In Which I Give Up Twitter…

Twitter.  I loved you. 

You introduced me to TNT, and training for my first marathon.  I shifted from blogging and commenting to interacting in more efficient ways.  Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office responded to my tweet about losing my job in 2009, and they helped me navigate the system.  When Michael Jackson died, it was Twitter who gave me the news first. 

I had long, lonely days and nights where I could non-stop tweet about anything I want.  And, you loved me.  You embraced my non-sensical noise and let me ramble on about running, about parenting, about ex husbands and such.  During Dodger games, I tweeted from the MLB app, exhibiting getting deeper and deeper into the social Twitter web. 

You weren’t like chat rooms, or blogging, or message boards.  Oh, I had done them all.  Quantum Link, Weight Watchers message boards, Smart People (or something like that…).  I had long, lengthy opinions about everything, until you came along.

You, with your 140 character limit.  Until I found the Holy Grail of Bit.ly, Tinyurl, etc.  Until I found a way around your silly limit.  Like most things in my life, I found and broke the rule, and lived outside of even your box. 

I entered contests.  I retweeted with a vengeance.  I met runners galore.  I even met my coach on Twitter.  Some of my best friends are there…Yet, I abused you Twitter.  I had too much fun.  It was like going into a pub after a long, hot, hard day, and pounding the bar at 2am wondering how I had stayed so long. 

I likened Twitter to a coffee shop.  A big hall of table after table, where I could stop and enter a conversation with ease.  I often had direct messages with people I should not have been talking to.  If Twitter was a coffee shop, we were in our own room, and if you are somebody else’s mate, then I am out of bounds.  Toward the end of my Twitter run, I started noticing that I was adding more and more people, but interacting less and less. 

Twitter, you were the good friend who introduced me to other good friends.  I bashed Facebook in favor of you, and I defended you to the end.  I reluctantly joined Facebook because I started dating my out of town Harley Guy.  He was a Facebooker, and we stayed connected through that medium.  He also joined Twitter, and we professed our love for each other on both sites.  I started adding Twitteratti to my Facebook page.  Yet, I could not have both worlds.  I had to choose.

Most readers of this site know that I can be addicted to anything that God made more than one of.  You’ve seen me in my sobriety,  to giving up Diet Coke, trying to give up things that I abuse.  And, because I’m in a relationship with a sober man, my Twitter behavior simply had to change.  But not just for him.  For me.  For my sobriety.  I gave up Twitter to get closer to my God.  To who I really am.

No longer was it appropriate for me to DM (direct message) a man.  Men friends who had previously talked privately with me, were getting that message loud and clear:  I don’t DM with married men any longer.  No longer was it appropriate to flirt in the public timeline, or much worse, be suggestive.  One day a wife came on to the public timeline, and answered a tweet I sent to her husband, as if to say, “Okay.  That’s enough now.”  I heard it loud and clear, and started paying attention to my so-called persona. 

Don’t get me wrong Twitter.  I’m not judging your format, or other people who Tweet.  Everyone has their own set of rules.  But, because I’m looking for sobriety throughout my life, I simply had to let go.  I called a friend from New York as soon as I saw the addiction.  I went through my 900+ followers, and lo and behold, the 40 or so that I knew personally were on Facebook.  My New York gal pal stayed with me on the phone while I deactiveated my account.  Forever. 

It’s been 10 days.  It didn’t hurt in the beginning.  It doesn’t hurt now.  If you are looking for me, I’m on Facebook, posting 4x a day at most.  I’m liking and poking to death, so yeah…I’ll have to eventually look at that too, but I have a new set of standards as a woman in a relationship, in love with a man who I want to honor.

John Mayer did it.  Even Miley Cyrus gave up Twitter.  I guess it was also time for @MsV1959 to hang up her hat.

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Marathon Training: Re-Invented LA 2011

A runner getting encouragement at Mile 25 of t...
Image via Wikipedia

The LA Marathon is coming up.  It will be my fourth (Nike Women’s 2009, LAMarathon 2010, Marine Corps Marathon 2010).  Going into last winter, I was completely caught off balance with a gift from the LAMarathon folk (Peter) of a bib for the marathon.  In fact, it was in doubt whether or not I would run another marathon this year.  I was defeated with the same things that continue to plague me:  being too tired to complete the distance, wanting to sleep during the marathon, vertigo, among other things.

As luck would have it, I also started dating and fell in love with someone who lives out of town.  With 100 miles between us, we had to be creative in seeing each other, and of course that means weekends would be prime time for us.

So, I have this training that I must do …and a relationship that I absolutely WANT to do…Add to this that my long runs are typically beset with night before anxiety, running the route in my head, laying out gear, getting nutrition ready, etc.  I lie awake many Friday nights fearing the long run.  Plus, I didn’t want to spend four hours running during a weekend spent with my new man.

I stumbled upon the Hanson’s Marathon Plan in Runner’s World, and started researching.  It seems that the whole program works with shorter runs on the weekend because you are doing a boat load of miles during the week.  I called my coach.  I talked to people.  I started taking responsibility for this plan.  I’m in my third week of training, and I love it.   45 mile weeks are the norm, and the long runs on the weekend aren’t much more than the during the week runs.  In fact, the longest run is 16 miles…but this plan teaches you how to run your LAST 16, not your first 16 miles…because you are training on tired legs.  Here are some observations from the plan that I’m noticing.

  • I seem to have much more strength and energy in my legs at the end.
  • Both 13.1 & 14 milers were finished with fleet feet~no dragging
  • This plan teaches me how to run on tired legs…every day.
  • Long gone are 5 mile runs.  The new norm is usually 8 milers during the week.
  • Speedwork of 8 miles seems daunting, but is very exciting!  Accomplishments!
  • We are up at 4:30 am on Fridays, and out until 10pm at night many days.
  • I’m more tired during the week.  Quads were on fire at first!
  • I have zero anxiety on the weekends…(SCORE!)

I’m working now on my nutritional needs.  My coach sent me the plan and at the top it says EAT EAT EAT!! The first week of the miles and all the eating, I lost five pounds.  FIVE.  I continue to learn, as last night I had a Peaks and Valleys Run that I posted, and I had not eaten properly yesterday.  I hit all the paces until the end, and I had no fuel.  I had begged him during the day to let me off last night…that I was too tired…and he simply would not give in to me.  I ran it.   And, true to form, I learned the lesson that he predicted.

So far, I’m very happy with this plan.  The main shift for me, was taking responsibility for my training.  Attacking the plan, doing the CORE work.  And, most of all…accepting the responsibility that comes with a Marathon Registration.  Respect the distance, and train like you mean it!

Wherein Twitter & My Real Life Become One…

I’m finally home after a very long weekend of driving, which started on Thursday, June 3rd.  I’m not sure I can put together a coherent post, so I will bullet my way into some semblance of decent writing, and perhaps you can get the picture of this non-race I ran. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

  • School is out.  I drive to take my kids to my parents’ house.  They get to spend a week there every summer without me.  Everyone wins on this one.  My brother in law picks them up, and I head to Dodger Stadium for the Atlanta game.
  • I meet up with Mike, Melissa, Candy, Nadim and Bob, who gets us GREAT seats on the third base line.  This is the beginning of a great weekend.  Laughing, trash talking, generally eating too much Dodger food.  No Dodger win, but Candy got a ball that I wrote all over, so as to commemorate the evening. 
  • The best part.  Taking pictures afterward.  Exchanging Twitter handles.  Eating crap food.  Realizing that people who don’t use Twitter are losing out on a great opportunity to expand and include more love and laughter in their lives.

Friday June 4, 2010

  • I must get to San Diego.  I drive to Kate C’s house.  This is a woman who’s opened her home to me, and lets me stay in this quiet, lovely condo.  For nothing.  Now, that’s trust.  Friends of Bill W. are like that.
  • I get to the Tweetup organized by Lori, Candy & Alison.  I meet Ali, a soon to be marathoner…another person I talk with daily…along with Lisa & Gretchen, Erin & her hubs, Michael…and Yasmine, the mother of the baby below, the list goes on and on.
  • I meet so many people there, I cannot comprehend, but more than anything, I am over-thrilled and just want to pinch his cheeks:  I meet my coach, Josh…also know as SpeedySasquatch.  Here is a man I talk with daily, and get workouts weekly, and email and text…and the only time I’ve met him was him running by me at the CIM relay.  He’s much younger than I imagine, and he is underwhelmed in my presence, so I work even HARDER to get him riled up.  Nothin’ doing.  I spend the time with him trying to get his grits cookin’, but give up because I realize this will come back in the form of 2-fers.  2x daily workouts. 
  • We eat at The Yard House, we walk to what I thought was the beach with Dan, Josh & his brother, Ali, Elyssa.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

  • Run 20 minutes at my hostess’ neighborhood.  Little jog.  Sweating bullets.  Blech on humidity. 
  • I drive back in to San Diego to meet up with Team Twitterati: Glenn, Josh, Mike  There is a separate post on these three men, but suffice it to say…Glenn is my confidante with most things running & twitter…Josh is my coach, and Mike is simply the kindest, coolest dude I have ever met.  I convinced him to do the relay thinking, poor guy…hasn’t run since November…and I will not mock him when he walks into the transition place. Boy, was I wrong.  Mike ALSO took me through the drama of last summer with the ex-hubs antics, supporting by email and twitter.  Good men.  Great team.

  • We have a brain-storming breakfast and head on over to the Expo…where we are given a DRUMSTICK….a drumstick, and the volunteers tell us we must run with this thing.  And, I go back several times to really see if we have to run with it.  And yes, we do.  I am not amused.

  • We spend lots of hours at the Expo, see Danica, Sam, meet Scott (a Dodger fan, and my new best friend who I get to tell the Kurt Gibson story), and see more of my team.  I meet the infamous, John of Hella Sound…the man’s music has carried me on more than one run…and I fall in love with his energy!!

there’s the stupid baton again ^^^

  • That night, Kate and I go to the La Jolla Speaker’s Meeting, and it is simply lovely and peaceful, and I come back, ready to get a good night’s sleep…I’m only running the last leg after all, shouldn’t be too bad…

Sunday, June 6, 2010

  • I am quite sure I set the alarm.  But, what wakes me up is Glenn texting me saying: I hope you’re awake.  Uh, I’m not.  I’m throwing things together to try to get to the Qualcomm stadium parking lot, to drop off my gear, and catch a trolley to my leg.
  • No, not to my leg.  To the dropoff.  Then I get to walk 1.7 miles to my transition place.  I walk with a lady from Bakersfield.  (I always wonder what happens to the people I meet and then never see again at races)

  • There’s the stupid baton again, but that was the early morning texts I got from Glenn & Bob, and that’s Mrs. Hoofy with Hoof (Mike on the trolley)…Oh, and that’s me at the transition point.  I hear you look thinner if you cross your legs…I have my TNT shirt on just in case some purple wants to share the love, even though I’m not part of it today.
  • We get to the transition area.  Waiting.  A long time.  Everyone is relaxed.  A downed runner, who collapses, and not one medic around, or in the area.  Other runners are trying to get this guy taken care of, and it is scary.  A good 20 minutes goes by before an ambulance comes.  People are calling 911.  Not a good sign for Rock And Roll…you’d think they would have someone there for Pete’s sake.  #fail.

The Actual Race

  • My favorite tweets from Glenn :   !%^@#$*^ When he is done.  I am laughing SO hard.
  • Glenn:  @SpeedySasquatch has been unleashed.  I just have this visual of my wicked fast coach. Unleashed.
  • Mrs. Hoofy:  “He” (Mike) just left.  Here’s where I get excited, after the 3rd trip to the bathroom (for reals, man), and I think poor Mike, he hasn’t trained, he must be so tired, etc.  Then I see her.  Then she gets a text from him that he is at mile 19.9.  Already.
  • I look up and there is my coach, having run a little more to get to us…he’s actually there to run with two on our team, but of course I think he’s there for me. 🙂
  • Then…holy hell.  Here comes Mike.  Sweaty, full of sweat, and kicking ASS so hard it’s like a speed demon.  I am wildly excited and feel thrilled!!!

~~~~~

  • I take the baton.  Out of the chute, over the overpass.  I am feeling strong.  My first mile is 9:46.  I am already impressed with myself.  I am thinking.  Damn.  I gotta start training for reals.
  • Mile 2 is getting a little harder.  Cuz we are on dirt.  Lots of dirt.  Lots of winding, and I can see people up and around this little Non-Fiesta island…and they are all over the place, so you never really know if you will ever leave.  Sort of like a house of horrors…because you’ve already seen people leave…but you.  You will never get off this island.  Could be a good horror flick 10:26 for Mile 2.
  • At this point, I do NOT know what to do with the freaking stick.  It’s in my hand, in my hat, in my bra, in my back, and I heard Josh had it in his mouth.  I just keep passing it back and forth.  Plus, I know that real marathoners HATE relay peeps, because they are so damned fresh.  Well, not me…but most.  I’m just getting hot.  I take water.  I start to think this is a sicker, southern California version of Lake Merced of Nike Women’s Marathon…someone is water skiing.  Really?  Mile 3 11:01. There’s a pattern here.  It’s hot, and I’m hot, and I have only run 3 miles.  It was somewhere around this hell that I saw HellaSound.  With signs.  Yelling.  Jumping.  It helped…a lot.
  • Mile 4, I see this guy walking.  I’m like DUDE.  You do not want to walk.  Talk to me.  We run.  The rest of the way.  But he is significantly tired.  And I’m tired.  But, I’m going to run with him.  Mile 4 11:19.  And I start to feel as though I can make it because hey, I’m supposed to be helping HIM.  I’m hot.  Have I mentioned I’m hot? 
  • Mile 5 is better because I know we have to be spit off this island at some point.  Mile 5 10:39.  People are spraying us, dousing us with water.  The guy I’m running with is bald, no hat, no glasses, and MAN it’s toasty.
  • .78 left …I see Gretchen, I see Glenn, and he runs us in.  Finally, I give the guy to Glenn, and I slow way down.  I’m not going to walk, but I want to.  I’m just not sure I can face my coach or my team and tell them I walked my part of 5.7 miles.  I hear the Rock And Roll people, and know I gotta get there.  The last .2 was LONG and much longer than a lap it seemed.  I finally, mercifully, cross the line. 
  • I walk back and forth.  Find and lose Glenn and Josh.  See Ali, and get to run with her for .4 miles or so.  What a treat!! I walk some more on the beach.  Stand by the 26 mile sign.  Until finally, we are in the weirdest line to get on the bus to take us to the trolley to take us to the stadium.  More on that with my next post.  But here is my favorite picture of the weekend.  I couldn’t get my coach to get into the Ms. V. emotion, but this picture reminds me that I simply adore him, and tomorrow I will get a plan from him, and I am convinced beyond anything, that this Fall, I’ll be getting that Marathon Success at Marine Corps Marathon.

Tomorrow:  My thoughts on Rock And Roll Machines…but for now.  Bed.

Taper Madness X 10

I’m not really sure if I’m officially *mad* yet.  Yesterday at work, I was just restless, sending my coach links for him to read:  The LAMarathon Course, Pacetats, LAMarathon activities, etc. etc.  Poor guy.  He has no idea who he’s dealing with in terms of my psyche.  So, today, he suggested I use my time to write it ON MY BLOG. 

I went to the WordPress search engine, and typed in “Taper Madness”, and went to the first ten blogs where it was mentioned.  It was a great activity, because I got to read other runners’ taper story, and learned a lot too.  So, here are those blogs, and lifted text from each of them.  I commented on each blog, and have found some great new reads.

What I really loved was looking at peoples’ tag lines, and they are underlined.

Mine is in the upper right hand corner: 

 If not now, When? 

So, here they are.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, and know that Taper Madness is NORMAL.

Go Erin Go New mother, runner/marathoner, financial analyst, and a sous chef’s wife. This is my life

We have selective memory and tend to block out the unpleasant parts of marathon training; quite like how I’ve heard women who’ve gone through labor and delivery some how block out the memory of the pain and have another child.

Fit Artist She’s an artist, she’s fit, she’s the FitArtist! Watch her go! 

As your training decreases, you start to panic and imagine you are not fit enough, so think it might be a good idea to add in more runs or start running faster, but at this stage, there is no way you are going to get any fitter and should just enjoy the ‘rest’!

Run, Bake, Read  And I work and watch tv and waste time in numerous ways…

Basically, you’ve spent MONTHS training SUPER hard for something. You put in a ton of miles every week and forget what it’s like to walk without wincing in pain. And then it’s time for the taper, and you’re not quite sure what to do with this free time, and you’re TOTALLY freaking out thinking ‘OMG! What if I haven’t trained enough!’

A Marathoner: 3:30 or Death. No. Other. Options.

I will say upfront that I am not very good when it comes to taper week.  I largely attribute this fact to ignorance.  Last racing season, I didn’t really understand why rest was so important before a race and how to strategize during taper week.  I’m not saying that I’m that much more knowledgeable right now, but I do have a plan this time around

Training Hard, Hardly Training  “she’s a runner, a rebel and a stunner…” red hot chili peppers

And of course taper madness me flips out, I mean I can’t leave work early 2 days in a row!!  So unfortunately I have to go mad early like before work tomorrow…but it’s just like I want this thing starting to be taken care of already!  Not much time left…On top of all this, I feel fat from the reduced mileage and from the eating more/carbo-loading.  Especially since I was bad today and had to indulge in the warm chocolate souffle

Am I Mad Yet? running with endurance the race set before me (Hebrews 12:1)

Second One Week Out taper trap that definitely applies to me:

Trap: That Sinking Feeling

Symptoms: A feeling of malaise, depression, and hopelessness, which often accompanies the physical sluggishness that intensifies at the end of a taper.

Cause: “Generally, running counters feelings of anxiety and depression,” says Hays. “So as you run less miles, bad feelings tend to crop back up and increase.”

Solution: Take a short-term approach. “You only have to get through the rest of the taper,” says Hays. Do a little low-impact and low-intensity cross-training–like pool running–to generate the good feelings you normally get from running. Also, use your downtime to focus on other things that bring pleasure to your life, such as listening to music, cooking, and being with family and friends. And rent some funny movies or read a few joke books to lighten your mood.

Races Like A Girl

Every stupid ache and twinge heralds pre-race injury.

Run 4 Haiti

Taper madness is still in full swing.

Amy Reinink

True to their toddler-esque name, taper tantrums led me to not only get cranky, but to act out in rebellion, staying up past midnight to watch the Yankees game and devouring two unbelievably delicious salty-oat cookies from Teaism

Navy 2009

It’s tough to cut back the mileage you have come to love and count on, especially if you are feeling really fit and really eager for race day.  But too bad!  You need to.  Running less reduces your risk of injury, gives you time to rest and recover, and allows your muscles to store carbohydrates in preparation for the big race.  There is no benefit at this point to working out super hard.  So don’t overdo it.  And don’t start doing new kinds of exercise that your body isn’t used to during the times you would have been running.  This can put new stress on your muscles and cause fatigue and soreness that will not help you on the big day.

Conversely, don’t under-do it.  Do the miles in the training log!  Maybe you are starting to max out on running, and you are looking forward to the taper as a break from running before the marathon.  It’s not a break!  You still need to keep up your fitness level.  If you cut too many miles from the schedule, you will feel deconditioned and sluggish come race day.  You have worked too hard to let it all go to pot now.

Here is my plan for this week.  I didn’t run last night, but am looking forward to tonight, and the rest of the week, ending in a Half Marathon Relay in Sacramento:

TOUGH STUFF IS OVER. Now just fine tuning!!
Monday: 1-hr walk-Done, with pictures!

Wednesday: 6-miles [1m w/u @ 10:45, 4-miles @ 9:50, 1m c/d @ 10:45 

Friday: 6-miles [Hi’s & Low’s: 1m @ 10:45, 1m @ 9:45, 1m @ 10:30, 1m @ 9:35, 1m @ 10:20, 1m @ 9:20-9:30] + CORE WORK
Saturday: 3-miles Relaxed & Easy just to stay fresh and loose

Sunday: 7-miles in the Relay
Thanks to my coach, who inspires me every day.

 

***By the way, go to Racevine for a big winter giveaway.  I always put my race reviews there!!***

Marathon Sobriety

I’ve been sober 30 years.  I’m active in AA.  I have been running since 2007. 

Just like in AA, I have many people that are my friends that help me on this journey.  I have a few people that I talk with daily, hourly, just to shake out my thoughts.  But, just like in AA, I have one sponsor…and on this running journey, I have one coach…They are eerily similar.

So, here are the 12 steps of Marathon Training.

1.I admitted I was powerless over training on my own, that my life had become unmanageable.  After reading countless magazines, websites & books, self help manuals, etc., I realize that my training was all over the place.  On my own, I give up easily.  On my own, I eat a donut and go back to bed.  I was an unmanageable runner. 

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.  At some point I realized I needed help.  I looked around for that quality that I really want in a coach.  Someone who can give me direction, and not buy into my manipulation.  My coach sent me all kinds of stuff the week of the Nike Marathon.  On his own.  For nothing.  When I decided I was going after a goal, he was the first guy I called. 

3. Made a decision to turn my training over to the care of my coach and other runners.  He has taught me how to give up Diet Coke, how to run 14 miles without walking, how to stay focused in this week’s training, not the Marathon.  He helped me get long range goals, like Boston, under control.  I decided to turn it over.  I have decided that there are a few running gurus that I will listen to, no matter what.  I found most of them on Twitter, but also continue to read older bloggers that I find helpful.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our previous running tactics.  Like, okay, I use salt tabs, Gu, Gel, I use fields as restrooms sometimes, I hate podcasts (but am warming), I like feeling superior to drivers, I don’t always eat right.  I judge people who talk during races.  I feel envy when someone passes me.   I like to flip off drivers who barely miss me by inches.

5. Admitted to my coach, to myself, and to my running partner the exact nature of my wrongs  I tell the truth.  I tell my running partner everything that goes on in my head.  I have also accepted that I am in the 50 year age group…that I will not feel like a 20 year old, but with proper training, I can age gracefully…and can have a PR at the same time.  I tell my coach all of my physical limitations.  I tell him when I’ve had bad news at the doctor.  My running partner gets all the therapy out of me before and after our runs.

6. Were entirely ready to have these running habits removed. No stopping, ever (well, unless nature or old age calls), no Diet Coke.  I was ready, but didn’t wanna, so I had to get ready.  Became willing.  Became willing to not drink at every water station, to run my own race, to trust my body.  I listen. 

7. Humbly asked for help.  My coach answered every question, even when I was going batshit crazy giving up Diet Coke, when I cried when running by my ex husband’s house and he told me to suck it up, when I started opening my mind to the fact that I stay focused on today’s training, not the finish line.  I used Glenn to help me on IM, when I was having a particularly bad night…He helped me focus my dreams.  I have Shannon to talk me off the ledge.  I have Mike to give me direction nutritionally.

8. Made a list of all bad running habits, and was willing to let them go.  I eat because I run.  I love to run, so I can eat.  But, the worst habit of all is that I manipulate my food based on how far I’ve run.  Like, I’ll get a burger if I think I burned those calories.  Not a great strategy.   Working on it.

9. Made direct promises that I would run every run, not question my coach, give up bad foods, etc. This is a work in progress.  Progress, not perfection.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when I blew it, promptly admitted it. Finally had to admit that sometimes I have bathroom issues.  Gotta go.  Sorry.  I have missed very few runs, but when I do, I promptly text him and tell him why.

11. Sought to improve my contact with my coach, stay honest, log into Buckeye, which I find inane.  Get out of my head.  Take direction.  Be a part of a team, which is NOT in my nature.  I am trying to stop being so damned special. 

12. I try to carry this message to other runners and to practice these principles in all my affairs.  I share what I’ve learned with other people on Twitter, on blogs, with my running partner.  We help each other to complete the runs.  When she is ill, I ask her, “Do you want to stop?” Her answer is: “We can’t stop, we don’t have a choice.”  I am a better runner when I am giving it away to others.  High fiving, saying thank you to volunteers, being a good ambassador of the running community.

One day at a time.  When I was first sober, my sponsor used to say, “You don’t have to stay sober for the rest of your life, just for today.  Which is exactly what my coach reminds me.  The finish line is a long way off, and we don’t talk about that week until it gets here…which is sort of a lie…but it works.  It works in every mile I put in.  When I think, “I’m almost there…”, I remember that my feet, after all, have to continue to move in this moment.

Just like sobriety.  Today is the day that I don’t drink.  Right now.

*Disclaimer: I don’t speak for AA, and here are the 12 Steps from the General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous

Weekend Running & The Coach.

In my world, the weekend starts at 3:00 PM Friday. 

It was going to be a long, rainy weekend…and I had 19 miles to complete.  Not looking forward to it.  Much.

Then, I started running.

Friday had Kim and I doing 4 easy miles.  She doesn’t run on Friday, so I was on my own.  Funny, when I’m in the dark, I seem to go faster.  Maybe I’m not so concerned about how I look.  I hit a huge puddle at the top of the overpass, and was soaked for the rest of the run.  Had to go to the bathroom, but didn’t…because, um, there is no stopping these days.

4 miles: 41:14, 10:14 pace.  I went out to Spring Creek and back. 

It was the next day that got me.

10 miles.  1:43:14, a 10:20 pace.  I was instructed not to go below 10:20 on any mile.  Just didn’t happen.  The first five miles were bliss, the last half was HARD.  Puke threshold at mile 7, a dog who sprinted into my *slightly* wonky right foot.  Soccer field full of people.  LONG North Ripon Road. 

North Ripon Road.  There is a family there who lost their son to suicide about 3 years ago.  Every time we run by there, I cross myself.  I tell myself that I can endure that bitch of a road…and then I think about how much they have to endure every day.  I really hate that road, because it’s like a mirage.  That blinking light that is the stop signal?  Is it right up here? No. It’s FAR away, but it seems so…close. 

At that point, we were on Mile 9.  Neither of us were talking.  Kim had her head down.  I had pulled out my music and started reciting The Fifth Chapter in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, stopping at c).  I do this at the end of hard runs.  I start saying the whole thing in my mind.  I’ve been listening to it for 30 years.  You’d think I know it by now.  I don’t.  I stop and start and mix it all up.  My rule is, I can walk if I can say the whole thing.  I get to the end, then start Chapter 3, and the 12 Traditions.  It helps.  Because I can’t listen to music the whole time.

Finished it.  Just.  It was hard, but it was done.

Tonight: 5 miles, 50:57, a 10:12 pace.  It was a tempo run, and my Garmin is on the way, but until then, I try to figure out how hard my body is working.  I made some errors.  I hit the first mile too fast.  I was supposed to do was 10:30 first half mile, 10:10 for 4 miles, 10:30 for last half mile.  I was all over the place, but did average a 10:12.  I was happy.

Before I conclude the post, I have to talk about my coach, aka Speedy Sasquatch, Josh.  I never thought having my own coach would work for me, because essentially, I am not a *rule* girl.  I am definitely outside of the box, doing my own thing, and even if it turns out badly, I claim the transgressions, but I’m happy with how I did it…because, well I did it my way.

I will totally butcher his advice, but I’m going to out him on this blog.  Here is a picture of him with Megan, aka VeganRunningMom.  

 He paced her through the last half of the California International Marathon on December 6th, and I simply love this picture of them, especially after listening to her podcast, recorded during CIM.  See, because she is smiling, and laughing…and she is so raw on this recording…and he is just…coaching her.  It was her day, and he made it happen.  With her.  The true definition of a coach.  (The only thing I saw of them, was at mile 13, when I was waiting for my leg, and he yelled, “Linda”, and that’s it.) 

So…why do I take this guy’s advice?

  1. Already I’m averaging 1:30 off of my average pace of 12:00.  He sets the bar, and sets it high, and I keep complaining telling him I cannot do this.  And, then I do it.
  2. Four weeks in, I have 99.25 miles in training.
  3. I ask him how to get water if I can’t stop (did I mention I can’t stop?) His answer: Water bottle. Squeeze liquid into mouth, you can slow to jog, but keep rhythm. The end. 
  4. I can’t stop.  So, during a 2 minute recovery on intervals, I go to the bathroom.  In a field.  In under 2 minutes.  I’m good like that.
  5. I don’t understand the reason for no Diet Coke.  His response:   Less sugar in your diet, fewer burn lulls when you train, caffeine is down, it is your body, not the chemicals that is kicking it up. Breathing is improving because less carbonation ingested. All good stuff. Told ya it would help.  Okay.

I trust this guy.  He was 2 years old when I got sober, but hey.  He knows what he is doing.  This email he sent me has kept me going for a week:

I will build you into a machine.  

There are so many more gems, but this one keeps me going.  I started thinking today when I could barely make it up the catwalk:  I’m going to Boston sometime in the next decade.  And, for the first time…I believe it.

There’s A New Sheriff In Town

Okay, so I thought…well, I’ve done one marathon.  I did a great Half Marathon.  I’m sure I can ease right back into training for my next cycle.  I’ve decided.  I’m doing the LA Marathon on March 21, 2010.

I haven’t blogged this week because I am exhausted.  I didn’t think I would be so tired, but there’s a new sheriff in town, and you’ll notice him on my blogroll:  Speedy Sasquatch.  I talked with him on and off this summer when I was training my 9 year old for a 5K.  He was supportive, friendly, helpful.  I chatted on Twitter with him.  I started noticing that this guy was serious.  I sauntered on over to his blog, and was very impressed. 

I wanted to do something different for this training, not because the TNT plan didn’t work.  It did work.  But, I have realized a goal, and I cannot believe I am saying this…again…but, I want a BQ before I die… maybe in ten years or less.  And, I want to run Boston.  Now, do go all *elite* on me.  Like, how could YOU, a 50 year old Mom of 2, and basically lazy person want to do this?  It’s not a bucket list goal.  It’s something I started toying with as a serious goal.

Which means:  serious plans.

I started working with him this week.  He sent me the plan.  Monday was off.  It started Tuesday with 6×3 minute intervals.  A total of 4.84 miles in all.  I felt great.  Kim and I were laughing.  We thought we were fast.  We had fun.  Nothing hurt, nothing sore.

Then, I woke up.

Wednesday called for 4 slow miles.  Which felt like lead.  Part of my body that I didn’t even know I had were starting to ache.  We had done plyos the day before, and you have seen nothing until you’ve seen two Moms doing the Running Man down the street.  I’m sure the drivers were laughing their heads off.  We were.

The 4 miles was done in 45:40 or something, kinda slow, but felt good.

Then, the bottom dropped out.  He innocently asked if I liked coffee.  Of course.  Anyone who knows me, knows that Starbucks French Roast is a staple.  I mean, I buy it when I go out of town.  I also happened to mention that I like Diet Coke.

The hammer came down.

No more.  STOP. IT. NOW.

I can’t repeat what I said to myself or outload at my desk when I got that email.  I believe I even sent him an email begging for this ONE little thing.  The answer was no.

I’m on Day 2.  I’m hungover and cranky.  My tongue feels like cotton, and nothing tastes right.  I have 5 cases at home, and 2 I brought for my students. 

I’m willing.  I’m not happy about it, but I’m willing.  It will take some time, but I want the BQ.  I want to listen.  Meanwhile, I really really want a Diet Coke.