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!