When you go for a run and feel so fortunate to be alive and running

I love it when I go out for a run and the moment I step outside I feel so lucky to be heading out for a run, excited about the route, and generally feeling good.  I'm sure I've made my feelings about Ft Snelling quite clear.  See the running review and the out of town parents review if you need a reminder.  Per tradition, my last "long run" before marathon Sunday is always completed at Ft Snelling if possible.

As I was running on the parkway I saw the guy putting up the signs saying "this road closed first Sunday in October" (hell yeah it is!).  I also sort of saw the start line for Women Run the Cities.  Good luck to my friends who were running the 10-miler!

I may have figured out part of the issue with my phone.  (I have a love/hate relationship with Android.)  I use  Endomondo to track my runs.  (I've checked out other apps like RunKeeper and I really like this one.)  I use the default "Music" player on my phone for music.  For some reason, every once in a while (like every freaking run), DoubleTwist will just open and start playing music.  (Excuse me?  Did I ask you?  Was that the playlist I wanted to hear?  WTF?)   I finally just uninstalled DoubleTwist.  It appears that I can keep the desktop app and be able to sync playlists, even without the app on my phone.

Now I'm having an issue with Blogger (what is the deal today?) where I can't post photos.  Did Blogger stop supporting .png files? 

After my basically joyous run this morning, that vague sense of dread is sinking in.  Less than one week to go!


Taper: Marathon speak for "I do nothing"

Near as I can tell, the real point of the taper is to make the desire to go for a freaking run at least big enough to mitigate the sense of dread at the start line of a marathon.

I haven't run since Wednesday when I went with Beth.  Friday I hit the elliptical and rowing machine and today I did Pilates.  Tomorrow is my last 10-miler before race day (which per tradition, will be completed along the Ft Snelling trail).

On tap for the rest of the week - a hill run on Tuesday with Team:Work, and an easy four on Thursday (when I don't have to work because it's a Jewish holiday)

Since I'm not actually doing anything, I came up with some great running songs of varying tempos for you to enjoy!


Hill Run with Beth

The conversation went like this:

Me - want to run tomorrow?
Beth - I have to go from the JCC at 7:20 (instead of 5:30am)
Me - Okay.

The last time I ran from the JCC, I learned the wild hill route that starts with the Davern Hill.  Yes, that profile is accurate.  It's really that steep.

Looking back, I'm glad I didn't know what was coming because it was a really challenging route.

This morning I proposed a different route with a much less dramatic profile.  Or so I thought.

I'm all "let's just run the longer, less steep way up the hill and then run back down".  And Beth was totally okay with giving it a try.  She made me work.  We have very different strategies on hills.  Hers is a variant on "the faster you run the faster you're done" and mine is "slow down and try not to have a heart attack before the top of the hill". 

Beth knows I love running down hill so she picked up the pace on the way down.
 I think that may be the first 10-minute mile I've run in my life.  Mile 3 was on track to be that fast too but we saw a friend (Other Beth) and stopped to say hi.  I was all worried about myself (why is this so hard?) until I got home and looked at how fast Beth had me running.

I had a great time.  The bonus was not having to get up at 5am and still being able to run with someone else.  Nice.


Half my miles are done. And some good exercise music!

I had 14 miles on tap for today.  I knew I was never going to run all 14 of those miles, based on having a race the day before and how my body is feeling.The rain and generally crappy weather gave me some cover for not running outside at all. 

Sadly, there's no other time this week that I can make up the miles.  I headed to the gym and the final three-hour elliptical workout of this marathon training season.  I'm so over the elliptical.  I wound up having a "15 mile" workout, meaning half of my miles for this week got done in one sitting.  (Hell yeah I am!)  The more important question is how will I entertain myself the rest of the week?

Some of my favorite running songs from this workout:


Bolder Dash 10K

The Bolder Dash is one of my favorite races (and benefits one of my favorite organizations).  It was my first 10K race ever a few years ago.  Not long after that race, I started training for my first marathon.  (What was I thinking?)  In 2009 I ran the 10K again and then walked the 5K with my dad.  (Our first race together.)  This year, one of the Team:Work people and her husband came out to participate.

The race is at my happy place.  I have a whole new respect for track runners who run laps and laps and laps around an oval.  This course is two laps around the lake.  The hardest part of this race is thinking, "oh, shit, I have to run around this thing again".  It makes pacing quite challenging.  (I did not use my phone/GPS during the run for pacing assistance because that would be cheating.)

We got on our numbers and headed over to the start line.  I saw a bunch of people I knew which was also fun.

I tried oatmeal today as a pre-race breakfast.  I think, ultimately, oatmeal would be a great pre-race food but I should've had it about two hours before the race instead of one hour before the starting line.

The race was an adventure in pacing.  I set a new PR.  My time was 1:06:00 (impressive right, to hit 00 seconds?) which is a 10:38 pace.  I couldn't find my time for 2009 but I think it was an 11:00 pace.  I knew I was ahead of life this year when I went by the 5K start and people weren't lining up yet.

After I got done I hit up the coffee and had an apple.  It was cold.  I watched all the mentor/mentee pairs start the race (which is always a blast) and cheered for them.  Then the two of us who'd finished walked back along the course to find the last member of Team:Work who is a race walker.
She killed her PR by 4:00 and placed second in her age group.  Heck yes you are!

After the race I did laundry, cleaned and then went to lunch with neighbor Steve and had awesome Thai Food.  Now I'm sitting on my couch with a basically clean house listening to the dishwasher run.


Fast LONG run and then... nothing

The awesome part of marathon training is upon me.
Tuesday I had a long run that was loads of fun.  I was pissed about something that happened at work so I ran really fast to get the aggravation out.  It was a little confidence booster before the marathon to know my pace for that many miles and have it be a strong one.

I took my favorite Ft Snelling route.  It's a little over 11 miles and my phone freaked out right before mile 10 so it got most of what happened.

As always, mile 1 is a wonky time because I'm turning my music on, putting my phone away, doing my hair, and so on.  Mile 2 is proof that it takes me a while to warm up.  Mile 6 - guess where the big hill is.  Mile 10 - guess where the stoplight is.

Here's another way to look at my pace.  Hilarious how it drops as I was trying to get up that hill.  That last blip at the end is the stoplight where I had to wait.

Tuesday was also a Team:Work night. All the runners bailed (and now owe me beer) but both walkers came so we did a nice 3 miles of walking and skipping (which is a power and propulsion exercise).

Wednesday morning I got up and ran with Beth. It was cold. I was slow. We had this hilarious conversation:
So you did a long run yesterday, then 3 miles at night and now you're here!?!
Um. I have to get my miles in so I can rest before Saturday?

So today I obviously did nothing and will do nothing again tomorrow. Saturday is the Bolder Dash. Me and one other person are running the 10K then we'll cheer for the kids in the 5K.

I spent part of today reviewing the participant guide for the marathon.  I hate reading about drop out times and medical tents.  It makes me nervous.  Also, there's a Corral 3 this year for the truly slow (that's me) people.  Keeping us at the back didn't work?  Whatever.

Tonight - rest.

Tomorrow - carbs before race day!


The Rising - this is such a strange day

This is a weird day on so many different levels.  And this is the only song that really feels like how I want to think about September 11th.  The Rising - Bruce Springsteen for those of you reading this on Facebook and not able to see the embedded video.

I woke up at, well, early, planning to do an 11-12 miler around Ft Snelling.  I checked the weather (which was my first mistake) and I kept getting more and more confused.  Once I saw it was 68* and 80% humidity I was not in a good mood.  But then Kare 11 radar had all this activity.  WCCO radar had the same activity but not as severe.  Weather.com had nothing.  I was so confused.  And by this point I'd been staring at my phone and computer long enough I was getting too tired to care.

So I went back to bed.

I woke up later and realized that it was, in fact, September 11th.  This day is just weird for me becuase I wasn't in the country, (or in any country) when it happened and I wasn't even around televisions that day or for most of the time after.  It's like I missed out on this inside story the entire country knows about.

I was on a ship doing a study abroad.  Obviously, we got the news but we didn't have satellite television or anything so I was away from the images and news casts everyone here knows so well.  On the ship I sent an email home and then got one from my dad basically saying we can't get mad at anybody and we can't hold this against people (because violence is a descending spiral).  And then he just told me to be as nice as I could to everyone I met on my journey.

So when we got to Japan the first thing half the boat saw was Hiroshima.  It was very sad to be knowing the US was going to go to war soon and be in these places with these living images of how awful war can be.  Before the US actually went to war, we got further reminders in China, Singapore and most notably Vietnam.  It was sad for me because I'd just spent all this time looking at "hey, this is what war does to countries and people; it didn't make anyone's lives better, it just hurts people" in all these different formats.

I remember finally getting home too.  I drove across alligator alley to Ft Meyers with my Mom, Dad, aunt and uncle and I was all "why are there flags on all the cars?".  My mom was really mad at me for not understanding.  (I still don't get it.)  There's a lot about this day I don't get.  (If that makes me un-American, deal with it.  I'm really one of you.)

After strolling down memory lane, mostly through Facebook posts with people from that trip, I headed to the gym and did a couple hours work on the elliptical.  I had my last Roctane packet during this workout, because I knew the consequences wouldn't be too bad here.  I still don't like it. 

I'm trying to figure out my mileage for the rest of the week.  I still want to hit Ft Snelling, maybe Tuesday when the weather cools off.  And I'm racing a 10K on Saturday.  Which leaves me about 10 miles to spread through the other days of the week and take Thursday and Friday off.


To those who think fall is coming - HA! Yeah, right!

I finally drug my butt out of bed after 9am this morning.  (Guess I'm not meeting anyone for a lakes run...)  I had a four miler on tap.  At first I was all "yeah, I've gone faster" and then I was all "what is wrong with me?" until I ended up thinking, "oh, hey, it's like 70* and 70% humidity".  Fall must sort of be coming because I'm getting the fall allergies (there are unusual side effects) symptoms during my runs.  But temperature wise, it's still very much summer.  It was almost 90 yesterday and will be about as hot today.

The realizations about temperature impacting my performance was followed by "thank goodness I did my 21-miler last week" because this weather would suck.  (Heather: I hope you have a good last long run and I wish you would carry some water with you.  Just saying.)

I took the usual four miler route.  This route is not flat.  I'm trying to remind myself that the ability to ascend hills will suddenly become very useful, like around mile 20 of the marathon.  Because otherwise I would've found a different route.

Definitely not breaking any land speed records this morning. It really was hot. 

After running I did a little business at Wells Fargo (by "business" I mean "closed my accounts"), got fresh bread at the bakery, and made an awesome breakfast.

About 20 minutes before class started, I realized I could do Pilates at 1pm today.  (I missed last Saturday because the floor of the studio was being resurfaced and last Monday for Labor Day) so I dropped what I was doing and headed over.

I'm having two thoughts right now - either that coffee was not decaf, or there was something wrong with those eggs.  Just saying.  I'm actually more inclined to blame the coffee.

I'm going to lay on the couch for a little while, then my goal is to have my apartment be clean (that's like a perpetually failed goal) and to carb-load for my "long run" of 12 miles tomorrow.  (Ft Snelling, here I come!)


Running: Only thing keeping me sane right now

Last night I drug Team:Work on a new route that was longer than they expected and more challenging than any of us were expecting.  (Whatever, we need to get ready for that 10K right?)  I had a nice time.

The route: a nice little out and back on Shepard, but it's mostly uphill on the way back, including a steep part when we turn onto Otto. At least one person liked being on the river that long, and I liked the only lights being at Otto and Randolph. I wish St Paul would have mowed the weeds growing up through the cracks on the walking path. They were pretty big.

This tracks my pace for the run. We are still taking some walk breaks, and I run back and forth between the runners and the walkers. See that spike in the yellow line in the middle? That's me hauling butt up some stupid hill from the walkers to runners. I have no idea why I thought that would be good to do.

This morning, I started the day off right running with Beth and a girl I hadn't met before.  I think I had rocket fuel for dinner last night.  Because I felt like I was running really fast this morning.  (That could just be blind optimism.)  I realized once that last 20 miler is in, something weird happens to my fitness level.  Because I'm never the one feeling fast on a  run.

The rest of the day was exhausting.  I'm glad I had a run to start it out because it put me in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day.


Relaxing at the Lakes

After yesterday's wild run, I just wanted to be outside and enjoy the sunshine and cool-ish weather.

First thing I noticed when I woke up was that my feet and calves were super tight but there was no pain in my quads.  The foam roller must have done something.

I laid around all morning and then headed over to the lakes in the afternoon.  True to form my phone crashed twice during the walk.  I know it has something to do with GPS since it only crashes when I'm using the GPS on the device.  It crashes when I'm using GPS in the car too and that really sucks.

For some reason, I've been a "Lake of the Isles" mood so that's where I headed. I had a brief detour over to Lake Cedar and totally took the long way back. But now I've found both Lake Cedar and what I'm dubbing "the whitest part of Minneapolis". Wow.

Sunflowers just opening up to see me. (It was probably the sunshine they were really after. But whatever, I am a ray of sunshine.)

Morning glory staying open all day.

Nice view of downtown Minneapolis looking over Lake of the Isles.


Sunday Long Run - 21 Miles in the books

My playlist for this run is called "About to taper" because after this long run, the taper begins.  (I have a 12, 14 and 10 miler left.  And then I run a marathon.)

The Good

  • Pacing late in the run.  There are hills at the end of this run, including a small one that feels like a mountain.  I ran them, even the one at Portland.
  • The Galloway method during the middle (and a bit at the end) of the run.  Helped me calm down my stomach and my panic attacks.
  • The route - this was actually kind of fun.  I don't remember thinking that even once on the run.
  • iPod resurrection - I used the Nike+ system, which I haven't since my little nano freaked out on me earlier this summer.  I can't use the app on my phone for runs this long becuase I'm slow and my battery doesn't last that many hours.
  • Post race nutrition: for breakfast I made what I call "the protein basket". It's 2 eggs; three links of chicken sausage, out of the casing (today I used five links); and 1/2 cup dried lentils, cooked to perfection. Mix it all up and add steak sauce. I will never be hungry again.  (This is also an excellent breakfast for those days I know my schedule is so busy I won't get lunch until 3pm.)

The Bad

  • The pacing early in the run. What was I thinking?
  • Nike+ is not Endomondo which is why the graph of my run looks like this (this is not what happened at all):

  • I tried repeatedly to get the graph to look like it should, showing my running and dying walking paces. While I could preview it, the change in my preferences wouldn't save so I couldn't see the correct full size graph. (I tried this in Firefox, Safari and Chrome, and ultimately dropped Nike+ a line.) Sadly, in my frustration, I may have deleted this run from my account.

  • I did get kind of sick. Although not nearly as sick as I normally do. And yeah! for me for having the good sense to stop before getting onto Lake of the Isles which notoriously has no facilities. (This in comparison to the facilities every mile at every other lake in the city.)

The Ugly

  • Nuun is from the devil.  Sorry.  I'd read some nice stuff about it and a lot of people really like it and thought I'd give it a try.  My body will suffer without electrolytes from now on. For those of you who haven't used it, it's an electrolyte tab that dissolves in water (much like Alka Seltzer).  The tab makes the water fizzy (carbonated? - chemists, what gas is released when this tablet dissolves in the water?).  Apparently the only time I don't do well with fizzy drinks is long runs.  Who knew?  It was like pouring acid on my stomach; can't believe I didn't get more sick.
  • Gu Roctane is similarly from the devil.  Typically I do very well with Gu, both the gels and the Chomps.  But as soon as I swallowed my first packet of the Roctane business I knew something was wrong.  I felt a burning in my chest (from swallowing, not breathing).  It was like nothing I've ever experienced.  Well, this sucks. 
  • The panic attacks during the run, helped neither by the nutrition nor getting sick. As I recall, the hardest thing about last year's marathon was a panic attack around Lake Nokomis. Pit of despair indeed.

The Stuff I'm Not Sure About:
  • I have mixed emotions about this run. Historically my last run long run before the marathon has been horrible and then the marathons go fine. I kind of wanted another bad one (glutton for punishment that I am) so I could keep the superstition alive. This run was mostly okay, except a rough patch in the middle when my body protested the roctane, the nuun, and the pace I'd set early in the run.
  • The foam roller experience after the run: we'll see if it helps. Rolling my quads was easily the most painful thing I've experienced lately. And I'm including the actual run.

Sunday: Linkfest