Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Week 18 - Marathon Complete!

I can't believe it's over!! I RAN THE MARATHON SUNDAY. Ran it, and finished, and survived! It was touch and go for a while. I almost didn't make it to the start line. But, first let me review Marathon Week.

My last 2 weekday runs were bittersweet. I will not miss waking up at 4:30 a.m. and going to run in the cold, dark. But, I will miss seeing the sun rise, my boats, the ducks, the lake and the skyline. I skipped my Wednesday run of 3 miles - this week was really light on running and meant to just keep loose before Sunday. Jenny and I attended the pawsta dinner at PAWS Wednesday night. It was great to see the dogs we've helped through our fundraising. The team, comprised of 200 runners, is on track to raise more than $130,000 for homeless dogs and cats. Amazing. Armed with that inspiration and motivation, I couldn't wait for the weekend. Jenny and I went to the expo at McCormick Place Friday afternoon to pick up our marathon packets. Of course we shopped and I spent even more $$ on running apparel - this was all marathon stuff though so it was worth it. I even found running socks with turtles on them! lol. We spotted the women's Olympic gold medal winner - no surprise she's a tiny thing. The anticipation of the big day was driving me crazy at this point - I couldn't wait for Sunday!!

Saturday I took it easy - slept in. Did a few things around the house and really just wanted to lie low and stay in the house to avoid any possible mishaps before Sunday morning. I was getting ready to eat lunch and all excited thinking about Sunday morning and literally saying outloud as I jumped around with Bailey on my way into the living room I can't wait to run the marathon and BAM - jammed the middle toe on my right foot into a chair. I swear I thought I broke my toe. I couldn't believe it. I have the worst luck in the entire world. And of course couple bad luck with being a major klutz and there you have it... I iced my toe right away - thank goodness for the corn niblets - watching it turn black and blue. I kept testing it and walking gingerly around the house - unable to put all my weight on my foot. Unreal. I couldn't believe I might not be able to run. I was in shock. Each hour that went by looked more and more grim. The toe was absolutely killing me and looking worse. I frantically tried to think of any friends that may have a shot of cortisone I could borrow. When I realized how silly that was I wondered outloud if it would be possible to have the toe amputated in time for the race... Coming to my senses, at one point Saturday evening I decided I would dress and start the race and just see how far I could get - at least run a mile so I could say I ran in the marathon. A few hours later, I resolved to not only start the race but I would finish it no matter what happened. I didn't care how much pain I was going to be in - I was going to finish this damn thing!!! Oh yeah, my horoscope for Saturday: You're tempted to run wild and free, but don't forget to take safety precautions. D'oh. The sad thing is I read this horoscope in the morning, cut it out of the Tribune and laughed and laughed ... about 2 hours later BAM.

Sunday morning I got ready - safety pinned 6 packs of goo to my skirt, taped up my bum toe and headed out. On the way to the race, all of a sudden I thought I can't believe I'm going to go run a marathon. I don't know what I thought I was doing for the last 4 and a half months but it all of a sudden dawned on me. :-)

The Race
Jenny and I started and ran the entire race together. After the first mile, my bum toe went numb so it didn't bother me too much. The heat was killer though. One of the shirts I bought at the expo says 26.2 - To Hell And Back... that about sums it up. I took 6 salt capsules over the course of the 5 hours of running and that probably saved me. We all know humidity is my kryponite and I think the salt kept that nasty heat exhaustion at bay.

There were so many fans - about 1.3 million estimated to watch the race - it really carried me through the mileage. Jenny wrote my name on my shirt, which a lot of runners do. So, many people cheered for me it was funny... I should've had her write my phone number on it too! The signage along the way was too funny. My favorite sign right at the start: Don't poop in your pants. Thankfully we had relatively uneventful bathroom breaks - 3 in total - that took about 15 - 20 minutes. The Boys Town and China Town neighborhoods were awesome. Gay guys dressed in drag, wearing heels while handing out water almost gave me a stomach cramp from laughing so hard. Great people watching. I saw many of my superfans who came out to cheer us on. It was so helpful to see friends along the route. Miles 15 - 20 were the most difficult for me. The highlight of that portion of the route was how great people were in the neighborhoods - bringing hoses from their homes to water us down as we ran by. Did I mention how freaking hot it was??? One guy had his hose a little too strong - it was like silkwood. It hurt. I thought to myself - what the hell have I gotten myself into??? lol.

Once I hit mile 20 I knew I would finish running this thing so I started getting really emotional. I had to keep from bawling the rest of the way. Everything I saw made me want to cry. I kept it in check until I finished - I was worried if I started to cry while running I would just break down and not be able to finish. I was hanging on by a thread and had to just stay focused and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I was in so much pain the last 10 miles of the race, that it was sheer determination to finish. It's all a mental exercise in endurance.

After I crossed the finish line and got my medal I cried a little but not as much as I felt like I wanted to. I didn't want to become a complete babbling mess so I just made my way to the PAWS tent to get stretched out by a physical therapist - another benefit of running on a charity team!

I walked home and the soreness in my legs really started. Sunday night I couldn't even move my legs - I have never been in so much pain in my entire life!! I don't know what I thought would happen; but this was so much worse than I could have imagined. Not to mention my poor toe, which felt like it was going to fall off my foot. I was in so much pain I couldn't even sleep Sunday night. I literally could not lift my feet up to walk - I had to shuffle to get to the bathroom and back to bed. And I was doing a lot of that trip - thanks to 6 packs of goo! Monday was a little better - at least I could walk enough to get around but going up and down the curb to walk the dog was like torture. I still can't believe how painful the aftermath was!

I still can't believe I ran a marathon - the reality of that accomplishment is just starting to set it. I guess it is pretty awesome that I did it and did it relatively well. A quick trip to the podiatrist and I'm on the road to recovery. I may even sign up for another one. I have to make sure my kneecaps return to normal first - I think I left my right one at mile 18. I'm so thankful to have gone through this journey with my sister Jenny - it would definitely not have been the same or nearly as successful without her. I'm also very thankful for my friends and family who kept me motivated.

I ran 381 miles over 4.5 months ... all for 26.2 miles in 5.5 hours Sunday, October 12, 2008. I'm pretty amazed by that.

Some of my favorite memories from this journey:

  • Icy hot

  • Kung Foo Yoga Man

  • Viagra

  • Dick shorts

  • 10-mile training runs... my best two runs of the year

  • Running on the beach in Mexico

  • Popping blisters - okay not really fun but oddly entertaining

  • Body glide

  • My favorite running store

  • Baked potatoes

  • Bailey humping my arm

  • Chocolate goo

  • Saturday morning long runs

  • Massage therapy

  • The 2nd stall in the women's bathroom at the east end of McCormick Place

  • Corn niblets

  • "You're doing what???"

  • Snooze button

  • Running in the rain

  • Industrial-strength running bras

  • A sign at the race: This is your victory lap

  • Another sign at the race: Leave the person you were before this behind you

  • My superfans

  • Crossing that finish line

Monday, October 6, 2008

Week 17 Complete!

Fans! Less than one week to go before the big day. Week 17 is history and I'm officially in Marathon Week! This past week was one of tapering - letting our bodies recover and store up energy for 26.2 miles. Our long run Saturday was only 8 miles and we ran the last 2 on the actual marathon course leading to the finish. Pretty cool to run that stretch. I'll have to remember that when I'm actually running down Michigan Avenue Sunday. I've been here and successfully run this before!

This week I'm focused on not getting my toes stepped on by anyone on the bus or train... Trying my best not to stub my toe in the house - don't laugh - I did it 2 years ago and broke a toe... Steering clear of anyone coughing or sneezing... Trying to get good sleep and eat well... I made a trip to the chiropractor today after work to get aligned and for a quick sports massage for my sore legs. I made sure the massage therapist did not do a deep tissue massage as I'm too close to marathon day to take that kind of beating on my muscles. She did do some kind of torture kneading of my skin to break up something to do with my muscles. She also man-handled the hell out of my ass. Not sure what that has to do with my sore legs but I supposed it's all connected. It felt good so what the heck.

I encourage you to check out the official Bank of America Marathon web site. The course map is pretty cool - just look at how far Turtle will be plodding all over this city! And finally, a neat gadget so you can sign up for updates on where I am during the race. I hope they don't send you an update when I'm taking a dump in Lincoln Park.

My bib number: 34147

If you plan on watching the race, let me know where you will be so I can try and look for you!

A recap of Week 17:
  • Monday - rest
  • Tuesday - couldn't get up early so I switched with my rest day Friday
  • Wednesday - 6 miles
  • Thursday - 4 miles
  • Friday - 3 miles
  • Saturday - 8 miles
  • Sunday - cross training (walking)
I'll try and check in with you before Sunday for final pre-race details. Thank you for the donations this past week. Getting closer to my P.A.W.S. goal!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Week 16 Complete - 2 weeks to go!!

Turtle rebounded this week. It was tough coming back from that dreadful 20-mile training run last Sunday, but what choice do I have?? I've been training for 4 months and only have 2 weeks to go until the big day. I just have to try and keep getting out for my runs and keep the aches and pains in check. I went back to the icy hot for my right leg - hip area. I have some weird arthritis-like pain in my right hip area - probably my IT band... it doesn't hurt after running a few miles so it must loosen up and after a long run it tightens up like nobody's business. It's not horribly painful... just makes me hobble around like a little old lady if I've been sedentary for an hour or so. Motrin is my new best friend.

I am running out of appetizing carbs that I can eat in large quantities. The rice is okay but not very substantive. I kind of got off the baked potatoes but guess I could try those again. Short of just tearing through an entire loaf of bread I'm out of ideas. Cereal is a given in my daily diet so I don't think that's anything worthwhile for all this running. After reading a tip in a marathon training book, I tried chocolate milk as a recovery drink after long runs. It's so yummy I started 'recovering' every morning - until I read how many fat grams is in one little bottle and that was the end of that. I've lost 12 lbs. since starting this journey and I hope to lose a few more by the end of this. Anyway back to the carbs - seriously I need some ideas people!! A personal chef would have really been helpful these past few months. I'll have to remember that for next year if I do this again. :-)

A recap of Week 16:
  • Monday - rest day
  • Tuesday - 5 miles (I ran my old route along the river and on the way back saw the man - Kung Foo Yoga dude. He was winding down on his mat by the river.)
  • Wednesday - 8 miles (the last time I have to run 8 miles at the ass-crack of dawn in the middle of the week!!)
  • Thursday - couldn't get out of bed so this turned into a rest day
  • Friday - 4 miles (I made up for Thursday!)
  • Saturday - 12 miles (I tried some electrolyte tablets that seemed to really help my stamina. Jenny and I ran 10.5 minute miles in a low amount of humidity)
  • Sunday - cross training (walking)
Peace out people! Until next week. Oh - fans... 2 more weeks of training = 2 more weeks to donate to PAWS. I still have $200 to get to the minimum or they yank me at the start line. Okay they may still let me run but I won't have access to those special porta-potties. Come on; donate!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Week 15 - blaaaaaaaaaah

Ugh. What a week. It started out well enough. I spotted a new boat in the harbor - Perseverance II. I'll have to consult the archives, but I believe I saw a Perseverance I earlier in training. It's been tougher and tougher to get up at the ass-crack of dawn to run. It's pitch black outside and the sun doesn't rise until after 6 a.m. now. I feel like I'm up in the middle of the night and just jogging around the neighborhood for the heck of it. I couldn't get up Thursday morning and as I hit snooze for the 10th time told myself I would run after work. Well, the financial market craziness made work very busy towards the end of the week so I never got my 5 mile run in. Oh well, with the economic world crashing a little 5-mile run seemed rather insignificant.

My long run this week - 20 miles - was on Sunday. Jenny and I ran in the Ready To Run, which is not a race but rather a training run -- the last long run before the marathon. So we joined 5,000 other people to run from one end of the lakefront to the other end. They started us in waves of about 50 people - according to pace. I thought I would have a great run - I was ready for it. While walking Bailey at 5 a.m. I found a dollar on the sidewalk so I thought the mo-jo was flowing. Then the thing I hate most in the entire world started rolling into the city - HUMIDITY. It's my kryptonite. I just cannot run in humidity. The race started out well enough - I take that back. Jenny had to go to the bathroom before the run started. I didn't really have to go but figured what the heck I may as well while we're in line. Big mistake. I walked into the porta-potty and walked right back out. What I saw in that toilet will scar me for the rest of my life. Just thinking about it makes me want to vomit.

I knew I would have a tough day when I got to about mile 4 and could really feel the heat suffocating me. I was having flashbacks to the awful 16-mile run about a month ago. I tried to just focus on completing a whopping 20 miles. Besides the heat, the run itself was good otherwise - pretty scenery, lots of people on the path, a lot of gravel instead of asphalt... We cruised through the water stops at a brisk walk so the overall pace of our run seemed faster but we were running just under 11-minute miles like in our Saturday runs. I made it to mile 10 and it really didn't seem that bad. I knew the heat was taking a toll on me but the actual mileage was going by pretty quick. The run officials had yellow flags out for caution due to the heat and I could see people starting to wilt. The fog was so thick you could barely see the buildings downtown. Thick, nasty humid air.

I hit a "wall" around mile 12 and made Jenny go on without me. I had to walk up a hill by the museum campus. I got up and running again and cruised by the Bears tailgaters along Soldiers Field. The smell of that barbecue was torture. I prayed for someone to throw me a porkchop but no luck.

Jenny waited for me at the next water stop but I had to send her ahead again as I walked through a stretch of shade. I figured I may as well prolong my time out of the sun as long as possible! I ran through the stretches in the sun and made it to the water stop at mile 14. I still thought I could do this thing and ate my last packet of goo. It didn't seem to be giving me energy like it normally did but it was keeping me up on my feet. People were dropping left and right. One girl was having a mental breakdown and I passed her, very slowly, but at least I was passing someone. I had a running conversation with myself in my head after mile 15 to just keep going that I could do it. I made it mile 16 and still thought I could do it - this part of the course was my territory - we ran this stretch every Saturday! I was still feeling pretty sick from the heat and noticed from mile 14 on that I had stopped sweating and was actually getting the chills. Because I literally was shivering like I was cold I thought it best to swing by the medical tent at the water stop at mile 16 to have my temperature taken. I was having flashbacks to the handout in the run packet that described heat exhaustion, heat stroke and death. The death paragraph was rather shocking - I guess that was the point. Something about 1 in 10,000 runners die in these long distance runs. I thought this is not the time to turn up in those odds so to the medical tent I went! As soon as I got there and sat down on a cot I started crying. I had a total meltdown - literally. I was so sick and shaky I couldn't even hardly talk. They put an ice pack on the back of my neck and that helped after about 5 minutes. It took the girls 10 minutes to figure out how to use the thermometer so I don't know what my temperature was when I first got there. I'm sure I was cooking. The ice cooled me down right away though. After about 15 minutes I felt totally fine and was itching to get out of there so I could finish the last 4 miles but they wouldn't let me go. They said with those symptoms of heat exhaustion I was done. I was so mad. I wasn't mad at them - they were just keeping me from turning into the 1 in 10,000. I was so disappointed I couldn't finish and wouldn't finish the last long run of the training program.

I had to wait forever for a medical transport to the finish line - when it finally came it was slow going as we picked up runners along the way. One poor girl was puking in the grass and someone had called an ambulance for her. It was like some kind of warped pilgrimage of hot, sweaty people who had all lost their minds. They had changed the race flags to Red for caution, extreme conditions. Ya think??

By the time I got to the finish the run was almost over. The volunteer dropped me off and I had to walk around the corner of the cultural center to the finish line. I was hoping Jenny was waiting somewhere by the finish line and didn't leave thinking I already got a ride back to the car. This was the best part of the day: I walk around the corner and now I'm on the course again and about 10 yards from the finish line. People start cheering for me like I'm actually finishing the run. lol. I'm just strolling along like I could give a shit. Didn't they think if I was really finishing legitimately I could muster the strength to run the last 10 yards?? Nope, I just sauntered across. The photographer got into position to snap my picture and I tried to wave him off to no avail. God bless there was Jenny waiting on the other side of the finish line clapping saying "you did it, you did it!". I was like yeah - I just got dropped off by the medical truck. There was a resounding groan by the crowd and the clapping stopped. lol. Oh well. What can I do? I had a meltdown people!!

I'm praying for 30 degrees and snow for October 12.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Week 14 Complete!

Another week complete. Whew. I kind of veered off the training schedule but hopefully it won't negatively impact my program. All week I gimped around - still sore from the 18-miler the previous weekend - so I think the rest was much needed. I did make a trip to my favorite running store to get my new - and last - pair of running shoes. I went with a Saucony and am a little nervous because it's a different shoe than the other 2 pairs I've tried in the last 5 months. So far so good - they have a nice cushion and I haven't grown any new blisters... I took my training south to the Sunshine state to visit my biggest fans - my parental units. The Units and I went to the USF vs. Kansas football game Friday night and it was hands-down the best football game I've ever seen in person. So exciting. The Bulls won in the last 2 seconds with a 43-yard field goal by a freshman kicker in his first college game. I love college football - so much more exciting and refreshing than the NFL... The heat in Florida was suffocating so unfortunately I wasn't able to do my semi-long run on Saturday. Just way too hot outside to run. So, after a nice weekend break it's back to the grind in Chicago.

A review of the last week:
Monday - rest day (still sore, sore, sore!!)
Tuesday - 5 miles
Wednesday - 8 miles
Thursday - xx (couldn't get myself to do it - traveled to Florida)
Friday - 6 miles (on a treadmill at my Dad's gym)
Saturday - xx (skipped the 14-miler. Finally feeling like my legs are back to normal)
Sunday - cross training (airport - does that count??)

I received a donation for PAWS from a fan at work - thank you Kamilah! I'm halfway to my fundraising goal so I'm hoping in these last 3 weeks I can raise another $300 to make it! Thanks to everyone who have supported the cause. The dogs need us!

Have a great week everyone... I have the BIG 20-miler this Sunday. I'm pretty confident Jenny and I will do it.... I just hope I can walk afterward. :-))

Monday, September 8, 2008

Week 13 Complete!

What a tough week to get through. The Republican convention gave me an ulcer. Too much tv and internet surfing caused major sleep deprivation. I barely made it through my runs. I did switch to running in the evening because I stayed up way too late at night to get up early. Jenny and I did surpass another huge milestone in Week 13 - 18 miles on Saturday. That's so insane I still can't believe it. We ran for 3 hours, 12 minutes. Unreal. The weather conditions were much more favorable than when we did the 16 miles so we actually ran it in less time this weekend. My legs were hurting pretty bad after about mile 14 but otherwise it really wasn't that difficult. I had to goo-up 3 times so that helped keep my energy level up. I thought I had solved the blister problem earlier in the week - baby powder in my socks - but they were back Saturday. Sigh. My poor feet will never be the same after this.

After the 18-miler, I basically crashed for the rest of the weekend. Saturday I spent the entire day and evening on the couch. My legs hurt so bad I could hardly walk. And my groin pull or strain cropped up again so I had to go to the corn niblets. Icing your groin isn't a particularly wonderful feeling. After sleeping as still as a log all night Saturday, I could barely get out of bed Sunday morning. It was like I had legs made out of wood. Every step or twist and turn and I moaned "aghhhh" "ohhhhhhhh" "ughhhhhhhh" "&#$&*". I've read you can take an ice bath to help the legs recover after such a long run but the thought of getting in my bathtub full of ice and cold water doesn't really appeal to me. I don't care how bad my legs hurt. I'll stick to the corn niblets.

A recap of Week 13:
  • Monday - rest day
  • Tuesday - 4 miles
  • Wednesday - 7 miles (the wind was so bad from the Gustav storm front it was like running in place along the lakefront)
  • Thursday - 5 miles (had to do it on the treadmill due to thunderstorms)
  • Friday - rest day
  • Saturday - 18 miles
  • Sunday - cross training (walking - like the tin man - for 40 minutes)
This upcoming week, Turtle's taking the training to the Sunshine state. Heading out Thursday evening for a USF game Friday night. Go Bulls!

I can't get into politics on this blog but people who know me know where I stand. All I can ask is that everyone does his/her homework and know where the candidates stand on all the issues. Don't vote based on gender, race, who you like or tells the best jokes... read your newspaper, research online, visit the candidates' web sites, talk to other people. This is perhaps the most important election of our generation. Make your vote count.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Week 12 Complete - 6 weeks to go!

This was a tough week. I couldn't bring myself to wake up on time Tuesday morning so I completely missed my run. As I hit snooze for 1.5 hours, I told myself I would run after work instead of 5 a.m. in the pitch dark. After work, I ended up falling asleep on the couch for 4 hours. I then had a difficult time falling asleep for real so I only got a few hours of sleep before the alarm started going off Wednesday morning. I only snoozed for an hour this time and somehow managed to get up to walk Bailey. The whole time I kept saying to myself screw this I'm going back upstairs and going to back to bed until I have to get ready for work- I'll really run after work this time. I remembered I had something to do in the evening so I had to run before work. Ugh. I was SO miserable trying to get dressed and ready to go I was almost crying. I told myself if you go run 7 miles you can buy a new Coach bag. lol. This training program is costing me a small fortune!!!!!!! I did run the 7 miles and did go to the Coach store after work but didn't buy a bag. I would have but remembered I have yet another pair of running shoes to buy before the big day in 6 weeks so I have to prioritize.

I did have a nice treat Friday - rest day - when my dear friend Heather came into the city with her baby Tommy. We had a nice lunch and walked around Millennium Park. Gorgeous weather in Chicago these days. Better enjoy it while we can! Saturday's short run of 12 miles was pretty uneventful. Only 7 girls ran in the pace group - holiday weekend and the short distance probably kept most to do it on their own. It was pretty humid but not as high of a temperature as the previous Saturday. I was prepared this time and washed my legs and arms off at each water stop. No goosebumps or swollen fingers this time! One funny thing did happen - at the last water stop before the final stretch the girls couldn't stop laughing. A little butterfly had perched on the top of my hat and was holding on for dear life for the last mile... I was feeling pretty great so I took off from the pace group and hauled ass the last 2 miles home. Ran like an 8-minute mile the last mile. I really wish I would've jumped up a pace group because I do not want to run an 11-minute pace marathon but oh well. We'll see how it shakes out in October. Oh yeah, and the butterfly was still on the top of my head. At the finish spot, I looked at my reflection in a car window and sure enough the little guy was just hanging out on top of my sweaty Nike hat flapping his wings. lol. Guess he just wanted to hitch a ride. It finally flew away before I got back home.

A recap of Week 12:
  • Monday - rest day
  • Tuesday - xx (couldn't wake up)
  • Wednesday - 7 miles (the Democratic National Convention is killing my sleep schedule - can't not watch though!)
  • Thursday - 5 miles (notice how that Thursday mileage increased?? - more of that to come next week)
  • Friday - rest day
  • Saturday - 12 short glorious miles
  • Sunday - cross-train (cleaning, walking)
I recently received a generous donation for P.A.W.S. from my good friend Fannini - you go girl! Her motto is 'keep hope alive' and I think that's fitting for my next 6 weeks. Keep the donations coming - I still need more than $300 to meet my goal. Have a great week everyone! :-)))

Monday, August 25, 2008

Week 11 Complete!

Cha-ching. Well I made it back from my crazy week in Vegas with the infamous Ma Barker. We had a great time. The slots were pretty loose for us so that made it even better. We stayed at the Wynn this year and it was top notch. One of the highlights was the Cher concert on Wednesday - Barker's 60th birthday. Cher was fabulous and her display of fashion was very cool. We both thought she would've been taller though... I did do some actual running while in Vegas. On Tuesday, I put in my 4 miles after a visit to the breakfast buffet, which was not a great idea. Wednesday I got up at 6 a.m. to run first so I could pig out at the buffet afterward. Good plan, eh? :-O

We returned to Chicago Friday night and I made it to the long run on Saturday. While in Vegas, I ran at the fitness center on a treadmill because it was way too hot to run outside. The irony - I get home and run Saturday morning in Chicago in high 80s with high humidity. I had a complete meltdown. If my sister Jenny wasn't with me I would've gotten a ride back to the start but she encouraged me on. I have literally never sweat so much in my entire life. My skirt was soaking wet like I had just gotten out of a swimming pool. The sweat was just pouring off of me. I started to fall back from the pace group around mile 6 and I knew I was in trouble - 10 more miles to go. Around mile 8 I had to keep the puke down. Around mile 10 I started getting goosebumps on my arms. Took me a few miles to realize that wasn't normal considering it was a million degrees outside. I had to stop and walk several times but didn't feel so bad when I saw 2 guys from a faster pace group also walking. Jenny and I ended up finishing in 3 hours, 5 minutes. Not too horrible considering the conditions. I somehow made it home and in the shower (couldn't even stretch like I normally do) then passed out in bed for 4 hours. I watched the men's Olympic marathon later that night and picked up some tips. They too ran in very hot conditions in Beijing. I learned that I needed to wash the sweat off my skin with water because the humidity was preventing the sweat from evaporating from my skin. This in turn made me unable to properly sweat and my body started overheating. Lovely, huh??!! What the hell did I sign up for? Hey - I'm doing it for the homeless dogs!!

A recap of a wild Week 11:
  • Monday - rest day (gambling! woo-hoo!!)
  • Tuesday - 4 miles (on a very heavy stomach from too much food)
  • Wednesday - 7 miles (realized when I returned home and looked at the schedule I was only supposed to do 6 miles - argh)
  • Thursday - 4 miles (running on a treadmill stinks!)
  • Friday - "rest day" (chugging through 2 airports and a 4-hour flight does not equal rest)
  • Saturday - 16 miles (what doesn't kill us makes us stronger!!!!!!)
  • Sunday - cross training (hoofing Ma Barker through Midway)
I'm kind of bummed the Olympics has ended. It was incredibly inspiring and I even learned a few things... You'll see me along the lakefront this week with a watering can drowning myself in fresh water. :-))

Monday, August 18, 2008

Week 10 Complete!

It's official: I'm turning into the bionic turtle. I am really enjoying this training program. I know - scary. I feel pretty good; not too many aches and pains. A quick trip to the chiropractor this week to keep my shell aligned properly. I added some flashy eyeware to my running get-up. They work to keep the bugs out of my eyes. Tuesday morning the swarms were so bad, I was flapping my arms in front of me while running - trying to keep the bugs from hitting my face and neck. I'm sure that was a lovely sight. Although, now that it's staying darker longer there's not too many people out running or cycling at 5 a.m. Saturday was a huge milestone for me. I ran 15 miles - 2 hours, 40 minutes (10.6 minutes/mile). It wasn't that difficult either - that's how I know I'm turning bionic. The thought of running 15 miles 8 weeks ago made me want to throw up. My sister Jenny and I ran it together with our 11-minute pace group. We left them with 2 miles to go and hauled ass to the finish. We had to goo-up twice and it really worked to keep the body fueled. I prefer chocolate-flavored goo. My kneecaps even held up relatively well. I'm trying to practice a new visualization technique to think positively and rehearse a successful run before I start. For example, when Jenny asked me how I felt at the 8-mile mark I replied, "I feel awesome, my kneecaps feel great - they don't feel like they're about to slide down my shin bones or like there's a knife stabbing into my joints. I can't wait to run another 7 miles!!" :-))

A recap of Week 10:
  • Monday - rest day
  • Tuesday - 3 miles
  • Wednesday - 6 miles (for some reason this day is by far my toughest and slowest run of the week)
  • Thursday - 4 miles (wondering how in the world I'm going to run 15 miles in a few days)
  • Friday - rest day (carbs, carbs and more carbs)
  • Saturday - 15 miles (woo-hoo!!! I can't believe it)
  • Sunday - cross-training (throwing my niece around the swimming pool like a shot put)
This has been a great week of running and Olympics watching. I have Olympic fever and stayed up way too late every night watching coverage. My favorite event is the swimming. Something about those men's uniforms. Hmmmm. :-) Ma Barker flew in from Florida Friday for our annual Vegas vacation. It's her 60th birthday this year - Wednesday - so it will be a blowout. The mo-jo has been building for both of us all week so I think it's going to be a great trip. Don't worry; I'll be home in time for my 16-mile run next Saturday.

Have a great week everyone~ like my mom always says: You have to bet big to win big.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Week 9 Complete!

Turtle's back on track. Just finished a great week of running. I did have an unfortunate incident with a bug. It was really not a question of if but when...

For the last several weeks, along the lakefront in the morning I've been dodging giant gnat swarms and Wednesday one finally got me. These bug swarms are huge and you almost can't see them until you're right in front of them. I've ducked, weaved, closed my eyes, shut my mouth and held my breath while saying a prayer. Many times after getting home and looking in the mirror, I see the dead gnats stuck to my face. It's pretty gross. I'm going to write a letter to my alderman and see if there's not something the city can do about this situation. Maybe the mayor can tax the hell out of the gnats and force them to move to the burbs like everyone else.

So, I was chugging along during my 6-mile run and wham a direct hit in my right eye. I tried to rub the bug out of my eye and forgot about it until I got home and, pre-hump, looked in the mirror and saw a lovely blood-shot right eye. It was nasty bloodshot too. My eye was tearing, my nose started running and I couldn't stop sneezing. I doused my eye with visine and in the shower the right side of my face drained like a faucet. My sinuses were going nuts. More visine; still bloodshot eye. I looked in the mirror again, pealed my lower lid away from my eyeball and there was the bug. I dug it out with my fingernail and almost immediately my eye returned to blue. All day I was sneezing and my right sinuses were enflamed. Needless to say, I have now added sunglasses to my running attire. Of course they're fancy athletic glasses that have 3 sets of lenses so you can even wear clear lenses for low light situations. I might as well just put on a pair of goggles and a bee suit and call it a day.

Let's review week 9:
  • Monday - rest
  • Tuesday - 3 miles (switched running shoes - pair 2. Apparently running shoes have a life of about 8 weeks and you have to switch to a new pair. Jesus this sport is expensive)
  • Wednesday - 6 miles, with a bug on top
  • Thursday - 4 miles
  • Friday - rest (Olympics started - yay!)
  • Saturday - 10 glorious miles (by far my favorite distance and both times have been my fastest. I ran a blazing 10-minute/mile pace - a full minute faster a minute than I have been running.)
  • Sunday - cross-training (bike 9 miles-45 minutes)
I am really excited about my upcoming Week 10 of training. My mom - aka Ma Barker - is flying into town from Florida for our upcoming annual Vegas trip. I have a whopping 15 miles this coming Saturday. I can't think about that now or I'll throw up. I'm going to bask in the glory of my 10-miler a few days longer. :-)

P.S. Thanks for the donations this past week. We raised another $100 for the dogs. :-))

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Week 8 Complete - Halfway there!

Wow! 8 weeks of training in the books now. That means I'm about halfway through the training schedule. AND, more importantly my run this past Saturday was 13 miles - a HALF MARATHON. So, I've successfully run half the distance of the race in October. Before I get into what running 13 miles feels like, let's review the week...

After rebounding from the food poisoning, I was able to get back on the lakefront and get my weekday training in. My first day back out after a rather difficult last 2 weeks - Tuesday at 5 a.m. - and the first boat I see in the harbor: Endurance. What a perfect way to get back on track. It's all about building endurance at this point in the schedule. The running up to this point has almost been a warm up. Now the real fun begins - 13 miles, 15, 16, 18 and so on. The weekday runs are even getting longer, which means I'll have to set my alarm even earlier than 4:30 a.m. I'm going to have to start going to bed at like 7 p.m. in order to get up any earlier!

So, three good runs during the week and I was ready for the half on Saturday. But first, a quick trip to my favorite running store for more chocolate flavored goo - to ingest an hour into my run to keep from passing out and dying. I also picked up more of the special laundry detergent - engineered by NASA - to get sweat out of my clothes post run. I've gotta keep my skirts looking sharp!

My sister Jenny drove in from the suburbs Saturday morning to join the running group for the 13-miler. We started out okay but she had to take a bathroom break - the first of many to come that day - so we got separated for a few miles but met up again at the halfway point. I was feeling pretty good but nervous about the second half - the point where I fell apart in the 12 miles the week before. Because I had waited for Jenny at the water stop, we got separated from the pace group and we ran the second half by ourselves. After her 50th bathroom break we cruised in the last 3 miles and finished in 2 hours, 22 minutes. A little slower than I had hoped, but not too bad considering I'm probably still not 100% after the stomach rot. My kneecaps were once again shot after about mile 8 but I was able to run through it. The rest of the day Jenny and I hobbled and moaned and groaned like two old ladies. I can't believe we ran 13 miles. That's pretty amazing to me. I wish Jenny and I had aimed to run a half-marathon this year and we'd be done but like she said - where's the challenge in that?? We just did that after only 8 weeks of training. So, it's onward and upward. The miles really start climbing after this. If I make it through the next 8 weeks, I will get Endurance tattooed on my kneecaps. Kind of like the prison tats across the knuckles.

A recap of Week 8:
  • Monday - rest day (I can't even impart upon you how much I love Mondays!)
  • Tuesday - 3 miles (This short distance now seems like going to the mailbox and back)
  • Wednesday - 5 miles (For the first time I had to use the bathroom en route and of course found not one bathroom open at 5 in the morning. Had to cut this one a little short so I could get home and take care of business.)
  • Thursday - 3 miles (Again, such a short distance now it's almost not worth suiting up for)
  • Friday - rest (I'm almost getting tired of carbs after loading up every Friday the past 2 months)
  • Saturday - 13 miles (After the run I took my socks off to discover blisters the size of small planets on my feet. The anti-blister socks are going back to my favorite running store. The Toothpick steered me wrong on those!)
  • Sunday - cross training (Back on the bike for 8 miles/45 minutes. It helped stretch out my legs and loosen up)
Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Week 7 Complete

Whew. What a week. A week of food poisoning and NO running. No good running anyway. Turtle has struggled upon her return from Mexico. Seems she left her legs on the beach. Somehow I got through the week - only able to run one short run on Wednesday. The dreaded 12-miler on Saturday almost did me in. I was good for the first 6 miles then fell apart. I've read about the much feared "dead legs" that can strike a runner and render him or her totally useless. Well, I experienced dead legs around mile 7. I felt like I was running with 100-pound cement blocks around my ankles. Somehow I made it to about mile 9 and just had to stop and walk because it felt like my knee caps had turned into polar ice caps and were creating a new continent. I probably walked close to two miles and somehow pulled it together to lumber in the last mile.

Needless to say Saturday's run left me totally demoralized and questioning why I didn't register for a half-marathon instead of 26.2 miles!! But, a quick trip to a massage therapist Sunday for a sports massage and something called a "knee relief" and I was on my way to recovery. Natalie dug her fingers around my knee caps, breaking up the ice and glaciers, and got me moving again. She said it would be painful - and she was right - but it also helped as she promised.

My dogs are barking
Not only does my body feel like it's been pulled through a sausage grinder, but I'm a little discouraged at my lack of fundraising ability. I'm running this marathon and raising funds for P.A.W.S. (Pets Are Worth Saving). I have to raise at least $600, and in exchange, the PAWS team gives me a free membership to the CARA running group - the ones responsible for my Saturday morning runs. PAWS team members also get their own port-a-potties at the race start/finish so for that alone it's worth $600. BUT, I need your help! I obviously suck at asking people for $$ because I've only raised $115 so far. That's pathetic. THANK YOU to all four of you who have donated to the cause so far... but I know we can do better. PAWS is a no-kill shelter that also offers low income families free neuter/spay services (for their pets). This picture is of one of the wild dogs living on the beach in Cabo San Lucas. She's one of the cuties I fed every night while there on vacation. PAWS saves tens of thousands of dogs' lives and places them with families every year. Here's a link to my site... give if you can. You will save a life and inspire me to keep truckin'.

Have a great week everyone! GO CUBS!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Week 6 Complete (kinda sorta)!

Turtle survived Mexico! What an awesome week of relaxation, sun, swimming, friends, Corona, surf, and oh yeah a wedding! Cabo San Lucas is beautiful. The picture of The Arch is one of my favorite spots. My first day, Monday, I went horseback riding on the beach then took a water taxi to Lovers' Beach and got a tour from the water of The Arch. It's where the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean meet. Really beautiful.

I befriended wild dogs on the beach. They live on the beach and hang out by the resort at night begging for food. So, the second night there I snuck beef out of the buffet and fed them. Every night I was sneaking beef and chicken in my bag to bring down to the beach. I have to throw out that bag now or I'll have dogs following me all over Chicago.

One of the craziest things I did on the trip was swim with a dolphin. It was at an aquarium at the Marina. The friggin dolphin was 11-feet long and scared the crap out of me! Our trainer started the group out with us sitting on the edge of the water and making it do tricks and stuff. Then she said 'get in the water!'. There the 7 of us were treading water while the dolphin swam around us. I kept thinking what if it's a shark?? I know it's a dolphin but what if a shark got in here somehow. I just kept seeing fin and praying it was Flipper. The grand finale of the encounter was to ride it - either nice and easy breezy on its stomach while it swam backwards or super fast and crazy on its back. Of course I opted for super fast and crazy. So, the trainer sent me swimming all the way across the aquarium. I finally got to the other side and I'm just treading water in my life jacket and she yells at me to put my arms straight out and slap the water with my hands. I'm like okay this is whack - how am I going to get on this thing?? The trainer blew her super annoying high frequency whistle and the dolphin - did I mention it's 11-feet long?? - turns and hauls ass right for me. I was freaking out. The thing swam a million miles an hour bearing down on me and at the last second went underneath me, behind me, turned around and surfaced the water with me on its back. LOL. I was screaming bloody murder. Somehow I grabbed onto its fin and just held on for dear life as he hauled ass back to the other side of the aquarium. It was pretty cool. I survived my dolphin encounter and the thing didn't even hump me, so even better.

The wedding was beautiful. The ceremony was at an old Catholic church in town. A rooster started going off down the street in the middle of mass so that was pretty funny. All of Tracy and Chris' wedding gifts are going to have a rooster theme. The reception was fun. We closed it down at a discoteque at the resort and when that closed we emptied all our minibars and ended on the beach. All in all, a great week, tons of debauchery and laughs.

Oh yeah, I did run two days I was there. I started out well - ran Tuesday and Wednesday but then kind of forgot on Thursday, Friday was a rest day, and Saturday I had to get every last minute of my time before the wedding in the sun at the pool. Since returning to Chicago I came down with the Mexican plague. The only running I've done this week is to the bathroom. Quick trip to the physician for antibiotics to kill whatever is in my stomach and I'm back in action. Keeping my fingers crossed for the 12-miler Saturday. Having only run twice in the past two weeks doesn't bode well. Wish me luck.

A recap of Week 6:
  • Monday - rest day (horseback riding on the beach, water taxi ride to the Pacific Ocean)
  • Tuesday - ran 3 miles (at the pool from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., made friends with a pack of wild dogs)
  • Wednesday - ran on the beach (I would like to say I pranced down the beach of Cabo San Lucas like a gazelle but I looked more like a mule trudging through ankle-deep sand. That crap was not packed so it was grueling. Ran for 17 minutes and it felt like 5 hours. A guy at the wedding said he could only run for 1 minute on the beach because of the sand so I didn't feel so bad)
  • Thursday - slacker & no running (6-hour city tour of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose)
  • Friday - rest day (as if - this whole week has been restful!)
  • Saturday - slacker & no running (wedding and fiesta)
  • Sunday - cross-training (I guess the trip home counts!)

I'm glad to be back home and hopefully back on track!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Week 5 Complete!

This week has been a lesson in perseverance and how to function with major sleep deprivation. All this unnatural running and waking up 5 out of 7 days a week at 4:30 a.m. has caught up with me... I really need a vacation. Ah-haaaa and that's exactly what I'm doing for week 6 of training. Mexico here I come. More on that in a minute.

Turtle Livingston
I think it's time I resurrect a former alter-ego, Turtle Livingston, from my past. I don't really remember how or why Turtle surfaced except that she really likes to gamble in Las Vegas. :-)

During my time living in Florida, my good friend Travis and I used to track all the press turtles received in local newspapers. It's really weird. Turtles have some major public relations' machine working on their behalf. If you look, you'll see turtle stories and pictures are everywhere in print. Even after I moved to Chicago, I saw that they made their way in the Chicago press quite frequently. So anyway, Travis and I are obsessed with turtles. And it's only fitting that I start referring to myself in the 3rd person because it's not possible that I actually ran 10 miles on Saturday. That's right fans - 10 miles IN POURING RAIN. Thank goodness I had my water repellent shell on. Pretty quick for a turtle too - 10.2 average minute miles. I don't even know what pace group I'm in anymore - I'm making up my own as I go along. Those crazy bitches started talking about recipes again so I took off. :-D

A recap of Week 5:
  1. Monday - rest day (praise Jesus Lord)
  2. Tuesday - 3 miles (I HATE Tuesdays)
  3. Wednesday - 4 miles (I HATE Wednesdays more)
  4. Thursday - 3 miles (I HATE Icy Hot cream)
  5. Friday - rest day (Totally incoherent and TIRED)
  6. Saturday - 10 miles (Turtle runs in her skirt, in the rain)
  7. Sunday - cross train (lugging my steamer trunk through Ohare airport will do it- is 8 pairs of shoes for a 7-day trip too much??)
I bid you farewell as I head to Mexico for my dear friend Tracy's wedding. Look for an update from Mexico next week as I take my training south of the border. Although, the resort is all-inclusive so maybe no update until I get back. Adios amigos.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Icy Hot

I wish I could say this week has been uneventful but ahhhh - it was bound to happen. My first injury. I was plodding along on Thursday putting in my 3 miles when my left inner thigh started feeling weird. About a mile into it, I had to stop and walk. Apparently I pulled a muscle or tendon or something in my groin. I don't know if girls have groins but I always see this happen on televised sports - he pulled his groin muscle, so I'm going with groin. I think the dick shorts the last few weeks did me in. So, I walked it off for a while and jogged the rest of the way in. I stretched the hell out of my leg when I got back - Bailey hardly tried to hump me at all so I think he knew something was up. After my shower, I got a brilliant idea. Icy Hot - I've never used it but have had it in my bin of medical supplies for like 4 years. It's a cream/lotion that you put on strained or sore muscles. I thought - genius! So I generously lathered it on my left inner thigh and thought wow - this feels pretty good. It was an intense cold feeling... followed by extreme heat. Holy shit. My leg and everything else in that region suddenly became on fire. I have never experienced such pain in my life. I had tears. I was hopping around my apartment with my legs spread apart like a frog fanning myself trying to cool it off. At one point I put an actual fan directly on the area to try and combat the heat. Bailey just sat there looking at me probably thinking are we gonna hump or what? After about 30 minutes, it cooled to a point where I could at least make it to work. On the way to the bus my leg, ass and everything in between felt like it was on fire. Not to mention the nasty smell of ben-gayish cream. Lovely. I got to work and grabbed my emergency pack of frozen vegetables from the frig to use as an ice pack. So there I sat, cooling my groin with a pack of frozen corn niblets.

They don't tell you any of this shit in all the marathon books I've read and clinics I've been to. Granted some would argue that it's common sense to not apply an icy hot cream anywhere near the nether-regions. Ahhh - chalk it up to inexperience.

Wish me luck this weekend. Ten miles on Saturday. I have a feeling it's going to be painful. I'm still rather lame in my left whatever it's called. At least my crotch is no longer on fire.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Week 4 Complete!

Wow - what a week. A lot of humping and running. Well, actually the correct order is running then humping. :-)

I can't believe I ran 9 miles on Saturday. Unreal. I still can't believe it. And, the best part is dick-shorts no more! I ran the entire 9 miles wearing a skirt. That's right - a freaking skirt. Technically it's a skort - it has the shorts built in with a mini-skirt for the second layer. It's heaven if I've ever felt it. I had gone back to my favorite running store on Friday to continue the quest for the perfect running shorts. I had heard of the running skirt from my sister Jenny but didn't believe it would be a) flattering or b) comfortable to run in. I decided to try one on for the heck of it - I think I shocked the hell out of the Toothpick when she got me the fitting room. I know she was thinking - I can't believe she's going with the skirt. I knew as soon as I tried it on - pure heaven. And it made my ass look great - stomach flat... couldn't ask for anything more! Sure enough Saturday I had a great run and no wardrobe issues whatsoever.

A recap of Week 4:
  1. Monday - rest day (thank god - my inner thighs can begin to heal from all the chafing)
  2. Tuesday - 3 miles (bloody hell I hate Tuesdays)
  3. Wednesday - 4 miles (did you notice the mileage went up on Wednesday??)
  4. Thursday - 3 miles (Bailey's humping has gone to a whole new level - it's really quite disturbing)
  5. Friday - rest day and a holiday!!! Whoo-hoo!
  6. Saturday - 9 miles (stylin' and profilin')
  7. Sunday - cross train (bike and shopping)
The best part of the week - my pace leader was back for the long run on Saturday and he promoted me to the 11-minute mile pace group next week. He said I'm running too fast for the 11:30 group. Yes! Making progress again. Goodbye my former 11:30 minute recipe-loving runners.

I can't wait for my shipment directly from the manufacturer - it will be running skirts every day! Have a great week everyone!

Friday, July 4, 2008

To Catch A Predator

Happy Independence Day! Doesn't Bailey look festive with his little bandanna on? I'll get back to him in a minute...

This week has been pretty smooth. The Wednesday "short run" has increased by a mile but I didn't really notice too much difference. Still experimenting with clothing the lower half of my body. Not too much success with the running shorts so I've gone back to the capris. You'll be happy to know I got to the bottom of the Little Viagra government conspiracy. Basically I'm a dumbass. I saw the boat again during one of my short runs and noticed it is stamped Viagra again. I was like what the heck is going on here?? Just the other day it was changed to CIA... So I look again and below Viagra, lower on the back end of the boat, it also has CIA on it. There must've been a cover on the boat the other day and all I could see was CIA. Oh well. Mystery solved.

So back to the predator in my story this week. Every day after my runs Bailey, my 12-pound shih tzu, tries to hump the hell out of my arm while I'm doing my stretches on the living room floor. Here's how it goes down...
  1. I return from my trailblazing run and come into the apartment a hot sweaty trani mess.
  2. Bailey tries to bite my running shoes and ankles as I make my way to the living room.
  3. After doing my calf stretches at the wall, I lie down on a towel and he's there waiting for me. Waiting to pounce.
  4. I let him take my hat or sweatband off my head and he throws that around and rolls on the floor with it while I try and get a few stretches in.
  5. The sweaty headgear only delays the inevitable... and the licking begins. He tries to lick every square inch of my salty sweat - mostly on my legs - as I try and shoo him away.
  6. Now he's really getting worked up and runs to get Wiggles - his favorite toy since he was a puppy. Wiggles is really a baby toy made for teething and even vibrates when you pull a cord out. Hmmm. Maybe that's where I've gone wrong. Anyway, he brings Wiggles over right in my face and I throw it into the kitchen. It buys me a few seconds. Throw and stretch. Throw and stretch.
  7. I'm about halfway through my stretching when my overpowering stench must be too much for him to take because that's when he starts circling my arm. It's usually my right arm but I don't think he has a preference.
  8. The humping begins and if I try and get him off my arm he gets pissed and tries to bite my hand. I remind him he's a lover and not a fighter and try and talk him into getting on Wiggles. It's about this point of total defilement of my forearm that I can just picture a man coming from around the corner "I'm Chris Hanson from Dateline NBC and we're doing a story on adolescent shih tzus humping their human mothers." He would kneel down on my living room floor and confront Bailey directly. "Screenname SirHumpsALot what do you have to say for yourself? Whaaaaat are you doing? What do you think would have happened in this house if I wouldn't have been here? You're a dog, you're naked, you have condoms and cool whip and she's your mother!" Bailey would probably just start humping him.
  9. After I've unlocked Bailey's deathgrip on my arm, he goes in the corner, licks himself then crawls into his bed and goes back to sleep. I gather my sweaty mess and head to the shower. Another successful day of training for all!
I hope to have a really great update for you to close out Week 4. A killer 9-mile run this weekend. :-)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Week 3 Complete!

Wow - another successful week of running. I completed my runs but it was an exercise in futility. Each day I experimented with different running shorts and have yet to find a pair that doesn't chafe the hell out of my inner thighs. Last Sunday I went to a running store, Fleet Feet, where a very helpful runner the size of a toothpick helped me pick out a pair of running shorts. She remembered me from a few months ago when she helped me pick out a suitable running bra, which was constructed and tested at NASA - had to be in order to work the way it does. So, she picked out 40 pairs of running shorts for me to try on and I went with the 'compression' style. She said 'Oh, I'm surprised you like the compression style'. I'm like wtf? I'm just picking the pair that makes my ass look the smallest... It has a two-layer system in which the inner short is tight like a bike short - hence the compression - and the outer layer is loose to disguise the fact that you're wearing a fashion style from the 1980s. So Tuesday morning I'm actually excited to go run my 3 miles in my new compression shorts system thing. Not 3 minutes in and damn it to hell if that outer layer of loose shorts didn't ride right up my crotch. I felt like I was running with a dick tucked in between my legs. So for a mile and a half out, cursing the entire way, I had to pick the shorts out of my crotch every 2 seconds. I probably looked like I was playing with myself. Strangely on the way back the shorts weren't riding up at all- hmmm. So I can only run in one direction in these things? Well that's not very convenient. Three runs later and 3 pairs of shorts later and still no luck.

Update on Little Viagra. One of my short runs late in the week and I noticed that the tramp stamp Little Viagra has been apparently tampered with and now reads C I A. Whaaaaaat the hell?? Something weird is going on here. The government is involved somehow. Stay tuned.

No yoga master all week. I'm really getting worried about him. What if during a deep meditation he rolled over and fell in the river?? I can only hope he went in with his kung-foo yoga mat to keep him afloat.

My sister Jenny's training out in the suburbs continues to go well. She did encounter a snake in the path during one of her runs. I'd bet money she maintained goddess form as she hurdled it. Style points for that. I don't have to worry about such obstacles... the closest thing we have to wildlife in the city is homeless people and I haven't had to jump over anyone yet.

A recap of week 3:
  • Monday - rest (praise Jesus)
  • Tuesday - 3 miles (dick-shorts fiasco)
  • Wednesday - 3 miles
  • Thursday - birthday/3 miles
  • Friday - rest day (thank the Lord)
  • Saturday - only 5 miles, whew, piece of cake!
  • Sunday - cross train (shopping and 45-minutes on the bike)
Wish me luck this week. I have a big 9-mile run coming up Saturday. I pray I find a suitable pair of shorts by then or my inner thighs will never be the same!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!

If you would've told me a year ago on this day I'd wake up at 6:30 in the morning to run 3 miles in 250% humidity I woulda laughed in your face. But, amazingly that's how my birthday day has started! yay!

This little gem on the left is the Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called the Nike of Samothrace, is a third century B.C. marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike (Victory). Since 1884, it has been prominently displayed at the Louvre and is one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world. Read more about the Winged Victory of Samothrace here.

A quick recap of the short runs this week...

No yoga master sightings this week. Bummer. He must be stuck in one of the trees. I did find a potential man/boat mate. While running Tuesday morning, I saw a boat with the tramp stamp Tender 1. I thought wow - what a great man/boat potential for me. Then I saw Tender 2, and Tender 3, and Tender 4, 5, 6 and 7 - and realized I was running past Boys Town in the harbor. Bummer. All the good ones are gay.

I did have a major breakthrough on the Viagra boat mystery. Wednesday morning I saw a little Sea Doo boat named Viagra. I was right! The big yacht named Viagra is really a little boat and needs the pill to turn into a big boat. Little Viagra. God Bless; I knew it was out there. I'm glad I have confirmation on my theory.

Physically I feel pretty good. Only cause for worry - it feels like someone has filleted my lower leg muscles with a paring knife and sewn them back on to my shin bones. Other than that I feel great.

I bid you farewell on this most grand day of celebrations. I'm off to get schnockered at the Cubs game. I think I've earned it. :-)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Week 2 Complete!

Thursday I really had a tough time getting out of bed. I hit snooze on my alarm system for one hour. Yes, my three-pronged alarm system to get my ass out of bed failed miserably. First step, my regular alarm clock buzzes. I hit snooze. Second step, my cell phone blares a really annoying jingle. I hit snooze, which is not easy to do on a cell phone with your eyes still closed. I basically hit all the buttons on the side of the phone until it stops making that noise. Third step, Bailey gets in my face and starts licking me. Ick - that works every time. Well, I do try and yell at him to lie back down but after his third attempt in combination with buzzing and jingles for about 30 minutes I'm up. Well not Thursday. Buzzing didn't phase me, phone disarmed by the 11th snooze, dog still sleeping.

The nice thing about getting such a late start... I saw my elfin voodoo yoga master at the end of his routine. There he was amongst the trees, alongside the river, basking in the sunlight. At first I thought he was dead. Oh no what happened to my little elfin friend? Ah, nothing - he's just up to more freakiness. He was lying spreadeagle, belly-up, shirtless on his kung-foo yoga mat. Then I realized this is the end of his routine when he does some kind of freaky meditation. I didn't get to see him leave because I had to get my 3 miles in. He probably rolled up his kung-foo yoga mat, climbed up one of the trees and went back to bed.

Saturday I graduated to the 11:30-minute pace group. I left the 12-minute clod-hoppers behind. Goodbye fellow running slugs; I must leave you now. The run was pretty decent. The first mile we ran like 10:45 - what the fuck. So, after having a few words with the pace leader at the first water break, we slowed down to the pace we were supposed to be running. It wasn't so bad. Hot. But, being only 6 a.m. on a Saturday, no one is really out on the lakefront to see what a hot sweaty trani mess I turned into. Only annoying part of the run, besides that first mile, was two broads in my group talking about recipes during the middle 2 miles. I mean seriously - recipes?? Come on. They needed to die. Eventually they started talking about something else - movies I think. I felt like I was eavesdropping on a bad lesbian first date.

A recap of week 2:
  • Monday - rest day (yay!)
  • Tuesday - 3 miles
  • Wednesday - 3 miles
  • Thursday - 3 miles
  • Friday - rest day (double yay!)
  • Saturday - 7 miles
  • Sunday - cross train (I actually went to the fitness center in my building and did 45-minutes on the stationary bike and 15-minutes lifting weights. AND I went shopping later in the day so a double workout!)

My goal this week is to not let all my birthday festivities get in the way of completing my runs. That's right - the running goddess turns 34 on Thursday. Here's hoping I can control myself enough in order to get up post-celebrations and run my heart out.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What's in a name?

Week 2 is going pretty well. Having a little trouble getting up in the morning to do my runs. Tuesday I hit snooze a million times and finally told myself - if you get up to run you can get a manicure today. It worked. This training is going to get very expensive.

Tuesday while running I turned a corner to run along the lake and the first boat I see in the harbor has Nitemare across the entire side of the bright red boat. That about sums it up. I started reading all the names on the boats - they're kinda like tramp stamps for water vessels. I noticed a striking similarity to the boat names and the types of men I've dated. How could I make such a connection, you ask? Well, as I'm plodding along these miles the last two weeks I've often thought about my existence as a singleton. So tramp stamps on boats and various types of men in relationships was a natural connection. Let's review the highlights from the harbor this week:
  • Nitemare - this not only sums up how I feel about my alarm going off at 4:45 a.m. every day the past two weeks but also some of the dates I've had.
  • Rebound - wow - that's pretty obvious. Not a good shot at a meaningful relationship here.
  • My Way - control freak
  • Almost There - classic commitment-phobe. Plenty of experience here. NOT doing that again no matter how hot he is
  • Skid Marks - ew ew ewwwwww. I'll give ya points for wit but come on; what the fuck?
  • And the best one of them all - VIAGRA. Now, I don't have any personal experience with this type of man and I hope I don't have to for many, many years. But come on - who puts this tramp stamp on his boat?? Maybe the viagra isn't for the captain but for the boat itself. Maybe the boat is really little - like a dingy - and with the little blue pill turns into a huge yacht.
So as you can see, I'm very serious about my runs so far.

Today at the end of my very slow run - I like to think of my running style as methodical - I was almost home and all of a sudden I looked along the river and saw a little elf man amongst the trees doing some kind of freaky kung-fu yoga. That's it - I'll have to start carrying a camera with me because this sight was too freaky for words.

One more short run tomorrow a.m. then the much appreciated rest day Friday. I'm debating what pace group to run with on Saturday for the group run. The 12-minute pace group, while lovely, was just too damn slow. I coulda walked faster than that pace. I'm scared to graduate to the 11:30-minute group for fear that my ass will be bringing up the rear and struggle. But, I think I have to do it. There's no way in hell I am going to run a 12-minute pace marathon; that will take all friggin' day.

Until next time!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Week 1 Complete!

I survived my first official week of marathon training! A breakdown of my first week:
  • Monday - rest day (what an easy start!)
  • Tuesday - 3 miles (not too bad)
  • Wednesday - 3 miles (my lower back went out... trip to the chiropractor and back in action)
  • Thursday - 3 miles (getting used to it)
  • Friday - rest day (yay!)
  • Saturday - 6.9 miles (first run with CARA was supposed to be 6 miles but our awesome 12-minute pace group rocked it to 6.9 miles)
  • Sunday - cross training (I hope shopping counts because that's all I could muster today)
For the last 6 months I've been running off and on and doing several 8 and 5 K races to keep motivated. I'm excited the first official week of training kicked off June 9. There's no going back now...

My first week of running was pretty uneventful. I switched from running after work to setting my alarm for 5 a.m. and running before work. It's nice to get it over with and eat and refuel all day! I run along the lakefront downtown and enjoy jogging past the harbor. As I'm chugging along I wish I was on one of those boats but the view from land is pretty awesome. One morning I was running and noticed the ducks were still sleeping. Wow. I am not a morning person so I've already impressed myself this week. :-) I will have to work on that cross training day - shopping probably isn't what the training group has in mind. Hey, I was on my feet for a few hours and lifted several packages. :-)

My sister Jenny signed up for the Chicago Marathon too and she also completed a successful first week of training.

Great first week; so far smooth sailing.