Saturday, September 30, 2006

Marathon Training: Weeks 9 and 10

Week 9 was so bad I couldn't even write about it last week. Here's the short version:

I completed 20 miles of running, culminating in a long run of 9 miles. Because of bad weather on Saturday (excessively humid in the morning and pouring rain with hail in the afternoon), I ran it on a treadmill. Which sucked. Not doing that again.

Week 10 was better, so I can even write about it already this morning!

I ran my long run of 10 miles this morning. It was so cool and comfortable outside that the run was exceptionally pleasant. I even found myself speeding up towards the end of the run, which was a really nice feeling.

Today's completed run puts me a third of the way through my training for the marathon in February. I have run 133 miles in 30.5 hours over the last ten weeks. I never imagined I would run anywhere close to that many miles in the same year even. "Amazing" is the only word I have for this.

In other news, I ran in different style clothes today. I have been running in running shorts and tight shirts. Since I run mostly in the early morning, I catch my shadow as cars drive by with their headlights on or from street lights along my route. I had noticed that my shadow really looked like my butt needed a sign on it that says "WIDE LOAD". I spent much time trying to figure out if this was true, or some kind of weird optical illusion. Today I ran in a loose shirt and a pair of tight spandex shorts. The shadows now looked proportional, the way I thought I looked. So, I've determined that my running clothes make my butt look big, and it's time to get some new ones. Oh, and there's the fact that my running shorts are all hand-me-downs, and are all too big, which might also be contributing to the wide load look. But whatever. The conclusion is the same.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Marathon Training: Week 8

This week was a light week. Every fourth week is supposed to be a rest week, and this was mine. I thought about changing things up since I slacked off so bad in Week 6. But I decided I don't understand the ramifications of changing up the training plan, so I just stepped back in last week and continued on with the plan, as designed. This week's mileage total was 15 miles.

You have to give a program credit when one more mile just doesn't seem like that much. I haven't been afraid of a run, which makes it easier to get out there and do it. The eight-mile run yesterday was tough, but I really think that has more to do with the humidity in the air than anything else. The last two miles found me with a high heartrate and that's the marker for getting to feeling bad enough to have to walk. And, I did have to walk for about a tenth of a mile just to get my heartrate back down.

I also had a great chance to practice my biofeedback-esque heartrate lowering exercises. I use a combination of deep breathing and concentration to lower my heartrate and prolong a run before it becomes a walk. I've had pretty decent success in the past with it, but yesterday I was too distracted to make it work quite right. I did still prolong my run, just not quite far enough. But, I learned some valuable things about the process that I can use in the future.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

And To You, Too!

To the person that wrote a note to my car:

Thank you for the thoughtfulness that led to you writing a note and putting it under my windshield while I was at lunch. My car was obviously lonely, and appreciated the company. It was very nice the way you carefully crafted your two-word message with the lovely exclamation point and the three lines below it. It was especially poignant that you drafted the message on a napkin, as I was likely using mine inside the restaurant at the time.

My car tried to tell me that it thinks that you intended the message for me, but since I was nicely parked at least 6 inches from the cars on either side of me (and certainly within my space), I told it that couldn't be the case. I told my car it should appreciate the comments it receives, and it doesn't need to be modest, diverting attention from itself. It was so insistent, though, that I had to give it a second thought.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if anyone had wanted to convey something to me about my parking, they would have been more verbose, explaining in great detail my precise infraction. There wasn't anyone else on the row when I parked, so I didn't "steal" anyone else's space. I didn't bump my door into the neighboring car when I emerged, even though the spaces are very small, so that couldn't have been the concern. So, since there wasn't a direct explanation of my great overstepping, I assume the message must have been meant for my car.

And Car, you have to understand that different people have different tolerance levels for how pretty and clean you are. It doesn't have any bearing on how I feel about you. I still love you. And the person who wrote the note loves you too -- they just haven't figured out how to express that appropriately.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Movie Mayhem

We went to see a late showing of "A Scanner Darkly", and it created some odd experiences. My husband dropped me off to get seats and went to pick up a friend who has no car. I was the first person in the theater, and sat down in the middle. The second person who came in made eye contact with me, and then proceeded to sit on my same row with just two seats between us. This seemed very odd, but I assumed I was overreacting to the situation. Apparently this location was too far away, though, so when his friend came in, Guy #1 moved a seat closer to me.

Some of you may have seen the emails that circulated a few years ago about urinal usage etiquette, and how it's important not to select a urinal too close to one that is already in use. I've never had use for that information, but much the same logic applies in other public settings. After he moved closer to me, I decided I didn't care if I was overreacting or if my actions were rude. I was uncomfortable with the three people in the theater all being within four seats of each other and not being a group. So I moved to another row.

Then, if you've ever been to a movie at an Alamo Drafthouse location, you know they have a whole short film at the beginning about being quiet in the theater, encouraging patrons to flag any loud guests for management to deal with them (they probably don't deal with them in the same way as they do in the short films). I've never had to even think about doing that...until this particular night. About halfway through the movie, a guy on my new row started being exceptionally loud. Laughing in inappropriate places, telling his friend that certain characters were stoned, rehashing certain story points. My guess is he stepped out, got himself stoned, and returned to be a punk in the theater. His friend seemed really embarrassed, and much of the theater was obviously annoyed with this guy's antics. So why didn't anyone call for management to take his ass out?

Besides all the strange activity in the theater, it was a good movie. However, since we saw it relatively late at night, we came home and I went straight to bed. I should probably stayed awake a while to process the movie before going to sleep. But since I didn't, I had my own short film inspired by the movie as a dream. Or nightmare, more like it.

I was going about much my normal business, when people started reacting to me like they couldn't understand me. I knew I was doing drugs, but not enough to impair speech functions. As time progressed, I got to where I couldn't understand myself, and my motions became slower and more sluggish. As I couldn't understand what I was saying, I got scared, wondering what was happening to me. Panic and confusion increased and increased and then ... my screen went white ... and then little letters and numbers appeared on the screen arranged in a bootup sequence.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Marathon Training: Week 7

I recovered from my disastrous week last week. Whew.

I ran my seven miles yesterday morning. It was a perfect day for a run -- cool and breezy, overcast but not raining. It was a very enjoyable experience. All told, I ran 20 miles this week. Again, not fast, but I made it, and ran the whole way. This constitutes a new personal best long run. My last was 6 miles in about 1999. I ran a lot faster back then, as I was in better shape, but whatever. I'll get back to that speed one day.

As I was running in a new area, I came to be thinking about hills (there's a lot of time to think during a 7-mile run). The definition of a hill is very different depending on what you're doing. To "feel" a hill in a car, it has to be pretty big -- something like the 2222 or the Spicewood Springs hills from 360. That's about the only way the car really has to work hard, and many not be able to maintain it's speed on the incline. On a bike, hills creep up in more scenarios -- you're susceptible to a smaller incline before you slow down on a bike. While running, it seems to take almost no visible hill to require me to slow down while climbing. 'Course maybe that's cause I'm not in marathon shape yet. Maybe then it will take a slightly visible hill.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Marathon Training: Week 6

This was the first week I really did poorly with my running. I've run slow and I've had days where I walked some, but this week, laziness reached an all-time high. I only ran twice this week, making this week's total mileage only 8 miles. Quite the drop from last week's 17.

Today I did my long run of 6 miles, regardless of the runs I missed this week. As I got going, I found that my heart rate monitor was not working quite right. It started out okay, climbing into the 150-160 range, and then it lost the connection. When it came back, it said my heart rate was 128 which immediately jumped to 228. So, I quit looking at it. I have a tendency to start out too fast, and then I use that monitor as a speed limiter, but now without the limiter, it was interesting to see how I did. I still started out too fast, but I lasted at that speed for a little over 4 miles. Then I cratered, and ran less than 3/4 of the last two miles. Overall, I finished in about the total time that I should have, so that gives you an idea of how quickly I was going at first. However, I have to learn to read my body, rather than relying on a digital readout, so this was a good experience from that perspective.

Ultimately, though, it was a hard run because I skipped way too many runs this week. Here are some of the excuses I used with myself to get out of running.

I'm tired. This one is actually relatively legit. You try to be rested when your husband comes home between 2 and 4 in the morning and then wants to talk about his day for a while. The alarm clock comes early on those days.

I'm dehydrated. Also probably true, but not that hard to do something about it.

I need to reread the form chapter. I have felt that I could probably get some good insights for my form runs by rereading that chapter, but that's no reason to not run them the way I have been so far. Or just reread the chapter.

My legs are sore. Actually getting out and running makes this go away.

I woke up too late. Wah. This leads to...

I'll run tonight instead. Ha! We all know that won't happen. If I don't run in the morning the afternoons are even harder, because of...

It's hot outside. This is mostly how I convinced myself out of those afternoon runs when I didn't run that morning.

Better get back out there this week and run past the excuses. Next week has to be better.