Friday, August 29, 2008

More whining and wining

After a bout of yuckiness (you do NOT want the details), I think I can eat and run again. Which is good, since I need to get 14 miles in on Saturday. Rest (or mow, if it doesn't rain again) on Sunday, and hit the hills for 5 miles at the Whine Run on Monday. They've changed the route a bit, but this is usually a VERY hilly run (in the Hill Country - get it?), followed by wine drinking at the Dry Comal Creek vineyards. Yeah, it's rough. Now you know why I want my stomach to get un-yuckied before then.
Have a great, long weekend.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Aloha Bonnie and Bryan

Me - dead center in turquoise

This was a "carb loading" farewell for running buddies Bonnie and Bryan - who were deployed to San Antonio for the past couple of years but are now returning home - to Hawaii (now why couldn't the Army have deployed me to places like that?).

Adrian, me, Tammy

I was considering running the San Antonio marathon in November and the Honolulu marathon in December this year - with their free accommodations - but I wised up. Maybe next year I'll join Bonnie and run Diamond Head in the marathon (I'm sure to take some ugly shots in that humidity).
Bonnie and I
Bon voyage and run/bike hard!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Race shirts

In my quest to take the best ugly race pic possible, I register for and run a lot of races. They all come with a "free" t-shirt. At first, I kept and cherished all of these shirts, but didn't necessarily wear many of them. In most cases, a shirt was worn once after the race and then took up residence on the rack. As they took over my closet, I still could not bear to part with many. Even donating them to local charities was not a good option, since employees at two of the agencies told me they receive so many t-shirts, they often can't even sell them as rags and just throw them away.

Then, I discovered teecycle. This is the brainchild of a guy who may be lacking a brain, since he decided it would be a good idea to bicycle from Denver to Milwaukee. He has a heart, though, and even donates a dollar per shirt to the River Revitalization Foundation to restore urban river trails and waterways in Milwaukee. Cool - though he may not think so after I cleaned out the closet and sent him a truckload of t-shirts, but they may all find good homes, after all.

Anyway, if you check out, you'll see my latest donation - and the cool Hustler tee I picked up for my sis!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunrise 10k pics and skunks

Well, here are the ugly race pics from the Sunrise 10k in Alamo Heights.

Including the uphill (ugh) finish

This morning, I got up early to run (hobble) 9 miles. Before I left, I let the dog out - and she promptly chased down a skunk. I don't think she actually got sprayed, but she sniffed at the spray enough to get it on her. So, I got to spend 9 miles (then the rest of the day) with skunk stench in my nose. At least I know I can run under pretty much any condition, hey?!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Preliminary Sunrise 10K ugly race pics

Here are the early start and finish pics. Not so bad (but I was soaking wet at the finish), and midrace/mid-hill really ugly pics will follow. My time stunk - a clear 5 minutes off normal. I've always got an excuse and this time the excuses are pretty good: tough (hilly) course, wet surfaces, many turns, and that pain in my butt.

So here's the start - I'm #283 in the aqua skirt (Brak Pak is the running cult to which I belong). Note to self: cut the shirt off - way too long.

And the finish - gotta make sure I don't let one more second elapse on my watch with that cruddy time!

Now, pouring Motrin down my throat, rubbing my bum, preparing to run 9 miles tomorrow at 6 a.m. Then mow the grass if it doesn't rain.

Evil Twin Nemeses

These two get me every year - one before the marathon and one after. The latter is plantar fasciitis, which I'm sure I will be crying about in November. The current nemesis is piriformis syndrome. Literally, it's a pain in the butt. The piriformis is this nasty little muscle that, when angry, squeezes the sciatic nerve. It produces not only a sharp, stabbing pain in the buttock, but also lovely radiating pain throughout the hip and down the leg. So, what I was hoping was just some hip pain is the return of my evil nemesis - PS. I didn't experience this last year until the 16-18 mile long runs, but it can apparently also be caused by trauma, so my fall on my left hip at the Chupacabra run probably didn't help.
The treatment for PS is much like that for its evil twin (PF) - conservative (e.g. no running) - or an evil butt injection, as above. {The featured red muscle there is the piriformis.} Since neither of those are going to happen, it's conservative running for me - staying off the banked left side of the road, flat/even surfaces, Motrin, and ice.
Oh, except for this morning, when I ran the (also evil) Sunrise 10k in the hills of Alamo Heights on wet streets on the left side of the road. I'm icing my butt right now, but will soon post what are sure to be super ugly race pics - since I was gritting my teeth running up hills, cursing my evil left piriformis muscle.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The trick is to scare the pain away

Well, my left hip pain was debilitating and enervating by the time I left work yesterday - I couldn't even run down the block. I actually hopped/limped back up the block to the house. After some "hip opening" poses and a nap, the pain exploded then suddenly went away. With my vast medical knowledge (from WebMD), I'm going to chalk it up as some sort of weirdo nerve impingement.
Or, maybe the pain got scared when it saw the email confirmation I received from this:
Eek. 88 days away - I think, but I'm not very good at math. At least it looks like I'll be hip-pain-free for tomorrow's hilly race. I can't make any guarantees for runs 88 days and 100s of miles from now, though.

Hi to Crissy and Scott - and whatever hockey players they may be housing in Indy!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sunrise 10k

So, this is Saturday's 10k - "challenging course," they say (e.g. HILLS). I woke up this morning with a very, very painful left hip and can barely walk. It is probably due to my whining yesterday. I'm going to try to 'run it out' after work, then hit the wine tasting, just to feel better.

I sure hope it doesn't feel like this Saturday, or for Sunday's 9 miler.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This part sucks

There have been a couple of points in my life that I had to remind myself that "this part sucks." And that's just how it is - you have to get past that part. These parts have ranged from a 0.09-3 (on a scale of 1-10) due to teenage angst or the Army, to closer to a 6, when I was throwing myself major pity parties. At that part, I tried to focus on the fact that I did not have a health crisis or another permanent "suckage," and that, while that part sucked, it could only get better. It always has. I just had to get past the part that sucked.

So, this is minor "suckage" on the scale from 1-10. Right now, I'm at the "this part sucks" point in marathon training. I recognize it - no pity parties - but I still don't like it. I'm right at the point when training starts eating up TIME, I have to schedule everything around running 7-8-14 miles, I hurt, I'm paranoid about injuries, I have to make sure I sleep, I have to concentrate on eating right, and it's just work. All while it's still HOT Summer. The worst part is completing 13 mile runs with that (LOUD) voice in my head saying "you can't run more than double this, wuss." I dislike that voice. It sucks.

Anyway, I know this part sucks. In a couple of weeks, it'll be routine and fun again to take the road for hours at a time. I can run 26.2. I just need to get past this part that sucks.

(If Mom's reading this - sorry for all the "sucks," I know you don't like that phrase - but I never made it through any issues thinking "this part only stinks!")

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ugly wet shoes

I really dislike running in wet, soggy shoes. But it rained much of today and, just before I was meeting my buddies for a run, it poured. It had slowed to a drizzle by the time we started, but there were unavoidable lake-puddles along the way. And my shoes were wet and soggy. Yuck.

I shouldn't complain - this would have been a good day last year, when people were building arks, just in case. But in a year of drought, I am spoiled and, therefore, must complain about running in yucky, wet, soggy shoes.

At least I don't have to run in snow like some of you suckers - that would really make me whine.

Up this weekend - Sunrise (hilly) 10k and a 9-miler step-down run.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympics marathon

Normally, I follow Saturday (or Sunday) long runs with a shower, breakfast, and a big nap. This Saturday, after about 12.5, I had places to go, people to see, and a dog who wanted to go to the lake. So, by the time I headed home after all of that, in the rain around 6, I was very, very sleepy. However, the women's marathon was on. I strained to see local phenom (and nemesis) Liza Hunter-Galvan - and she was with the lead pack for half of the run. She got mentioned as the oldest runner (39) and finished 35th. Quite the run after finishing 51st in Athens. Incidentally, the winner is 38 years old - I told you this was a tough age group (like I can run as fast as those ladies)!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Seeester Nemesis

She doesn't exactly qualify as nemesis material anymore, since I aged out of our age group [got old], but I'm still going to call her out as a nemesis.

**don't worry my pretty, I'm biding my time and you, too, will be here in this age group soon, soon**

So, the next posted nemesis is my sister, Gretchen. She pretty much kicks my butt in every race we're in (and we live over 1,000 miles apart, but we've raced several times in the past couple of years) - all while having children (4) in between. HER - NOT me. No complaints here on the kiddos - she's provided me with 2/3 of my 2025 Packers offensive starting line and fun, crazy boys to play with.

Here she is in action lately in Green Bay - note: not her best time for a HM, but better than any of mine. AND a bad attempt on her part at an ugly race pic. No tongue hanging out, no body parts in places they don't belong - she just can't get the hang of this ugly race pic thing (I'm just sayin').

Anyway, she even tricked me into my first marathon by telling me that, if she wasn't pregnant, she'd run the 2007 San Antonio Marathon with me. I foolishly agreed, she was actually pregnant at/about that time, and I should have been off the hook. But, being the good sister, I agreed, when her due date for baby #4 was determined to be July, to allow her to train a little longer for the December Dallas Whiterock Marathon instead (that's just how nice I am). **slight story enhancement there in that last part**

We actually finished the marthon together (though she was well in the lead for the most part):

So, since I don't seem to have a chance of beating her (hence her nemesis status), I have no choice but to retaliate in a nasty way - by posting a picture of me beating her when she was HUGE - AND I beat her. That's right. That's really how I am. And here it is:

As you can clearly see, ipso facto evidence that 1) my lean (on the left) caused me to win and 2) she was (on the right) HUGE. Sadly, I think this may have been the last time I beat her.

*Thanks (even though they don't know it) for the last pic to Mom and Dad

Historic post - my only bike tour

For the record - I rode that tank bike almost 40 miles once. Here's the after-"race" shot at the Tour de Goliad in Fall 2006. I got a kick out of wearing the bib on my backside (or my 'best side' as my buddy-the photographer facetiously said). Obviously, my road races are on foot, and more obviously, gimme a beer or two and I'll start posing like an idiot!

Biking to work

Well, today I rode this tank of a bike to work and back. I managed not to get hit by the crazy San Antonio drivers (did you miss all the blinky and solid lights I had on - I looked like a construction zone?), but I did learn a couple of things.
1) Don't forget to wear or at least pack bike shorts. Nothing like that feeling of a jeans seam meeting my fourth point of contact for "only" 5+ miles each way.
2) It is Summer and I will sweat - more towels are needed.
3) Even though I was swearing not to do this again on the way there, I mapped the route and it's uphill there and downhill home - whee.
4) That bike is HEAVY. But it was free ('99? Diamondback Sorrento mountain bike) and I figure if someone hits me with their Tundra, I'll dent them pretty bad.
But, it was a better idea than my previous "run to work" idea, and I saved 1/4 gallon of gas. So, I'm probably going to try to bike to work once a week during marathon training - call it cross training - especially when it cools off a little more (heat index 100+ this afternoon).
No races this weekend - 12-13 mile training run in the morning then off to get rained on at the lake.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Historic post - Ode to the Olympics

So, this is so what I would look like in Beijing, accepting the gold. Not quite as compelling as seƱor Phelps, I guess. My only gripe with that super-freak-athlete is that they keep airing his amazing performances when I should be trying to get to bed. Ah well, another week and a half or so and I'll get some sleep instead of crazily trying to watch EVERY event televised. Gotta love the Olympics.

This was actually me accepting an age group award at the Incarnate Word Run for Brainpower (ahem, no comments, please) in 2007. Obviously, the race wasn't very big, if I was winning. Actually, here's the ugly race pic:

Check out that awful time - eek! In my defense, the night before went a little long. And it poured all Summer, so I finished with pounds of mud on my shoes.

Side note: Way to go to Tim, the crazy guy who biked from Denver to Milwaukee. Check out his great road stories here - including losing an important bag (who needs GPS and cash anyway) and the crazy and awesome folks he met along the way. Welcome home, Tim. He didn't even get a cheesy medal for that!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tough to get back to the grind

Especially when it's too easy to sit in front of the television watching hours of Olympic coverage. Even more so when you open the Sunday paper and the ads all feature this:


Friday, August 8, 2008

Home at last

This was going to be a long, fierce rant about the evils of air travel. I started composing it when my flight was cancelled on the way out, edited it when my luggage was subsequently lost, and refined it (x3) when my flights were late and missed on the return trip. Then, I highly seasoned it with foul language as I waited in a plane on the runway for over 2 hours and again had my luggage lost.

However, after a good night's sleep, I shook it off. Mostly because, when I called the airline (rhymes with conterican) to inquire as to the status of my travelling luggage, the exchange went something like this:

"Ma'am, what brand is your luggage?"
"I don't know - cheap, black, lightweight."
"Well, can you describe the contents?"
"Dirty clothing, souvenirs, sand, I guess"
"Ma'am, would you have sneakers in the suitcase?"
"Yes, probably 3 pairs"
"And what brand would they be?"
"New Balance"
"Okay, ma'am, we do have your bag. Why, though, do you need 3 pairs of the same shoes?"

Mostly because I left the other 8 or so accumulated/used pairs at home, I guess.
Well, I now have my bag, and 3 pairs of sneakers - including the current pair I run in - back safely at home. It was a good trip, but quite the hassle. I got in some maintenance miles, but no good long runs, since I needed to save myself for 'cross training' with nephews - including walking, biking, and kayaking. Now it's back to the training schedule, long runs, and some more ugly race pics.