Friday, April 30, 2010

Bumblebees Shouldn't Fly

Wednesday was my second day in running club training.  We were told to meet at the UTMB track and field for our wind sprints, gliders, whatever you want to call them - I think I will call them sumbeetches.  Yep - new name.

A little before 6pm we all started showing up.  The coaches were there, the walkers were there, the Go Fasters (already fast) were there, and I was there.  I was already feeling out of place - before we ran!

One of the owners of Fit 2 Run, Kim was there - and her usual peppy self.  I have met the lady twice now, and she is chipper.  I think that is awesome, and anticipate it being helpful in motivating people in the whole enjoying running concept.

I slathered my self in 70 SPF sunscreen and headed out into the world of fast people.  The field was busy.  There was a game of softball going on (we almost got beaned by a foul ball - and since when do people just stand there and watch it from the field and not yell Head's Up! Losers).  On the other side of the field was a frisbee game, and a soccer game.  So - lots of people to embarrass myself in front of.  Go team go!

Some of the Go Fasters were already running the 0.4 mile loop "warming up."  I walked from my car to the bleachers and put down my water bottle.  I was ready to go. 

There were a few of us ladies standing in a group chatting, and I joked about how slow I was.  Kim then told the story of the bumblebee.  How physically it should not be able to fly - what with the little wings and big butt - and yet, it did.  I looked my my own little legs, and big butt - and felt like the bumblebee.  Just kidding.  But I am TOTALLY wearing black and yellow on Monday to hills training. 

Leno took our group on our 1 mile warm up run around the surrounding neighborhood- seriously - WTF!  The Go Fasters took off.  I clodhopped in the back.  At one point I could see the rest of the group all the way around the other side of the neighborhood, poor Leno did is bouncing in place thing and waited for me.  I finally caught up to the man and we jogged a little while together. 

He went ahead to get the rest of the insanely fast Go Fasters stretched out and I finally made it back to the start line.  Oh - and FYI - I mapped the track on the internet - and it was a 1.2 mile warm up.  Ick!

And then came the fun part - we finished out warm up with some high knees runs, some karaoke (and not the singing) and some gliders before taking to the track.  Hell - if I had known that was the warm-up after the jog - I might have tried to go slower (impossible you say - well I could have walked!).

And now the fun part:

20 seconds of sprinting
20 seconds of recovery

12 times = 8 minutes of sumbeetches

I took my honored spot in the back and prepared to cry.  Leno whistled (really loud, without an actual whistle) and we sprinted.  I grunted.  And then he whistled again, we were supposed to continue with a light jog for recovery - I walked.

On and on - for 8 minutes.  I know 8 minutes doesn't sound like much to you - but to someone like me trying to sprint - it was a LONG freakin' time.

Finally it was over.  And I didn't cry!  Hurrah for the slow team!

We jogged one loop around the track (0.4 miles) as a cool down - seriously I was thinking a nice, cold beer was enough of a cool down for me. 

And then the stretching came.  YAY!  My favorite part of running. 

Now - while I am sure that some of you find humor in my plight of the bumblebee - let me enlighten you as to the funniest part of Wednesday (and no, it wasn't coming home, hobbling, to clean up dog poo and pee).  It was that Leno said next Wednesday he would group us together in pairs. 

Are you seeing the funny yet?  No one in the Go Fasters is a slow as I am.  And some unlucky sap will be my partner next week!  Oh the torture!  He says that it will help push us, and that if one of the partners gets ahead of the other during the sprint, then during recovery they can jog back to the other one to start out equal for the next sprint.  So my partner will be sprinting up and back for the whole 8 minutes! 

I don't think I am going to be making many friends at this running thing!  Oh well.

I am off to ice my legs.  And this weekend - 3.5 miles.  On a Saturday.  For fun. 
Someone get me off this crazy ride!

Bonehead Ideas Continue

I am 14:00/mile girl.  Nice to meet ya!

I have been 12:15/mile girl, and I have been 15:50/mile girl.  I have perfected the Imma Punchya face and use it interchangeably with the Imma Cry face. 

I am training for a half marathon - I even picked one out - the Rock N Roll Half in San Antonio on November 14, 2010.  Now I have a solid timeline and goal.  I just need to be faster.

Sooo - I chose to sign up for a USA Fit Training program at the local running store (Fit 2 Run).  I chose to do the 5K/10K/Go Faster group.  I figured since I was already "running" 5Ks - this would be the group to join.  The other one was Couch to 5K - and I had already left my couch - damn thing is really comfy though.

I have also been working with a personal trainer at the gym for a couple of months now.  So Tuesday and Thursdays Fred forces me to work and cry.  Now - Mondays and Wednesdays I get to pay other people to make me run and cry.  How stupid am I??

I talked to the running store owner, Kim, and she said that it was a one mile time trial on Monday (04/26).  I figured I had done 3 miles and even 4 miles - 1 was gonna be easy!  How wrong can one person be!

I showed up amidst fit people, and was like the proverbial wallflower at a dance.  I just hung out in a corner and gawked at the fitness of the people in training. 

And then they said that for the Go Faster group it would be a 1 mile warm-up jog, followed by a 2 mile time trial, and then a 1 mile cool down jog to get back.  Are you F'ing kidding me!!!

But it was either that - or stay with the couchers - I chose embarrassment.

So we jogged - or rather they jogged - I did my clodhopper slow-ass thing.  Everyone else was at the sea wall and stretching when I finally arrived - warmed up from a nice, light 1 mile jog in. 

One of our coaches (a 4:20/miler - holy crap!) took off down the sea wall to the one mile turn around.  The other (another 4:20/miler) stayed at the end.  And off we went - we were to run down at 80% our top speed and then turn around at the General Joe's Chinese place and come back.  Top speed - please!  I have three speeds: stop, go, go slower.  That's it!

All I know is that I didn't know where this Chinese food place was, but I was cussing it damn near the whole way.  The other Go Fasters were heading back and cheering on my slow, insane self.  I would be lying if I said that didn't appreciate it, and also that I wanted to punch them (just a little). 

So I found Leno - FINALLY - and God love him - he had water!  I drank a little and he jogged next to me.  Let me re-phrase that.  He jogged up and down in place while I barely maintained a forward motion. 

We started out at Murdoch's Souvenirs.  I know this because one the way back - it was all I could think about.  That damn blue building sitting on piers over the water.  My Mecca - my joy - because there I could stop. 

See that big ball of concrete - that is where we started, and where I finished!  It took me 27:49:99 to make it back - averaging out to a 14:15/mile.  Truly sad.

Everyone - the 7-8 minute milers - stupid Go Fasters - were already back at the store.  Leno stayed with me and we walked back.  I told him my reasoning, and he encouraged me to continue - but that if I wanted to - I could join the other group.  I told him I would like to stay - as long as the coaches didn't mind training someone as slow as me.

Thus ended my first day of running club training.  I was embarrassed, tired, hungry, and had to go home to four dogs.  Go team go!

Four in the Park

I ran three races three weekends in a row - I know - I am highly stupid. 

But not only was the the third in the series - it was also 4 miles!  FOUR freakin' miles!  This would be a first!

Mom and I signed up to do another run together and I was looking forward to it.  I had never run in Memorial Park (mostly because I never ran before), but it always looked so beautiful.  I was really looking forward to this run.

However, doing three races back to back caused some issues with my leg.  I was limping around a little bit and not at all happy about the pain in my right leg.  Ironic how you break one leg, and the other is the one that hurts!

But we were committed, and I was looking forward to a PR of 4 miles!

Dad drove us to the park, and took his coffee and a book so that he could enjoy the park while he waited for us to be finished.  I guess I should have given him a heads up on how long it might be!

Mom and I both wore our tech shirts - and as geeky as we looked - I was grateful.  The weather was hot and humid, as it always is in Houston.  It was sunny and 80 degrees by the time the race was over.  Pheeew!

Mom and I started out together, and by the first mile I felt like I was doing pretty well.  I could see Mom trying to stay with me, but I told her to go ahead and that I would meet her at the finish line.  I kept her in my sights for a while, but then she was gone - fast, little bugger that one! 

My first split was 12:15 in the first mile, and 12:30 for the second mile - I felt awesome!  I was kicking some A - go team go - and all that cheerleader crap.

And then mile three hit.  The course was not very supported in water stations, and I was hot.  This was the hottest day that I had run on, I was on my third run in three weeks, and I was tired!  I needed that water - and there was not any until mile 3.  Wow!

Here is where my split times go from great to not-so-great.  Mile three was roughly a 15:00/mile and the final mile I was damn near crawling my way back to the finish line.  I felt like some old biddy as I yelled at kids to get out of my way - because there was no going around.  There were all dressed in jeans and carrying purses, playing in the street - and I yelled at them to move.  I think it might have been the Imma Punchya face that convinced them!

I made it across the finish line - grunting and crying (seems to be a theme) - and saw Mom!  She was trying to talk to me, but I can't even hear what she is saying.  All I know is that at some point she handed me a bottle of water - which I downed.  And then I took her beer - and chugged that as well. 

While I could finally make people noises, we decided to go into the after-party and get more beer!  I was just thrilled to be upright!  We ran into a few ladies who told me how awesome my mother was - trust me - I know.  Mom ran an insane 10:00/mile - she is a freakin machine!

After than we tracked down Dad, got back in the car, and bemoaned the whole way home about how it was seriously too early to be getting up and running four miles.  But I hope we do it again next year - who knows maybe by then I will have a 10:00/mile!

The best part of this picture - there are actually people behind me!  Who knew!

Azalea Trail 5K - My triumphant return to Mobile!

I moved back to Texas in October of 2009.  I love being back home, and I love my new job.  Plus - I get to use my title of Chief Scientist - I think it's impressive.  But I miss my friends.  Laura came here for the Mardi Gras run, and I in turn promised to go back for the Azalea Trail run.. 

This run happens to be one of the largest in the South - Kenyans run this 10K and use their times for the huge marathons.  It is supposed to be beautiful, running down the scenic downtown streets underneath the canopy of oak trees.  I was looking forward to it.

All of my old derby friends from Mobile are now no longer derby-ing - we have all chosen to run.  I think Laura and I started the trend, but all those damn fit people joined and are now showing me up.  Stupid fit friends - you know who you are!

So I went back - and had a fabulous time.  Laura and I roamed through New Orleans where my plane touched down, hit the Whole Foods, and drove to Mobile.  We had a nice healthy, carb filled dinner, went to bed early and arose to participate in the Azalea Trail Run's first year of having a 5K.

Kimmy and Becki were signed up to run the 10K, because they are already mad crazy fast.  Losers.  The rest of us: Tara, Sabrina, Savannah, me, Laura, and Keith would all muddle through the 5K - and for me - that was enough! 

It was a fabulous event, and one I look forward to doing next year.  There were a ton of people all milling around, and the energy was amazing.  I actually felt like a "runner" for the first time!  And it was so awesome to be doing this with all of my friends from derby. 

The 10K started first.  Kimmy and Becki took off, and the rest of us yelled from the sidelines for them.  Then it was our turn.  I put on my headphones, got in the middle of the pack, and prepared myself to do my best. 

The gun went off, and the mob walked across the start line until people could begin to get a nice stride.  And while I started in front of the rest of my friends - Laura and Keith passed me quite quickly - punks!  But I was maintaining a good rhythm and was happy with the pace.

The race was well supported.  There were bellydancers on Broad St in full outfit cheering people on and waving bells.  Even the cops guarding the streets had bells and were clapping.   It was so much fun. 

I think this was the one race where my leg hurt, but I could push past it without really thinking about it.  I was so happy, I just jogged and sang along to my ipod and enjoyed downtown Mobile. 

I did make one HUGE mistake and that was I put the afterburners on too early.  I thought I was close to the finish line and hit supercharge - which is still slowish - and it turns out I wasn't close enough yet.  Getting across the finish line took some effort - I think I was even crying a little when I made it over the timer bars.  In fact I am sure of it - I grunted and cried my way the last couple tenths of a mile to victory!

My best time yet - 12:55/mile!  I was so happy!  Then I found our group and we waited for everyone else to show up.  Keith and Laura were both done, Becki and Kimmy showed up soon after, followed by the walkers - Tara, Sabrina, and Savannah.  It was the most fun that I have had in a while - particularly when you factor in the whole running bit.

After the run and before the beers - Edith Headlock, Nitty Gritty Kitty, Violet Vengeance, Faust N Furious, Young Vengeance, Tru Shenanigans, Hellbilly Lily, and Chuck N' Hoes

I freakin miss you bunch of retards - and next year we all do the 10K!

Hapy Saint Paddy's Day

Most people with my genealogy drink to celebrate St. Paddy's Day - I mean he was the guy that cast out all of the snakes from Ireland, the guy who described the Holy Trinity in terms of a shamrock.  I should have gone out to the pub and had a beer - but instead . . .

I ran.  Well, jogged.  Actually - crawled my way back to the finish line.

I signed up to run in the Houston eye people's "Lookin' Good Shamrock Strut."  Trust me when I tell you that there was no lookin' good - at least not for me.

It was a beautiful 60 degree day and cloudy, which turned into rain around mile 2.  This was a blessing as it turns out.  As my body was burning from the inside out, and I needed to cool down!

I was wearing my new Mobile Leprechaun tee-shirt that was to be our team shirt for the Azalea Trail run the following weekend.  In case you have never heard of the Mobile Leprechaun, I have linked the You Tube video below for you.  I assure you - it is worth the look - way funnier than anything I could ever write. 

Sooo - I heard the gun and took off.  I was in the middle of the pack, and by the first mile I was near the back - but that's ok.  Being in the back is relaxing (or so I tell myself).

I should tell you that not only was this a 5K, but a 10K.  So there were tons of people passing me the whole morning.  Speedy people, zooming by you one time, to circle back and do it again.  I just want to ask them how insane they are!

The most important thing that I took away from this run was that I need fluid roughly every mile.  I am not fast enough to only need it every few miles because I can run 2 miles in 16 minutes like to other runners.  This will come into play later - I promise some AWESOME pictures of my new geeky hydration belt.  Because I just didn't look stupid enough!

However, the other important tidbit for me - is that I completed this entire race without once taking a break to walk.  My leg was in pain, but I was smiling.  I think I am beginning to enjoy this running thing.

I finished in 46:42 with a 15:02/mile.  Not my best - but not my worst either!  Also, the Imma Punchya face made it's first appearance at the finish line:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mardi Gras Beach Run - also known as Beer is Awesome!

I have great friends - I got lucky somehow.  One of my closest ones is a gal named Laura.  We both belong the the Broken, Old Beetches Running Club.  She and I met in derby, and I was recovering from being broken when she became broken in the area of her knee. 

Here is us a refs - quite fashionable - Tru Shenanigans and Hellbilly Lily

Laura and her husband came to visit me in the great state of Texas and we signed up to participate in the Mardi Gras Beach 5K.  It sounded like a good idea at the time - promise. 

The night before we had dinner at Salsa's on the island (highly recommended) and drank mucho cervezas.  It was a great evening.  Then we returned to the fish camp and went to bed early so that we could be nice and fresh for the 5K the next morning.

We arose and dressed in our running clothes and braces and trotted out of the house to make it there in time.  Apparently we were a little behind schedule as we arrived a few minutes before the gun. 

I had thoughtfully bought some GU fuel in case we needed the extra energy during the 3.1 miles.  Having never partaken of GU before, I bought vanilla - those of you who know GU know what this means the goop looked like.  Also - it did not taste of vanilla.  I spent the 3.1 miles wishing I had gum, praying for death so that I could be rid of that taste.

Another heads up for any of you new runners out there - chose your running buddies well.  While my mom is much faster than I, it was not an unpleasant run as we are roughly the same height.  Laura stands about 4 inches taller than me and has crazy long legs.  There was no possible way for me to keep up with her, or her to slow down to stay with me.  And yet - we tried anyway.

Between the Mexican food, the beers, the GU, and the height differential we would up walking most of the 5K.  But we had a splendid time and God bless Laura for thinking ahead.  Not only did she pack ice for her knees, she packed beer - so after the run we sat on the steps of the pavilion, drinking beer, and watching her husband search for pennies with his metal detector on the beach. 

Afterwards - there was more beer, more Mexican food, and some parades.  Mardi Gras rocks!

HCHD Tex Med

I love my mother - honestly.  She is one of my closest friends - but on this day - I think I threatened to punch her. 

The last time I ran with my mother my age was in the single digits and she had to sing "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" over and over again to help me make it to the finish line. 

On January 31, 2010 - we chose to try running again. 

She runs everyday - miles and miles.  She is the most fit lady in her age bracket I know. 

I am not.  I would rather watch a marathon of NCIS than actually run in one. 

But we signed up. 

Here we are pre-race - all smiles and braces

It was about 40 degrees, but thankfully the wind wasn't too drastic.  Dad drove us downtown, and off we went - a happy, loving mother and daughter bundled in more clothes than Eskimos own. 

After a final pot-o-gold stop, we hit the start line lining up behind skinny, fast-looking people.  And off we went.  Mom always says that the first mile is all mental, and that you have to physically force your body to get past the block.  However, remember the broken ankle - it is still not happy.

A side effect of breaking my left ankle is that when I run the calf and front shin of my right leg freeze up, become hard, and begin an internal fight for domination.  This means that I begin to hobble, limp, cuss, and sometimes cry. 

So I am hobbling along, knowing I am not to the first mile, begging Mom to stop, and she is telling me we can do it!  I finally quit on her, start limping my way around a turn, and lo-and-behold the one mile sign.  Dammit!

I walk a little more, get that muscle to stretch out, and off we go again.  We jog the entire rest of the race.  I think an old lady with a walker passed us at one point, and Mom even said she had never run that slow before in her life.  But we finished and I was thrilled that I could finally stop moving. 

I was so happy to be done - I even passed on the beer line to go home! 
By the way - those spandex my mom has on - wicked awesome - it's a matching set - top and bottoms.

So another mile-marker on my journey to a half-marathon - I finished 110 out of 184 for ages 30-39 with a time of 14:27/mile.  My mom helped push me to be better and faster, and was a huge support for me. 

Dad took us to breakfast, and our family trip ending with pancakes at the 59 Diner on I-10. 

New Year's Eve 2010

Most people are out drinking with loved ones, kissing at midnight, and celebrating the beginning of another year - I was running a 5K.

Well, in all fairness I jogged and walked it.  But I did not cry.  Bonus points for that!

I drove up to Houston and planted myself firmly in my parent's house while they were out of town.  I had the dogs curled up around my feet, the fireplace going, and things were generally comfy and good. 

And then I had to climb my ass into a car and cross-town to Inaugural Resolution Run out near Sugarland

Let me set the scene - it was roughly 38 degrees, the wind was blowing 11-15 mph - I had on a pair of umbros and a long sleeve tee shirt.  I was cold - honestly - I think that might be the only reason I actually finished this run - I had to get back to the sweatsuit waiting for me in the car.

I was a beautiful run though - someone sang the National Anthem, someone else fired a gun, and off we all went.  Well - off they went.  I lopped along bouncing to my music wishing I had more clothes on.  I rounded a lake, and fireworks were being shot off overhead.  It was quite breathtaking - or maybe that was the wall of wind I hit at the last turn.

My favorite part of this run - all the drunks coming out of their warm houses, holding champagne and telling you how awesome you were all doing! 

When the results came out - I finished 25 out of 29 for ages 30-39 - with a 15:05/mile time.  Not that bad for someone who hadn't run in over 20 years. 

But this was only the first day of 2010 - I had 364 to go! 

Four Months into the Game

I am a bright person.  Seriously.  But I have done some extremely bone-head things.

Exhibit A:

On December 9, 2008 I shattered my ankle and broke one of my small leg bones while playing roller derby.  I had thought that I had broken a bone before as I chipped off part of my rotator bone from my left wrist once (oddly, while roller blading); I even have four vertebrae permanently "compressed" from a 30 foot fall into a construction site; but trust me - I had never broken anything until this night.

I fell, I screamed, I cussed, I felt blood in my skate boot.  I hurt! 

I had to have emergency surgery as the bones wouldn't set in place and I kinda threatened the surgeon that I might punch him if he kept trying to force them back into place. 

I went through a neon blue cast, a neon pink one, a fancy air boot, and a whole heap of rehab.  I was even cleared to skate again - but not for contact.  So I became a derby ref until I moved to Galveston and the closest derby team was almost 2 hours away.

All of this back story will help explain my current rationale - promise!

I had been told I would not be able to walk again (30 foot fall), I had been told that running would be unlikely (ankle surgery) - and for some inane reason I thought that running might be a fabulous sport to pick up as derby was no longer a feasible option.

I come from a family of runners.  Mom has even run the Boston Marathon.  I, on the other hand, enjoyed sports that were less "sporty."  I was the kid on the soccer field picking flowers - true.  I haven't "run" since I hit puberty.

So while I can not tell you why I chose this as my goal for 2010 - I can at least let you enjoy my moments of idiocy and give you a ton of juice for which to pick on me.  Read on!