Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I am a prizewinner!

I almost forgot to share my awesome award for being a brave ice bath taker!
My conjones-worthy prize basket!

TenacityChris challenged the marathon training group to take an ice bath (I don't think any of us were very willing to try it) but since she wrote it into my training plan I figured it was time to find some cojones and get waaaaayyyyyy out of my comfort zone.  So I did, and sadly, despite the unexpected and very real PAIN I experienced, it proved to be rather anticlimactic and not at all the uber drama-rific activity I thought it would be.  But utterly worthy of a wonderful prize package put together by TenacityChris.  She is the bomb and covered everything pre- and post-workout, with a little something tasty thrown in just for fun.  I have to say, my favorite was the home made orange zest/cranberry/blueberry bread.  The bread was almost cake like and for a carb whore like me it was a little slice of absolute heaven! And it even had some good carbs in it!

On another note, my quality time with darling daughter has been extended...... one of the two flights for our journey home has been delayed so late that we can't fly the second leg home until tomorrow.  So we are heading out of beautiful Burlington, VT and going to Philadelphia where we will continue the adventure.  If the force is with us, we will fly home tomorrow morning.  So, a little more together time.  I'm not opposed to that!  Now, if I could just get rid or this god-awful cough of mine I'd be golden.  And dang, I'm really looking forward to going for a run soon!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

of sickness and road tripping

Darling daughter and I have been on the road exploring colleges on the East Coast since last Saturday.  Lucky for us, we missed the nasty snow storm at home earlier this week.

Three states, four nights, five colleges.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I certainly had the best of intentions for working out while traveling with DD.  I made sure that I booked hotels with fitness centers and packed enough workout clothes to get me through the trip with minimal chance of offending other fitness hounds with my smelliness.  Not that I worried too much, I figured anyone unlucky enough to be working out next to me out East on day four was probably not going to cross my path in Minnesota....

Anywhoo.....I have had the absolute worst cold during this entire trip with a cough that causes buildings to shake and HURTS.  The signs were there the day before we left so I tried heading off the cold with Zycam with no luck..... I have consumed my body weight in Ricolas, and find myself reallllllyyyyy looking forward to when I can have my next dose of cough syrup.  I'm also dousing myself in hand sanitizer in what I hope is not a vain effort to try to keep my germs to myself.

So the upshot of it all is that I have not worked out once since I left home last Saturday.

With darling daughter and our sweet ride
at Mount Holyoke college.
Surprisingly enough, I don't feel too bad about things.  Darling daughter and I have had a great time galavanting across the NorthEast in our su-WEET white Dodge Charger rental car, I've been eating dessert almost every day, and we have shared a lot of laughs and rediscovered how much we have in common (OMG the gene pool!) and how much we enjoy each other's company.  It's been time well spent.  Maybe if the cough settles down for longer than 5 minutes at a time I'll try out the fitness center tomorrow.  Or not.  We have some free time tomorrow morning before our last college visit and flying home tomorrow evening.  Right now I'd rather hang onto the magic of the road and the fun to be had with DD.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I am a big fat hairy liar

All my fancy talk about moving workouts around so I can fit it all in, blah, blah, blah.......turns out I'm full of crap.  "Fitting it all in" has proven to be an elusive concept for me.

I wasn't able to get my 6 miler in until today and when I finally did, it was UGLY.  I was feeling pretty good about myself because I managed a couple of 3 milers (the last one was 3.1 miles, at 10:15 pace -- NOTE: this is a faster pace than TenacityChris asked for in my last 5K race AND I had negative splits -- all without trying!!)  Yeah, I know I shouldn't brag, and let's be honest here, it's not like I'm burning up the road with my excessive speed, but damn, I'm feeling good about things!!

Or, at least I was until today..... Having two plus feet of snow melting has made for some pretty moist footing; when I decided where I was going to run today I chose poorly.....I was running along a bike path and noticed a huge puddle so I thought I'd give it a wide berth and run in the snow.....another bad choice, the puddle extended under the snow too, and turns out it was ankle deep.  I found that out when I nailed it with both feet.  And that was before I finished the first mile.  I kept going in my squishy shoes even though a good portion of the bike path wasn't plowed - I tried to run in the snow but it was next to impossible.  All in all, I did about a mile and a half of essentially walking because I was going so slow....the legs got a pretty good workout though!

I was feeling pretty miserable with my wet feet and slow motion running; after 4 miles outside I decided I'd had enough and would finish indoors on the treadmill.  And I did,  so I'm giving myself points for persevering.  Not only did I do those last two damn miles on the treadmill but when I was done with that my legs were cramping up horribly so I thought, "Hey, maybe an ice bath would help."  And so I took an ice bath.  Without the potential of winning a prize or anything.  WTF????  This is not something normal people do. I've said it before: I think aliens have taken over my body.

Anywhoo.... while I'm able to fit the shorter workouts in, I still haven't figured out how to get ALL my training in along with all the other things I have going on in my life, so if anyone has suggestions, I'm all ears.

But dang, I'm proud of myself for getting all six miles done.  It wasn't easy, and it wasn't fun, but I did it!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

sometimes I amaze myself

in a positive way: I really must be getting stronger.
in a negative way: I really think my mind is going.

Yesterday, I had two workouts on the calendar: a 6 mile run and kettlebell class.  But I also work full-time and my employers have this expectation that in exchange for a paycheck, I will do quality work and meet deadlines, etc.  Because of this little idiosyncrasy of theirs,  I knew I couldn't manage a 6 mile run and kettlebell class AND finish what I need to finish for work.  How to manage it all????  How about I flip-flop Tuesday's 3 mile tempo run for Monday's 6 miler?  The extra 30 minutes will enable me to satisfy both work and workout needs.  TaDa!!

Long story short - the tempo run was not as hard as I thought it would be (quel surprise!!) and I was just wrapping it up when I realized I had remembered the time of kettlebell class wrong - it was at 5:30 not 6:00.  D'oh!!  I swear I am losing my mind.  I had JUST registered for the class so I knew what time it was at......and yet somehow 5:30 became 6:00 in my addled brain.

I believe the technical term for what I experienced is "brain fart."

Anywhoo, so I jumped off the treadmill (tempo run FINISHED!!) ate two quick but huge bites of cottage cheese (chock full of carbs AND protein!) jumped in the car and was off to class.  Showed up 10 minutes late.  D'oh!!x2   Got down to business and when all was said and done, I was able to get in 3 rounds at each station..... I think the class ran a little long.....lucky for me!  So I got two tough workouts done - back to back no less! - in one day.  I'm getting strong like bull!  

Any brain-trainers out there?
The body may be getting strong but the mind is not firing on all synapses.  Clearly.  So here's my thought: just like my marathon training plan is making my body strong like bull, I need a workout plan to make my brain strong like.........something with really awesome brain power.  Is it possible to exercise the brain using similar tactics as in a physical workout plan - you know,  cardio, strength, core?  Can you get the brain to do figurative heavy lifting?  Using games like Sudoku and Boggle, maybe? Jigsaw puzzles??  Oh, and I'm thinking the plan should probably incorporate nutritional aspects, too.   Are there foods that can help reduce brain farts? Fiber for the brain, as it were....  Or supplements?? Whatever it takes......I'm sure there's a multi-level, comprehensive, all-inclusive (feel free to insert additional descriptors here)  plan I can follow.  But no cranial ice baths, please.  There are limits.  Really.

Off to do my 6 miler.  Outside!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

ice, ice, baby

Yesterday was a good day for this slow runner!

Had my Valentine's Day TC 5K race.  My coach TenacityChris assigned me a goal pace of 10:30.....seemed FAIRLY doable if I pushed myself, but I was a little nervous, too, because my outdoor runs have all been 11+ minute paces.  Had my trusty Garmin Electra fired up and ready to go and when I passed the starting line, hit the button and was off - walking.  HUGE traffic jam as runners streamed into the narrow walkway from the adjacent parking lot, forcing those of us who had actually lined up for the race to have to slow down and wait.....grrr.....oh well, it's supposed to be a fun run, right?  Except that I had definite goals I was trying to accomplish (a first for me!) and damn if I was going to let a few walkers, strollers and slower runners (whodathunk THAT was possible?!) get in my way.  Or mess up my positive attitude.  I was just going to go with it.

Took me a while to weave my way through the aforementioned traffic and then I was feeling pretty good.  I heard Garmin Electra beep at mile one and looked down to check my pace.....and my aging eyes couldn't make out the numbers.  Argh!  But, like I said, I was feeling good so I picked up the pace just a touch.....eventually, I was passing (yes PASSING!) other runners.....that felt great!!!  There is one spot on the route that I HATE, and that is the little extra loop that gets thrown in right before the finish line.....for some reason that is a mental hurdle for me in every race I run around Lake Harriet and yesterday was no different.....what WAS different was that I was able to suck it up and tell myself to just keep moving; I even made myself go faster to show that particular portion of the trail just who frickin' OWNED it and then all of a sudden, I was done.

When I was finally able to read my watch, I saw my times:
Mile 1: 11:04 (uh oh, not too close to the goal pace)
Mile 2: 09:48
Mile 3: 09:35
Mile 4: 08:19 (the last 0.1 mile around the mind bending bend)

Yee Haw!! Negative splits, baby!! Overall pace: 10:05!!!

You faster runners will be way underimpressed with my pace but I'm amazed at what I was able to accomplish.  I think a big part of it is the core training.....but also changing my diet (no more bonking, please.)  Annnndddd eliminating my regular staple of Don Julio probably played a part, too.

Maybe I'm on my way to finding the secret sauce for a successful marathon.....I can't wait to see how the next race goes!!

Next up......woman finds cojones in ice bath!!!

the dumping of the ice
I am a prize winner!!!
Home again, home again, jiggity jog.....on to the next challenge: the dreaded ice bath.  The husband stopped at QuickieMart and picked up two 10 pound bags of ice while I filled up the tub..... TenacityChris suggested I do as she does: keep socks on (check), bundle up on top (check) and have a hot beverage to drink (check).  I got in the tub and the husband dumped the ice in.

Goosebumps.  Damn, it was cold!
Oh.My.God.  No one told me that ice baths HURT!!!  My feet in particular were truly IN PAIN.  That was a bit of a surprise.  I thought there was no way on God's green earth I was going to last for 10 full minutes.  But I wanted the prize, dammit!  And I can't claim a prize if I don't do it up right.  So I gritted my chattering teeth and sucked it the hell up.  Honestly, after a few minutes the pain really did go away.  It was frickin' cold, no denying that, but not unbearable.  So, all in all, really rather anti-climactic.  Another training wonder!  Good lord, who knows what else I'm going to learn to like.

Can you tell which part of the leg
was submerged in freezing water?
Fast forward to today, and my legs feel great - even my misbehaving knee.  So I guess I will keep trying the ice baths and see how they go.  Another trainer congratulated me on my race and my first ice bath.....then said I had to do ice baths weekly AND not complain.  Ummmm, I make no promises.  On either front at this point. But especially in the complaints portion.  Baby steps people, baby steps!

Monday, February 7, 2011

the gauntlet has been thrown AND a lesson in cause and effect

I was going to name this post "desperately seeking cojones" but then I thought that might send the wrong message.  Anyway, my fearless coach, TenacityChris, has issued a challenge to the marathon group: first person to take a picture of themselves in an ice bath (with actual ice cubes clearly visible) will win a prize.  I made certain she is aware of my intense fear of ice baths, hell, of being cold in general, and yet she remains unmoved.

I have no idea what the prize is but damn, I am a sucker for free stuff!  She upped the challenge to me via my training plan - I have a race next Saturday so wouldn't that be a great opportunity to try an ice bath?  Ummmm, you mean after I finish running my race? Outdoors - in February - in Minnesota??  <cue the whining> Yeah, well, now I'm thinking I may just have to take her up on that.  You know, show some intestinal fortitude, some mental toughness, some chutzpah, whatever........  I have almost a whole week to find the cojones to do it; there must be some around here someplace.  And you can bet that if I do somehow manage to find said cojones, there will be photographic evidence.  (Of the ice bath.  The cojones will be figurative and thus not included in the photo.)  I may soon be a prize winner - stay tuned!

Cause and Effect
sometimes I need to be hit with one
of these before I really "get" a concept
So, remember my food diary demonstrating the undeniable proof that I am a carb whore?  Last Friday evening I went to kettlebell/TRX circuit class after a typical day of eating.  The only difference was that I knew that my diet that day was made up of 71% carbs; simple or complex I have no idea.  All I know is that midway through the class I started to feel my blood sugar plummeting.....had a peppermint candy from Chris's stash and was able to finish the class.  So I mentioned to Chris that, gee, I noticed the carb percentage in my diet today <hahaha sheepish laugh hahaha> and she just said, "Girl, we have GOT to talk!"

The concept has now become reality.  I now understand first-hand why I often feel the way I do upon exertion.  <Everyone say it with me: "DUH!">  OK, so I'm not the sharpest knife, the brightest bulb, etc., but I am slowly getting the clue about diet.  Maybe it's NOT that I am a delicate flower, maybe I just ain't fueling the machine the right way!  Went home on Friday and had a favorite meal again: cod, rye berry salad and kale salad.  So delish......

Since I wasn't interested in bonking on my 5 mile run on Saturday, I made sure my breakfast was more protein than carbs; felt great the whole time!  Fast forward to today: Had me a heaping helping of protein before kettlebell class and voila, I didn't see stars or get that old LBS (low blood sugar) feelin' today either.  See???  I CAN be taught.  Huzzah!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

foggy reality

I had a fun run with my marathon training group yesterday - 4.82 miles - on a VERY foggy morning.  I was in the slower group (I know, surprising, right?) and the faster group was swallowed up by the fog pretty quickly.  I was wishing I had a camera with me because - before they disappeared - it would have been a really cool picture of them running in the fog surrounded by trees that had that pretty fog-frost all over them.  I wasn't even bitter that they were ahead of me!

On a side note - why are the words to describe that frost so mockable?  The two choices that I'm aware of are "flocked" and "hoar frost." Go ahead, use either one in a sentence.  For 45 years old, I sure can regress quickly into adolescence.
Flocked and/or hoar-frosted trees in my neighborhood

Anywhoo, getting to the studio yesterday was pretty exciting what with the incredibly dense fog and all.  A good portion of my drive to the studio is through bucolic eastern Minnesota countryside.  There were times I wasn't able to see too far in front of me and cars would just appear and disappear.  It was kind of unsettling really.  And I don't know about you, but on foggy mornings (oh, let's be honest, pretty much all the time) I like to talk to other drivers on the road.  I ask them questions: "Do you see me, dipshit?? I'm right next to you!" and  "Really??  with alllllllll the space behind me you have cut in FRONT of me here to make your exit??"  I comment on their driving practices: "Using a signal to indicate you are turning really is socially acceptable behavior.  You won't be punished for doing it." I offer constructive criticism: "Maybe if you weren't texting AND smoking a cigarette you'd be better able to stay in your own f-ing lane!!"

What was it George Carlin used to say?  Something like, "Everyone driving faster than you is a maniac and everyone driving slower than you is an idiot."  The husband and I joke about crabby people our age being young curmudgeons.  (I believe the proper pronunciation is "yunker-mudjun")  A true curmudgeon has to be something like 80 years old, right?  So I'm not quite there yet, but when I do get there, I'll be an expert.

What was my point?  Oh yeah, fog, and running in it.  So I was on my way to the studio for my marathon group and saw this person running along the side of the road and thought, "Man, that girl is CRAZY to be running out here in the fog!" even though, DUH, I was on my way to meet up with a bunch of women who were going to be doing just that.  Forty-five minutes later there we were, happily running on a gorgeous yet foggy winter morning.  And perhaps it's runner's mentality, but I felt pretty safe.  We were very vigilant watching for cars and staying on the side of the road facing traffic and I never felt like I was at risk.  If that's a skewed sense of reality, so be it, I'm embracing that way of thinking.  Because the way I see it, it's that skewed sense of reality that's also letting me think I can run a marathon.

Two mile recovery run today.  How cool is it to be able to say, "Two miles?? That's nothing!" And mean it!

Friday, February 4, 2011

food diaries don't lie

It's official - I really am a carb whore.  I have long suspected it..... the late night toast fixes, consuming an entire loaf of ciabatta in one sitting, saltines smeared with port wine flavored cold pack process cheese food....  Even my fruits and veggies of choice are carb-laden: bananas, pineapple, oranges, carrots, corn, potatoes, dates and figs...... I love me some chocolate malt-o-meal (with banana & blueberries mixed in - both high carb) the list goes on and on...

Yeah, I know not all carbs are created equal and you need them as part of a balanced healthy diet, blah blah blah, I just wish I didn't flock to the damn things without even trying.  Probably explains my 10 pound weight gain, and don't even get me started on my cellulite.

An example of the patina that Jane has lovingly added to a
kitchen chair.
I didn't get my run in yesterday so I had to do it today.  Dang, I hate it when life gets in the way of things I want to do!  Today's run went fine, 4 miles around the lake - with Jane of course.  Poor thing hadn't been on a walk for a couple of days and when Jane doesn't get exercise she gets much more interested in the cats, and/or something in the house will soon acquire patina.  Fear of what she'll destroy is usually enough to ensure that she gets her daily walk in - even when it's 20 below.  My junior high self would cringe at what I have assembled as my "cold weather, walking the dog gear" - it sure ain't pretty but I do stay warm!

So back to the food diary - it's humbling to see what I'm eating, and what's missing from my diet.  Can you say veggies?  But Coborn's Delivered yesterday and I now have some better food options from which to choose!  I'm expecting to see a down turn in the fat, the carbs, and the sugars that currently rank so high in my diet. And........ I that I will no longer consume enough sodium to qualify as a salt lick.

Kettlebell/TRX circuit class tonight - can't wait!  I hope she has the sledgehammer out.  It's been one of those weeks.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

up close and personal

Physical therapists really should come with a warning, something along the lines of "Personal space invader" or "You will be in a PT sandwich between my student and me so please show up clean."  A heads up would be helpful.

So we had those inches of snow last night as promised.  Early this morning the plow came by and effectively blocked the driveway with about 2.5 feet of hard-packed snow - not a job for a wussy shovel.  Darling daughter and I both had to be out of the house by 6:45 a.m. and the husband was still in bed.  Big girl that I am, I got out the snowblower and cleared that puppy! Finished just in time to jump in the car and head to my 7:00 a.m. PT visit.  I am woman, y'all!
What I did NOT smell like
at PT this morning

Of course there was no time for a shower between clearing snow and jumping in the car.  Got my teeth brushed though, which is a big plus.  On the way to PT, I realized that I smelled like the snowblower - I have no idea about the chemical composition - Gas?  Oil?  Sweat?  At any rate, I stunk.  And today would be the day that it was a "hands on" visit as two, yes TWO people - one fore and one aft - had me in the above mentioned PT sandwich while they pushed and smushed my body into submission.  I'm sure they both felt they needed to bathe when they were done with me, or at least wash their hands.  Blech.

The good news is that my hard work is paying off - I'm continuing to improve - slowly getting stronger and more flexible.  Rock on, Nora!

Still have to get my 3 miles in today.  Quality time with the treadmill coming up......