Thursday, April 30, 2009

MIA...but still running!

So I know I've been missing in action lately, in terms of blog posting at least, but I've still been running! I've not posted because -- and I'm being really honest here -- I've had more than a bit of work-related drama (not all bad, but dramatic nonetheless) and the thought of approaching my computer for non-work reasons has revolted me recently. I think I'm over it though, and am starting to return to my normal self. Anyway....

I'm going to start fresh, and just give a recap of yesterday's run. I decided to play a little with speed and see how it felt. Here's what I did...I ran at a 9:05 minute mile pace at all times during my run, which is pretty speedy for me, with a goal of covering 3.1 miles. I knew (and I was right) that I'd probably have to walk or run slowly for a few minutes here and there to recover, but overall I was pleased with how far I could run at that pace. I actually covered a total of 3.22 miles with walking for a few minutes before, during and after my running, in about 33 minutes. And the best part? The treadmill workout was actually interesting!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Little Better

Today was a small but noticeable improvement. I went for 21:23 and my stomach and breathing felt pretty good until the last minute or two. My legs felt really tired, but maybe I can blame that on all the walking Angela and I (and the two delightful little girls we had with us) did at the Dogwood Festival yesterday.

The only downside today was the obnoxious beast I had with me (aka Moxie). She was so bad the entire time: pulling, trying to trip me, stopping completely while I was still running. That made for an annoying run. I started to wonder if it's possible for dogs to act up when they miss their owners...maybe her "daddy" being gone is making her misbehave. Or maybe she's just annoying.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Seriously, What's Going On?

I took Moxie out at 8:30 this morning, my last run without Laura before hubby leaves for 3 weeks. The air was cool when I started out, but quickly turned hot and sticky the second I started running. On top of that, I couldn't breathe, my legs were dead, and my stomach hurt. This is too many days in a row of really bad runs! I only managed 17:39. I know it's better than nothing, but still! I'm starting to get very annoyed and upset.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Not So Smart

You know what's a really bad idea? Going running at noon when it is no longer winter. I had a lazy morning today but knew I had to squish in a run before picking Laura up at 1. So off Moxie and I went at noon. So stupid. I ran for 17:11, maybe 1.5 miles, and felt like I would surely die there on the road.

On the plus side, this is my second run in a row that I've had a healthy snack immediately after running in the hopes of refueling properly like we always read about. And as a side note, can I just say how much it cracks me up that I love hummus and my husband doesn't?!? Yum!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Just Another Run

My husband is on leave this week and we ran together this morning without Laura, which was very weird. Normally I do not like to run 2 days in a row, but I'm getting my hair done tomorrow (huzzah!) and wanted to enjoy at least 1 day with nice hair.

We went out at about 10:30 and it was surprisingly hot. Still not very humid though, which is great, but definitely not pleasant running weather. We managed to run for a little over 23 minutes, about 2.1 miles. The course we ran seemed to go on forever, and even my husband was deceived-he thought we had run well over 2 miles, maybe even 2.5. If only! My thighs are still really sore (from Friday, I guess?) and I seem to have pulled a muscle in my neck/chest. It doesn't effect my running that much but when I tried to do my pushups today I did 4 before I collapsed. It's the muscle right behind my collarbone, and reaching for anything is out of the question. I guess this is the place to complain about aches and pains, right?


So this post began as I was being cut, colored and highlighted (thank goodness for Dorian!), and will be completed in my office away from home - Village Coffee House....

Anyway...busy the last several days outside, so I've not had time to post. I can see that, the warmer it gets, the harder it will be for me to spend time at my computer above what work requires!  I did run on Thursday (just over two miles?), and had a bit of knee pain. I took the "cautious" approach on Friday and over the weekend -- I didn't run, but I worked myself silly in the yard and garden. Definitely good physical activity!

This morning, I got back on the treadmill, and had a terrific run!  I ran a 5K, in about 33:30 -- but I must note that I walked the first four minutes and last two, so I'm exceedingly pleased. I actually ran in the skirt because it was early, and I wasn't awake enough to locate alternative running attire. Could it be that the skirt makes me faster?  I'd better not think this way, because I'm apt to become "skirt dependent" and you all will get tired of seeing me in it before long.  Or worse, I'll start to think I can't run without it, and end up throwing temper tantrums if it's in the laundry when I must run. Good grief.... 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Running "Fast"

This afternoon my husband came home from errands, changed into running clothes, and said, "Let's go!" I was about as far from being ready to run that one can be, but I know I need to get back on track, so I agreed. I raced upstairs, changed, and not 5 minutes later we were heading down the street.

I know I always talk about how hard my run was, but this time was seriously the worst. I don't know why I'm having such a hard time of getting back on track after being sick, but this run was torture from the very first step. On the plus side, my husband did keep the pace up and made me run faster than I have as of late (still, I think our pace was a 10 minute mile-pathetic!!). We did our neighborhood loop in just under 18 minutes, and continued on to make it a little past 20 minutes. So I went about 2 miles in the time I usually go about 1.8. Good, but it doesn't explain the stitch in my side, thighs that felt like they were made of lead, inability to breathe, and the sweat pouring down. Let's hope next time is better!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

No Wonder Kids Are In Such Good Shape

Last night my entire family (including Moxie!) goofed off in the front yard-we ran laps around the yard, practiced running backwards, skipped, did sidewinders, bear crawls-you name it, we did it. It worked my muscles in a way running doesn't and I think that's what made today so hard.

Still, I'm in shock over how hard my run today was. Moxie and I went out at about 9:30 while my husband was in charge of our yard sale. I knew I wouldn't go far, since I haven't run since Wednesday and that one week of not running while sick was a big set back. But I didn't expect it to feel so hot, and for my legs to feel so sore.

So needless to say I was huffing and puffing the entire time, and I ran for only 20:08. I did cover about 1.8 miles which I guess is my normal (albeit horribly slow) pace. But man, I ran for almost 29 minutes just 11 days ago, and I thought that meant I was well on my way to half hour runs. I guess that was foolish of me!

And to reference my title, I think in all honesty I will have to play in the yard more often like that, because I think I would get in really good shape really fast. It was hard work!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This morning...

I had planned to run outside this morning, which always means a longer run, but since Ed went to the gym, I worked out inside instead....a good run on the treadmill, but I got bored too quickly. I can't wait for the weekend and an outside run!

Back On Track, Kinda

Thanks to all the sickness in my house, it's been over a week since my last run. Yikes! I knew I couldn't expect too much of myself today, so I set a goal of 15 minutes. I had Laura and Moxie with me, plus some wind, so I felt like I was working pretty hard. I ran for 18:20, just did my little loop in our neighborhood which is something like 1.6 miles. I guess better than nothing, but what a bummer to go from almost 29 minutes last week (longest run since Dec!) to not even 20 today.

But getting back on track is important, and even better-today was my first day with my new shoes! I didn't get them from a specialty running store, but I think I picked pretty wisely. They are comfy, snug but not too tight, and as an added bonus, pretty cute for running shoes. I felt very good while I ran. For about 5 minutes at least, until reality set in and I realized that I was already getting tired.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The quick version....

I've not had time to post, but I have had time to run!  I had a great run on Thursday as a matter of fact -- felt so good that, if I didn't have to put my "once every two months" appearance in at the office, I would have gone twice as far!  

Also, I've collapsed into bed the past two nights because I've spent the last two days gardening!  My whole body is tired, but in that good way that says I've accomplished a lot, and spent more than a little time carrying around 40lb bags of soil.  Not that you all care about this, but I am excited to report I now have blueberries, strawberries, thornless blackberries, potatoes, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, green beens, sugar snap peas, rosemary, basil, cilantro and oregano growing in my back yard! I also have ten or twelve varieties of flowers, but I'll spare you the list...  I plan to add two types of squash and cucumber, and I'm done....for the moment!  Not bad a city girl with one acre of land within the city limits, huh?! :-)  Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I hate my treadmill...

I'm totally convinced that my treadmill is messing with me. I ran this morning for about 26 minutes, and my treadmill said I covered just over two miles. This just can't be right.... I know I was running faster than I usually do, not slower....

After thinking about it, I wonder if this is why I totally surprised myself during the Reindeer Run 5k?  I did most of my training on the treadmill at 0% incline, and then ran the race at a consistent nine-minute-mile pace -- about 1:30 faster than my training pace -- despite huge hills. Hmm...

Anyway, felt good to run, and since I've added yoga and abs back into the routine this week, I'm feeling ahead of the game, and my scale seems to agree. For today at least... 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Weather Just Needs To Decide

Seriously, what is up with 40 degree weather in April? I don't think I can take these ups and downs anymore! All of my running pants were put away and I had to dig them back out this morning, which I was not happy about.

Moxie and I went to the Hope Mills Park today and did our 2.6 miles. I ran for 28:40 this time, which is the longest I've run in a while. It's also about a minute longer than that course took me when I ran without Moxie, so I guess she does slow me down a little. I know I said I won't worry about my distance so much, but it's hard when you do know exactly how long you are running. I'm very disappointed to discover that I seem to be doing 11 minute miles as of late. I thought I had left that behind long ago! Logically I know it shouldn't matter, but my pride says it does.

Still, it was good to be out running on a morning when all I initially wanted to do was go back to bed!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Let's talk about the "H" word....and then the "P" word...

I ran yesterday afternoon, at about 2PM. I thought I'd see what it was like to run in the "heat," although it was just about 80 degrees and windy, but not humid -- not nearly as uncomfortable as it will be in a month or two.  Well, the "H" word (as in HOT) is absolutely no fun. In fact, it sucked.  The wind didn't help (you'd think it would) because it was blowing the yellow pine pollen in my face. I had sunglasses on to protect my eyes, but I'm sure that my lungs are covered with the stuff because I could taste it....gross. I was so hot and so covered in pollen that I even had to stop and walk a couple of times. All in all, I ran with a few brief walking breaks for about 35 minutes. Not even close to what I'd call a good run, but I can see two good outcomes of the run: 1) I now know that I must get up early in the summer to run or stick to the treadmill - the heat is only going to get worse, and 2) Running in the heat allowed me to wear my new running skirt!  

About the skirt -- totally comfortable, and very adorable by the way, so a trip to the grocery store pre- or post-run would be doable without me feeling sloppy (of course, you all know I don't really care and frequently shop in yoga pants, etc. but still...).  I told Ed I'd like to get several and just run in skirts all summer. From the way his eyes about fell out of his head when he first saw me in it (his comments have been censored for fear that those of you that have not lived with a soldier for over a decade might blush), I can see that he'll have no problem in my spending the money. Well, of course I'd be spending MY money, but that's another matter... :-)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Second New Rule

I ran today and created another rule for myself. I'm not sure how long I'll keep it up, but for now it sounds good. I've decided not to be so concerned with how far I run, distance wise. I'll still keep track of my time and try never to go below 25 minutes (per rule #1) but I think for me it is important to be able to run for 30 minutes (for example) before I worry about how far I actually go. I'm sure that eventually I will start running faster, and won't in be a pleasant surprise to someday find out that in 30 minutes I actually covered 3 miles!

I do plan on someday soon going to an actual track and timing my official 1 mile time, so I have an idea of what I can do. Then someday I can compare and see if I've gotten any faster.

Today I ran for 26:01, and would have probably gone for another minute or so if a loose dog hadn't started following us. Poor Moxie was being so good but kept straining to turn around and look at it, and then it started trying to play with her. Not too easy to deal with while pushing Laura in the stroller, so I stopped. It was hot today, and I was about ready to take off my shirt if I wasn't so pale and flabby!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Claire's New Rule

So my new rule for running is never less than 25 minutes. That's the level I've finally built back up to, so I feel like if I'm going to improve, I have to make sure that my current maximum is actually my minimum (if that makes any sense). Sure enough, the day I instituted my new rule, I almost broke it!

I ran out of my neighborhood today and across our busy main road into another neighborhood. They've been tearing houses down at the end of one of the streets, and I was curious so I decided to check it out on my run. Sadly I found out absolutely nothing and had run myself almost a mile from home with only one way home-uphill. It wasn't technically a hill, but an upward slope nonetheless. I got back close to my house, checked my watch, and...only 17 minutes!

So I had to keep running. I ran and ran to fill those last 8 minutes, and I thought, surely this is how I will die. I wanted to barf but I don't hate anyone in my neighborhood enough to barf in their grass, so I just kept going. I was proud that I still had enough energy to do my token sprint at the end (only one house this time, how sad!) All told-25:11. Distance with be noted later, once I drive the course. *Approx 2.2 miles*

Cheeseburgers and bikinis...

While this is technically yesterday's post, I feel as though the events I'm about to share with you are worthy, if not timely....

My day started out on an off note, as I slept in to a ridiculously late hour -- something I'm not at all accustomed to doing -- so running in the morning just wasn't possible. I dropped Shelby off at school, raced home, and immediately began the usual writing, email-checking, and conference calling...I looked up at the clock at one point, and realized it was 12:30 PM, and that I'd not eaten breakfast, let alone lunch. Now those of you that know me understand that this isn't all that unusual, since I rarely am moved to eat breakfast before 11 am, but yesterday was different -- I was suddenly famished. No sooner than I had acknowledged my hunger, my husband burst through the door (as is his way at lunchtime, since he works less than two miles from our house) and yelled "What's for lunch?!"  Normally this behavior annoys me, because he seems only to do this when I have my boss on the phone, or a potential client for my business, but yesterday I was pleased -- someone had arrived to make me lunch!  But, unfortunately, the healthy lunch I envisioned him making me was not to be. Instead, he said "If we leave RIGHT NOW, we can have lunch out, so get your shoes on!"  What fun!!  An impromptu lunch in the middle of the day with a person I love deeply, but rarely spend time with alone!  Until.....

We jumped in the car, and headed to the gas station/convenience store that is about a half of a mile from our house, guessed it....has a tiny restaurant in the back called "Miller's Too." I can't explain the name, and I can't explain why anyone would want to eat lunch at a gas station, but there we were. Now Husband had eaten there before, and the place was rather busy, so I took a deep breath and entered with high (ok, not very high) hopes. Turns out though, the visit to this restaurant was the highlight of my week!  And for those of you wondering, this story does have a "running end" to it, if you're still with me at that point....

The place was small -- maybe eight booths and two tables -- and a girl who looked about 20 and a two-year-old that I assumed to be her child was set up at one of the tables, obviously keeping the toddler occupied while playing the role of waitress. We walked through the door, and the little girl looked at my husband and yelled "Hi Greg!  Hi Greg!  Hi Greg!" The child's mother looked at my husband and said...."Sorry....she thinks you're my dad....her grandfather...."  Of course, being the kind-hearted wife that I am, I immediately began laughing hysterically!  My husband, on the other hand, was less than pleased....he muttered "thanks..." (as in, "thanks for nothing...." or "thanks for reminding me I'm not 20 anymore, " or even "thanks for pointing out my slightly gray hair...")....I continued to laugh....and then I laughed some more.... 

We moved on to the actual lunch (yes, I was still laughing), and as I assessed my options, I realized that it was either "cheeseburger" or "fried chicken" so I went with the cheeseburger and fries. I ate every bite....and it was delicious!  As I was scarfing down, my neighbor showed up and added significantly to the experience (I'd finally taken a break from laughing, so as not to choke) by a conversation about his ability to live through a dog attack, how we'd stop a stalker, and what people in our neighborhood he felt were "weird."  Given this guy's past (he served our government for many years in a rather "underground" sort of way if you know what I mean?), I enjoyed his stories immensely and secretly was thankful that this guy was on our in, with the wrong set of circumstances, the guy may have turned out.....quite differently... But since the clock was ticking, we left....I was stuffed. My hair and shirt smelled like a smoke-laden cheeseburger....and I had a run to attend to... 

Ed dropped me off and, surprisingly, my new bikini had arrived and was waiting on the doorstep during our absence. I cringed. I almost cried. But I was brave and put that tiny little thing on anyway. I liked it, and wasn't nearly as horrified as I thought I would be, but cheeseburger or no cheeseburger, the bikini reminded me that running wasn't optional. So off to the gym.... Given the fact that I smelled greasy and felt like I'd eaten a brick, I didn't run far, and in fact had to stop and walk at one point because my stomach hurt, but I was there. I even did a few sets on the cybex stuff in order to further counteract the "cheeseburger effect..." and after, I felt pretty good for having eaten a thousand calories of crap.  I even tried the bikini on again for Ed when he got home. He thought it covered up too much....