32B's Blog

…where I write my words

9.5

Yesterday was my 3rd time running a 9.5 mile route around my neighborhood  – and neighboring neighborhoods.  The first time I just thought to go out and see if I could finish it without breathing up a lung.  I intentionally ran a slow pace to give myself a fighting chance and finished it in 1 hr 15 mins.  Now, I did stop at red lights, traffic signs, slow pedestrians walking hip-t0-hip across sidewalks, and cars weaving through traffic looking for something to hit accidently.  That being said, my 9.5 was not a continuous 9.5 but I claim it still.  The 2nd time I ran this route, I decided to play Make The Light.  This is the game where I pay attention to the upcoming light in my effort to continue running.  If the light in my favor is green I try to “Make The Light” so I am running for a longer period of time without stopping.  If the light in my favor is red then I slow my pace to try giving it time to change back to green.  Both are hard to do because a) I tend to daydream when I run and forget what game I’m playing b) trying to Make The Light is only safe when there isn’t a car trying to do the same and c) slowing my pace waiting for the light to turn green can mean I basically power walk to the intersection.  Some lights I made it for and some I did not.  You win some and you lose some.  Whatever.

Yesterday was 3rd attempt at this distance.  For some reason, the more I run this route the more I get bored, wonder what’s on TV, wonder why my iPod playlist sucks, and wonder why 9.5 miles seem so freaking long!  And, isn’t this distance supposed to get easier after a while?  I thought so too but it seems to get harder.  Playing Make The Light had me back home at 1 hr and 18 mins.  That must mean I took too many rest stops the first time around and 1 hr 20 mins is closer to my fitness level.  Maybe?  Well, yesterday was the same time but about 30 seconds slower.  This 3rd time I played Run Forrest Run.  Like I said earlier, I kinda got bored during my run and was ready to sit my lazy tail down so I thought to make up a speed game so I’d get it over with sooner.  Run Forrest Run was supposed to be me running fast through the next street light.  That work fine until I underestimated how far away that street light was.  So, the next leg of the game, I ran fast for 1 minute instead.  The longest minute ever!  I kept looking down at my watch wondering why the seconds were moving so slowly.  But, after each leg I felt my chest and lungs working harder than they had in all three 9.5 runs together so it felt good but I still got home later than I anticipated.  Oh well.

No running tomorrow since both kids are out of school.  No running Friday because I work from the office that day and running early in the morning while leaving the kids home alone is kinda illegal.  I may run Saturday but I highly doubt it.  I will have to be late that night.  Sunday is definitely a run day but that’s too many days since my last run.  Kinda sucks but what else can I do?  I will end this post will all the annoying things people have done while I was out for a run.  Some people have talked to me as if I will honestly stop running to hold a conversation.  One guy even asked me for the time.  I guess since I have this bright gold watch on my wrist but seriously?!  I’m in the middle of something here.  I told him the time anyways.  Other people ask if they can run with me.  Sure.  I find that most women stare really hard like I have 3 boobs, 3 eyes, 3 legs, 3 heads….3 something.  I mean they stare like they just found out I had sex with their husbands.  I almost wanna ask if they know me or if I seriously did something to them.  Or when people hog the sidewalks which I guess they should since they are technically pedestrians but they huff when I run around them.  It’s either run into you or around you.  Some guy selling melons out the back of this truck asked if I wanted to buy any even telling me they were on sale.  Gee, I’d love to but I don’t have any melon-sized pockets and only enough room in my bra for my 2 keys.  He told me to try and stop by later….now, that made more sense.  And my favorite question ever: what are you running for?  I just assumed the workout wear, running shoes, and watch would indicate that I run for sport or sheer exercise but I guess that’s not obvious enough.  Some dumb moments I just act like I didn’t hear them because the music from my iPod was just that loud.  It’s rude but “dumb” has a limit which people seem to surpass every single day.

June 16, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , | Leave a comment

Running Changes Things

Tuesday, I ran my usual 8.5 miles and felt really good after running simulated hills the previous week.  For some reason I thought my last 8.5 mile time was 1 hr 15 mins so when I saw I was about to reach that mark no where close to my apt, I started to pick up the pace not caring if I “died”.  Well, I got home at about 1 hr 17 mins just to check my watch for my previous runs (it saves my data) to find out my last run was actually 1 hr 19 mins lol so I pushed myself out of panic for no reason but at least I ran 2 mins faster accidently.  I felt good the entire time but I was starting to freak out this week thinking there is no way I can run 13.1 miles, that it’s beyond me, that I’m not ready, that I don’t know how to race 13.1…..I was trippin!  Then I calmed down and told myself a) I paid my registration already so tough shyt if I wanna change my mind b) I’m too hard on myself to allow myself to not run a good time and c) it’s all about the pace so no one can honestly race 13.1 miles.  When I said “race” I was picturing how runners race shorter races….no way possible! 

Thursday was not a good run.  I did my first 1.5 miles which is the hardest part of my runs because I have to constantly slow my legs down since they wanna go out too fast too soon.  After that, I had to make an important phone call so I stopped mid-run.  Got off the phone and back to running but I was “off” so I didn’t run as far as I was supposed to.  Not sure how many miles I covered since I was just running to get it in.  Looked at my watch which read 2pm and realized I had 30 mins to get back home to get my youngest out of preschool.  I was at Fullerton & Laramie which is about 3 miles from my apt, it was hot outside, I felt dehydrated, my mind couldn’t focus on anything but water, and there was no way I could syke myself up to do anything but get home and fast.  Yeah, not a good day for Bunny.

Today, I ran 6 miles.  Did not feel like doing the 8.5 and I honestly feel like I’m hitting a wall which means I need to change things up before I plateau, lost my interest in training, and all kinda other stuff.  My 6 miles today was in 48:17 mins which is about 1 min faster than my last 6 mile run.  Since I run city streets with traffic lights, I need to run faster to make up for my forced rest stops or else I cheat myself out of the true distance ran.  My new running shoes felt great as all new running shoes feel.  I did notice a new injury which is the arch of my foot….a constant pain right there as if I was bending my foot too much.  Once I thought about my mechanics, then the pain increased or I felt a pain on the outside of one ankle.  When I just let my body run as it naturally does, the pain went away.  I stopped trying to correct my form every time I ran past my reflection unless I looked down right horrible.  I stopped trying to make sure a certain part of my foot hit the ground with each stride.  I stopped trying to increase my turnover as opposed to lengthening my stride.  I know those are all good points to improve on or keep in mind because it lowers your running inefficiencies but sometimes I over-think or over-correct which causes problems.

Physique: I have stopped eating as much chocolate, ice cream, greasy foods, etc although everything in moderation is good which, for me, is once a week at the most.  It’s funny how, when I have a goal in mind, my body no longer craves those things as much as it used to.  I am now 126 lbs and my stomach is a little bit flatter which makes my waist look a little bit smaller.  Basically, I can wear a small tee without a gut.  I hate that!  I still have a small stubborn gut around my belly button which is a result of childbirth but that usually burns itself off as I get into better shape so I will remain patient.  My arms seem more toned than before.  I’m not lifting weights or doing push-ups….just pumping them really hard at the end of my runs when my legs refuse to move as fast as I want them to.  I can fit into my 24 jeans with ease when, before, I had to wiggle into them or wear my 26 jeans instead.  My legs are gorgeous lol I love runner legs but they should be killer come September so that means this summer everything will be short lol but tasteful.  My thighs feel more muscular and are always sore it feels like.  My hamstrings are curvy in a defined way.  My calves have always been chiseled but I am working on making sure that muscle my calf works with is strong too….not sure what it’s called but it results in shin splints when it’s too weak.  My booty is just phat lol in my opinion of course.  Small but round.  Not a “donk”, or “junk in the trunk”, or a “fatty”….just round and solid which means it does not shake like the girls’ in the music videos.  Everything is looking nice and people just assume I run just by looking at me which means it’s starting to show 🙂 What kills me is when it’s close to “that” time of the month because my boobs get fuller and sore so when I run they hurt from all the bouncing.  I do need more sports bras but even the best one’s I’ve used do not prevent all movement by completely smashing them against your chest AND I am not sure I really want that since I don’t want flat boobs.  Sometimes I wear 2 sport bras to give me maximum compression which works out great but other times my regular push-up bra definitely fights gravity and when worn with a sports bra over it it keeps the girls from popping out the top.  Complicated. (Dnt get offended by my picture….I think an athletic body is art)

Anywho, that’s my running update as if this is my running log or something.  Tomorrow I will be in Lafayette, IN for my sorority chapter’s 30th year anniversary.  One soror is coming from WI tonight then we will drive down from Chicago tomorrow morning.  No one in my age range are bringing husbands/boyfriends and we are about 3 to a hotel room in the same hotel so it’s about to be fun!  Well, I hope.  You know how people are and you know how women are…I’ll have me a drink on deck just in case.

April 16, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I feel Bunny-licious!

I am sure people are tired of me talking about running but I had such a great run yesterday!  I am still doing my 8.5 miles but I didn’t run Saturday because it pretty much rained all day and it was my last day of freedom before the kids got back so I ran Sunday instead.  I was going to do 6 miles instead since I’d already gotten in 17 miles that week but I did the 8.5 miles knowing that I needed to get used to the distance before I increased it to 10 miles at the end of the month.  Can she go the distance?  Enquiring minds wanna know!  So, I got up, got dressed, and got out the door.  No breakfast.  No water.  No nothing.  I felt good in the beginning making sure I stayed on pace and didn’t allow my feet to go faster too soon esp not on mile 2 when I have 6.5 left to go.  Some aren’t familiar with Chicago streets but I live off a street called Hamlin.  My route east of Hamlin consists of more traffic lights than my route west of Hamlin so I tend to “feel” my run more so on that leg of the run which isn’t great since it’s towards the end.  Not sure which mile marker I was at but I began to feel rejuvenated, like I’d gotten a second wind, like Bunny (my running alias) had taken a deep breath and felt revived.  I was no where close to the point where I turn around and make my trek back home but I did allow my legs to pick up the pace a tad bit.  I was coasting!  It felt good.  My breathing was stable.  My form was right.  I dropped my arms, relaxed them at my sides, and let my legs ride me through the run.  I put in both ear buds (I tend to only run with one in my ear so I can hear & see cars/people better) and turned my music up a little bit.  I was in the zone.

I got to my turning point which left me drained the week before but this time I turned and made my way home without any fatigue or feeling like I wanted to stop.  I felt, for a small period of time, like I was invincible.  Not in a sense like no one could beat me or stop me.  Invincible as though no mileage would fear me.  No pace would shake me.  I felt stronger.  I felt tougher.  I felt some remnants of my old self again.  It felt so good I just let the pace ride until I felt like I absolutely had to slow down.  I wasn’t sprinting by any means and I wasn’t running fast.  Coasting is just letting my body do what it does.  That’s the only way I know it’s time to increase my mileage or push the envelope….when my mind is jogging along and then my legs say “come on! let’s go faster!”  I’m not crazy…..I swear my legs speak to my mind often.  I listened to my legs which didn’t feel like lead this time or begged for a break at the next red light.  They felt ready to push it so I let them push it.  My mind didn’t feel intimidated by the 8.5 miles as it did before.  Instead of thinking about all the businesses I’d pass and how it felt like I was running so far I might be leaving the city limits, I felt like 8.5 was a short distance.  LOL, ok not really but the mental game was absent this time.  I felt so good I ran 5 minutes faster than Thursday!  So, this week, if the rain don’t mess up my plans too much, I will focus more on long speedwork.  I love the 8.5 miles and really need to map out the perfect 10 mile run around my ‘hood prb sticking to the west side of Hamlin with less lights which may take me into Oak Park (ridiculous).  But, I will begin 800m repeats this week.

I have no hills near my apt other than a stadium I used to run track meets at during high school but I doubt they leave it open for the public….but I’ll check.  800 repeats are supposed to be excellent speed distances for half-marathoners when done at race pace.  We used to do them all the time for Cross Country practice.  I should be following a Half-Marathon training schedule since there’s so many out there online put together by notable runners but I don’t like to follow someone else’s schedule….I like to think I can train myself.  Arrogant?  Probably.  I know my body better than anyone else and I have done some distance running before….to a certain extent.  Anywho, 800 repeats at race pace would put me at about 4 mins.  My ideal race pace for the half-marathon would be 8 minute/mile pace.  Ambitious?  Highly!  My thinking is that if I train for a 8 minute/mile pace and fall into the 9 minute/mile pace come race day I will still break my 2 hour time frame.  Where I am totally confused is how much rest to give myself.  I know I should do at least 5 repeats but I need to research sample 800 workouts.  Then, it’s back to my long run this weekend.  Maybe one running post a week is sufficient but I get so excited when I can run for a long time at a faster pace without breathing hard….it’s freakin fracking awesome to me.  My body is amazing.  I am trimming down as far as weight.  My gut (stomach) is pretty stubborn but everything else is slimming down as expected.  I can’t diet even if I wanted to….I’m not disciplined enough to turn down food.

In other news, my company has sold to new owners.  I can’t say anything else about it thus far because it hasn’t been officially announced to the public but I am interested in seeing what happens next.  Who goes?  Who stays?  The company Broker came in to talk to us today (I missed it cause I was running 10 mins late).  New owners will come in later today to meet with the Executives with the corner offices.  I have a cubicle so that means I’m less important.  My manager told me I have nothing to worry about.  I trust him, after all, he hired me and he’s a Boilermaker.  But, nothing is set in stone and no one is ever safe so I shall continue running with the strong azz Chicago wind which seriously is a bytch on my long runs when I’m running against it.  No church yesterday for Easter sunday since I had to pick the kids up at noon from Union Station and went running that morning.  I could have gone to the 8am service but I’m thinking….running or church?  Running or church?  Running or church?  I doubt God is the least bit surprised in my decision. (Picture: ol’ girl looking like someone just pissed her off! lol if I was that guy next to her I’d be very afraid. But, I hope that’s my body in 2 months time 🙂 )

April 5, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Run D Run!

The last few weeks I have done mainly 6 mile runs but, if I didn’t have time, I’d do a 3 mile run instead.  Well, I don’t follow a schedule or training log…I just know what I need to strengthen and when I need to back down.  The 6 mile run was just that….a run.  I could finish it without problem so I would try to finish it faster which left me hitting a brick wall.  I felt like I was going faster but I felt horrible too.  So, I stopped doing those and decided to focus on my base again.  Improve my endurance by going back to my 8.5 mile runs and increase it from there to 10 miles once I feel I am ready to do so.  Ready (imo) is when I can cruise the 8.5 mile run and finish about 60 minutes after I started which was the time I could finish it about 3 months ago.  Now, I finish in about an hour and 25 mins 22 seconds (Tuesday) having finished in an hour and 25 mins 6 seconds today.  I am a city runner which means I run along city streets having to stop for traffic lights or stop signs so when I stop my watch stops but my body & legs do get a rest which would be an advantage as opposed to running a continous 8.5 miles.  I do live near parks but they aren’t big enough to allow me to run 8+ miles without having to do 40 laps which is mental torture!  This week I have done 17 miles total and I have felt every single mile.  By the end with 2-3 miles to go, my legs feel like I’ve been doing squats and my mind is thinking about everything but positive things.  I made sure I jogged the entire way slow enough to breathe through my nose to ensure I wasn’t over-working myself because I knew my heart & lungs aren’t in need of this longer distance….this is for my legs only.  My legs must get used to running for the longer period of time which is why they were screaming on my way back home but my breathing was calm.  I don’t know which one is harder, fatigued leg muscles or labored breathing gasping for air. 

During high school, I disliked seeing runners gasping for air.  I thought it was weak and a poor strategy.  Yes, you are exhausted but your competition can see the fatigue on your face, see you slump over with each step losing your posture and core strength, hear your loud labored breathing as well as hear your feet flopping along the ground like you’re wearing clown shoes.  It was sad.  I ran like that a few times and, during each off-season, I worked my butt off to get into shape so that when I was tired, fatigued, completely exhausted beyond belief I at least controlled my breathing so my competition had no idea if I was reaching my max or just getting started.  You see?  How mentally defeating is it to see a runner you are struggling to keep up with but they aren’t even breathing hard?  How powerful is that to catch your 2nd wind, catch up to a runner ahead, and run right by without them having heard your loud ass breathing as a heads-up?  How disciplined to hide your exhaustion to the point that you fool others but, most importantly, you fool your body into thinking it can actually go longer and/or faster?  That’s why I think it’s important to control your breathing, keep your core and running form strong, and don’t let the competition see you sweat lol of course this isn’t high school anymore. 

How was my run today?  Well, I had my cell phone in my bra over my left boob but it kept sliding so it looked like I had a horizontal boob and people kept staring.  After so many miles I stopped trying to straighten it and stopped caring.  My right boob held my house keys.  Could have put them on my shoe string but I didn’t feel like untying my shoes when I thought about doing that.  The ear buds you get with your iPod wasn’t irritating me this time but usually at a faster pace, they keep falling out of my ears which makes me wanna throw the stupid iPod to the ground.  I don’t.  I just remind myself to get some athletic-friendly headphones.  My shoes were fine although Tuesday my shins were aching which scared me into thinking I was aggravating an old injury so I sucked it up and bought new running shoes.  Today, no shin aches so maybe it was my body getting used to the mileage.  My nasal passages were clear at the beginning of the run but it’s funny how snot comes from no where and all of a sudden I’m sniffing and needing to blow my nose which sucks because it messes up my whole breathe-thru-my-nose training.  I exhaled really hard through my nose and blew snot right out.  Nasty….yes, but that’s running.  It’s not all glitzy.  I wore short today and I swear I got skin burns on my inner thighs right near my crotch.  I know some marathoners apply vaseline on their inner thighs because the rubbing of the material against their skin for 20+ miles can be quite irritating.  There is no skin-to-skin contact so it must be my shorts which were cotton which was a HUGE no-no because I had a sweat mark right on my butt.  Other than that, the run was great and my legs weren’t in nearly the amount of pain they were in after Tuesday’s run. 

Since I am my own coach & trainer, I listen to my body and figure out what I need to do so I know I need to properly hydrate myself.  I used to drink too much water and get side stitches which are those little pains on my side near my rib cage.  Instead of dealing with that, I stop drinking so many hours before my run but when the sun is out and the heat is on, I feel like I need to drink something.  The other thing, I don’t stretch.  Ever.  I used to in high school because it was our routine.  We’d stretch and do plyometric drills and then our workout but, since high school, I kinda just run and cool down by walking around until I feel like my heart rate has returned to normal.  Some say stretching is important to prevent injuries.  Others say a distance runner stretches their legs with each mile which is required for a distance runner to run any distance.  I just don’t like stretching.  It takes up time & I see no definite reason to continue doing it.  I guess that’s all I have to talk about but I did want to mention a comment made by a friend of mine.  He said I’m like Gail Devers.  Gail is a hurdler/sprinter but mainly a hurdler.  I did 300 hurdles one time senior yr of high school but mainly I did the 800, 1600, 1600 relay, and 3200 relay.  Now I do anything from a 5k to a half marathon so I was kinda offended because that’s like telling Drew Brees he reminds you of Brian Urlacher.  Same sport but different specialty.  I told myself I’d find a black American middle distance runner but I couldn’t partly because I couldn’t remember her name and I didn’t know any one else so I found Kelly Holmes.  She’s British (not American) and, as far as I know, she’s never ran anything longer than a mile in competition but she will have to do for now.  She seems pretty awesome although all that freaking Reebok is hurting my eyes….I’m a Nike baby 🙂

April 1, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Worn Out from Running

Not much to write about except running.  I ran once last week and I did 6 minutes making that my minimum instead of my usual 3 miles.  Can’t do 3 miles all the time and expect a miracle to happen come September for the half marathon.  Last week I felt tired as hell so I was really excited when I came to a stop light which forced me to catch my breath.  I run along the city streets….not in a park.  I should probably run in a park like I did all 4 years of high school but there is no decent park near my apartment as there was up north near my high school.  This week, I ran Tuesday and felt like my legs were screaming.  I kept pace not sure if I was slower or faster than last week since I kept hitting the “lap” button by accident when I meant to hit “stop”.  “Lap” starts the time over and only shows that new time on the screen while continuing to keep track of the entire run but you can only see this cumulative time when you actually press “stop”.  It’s was irritating to say the least because my mind said “stop” but my finger kept pressing the wrong freaking button.  I’m sure non-runners are reading this like, “um, ok…is it that serious?!”  It is.  Anywho, I finished my 6 miles slower than last week so I was kinda disappointed.

Today, I was almost 2 minutes faster and only because I felt a second wind on the way back to my apartment.  My legs didn’t scream as much as Tuesday but they did feel slightly heavy from time to time.  My upper abs were burning toward the end which sucks big time when you have like 2 miles left to run and you still have to breathe knowing that inhaling will hurt a tad but and this is the time to execute that whole mind-over-matter crap.  I felt stronger although my body still hurt getting used to the distance again as well as the pace.  I need to get to 45 minutes for my 6 mile runs and, when the kids leave for summer break, I can start some workouts elsewhere instead of needing to stay close to home just in case.  I love my new Nike Triax Fury watch….it’s black & gold and of a better construction than my older Nike watch which eventually fell apart at the seams of the wristband.  I need to buy more non-cotton shorts because running in the warmer months results in trifflin sweat spots on your butt, lower back, and crotch area….not cute!  For guys maybe.  For girls….no!  No matter how fresh you may still be you automatically look stank.  The non-cotton shorts I have (2) happen to be Nike as well and I can still fit them from maybe 8 years ago.  Not a perfect fit but I can still wear them.  The only problem is that they are spandex (the breathable kind of course) which kinda draws attention but it’s cool.

Mr. D said I need new running shoes cause mine look worn.  Running shoes to an active runner is like a Bible to a Christian….worn is a positive thing lol of course until you start to get injuries because you’ve worn out the soles of your shoes.  I already know which kind I prefer, which kind keeps me shin-split free, and which brand work best for me so it’s just a matter of finding a good deal because running shoes cost as much as Jordans sometimes.  I saw some pairs for $130 which is ridiculous because they come with an expiration date depending on how many miles you log….when are Jordans ever worn out unless you play basketball competitively?  I am supposed to run this Saturday but I’m not sure if I will esp if the weather calls for snow (damn Chicago weather).  Other than that, I’ll be back next week logging miles throughout March and maybe increasing my mileage to 8.5 miles during April.  Once I start running my 10+ miles…..then I’ll have to re-design my running course and get used to taking an extended scenic route around my neighborhood.  As long as I finish the Chicago Half Marathon, I get a medal 🙂 I’ll be happy to be there but even happier if I finish under 2 hours.

March 18, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment