Thursday, January 31, 2008

My running rambles!

Running….isn’t it one of first physical activity skills that we learn? Then why on earth can it be so difficult and so frustrating, and yet, two days later be the easiest and most peaceful thing on the planet? I suppose if I had an answer to this I could make myself rich!!!

Why do I run? I get that question all of the time and still I’m ‘running’ in search of the answer, and on any given day, that answer can be quite different. Some days it’s because I can: like when I ran a marathon 5 days after being in a car accident, other days it’s because it keeps me sane: as an assistant principal the things I can deal with in a day are quite profound, far-out-there, sad, or just plain frustrating, and running helps me to put everything into perspective – it’s a way to be free, to get away from it all, to think about anything and everything, but most of all finishing with some sense of a plan. Other days still it’s just to make myself feel physically better: how many of us have had those “I ate too much last night, I just feel fat” days?!?!? Yep, somehow running makes me feel less guilty and better about myself.

As I’m writing this I’m sitting in very cold, very snowy Spokane at the January OSPI conference. Being away from home can present its own challenges for getting our workouts in, but being at a conference with colleagues makes those challenges ten-times tougher: you sit listening all day and then your team wants to go out to eat to be social right at the end of the conference…do you say “sorry, gotta train”, or do you “suck it up”? For me, it’s more of the dreaded “I’ve got to drag myself out of bed at 5:30am to go run on the treadmill before the day begins, and then “can I sneak out of the last session early and jump in the hotel’s tiny little pool”? So, yes, I did both – the first met me with disappointment – all the treadmills were being used, and their occupants looked like they were on for a marathon, and there was a line of about 4 other excited onlookers! What to do? Well, those of you who know me know I love thinking outside of the box…so, I decided I’d just run around the hotel, and so made myself a fun little route, kept my heart rate at about 150, and just enjoyed people watching. It was probably one of the most relaxing runs I’ve had in a long time…and needless to say, the next day I didn’t even stick my head in the “gym”, I just went straight for my little “route”. I got strange looks, but no-one (at least openly) complained and those waiting in line for the treadmills were rather green with envy, or was that green from the heat and smell in the little room?!?!?! I have to say swimming in a pool that small made me quite sea-sick and taught me that I must learn to flip turn, oh, and take Dramamine! It made for a tiring few days, but at least I didn’t offend anyone, and I got my workouts in!

I’m “famous” for being the Marathon Maniac, but, seriously I don’t see myself that way at all. I don’t think I do anything special, nor am I anything special. I’m just like everyone else: tired at the end of the day, balancing a job and family life, taking classes that will one day hopefully lead to my PhD, and training. This last year I signed up for Ironman Coeur d’Alene. I’ve always wanted to do it, but never really dreamt that I could. Now I’m in the middle of “training my butt off” and loving every minute! I love the fact that cycling has made my running leg turnover quicker, and swimming has helped my asthma and my breathing. I should have been cross-training years ago!!! The whole 4 marathons in 10-weeks came as a result of my husband teasing me (oh, I’m so easily influenced!) and a thought that if I could do that I could finish Ironman…I think I forgot that there are other events in an Ironman ;)

This fall’s marathon experience was awesome. I loved it! I never, once, felt ready for running 26.2 miles when I was at the start line though, and yet, I finished each one, including a PR on #3 in Seattle, which is a brutal course…I felt like I was flying that day. I did everything right. You’d think I’d “got it”, but just 3-weeks later, I totally blew it on my 4th marathon and seemed to do everything wrong! Crazy! Those who have run a marathon know that the last 6-miles is brutal, almost an out of body kind of experience…those who haven’t, to explain it would be like me trying to describe colors to you if you had been blind since birth! There isn’t any way to describe it – and even fewer words to describe how your legs feel the morning after! Although, I have learned that after 10 marathons that feeling doesn’t last half as long, or seem half so bad as the first! I actually kind of like it now – it’s a personal “feel” of satisfaction in a weird kind of way!!!

I promised myself I’d take some time off from finishing the last marathon in December, and so my next one is Yakima Canyon in April. I’ve got talked into doing some halves along the way, but I wanted a mental break and a chance to focus on breaking the 3:40 mark, and to qualify for Boston…although I realize I’m more likely to do that in the Fall after Ironman, but I still plan to try! Really running 13.1 is SO much easier than running 26.2 so I’ve yet to figure out why I don’t stick to that distance!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

TF Meeting - What I learned

We had our January Team meeting last night. We should have known that it was going to snow. This is our second meeting that we have planned where the weather did not cooperate. Fortunately for me, I had a ride. Not that I don't enjoy swerving and sliding in the snow and ice, it is just that my car will not go in a forward direction in the stuff. I certainly did NOT want to walk up my hill at the end of the night.

Luckily Kris totally enjoys driving in these road conditions. She always has to prove that her mighty little car loves the stuff. My neighbors were probably wondering this morning what teenager was doing 360's in the cul-de-sac last night.

Kris and I thought we were totally prepared for this meeting. We were going to arrive a good 45 minutes early to set up. Her 10 minute drive to pick me up unfortunately turned into a good 45 minute drive due to those drivers who are not as confident as she is. We however made it with about 15 minutes to spare. Not much but we figured everyone else would be late as well.

So what I learned you ask? A statement that I used to live and work by, and was remind of by my husband later that night. "Piss poor planning makes for a piss poor performance." Boy did it show! I don't think I have been that flustered in a long time. Not even on a winter bike ride trying to figure out how to use the restroom while wearing those D@#n bibs! (bib shorts that is, for those of you who don't wear them, your smart. You have to take EVERYTHING yes, helmet too, off to do your business. A simple stop that could take as little as 45 seconds in a bush, and now your taking your helmet off!!!!?? can you tell how much I like bibs?)

Mistake #1 Always test out your equipment BEFORE leaving home. Or at least give it a run through when arriving. Make a note: Just because the projector light is showing on the screen does NOT mean that it is receiving input from the power point on the computer. Thanks to Kathryn for trying to fix it. Unfortunately we could not get it to work. All my efforts down the drain. And I had some pretty good pictures on there too. At least for not showing them, I was guaranteed a ride home. I just know everyone wanted to see the picture of Kris lying in bed the night after Ironman on the "how to rest" page. :)

Mistake #2 Please refer to picture above. (no, its not just a painful waxing session). Sometimes you have to shut your mouth when others are speaking. Ok, so I know Kris is the quiet one..where is that megaphone?....but when she's talking I really need to learn to shut my yap. I swear I don't even hear her over my loud conversations (maybe its the feedback in my own head, I don't know?) I appologize to her every time we speak because I am so rude and cut her off and don't let her talk. Ok, confession time, when we are working out, I am the one that can't get a word in. Seriously, she never shuts up! It's actually quite annoying. But anyway, I have come up with a plan. It involves duct tape. Need I say more?

Mistake #3 Always have a back up plan for when things don't work. How to take all those pretty words from the slides and talk about them? Ok, so all I could see was graphs in my head and could not get past it. How could I put that on a white board??? So much information running through my tiny brain and how to describe it all without boring the living daylights out of everyone.

Thank God for Rich! Ok, maybe Kris too if she would have spoken up.....or did she??? WE CAN"T HEAR YOU!!!!! Anyway Rich did a great job of explaining the whole periodization thing. Think linear. I was still on triangles, I think I was stuck in one, while he moved on to the line graph. Thanks Rich, nicely done.

Nutrition did someone say nutrition???? Up steps one of the newest members, Ben, what a great asset he is to the team. He's full of knowledge....all that mono sucrose, dextro,maltodextrin, potassium, sorbate, chain amino sugar acid talk! Nicely done! And to think I was just eating hammer gel for the great taste :) He pulled out his arsonal of nutrition, very amazing. I think he must own stock in that company.... I truely do like his approach to training though. HIRE A COACH! Let them figure it out and you just go and DO it. Whatever it is, its working for him. Again, Thanks Ben for the information.

I hope everyone came away with a head full of garbled gunk. Just kidding, hopefully it was usefull and you can use it for starting your training plans. Clarise even walked away with a Jimmie. You'll have to ask her. Jimmie is my new best friend though. He's always with me :).....yes, my husband knows about him, and he's ok with it!

I hope some of my learning experiences can help you in your next meeting or even family get together. Remember, Plan ahead, have a back up plan, and don't forget the duct tape!

Ciao - Lisa