Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend---5 days of NO WORK!

I am grateful to have job in these tough times, however, I am equally, if not more grateful to have time off.  I had a whole 5 days off with a race in the middle.  My niece is a freshman at Western Washington University and she came down on Wednesday to spend the weekend.  We spent the first 24 hours eating and watching movies.  Totally relaxing!
Thursday-I made an nontraditional T-day dinner.  I didn't know I would be "hosting" T day dinner until Tuesday evening.  And when I say "hosting" I use it quite loosely.  Basically, I made dinner for my niece, Owen and I and gave the dogs lots of snacks along the way.  I made sesame crusted salmon with orange miso sauce, scalloped sweet potatoes, asparagus and we had the yummy-not an ounce of nutrition-white rolls with it all.  We all overate of course and then had pumpkin pie and ice cream.  I was not prepared to make a turkey so that is what I came up was tasty enough and we were full and the dogs were excited for nibbles.
Friday-more relaxing

Saturday- the Ghost 50k. Scott Krell does a great job of putting on this event.  There are options for a half marathon, full marathon or 50k.  Last year I had done the 50k and this year I thought I'd sign up for it again.  The course is actually the old Seattle Marathon course and take you out and back a few times along Lake Washington.  The "Official" Seattle Marathon is the following day, Sunday.  I am considering this MY official Seattle 50k because I prefer it to the actual marathon, it's fun, low key and it's 5 miles longer.  Plus, I know everyone at the aid stations so it's a social event as well.  I haven't done a race since Big Horn 100 in June and have taken some time off mentally from running and physically, sort of, as well.  I stopped putting in my regular mileage for a few months and then recently started back up again.  I of course supplemented the time I would have spent running doing other physical things so  I didn't go crazy.  I looked up my time from last year thinking I would compare it to this year and see if that time off was helpful.  Last year at the 50k I went a 4:49 so I was hoping to break 4:40.  I was using my friend's Garmin 305 so I could keep track of pace and the eventual demise.  I actually ate something a few hours before the race to get some calories.  The weather was perfect for running, maybe not for volunteering, but running wise, I couldn't have asked for anything better and that is saying something for the latter part of November in the PNW!  The run started and we were all mixed together, half marathoners, marathoners and 50k-ers.  Plus there was an early start so it was unusual not to see fellow runners along most of the way.  And since we were running on multi-use sidewalks, there were lots of other people and dogs.  The nice thing about seeing the other runners so much is that it's nice to say hello and a "nice job' here or a 'looking good' there to take my mind off the fatigue that eventually came.  But oddly, I felt great almost the whole way. I was into my music, I was excited to get back on the horse and do a race again and I just felt happy.  I got tight a few times in the middle, hip flexor, groin, etc, but then it went away or I got used to it.  The last few miles felt long to me, I was getting pretty tired and I am certainly not used to running on the road that far.  But all in all, it was a great experience to get out and get involved again in doing a race, AND feeling healthy.  As I always do over the course of a run, I calculate how many miles I have left and then go through the possibilities of what time I can go.  As I was passing the start/finish for the last loop around Seward Park, I was at about 3:50 or so and I, maybe I can break 4:20.... I kept looking at the Garmin and trying to go faster, but my legs were moving as fast as they could.  I was swinging my arms like crazy, trying not to lean over, etc.  I was coming down to the last few yards as best as I could...but alas, I came in right at 4:20!  So I didn't break 4:20, but I certainly surpassed my expectations.  It has been a long time since I felt healthy during a race and really THAT is what I am most thankful for.  I have been waiting to get back on the horse for a while now.  Maybe it's a short lived wellness, but in any case, it felt great to run healthy again.
Owen running smooth and happy!
photo by Lind Say
Healthy and Happy
photo by Lind Say

Another cool thing about this race is the finishers award.  How about this bottle opener?  It's actually a useful household item.  Very good idea Scott!

After the run, Owen, my niece and I went out for pizza and cookies, of course.  Owen went home to sleep and get ready to run the Seattle marathon the next day b/c that's just how crazy he is.  I took my niece to the movies and got all crampy in the seats.  The movie, the Descendants, was awesome.  My legs were achy through the whole movie, but I was highly entertained none the less.
Sunday- More relaxing, marathon cheering in the wind and rain, eating and a big drive up to Bellingham and back in the apocalyptic rain.
A great 5 day weekend it was and now it's back to reality.....HARSH!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Time, where does it go?

It seems like just yesterday it was the Pacific Northwest's version of summer.  I went for a run after work last night in the dark, wet, cold.  As I was getting pummeled by wind and rain I thought, 'wow, it's November!' And you know what that means.....HOLIDAY PARTIES and HOLIDAY TREATS and a giant tendency for me to feel better about being lazy, every one is doing it!

Me, in a dog body
Me, in a dog body, showing no willpower
It's rough adjusting to the weather change and darkness.  However, if I keep in mind that I never feel worse after a run , I am confident that will keep me motivated.  My motivation has not waned for the 5 AM class. In fact, it has only grown.  It certainly is not easy getting up that early and working out pretty hard then going to work.  It's not so hard to go to work after as it is to be a bit sleepy and then shock my body by jacking up my heart rate at 5AM.  But it's been good for me as it is so different from what I am used to.  As the old expression goes, train your weaknesses.  I am not sure how jumping out of bed and soon after, without coffee, jacking my heart rate up is going to help me, but the actual workouts will, whatever time they take place.  I have never done a strength training program before and now that I am almost done with the first 3 weeks, I am really seeing improvements.  I have forgotten how motivating it is to see improvements, I don't see that in my running.  I am quite sure that is why I continue to get up before the birds to do it. 

This is my instructor!
I think the overall strength I am gaining is helping me in everything I do.  I just feel an overall sense of balance and strength that I haven't felt before.  Even though I have been doing these classes since mid-July, I think it has been recent that I really feel the changes and am able to apply them to functional movement.  Keeping that in mind, I bet it will help with the running....In fact, just the other day I was running and I was thinking, what muscle is that I am feeling?  That feels foreign. Turns out, I DO have a hamstring, in fact, I have 2.  Then the other day I woke up and I though, um, what muscle is that that feels kinda sore?  Turns out, I WAS using my glutes.  These are muscles that I think I have neglected for so long and they went away.  Wouldn't you, if someone ignored you for centuries?  Well, I have convinced the hamstrings and the glutes to come out of hiding and come get reunited with their former mates.  The quads were very happy to see them again.  Now the quads have decided to go on a 3 day weekend and leave the housework to the the hamstrings and glutes.  Soon they will all be reunited, working together and we'll have a party. 

Also in the class, from the instructor you see just above, I have learned several expressions.  He oftern shouts, "HEY, NO CADILLACIN!"  I didn't know what this meant at first.  Now I know it means stop being a slow poke, move your butt.  Then I learned what it meant to "get yoked." I have no intentions of "getting yoked", but I do like saying it.  I have learned how to do a "clean" and "jerk".  I can understand why they call it a "clean", but why a "jerk?"  I'll have to google that at some point.