A Pre-Race Linkfest

The big race is Sunday. One more pre-race run tomorrow with the St Paul runners and then I'll rest until the race. At this point I can share with you that I'm not at all intimidated by the distance (half-marathon) but I'm totally intimidated by the Gilbert Avenue/Eden Park/Madison Road climb. My race partner has never run a half-marathon before but she has run up this hill more than once so I'm planning to encourage her the entire race except for this little part where she can be dragging my butt up a hill. (Her shirt looks awesome by the way.)

And now, for the links:


How far can I run in the rain?

It was good that I prepared myself last night that I was going to run this morning, even if it rained.

I went for my long run. And it did rain. The trees all have leaves on them thanks to a super early spring so I had reasonable protection from the rain most of the way. All of Minnehaha Parkway is blooming. The apple blossoms and lilacs are wonderful.

After the run I came home and shivered for a while tried to warm up. Then I went to Maria's with Amanda and my Pooky Bear. Corn pancakes. Mmmm.

Kelly took me home and helped use fabric paint to, um, personalize running shirts for Deb and I for next weekend. I did not put the phrase FLYING PIG VIRGIN on the back of the shirts. I was sorely tempted. (Please keep in mind, a similar phrase was actually requested by my running partner.) Kelly helped me cut everything out and then showed me how to apply the freezer paper and paint it. I've still got the backs of both shirts to paint. I'm planning on finishing it tonight. I'll show pictures after the race.

I also got my completely finished pajamas from Kelly. Just in time because I'm coming to grips with the fact that I'm really too tired to move or do laundry tonight.

I don't have a taper plan in mind for the rest of the week. (Perhaps I should?) Usually I take the day off after the long run of the week but I may try to do the rowing machine before work tomorrow. Tuesday I may be able to sneak in one last run around the lake (and go see those apple blossoms one more time before I leave) and Wednesday, who knows what will happen. Wednesday I have five appointments so it'll be crazy busy. We'll see how i feel about running Thursday morning. I could go for a quick outing with the St Paul runners before I leave town. (I could not run and sleep in before I leave town too.)


Trying to make peace with the rain

Now that I'm starting to make peace with the river I need to think about making peace with running in the rain.

Because tomorrow morning is the only time this week I can run 11 miles and still recover in time to run 13.1 miles next Sunday. And rain is predicted for some or all of that time slot, so I'll have to give this whole thing a try. No thunder and lightning are predicted right now.

I'm also trying to decide my routes. Currently on the table are Lake Harriet (because according to MnDOT I can go this way again) or a longer version of the Liz Loop. Those are two of my favorite routes and I feel like using them as a reward for keeping a good attitude on my last long run.

::Oh shoot. I need to find someone to feed my fishes while I'm gone.::

While I'm thinking about the run tomorrow, I wanted to share some more running music with you. See previous installments of this series in part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.

  • Say you will is only on my Long Runs play list right now. It's not quite fast enough for the short runs but it's a great song. For some reason, it always reminds me of Chris. Something about these lines in the chorus makes me think of him.
    That always seems to heal the wounds
    If I can get you to dance

  • Call on Me by Eric Prydz is a good up-tempo song if you don't mind the same lyrics over and over. This was one of my favorite songs to listen to while I was slogging around Lake Nokomis in the snow all winter and it's good for improving my attitude on runs now. (Side note: No good comes of looking for this video on youtube.)

  • Always something there to remind me. I love this song. I have no explanation.

  • POP by NSync (I am not ashamed) has a great beat too.

  • And finally, My Doorbell by the White Stripes is a super fun song (with a fairly cool video).


The Friday Five

I'm doing the Friday Five since I didn't run today and I haven't thought about long runs and tapering for next week yet (I have NO plan).

1. Tea or Coffee or juice in the morning, and why? Diet Pepsi because it's cheaper than coffee and has caffeine so I don't go into withdraw.
2. What's your typical breakfast on workdays, and what on weekends? At work it's usually Greek yogurt with granola and sometimes a piece of fruit.
3. What do you drink through the day? Heh heh. (Oh wait, serious?) Mostly water, sometimes another diet pepsi or some juice with the water.
4. Best snack? Bananas, peanut butter and chocolate chips.
5. Your favourite dinner when you cook for yourself alone? I make a fried egg sandwich with bacon and goat cheese that's fairly awesome. I refer to it as the 'protein sandwich'. In the winter it's excellent pre-run food. In the summer it's excellent post-run food.


Long Run Wednesday: Where would YOU go?

This was ultimately a good long run day, although I had my challenges. Here's my route. I'm calling it the "make peace with the river" route. For a while I just had a mental block about the river. I never ran there and then the one time I did (thanks Ragnar) the running path was under construction (boo!) and I was so sick I felt like I was going to die. And then the next time I ran there was the 20-miler I ran in preparation for the marathon. (The 20-miler was so bad I apparently didn't even blog about it.)

I'm trying to replace those memories with some good ones so I enjoy that part of the marathon. I had a nice run with Beth and Jenna a couple weeks ago and today was also ultimately a positive experience. I had some, um, digestive issues which added excitement and an unexpected opportunity for sprint intervals but did not discourage me from the river. (At least I know where the port-a-pots are now.)

Here's how the run went:
  • 5:00am: My alarm clock woke me up by playing I am superman (link plays sound). Said song only plays on days I need to get up and run and said song is not allowed to be snoozed. (Hey, it works for me.)

  • 5:05am: "Hmmm. Peanut Butter would be a great pre-run snack. Oooh look, here's a spoon. Good enough for me."

  • 5:15am-ish: Here I go.

  • Miles 1-2: "Wow, it's early. And I'm not going to get to see the sunrise over a lake. I wonder what it looks like over a river."

  • Miles 2-5: "Oh, pain. Oh, it's ok. There's a port-a-pot coming up in this next parking lot." As I arrive at the parking lot, "how is it not here?" Ultimately that problem was solved because it was in the next lot about a block away.

  • Mile 5: This is mostly the Lake Street/Marshall Ave bridge. I'm afraid of heights. It actually worked out because the sidewalk is wide enough I was able to stay away from the edge.

  • Miles 6-9: This stretch is in St Paul and starts with one of the several hills I'm going to have to make peace with in the marathon. I'd seen this hill before the peacemaking it going well. (Although I've never tried to make peace with after running 20 miles.) It looks steeper and longer than it feels when running up it.

  • Miles 10-11: "Dude, I can see my breath!" which was shortly followed by "there's that discomfort again". At which point I started mentally noting where all the possible stopping points could be. That was quickly followed by, "oh, I guess I am going to get to see a lake today". I took a little detour over to Lake Nokomis which had some facilities to meet my needs. It wound up adding about half-mile onto the run and an opportunity for some sprint intervals.

  • Mile 12: From 44th street to 42nd street is a steady down-hill path and I love getting up a good head of steam on that part. It's fun that it comes at the end of the run. I didn't going as fast as I would at the end of a 6-miler but I did get going.

  • After the run: I thought about taking an ice-bath but ultimately decided I was already too cold to sit in a tub of ice. Based on what I saw of the weather last night, I'd expected it to be about 50* by the time I got back. When I checked the actual temperature it was 43*. No ice-bath was completely the right choice.
It's a good thing I burned like 1,800 calories before breakfast because I ate out at lunch and at dinner. For lunch I went with a colleague to The Highland Grill, the only one of the Blue Plate restaurants that still sees Vegetarian Chili-Mac. I didn't get it but I should have. For dinner Amanda and I went to Ngog, a fancy little place in Frogtown. Apparently it's so new Google doesn't even know about it. I think I'm giving my teenager a ride home from work but she hasn't called me yet so I'm not sure.


Walk around naked...

My teenager asked me today, "do you ever walk around the house naked?" Hilarious!

The thing about this relationship is I always try to be honest with her. Even when the questions are awkward or private. (When's the last time you had sex? What's it like to get drunk?) I figure if she trusts me enough to ask I need to trust her enough to be comfortable and tell the truth. She hasn't disappointed me yet.

You see how I'm not answering her question in this particular forum but I did tell her she may feel differently about the question if she lived alone instead of with a parent.

Today was an off day from running (obviously or I would have had something else to write about). It's been a busy week. I have a long run and hill run to do still this week. Then I need to figure out how to taper before the half-marathon. (Anyone want to car-trip it to Cincinnati with me?)

While I'm looking for half-marathon training plans that will help me remember how to taper for this thing, I think you will all enjoy this.


Where's the prettiest place on the planet?

The prettiest place on the planet is right here at sun rise. (I love Lake Nokomis.) At sunrise there's no bikers either so all the runners go to the bike path. (As it should be.)

I got up early to run today because, frankly, I had Chipotle to earn. I ran by Lake Hiawatha too, just to add distance to the run. As you may imagine from my above comment, it was a gorgeous run.

Sadly, I did not get to eat with Molly today at lunch because we both had last minute meetings come up. (I have no explanation.) I wound up getting Chipotle a little later on. I tried to call Amanda and find out about her day but she didn't want to talk to me. (I'm sure I'll find out later what book she was reading that was so much more important than talking to a friend...)

Work was 10 hours long today. (No. Seriously.) After work I was exhausted and sore. I thought first a massage would be nice but then I thought about sitting in a hot tub. The other half of my brain responded that I could do just that at the Y so off I went. I'm now sprawled out on the couch like a pancake contemplating exactly what time I've got to wake up to go back to the Y tomorrow morning. Hmmm.

Whilst I think about then, you should enjoy this link fest:


Let's Take a Poll: What Should My Shirt Say?

It's been a rough week. Mercifully, it was a step-back week so I didn't miss too many miles. (Only about 2.5 miles short all told.) I use this training program but I've moved around the step back weeks to better fit my life. (here's part II of that schedule for anyone who's interested; it's what I used last year too.)

::Side note: I think they're training new people at my Chipotle because this burrito is not the same as normal....::

Thursday I worked a super short day (only five hours) which was great because I felt like I was going to die the entire day. Friday I spent basically on the couch. Bleh. Saturday I tried to run and was quickly reacquainted with the "10 minute rule". The 10 minute rule basically says that I should get up and go for a run and if I really feel that bad after 10 minutes, I can stop. In my early running days I had good luck using it as motivation to get myself out of bed because I always felt great once I got going. Not so on Saturday. Boooo.

Sunday I thought about running early but my body, once again, protested. I did have success finally in the afternoon when I did the elliptical for an hour at a 6mph pace (yes, that is a 10:00 mile). Thank goodness. My body feels like it's coming back to me now.

After the run I went to Target and picked out Deb and my Half Marathon shirts. We'll be in white this year. (One of the fun things about racing is trying to pick the color shirt that will be easiest for spectators to pick out of the crowd and cheer for you.) I've learned from my past racing experiences that writing your name on your shirt is highly advisable. It results in 13 miles (or 26 miles this fall) of people shouting "go Liz" instead of "good job runners" (or in some cases just a sedate "bravo"). I called Deb to make sure she understood that I would have a shirt for her and she asked me to write "I've never done this before, please cheer really loud" or "marathon virgin" on the shirt. I just want it down in writing that this was requested ahead of time. (Although, really, nothing can top the shirt that Robin got for Beth H last year with an huge "I'm turning 40 tomorrow" on the back of it.)

This brings me to my question.

Should I put "Liz" or "Alex" on the shirt I'm going to wear? Pretty much everyone reading this blog will know me as Liz but there was a time in my life (read: high school) where everyone called me Alex. I didn't even think about it until I realized I'd run into people from high school, or parents of people I went to school with who will still know me as Alex and I went them to cheer too. Actually almost everyone in Cincinnati will know me as Alex. Chris told me I should write Liz (a.k.a. Alex) on the front. I'm thinking about just writing "Minnesota" on the back. In Cincinnati that will be notable enough. Although, if I wrote "Flying Pig Virgin" on the back of Deb's shirt I could really write it on mine too.

Thoughts please.


Praying While I.... well, yeah

I had a bladder infection this weekend. It was not a super-fun experience but I'd pick it over a migraine (universe, this is not an invitation) almost any day of the week. Saturday when I ran I knew something wasn't right. Sunday night I started drinking tons of water which relieved most of my symptoms (thank you palliative care).

Sunday night I was talking to my mom (who is still a total hippie) and she told me a story about a lady who was in danger of loosing a kidney and asked people to pray for her. The leader of whatever service this was (I don't think it was a traditional religious service of any denomination or faith) told the lady to focus on what was healthy and how her other kidney was still working. And then he told her she could pray while she peed. So that was Mom's advice to me. (Thanks.) Monday I visited the doctor who gave me some antibiotics and a drug that relieves 'irritation' and has a side effect of turning my pee orange (glad they warned me about that one in advance).

Monday I spent some time with the doctor and took it easy (when I wasn't working).

Today I slept in (ha!) until at least 7:30am before a day of meetings and trainings. I didn't turn on my computer or check my voice mail at all. At the end of the day I went for a four miler at the lake before getting soup with Amanda.

From the running experience I learned one should never run around Lake Nokomis in the afternoon. It is packed. It was hard to get up a steady pace and stay on the path. I spent a lot of time in the dirt/grass rut next to the path running around people or getting out of the way. My knees and ankles were not happy with the situation, they wanted the nice flat even concrete. I gave them a couple ibuprofen when I got back so hopefully they'll forgive me. Lake Nokomis early in the morning is much more pleasant. It was a gorgeous day though.

I cannot believe how warm it is in April this year. Someone said it doesn't bode well for the summer but I prefer to think we're getting it all out of our system early in the season. I was able to wear my 'gooster the rooster' running shirt the St Paul runners made for my birthday last year. (Heather was already thinking about Ragnar costumes.) In honor of the warm temperature and the heat still being on in my building (I say BOOOOO) I got out my air mattress which will be much cooler than the real mattress. I'm hoping to spend the whole night asleep. (The last few nights I've been getting up in the middle of the night to pee. In technicolor).

Now, since it's been forever, a brief linkfest:


Running the "Liz Loop"

I got out of bed early (at the crack of dawn) this morning to see the St Paul runners. We ran what they have hilariously dubbed the Liz Loop which was spectacular and gorgeous this morning. I had a great time. Afterwords they stopped at Meloglaze and I stopped at Turtle Bread. (Even after a long run donuts don't sound that good to me.)

I lounged about this morning and cooked a leisurely breakfast a huge plate of eggs and bacon with a croissant. Yum. Then I went on a Target run and got some of the best news ever.

In the tradition of posts where I tell you about my running music (see previous entries here, here and here) I'll share some songs which for are basically new to the running playlist in April 2010.
  • Send me on my way by Rusted Root. The video is cool because I love the badlands.

  • My Prerogative by Bobby Brown, a oldie-but-goodie. Also generally safe for kids I think.

  • Love Game by Lady Gaga. I think I've made my feelings about Lady Gaga clear. I'd also encourage the adults to listen to this song and watch the video before any kids do. I'm just sayin...

  • Fireflies by Owl City. This song is safe for everyone and has the bonus of being a Minnesota artist.

  • Big Love by Tracy Byrd. (Why yes, yes it is a country song.) There was a time in my life when I listened to much more country music than I do now. I still like it but the country music stations up here aren't as good as the ones in Cincinnati (big surprise) and I like some of the other stations better. Nonetheless, this is a good song and a fun one to run with.

  • A new Chipotle Location? I AM SOOO EXCITED!!!!

    Chipotle is coming! Anyone who knows me knows it can't come soon enough. (I'm so excited. And I am sooo screwed because I'll be there all the time.)

    A few years ago, they built a Target and some other stuff at Cedar Commons (Cedar Ave and 66th street in Richfield). Stores besides Target include Famous Footware, TCF Bank and Carribou Coffee. But one of the buildings was always empty. Every time I drove by it I'd say, "that's where the Chipotle should go".

    Ask and you shall receive.

    Today when I drove by it I saw Chipotle banners saying "Burrito building zone" and the like. I called my pooky bear right away (because she also shops at that Target). Sadly I can't call Amanda because she will never (and I do mean never) eat Chipotle with me again (due to an incident for which Chipotle itself bears no responsibility).

    I don't know when it'll be open but it's not listed on the Chipotle website yet so it may be a while. (I'm sure it'll be open in time for my 20-mile runs.)


    Can an exercise ball hurt your knees?

    I know earlier this week I mentioned that my knees are a bit achy sometimes. At work I've been sitting on an exercise ball and I use my legs a lot to keep my position constant. I wonder if this has anything to do with the achy-ness. (It couldn't have too much to do with it really because I was off work for four days when I wrote that last post.)

    I'm also mildly in Ragnar Relay training mode meaning I'm trying to do more than one workout within 24 hours right now. Wednesday night I went to the gym and made friends with the stair master. (In honor of my knees I'm not running down Montreal Ave this week.) This morning I got up and had a great run around my happy place. (I'll remember that at mile 13 when I'm crossing that bridge in the sunshine.) After my run Paula Radcliffe told me I set a new personal best for the mile. (You'd think I would've done that running down Montreal Ave but cool nonetheless.)

    I got to reminiscing this week and started looking back and when I learned to run but reading my old blog posts. Through a freak accident I found that other blog that we kept to detail getting ready for our first 5K. Here's some of my favorite posts:
    • The first run: So cute. I remember running around like a four block path in my neighborhood when I was learning. It could possibly have covered a mile but not much more.

    • At some point I got to where I could run far enough that the little path in my neighborhood was inadequate and I went to Lake Nokomis. And so began the a beautiful friendship.

    • I remember how bad my arches used to hurt too. I don't know what happened, they just stopped hurting once I'd been running for a while. More on the arches here and you can follow the link for instructions on taping your arches as well.

    • Amanda is always right. Too bad she doesn't run with me anymore. I still remember that lady saying, "gosh, I have to go three miles just to not feel like I'm going to die" which is how I felt about running for a long time; the beginning was always the hardest. (Actually I still do feel that way sometimes.)

    • This must have been the first time I ran over a mile without stopping. Good for me.

    • Waking up early: Sucked, even back then. It was good to read this post because (it's hilarious) in my mind I always imagine that I had an easy time getting up to run 'last year' or 'when I first started' and that it's gotten harder. The truth is I just have more excuses now. When I was in grad school if I didn't get myself up to run at the crack of dawn it meant no running for the day because I was so busy. Now sometimes I'll think, 'oh, I'll just go to the gym after work...' Right. Like that happens. This morning I woke up to my cell phone playing I am Superman which did ultimately help me get up and moving.
    That was great summer, learning how to run again and then doing the Milk Run with Amanda and Amy. There had been a couple of other times in my life when I did run. Before I did semester at sea (I was 20) I ran every day and was probably the skinniest I've ever been. (I still remember walking into Abercrombie and buying the same size pants I wore in eighth grade!) After Semester at Sea I was so busy with school and graduating I didn't exercise a whole lot. When I lived with Andrea the first time (I was 22) I remember getting really good at running and even developing my winter running skills. I also remember loving Andrea's little Gazelle exercise machine. Although once I left for Africa and came back I never re-started the habit. Really, after Africa it was two years before I started running again, thanks to Amanda's bright idea to use the Couch Potato Running Plan to get ready for the Milk Run.

    • After my first 5k I was preparing for an ambitious (at the time it was) five mile race and took quite a spill. I didn't stop running that day but ultimately becuase of the injury I stopped for at least a month. I could barely walk or get up at one point.

    • Happily, despite the fall and injury the habit stuck and I kept it up. (I remember when my living room was that color and when that painting was there... How strange.) And now here I am training for my second marathon.
    This concluded the trip down memory lane.


    'Protect Your Knees' week here at Marathon Training central

    I love four day weekends. I'm also finding to-do lists to be very helpful. I was inspired by my pooky bear to make a to-do list for my time-off. I want to be clear that mine is in no way that ambitious. (Good for you Pooky!) Here's mine:
    • Sew button on pants: Check, done Sunday night, and that is the limit of my sewing expertise.

    • Fix earring: Also done Sunday night. (One of the charms fell off of one of my favorite earrings, simple fix but it did involve my jewelery pliers.

    • Untwist elastic waistband in a pair of shorts - not yet. Is there a simple way to do this? I haven't even figured out a difficult way to do it.

    • Make a guitar playing area in the living room and buy a guitar stand: Done today. At first I was planning to take apart the behemoth that is my entertainment center, take off one of the shelf segments and put it back together so there'd be no space on my wall. Then I realized I couldn't actually disassemble and reassemble the thing alone. That realization was followed by the realization that I should probably use my pooky bear (the only other human being on the planet who can figure out how the thing goes together and comes apart) for more important jobs. I was able to find an acceptable 'space' with the entertainment center intact.

    • Figure out a 'standing desk' hack for the office with Ikea furniture: Fail.

    • Polish kitchen table: Not yet, but I will.

    • Load pictures from my camera onto the computer: Done. Not wouldn't it be nice to put them on the blog? Too bad that's not on the list.

    • Buy summer work shoes: Check. Most expensive item I bought today. I have heavy criteria for my summer dress shoes (flip-flop style toe loop, no strap around the ankle, has to be dressy, black is preferable, heels bad) so it's good I found something I like and will wear. My current shoes are going on three years old. It was really time for new ones.

    • Buy and install drawer organizers for the bathroom drawers: Ikea actually had something for this. Done.

    • Make a system for contact lenses: Done. (It's not even worth explaining but glad it's in place now.)

    Today I meant to wake up at 6am and head over to some of my favorite lakes. Sadly, I woke up at 3am and spent a couple hours lying awake so at 6am I was fried and I reset the alarm for 7am before turning it off completely. At 10am when I finally woke up (don't you wish you had a four day weekend too?) my knees weren't interested in running on concrete. I can't say I blame them; they've been working awfully hard lately. So I went to the gym (one visit down this week) and made friends with the ellipticals.

    Not all ellipticals are created equal. The first one I was on was much harder at level 6 (like worked my muscles harder, had my heart rate higher, slower number of steps per minute) than the one I normally use at level 9. I'm just saying. I went a total of 12 miles on a combination of ellipticals. For the last couple of miles the Reds game (opening day!) was on the TV in front of me so I got to see shots of my hometown, the opening day parade, and the Cardinals get their first of several runs in the game.

    I don't think my knees are injured, they're just kind of achey right now. They don't hurt worse when I'm standing or sitting, no stabbing pains, no throbbing. But I'm respecting their wishes. I think I'll try to do most of my mileage at the gym this week. Next week is a step back week so I'll try to skip a long run then. (I have to look at tapering before the half marathon too, now that I think about it.)

    After the 2.5 hour elliptical marathon, I came home and made brunch before the shopping trips described above (Guitar Center, Ikea and DSW Shoes).

    I called Steve for dinner and we had an excellent time at Chipotle. (Good thing I was on an elliptical for 2.5 hours today. I don't even feel guilty about it.)

    After dinner I came home and played the guitar for a while, something I haven't done in a while. I don't remember why exactly I wanted to start playing more again. I think it was a combination of not liking to spend as much time on the internetz as I was and a co-worker (who also plays guitar) saying something to me about it. I decided to be honest with myself that I'm not really a fan of my acoustic guitar. It's got a couple dead frets in a really bad place so it makes some chords (A, C#m, D) that are fairly common sounds really bad. Plus I always liked my electric guitar the best. I dug the electric out of my storage closet, along with the amp (I hope it's not too loud for the neighbors) and set it up. (Hence the guitar area.) The case for the electric literally disintegrated in my hands when I opened it up. That should tell you how long it's been away.

    I'm not actually tired yet but I should think about going to bed...


    Had a bad bad half-marathon dream

    In my dreams...

    I was running a half-marathon with Bonnie, not Deb, my actual Flying Pig partner. And the race started inside, in like a gym/sports complex. (Dreams where I'm running indoors never turn out well anyways.)

    Bonnie and I went like, a tenth of a mile, and she had to stop and pee. (Wtf?) So I waited for her. Mind you, we were at the back of the racing pack anyways so I wanted to GO.

    And here she comes, walking back in her street clothes, "oh, you go on, I decided not to do the race". And I said, "are you kidding, I paid all this money and drove down to Cincinnati to see you, you can't just change your mind like that". And she just sent me on my way.

    I was far enough back from the pack that I lost my way and had to run inside a different building. There were all these guys walking around on horses as I'm looking for which path (skyway type deal) to take. And I got stopped when a man on a camel (not a horse, a camel)crossed my path.

    Mercifully then I woke up.

    I hate dreams where I'm running and can't get anywhere, or where I'm running and can't find the race course. Also, what do horses and camels represent?


    Running, and an abnormally large dinner, even for me

    Today marks the first day of a four day weekend for me. One of the many benefits of working at a Jewish agency without actually being Jewish. Side note here - it drives me mildly crazy when people wish me Happy Easter since I don't celebrate it. It's even more ridiculous to get those messages at work since I work for, oh yeah, a Jewish agency. I'm starting to have some understanding of what Christmas must be like for everyone who doesn't celebrate it.

    This morning I woke up and decided I'd go to the gym later to run. I went over to Turtle Bread since I've been ruined forever and can't eat bread that's more than a day or two old. I got a chocolate croissant for breakfast. Just 'cause I could. When I got home I realized there was a rare opportunity for an afternoon run with the St Paul runners so I ate some yogurt and got ready. Much better than running at the gym.

    I had a great time running my tail off with Beth and Jenna. It's a good preview of the Twin Cities Marathon route. It's also nice to make peace with that part of the river parkway since the last time I was on it I felt like I was going to die. Actually, I was there one time after that for a 20-mile training run and that run didn't go so well either. (Can't have been too good because there's not even a blog post about it!) How the St Paul runners feel about Lake Nokomis and the Cedar Avenue bridge is how I feel about the River Parkway. The peace making process must continue.

    Funny story about the run: Jenna and Beth actually continued east on Summit where I turned off at Fairview because they were doing a 10-miler (over-achievers that they are!) so I ran the block or two back to my car unaccompanied. It was the prettiest day ever and the sun was shining down on us the entire run so I was fairly hot and thirsty. To say I had cotton-mouth would be an understatement. It felt like I had an entire plantation in my mouth. The best relief to such an unpleasant sensation is to swish a little water in my mouth and then spit it out. Beth's husband Gordon has some kind of timing because as he was pulling up to the house he got an excellent view of me spitting water out my car window. (Spitting is never gross when running. Do non-runners understand this?) His window was rolled up so luckily I didn't have to say anything. I'm sure I would've turned bright red in embarrassment if I'd had to say hello after that.

    After the run I stopped by Sister Sludge for an Iced Mocha. For those of you who drink coffee, this place has the best iced drinks ever. One of their ice cubes is frozen espresso so as the drink melts the coffee taste doesn't get watered out. Mmmm. So good!

    Tonight I went out with Amanda's family for Easter to Buca Di Beppo where I ate every single calorie I burned running and probably a few more. The Alfredo hit the spot. Her family includes three teenagers so I was pleasantly entertained for dinner. Afterwords we walked around the shopping area for a little while. I was actually able to buy a couple new pairs of running shorts, something I'd needed for a while. As far as running gear, I'll probably buy more sports bras (who can ever have enough?) and I need to get a couple shirts for the flying pig so I match my running partner. I'm planning on painting our names on them, more for her than for me. Because, really, for your first half-marathon, you should have a shirt with your name on it so people can cheer specifically for you. (They will too.) It's kind of nice to be the more experienced runner in a race this long. I can't wait!

    After dinner I came home and cleaned and organized for a little while. I also made a list of things I'd like to accomplish in the next four days. A surprise addition, but something I genuinely want to accomplish, is to establish a guitar-playing area in my living room. Sadly, I think it may require dismantling the beast that is my entertainment center. (Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I can do that alone.) We'll see. I'm sure I'll be able to figure something out.


    My day, running, the good and the not so fun...

    When's the last time I wrote? Hmmm. It's been quite a while then.

    Here's what you've missed:
    Monday: I worked like a mad woman until the office closed at 4:00pm (by which time it was 80* in my office). Then I went home and relaxed. Sorry, it's so long ago that's all I remember.

    Tuesday: was long run day. The weather falls in the 'good' category but my health status falls in the 'not so fun' category. (Looking back, perhaps this is where some of my problems started.) I should have just listened to my body and that small part of my brain telling me to do a shorter run (like 6 miles instead of 12). There was no listening. I wanted to run to 'earn' enough calories for the Passover Seder that night.
    I tried a sort-of new route. It was a really nice run until I got to the far side of Lake Calhoun and met a head wind that was quite strong. That slowed me down. And then I started to feel nauseous. Which made running less fun. I started throwing in walks with the run when I got past Lake Harriet.
    When I got home I did take an ice bath which was the right idea. After recovering I picked up some Chipotle (hey, it's breakfast and lunch!) and got the green beans that it was my job to make for the Seder.
    The Seder itself was fun too. It was much smaller than ones I'd been to the in past (only eight people) but definitely a good time.

    Wednesday: I moved from the bed to the couch. That was my big accomplishment. (I did go for a 12.5 mile run the day before.) In the evening Cheryl and I went to see Brief Encounter which was an hysterically funny play, as funny as a play about an affair could be. The lead characters were fine but the supporting actors really made the show. Hilarious.

    Thursday: Can anyone tell me how much the premium version of Pandora costs?
    I woke up and ran seven miles. I must have been feeling good because I wasn't planning on going that far. That run was pretty much where the good feelings stopped.
    The intestinal distress I alluded to on Tuesday was back in full force which was not how I wanted to spend my morning. Luckily I was able to work from home in the morning so I didn't miss too much. I went in to work and stayed there for a while.
    After trying to eat dinner I have decided I may need to adopt a liquid diet for a little while until my stomach sorts itself out. Blech.
    I did realize it's April so it's time to update the running play list. I'll let you know what I discover.