Monday, November 17, 2008

trail run

I spent a perfect fall morning running on the greenbelt on Saturday. Im going to attempt an organized trail run next weekend, so I figured I should get some practice in. I set out to run to twin falls and back from zilker park. I had done a couple of runs when I was tri training and one in preparation for the human race, 3 miles and 6 miles respectively. Those are both on the easy, flat part of the trail. The weekend before we had hiked in from the other end in Westlake and scoped out the Hill of Life to Sculpture Falls portion. I would definately recommend that section for a vigorous hike on a recovery day. I did it after the Wurst Ride and found it to be quite pleasant. I mention all this background to reinforce that I had a bit of experience on the trail. I did not go out completely blind, which I think would be a bad idea.

There had been a freeze warning the night before and it was about 45 when we left. Of course, excited to be bundling up, I wore a hat and gloves and a thermal shirt, before I even got to campbells hole i had to take it all off and stash it. I'm always hot. I can pretty much exercise in shorts and a t shirt anytime anywhere, but I love to make hats and mittens wear tights and hoodies, so consequently, I am always overdressed. I had selected selected some appropriate fall trail running music: The Rolling Stones and Van Morrison. I had a bunch of snacks in my running belt and had a good amount of coffee.
It was fun to run in the brisk air The sunlight illuminated the fall leaves like stained glass. I kept turning down my music to listen to the thumping of my feet on the trail. I ran and ran, making the markers and keeping on the pace I had set for myself. For the whole first half of the run everything was super. To push it, at an hour out, I decided 10 more minutes... maybe I WILL make it all the way to Sculpture, clearly I was getting delusional so at and hour 10 minutes I flipped it around. On one of the creek crossings I was so busy hopping throught the rocks and singing Moodance I missed the turn and ascended on a very narrow, barely there, single track, mountian bike path and ran up the side of the hill until it evaporated in a stand of cedars. I was LOST. I called my trail buddy, freakin out. He was trying to ask me to describe where I was. Really, I had a pretty good idea, I was behind the shopping center and apartments by Hobby Lobby on South Lamar. I felt like I was in the woods where rapists hung out, but as far as features, it was pretty nondescript. Go out on the greenbelt and see how many places "I'm kinda on the top of a hill in the middle of a bunch of cedars." I'm on the far side of the creek and the last crossing had medium rocks." describes, really, its harder than you think. So 30 minutes in to part 2 of the run, I've wasted a bunch of time and energy running around in the woods cursing and tripping over shit. Finally I pulled my head out of my ass and followed the path back. I found my way in a matter of minutes, crossed the creek and went on my way. Thankfully I had covered a good bit of ground before I lost my momentum. I was about 3.5 miles out. I had to re-warm up and start over with tired legs. Having gotten lost and judging that the markers on the trail are far from accurate this was the furthest I had a ever run. I remembered how this happened when I ran my 10 miler. The first 8 miles we ecstatic and the last 2 on the trail downtown took me a brutal 45 minutes. I ate another goo and sipped my water. I had one bottle in my running belt, and with no other water access on the trail I was not adequately prepared. I was losing my legs, so I slowed to a walk in a few rocky patches I could have run, but might have twisted something. Thankfully as you near civilization the surfaces improve. I jogged past landmarks and mile markers, even the turnaround landmark on my well measured 3 mile run oblivious to my where abouts. I was really tired and tingly from lack of hydration. I kept on running. About 3 more times in the last mile I could have sworn I was gonna round the corner and see the skyline in the distance and the fence at Barton Springs, but really it was a mirage. Finally I was back at the car, sitting in the sun, gulping down water and snacking on a banana. The first 8 miles were grand, but the last 3 were hell. Next time I'll know to bring more water and snacks and maybe slow down my early pace even more. It was a great run, on a pretty day,

Friday, November 14, 2008

DOs and DONTs and race/ride reviews

So Ive tried to write a review of the trick or treat trot 10k I ran in Chicago last month like three times, all of them (obviously) unsuccessful. Now, a month later, nobody cares about the costumes ect. So instead I have a few 10K do's and don'ts. 1) DONT try to run back to back 10k's. If you fail to follow this advice and decide to throw down the back-to-back 10k gauntlet and you slaughter your PR in the first one, you are probably not going to revise it further in the second. 2)If you are going to partake in-town urban racing and run to the start... make sure you stay on top of your pre race distance and pace, DONT have a partial panic attack as other runners fly past you headed to the start on their bikes, and run your warm up so fast you have nothing in the tank when you turn back in to the wind for the final two miles of the actual race. 3)DO NOT allow members of the opposite sex to hurl thinly veiled compliments (pick up lines) at you at the finish line, especially if your parents are standing there and your face is encrusted with salt, snot, chap stick and gu. 4) DO proceed directly to the Melrose diner and shove copious amounts of greasy eggs and home fries. 5) DO NOT fail to stretch, cross train, attend yoga class ect. for two weeks after the race and then get on your bike for a 30 mile ride while still recovering from the flu.
6) DO be sure to take ridiculous and strange pictures while on the bike ride that have absolutely nothing to do with bike riding.
7)DO drink lots beer after the bike ride, eat various meats on a stick and participate (even if it is with comically sore hamstrings) in the Chicken Dance with elderly German folks wearing Lederhosen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

4 miler, shoulda been a 3

My legs are still tired from that speedy run on Sunday. I'm really proud of that time and the 13 minute improvement from my last 10k, but when I was trying to climb down out of my jeep at starbucks this morning, I decided I don't HAVE to try and shave 5 or 10 minutes off my 1:08 in Lincoln Park this weekend. I'm trying to maximize my racing experience from running these two races back to back, but I have to say when I think back to actually running my two 10ks its all a blur... like I was blacked out or something. My sense of timing throughout the race is all messed up, its really weird, like I'm on the outside of the experience looking in, but I can't remember much exactly.
I ran Red River today, which is a favorite training run for me, because it mandates a little hill practice and as far as I am concerned hills are like intervals without the math. I started out at my pace from Sunday and kept it up for the first two miles but my IT band quickly put me in check. I ran the hills pretty strong, but kept the flats easy and slow for recovery. My cardio was fine, but my leg was killing me, like someone had attached a ball and chain to my left hamstring, so I walked in the last quarter of a mile. I think I will do an easy 30 minutes on the treadmill tomorrow and friday and leave it at that. Next week, I'm going to start making my runs a little long so I have time to warm up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Is a goal a goal if you change your mind? I'm thinking that a marathon in my first year of running is a little ambitious. After this weekend's 10k success, I'm thinking more and more about getting good at this distance 6, 10 ... 13 miles and savoring it for a while. Life's a journey, not destination and if this running stuff is supposed to be my play time, and my play is all work and no play am I missing the point?
Why not race fun races and run fun runs? I'm very excited to try something new and try some trail running at the Dirty Du relay in November. Maybe I will get back on track and do a marathon, maybe I won't.

Monday, October 20, 2008

race report IBM Uptown Classic

PR's for everyone! Yay!
The race was great, despite my self sabotaging beer consumption the night before. I had a nice (walking) warm up and the cool morning made it easier to get going. I had some trouble when we were running through the mall... some dehydration induced visuals (oops!) that quickly subsided at the next water stop. I knew it was an easy course and my legs felt good and quick. I didn't have any leg pain, mostly pain in my sides from struggling to breathe through my smokers lungs and stuffy nose. I don't want to run with nasal spray running down the back of my throat (yuck) but I will have to try something out if I arrive at the start with a stuffed up nose. I knocked 13 minutes off my first 10k time at the Nike human race. I'm much happier running in the cold, which means I will probably have another strong race next weekend in Chicago, of course, if I don't its really not that big of a deal.
I've got some lingering soreness in my hamstrings, probably a result of compensating for the IT band and from pushing myself to hard in yoga while I was unable to go running, so I will have to take it nice and easy in yoga class this week. All in all I'm super happy about my run (it's a great feeling to get to the mile marker a whole minute before your watch says you should) and glad I am on the road to recovery. I've got another 10k next weekend, then a favorite fall cycling event after that. Good times!

Friday, October 17, 2008

On the road again

I ran my favorite neighborhood run at a tidy pace last night. It felt great. Nice to have fresh legs, even if I was kind of spazztastic and off my rhythm, but as long as I'm still in shape, that will come back. I'm still totally torn about what to do on Sunday. I'm really anti walking in races. Even in my worst tri I managed to shuffle my feet just enough to feel like I was trying. I'm just not sure I have six miles of running in my legs quite yet. I have more soreness this morning from last night's quick and easy run. I know 100% I could probably go out there and run a PR 10k but at what expense to the long road of building my mileage back for marathon training?

Monday, October 13, 2008

hip revolt

today I managed to run on the road for 20 min. its the longest run I could muster since I got injured. it felt good. tomorrow I will run a little longer and faster on the treadmill with a long warm up. despite the improvement in my it band, my hips were highly disagreeable. I felt subconcious in the flow class bx I was very very stiff. my hips cramped several times to the point where I had to break the vinyasa and clamor in to childs pose. I was dripping with sweat, but certain I will sleep well tonight.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

grease monkey

Despite the difficulty and frustration of being injured, I got a lot of bike projects rolling yesterday. I'm restoring a 5 speed cruiser which will be either a hello kitty bike or a pirate bike. I stripped the frame down and got it ready to be sanded and primed. I put the grandma basket on my schwinn breeze and installed a bell I picked up at a garage sale. Its a really cool bell that looks like an ornate dome in Budapest with a little clanger on a spring. It's cool, zen and hella loud. In fact there have been several requests made that I lay off the clanging while inside the house. What can I say? Safety first.
Like most projects I take on, the pirate bike one was way easier to get started than anticipated, and now that I have all the supplies there's nothing to do but finish the work. I'll crack open the bottom bracket today and hopefully sand and prime the frame. While the paint dries, I'll install the new computer on my road bike and change out the saddle.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

On getting active...

My weigh in sucked, but I knew it would. And I didn't really care. Pizza, frosting, allergies, Divorce Court, Cheezits, who the f*ck am I trying to kid. The way I see it. I probably gained 4 lbs last week (when I stayed home for work and skipped weigh in) and lost 2 while I was trying to get it all under control this week. I am totally zen about the whole thing, really! Really, really!
Then I get back to work and fire up the weight tracker. Sweet! A line graph for my fat azz. Whatever. I type in my 2.2+ and it tells me "Maybe it's time to get active, make time to take a walk with a friend."
Um, get active? I have been in forced INACTIVITY due to injury which was sustained from a 10 mile run followed up by a 2 hour yoga class. Get active, bitch? I'll tell you about gettin active muthaf*cka. I am going to get a big ass needle shoved in my knee so I can run two 10ks this month. And you tell me to get active?
Needless to say, I have turned off the "motivational comments" portion of my tracker.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

beautiful morning

I'm still not running. I am trying to be more zen about it. Its hard to believe I am bummed I CANT go run, when only 3 or 4 months ago I would go out of my way to avoid running altogether. Anyway lots of cross training. I had a good yoga class last night that ended with some fabulous opposite nostril breathing that got all the gunk outta my head. Totally cured my recent allergy problems. The rain last night helped too. I got the lock sawed off my road bike and my grandmaw bike that were joined together like Siamese twins. My ride was good. I made excellent time. I hope to go swimming later, but only if I can get home in time to watch the debate.

Friday, October 3, 2008

fall swim at stacy pool

I arrived under the cover of darkness. My heart stopped when I jumped in the chilly water, but I was immediately awake. I watched the sun rise as I swam my laps. I cut through the dark blue water in peaceful waves. I gotta go with Ice Cube on this one "It was a good day."
Of course, now my IT band has completely revolted on me and it was a miracle I even made it up the steps to my office. I really don't know what to do about chilling it out. I massage it and rolly it, but the minute I stop giving it attention it starts screaming again. If you could actually hear my IT band it would sound like the endangered screamapiller on the Simpsons. I will try to placate it with some yoga later, but if it doesn't stop I may have to scrap my long run tomorrow.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I've been feeling craptastic with allergies which has given me time to contemplate my ridiculous training week last week, which ended in the yoga class from hell. I overdid it. I burnt myself out mentally and physically. That rule about not adding more than 10% to your mileage... they mean it, really. You should listen to that one. Fer reals. Also... if you have orthotics, you should not decide they are outdated and renounce them on a 10 miler (you know the ten miler you shouldnt be running because you shouldn't add more than 10%.)
Anyways, I bought a treadmill for $60 on craigslist and fired it up this morning. I was thinking I could run inside until the ragweed situation improves. Ten minutes in to my 3 mile test drive, the IT band pain on the side of my leg stopped me in my tracks. It had been sore all week, but I had put it out of my head because of my other allergy related malaise. Its insistent pain had actually spread to my lower back and hips and had grown in persistence to a pain that was now comparable to when I had the bursitis in my hip. I massaged out a very obvious and scary knot, digging my knuckle in to my skin as my PT had shown me. Then on to the foam roller. And on the rolly there were tears. Will I ever get to the point where I don't swear like a sailor and cry like a baby on that satanic piece of styrofoam? Who knows. But it works! I managed to get back on the 'mill and walk for 30 minutes. I'm going to run an easy 5 (3 with a friend) before the debate, and hope for the best. I'm running two 10ks at the end of this month, so I gotta stop sneezing and seizing up and get back in the game.

Monday, September 29, 2008

yoga workshop, hip openers

My general complaint with Yoga Yoga is the unpredictiblity of the intensity of the classes. I can go for weeks, and really not complete a single class that burns any calories. It's great for my head, and I do enjoy those classes full of chanting and breathing and rolling around on the floor, but sometimes I am looking for a bit more. With that in mind, I signed up for a workshop. Hip openers. Really, it was the only weekend workshop they had that worked with my schedule. I didn't really think it through. I thought it might be nice to go stretch out and relax after my 10 mile run that morning. I figured the longer format would include some outlining/background/discussion then a long warm up, some more intense poses and a nice long relaxation period. Boy was I wrong about what I was getting in to. The class was in a huge room. There were about 30 of us. I was all the way in the back. People got up and sprinted in to the room when the class before ours was still coming out. Clearly this front row cabal devoted to following this particular teacher. I recognized the rest of the class as Kundalini instructors and some other yoga teacher types.
She had a thick eastern european accent, kind of like Bela Karolyi or this Russian speed skating coach I had one time at hockey camp. She was like the weird dance teacher at Kent and had a headscarf and a lot of eyeliner. She was very demanding and there was nothing zen about the class.
"Put all your things on the stage! Nothing on the floor. You may have small water. a bottle. Nothing else. If you know me, you will know I will step on your things!"
She badgered us through sun salutations and very intensive strange poses I have never seen. The icing on the cake of this ridiculous class I had no business being in after running 10 miles, was a 10 minute pigeon pose. 10 freaking minutes. In pigeon. I toughed it out, but in reality, I spent about as much time in child's pose as I did participating in the class. The instructor was attentive to my ralph wiggum status as the class dunce, but I was really expecting to learn more and be punished less.

training log blog

So I am taking a stab at the whole blogging about my experiences as a new runner. I probably should have started chronicling this whole experience a little sooner, but this weekend was really pretty ridiculous and seems like a good place to start. I'm training for a marathon. The AT&T marathon in feb. I didn't really start running until this past June. I trained for the Human Race 10k all summer. Everyone else was off swimming and doing fun tris, and I was running. I achieved the goal I set for myself at the Human Race and wanted to keep running. I noticed that the marathon training groups had started, so I thought I might take a stab at it. I was already at their weekly ramp up distances.
Fast forward to this weekend. I've been running my weekly long run religiously on Saturday mornings, sometimes with a group, sometimes not. I was going to run with the Rogue group because their run was open to the public this week. I was supposed to run 9 miles, but when I got there they had 10, 12 and 14 mile options, which was wierd because I was expecting a 7 and 10 mile option. Either way, I was running the 10, a big step up from the 8 of my long run the week before.
The run was pretty rad. It was a nice cool morning. I had good tunes. I was running alone, but clicking along like a metronome, meeting each mile marker in exceedingly good time. I zippped up and down the hills on Exposition with some fast guys and was really enjoying myself. It was the run of a lifetime. Then I got to the hike and bike trail, and I fell in to a black hole. According to my splits I was running like 14+ min miles. I really suck at calculating distance on the trail. I hate running on the damn trail, and I am pretty convinced, had I stayed on lake austin and run straight across 5th street, I would have finished well ahead of my goal time. Sadly, it took me 45 min to lumber across the trail to the starting point. I missed the congress avenue bridge and had to run back around. It was really amazing to see how my body just started to say NO! No mas. I am done. Like when I take Buttercup on a run and she pulls to the side and tries to lay down. I was feeling pretty down and out about the whole thing, until I realized even with my crummy splits on the last 2 miles, I had been going all-out with no breaks, for longer than it took me to complete my last tri. No transition time, no time for coasting downhill on the bike... after looking at in that light, I felt a lot better about my effort, and how much it took out of me. I really wouldn't have minded a day just to lounge and recover, but some dark masochistic side of me had signed up for a yoga workshop at 3:30. Check the next blog for my report on THAT.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Human Race

I got back on this blog so I could give myself a big ol pat on the back for completing my first 10k. I trained mostly by myself, getting up at 6 am to beat the Texas summer heat during the hottest summer on record here in the Lone Star State.
I ran the Nike Human Race with Lance Armstron, Aaron Piersol, Matthew McCoughnahey and about 13,000 other people. This was my first running race. My motivation to train for this came from my piss poor pace at the Danskin in June. I actually ran faster in 2004 when I was drinking like a sailor, running on a treadmill and still riding a mountain bike. Something had to be done. I had learned about the awesome couch to 10k plan from the Weight Watchers message boards and decided to give it a try. I think one of the big tricks to following a plan like this, is to adapt the plan to fit your needs and not worry about if you need to take time out to run a little slower or do a little less mileage. The race went really well. I was pleased with my time considering the hot evening, the hilly course and the sketchy water stops. I'm a total nerd with my hydration belt, but I was the envy of many when I circumvented the whole mess and gulped down my water. It's always good experience to go to a big event like this even if it was a little overwhelming for my first running race. It's also good to remember that a 10k is six point TWO miles, so when you pass the 6 mile marker you shouldnt get all confused and slow down, sigh. Good race. Sketchy water. Excellent time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to this blog

After a lengthy hiatus, I gotta say those early posts really give me a perspective. Of course, I actually went to meetings then, instead of my current plan which consists of weighing in about once a month ... eeek. I have to say, it's helping me stay true to the plan and fits in better with the work insanity, bicycle commuting and training regimen.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tears dry on their own

I knew my weigh in was going to suck. I was already in my skinniest jeans, and was feeling good about that, yet when I got the news I felt a wave of depression and sadness wash over me. I knew I had too many beers with my friends over the weekend. I knew I gained 4 weeks ago from my monthly visitor, yet it's hard to face your failure there with those stupid little computer print out numbers in black and white. Why does 10 lbs feel so much sadder than 12.2... I'll never know. I'll just have to work that much harder to get more of them back soon. My reward for 10% is a new tattoo. I was hoping to be there by SXSW (a totally unrealistic goal, I know, but are there any other kind?) I'm off to go swimming and get some more activity points.

Monday, March 3, 2008

My first post was kind of minimalist

Yeah, I managed to publish without writing anything. Fabulous. The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my exploits with Weight Watchers. So far, it's been pretty great. Today is my 7th week. I'm pretty sure my friends, as wonderfully supportive as they have been, are going to get sick of hearing how many points are in beer, turkey legs and migas, so I have decided to put that info out somewhere else... Here! Yay!
My goal is simple. Weight watchers pretty much tells you what your goal is a.k.a "Lifetime Weight" which I am about 60 lbs away from. Really, my goal is to be able to wear a bikini at some point this summer. Lucky for me, summer lasts until November in Texas, so I've got some time.
Although I've had some weeks with some interesting results. "Um, I GAINED two pounds?" and then last week's measley -0.2 lbs. to which I said "Well, at least I didn't gain." It's a long process... so I'm trying to focus on not getting too caught up in the short term.
I weigh in on Mondays, so you'll probably see posts on Monday, because once a week, I reserve time from 3:30 to 5:30 to obsess about my actual weight and my personal battle with the scale.
Last week, prior to weigh in, I had wolfed down an entire weight watchers cassarole. Of course, I never would have made a whole casserole, were it not for WW, but I still ate the whole freaking thing brown rice, diet cheese, kidney beans. It wasn't all that bad for me, but still I ate ALL of it. I don't do well with weekends at home. Lesson learned. This took place in the weekend between back to back visits from out of town friends and family.
All my northern friends who come to visit want to eat Tex-Mex and drink Margaritas, not exactly on plan. So despite two weeks of visitors, and a moratorium on exercise, I'm still keeping pace with my weight loss. I'm pretty sure the scale is going to reflect things like a 2 am donut pit stop and $5 Milkshake from the Alamo Drafthouse (I only drank half and it was made with espresso.... yeah, I know, its STILL bad.)
Anyway, today's point, is that my weight may be up, but my waist size is down. I am wearing jeans (of the non-Wal Mart, plus size variety) that I wore before I moved to Texas. Size 12, Gap jeans. It's been a goal of mine, for quite sometime, to get back in these, and I am happy to say I am wearing them and able to stand up, sit down and eat lunch.