Looking on the bright side

I still feel like ass, but it's a good excuse to drink a scotch whiskey hot toddy, right? ;)

Most of today I have felt no better than I did yesterday, but I do seem to be feeling a bit less crappy as the night wears on.  Assuming I get a good night of solid sleep I think I'll feel better tomorrow.  Though it's still a bit doubtful that we'll go out for New Year's Eve, as the party is an hour away...and DH and DS are also still a bit under the weather.

It's also looking like I won't be participating in the New Year's Day race.  Rats.  A friend of mine was ribbing me a bit...she remembered that I am often sick right around New Year's and she is right.  I think last year may well have been the only year in probably the last 5 that didn't find me sick.  I have had everything from colds, flu, sinus infection, and that banner year with the Noro Virus...that was particularly miserable (though I did lose 8#s in 24 hours--unfortunately it didn't stick).

I'll just be happy if I can manage to catch up on sleep in the coming days.  I have horrible dark circles and bags under my eyes.  Last night DH snored incessantly the entire friggin' night.  It didn't matter if he was on his back, side, or stomach...he sawed wood.  I took an Ambien and shoved some earplugs in my ears and still could not get much rest.  If tonite looks like it will play out similarly I think I will hit the sofa.  I don't sleep well not in my own bed, but anything would have to be preferable to sleeping next to the lumber mill.  Of course, our bedroom is right off the living room, so I may not be able to avoid the racket as much as I'd hope.  Perhaps a few more hot toddies...?  Or maybe I should consider setting the air mattress up in DS's room, instead.

This illness garbage has me trying very hard not too look at my piss poor mileage of the past couple of weeks.  Between weather, snow day, holiday, and now illness...ugh.  I managed 20 miles last week, down from maintaining my 30-35 mpw goal.  This week looks like I will not fare much better.  Figures...I register for a marathon and get sick right before starting training.  Thankfully the first couple of weeks of training mileage are actually a bit lower than the mileage I've already been doing, so hopefully I won't be biting off more than I can chew.


My skin hurts!

My muscles are achy, sure...but my friggin' skin hurts!  What's up with that?!  I think/hope I will feel better by tomorrow, though.  Last week's mileage was in the crapper thanks to weather and the Christmas holiday, but this week looks like it will not be much better...stupid virus.  I'm still not sure if I will do the New Year's Day race or not.  Even if I am feeling tons better I will likely have lung issues for at least another week--thanks to asthma.  So I'm going to see how I feel Weds. (NY's Eve) and register then if it seems like I'm making a super-fast recovery.

For a bit DH and I wondered if we might have strep.  Both of us work with awful sore throats and I have sort of a yellowish patch on the back of my throat, but right now my throat feels pretty good, so I'm guessing it's not strep.  Strep should hurt...a LOT from what I'm told.

In super-awesome-exciting-whoohoo news my friend Michelle from PA is registered to run the Bayshore Marathon and might even share a room with the boys and I.  This is gonna be SO fun (I mean, other than the actual race part, particularly the last 6 miles, heh)!  Now I'm trying to pressure other friends to register.  I'm kinda naughty that way... :D


Happy Anniversary!

Today hubby and I "celebrate" 12 years of marital bliss--celebrate in quotes because we both seem to have managed to catch DS's cold.  I'm mostly just achey and tired with a mildly sore throat and icky sinuses, but he's been pretty limp all day.  I thought my lung issues on yesterday's run were due to the heavy air, but now I think the oncoming bug was probably as much to blame.  Whether I run the New Year's Day 6 miler is kind of up in the air, now. Glad I didn't register early.

Good thing we got out last night for a romantic dinner of pizza and a pitcher of beer at the new local smoke-free sports bar (we've loved that place ever since our fun election night festivities with a group of fellow Obama supporters).  After dinner we opted to stay home and watch a movie on our ginormous new 46" LCD TV (Christmas gift from my MIL).  We had planned to go out and look at a new Blu-ray player (or, more likely, a PS3 which can play games and Blu-ray discs and is upgradeable and can be used to watch pay-per-view movies without having to subscribe to digital cable), but the fog was dangerously thick, so we thought better to wait on that.

Today I marked the occasion by registering for the Bayshore Marathon and reserving our room for 2 nights.  2 queen beds and a hotel with a pool and hot tub will be enjoyable.  After running Milwaukee there was no pool in the hotel, so I look forward to floating around post-race at the place we'll be staying at in Traverse City.  It will also be nice to have a room with refrigerator and microwave.  I need to make sure to have a sodium-rich breakfast on race morning.  Jimmy Dean/Sara Lee breakfast sandwiches are probably going to be a perfect choice, since I do well on eggs/bacon sandwiches before races and long runs.  Didn't have that before Milwaukee and could have used the sodium and fat that was lacking in the Clif bar I ate.

I can't say that I have registered for this race without some trepidation, though.  In the past week or so my right knee has been somewhat cranky.  I ran my first 2 runs in my new NB 769 shoes (including a 10 miler--very comfy, well-fitting shoe) with only the stock insole, figuring that they would be stable enough.  But they seem to offer about the same degree of pronation control as my 902s with the Superfeet insoles, so I think I will need to start wearing the Superfeet in the 769s to beef-up the support.  Hopefully this will be the perfect degree of stability, as my next option up the stability ladder is $40 more expensive (and heavier/clunkier) and would still require use of $40 Superfeet insoles.

As far as other planned races for the year...I will do mostly the same selection of races/distances this year as last, with the substitution of the North Country Trail Relay in place of the Fifth-Third Bank Riverbank Run 25k.  I'd love to do that race (especially since I was pretty unhappy with my time last year, thanks to asthma issues), but it would get to be too many high-mileage races in too short a span of time...recipe for major injury just waiting to happen.


In the immortal words of Lili VonSchtupp

I'm tired.

Several nights in a row of not sleeping well/enough, a mere 8 hours of sunshine this entire MONTH (we've already hit a record for cloudy days in one month), and running around like a nut--as is required this time of the year--have me eager to do nothing more strenuous than sit with a warm, purring cat on my lap and stare at the wall.  BUT I have not run for the past 3 days (not by choice, but by obligations)...so I NEED to run...a LONG run.  It's dreary, though...and just warm enough that the snow and ice on the ground should be a very wet, sloppy, slippery mess.  Joy.  10-11 miles in that mess should be really "fun."

I received a really great gift from my MIL yesterday--a 2 month pass to a small 24 hour fitness joint nearby.  Which will be AWESOME for some treadmill running, especially with a friend or two on side-by-side machines.  But I don't think I could tolerate more than 5-6 miles on a "dreadmill," so today's run will still be done outdoors.  The only thing that is gonna stink about this membership is that running in the warm indoors will require shorter bottoms...and more regular shaving of my legs.  *sigh* the only advantage of Winter is being able to go a week or two between de-Yetifiying myself.  Bah.  But the access to the treadmills should mean that I can get my miles in even during particularly brutal weather weeks--all good for marathon training.

Which reminds me, I need to get my registration in for the Bayshore Marathon before the price goes up on New Year's Day.  And, speaking of NYD, I also need to register for that race.  Extended forecast has that day's weather looking better than last year's...which isn't saying much.  Brutal cold and blizzard was not so nice, especially during the stretch along Lake MI with no windbreak.


For my friends in the Upper Midwest

We are already officially the cloudiest Dec. on record (less than 8 hours of sunshine all this month) and we still have a week+ to go 'til January.  We also are at about 65" of snow--average for the ENTIRE season is ~97" here.

Diary of a Demented Snow Shoveler

December 8 -- 6:00 PM 

It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow! 

December 9 

We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more lovely place in the whole world? Moving here was the best idea I've ever had! Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks.

This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life!

December 12 

The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment! My neighbor tells me not to worry-we'll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we'll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I'll never want to see snow again. I don't think that's possible. Bob is such a nice man, I'm glad he's our neighbor. 

December 14 

Snow, lovely snow! 8 inches last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn't realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I'll certainly get back in shape this way. I wish I wouldn't huff and puff so. 

December 15 

20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4x4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife's car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that's silly. We aren't in Alaska , after all. 

December 16 

Ice storm this morning. Fell on my ass on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like hell. The wife laughed for an hour, which I think was very cruel. 

December 17 

Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should've bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her. God I hate it when she's right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own livingroom. 

December 20 

Electricity is back on, but had another 14 inches of the damn stuff last night. More shoveling! Took all day. The damn snowplow came by twice. Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they're too busy playing hockey. I think they're lying.

Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they're out. Might have another shipment in March. I think they're lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he's lying. 

December 22 

Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white shit fell today, and it's so cold, it probably won't melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to piss. By the time I got undressed, pissed and dressed again. I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter, but he says he's too busy. I think the asshole is lying. 

December 23 

Only 2 inches of snow today. And it warmed up to 0. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What is she, nuts?!! Why didn't she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think she's lying. 

December 24 

6 inches - Snow packed so hard by snowplow, I broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the son of a bitch who drives that snow plow, I'll drag him through the snow by his balls and beat him to death with my broken shovel. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at a 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I've just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was too busy watching for the damn snowplow. 

December 25 

Merry f---ing Christmas! 20 more inches of the damn slop tonight - Snowed in The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. God, I hate the snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she's a fricking idiot. If I have to watch "It's A Wonderful Life" one more time, I'm going to stuff her into the microwave. 

December 26 

Still snowed in. Why the hell did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She's really getting on my nerves. 

December 27 

Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze; plumber came after 14 hours of waiting for him, he only charged me $1,400 to replace all my pipes. 

December 28 

Warmed up to above -20. Still snowed in. The BITCH is driving me crazy!!! 

December 29 

10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That's the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am? 

December 30 

Roof caved in. I beat up the snow plow driver, and now he is suing me for a million dollars, not only for the beating I gave him, but also for trying to shove the broken snow shovel up his ass. The wife went home to her mother. Nine more inches predicted. 

December 31 

I set fire to what's left of the house. No more shoveling. 

January 8 

Feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Why am I tied to the bed?

Not 5 gold rings

Who wants gold jewelry when one can have silver and blue shoes?!

A couple of days ago my new NB 769 shoes arrived from Road Runner Sports.  I've not been a real huge fan of this retailer (their prices are often much higher than the competition, even if one has their VIP membership).  But they were offering 15% off on top of the regular 10% off VIP pricing...and free upgraded shipping, so these nearly  $100 shoes were around $75.

First run was really nice (will have a better idea of their function once I am able to run on dry roads sans YakTrax), though I think NB has sized their shoes up (at least in terms of length--the actual last of their newer shoes is a tad snugger, which I like) a bit in the last year.  These 8Ds fit well with heavy Winter socks, but I think my next pair will be a half-size smaller, perhaps.

The 767 was my favorite shoe for a long time, but eventually I needed more forefoot flex, which they didn't really have--nor did their replacement, the 768.  These new 769s have more and deeper forefoot flex grooves PLUS a softer, lighter weight midsole cushion--similar to my beloved 902s...but with the added rearfoot stability that my knees need.  Perhaps this will end up being my next marathon shoe.

My first run in the new shoes was in the dark the other night.  It was still cold, but not windy...and quite serene.  It's a really unique experience running in the dark when everything is quiet and snowcovered...the Christmas lights on houses are a much prettier sight on-foot, too.  

The only negatives of the run were the few cars that seem perplexed by the reflective, blinky thing on the road...instead of giving me more room they often aim towards me--I think in an effort to try to figure out what I am.  The adolescent boys who sort of followed me around a residential block were a bit annoying, too.  35 year old moms aren't particularly impressed by tweens hooting and hollering "hey sexy baby" (though they could have been adult males and I would not have been any more flattered).  Dorks. :p

Yesterday was a scheduled off day as DH and I worked 2 TSO shows at the arena in Grand Rapids with a few other members of the JDRF ride team.  It was a blast...but I ate WAY too much crap at the stand and during our break between shows.  During break we headed to the Hop Cat bar--one of the top 3 rated bars on BeerAdvocate.com.  Awesome place...I could spend a LOT of time and money there.  In an hour I threw back a chocolate wheat beer, a Belgian raspberry lambic, and a hard cider.  The beer and cider are both MI creations...helping support the economy, ya' know! :D

The drives to and from the arena SUCKED!!!  My car is not a low-rider, but I was scraping the underside of my car much of the way home.  One not-so-nice side effect of our miserable economy is that plowing budgets have been slashed...this is a very bad thing during a Winter that will almost certainly hit some record or near-record snow totals once all is said and done, unless the remainder of the season is easy.  I think we are approaching 6 feet of snow for the season and it's only the 4th day of Winter--average for our area is 97" for the ENTIRE season.  This is especially bad for all the idiot SUV/truck drivers who find themselves in the ditch as they overestimate the ability of their vehicles to drive safely at too-fast-for-conditions speeds.  At least 3/4 of the vehicles we saw in the ditch yesterday were of the 4WD variety.  Tools.

Today I had planned to run 8 miles...but between being tired from arriving home after midnight, then not falling asleep until 2:30am and up 6 hours later...and heavy, wet, sticky snow...eh, just to wiped-out.  Tomorrow will also be no running.  So Friday and Sat. will be days of making up for time off and too much food inhalation.

Take care, everyone.  Have great holiday weekend and enjoy some relaxation time.


Nucking Futs

Aka what I must be...see poll above and ticker at right -->

Yep, apparently 1 marathon wasn't enough to send me to the nuthouse...apparently it will require at least 2 (or am I so completely off my rocker that I'm already in the loony bin and just don't know it...if so, cool!).

A couple of days it occurred to me that I am already planning to maintain 30-35 miles/week all Winter and that the first month of Hal Higdon's Intermediate II training plan is actually FEWER miles/week than this.  And it does not help that several of my close MI running friends are planning to do either the half or the full 'thon...and I don't want to miss out on the fun (peer pressure...ack!).

This will mean not doing the Fifth-Third Bank Riverbank Run 25k 2 weeks earlier, but I have already done that 2x and am ready for something new.  Plus that race has gotten HUGE with the addition of a 10k (in addition to the 5k and 25k).  I don't like big crowds and having to leave home 2 hours before race start to make the hour drive and have enough time to find parking and warm up.

I will still plan on a Fall marathon, as well...right now I'm leaning towards Grand Rapids.  2009 should be the year of hurt...2 marathons, a HM (Old Boys' Brewhouse in Sept), and a brutal trail relay in June.  Now I just need to stay healthier in '09 than I was in much of '08.  Asthma is better controlled and hopefully this year's flu vaccination is more effective than last year's was.

Now the trick is to avoid injury--unlike my first marathon go-round.  I ended up with knee issues that came on about 2 weeks before training started and never fully let up, though using Superfeet orthotic insoles allowed me to run relatively pain-free...but never fully healed.

Speaking of the knee stuff...yesterday I wore my beloved, flashy blue NB 902s for the first time in almost a month (yay for mostly clean roads!).  Unfortunately...I think my days of wearing that shoe for anything longer than 5 miles are numbered.  By about 8.5 miles into my 11 miler my right knee started talking...it hasn't bothered me much in a month.  The rest of last night it was sore, stiff, clunky, heavy feeling.  Ugh.  Guess that last pair waiting to go into rotation should go up on eBay.  Back to a more moderate stability shoe.  I'm hoping the new NB 769 works.  They added an extra row of forefoot flex grooves and are using a midsole foam similar to the 90X series of shoes (lighter-weight, less dense)...so it should be closer to the feel my feet need, but with the beefier medial post that my knee requires.  I wouldn't be surprised if I still need the Superfeet insoles, though.

Today Dane is home...first snow day of the year.  This also extends his holiday break to an extra day.  As soon as I post this I need to get cracking on housework, holiday letter composition, tree decorating, and other random chores.  I'm really thankful that school was called-off, otherwise I'm not sure how I would have accomplished it all.  I would otherwise have done a morning run, headed to a doctor's appt. (which I cancelled) in the afternoon, then picked DS up from school.  Since my doctor and Dane's school are both nearly a half hour south that would have killed my day.  So...instead I am killing my day typety typing and playing on the interwebs...

According to UPS tracking my new 22" LG LCD monitor is out for delivery (thanks to DH's grandma's generous Christmas gift cash).  Great timing.  This dumb CRT beast has been dying on me for months.  I haven't been able to calibrate it, so gave up on doing any real photo gifts for Christmas--just cards.  So long, POS paperweight!

In sad news...we found out late last night that DH's great uncle passed-away earlier this week.  Very sad.  Wes was a truly outstanding human being.  If ever there were a real life Santa Clause, he embodied it.  Not physically--he was always a trim guy--but his personality was always jovial and kind.  He also was a genius woodworker and made some amazing hand-crafted wood items over the years.  He will be greatly missed.


Quel Coincidence!

This is today's quote-of-the-day over there --->
Sunshine is delicious,
Rain is refreshing,
Wind braces us up,
Snow is exhilarating,
There's really no such thing as bad weather,
Only different kinds of good weather.
Today's run took place in -5º windchill (actual air temp was in the low teens).  Brrr...but it was kind of nice to be able to ditch the YakTrax.  It had snowed some and I wasn't sure what the conditions would be on most of the route I took so I wore them...but after a mile yanked them off.  Looks like I may be able to run without the aid of traction devices for the next couple of days, too--yay!  Perhaps I can pull out my beloved NB 902s...lightweight performance shoes sure will be a nice change of pace from the heavy/stiff/clunky trail shoes that I have been stuck wearing for weeks on end.

The endless snowy/cold/gray weather has taken a toll on my motivation, unfortunately.  Saturday a local running buddy and I had a chance to run together for about the first time in a month.  I had been wanting to go 6-7 miles, but after 5 was done.  And that morning it was tempting to cancel altogether.  Not quite sure how I'm going to tolerate an entire Winter of this crap when it's not even technically Winter and I'm already burned-out on the weather.  And laundry...ugh, that is perhaps the worst part.  I feel like all I do is wash load after load of sweaty, smelly layers. :(

It probably doesn't help that I also hit my mileage goal (1500 miles) for the year late last week.  Now anything I run is gravy.  It's easy to feel like I can get lazy...but the scale is reminding me that NOW is not the time to cut back on miles...not when I seem to be ingesting more calories than I burn. :p

We've spent the last couple of days rearranging the house a bit.  Now both computers and a little work station for Dane are all in the same room.  The dining room table is now actually IN the dining room...so the table more-or-less swapped spots with DH's computer area.  This works nicely.  Now I can shoot rubber bands at my hubby's head when he's playing his computer games! ;)

I also put up our Christmas tree with some trepidation.  Last year it was up and 10 minutes later had been disassembled and put back in box.  Baby kitty (Chase, aka green-eyed monster) was about 7 months old and instantly set eyes on said tree as a big, green, illuminated toy.  Today he spent a few minutes making eyes at the tree as a toy, again, but after a few "NO" commands in my most menacing growl he understood that artificial tree ≠ toy.  I have a feeling that we would not be so lucky with a live tree, though.

So looks like we can decorate the tree this time around--yay!  We've also moved the tree from it's traditional place in the living room to the wide doorway between dining area and computer/office area.  The spot in the living room was nice, but right now we use that spot to store my aerobic step and risers...useful for when I decide I want to do a workout that involves the step and for a spot to sit while putting on and taking off shoes.


Ugh, I am BEAT!

I think these snowy runs on top of snowy runs without a clear pavement day are starting to take a toll on my body.  Today's 8 miler really stunk...my legs felt like lead, as did my lungs.  Lungs got better once I acclimated to the cold air, but the legs didn't really improve.  I thought about running the additional 1.8 miles to hit 1500 for the year, but the 8 was a struggle by itself.  Tomorrow I should hit my goal for the year.

I've been trying to get in 35 mile weeks, but am stalling-out in the 30-33 mile range.  This weather is the primary cause.  Running 30 miles on snow feels like 40 miles on dry stuff.  Next week I hope to get 35, but later in the week I have 2 days in a row with stuff going on in the middle of the day.  I may have to get out extra early when it's still the coldest part of the day or after dark--which I really don't care for, since people aren't at all watchful of runners on the side of the road, no matter how much reflective stuff and blinky LED lights I wear (and I have a LOT of this sort of stuff being married to a cycle dude).

Last night I took Dane an hour away to see the Santa at the "big" mall.  We got burned over the years by the local mall Santa...first they had the guy who was later found to be a pedophile, then the grumpy santa (somewhere I have a photo of Dane looking all angelic while "Bad Santa" looks as miserable as can be...I saw the photos of a couple of other friends' kids on this guy's lap.  Same expression in each shot).  The company in Grand Rapids charged the same package prices for their photos and their Santa goes out of his way to play the part.  Apparently now the local Santa and photography is done by the same company (according to one of the women working at the big mall operation), but this may be our last year for Santa.  Next year Dane will be almost 9, so I'm assuming that he won't be "a believer," but maybe he'll stay sweet and naive for one more year.  I hope so.  His best buddy has an older brother and no longer believes--but Dane has decided that Eric is mistaken...for now.

Anyhow, it was really sweet when it was Dane's turn to sit on Santa's lap and share his list.  He was so timid and shy...NOT at all typical Dane.  Santa Claus is the ONE person on the planet who can reduce my outgoing, exuberant kid into a demure, mild-mannered cherub.  I wish I could hire the big guy to hang out on a regular basis and keep Dane in line. ;)

In addition to seeing Santa, Dane got a new pair of shoes.  The kid still REFUSES to learn to tie his shoes and it's one of those battles I'm not picking.  So we found him a pair of NB shoes that use sort of a zig-zag velcro closure.  The night before we'd found a similar pair of Reebok shoes, but they were more expensive (especially since I had a $15 coupon to the NB store in Grand Rapids) and really a crappy shoe...heavy, stiff, plastic-y, and where they did flex was not in the proper place.  The Reeboks flexed under the arch, instead of under the ball of the foot, as they should.

I already warned Dane, however...this will be his LAST pair of shoes that don't tie with standard laces.  He's only lucky that he has tiny feet and can still fit into preschool sizes.  Sheesh...kids these days! :p

Speaking of shoes...I am loving my Gore-Tex trail shoes more and more every day...especially after all this snowy garbage.  They aren't good on the ice we've had or this hard-packed snow, BUT they are good on loose snow (as well as trails) and with YakTrax are the perfect solution to the weather we've had in the past week...warm, dry, good traction.  I am tempted to buy a second pair at the end of the season if they go on clearance, then save them for next year.  I've already logged nearly 80 miles on my current pair and we've still got a solid 3 months when I could foresee wearing them for nearly every run...at a minimum of 120 miles/month I may be retiring them before the end of Winter.

My wind blocker tights are also paying for themselves.  My best friend also has a pair and we both are keeping our eyes open for those to go on clearance.  After nearly 3 years of running I have learned that when one finds perfect shoes and gear one needs to stock-up when these things are discontinued, as the replacements may not be as well-loved.  The only criticism of the tights is that my butt still gets cold when I run with the wind, but the tights would be very inflexible if they used the wind blocker panels on more than just the quads and knees.  To solve the cold booty issue I've been pulling a pair of compression shorts on over the tights for extra warmth.  A running skirt would be an option, too...though I still can't totally get on board with that look.  I love the skirts, but not so much with tights underneath.


Treadmeells...? We don't need no stinkin' treadmeells!!!

(reposted from RunningAHEAD.com)

aka 6 miles of dashing through the snow...

I just got back from one of those runs that reminded me that I am enjoying what all the wimps who wuss-out and resign themselves to endless hours on the dreadmill miss. Just ran in 29º airtemps with 17º windchill and whiteout conditions...it was awesome! I saw only a handfull of cars and one snowmobile (who looked at me in utter disbelief), as well as an old guy leaning on the shovel and watching while his wife pushed the snowblower (I about booted him in the rear...lazy old fart--no wonder we gals outlive the guys).

I also saw the neighbor dachshund (same one that tried to bite me on the calf last Spring, but my compression tights and sizable calves were more than his teeth could apparently get through *rolls eyes*)...he came running out yapping, crossed the street, slammed into me, and continued to bark at me "ferociously." I stopped, yelled at him to stop and go home and told him sternly that the next time he came at me he'd be getting a shoe in his obnoxious f*cking head. Seriously...I was having such an utterly kickass run that he had the nerve to interrupt. He's lucky he didn't take my foot in his yapping windpipe today.

Aside from the dumb canine "attack," this will definitely be one of those runs that sticks with me all Winter...every time I try to come up with excuses to stay indoors I'll call this one up to get me out the door. :D
I am still pretty bummed that the 5k prediction trail race scheduled tonite (on the state park's illuminated XC ski trail) was cancelled was converted to a prediction XC ski race. Bummer. Apparently I'm more hard-core than some... ;)

Bummer...and an interesting piece on running/fitness

Tonite I had planned to take part in a 5k trail "prediction race" (after dark on the illuminated XC ski trails in the nearest state park).  This is an event that I could actually WIN, as the object of the race was not to be the first across the finish line, but to have the closest predicted race finish time and actual finish time.  Participants give the race director their predicted time, then run the race without benefit of pacing device...aka no watches or Garmins.  I'm generally very good at guesstimating my pace based upon perceived effort, so this is the sort of race that I truly would have a shot at placing in, even if I completely sandbagged the thing.

Anyhow...I just got an e-mail from the race director that said:


Prediction Run has been changed to 

Prediction Cross Country Ski

Damn.  We have all this it's-not-even-Winter-what's-up-with-all-this-damned-snow to thank! :(

So I guess I will be doing 5-6 miles this afternoon, instead.


A poster on RunningAHEAD.com posted a link to the following article from MSN.  Interesting stuff.  Nothing too surprising to me, but the sort of thing that non-runners with apprehension towards the sport due to high-profile news stories surrounding marathon-related deaths could really benefit from reading.

I'm adding some commentary to the parts that struck me as interesting or relative to my own experiences since I started running almost 3 years ago.  The entire article can be found by clicking below:

Grave Concerns
Amby Burfoot, Runner's World:

Last fall was a tough time for those of us who believe running makes us healthier. The day after Shay's death, Matthew Hardy, 50, died of an apparent heart attack an hour or two after finishing the ING New York City Marathon in 4:48:21. A month earlier, Chad Schieber, 35, who'd been diagnosed with a heart defect (mitral-valve prolapse), had died in the unusually hot Chicago Marathon. These stories often get more attention than those of the race winners. And they always raise the question: If running is so damn healthy, why do runners keep dropping dead in their tracks? Statistically speaking, a handful of runners will die in a marathon this year—the vast majority from heart attacks (the others from heatstroke or hyponatremia). Is running—as the alarmists and cynics often suggest—a dangerous activity?

We've discussed this issue at length on Running AHEAD.  So far I have not run into non-runners who have tried to use these cases as "proof" that running is inherently dangerous.  I think most non-runners realize that these deaths are still rare and are only so high-profile BECAUSE they are unexpected in an otherwise healthy pursuit.  Sort of the "exceptions that make the rule" sort of scenarios.

Reams of research have shown that excess body fat increases mortality rates, but Blair is banking on his morning runs to protect him. His own findings offer much hope. Evidence from the ACLS indicates that the fit-but-fat are nearly as healthy as the fit-of-normal-weight. In other words, regular exercise offsets many of the dangers of being overweight. For that reason, Blair believes American public-health leaders should stop screeching from the rooftops about obesity and instead switch their message to the benefits of exercise. "When you look at me, you can tell I'm surprised and delighted by the fit-fat finding," says Blair. "But the point is, we're losing the obesity battle. So let's try something else. Let's focus on fitness."

I could not agree with this more.  My BMI hovers just barely below "overweight" for my height and build and has pretty much ever since I started running (I should be "eating to run," but I tend to "run to eat"--and too much...oops), yet my most recent bloodwork #s suggest a near elite athlete:
Cholesterol: 154
HDL: 70
LDL: 77
Triglycerides: 36
BP is generally ~ 100-110/60.  I often see stars if I stand up too fast.

My PCPs eyes nearly bugged-out when he looked at my #s, particularly my HDL/LDL ratio and my triglycerides.  On the outside I am a chubby mom, but on the inside I am a (slow) running machine.  Just imagine if I actually ate a truly "healthy" diet and dropped the 20#s that I need to to be at my ideal "skinny" weight of 126 (on my 5'3.5" muscular/stocky frame).

This doesn't discourage Williams. In one 1997 study of 8,283 male runners, he compared those running more than 50 miles a week with those running less than 10. The high-mileage guys were 2.5 times as likely to have heart-protective levels of HDL, the "good" cholesterol, and 50 percent less likely to suffer from high blood pressure. Just six months ago in the Journal of Hypertension, Williams updated his information on running mileage and high blood pressure, now using data from more than 24,000 male runners. He looked at runners doing more than 25 miles a week versus those doing less than five. Depending on age, the higher-mileage runners had a 57 to 80 percent lower rate of high blood pressure, a major contributor to disease and death.

Yep. See my #s above. I have never had "high" blood pressure, but pre-running it was closer to the standard 120/80.

In Thompson's classic 1982 study of runners' heart-attack deaths in the state of Rhode Island, he found that a runner's relative risk of dying during a workout was about seven times that of dying in front of the TV. It amounted to one death for every 396,000 hours of running, almost exactly the same rate found decades later in several marathon studies. This doesn't mean that running caused the deaths. It would be more accurate to say that artery disease caused the deaths, and running was merely the trigger. Here's why: Another Rhode Island study showed that the blizzard of February 1978 touched off a mini-epidemic of snow-shoveling deaths. A week later, however, heart-attack deaths dropped below normal levels. In other words, after all the people with advanced artery disease had died, there were few diseased hearts left.

That last bit...wow. Kinda grisly, but it makes sense. Sort of a "survival of the fittest" thing with the weakest having already being picked-off by the predatory heart-disease + bad weather beast. Every Winter we hear stories here in the Great White North of "grabbers" taking shovelers right in their own driveways. It's not the act of shoveling that kills these individuals, but existing heart disease due to genetics and/or lack of physical fitness. Shoveling is not a dangerous activity to a healthy individual any more than running is to someone who is healthy. But no matter how fit one looks on the outside, if their heart is weakened by inactivity or genetics they are at risk of death. Running and other physical activity merely helps to remove the one risk factor we have within our control.

This can happen even to fit runners with low cholesterol who've passed a stress test in the last 48 hours. Still, the occasional exercise death doesn't change the advice for healthy living. "If you want to live a long, vigorous life, you should do an hour of moderate exercise a day," says Thompson."If your only goal is to survive the next hour of your life, you should get into bed—alone."

Boy...ain't that the truth!? :D