Saturday, July 31, 2010

7 x 11

Seven is my lucky number for a lot of reasons. First, because that's the average number of gadgets that it takes to get me out on a long run on any given day. I feel like a less-busty version of Laura Croft: Tomb Raider when I head out on Saturdays.

1. Heart Monitor- I don't really use this device up to its full potential, but I feel more hardcore when I'm wearing it. I will work on gaining some practical use from it this training season.

2. Sunglasses- Okay, so I forgot to wear them in the picture, but that's a fair representation. Since I don't plan to EVER get up earlier than 7:00 for a Saturday run, these are extremely necessary.

3. Headband- My bangs are an awkward length, so unless I want greasy, sweat-soaked strands burning my eyes, I have to wear one. It also makes me feel like I look less disgusting.

4. iPhone- My husband LOVES this because when I overshoot my distance, I call him to come save me. I inevitably interrupt something very important that he's doing, like playing Madden. Oops. I love it because my Pandora app is my saving grace from boredom. My current station of choice is Yeasayer.

5. iPhone Armband- It smells like butt after hundreds of uses, but it still works like a charm. Anyone who is still holding their MP3 player in their hand while running is insane.

6. Hydration Belt- They seem over-priced, as most running gadgets do, but it's worth every penny. There are actually plenty of water fountains on my 7 mile route, but those little water bottles more than served their purposed today as I frequently doused my head to keep my brain from frying.

7. GARMIN 405- One of the best gifts I have ever gotten. (Thanks, hubby) I love this thing. Pace. Heartrate. Elevation! Lap time! Distance! and sooooo much more. Then it wirelessly sends the information to your computer and puts it on a fancy-pants graph. You can break your run down by the second! IT'S AMAZING!

Today, it was extremely hot. 85 degrees and a billion percent humidity. I slowed myself down, got through successfully, and actually feel pretty well recovered. 7 is also my lucky number because anything over 6 miles means that I have to vary from my routine 6 mile loop, and is just over quarter-marathon mark. It is also Here is my split break down:

1. 11:03
2. 11:09
3. 11:11
4. 11:08
5. 12:01
6: 11:04
7: 11:03

Considering the heat, I was very pleased with today's times. I know that those are slow times, but I feel like I actually used my brain today and didn't go out to fast and crash. Thank you, Jeff Galloway, for your handy walk breaks. I feel almost certain that I would have totally bonked and done maybe 4 miles max in that heat without them.

First real week of training was a good one.

Friday, July 30, 2010

I need some LSD!!!

Okay, so I'm sure I'm not the first to have snickered at my own "cleverness" with a title like that, but as far as runners are concerned, Long Slow Distance jokes never get old. Running nerds can hardly carry on a conversation about their training with out using at least one drug-alluding cliche. "I'm addicted to running," "I love that runner's high," "I'm baked. That last speed workout was a killer."

I'm not sure what this says about the running community. Maybe it's to help us fit in a little better with the "cool" kids. When someone at the office says "Dude, bro. Last Friday was off the chain! We got so wasted that I skipped right over the bedspins and woke up the next day with KISS makeup on my bro's dog bed," we needed something better to say than "Oh yeah, I wasn't there. I had to wake up early on Saturday to run fartleks." With or without the lingo, I still doubt that running will ever be the thing that everybody's doing.

I'm a little discouraged about my LSD tomorrow. It's hard for me to say that 7-8 miles is my long run when it used to mean 20 miles. Darn you, sprained ankle, runner's knee, IT Band, and LA Fitness, darn you all! There should be some ebb and flow in training, but I hate that I let my endurance slide so far back when I had come so far. The progress I was making was so exciting last year. Every other week was a new first. My first double digit run. My first eleven mile, twelve mile, thirteen mile, and so on. I don't get to have any firsts this time until I've run 21.1 miles....On the flip side, I would normally have quit after a series of set-backs and slow months like I had Feb. through May. Frankly, I have quit running more times than I have started it, but not this year. Even under the influence of San Francisco's enchanting food and night life, I still managed to increase my mileage a bit.

In other discouraging news, tomorrow is going to be positively unbearable weather-wise. High of 98. Or is it that the humidity is 98 percent? Oh wait, IT'S BOTH. At least you know that I have no ulterior motives in my training, because the only things that are going to get high in those conditions are my core body temperature and mosquito bite count.

Click on the link below for an audio clip to represent how I think my run is going to feel.....

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Houston: Best for has-beens, worst for wannabes.

I am in San Antonio at the TCDA (Texas Choral Director's Association) conference, which is basically an excuse for choir directors to let loose right before the school year swallows up our time and identity. If you think you have experienced some real entertainment in your life, but have never been to a Karaoke joint in San Antonio last weekend of July, think again.

Despite the wonderful opportunities to gather material with which to blackmail my colleagues, (think inebriated, half-operatic versions of "I Will Survive") I decided to go for a night-time run in the city's fantastic McAllister Park instead. My run was mostly in the dark, so I don't think I could tell you many specifics about the park, except that it was huge, full of wildlife, and had fantastic trails. RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A FREAKIN NEIGHBORHOOD! The drive was maybe 15 minutes max from my downtown hotel room, but was a veritable nature preserve. I would not be caught dead without a trusty MP3 player to drown out the noise of Houston traffic on any of my home town runs, but the sounds of crickets, birds, and other living things that can't survive in H-town were so lovely, I actually turned the iPhone off. The high point of a very short-lived run was when I saw NINE deer grazing in a field just as the sky turned to black. I hoped I could capture the silhouette of the scene, but the light of my phone alarmed the deer. They ran off silently in a perfectly spaced, single-file line. Beautiful.

This further confirmed my ever-strengthening feelings that Houston has just got it all wrong. I thought Austin was the only city in Texas that really cared for its green space, but as I researched San Antonio's park system, I see that I was completely mistaken. That leaves Houston on par with one of my least favorite cities in the the world, Dallas. Houston was not born ugly, we made it that way. There are tiny remnants of recreational, un-manicured nature left, such as the Ho Chi Minh trails in Memorial Park, and I suppose we could even count some of the nature paths in the Woodlands, but that's pretty much it. Anyone who wants local options as a runner, hiker, mountain-biker, or nature-lover, is pretty much SOL.

This is not to say that the athletic scene in Houston is altogether dead. (We are only the second-fattest city in the nation now, right?) If you are a former high school quarterback, baseball player, or basketball star, there are plenty of ways to relive your former glory through professional sports. (Or at least we think that at the outset of each season. Maybe next year, Astros.) Sports bars abound in Houston, so it's simple to get that rusty drinking arm back into shape.

But for the rest of us who care to train for a sport in which we can actually participate, there is so little to hold onto. I realize there are other quality-of-life issues at play. Barefoot running may have gained so much ground in San Francisco because people can't afford to buy shoes in the first place, and now it just happens to be en vogue. However, our priorities as a city skew waaaaayyyyy too far in the direction of buildings and business while nature and health fall to the wayside. I am happy to have dug out an enjoyable running route or two. I thank God for my proximity to Allen Parkway just about every run, but I'm not sure how much longer I can appreciate the repetition. My running soul thirsts for green, while my brain demands a steady job. Sigh......Will I ever have both?

In other news, had a great run last night. Half-mile warm up, 3 miles at marathon pace, half mile cool down. I felt solid despite the heat and the extra, uh, Animal Style 2x2 I'm still carrying around with me. It was very encouraging. Still keeping my fingers crossed that I will actually get to put that training to use in the Houston Marathon. August 17 can't come too soon. Until tomorrow....Good night!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Recharging my Battery and Winning the Lottery

Recharging my battery today, because I literally had to recharge my battery today. After three rounds of jump-starting my car (two of them in the rain), my rockin' 1999 Mazda Protoge finally had enough juice to make it to the nearest Autozone. Many thanks to Lauren Burris (jump #1), Chelsea Dooman (#2), and my husband, Adam (responsible for #3 and the battery replacement). Four hours after the initial failed start, I arrived home and deemed this an off-day. Just as well since I ended up running rather than cross-training yesterday.

My car troubles were not the only reason I need a rest day. The last two nights, my favorite running partner has awoken me every couple of hours with, ironically, the runs.

Beasley is now the Usain Bolt of both the SPCA and the bathroom (aka any one of the rugs in our largely hard-wood apartment. Imagine my delight stepping onto my cool, squishy, moist bath mat yesterday morning.) I'm not sure which of the 11 breeds represented in Beasley causes him to have a super-sensitive stomach, but I'm not happy with it. The day that Adam and I feel like waking up every couple of hours to deal with poop, we will probably just go ahead and have a kid.

In other news, I put my name in for the Houston Marathon....I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to run in this marathon this year. Keep your fingers crossed for some good news August 17th! Off to bed!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Freaky Feet

I am purposefully posting this early in my blogging life when I know I have as few readers as possible...

Luckily for you, the resolution on my iPhone is not that great, so what you are looking at is a slightly censored version of what my feet really look like. The gash-looking thing on my big toe is the leftovers of a righteous blood blister. The puke-yellow callous is what happens when I don't use a cheese grater, otherwise known as a Ped Egg, to scrape off layers of abused skin on a weekly basis. If you wonder why I compare it to a cheese grater, take the shavings from my Ped Egg, put them on some spaghetti, and you tell me if you can tell the difference between them and fresh Parmesan cheese. Practical joke, anyone?

Runners definitely have a thing about their feet. A good blister provides the same amount of pride to a runner as a puppy does for a 3rd grader on show-and-tell day. The question "Do you want to touch it?" may not get quite the same reaction from on-lookers, however. I remember my dad had this small jewelry box that contained retired toenails. If the most embarrassing thing your dad has ever done in front of your friends is to ask them to pull the proverbial finger, you've got nothing on me.

All the same, I decided to end my run at 5.4 miles yesterday when I started to feel that tell-tale hot feeling on the balls of my feet. After running on all those luxurious dirt trails in California, my dogs were rebelling a bit against the concrete and asphalt. While my feet were a little tender, the knees felt great- better, even, than after my 3 mile run on Saturday night. I ran in a pair of thin-soled 15 dollar Adidas that I found at a discount store called Twice as Nice in Half Moon Bay after the ocean beat my Asics in a game of chicken. I have been skeptical of the minimalist shoe/barefoot trend ever since my brother tried to convince me of it last Christmas, but perhaps my experimentation will (I can't believe I'm saying this) prove him right? More to come about my brother and shoe experimentation soon....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

San Francisco Saddlebags

One day on the blog, and I think it has already provided some motivation. Last night I left a party to go run. Just 3 miles, but certainly better than nothing, which is what I did for the three previous days while we drove across the country. "Traveling across the country?" you ask. Allow me to explain...
If we are friends, or if I don't like you and wanted to rub it in your face, you probably know that I spent a whole month (!) housesitting in Half Moon Bay, CA, 20 miles south of San Francisco. The running was good. I had my choice of either view below for my daily jogging and hiking.

The only thing that could rival the beauty of Half Moon Bay's views is San Francisco's food. My measly, recreational runs certainly were no match In-and-Out, crab cioppino, Swan Oyster Depot, rosemary-crusted tuna steaks, pesto-covered jumbo scallops, delectable cheeses, and of course, California's free-flowing Zinfandel. Normally, I would be really upset about weight gain, but a solid month eating nothing but the best food EVER is totally worth five pounds. I look at my butt and think "awww, there's the crab legs with Louis sauce." On the hips, truffle cheese from Carmel; back of the arms, garlic fries from Giant stadium.

Nevertheless, I think I prefer to hold memories in pictures rather than on the scale, and I certainly don't want that Animal Style 2x2 flopping on my thighs while I'm trying to run mile repeats. I have about 7-8 pounds to lose altogether so I'm going to have to watch the calories and add mileage.

Current Weight: 130
Goal Weight: 123

Running plan for the week:
All will be done at a slow pace with walk breaks a la Galloway. Just want to build up for a couple of weeks and focus on calorie burn.

Sunday: 5-6 miles
Monday: X-train at the gym. Elliptical and core workout.
Tuesday: 3-4 miles
Wednesay: 3-4 miles
Thursday: X-train (optional)
Friday: Off
Saturday: 7 miles

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Knocking on the Gait

My hair is brown. My eyes are green. I'm the slowest runner that you've ever seen.

My name is Clelyn, a Houstonian according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but a California trail runner at heart. The only difference is that I still have a job. Bahdumching! I have been running inconsistently since I was twelve, and consistently for the past year. Because I have finally hit my stride, (pun intended) I deem myself a runner and will be blogging as such from here on.

Running Background-


To be honest, the last time I raced was high school cross country, though not for lack of trying. I inflicted a 3rd degree sprain on my ankle two weeks before the Austin Marathon last year.
See "Weaknesses" section for explanation.

Houston Marathon. We'll see if I win the lottery.

Endurance. I love those nasty, foot-bloodying, headache-inducing, weekend long runs. Those runs are by far my favorite part of training.

Inexperience/Arrogance. I push myself too hard when I shouldn't, and not hard enough when I should. I somehow think I'm smarter than training plans that real athletes and coaches develop to help disorganized, poor planners such as myself. I'm just now developing a more efficient gait a la Pose Method. I have a lot to learn.

KLUTZINESS. I defy you to show me any human with normal skeletal/muscular function that has fallen from running in a straight line on a surface as flat as Houston's more than me. If there be root or rock, no matter how small, I will find it. A crack in the side walk brings me to my knees- no - brings me to my face. Bloody knees, bruised shins, scraped palms, a black eye, even, are constant proof that I, to put it romantically, run with reckless abandon. I even dashed my marathon hopes last year from tripping over......brace yourself.......NOTHING. This is the one weakness for which I have no solution, but may at least serve some entertainment for this blog in the future.

In future blogs, I plan to post about my training specifics, post interviews with more successful runners than myself, share recipes (don't tell my husband, but I actually can cook), and hope to share my experiences as I work through Jeff Galloway's marathon training plan. Comments, questions, and encouragement are appreciated!