Long Run Thursday - Finding Peace in running along the river

I'm declaring "make peace with the river" runs a success, so much so that I now actually look forward to running those routes. My favorite part is the Franklin St bridge and running on the east bank of the river into St Paul. (I'd show you on a map but for reasons passing all human understanding, Gmaps isn't remembering my saved routes right now.) I think I should run by the Chain of Lakes sometime just so I remember I like them too.

The run this morning was a blast. It was hot so I was liberal in my water stops and took a second to re-fill my bottles at the Summit/River Parkway water fountain. I also tried new nutrition. I'm prepared to declare Cliff Bodybuilding Protein Bars a winner. While Gu is great, I do enjoy eating real food. These things are 270 calories (and 23g of sugar) per bar so they can really only be consumed on long runs.

I walked a little bit of this run, not at much as last week. (Was it really just last week that I ran this far? It feels like longer.) At least, not as much as I walked at the end of last week's run. I didn't have a time/speed goal in mind today since I wasn't sure what my body was going to do with the heat.

After the run, it seemed like the perfect time to stick my legs in a tub full of ice. (Remember winter running when this stuff was completely not necessary?) Getting into an ice tub is one of the more uncomfortable experiences that I've voluntarily endured in my life. They do work. I didn't have any leg pain the entire rest of the day.

I went to my new neighbor in Richfield, Chipotle for lunch (it was my breakfast too). I was reminded that running in the heat (it's not even that hot yet) gives me low grade nausea the rest of the day. I could only eat half of my Chipotle and I did not get hungry at work at all. Blech.

After work I did manage to get down some Chinese food and made plans with Amanda for the weekend. Then, sadly, I came home and did more work. Now I am thinking about the awesome amount of sleep I'm about to enjoy. I don't need to be at work until 9:30 tomorrow and I'm sure I'll pull myself out of bed around 8:45 to accommodate that schedule.


Linkfest Wednesday

I check my RSS feeds today and there's a lot of good stuff. I'll share it now (since my last post made so little sense) so I don't have to keep the tabs up until the weekend.

Holy Humidity - It's Cooler in the Sunshine

It was really hot this week. Monday was so hot it set a record. I didn't run on Monday. I didn't run on Tuesday either. I did go out with Amanda and my pooky bear for ice cream which was awesome and got rained on walking home with them.

This morning I ran. When I got home I checked the weather and noted it was 70% humidity (you thought I was going to say 70* didn't you?). Seriously. It was like a steam room. I do maintain that it was cooler in the sunshine because that at least helped the sweat evaporate. Ylech!

I checked the weather for tomorrow. The humidity appears to be under better control. Hopefully I'll have a nice long run. Perhaps I'll make peace with the river and the heat at the same time!

I have no idea what else I've been doing since I wrote last. I have no idea when I wrote last. I've been working 8-9 hour days and tonight I volunteered after work. I'm going slightly bonkers. I think I just saw a little green man run across my counter top. I'm excited for some time to myself tomorrow morning running. And Chipotle. That will help.


Making Peace with the Heat - An Unexpected Training Issue

Was it this hot last summer?

It hasn't been below 70* since sometime Saturday. (Thank goodness they turned the heat off on Friday!) I'm now thinking about how this heat spell will work with the training program. I was scheduled for a 15-miler this week but am intimidated to run that far in the heat this early in the year. I spent today on the elliptical at the gym (10 miles baby) to avoid the heat and avoid making that decision.

So, was it this hot last summer?

While pondering that question, here's a LINKFEST for you:


Making Peace with the River: Continuing a Positive Process

I had the past couple of days off of work. (I love my job).

I used yesterday to continue making peace with the river. I took my longest run of the season and had a blast.

The first mile or two was gorgeous becuase steam (is it steam or mist?) was coming off the creek. It was really early. The next few miles were great and I was pleasantly surprised that the 'hill' up to the Franklin Avenue bridge wasn't anywhere near as steep as I'd imagined.

The next few miles were an adventure as I'd never run on the east side of the river from Franklin back down to Lake/Marshall. This is when nutrition started to be an issue. Ultimately I think I need to go back to Gu Gel Packs for the long runs. The Chomps weren't quite doing it for me. I really wish my co-op still sold the granola/chocolate bars I ate last while I was training. Those were by far the best.

I practiced running (and I mean running) up the hill after the Marshall Ave bridge and up the hill that leads to Cretin Ave. Why? Because this is like mile 20 of the marathon course and I can predict what my body and brain will feel like by then. (I've decided my marathon goal is to run the whole course this time, other than water stops which I always walk through.) The next part of the course is really my favorite (too bad it's not part of the marathon) because from Summit avenue to the Ford Parkway bridge it's basically downhill. By Ford Parkway I was super hot and had some water and the last of the food I could eat. (I know, good practice for summer running.) I had a plan to do run-walk intervals for miles 14 and 15 of the run and surprised myself pleasantly by running more and walking less than my original plan. I was tired when I got home but not in nearly as much pain as I could have been.

None the less, I spent some quality time with my legs submerged in a tub of ice, another great summer running practice. (Winter running basically includes an ice bath as part of the process.)

After that I spent part of the day at the pool and started reading a book Bonnie lent to me a long time ago called Veil of Roses. I got pretty far through it before I went to Bonnie's house for dinner.

Dinner during a festival doesn't start until after sunset so we didn't eat 'till about 10:00pm. I had a great time.

Obviously after my late night last night I got up this morning around 11am. Amanda called me and came over to sit by my pool. (Why are you interrupting me? I have to finish this book?) After I finished the book Amanda picked it up and is now about half way through it.

We went to Singapore for carry out. The reviews about the quality of the food are totally accurate. Sadly, the reviews about the long wait are accurate too. Usually the food is so good I don't care.

After dinner my teenager and her friend came over to use my computer. I checked out a couple of the MySpace pages she was looking at after they left. Then I decided I didn't want to know.

I'm now trying to psych myself up for one day of work before the regular weekend and praying the heat in the building is turned off tomorrow (before the weekend when it's supposed to be 90*).


May Music List

I have two exercise playlists that I use constantly. One is about five hours long and I use it for long runs or spending quality time on the elliptical. That list doesn't change much, other than adding new songs I like. The second list is about 90 -120 minutes long and has more music of whatever-the-heck-I'm-in-the-mood-for feel. I use it for my runs around Lake Nokomis and normal gym workouts. As you can imagine, this list gets played frequently so I update it once a month with new or mostly new songs. (I have a few favorites you can read about in this post.) Here's a few songs that are new for May:
  • Thanks to Pandora I recently re-discovered My Sweet Lord by George Harrison which works well as a warm-up song and not much else.

  • This too shall pass by Ok Go is a song a friend posted to Facebook. (Thanks, it's a great song and a cool video.)

  • Here it Goes Again by Ok Go is a great upbeat song that I rediscovered while watching the video for 'this too shall pass'.

  • Meddle by Little Boots is a punk/techno song with a good beat. The studio version sounds a bit different than the live version in this video. I was a little worried when she started playing with the techno toy on top of the piano but I think she makes it work.

  • Badman by Newton Faulkner is a great song on a great album. I find the video of the guys head disconcerting and probably won't watch it again. (Your kids might actually like this one though.)

  • Where the River Flows by Collective Soul is definitely not a new song but it hasn't seen my iPod in a long time so it's worth mentioning. Collective Soul songs typically have a good driving beat and lyrics interesting enough to at least hold my attention.


My tab bar is getting a little too full, a sure sign it's time for a linkfest! Here's what I've been looking at lately:


"I think you just know if you're a runner from the beginning"

"I think you just know if you're a runner from the beginning" (or some such thing) is what the lady at the coffee shop said to me this morning when I came in all sweaty and exhausted from running.


The time I started running that I actually kept at it the longest (this most recent time) I was in pain for a while. I remember my arches killing me. And going really slow. And falling down; I remember falling down. Running usually made me feel better about myself and my body, but it didn't always make me feel great as it was happening.

How'd we get on this topic?

This morning I went for a run with the St Paul runners. I love this route but it includes a fairly mean hill; it's super steep. I've made it up this hill a couple of times in my life, usually when I was running alone and at my own pace. The St Paul ladies are a bit (ha! just a bit) faster than I am and I try my best to keep up with them. Meaning I usually run out of gas about half-way up this hill.

Not today! I made it all the way up!

I'm learning that running faster means letting my body just feel more uncomfortable and not panicking about that discomfort. (It's a process.) This was I think the fastest run of that distance I've ever done, alone or with company. It was right around an 11:00 mile, maybe faster because I had to walk a block at the end (for intestinal reasons, speaking of discomfort). Remember when I ran a 10k at an 11:00 pace for the first time? Today was great and I had a great time.

We end our run at this big intersection right by a donut shop. (Why does firefox think "donut" isn't a word?) Well, coffee-shop-lady literally saw us at this intersection chatting and stretching after our run while she was driving to work.

I stopped in to the actual coffee shop after the run and told me that she'd seen me and we started talking about running. She said she couldn't do it. The other girl there said she was a cyclist. The cyclist-coffee-shop-girl made some comment about feeling like it's ok to eat Chipotle after a "couple miles" of riding. What!? Ultimately, it was probably working for her.

I keep forgetting today is Sunday. I have almost no memory of Saturday. I remember being emotionally bombarded at the School of Social Work graduation and then, nothing. I have no idea what else I did yesterday. I'm planning on making today equally unproductive.


One Wild Flashback...

I was laying on the couch this morning taking my post-breakfast nap (I love the weekend!) when I startled myself awake and realized the School of Social Work graduation was today.

Some of you reading this will remember the day I graduated from this program. Today was like having a flashback. ::Sidenote:: Thanks to Amanda, Kelly, Eric, Sue and Jeri who all set up in the balcony when I graduated. The main floor was very calm. The balcony was like a zoo and I appreciate that you endured for me. ::End sidenote::

I was a field instructor/task supervisor (social workers know what I'm talking about; for everyone else it means I helped supervise a year-long internship) for two students who graduated today. As a bonus I actually knew a third student who also graduated and it was nice to see her. The speaker was supposed to be Senator Mee Moua who couldn't make it because she was busy trying to negotiate a budget for our great state.

The bulk of this ceremony is watching the students get hooded by their friends and family. Most were hooded by their parents, kids or spouses and some were hooded by professors or field instructors. The two student emcees both commented about how challenging the Social Work program (as well as just being in grad school) is, and the types of things the students faced. HELLO FLASHBACKS! They're so right; it was a really hard two years. And I'm totally proud to be a social worker.

As I said, I sat in the balcony this year. I think next year I may try the third floor so I can have a little more personal space. Today I sat next to this little girl who literally bounced the whole time. I was amazingly not freaked out or frustrated at all. (I know, I can't believe it either.) She came with her mom to watch her mom's friend graduate. (Good for them. It meant a lot when my friends came.) Seriously. Bounced the whole time.

After the ceremony I saw both of the students I supervised and congratulated them. I also saw several old professors and talked to them as well.

Now I'm sitting at home, kind of pepped up from the ceremony, with too much energy to go to bed. I'm ok for another little while and then I'll need to clobber myself over the head or something becuase I have to be up to run at 6:30am with the St Paul runners. I was planning on doing a long run tomorrow but a strange confluence of events is making me do "the Liz Loop" (7-miler or so) tomorrow and probably a long run mid week (when I'm off for two days).


Step back week: Fun and Dangerous at the same time

Step back weeks are a great part of marathon training which is not quite a week off, but certainly a recovery week where there's no increase of weekly mileage or long run mileage. I love step back weeks because they usually come when I'm not feeling so good and wasn't going to run anyways.

But by the end of the week, I start to go a little stir crazy which leads to thoughts like, "hmmm, it would be fun to train for a 50-miler and do one". (Who thinks like that?) I started looking around for ultra-marathons. (I have the time because I'm not out running.) I have seen the 12 and 24hr races at Lake Nokomis in person and I'd love to do one some time. (I think my feelings about Lake Nokomis are clear by now although this could be the kiss of death.) It's not a true 50-miler, it's "how far can you go in 12 hours" distance. (I'd do the 12 hour before deciding on the 24 hour race.) And all my local friends can come cheer or take turns running around in circles with me.

Robin and Jenna told me about the Superior Trail Race which is a true 50-miler with a cut-off at the last water stop that I think I could handle. It's trail running which I typically can't stand so I'd have to train a little differently. (Most soccer players kill their knees; I seemed to ruin my ankles and that makes trails particularly hard for me. Maybe I'm just a wimp.)

These are both possibilities for 2011; not even close for 2010. I'm imagining that 2011 will see me train for the full Flying Pig in early May and then maybe a longer race after that. I'm not sure. I've got to get through the Twin Cities Marathon this year first.

What other crazy thing did I do this week?

I said, "I'll teach you all to run a 5k and then we can do the Milk Run (and later the Dreidel Dash)" when a colleague said she was going to start a weight-loss group at work. How am I going to train these people to run a 5k while I'm trying to train for a marathon? I have no freaking clue; I'm open to suggestions. I'm thinking this is the training program to use and it'll be bonus running miles for me.

Today is the prettiest day ever in life. Maybe I just feel that way because we've had so much rain lately that I was ready to build an ark. I woke up at 5am (no, seriously) and ran by the pretty lakes. It was really windy. I had a great run and hauled tail too. This time Paula Radcliff told me I set a new personal best in the mile. (Thanks but there's no way I did a 7:18 mile on that run.) Then I went to work and was done by 12:30. WIN I came home and ate my Chipotle out on the patio. (I feel kind of full from that burrito. Bleh.) I'm not sure what else I'll do to entertain myself today. I was thinking about a walk but that burrito is going to take a while to go down.


Ow ow, pain pain pain

I love step back weeks (Marathon Training) because I don't feel guilty about walking some of my miles instead of running them. I have been feeling not so good today. I had a few appointments this morning and then I came home to work.

I partially failed at working at home because our IT company had screwed up ability to access our shared drives remotely (Every single freaking time they re-start the server and do maintenance on it, my computer thinks I have "read only" access to the "My Documents" folder on my C: drive, and I can't VPN to the server at the office. Every. Single. Time. Seriously, re-set the server, re-set my rights. It shouldn't be hard.)

After I spent some quality time with the IT team on the phone, I finally said, "can you just email me when you're done so I don't have to sit on the phone while you work?" "Sure". I got a bit of work done after I decided they were done on my computer. I still can't use the VPN but I have a feeling someone's being called about that.

Then I decided to work out torture myself for a few minutes at the Y. I walked and listened to an episode of Car Talk that I hadn't heard yet. Now I'm sitting at home thinking about training tomorrow. Could be interesting. The breakfast there usually rocks at least.


Lance Armstrong Thinks I Set a New Personal Best for the Mile!

A few days ago the S-word came into our forecast. That's right. Snow. In May! (I say booo!) While all the plants people bought too early may be harmed by frost, it's freaking perfect running weather.

I got up this morning around 8am (I love Saturdays) and checked the temperature. It's how many degrees?!? Thirty-six. It's thirty-six degrees. I got on the goose-shirt and then put on a long sleeve top over it, grabbed my snacks and off I went.

I read a while ago that I could supposedly run underneath 35W on Minnehaha Parkway again. I found this statement to be true and was delighted. I started planning my summer long runs around the lakes in my head now that I knew the path was clear for me.

And then I crossed Lyndale Ave and saw a fence across the entire path. WTF? It's worth pointing out that there's a path that doesn't even come up to Lyndale that's been closed for over a year so at this point they're closing the backup path too. (It's marathon training season and duathlon/triathlon training season too! I say booo.)

All my dreams of spending my summer running around the lakes on awesome long runs slipped away. And were replaced by visions of running along the river parkways (up one side and down the other), expanding the "make peace with the river" route to include some hills and other interesting stuff.

After that little detour I made it over to Lake Harriet and was almost literally blown away by the wind. I love Lake Harriet. I still remember the feeling the first time I made it there on a run. (I'd never even walked that way before so I had no idea how far it was.) The yatch club was out. It was a great day for sailing. I also saw several groups of what I assume are Team Ortho training groups getting ready for the marathon and half marathon next month. (Good luck everyone!)

I got lost for about ten seconds trying to find the path from Lake Harriet to Kings Hwy that would take me the to shortcut home, across 40th street. (I only meant to run about 8 miles, not the 11 the normal route would take me.) 40th street in this direction is way more fun than running from my house to the lake. It's mostly down hill this way. (This could be where Lance thinks I PR'd the mile.)

I got back home and stretched. (Because I can still hear Linda telling me, "If you don't have time to stretch, you don't have time to run".) When I stopped my iPod Lance told me "congratulations, you just set a new personal best in the mile". Ha, I think my sensors messed up dude 'cause there's no way I ran a 7:13 mile. I did feel great after the run though.

I measured out my run and discovered that Gmaps has added pedestrian paths alongside the bike paths to their site. There are no words for my joy! For a while I was just guessing where some of those paths went, and the 40th street bridge over 35W wasn't on there at all. That made me almost as happy as finding out Chipotle is coming to town!.

It was in the 40's (like 41*) when I got home. After I measured out my run I started shivering and decided I should take a hot shower. I ran out of hot water. FAIL. Ultimately it did warm me up a bit.

I tried to make breakfast and discovered that bad eggs really can turn green inside. Doh! I didn't eat that one, don't worry. I saw that I have some Goetta to make. I'm thinking maybe tomorrow for breakfast. I'm not sure if I should cook it all and then re-heat, or if I should cook it a little at a time. Any suggestions?

I think tonight I'm going to take a walk with Amanda and then get dinner. Tomorrow needs to be a weight lifting day and also starts the beginning of a step back week. (Yeah baby, only 17 miles to run the whole week.)


It's a cold (brrr) Saturday and I haven't done a linkfest in a little while. Here's what's going on:


if Murphy and his laws ran your day, here's what it would be like...

Actually, my whole day wasn't run by Murphy, just the last hour or so...

I woke up around 7am and promptly went back to sleep until 8:15am (a much more civilized time).

I arrived at work around 9am and found that none of the computers that run Windows 7 had internet connectivity. We could connect to our office server, just not the internet or retrieve email. (Did you know that my case management software is web-based?) The guy was supposed to come at 1pm to fix it; I left at 3pm and he still wasn't there. Thanks guys. The greater irony is I discovered the problem as the IT guy left the building (literally). He'd been there last night and this morning fixing a network issue that was impacting the XP computers. (Those all worked fine today.)

I packed Amanda's awesome Kale and Bacon dish for lunch. (I used sausage.) I also packed roasted beets. The beets made me feel nauseous for some reason so I gave up on lunch fairly quickly.

After I left the office my teenager came over and declared "you eat weird food Liz" when I told her the snack options. (She's not wrong.) In my defense, I was gone over the weekend and I don't get paid 'till Friday so I'm holding off on the grocery shopping. She typed up something for school and then spent a long time on Myspace. I'm not troubled by the amount of time she spent, just that she's friends with someone named "sexy b!tch" (yeah, it's spelled the real way too) and similar names. Even though I'm troubled, I'm not quite sure what to do about it. She promptly left her folder and notebook at my house but she has all the work she's typed.

Then, the real fun began.

My half marathon clothes were beyond gross at this point so I decided to do some laundry. (Hey, there's a thought.) I came to put the clothes in the dryer. All 6 machines gave my laundry card and error message. Fail! I went to look for my phone to call Steve to borrow his card. Why can I not find my phone? I went to another building to see if their dryers were less fussy. Six error messages later I decided I need a new laundry card. Then I walked to Steve's apartment and told him my sad story. He came over and called my phone (there it is!) and then lent me his card so I could do my laundry. WIN!

Now I'm thinking about all the money that's still on my card. Hmmm, there must be a way to get that back...


How many pigs does it take to fly up a 300 foot hill?

3:00am: Lightning and thunder outside my window woke me up. I never quite made it to sleep again after that except a few little cat-naps.
4:40am: The alarm officially went off playing my theme song.
5:00am: Uncle Jerry arrived (I can't believe he came out, that was really nice of him) and we went off to downtown Cincinnati. (Did I mention the rain?)
5:30am-ish: I found Deb and got into her car as we watched all kinds of thunder and lightning. (And rain.)
6:02am: I called Jenny and asked her to look at radar. I regretted the request when I heard, "oh, there's a line of storms all the way back to Arkansas, but you're just outside of the red box that means a tornado warning". Oh joy. Deb told Jenny not to come down but we had her to breakfast afterward instead.
6:10am: We got out of Deb's car and started walking to the start line.
6:20am: A bolt of lightning takes out power to all the street lights around Paul Brown Stadium. Runners are promised by race officials there is no severe weather in the area.
6:30am: The race miraculously starts on time. Deb and I were in the rear of the pack, too far back as it turned out.
6:40-ish: Deb and I started the race. Slow Down Deb, it's a long race! My parents and Uncle Jerry were at their first cheering spot. Mom had a bell!
Mile 1: Also hill number one. The bridges here are really tall. How tall could a river boat be really?
Miles 2-4: Ah, Kentucky. After two more bridges we were back in Ohio. I saw my parents again and had my first Gu pack. (Yes, I've made peace with the Gu.)
Miles 4-6: The lower west-end around Longworth Hall was fairly deserted (because who could get over there with all the roads closed?) but downtown Cincinnati was great. I saw my parents for an unexpected third time.
Miles 6-8.5: Deb coached me up the hill that I was totally dreading. She did a great job; told me what to expect, when to rest and when to goose it. I felt as good at the top of that hill as I did at the end of the Amsterdam Marathon. (That's how big a mental block I had about this hill.) At the split point for the half and full I saw Mike and Linda, our neighbors who I also can't believe stood in the rain that long.
Miles 8.5-10: Why are there more hills? Apparently in this race, you're never done going up hill. There was a water stop in here sponsored (staffed?) by the Walnut Hills football team. I cheered for Walnut really loud. They loved me.
Mile 10-11: Ah, the true, glorious wonderful down hill. As a surprise I saw Mike and Linda a second time.
Miles 11-13: The race has this dinky little out and back loop (clearly they needed to make the path a mile longer than it was) so I could see all these runners heading towards the finish line as I have to run away from it, around a traffic island, and back. (Hello mental block.) It was around mile 12 we met another girl named Liz.
Finish line: At this point I was saying, "hey, tell my friend Deb she's doing great, it's her first time". Big hug. Awesome medal.

Big thank you to Mike, Linda, Uncle Jerry and Mom and Dad for coming out and standing in the rain to cheer.

Big thank you to Jenny, Doug and Chris who entertained me after the race.

And CONGRATULATIONS to Deb for running her first half-marathon in under her goal time.

I am thinking about training for the full pig next year but I'm not committed to it yet. Basically it's going to require some serious long runs in the winter months. While that was no problem this year, this was like the 4th mildest March on record so I'm not making any long term plans. Even seasoned marathoners have told me it's a really challenging course (hello hills!) but it's my home town so I really want to do it. I could always try to train and have the Minneapolis Marathon as a backup. Or Gramma's. I guess I should focus on running Twin Cities this year first. (And so I shall.)


WIN for the Day

It made my day when my two-year-old cousin comes in to the kitchen, holds up a rock with "JOY" written on it and says:
"J-O-Y, that spells happy!"