2.28.2009

It was overdue

I had a REALLY nice run today. The rest of my runs this week have been mostly crappy, so this one was much appreciated.

The crap can be attributed to several things...including 1 treadmill run, 1 14 miler where I thought maybe I could go without my Superfeet orthotics (I can't...my right knee started telling me so by the halfway point), and a couple of bad runs with a brand new pair of Superfeet insoles--same model and size I have been wearing, but it seems like new pairs still need to be broken-in a little. Today was my 3rd run in them and they felt fabulous.

That was another surprise. I probably have 600 or so miles on my original pair of Superfeet "berry" insoles and didn't realize how compressed the cushion has become until I put a brand new pair in my shoes. It makes the shoes feel about a half size smaller...well, not so much shorter, mostly they feel narrower. But they also feel much cushier. The experts say Superfeet last at least 1000 miles. And the plastic orthotic device is definitely still like new, but I'm probably going to relegate the original pair to trail shoes when I order my next pair of road shoes (the shoes I currently have them in will be ready for retirement in about 200 miles). I don't need the cushion on trails, so I won't miss it.

Today's run marked the end of week 6 (of 18) of training for marathon #2. I can't believe how much better training is going this time around. It helps that this time I didn't start injured. I started having knee issues only 2-3 weeks before beginning training for my first marathon and the issues didn't start to resolve until about halfway through training (ie when I purchased that first pair of Superfeet insoles).

Next week my training is going to be really shifted around and I may end up having to cut a 4 mile run out...or do it at the fitness center on the treadmill (which will really stink, as the weather looks to be pretty decent in the coming week), since DS will be home. He has conferences the latter part of the week. We're planning a mini trip up to Traverse City to spend a night at the Great Wolf Lodge up there (hubby can get discounted rates through his work). Shhh...don't tell my kid. It's a surprise.

Next week I am also expecting a new Cathe Friedrich DVD. It's her Boot Camp/Muscle Endurance workouts video. I'm prepared to hurt and these will be good cross-training workouts for running. I really need to strengthen my core and upper body. Plus I just never feel like I get any stronger working on the machines at the fitness center. They force such a limited use of muscle groups with each exercise. When I've done Cathe's workouts in the past I have MAJOR DOMS the next day...and usually for several days after that. The only thing the Cybex machines have gotten me is a sore back. I MUCH prefer free weights and the ability to work more muscle groups effectively.

Plus I'm tired of the smelly people at the gym. There's the one guy who dumps on the cologne and the other guy who smells like he only bathes once/week...it always seems like at least one of them is there when I am, regardless of what time I go. I find that I can't put much effort into a workout when I'm trying to avoid retching.

2.24.2009

*burp*

3 paczkis later and I cannot eat any more.  I had 1 Boston Cream, one Bavarian cream with white frosting and one glazed raspberry jelly.  I don't feel sick, but I have no urge to eat a 4th.  Thank heavens for that 14 miler I ran today--perhaps I will break even on the calories ingested vs. those burned.

The run stunk.  I definitely DESERVED those delectable pastries.  I decided to run with the stock insoles, instead of my usual Superfeet orthotics.  Bad idea.  I was fine for about the first 7 miles, but then my right knee started to talk.  I thought maybe the orthotics were responsible for my subtle peroneal tendonitis pain...and perhaps they are a contributer, but I think the primary cause of that issue is shoes that are inflexible from the cold.  Hopefully warmer weather will arrive very soon, as I don't think my knee can tolerate forgoing the extra medial support of the insoles.

Another factor responsible for my crappy run was the wind.  The air temp was actually right around freezing, but the wind chill knocked it down an extra 10º and sucking the warmth and flexibility right out of my quad muscles.  The combo of stiff quads, cranky knee, and a lower back that is still a little sore and tight just made me want to throw in the towel, but I already postponed this run from 4 days ago...so I couldn't push it off any longer.  I have a 16 miler in a week to recover for.

Less than 2 miles into my run I "ran into" my friend Joni and her hubby out for a run.  We both agreed that an end to this seemingly endless Winter has to be in sight.  The days are getting longer and we're getting more and more days with temps above freezing.  Unfortunately they are alternating with some very Arctic and snowy days, so we just have to be patient and looking at the calendar...just a few more weeks until it's officially Spring.  Just a few more weeks until my official 3 year anniversary of undertaking this crazy running thing.  3 years ago I would never have, under any circumstances, have imagined myself training for a 2nd marathon--much less having already finished one.  The insanity continues... ;)

2.23.2009

Swiped from Daddyo's blog...

Information About Your Medication:
The pharmacological lowdown on running
By Scott Douglas
As featured in the Web Only issue of Running Times Magazine


What is RUNNING?
RUNNING is one of a rare class of drugs that combines amphetamines and narcotics. It is used to treat one or more of the following conditions of modern life: lethargy, overeating, sedentary employment, unsatisfying employment, unsatisfying relationships, existential angst, depression and screaming kids. RUNNING can also be used prophylactically for the urge to go on shooting sprees.

How should I take RUNNING?
It is important to take RUNNING regularly.

Although you may experience some relief from your symptoms in the first few days of RUNNING, most patients require at least four weeks of treatment with RUNNING to notice significant change.

You may take RUNNING at whatever time of day is best for you. Most patients have the greatest success by taking RUNNING at the same time every day. Patients with asshole bosses, unloving spouses and otherwise miserable lives often take RUNNING twice a day.

You may take RUNNING before or after, but preferably not during a meal.

Overdoses of RUNNING most typically occur in the first few years of treatment. With time, you will find the dosage of RUNNING that works best for you.


Who should not take RUNNING?
You should not start taking RUNNING if you are unable to walk around the block. It is recommended that all patients start at a low dose of GENERAL AEROBIC CONDITIONING before starting RUNNING. It is not recommended to go from no doses of RUNNING to 26.2 miles of RUNNING in six months.


Can I take RUNNING with other medications?
Although RUNNING is designed to relieve all of your symptoms, it can be safely combined with most other medications.

Some patients cannot tolerate a high enough dose of RUNNING to gain all of the help they need. Depending on your symptoms, you might attain better results by combining RUNNING with CYCLING, STAIRCLIMBING, YOGA, HIKING, CROSS COUNTRY SKIING and ELLIPTICALLING.

Although similar to RUNNING, there are slight chemical variations to WATER RUNNING and TREADMILL RUNNING. Most patients require a significantly higher dose of WATER RUNNING and TREADMILL RUNNING to achieve the same results as their regular dose of RUNNING. It is not recommended to attempt long-term usage of WATER RUNNING and TREADMILL RUNNING.

Use extreme caution when RUNNING with scissors.

In no case should you combine RUNNING with SHOTPUTTING.

The following interactions have been reported:
• Long-time users of RUNNING reported social ostracization and spousal disownment when DANCING.
• Patients on a high dose of RUNNING had trouble staying afloat SWIMMING.
• Patients who mixed RUNNING with BASKETBALL were laughed off the court.


What are other important safety considerations with RUNNING?
RUNNING will increase the effects of alcohol. Use caution when using alcohol to counteract the drymouth that RUNNING can cause. RUNNING is best combined with alcohol by finishing your dose of RUNNING first. In a study conducted at the Beer Mile World Championships, alcohol was found to lessen the efficiency of RUNNING.


If you miss a dose of RUNNING:
Patients who miss a dose of RUNNING are advised to make up for lost time by increasing their amount of RUNNING on subsequent days until all feelings of guilt, remorse, self-repulsion, depression, loss of fitness and sudden doubling of bodyfat percentage have abated.

Some patients can miss a dose of RUNNING without experiencing the above withdrawal symptoms. Most other patients hate them.

If you regularly miss doses of RUNNING but still report good physical and mental health, you are in denial and should resume treatment immediately.


What are the possible side effects of RUNNING?
RUNNING may produce side effects in some patients. In clinical studies, the most common side effects with RUNNING included: obsession with shoes; obsession with numbers; waste of brain power on arcane statistics; insensitivity to clothes that smell like ammonia; searing hamstring pain while driving; black toenails; purple toenails; no toenails; prepubescent biceps; loss of lateral movement; severe reduction in vertical leap; crow’s feet; smelly feet; antisociability; confusion about what constitutes an acceptable toilet; feelings of superiority toward people who don’t take RUNNING; confusion about how much others want to hear about RUNNING; potentially embarrassing public displays of appetite; inability to recognize that RUNNING on television is boring; misperception about how much flesh should be shown in public; excessive time spent reading RUNNING message boards; and extreme fatigue when spouse wants help around the house.

These side effects tend to increase, not decrease in direct relation to how long and how much you take RUNNING.


Where can I learn more about RUNNING?
This page is only a brief summary of important information about RUNNING. For more information, talk to just about anyone but your doctor.
~~~~~

(who has a kickass doctor who is nothing if not 100% in support of her running)

2.22.2009

That was fun!

Today I had planned a little surprise road trip for our kid.  I had originally planned to do it as a surprise for my hubby, too (today is his birthday..."he's 37, he's not old!" /Monty Python humor), but decided that he may or may not like the idea, so I ran it by him first.

We left the house around noon and made the hour drive to Grand Rapids to see this movie - IMAX Under The Sea 3D.  I have seen an IMAX movie (saw the Lion King at the same theater when DS was about 2.5--that was his first movie, which he has no recollection of, as I discovered today), but never a true 3D, much less on that scale.

It was very cool.  I've always been an undersea geek...at one time in my life I really wanted to be a marine mammalogist...well, until I found out that one had to be really good at Math, so that kind of blew that dream.  Several inner ear infections over the past decade have also left me with some vertigo and motion issues, so now SCUBA diving is likely out of the question for me, as well.  This movie was about as close as I will ever get to a true undersea diving experience.

The movie is not very long--only about 40 minutes--but really a visual treat and Jim Carrey's narration was wonderful.  His voice is really perfect for that sort of thing--almost comforting and able to engage children well.

Yesterday I ran in what might be the worst conditions ever.  I was obsessively watching weather.com all day long to pick a 90 minute window to go out.  The best spot I found was later in the afternoon when the prediction was for winds around 6mph.  And they were when I first went out.  About 30 minutes later they suddenly picked up to 20mph with 30mph gusts.  This would not have been so bad were it not also snowing and there being 6" of wet cement-like snow underfoot.  

So footing was bad, as was visibility.  A couple of snowflakes were driven onto my eyeballs so violently that I felt like someone had thrown a handful of sand in my eyes.  And most oncoming drivers didn't want to cross the deep ridges of snow in the middle of the roads, so instead gave me little room and threw a wave of heavy snow on my legs as they passed.  And the snow was just the right density and consistency to keep gumming up on the bottoms of my shoes, which necessitated several stops to manually remove the globs underneath the arches of my feet.

My planned 7 ended up being just over 6.25.  I lost my resolve a bit by the end of this week.  It's a good thing Spring is just around the corner, as I (and many others in this part of the globe) am not sure how much more of this crap I can endure--especially while trying to increase my mileage while training for a marathon.

The one thing that made the miserable run worth it...about a half mile from home a guy coming up behind me in the other lane slowed, rolled the window down on his 4WD Jeep and said with a smile "I admire your dedication."  I'm sure this was code for "you're batshit insane," but it made me smile and say "thank you" all the same.  It was the right thing to hear at the right time.  While many drivers would be happy to run me off the road rather than offer me a few extra feet and move into the carless oncoming lane, this guy made a point of being kind and encouraging.  I will make a point of watching for his vehicle in the neighborhood again and giving him a hearty wave. :)

2.20.2009

Like an unwelcome guest who has overstayed his welcome...

I'm looking at you, Old Man Winter.  Seriously, can you not take a hint?  I'm not pleased about the WINTER STORM WARNING outlined in red on weather.com nor this from NOAA/NWS:

Saturday: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 28. Breezy, with a east southeast wind 13 to 20 mph becoming north northeast. Winds could gust as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of around 7 inches.

Saturday Night: Snow. Low around 20. Blustery, with a north northwest wind between 17 and 21 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of around 2 inches.


Seriously.  Why you gotta be all rude and send such shiteous (™Perez Hilton) stuff from the sky this late in the season?  Every time I venture out in my Yaktrax and eleventy layers of technical and windbreaking fabric with my heavy Smartwool socks I think to myself "haven't we year-round outdoor runners shown our mettle enough this season?"  Apparently not.  &^%&*#$%!

Today I was able to do my run on mostly clear roads and didn't require Yaktrax to keep from falling on my ass...but it still mostly sucked.  It was cold and my muscles never felt warmed-up and loose.  My lower back and hip are still bothering me some and my right knee is randomly being a turd, too.  I also am feeling the subtle return of peroneal tendonitis on the outsides of my feet.  Tomorrow I am going to swap the Superfeet orthotic insoles out of my shoes and put the factory sockliners back in--perhaps the moderate stability shoe + insoles is causing some overcorrection.  Last time I had issues with my peroneal tendon area the only thing that solved it was a less controlling shoe.  Of course, less controlling = pissy right knee, so I have a feeling that I am going to have to suck it up and get a referral to an orthopedist or podiatrist to talk about custom orthotics one of these days.  I think my pronation needs on my feet are different...and/or I am suspicious that I may have one leg that is just a hair longer than the other.  The fact that 90% of my chronic annoyances involve my right foot/knee/leg has me thinking it's gotta be more than coincidental.

So as crummy as my 10 miler was...there was no way that 14 miler was going to happen.  Tues. is looking great, though it will probably be a little sloppy with temps potentially above freezing and sunshine.  All those 9" of snow from the weekend are going to make for some slushy fun...not.

*wanders off grumbling*

2.19.2009

Love Cycling...Hate Cancer?

Well, who doesn't hate cancer?  But even if you're not a fan of cycling (or Lance Armstrong...I have my own ambivalent feelings about the guy, myself--especially after his New York Marathon special treatment a few years back), the Lance Armstrong Foundation has done more than just outfit millions with yellow silicone bracelets.

So if you'd like to throw some money towards more research for cancer cures, dig deep and help our West MI JDRF team in their fundraising efforts.  This is the same group of folks who are regularly seen putting blood, sweat, and tears into helping find a cure for type 1 (aka juvenile) diabetes.  They'd greatly appreciate help supporting this cause, as well.

Today the weather turned back to a Winter not-so-wonderland.  So I hit the treadmill at the gym for my 4 miler.  Tomorrow I had a 14 miler in the plan, but 14 miles on several inches of snow (and windchill in the single digits) would mean Yaktrax...and the furthest I have run with those on is 11 miles...and that's tough with the added weight.  So I'm swapping next week's scale-back 10 miler in and doing my 14 miler on Monday when the weather is supposed to be vastly improved (if one can call high of 30 an improvement...which it should be, since the sun is supposed to show itself, too).  Saturday I will retain my planned 7 miler--hopefully with my running buddy, Heather.

I also received my new Burton coat...it's VERY nice!  Definitely cut for a less curvy female, though, so I'm glad I went with the large.  The proportions are more "junior," in that the difference between waist and bust is less defined.  The medium would definitely not have zipped over my ample womanly bosom.  It's fairly generous through the hips, though, as I don't have very large hips (thighs are another story--I am all sprinter in build from the waist-down).  It's quite stylish and more tailored than my previous Columbia ski jacket, though I wouldn't go so far as to say it's slimming.  It still has all the bulk of a warm winter parka--and that "teddy bear fur" lining is to die for.  So fuzzy and soft.  I think it will be very warm.  The outer fabric is a very heavy nylon type material.

The sleeves on the coat are very long--a lot like a leather cycling jacket, which is sort of the style I think Burton was going for (from a few feet away and in sort of low light hubby actually thought it was leather).  I don't have long arms, but I do like a jacket with longer sleeves, since I'm not really a fan of wearing gloves, especially in the car.  And it has TONS of pockets.  I'm sure I will constantly be taking the coat out of the closet in the Fall and finding money...I LOVE that.   It's like hitting a mini lottery win every year! :D

And I listed some stuff on eBay.  Know anyone who needs a ginormous camera backpack, Champion sports bras, or Barbie pink purse? :p

Tomorrow my new pair of NB 769s should arrive.  I had to return the previous pair, since they were too long.  So I'll have 2 pair in different colors for rotation--woot!

2.15.2009

Big fat nothing

This is what I have on the agenda for today.  My back is still bothering me some.  Today would otherwise be a gym/cross-training day, but I have a feeling that my gym workout (specifically overdoing it on the back machine) 6 days ago was the cause of my lower back issues, so I'm treating today as a full rest day.  My runs since my back pain set in have been pretty uncomfortable, though they do offer relief for the remainder of the day after I return and stretch.  But I am still waking with quite a bit of stiffness and the moderate pain is waking me each time I roll over in bed.

But the back is slowly feeling a bit better each day, so hopefully taking it easy today goes a long way towards full healing.  Spending time on my Homedics™ shiatsu chair pad and having hubby use the percussion massager on my lower back should also help.  Beating the affected muscles into submission really seems to remind them who's boss. ;)

The "fat" part...that would be result of this week's eating.  I am 99.9% certain that I will not see weight loss this week and 99.9% certain that I will see gain (tomorrow is weekly weigh-in on the RunningAHEAD.com's "Jiggy Joggers" group).  This is what happens when one celebrates one's birthday AND Valentine's day over the course of 3 days.  The latter half of this past week included too much birthday cake, too much chocolate, too much wine, too much buttered popcorn, and more "too much chocolate."  The second half of February needs to have emphasis on healthy foods (more fruits/veggies, less sweets) and enough caloric deficit to net me .5# - 1# losses each week.  

My marathon training mileage increases should help with the weight loss, as well.  I have officially marked off 4 weeks of training...14 to go until race day.

2.13.2009

36 years + 1 day

That's how old I am.  Yesterday marked the 36th anniversary of my mom becoming, well, a mom.  Last night she called me to wish me a happy birthday and to ask how in the heck she has a 36 year old child, already.  To which I commiserated with "how in the world do I have an 8 year old child (and she an 8 year old grandchild)?"

In observance of my birthday my back decided to flake-out.  Well, I think it actually started giving me problems a couple of nights ago, but yesterday was definitely the worst.  I originally had some weird spasms in my left hip a few days ago that found their way into my lower back yesterday.  I blame the back machine at the gym (that stupid thing is my nemesis and I think I need to stick to planks and other simple back strengthening exercises that involve no use of supplemental resistance) and doing a gym workout the day after a challenging trail race, instead of wisely doing an easy recovery run to let my muscles rest and loosen-up.  Yesterday I got in a 5 miler, which perhaps made things worse.

But doing something reasonable isn't really my style.  Plus I really don't know how to handle back issues.  I rarely encounter them (fortunately--I have several close friends who deal with chronic back issues...my best friend's are the result of being thrown from a horse years ago.  She also runs), so instinct is to curl up with a heating pad and NSAIDs at night, then try to keep things loose during the day by staying active.

So today I went out and ran 14 miles (was supposed to be closer to 13, but I underestimated the distance on the route I created on the fly).  It wasn't entirely pleasant and my back felt very stiff and "off" for the duration of the run (as did everything else, since I know it messed with my gait and posture), but sitting here right now it feels the best it has in days, so that's nice.  And I have that warm-fuzzy runner's high feeling of accomplishment.  Today's run was the longest distance I have logged since my marathon W...A...Y back in early Oct.  I had been kind of dreading this run, since I've maxed out at 10-11 miles for all these months.

I already found a use for my birthday money from various family.  I've been wearing a garish pea green Columbia 3-in-1 type parka for over 4 years and have finally had it with the dumb thing.  A few weeks ago I accidentally (some would say that there are no accidents--in this case they would likely be correct) left it at the gym overnight and had sincerely hoped someone would make off with it...no such luck.

It wasn't really a "bad" coat...the color was kind of fun, really, and it always kept me very warm.  But the whole "interchange" thing was really a pain, since I never actually used the separate pieces.  And the zipper had become increasingly crotchety.  Plus the seams on the insides of the arms were wearing...I think they were more cosmetic than anything, but the coat had really started to be one of those wardrobe items that was strictly functional.  Not something I could wear to a dressier event, either (not that we ever attend such functions, but still).

So for the last month or so I've really looked at all the Winter outerwear clearance sales with dreamy eyes.  *sigh*  But even on clearance a good Winter coat will run at least $100.  I bought my Columbia jacket from Cabela's during some sort of half-price deal and I recall it running about $100 and thinking I nabbed a steal--but it seems like I was the one who got robbed.  This is my 4th Columbia jacket in about the past 20+ years and their quality has definitely gone downhill.  Used to be that Columbia jackets were only available from quality ski and sporting goods stores and rarely were offered at any significant discount, but nowadays they can be purchased at Wal-Mart and Meijer and the racks at TJ Maxx are full of them at drastic discounts.

So I looked around online to see what I could purchase for ~$100-150 and wasn't having much luck...what I found in my size was often in brown or pastels.  The stuff I liked was generally only available in XS or S or WAY beyond my budget.  I had nearly given up looking and decided to wait another year and continue battling my defective zipper for another Winter...when I found this beautiful Burton "Journey" jacket.  It's from their "B" line of outerwear, which is more fashion-oriented than for snowboarding.  Looks like it is a good deal less bulky and more figure flattering than my current coat, too, but still very warm and functional.

Plus it's more neutral and not quite so "sporty" looking, so I can wear it for casual, dress, or sledding with the monkey.  Regular price was $250, but I nabbed it for $150.  Seems like a nice bargain and the styling isn't so trendy that I will feel like it's "dated" in a couple of years (I try to get at least 5 seasons out of a piece of outerwear).  So many of those cute puffy jackets and quilted ones seem a bit too "2008."

In addition to the coat "gift," hubby and son purchased me a nice 8# medicine ball (which is really awesome for indoor "cat bowling"), which has me thinking that eventually I should get my hands on a Cathe Friedrich "Bootcamp" DVD (that would certainly whip my back into shape).  The cats "gave" me a new yoga ball, since one of them punctured my last one. :p


2.08.2009

FIRST!

Muskegon State Park - Lake Effect Trail 5k - - 1st in age group!  Out of one...heh... ;)

My buddy, Mike ("Q"), ran the 10k last year and has been bugging me ALL year to do this (I wussed-out last year from all the feet of snow and cold). I'm glad he talked me into it. The race director (Matt Vandersys of Endurance Sports) for this race always puts on really great quality events.

4/6 women, 8th out of 11 overall. I actually ended up running an extra .15...was following a couple and assuming they knew where they were going--oops. After a short way we realized that we weren't seeing the blue course marker flags, so had to back-track a short bit. My gender placement wouldn't have changed, as I was still quite a ways behind the 3rd place overall female.

Fantastic race...yummy beer (thanks to Old Boys' Brewhouse--they hold my very favorite HM every Sept. Swag includes a coupon for 20% off entire meal bill and a free XC ski session...also a nice embroidered fleece headband, instead of another cheesy cotton T), soup, muffins, and chips at the finish. Weather was great, too. Just around freezing, no wind, not a cloud in the sky.

Most people chose to do the snowshoe 5k or 10k, but our recent warm-temps had left the snow really flat and packed. I don't think snowshoes would have been any advantage under the circumstances. I wore my trail shoes and wish I had thrown the Yaktrax on, as they would have been useful during only a couple of stretches, but most of the course had good, sticky/gritty snow. Going up and down a couple of big hills had me sliding around...flat areas were perfectly fine, traction-wise. On the down side of the big hill I mostly slid on my ass after falling twice. It was slick from XC skiers snowplowing down (definitely not a hill I would even attempt on XC skis. There are some badass skiers in this area) and then the warmer temps melting and refreezing overnight. I had held off a snowshoer just behind me until this point--just past the half-way mark. Rats. :p

Bonus: Q and his buddy...who I shall call "the other Mike," came over from the other side of the state to run (they placed 1 and 2 out of 2 in the guys' 35-39 AG...but didn't stick around. Doofuses/doofi didn't get their medals -- Q, contact the RD, he's a good guy and I'll bet he'll mail you your awards). And Heather and 2 of her kids were our personal cheering section.

WAY fun race. I can't wait to do it again next year (and not get lost). I hope they can attract more runners...it was a nice race, but hard to feel very competitive with such a small field. So if you are within a reasonable drive of Muskegon, MI you should join us next year! :D

2.07.2009

8 Years Anniversary

Today is my kid's 8th birthday.  It's been a fun weekend of celebration.  Last night we took him and a buddy to a hockey game...our team (Muskegon Lumberjacks) lost 6-5, BUT this was after 5 minutes of overtime and a shoot out.  Great game.

Our seats were right on the ice and several times players came flying into the glass inches from our faces, which really gave the boys a good charge, as did the fight early in the game that left one player with 16 minutes of time-out.  By the end of the game the boys were cheering for more fights. ;)

Dane's best friend is like a taller version of Dane (tallest kid in the class and just as goofy as Dane).  Only Dane eats relatively bird-like and Eric is like a bottomless pit.  It was truly astounding and amusing to see how much he could eat and still be hungry (2 slices of pizza, an entire bucket of popcorn, half a bag of cotton candy, some of my cinnamon almonds and 2 pops).  He has an older brother and 2 younger sisters, so I imagine their grocery costs are pretty significant.  Perhaps we should be thankful that Dane is a picky eater without a big appetite. :D

Today we had GORGEOUS weather for Dane's actual birthday.  I baked his cake around noon, got out for a run, then late afternoon Dane's grandma Dykstra came over and we decorated the cake (yellow/chocolate marble with chocolate frosting, sprinkles, and conversation hearts--very festive).  Birthday dinner consisted of Little Caesar's pizza and breadsticks, spinach salad, and cake.  Oof, I am stuffed.

I figure it's carb loading for my 5k trail race tomorrow...though one doesn't REALLY need to carb load for anything so short--still a good excuse for pizza.  And after the race I'll likely be hitting a nearby pub for beer and early lunch with friends...you know, to replenish those lost carbs. :p

Today I had a WONDERFUL 3 mile "easy" run.  Though it was difficult to run easy.  I was at least a half minute/mile faster than I had intended to be, but it was just too tough to keep the pace slow with mostly clear roads, sunshine, blue sky, and temps in the 40s.  Such a treat.  

Overnight it will get below freezing, again, so I'm debating which shoe to wear for the race.  My trail shoes would be ideal if it is still sticky, sloppy snow...but if it gets icy/crusty then they are godawful.  I'd be better off with my road shoes and Yaktrax.  So I will likely wear the Gore-Tex trails and bring the road shoes and Yaktrax when I see how conditions are at the park where the race is to be held.

2.04.2009

It's the little things...

Click away if you are averse to reading some extreme running gear dorkitude.

Ok...still reading?  Here goes:

Most people involved in a sport will understand this to some degree.  If you are cyclist you may lust after a particular model or color bike, but if the bicycle is not a good fit you realize that it's a wiser choice to go with a different machine, perhaps in a dull color or a color you dislike.  It's a really sweet bonus if the bike of your dreams is also appealing to your eye.  I know my hubby will admit to the right audience that he really loves his carbon-framed road bike, since it is a cool matte charcoal color with visible carbon, not painted-over (he likes a subtle bike...I think because so many of his JDRF cycling jerseys are make-your-eyes-bleed brightly-colored).  A tri friend of mine has a pink and white tri bike with pink tape on the handlebars.  To her eyes this is a very attractive bike and is a good fit for her, which is really the important factor--but the cosmetics of the bike were added value.

One thing I have been less than fond of with regard to the gear for my own sport is the overwhelming number of shoes that are white.  Sure, they may have flashy accent colors, but the base of the shoe is still white--a color that looks totally "new year's resolution" day-glo noobish out-of-the box and gross for the last 3/4 of the shoe's life span (and with wide feet one is often not given a choice of colors, since most manufacturers only make the most boring color option in a variety of widths...usually white with blue for women.  Ick).

I lucked-out with my previous 2 favorite shoe models.  One came in 3 colors, including 2 on a gray base (which is awesome, since they always look the same from box to retirement) and the other in a garish neon aqua that also retained pretty much the same appearance at 0 miles as they did at 300.

Once my mileage started consistently falling in the 30-40 mile/week range my gaudy blue shoes were not giving me the medial support I needed and my right knee developed some issues.  I managed to continue wearing this shoe with an OTC orthotic through my Fall marathon, but it wasn't long after that that I was basically forced to work my way back to a more structured shoe.

Now I'm back in a very nice, well-fitting, high-mileage, moderate stability trainer...but the color options are fairly dull.  Gray with a sort of periwinkle blue or white with orange (love orange...would be killer on a gray shoe).  I figure I will go through at least 2 pair in the next 4 months of marathon training.

So imagine my pleasant surprise when I was reading on a running message board about the updates NB is making to their shoes between this Spring and Fall.  They are not changing my current shoe (it only came out 2 months ago), but they are adding a new color...specifically a Race For The Cure model.  But unlike most RFTC stuff in pale pink they are coming out with a garish hot pink version!  And usually the intensely colored shoe models are reserved for flats or lightweight trainers (like my old blue shoes).  It's nice that manufacturers are realizing that there's no reason to reserve the funky colors only for the lightweight models.

This update should be out in early April...just in time for me to order a pair and have ~50-100 miles on them on race day--perfectly broken-in!

Another thing to look forward to...tonite I'm hitting the gym treadmills with Heather, again.  While I still prefer running outdoors, Heather's work schedule, the cold, and relatively early onset of darkness makes running together difficult without resorting to working out at the gym.  Plus it's a good break from running on the snow.  Yesterday I logged 8 miles and my knee was pretty irked for the remainder of the day.  This AM I woke with a sore back, as well.  More than a couple of miles on snow with Yaktrax really appear to be messing with my biomechanics more this year than in previous years.  I'm sure the crazy amount of snow we had in Dec. had something to do with that.  I have also been trying to log more miles/week than I have in previous Winters.

Next week should be a much better week for running outdoors.  Looks like a lot of days will be above freezing, which means I can get my miles in sans Yaktrax, which always increases run quality and pace.  Sunday's 5k trail run should still be pretty nuts, though.  Sat. is predicted to be ~40, so the trail should be good and sloppy. :D

2.01.2009

Glorious!

That is the only word that truly sums-up today's 6 miler.

Today was supposed to be my XT/gym/weights day, but my friend Joni happened to mention how "warm" it was outside (all things being relative--it was above freezing, which is downright balmy compared to what we have been dealt for the past month solid), so I decided to switch today's workout for tomorrow's, even though I ran the past 3 days.  Legs and knees felt strong and rested, so GAME ON!

Got out the door around 1:30 (just after hubby returned from his bike ride) and a mile into my run I see none other than Joni, herself!  So we ran the next 4.5 miles together and I bid her adieu about a half mile from my front door as she continued on to return to her car.

We had such a fabulous run.  Easy pace, sunshine, light wind, minimal traffic.  So nice to chat and share a run with a friend on mostly clear roads.  A true treat today's run was and so well deserved after this month of snow, bitter cold, and ice on a few quieter roads from a month ago that has yet to melt due to continuous sub-freezing temps.

February is already starting off on a much better note than January.  I really hope this continues.  I have my first race of '09 planned for a week from today and so far the forecast looks super favorable.  I can't wait!

We finished off the lovely day at a Super Bowl party with friends.  So much excellent food.  I didn't feel the least bit guilty overindulging, as it is nice to be getting my appetite back and I have lost at least a pound for every monday weigh-in this year.  If I have to plateau this week I'm OK with it.