Somebody get me a sticker

I was gone. But not gone from running. At least not exactly. I’m still running. It’s still hard. I’m still frustrated. Boo. I’m starting to seriously consider going back to the last couple weeks of couch to 5k. Because 2.2 miles with a 12:30 split after running 3-4 days a week for 5 weeks is not what I call progress.

I do get a sticker because I got my ass out of bed this morning to go run before work. Seriously, I need to get some stickers.

It’s looking like it’s going to be 90 degrees for the next three days. And that’s not cool (Ha! No pun intended. But now it’s there so I’m leaving it)

But with a run this morning my next run is Sunday. And that’s at the beach. And the beach is 1) breezy 2) free of pollen, dust, and other debris which sneaks up the nose and wreaks havoc 3) next to the ocean so I can dive in after the run. And I like that. Instant cool down. I just have to decide if I want to wear my sneakers or run barefoot. I’ll run at low tide so the sand will be all hard and firm (stop it, dirty mind). Really I’d be ok in either. I sort of like the idea of barefoot running and I’m leaning in that direction. But I’m not totally sure yet.

For now, I must shower this morning off and hit the office. Half day Friday today!! A zillion tasks to do. I think I’ll probably work tomorrow. But at home. Which has music without headphones, snacks and at some point in the afternoon beer, and most importantly, no co-workers.

Peace out, bean sprouts!

PS Any tennis fans out there. I’m listening to Wimbledon at work and got to watch the destruction of Nadal and oh mylanta that was some crazy serving by Rosol at the end. Nadal’s not really a favorite of mine but on his way off the court after suffering the greatest upset in tennis grand slam history, he still stopped to sign autographs. And that is the very model of good sportsmanship.

Wednesday Cross. Gym etiquette. And the guy that didn’t follow it

I need to stop eating everything and anything around me. Last night I went for a 3 mile run and at the end, I told myself if I finished the last half mile strong I could order pad thai for dinner. And I know what you’re saying “Liz, what about weight loss? What about eating well to fuel running? 3 miles does not equal pad thai” and to that all I say is “Lalalalalala I can’t hear you over how good my dinner was”. But that was yesterday. This morning I stepped on the scale and it’s a much different story. Not to mention I feel sluggish and blah. Starting today I’m going to try to reign in my will power again and start saying no to cookies at the office, and lots of beer after work with co-workers, and ordering out because I can’t muster up the energy to turn on the flippin’ grill. Because really?! I can’t just go out on the porch and turn a little knob and cook dinner? For Pete’s sake, Liz, get on that.

Tonight, I’m giving my running legs the night off and cross training and hitting up the grocery store for food to grill. Because the heat has hit MA. And the 90+ feels AMAZING. But I refuse, REFUSE to turn on my stove or oven.

Later: I wrote this post. And then I got a text to have dinner with a friend. But I still crammed in a quick and dirty weight lifting-core working session. I do this in the little fitness center my office park has. For about 18 months if I were to go in there on a Wednesday night I’d be the only one or one of two, maybe three. I think a new company must have moved in or there was a merger of some kind because suddenly there are people in there all the time. And tonight it was 5 dudes and me. Well, for a bit there was another woman but she just eliptical-ed and then high tailed it out of there. I wanted to do 3 circuits of 8 exercises. I started the first and that’s when the crowd showed up. Now. I feel, and let me know if you disagree, but I feel that if you are all lifting weights in a tiny space you do it in a way to hopefully not be a total asshat and get in someone else’s way. And generally I’ve found this to be true. But tonight there was a guy who was totally clueless. He wasn’t following the unspoken rules. Lame. Most people either set up a weight bench or machine, do their thang for a few reps and then get up to shake it off and come back for a second or third set or they’re like me and set up a little circuit. Like I said, tiny gym and limited equipment, so I do the same moves in the same order, but I put weights, balls, benches back in between to let someone else use them while I’m doing the rest of the circuit. This one guy was bouncing all around, not really committed to any one thing. And any weight lifting he was doing was either a) useless or b) likely to hurt himself. I’m no expert, but I’m positive that swinging a 5 lb weight around like a free spirit and all la-di-da about it is going to do nothing for you. And you’re in my way. Move it along. Also, I forgot headphones so I couldn’t drown out the OBNOXIOUS grunting from another dude. The third and fourth dudes were good. They’d go to their spots, do their thang, and we found a mutual rhythm of sorts. Except for that dumb guy, wandering around in his tennis ball green t-shirt and black knee socks with white sneakers. He even did his weight work right in front of the weight rack, keeping the rest of us from access to the weights. Duuuuuuude. Not cool. I know I’m not a pro, but I’ve been using free weights and that fitness center for almost two years. I just want to do my little circuit and leave. I actually left after two circuits because of that one guy and then I started yelling at myself in my head. “No, damn it. I’ve been coming here so long the custodian recognizes me and let me sneak into the locker room to change just before he started cleaning it. I’m not letting some Johnny come lately loser ruin my workout. Plus my muscles weren’t fatigued yet and I want to live by the quote ‘That last one that always feels impossible? That’s the one that counts. So suck it up and push it out’ so march your butt back in there, block out that weird guy and get this done.” And I did. And I was so much happier about it. So much.

Then I got out to the car and found my headphones in the bottom of my bag. I just didn’t look hard enough. Foo. Oh well. I still crammed in an awesome circuit!! Also, I sneaked (side note. Snuck is not a word. WTF. Google it and then come back. Or maybe just finish these last three sentences and then google). I sneaked in a picture of myself. I like this shirt, but I want to look better in it and feel better in it. This is my starting point today. I wonder where I’ll be on the day of my half. Hopefully smaller, fitter, and faster! NOTE: The “cool” arrow is point to the dude behind me who followed the rules. Not myself. Ok, a little myself. No! Just kidding. Mostly

This week I will:
M: Stretch
T: 3 miles
W: X/weights
R: 3 miles
F: Rest
S: 3 miles
S: X/hike, walk, bike, recover from Jimmy Buffet Saturday night.

A week’s recap: What happened, what didn’t and an accidental white t-shirt contest entry (but not really)

I haven’t picked a quote for the week. My mirror still has last week’s. And I don’t actually know what this week’s schedule looks like. Other than it’s probably close to the same. I was trying to come up with a recap post on Friday, but work is totes insane and I worked on it at home, but never got a chance to dash on here and actually post the darn thing.

M: Stretch/rest. If by “stretch” you mean lay on the couch and watch Bunheads and Eureka then yes, I accomplished this.
T: 3 miles in the am. Was more like 2.7. I maybe turned down the wrong road around mile 2 in my early morning stupor and was already halfway down the hill when I realized it. I really don’t do well with mornings. At all. And there was no way I was turning around and running back uphill. Forward only, thank you. It was perfect running weather except for that bit when I turned corner into a less than gentle headwind. More like a squint-your-eyes-against-the-dust-storm gust. Still, I only walked for about 90 seconds at the halfway point. By mile 2 I had warmed up pretty nicely and was excited to take advantage of running through neighborhoods in the morning and the abundance of sprinklers watering all the lawns. Except every time I approached a lawn the sprinkler would have just turned off the pavement and back to spraying only the lawn. The first couple houses I didn’t think much of it. But by the 8th or 9th lawn I couldn’t believe my luck. Finally I said Eff it, offered up a silent apology to the home owner, and dashed onto the lawn and into the spray hoping a crazed old man wasn’t going to come busting out of the house waving a cane. Because after 2.25 miles my brain only thinks in cliches. Dashing through the sprinkler I took a direct hit to my mid section and managed to miss both my hands and my head, the two places that felt the grossest. Awesome. #Not I did manage to soak my shirt. A white shirt B-T-Dubs. Didn’t think about the wet t-shirt contest potential until after the fact. Because it was early. And I don’t do mornings. I ended up just wiping my face with the wet shirt corner. We’ll call that a semi-success.
W: 2 miles. Woke up to sore legs. Stretched at my desk all day. And managed to sign six documents while standing on one leg. At 4:30 the often-sent email came through: “Who’s going for drinks?” I told myself I would run and I told myself I would start putting running first. So I ducked out a few minutes before everyone else to avoid the “oh, just go tomorrow” argument that often stops me from the going to the gym and heads me straight for the bistro. I dashed to the gym and got in a semi-decent run. And then I still maybe went for drinks. Until 10 pm. On a Wednesday.
R: 3 miles. Then Chic fil-A. My friends picked Chic fil-A because here in MA there aren’t a lot of them. So it’s a southern novelty thing. I don’t really get it. But I like my friends. Plus it’s at the mall just upstairs from an REI that sells Nuun. I like the lemon lime ok. But I really want to try other flavors. And the cycle place I went has iffy flavors. Like grape. Eew. Hate grape flavored things. Hate. I planned to squeeze in my run and head to the mall. In my gym clothes. I don’t do that. I don’t like to wear what my friends and I call soft pants. I insist on wearing hard pants. Like jeans or something. But if I’m going to do this running thing I think I have to get used to wearing running clothes out. I started the run. And my legs felt dead. And then at mile 1.5 I laid down on the grass beside the sidewalk. With, ahem, digestive issues. I think the next couple of weeks are going to be focused on food. And nutrition. Because this whole cramping and discomfort and overall ickiness in my torso is NOT COOL. But I finished the run! My splits are hilarious.  11:29, 13:24, 11:43. I stretched and headed over to the mall. I walked in all set to get some Nuun to have with my Chic fil-A dinner. And REI WAS CLOSED!!!!! Permanently. Lame. I was in such a cranky mood from work. And that just put me over the edge. Friends and french fries made me feel a little better. Friends, French fries, and Nunn would have been better. Sunday update: I finally got my hands on Tri Berry and Fruit Punch. Delicious. Now my gym pack is full of Nuun bottles.
F: Rest. I really can’t tell you how happy I was that Friday was a rest day. The weather was New England AMAZING. I have half days on Fridays in the summer. And on days like that, I’m outdoorsy in that I like to get drunk on patios. Ok, not really. But a few margaritas while laughing with friends is just plain good for the soul
S: 4 miles. My legs were still a bit tired so I decided to switch Saturday to cross train. My cross training was painting the bathroom. You know, reaching with the paint brush, squats to get paint behind the toilet, climbing ladders. Totes counts. the color is supposed to be Tuscan red. It came out bright ass poppy orange. Almost “Run for Research” orange. I think it’s growing on me, though. It’s certainly bright enough to wake me up in the morning.
S: Cross training. I set out for 3 miles. (Who was I kidding. 4 miles was never going to happen) It was 2:45pm. I had to leave the house clean and pretty by 4 for my Grammy’s birthday. 1 mile in my calves were killing me. And by 1.6 it had wrapped around and I had shooting pains in my shins. Like excruciating can’t even walk without saying ow pain. That was enough to have me bailing at mile 2. I wanted to ice my legs but only have ice packs and no fancy wraps or anything. I found some old knee socks from when I bought them from a roommate who rowed crew in college. I pulled those on and shoved ice packs inside while driving to my parents in Haverhill. When I got out of the car I got a full grip on how truly seksi I was in my red shirt, shorts, and black and maroon knee socks with ice packs sticking out. This is how much of a hot mess I am after a little baby 2 miler. What am I going to look like at the end of an 8 miler. I’m frightened of the future.

I guess there’ll be a quote and a schedule in a part II post later. Or tomorrow. Or whenever.

The wall. And my first bike ride in 10+ years.

This week’s motivation: “The minute you think of giving up, think of the reason you held on so long.”
That mental wall is kicking my metaphorical ass. These days I hit one mile and my mind just says “good enough. Walk now!” I know it’s hard to break through that wall, but I did it once before. I’m just bummed that it feels so much harder this time.
A sinus migraine sidelined me for most of the day on Saturday so my run in the evening felt just awful and was cut in half, from 4 to 2 miles. Mile 1 was good. Mile 2 was mediocre. I stopped and sat to catch my breath/stop the world spinning around my head/drink water and when I did a woman who is about my age and probably 70-80 pounds heavier than I am went by. And my “I’m only slow because I still have to lose weight” reasoning went flying out the window. She wasn’t going too fast, but she was going. And it hit me. I’m slow because I keep punking out during training runs. And for a minute I thought “Liz, get off your butt and run that second loop.” Then I thought about how much getting sick in the woods had sounded like a good idea to make me feel better during the first loop that I thought I better just head home. On the way home, I stopped at a gas station to put air in my bike tires. This is a bike my Mom and Dad got together to buy me in 1999. When I was 13. I rode it some back then but it hurt my butt and then I started high school and wasn’t visiting neighborhood friends anymore. After college I brought it to DC with me. And then home to MA. And it’s followed me everywhere in MA. But I hadn’t ridden it again. I decided to drag it out of the basement, along with my “youth” helmet. A purple helmet with pink peace signs all over it goes well with the whole “look at me, I’m an adult” thing. Fo’ sho’. But I had this crazy idea to ride it to the Farmer’s market as my Sunday cross training. This turned out to be both a genius and painful decision. On the genius side, I rode to the bike shop to buy a new lock and have them cut off the old lock. My Dad likes to buy the biggest and best. Even if it’s 10 times stronger/bigger than anything you need. So I had a half-inch thick steel cable lock wrapped around the center of the bike that had a key that I think I threw away during one of my 87 moves since going off to college in 2004. The guy at the shop looked at it and said it might take some effort but he was pretty sure he could get it off. 10 seconds later it was done. I think he underestimated the power of an industrial size bolt cutter. I also picked up some Nuun tablets because SararOUaL keeps talking about them and I wanted to try (I want to be a cool kid!). Amazing. I’m a total convert. One tablet changes 16 oz. of water to a sugar free, low calorie (<8!), electrolyte replenishing drink. With a bit of a fizzy finish. After drinking half my Nalgene down, I rode to the Farmer’s market. And here’s where the painful comes in. That bike seat soreness in my backside that I remembered so not fondly came back. With a vengeance. After I picked up some bread, salad greens, and fresh eggs I rode home. And every bump or crack or pebble in the rode was something to be feared and hated. I’m sitting very gingerly today.

But back on the genius side, I ran errands by bike. That’s something I never thought I’d do. I’ll probably do this again in a couple of weeks. And maybe consider buying a more comfortable bike seat. Or a way to make mine better. Without being stared at.
The week’s training:
M: Stretch/rest. Good because I have to go to the dentist. On a Monday. With a sore bum. (not that’s it related. But seriously, it hurts. And sometimes I want to whiiiine)
T: 3 miles in the am. We have summer hours now, so lunch is 30 minutes. And I’m going to see “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” after work. I hate morning. This should be hilarious. Not.
W: 2 miles. Trying to not kill my legs as I get used to running TWR
R: 3 miles. And then Chic-fil-A. Because I can.
F: Rest. Yay.
S: 4 miles. I like to torture Saturdays.
S: Cross training. Sans bike. Perhaps a hike. Or a swim. But I would need a pool or lake for that. Maybe that’s what I’ll do this weekend. Find a public pool/lake.

What not training looks like. And then lots of sweat talk

Ok. Here’s what this week was supposed to look like:
M: Stretch/Rest
T:3 miles
W:Cross train
R:3 miles

And here’s what actually happened:
Monday: announce to the world that I’m going to run a half marathon. This announcement includes close friends and family who will totally call me out on any future bailing. Instead of running I went home from work and ate anything and everything edible in my kitchen. At least, anything that I didn’t have to cook.
Tuesday: Wake up early to go run. Hit the snooze button approximately 87 times. Approximately, I’m not sure. I was still mostly asleep. Go to work, get worked up by idiot co-workers. I would have loved to then go burn off some steam with a lunch time run, but I was invited out to lunch and we could all use some venting. After work I should have gone home and gone running. Instead went to Boston for Scooper Bowl 2012 and ate my weight in ice cream

At Scooper Bowl you have to hold on to your cups. It’s like a score card. Also, it was 55 degrees and raining. Who cares… it’s was unlimited ice cream!
I was then going to go home and go to bed at a responsible time. Instead, my co-worker and I met up with said co-worker’s cousin in town for the day for a conference. And I stayed in Boston until after midnight watching the Celtics win game 4 of whatever series they’re playing. (conference champs? I don’t know. Ask me about baseball. That’s my sport.).

Wed: For the love of all things active lifestyle, I had to run. And did!! On the advice of a friend, I downloaded RunKeeper on my phone. Fabulous. Every 5 minutes a woman comes through the speakers and tells you how you’re doing. I didn’t like what she was saying because my running was slowed but the lack of breathing due to the continued abundance of mother flipping pollen. But I pushed myself those 3 miles. And got it done. Then I came home, ate a much healthier dinner, stretched, and cleaned up my apartment.
Thurs: Work was having our annual BBQ tonight. I wasn’t particularly thrilled to go, but I’m on the social committee and I felt obligated. So I ran at lunch. I’m slow (and I mean SLOW) and like to keep lunch to an hour. And I have got to shower because sitting in my own sweat for the rest of the day is just too gross to fathom. That means I can only run 2 miles. And that’s what I did. I ran a mile, walked for 2 minutes, and then ran another mile. And that is fine with me. And though the run wasn’t amazingly comfortable, it didn’t hurt. And my muscles that were a little sore worked themselves out. And oh man the sweat. But it was the feels-so-good-I-just-want-to-keep-sweating kind of sweat. The kind of sweat I think of when I read “sweat is just fat crying”. I just said sweat a lot. Sorry about that. I suppose my life will start to revolve around things like sweat amounts. And distances. And times. And routes. And meals. And snacks. And that’s why I’m blogging. My real life friends will eventually stop talking to me. Then I went back to work and I finished off the day and headed to the BBQ. We played some back yard games and I ended up having an ok time. Not great, but not end-of-the-world horrible. And now I’m falling down exhausted. I like that feeling. Like a little kid wearing himself out at the park, I could fall asleep on the floor while I’m stretching. I hope that means I’ll sleep well tonight. Tomorrow is Friday. And Friday is a rest. I’m going to love the next 17 Fridays. A lot.

Big News: I’m running a half marathon!

Big news! I’m training for a half marathon. I’m still deciding which and I’ll be sure to share when I do. The two I’m considering are only a week apart in late September so as long as I know by mid August (which is the absolute latest I would ever know and I think it will be more like mid July) I can add a week to training if needed. As it is, I’m following a 12 week training program but am starting a few weeks early on the off chance really good chance definite chance that I’ll want to repeat a week or stick in a step back week. I’m equal parts excited for this new adventure, terrified of the awesome task I have ahead of me, and worried that I won’t have it in me to do this. But I’m working really hard on ignoring that last part.

13.1 miles is not a short distance. I recently drove to southern Connecticut and back over two days and as I approached hour 5 in the car I noticed a sign for the next town that was 14 miles away. And as I drove by the exit for that town this thought crossed my mind. I just drove slightly more than half marathon distance. And even driving that seemed like a lot. Granted, I had gone to CT for a funeral and was spending more than 6 hours in a car in a 30 hour stretch. At that point one mile seemed like a lot. Still. 13.1 miles is no laughing matter.

On the other hand a year ago 5k seemed ridiculously long. These days I laugh in the face of a 5k. Ok, not really. That 3.1 mile distance still kicks my butt. But it used to be 1 mile that kicked my butt. Improvement, no? And I got there because I put the work in. I put miles on the pavement and pushed myself up hills and around extra loops and trudged through the rain. I just have to do that again. Just 4 times as long. Ha. To do that, the next 4 months will be full of training, figuring out what I should be eating, hopefully losing some weight, and I’m sure loads of grunts, guts, tears, and smiles. Maybe not loads of smiles. Running’s hard, yo.

I don’t know about you, but I need motivation. And a lot of it. At this point telling myself “just think how good you’ll feel crossing the finish line” won’t cut it. That moment is 4 months and hundreds of miles down the road. I learned a while ago that dry erase marker goes on and off a mirror pretty easily. And as luck would have it my bathroom is configured in a way that I don’t use a third of my mirror. So I’ve decided to write an inspiring quote on the bathroom that will be the theme, if you will, for each week. And quite frankly I fell off running a bit this winter and I’m stuck up against that mental wall. And I keep almost busting through and wimp out. I’ve got two more weeks of “pre-training” to try to bust through so I need a little inspiration to find that moment of triumph. So this week’s theme? “It doesn’t get easier, you just get better.” I stole that from pinterest. I’m pretty sure it’s been stolen, cannibalized, re-written, and like a middle school game of telephone is nowhere near the original quote. So I can’t find an author. All I know is it’s exactly how I feel. Running will always be hard. But if I stick to it, I’ll get better. And those 13.1 miles will fly by. Hahahaha. I can’t even type that with a straight face. Let’s be real honest. Those 13.1 miles are going to drag by. But with every step another little bit of distance will be gone and at some point 13.1 miles will be over.

And oh the dancing that will occur at that finish line.