Friday, October 30, 2009

working on it

now that I'm home from travelling and working out of the front room, I'm trying to sort out what a regular day looks like for me, so that I can best figure out where to slot in the ME time that is so critical for my well-being. The biggest challenge is that every day looks different from the one before - between the kids' evening activities (hockey, scouts and golf for the older one, scouts and gymnastics for the little one) and school work (A and B days at the high school that make NO sense to me), there's something new every day. And of course the fact that I'm still on this huge learning curve with the new job and the new processes doesn't make things easier there, either. I guess the biggest blessing at this point is that Hub is still in his job search, so he's a little more flexible than he ultimately will be, but that of course brings its' own special challenges with it. Ahem. Anyhoo, it all comes down to NOW being the time that I need to establish the pattern of when I work out and when I fit in my runs so that it continues to be priority for me.

I still want to restart the Insanity workouts, and will likely do that next week. As much as I'd love to be able to do them with my husband, the reality is that we're on different body clocks much of the time. I'm ready to work out as soon as I wake up, and really can't eat much before an intense cardio session, whereas he needs to wake up more gradually and isn't ready for a workout until after a meal and usually right when I need to be working. So we'll have to do it independently or it won't really happen. We'll still challenge each other to get it done and to make sure our eating is on plan, but we won't have the same schedule each day.

It also seems lately like the 5:30-6:30 PM start time is what's been working for me in terms of my runs around the neighborhood. On my birthday earlier this week I fit in a 40-minute jaunt before we left for the movie, and last night I ran a quick 5K to the park before I had to be back for gymnastics with the boy. The weather is just right for that kind of a workout now, but soon it will be dark even at 6:00ish, even after DST kicks in. So I know I'm going to have to adjust. Which means probably I won't get to watch the morning news and kick around for a while after the kids get off to school. Ah, well, it's not fun if you know what to expect, right? All I know is that I'm doing the White Rock Half in mid-December and will definitely do the Cowtown Half at the end of February. The White Rock will not have a time goal attached to it, but it would be nice if I saw some noticeable speed increases between then and Cowtown. I guess to get there I'll need to do some work then, huh? Which means I should get my arse off the computer and out for a run!

ORN: Tuesday, 10/27 - 3.9 miles, 40:00
Thursday, 10/29 - 3.1 miles, 30:58

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nothing Bad Happens at the top of Thanksgiving Mountain

that's my philosophy. So when I saw a road sign off the main road leading back to the resort on Saturday morning, I had to take a detour. I could have gone straight back to the hotel and met up with the girls for brunch without taking the road up the hill. I could have called it good, with about a three-mile out and back run, kinda rolling, but really mostly flat. I could have. But, when you're on vacation, and you're out running in glorious early morning Texas Hill Country air, and you're celebrating lifelong friendships and a new decade, it's tough to ignore a signpost that says Thanksgiving Road. So I turned.

The path was a two-lane street, very lightly traveled at that time of the day. Lots of scrub and nopalitos along the sides of the road, and the further I got from the main road, the steeper it got. Still, I managed to keep up with a run, a slow run, but I was running nonetheless. And then I came to a cross-roads, and I could have turned around there, and called it good. But something made me want to turn left, toward the Catholic church that I knew had to be at the top of the road. And the road got narrower and a little steeper. And then there was another turn, back toward the main road, but still climbing upward. It wasn't Colorado steep, but it sure as heck wasn't Suburbia South flat. And, then, when I got to the end of that road, I found the church, and more importantly, I found this:

And I realized, that, yes, I was right to have taken that detour. Sometimes, when you take the right road, even if it wasn't in the plan, even if it's not as easy a path as you were hoping for, if you put out the effort, and you do the work, at the end of the road, you get rewarded. And was I ever rewarded.

It was a glorious little surprise in my morning workout, and it reminded me of the reasons that I run, and it reminded me of just how lucky I am. And if that weren't enough, on my way back down the hill, toward the main road, I was greeted by a deer, who emerged from the scrub about 20 yards in front of me and stood there for a moment, blinking and nodding at me before running across the road and into the outcropping on the other side. Talk about a way cool start to the day!

Saturday ORN: 5 miles, :49 total time (I KNOW!!)
Sunday ORN: 7.6 miles, 1:22 running time.

Four weeks before Turkey Trot 10K, six weeks before the White Rock Half. I'm ready to get ready. Bring it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Well, phoo

so much for the best-laid plans of mice & men, huh? I knew I wasn't going to get in my 6-miler yesterday, and I was OK with that. I just was hoping I'd get to make it up today, and that didn't happen, either.

I woke up in a panic at 4:30 AM Scotland time, convinced by some hideous dream that my Longhorns had lost the Texas-ou football game (in overtime, no less), so I had to get out of bed and check ESPN. Luckily, we pulled it out with a very ugly win, but a win nonetheless. After that, I had a hard time going back to sleep, but it was too early to go running outside - even I'm not nuts to go out in the streets in a strange town at 5:00 AM. At home, yeah, and in NYC, yeah, and even in Boulder I'd go out, but not here. Besides, I had to be ready to catch the bus to the City Centre by 8:00, which meant I had to forage for breakfast by 7:30.

Turns out, nothing around here opens until 8:30 or 9:00 am on Sundays, not even the Starbucks! It was odd to walk down the street to all the coffee shops, advertising breakfast specials in their windows, no less! and finding them shuttered, with no signs of life in them at all. I ended up getting a container of yogurt and a pack of shortbread at the Scottish equivalent of a 7-11 across the street from the hotel (Sidebar: I could LIVE on shortbread for the rest of my life. Yes, that life would be short and artery-clogged from all the BUTTER, but dang, that stuff is good, even the off-brand stuff I found at the psuedo-7-11!). The bus came right on time, and I hopped on and paid my fare for the short ride downtown. I took the subway to the same spot the day before, but the subway doesn't run until 10:00 am on Sundays - again with the sleeping in! I jumped off a few blocks early and walked to the tour meeting point, which was a good thing, since it was noticeably chillier than the previous day, plus it was grey and semi-drizzly. As I've told a few folks, that is a good thing - gave the tour of the Scottish castle and lochs a nice Braveheart feel!

I got a chance to walk more in the castle itself (plus climbing stairs and such), plus around the little village that we stopped in for lunch. The food here, shortbread aside, is a bit odd and too heavy for me - the deli counter at the sandwich place is crowded with strange meats and fishes in odd sauces, and there's lots of Indian-influenced menu items, too, along with the heavily fried standard of fish and chips, of course. I did have haggis last night at dinner, along with neeps and tatties, which while they sound nasty (and a little naughty, actually), are among the best things I've had in a while! I'll definitely be having haggis again before I leave for home! I've been mostly subsisting on yogurt and shortbread or scones for breakfast, ham and cheese sandwiches with fresh fruit for lunch, and a fairly light dinner from room service. I am trying to be adventurous, but sometimes you gotta stick with what you know, OK?

Anyway, the castle and loch outing was great, but wiped me out to the point where I couldn't get out of bed this morning. I snoozed the alarm too much and didn't have a chance to go out before work like I'd planned. I always forget how hard it is to go out at the end of the day. And with a ton of stuff to do still tonight before I turn in, I best sign off now so that I can get it done and hit the hay, so tomorrow I can be sure to get a few miles in. Or, I'll be saying "phoo" again this time tomorrow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Loving the Run

Maybe it's because the scenery is so awesome here. Maybe because I'm not worried about my pace. Maybe because I'm 4500 miles from home and I know nobody is waiting for me to get back, or nobody is mildly irritated that I woke up at o-dark-thirty. Or maybe, and I like to think that this is the real reason, maybe I'm finally getting the hang of this running thing again.

Ran a 4 mile loop around the hotel and neighborhoods nearby the university. Besides the amazing display of colors on the leaves all around (remember, y'all, I'm from Texas, we have 1.4 days of fall here, and I might have missed it already) and the near-perfect temps, the other thing that was remarkable was the absolute cleanliness of the streets and neighborhoods. Even the "car parks" are free of litter. All in all, it makes for a lovely afternoon run.

Planning on waking up whenever tomorrow morning and going for a 4-5 mile run along the paths here, then heading to the cathedral and the Necropolis before loitering around the shopping areas in the city center. Sunday, if I can make it work, I plan to take a tour to Loch Lomond and the Stirling Castle. I figure I don't know when I'll be back to see all this again, so I best take advantage of it. That might mean that I need to juggle my long run or maybe split the miles between Monday morning and Monday night. If so, so be it. I have a feeling that I will find a way to make it happen, since not taking advantage of this place would be a tragedy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I have run, really, I have

not as much as I want to, but more than I had been. Am in Scotland for the next nine days, doing a last-hurrah consulting gig before I switch roles once and for all. It is going to be fun, I think, if not a little intense. I will have a chance to do some sightseeing this weekend, and I do plan on exploring the area around the hotel on foot tomorrow morning before work. I was very happy to see a few joggers around when I was on the way back from grabbing dinner (except my body thinks it is lunchtime), so I feel like I will be in good company tomorrow morning.

I do plan on taking lots of photos while here, and per usual, the running workouts will be quasi-logged on Twitter, so you'll be able to see them up there in the top right corner, even if you don't get the Twitter thing. I myself have finally come to a sort of strategy for using Twitter, FB and this blog, I think. I tend to think of them as three separate channels for the ramblings from my brain - Twitter I keep to only quick and dirty ORNs, which may or not also qualify for the FB status updates, although most of the status updates there tend to be very random and not workout-related, depending on the kind of day I'm having, and then here is where I do my other deep thinking, as it were. It makes sense for me, although it may end up that I don't post here as often as I used to because a lot of the little daily blurbs end up on FB. Does anyone else feel that same pull between these two media? Are we having a flashback to Video Killed the Radio Star, except that it's Facebook killed the Blogger?

Anyway, perhaps this post is a case in point! I don't have much else to say here today since what I'm doing at this moment doesn't really relate to my journey toward Iron (or the next marathon, or 5K for that matter). But tomorrow, it will! Because I will run tomorrow, I will!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Overshare warning - proceed at your own risk

so, I've always tried to keep a modicum of modesty around here, not discussing bodily functions too much, just because, well, ewww. It's bad enough I live with three boys and have to deal with all that comes with that. And there are some reproductive functions, that while perfectly human and normal, hit pretty close to very personal decisions that I never particularly wanted to share with the interwebs.

But lately, those functions have interfered mightily with what I do write about on here, which is my running and my fitness, and my attempt to become something more than what I am, not just athletically but emotionally and in my day to day life. So I had to take matters into my own hands because, well, we just can't have that. I've suffered from fibroids for a really long time, probably as long as I've had a monthly cycle, now that I think about it. What I knew as a normal cycle isn't really normal, and thanks to people who are less uptight about sharing their information on the internet, I know that now. For a long time, I controlled them with birth control pills, but when I hit 35 a few years ago, I knew that I didn't really want to be on them much longer, especially not with the history of stroke and heart disease in my family. But I also knew that I was done having kids - I have the most perfect kids imaginable and had also been advised that my body just couldn't handle another pregnancy, not when my blood pressure zoomed to 220/150 in my last few weeks with both boys. So we had to do something else.

That something else was an IUD, which despite many reports of people having horrendous issues with them, I actually tolerated really well and rather enjoyed because it made my cycles non-existent. That meant I didnt' have to deal with the annoyances and issues related to all that, which was great for my training as well as for my general moods and disposition, as well as those around me. It was a double-bonus in that it did its primary job of keeping me from popping out three more kids and managed the fibroid issues. So it seemed like it was all working out fabulously, but still, nothing that I really discussed with a lot of folks besides a couple of my closest friends.

But then, I noticed the weight. And I've mentioned it a time or two. Or three. or four... and how it keeps creeping up, despite logging every calorie in and keeping meticulous records. And how, even after running 100 miles in a month, like in June of this year, I don't lose any weight, no I gain weight. And how when my friend and I were getting ready for AvonWalk last year, and we walked the same amount in training, but then I would run in addition to that, and she lost 10 pounds and I gained five.

In the past five years, I've had the metabolism tested, I've had the thyroid tested, I've had consults with nutritionists (none of which understood the demands of marathon running, sadly), and I've even consulted weight loss doctors through UT Southwestern. And nobody had any answers, except for my primary care doctor, who suggested that I might actually be waking up in the middle of the night and eating without realizing it, unwittingly sabotaging my efforts. This was after he suggested that I start walking 20 minutes a day, three times a week (he did not have an answer when I asked whether I should do that before or after my 10-mile mid-week run). And with all the stuff going on in my life, with job changes, the house, the kids, etc., etc., I just haven't addressed it lately except for keeping up the mileage and making sure that I eat somewhat reasonably. But now, it's time to get it fixed.

The more I read about the particular IUD I had, the more I realized that having hormones directly released into my body like that was probably not a good thing. And there was enough anecdotal evidence to connect it to not only my weight gain but my ongoing acne issues, too. So we made the decision to pull it out and go with something else so that I could be free of any artificial hormones. But that decision alone wouldn't resolve the fibroid issues, or the fact that my body paid me back for all those years without a cycle by foisting one monster never-ending one on me once i had the device yanked. That was NOT fun, let me tell you. So I called my doctor and discussed the alternatives with him, and decided that while I really wanted all the troublesome girl parts yanked out nine years ago, 40 is probably still too young for a full hysterectomy. So we went with the uterine ablation coupled with a tubal ligation, figuring that the ablation was a less-invasive option. I had that done this week, which means I can't run for a week, although I can start walking tomorrow. The surgery itself was pretty uneventful - it was done outpatient, with general anesthesia, and laparoscopically, so the incision is tiny and barely noticable. My most troublesome side effect was the shoulder pain from the gas they used to inflate my abdomen for the ligation, but that has pretty much abated as of yesterday afternoon.

It might be a couple of months before I find out for sure how effective it was at treating the fibroids, but hopefully I'll see some movement on the scales and with the acne once the hormones are all out of my system. And that means that I can get back to the business of running without feeling like I'm carrying an extra toddler around, and of actually looking somewhat like an athlete. We shall see.

So, there. apologies if it's an overshare, but I'm amazed at how often i look back at these entries to remind myself of what I've been through, so I kind of needed to write it all down, for posterity's sake. Plus, if I actually see some kind of benefits to going hormone-free, then you can be sure I'll be shouting that from the rooftops.

Training notes, ORNs and progress toward the goal of the White Rock Half will resume as soon as I'm given clearance to run again. I should only miss one long run, so if all goes well I will be back on track lickety-split.