June 23, 2010

Windsor is where exactly?

My work trip took me to a place I would unlikey visit otherwise... Windor, Canada. It's right across the river from Detroit and to be honest, doesn't offer up much in the ways of cozy cities. I was fortunate to have a work schedule that allowed me to explore a new area and admitedly, they have a nice pathway along the waterfront. Otherwise, it was a bit sketchy getting there from the hotel.

I love running on sidewalks. I used to be a big side-of-the-road runner (enter in Vermont where sidewalks are reserved for downtown spaces only). However, in some research about road running and gaining perhaps a bit too much information on the engineering of roads - I suddenly begin to feel the "tilt" that all roads have for stormwater drainage. No one ever likes to change the way they do something - especially if they enjoy doing it. Running on the road felt like a source of empowerment. I was brave enough to take on cars and leave the pedetrains their little slab. But now - with a desire to not injure anything, I have taken to running on sidewalks. Besides the odd bump or two or the occassional driver who recklessly backs out of their driveway without looking both ways, I have found sidewalk running a nice distraction from running. There are so many things you have to watch out for - uneven surfaces, other people, junk in the walkways, cars, the curbs from street to street... it keeps me engaged in my running and in the present moment. Sure - I like to drift of into my thoughts but when that is proving hard to do, I have started to welcome the distraction of those uneven walkways.

Got in some good miles this past weekend. The parentals are coming to visit soon and I can't wait to run with my dad. He's been a long time runner and much to my frustration, can still beat me at a 5k.

June 13, 2010

It's all mental.

I've been rather frustrated with my running as of late. Frustrated enough to vent to my roommate about it. No, work is fine, life is good. What was bothering me was my lack of enthusiasm to tie up the laces and hit the road. In the last two weeks, my running has taken a plummet. Am I physically tired? Am I getting enough nutrients? Is it a mental thing? Am I just sick of running? 

My training at this point (if I'm following a local running store's PDX Marathon training schedule) is to be 1/2 way to my goal - meaning that this weekend most people did a 1/2 marathon called the Helvetica Half. Considering over the last two weeks, I've probably run about 13 miles total... I was not feeling optimistic about being on target with my training schedule. I find that an unintentional short break can lead to a very intentional long break and results in a cascade of emotions... frustration, annoyance, guilt, anger... all directed commonly at myself. 

I don't know what led to the slump in my running - frustration with the 24/7 rain perhaps and an overall slump in mood. Well, talking with my roommate allowed me to at least get my frustrations out. Really the only solution was to run. Saturday called for highs of 70's and clear sunny skies. Portland has had about 4 straight weeks of overcast and rain. No joke. So I think the whole of Portland was anxious for some rays. When I woke up around 8, the skies were still freakin' overcast. I mean, really?! Jesus! Never mind - I needed to get a run in. I didn't map out my run prior to ensure I was doing an exact distance. Instead I went out with the mentality that whatever I did was good enough. My goal was to reach the St. John's Bridge - roughly 6 miles into North Portland. I started slow wanting to ensure I had enough juice to get me through the entire run. I didn't eat or drink prior to the run (which I find generally helps me). As I set out, the skies cleared and the beautiful sun in all it's glory came shining down. Thank you thank you thank you Sun God. 

To make a long story short, I reached my goal. I got to the St John's bridge and then turned back around and headed home. Towards the last 1-1.5 miles, my body was screaming profanities at me. It felt like the bottom half of me was going to fall apart. Luckily, my limbs stayed intact and I finished the run - albeit very sore. After mapping it out, it turns out I did 13.36 miles. Not bad! To top it off, I then hopped on the bike and added another 12-15 miles on the bike to go to my friend's graduation. My energy levels were sustained throughout the day and I have to say, the aftermath wasn't so bad. I'm a touch sore today, but nothing that doesn't feel slightly gratifying.


I leave for a work trip this week and I will now struggle with getting in some miles while on the road. Guess what the weather forecast is for where I'm headed? motherfuckingrain. It's all mental and I have to rise above...


June 9, 2010

A wee bit of a break that one...

I had my whole weekend planned out. A bike ride, a distance run, yoga. The weather was calling for sun... it was the perfect trifecta of physical activity. The problem, I learned, is that when you have high expectations of doing all these things, it's easy to get disappointed in their ability to take shape. Last week I managed to get in over 20 miles - but my 55-mile bike ride was scheduled for Saturday morning and realistically, I didn't think my legs would stay with me had I forced them 13 miles of pavement pounding. So I planned for a Sunday run instead. 

The bike ride was amazing. Despite three flat tires (think beginning, middle and end), I had a pretty damn awesome time at the Pioneer Century. It was my first bike event and boy was I ever a novice. No spare tube (I used it on the first flat), no pump, no CO2 canister, no patch kit and above all, no cell phone (I left it in the car thinking fate would get through the race without hiccup). A kind gentleman by the name of Patrick repaired my second flat tire at around mile 38, though he made sure to point out my shortcomings in regards to equipment. I conceded to being a bit of a novice and vowed to get all the necessary tidbits for the next event. Luckily the 3rd tire didn't deflate until right around the finish line... 

The scenery was amazing and reminded me a lot of Vermont - rolling hills, pastures, farmland and the like. The sun felt amazing and I now sport a very sexy bikers tan on both the arms and the legs. Photos of the event below. 

As for running, come Sunday my body won in the lazy factor. It was raining heavy - kind of in-between the rain right before a tornado and the rain that you don't stand a chance in staying dry in. I napped - napped some more and then - yup - napped (and read a book...). So my distance run was non-existent this weekend - something I will need to make up for on Saturday. I didn't run on Monday either due to work conflicts. In truth though - I wasn't even in the mood. It felt like I had gotten bored of running. Perhaps it's just the routes - they are all in my neighborhood and perhaps starting in a new location could be a good distraction. 

I ran 4.6 miles today - even though all I longed for was a nap. It felt good to be back running.

June 3, 2010

rain, rain. oh my rain.

I've started to get used to running in the rain. It certainly doesn't stop me like it once did before. That said, the consistent overcast skies and downpours do start to have a negative effect on one's mood despite all those nifty little endorphins created by running. This past week I have not necessarily been "slack" about my running - but it has tappered.

My run on Saturday was a worthy 9.35 miles at about an 8:40 pace. It felt okay - not stellar. Sunday I was off with the exception of a yoga class that I sure as hell felt the next morning. Did my arms not have any muscle to them before??!!Monday I decided to take my wheels out for a spin and did a 30 mile bike loop that included a triumphant climb up Mt. Tabor (really not as bad as I exepected) followed by a noteworthy yoga class. Tuesday it was clear my dog needed to get out of the house, so I relented and took him on my run. It was a paltry 2.5 miles at a slower pace, but it felt good to get out. Then came yesterday...

The skies parted and for the remainder of the afternoon the sun shined down on soggy Portland. It was amazing. It was beautiful. And I was utterly stumped about what to do. Bike ride? Dogan to dog park? Run? It was sunny - for the first time in weeks and I had the hardest time getting back out of the house. But run I did. My legs were calling for it. So I decided I'd do the 5 mile loop with hills. My rule of thumb was that if I ran down a hill, I had to sprint back up it. The sprints weren't so bad but for the remainder of my run, I was out of sorts. My shirt was too big (when did that happen?) making me feel clumsy and large, my clicking ankles annoyed me, my nose was running something fierce, my knees started to bug me and I had a slight cramp. Not fun. But I didn't give up. Goddamnit, I was going to get back home. It was freakin' sunny.

So that brings us to today. I still have no idea what I'll do. The Celtics are playing LA. The rain is holding off. It's First Thursday Run at Fit Right and there's yoga at 7:30. Decisions are not my strong suit.

Friday is my day off before a physically demanding weekend - a 55 mile bike ride event followed by my Saturday (now Sunday) long run and yoga to smooth my body out afterwards.

Also - congrats to Em and Tom McMannamy for completing their first relay marathon! Tom was my early days running partner back in Boston... and continues to be an inspiration :) Congrats guys!
YAY! Congrats!

Portland is down there... somewhere

June 1, 2010

hello body

This weekend my Saturday run tapered a touch - with 9 miles scheduled I referred to a previous route. 9.31 miles at about an 8:30 pace... not too shabby! I also forced down a Shot Blok chew half way to see how my stomach would react. I didn't notice much from the shot blok - for some reason I always envisioned those little jelly cubes to be like that turbo button on those fancy car movies... but alas, I just kept running as per normal.

The other thing I did differently was I made sure to drink in carbs / proteins in a Odwalla shake within 15 minutes of running. I can say that I didn't feel my post-run slump as quickly as I normally do and my knees didn't hurt at all after thumping it out on the bitumen for 9 miles. I felt great. Not only that, but I followed my long run with a most excellent massage at Root Body Down (amazing). My back and I have a newfound friendship.

I took Sunday off and on Monday I decided to do a 30 mile bike ride instead of a 5 mile run. It felt great - especially because I tackled the hills like a superstar. At one point, coming down off of Mt Tabor, I had that surreal feeling of glee. It's a feeling I normally experience when traveling in far off distant lands... it felt great. After 30 miles, I felt amazing - no soreness, no tiredness... just happy. Happy with strawberries.

I've also been supplementing my exercise with yoga this week. So far, the practices have been amazing and I've left feeling more limber. I've also experienced soreness from using those muscles that haven't been worked recently - upper body, arms and abs. I am hoping I will see a difference in my running as well.

This week I incorporate speed training! :)