can’t UNsee… Anyway, once I got around that I took off and started passing people with my crazy-legs. I used my half marathon strategy and latched onto a couple guys wearing crossfit shirts running about a 7 min mile pace and let them split the crowd while I drafted off them. It’s pretty effective.

At about 2 miles the redbull started to dissolve the lining in my stomach and cause me some discomfort. This regrettably slowed me down. Which made me upset. I lost my crossfit buddies since they were still rocking 7 minute miles and I slowed to around 7:45/mile. At around the 3 mile mark my body decided that since I was not paying attention to my stomach being corroded, it would throw a sidestitch at me to force me to stop running. HELLLL NAAAWWW! I only have a tenth of a mile left mothafucka. I sped that shit up and made for the finish. Feeling like vomit was a looming possibility as I crossed the finish line, the smell of bacon from the post-race breakfast smacked me in the face. NOT exactly what I wanted to smell just then. UGHHHHHHHH. I’m gonna need a minute.

Now, admittedly even though the weather was superglorious, my body was not totally on board for this speed run for whatever reason. I do admit that there is a small possibility I should have worn leggings or a jacket or something and that the temp may have been slowing my muscle twitch function even though it felt super nice….but I’m gonna ignore that and just say it was a mediocre run day. Still came in 2nd in the division, but I think I coulda done better. Next time, Gadget. Next time.

I Took the Crazy Pills and I Like ‘Em

13 Jan

Friday the 13th:

Scheduled: 3 mile easy

Actual: 5.03 miles, 41:08, avg 8:11/m

Wake up time: 5:41 am

My Alarm: Totally badass way to wake up

Sunrise: Too slow to catch me

Music: Daft Punk, Celldweller

I realized this morning that I have, in this process of rebuilding myself, truly become 2 things I never ever thought I would be. My old self even went so far as to loudly proclaim anyone who was either of these things (let alone both) as being irretrievably insane while shaking my head in bewilderment and pity. I m ay have been right about the crazy part….but here I stand.

The first is a distance runner. I truly LOVE running now and really…yes….even love long runs. As painful as the slogging was at the beginning and as much as looking at those milage goal numbers makes you tired sometimes, the feeling of finishing a good solid long run is unbeatable. Even on the days I have a “bad run” or don’t meet my goal, etc, just being outside running is enjoyable for itself now, almost meditative in an energetic, muscle-burning sort of way, and I look forward to it. That is MY TIME. Just me and my Garmin and my music. Don’t bother me, don’t call me, I’m unavailable. I felt like a running snob earlier in the week because I got through a 5k run and scoffed because I ONLY ran 3 miles. PSHT. That barely even counts for crap’s sakes! Uh, no. That counts. I’m just a crazy distance runner now.

I had a pretty bad day yesterday. Was in a funk I couldn’t shake and kept getting tripped up and spun around. I realized last night that it was because I hadn’t been able to run at all that week and went 2 days without working out AT ALL and that made me crabby and off. The workload for school is pretty intense, so I was up early in the morning every day watching class lectures while glancing longingly out the front window as the sun came up just wishing I was out pounding the pavement instead of warming my computer chair. You’d think there was free ponies out there or something. I was even calculating how many miles I could have run by now if I had gone out. I am definitely a runner.

The second thing is a morning person. My alarm went off at 5:30 this morning. I hit the snooze…but that’s only because the snooze is huge and the off is tiny. I sat up, took a few minutes to wake up and turn on a light and send a few texts, but I was out of bed stretching by 5:45 and was EXCITED about my run. Self vehemently proclaims that I should not be excited about ANYTHING that early in the morning, let alone athletically demanding activities, and yet, there I was. I don’t listen to her much any more. I was stretching my hips, singing and tapping my hands on the floor to the song stuck in my head and being exactly that chippery nutbag I would have strangled 6 months ago. You can actually go back through my posts and see the documented evidence of me saying morning is terrible and morning people are freaks.

Well…..freaks, I need a membership badge now. I’ll bring the bagels to the meeting. I will go to bed early or skimp on sleep so I can get up pre-dawn and have my me-time walk or run. It’s quiet in a way that even late night is not and it is the time of day that is just for me. Almost no one is awake yet to bug me and nothing bad has happened in the day yet. There is something about the fact that I fucking got up and ran 5 miles before the sun came up that makes me feel bad ass and awesome, no matter if the rest of the day is a total bust. On the days I don’t run, I just take my tea and go for a long walk and think. It’s incredibly peaceful and therapeutic. Usually I get home just as the sun is peeking over the trees and just sit in the driveway and drink my tea and watch it.

I like this new me. She’s still cynical, jaded and sarcastic, but she’s WAY more positive and centered and she’s out to get shit done. No whining, more laughing. Unmitigated awesome all around.

Cold Weather is Pretty Great. And so am I.

4 Jan

Planned: Make up 5 miler for Monday

Actual: 5.01 miles, 40:29, average 8:05/mile

Temp: 41F

Humidity: 52%

Sky: Clear and starry

Ears and nose: Tingly from cold and awesome

Breath: Visible

Makeshift warm running attire: SUCCESSFUL

Badassery Level: DING!

I usually hate blinky animations, but I felt this one adequately illustrated my point, so I went with it. This is not a habit. I promise.

So, last night after a superdelicious sushi dinner with mom and dad, I did my lunges, pushups, ball jack-knifes and crunches and all my running stretches and warmups and went out the door into the superdelicious chill. I am SO happy right now. I am in my element. Know why? A cold front came through earlier this week and knocked the temperatures way the fuck down (by FL standards, that is). We have frost warnings, bitches. Highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s. It’s go time. Bring out the beanies, blankets and hot chocolate and celebrate! I fucking love the cold. L.O.V.E. I thrive in it. I feel a million times better, like my body wakes up. My skin is happier, my sinuses are happier and my brain is happier. When you go outside, you involuntarily go “whoooooo!!” while you do that all over exaggerated shivershake and hug your hoodie tighter, your nose and ears tingle, all the hairs are standing up on your arms, the air is still and clear, you can’t help but bounce around while you’re standing still and you can smell fireplaces and dryer sheets. OH, heaven. I would rather be shivering than sweat any day of the year. Period. Yup. Once again, I DO live in the absolute wrong place.

This is the first time I’ve ever run when the temperature was cold enough for me to clearly see my breath. Wait….no. That’s a lie. But the last time I did it I was just starting the couch to 5k program and was only running (a.k.a. slowly ramble-jogging) for 30 seconds at a stretch so it barely counts. This is the first time I’ve been running for any kind of significant distance, time or pace in what would be considered a chilly-type temperature. At least low enough that I had to make SOME adjustments to my usual attire. Not much, but a little. I don’t really own anything warm and athletic, so I pulled on a pair of leggings I use under dresses and such and a long sleeved underarmor shirt I had in the back of the closet under my shorts and tee shirt (which I wore for visibility’s sake).

Since I hadn’t really run in this kind of weather before Self started in about muscle cramping or it being too cold to breathe, or wearing too much, sweating and subsequently getting chilled and how I should maybe wait till daylight hours since I wasn’t sure and curl up on the couch with Netflix tonight instead. I punched her in her dirty mouth, put in my earbuds and went out. And it was fucking spectacular. Like verging on life changingly amazing. I never want to run in anything warmer ever again. I’m going to cry a lot when summer rolls around again now that I know the true glory of cool weather running. I’m not gonna call it cold either, because I know a lot of runners in other parts of the country having to truly bundle up who are out running in temps seriously close to or below 0. That counts as cold. 40 is glorious. Just enough to give my ears and nose a bite but not so much it hurts to breathe.

All that's missing is Derrick.

My easy slow warmup miles were at the previously “I’m awesome” pace I’d been running for the last few weeks, right around 8:30 and 8:20. Then my muscles were truly warmed up and I was feeling light, energized, happy and like I could race the Flash, so I kicked up the pace a bit and started doing sprint sets to my music during the choruses. And singing along. And laughing. And moving my head and arms to the beat. And skip-hopping curbs and kick-jumping around cars parked across the sidewalk. I even vaulted a knocked over trash can. All while still feeling super comfortable and within my effort threshold. ‘Cause my badassery, it knows no bounds. I ran all of the last 3 miles damn consistently at 7:49, 7:48 and 7:50. Which, B-T-Dubs set a new 3 mile PR for me. By a 30 second margin. That’s 10 seconds a mile for those of you too lazy to do the math. BAM. I even started getting that stupid muscle cramp at the top of my right quad somewhere around mile 4 and didn’t even give a single fuck. I just ignored it and went faster.

It felt amazing. The breeze had a tiny bite to it and the air was clear and light. I was having to shake and move my hands and jaw to keep the circulation going and I LOVED it. Such a difference from the miserably fiery, muggy, suffocating, energy sapping summer. This is how it’s supposed to feel. This is why I do this. It’s just me and my legs and the pavement and the pure joy of feeling strong, fast and awesome under nothing but my own power. To finish smiling and feeling like I could go forever and then realizing that I just ran 5 miles. That distance used to be so daunting and take so much hyping up and recovery. It’s just an easy “whatever” run for me now. I finish, stretch, shower and go on with my life. No big deal.

Damn I’m awesome.