Saturday, March 31, 2007
Since I started running longer distances, I've had this dream to run from my parent's house to the airport. I think this is because as a kid, a trip to the airport (12 miles away) was one of the longest drives we'd make, thereby making it seem almost inconceivable that I would one day be able to run it. But alas, today I did. And it was great- I felt light on my feet, well hydrated, cool and comfortable.
Last week Sunday I also enjoyed another run along Ali'i Drive (a coastal 8 mile stretch), where I ran beneath swaying palm trees and could see whales frolicking off the coast. And once I finished, I even jumped into the ocean- where I was delighted to show my 4-year old nephew how to squeeze chubby sea cucumbers to make them go 'pee pee' (PETA readers- please note that I only do this once a year and that I promise I will stop before I'm 40).
There are so many things that can go wrong on a run (side pain, heavy legs, exhaustion, dehydration, etc.) that I never take the 'good' ones for granted. On today's near perfect run I had only one minor issue, which was that I needed to pee (yes, just like a sea cucumber). Having to pee on a run has happenned to me only two other times (careful pre-run planning can usually help avoid this). The first time was at a race in Santa Barbara (which I detailed in an earlier post...if you missed it, consider yourself lucky). The second time it happenned I was on an empty road, so it was easy to duck behind a bush and take care of business discreetly and effectively (key words- 'avoid backsplash'). On today's occasion, thanks to some thick bougainvillea and noni trees to shield me, crisis was easily averted.
I can only wish dealing with #2 issues were as easy. Trust me, there is nothing more of a priority for a distance runner than to be able to make sure you get to do your daily #2 BEFORE a run. All of your pre-run preparation centers around this goal- what you eat, when you eat, when you run, etc. Leaving it all to fate is simply not an option...because I assure you (and if you don't believe me, ask any runner), if you do not go BEFORE a run, once you start, you will have the sudden, inescapable urge to do a #2. And you will be reminded of this with every. single. step. Now I've never been given birth, but I'm pretty sure this unpleasant sensation is comparable to having to suck back in your infant's head each time it crowns...ten thousand times.
Sorry, sorry....I know....TMI. I just thought you'd all be proud of me for being able to enjoy two nice runs in the island without any major issues. I'm even thinking of putting a sticker chart on my fridge everytime I'm able to do a #2 all by myself!!!
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The last two runs have me concerned though. Because while I started off strong and with the right attitude, by mile one, I was kinda bored. And tired. So now I'm back to wondering whether running four days a week is really 'me' and something I truly desire to do...or if I'm pressuring myself to do it because I'm more in love with the idea of being a runner.
Though my instinct is to say it's probably the latter (I tend to focus more on achievement than following my heart), I refuse to reduce the training just because I've had a few rough runs. It could just be because work has been kicking me in the a** lately, or because I'm intimidated about starting another training program. So I'm going to hang in there for now, but I'll continue to assess the situation. Because if nothing else, I want running to be a part of my life for a very, very long time, and if running one more a day week jeopardizes that- I'll readjust.
In other world news, I'm on my third straight week of being irritable and unpleasant to be around. (Wanna hang out?!!) It's definitely unprecedented. I fly back to Hawaii this weekend, so I hope it helps to pull me out of the funk.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
So this is the best I could come up with- saving the file in Paint and posting it as a jpg. (If you click on the picture you can actually see it in detail. Feel free to comment if you see something crazy...though I assure you, all semi-serious runners are this anal about their running schedule.)
The point of all this was to demonstrate how I was able to refine my 'running goals' spreadsheet for the hundredth time this weekend, and I must say, I'm completely enamoured. As you can imagine- I'm a big fan of lists, color coding, charts, spreadsheets and goals. God bless Excel.
The lefthand column is a list of all the races I am interested in (grouped by month). And on the righthand side, the 1st box is a list of the halfs I did in 2006, and the 2nd box is a list of the halfs I hope to do in 2007. The 3rd box is a short list of motivational goals. The 4th box is a chart of my current half marathon training schedule, and the last (long) box is the 20-week training schedule I hope to kick off in July for the December marathon.
And even though I'm only one week in, so far...so good (even my butt feels great)!
Week #1 (of 7):
Mon - run 5 miles
Tue - lift weights
Wed - run 5 miles
Thu - walk 6 miles
Fri - run 5 miles
Sat - rest
Sun - run 6 miles
Total - 21 miles
Saturday, March 17, 2007
So unfortunately, though Mr. Ofelin wasn't all that interested in me (his loss, man) I recently ran into my own crazy stalker who is. I went to a work function the other night and was harassed by some 70-year old guy throughout the course of the night. It started because I was teasing a male coworker about taking steriods in hopes of developing man boobs (yes, I cross that line daily...). The old dude overheard me and turned to us and said, "Well it looks like you've been taking those too, young lady! HA HA HA!" I stared at him blankly for a second before he felt the need to point at my chest and loudly reexplain the joke. Like three times. "I SAAAAAID...IT LOOKS LIKE YOU TOOK THE STERIODS TOO. BECAUSE YOU HAVE A NICE CHEST!!! YOU GET IT?! I SAID YOUR CHEST LOOKS GREAT!!! YOUR CHEST LOOKS BIG!!!" At this point, everyone within a 15-foot radius has now stopped to stare, and for once, I am silent (though ready to go Tae Bo all over his a**). What I wanted to say was, "Look gramps, if you're getting excited about the chest of an Asian female...well, you need to get out more." But I couldn't. Why? Because I like my job and want to eat next week. And we all know that nobody f**ks with my food.
But back to my mission. Today I plotted out both my 6-week training schedule for the next half I want to do on April 29th, as well as a 20-week training schedule for the marathon I want to run in December. At this point, I'm much more nervous about the former than the latter. The race I'm going to attempt next month is scary. Scary! It's best summarized in two words- FRICKEN HILLY.
Last year we ran it blindly (my preferred method) and nearly crapped ourselves. It felt like we were running the same course as the Tour de France, except we weren't Lance Armstrong and we were carrying around an 30 extra pounds of fat (in fact, I distinctly recall Joseph and I bitterly arguing at the starting line over who was carrying around more extra weight and therefore at more of a disadvantage. He won since he could push his gut out further than me). And once on the course (remember, it took me about 5 miles to catch up to a SPEED WALKING Roy), I nearly wept each I time rounded another corner (well that's not true- I cursed viciously).
Nonetheless, even though my training program has been cut short and made much easier as a result of my recent injuries (and I'm still too scared to do hills), I do hope I'm able to improve upon my time last year (2:26).
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Even though I haven't fully recovered from my back/sciatic/inflamed joint/hip/left a** cheek injury, I thought it would help cheer me up to post my 2007 race schedule. And it did (since manic people looove new projects!!!). The original one I did back in January was a lot more ambitious (a race a month), but I now realize that doing so many of them may not be the best idea. Not so much because they would be physically taxing (I'm not a competitive runner, so running a half-marathon a month is actually very doable), but because it can be very taxing on your social calendar, time with your spouse, pocketbook, etc.
I also wanted to share that I went on my first (and second run) since I got hurt! On Sunday I ran for the first time in weeks. I immediately felt some minor discomfort/pain within the first 20 steps and thought about quitting, but didn't because on a scale of 1 to 10, it was a 1 or a 2. And secondly, regardless of the pain and potential consequences, I desperately needed to run (I had let out a holler when I started)! At that point, I didn't care if running would have put me out for another week, I just had to run so I could feel alive again. I did force myself to stop after five miles though, which was hard, but a good thing- since I did limp a little for the rest of the day. Two days later I felt fine though, so I went out on a second run, again for five miles. Surprisingly, I felt even better and didn't have any pain. My game plan at this point is to try and cool my jets, not get too excited and pace myself so I don't end up back where I started.
In any case...I do feel better, and the new race schedule is now listed in the menu bar. Feel free to let me know if any of you are doing any of those races and perhaps we can meet for coffee (or if you're a hippie...wheatgrass...I'm flexible) afterwards. Just bring like, a Sudoku puzzle or something to do after you've crossed the finish line, since you know, I won't be rolling in until about 20 minutes after the DJ has gone home...
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Unfortunately, as always seems to be the case, things gradually returned to normal... 'Normal' meaning that the sense of calm has disappeared, I have returned to eating way too much, and am now deep in a funk... I have learned to accept and deal with this cycle, but what really frustrates me is that despite my best efforts (I work on self acceptance constantly), I don't seem to be any closer to getting a handle of things than I was when I started this overeating fiasco a year ago. Try as I might (talking to myself, God, others, writing in my journal, reading books), I'm still unable to pinpoint or deal with what causes the overwhelming need to eat. Do I eat because I'm unhappy or am I unhappy because I eat? (I know...I know...it's probably the former.) But if that's the case...my life doesn't seem any different this past week than last. So was my 'good week and a half ' just a bizarre reprieve? And if I am unhappy...then why? Childhood scars? Pressure and anxiety from being a perfectionist? Low self esteem? Damn, damn, damn.
I just weighed myself this morning and am up a shocking and disturbing 3.5 pounds from four days ago (some, but not all of it is water weight). I'm of course upset, but I'm also committed to pulling myself out of this funk and I know there's no room for self pity or berating myself.
I've tried to pull myself out of the funk everyday this week, but have been unable to. Today finally feels like the day though. Thank God. Because much as I hate falling down again and again, I am at least grateful that I still have the fight left in me to keep getting back up again.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Now my first reaction was to be horrified and offended. Not because they had stared at my a** so closely (stare away, haters!), but because the outline of my underwear was that noticeable. If my female coworkers had noticed them, then surely the male population had as well! And then I thought, do I really give a sh**? Because simply changing out my underwear will NOT make me any fashionable. I am already Anna Wintour's worst nightmare-
- For starters, I grew up in Hawaii (where we're not exactly known for our fashion sense). Somehow our fondness for the short, brightly-colored mu'u mu'u has never taken off!
- I'm cheap (I buy most of my clothes on sale)
- I have horrible, dry, unruly hair (I have to color it every two weeks AND I force Roy to play with it so much that half the strands are broken and stick out awkwardly in all directions)
- I am too lazy to iron (I am perpetually rumpled), too unfemine/impatient to carefully apply make up (I like to think of myself as a total Monet- not bad from far, but up close...a mess), and always forget to put on lotion (my arms and legs look dry and scaly most days)
When we moved to California 4 years ago, my wardrobe consisted of roughly a dozen short, casual skirts and short-sleeved tops and a single pair of slacks. Not surprisingly, when I started my first job up here with a company that had its own jet and an art gallery, I didn't exactly blend in with all the other folk. And even though I dress better nowadays, judging by the fact that a coworker had to whisper to me the other day that I had my blouse on backwards (it was noon and I would have gone all day without noticing a thing), I haven't changed that much.
Though I do plan to continue to improve, I doubt it will be anything drastic given my recent 'great find' at the mall. I was shopping at New York & Co. a few days ago and came upon a pair of black, polyester slacks. I snickered a little before thinking,"Nice. Veeery niiiice, that is, if you're going for the 'I'm the Manager at McDonald's' or 'I'm headed to my weekly shuffleboard game' look." But then as I touched them I realized that "Heeey...these things don't wrinkle... Whoo-hoo!!!"
(So I bought three pairs).
Thursday, March 08, 2007
I never intended for this to become a blog about a pokey runner who dreamed she'd run a marathon someday. Nonetheless, that's what it has become and I have embraced it (because that's just how I am folks...embracing).
Having said that, I spent my lunch hour the other day flipping through a few running and racing magazines trying to pick out which marathon I'd attempt to do next. As I did this, my first thought was, "Why the fu** do magazine publishers put so many damned renewal cards in each issue?" (Do they REALLY think the seventh or eighth card I come across/drop on the floor is ACTUALLY going to get me to sign up?!) But my second thought was, "Hey Manic girl, how's about recovering first?"
And hmm...yes, that is a good point. Because I realized that I cannot pick a race until I can first figure out when I can start my new training program (I've decided to start back at Week 1). Among the changes:
For starters, I am going to try and learn from my mistakes/injuries. Rather than doing another unimpressive, abbreviated 16-week program*, I'm now going to do a 20-week unimpressive, abbreviated program! (I'm hoping that a slightly longer, less intense training period on flatter terrain will be less taxing on my body and help me to avoid the Achilles tedonitis and back injury the next time around).
*I ran 3 days a week instead of 4, decreased the distance of all my short and medium runs, etc.
I'm also going to try and enjoy the runs as completely separate accomplishments and not treat them as just a means to an end this time. When I started out, I was fairly miserable/nervous, so by the time I hit my stride (8...10 weeks in?) and began enjoying them, they were nearly over.
But the biggest change will be is that if and when I do run a marathon, it will be with considerably less fanfare. While it's wonderful to envision your loved ones holding up banners to encourage you along the way, it can also be downright mortifying if things don't work out. So aside from posting about it on the blog and asking Roy to come, I don't plan on saying a word until I am absolutely certain I will be running, even if it means a much smaller group of friends will be at the finish line.
Which leads me to my final realization- though I've had 2-3 offers, I would really prefer to to run the next race alone. Some people love running and training with others- for socialization, support, safety, and sometimes even for the friendly competition/motivation. Though I love those aspects too, I prefer being alone with my thoughts and music, being able to run freely (slowing down or speeding up, increasing or decreasing my distance whenever I desire) and never having to compare myself to others.
At this point, my goals are only to:
- Continue to do monthly half-marathons;
- Getting them closer to sub-2 hour times; and
- Do a full marathon before the end of the year.
While this does mean I'll be training in the hot, unpleasant summer months (which I swore I would never do), I'm sure as hell gonna try.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Many people were also starting to question my decision to go out to LA on Saturday for the Expo. They thought that being around all the other excited runners would just be inflicting unnecessary pain/torture on myself, which given how I was feeling- was a reasonable fear. So as the date grew nearer, even I began questioning myself- why was I really going? So I could try and prove how tough I was? Try out the latest Asics shoe? Get a $60 sports bra for 20% off?
In all honesty- yes. It's that simple. I *love* race expos. To me, they're almost as fun as the race itself. You get to see the latest gear, try out new product, talk to experts and just soak up the incredible buzz and excitement in the air. For a period of about an hour or two you're standing in a room with hundreds of others who all share a passion in common, and it just feels great. So ironically, my biggest fear was not how I'd feel if I did go, it was how I would feel if I didn't go. I knew, or thought I knew, that Sunday (race day) was already going to be miserable, so why make Saturday miserable too? I might not be able to control my participation in the race, but I could certainly control whether or not I was going to the Expo. So if my only reason for not going was because of my own fear and anxiety- well then...fu**k that! Been there, done that. For ten years. And it sucked.
So I went. Even though a few friends offered to go with me, I chose to go alone because I thought it would give me time to process/confront my feelings both on the drive over and back and while walking around. I had an almost overpowering belief, call it...intuition that going would be part of the'healing process' because I would return home excited with five bags of latest gear to motivate me!
And guess what? My intuition sucked a**! The expo was horribly disappointing (for me anyway)! It was overly crowded, the line to pick up my bib (a big reason for going was to pick up my bib so I could hang it up for future motivation) was over 700-800 yards long, and a good 1/2 to 2/3 of the booths were not even running related (event sponsors, banks, biking, employment opportunities, animal health, etc.). I think because the event was so large, very few vendors were able to give out samples/coupons or have good sales. So despite driving for over two hours, using a half tank of gas and paying another $12 for parking, I returned home without a single purchase.
But here's the thing- I wasn't mad, sad or even disappointed! Because while I may have thought I was going to to buy gear, I really wasn't. I was going to face down my fear- and I did. And I felt GREAT. I was prepared to be weepy all weekend, especially on Sunday (looking at my watch off and on all day and wondering where I'd be on the race course at that moment) and nothing could have been further from that! After the Expo on Sat. I drove straight to join a friend for lunch, and then did a 90-min. cycle ride with her (it's the only cardio I can do pain free right now). After that, I busied myself shopping and cleaning for the rest of the evening (hee hee...washed and put away all the new dinnerware I bought).
And Sunday? Sunday was even better. Roy and I drove down to San Diego to join some friends (who have the two *best* little boys in the whole wide world) for a relaxing day at the San Diego Zoo and dinner. Between the two days...guess how much time I spent thinking about the race? Almost none. And guess how much pain my left buttock is in after two chiropractic visits and plenty of rest? Almost none.
So the entire event didn't exactly unfold the way I had hoped and dreamed it would (no miraculous last-minute recovery, no sub 5-hour race and victorious finish), but I do know that I'm stronger and better than ever.
Thank you, thank you, thank you again to everyone for your support.