rest days are dangerous

Or, why running is like school.

Because they (rest days) are extremely boring. I found myself becoming restless yesterday, filled with nervous tension. Bubs and I spent the entire day in the backyard; me in my ghetto-fab cabana and him alternating between the cabana and kiddie pool. I think part of my restlessness is stemming from it still being the early days of my summer vacation. I took 11 credits this summer and only finished last Thursday. It was another 4.0 quarter! Pretty awesome considering I never opened my textbooks and quit caring about the quarter exactly 45 minutes into the first week.

Here’s the thing about school. In the 43 credits I have taken in the last year (I didn’t take anything winter quarter), I have maintained a 4.0 consistently (except for one class in which I received a 3.0 and I’m not happy about it/tempted to retake it from another professor, but I digress). In all those classes, I have only felt like I deserved the 4.0 once. A part of me resents being given a grade I don’t feel I deserve, because I feel like it lumps me into a group with some of the people in my classes that feel that because their parents are paying X amount, they deserve a certain grade. The first time I went to college I had basically the same attitude. It didn’t get me anywhere near where I wanted to be. But people are who they are, and they are where they are in their lives. I’m not going to waste my energy reacting emotionally to who/what/where they are at this point in their lives. I have no qualms telling the beat-boxing guy to shut up during tests, though.

I hope I haven’t lost you after that tangent. I tend to use the blog as a place to express my half-formed ideas, giving myself a chance to let stuff come to the surface so I can figure out what is at the root of whatever I’m feeling at the moment.

School is like running in that I don’t feel like I’m earning my races. I don’t like hill work, and I really don’t enjoy speed work. Note to self: I don’t think anyone enjoys it while they are doing it. It’s the sense of accomplishment that occurs afterward that people love. So I haven’t been doing much of either lately. Also, I’ve started to feel guilty because I know I *should* be doing cross-training. But cross-training is just like the dentist. I put it off as long as I can, do not enjoy a single moment of it, and then retaliate by not flossing for three days have to take a nap after my adrenaline levels drop back into the normal range when it’s all over. Apparently, I’m not the only one feeling this way now. Tricia (Endurance Isn’t Only Physical) seems to be feeling a similar need for action, and after reading her post, I’m thinking the Hard CORE Club might be is a good choice for me. I won’t say that it sounds easy, but it sounds like my sort of challenge. Or, the kind of challenge I need. I’ll be doing the sets on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. And now I’m not going to think about the core work until Friday because otherwise my abs might revolt.

It’s now 38 days until my first half pikermi. I panic a little every time I think about that, but I think I would panic more if I just pretend its off in the future somewhere, floating around in the vacuum of the space/time continuum. I’m battling the voice in my head saying I’m not prepared. There’s a little of the “They’re all going to laugh at you!!!” thrown in for good measure, because when I like to self-sabotage I go balls to the wall take no prisoners.

The fact is, if my pikermi was going to happen tomorrow, it would suck. Possibly on an epic level. But it’s not tomorrow and I have a number of training runs between now and the race. I know that at least some of this is coming from the fact that I am naturally an introvert and crowds freak me out. But again, this is not my first square dance rodeo road race, so I understand about race crowds and have a personal strategy: get in the back, near the outside. No, I won’t be setting any land speed records, but I bet I won’t be the last across the finish line, either. And so what if I am the very last person to cross that line? It would still be a PR, and hopefully make a new PR easily attainable with more better training (read: hills and speed work).

What I’m trying to deal with now is the fact that I have a particular goal in mind for my pikermi time. I will not meet that goal simply because I have not been diligent about hills, speed work OR cross-training. So the next 38 days will be about accepting where I am in this training plan, and letting go of the “magic number” in my head. Because unlike my sociology class from spring quarter, no one will be awarding me a finishing time that adds up to less than my splits (translation: my final grade was higher than what I actually earned based on all coursework).

I am working hard toward this goal and I’m not going to feel bad about what I haven’t done. Choices have been made. They are not cast-iron, so choices will be re-made. Just because I have an unrealistic finish time in my head for my first pikermi, absolutely does not mean it will always be unrealistic. So, little voice in my head, kindly shut yer trap.

And because I love this song, and the title is really resonating with me (as well as all the lyrics), for your audio-visual enjoyment I present you with:

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it’s a lion sort of day

My mom is gone for the next two weeks (New York and then Cancun) so even though my dad is still in town, I’m walking their dogs in the mornings. Today I had 5 miles on my running menu so I opted to run to their house, walk the dogs and then run home. We live exactly 3 miles away from them, so it worked out well since I’m making minor adjustments to my training schedule when I feel like it, such as  running 6 when it’s more convenient than 5, or adding in a 2 mile dog-walking break to the middle of my 6 mile run.

I ate a package of shot blox and it seemed to be the right amount for my stomach. Still trying to work out what I can eat before running. It has less to do with running than with my instant nausea at jumping out of bed and immediately trying to eat something. I prefer a smoothie in the morning, but I’m also inherently lazy/do not wish to wake slumbering bears (Hubs & Bubs) when I need to eat before running out the door.

What do you eat before a first-thing-in-the-morning work out?

(I would seriously appreciate any vegetarian/non-banana related suggestions!!!)

It’s supposed to be 94 here today. My plan for battling the heat is to do like the lions do: lay down in some shade and not move at all. I will be eating popsicles and not gazelles, though. Also, I like to brush my hair. Is it wrong that every time I see a picture of a lion I want to brush his mane? Possibly. Then I think about just how dire the consequences of my attempted good deed would be, and move along with my day.

night running

It’s my “everything old is new again” thing, apparently. I’m going back to evening/night runs. Because I can no longer get my ass out of the house during the day need to focus on finals during daylight hours and a night run will give me a major mental boost before I start typing this next paper. And because I am on a training plan. Minor adjustments are acceptable. Skipping runs is not. So, I will run when I can. And take the time next week to plan out a schedule that I can adhere to CONSISTENTLY over the summer.

plan of attack

I’ve decided to do a modified version of  Hal Higdon’s half marathon training plan. What do I mean by modified? I mean, honestly I’m probably not going to do all that cross training. I’d like to say that I will, but I know myself well enough to know that I really don’t like strength training. Well, maybe I really like it when I’ve just finished doing it, but the idea of it makes me want to crawl back into bed. I’ll probably incorporate some of the speed work & tempo training from the intermediate plan as well.

I ran in the sunshine yesterday. I’d almost forgotten what that feels like. It was really nice. I saw a bunch of other runners, which is refreshing. I’m thinking I’ll run Greenlake tomorrow for National Running Day.I’m feeling really inspired right now. If only I could bottle it up for when I really need it. This quarter is almost over and I’m 2/3 relieved. A LOT of my good mood is coming from that 2/3. The other 1/3 is taught by a professor who is in the top 5 college division, top 6 overall. I’m really going to miss his class. But I’m ready for this quarter to be over. Thankfully, summer quarter will be short. More time for running? Yeah, if I drag myself out of bed before Hubs has to go to work. It looks like that won’t be a problem since Harold the Rooster lives across the alley from us. Harold isn’t very good with time, but he wants to be sure he does a good job of notifying the world the sun is coming up so most days he starts in around 3 am. In what may or may not be related news, I might start eating chicken again. 😉 Kidding, Harold. Mostly. But, seriously. Save it for at least 5 am.

If you haven’t already, go check out the giveaway being co-hosted by Tara and SRG!

peace, love and anarchy

Or so read the symbols scratched into the gravel trail I ran today. It didn’t start as a very good run, but there were three things that kept it from seriously sucking. 1) Those symbols kept popping into my head and I would have laughed if I could. 1.5)I found a track (!) that I might visit again. (The only other one near me is kept under lock and key and my days of climbing 20 ft. high chain link fences are well behind me.) It didn’t have designated lanes, but that’s no biggie if I stick to the inside. I did a lap and a half before taking off on a new trail that took me back out to the road. I’ve driven that stretch many times but I had no idea it was so long! 2) I have really cheap headphones on my iPod. My darling 4-year-old tested out his scissors on my last set, hence only spending $10 on these. Anyway, every time they bounce against my chest they sound like windshield wipers- the way they sound in a steady rain, not like when they are going to fast with not enough water. That is the sound of many a family road trip from my childhood. Yet again, I could have laughed if I wasn’t working so hard. 3) I kicked it into high gear at the end. It was my one-minute warning and I just turned it up! I haven’t sprinted like that in ages. It felt so good!! And I really flew the last quarter of a block.  It really helped put things back into perspective. I took my lemon of a run and turned it into a Lynchburg Lemonade!

feelin’ good!

The weather has been… odd. It alternated between rain and sun all day. It seems to taken a turn for the gloomy in the last few hours though. I decided to try the green belt (gravel path) since I’m all about conquering (personal) mountains this week. Gravel is a challenge for me. But this was a less significant challenge than Tuesday’s conquering of the Hill of Deathtoknees.

I passed a couple of other runners headed in the opposite direction. Initially this is worth noting since it means that I’m not the only person in the city that uses their legs for traveling, regardless of speed. More significantly (to me), it’s the genuinely warm (albeit tiny) smiles that are shared. I feel like I can really consider myself a runner now that people I consider to be runners (based on the highly scientific fact that they are moving at a pace faster than “walk”) are acknowledging me as a comrade in arms physical exertion.  Those little smiles were just the boost I needed. It’s the best of both worlds- I feel like I’m part of a team, but I can do my own thing and just bliss out as the miles stretch on. I feel so centered and balanced right now.  The fact that I met another goal with Nike helps, too. I doubled my distance goal since I met the last one in 2 weeks and not the 4 weeks that Nike gives you. Ego boost! I’m starting to feel the urge to push this too quickly, so I’m taking it as a sign that I need to go to bed now.


Tomorrow will start the last week of my current training plan. I’m excited to be (almost) done with it since it shows me that I needed a plan, and more importantly, that I am capable of sticking to a plan. But when I near the end of anything, the “what’s next?” question is nearly as big as my sense of accomplishment. Never fear, dear Reader for I have found my next challenge.

It’s just a simple plan from Runner’s World to double my distance/endurance over the next 6 weeks. Conveniently enough, the end of those six weeks takes me right up to when I need to start my ten week plan for my first half marathon. Which then gives me about a month to train for Ragnar. Sigh!

I’ve ordered a new calendar to keep track of my running info. I’m not running for the weight-loss aspect (at least not primarily), even though I would love to see the scale drop and stay down. I’ve been a little disappointed that it isn’t moving anywhere. I decided to start tracking weight, measurements and my resting heart rate. I’ll be focusing on the overall trends not the day-to-day minute changes (unless my weight drops 2 lbs overnight- then it’s time to drink extra water). And having it in a place that I can look at anytime, and physically hold will be a good thing for me. Plus, then my personal planner can go back to being empty. Just kidding. Not really. Maybe. But I found that I was much better at keeping track of school and personal things when they each had their own planner. So now running gets its own as well. That way I can share my changes without actually posting anything too personal. On that note- I’ve lost an inch off my waist since the beginning of January!

Oh, today was day one of strength training. I figured it was finally time to get serious about things. It’s so boring, but I’ll be looking into alternative approaches. I’d love to get back into swimming someday.