Monday, September 27, 2010

The great shoe dilema

Mizunos or Newtons? Newtons or Mizunos? This is a question that has been running through my brain almost around the clock since my last 20 mile run. My head has said run in the Mizunos for Chicago. You ran all of your long runs in them. So what if they are approaching old age. You'll be fine! My ankles, and knees have said run in the Newtons, and by the way, get some new orthotics! So, I decided to listen to the ankles. They after all, will bear the brunt of 26.2 miles in 13 days. I got new orthotics a size smaller so that they would fit better in my Newtons (which run a little small), and decided to finally get the metatarsal support too. Holy awesomeness Batman! I tried them in my Newtons Friday afternoon and walked around a bit, and then ran my part of the Ekiden relay in them Sunday. No knee, or ankle soreness! Hmmm, can I run a marathon in shoes that have only gone 10 miles as their longest run? I've been running twice a week in them for a couple of months. They are definitely broken in, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to wear them, which makes me kind of excited. This is the first time that I'm thinking about running a race in shoes that I haven't done my long runs in. That makes me a little nervous, but I feel like I run better in the Newtons than the Mizunos. I really do think the Newtons are going to win, but something tells me the conversation in my head isn't over. That's the fun part of the taper right? So ready to be done tapering!

Now if I could feel like I'm not coming done with something... Oh taper, you drive me batty!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

When Tuesday becomes Monday

Yesterday wasn't the best day of the week so far, which was sad considering how awesome Monday was.
 My Chicago bib number & participant guide came in the mail Monday!!!!! :-)

Well, at least until I got into work and discovered for the second time in 3 weeks there was no air conditioning. Grumble, grumble, grumble. If it were actually fall this might not have been a problem. However, summer is still here. Monday it was 93 in the afternoon, and Tuesday it was 95. Sigh... It took calling the maintence people twice over 2 days to actually get them to come out (I guess not having AC isn't a big issue for them). My student's were rock stars, and put up with temps in the mid 80s in my room all day on Monday, but after 10 minutes I was sweating on Tuesday, which is not a big deal, but I was inside, and I wasn't running.

So, the maintence guy finally shows up (apparently we are suppose to e-mail rather than call. Thanks for letting us know...) and asks if I would like for him to take a look at it right now, or if he should come back later. Dude, it's 95 outside, the sun is on my room, and I'm already hot & sweaty after 30 minutes. Guess which one I choose? After making the fun dieing noise for him, he said the compressor was giving out, and started looking at things. Then he noticed one the heat buttons was pushed down slightly (the unit was not installed correctly however many decades ago it was put in so part of the cover actually sits on top of the low heat button). I must have let someone climb on it. No, I had not thank you very much. Oh, well I must have let someone push down on the cover. Again, thanks for trying, but no. How about we blame someone else. And then it pops in my head that they had been out to fix the stupid machine 3 weeks ago. The cover had come off, and then slapped back on. Hmmm, wonder if that would be considered pushing down hard? In which case maitence men you messed up my AC by trying to fix it the last time. These people drive me crazy!

To top it all off I can't wear my good pair of glasses any more :(. After 3 years the anti-glare coating is coming off, and ruining the lens. I can't see out of the right lens anymore, and the headaches are driving me nuts. So, I'm currently wearing an older pair until I can get to the eye doctor Friday to get a new prescription because nothing can be done to save the lens. They have to be replaced. At least the guy at the store I bought the glasses from was super nice, didn't blame me, and gave me an estimate. While I was there I asking about prescription running glasses, and he was super nice and answered all of my questions. Apparently I am just too blind. Because of my prescription, and because of the shape of most athletic glasses I would end up getting really dizzy trying to wear them (he said that he got some, and his prescription is no where near as bad as mine & he gets dizzy from them). That doesn't sound like a good combination if you ask me. So, now I'm thinking about getting some contacts to wear while running, and then getting a pair of sunglasses for running. Having a headache from squinting while running is getting old.

I could use a little Westside Creamery treat right about now:
a little post long run treat on Saturday salted caramel ice cream!

And look what I found at Antico while waiting for my pizza!

love Alton Brown!
Needless to say my run this morning was not the greatest. It's alright because I made it up everyone of the crazy hills without stopping this morning. Here's to a better Wednesday! May it have never heard of a case on the Mondays...

Monday, September 20, 2010

The last big run!

Saturday was a big day for the Team in Training Georgia Chapter's Chicago Team. Why? Because most of the team was running their very first 20 miler. That's right folks! We ran 20 miles on Saturday. I'll be honest, I wasn't really worried about the run. With one 20 mile run already under my belt I wasn't worried about the distance. I was a little worried about the course. We ran out at the river, which is a 20 mile course that I've never done in my 3 seasons with Team in Training. I hope I don't have to do again! Holy hills! I thought the other 20 mile courses were hilly, but this one had some doosies. There were a couple that were near impossible to run up. Jaclyn and I decided we were going to take it easy and not push. She was getting over a cold, and I had spent most of the week cursing ragweed, and trying to regain the ability to breathe through my nose. It was slower than my first 20 miler, but it still felt great, and I really think that's because we took it easy. There was no reason to push with the summer heat & humidity coming back. Now it's taper time! I can't believe there are only 3 weeks till the race!

The team before the run. All smiles & we smell pretty good too :-)

At the 3rd waterstop. Cruising along before the hills...

30 seconds before this was taken I mentioned how happy I was that our coach had stopped taking our picture... This is what I get for opening my big mouth :-)

Done!! Chocolate milk  in hand! Life is good :-)

Most of the team post run. We still look pretty happy even if we don't smell as good... :-)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chicago Marathon - looking back at summer training

The past two runs have been full of glorious fall like weather in the mornings!! I can't believe it's already starting to arrive. It is a much welcomed break from the unrelenting heat & humidity of the summer. I honestly can't remember a summer that was hotter than this one. With the last big training run before Chicago scheduled for this Saturday it got me to thinking about some of the things that have gotten me through the tough summer months of training:

    CamelBak Fairfax 50-Ounce Hydration Pack,Black/Hi Viz
  • My CamelBak Fairfax 50-Ounce Hydration Pack,Black/Hi Viz!!Some friends have laughed when I've shown up to training runs with it, but it has quite simply saved me this summer. I love having my hands free, and having the storage for my phone, any gels I might need or salt packets. I really can't sing it's praises enough! It's just the right size for my mid week runs, and with water stops on Saturday's I've never run out of water on my long runs. It took a little bit of work to get use to drinking out of the mouth piece, but it didn't take long to get the hang of it.
  • I've been running quite a bit more in my Newton running shoes, usually 1 or 2 runs a week (and I always wear them for my speed workouts). It's taken me a while to get use to them, but I love running in them. I definitely feel like I'm much more efficient and running is easier when I'm wearing them. My orthotics are a bit long for them, so I need to get new ones. I thought about running Chicago in them, but I haven't done any runs longer than 10 miles in them, so right now the plan is to wear my Mizunos for Chicago, and then continue to break the Newtons in for future races. I'm excited about checking out the Newton booth at the Chicago Marathon expo too. I bet I get into a lot of trouble ;-)
  • I have discover Pilate's! I planned to a lot more strength training this time round, and tried a bunch of different things. I started out with the 100 push up, 200 sit up, and 200 squat challenges, and after finishing those moved on to other things. I could definitely tell my running was improving, but I got tired of the repetitions. My friends Amy and Laura talk about Pilate's all the time. In fact I'm pretty sure Laura is trying to take over the world by convincing everyone to try a Pilate's class. See Laura, I'm on to you ;-). I wish going to an actual class fit into my schedule, but my non-conventional work hours mean I miss all of the Mat 1 classes at the studio I want to go to. Fortunately I found a pretty good workout to do at home, and even after just a couple of weeks I can tell a huge difference in my running. What in the world took me so long to try Pilate's?
  • After 4 marathons it was time to move from beginner runner to intermediate runner. With the help of my friend Amy we created a brand spanking new training schedule that is only slightly different than the Team in Training schedule. This time running was balanced with an equal amount of cross training, more strength training, longer runs, and speed workouts. Now that the weather is cooling off I can tell it's all starting to pay off. I spent most of the morning bouncing around despite a 20 mile bike ride and Pilate's. What, I ran 10 miles yesterday? I have 20 miles to run on Saturday? huh? No biggie, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce :-)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I love being an orchestra musician

What better way to celebrate September 11th then with a concert full of patriotic music! All American music, some of it centuries old, and other recent celebrating different parts of American history. You know it's going to be a good concert when the first piece, the national anthem gets a standing ovation & people are still cheering as you start the second piece. It ended with our Irish conductor spiritedly running around the stage with decorative hats and decorating various musicians. It was hard to keep a straight face and play off beats. Lets just say they didn't all stay on the off beats...

 we had a good laugh at this one. Go from playing really soft to softer, but really loud (from E.T. flying theme)

I really love playing in Savannah, and I was pretty happy when it sounded like I was going to continue to be asked to come back. Score!! I think there are some very exciting things going on, and the orchestra is heading in a really great direction. Not to mention it's really fun playing under a conductor that is passionate about music.

It wasn't all completely about work, although it was a lot of playing (my arms feel like they ran a marathon, which is saying something considering all the hours I normal play during the day). There was some food involved. Hey, you have to fuel properly to play well right? ;-)
good old southern BBQ

The Tea Room. I got soaked with no umbrella (fortunately nothing got into the violin case) and walked pathetically into the tea room asking if they did sandwiches. They found me a table and a bunch of napkins to dry off, and replaced my soon to be destroyed shopping bag. Then I had a super yummy lunch of soup, sandwich, tea, and an assortment of sweets. My kind of place!

Reynolds Square, right outside of the theatre

I ended up brown bagging it for dinner Saturday night from a cute little french sandwich shop.
brioche, ham, swiss cheese, brie, with honey Dijon mustard topped with thin apple slices along with a salad. YUMMY!!

Now I just need to find new black trousers before my next concert. There was a lot of pulling them down because they kept bunching over my quads every time I had to stand up (which was a lot). Yay for strong marathon legs. Now I just need trousers that fit them!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

hello again mr. goat

Yes my friends, the plastic goat is back!! Today he's the king of the hill :-). My favorite are the fake flowers just peeking in on the left side of the picture. Hysterical!! I saw him at the end of my 10 mile run this morning. I'm working in Savannah thins weekend and decided to change my runs around, and did my long run this morning. I thought it would be a good day to kick off a very long day. Oh, and it's my birthday ;-). So, I'm working till 9:30pm tonight and trying to find time to pack. And somewhere in all of that there will be cake!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Down the Home stretch

It's hard to believe that there are only 5 weeks standing between me and the Chicago Marathon. It seems like we just started yesterday, and yet it was a full 4 months ago! The ability to finish 26.2 has never crossed my mind having run the distance four times before. I wanted this time to be different. I played with my training schedule, ran some extra miles, and trained with a purpose. I balanced running with speed workouts, lots of cross training, and strength training with the goal of getting stronger and starting to find out what I'm capable of.

So, this weekend I ran the first of two 20 mile training runs. Yes, that's right, two 20 mile runs. I was unusually nervous before starting. I had butterflies fluttering around my stomach, allergies trying to upset the butterflies, and then there was the bug I swallowed running 2 miles before the group run. But I have great friends who started putting my mind to easy. Jessica came over smiled and said I would do awesome. Angela reminded me that I was going to a super yummy dinner the next day, and Lori and Jim were at water stops doing what they do best, handing out water, high fives, hugs, and smiles. I ran with my mentee Jaclyn, and both of us starting thinking the same thing a third of the way through, "this feels really awesome, and kind of easy. Are we going too fast?" The beautiful weather brought new possibilities to both of us, mostly that we are a lot stronger than we thought.  The weather this summer has battered confidence down. It's been mostly about surviving more than anything else. This was one of the best runs in months, maybe even the best 20 miler period (20 miles in 3:18 an average of 10:03 per mile). It gave me such a needed boost of confidence going into the final weeks of training. My teammate, and fellow mentor Andy snapped a few pictures while we were running:

 the Chicago team before starting our run

heading down one of several hills with Jaclyn

Sunday a new confidence was growing even more after discovering that I'm 95% of the way to my fundraising goal! I simply cannot express how much it means, and what a difference the money is making.