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. :-)