Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Guess who's taking a vacation?!

Oh, yes....that would be me. After years and years of taking vacation time to visit family over the holidays and to move across the country, yours truly sucked it up and booked a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise. I'll be visiting the exotic ports of call of Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel, from the comforts of my windowless interior closet. (Hey, I'm cheap, what can I say?) So far, I've book an exotic shore excursion to Tulum from Cozumel, and I'm on the verge of booking a Belizean cave tubing expedition. Yes, I know my husband can't swim....but I CAN! We leave on December 6th, so I am bounding over with excitement. It will be so nice to just get away and leave everything behind. And this time around, my beloved kitty can go to Grandma's house instead of staying at the Petshotel!

Life's been busy the past week or so. Have spent more time at work sitting on my butt than I'd like to, but I was forewarned about the time committment. I've done my share of screwing up, but overall, I feel like I'm holding the ship together.

In the 10-lb weight loss challenge, I've managed to gain 5. Insanity, I tell you. So this week, I am drinking loads of coffee and hoping to flush out my system.

The running is going alright. This weekend was a race out at Chatfield State Park, through the gravel ponds and along the streams. My first trail run, and what a blast it was! It was a 5-miler, starting out on a dirt road for about a mile, then meandering into miles and miles of singletrack. I ended up 5th out of 13 in my age group, and 18 out of 66 women overall...... My watch time was about 30 seconds faster than the time posted in the results, but the distance was also .12 miles shorter. I think there was plenty of room for improvement, considering I stopped and picked up a guy several times. (See race report below) Anyway, for your reading pleasure, behold my Chatfield 5 Miler race report:

Got to the race around 8:20am and there was no parking left at Kingfisher, so had to park up the road a bit. This ended up not being so bad, as we had our own toilets and bypassed the huge lines by the official parking lot. Got my number, signed my waiver, then took off on a quick warmup run. It was freezing cold.....apparently it was in the 20's when people left their houses, so we were probably running in the 30's. I was double-layered in my Skins and my running tights, and had my sexy Sugoi winter pullover underneath a windbreaker. I was comfy, but ended up dropping some layers early on.

This is my 3rd month at altitude, and I'm finally adjusting. I was shocked at how high my heart rate was, but I'm hoping it's just the monitor and not me, as I've been working on lowering it while running. At any rate, the race was a little frustrating for me, because I was behind this guy who kept tripping and falling over. Every time I asked him if he was okay, he'd pause, then almost angrily say "yes" but he wouldn't get up! so I took to grabbing him and getting him up, even though his legs weren't cooperating too well. I thought he was having a stroke or something, but he'd get back up and run faster than me, so I was confused?! At any rate, this happened 3 times, and I can't tell you how long it took each time, but surely it was a minute or more. You can see at mile 4 I had to pause. This is where I got him up and then left him-- there were plenty of people behind me, and he refused to let me get help for him. So off I went.... Found a guy whose pace I enjoyed, and stayed behind him through the twisty last portion of the race. When I came into the finish, there were four younger-looking women in front of me....but I had NOTHING and I even let the girl in front of me get me by 1 second. ONE SECOND!!! What was I thinking? In retrospect, I really should have hurt more and gone for her, but looking at my heart rate, I'm thinking maybe that wasn't the best move. ;)

Overall I'm pretty happy with this race. Once I dropped my jacket, I think I dressed appropriately enough. If I were doing the 10-miler, I would have shed the other layer..... I regret not staying with the guy who was tripping and finding someone with a cell phone. There were 2 ambulances that headed out into the woods, and since I never saw him again, I'm assuming he was in one of them. If I had recognized his symptoms at the sign of the first trip and run back to an aid station, perhaps it would have been better for him? Anyway, suffice it to say I am haunted by it still and hope that he is okay today. I finished the race in 47:20, which I suppose wasn't too bad considering we were running on trails and dodging rocks and roots and other debris. My splits got slower and slower as the race progressed, which is a first for me. But at least it means I put it all out on the table. Usually, I hold back too much and then regret that I didn't go for it at the end. So all in all, I can't complain. MUCH better than my first Colorado race, where I ran an embarassing 32 minute three miles. ;)

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Well, I've been absent for a while. Big shocker there! What has kept me so busy all these blogless weeks? Quite frankly, I'm being tortured.

First, I got my flu shot on Thursday. I've rebelled against the flu shot for as long as I can remember, but this year my company had the Visiting Nurses come to our office and they were giving them for FREE. Can you imagine?! So, I decided to suck it up on Thursday and get the flu shot. I'm not a needle freak and don't get scared about that kind of pain, so I was pretty much blowing it off. My only stipulation was that the shot wouldn't interfere with my track practice in 2 hours. The nurse explained that running would make it even better. What luck! So I filled out the paperwork and verified that I wasn't allergic to eggs, feathers (yeah, um, because I have lot of previous exposure to feathers), or that contact lense solution, although I don't have contacts.

My nurse was a sweetie. Poked my arm, didn't hurt at all, and then she told me to sit in the room for 15 minutes, since it was my first flu shot. She wanted me to tell her if my throat started getting scratchy or if I had trouble breathing.

Almost immediately, my injected arm started feeling I had had it raised for 20 minutes and then brought it down, so that there was no blood in it at all. It was heavy, and painful. But I kept smiling and small talking with the guy next to me, because surely I was imagining it. 5 minutes in, the pain was worse, and I was starting to itch in random places. I had some weird stomach pains, too, but I thought that perhaps my yogurt from 1/2 hour earlier was bad? And then my HEAD was itching like mad. I must have had a panicked look on my face, because soon I had 3 nurses hovering over me, pulling up my sleeves and looking at the rash that started to take hold of my pale white skin. I insisted it was nothing, but I was definitely getting scared. My pulse and blood pressure stayed fine, though, and eventually everything but the itchiness and the pain in my arms (which spread to my legs). Nightmare! I had to take 2 Benadryl, which pissed me off because I wasn't entirely sure what that was going to do to me at track practice.

So, off I go to run after the flu shot poisoned me. I did my warmup run, but I was really, really tired. The track seemed like it existed in this weird dimension for me. Coach asked how I was doing, and when I said, "I don't know," she dismissed me! Insanity. I mean, I NEEDED this practice. I desperately needed to burn some more calories so I could eat dinner. :) Bummer.

Then today, I went to practice again. November is "strength" month. I had no idea what that meant when it came to running until today.... I hate Strength!!

So, we started out with a gorgeous 25 minute warmup run around the various lakes and marshes. There were dirt trails everywhere -- it was an off-road runner's dream. I saw herds of deer and all sorts of eagles on my warmup....which should have been calming, but I was so angry at my heart rate. (Which i've been trying to keep below 170 on easy runs....) It just wasn't cooperating. I kept having to walk, so of course, every time I had to walk I'd cuss at my watch. I must have looked like a total nut job.

We did 4 sets of 30-second strides on the trail after warmup, which was fun. I'm starting to see consistent sub 6-minute mile pace in my strides, which is a first for me. There's some speed in me!

After strides, Coach had put out a "course" that she said would make our day "fun." Liar! She had marked the various trails with cones, and we had instructions for every set of cones. The circuit was performed like this:
1/2 mile time trial
1/2 mile recovery run
1/4 mile time trial
1/8 mile recovery run
1/2 mile time trial

rest 3 minutes, repeat

Holy mother of all that is painful!!!! I felt pleased when Coach selected me out of the 25 some odd women to start off with the two other fast girls. I was stupid beyond belief and feeling fabulous, so I took off after the first girl with a fire in my belly. Of course, she's training for a marathon, and not just to get the distance....she's training to ROCK her marathon. Anyway, the girl kept us on a 6:30 mile pace for the first 1/4 mile, and then a 7 min mile pace for the second half. Even on a good day, when I can walk and then go home, this is fast for me. To say I was gutted by the time I hit the first "recovery run" is an understatement. I coughed, cried, hyperventilated.....but did I walk? Well, I tried, but Coach was chasing after us yelling "no walking! Run slow to recover!" Seriously, my poor little heart was not having this at all. I struggled, and it was a miracle that I finished 2 of those circuits. To think that we go back in 2 weeks and do it again.....UGH! Why do I do this again?

Hey, on the plus side, I'm still employed!