Long Run Sunday - Easy 10

I use the "easy" quite loosely here.  For every marathon I've ever run, I've used my favorite 10-miler route as the final run.  See the reports from 2009 when I learned rats can swim through pipes into your toilet, 2010 when I learned about pharmaceutical interventions for runners poo, and 2011, I still remember how good I felt that morning.  Fantastic.  Also, last night was a full moon.
Food: This morning I decided to try using a Cliff Bar as nutrition instead of gels as I think that will be part of the marathon strategy.  Gels, as you may know, are an amazing substance.  They are the most disgusting substance ever, until you've been running for an hour, then they are glorious and tasty.  Science is still trying to explain it.  Cliff Protein Bars, on the other hand, are always disgusting.  Positives are they have more calories than gels and they do not upset my stomach.  For the marathon I will try to get at least one down before I switch to Gu Gels or Chomps. 

Route: My favorite.  Fall colors are all over the place.  I'm kind of sad that the maples probably won't be as incredible next week as they are right now, but I'm hoping the oaks and some of the other trees come alive.  The most beautiful urban marathon in the country got that way by usually running when fall colors are at peak.  Also, the 'road detoured' signs are out and ready for next week!
Pace: All over the place, as usual.  I have a history of taking this last 10-miler kind of fast, especially in the beginning.  It's only 10 miles...  In honor of running Beth, I tried to run up the big hill as fast as possible.  In some ways she's right and it makes that thing less horrible.  That huge dip in the middle - that's where I was doing my best to get myself up that stupid hill.  I'm glad I kept after it.

Other thoughts: I'm a little nervous about my shoes. I'm currently doing long runs in the Brooks Green Silence.  I have two concerns - one is these are sort of minimalist shoes and offer very little support (on purpose), second is my feet seem to slide around in them sometimes, in my socks, so it's really my socks doing the rubbing.  I haven't had too many blister issues but I haven't worn them for 26 miles either. 
I'm trying to make a music plan, but for now deciding I shouldn't.  At first I was all "I'll stick with the pacer this long and stick my music in here, before this god awful hill" and then I was all "maybe I should listen to music here..." and now I'm like, "just carry the headphones and see how it goes".  I actually listened to music for about half the run today, the beginning and the end when the scenery was not the river.

For those of you wondering, it's not too late, you can still make a donation to support Bolder Options.  To those of you who've already donated, thank you so much!


Saturday 4 Miler

Despite using "I'm tapering" as an excuse to get out of almost anything, I am still running.  Today I had a four miler to do and picked a route I haven't done in ages.  This is my "neighborhood" route, and it was the route I used back in the beginning of time when I was just learning to run. 

Once I finally drug myself out of bed, I grabbed my shoes and hit the road.  Today marks the first time that I didn't even bother to bring ear buds along on the run, so I was totally sans music the entire time.  Just me and the sound of my own awesomeness the sound of my feet hitting the pavement.  This is the 'hilliest' (and I use that term loosely) of all the routes I run around here.

This run just proves I badly need a pacer.  My pace today looked like this: all over the place.

The run was fairly gorgeous.  The leaves are turning and the fall colors and getting more and more impressive by the moment.  I think this wont be the greatest fall we've ever had, with the drought and weather that's been all over the place, but it is nice to get a peak at the bright red maples before everything dies for the year.



Spork! Not. But I was on the news today!

This post has nothing to do with sporks.  Two separate people mentioned this post to me today, so I thought I should just use the word "spork" as much as possible to increase blog popularity.  Heirloom tomatoes were also mentioned and I've been requested to do a post on solid state hard drives (they make my computers go super fast)All of this stemmed from the events of today.

4:45am My alarm goes off.  Why?  Because I am a nice person.

5am Show up at Bolder Options with some other mentors, mentees, staff and Sven Sundgaard.  For the out of towners - Sven is a really well liked local news personality.  He's a meteorologist most of the time but also does segments about running and science. He's really nice.  And yes, we are the same height.

530 or so We start 'filming' with a warm up while some of the Bolder Options staff were interviewed.  There was lots of filming with interviews in the front and the peanut gallery in the back.
630 or so I was interviewed about fundraising for Bolder Options and then we took off for a "run".  That meant run away from the camera and stop when they cut to commercial.  We got down the block.

655 One more "video feed" segment, just for the end of the news.  Many many many mountain climbers were involved.  Sven also stretched with us and the kids.

7am Done.  The real reason I showed up is because I was offered a new Bolder Options shirt.  Mine says "This is BOLD" and I got it way back when I was matched with my mentee so I was happy for a new one.  This one has an updated slogan too.  I'm wearing it as I type.

Shortly after that time - I was on my couch asleep again.  Well deserved.  During my normal morning I woke up, went grocery shopping, and then met the Qat Lady for lunch.  We went to Highland Grill.  I had the pesto but wasn't a super fan.  Pesto is good enough that you don't have to add bell peppers and onions to it.  WTF?

This was my one Friday a month to work so I headed over.  My question to the city of St Paul - will you ever be done with construction on Ohio Street?  It's getting old.  Also, the detour was non-existent.  Boo.

After 'work' I sat down and had a beer with my neighbor.  Beer is great for bringing out all kinds of discussions, like religion and politics.  Stuff I try to keep to myself but it doesn't always work.  I'm thinking it was one of the last really great days we'll have for sitting in the courtyard.

To finish off the night, I cooked a few of those things I got from the store.  I made my awesome Jicama Sticks dish.  Add sea salt too.  It makes it even better.  I also made sweet potato fries. 
Tomorrow I will make roasted green beans.  For the forseeable future I will also be making smoothies and using frozen fruit in my yogurt.  Frozen berries were wicked on sale at the store so I stocked up.  Mmmm.  Raspberries.  Also tomorrow I'm being threatened with cooked tomatoes.  "You like those right?"  Not if it just takes like a hot version of a raw tomato.  We'll see.  Maybe I will like it and learn a new dish in the process.


Taper: Elliptical

Suddenly I hate music while exercising?  That can't be right.

I have the day off work for Yom Kippur.  To those of you who observe, I hope you are having an easy fast.  But for me that meant one thing: sleep in!  I finally drug myself out of bed and hit the gym a little after 9am.  The parking lot was crazy busy but the fitness floor was fine.  I don't know where everyone was.

I got on the elliptical and was all "oh, my old friend" like I really missed working out on the elliptical since I haven't been doing it much recently.  Yeah, that lasted about two minutes.  Then I was all "this is so boring, no wonder I haven't done this in a while".  WTF?  That's unusual becuase I typically like the elliptical.  I started to put in some tunes because as previously mentioned running without music is not the same as the elliptical without music.  I don't know what was my issue though because I hated almost every song that came on.  Apparently I was tired and cranky.  The 'fitness' part of the workout was fine, not too hard and not too easy.  Afterwards I was careful to stretch and foam roller to facilitate recovery.  I'm tapering. 

Walking a cool down lap on the track
I came home and had breakfast.  Followed by a nap.  I think I was a cat in a previous life because laying on the couch and napping is one of my favorite things to do.  Ever.  Shortly after the nap I went on a cleaning jag.  I understand that does not equal the suffering of fasting for 24 hours, but it was impressive for me to get that much cleaning done in one afternoon.  I am now back on the couch where I belong cuing up for my second nap of the day.  I may or may not have dinner plans afterwards. 


Stairs: Best thing ever (not): Running music.

My workout plans changed several times today.  Ultimately it ended with running to the park and then doing a workout there.  The stairs were involved.  Lots of stairs were involved.  Nice.  Running up the stairs (or hopping up them) is fine; it's when I try to come back down that I can't feel my legs.

I'm "tapering" but haven't hit the part of the taper where I truly do nothing.  (So can't wait for that.)  There's some runs this week and then a 10-miler next week followed by a couple short runs, just so my legs remember what to do on the big day.

In lieu of any real workout news, I checked my iTunes playlist for my latest additions.  Clearly the whole "not running with headphones" thing is impacting my playlist because most of these are from Zumba, although the more astute among you may also recognize a Bones reference in the mix.


12 Miles, 36*. What could possibly go wrong?

7:30am when my alarm clock went off, might as well have been 5:30am.  Why is it so early? I had 12 miles on the plan today.  It was 36* when I checked.  What do I wear for this?  I kept having this internal conversation of, seriously - it will be warm when you're running.  I wound up in wool socks, a light pair of pants, t shirt and long sleeve shirt.  It was warm when I was running in the sun but pleasantly so and not like I was going to pass out.

745 - out the door.  I was doing a Ft Snelling run, made slightly longer by taking "long cuts" and adding some stuff at the end.  I brought my headphones along but started with not listening to them.  This is also only the second run this year where I wore a fuel belt instead of my Cambelbak bag which meant I could take both gatorade and water along.

Miles 1, 2 and 3 Oh seriously!  Already?  This is what happens.  I wake up, I go through the normal getting ready routine, I think I'm good.  Then a mile from my house, just starting into the run I have to poo.  Awesome.  I prayed for peace with the Minneapolis Park Board who maintains facilities over parts of my route.  The facilities are always hit and miss, sometimes being clean and well stocked.  Sometimes they're not well stocked or the door is locked or the thing is turned so you can't open the door or any other kind of nonsense imaginable.  Today was fine.

Minnehaha Falls and the park Per tradition, I was running by Minnehaha Falls as the Women Run the Cities race was starting.  That explains all the cars and the people.  Their race goes from the falls north up the river so we were never really in each others way.  One of the cyclists told me I was running the wrong direction but I knew he was joking and thought it was funny.  Usually this race is the week before Twin Cities, this year its two weeks out because "the first Sunday in October" is falling as late as mathematically possible this year.

Ft Snelling State Park - Down  I love this part of the run.  There was a tree blocking part of the path, it must've fallen recently.  Nothing nearly as dramatic as the time I climbed that fence during a 20-miler.  I took some Gu, had some Gatorade and generally enjoyed myself.  Did I mention the weather was gorgeous, despite the chill in the air.

Ft Snelling State Park - The Hill I took the hill without music today, possibly for the first time ever.  I was all "you'll go faster if there's no music to distract you" and I was right.  The hill is really broken into two segments - the looooong painful steep part and the little steep part at the end known as the finisher.  There's about 200' of flat in between the two parts.  Usually I run up the big part, catch my breath on the flat and run up at least half of the finisher before needing to catch my breath again.  Today, a pick up truck was on the trail coming at me as I started up the finisher.  Good, I needed another walking break.  Let me just get out of your way and stand over here.  WTF?

Ft Snelling State Park - Top side  The view along the river was tremendous as usual.  I can't tell if I'm seeing fall colors or if the trees are just burned out this year because of the drought.  I'll take a closer look and let you know when I go back next week for my 10-miler.  Still no music.  Also, the river is down.  Wow.

Minnehaha Falls - part 2.  As I mentioned I had a long sleeve shirt on.  It was bright green and kind of hard to miss.  So I was astonished when not one but two people on two separate occasions heard me coming, turned and looked at me, turned back around, stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and were startled when I almost ran into them and wanted to pass them.  I'm in bright green.  How do you not see me?  Also, how do you look at me and then forget I'm coming?  One was a racer who'd finished so she's mildly excused. 

The parkway again - I ran on the side of the road opposite where I'll be for Marathon Sunday just because for these last two weeks I try to stay off the course as much as I can.  It's a mental game.  I had gatorade and a gu and then was all "why do I feel like I just poured acid down my stomach?"  Probably important to remember that for the marathon. 

Back into the neighborhood Running Beth says I live in hill country.  While anything outside of Austin, Cincinnati and San Fransisco can't rightly be considered 'hill country' for running purposes, there are some rollers on the way back to my house that hurt more at mile 11 then they would at mile 3.  I started thinking I just want to stop and cry.  I'll never make it through a marathon if this is how I feel at mile 11.5  That was followed by the voice of reason Calm down, this is normally when you'd take water and another gu and you're not doing that so just live with the pain.  It's almost done.

Running around the block a few extra times I knew this route, long cuts and all, was still only 11.5 or so and I needed 12 miles so when I got close to my house, I ran around the block a few extra times for what I thought would equal another .5 miles for an even 12.  I have become one of those runners who runs around the block so their Garmin shows an even number at the end of the run.  I don't even own a Garmin.  (Side note - now you know what to get me for Christmas.)  I was highly encouraged when I stopped the clock at 2:30, including a poo break and that hill at Ft Snelling, that's must faster than I thought I went.  May be fairer to say that's much faster than I thought I was going at mile 11.5 when I just wanted to stop and cry.  This may be one of the more accurate readings my Nike+ thing has ever taken, it's off by about .4 miles.  Given how wrong the thing normally is, that's excellent.

Another great thing about running when it's in the 30s and 40s: no guilt about skipping the ice bath.  My arms and legs were freezing already and my skin was all red.  After the run I had a power smoothie of oats and nuts (put in the blender and grind first, then add the rest), banana, two kiwi, a plum, yogurt and chia seeds.  Apparently I have a "breakfast" date at 1pm. 

Wordless Weekends - Fall Colors



Running with headphones - yes or no?

Do you run with music?  A while ago I was tooling around on the web and found this post which I read and sort of ignored until I thought about it some more.  Since then I've been doing more and more runs sans music and it's been an interesting experience.  Today was the first day I didn't even bother bringing my headphones along.  Here's what I think:
  • I feel much less pressure to keep looking for new music for running.  That playlist doesn't get nearly as old when I only hear it once a week.
  • I like that I can hear the sounds of my feet on the pavement.  It's my own rhythm.
  • Without music is much closer to how I run in races, since I'm normally with a pace group so it's good to practice that way.
  • Such a better plan for running in the dark.
  • I run faster up hills.  There's no music to provide a rhythm or pace and I just want this crap over with.
  • I like runners who also do not have earbuds because they always smile and say hi as they run by and leave me in the dust.
  • I never have any plans to stop listening to music for any workouts at the gym including track workouts, treadmill or the elliptical.  You can pry my iPod from my cold dead hands.

How I've done it so far:
One day I went out for a run and it was going to be dark when I left so I was all "I'll take my earbuds with me and put them in when the sun comes up or at XX point along the course.  Read more here.  I did that for a couple runs here and then for my 20-miler I kept my earbuds out the whole time I was running in the dark without a sidewalk.  More on that foolishness here.  For other runs in Cincinnati, I did one with music because I was totally unmotivated and wouldn't have left the house without the extra incentive.  The other run was totally without music although I had the earbuds with me as a safety net.  Today I just left them at home for my four miler.

Future plans:
I have no idea if I'll keep this up forever, or even go totally music free on some of my longer runs.  20 miles is a long way without some music to distract me.  For now it's nice in the mornings to feel like I have the energy to run without the boost from the earbuds.  I will probably still post what running tunes I'm using now, even if I don't use them as often as before.

Zumba Thursday

Last night I ran with Team:Work.  We're using the couch potato plan to train for the Dreidel Dash.  It was a pretty run along the river with a few long breaks for stop lights.  If you ask, their favorite part was the stop lights.  Really their favorite part was the big hill I make them run up.

After running I went out with a friend.  Some information was dropped on me like a bomb.  (That was unexpected.)  Even before I went to sleep I knew I'd have some energy to burn off and planned to get up early for a run today.

Run!  I guess I had a lot to sort out becuase I went for a 4-miler this morning and ran it faster than I've ever run that route.  Ever.  It was one of those runs where I was ticked and irked and had a lot to think about and did it by absolutely pounding the crap out of my legs.  It felt so good.
 Circuit Class  I'm imagining not coming to Circuit for a couple weeks while I taper.  Tapering is the best excuse in the world for all kinds of crap.  Eating more food - carboloading is an important part of the process; Not running as hard - I'm tapering; Not running as long - I'm tapering.   Today I used "I'm tapering" to get out of several jumping exercises. 

Zumba Thursday is just my favorite night of the week becuase I love Zumba.  It's such a big class, we fill up a gym that's two basketball courts big.  Mostly I go because I love the music.  Today we did a warm up to the song that's all over YouTube; I think it's in Korean, or by a Korean guy?  It was hilarious.  I guess last week the teacher told everyone to wear their shades for the warmup but I was in Cincinnati so I didn't get the message.


Vacation - Everything but running

Thursday was a travel day, and also my mom's birthday.  My flight was delayed.  When I got on board I accidentally read the headlines in the magazine the guy next to me had.  It was clearly a "the United States is a Christian Nation; kick out the Muslims" kind of magazine.  I was thrilled when the flight attendant asked if I wanted to move to a different seat where I'd be by myself.  Once we got off the ground, the flight was uneventful.
In Cincinnati we went to Target for bike helmets and a bike pump, birthday presents for Mom and Dad.  Then we headed out to Green Dog Cafe to celebrate Mom's birthday and carb up for me.

Friday was the 20-miler, which I've mentioned a couple of times.  For dinner, Aunt Barb and Uncle Tom came over.  I cooked.  The menu included pears with prosciutto and goat cheese, caprese salad for the people who can stomach tomatoes, pasta with chicken and homemade pesto sauce and fifteen kinds of olives. 

Saturday we went to a conference put on by A.R.E..  The conference was sort of how this trip got started.  It wasn't exactly what I expected but it gave me some stuff to look up including the White Horse Prophecy and the Pyramid Timeline Prophecy.  Also, something interesting will happen on December 21st because that's when the Mayan Calendar ends.  After the conference we went home and took a nap and then headed to dinner with Mike and Linda.  We had African food and then Grater's.

Sunday I went for a run and then headed out to see Grandma.  Dad and I took her to and Italian restaurant, did some 'work' around the house (which was like two chores) and then hung out.  Dad watched football and baseball and I read a kindle book, Heaven is for real.  Dad got gum on his shoe during the trip.  Also, that night my computer died.  "Blue Screen of Death" on a mac is an entirely different concept.

Monday I went to play with some of my favorite people in the world.  How cool they still play with the blocks I got them for Christmas!  We read about the weather (yes, the snow in Minnesota comes up to my knees sometimes), watered the garden, ran up and down the hill and generally hung out.  I left when it was nap time.
 This one does not like to hold still for the camera so I did my best. 

 This one is every bit as sweet as he looks.

Mom and I hit Jazzercise for the 4:45 class.  We had a new teacher who seemed to have some new form of running on at the mouth.  (Jazzercise is a dance/exercise class where the teacher tells you what to do and demonstrates the moves as you go.)  It went from hilarious to bizarre pretty quickly.  I think she's a teacher in her day job so she talked about that but also some TV shows she likes/doesn't like and other random stuff.

Then all three of us went over to see a friend of my parents.  She'd cooked dinner for us and one other person who was also an out of town guest from South Carolina.  She lives in a hi rise looking over the Ohio River and it is an amazing view.  It was also Dad's birthday.

Tuesday I got up and went for a run in the rain while Mom worked on her dissertation.  Then it was time to head back to the airport.  My flight was miraculously on time (did I mention the weather?) but a little bumpy going up and coming down.  When I got back to Minneapolis I headed over to see my friends at the Mall of America Apple Store and picked up a brand spanking new computer to replace the five-year old behemoth that had finally bit it.  What they say about backing a Mac up with time machine - totally true.  One of the easiest data retrieval experiences I've ever had.


Vacation - Running

Wednesday night as I was going through my mail, I found this gem.  I can't believe I signed up for another marathon.  What was I thinking?  I also got my save the date postcard for the Dreidel Dash. 

Thursday was a day of travel and carb loading.  There was no exercise.

Friday was my last 20-miler before the marathon.  This pictures weren't taken on the run but this is what some of the views looked like.  I know in Minnesota we love the Mississippi River, but the Ohio River Valley is really something to see.


Saturday was a day of recovery from the big long run.

Sunday I did a short run becuase I knew I'd be in the car most of the day and it would feel good.  Also, I'm nicer and more patient after I run.  (Serious.)  This was actually the best weather of any of my runs.  It was nice and sunny but not swamp like.  I ran the "hill" route from my parents house.  It's a lot of going up at first and a lot of down hill at the end, just the way I like it.

Monday I did Jazzercise with my mom because for Mondays in September you can bring a friend for free.  When Danza Kuduro came on, I absolutely could not do the routine correctly because I kept trying to do the Zumba routine instead.  Fail.

Tuesday I did six miles, totally without music.  (More on that later.)  It was a super humid day and the weather ultimately devolved into rain for periods of the run.  Great.  I did a longer version of the out and back hill course from my parents house.  The elevation profile is in blue/white and my speed profile is in the red/yellow rainbow.  I ran really fast at the end because it was both downhill and I was over getting rained on.

Mileage got a little wonky with moving the 20-miler from Sunday to a Friday.  My plan for the rest of the week is to keep running and then to truly start the taper after my next 12-miler over the weekend.