Three Things Thursday – Running, Eating Disorders, and a Poop Assist

1.   I finally ran yesterday for the first time since the half last weekend.  I had every intention of lacing back up on Monday, but life, weather, and timing conspired against me.  It was a meager three miles on the treadmill at a slower pace than I ran my half marathon and it felt harder than it should have.  I sure it was because of the walking lunges I’ve been doing.  My butt and legs already felt busted before I ever took the first step.  But in a good way.

2.   I read this article a couple of days ago and was completely flabergasted by the “orthorexia” part.  Are you freakin’ kidding me???  Eat a healthy diet and you’re labeled as having a disorder?  Give your body what’s best for it and you need behavioral therapy?  Pathetic.  Absolutely pathetic.

3.   Harley ate part of his blanket.  I didn’t even notice until he tried to pass it.  You haven’t lived until you’ve pulled the last few inches of a two-foot-long piece of fleece from your dog’s ass.

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Nuts & Bolts

I felt like I wanted to write a post, but I’ve been sitting here looking at  a blank “new post” screen for a good ten minutes, unable to come up with anything post-worthy.  (It doesn’t help that there’s a Cardinals ballgame on distracting me.)  So what does one do when one can’t come up with a full post?

Bullets, baby!

  • Today is Easter, and all day long I’ve been reading people’s posts on Facebook about their Easter church services and such.  I went to church this morning, and it was a completely standard service.  Easter wasn’t acknowledged in anyway whatsoever.  I wanted to ask someone why but I didn’t want to feel like an idiot.  (I attend Church of Christ, so if anybody knows anything about this that I don’t, please enlighten me.)
  • We had a low-key night out with some friends last night.  We gorged on Mexican and then they wanted to go see the new Madea movie.  I had never seen any of them, and after last night I can safely say I’ll never see any more of them.  I did not enjoy it.  It might have been tolerable had it not been for all the ghetto idiots in there yelling out at the screen.
  • The announcers for this ballgame I’m watching are talking right now about extended playoffs this year with an extra wildcard team.  I’m not sure how I feel about this.
  • I haven’t run since the half-marathon last Saturday.  I had planned to take a one-week break just because I felt like I needed it.  Mentally more than physically.  I’m ready to get back at it.
  • I have been so unbelieveably tired this week and weekend.  I thought it was possibly because I had lost so much sleep due to the middle-of-the-night storms through the week, but you’d think I would have caught back up by now.  I fell asleep on the couch after work almost every day, and I took a 2-hour nap both yesterday and today.  And I swear if I closed my eyes for 15 seconds I could be asleep again right now.  I hope I get my energy back when I get back into a running routine tomorrow.
  • There was a bone marrow drive in a town about 20 miles from here yesterday.  I wanted to go, but with these crazy gas prices and my gas-guzzling truck, I didn’t.  I learned on bethematch.org that you can order the kit and join the registry by sending in a cheek swab, so that’s what I did.  Some of the questions I had to answer were insane:  “In the past five years, have you taken money or drugs in exchange for sex?”  Whew!  Good thing I stopped doing that six years ago!
  • Our electricity has gone off at least once a day since it came back on the day after the storms last week.  I’m tired of resetting clocks.
  • It never fails… every time I’m trying to hear something on TV, my dogs will go get their Nylabones and park their asses right in the middle of the living room, crunching and grinding louder than the television.
  • I went through my jewelry chest this week and dug out a few pieces of gold jewelry that I haven’t worn in a long time.  Some of it I forgot I even had.  I sold it for $285.  Score.  Makes me wish I hadn’t hocked my first wedding set for $50 right after the divorce.
  • Four day work week this week!  I’m taking a day of leave on Friday.  The sister and I will be Nashville bound!

Did you have a big Easter service at church? 

Do you donate blood?  I wish I could, but I’m too much of a wuss.  I pass out at the sight of blood.

Three Things Thursday

1.   Reading Tonia’s race recap from a few days ago reminded me of something I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned here.  The day after Christmas last year, I got online and ordered a pair of Yurbuds with a Visa gift card I’d received.  A couple of weeks later, I grabbed my iPod and headed to the gym.  Only when I got to the gym I was short one Yurbud.  I retraced my steps to the truck looking all around the ground.  I turned my truck upside down looking for it.  I KNEW it was on the earphones when I picked the iPod up, so it HAD to be somewhere.  Back at home that night I looked all in the garage where I had walked and even had D check the truck again to make sure I hadn’t overlooked it.  We never found it.  Until a few days later.  When I was scooping up dog poop in the back yard.  Needless to say, I ordered another one.  Someday I’ll have to do a post about all the treasures I’ve found while on poop patrol…

2.   West Tennessee did yet another battle with Mother Nature during the night Monday.  A tornado warning was issued for our county right around midnight.  This really is nothing new for us.  We don’t get freaked out because tornado warnings in TN in the spring are kind of old hat.  Me and D just are not scared of storms.  We’re usually the people standing on the front porch watching the clouds.  Monday night was a different story.  This was the first time in my adult life that I have ever taken cover.  When the wind went from a breeze to 70+ MPH straightline winds within a matter of seconds, things got a little intense.  I’ve always heard that animals can sense severe weather danger, so when my fat, old, lazy cat came hauling ass into the living room and howling, I grabbed her and D grabbed the dogs and into our tiny little half-bath we went.  It’s the only completely interior room in the house, so it is definitely the safest place to be.  But it was more than a little cramped with two adults, two big dogs, and a cat.  We sat in there in the dark (The current was out, so the only light we had was from our cell phones.) and listened to the house snap, crackle, and pop for about 20 minutes.  We emerged to find a house that was (miraculously) still all in one piece.  Lots of other people were not so lucky.  Going a day without electricity is a minor inconvenience in comparison.

3.   D’s grandmother had double heart valve replacement a week ago tomorrow, and she’s not recovering at the rate expected.  They tried several times unsuccessfully to take the breathing tube out, but they were finally able to leave it out yesterday.  They put a feeding tube in because she hasn’t eaten anything since last Thursday, but in her sedated confusion, she pulled it out.  Now, mind you this isn’t some feeble little old lady we’re talking about here.  She might be 82 (which I was SHOCKED to find out when my mother-in-law told me her age), but she’s a firecracker and as mentally compentent as anyone reading this.  She didn’t even want to have the surgery because her recovery was going to interfere with her gardening and yard work this spring!  But they convinced her that without the surgery she wouldn’t be able to exert herself physically enough to have the garden this year anyway.  The surgery itself went fine.  We just weren’t prepared for the postsurgical complications.  And they said yesterday that she is arrhythmic and that they need to put a pacemaker in.  They plan to do that tomorrow or Monday.  So if anyone reading this can spare a few seconds to say a quick little prayer for Granny, it would be much appreciated.

Race Report: Murray Half Marathon

I won’t keep you in suspense.  I freakin’ nailed it.  2:15:28.  An almost-6-minute PR.

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’ll start at the beginning.

I’ve been excited about this race all week long.  After last weekend’s shitshow (Thanks, Adam, for the new addition to my vocabulary!), I had to redeem myself.  I’ve been stalking the weather like a crazy person all week long and knew the conditions were going to be prime.

Yesterday afternoon when I got off work, I did a quick drive-by to pick up D and we drove to Murray for the expo.  It was small, which was to be expected.  This ain’t no RnR.  But it was definitely worth going to just for the sole fact that I scored some good information on the Murray Farmer’s Market and a farm that sells natural grass-fed beef.  I might have missed my opportunity with the CSA, but this is a cool option that I didn’t know about.

Oh, and the shirt!  Best race shirt I’ve ever gotten!

So we picked up a map of the course and drove it before we headed home.  The course made me even more excited.  I know what kind of terrain and elevation I like to run on, and this was it.  It was the perfect combination of uphill, downhill, and flat.  Lots of rolling hills to charge up and coast back down.

I came home, made the best eggplant marinara you could ask for, and I was in bed by 9:30.

Next thing I know, after only waking up 14,001 times during the night to pee and once to kick D and tell him to quit snoring, the alarm was going off at 5:00.  I hit snooze and lay there trying to doze back off and I thought, “What is that noise????”  Took me a second to realize it was the wind howling.  Maaaaaaan, I really wasn’t wanting to run in the wind today.  I cut the alarm off and got up to check weather.com one more time:

I may or may not have uttered a string of obscenities as long as my leg.   Are you freaking kidding me with the 28MPH???  UGH!

But I put it in my head that it wasn’t going to psyche me out!  It was cloudy!  It was cool!  And the wind would HAVE to be at my back at some point!  It was gonna be a good day!

I had my regular race-day breakfast of a Clif bar, grabbed a stick of Clif Shot Bloks, and we were pulling out of the driveway by 6:00.  I mentioned to D as soon as we got in the car that I hadn’t slept well last night and he suggested a 5-Hour Energy Drink.  I’ve never tried one of those, and I was hesitant about trying it for the first time on race day, but I thought, “What the hell?”  So he stopped in the convenience store and got one for me.  I only drank probably 1/4 of it at first just to make sure it wasn’t going to have any crazy effects on me.  It didn’t, so I drank about 1/4 more of it.  After a few minutes I still didn’t really feel anything so I drank the rest of it.  Within 20 minutes I felt great.  Wide awake but not nervous.  Must remember these things in the future!

Before we got to Murray, I told D he was gonna have to stop somewhere.  He was all, “But the race starts in 20 minutes!”  It didn’t matter.  I had some kids that were BEGGING to be dropped off at the pool.

Ahhhh, much better.

We found a great parking place and I got to the start line with a whole five minutes to spare.  But, just like last week, in that five minutes I had to pee again.  Good grief, what is it with me and my race-day bladder?!  But there were no portojohns at the start.  To get to them, I would have had to have gone over a block or so to the building where the expo was.  I didn’t want to take any chances.  I knew from driving the course last night that there be portajohns on the course and plenty of tree-lined areas that I could use.  I did a little stretching and then it was go time.

They started us off in three waves, but even so the beginning was pretty congested.  But in my case, this probably turned out to be a good thing.  I felt like I was creeping along, but Garmin says 10:05.  The congestion probably kept me from starting out too fast.

As I’ve said before, I totally suck at remembering specifics of a race.  This is what I remember:

  • The volunteers were AMAZING.  The race had set up water stations every three miles, but there were random churches, sororities, etc., that had set up stations of their own along the course.  Nobody was going to go thirsty on this course.  I didn’t bring my fuel belt with me this week because I knew with the cooler temps I would be able to make do with the provided water stations.  Turns out I didn’t even stop at any of those either.
  • At mile 4.5 I ate 3 Shot Bloks.  I almost choked on the first one.
  • There was one single portajohn at mile 5 and it had a wait.  I passed it by.
  • At mile 6ish there was a water station and they were giving away Clif Shot energy gels.  I grabbed one on the run but never used it.
  • At mile 8 I found myself still holding a great pace, and I actually had a couple of minutes in the bank toward my 2:17 goal.  I considered slowing down for fear of bonking.  I quickly decided against it.
  • Somewhere I think between 8 and 9 there was one more portajohn, again with a wait.  Again I kept going.  I contemplated ducking behind a tree, but I was afraid if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to regain my pace.
  • At mile 9 I ate the other three Shot Bloks.  No choking this time.
  • At mile 10.5 I realized I was now on my longest no-walk-break run.  The farthest I’ve run without walking before was in the Clarksville Half last October.  I made it to 10.3-something then.  At this point it became my goal to not stop and to run the entire thing.
  • Not long after making that new goal I began to question it.  Mile 11 was my slowest at 10:45.  Luckily the closer we got to the finish, the more cheering and support there was.
  • I was giddy when my Garmin beeped mile 12 at me.  I knew I only had 1.15 to go (yes, the course description on the web site listed the course distance as 13.15), and I knew that unless I tripped and fell face-first into the pavement (which, let’s face it, is always a possibility where I’m concerned), I had it in the bag.
  • I crossed the line beating my goal by a minute and a half.

As I approached the finish line I was combing the crowd for D.  I didn’t see him.  I crossed the line still not seeing him.  I thought I had just missed him in the crowd.  I looked around for a couple of minutes and still didn’t find him.  I started walking back to the finisher’s tent and spotted him walking toward the finish line from the truck.  He went back to sleep in the truck while I ran and didn’t set his alarm to wake him up soon enough.  Alas, no finish line photos.  I did make him take this picture of me afterwards with my medal though.

Check out that hair.  Told you it was windy!

By this time, I had to pee like Seabiscuit.  I found a locker room inside the gym where we had gone for refreshments and was ecstatic that there was no wait.

There was nothing to hang around for, so I grabbed a bottle of chocolate milk and we started walking back to the truck when I was nearly crippled by a massive killer leg cramp.  Right in the shin!  Holy crap it hurt!  It was almost funny because it was cramped up so tight that it was pulling my foot up into dorsiflexion.  I walked it out and since I’ve gotten some fluids in me and stretched some more it’s perfectly fine.

Isn’t it crazy how much difference one week can make?  30 degrees and 15.5 minutes.  Let’s compare, shall we?

April 9                                                       
Temperature at start:  73                           
Temperature at finish:  83                         
Liquids consumed over course:  32 oz from Fuel Belt plus numerous stops at water stations.
Walk breaks:  Too many to count.  First at mile 2 through water stop.
Mile 1:  9:30
Mile 2:  10:16
Mile 3:  10:10
Mile 4:  10:18
Mile 5:  10:27
Mile 6:  11:05
Mile 7:  11:19
Mile 8:  12:01
Mile 9:  13:16
Mile 10:  12:22
Mile 11:  12:48
Mile 12:  12:35
Mile 13:  13:37
Mile 13.1:  1:17
Overall pace:  11:32

April 16
Temperature at start: 48
Temperature at finish: 50
Liquids consumed over course: None.
Walk breaks:  None.
Mile 1:  10:05
Mile 2:  9:56
Mile 3:  10:12
Mile 4:  10:05
Mile 5:  10:06
Mile 6:  10:31
Mile 7:  10:29
Mile 8:  10:19
Mile 9:  10:09
Mile 10:  10:28
Mile 11:  10:45
Mile 12:  10:35
Mile 13:  10:27
Mile 13.15: 1:30
Overall pace:  10:21

So all in all, I consider today a raging success.  I still find it amazing that I’ve taken over 2 min/mile off of my first half marathon time from a year and a half ago.  (I’ve gone from 2:42:33 in November of ’09 to 2:15:28 today.)  It really makes me wonder what I’ll be doing in another year and a half…

Three Things Thursday

1.  The wasps have been so horrible this spring that we haven’t been able to leave the french doors open like we usually do.  So last Friday D went to Lowe’s and bought a sliding screen door.  It’s been fabulous.  Tuesday afternoon, me and the dogs were there at the house with the French doors open and the screen shut.  The neighbor behind us cranked up his lawn mower, which always sends the dogs running to the door to check it out.  Or if the door is open, they run OUT the door to check it out.  (Who doesn’t see where this is going?)  Seems that pit bulls don’t have a very good memory.  Bella stopped short of the screen door.  Harley, however, did not and plowed right through it.  It ended up being okay though.  The frame was okay.  D did have to put a new screen in it though.  We now have big blue X’s in painters tape across the bottom of the screen at their eye level so maybe they will realize something is there when it’s closed.

2.   I think I’m the only female on the planet that has never done the in-the-car-with-sunglasses-on self-portrait.  Until yesterday.

3.   I just recently heard the term “mercury retrograde.”  I’m not into astrology or anything, but a friend of mine is and she mentioned that we were in mercury retrograde until April 23rd.  I don’t know what it all technically means, but she said that this phenomenon is the cause of a lot of annoyances, mostly dealing with technology, communication, travel, mechanics, etc.  Funny what you don’t notice until someone points it out!  Just in the past few days two of my rural carriers’ strobe lights on their delivery cars stopped working, and the gas gauge on my Tahoe has been going all wonky.  Coincidence?  Probably.

Race Report: Andrew Jackson Half Marathon

I won’t mince any words here.  It was ugly.  I did not PR.  In fact, I walked away with my second worst half marathon time yet.  But you know what?  It’s okay.  The conditions were brutal, and all things considered, I am not upset.  I am disappointed in the circumstances, but it’s nothing to get tore up over.

I went to bed Friday night thinking the most positive of positive thoughts.  I fell asleep visualizing myself running strong and finishing within my goal time. 


Very cool free pace band I printed off from marathonguide.net.

 Those feelings carried over to the next morning.  I felt great.  And I had to smile when I walked into the kitchen and found this note from D on our refrigerator’s dry-erase board:


This is as close to romantic as it gets with D.  I’ll take it!  I did, however, have to crop out the part of the note that specified how he would like me to wake him up.

I was out of milk, so coffee was out of the question.  I had to go with the next best thing.

No caffeine, but it has the same jolting GI effects.  Just saying.

So I sat down with my breakfast and looked at the weather one last time.  Yeesh…

This was at 5:00 am.  Yep, 71 degrees at 5:00 am.  And muggy!  Whew!  My hair kinked up just opening the door to let the dogs out!

And as is typical in April in Tenessee…

Achoo!
I knew the oatmeal at 5:00 wouldn’t be enough to sustain me, so I grabbed my preferred race-day breakfast, tossed it in my bag for later, and we were out the door by 5:35.

The half was set to start at 7:30, and it was in Jackson, which is a little over an hour away, but I knew we needed to get there in plenty of time for me to get my bib and all that.  We got to the college and found the gym without incident.  I had to wait in a long line to get my packet and only walked away with a bib.  There was no schwag.  Which is cool.  I’d rather pay a lower entry fee ($45) and have no schwag than pay for a bunch of crap I won’t use.  There was supposed to be a technical tee, but the volunteer told me they ran out of size small tech tees.  She offered to either give me a small cotton tee or mail me the tech tee later.  I opted to have it mailed to me.  And I was proud of myself.  I showed restraint and didn’t pop off with the, “Wasn’t that the whole point of asking for shirt size on the preregistration form?” that I so badly wanted to ask.

Bib #339 SOUNDED lucky enough…


After making use of the (indoor!!!) facilities, I went outside to stretch, apply sunscreen, etc.  While doing all that I realized I had to pee again.  So back inside I went and when I was next in line for a stall, a volunteer stuck her head in the bathroom and announced, “Two minutes to half-marathon start!”  SHIT!  (This race was not chip timed, so I couldn’t be leisurely about things.)  I was in and out of a stall in 30 seconds flat and rushing out the door.  Sorry if my lack of hand-washing offended any of the 5Kers standing in line, but come on people!  There’s no time for hygiene when it’s two minutes to start!

I had just enough time to grab my fuel belt from the truck and get to the start line.  The race director was already giving the last-minute instructions when I made it to the line.  And with that, they sounded the police car siren (that was our GO!) and off we went.

It was hot, but the first few miles were relatively comfortable.  We were running through tree-lined residential areas and had plenty of shade.  I had gone back and forth on whether or not to even bring my hydration belt, and within the first few minutes I was so glad I had decided to bring it with me.  The first water stop was at mile 2, and even though I had my belt on, I decided to walk through the water stops.  I knew from the way I was sweating that the 32 oz around my waist weren’t going to be enough.  (As it was, even with drinking from the water stops, I still drained my belt by mile 9.) 

I’m blurry on the details.  I suck really bad at remembering what I encountered and saw and how I felt at what point during the race, but I know this much.  Around mile 5 is when we ran out of shade.  And when we were out of the shade, that also meant that there was nothing around to block the wind.  What had been a comfortable breeze in the beginning had quickly become a forceful gusting wind.  I was keeping an eye on my pace band, and I was dead on at mile 7.  To get a 2:17, my pace band showed that I needed to be at 1:13:12 at mile 7.  I was at 1:13:06.  Perfect.  But I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wouldn’t be able to hold that same pace with the sun and the wind.  It was then that I made the decision to back off.  In addition to walking the water stops, I started taking walk breaks at every mile.  I did this until about mile 10.  By then it was all I could do to make it to the half-mile point before I had to take another break.  I said going into it that I was not going to kill myself knowing that I have another chance next weekend.  So when I saw that a PR was out of reach, the pressure was off.  The last 3 or so miles, I walked when I felt like it and ran when I felt like it (Basically,  I walked in the sun and ran through the little bit of shade that we were starting to backtrack through.), no longer caring what my time was.

D was there waiting for me at the finish line.  He kind of cringed and asked, “Well?  How was it?”  I believe my exact words were, “It was everything I knew it would be.  And then some.”  He said that seemed to be the general consensus.  While he was standing at the finish line he was hearing conversations other finishers were having with their families.  He said they were all saying the same thing.  Everyone crossing the line was talking about how we didn’t stand a chance.  We jumped from the 50s to the 80s so fast that no one has had time to acclimate yet.  (It was already 83 at 10:00 when I finished).

There were no post-race parties.  No finish line bands.  I went back into the gym and handed in my finisher’s card in exchange for a medal, grabbed a banana, some trail mix, and a Powerade, stretched for a few minutes, scraped off the insane amount of salt I had caked all over me (and I even took a Salt Stick tablet that morning!) and we were out of there.  I was so ready to sit down and get my shoes off.  My feet and hands were so swollen!

I was peeling clothes off as I walked in the door.  A cool shower never felt so good.  And a nap.  I haven’t been that drained after a long run since training for my first half two years ago!

So half-marathon #4 is in the books, and a new medal is on my hanger.

Unofficial results:

Garmin distance: 13.13 miles
Garmin time:  2:31:02

Pam vs. Half #5 coming up next weekend!  Current forecast conditions:  Partly cloudy with a high of 51!  WOOT!

Three Things Thursday

1.   I just transplanted my 6 tomato plants outside a few days ago, and the wind broke all but one of them yesterday.  I don’t know if they will grow back out or if I’ll have to start over with new ones.

2.   I am sick to death of reading stories like this.  And this.  And this.  And this.  People are fucking monsters.

3.   The temperature for Saturday keeps inching up.  We’re up to 82 now.  Yeah, I think it’s safe to say I can kiss a PR goodbye at this point!

Re-evaluation

There’s a saying here in Tennessee:  “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.”  This is especially true in the spring.  Take this week, for example.  Sunday it was 85(!!!) and gorgeous.  Monday we had severe storms with an overnight frost advisory.  Today it’s in the 50s with clear blue skies.  Looking ahead at the forecast for my half-marathon Saturday, I’m looking at a low of 64, a high of 80, and a 30% chance of thunderstorms.  The LOW is warmer than it’s been for any of my long runs this whole training cycle.

That leaves me questioning my goals for this race.  I know it’s only Tuesday and the forecast could change four thousand times between now and then, but I like to have a plan.  And right now my plan is this:  Go planless.  I sort of had a strategy for how I wanted to run this race, but if it’s 80 degrees (I know it won’t reach 80 during the race, but if there’s a chance of storms, that tells me that it will more than likely be humid as all getout and that’s just as bad.) that strategy goes right out the window.  It’s very possible I won’t know my new strategy until approximately 8:00 Saturday morning.  (The race starts at 7:30.)  I do know that I’m not going to kill myself trying to PR when I have another chance at another half the very next weekend.  And who knows, there could be snow on the ground by then.

Can We Say "Self-Sabotage"?

I gave myself a big dose of it yesterday.  I was down for 12 miles, my last long run before next Saturday’s half.  I was feeling better, and I’ve been having really good long runs lately, so I was pretty excited to see what I could do.

While my heart was in the game, apparently my head was not.  I made some stupid mistakes, starting the day before, but I didn’t really realize what I’d done until it was too late.  When you combine everything from still recovering from being sick, to being dehydrated, to being so focused on weight loss that I apparently forgot that calories=energy, to being lazy and not getting started early enough to avoid the glaring sun… let’s just say there was nothing good about Saturday’s 12 miles.

But whatever.  I’m not gonna let it bother me too much.  I know bad runs happen, and I was overdue for one.  It’s been a while since I’ve had a really bad one.  If I had to have one, I’m just glad to have gotten it out of the way this week instead of next.