Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Hay is in the Barn

Well, it seems technology is just not on my side today (Saturday). Our DSL is not working. No one in the house can get online. (since you're reading this you know it's now working again :))

Saturday morning I went for my last long run before next week’s marathon. It was really great going back to a Team in Training GTS. I got to see my coach from Nike who reminded me of a few things that would help next Sunday (like if I get tight for goodness sakes stop and stretch this time). Plus I got to see friends for the first time in a long time. It was really nice despite the gross weather. Cold and rainy was not really the weather I wanted after getting over a chest cold, but I had an awesome run with one of my Nike teammates who is a run/walker. It meant I got a nice relaxed run that wasn’t too fast. I might have also gone ahead and ordered the Garmin Forerunner 305 that I’m rewarding myself with. Oh, and I scored free 2nd day delivery. Sweet!! The Garmin will be here Wednesday. It might go for a run on Thursday…. It’s going to be hard to leave it in the box until the race is over with. Plus my Nike+ seems to be having issues with distance again.

I also had a really good chat with a friend who has qualified for the Boston Marathon before, and gave me a few pointers. I need to add and change a few things in my training to start working on getting faster. I’m totally excited about training after I recover. I have a ½ marathon coming up in March, so I need to figure out a recovery and training plan. I think working towards Boston is going to be a lot of fun! It's going to be a challenge and it might not be so fun some days, but I like a good challenge.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Music or no music

This morning I overslept. Apparently 8 minutes to me is 30 minutes to the rest of the world. Oops :). Fortunately, there was an e-mail from my race next week waiting in my inbox this morning. Ah, yes I officially feel like a huge slacker now. (for the record I did do a stationary bike hill program for 30 minutes, so I'm really just being overly dramatic, but I still feel like a slacker). One of the things in the e-mail was a reminder of the waiver we all signed when we registered. In other words, no headsets. Oh well. I've never used headphones during a race (I'm assuming that's what they mean with headsets?), but I had thought of it for this one. Now before I open this can of worms let me say that I get both sides of the argument. Race directors want to make sure runners get announcements, and runners want something fun to listen to when the going gets tough. I get it, really I do! All of the races I've done have been pretty big events. The streets have been lined with people cheering (if you've ever run the Peachtree Road Race you know what I"m talking about). Some races even have music provided on the course. The Tallahassee Marathon is the first truely "small" race I've ever done. And by small I mean only 700 of the 1200 available spots are currently filled. Yes, there is a max of 1200 racers. The last marathon I ran had 20,000 racers... It's a bit of a difference. Now, you should also know that I usually run with other people. The only races I've ever truely done by myself have been a few 5k or 10ks. A bit of a difference from a marathon.

So, the question is now how to entertain myself? I have friends who play word games on long runs. I am not someone who is good with those. My teammate/friend that I ran with in San Antonio and myself decided we would play one of these games around mile 15 of the race. We choose an alphabet game and decided to name cities. It went from cities, to states, and then countries. I loose brain cells when I run. Or maybe the ones I have just stop working because I was awful at the game. I started counting footsteps over and over again, which worked much better for me. Maybe it's the musician in me who is use to having a steady beat to play to. On the 20 miler for Nike we analyzed the houses we were running past. There are some interesting styles in Atlanta. It was highly entertaining. One problem, the Tallahassee Marathon will not be going past many houses. It goes out along the St. Mark's trail, which is pretty, and has lots of trees, and well, no houses. I would like to say that I'm pretty good at staying mentally tough. Heck, I'm a musician who spends 2-3 months getting ready for auditions, second guessing myself, and stressing about every little detail for 2 minutes of sheer terror (maybe that's not the best way to look at it). Some how I feel like I need a plan to keep myself entertained during the race. Maybe I should start a sing-a-long? (I do sing to myself sometimes) Then I can entertain myself and my fellow runners. I don't know. They might might not find that amusing...

Are you a dire hard music listener? or do you go without? Got any fun ways to occupy your time while running long distances? I might need a few suggestions....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bouncing, Bouncing, Bouncing

I'm bouncing off the walls :). I don't know where all of this energy came from. I guess the germs are going away! I decided to start the day off with some yoga to see if I could calm down some. HA! (oh, and what's a taper? ;p). I am so stinking excited about going for a run tomorrow. I don't think I've ever gone through such an emotional taper before. Seriously! I've been happy, frustrated, on the verge of tears, and everything in between. I will even admit that there was a little voice in my head saying that I wasn't going to get rid of the germs in time to run the race. Classic taper talk (or pre audition talk for that matter). I'm glad it's going away now! Now it's seriously time to start making list and deciding what to wear race day (see previous post). I miss my Team in Training race packet. It seriously has the best packing list ever. I always forget things when I travel. I've never forgotten anything when traveling with the Team. Can't wait to sign up for another team event!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pick a shirt

I had great hopes for this morning. I wanted to run! I didn't. Instead I spent the hour before I was suppose to leave hacking up a lung. So, instead I went back to bed where I preceded to cough for another 1/2 hour before finally falling back to sleep. To say I'm frustrated is a bit of an understatement at the moment. I really am trying to be patient and let myself get better so that I can run a marathon in 2 weeks. So, instead I'm starting to make a list of things I need to go get at the Big Peach Running Co this week, and trying to decide what the heck I'm going to wear on race day! Oh, and I'm currently avoiding both Facebook and Dailymile. I'm so glad my friends can run. Really I am. I just can't read about it right now. I promise to come back soon!!!

Back to the important things. What to wear race day (I am a girl, and a dork ;p)? Here are the two tops I"m considering:

1. It took me awhile to remember the last race I ran wearing something other than a Team in Training singlet (2008 Peachtree Road Race). This one is not a Team event. I doubt anyone else will have a Team shirt, which I admit is part of the appeal (everyone should know about Team in Training!). It also has my name on it. It's nice to have people cheering for you by name...

2. My last marathon was the 2009 Nike Women's Marathon. It didn't go so well (huge understatement!). The phrase redemption race has been thrown out there for the Tallahassee Marathon. I've worn this shirt on almost all of my long runs.

So there are a lot of feeling behind both shirts. Even though the race is in Florida I will probably have another shirt underneath. I still have lots of time to decide, but I don't have much to do other than sit around, cough, and think today. Thoughts on which shirt I should wear?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ready, set, go for audition training

Ah, Richard Strauss you make me go crazy sometimes! I mentioned in my last post that I'm getting ready for an audition. The afore mentioned audition isn't until the end of April, and like most auditions there is Strauss on the menu. Most people know the Strauss waltzes. This isn't the waltz Strauss'. Oh no. This is a Strauss writing at the end of the 19th century when composers were starting to push the boundaries into what we call "20th century" music compositions. For example the one Strauss piece that is almost always on the audition for major orchestras is a tone poem called Don Jaun. It's the war horse orchestral excerpt of the violin world. Thankful I'm not learning that one (although I have). No I'm working on an excerpt from his opera Der Rosenkavalier. Whenever I do the first read though of this I totally freak out. It's taken me a week to really "understand" what is going on in this excerpt. And then I listened to it. It's really lovely, and dramatic, and, well hard. It jumps all over the violin, goes into the highest registers, and has accidentals galore. What's an accidental you ask? It's just what it sounds like, something that doesn't normally belong. But, it's there, and I have to figure it out. I think I've got the 1st page under control now. Too bad it's still painfully under tempo. Ahh, well that's why I'm already working on music for an April audition (besides the fact that there are 10 excerpts to learn. Most auditions only do 4-5). It's like learning to run the 100 yard dash perfectly 10 times in a row and winning every time. No pressure. It has to be perfect. Perfect rhythm, perfect intonation, perfect bow strokes, well you get the point. I'm not perfect. No where close, which is why I struggle with this part of the music world. I wish there was another way to get into an orchestra. I have to say that I really like a lot of the excerpts. They are powerful, dramatic, delicate, passionate, and fun. I think I can do a lot with them. So, for now I'm attempting to be perfect, or at the very least consistent. After all the more consistent I am, the better things will go when I'm standing in front of a giant black sheet shaking, and trying to play perfectly in one try.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Getting Antsy

I am slowly going stir crazy. I haven't done much since Sunday. Usually the taper isn't a big deal for me, but this time I'm going crazy. I guess I really needed some rest after the 20 miler because I've been sick ever since. At least the fever is gone!! And I'm slowly able to breathe through my nose again! It's sad when an hour of practicing a violin knocks the wind out of the lungs. Not the best thing for someone getting ready for an audition.  This morning things area feeling better so I tried a 20 minute yoga workout. It was nice to stretch the legs out again. It would be even better if I could go for a run. Maybe Friday if not, hopefully Saturday...

I also keep looking at what I want to get for my "reward" for finishing my 4th marathon in 2 weeks. I can't stop looking at it, and I really want to get it :). Plus I found it for 50% off. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's taper time

The race taper is an interesting monster. All of the hard training is done and it's time to rest and recover so that the body is ready for race day. Rest at the moment is not a problem. For the second marathon in a row I am sick after my 20 mile run. I'll spare the ugly details. I have not done much over the past couple of days. The good news is that my low fever seems to be gone and even though my chest is heavy and I'm super tired I feel like I'm headed uphill. Hopefully, I'll be back to running later in the week. I'm itching to go, but I know it's more important to rest and get rid of the germs! I actually canceled all of my violin lessons (only the second time for being sick) today. Hopefully I'll be back and moving Wednesday. Fingers crossed and hoping for the best!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Oh wind, why must you visit all of the time?

This morning I ran 20 miles.

All on my own.

In a way you could call it two major accomplishments, running 20 miles, and running it all by myself. It wasn't always pretty (I got quite a few looks upon walking into Starbucks post run...), but I did it. I was pretty calm before I started, a major improvement from my last 20 mile run. I jumped when my alarm went off and got ready so fast I actually got out the door sooner than I had planned. First thought, man it's warm! Okay, for the record it was only in the low 40s, but after 2 weeks of running in freezing temperatures and windchills this morning was like a heat wave. Dang it. How in the heck do I dress for this? Yeah, I haven't been really good with that one lately.

It wasn't my best 20 mile run. There seems to be this unwelcome tend of wind on my long runs lately.

  • 16 miles - cold, windy
  • 18 miles - freezing, super windy
  • 10 miles - freezing (ice & snow), super windy
  • 20 miles - warm, super wind, rain last 2 miles
It's nice to have warm temperatures. Now I just wish the wind would go away. I really don't need resistance training on my long runs. But now the fun starts! It's taper time!! Woo hoo!! Two weeks of lower mileage. Even though today didn't go as well as I hoped I still feel like I'm in really good shape for the race. I can't believe it's 3 weeks away...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A much needed haircut!

I got my haircut yesterday!! I tried out a new salon near my house (Ambrosia) for a couple of reasons:

  1. they've got a lot of good curly haircut reviews
  2. they use all natural products
  3. It just looked really cool from the photos. Relaxed and eclectic. My kind of place!
Plus as an added bonus I called for an appointment Tuesday and got one for Wednesday. Major score!! And the stylist actually listened to what I was saying about my hair!! He asked what I didn't like about it, and took a lot of time just looking at it to see what my crazy curly hair did. The end result (note my own styling may or may not resemble this in the future):

This was the first time I had ever had a dry haircut. This was mostly so he could see how my hair reacted as he cut it. I have to say I actually really liked it before he even washed it! Granted I had to put my glasses back on before I could see what was really going on, but it's pretty cool. He even explained what he was doing (and I actually understood!) so that I would have an idea of what was going on. It was completely free form. He didn't cut a certain length into it, he just cut the hair the way it wanted to go. And he did it all with a razor (first time for me). It was pretty cool to watch.

I also got to have my scalp analyzed because the Phyto representative was in the salon doing consultations. Bonus! I think I may try out some of their products now that I know what can help this itchy, dry scalp of mine. If anyone is interested in trying the salon let me know (I highly recommend it!). I have some referral cards that can save you 20% on a service.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Do you DailyMile?

Haven't heard of DailyMile yet? Don't worry I only recently discovered it myself. For a long time I've been using the Nike+ system. Over the holiday break I started noticing a tend with my Twitter feed. People were commenting on their workouts from something called DailyMile. Okay, that's cool, but what the heck is it? I set out to investigate!

DailyMile is pretty cool, dare I say even addictive. It's Facebook for the exercising crowd. You can either manually enter your workouts for cycling, running, swimming, yoga, cardio, and so much more or you can sync your workouts from several of the popular tracking devices on the market (I can sync with my Nike+ sportsband). You have friends who can comment on your workouts or post thoughts, cool little motivation gifts, community groups (Team in Training Georgia has one!), and challenges you can participate in against other DailyMile users. And to top it all off this week they started sending out weekly training recaps to your e-mail inbox. Mine said I did an awesome job of training last week. Thanks DailyMile!

I can see why Nike+ has tried to make some of the changes they started. Problem is they are no where near as good as DailyMile currently is. I still have to log into Nike+ to look at the graph of my run (that's something that DailyMile doesn't do), but I love the community on DailyMile. Whether someone is just starting out, been training for a while, or is a running rockstar, everyone is super supportive and encouraging. My kind of place! So, pop on by and check it out!

Monday, January 11, 2010

New alignment

I got tired of sliding around when doing a yoga workout. See after my Dad's stroke 3 1/2 years ago I leant him my yoga mat so that he could do his PT exercises at home and asked to have it back when he was done. 3 1/2 years later I have no idea where the mat has gone to. So, I went and got a new one Saturday. I have been eyeing the Lululemon website for ages, and I decided this week that I wanted one of their align yoga mats. It's awesome!! Not only did I not slide, but the mat has alignment lines running down and across so that you can make sure your poses are lined up correctly. Genius! Can you tell I really like my new mat? ;) After my marathon (in 3 weeks -- eek) I want to try out some of the free classes they do in the store. (the buckhead store that I went does them on Saturday mornings). In honor of my new mat I actually paid for the 60 minute yoga for runners class. It kicked my rear end! I ended up having to take a short break and modifying some of the planks to make it through the whole class. I really like it though. So, all in all two good purchases for the weekend. Yoga has made me feel so much stronger as a runner. It really has helped strengthen my legs a lot. Plus I'm doing more stretching and hopefully preventing injuries! A win win situation in my book :)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow reminds me of how it all began...

It snowed in Atlanta today. A whole 1/2 inch. The entire city is in a slippery holding pattern. See, despite all of the ice storms we've had the city only has 4 salt/sand machines. Yes, that's right. Only four. Doesn't seem quite right. After spending 2 years in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for graduate school I find all of this highly amusing. Schools started announcing closing Wednesday evening ahead of the weather "event." I remember walking to class in blizzards in Milwaukee. What a difference a few years and several hundred miles make.

See snow and running go way back for me. I first starting running in March of 2006 after taking a fall and messing up my shoulder and couldn't practice. This was a bit of a problem because I was 3 weeks away from my graduate violin recital. So, to deal with all of the stress I laced up my running shoes over spring break and went for a run. It was about 5 degrees out with an inch or 2 of snow. It was magical. I don't think I even made it a mile :). But I loved it. It made me feel better, I wasn't nearly as stressed out, and it actually made my shoulder feel a little better (or maybe that was all in my head). So, tomorrow I "only" have to run 10 miles. I'm kind of hoping there will still be some snow on the ground. In a way, it's almost like going back to the beginning, except I can run further than a mile now :)

had to make sure we had everything we needed for the "storm"

some were not as concerned :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Joys of Cookbooks

Sunday night I watched Julie & Julia. Whenever I watch it i have a strong desire to go out a buy Julia Child's cookbook and start making my way though it. Although with my family history of heart disease and high blood pressure I would probably only make it halfway through. I think it has something to do with butter...

Anyway, I started looking at my cookbooks and my long neglected copy of "The Joy of Cooking." I've never really gotten into ever since I purchased it close to 10 years ago. I was curious as to what kind of "treasures" it might have inside. Flipping through it before falling asleep I only got as far as beverages and drinks, but I did find some "interesting" things inside. Anyone up for Sauerkrat  or clam juice? None for me thanks. The meal planning section was like looking at something from 30 years ago. It made me smile, but gave me no desire what so ever to go out a make a tomato aspic for lunch today (so sorry to disappoint). There are some interesting things in this little gem though. Like a complete calorie, fat, and protein breakdown on the ingredients used in the book. Oh, and apparently in 1975 (the edition I have) there was already a concern about "soft drinks" and nutritional things to serve your child for lunch. I guess things haven't changed as much as we thought. I'm curious to look through more of it. I'm sure there are other amusing things hidden inside. I'm actually rather curious about the bread section, although it is all the way in the back.

Till the next installment...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I deserve a treat

Do you treat yourself after a race?  My past "treats":

  • 2008 ING Georgia Marathon - shopping spree at favorite store
  • 2008 San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon - long sleeve dri-fit shirt (finish shirt was cotton :( ). It's one of my favorite winter running shirts (it's fleece lined!)
  • 2009 Nike Women's Marathon - another long sleeve dri-fit running shirt
  • 2009 Atlanta Half Marathon - a new higher tensioned massage stick
So, what will my "treat" be for the 2010 Tallahassee Marathon? I've been thinking about this very question quite a bit over the past week. It's hard training for races in the winter (it's cold out there even here in Atlanta). Plus, I've been training on my own for this race. Just me and my iPhone on my long runs. So, I've been thinking that a nice "treat" might be in order. For the past 2 1/2 years I've been running with the Nike+ system, and I'm to the point where I'm ready to try and qualify for Boston. So, I've been thinking about getting myself a garmin training watch as my post marathon "treat."

What do you think? Do you have a training watch that you use? What kind? I'm looking at a couple, but would love to hear what you think!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

:) A runner's high :)

This morning I ran 18 miles all on my own. It was freezing out!!!! (25 degrees with 25 mile an hour wind gust I would guess). I'm so glad I didn't look at the windchill before heading out this morning. It struck me while I was out running that I'm just out running 18 miles. No one was forcing me to. I don't have to run a marathon. I choose to do, and I can just run 18 miles. That's huge!!!!!!! You have to understand, I did not like running when I was a kid. I played soccer from the 3rd grade all the way through high school. Pre season conditioning was my least favorite thing to do. When we had our timed mile the first practice of the season I was the very last to finish, huffing, and puffing the whole way, and just squeaking in under the time limit. Running was not "my thing." Now sprinting on the other hand. Well, I loved to sprint, which is why I probably spent most of my soccer career as a wing player. Set me loose and I was off. Just don't ask me to run for long!

Flash forward to today. Today I ran 18 miles because I could, and I did it in just under 3 hours. Now that I can feel my fingers and toes again I feel pretty awesome, and a little bit sore. It's a nice runners high. I hope it sticks around a while. If not, I've got a 20 mile run coming up in a two weeks :).