Sunday, January 29, 2012

excuses, excuses

I know what you're thinking..... "Damn, girl, you ran that blisteringly fast 5k yesterday morning! So what happened in the Freeze Your Thorns Off virtual 5K??? Did you choke? Was that PR an anomaly?"

I ran the Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K last summer and set an unofficial PR (which still stands!) so I had high hopes for this one as well.  But it was not to be.  <sad face> So I asked myself the burning question: "What gets in the way of a PR??" I know there are as many reasons why as there are grains of sand on the beach, but let me share with you the barriers that prevented me from getting a PR twice in one day.

1. Let's start with my choice of running partner.

Jane is not as interested in the actual act of running as I am.  Don't get me wrong, she LOVES to be out running but she's much more interested in whatever it is she's interested in, rather than focusing on some stupid goal I might have for our outing.

2.  Snowmen

I just know that bastard is preparing some type of attack.
Jane hates snowmen.  

And because we've gotten some snow recently, and it's of the perfect snowman-making texture and consistency, they kept popping up where she least expected them.  

Each one had to be given a wide berth and then circled back to and examined ever closer.

Gaaaah!  It's a pack of snowmen!!

FYI- Large snowballs are highly suspect as well.

3. Bodily Functions

No, not mine.

Jane's other name is "Two Poops" because that's usually how many times she has to mail a package during the average run.

4. 5K route being altered due to bodily functions

Because I didn't want to carry Jane's gift during the entire run, we took a detour to dispose of it properly. I am a responsible dog owner, yo!

Here's an action shot of me using a public receptacle.

You should know that this was next to the parking lot of an elementary school and based on the attire of some of the kids, there must have been a basketball tourney of some sort going on.  While I was capturing this momentous moment, parents and kids were heading to cars and were noticing me taking the picture.

I shouted, "It's ok!  It's for my blog!" but that just seemed to make them hustle their kids into the cars faster.  Sigh.

My FYTO5K 2012 route.

5. Ice, ice baby!  And snow too!  

We hit it all: ice covered sidewalks, snow covered trails, and we even ran for a while on the lake.  All that stuff is gonna slow you down. Honest.

Even the bridge to the school was covered in ice.
That's pure ice, folks! 
Jane had to drag me up this hill.  It's steeper than it looks.
Jogging on the trail next to the lake.... 
....and jogging on the lake......
...... and trying to dig for fish while out on the lake.
Victorious FYTO5K finishers! Per usual, it's a hideous photo of me but Jane looks good.   You can kind of tell that it was cold and that my nose was running.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any shots of me doing snot rockets.  It's a real shame too, because they were beauties!

So I guess that's what you could say is my blame train.  You know the saying, "I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was going to blame you."  But who cares.  It was fun!

Here's what iSmoothRun said about the weather: Temp 25 °F, Wind Chill: 13 °F, Winds: 14mph W, Humidity: 63%.  Damn near froze my thorns off!

And because I'm all about honesty and transparency and crap, I must post my splits of shame.......

Avg Pace

Thanks to Adam at for hosting a fun run!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

securian winter run 5k

Waiting for the race to start.  I failed at self-portraits
today and finally gave in and asked a stranger
to take our picture. But look - my eyes are open!
A little crazy looking, but still...!

I ran two races today: the Securian Winter Race (hosted by the St. Paul Winter Carnival) and the Freeze Your Thorns Off virtual 5k (hosted by I'll devote an entire post to the FYTO5K, don't worry.

I've had kind of a crappy week, and then got a migraine early Thursday morning.  I ended up leaving work around 9:30 and went home and slept the entire day.  So my "run at least a mile a day" streak ended on Thursday.  I did feel a bit better late in the evening so I took Jane for an airing out - meaning I at least managed to get my 30 minutes of movement in, albeit, v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.  Yesterday I was still feeling pretty rotten but improving, although I still didn't feel like running.

 But today I felt pretty good.  The Securian 5k was fun for me!  The husband ran with me, but knowing that since I had a chip on my shoe (as opposed to my shoulder) I would want to go as fast as I could, he graciously gave me a kiss and said, "You run your race. We'll meet at the finish line."  So that's what I did - I ran my race.  It was tough little 5k course!  It wound through downtown St. Paul and along the Mississippi for a little while before heading back along the same route.  So sort of an out and back but not really.
NOT a missed photo op! I
have no idea what he was supposed to be
or represent, but I had to get my picture taken
with him.  He complimented me on my
sweet trail shoes. And notice my awesome
Explore MN Challenge hat!

There were some seriously lonnngggg climbs...... when they became the downhills, I tried to get the most out of them and use that gravity.  My shins were really hurting during mile 2 and I had to slow down a bit.  I have no idea what was the issue and I didn't seem to be able to control the SLAPPING of my feet..... damn, that was annoying.  Eventually, whatever was bugging me settled down and I was able to pick up the pace again.

You gotta love runners: The half marathoners went out first, then the 10k runners, then us (we?) 5Kers.  It wasn't too long before we were running into each other (not literally, a bunch of us running one way on the street, and a bunch running the opposite way) so we must have been passing the 10k runners, and a ton of them were shouting encouragement to us.  "You're looking good!"  "Running strong!"  and we were giving them shout-outs right back.  I love that!

This race is the first of the Explore Minnesota Challenge.  I only have to complete 7 more events (in various parts of the state) and I get a bunch of fun stuff.  Today I earned my first of four pins (representing the four parts of the state) which can be proudly displayed on my EMC banner (I'll have to take a picture of that and add it at some point.)  And I'm digging the hat I got.  For the race, I got a cool mug and a Winter Carnival button.  Holy crap, I am a bling whore, aren't I?  Or maybe a bling hoarder?

I love the race logo - "Embrace Brisk" - I should have
bought one of the shirts.  Dammit.
In addition to the self-portrait fail, my photo documentation of the day in general was a fail.  Several missed photo ops: Klondike Kate, a polar bear (although I did get a fist bump from him when I finished the race), the Abominable Snowman or something like that.  It was white and hairy.  And I missed them all.  Dammit!

Anywhoo, I was pretty pleased with myself for running strong up every inch of each of those hills, and I tried to push it a bit to see what would happen.  And even though it hurt a bit, my body didn't explode!   (I think that's been a secret fear of mine.)  And the best part about today?  I got an official PR!!!  And the run streak is back on!

Here are my splits:

Avg Pace

Man, I LOVE seeing all those sub-ten minute miles!  Of course, I forgot to turn off Garmin Electra a the end of the race - so I ended up with some extra mileage.  My official time is 29:44.  And that's a PR baby!!  Damn, that feels good.

Next up: the Freeze Your Thorns Off virtual 5K report.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

could this be love?

The CarbLovers Diet Cookbook: 150 delicious recipes that will make you slim... for life!
How could I NOT have known that something
so wondrous exists????
Oh my, I have found a cookbook that warms the cockles of my carb whore heart!!

I saw this on Facebook and couldn't believe my eyes.  Just look at what Barnes & Noble has to say about this little treasure:

Enjoy the delicious carbs you love - and still lose all the weight you want...and keep it off! The CarbLovers Diet Cookbook features 150 brand new, quick, easy and totally yummy carb-filled recipes that will fill you up and melt off pounds. In addition to more delicious recipes, this cookbook includes over 300 CarbLovers-approved food items to grab-and-go, 10 special menus that help you prepare amazing CarbLovers meals for the holidays or gameday, PLUS exclusive recipes by carb-loving celebrity chefs like Guy Fieri, Cat Cora, Gail Simmons and Wolfgang Puck! No need to count calories or ever feel hungry: all CarbLover recipes are packed with Resistant Starch, the wonder carb that increases fat-burning while keeping you feeling full all day long. Our recipes are dietitian-approved and good for your heart as well as your hips. Enjoy comfort foods like pasta primavera, cheesy stuffed potatoes and the amazing CarbLovers Club Sandwich! The CarbLovers Diet is the only plan you'll ever need to help keep the pounds off - and The CarbLovers Diet Cookbook is the recipe collection that will keep you full and satisfied for life!

It ALMOST sounds too good to be true, but because it's on the internet (the source of all that is reliable, genuine and good), I'm a believer.  I'm going to order it.  Does this fly in the face of my "clean eating" goal??? 

Oh how I love my free stuff!  And check out the cool metal
box it arrived in!
Another thing I love: my RoadID wrist band.  I have a red velcro Wrist ID Sport version that I'm pretty good about wearing (on my long runs especially); I just think it's such a good idea to have some type of ID on you "just in case."  When the Wrist ID Slim came out,  I thought about ordering one because it looks more comfortable and has some fun colors, but because I already owned one (and I'm cheap frugal), I never did.

So anywhoo, I signed up for the Explore Minnesota Challenge, and as part of my goodie bag for registering, I got a coupon for a free RoadID!  You know how much I love my freebies!  I went online the day I got that coupon and ordered the Wrist ID slim in pink.  And because it was free, I paid the extra $1.00 each for two more bands - purple and green.  It's alway nice to have options, ya know?

Back to training - so far, I have kept up with my "run at least a mile every day" AND my 30 minutes of movement per day.  Clean eating.... better over the last couple of days but still not 100%.  I think I'm going to look at what might constitute an "appropriate" percentage for me to shoot for...  
Anyone have thoughts on that?  

Happy Sunday, all!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

the more things change....

Here I was thinking I've made all these great strides with my running (no pun intended) in the last year, but I really haven't changed much at all.  I'm still as much of a dipshit as ever.

Every day brings the same challenge - making sure Jane gets out for a few miles, either walking or running..... and today was a running day for me, so all day I'm thinking I'll go for a run with Jane as soon as I get home from work.  Kill two birds and all that.... I knew it was getting colder and the wind was really picking up so I didn't want to be out after dark - I wanted as much sunlight as possible!  I sort of figured out what I was going to wear so I wouldn't waste time standing in the closet looking at my running clothes saying, "duhhhhh..."
I'm quite sure this is EXACTLY
what I look like in my Body By
Victoria bra. Who says marketing
doesn't work?
My plan was unfolding like clockwork, I got home, got changed, and Jane and I headed out the door.  A five minute warm-up walk and we're off and running! the first step something felt wrong.  By five steps, I figured out, I forgot to change my bra!  Although I'm a fan of my Victoria's Secret Body By Victoria bra, a running bra it is not.

Shhhhiiiiiitttt.  Now what?  Do I go home and change?  Ummm, no.  I'm out here. I'll just deal with it.  So I'm running and NOTHING is feeling right.  My stride is funky, my shins hurt, (Why are my shins hurting?? That's new. Dammit!), and now my ankles are hurting... but it's a different pain, more at the crease between the ankle and top of foot.... wait... how tight are my shoe laces??  Turns out, I tightened the snot out of my trail shoe laces and I'm pretty sure I was cutting off all circulation to my feet...... So I loosened the laces and kept on running.  The pain eventually went away.

The run was only a little over three miles but dang, it sucked pretty much the whole time.  The last mile was all run into a 15-20 mph headwind, and to make things even better, the sky decided to throw some rain mixed with snow into the fun.  At that point, I was laughing at all the things that were going wrong with this run.

But I got it done!  The "run at least one mile per day" is going strong on day 18, and I got my 30 minutes of purposeful movement in.... and I rewarded myself with a lavender scented bubble bath tonight.  Lovely!

The whole "clean eating" goal, however....... I might need a coach/trainer for that one....

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I knew this was coming.  You'd think I would have prepared a little, but no.

This afternoon, I had a chat with TenacityChris (AKA the fabulous Coach Honeybadger) about my marathon training plan for Grandma's. We talked about what I've been doing the last few months (working and walking mostly, with a smattering of running thrown in), how my training has been going (Training?  I was supposed to be training??), and about the status of my various injuries (all good!!).

She also wanted to know what I've been doing as far as strength training and working on my core.  Uhhhhh, some planks, and some push-ups......(said with an upward inflection? So it sounded like a question?)

PROOF that I have been keeping up with my 30 minutes
per day challenge.  And proof that I'm not good at coloring
within the lines.
BUT, I want some credit for my recent goals..... I have been meeting the goal of moving my chubby butt for at least 30 minutes every day.  And I have been meeting the goal of running at least one mile per day.  I've managed to meet those goals consistently for the last 15 days! That's practically a lifetime in my world.

Anywhoo, I'm SOOOO excited to be getting my marathon training underway!!  The new job may pose a bit of a challenge with the mid-week longish runs, but we'll figure out how to make it work.  My biggest challenge? Staying injury free. If I have to invest in vast quantities of kinesio tape and spackle to hold things together between now and June 16th, 2012, so be it.  I'm gonna be ready.

Game on, Grandma!

the universe works in mysterious ways

 I sort of got the rug pulled out from under me last Friday.

I found out my job (along with those of my boss and two co-workers, and 9 other folks with similar jobs) is being eliminated, and that we would all have to apply for newly created jobs if we waned to remain employed.  And there was no guarantee that we would be hired into the new positions.  I understand now why it's happening, but that didn't lessen the surprise or the sting.

But let me back up a little bit......  About a month ago, two different people sent me e-mails about a couple of (also) newly created jobs with another organization.  Both jobs would be doing things I've got great experience in, but with a bit of a twist which would make it more interesting.  Even though I was happy where I was at, I figured I'd interview for them and see what they were all about.

Turns out it was a good call.  Three hours after learning about the demise of my job, I got a job offer from the other organization.

I feel so fortunate!!

Because my (potential) new boss would need to check references and negotiate my salary request, I had some time to think over the choices in front of me.  And I was grateful that I had choices!  After lots of contemplation I finally decided to take the new opportunity.

More change coming my way! I'll be traveling throughout the state about 50% of the time, and won't have the flexibility of working from home as much as I've been able to in my current job. So yeah, it's a huge change, but what does it have to do with running?

Well......... nothing.

And everything.

My new schedule will change how I'm able to train for Grandma's.

The way I see it, it's sort of like dealing with an injury. It changes your approach so you have to figure out what you need to do to continue working towards your goal. But you can't let it wreck your outlook on life or derail your plans. And it provides an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you rise to meet this latest challenge.

I'm excited about my new job!

Friday, January 6, 2012

seek and ye shall find

I'm fascinated by how people stumble upon my blog.  Google analytics is great for this because it will show all the keywords that people used that led them to this veritable cornucopia of running knowledge.
What leads folks here?  Well, it's great to see that people actually LOOK for my blog by name: bitter hag blog; nora bitter hag; aging runner nora; nora does grandmas, etc...... makes me feel loved!  But holy crap, it's hilarious what people search for on the internet, and even more hilarious that those bizarre searches lead them here.  Some made me laugh out loud, some made me scratch my head and say, "whaaaaa????" And I gotta add, there are some seriously sick puppies out there.

So here is an incomplete list of keywords, in no particular order. 

grilled tuna steak
redhead trash bag
salamander running
blinged out ortho foot shoe
dirty pits
honeybadger (of course!)
freak out (for some reason, a lot of people search for variations of "freak out."  Strange.)
alabaster skin tan
is 2:30 a bad half marathon time? (the answer: NO!!)
napkin collection
calf pain holder
stop bugging me, liar 
awkward zone (sadly, so fitting for this blog)
take an easy easy now what she go (huh???)
bulgarian ass
retro grandmama pain
captain kirk vs. lizard
shut up baby I know it quote
a bitter thanksgiving
smelly socks
Oreo Cookie (oh, how I miss them!)
polar dash potty
tall wrestling girl
slow marathon blogs
www I am hairy blog
dominant overuse of one side of the body
Don Julio 1942
Jack Links Bigfoot
dirty white bra
chakra adjustment + bull durham (I love this one! So strangely specific.)
big girl feet
саламандра (which I googled and found out is Russian for salamander)
how do you get along with a 45 year old hag (I wonder if the husband is responsible for this one...)

So, while the blog is SUPPOSED to be primarily about running, obviously there's a little something for everyone.  

Anyone else ever look at the keywords that led folks to your blog?  What were the weirdest/creepiest ones on your list? Were the weirdest/creepiest also your favorites?  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

ice nuggets

It's a little icy in my neck of the woods.
Remember when I mentioned the rain, snow and ice after our New Year's Eve storm?  The sidewalks have been pretty treacherous since the storm, and even the streets in our neighborhood haven't been completely cleared. The footing has been rather, um, unpredictable since NYE.

So anywhoo, I went for run a with Jane tonight.  Outdoors.  Time has been tight today and I knew I couldn't do a treadmill run AND take Jane on her daily much needed walk, so I decided to test my balancing skills and see if I could stay upright on a run.

It went pretty well for the most part but I have to say, every muscle in my body was on red alert trying to maintain my vertical position.  To paraphrase Tina Fey, I had to manually unclench my butt cheeks when I was done, the muscles were so tightly contracted.  So I might be a little sore tomorrow.  But this should be great for my core, right?  On another note, I have to say the trail shoes are a wonder.  I don't think I'll ever go back to the running shoes/Yak Trax combo for winter running.

So Jane got her outdoor time, and I got my run in so it was a win for both of us!  But damn, it was slow going.  Check out my splits: pretty slow, but we got 'er done!

Avg Pace

Let's see how I'm doing on my goals on day 4:
Move for 30 minutes each day - yep!
Run at least one mile per day - yep yep!
Eating clean?  Well, it's been hit and miss.  Do I have to own that I had McDonald's chicken nuggets for dinner tonight?  And fries? Yeah, I suppose I do.  Such a guilty pleasure.  I shouldn't love them.  But I do.

I did eat clean for lunch and breakfast, though. Really!  Honest!!  I knew when I set that goal for myself it was going to be tough, but holy crap,  I totally underestimated how much I love to eat junk.  That goal is going to be SO hard for me...... Wish me luck, folks!

Ever bite off more than you can  chew, literally or figuratively?