Taper happiness…

Normally I hate tapering; I am edgy and want to run and hate having to bring things down a notch. This time is different. I am tired. I could list all the things contributing to me requiring coffee every afternoon, but it’s not very interesting. I am just pooped. I realized it last week. I am glad I don’t have to do any fancy long runs this weekend. I am also freaking out about all kinds of little aches and pains in my back and hamstrings, but I think some of that should resolve.   I always go into these things wishing I had done more training.  Who doesn’t really?  But, I did the best I could.  Many weeks felt like a self imposed rat race.  Yeah, I could have done crazy things like gotten up at 330 am to get a longer run in, spent entire days on the greenbelt, and hit yoga class at 8pm.  But, I did what I could without sacrificing my other obligations.  We’ll see…am I nervous?  Always!  These runs always sound fun until I wake up the morning of and think the whole idea seems utterly ridiculous.  Why would anyone pay money to run a bunch of loops around a park for a sweatshirt?  It’s actually pretty embarrassing if you think about it…

This is week 2 of trying to lower my cholesterol.  I went for an asthma checkup and got the bonus news my cholesterol was too high.  My doctor told me the easiest way to remedy this is to get more cardiovascular exercise.  I just told her I couldn’t really do that…so I get the “then change your diet” option.  Week one was not bad.  I went shopping, and only bought brown rice, whole wheat pasta, lots of veggies, oatmeal with flaxseed, and no sweets (my favorite thing in the world).  I felt lean and healthy last week.  This week sucks.  All I can think about is food.  The whole grains don’t satisfy me like a piece of thick sourdough bread does.  And no sweets is absolute torture.  I dreamt of bakeries all last night.  I woke up in the middle of a dream that I was at a vegan bakery, eating a gigantic bowl of blueberry buckle.  I woke up starving.  I thought about sweets all day.  My coworker gave me a packet of organic fruit gummies.  It wasn’t the same as a cookie.   The oatmeal with flaxseed was horrible…it tasted like fish.   Coffee with skim milk and not half and half just ain’t coffee.  I suspect I will get used to these little changes over time and probably not continue all of them, but I am going to keep trying.  Runners cannot eat whatever they want, some can, but not me.   I could really go for a piece of apple pie right now though…
Finally, it’s the little things in life that matter:  Lost and Big Love are back on!   I am not running tomorrow and get to sleep until 630!  Red wine is on the low cholesterol diet!  Coraline comes out next weekend…goths all over America will rejoice!   And…..I get to run 50 miles in 1 more week!


3M 1/2 marathon…

Today I got a last minute entry into the 3M 1/2 marathon. One of the docs at work gave me his wife’s entry since she was unable to run. Like many folks in Austin, this used to be one of my favorite races. It was the first race I ever did in Austin, 11 years ago! At the time I had never run that far. I would focus on it each year and try to run faster and faster, except for one year I had a massive asthma attack the day before that sent me to urgent care. One year I ran my best race ever here, my only really fast one,….although I swear the course had to be short. It was good enough for 3rd place in age group and I won a big, ugly cement paper weight. WTF? It is such a nice course taking in some of Austin’s prettiest neighborhoods, but once I started running more marathons and 50Ks, I quit doing it, mainly because of the expense of multiple races.

Well, couldn’t say no to a free run. Steve picked me up at work. I got to park at the garage there since my work is right at the finish line. Then we got Wesley and made it up to the start with over an hour to spare. It was a chilly morning in the 30s and we all stayed in the car until the last minute. Once we were off, I got to enjoy my last hard run before Rocky Raccoon taper. I had a run and hard yoga class Friday, a run with Pancake yesterday, and the race today…so I wasn’t really rested, but I was hoping to run under 8 minute miles to have one last hard effort. I haven’t raced a shorter race in a long time, so I really had no idea how I would do. I was able to keep up sub-8 minute miles, but the doc who gave me the entry had a friendly wager with me…but I lost that one. Got done and it was still pretty chilly. I found Steve and since we were right at a hospital, I wanted to take a picture of him in a wheelchair in his running gear, but he declined. We ended the morning driving back north to Steve’s car, and IHOP.

Now I get to sit back and relax for a couple weeks. Off for heartburn inducing Salt Lick tonight for Mike’s birthday…


Practicing pace part II…

Yesterday was the 22 mile marathon pacer practice run. I met my partner for the marathon and we hit it off right away. We both had never paced before, and we run about the same pace normally, so the 5 hour marathon was a little slow for both of us. We had almost a full marathon to practice.

We quickly dialed in on what we needed to do to run evenly paced miles for 22 miles. It went great. It is amazing how much better I feel after a long run just reeling in the pace a little bit. 22 miles is still a long way to go , but I didn’t have the exhaustion feeling that usually comes at the end. It was actually great practice for Rocky Raccoon. Running a steady, relaxed pace is exactly what must be done to have a good 50 miler, so it was a win-win run. Got to help a couple folks get 1 notch closer to their marathon goal, and I got a great RR practice run.

Ran with Mark this am, and we both agreed the next 2 weekends will be great with no pressure at all to do a really long run!


Runtex 20 Miler + …

Here’s Pancake in her own personal race on the Greenbelt.

While many of my friends were suffering through the Bandera 100/ 50K this weekend, I had my own endurance race of sorts. The 4 hour finish-the fishie-tat, session left my arm sore, bruised, and really my whole back pretty darn tight from tensing up for 4 hours. I woke up this am with intentions of running a pre-race 6 miles to make today my biggest training run since Sunmart 50K. The alarm went off at 415, and I just moaned. I slept terribly and my back was super tight. It was dark. It was cold. WTF was I thinking? Who runs before a race?!?

The fact that this is really the last weekend I could do a really long run (next weekend is another pacer practice run), I knew I just had to suck it up and do it. I made it out for about 5.5 miles. Wasn’t too bad once I started, but a 445 start on a Sunday is painful. I got home, and did a complete change into dry clothes. It was 545, and the 20 mile didn’t start until 730, and I still had a trip up to Georgetown. Steve picked me up at 615 and we were off…

We met up with Meghan and her parents, who live in Georgetown. It was fun to be doing a nice little country, low key race. We waited in the GHS gym before the start, and having a warm place and real bathrooms before a race was heaven. Ok, now we gotta go run this thing…

Although it was winter, and the trees a little sparse, it was a great course. It wasn’t hilly, and it was a treat to do a long run along the back country roads. Steve ran with me the whole way, another plus to have company. I was freezing for about 15 miles, even though it was a beautiful sunny day. Finally felt toasty warm the last few miles. I felt good the whole way, and it was a confidence booster to finish feeling good, and feel like I could still keep running. We had a nice big group breakfast after, and after a couple errands, Mike and I are about the head out to see “The Wrestler”…so it was an incredibly full weekend. Those are good…can’t complain about living in a place with more going on than you have time to get to.

So, the 20 miler came out to 20.25 and with 5.5 before it’s pretty darn close to 26…I’m calling it. Whew!


The fish is done!

Yay, it’s done! It was a long day, but I was determined to finish it.

Tattoos hurt….in my opinion. My arm is sore. Should make tomorrow’s very long run, very interesting. But it was so worth it to get an old tattoo covered with something that I for one think turned out great. It was fun to get this finished at the tattoo convention today. check out Sunday’s Austin American Statesman online, rumor is my grimacing picture might be in it. Hey we all need our 15 minutes.


Home Stretch…

I was walking in the ‘hood just a couple days ago, and spotted this single lone bluebonnet that seemed confused it is not spring. It was actually a really cold day when I found it, so it seemed extra out of place.

Well, this weekend I am doing my last really long run for the Rocky Raccoon 50 mile run the first weekend in Feb. I still have another 20 miler next weekend, but this weekend is a test of mental will as well, with a 430am start time for 6 miles, and then heading up to Georgetown to run the Runtex 20 Mile to finish off the run. Will it be as hard of a run as my friends running the Bandera 50/ 100K are doing this weekend? Not even close. But training for this race has really taught me to just do what I can, and sometimes running cannot take priority (ok, most of the time..it really shouldn’t). I am scheduled Saturday for an appt to finish up my fish tattoo, and I had scheduled it 2 months ago. It is a long wait for an appt, so once I got it, it kinda sealed the deal of no Bandera. I am fine with it. I have been much better at not doing every run out there, and enjoying my local adventures as much as races.

The journey is never quite the same if you have already been to the destination. While I have had a blast training for this race (which really is my big event this running season), having done a couple 50s now, and a 100, it doesn’t seem as big of a deal as that first one did. I had a few other obligations to deal with in my training but honestly aside from roughly 2 weeks of the asthma attack from hell, there is no reason I couldn’t have done more, other than I just had to have a life outside of running. I love running, it’s such a part of who I am, but more and more I am trying to give myself some goals outside of the big races.

Seems like so long ago last summer I was running the Sweaty 20 in the pines of Bastrop with the goal of building a base to run a 100 miler. Well, that isn’t going to happen. 50 miles is still nothing to sneeze at. A little part of me is disappointed I am not running the 100, but many weekends I ended a 3 hour run thinking “I am soooo glad I am not running 100, and having to stay out here running another 2-3 hours.” On many of my mornings I run alone, my thoughts drift in and out of having any theme, as they do when there are those moments that lend themselves to the mind wandering. I’ll interrupt whatever is flowing through my head by glancing up at a full moon (yes, it is completely dark for my entire morning run), or see a cat hunting something hiding in the grass, completely unaware I am running by, or if I am really lucky see an egret in Lake Mueller, and I am just thankful I can get out the door in the morning, and the race I am training for suddenly seems a lot less important. It’s just nice to have a good way to start off the day…


Merry New Year!!!

Not much to write about. Did my practice pace run today and did not keep the pace the whole time….it was because I waited on runners, which I cannot do…but it is hard when you see someone working hard, just wanting to finish. I also could tell some of these folks run alone a lot, and hopefully they enjoyed company and I did not drive them nuts chatting the whole way….but I felt compelled to wait for anyone who fell behind. Anyhow, I ended up with only 2 people going the whole way (17 miles) with me. I also notice most folks were going for quicker times, or were doing a lot of walking, and the 5 hour pace requires a steady little jog, so it probably had the least amount of people interested in it. Oh well, hopefully it will pay off on marathon day. It was not easy to keep it steady, and I still need to work on it.

Had some good running this week..I worked all week, except New Years and had a great run with Stratford Dr. again…I am really starting to like adding it into routes.

Bedtime is calling me. Not much more to say. Did a “Winter Solstice” dinner at one of Austin’s better restaurants tonight. Friends are a good thing. A couple bottles of wine, really good food and really good company is a great way to start 2009.

—the title of this post is from an ’80’s movie. Bully for you if you know the movie it is from….