Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So, so close

This morning’s “easy” run was to have been two miles at a 12:32 pace. Since my goal pace is considerably faster than that, I thought I’d try to step up both speed and distance, and do three miles in 36 minutes. In the end, I did neither.

Total distance: 2.5 miles. Total time: 30:42.

Before I’d gotten a quarter of a mile down the road it started raining. So my first decision was to only do two miles. But since that first quarter of a mile was a walking one, I decided I had to end with a quarter-mile walk, as well. Symmetry, I guess.

And once I’d finished 2.25 miles, I realized I was so, so close to making my 12-minute-mile goal that I just went ahead and tried. Didn’t miss it by much. I’ll blame it on the rain. Heh.

My dad’s back in the hospital again, and it might be the same system-wide infection he fought off in May. Some of the symptoms his wife described were eerily similar. I’m not, so far, making plans to go to Florida, but I think I’ll make sure the laundry is caught up and the house is semi-clean for the next few days.

Just in case.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Home for a rest

What an activity-packed weekend we had! I’m tired, tired, tired. The only thing on my agenda for today is laundry. Thank goodness for modern technology; the washer and dryer really do all the work. (Don’t tell my husband that; he always seems impressed when I report that I did three loads of laundry. Clearly, he never does it.)

The babies are adorable! So sunny and sweet. We heard one or two of them cry once or twice, but mostly they just look at you and smile. I have a no-baby-picture rule on the blog, or I’d show you just how darned cute they are. You’ll just have to take my word for it. Grandpa is totally smitten.

We walked with them late Saturday afternoon. They have a triple jogging stroller that turns heads wherever it goes. One little boy saw us approaching – Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa and three babies – and said, “Oh. My. God.” He couldn’t have been more than four, and we lost all composure as we walked past him.

(At a very fast clip, I might add, and Mom says she slowed the pace considerably since the old folks were tagging along. She takes the “jogging” part of “jogging stroller” very seriously.)

I got my nine miles in Sunday morning. That might have been the first time I’ve ever run in the dark. I’d hoped to run Saturday, but the family checking into the hotel at 2 a.m. across the hall from our room obviously didn’t care about the Quiet Time after 10 p.m. rule. Sunday, though, the alarm went off at 6:15 and I actually got up, dressed and was out the door by 6:38.

Sometime between the seventh and eighth mile, my phone rang. Another first: I’ve never talked and run at the same time. I stopped the Garmin and took the call, but forgot to click the start button again for another mile or so. I’m pretty sure I ran more than nine miles. Time was lousy, but distance was more important.

Now it’s time to get back to resting.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Plan B

It’s always good to have a back-up plan, when you wake up late and it’s pouring down rain and the morning is overscheduled and a nine-mile run just ain’t gonna happen.

Everything we do at home today has to happen before 10:30 a.m., when we have to leave the house to do everything else we’re doing today. I woke up at 7:30, and a nine-mile run takes two hours when you include driving time to get to the flat road and back. That leaves only an hour to shower and pack for a weekend trip. That may be enough for you, but it’s not enough for me.

Besides, cramming a week’s worth of running into four days is an invitation to injury. Ask my knees. I iced the left one Monday night; last night I switched the ice pack to the right one. A day off will be good.

I checked MapMyRun for likely routes near Worthington, Ohio, and found plenty from which to choose. So my Garmin and my running gear will get packed after all, and I’ll take a little time away from the triplets to sweat.

Their dad is the one who inspired me to run my first race. I’d been walking and jogging on my hilly road, with no purpose other than to control my weight. A month after my husband and I got married in Las Vegas, we had a family celebration at home. My husband’s son was training for a marathon and had a 20-miler on his schedule the morning of our party.

And he did it.

Just got up, got ready, headed out and came back to move furniture, help with setting up the party, mingle with our guests and put everything back where it was supposed to be afterward.

Obviously, I was pretty impressed. He was training for the Columbus Marathon; I registered for the Country Music Half-Marathon soon after.

Somehow I don’t think anyone will miss me if I take off for a couple of hours to run.

Have a great weekend. Back on Monday.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How cool is this?

No, literally, I mean how cool is this:

The next three days are going to be downright chilly here in the Middle of Nowhere. And we may even get some rain, which we can really use. Yesterday we saw places where you could walk across the river and not get your feet wet.

I’m cramming all of this week’s training runs into four days so I won’t have to worry about getting any of them in this weekend. We’ll be visiting the triplets (and their parents), and I doubt there will be time for a nine-mile run Sunday morning.

Today is an easy two-miler, which I will stretch to three because I just think two miles is hardly worth it. I have to drive two miles to get to a flat road that’s long enough to run two miles on. Might as well make it worth the gas it takes to get there, right?

I weighed 177 – again – this morning. Nice to know that eating pasta and rice and cereal, oh my, this week hasn’t made me balloon up to 200. Is it wishful thinking, though, to have hoped I might lose a couple, considering I’ve either walked or run 24 miles since last Thursday?

Apparently, it is.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Zoom … ka-boom!

Imagine my suprise as I set out on my seven-mile tempo run this morning to find this, at about the end of the first mile:

At the tippy top of the photo is a train moving along the tracks. The two empty coal cars (and an additional one not pictured) you can see braced against those trees were, until last night, moving along those tracks. The entire hillside is covered with coal.

It didn’t slow me down, though.

My goal was to jog a 15-minute warm-up and a 15-minute cooldown, on either side of five 11-minute miles. That would have been 85 minutes. While it didn’t work out the way I planned – still haven’t learned to pace myself – I actually beat my target time. Woo hoo! Or, rather, zoom-zoom!

Splits, anyone? 12:24, 11:05, 11:35, 11:56, 11:51, 11:55 and 12:52 – for a total of 1:23:41.

This has, so far, been my best week of training. I feel confident, strong, capable and running is fun. For all of those things to be true at the same time is pretty cool.

Now, though, it’s back to politics. (Big political news today, in case you’ve been avoiding your cable outlets.) Or dinner.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Okay, y’all know I’m not the speediest of runners. I blame it on my short stature, advanced age and extra weight. But the combination of two months of training and much cooler weather seems to have helped my pace tremendously. I used to struggle to run a 12:40 mile. Today? Not so much:

I did a total of 6.8 miles, most of it walking, but I was supposed to run two miles today at a 12:32 pace.

I think I smoked it. Heh.

If I can keep that up for 13.1 miles (BIG heh), I’ll not only PR in Richmond, but I’ll also make my goal of finishing in 2:30. In order to PR, I have to run in less than 2:38:24.

Eating a more normal diet is very helpful, and it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s psychological or physical. If I think I can run more efficiently if I have rice with dinner and a banana with my morning coffee, then that’s good enough for me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The halfway point

Yesterday’s four-mile run (supposed to be at a 12:39 pace; I did it in 47:15 – an 11:49 pace) marked the end of eight weeks of race training. Eight down, eight to go. (My left ankle is fine; I thought I tweaked something in my left calf, but that appears to have been Something to Make Me Worry Unnecessarily.)

The next two months are quickly filling up with trips and activities. Good thing I’m not training for a tri – it’s harder to find places to swim than it is to find places to run.

I felt great yesterday, and can probably credit my change in diet. Having a banana about an hour before I headed out was a Good Thing. Do South Beach dieters ever get to eat bananas? (Apparently they do.)

My husband came home from a short trip yesterday, meaning I had to cook dinner. I find when he’s gone that I don’t cook much, if at all. I think the only time I used the microwave last week was to heat a cup of coffee, and the only time I used the stove was to make popcorn. Other than that, it was cereal, fruit, deli-meat wraps and one trip through McDonald’s for chicken nuggets. If it weren’t for the iced coffee I ordered there, I’d think I was a toddler.

Mileage ramps up significantly this week – and I really feel ready. Hope your weekend was restful and your week doesn’t throw you any curves.

Friday, September 19, 2008

For your listening pleasure

I haven’t seen anyone mention iTunes’ new Genius feature yet. This is not to be confused with the genius tech people who will transfer all your files when you switch from Windows to Apple. No, no, no, this is something I’ve been wishing for since I got my very first Shuffle.

I should preface my remarks by saying I rarely listen to music when I run any more. I stopped when I had about six weeks left in training for my first half-marathon. The rules said you weren’t allowed to wear headphones, so I thought I should be prepared for silent runs. Turns out I prefer running sans music – one less gadget to deal with, I suppose. Also turns out that lots of runners break that rule. Who knew?

But I do pop the iPod into its little adapter thingy when I drive. To me, driving is boring and tedious and tiring. I do not love hitting the road. And living where I do (the Middle of Nowhere) means I have to hit the road to do anything – even my running routes are located near rivers that I have to drive to.

Anyway, with iTunes Genius (you’ll need the free software update to iTunes 8) you highlight a song in your music list, click on the Genius icon and it creates a playlist of up to 100 compatible songs (the default is 25). That doesn’t mean if you highlight “Baby Got Back” you’re going to get 100 hip-hop songs. The majority will be of that genre, but Genius trolls your music collection to find other songs that fit well with your highlighted selection.

This has been great for revisiting songs I’d forgotten I had, and also for listening to some of the free iTunes offerings that I’ve downloaded and then never played.

It’s also great for making a drive to town less, um, tedious.

One of the running playlists I compiled a long time ago included Bob Dylan’s “Thunder on the Mountain” and Jimmy Buffett’s “Elvis Presley Blues.” As an experiment, I clicked on the Dylan song to see if Genius would include the Buffett song. It did! I might have to recharge the Shuffle.

I’m sold. And if you’re the kind of person who loves wizardry and magic, you probably will be, as well.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ruh Roh

I never was a Scooby Doo fan. I’m from the Bugs Bunny/Chip ’n’ Dale/Tweety Bird (“I think I saw a puddy tat”) generation. But when I experience an “uh-oh” moment, I immediately think – and sometimes say – it in my best Scooby Doo voice.

If you’d tagged along on my walk/run Tuesday morning, you would have heard me. I can’t remember the exact moment, but somewhere along the 7.25 mile-route, I twisted my left ankle. It’s still a little twingy – is that a word? – so I’m postponing today’s four-miler until tomorrow.

Thank goodness for easy weeks, eh?

I wrapped it in an Ace bandage and hobbled around yesterday doing what I normally do. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) was called for, but Compression and about an hour of Elevation was the best I could do.

It’s definitely not a sprain, and is much better today. The swelling is gone, as is most of the pain. If I weren’t in training I’d probably test it. But I sure don’t want a major setback with just eight weeks until race day.

My South Beach experiment has blown up in my face. What? You didn’t hear the explosion? You missed the flames erupting from the blown-out windows? While I can lose weight and still train eating meat-and-salad, meat-and-salad, meat-and-salad, I can’t do anything else. And while I don’t have a fulltime job or children to look after, I do have a house that is, as my mother used to say, “ready to walk.” And a mother-in-law who is still in the hospital and a President to elect.


Carbs = energy. Without carbs, I sleep nine, 10 or even more hours per night. I drag my ass through my day and sleep like I’ll never wake up. I’m tired when I rise in the morning, tired when I run, tired when I hit the sack at 8 p.m.

To celebrate leaving the Beach, I had a cup of Shredded Wheat with strawberries and milk for breakfast. (Carbs ≠ donuts, Belgian waffles or coffee cake. Does anyone eat coffee cake any more? My mother used to make the recipe on the back of the Bisquick box and invite the neighbors over for coffee and cake at least once a week.)

I guess my major weight-loss push has been pushed back to, um, the holiday season.

Oh, joy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A little knitting update

I’ve finally decided that, yes, I will make sweaters for the triplets for Christmas. My other three grandchildren live in warm climates and rarely need sweaters, but the littlest guys live in Ohio, where it gets c-c-c-cold in the winter. I’m using the Trellis pattern; that little shawl collar looks so manly to me.

The yarn is good old machine-washable and -dryable Lion Brand Wool-Ease. Any mother of triplets would appreciate an easy-care fabric. I’ve amassed quite a large quantity of the wheat color, so that’s what I’m using.

Unfortunately, I sliced a fingertip on a razor the other day and the bandage is getting in the way of my knitting. I’m hoping to remove it today and really get to work on Sweater #1 today.

This week is another easy one for running. I love how the training program throws a couple easy weeks – low mileage, no speed drills, just go out and run for the fun of it – into the mix. Each of this week’s three runs is just four miles, at a slow – 12:39 – pace. I know I’ll run faster than that, and probably farther, and probably do four days, but that’s more for weight loss than for race training. I’m going to try to get back to the weight bench again this week, too. I did one session last week, and while one is better than none, it’s not enough for results.

I wish I could be a grown-up about this stuff. I’m more toddler-like – whining that I don’t WANT to!

That’s quite a mind picture, isn’t it? A 57-year-old overweight toddler. Heh.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hot, hot, hot

The weekend weather, that is.

We went to the hills of Kentucky for a retreat, something we’ve done for the last nine years, and I don’t ever remember it being so hot, humid and uncomfortable. The park where we stay has hiking trails and a lake and a lovely front porch with big rocking chairs and I think the only time I was outside was when I absolutely had to be.

Oh, and Saturday morning for my long run of the week.

It was supposed to be eight miles. I did seven, letting the hills and humidity make up one mile, since the most logical route was an out-and-back from the lodge to the main entrance. Besides, I stretched my two-miler the previous day to four, so I knew my weekly mileage was covered.

My pace was supposed to be slow, and it was – 13:12 – much slower than I was supposed to go. The killer hills were brutal, and I ended up walking a lot. There were two very good miles, though, where I felt great and ran fast (11:17 and 11:55). I was dripping wet, soaked with sweat and gasping for breath when I got back to our room.

The retreat part of the weekend was inspiring, uplifting and just what we needed. It was nice to get away. And it’s good to be home.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stay safe

Wishing everyone who lives in Ike’s path traveling mercies as they get out of his way, and a safe return home when the time is right.

I need to get a short run in this morning and then I’m heading for the hills for a little getaway. Looks like it’ll be raining all weekend – if it were race day, I’d be running in it, so I guess my long run will be a little soggy this week.

I did a total of six yesterday; the initial walking mile was pretty quickly done (for me), then four fast-ish ones (11:07) and then a final cooldown mile. After 4.5 miles I started feeling sick, and had to walk the rest of the way. My final time wasn’t pretty, not pretty at all.

During the fast part, I find myself glancing at the Garmin to see that I’ve been running a steady 10-minute mile for what seems like quite a while. It seems improbable to me that I can run that fast, and my mind takes over, shooting negative messages at me. My breathing becomes more labored (if that’s possible), my legs start aching, my feet feel like blocks of wood and BAM! I’ve hit the wall.

I’m not sure if the Garmin works tucked into a pocket or not. Perhaps it would be more useful to steel myself against looking at my wrist, rather than hiding the darned thing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

’Tis the season

I’m in the midst of a political debate with a Republican friend who lives in Texas. I realize I’m not going to sway his thinking, and yet I get sucked in, defending my beliefs and – sometimes – attacking his. So it was a delight to see this quote from SparkPeople this morning:

It’s not the strongest of the species that survive,
nor the most intelligent,
but the ones most responsive to change.
~ Charles Darwin

(Disclaimer: I’m not using SparkPeople for journaling my food, but I still get their daily quote and recipe e-mails. Further disclaimer: I’m not using anything for journaling my food. Sigh.)

I happen to think that because the McPalin machine doesn’t have good solutions for what ails the country, they have stolen taken over the Obama “change” message as their own, assuming we the people will believe whatever they say.

Not me. And since this isn’t really a political blog, I’ll wrap this segment up by saying I’ll be glad when the political season is over. Because then the knitting season begins!

I have a head start on some Christmas gifts. Still haven’t installed the zipper on my younger granddaughter’s sweater, but the knitting is done. I need to make a pair of mittens to match a cap, also for her. I made one pair but they’re waaaaaay to big for her teeny little hands. And a couple of days ago I finished a Mr. Flurry for her. She lives in the south, and likely won’t be making any snowmen of her own, so this squishy toy will be a fun substitute. Want to make one for a snow-deprived child you know? You can get the free pattern here. (You’ll have to register to downoad the pattern, but registration is free and then you can download hundreds more free patterns.)

I’m not sure if I’ll knit anything for the triplets. I like to knit, but three of the same thing is a little, um, tedious. Then again, knitting is knitting, and I like to knit.

Did you think I’d forgotten today is weigh-in day? Oh, no, not me. I’ve kept an eye on the scale all week, staying the same as last week, until today, when the two pounds I gained are miraculously gone again. I’m back to 175, and I haven’t a clue how it happened.

Perhaps if I’d been using a food/exercise journal, I could clear up that mystery.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


My dad, a longtime Democrat, says:

“You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.
And you can put McCain in the White House, but it’s still a Bush.”

Thanks, Dad!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Not feeling very inspired this morning

I need to run two easy miles today – two measly miles! – and I Just. Don’t. Wanna. Do. It.

Wonder how Nike would like that for a slogan? Heh.

I walked yesterday (a rest day) but at the .9 mile mark I started feeling sick. Again. I had tossed my morning eggs about an hour before I started walking; don’t know why. I had to turn around and get home. In addition to feeling nauseous, I was sweating profusely – far more than a less-than-one-mile walk would warrant.

Have any of you noticed that I’m not writing about weight training any more? Could be because I’m not doing any weight training any more. And it’s not that I don’t have time, or that running interferes with weight training, or that I injured a bicep. Oh, no, not at all. See the last six words of the first paragraph.

Wah, wah, wah.

The weather outside is frightful – rain and thunder – so my measly two miles will have to get done in between showers, I think.

I’m off to spend some time on iTunes. Shauna has a great post about fight songs today and, as you can tell from the title of this post, I could use a little inspiration.

Monday, September 8, 2008

No. Really. I am still here.

It appears that when life gets stressful, I clam up. That’s probably a Good Thing, as I tend to be impulsive and might write something I wouldn’t want to take responsibility for at a later time. The better part of valor is discretion, a tenet it’s taken me many, many years to adopt.

First things first: Happy birthday to Wendy! I’ve been trusting her running advice (and more) for way more than a year now. Just because she’s flipped over into that “don’t trust anyone over mumble-mumble decade” doesn’t mean I’m going to stop now. Click over and give her your good wishes. I’ll wait.

So. It appears that, for me at least, the Penguin is right: It’s difficult to lose weight during race training. He doesn’t say it’s impossible, but he does point out that losing weight is one thing and race training is another. Different goals demand different strategies. I’ve found it verrrrry difficult to stick with a South Beach eating plan while following my training schedule. Doesn’t matter if it’s physical or mental – the fact is, I’m hungry more often and vegetables just don’t appeal. (I’m back up to 177, after the party and eating a lot of restaurant and hospital cafeteria meals last week.)

My mother-in-law has been transferred from the far-away, big-city hospital to what I like to call Tiny Hospital. It’s a 12-mile drive and she’s getting adequate care, but I’d like to see more emphasis on physical therapy and getting her up and out of bed than has happened so far. I’ll chalk it up to being transferred at the end of the week – small hospitals tend to clear all but the seriously ill out on weekends, and they – like most medical facilities these days – are short-staffed.

A little more housecleaning: The group photo I took at our Obama party did end up on the website. It's part of a slideshow and takes for-freaking-ever to download on dial-up, so I didn’t do it. But someone did for me, and says our photo is at the 4:13 mark. (I don’t know if the slideshow has been updated since the day I tried to view it.) You can see it here. Eventually.

The most popular item in the party goodie bags was the “Retired. Inspired.” bumper sticker. Hey, we’re old! What can I say? It hasn’t been too popular on CafePress, but then I’m not sure how to compete with the other 18 million Obama items for sale there.

I missed one run last week, and was two miles short of my weekly mileage goal, but felt good on the long run yesterday. My pace is supposed to be 12:39, but I’ve been shooting for 12-minute miles at this stage and I was darned close yesterday: 12:07 for more than six miles. I gave up when my husband drove by to see how I was doing and offered me a ride. The long run wasn’t quite as long as it was supposed to be, but my legs were toast and riding the last 1.7 was Just. Too. Tempting.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Still here, just barely

Consider this a placeholder. Life is far too busy these days to post properly. In fact, if it weren’t so foggy and wet out this morning, I’d be trying to mow the lawn before we go to the hospital. Pretty soon I’ll have to bale it.

At any rate, my mother-in-law is still in the hospital with a broken arm, and my husband and I are spending several hours per day visiting her (and driving to and from the hospital). There have been some complications, nothing life-threatening but definitely worrisome.

I’m keeping up with the essentials: a daily shower, coffee in the morning, food and water for the dogs, laundry (although it doesn’t get folded), and running on the days I’m supposed to. I miss just hanging out at the computer for hours on end every morning. Heh.