it’s much easier to sign up for races than run them

17 Apr

Every once in a while (read MOST of the time) I make things much more difficult than they really are.  I use every dish when I cook or bake.  I figure out how to make instructions vastly complicated.  And I tend to miss details so things seem harder as I only see the big picture.

With this in mind, I’m not surprised that I’ve been massively concerned about signing up for the Detroit Free Press marathon.

When I first checked the marathon registration, I saw you needed either your passport or an enhanced license.  My passport is expired & I don’t have any type of enhancement on the ol’drivers certificate.  Crazy enough, two years ago when I renewed said license, they told me it had been invalid for the 14 months.  Umm…  Excuse me?  Isn’t this information someone should have told me?!  Apparently not…

Anyway, I was stressing due to these lacks of identification.  I looked at the passport renewal process & it seemed like it was going to take too long so I went for the license update.  I finally got my buns to the DMV (or Secretary of State as its known in MI), yesterday.

yep…

Brief commentary: how is the DMV ALWAYS busy?  There are several branches in Kzoo.  Also, why are there ALWAYS strange people there?  Yesterday a man started yelling inside how we all needed to pick if we wanted to go to heaven or hell & that Jesus was the only way.  And no one really did anything – it’s like we expect it there.

Anyway, turns out you need a birth certificate or valid passport to get this type of license.  Not sure why I would want an enhanced license if I already had a passport but whatever.  I think DMV employees have to put up with enough abuse so I left without voicing my disappointment.  I decided to just use my expired passport and sign up.  The price increase is soon & I didn’t want to miss my shot at Detroit.

Wouldn’t you know it?  Your passport or enhanced license number ISN’T REQUIRED!  Haha, I’m such a goober.  I’ve been worried about this for nothing; clearly I didn’t read this part very well.  I signed up straight-away.  I am so excited – another full here I come!  I’ve heard such wonderful reviews of this race & it’s been on my list of “to-do” races.  I’ve lived here in MI for almost 11 years so I basically qualify as a Michigander.  So, I HAVE to do it!

source

(source) not my pic but I can’t wait to have my own!

I’ve found a few more races that are catching my fancy.  I haven’t signed on the dotted line just yet but they are bookmarked!  I talked to previous runners of said races & naturally they all garnered rave reviews.  I love how much easier it is and what a wonderful idea all of these races sound right now.  Then at 4 am (or earlier) when my alarm sounds come race day, I can’t figure out what I was thinking!  Oh… life as a runner!

uncle sam hearts tax day!

16 Apr

True to form, I did my taxes Monday…  I’ve nailed the art of procrastination of so many levels.

If yesterday is still sheds a shadow over your Wednesday or you just need a pick me up on a Wednesday, here is  some humor.  These are a few funnies that has made me laugh recently and wanted to share them.  Hope they do the same for you!  P.S. Uncles Sam says “thanks for filing!”  (Hmm… is it egotistical to speak for uncle sam?!)

pop up book of phobias

the horrors…

man, I love these!

man, I love these!

jurassic park

simon and I love Jurassic Park and this is very clever!

umm... this may have happened this weekend x2

umm… this may have happened this weekend x2

I tried explaining this to my co-worker and why I thought it was so funny.  lost in translation - I sounded like a crazy person

I tried explaining this to my co-worker and why I thought it was so funny. lost in translation – I sounded like a crazy person

bird and math

cracks me up!

cracks me up!

And what would this list be without a cat meme?!

haha, poor cat!

haha, poor cat!

Enjoy your Wednesday!

 

none of the sleep

14 Apr

I love this:

use the sleepThis last week my body and brain decided that sleep is for the weak and they were much to strong for it.  I tend to disagree but sometimes my body and brain go against my wishes.  Little brats!  The thing is, I really needed to get some sleep.  I was hosting a candidate and typically, candidates and employers like it when you can articulate the pros of your work place and answer questions.  Not to mention, this went on for five days and not catching z’s for this amount of time was taking a toll.

I’m not quite sure where this insomnia was coming from.  And I am not even sure if what I am experiencing even counts as insomnia.  Essentially, I would sort of doze but never fully be asleep.  Then I would have these weird surface-level dreams – the alarm going off every morning was so frustrating because I didn’t feel rested at all.

no sleepThursday, while hosting, there were times when I couldn’t even think of the right words I needed to say.  At the end of the evening (7:15 pm) I was pointing at some M&M’s that a student had and I couldn’t think of what they were called.  I ended up going to bed at 9:30 pm.  I was done.  Of course I woke up several times in the night – normal for me.  Since I like to find causes for things/ailments/happenings, I tried to pinpoint the culprit behind the lack of some REM cycles.  Here is what I came up with:

I get too hot when I sleep.  Waking up sweating kind of grosses me out and it’s been happening off and on since moving to my new apt.  In my old place, I lived several floors up so I could keep the windows open and had an efficient air conditioner.  Now I live on the ground floor and I need a new air unit.  I also think this lack of fresh air contributes to my ailing immune system.  I was sick this past weekend.  Again.

sooo hot!

Simon.  Okay, so I know this one is easier to fix because I could close the door on the little guy.  But I can’t – he paws at the door the whole night and he doesn’t really like this new apt.  Simon gets much more anxious and needs to be near me.  He then wakes me up typically around 4:30-5:30 am.  I do put him out of the bedroom and close the door at this time.  Simon’s body heat (approx 100* – this is normal!) also lends to me getting too toasty.

Bad dreams/nightmares.  I certainly don’t have night terrors and for that I am grateful.  However, I’ve had extremely vivid dreams since childhood and my epilepsy meds just increase these.  Unfortunately, these dreams aren’t rainbows and puppies.  They are fairly angsty and stressful.

Both my brother and mom had/have bouts of insomnia so maybe it’s genetic?  I think even if I only woke up once per night I would feel remarkably better.  I don’t foresee sleeping pills right now (seriously, I just can’t take more pills) so I’m looking for alternative methods.  On my list of things to try are a lighter blanket (duh Amy!), a new air unit (again, duh!), acupuncture, some massage to ease  stress, continued running, cutting some coffee out of my day (this is a double-edged sword since I start to droop in the afternoon) and a few other ideas I’ve found on pinterest.  And yes, attempting to go to bed earlier – maybe despite the punctuated sleep just being in bed longer might help?

Who knows…  Any suggestions for the sleep disturbed?  Last week was particularly bad but I always wake up at least 3-4 times a night.  Or is this normal?

need for speed

13 Apr

I still can’t believe I ran 10:15 minutes miles on Friday.  This is a minute and a half faster than what I was running the week before.  And no, I’m not juicing!

stay away from the juice honey boo boo!

I’m going to back up a little… as I mentioned, my calf has been really bugging me.  It has been super tight and definitely causing pain when I run.  During my run last Saturday, it was hurting so much I shifted my form to compensate.  Of course, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise!

I have no idea when or how it happened but I haven’t been picking up my feet when I run – at all.  I’ve  heavily depended on my calves for all of my running power.  It’s like I’ve just been shuffling.  Lately, when my training plan called for speed work, I just couldn’t imagine how I was going to get faster when my feet/legs couldn’t GO faster.  Then I (physically) realized the concept of turning my feet over faster and was amazed.

this was my reaction too

This realization along with actually using my quads/hamstrings to run culminated into some speed.  On Tuesday, I went for a run and I could tell I went faster than I had in FOR-E-VER.  Lately, my pace has been hovering around an average of 11:50, maybe 11:30 if I felt good.  Friday, I accidentally found a setting on my garmin where I can set the pace I want to hit and then it tells me when I am on pace or ahead/behind.  What a great feature!

not my image but when this popped up on the second hill, I *may* have called my garmin some nasty names…

I set it for 11:15 since this was going to be my first run with my garmin and using this form.  I knew I was running faster, my garmin told me so, but it didn’t say how much faster.  There were times when it said on pace and on one hill it said behind pace.  My first mile was 11:07 and I was surprised!  Two long hills dominate the first part of my route, so I was happy.  I did four miles total and my splits were 11:07, 10:15, 10:17 and 10:22.

I’m still in shock.  My legs were fatigued yesterday in that “whoa, I put in a good work out” kind of way.  My plan was to run a few miles but an upset tummy restricted any bouncy behavior.  But as I tweeted, my spirit is renewed!  I wasn’t sure I would see these speeds again, despite my running coach telling me it was possible.  It’s weird because I figured I could do it but I didn’t know how.  Nor did I really believe it.  Now I have hope and evidence!

There is a month to my 25k and a month and a half until my next half marathon.  One of the reasons my legs are as tired is because my quads are not as strong as they need to be – why would they?  I’ve barely been using them!  I don’t know what to expect from these next two races.  I have some goals naturally but I’m going to keep them at bay and focus on training.  OH!  And no calf pain on Friday’s run!

“It may not be fast and it may not be pretty but it’s going in the right direction”                         – Eric Simonson

c’mon quad, give your calf buddy a hand

9 Apr

I’ve definitely jacked up my calf.  I am less than thrilled.

For the last month and half, my left calf has been bothering me.  It’s been really tight and I didn’t pay much mind to it.  I figured it would work itself out naturally.  WRONG!  On my ill-fated run in Indy (yes, I’m going to keep linking to this!) the last mile and half, my calf was screaming.  This is the reason I turned around – when I would attempt to run, it felt like my calf muscle was trying to break free from my leg.  It actually scared me a bit.

Unfortunately, because I was in a hurry when I got back, I didn’t stretch at all.  I did a decent job of cooling down as I walked to Baskin and Robbins that evening and walking to the restaurant for dinner.  However, the knot in my calf was displeased with me in the subsequent days.

the unhappy camper

the unhappy camper

Saturday, I headed out for a run and within the first few steps my calf was bothering me.  I hadn’t even gone a mile before I had to stop and stretch.  I proceeded to do this at each stoplight and it did help a bit.  I also noticed engaging my quads really helped.  Hmmm… perhaps I’ve been relying too much on my calves as my source of power while running?

My purely unscientific theory is running on the treadmill this whole winter has changed my stride a bit and I’m not using my bigger leg muscles much.  So, I picked up my knees and did my best to put my quads to work.  The good: I was running at a quicker pace.  The better:  it made my calf feel better.  The not so good: WOW!  It was exhausting!  Haha, these muscles certainly are not as strong – I see some squats and wall sits in my future!

hmm… this holds true for both my arms and legs…

It could also be time to retire my Brooks.  I’ve been wearing them since Oct?  Early Nov?  This includes all of the training for Dopey so they may be ready for greener pastures.  I do have my Hokas but I’m still on the fence as to whether or not these are MY shoes.  I keep going back for my Brooks when leaving for a run so I think this probably means something.

I foam rolled, stretched, iced, compressed and rested on Sunday.  I had plans to run but I realized this was a dumb idea.  I took Monday off as well and iced away.  Tuesday was a mentally taxing day at work and I had extra coffee and work stress coursing through my veins.  Part of me was screaming, “THE COUCH!  THE COUCH WILL MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER!”  Then there was another part that was whispering, “what about a run?”  Somehow, the whispering part of me won out and I hit the streets.  I concentrated on lifting my knees and landing as close to midfoot as I could.

thanks for being there for me, couch!

Ta-da!  My calf felt much better during the run.  I also wore some compression socks and stretched 3 or 4 times at stop lights.  I wore newer shoes and spent some quality time working the knot out when I got home.  Funny enough, I had the energy to run 5 miles or more but I didn’t want to push it too much.  I think I ran somewhere between 4 and 4.5.  I originally thought I would only be able to run 3 so this made me happy!  A side note, picking my knees up is proving I’ve been shuffling about during my runs!  Just need to keep adjusting my form… and taking care of this little whiny calf!

indy wrap up – written between naps

6 Apr

Since I returned from Indy, I’ve been exhausted.  I attribute this to the following:

1. Long run on Sunday

2. Late nights and early mornings

3. Sitting in sessions all day – my brain is tired.

4. Heavy meals.  REALLY heavy meals.

5. TONS of walking

While I had a good time, I was very happy to be home.  Of course for the last few days, all I’ve done is nap off and on and go to the bathroom.  TMI?

Well, just hang with me for a few minutes…

I traveled with some serious food-lovers.  This wasn’t a negative, I love food as well so it worked out to the benefit of all of us.  I tried a few new things and we tried to hit up as many local places as possible.  I ate my first etouffee – a chilly cheese version with crawfish.  YUM!  I love crawfish!

Then I discovered a pecan praline.  Maybe I’ve had one before?  It couldn’t have been that good because I forgot all about it.  Needless to say, I won’t forget about this one anytime soon!

this was massively sweet and it took me four days to eat - worth it!

this was massively sweet and it took me four days to eat – yum!

A bison burger… I’ve had bison before so this wasn’t the epiphany part of my meal.  I had a fried egg on my burger for the first time ever.  I was hugely hesitant and voiced my concerns.  Soon after this, I wasn’t talking at all because I was stuffing my face with this goodness.  Definitely a treat and definitely something I could only eat on special occasions.

We went to a combo Thai/jazz bar restaurant (yep, we are probably thinking the same thing) and it was delicious.  It was a huge plate of crab fried rice and one of my coworkers enjoyed the other half.  We also found a local pub with such excellent fare, it won our patronage twice during our week-long visit.  All in all, there were some seriously good eats.  BUT all of the restaurant foods made me swell up like a balloon!  I’m sensitive to water retention and considering I don’t eat out very much, I was shocked by the outcome of all the eating out (and a few adult beverages) had on me.  How do I know?

I lost 5lbs of water in a 24 hour period!  On the drive home, I went to the bathroom before we left and MAYBE a half hour later I had to go again.  This was happening the whole entire time I was in Indy as well.  I was being very intentional about drinking water while there too as I was constantly thirsty.  And while this is kind of a funny story, the fact is, I know it’s really bad for me.  My ankles were swelling on a daily basis and my not-tight-at-all socks left indents on my lower legs.  YIKES!

Yep, I peed out every last ounce of water from my body (and hopefully all of the sodium).  Alas, how does this fit into my body image (semi) crisis of last week?  Well, I tried to walk as much as possible and avoided snacking.  My meals were packed solid with sodium and calories but I also knew I would be back home soon and I could focus on a healthier routine then.  Stressing about it while there wasn’t going to help me at all.  I also left food on the plate and tried to ensure I wasn’t overeating.  It wasn’t easy, the goodness would call to me!  I ate breakfast every morning and didn’t drink any pop.  Small victories but victories nonetheless.  And wouldn’t you know it?  I didn’t gain any weight (aside from the water) while I was there.  I just feel crappier health-wise.

One good thing about going on a vacation is coming back and being able to jump into healthier habits.  My body is CRAVING some quality nutrients!  OH!  And not to be a total coffee snob but I’m going to be… I’m happy to be back because I couldn’t get a good cup of coffee to save my life!  One day it was marginal and that was it.  I tried a new place everyday – some local and some chains, nope.  Sad.

We walked back and forth (and back and forth – times this by a lot!) to the various restaurants and by the end of the week, I could find my way around without the help of google maps.  In fact, I would say I know some areas of downtown Indy better than areas here in Kzoo!  Indy is a fun city.  It closes down fairly early in the evenings though and at times were walking home and NO ONE was out and about – not even cars.  It was so strange.

From our hotel, I saw this funky building.  I was fascinated by how it appears to be paper-thin.  I mean, beyond obsessed!

I swear, this isn't a trick of the camera - you wacky architects!

I swear, this isn’t a trick of the camera – you wacky architects!

Then there was this funky little door/window that led to a roof access.  The door is my size!

so cute... so inviting... I'm so weird...

so cute… so inviting… I’m so weird…

Again, happy to be home, getting back into a routine and hanging out with Simon.  The poor dude missed me and has barely left my side since coming home.  If you get the chance to visit Indianapolis, do it!

too much running is a thing

5 Apr

First of all, I had complete intentions of blogging while I was at my work conference.  I even lugged around my computer for the trip despite it’s size and weight (I have an older mac and I’m not ready to pull the trigger for a newer model when this one is still up and running).  But get this:  the hotel charged $12 a day for internet.  Whaa?  I didn’t even know people still did this!  Granted, they did offer free happy hour drinks/snacks along with a free full breakfast daily but the internet thing threw me.  Considering I was only in the hotel room to sleep – I’m not even kidding I was barely there, it didn’t seem like a wise choice of spendage.

My apologies

I do want to fill you in on the run that nearly destroyed me.  ***Only minor exaggeration ahead!***  Indy has a Trader Joe’s and from my investigation they had 2 within a 12 mile vicinity of my downtown hotel.  My coworkers weren’t all hot to drive there so I decided I was going to run it.  I needed a long run that was roughly this distance and the idea blossomed in my mind.  I briefly considered Indy may have a few not-exactly-safe neighborhoods but remember?  Denial?  I decided to “run” (ha!) with it.

oh my gosh – this is oh so true!

My coworkers weren’t terribly thrilled with this idea.  Since we arrived on Saturday and the planned run was Sunday I started asked questions as soon as we got to the hotel.  I printed out directions ahead of time but alas, left them in the printer.  One person said it was super easy to get there and I just needed to run up this main street and I was good to go.  I talked to a friend who lives in the area and he introduced me to the Indianapolis Cultural Trail which ever so nicely leads to the Monon Trail.  In turn, this leads to Trader Joe’s.  Bravo!

My friend also told me to hit up the TJ’s on 86th street as the one on 82nd wasn’t in a good area.  He also told me to turn right at the end of the trail and my mecca would be 10 minutes away.  I felt very confident.  It was a beautiful day for a run – 50′s, a shiny sun and I felt pretty good.  The trail was fairly easy to navigate, however there was one weird corner where I took a wrong turn and ended up with an extra giant circle of steps.  With this detour, I’m guessing I was at roughly a mile and some change.  I don’t know for sure since my garmin didn’t like Indy all that much and it took some time to find a satellite.  I found my way and then soon I was on the Monon Trail.  Since I knew the distance to TJ’s, (12 miles) I wasn’t concerned about the wrong turn.

The Monon trail is fantastic.  There were a few inclines but nothing horribly challenging.  Most of the scenery was nice and again, it was such a beautiful day!  For the most part, I was accompanied by other runners and bikers so I didn’t feel unsafe.  Since the trail crosses major streets, there were cross walks at numerous intervals but trail blazers have the right of way and Indy drivers were very courteous.  I even saw a cop drive down the trail.  I was pretty tired at the 10 mile marker and had to keep an internal pep talk going but I knew I was almost finished.  Yay!  I should mention my garmin died at mile 7 since it wasn’t fully charged when I started.

 

See that pretty blue sky?!

See that pretty blue sky?!

The end-ish of the trail hits 86th street, I took a right as instructed.  My phone then said I was going toward 82nd.  Hmm… maybe my friend got a bit directionally challenged?  This wouldn’t be the first time, so I turned around and started heading in the opposite direction toward the 86th store which “shouldn’t” be too far so I kept running.  And running.  And running.  Great scott, I thought I was tired at mile 10.  Mile 13, 14 and 15 I wanted to crawl to the side of the road and weep.  I certainly wasn’t ready for this distance and the grocery store was nowhere to be found.  I did take my GPS out and it finally said I was almost a 1.5 away.  Since I couldn’t find it, I briefly thought about turning around to the other one however, now this one was 4.4 miles away.  A conundrum indeed.  I did what any sane person would do when their calf muscles are so tight it felt like it was pulling away from the bone with every step, was getting dark, in a strange city, and getting cold; I turned around.  Yep, I admitted defeat, cursed my friend for his misguided directions and hung my head.  I was a few blocks away from a Baskin and Robbins I had spotted and went directly there.  This was approximately 7:45 pm and I started my journey at 4 pm.  I got some ice cream, talked to some locals who were astounded when I told them I ran from downtown and then called a cab.  45 mins after that, Roy (my cab driver and new friend) picked me up and mocked me a bit about how I ran all that way and then was picked up by a taxi at an ice cream place.  It WAS funny, however I just wanted to get back to the hotel and EAT EVERYTHING.

A burger was on my plate within a half hour of returning to the hotel.  I legit took 10 mins to clean up and then we walked to the restaurant.  I drank two 24 oz glasses of water throughout dinner and cleaned my plate (not a normal thing for me).  Here is the crazy/nutty part of the story:  the next day I was watching the news in between sessions.  There was a bank robbery on the very street I was running on that evening!  I mean, I was RIGHT THERE the night before.  Yes, this completely weirded me out!

My coworkers did end up taking pity on me and we stopped at TJ’s on the way out of Indy.  I was all prepped to buy 3 bags of peanut butter filled chocolate covered pretzels and hoard them.  Typically, I portion them out and allow myself one serving (5 nuggets) per day.  And yes, I really do stick with this.  Guess what?  They were out.  I did console myself by buying a bottle of wine.  But seriously?  Why universe WHY?!!!

my heart belongs to you, TJ

my heart belongs to you, TJ

This is the end of my running saga… thanks for hanging in there!

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