32B's Blog

…where I write my words

I Hate Hills!

Today is Monday.  Yesterday was Sunday.  I ran the Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 yesterday at 4pm.  It was my first time running this race.  Although I did earn a medal, I wanted to stop several times during the race just to kneel & pray and ask God to forgive me for voluntarily signing up for this race.  10 miles?  Why on earth would anyone want to run such a distance?  And not just a straight out and back flat course.  No!  There were bends, up hills, down hills, trees, thick grass, and more bends, uphills, downhills, etc.  I assumed it would be hot and I’d be gasping for air, water, something…but I was surprisingly good.  My breathing was controlled most of the time which means I wasn’t going too fast or too slow.  My thighs were another story though.  With each small incline, I felt the muscle fibers of my quads scream.  It wasn’t an audible sound.  More like a signal running from my thighs to my brain to tell my legs to completely shut down because, clearly, I was not operating in a sane state of mind.  I kept going.  Slowly I reached the top of each incline.  Focused, I tried to tell myself it was only a small incline which it was each measuring no more than 50 meters but after the 20th incline they all started to feel like they were a mile long.

This is why I signed up for this race.  I live, run, and race in the city (Chicago).  There aren’t many races in the city which take place on hilly uneven terrains which force your legs to work harder than they otherwise would on a flat course.  A flat course is what I am used to.  I might do the stands at the track stadium near my apartment but that was the extent of my hill workouts.  Sunday literally had me crying out to God.  It had to be about the 7th or 8th mile when I just knew I was about to cry for the sake of my thighs.  I asked myself, “are you out of breath?”  No.  “Are you tired or over-exerting yourself?”  No.  “Are you dehydrated?”  No.  “Are you hot feeling faint or needing to get out of the sun?”  No.  “Then what the hell is the problem?”  My legs are tired!  They contract but refuse to relax.  You know the cycle: clinch, release, clinch, release….but my thighs are permanently locked in “clinch” and, oh shit, here comes another incline!  After my literal cry to God, I passed yet another bend in the forest preserve to hear bells and see people clapping and yelling “you’re almost there!”  I was instantly pissed.  What does “almost there” mean?  Another mile?  Another 800 meters?  Up around this here tree?  What?!  The lady just said, “it’s right up ahead of you”.  I do not know this lady, never met her in my life, but I wanted to strangle her.  My mind needed to know exactly how much longer it had to convince my thighs to continue moving.  Now, up until this point, I had only stopped to drink water from the water station which was about 10 seconds max.  Then I stopped again to drink Gatorade from a cup which was another 10 seconds max.  Wanted to make sure I got every drop of liquid into my mouth instead of on my chin, shirt, face, shoe, etc which would have resulted in ZERO benefit to me.  I felt good at the 5 mile split clocking about 43:19 mins. 

Then came the last miles of the race and I started to cuss everyone out in my head.  I cussed the race itself.  I cussed myself.  I cussed the loud guy running right behind me breathing extremely heavy in my ear and stomping the ground like it was the ground’s fault he was running today.  I cussed the old lady who ran pass me so effortlessly with her gray hair and cute running skirt.  I cussed the young high school kids who ran pass while holding a conversation like this was a leisurely stroll on a fantastic Sunday afternoon.  I cussed the gravel I was running on.  I cussed each freakin incline.  I cussed each downhill that followed.  I cussed each bend in the course.  I cussed each tree that did not block the sun from shining directly on me and no one else it seemed.  I cussed whoever decided 10 miles was a great distance to run and thought “let’s throw in some hills while we’re at it”.  And I cussed everyone and everything else vowing never to run another mile in my life but I knew God was listening and sometimes He takes me serious so I vowed to never run up another hill in my life but then I heard God laughing so I decided to just shut the hell up and finish.  That lady who almost got strangled?  She was correct.  The finish line was about 800 meters after that bend in the road.  It would have been nice if I knew that and it would have been nice to see a FINISH LINE banner so my mind would know when this torture was coming to an end.  But no!  I stopped to walk for about 30 seconds because my thighs seriously felt like they were going to lock up on me.  Little did I know I was 400 meters from the finish so imagine how stupid I felt.  Who walks when you are that close to the finish?  Someone who did not know that was the damn finish line!  I saw the lady with medals in her hand, I saw she had several left and there was only one person in front of me, and I felt a glimmer of hope. 

All this work, sweat (I was seriously rank & stank), tears (on the inside), pain (on the outside), prayers (I was strongly petitioning the throne of Mercy), and hatred (well deserved & intended) was all worth it for this little circular piece of metal.  If I learned nothing else, it was that I need to raise my standards a little bit.  A small circular piece of metal and I suddenly loved running again?  What the hell is wrong with me?!  Am I crazy?  I must be.  I ran to the finish happy completely forgetting about my locked up thighs, slapped a kids’ hand as he said “congrats” like I was the 1st place finisher, and grabbed my medal as some guy yelled out my time.  I could care less about the time but I took my medal and tried to walk off before my legs gave from underneath me and I totally embarrassed myself.  Finishing time: 1:34:19 – 4 minutes slower than expected but 15 more hills than expected too so I’m cool.  My thighs are still sore today.  Might be sore tomorrow.  Wednesday.  Maybe even Thursday.  As much as I hated each hill I ran up, I know they have strengthened my legs more than they were before.  No pain.  No gain.  Oh, my brother ran with me.  With no prior training or conditioning he finished in 1:47:08 – oh, to be young again.  He still got beat by a girl though 🙂

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

Back to Basics

First things first, I completed my application packet for graduate school and mailed it in today.  The only thing I didn’t mail today were my transcripts which should arrive independently and sealed from each Registrar Office.  It’s a rolling admission date so I am not technically late with my application although I hope they get back to me by the 20th of August since classes start August 28th (if you are taking Saturday classes).  MBA concentration in Accounting.  My uncle goes to the same university going for a Masters in something Information Systems-related.  He is a computer geek to the tenth power!  Good thing for him is that he works downtown Chicago so classes are around the corner.  Me?  Oh, I work up north in a suburb of Chicago and live in the middle of Chicago so I am a good bus & train ride from the downtown campus.  Can we all say “there’s no easy way around this”?

So, I am officially running the Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 race.  Again.  As I mentioned before, the race was cancelled due to lightning on the day most of Chicago flooded having received a good 7 inches of rain in a short period of time.  On July 30th, I received an email from a race director letting us know that the race has been rescheduled to August 15th.  The good thing?  I have another chance to win a medal!  The bad thing?  No water stops, no port-a-potties, no post-race feast hosted by Sam’s Club, no official mile marker times, no mile marker signs except for little flags stuck in the ground, no staggered starts so we all start together when someone yells “GO!”, and….basically, no frills.  You get what you bring with you and hope to leave with a medal at least.  It’s a good ole fashion toe-the-line and run when you see everyone else run because you probably will not be able to hear the random voice yell “GO!” but it’s cool.  I was just excited to get to run a 10 mile course that when the email said, “Please reply if you can make it” I immediately replied “I can make it!”  About 5 minutes later the guy who sent the email said, “A free pair of shoes to you for being the first to reply!!!”  WOO HOO 😀  FREE RUNNING SHOES BABY!!!  I am so long overdue for a new pair and I kept putting it off because, truthfully, running shoes are expensive.  I instantly forgot about all the things that the race would be missing and replied back, “Yayy!!  Free shoes – see ya Aug 15th!!!”

But, today brought another email.  Instead of the scheduled 7:30am starting time, the race will take place at 4pm.  In the afternoon.  During the hottest part of the day.  Likely with humidity straight from hell.  With a scorching sun.  And not a breeze or wind anywhere near the state of IL.  Great.  Just freakin frackin great!  But…..I’m running it anyways.  I really do not want to run during the afternoon since I do not run during the afternoon during my own personal run days but if that is what it takes then that is what I am going to do.  Make sure I stay hydrated and make sure I stay hydrated and make sure I stay hydrated.  I swear, running in any heat makes your mind go crazy.  Maybe it will be a cool day on the 15th of August.  Maybe this will likely piss off more people and they throw up the middle finger at the race entirely.  Maybe this increases my chances of getting a medal.  Maybe everyone is just as loony as I am so they will all show up hoping, like me, that a good chunk of others will not. 

I swear running mirrors life in more ways than I can count.  I think I give up in life more than I do in running.  I can see the finish line but, if not, I know the approximate distance to it.  In running, I also know with certainty what the reward is at the end.  In life, you have no clue how long you might be running so pace & distance seem to always be against you.  Sometimes.  And reward?  Depending on many factors, this may vary enormously.  I stay loyal.  I might not like these details of the new rescheduled race minus all the things I was looking forward to but I still have my legs to run, I still have a fighting chance to finish well, I am expecting a free pair of running shoes when I get there, and I can bring my kids so they can watch mommy run for the first time in their lives.  This is seriously back to basics.  I ran a 10 mile run last week in about 1 hr and 28 minutes.  Let’s pray my finishing time on August 15th is close to or faster than that.  After that, it’s one month til the Half Marathon and that should be the end of racing for 2010….for me.  By then, I pray to be a student taking classes.  Tomorrow or Saturday I gotta get my one mile repeats in.  It’s been hella rainy & humid here so I haven’t been running as I should.  At least 5 one mile repeats at 8 min pace – that is what my coach from high school suggested.  Have you ever ran around a track over and over and over again?  It’s torture!  Absolute torture!  I sustain, maintain, and never complain – that was my personal motto in high school during Cross Country & Track season.  Time to shut up and ran.

August 4, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , | Leave a comment

You’re A Runner…

Some of my favorites that actually apply to me A-Z 🙂

a) if you hear a song and immediately decide if it’s good for running…
b) you have a countdown setup for every race you’re doing the entire year
c) when the “onlys” come out, “I only ran {insert run here}”
d) you’re on a quick one day business trip but wouldn’t dream of leaving the running gear home.
e) you know your PR’s at all your favorite distances – down to the second.
f) your status updates on Facebook and Twitter usually have something to do with running.
g) you wear black or dark red toe nail polish not because you particularly like it but because it hides the purple and black toe nails.
h) if you’ve ever tried to convince a friend to be in a race with you, “because it is only 3.1 miles.”
i) instead of bikini tan lines, you have Garmin and sports bra tan lines
j) while standing around at work (or anywhere), you do calf raises or stretches
k) when your shoes are a color that makes people shield their eyes!
l) on the day you see someone out running in the rain or snow, and have stopped thinking they are crazy.
m) you get upset about injuries because they keep you from running, not because you have actually damaged your body.
n) you have ever felt warm, sweaty and cold all at the same time.
o) you check the weather report only to decide on your outfit – because you’ll run in any weather.
p) when you go for a run somewhere and once you get home, you IMMEDIATELY map your run to see exactly how many miles you did and see how long it took you to run it.
q) your sock drawer is filled with ankle socks
r) you keep a very detailed and organized folder containing information on all of your past/future races, the mileage on your shoes, your training plans, have programs on the computer to track your training runs and calculate your times, heart rate and calories burned….but still can’t figure out how to balance the check book.
s) if you run outside in the winter because you realize you’ll warm up in a mile or so
t) if you name your routes based on mileage
u) when you can run without music….and like it.
v) you think 55 degrees is the perfect temp.
w) almost every tank you own is racerback and can be wore for a run
x) when you place sentimental value on your running shoes like most do their cars – or children
y) when you wear your running watch to work, church, grocery shopping, the mall, etc.
z) when your running shoe collection cost you more than all your other shoes – including stilettos

**I am thinking about also signing up for the Indianapolis Half-Marathon November 7, 2010 – that’s about 2 months after the Chicago one.

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Life | , | Leave a comment

My Life – Updates

Went out today with the intentions of running another 6 miles – my usual.  It was warm today but not humid which is great because my breathing does not do well in humid conditions which is why I am praying for cooler weather come Sept for just that weekend at least.  Anywho, I fuss over what to wear.  Not sure anyone else does this but I do.  I wear simple basic clothing (not always famous brand names) that must fit my body well.  Today, I wore $3 running shorts from Family Dollar and a white tank I bought from the corner store for $2.  The only famous name brands I wore was my Nike shoes, Nike watch, and Victoria’s Secret racerback bra.  My shorts and tank fit snugly and I looked good (imo, my booty is to die for).  I was going running but I made sure I looked good running lol I know, sounds trivial!  By mile 1 I was feeling good telling myself to stay relaxed and just run since I decided to just run and not focus on time although my watch was still ticking.  I was feeling so good I kept running past my normal turn around points till I had finished 9.5 miles.  When my mind started to progress the distance, it was too late….I had already ran to the point of no return and had to run back unless I didn’t plan on going back home at all.  That is what I do to myself.  By the time I reached about the 8 mile mark, my thighs were beginning to feel fatigued from the constant movement although I was careful not to overspend myself.  One foot in front of the other, inhale & exhale through my nose only, relax my arms/shoulders/face, and enjoy the run to see where it takes me.  I am proud of myself.  It’s supposed to rain Thursday but a little rain never hurt anyone.  Truthfully, I can be a bit of an exhibitionist.  No one calls you that if your body looks good.  The fat chick?  Call the police now!!

My personal finances have stalled a little bit.  I lost track of bills since switching to e-bills so now I have switched back to paper.  Yes, I am killing trees but these late fees from forgotten bills are no joke.  Not too far behind but it is messing up my monthly contribution to my savings account which means June may see no contribution at all while I fix my mistakes and pay other bills completely off.  May saw a $200 decrease.  July should be back to normal with my goal of $500-800/month put aside till the kids get back from summer vacation.  If I fall behind on my emergency funds goal then I will not be prepared to invest full-time next year.  Still into my investing books for now.  I have most of my papers squared away.  My friend joked that I am “ready to die” lol …. on paper?  Yes.  Spiritually?  Hardly so.  I read in one of my books that the people who have enough money set aside to take care of small emergencies and/or to live on for a few months sleep more soundly at night than those with not a dollar saved.  I do sleep soundly but I do not put faith in my account balance.  God has a way of showing you who’s God and making sure you always put your faith where it should be so, quite frankly, I am still afraid of Him.  However, I am not stupid.  God does give us common sense.  Save save save!!

Job is going well.  I officially work independently which I can state with confidence since I’ve had that line on my resume for years now.  My supervisor acts as if I work for myself, by myself, and am in need of little to no supervision.  So, I do just that.  If I have a question, I find the answer on my own.  If I need a connection to a database made, I contact our Director of Implementation and finish my work.  If I need my supervisor at all, it’s to go through him to our manager for something.  Other than that, I work as if I am a department of one.  I am in charge of my customers and anything they have an issue with and any place where I drop the ball.  Lots of responsibility and room to prove yourself but also lots of room to make mistakes with no hiding them.  I have had customers who did not like my answer, go to my supervisor with the entire string of emails we’ve sent back and forth expecting my supervisor to reprimand me.  He stood by my decision.  Vote of confidence indeed.  Weight on my shoulders as well.  I went from a department of 2 to another department of 2 – I don’t think I’d make it in a regular job with a bigger company where managers love to micromanage the hell outta everyone.  I like the freedom and the trust placed in my abilities.  I like making sure my solutions/suggestions will stand up in the court of my manager’s critique.  I like the independence.  I like being held accountable.  I like being challenged.  I like finding the solution.  I like staring at my computer for hours trying to solve various puzzles.  I like it all.

Mr. D – nothing to comment on really.  He is still here.  I broke up with him.  He asked if we can get back together.  I broke it off because we rarely do couple stuff together like go see a movie, grab something to eat, sit outside for hours and talk – ya know?  We talk on the phone for hours and hours but that is no different than friendships I’ve had with guys!  Normal stuff we hardly do because he works like 3 jobs.  Then I ask myself, what if he worked only 1 job?  Well, then I wouldn’t want to go out as much, he’d probably be clingy, and I’d be annoyed with him.  I told him he spends more time with his brother than he does with me.  He said that’s because they are roommates.  This brother said Mr. D is always with me and prb has a toothbrush at my apt.  One day while at the mall, his brother told Mr. D to just buy a ring already and make it official.  Mr. D replied that he’s not ready for marriage just yet.  He asked if I was happy.  I said yes as long as we spend more quality time together.  I asked if he was happy.  He said no because we had broken up.  I asked if he sees me in his future.  He said yes.  He promised to stop and smell the roses more instead of walking right by them.  I said we shall see.  So far, he has made good on his effort to carve out QT.  His brother and I seem to think Mr. D is spending lots of time with the other person (kinda funny).  My friend told me to get a life.  I have one.  I work, run, play mommy, and have my own social life too.  Work only consumes a small portion.  The rest is spent smelling roses.  I want someone who is into smelling roses too from time to time or just wanna run through them for fun.  Like I said, Mr. D – nothing to really comment on.

June 2, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hot Run

Extremely humid today! Nothing compared to the south but I don’t live there so I deal with what I am accustomed to.  The week before last, I did a 6 mile run at 45 minutes which is where I left off before the 2010 winter season so I was really proud of myself.  I am spending more time stretching instead of totally bypassing it and I try to drink more water but that is seriously not working out too well.  Last week, I did the same 6 mile route but it was after almost 9 days with no physical activity so my legs were slow to start, slow to get going, and slow to move in general leaving me at home about 49 minutes later.  Yes, it’s just 4 or so minutes slower than the previous week but 4 minutes is a lot of time when it comes to running.  Today, I tried to drink more water which, again, was a total bust but I tried even forcing myself to drink.  Made it outside and it was not really hot as much as it was humid.  My legs were slow but they came alive eventually only because I didn’t push my pace since the air was dry.  My breathing was great.  Conversational pace the entire time so that was exactly what I was aiming to do.  Just run relaxed and run long instead of hard. 

That said, instead of the 6 miles I planned to finish, I only finished 4 miles in 37 minutes.  Not a good time but I made it home and dang near threw a party when I did.  I stretched and reminded myself to stretch on days when I don’t run much since keeping my legs limber helps my stride which helps my turnover which helps the fluidity of my overall running ability.  That tight feeling as if I have been doing squats is not a good feeling when you have a long run before you.  Thursday should be a good running day.  About 75 degrees, cloudy, and less humid….my kinda day!  My best weather is 60+ degrees though.  I ran in the same itty bitty shorts and fitted tank so the wind felt cool against my skin but it made any fatigue feel like heaven because I wasn’t hot.  I do not do well when I get hot which is why I hardly wear anything during the summer but at least I hardly sweat (which is prb a bad thing).  Not because I’m hooch or like to dress hoochie.  I get hot!  I keep the key areas covered (which isn’t hard to do) and let everything else out to breathe.  The good thing is that I am not overweight so nothing looks distasteful.  Some might appreciate my non-booty region shorts but I would appreciate some of that Chicago wind every now and then….can’t have everything your way.

**TMI moment** I do not know many distance runners personally but I wonder if anyone experience what I do sometimes.  While running mile after mile after exhausting mile, your thighs often rub together creating a decent amount of friction (depending on weight too).  Well, I actually had an upper inner thigh burn because the cotton shorts I was wearing often were rubbing against my skin and, since I don’t have much inner thigh fat or cushion, it stung a good deal.  Skin burn isn’t the issue here.  Orgasmic sensations are though.  I swear the rubbing of my inner thighs against the fabric of my shorts makes this happen and I almost have to stop running till the moment pass.  I never have but it feels like I might have to.  Anywho, maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I am just that sensitive and get “sensations” with little effort.  Ok, I’ll chalk that up to another characteristic I share with no one but myself.

May 25, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

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

Trial and Error

Running_Man_by_ClumsyCraftToday I ran the Bucktown 5K which is the first time I’ve done this race.  I heard about it from a woman’s site where she outlined the best Chicago 5K races by month.  I thought I’d join the other 5K running enthusiasts and sign up for it and see how good these goody bags really are.  Ok, this was the worst race ever!  I knew there would be a lot of runners but I had no idea how that would affect the start of the race.  Let me rewind a bit though.  I didn’t eat breakfast before my run….I never do for early morning runs because when I have it has upset my stomach and caused more trouble than if I hadn’t eaten so I don’t.  This is what some call a carb-depleted state.  Your body has no digested carbs to use for energy for the race so it has no choice but to run on its reserves and, once those are depleted, your body shifts into fat-burning mode to make more carbs.  I’m not trying to lose weight….just trying to not run with too much on my stomach and 3.1 miles is not nearly close to taxing my body as opposed to a marathon.  The carb-depleted state is supposed to be good for marathoners to train their bodies to run well in the event there is no nourishment.  Anywho, I bypassed the water stations today because last week I grabbed water from both and ended up with a side stitch and I almost wanted to kick my own butt because I wasn’t thirsty so I took the water simply because it was there…..bad move that I didn’t repeat today.  This morning, I sat there searching the crowds of runners for a black face.  I don’t need to run with folks who look like me but it does help to see someone similar to you and I don’t care how psychological or whatever you wanna get with that notion.  Some of the white chicks were looking at me like I was lost or something.  As if seeing a black person at a middle distance race was an anomaly.  The guys could less….the chicks were borderline mean-mugging prb tryna figure out if I’m part Kenyan or something.  But, eventually, I did see maybe 4 black women and 3 black guys out of about 4000 runners.

The starting line was by pace.  I stood in the crowd of 9 minute mile pacers because my thinking was if I start out fast like I did last week then I’ll kill myself.  However, if I start out slow by following those around me I’ll stay on pace with some energy to play catch up if need be.  My first mile was 9:15….snail pace!  The second mile I tried to pick it up and cross there at 17:30 (I think).  I told myself I had to run the last mile under 7 minutes which is hard to do when you’re dodging other running bodies.  How I knew I was in danger?  Before the start of the race, I looked around and almost half the runners had freakin iPods on.  Either the small Shuffle like I have or the Nano….no serious runner runs a race with a damn iPod!  The good thing is that I passed a lot of people during the 2nd and 3rd mile.  The bad thing is that I passed so many people that I knew I had started off waaaaaay too slow.  I’d try to pick up the pace but get stopped by a group of chicks making small talk.  Go around them just to get slowed by grandpa.  Make the turn just to get slowed down by a group of guys wanting to pass.  A few feet ahead I’m still making up ground just to keep having to sidestep, run around, dodge her, squeeze between them, and then keep my increased pace.  I was doing more lateral running then forward running on certain parts which is sooooooo counterproductive!  I didn’t hear the gun go off so that tells you how many people were in this freakin race.  I crossed the starting line while the race clock said almost 3mins.  Of course, you don’t start your own clock til you cross the starting line and ignore the race clock but still.  We all had D-tag timing devices attached to our shoes which the sensors on the ground picked up at the start and finish.  So, my time should be accurate to when my right foot crossed the starting line no matter how far back in the crowd of small-talkers I began to the time that same right foot crossed at the finish.  What was my time?  26mins something.  It’s such a shame I feel like I might as well have walked the damn race.

So, I crossed the finish line, walked over to the fruit table, grabbed an apple and bit right into it, saw everyone with arm full of food so I turned around and grabbed another apple, walked down further to grab 2 cookies while still eating my 1st apple, walked over and grabbed 2 protein-type bars in chocolate & peanut flavor, and then walked over to grab a protein smoothie-type drink….all as soon as I crossed the finish line.  What does that mean?  I wasn’t tired!!!  I crossed the line and starting eating.  Didn’t bend over to catch my breathe.  Didn’t hold my side from the pain.  Didn’t need to stretch a sore muscle.  Didn’t need to do anything but got my skinny azz in line to stuff my freakin face.  Ridiculous!  I can be hard on myself but I also know when I’m tired and Bunny is so good at maintaining her composure and running til exhaustion that no one really knows if I’m really tired of not.  I don’t huff and puff.  I don’t gasp for air.  I run with my mouth closed occasionally parting my lips to get a good amount of oxygen and then I close them again because controlling my breathing helps me remain strong and also does a mental trick on the other runners if I look like I’m coasting.  I can’t believe today but I’ll get over it.  I need to change my game plan, stop doing miles and do workouts, work on my pace, leg strength, and core muscles.  I got on the scale today….125 lbs.  Haven’t lost that much weight but my jeans fit different.  I don’t see as many little curves when I first gained weight but my thighs are bigger.  Does that make sense?  It seems my thighs have expanded more out in front and behind with my quads and hamstrings instead of from side to side with fat. 

I have another race November 1st which I’m not sure if I’ll run in or not because it’s the same number of runners as today.  If I do, I’ll start with the 8 or 7 min pacers, work on my running attire, and maneuver the crowds a little bit better.  Trial and error….that’s how I’m learning all this stuff.  I overheard so many people saying to each other, “so are you prepared for next week?” and I almost forgot the Chicago Marathon is next Sunday.  One lady asked me if I was running the marathon next week while I was standing there shivering in the cold waiting for the race to start.  I looked at her like she was crazy but I still smiled and said “nope”.  She is running the marathon….her 1st marathon so she’s excited with rookie energy.  My sister’s boyfriend said I can train with him for the Chicago marathon next yr….um, how about no.  23 miles?!  I haven’t even master 3 miles much less 23 miles and I don’t there’s no order or plan to running certain distances but to run for 3 or 4 hours straight….my mind can’t comprehend it just yet.  I think I wanna stick to the mid distance races.  Long enough to test your resolve but short enough to test your muscular strength.  I’m black so of course I have speed for the finish.  Now, I’m just working on the Kenyan stamina.  All I need is high altitude running conditions and I’m cool.  I heard on girl tell her friend, “if you need to slow down let me know but we are not walking cause I know you can do this”….talk about a hardazz! lol I almost said “go gurl” for being so tough on your friend.  I ran the race, grabbed some food, and picked up my stuff from gear check just to see my new Columbia jacket which is white & red has a streak of mud on both sleeves.  The girl looked really sorry and apologized so I took my dirty jacket and just made my way to the bus stop.  Never had a Columbia jacket before but always heard abt them.  Paid $30 for this one off eBay and I am loving it!  Got to the Ashland bus stop with about 10 other runners and made my trek to the bank and then home.  I kinda wanna go to the marathon and cheer the runners on.  It’s great to see and hear ppl cheering for you.  They can’t run the race for you but it makes the hard way, the mile after mile, and the cold weather a tad bit bearable to know someone is in your corner.  Oh well, that’s my lastest race story…..lesson(s) learned again.

October 4, 2009 Posted by | Life | , , , , , | Leave a comment

La Negra Bunny

Halloween_Me_08_by_Oriana_X_MystI have absolutely nothing to write about which means I’ll find some way to type 5 paragraphs of stuff anyways.  So, I know people probably could care less about me running but I have my 2nd 5K race this Sunday….yes, Sunday.  Usually they are on Saturdays but I guess.  This is the Bucktown 5K and I am set to pick up my race day packet tomorrow so I’m getting really excited.  The field for this race is hella fast so the only thing I’ll be posting about is a PR (hopefully) and free stuff I got.  Last year the winning time for women was 18 min something.  Yep, I’m soooooo not there yet.  When I was 18 yo I was….11 yrs later, I’m getting there again.  I was looking for sitters so I can have a couple just in case because running, personal things, sorority events, etc require a no-kids allowed attendance so I need reliable childcare on the weekends.  I found a good 10 people all charging $10-$14/hr for both but my sister is watching them this weekend for a smaller fee.  Getting to know someone in such a short time frame is kinda nervous to me so I’ll still look into getting a weekend sitter.  Right, the sis is watching them from Saturday afternoon til Sunday afternoon for a small fee.  Family should do stuff for free but family should do a lot of things so I’ma shut up and feel comfortable knowing D.J. are with family for 12 hours so I have freedom.

Gifts.  I have to buy gifts galore.  My cousin’s baby shower is this Saturday but she’s registered which reduces the amount of thinking involved.  My uncles wedding was this summer which I missed but I promised him a wedding gift.  Next weekend, D.J. is going to a birthday slumber party for the weekend and she’s a girl.  I was told she likes Hannah Montana or High School Musical so that should be easy.  My sis’ birthday is at the end of Oct but she has already requested gift cards from anywhere….I pick the denomination so she might get a $10 card to McDs.  I need to have an event of my own so I can get gifts and with Christmas around the corner the only people getting anything is D.J.  Maybe a card here or there. 

My ex found a job.  Finally.  Had to go back to Indy to get it but whatever.  He was telling me about the job, what he’ll be doing, where the job is, and all that crap but what I really wanted to know is when can I expect child support.  It’s great things are back on track for you but when will I see a check?  When can I stop paying expensive daycare on my own?  When can I use your money for something?  He said he’ll talk to HR and get things set-up (I’ll be checking on that myself) and he said he appreciates me being patient with him (whatever). 

Umm, I think that’s really it.  I ran yesterday although I had hella work to get done by end of the month today but I went anyways knowing that 4 days without running is not good for my poor legs.  I felt so lovely!  That race last week really boost my stamina so I coasted thru my 6.5 miles and finished 3 mins faster than I normally do without feeling like I exerted any extra energy.  I listen to my iPod while I run but I keep it on a low setting….this does not stop people from talking to me.  They completely ignore the earbuds in my ear, actually wanna hold a conversation yelling out questions and stuff, and one guy rode along side me on his bike asking if I was single.  In broad daylight along a busy street….people are ridiculous!  They act like it’s a phenomenon and I never see the white people running getting bothered.  So, I need my hair done like yesterday.  It’s growing way too much but I won’t chop if off again….I’ll let it be.  Will I be able to fit in a hair appt this weekend?  Nope.  Gotta take the kids to the barber shop, my sis will pick them up sat morn, get dressed and go to baby shower, get home and do as much of nothing as possible, get up early sun morn and run 3 miles, eat free smoothies and other stuff, hop back on the bus and go back home, do as much of nothing as possible, and await the arrival of D.J.  I think I have it perfectly planned.  Did I mention I’m getting flowers? lol yellow ones again.  Now, all I gotta do is run as close to a 24:01 as I possibly can and this will be an awesome weekend 🙂  Profile pic….that’s me minus the decreased levels of pigmentation lol

September 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Silver Lining

Olympic MedalsA 2nd place winner is a 1st place loser…too bad I don’t care.  I ran my first 5K in two yrs yesterday morning and I felt all kinda things before, during, and after.  Before I was cool but as it got closer to race time I got nervous.  I was sitting alone because I didn’t come with anyone and I didn’t know anyone there plus I didn’t wanna participate in nervous how-good-of-a-runner-are-you conversations with other participants so I went to jog for a few minutes outside and came back in to stretch in a corner on the far side of the room.  Next to me were 2 guys one who had a nervous smile on his face when he asked if this was my first 5K.  I explained the 2 yr hiatus and he said it was his first time running the 5K but him and his boy play football.  I was thinking in my head that football and a 5K were two different things but I knew they were running for fitness purposes only.  He said I looked like I do this a lot…..race.  He said I looked like a pro.  Yeah, don’t know what kinda vibes I was giving off but they were completely erroneous.  Anywho, at the end of the race, he found me and asked what my time was.  I said 24:40 and he said his was 29 mins with a sad face…I told him that was still good and we went our separate ways.  At the starting line with 15 mins til the gun went off, I had to pee.  You just hate crap like this!  Always empty your bladder, bowels, and nasal passages right before a race because this can screw you up big time when you have to worry about mother nature and race too.  I ran inside to pee but there was a line at the women’s bathroom and I’m thinking, “did y’all just get here?! it’s 15 mins before the start!” so I walk into the men’s bathroom.  Two guys were standing at the urinals, two were sitting/chatting/changing for the race (with no impulse to make the 15 min deadline), and both stalls were empty.  I walked into one and was about to pull down my shorts when I realized there were no freakin frackin doors!!  I asked one of the guys sitting there where the hell the doors were (like he stole them or something) and he said there aren’t any.  Great!  I walked out and prayed I didn’t have to pee mid-race and not a guy said anything to me as if a girl in a guy’s bathroom was common practice. 

During the run, my mind was driving me nuts!  It wouldn’t stop thinking, analyzing times, and breaking down people standing nearby as if I could decode their athletic abilities by their body shape.  If I saw a chick with a huge gut I knew she couldn’t be faster than me with all that extra weight.  If I saw a chick with an ipod and earbuds in her ears I knew she wasn’t a serious runner thus no competition.  If I saw a chick with her boyfriend I knew they were doing a couple run for fun.  If I saw a chick with full athletic gear and decent running shoes but not a muscle or a muscular cut anywhere I wrote her off too.  If I saw a chick with a long sleeve Underarmor shirt and a hat on in decently warm weather I knew she was more interested in dressing to impersonate a runner than actually training to be one.  Coincidently, none of those chicks beat me to the finish line.  I did all this at the starting line in the middle of the crowd about to scream because then someone said “ssssh” and I heard the gun go off.  Here I was in the middle of a pack of people about to step on the back of at least 15 feet as I attempted to make some room for my legs to at least extend out in front of me.  While trying to make room for my own stride, a chick in front of me stepped on the back of someone’s shoe and hit the pavement hard.  I leaped over her, thanked God I was paying attention, and kept on running.  My mind told me to slow down but my body was feeling good since the crowd was moving and I had no idea where the mile marker was to know how to gauge my pace until the crowd thinned out, I saw nothing but guys around me and maybe 5 chicks, and I looked up to see 6:45 on the one mile marker clock.  I looked down at my wristwatch thinking that’s gotta be wrong but, nope, same time dang near so I gave into what my mind was screaming and slowed down but it was too late by then…..I had exerted my body too early and depleted any reserves to finish in a decent time.  Yes, I went under 25 mins but I’m Bunny….I like to break my own goal for myself just to say I’m that dang good.  I realized eventually that I was the only black chick near the front of the pack and I couldn’t remember if I’d seen anyone who looked to be about my age so I could gauge where I was as far as the 25-29 yo women runners were concerned but I did place 2nd in my age group and now I know to run smarter instead of harder next week.  That’s right, I have a race one week from today at 8am with a field much faster than this race so me getting a medal is very slim.  I just wanna redeem my rookie mistakes from this one, lower my time, and I’ll be satisfied since I’m getting cool goodie bags 🙂 

Now, I’m nervous.  People on Facebook ask me running questions, advice, tips, or other things since they assume I should know how to start running.  That’s fine but every now and then I get nervous thinking I won’t know the answer so I tell them what works for me which is difficult because I can be difficult on myself because I know my body’s cues….a novice does not.  I know when I don’t good, when I feel achy, when I’m doing too much, when my muscles are sore from too little use, when I need to focus on endurance more than stamina, and I know the difference between the two.  Today, one of my friends walked up to me and said “I heard you finished the marathon” and I did a nervous laugh because I hate that distance without ever having ran it so I don’t wanna be confused as a marathoner.  Anywho, she wants to run with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I looked at her face and saw she was serious as heck.  The problem?  I haven’t ran with anyone since high school and, even then, if you could keep up you kept up and if you couldn’t you ran at your own pace.  She said she wants to work on her endurance….fantastic.  I told her I run 6.5 miles on those days and that’s my plan for this week since I have a race this weekend again.  It’s not nervousness because people are asking me things and wanting to run with me.  It’s nervousness because I feel like a coach and I don’t want that at all.  I don’t have a coach.  I remember what workouts I did in high school, what those workouts helped me strengthen, and I know what I need to do to get my body in fitter shape and healthier shape to get a PR.  I don’t know how to do those things with people anymore and that’s why I love running so much….it’s an individual effort with a team spirit.  We cheer each other on but, in the end, it’s about how bad YOU want it and I can’t teach that.  I can’t coach drive.  You either complain about the distance and do it or you complain about the distance and don’t do it. 

This is my passion and, although I don’t make money doing it, I train like I do and I give my all as if I will one day.  I love PRs.  I love the love from runner to runner.  I love the grit of feeling like your left butt cheek is permanently clenched while you feel like the right one has fallen from your body completely.  I love feeling like my chest is on fire.  I love negotiating with my legs to just pick it up a tad bit more and fighting with my body as my eyes see the finish line and my body is like “you must be crazy!”  I love seeing people fall and get back up.  I love seeing the silly t-shirts and funny signs along the course that make me laugh and remember why I love to run.  One sign yesterday said, “this was such a great idea weeks ago” and I almost lol’d in mid-stride because I was just thinking “why did I talk yourself into doing this?!”  This week, like I said earlier, 6.5 runs for endurance since it’s not taxing on my body with a faster 5K next Sunday morning in the Bucktown ‘hood.  After that, hill repeats and intervals for stamina and strength once a week for the next 3 or 4 weeks.  Wanna make a mile feel like nothing?  Run some hills often and that incline will rip your thighs into shape so when your feet touch a semi-flat surface it’ll feel like you’re coasting with lil effort.  Wanna learn how to “feel” your pace w/o a clock?  Train your body to recognize how it feels at different speeds while training it to run alternately at those different speeds so you’ll know when you feel like you’re off pace (like I did for my 6:45 mile) and when you’ve shot your pace to hell (like I did for the final mile).  I don’t have to do all this just to run and enjoy being a runner but I wanna get into the precious 19 min group just to say I can do it and I remember how it felt to run at whatever speed I wanted and at any distance I wanted knowing my body could perform.  Next week, 8 min mile splits…start slow and finish on time which will guarantee me a 24 min time.  But, me being me, I’m secretly shooting for 23.  Anyone who wants to run with me can meet me on the corner outside my apartment ready to go.

September 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment