Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Never-Ending Climb

And the incline got steeper and steeper...
Treadmill - Hill Program - Monday, August 30

Blah!! I really can't wait until I'm done with Kauai and I don't have to do such an intense hill workout. I really don't mind the "wimpier" hill programs that cap out at 3 or 4... or even 5. But the last few weeks I've been doing the "random" program and I've been getting some really hard programs. Like this one:

the first half hour? No big deal. The whole second half???? I have never been so close to throwing up on the treadmill. I had over-eaten a bit on Sunday night, and thought I was feeling better... until this program. One of those peaks I had to walk (about 30 seconds) and then the second peak I slowed my speed considerably. 6.0? Freakin A. That's just ridiculous for a treadmill workout! I was sweating and dry heaving and trying not to faint or die (that would be awkward). Never have I felt so happy to be done. Even after I got to the "cool down" I struggled because my muscles were so tight after that last half hour.

Then I still had to do the rest of my run... I actually started in a walk and increased speed every 30 seconds or so. My calves were REALLY struggling today.

Happy with the mileage, happy that I managed to suffer and (mostly not suck) at the hill program.

No matter what lighting I take a pic of this skirt, it does not do it justice... it's neon!
L had brought her friend (the crazy one who went on our long run last week with us) to the gym. He seemed to think we were pretty hard core on the treadmill. Yup.

To answer a few questions from last entry (also answered in comments):

@ Average A - I love running in the Newtons! They are a lot more comfortable than my last pair of running shoes. I didn't have any adjustment period at all, but rumor has it that could be because I've done some running in Vibrams.
@ Silly Girl - I got the skirt as a birthday present!! It's different than any other one I have, I love it!
@ Alma F - Eeek... I dont' even know how many (running skirts) I have... Off the top of my head at least a dozen :D

As another aside - @ Little Fruit Fly - I've heard the Goonies song three workouts in a row now.

Random rant:
So one of the races that I registered for (a month or so ago) arbitrarily changed the date of the race to a week later. I found out only because the link on my blog was broken and when I googled there was a little blurb about it. The race director seems to think it's totally my problem and "hopes I'll figure it out." I even booked my travel (package through Orbitz). Still have not seen a refund from the race, and the travel... well, I guess I'm out the money. I don't insure my travel (I had no intention of missing) and the cost to change is just as much as new package. So.Freaking.Pissed. No other races nearby that I can head to instead. Question... Who is at fault here??

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ridiculous Runs

Hard Core... part 2?
Outdoor Run - Arvada Loop - Sunday, August 29I raced on Saturday afternoon/evening, then I went to a concert, didn't get home until almost 11 pm. And yet... I set my alarm and diligently got up at 3:58 am to go running with L before she had to go to work at 7 am. It's hard to find lighter/brighter colors to wear so I'm at least *slightly* visible in the dark, but I did my best:

I had a busy day planned AND I just loathe running in the HEAT, so this seemed like a better idea. 

We did the same "Arvada Loop" that we have done a few other times, taking out a few miles to be sure we could finish in time. The nice thing about the loop is that it is mostly well lit, there aren't *too* many busy streets to cross, AND we get in a lot of hills... Anyway. My run was great. Fabulous even. I didn't feel fatigued, I didn't feel hot. I didn't even feel like I needed it, but I took one of the GUs that I had won in a giveaway a few weeks back. Strawberry Banana... and it was pretty good! Thanks again, Stephanie!

Anyway, the "long" run was just short of 8.5 miles, and I felt good the whole time - which is a win.

Part Two of today's blog...

I won a contest!! Woo hoo!!!

The Rules:

1. Answer this question: If you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?

2. The second thing you have to do is, pick 6 people and give them this award. You then have to inform the person that they have gotten this award.

3. The third and final thing is, thank the person who gave you the award.

The Answers:

1. Well... I couldn't really go back and change anything without changing the super awesome person (I'd like to think) I've become. So the "easy" answer is... nothing. I guess the "real" answer is... I'd have been nicer to my family when I was in high school - and I'll leave it at that.

2. 6 people that I would like to give this award to (in random order):

3. Thanks to Little Fruit Fly in the Rainbow Colored Socks for presenting me with this awesome award. I love reading your blog! (And I really don't know anyone else that actually has "The Goonies R Good Enough" on their iPod, haha).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

SkirtChaser 5K - Saturday, August 28, 2010

Catch Me If You Can...

I signed up for the SkirtChaser 5K a while back - I was super excited because I am usually out of town when the race is here. I mean, $50 for a race, a skirt, AND a pint glass? What a deal!!

L was not going to participate, but I convinced her to sign up... and to join me in wearing monkey knee socks! We had a little trouble getting to the start because mapquest on the iPhone suuuucks, but we got there, found an inexpensive parking garage and walked just a few minutes to the "block party." L got registered, we picked up our bags, and we still had about 45 minutes to kill before the race started. We got in line for the port-o-potties... and they were the best ones ever - they actually flushed! Wow! Guess that's what happens when you have a race geared toward women??

The race is sponsored by "Skirt Sports" but we wore skirts from "Runningskirts.com"
We started in the middle of the pack, and there was still quite a bit of "dodging" the first half mile or so. I will never be able to figure out why the walkers think they need to be in the front of the pack!!

It. Was. Hot. Like seriously hot. 98 degrees when we last looked in the car. And no shade on the course. The course was a sort of loop that doubled back along the streets of Cherry Creek, a suburb of Denver. There was not a lot of shade and the course was pretty hilly. I was feeling ok the first mile, but I was pacing pretty fast and getting VERY thirsty. There was only one water station on the course, just before the two mile marker. I walked through that and got stuck with a cup of XOOD (omg, the most vile tasting liquid in the world, BLAH) instead of water. It made me feel a little nauseous and I ended up walking a bit more because I felt like I could throw up.

I had not expected the course to be as hilly as it was, and I was super tired and hot and not feeling great, especially after the unexpected drink at the water station. I still managed a decent pace, and the last part of the course (thankfully) was downhill. Physically I was feeling pretty good (except for the heat stroke and dehydration, lol) so I was going pretty fast. I sprinted the last section and crossed... and... even WITH walking at least a minute or two of the course, I set a PR!! Officially the time is 28:17 (almost 30 seconds faster than my PR last winter). Woo hoo! And L totally rocked her only 5K, finishing in 25:30.

The block party was worth the money - they had free beer from a local brewery, free Chipotle, and quite a few vendors. Not to mention a band! We stuck around long enough to eat, but then headed to Denver for the AFI/Green Day show! They put on an AWESOME show! (And yes, L and I were too rushed, hot, etc to even change, so we still wore our running outfits to the concert).

Friday, August 27, 2010

Need For Speed

Treadmill - Friday, August 27

Due to my long run happening on Wednesday morning, I didn't get in my Yasso tempo training... so I switched it to today.

Increase from last week:

  • 10 min @ 5.8 mph
  • 5 sets - 4 min @ 7.5 mph, 4 min @ 3.0 mph (yes, added a set since last week)
  • 10 min @ 6.2 mph
  • 5 min @ 6.3 mph
Only thing to say about this workout is that I like Bart just a *little* less than last week. It's not so much the speed that is the hard part. It is watching myself in the mirror makes me dizzy and I swear I'm going to fly off the treadmill. Not looking forward to adding the sixth set next week. But I desperately want to improve... so there you have it.

I am in love with my heart compression socks from runningskirts.com (and the skirt too).


New Training Partner?

Ralston Trail - Thursday, August 26

I ended up having a little extra time between dinner and my adult gymnastics class. Opted to throw A's tricycle in the back of the Jeep and do a quick impromptu run with her on the trail behind the gym.

A is getting better at taking pics!
Psyched to be riding her bike!
I had about a half hour, and I know it "seems" like she is fast on her bike, so I'm assuming if nothing else that she will have to slow down to keep up with me. It's super hot out, but at least the sun is going down so it's not as bad as when I run in the late afternoon.

I have never tried the whole running/biking combo, so I wasn't sure at ALL how it was going to work. Apparently, A's limit is about 10 minutes on the bike before the whining starts and it's no longer "fun." We aren't even halfway yet, and we are going past the park she likes to play at... In the future I need to allow a few extra minutes for her to go down "the big green slide."

We turn around when the trail makes a fork in the road, just under a mile. The way back is rough... A is sad, "my legs are tired!!" and I keep having to go back for her, and giving her an extra push here and there. Overall, she makes it ok, and I keep shouting out encouragement and praise for her keeping up.

Fail on the speed/distance (approx 12 min mile pace for just under 2 miles, but since this wasn't a planned run, it's better than nothing) but major win on getting out there and exercising together. I certainly think by next summer she can be a training partner with me on shorter run days.

Gymnastics was super fun. I can still do a lot of my tricks on beam (most on the "middle size" beam... but I can still land a backwalkover and hold a handstand for 15+ seconds). I forgot how much I like being "good" at something :D I think I have convinced L to join me next week for drop in.

In other related news:

1. Nothing on the job front yet. I might beg to keep my job until the two weeks I have off for Alaska/Greece. No one will hire me with that looming.
2. I gained 2 pounds this week. Thanks, stress.
3. It's been 1000 days since I quit smoking. ONE.THOUSAND.DAYS. I'm awesome!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy Birthday and Virtual Race for MCM Mama!

Big Arvada Loop - Wednesday, August 25

I have not been getting in my long runs... Meaning, the goal I had for this morning was more than 3 miles longer than anything I have ever run before. MCM Mama hosted a variety of options for a big 4-0 birthday virtual race. Due to my current training schedule, nothing really fit... So I opted to double up the middle distance of 8.25 for a total of 16.5 miles. Um. Wow. So my ultimate plan was to complete this insanely far distance. In less than 3 hours. Before work. In order for this to work, I would have to get up ridiculously early. And I was SUPER nervous since I've never run anything further than 13.1 miles. So I didn't get much sleep, but at least I was smart enough to get everything ready the night before:

My alarm went off (even though I had woken up at least 3 times in the night to make sure I didn't oversleep). The finished outfit:

I headed upstairs - ahead of schedule!

Oy. I had no clue I would ever be this hardcore... haha. Quick breakfast:

Pre-race pic of me and my lovely sister that I convinced to join me since it was SO early and SO dark out:

L's friend, John, was insane enough to want to join us. That made us both feel better though. We headed out, and I knew that the course I had mapped was going to be a little hilly, but it was the easiest and most direct way to get all the miles in without having to cross too many busy streets. We took our first brief walk break pretty early, but that was after 2 miles of pretty big hills. We did not walk again until we had done the first 10K, and even then we only walked to open a bag of GU Blueberry Pomegranate Chomps (I had never had them before and don't think I'll get again. Product is sticky and bag was hard for me to open). Anyway, it was super nice temps out, mid 50s. SOOO much better than running the sweltering heat, even IF I did give up 3 hours of sleep :D

We hit the turnaround point, and it FINALLY started to get a bit light out. We had an emergency bathroom stop at about 10.5 miles (thank goodness we were by an open space that had a few port-o-potties!)

Went ahead and ate our "Espresso Love" GU and then headed out for the remaining 6 miles. My legs were a little tired, but it was nice having the company, and while we were somewhat slow going, the temps made it all bearable. The goal was to finish in 3 hours, but I mapped it about .2 short, and we finished in just over 3 hours and 6 minutes. I'd call that success for my longest training run to date! Thanks for the motivation to get me going, and a big happy birthday to you, MCM Mama!!


12 min spilt is when I couldn't open Chomps and 13 min split is bathroom break
I am PSYCHED that I was able to run this far... only a few walk breaks, and a lot of them were unavoidable (crossing streets). I may actually be able to run this marathon without dying :D

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Think Pink

Treadmill - Random Hill Programs - Monday, August 23

Anything had to be better than the run yesterday, so I wasn't dreading the treadmill as much as usual. And... with an outfit like this, what's NOT to be happy about??

Have you ever in your life seen so much bright pink in one place? Which leads me to the question of the blog... I've been a gym rat for years... I have nicknames for most of the other regulars. I occasionally wonder what MY name would be. If you saw someone wearing the above attire at the gym (think 24 Hour Fitness), what would YOU call her? LOL...

First random hill program:

I did this program for 41 minutes. I paused to go to the bathroom and get water and it reset. The next 19 minutes were this program (capping at level 6, blah!!)

Total for short program...

And then a nice 10 minute run with no incline. Always seems SO easy after the hill programs!

Other random tidbits:

1. Yurbuds work just as well on the treadmill. Did not fall out. I can't believe they actually work!
2. My boss suggested my last day of work be on the 31st - makes it easier for payroll. So I have one week... better get started on the "life plan"
3. First day of school today!!

Left: H (my niece) Right: A (my daughter)
Walking to new school
New classroom, but she has same teachers as last year

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

Big Dry Creek Trail - Sunday, August 22

Probably should have just taken an off day, but with Warrior Dash being more of a "fun run" than a race, and only 3.27 miles, I felt like I still had to get some mileage in this weekend.

So even though I'm still ridiculously sore from gymnastics, and whatever injuries I sustained while Warrior Dashing, I met up with L after she got off work. It was 96 degrees when we headed out, and not a cloud in the sky. Damn. It was gonna be a scorcher.

All the essentials - Visor, Shades, Yurbuds, Garmin, Road ID, fuel belt


I still had some Clif Shot Bloks that I had in my gym bag for... 5 months? We split a package of Tropical Punch and headed out. I was struggling right off the bat. Hot. Tired. Deydrated. Not a good sign. Initially when we were heading out, I said at least 6, not more than 8. I decided at the first water stop to turn around at 3.5 for a 7 mile loop.

Barely made it to the turnaround point. Thinking to myself this is the worst run I've been on since we were in Minnesota.

Past, Present, Future signage for the open space... aka "Turnaround point at 3.5 miles"

Have no idea how I managed to actually run those last few miles. Only saving grace was we finally got some cloud cover the last mile or so. I think I'm pretty much done with these insane afternoon runs. They are for the birds. Seriously terrible run. Barely made it through 7 miles, and it took forever (about 80 minutes).

In other fitness related news... my half fanatic membership has been approved. I'm new member 513!!! Also, this was my first run testing out the Yurbuds... they really work! I did not have to mess with them at all, and since they are made out of rubber instead of hard plastic they did not hurt the inside of my ears at all. Awesome!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Warrior Dash - Saturday, August 21

We signed up for Warrior Dash back in March. Somehow we had convinced my boyfriend, J, to run it with us, as well as some of my friends from California. I mean, jumping over fire? How awesome is that???

Our start time was at 3:30. We dropped off the kids at my parents house around noon, stopped for the "Lunch of Champions" - Chipotle, then headed up the mountain. Copper Mountain resort is about 75 miles from where we live.

Just outside Copper Mountain

We parked and then took the bus to the resort. Lots of signage and of course we had to get some pictures along the way since I wasn't risking taking my camera on the course:

J and Me
J, Me (check out my quads!!) and L

We managed to run into Jesse at packet pick up, and then we pretty much had to head back where the bus dropped us of. Julia and Jesse had rented a condo for the weekend with some friends and offered to let us leave our stuff there so we wouldn't have to head back to the car or do gear check. We pinned on our race bibs, put on our shoe tags, and did last minute pictures.

Jesse and his final delusions of grandeur when he still thinks he can beat me (haha)
L, J, Me
We head out to the start line to see if we can wish Julia luck... she was in the 3:00 wave. We get there and realize we can probably start early. The race is timing chipped, and our numbers are non-sequential... no one will ever know that we started 30 minutes early. We get to the back of the pack. The flames flare up from huge torches (instead of a gunshot?) and we were off... wide road at the beginning. First obstacle was climbing over abandoned cars. I was worried when J and L bolted off in front... then we hit the first parts of the slope. Rugged terrain. Loose rocks, grass, gravel. Next obstacle is a rope climb. Get up and the real hills start. Steep incline to the tower of bales of hay. Only time during the race that I regretted wearing a running skirt as I got stabbed near the crotch with hay. Next obstacle is the tires. My gait is short and I struggled a bit getting through. J was a professional (not fair, he was a football player in high school) and beat me through it. Then the nasty hills started. Long, long, LONG, hairpin turns of really narrow path. Hard to even think about running/jogging up. For two reasons. We are now at more than 10,000 feet in altitude and the trail is narrow and most people are walking it. I jog when I can move around people, L is already way up in front of me. I had passed Julia before ever hitting the bales of hay, but my true competition, Jesse, was gaining on me. I kicked it into high gear.

Hit the flat section at the plateau, and then the downill slopes. I had to be careful not to fall down the mountain. Very steep grade and still running on trail with lots of grooves and holes, not to mention the loose rocks. Manage to make it down without killing myself and I see the only aid station on the course. Slam a half cup of water, and then head to the messy part of the course. Crawling through mud... it's unavoidable because of the real barbed wire that forces you to slime under it. Manage to stay fairly clean above the waist, but socks and shoes totally trashed as the mud is easily a foot deep. Get out of the mud only to find yet another hill, made even harder by the extra five pounds of  mud and water I now have on me. I have mud in my nose and mouth. It's foul. Smells like a sewer. Next obstacle is the tunnel... uphill. And it's small. And covered in mud from the hundreds and hundreds of people who have already done the course today. I try to shake the excess mud off my arms and realize I have a cut on my hand... Whee, blood and mud. I'm so hardcore. Chick behind me yells "I love your skirt" and I say "runningskirts.com!" - then it's jumping over the walls. Most of the guys could just swing their legs over, but me being so short I had to pull myself up with my arms stand on top and jump off. But I was awesome at it - and faster than a lot of the other females.

Make it up the final incline and I'm headed up the rope ladder. Imagine if you will, what you see in military training with the ropes over a huge wall. Yep. Like that. Only we are not trained for that and the ropes are covered in mud... I am careful not to fall, and others are struggling with it more than I am (hahaha). I make it down the other side, jaunt across the balance beams and head to the creek. I didn't realize we actually had to wade through it (about a foot deep?) - but it gave me a chance to wash off my arms so I could wipe my face off.  Many people just stood there and bathed but I was on a mission to kick Jesse's ass, so I climbed out and booked it to the finish line. 3.27 miles of course later and I jump over the two fire "pits" and sprint through the chute... mocking the guy next to me about letting a girl in a skirt beat him (he did end up running faster... jerk).  Ran across the mats and got my awesome finisher medal and a banana. 

L of course had finished first... and she looked like she had it rough. Literally looked like she face-planted in the mud. Good times. Next across the line was Jesse (yep, totally kicked his ass, haha) and then Julia came across with her friend Mark, and J finished a minute or two later. Julia had some friends that came up that did not participate and they got some shots of us covered in mud - I'll post those after they send copies. We stopped and picked up our awesome shirts and Viking hats:

We headed toward the "Warrior Showers" at the end of the course. Meaning, they had a long "tent" with sprinkler heads coming out the roof. Since I was wearing a sports bra I just took off my top layer, and tried to rinse off. Coldest freaking water in the world. I knew my shoes weren't making the journey home, so I got off as much mud as possible, threw my shoes in the donation bin, and we headed barefoot back to the condo to grab our stuff. Never been so dirty in my life. It was awesome.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Not So Fabulous Friday

And the walls came crumblin' down...

I look forward to Friday. Every week. Friday is the only day of the week that I stop and get a Starbucks on my way to work - venti iced coffee with 5 pumps of white mocha and a shot of espresso. Today I was in an ESPECIALLY good mood for two reasons:

1. I finally earned all my money to run with Team AHEPA in the Athens, Greece marathon.
2. I am only .2 pounds away from my goal weight (a weight I have not been in... years).

So even though traffic has been suckier than usual, even leaving at my regular time, I was still 15 minutes late. Between the construction and getting EVERY.SINGLE.LIGHT.RED, I usually have a very stressful drive in (my commute is between 45 min and an hour each way. But on Friday I don't usually care... because I know in 8 short hours I'm out the door.

Friday is also the only day I actually leave the office and take a lunch. Usually I sit at my desk and eat a frozen dinner. How sad is that. I drive into Boulder, go to Whole Foods and indulge in their fabulous salad bar. Today was no exception. I got a better-than-usual salad and brought it back to the office. And then... around 2:00 my boss called me into her office. A two minute conversation and all of a sudden my job that I've had for 6.5 years was cut from a full-time position to part-time. Just.Like.That. Effective immediately, I no longer work an 8 hour day. I work a 5 hour day. I work for a super small company. And I know that we have had a rough few years, sales have been way down. They cut my hours because I'm hourly. And then know that I will be forced to quit because I cannot support my family on a part-time job. I'm a single mom!! By forcing me to quit, they don't have to pay me unemployment.

**** **** **** **** !!!!!

I graciously leave for the day (early) without totally flipping out. Quite an accomplishment, I was seething by the time I left. Good news is, I had time for a "relaxing" run.

West Big Dry Creek Trail - Friday, August 20

Hot outside... almost 90 degrees when I headed out.

I was feeling pretty cranky, but I must say that I looked adorable:

Most awesome running skirt ever, and compression socks!!

The first 20 minutes felt GREAT. I looked at my watch and knew I was pacing too fast but I couldn't seem to slow down. I was cycling a great mix on my iPod and I think my work rage had given me some (short term) energy... it all came crashing down after the halfway point. I ran out of fluid. Again. It's like I never learn. 16-20 oz is NOT enough when it's this hot out. I was super tired and hot and fatigued on the way back. I walked a lot more than I usually do. Which of course got me even MORE worked up over my dumb job :(

I still made decent time - finishing 6.55 miles in just under 70 minutes. It was too hot to continue running outside, but I still had some pent up energy/anger, so I headed over to the gym since I still had a bit of time before I had to pick up A.

Treadmill - Friday, August 20

Blah. So. In conclusion:

1. I put in my two weeks notice... over email. The pay/hours they have reduced me to is less than I would make if I was on unemployment. Between that and the 2 hours I spend commuting, I can say it's totally not worth it to bother staying on. Which essentially puts me without a job by the time I'm on a plane heading to Kaua'i.
2. I went to my first adult gymnastics class last night and my "glory days" are back in the sense that I could still do a roundoff into three back handsprings and I didn't break my neck. I'm paying for it today, I haven't been this sore since I took my first BodyPump class last year.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I wore this dress yesterday. I have had it for almost a year and had never worn it. I got it at the Bettie Page store when I went to Vegas last September. It was a little snug at the time, but it was the LAST ONE so I bought it anyway. I got lots of complements on it. Made my day :D

2. I did my first Yasso tempo training last night. What's that? I'm always whining about how slow I am and yet I don't do speed work?? Exactly. So W (crazy sister) suggested that I try the Yasso program with the goal of a 2 hour half marathon.

So in 1:05 I accomplished:
  • 15 min warm up @ 5.6 mph
  • 4 x 4 min @ 7.5 mph and 4 min @ 3.0 mph
  • 18 min @ 5.6 mph
Amazing how I accomplished only a little less mileage wise in that time than if I was just doing my regular "long" run. And I walked for SIXTEEN minutes out of it. But, W claims that I will get faster, so I am changing up my regular Wednesday workout to incorporate this training. And honestly, I was dreading it ALL day, and it was not nearly as horrible as I imagined it would be, so... WIN! Followed up the tempo training with a 20 minute run:

3. I am in love with my gym clothes. Seriously.

A has a hard time focusing, she is only 4 though :)
So between the awesome running skirt, the rad leg sleeves and my fabulous shoes... I just LOVE getting dressed to go to the gym. It *almost* makes the treadmill bearable...

I know it is three things Thursday, but I will add an additional three here, lol

1. I got my costume in the mail for Disney Princess half marathon. It's gonna be awesome.
2. I have friends coming in from California for Warrior Dash this weekend. So excited!!!
3. Only TWELVE days left until I have to have all my fundraising in for Greece. Pretty please with sugar on top?? (And that means I only have... 73 days until the marathon. Holy crap. I need to get in some miles)

Week in Review (June 11 - June 17)

Tuesday  (13,780 steps) - Work in the office. Took Olive for a walk after work. Nothing else? Went to 4 Noses. Wednesday  (15,137 steps) - W...