It's not normally my knees that hurt....

After an extended absence (because I felt like garbage for a week...)  I headed out for a run this morning.  At 6:30am it was already well over 70* (and high humidity as well) so I wasn't looking to break any land speed records.  It was basically a good run.  I saw a couple blue herons (or one bird more than once) at Lake Nokomis.

Around mile 6 I started getting, um, sick.  Which was sort of expected given the heat.  It did make running home quite interesting.  I think I've learned now the cause of the problem (heat; dehydration) and in the summer there's not much of a cure.  Now I just need to work on symptom management.

Work was a sad day.  It was the last day for our assistant director.  (You may remember her from mile 19 of the marathon where she waited with her kid and a banana for me or from the Dreidel Dash when she also had a kid and banana for me.)

Now I'm at home, giving my air conditioner a brief respite before I crank it up again.  (I think it's an "air mattress in the living room" kind of night.)  Let me leave you with some new (and old) songs to enjoy:


Sad that there will be rain tomorrow...

I was grumpy and just generally moody when I woke up this morning.  I have no idea how I convinced my body to get out of bed and run.  It was really the kind of morning I should've slept until 11am.

I went for a 4-miler this morning and I was all, "oh, it's only four miles, I should go faster than normal" and then I was all, "oh, this new GPS run tracker can tell me how fast I'm going so I should really try".  Here's how the run broke down:
The yellow line is my pace, the gray relief behind it is the elevation change during the run.

A breakdown of my pace, mile per mile.

Important lesson: I badly need to warm up to achieve my top pace. (Also, I feel as though I was faster last year...) That second mile, the 11:10 pace, I felt like I was running my brains out. I felt like I was going to collapse. That last mile, which was a second faster, I had to stop so I could cross the street. And by then I was all, "oh, just go to the end of the block, that should be about four miles".  This is a good lesson for when I run 5ks.  (This is also possibly the reason I don't run 5ks.) 

(Yes, as it turns out, last year I ran the Grand Old Day 8k at a 10:58 pace and the Snow Run With Jenna Diva Dash at a 10:33 pace. Guess I need to work a little harder this year.)


One way to get 16 miles in

Yesterday, I made some, um, poor dietary choices.  I made said choices only after looking at the weather (rain, storms, and humidity) and deciding an outdoor long run was out.  I think I'm off popcorn for a while as well.

Today, I hung out in the morning, ate breakfast, and took a nap.  I woke up, thought better of it and took another nap.

In continuing the "my iPods are crumbling; let's see what the Android can do" theme, I looked into mobile radio apps.  I have used Pandora for a while.  It has its nice features but it's very far from perfect.  So I decided to take Slacker Radio out for a try; it's had very good reviews.  I have no clue how it works on my phone.  For sure it doesn't work in Firefox.  At least the way my browser is set up.  (Works fine in Chrome.)

I had a fun thirty minutes looking for my wallet.  And by "fun" I mean "this sucks".

Finally, I was able to leave for the gym.  I picked out my ellipticals and let the fun begin.  Three hours later my quads were screaming.  I did a fantastic job of pacing myself through the workout.  (How does one pace themselves on an elliptical?)  I opted for heart rate and the "calories per minute" measure.  The ellipticals go forwards and backwards, and the segments where I'm pedaling backwards are what makes my quads hate me.  (Probably what makes me good at going down hills fast too...)

After the workout, I went to pick out a steak at  my co-op.  Steaks are cheaper at the co-op by my office.  And that co-op cuts the bones off the rib-eye instead of making me pay for part of the cut I can't actually eat.  Just saying.  I cleaned my kitchen (partially) while cooking the steak.  Now I'm trying to convince myself to do laundry so I can have clean sheets for sleeping.


Suddenly, I remember the merits of HYRDRATION

I've been tired and grumpy all week.  While running 10 miles on Tuesday was certainly a great idea, I think it really took a lot out of me.  I'm also experiencing how much calorie restriction can reduce my energy as well.  (And I'm not even restricting my calories all that much.)

This morning when my alarm went off at 5:30am (there is no way on god's green earth I'm getting out of this bed) I re-set it for much later and planned on going to the gym after work.  But then when  I did get up at 7:15, no, 7:45?, hmmm, sometime after 8am I realized my running gear was packed from yesterday when I bailed on Team:Work because of the rain.

Endomondo is this new app I put on my phone.  I decided a hill run after work would be the perfect time to try it out.  (I'm already packed for it and I love the route.)  As I mentioned a few days ago, my iPods are crumbling before me so I needed a new run tracking method.  My phone is currently the only gear I own that can accommodate the job.

75* was the temperature when I started the run.  (Tell me again why I thought this was a good idea.)  I really do love the route.  Against my better senses, I started *liking* this new app.  (Really, it was only supposed to be a replacement for a week or two while I save up for a new iPod.)  Suddenly the same voice as my GPS lady is whispering in my ear, "one mile, your pace is....", and then a bit later, "two miles in ....minutes, second lap time is ....minutes".  Well, that's really nice.  I was even more impressed when I got home and logged onto their website and found:
A map of my route.  I've never used a GPS enabled device on my run before.  Think of all the time I won't have to spend drawing out routes on Gmaps.

A pace chart (the yellow line) and and elevation profile to go with the pace chart.

A lap pace chart - the bunny was a mostly down hill mile.  The turtle... I can explain.

The jury is still out (it was only one run after all) but I am encouraged by the initial results. I'm not totally a fun of running with my phone.  (Which I know is odd.)  It's heaver than my iPod and I don't have a good arm band for it.  The biggest question is how this sucker will hold up for having the GPS active and music player running four or five solid hours as can happen in my long 20-milers.

The run, as you can see, was not one of my best, but it was ok really.  It was hot when I started, as I knew it would be, and there's not a ton of shade.  Even though this was a slow run, I did work out (finally) why I've been having so many digestive issues.  Today I had the same problem.  (And there's no facilities around there.)  I finally put together that I hadn't hydrated properly (or at all) and that was probably related to my distress.  I certainly wasn't hydrated on Tuesday either, the last time I had said issue.

Some google searching when I came home lead to two helpful articles, this one reminded me that high fiber foods are bad.  (That quinoa dish is probably out for a while.) and this second article mentioned that dieters are more likely to have digestive issues while running than non-dieters.  (It doesn't say what kind of diet, like calorie restriction or only eating certain foods, but it is relevant.)

Even after all this running, I still have a 16-miler to do this weekend.  I'm starting the hydration plan now and hoping for a more pleasant experience.


10.8 Miles of insanity FUN!

It seemed like the best thing I could possibly do today was to wake up at 5am (pray for no rain!) and go run 10.8 miles around Ft SnellingWhy did this seem like a good thing to do?  I have no idea but it was, in fact, fantastic.  I was having another day of just wanting to go long and hard even if it does lead to an eventual bonk.

I really really missed my Ft Snelling route, as it's been under water most of the year.  It hasn't been good for training on long runs becuase I'm to the point where I need even more miles than this route holds.  Crazy, I know.  Last night I had the thought, "you know, 10 miles will only take a couple hours.  If I got up early enough, I could still make it to work on time."  (This is so not healthy.)  Plus I didn't run yesterday so I had the miles to make up.

I got up at 5am and packed two water bottles, one Gu and some sour patch kids and headed out.  True to form, I did have the urge to RUN hard and fast.  (This can't possibly be right.)  Especially during that 1.5 mile 'down hill' section.  (Ask me now how I feel about the up hill section.)

I had an, um, similar issue to the last run and made a stop before leaving Minnehaha Park.  However, a few miles later, said issue returned and I finished the run at what I have heard referred to as "the poop pace".  (Every runner has one.)  I made it home safe and sound.  I'm not sure if it was my running harder and longer than normal leading to this issue or if it was something I ate.  I'm thinking, maybe both?

The rest of my day was spent working and watching my iPods crumble in front of me.  My little iPod Nano (which is four years old almost exactly) did fine on the morning run.  And then started freaking out after thirty minutes later when I synced it.  It just turned itself on and off and tried to keep syncing.  On the way to work it kept restarting.  WTF? The iPod Touch (I will never call it an iTouch) is destroyed after taking it's second swim in an ice bath.  (The first swim it took last year did no damage.)  Now it just wants to be restored to factory settings, but wont let itself be restored because it wants me to type in my passcode, but it wont show me the home screen so I could type in the passcode...  Destroyed.  Right now I'm syncing my phone (Android, it's just not the same) with some of my playlists so I have music to listen to on the way to work.  (It's just not the same.)  I also still have my original iPod which got much less use once Nano and iPod Touch came along.

At the end of the day, Amanda proved once again she is an awesome friend by putting aside her own food cravings (something fried... anything) for my own (Punch Pizza.  Carbs and salty meat.)  We had a nice dinner.  It was packed because apparently wine is the same price as soda this week.


A beautfiul day for fifteen miles

Today's run was a tale of two paces: fast and wall.  But it was a really good run.  I contemplated doing a Ft Snelling run but ultimately chose the river as my route.

About the time I hit the parkway I knew I was going too fast for a long run but I completely didn't care because it felt so good.  I ran the "up" side of the river much harder than marathon pace knowing I would bonk sooner or later.

I ran the first part of the "down" side of the river faster than normal, backing off a bit for that stupid before Summit Ave.  Sometimes, it feels good to just GO!

Sometime later I did have to just, ahem, go.  I took a walk break and took care of business.  I started running again just in time to hit the wall.  The wall, if you're curious, is located at the Ford Pkwy/46th Street bridge.

Once I got into Minneapolis again, I started allowing walk breaks to accommodate my earlier stupidity *ahem* faster than normal pace.  Hilariously, even with the walk breaks, my time was almost identical to my last long run which means I must've really been moving in the beginning.  Here's how today's run looked:
The up and down is my speed, not elevation.  I took several walk breaks at the end which is why it looks so wild there.

The true tragedy of the day occurred after the run when I dropped my iPod into my ice bath. It's actually not the first time that thing has taken a swim. The touch screen wasn't working when I took it out, but I'm hoping that once it dries it could return to normal. (Otherwise I may have an unexpected expense this month for a new one.)

I had to run out again so I could get a graduation present for my teenager.  (I know, I remember when I first met her).  I then went to the Co-op so I could purchase a steak for my Post-Run meal, came home and ate said steak.

I am now fighting with my digestive system.  As soon as one of us wins, I'm heading over to congratulate my teenager.


An interesting statement on my mental health...

Tuesday (which was a short but ridiculously hot day) I got a "thank you" gift from my Team:Work teammate.  Ha!

Wednesday is the day my mental health probably started to decline. I slept all day. It sounds wonderful and once in a while it is nice. Ultimately though, it's probably not that healthy. I actually ran two errands, once to get bread for breakfast and once to the bank to cash a check.  I took naps in between.  I did not exercise. I did not cook. I ate plenty though. My "plan" was to do a long run Thursday morning to justify the food and laying around.

Thursday (that's today) I woke up at 4:00am because I have the wrong blankets on my bed and I was hot. I knew I'd be falling asleep as my alarm would go off to wake me up for a run and I just wasn't feeling it. So I turned my alarm off. Which is probably the most telling statement about my mental health. Because I love long runs. (Laying around all day sounds good, but there's a price to pay.)

Sometime today after naps one and two I had a "you should forgive yourself for everything" moment. These are the moments that I need to have to get myself back on track. So I forgave my lazy ass for not wanting to run and took myself out for a nice long walk instead. It was a really pretty day. And only in the mid 60's. (Yes, two days ago it was 100*.  As a Minnesotan I can assure you, the crash from 100* to 65* is nothing like the crash from 65* to 30*.)
This picture was taken in the middle of the city.  Seriously.  And that is why people in Minneapolis love it here.  Bonus points to anyone who can identify the lake!

Red winged black bird at the same lake pictured above (if that helps!).

Pretty flower growing in a neighbor's yard.

Irises are all over this week.

After the walk, I basically had no food in the house. I also had an episode on Tuesday where I took lunch to work only to discover it'd been frozen for about a year and was just generally a surprise. I basically subsisted off raisin bagels that day. But that lead to motivation to do some cooking for lunches. I had another goal of 'shopping on a budget' meaning paying cash for groceries. When's the last time I did that? So, I reviewed recipes, made a list and headed off to the Co Op. With my quartlerly discount I had just enough in my wallet for all my food and the super big box of laundry soap.

I got home around 7pm. It's 11pm now and I'm finally done cooking. I made:
  • Wild Rice Salad except not really. It turns out Wild Rice is like $14/lb at the Co-op. Seriously!?! I refused. I got Black Quinoa instead. This dish wins the prize for looking the least appetizing. I did sample and it's pretty good, but I may have to verbally remind myself of the potential taste before deciding to pack this for lunch.
  • I made Sesame Green Beans using this recipe substituting the green beans for kale obviously. I've made this before and love it. I usually use less honey than the recipe calls for.
  • Tangy Cauliflower Salad is an 'oldy-but-goody' recipe. I don't make it a whole lot because it's really a side dish, not like a main thing I could really take for lunch. But it's so good that once in a while I make the effort of zesting a lemon anyways.
  • Paleo Chicken Salad looks to be the winning recipe of the night. (Totally substituted sour cream for the mayo. I don't actually care about the paleo diet...) I was remembering the chicken salad I had that Mark made when I was in New York and wanted to try and make my own. WIN! Also, because I substituted sour cream for mayo it means that if I ever make it at home Dad will eat it.

Now I'm feeling a little bit better about myself and life. I seem to have recaptured my purpose a little. I swear, I think I love cooking even more than I love eating what I make. (Although I am going to dream about that chicken salad.)


Running Melting in the Heat Update

It's hotter than blue blazes here.  Is that clear?

Hottest day since 1988 - I actually have a memory of how hot it was that summer; I hope this doesn't last as long as that did.

Saturday I had a great long run with "girl the other girl met at the bar" who now really needs a better blog name.  She wanted a flat-ish route which is more possible from my house than hers so she came over.  We headed out on this route; the same one where Beth showed her friendship for me a few weeks ago.  I was quickly reminded that I need to run my own pace, not get excited and go faster because I have company.  11 miles is a long way, just relax.  I was also reminded that it's hot and there's very little shade on that route.  It was a very nice run and I had a blast. 
Afterwards, I headed over to Richfield farmer's market where a bacon purveyor had been recommended by my pooky bear.  I picked up pepper bacon and then I went and got a steak (best post run meal ever!) and stayed home the rest of the day.
Flowers in my courtyard.  Irises remind me of my mom because she always liked the Van Gogh Irises.

Sunday was the Grand Old Day 5k which was a race Team:Work had picked out.  Apparently the plague hit Team:Work because only person besides me was healthy enough to run.  The St Paul runners did show up so we combined "running teams" before the race.  (That means I had lots of company at the starting line.) 

Since I'd done a long run the day before (and it was still hotter than blazes) I decided to pace my Team:Work teammate for her time goal instead of trying too hard myself.  Here's what I know about pacing: "Slow down!"  "Trust me, it's not time to go that fast yet!"  "Slow down!" and then at the end "Now go!", "Kick!".  I have no idea if I'm a good pacer or not, or if I'm in any way encouraging (who would be encouraged by hearing "slow down" in a race?) but teammate nailed it.  Her goal was 41:00 and her official time was 39:50.  (Also, I paced her without a watch.)

It's totally that kind of race!
Teammate actually had to leave after the race but I got to stay and watch the parade with Running Beth and her family.  (There was a bouncy slide and a happy five year old.)
It did look like a fun slide. 

It was that kind of parade too!

Monday I thought about going to the gym.  That was as close to exercise as I came.

Today I got off work early (yeah for Jewish holidays) and did head to the gym.  I did an hour on the elliptical.  The track is off limits while the basketball courts below it are being resurfaced.  (Something about dust and toxic fumes...)  It's tripple digit temperatures right now but tomorrow the high is supposed to be 80* and the overnight low into Thursday will be around 50*.  I'm thinking long run Thursday morning.  This week the plan is 14 or so miles.


Happy National Running Day

It's National Running Day so go out and move!.  Here's some music if you require motivation (this is a Chris inspired play list):

Here's how my day went:

2:30am (seriously) - I woke up with a migraine.  I think it was related to the caffeine headache I got yesterday from spilling coffee on myself and then consuming less caffeine than normal.  I took strong medicine and bailed on the morning run with the St Paul girls.  (Really, at 5:30am I was still stoned from the half dose of meds I took.)

7:30ish - I woke up, still with a migraine but I knew that if I just started the day it would go away.  And so it did.

8ish - I went by the co-op, got yogurt and strawberries (strawberries!) and headed in to the office.  Where I obviously had a fantastic breakfast.  Work was fine.  As was pointed out to me, I didn't have to send anyone to the hospital today.  (It's not every day I can say that.)

5:00pm - since I missed my first run, I felt a strong urge to get out with Team:Work tonight and hit it.  Sadly, half of Team:Work had the plague (no, serious).  Three of us headed of to Grand Avenue to run the route for the Grand Old Day 5k, our first Team:Work race of the year.  It's not clear if I'll be running my race own on Sunday or pacing some of my teammates.  I think I agreed to a 10-miler on Saturday so probably just the pacing.  Here's our run tonight.  We did 8 minutes of running and four minutes of walking, not counting stop lights.

After the run I came home and counted calories.  I think this is the first day all week I'm actually at my calorie goal.  (The good thing about counting is that even if I go over my 1600 calories a day, I can still be in a weight loss range, it just means slower loss.  Good information to have so I don't feel like a failure for eating 1750 or 1800 calories I think.)  Thank goodness for running.

I also had some time to peruse the internet for news and enterainment stories.  Falling into the category of things that we shouldn't laugh at (but it's quite tempting):
So not helping