Monday, February 28, 2011

Yesterday…

… I really didn’t feel like running my 2 hour (3/1) long run. The thought of running for 90 minutes and then trying to speed up the last 30 minutes to half marathon pace just wasn’t all that appealing when the day before you were involved with this:

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Yes, the demo happened. Luckily, the existing subfloor and studs are in good shape. We bit the bullet at the right time before  the moisture got past the drywall. At any rate, Saturday was a long day of teaching in the morning, coming home and helping the boys load up debris and also clean up the kitchen. I found a birthday check dated June 18, 2010 that I still hadn’t cashed. It was hidden amongst other crap laying around the counter. 

Sunday morning, after an evening of hail (we’ve been having ridiculous weather here), I took the dogs out to pee and decided that rather than have my hindquarters freeze off in 35 degrees, I was going to wait until later in the morning to do my run. And it was sheer will power that made me get in my car and drive to the beach– I didn’t get started until after 10am. I had countless thoughts of playing running hooky as I drank my latte and read blogs.

As has happened in the past, my body surprised me by ignoring my lazy-ass mental attitude. I maintained a steady 9:00 pace for 10 miles and it didn’t seem hard. Then at 90 minutes, it was show-time. And it is freaking hard to go from a pedantic, regular 9:00 to an 8:10 or better. I couldn’t do it right away. I ended up with the first at 8:20. The second came through at 8:12, the third at 8:14 (included the nice hill at Tamarack), and the final .65 was 8:04 pace. I eventually got to my target in the last mile, but, holy crap was that challenging! I think I need this though. If anything is going to help combat my fading pace the final miles of a half marathon, it’s this kind of workout.

Monday, February 21, 2011

No More Peeing in the Dark

I’m sitting here all relaxed from a quick jaunt to the Bare Escentuals store to get a refill on my foundation where the sales consultant gave me a quick 5 minute color match and fresh application. For some reason, I feel all “aaahhhh” inside now. Maybe this is why people go to spas and the salon. I could fall freaking asleep. Thankfully I managed to corral my urge to buy unnecessary products and just walked out with the powder.

Anyway. So I’m sure this post title is throwing you off. Remember the little bathroom project?

http://thunderfingers.blogspot.com/2009/10/medicine-cabinets.html

http://thunderfingers.blogspot.com/2010/08/its-bit-drafty-in-bathroom.html

Yeah, I know, procrastination to the max. Well, the master bath is in dire need of a gut (and I mean it, paint crackling, drywall getting moisture, issues, etc), so, we are ripping it off band-aid style. Next weekend is demo weekend. I felt that I really needed to start wrapping up the downstairs bath a bit before starting the master, and, for the love of God, get a light installed in the bathroom so that you don’t have to pee in the dark or use the crappy-ass tiny table lamp that at least let you see where the TP was but nothing more.

I did basic painting in there (all the large areas, and not the trim yet) in gray on Saturday and then Sunday afternoon (after my 2 hour long run in the morning) we installed the fixture:

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I get giddy every time I go in there and flip the switch. Let there be light! So that I might wipe my ass correctly!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mermaid Run…

The name of this race just struck me as odd since mermaids don’t have any legs. Anyway.

Only 4 days after the race, so maybe I'm getting better with the recap procrastination? Maybe? Just a tad. Anyhoo. I ran the Mermaid Half marathon on Saturday in Mission Bay - flat course that was also .09 miles short - and ran 1:48:31. Technically, I ran faster at Carlsbad taking into account the course shortness.

A group of friends did the race, including Sophie who PR'd (woo hoo!). I also got to meet Sarah! Who kicked serious ass, running 1:49 and change (including sub 8:00 mile at the end!) with practically no training. WTF. She kinda towers over me too, but, well, almost everyone does.

The one bug-a-boo about this race was that I was fourth in my age group. How much does fourth suck!? Oh, I dwelled on that fourth place finish for hours. Two hours after the fact I found myself still cursing that fourth. The only consolation I had was that the third place finisher was over a minute ahead and that would have been hard for me to make up. Well, hard if I hadn't SLOWED DOWN by 20-30 seconds per mile in the last 3 miles.

I was 12th overall, so, normally that would get you a place in your age group. Except that my age group showed up and ran their collective asses off. In any other age group I would have placed. Seriously. Any of the others. 30-34 had the most "depth" as far as top finishers. Feh. Stupid most competitive age group.

The course was hard to navigate - there were several points where I was wondering if I was on the right path. As I came around into mile 8 or so, two halfers actually went off course and asked me where to go and I had to point  and yell at them that it was "over there to the right!" Not ideal for conserving energy. The race needs better signage and more volunteers at turn points.

It was also interesting running with the 10K runners. As we were exiting Fiesta Island, I caught up with a runner and made it my business to latch on like velcro and keep up. She was keeping a good clip of 8:05-8:15 which is where I needed to be. I felt her keep trying to shake me off; I was like: WTF? Where is she getting this extra energy from? We hit the 10K/half course split, and off she went around the 10K turnaround. I chuckled out loud that I had been busy chasing a 10K runner. No wonder her pace wasn't all that consistent and she was probably annoyed that a halfer was all up in her business.

I was content with my finish time but, I think I have plateaud at 1:48+change for my half marathon time. I'm feeling that I need to change it up. So, for the first time since last January (when I was more than 15 minutes slower), I drew up a training plan that takes me through to the Safari Park Half on March 13th. Basically, my mileage is going to go from around 20-ish miles per week (which isn't much when doing half marathon training - I was running maybe 3 times a week - it's what I call bare minimum half marathon training), to 30-ish miles per week, running 4-5 times a week. The key will be to ice the living shit out of my shins and knees to ward off any over use injuries. I think I can shave off a bit more time on my half. According to the calculators based of my recent 10K time, I should be around a 8:05-8:10 pace. Carlsbad I was 8:16 (according to the Garmin). Ten seconds per mile shaves off 2 minutes. The key will be to not fade away in the last three miles and maintain the same steady pace (or run a wee bit faster in the beginning, like 8:00-ish, and only fade a bit, never going over 8:15-8:20 in the last few miles).

This week looks like this (tweaked from Hal Higdon's advanced plan):

Sunday & Monday: rest (had to skip work yoga)
Tuesday: 5 x 800 repeats at 10K pace (total was 5 miles)
Wednesday: 50 minute tempo (Higdon's definition of tempo is not fast the whole time, it's a gradual build up to 10K pace held for a few minutes before going back down)
Thursday: rest & yoga
Friday: 5 mile half pace run (8:06)
Saturday: rest and teach yoga
Sunday: 2 hour run (8:45-9:00 pace)

Happy running!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ahhhh. Commuting.

There were short periods of my working life where I had a nice commute – in total, about 3 years where I was driving 20 minutes or less. The rest of the time we’re talking anywhere from 40 minutes to 90 minutes each way (both times I moved were the result of too many 3-hour commute days). Currently, I have 40-60 minutes each way and it’s mentally manageable for me. However, I have noticed a few things that drive me absolutely bat-shit crazy.

Pretending we are canines and you are sniffing my rear with the front of your car

This is something I just don’t understand. Who taught these people to drive? How can one think it’s safe it to drive that close to the car in front on a highway with average speeds of 70-80 mph? What if I have to slow down rather abruptly? It’ll be him/her at fault for the accident, not me. I think that either they were taught to drive by dumbasses or are dumbasses themselves.

Not following the “two cars per green” instructions on signs at on-ramps

Granted, when I first saw stop-lights at on-ramps I was like “What the heck is this for?” but then realized that traffic in California is somewhat ridiculous and you have to control the flow of cars onto the highway. Regardless, I don’t think that every day there is a new person in front of me on the ramp that has never seen them before. There are cars ahead the entire time going two at a time per green, yet, he/she stops at the light when he/she is the second car. Can these people not read? Are they that oblivious to their driving peers as to not notice what everyone else was doing? Then read the sign and say “Oh, I get it.” That one makes me yell “TWO CARS PER GREEN, PEOPLE!” several times a week.

Not looking to your left or right before switching lanes

I swear I drive in fear of the person next to me or two lanes over, all the time. When I switch lanes I always wait until there is no one at the same latitude two lanes over because I am sure he/she is stupid enough not to look around and see that someone else is already changing lanes.

Pulling out from a parking lot into traffic and proceeding at 10 mph or less

Lately, this one has been happening a lot. The last two times they were smoking a cig like “whatever, if someone is behind me, they can just slow down.” If I have to step forcibly on the break to avoid rear-ending you and you had other better opportunities behind me to turn, you are driving like a butthole.

Hanging out in the left lane (or second to left lane) going significantly slower than everyone else so that we have to go around you and nearly cause 17 accidents

Either completely oblivious, or completely idiotic. Or both. Don’t they teach in driving school that you should yield to faster drivers when in the passing or fast lanes? Do you think you are that special that you can drive in the fast lane at 65 mph? Are you that self-righteous that we should all obey the speed limit at 65 therefore should not be passing you? Get off your high horse, lady! Or just get out of the left lane so we can sing cumbaya and be happy with the world.

Slowing down in front of me as we pass through intersections with camera-enforced traffic lights

This one makes me certifiably nuts. A red light ticket is like $400 and 2 points on your license. Do your driving comrades a favor and maintain (if not speed up a little bit) through the red light camera controlled intersections. Those cameras already freak me out, never mind when someone in front of me slows down for no apparent reason. I have a mini freak out session passing through those intersections and then if you slow down, you might as well hand me some Zoloft so I can calm down.

Realizing you shouldn’t be in a turn-only lane and trying to get out with everyone is stuck behind you while you waste away the green light.

Listen. We all make mistakes. But suck it up, my friend. You screwed up – take the left and find a way to turn around and correct it. Don’t make everyone else miserable because you messed up.

Stopping on inclines behind me leaving only enough space for Calista Flockhart to squeeze though.

This one is in the same category as the first one, except if you drive stick-shift, it is highly nerve-wracking. It’s pretty easy to slide backward when you have to start from zero mph on a hill driving stick shift. If you are a newer manual  driver, you probably slide back more and are more stressed out about it. So when some ninny stops within a foot or two of your rear bumper you are literally sweating bullets about the timing of your feet with the clutch and gas fearing that (a) you might stall and feel like a moron, (b) you might screw up and end up bumping the person behind you.  I used to stress majorly about this one but now that I’ve been driving stick for 8 years, it’s not as bad. But it still bugs me when I get someone who insists on squeezing every inch of space between his/her car and the car in front.

There you have it. Welcome to 90 minutes of my day 5 days a week! In a an hour I get to live all of the above for the second time today. Joy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

One Weekend, Two Races, Concrete Goodness

Never one to say no to a race, I agreed to run a little 4K XC community race in Mission Bay this past Saturday. The 4K was a way to let the slow folks participate in the USATF National Cross Country Championships and then watch the fast people afterwards in 8K and 12K races. And let me just say that my time was spanked repeatedly by 50+ year old women in the masters 40+ race. The qualifying requirements for masters are age-graded so the paces were ranging from 5:00’s to 12:00’s (Three ladies were 75+ - one of them ran 8:57 pace for 5 miles! At 77!).

Here I am in pain finishing the last loop:

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It was probably the hardest 2.5 miles I have run in a long time. The course was two loops on grass in Mission Bay Park (Hello, Monotony). Turns out that grass? Kind of sucks to run on. Especially mushy grass. My garmin showed a pace of 7:46 which is quite poopy for less than a 5K. Official results appear to have never been posted anywhere (probably a good thing). I consoled myself with a margarita and brunch in Old Town hoping that Sunday’s 10K would end up better.

Sunday morning I was feeling all SkinnyRunner crazy, doing two races in one weekend but then again, her two races would be two half marathons not a 4K and a 10K. Whatever. We got up at the ass-crack of dawn to drive up to Redondo Beach for the 10K. Parking was interesting – but I figured it would be. After an emergency pee-stop at Vons and 5 minutes circling for street parking, I ended up having the HZ drop me off about a half mile from the start and I jogged it in. It was actually a good warm up. I was pleasantly surprised with the number of porta-johns at the start and how easily I registered.

I had read that if you want to run a good time, get as close to the start line as possible since there are no time-specific corrals or even signage. And people just line up where-ever regardless of pace. I got within 20 feet of the start didn’t have to do any weaving. My first mile was a bit fast (7:34) and then I settled down in the 7:40s – except for mile 4 which had longish incline. Someone also must have thought it was funny to add a nice hill at mile 5.5. That was a fun time. It took me like 20-30 seconds to recover from that last hill – I was telling myself to buck up, already, and get over it, we’re going down hill. But my quads were seriously burning and telling me to screw off. The finish line came out of nowhere – I turned the corner and there was like 100 yards or less to the finish – had a I known, I would have started picking it up earlier.

I ended up finishing 48:17 (7:47 pace – 14/321 in my age group, 82/1687 women), which right there tells you that running on grass sucks. Sure, your knees will be happy but your ego pays the price! I ran only 1 second slower per mile at more than twice the distance on asphalt. On somewhat tired legs from the previous day’s race. At least I redeemed myself in my own mind.  Still a little sore today but I figure it’ll be all gone tomorrow and I’ll be good as new by Saturday morning!