Feb 28, 2002

Doing my 8 miler this afternoon, since I wasn’t able to do it on Tuesday. Kristina, who hasn’t run with me since mid-January, is going to run two laps of the park with me. I’m going to run one, then she’s going to meet me and run two, then I’ll do one more on my own. I’m so glad to have her company while running again! Yay!

I also remembered a cool thing about Tuesday’s run. This woman was getting in her car as I ran past her and she said “looking good!” which was nice. I yelled “thanks” as I flew (ha ha) by. I love it when total strangers are supportive!

February 27, 2002

Ever had one of those days where you have a specific run planned, you’re all prepared for it and everything, and then nothing goes as you expected, but you have a great run anyway? That’s what yesterday afternoon was like for me.

I had my eight miler all planned out. I brought my running clothes to work, had my Camelbak filled with Gatorade, and drove to the levee to go four miles out and then four miles back. I was pretty bundled up to begin with, but removed the long-sleeved shirt before I started running. The wind on the levee was whipping around me, making it impossible to either hear my headphones or go in a forward motion. So I turned around after half a mile and just decided to finish at the park.

But I had to pee, and when I walked to the public restrooms at the fly, they were locked. Well, surely the ones at the park will be unlocked, I thought, so I drove to the park to use the restroom and finish my run. Oh, but no, the restrooms were locked there too. Makes absolutely no sense, it’s a public park with lots of people out there on a sunny afternoon like yesterday.

So, angry, I drove home, not sure if I was going to run or just bag it and lay on the couch. Fortunately, Kristina was doing Tae-Bo when I got home, so just lying on the couch wasn’t really an option (guilt is a strong motivator.) So I just walked out the door and started running. Went pretty far, too. I’ve never run in my neighborhood alone before, but I had about an hour before it started to get dark, and I just ran. It was great. I ran around blocks, up and down streets, even found Anne Rice’s house. (We went to a party there a few years ago, and I even chatted with her about apple martinis and paper cups. Well, you can’t really decide what you’re going to talk about with a famous author, can you?) I ran for a total of 42 minutes, and including the mile I had run earlier, I probably covered 4.5 miles yesterday. So I’ll just to the eight miler tomorrow afternoon instead. No big deal!

After my run, we went and saw “A Beautiful Mind.” Great movie!

February 26, 2002

No run this morning. Doing 8 this afternoon, though. I’m excited to run in the afternoon again. Hasn’t gotten that cold yet, but the temperature is dropping 3 degrees every hour, which means that at 4, it should be in the low 40s or high 30s. Hmmm. Cold, but as long as it’s not raining, I can deal with it.

Yesterday was Kristina’s birthday. We went to dinner last night and I think I’m still full from it. Yummy though. Pizza. On the other hand, I had finally noticed the scale dipping down a few pounds, but this morning, it crawled back up a little. It’s ok. No more pizza. Or chocolate. I can deal with that. (Temporarily. This is only temporary.)

Kristina and I are going to Austin in mid-March for a film festival. My brother has two short films showing there. I’ll get to do my first 18 miler there. Austin is gorgeous, and very runner-friendly, apparently. Good stuff!

February 25, 2002

I had a gorgeous run this morning, but first I should recap the weekend…

Saturday, on the advice of my running “mentor” (see Friday’s second post) I cross trained instead of running 16 miles. I had the idea that I had to cycle 64 miles (4 miles on the bike for every 1 ran) but holy cow. Riding a stationary bike is boring! Even though I had my radio and a book, I couldn’t do it for more than 29 miles. Still, it’s longer than a marathon. 🙂 I also did half a mile on the stairmaster (also boring) and half a mile walking on the treadmill.

I think I really needed this break. My feet felt much better afterwards, and my cough is pretty much gone. It also took away some of the staleness in my running, gave me a fresh start. Which leads to this morning’s fantastic run.

Got a bit of a late start, hit my snooze button accidentally. Got to the park, temperature in the mid 50s or so, cloudless sky, no humidity, simply gorgeous. Plan was to run 3 laps around park, for a total of 5.3 miles (of a scheduled 5, but because of the size of the park, exactly five miles is difficult).

The first lap went well, and after I finished it, I stopped for some Gatorade. Started running again (by the way, didn’t walk at all this morning, which was a problem I had last week – too much walking) and a few minutes later (as if someone spiked my Gatorade with endorphins) I had this incredible feeling of happiness sweep over me. I either wanted to laugh or cry, but I settled for a huge grin instead. The intense feeling only lasted a few moments, but it lingered for the rest of the run. I could prolong it a bit if I closed my eyes while I ran. Fortunately, there was no one heading towards me to see this idiocy, and the surface of the path is smooth enough to do this safely. 🙂

I finished the run in 1:06.17, which works out to 12:25/mile average. Not bad at all!

Tomorrow afternoon is my next run, 8 miles. It’s going to get really cold tomorrow, so I’m glad I don’t have to do it in the morning, when it’s supposed to be in the 20s or 30s. At least in the afternoon, it’ll be in the 50s, which I can handle better.

Feb 22, 2002

Rest day today. Thank goodness. (Oh right, you say, as if you haven’t taken enough rest days!) But I took a Tylenol PM last night so I could sleep well (finally, I did!) and I feel much better for it. My throat feels somewhat better and my arches hurt much less. I think I’m going to crosstrain tomorrow instead of a 16 miler. If I don’t give my feet a break now, there won’t be another chance. So tomorrow morning, Kristina’s going to get me into the Tulane gym and I’m going to ride the stationary bike or maybe do some elliptical training (never done it though, and I can be pretty uncoordinated, so I may just stick to the bike.) I heard that the ratio of running:cycling is 1:4, so if I’m supposed to do a 16 mile run tomorrow, I should cycle 64 miles. Woah! Well, the great thing is, I can bring a book. Yeah, I could polish off a decent-sized book in 3-4 hours.

Monday is Kristina’s birthday, so we have a fun weekend scheduled. Saturday we’re going to this yummy burger place for dinner and then to Pat O’Briens, or some other tourist trap in the Quarter to have a hurricane (just one for me, no doubt about it.) Sunday we’re having dinner with my cousin, who I never see. She’s a lawyer in DC so she and Kristina can talk aaalllll about, well, the law. Woo! Fun! Hopefully we’ll get to see a movie in there somewhere. We really need to see more of the movies that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar so we can be well informed.

Just something really cool that I wanted to mention…

Back in August, I joined a running mailing list called the Dead Runner’s Society. It’s a big list (2000+ subscribers, I think) but only 50-60 of them post with any regularity. I lurked for a long time on the list, because most of the members who post are serious runners. Fast runners. But when I started the actual marathon training, I decided to post, because these people can be a fantastic source of information.

One woman, who is married to another member of the list, has become my virtual running mentor. She is in her early 40s, I think, and just had a baby (which was all the talk of the list back when I joined) and has been following my training and giving me advice and encouraging me. What a wonderful person! The best part is, I also get her husband’s advice, as she consults him when I have a question. I get two opinions from experienced, fast runners (I think her husband has run Boston – woooo!) who are very well respected on the list. It’s just all very exciting. Another reason to be thankful for the Internet!

February 20, 2002

Whew!

Did my seven miles this morning. Should be the last time I have to do my long mid-week run in the morning. I made a deal with Sarah that I’ll come in early and not take a lunch break (well, I’d eat lunch at the office, not skip it altogether) and then I can leave at 4 and go to the park and run. I just hate getting up at 6:15 to run at the park, when it’s only just getting light. It’s just not that safe, and when I have to do eight next week, I’ll have to wake up even earlier. It’s not getting dark here until around 6 p.m., so I should be fine. Can’t wait until next Wednesday now!

The run went moderately well, I’d say. Last night when I was going to sleep I was thinking perhaps I’m just holding myself back and I really can run faster than 13-14 minute miles for an extended period of time. Would be a shame if I could run faster, but didn’t know it. So I started out just running at what felt comfortable at the time, and ran the first mile in 11:06. Hmmm. Had to slow down after that, and it seemed to take a lot out of me for the rest of the run. Didn’t have any problem running 13 min/miles after that, but I did have to take a few walking breaks. Nevertheless, the whole run averaged 13:09, even with the walking breaks. Woo!

I’m feeling a bit better, I think my cold is going away. I didn’t have a stuffed nose last night, just a tickly throat. And I wasn’t hacking up phlegm during my run, so I think my lungs are pretty clean as well. Surprisingly, running seems to make the phlegm go away, not get worse, like I thought it might.

We got our proofs emailed to us from Marathon Foto, the company that took the finish line photos and the ones along the course. Gag! Some of the pictures are very disheartening. I hate the way I can see a photo of myself and my self-esteem is shot for the next week or so, until the mental picture has faded. My New Year’s resolution was to be happy with my body, so I need to work on that some. Now, after looking at the pictures I want to wear a long-sleeved turtleneck and long pants for the marathon, but I suppose that wouldn’t be very practical in April. Hmmph.

Feb 20, 2002

Tough run this morning. Four measly miles, and I couldn’t make myself run the whole way! Sheesh. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I suspect it’s the fact that I’m running the day after my mid-week sorta long run. That should be sorted out by next week, though, when I start doing that run on Tuesday afternoon. That way, I have a day and a half of recovery before the short run on Thursday. Also, the phlegm I’ve been coughing up (pale green – a sign of infection?) can’t help either. Not sure if I should just be resting and getting better or just carrying on with the running. Hmmm.

Sarah told me this morning that she’s having a crawfish boil after the Crescent City Classic on March 30. Woo hoo! I love crawfish boils! Excellent recovery food (lots of protein, plus boiled potatoes and beer for carbs) and lots of fun. Can’t wait!

February 19, 2002

Didn’t run today. Am sick. Throat hurts, stuffed nose. Nothing major, but it makes it very difficult to sleep, and I hardly think running is going to help. (Am I wrong? Aren’t you supposed to rest when you have a virus like a cold?) Right now I feel okay, feel like I could go run (if it weren’t for work) but at 6:45 this morning, when I was woken from a really deep sleep (the first in days) by my alarm clock, with my head full of cotton and my throat all scratchy and sore, I didn’t feel like I could. Tomorrow?

I remembered a few more things from the half-marathon.
1. We got oranges at mile 9 or so. Yummy! Chris didn’t like them because the citric acid burned his lips. Wuss!
2. Hmmm, that may be all that I remembered. I forgot what I remembered, apparently.

February 18, 2002

President’s Day. What a crock! Naturally, everyone on earth has today off…except me. Hmmph. And no mail, either. Hmmph.

I’m getting a cold. My throat is killing me. Yick. Hopefully I’ll be able to nip it in the bud before it gets worse. Need to remember to take some vitamins.

The results from the half marathon are in! I came in at least 200 from the end, which makes me happy, but Chris was the last male in his age group. Ha ha! Hope he isn’t too mad at me. Tee hee!

I’m not too sore today, which surprises me. I’m usually in pretty bad pain the day after my long run, but I guess I’m getting better at it. My quads barely ache and my knees don’t hurt at all. Woo hoo!

Mardi Gras half-marathon

For now, I’m just going to put down the basics of today’s race, and tomorrow I’ll fill in all the details. I’m much too tired to write everything now!

Mardi Gras Half Marathon – New Orleans, Louisiana

Got up at 5:00 a.m., after sleeping somewhat restlessly. I dreamed that I ran the half, and had the energy to run several more miles. Ha! That didn’t happen! So I got up, made coffee, showered, ate a bagel with peanut butter, woke up Chris, and we left the house around 6:45. Chris and I put on sparkly Mardi Gras tattoos Kristina got last weekend (see below). Found a pretty close (and free) parking spot, and walked to the Superdome, where the race started.

We had about 45 minutes, by the time we got there, before the race started. We used the port-a-potties a few times (and not enough times, as it turned out) and drank water, stretched, etc. There were a *lot* of Team in Training (TNT) people there. They all seemed nice, but boy, was I envious of their supporters! They had the most supporters by far, though to be fair, they’d (occasionally) cheer for Chris and I as well.

So we ran down Poydras St to Decatur, past the French Quarter and the French Market, and at around mile 2, there were the port-a-potties and the first water stop. Chris and I had stopped by the toilets at the French Market, but they were locked. Ooops! When we finally got to pee again, we lost 5 minutes. But it was worth it. Anyway, we weren’t going for time.

We ran up Esplanade and to City Park, down a street that runs next to the park. A few minutes after we turned onto this road, we looked ahead and saw….a HUGE HILL!!! Oh my god! No one said anything! It turned out to be an interstate overpass and it was on the out-and-back portion, so we had to run it TWICE! Ack! It really wasn’t so bad, but it was such a surprise!

So we ran down this road for what felt like *forever* but was probably 3 miles each way (I could look, but my feet hurt) and completely unshaded. This was definitely the hardest part of the race. There were very few supporters, and not enough water stops. I was hot and starting to feel dehydrated. Chills and dizziness. Not bad, but just unpleasantness. I had part of a ClifShot that I brought, but without water, I didn’t want to choke down any more of it.

Finally we get past City Park and onto Canal Street. The home stretch! We got our picture taken by Marathon Foto right before Canal Street. I was feeling really crappy at that point, but we ran and smiled for the camera, so we’ll see how that comes out! For parts of miles 7-11, I had to walk. Not a lot, just 2 minutes or so at a time. I wish I hadn’t had to, and I don’t think I would have had to, if I had been properly hydrated. Hmmm. Don’t know if it’s my fault for not drinking enough earlier or the organizer’s faults for not having enough water stations. At one point, near mile 12, the water station ran out of cups! Somehow I got a hold of one (used??) but otherwise, it was “cup your hands” if you wanted water. Hmmm. We were at the back, it’s true.

Finally, we’re in the home stretch! I had eaten the rest of my gel, and as Canal Street is pretty shady, I was feeling better. We walked a little more, and then ran the rest of the way. The final stretch is up to the Superdome, and then a U-turn to get to the finish line. I was so happy to see it! We put on a good finishing kick when we saw the clock time was 2:58. I wanted to finish in under 3 hours by our watches, but to also finish in that by the clock was great too.

It took us 3 minutes to cross the start line, and we lost 5 minutes at the bathroom. I didn’t hit my stop button (oops) until after I had removed my chip and gotten some water, so I’m not sure of my time as I took it, but it was about 2:55, I’d guess, taking into account the 3 minutes we lost at the beginning.

Here are my splits:
1-13:14 (a tiny bit faster than the pace I wanted to keep)
2-12:55 (oops. but felt great, so why not?)
3-18:55 (bathroom break)
4-11:25 (oops!!! i’ll pay for this later!)
5-13:10 (still a little fast, but better than mile 4!)
6-12:12 (ah well, my pace is not going to be what i wanted it to be)
7-12:50
8-12:56
9-13:14 (slooooowing down!)
10-13:21 (yup)
11-13:22 (uh huh)
12-13:08 (ooh, feeling stronger!)
13.1- can’t be sure, think around 13:30 or so, with our finishing kick.

Now, looking at my splits, I can see what went wrong. For my LSD runs, I really should be running at 13:30-14:00 pace. My pace was just too fast, *especially* at the beginning.

Lessons learned:
1. Don’t go out too fast! (of course! of course! duh!)
2. Liquid carbohydrate (I liked the Ultima stuff they had on the course) is better for Pam than gel. (gag)
3. Drink lots before you go to bed and the race!
4. Don’t run a marathon in New Orleans! (too hot! too sunny! ack!)

Overall, a pretty good run. My arches are in hell right now, I’ve soaked my feet and iced the arches, and taken a Vioxx and finally the pain has abated a tad. Wonder if it’s the shoes?

Oh yeah, and I wore the new British flag socks I got at the expo. Only fitting, I guess, since I’m wearing American flag socks to London. I got a compliment on my socks, too. 🙂

February 15, 2002

Only two days until the half marathon! Yikes! I’m not nervous, really, more excited I guess. Actually, I’m more nervous about volunteering at the expo this afternoon. I’m always nervous about doing new things alone, so it’s okay. It’s normal for me. Chris and Rebecca are coming in tomorrow, and we’re going to have a fun day! Expo, then sushi for lunch, then the new Britney Spears movie (hey, she’s the hometown girl, and I’m not going to apologize for wanting to see her movie. Hell, I saw the NSync movie, this one could not be worse. Yes. I’m 27 years old.) and then go to the running store in Metairie (the suburbs) to get some gels to try for the race (I’m particularly intrigued by a raspberry flavor made by Clif Shot. Sounds tasty. I know better, but still.

This morning, I ran 2.5 miles. Of a planned four. My legs were so sluggish and tired from yesterday. I was planning on struggling through it, and I could have, but I could feel the blister at the tip of my second toe and it was affecting my gait. Didn’t want to hurt myself, and a little bit of extra rest before Sunday can’t hurt. I know I can do 13.1 miles, no problems there. It’s getting to that point in the training where it’s not really exciting anymore, and there’s so much more to do. I know in a few weeks, it’ll be okay, but from where I’m standing now, I see eight more weeks of training, including lots of long midweek runs, which I hate to wake up for. I see lots of really long runs, and just a huge stretch of time of not much excitement. I’m guessing in about 4 weeks it’ll get exciting again, but for now, it’s hard to stay motivated. Even with the half-marathon this weekend. Weird.

After this weekend, I’m going to really have to push myself. Hmmm. Putting it that way, I kind of look forward to the challenge!

February 14, 2002

Happy Valentine’s Day! Ha. Not really! What’s the point? You know, I try not to be cynical about being single, but it’s really difficult on the “most romantic day of the year.” Barf. I know I’m acting in a cliched manner for a single woman, but come on…there are single people in the world! From my perspective, for attached people, Valentine’s Day is every day. Why should you celebrate being attached? I think it should be the opposite, and single people celebrate not being attached, and that way there’s at least one day where we’re superior. Hmmph. But I’m not bitter. Really, I’m not, I’ve always been single on Valentine’s Day, so it’s no big deal. I probably only feel this way because I listened to the radio for the hour and ten minutes that I ran this morning and it was all romantic songs and other **@#!%^!@.

So, that’s a good lead-in to…I ran today! Yes, finally, I did my six miler as planned. I got up at 6:15 this lovely morning, drove out to the river, and ran on the levee for six miles. Woo! It was pretty chilly (okay, the mid 40s, but that’s cold for us!) and I’m pretty sure I’m coming down with a cold, but I felt good while running. My sore throat didn’t bother me like I thought it would. My lungs are phlegmy or anything, either, so I think I’m fine to run now. We’ll see if I get worse tonight before planning my four miler tomorrow. I don’t want to get sicker before Sunday. Anyway, I ran the second half of my run 2 minutes faster than the first. Good stuff! Though there was a dead animal on the path (rabbit? possum? not sure, didn’t want to look closely) which grossed me out. I hope it’s gone before tomorrow or at least the next time I have to run on the levee. At least it hadn’t started decomposing yet.

Must get back to work. It’s such a relief for Mardi Gras to be over, and to be able to relax at work. Nice! I have to bring Kristina to the airport tomorrow, she’s going for an interview at some fancy law firm in NYC. I hope she gets the job. Seems like everyone’s moving there, and hey, it’s just a hop-skip-jump to London from New York, so they can all come visit me when I live there. (gotta believe!)

PS Sorry about the anti-happy diatribe up there. I’m not that bitter!