Friday, July 20, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again...

Yeah, occasionally, I sing old, bad country (or maybe it's good country and I sing it badly... you choose!). Anyway, the point is that I ran 7 miles this morning. 7 S.L.O.W. miles, but I did it. I'm seriously considering adopting a new speed philosophy: I need to be faster than the cut off time. Both the Princess Half and the Zooma Half had minimum pace requirements of 16 min/mile. I'm running in the mid 11 to low 12's, so that's faster than 16. Which is good! Mainly because if I'm not injured or barfing, I would really prefer to cross the finish line under my own power. That being said, I know I won't settle for aiming at 12ish, so I'm going to aim faster, but be happy with slower This morning, I remembered why I run. I woke up too early, considering I didn't have to go to work. I got out of bed, and flipped on the news (ok, it's 2012, I went on the computer), and saw the headlines about the shooting in Colorado at the midnight show of Batman. I didn't know how to react. I've been to midnight shows of geeky movie premiers (Star Trek in the early 90s, 2 of the 3 LOTR series), and my hubby seriously considered going to Batman. These were "my people" who were targeted, hurt and even killed. I cried a bit, hugged my kids a bit extra, then angrily pulled on my running clothes. I turned on the iPod a bit too loud and went out. At just over a mile, I felt it. That release when you can move past feeling helpless. Where you can be sad but not let it consume you. It's not really running away from life, it's more like running into life.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Color Me Rad "Race" Recap

Lessons from Color Me Rad Boston
1- Baby wipes are excellent at smearing the color around, but not that good at actually removing the color
2- They spray you with liquid color, which will soak through your shorts and create a really odd tied dyed pattern on your underwear
3- Your snot will be multicolored (or at least a weird shade of blue) for a good 24-48 hours
4- Wear a bandana around your nose and mouth (yeah, like a "bad cowboy"). It will limit the amount of horrible tasting stuff you inhale. It will not prevent Colored Snot (see item 3).
[Edited: Item 5-7 don't matter! Once you wash the clothing, all of the color comes out!  The only exception was on my husband's shirt. You can see in the photo where he sweat through his shirt, those areas kept the color. If your kids really want a souvenir, buy a tie dye kit and tie dye the shirts after the race.]
5- Soaking the colored clothing in vinegar, followed by ironing will fix the color, but will also turn what few white parts left on the clothing to an odd blue-green color. Use a spray bottle of vinegar if you want to preserve the pattern as is.
6- Wait until the clothing is completely dry after the vinegar soak and shake off the excess powder before ironing without steam.
7- When you iron the damp clothing or use steam during ironing and transfer the dye-vinegar paste to your iron, take a stack of paper towels and wet them, then iron the wet towels until your iron is clean again.

A very colorful family, post run. They may not look it, but they had fun!

All in all, it was a fun day. The race was short, as it was only 2.5 miles instead of the advertised 5K, which was a bit of a bummer. We had to get the boys up at 5 am, to get to the race at 630 for check in. It worked out well, as we got right into the parking lot and really didn't have a wait at the check in. Instead of waiting for the 830 heat we signed up for, we just jumped into the first wave, which worked out really well. I'm super proud of my boys (ages 5 and 7) for running the 2.5 miles in 37 minutes.

The course was in a mall parking lot, so it was not a very scenic course, but since we were there for the coloring, it really didn't matter all that much. We let the boys set the pace, and it was interesting seeing kids trying to run in a road race. Apparently, they can't run in a straight line yet. There was one near crash, but no one actually got injured, which was wonderful!
A few suggestions for the folks at Color Me Rad:
  • If you bill it as a 5K, make it a 5K. Otherwise, just call it the Color Me Rad Run.
  • Don't hide the whole "you have to pick up your bib the day before" in an attachment in the reminder email and in the FAQs. Announce it very clearly on the home page, the registration day, etc. And if you're going to have bib pickup the day of, say that as well. I had to find the info for same day pickup in a comment on the Facebook page.
  • Don't have people register for a wave, if you then tell everyone to show up 45 minutes (if they got their bib or 90 minutes if they need to get their bib) before the first wave. Then completely ignoring all the waves and have starts every 5ish minutes just adds to the frustration. Just be honest, and tell everyone to get there between 630 and 8 am for check in, last person can cross the start line at 9.
  • Tell the volunteers to aim for clothing not faces. The handful of blue dust in my hair and ear really didn't contribute to the cool tied-dyed effect on my shirt.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Taking It Easy Ain't Easy

So, I am not currently out doing 7 miles, nor did I just complete 7 miles. I'm not terribly thrilled about this, but considering my hip hurt while I was sleeping (or least attempting to sleep), I'm assuming I'm doing the right thing.

Now, I'm starting to get worried. At what point will I not be able to catch up before the race? Don't worry, I realize I can't just start at 10 miles next week, but I want to complete at least one 10-11 mile run a week or two before the race. We're 10 weeks out from the race now. Assuming I can start at 7 miles next week, I have zero slack to get to 13 miles by Labor Day. I can probably move my last big run to the 9th of September, to give me one more week, but still...

Yeah, this is what I do with the time that I can't run. I obsess over running. I guess that's good, and means I want to get back to it. But it's mentally exhausting.

Let's look at the positive side. I'm resting today so I can do the Color Run 5K with my family tomorrow. It's going to be our first 5K with all 4 of us in it. It's not timed, and the boys are still young (5 and 7), so it will be a slow, but fun, run!

But, it's been a week. I guess that means Monday I need to call a doctor and make sure it's nothing serious. Well, nothing serious enough to impact more than my running, and subsequently, my mental health.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bad Race: It's not you, it's the course?

71 Days to Race

Last we chatted, I had a blinding migraine. I have a draft post about my post-migraine run (which was a hilly 3 mile run that I managed to run into an oak branch at mile 1.5 and my ponytail exploded cause me to do my Medusa impression), but it seems a bit dated now, and I just summarized the best part anyway. 

I was recovering from the migraine and ready to do my 7 mile run last Sunday, when my hip seized on my Saturday night.  I had been in the car for 3 separate 1.5 hour trips and on the 3rd one, I felt like I needed to pop my hip, but it wouldn't pop.  And it hurt. A lot. 

After a few google, Web MD and running website searches, I self-diagnosed IT band issues.  Of course! So I hobbled to the local running store, which sent me to EMS and I bought a hand held foam roller. (Honestly, the running store didn't carry foam rollers. They had The Stick, but recommended the foam since the pain was in my hip).  Between the roller, copious amounts of Advil and rest, I'm doing pretty good, and able to run the TWO 5Ks I have this week.

Last night was the first one.  Technically, it's a 3.5 miler; it's the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge Boston.  This is also the first race I ever ran.  I ran it 3 years ago (the day Michael Jackson died, funny how you remember things), and it wasn't chip timed, it was self-timed.  Based on my Nike + record, it took me 46 + minutes to run the 3.5 miles.  Now, that is insanely slow (13 min/mile is still technically "running", right?), but this is probably the slowest race ever.  They allow 12,000 people in the race, and it tends to hit capacity.  You cannot run for the first 2 or 3 blocks.  This picture was taken a half a block into the race (yep, after the starting line)

Ok, please believe me this was at the start, in spite of the fact that all you can see are Finisher shirts.  You get them before the race, and, well, people wore them.  I know...

Anyway, I had what I feel was a crappy race.  3.5 miles in 40:49 (11:39 pace).  If you look historically at my 5Ks, my times range from a PR of 28:38 (that was a nice flat course) to 31ish (for my "Anywhere 5K").  So I'm trying to figure out if it's the crowds (look at the picture again!), my injury (I'm achy today, but it doesn't feel painful like it did Saturday-Monday), or I just didn't push myself. 

I'm an engineer, so when I have a problem, I review the data.  I pulled up my micoach results and I've analyzed the pace, my recollection of the crowds, water stops, pinch points in the road, and I've got nothing.  So of course that means I didn't push myself, since the external data isn't showing anything atypical (this is when part of my brain screams "Look at the picture again, it's ATYPICAL!"). 

I told my mom (who's one of my top supporters!) that I'm bummed and she reminded me its a slow, crowded race, and so did a (non-runner) co-worker/friend. Maybe it's just the mood I'm in, but that just sounds like the old "It's not you, it's me" speech.  But, there is some good news, I did beat a few coworkers, including 2 younger women (like 10 years younger!! Wait, that means they're not in my age group. Damn it!) and my director (he's my boss's boss).  So, I think I'll focus on that part :)

Anyway, I need to get past this and get mentally in the mood for a long run tomorrow.  I missed my 7 miler last week with the hip issue, so I need to get about that in before we pick up the boys. But I am doing the less hilly loop instead of the hilly out and back just in case the hip protests.  Then on Sunday, we have the Color Me Rad run with the boys (ages 5 and 7), so that should take us about an hour to go 5K. Wait, can I call that a run? Eh, it's a recovery day!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Listening to Your Body

I admit, I suck at listening to my body.  Technically, I'll listen to whispers and sit out when I could/should keep going, but I'll ignore the yelling.  So I do hear it, I just don't react correctly.  Sometimes, I don't have a choice.

I did  my long run last Thursday, and I totally read the thermometer wrong.  It was a comfy 72 degrees in the house, not outside.  Outside, it was a toasty 78 degrees and a wee bit sunny (it was 1130 am or so).  Luckily, my long run was only 6 miles (hey, I still have 12 weeks!), but I hit the hills since Zooma will be a hilly course.  I charged up the first one, and did pretty good out till mile 3, since it was mostly down hill.  Coming back was painful.  I must have looked like hell, because at the bottom of the steep hill, I was given a bottle of water from a gardener.  I survived, not too sore, and even did 6x30 sec intervals the next day.

Then yesterday came.  I was going to do 6 miles with a buddy.  He was running late, so we set out along the (flat) course along the Charles River at 6:15 or so.  About half way through, the humidity was weighing me down and I told him I was only going to make the 4.5 mile loop we normally do.  Since we were running late, and I suspect his weekend was still clinging to him, he agreed.  We started across the Mass Ave Bridge and a garbage truck passed us.  I was so overwhelmed by the stench, I started gagging and almost threw up over the bridge.  Fortunately, for both me and the poor girls rowing on the Charles, I didn't lose my cookies.  I made it back to the office, and in the middle of coffee, it hit. I had an ocular migraine.  The picture here is pretty accurate for what I was seeing, except mine are off centered to the right.  I took my excedrin, drank my coffee and closed my eyes.  It went away, then the pain started.  Yep, full blown migraine.  I managed to work the full day, pick up the boys, and make dinner, all before falling asleep on the couch at 6pm.  Needless to say, I slept in today and did not do strength as planned. 

The sucky thing is, summer is the worst time for my migraines.  It's the temperature shifts (hot and humid outside to icy cold AC inside) and it just sends my poor brain into chaos.  This is my first summer really running, so it's going to take a while to figure out they whole hydration and heat thing.

I'm a bit disappointed I got slammed by the migraine, but better now then during the race, right?