Thursday, January 27, 2011

Almost There and Unprepared

Here we are. Three days before race day and I couldn't possibly feel any less prepared.  I haven't run since Sunday and even that seven miles was a struggle. My body just feels so ... heavy. I think it has everything to do with my diet, honestly. I should have been piling my plate with veggies and protein last week, yet my body seemed magnetically pulled towards every single fast-food drive thru in the county. Major fail.

Last night I played my first soccer game in two years(!) and made myself a fruit salad when I came back home. That was a nice break from running and it felt good to eat something besides those irresistible Celeste mini-pizzas before I went to bed. (What is it about exercising that makes me think I can eat whatever I want??) Hopefully I'll keep it up. The fridge is full of multi-colored vegetables: green spinach, ripe, red tomatoes, orange, green, red peppers, all screaming to be consumed. I dragged my melon bowl and mini-orange juice carton into work for breakfast. So far, so good.

I'll try to run seven again tonight then cool it until race day. I have to make better time than 2:03:00. It'll take a wing and a prayer to do that.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Running Faster... Through the Paaaain

I'm not sure what's in the air these days, but tonight at Nike South Beach Run Club and last night at  Brickell Run Club, I was booking it. Not the 'wow-I'm-getting-into-shape-this-is-awesome' kind of fast run, but something more like 'uh-oh-i-got-caught-up-with-the-faster-group-and-now-i-can't-look-like-THAT-girl-that can't-keep-up-but-my-lungs-are-screaming-and-i-think-my-throat-is-closing-up'. It was awful.  Hopefully, there's some muscle building up under there and I can keep up that pace next week.  I met this guy, Aaron, before yesterday's run. He's about 3x my size. Not sure why I thought I could pace myself next to him. But when I saw that he was sweating profusely and breathing heavily, I figured we were on the same page and just pushing each other. Yeah! That's how we do it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Just Another Sunday Run

There's something about Sundays.  Just something. They're my favorite day to do... nothing and yet everything at the same time. This 'everything' definitely doesn't include errands or chores. So come 7pm, after a day of doing a bunch of nothings, I could finally indulge in a long run.  I ended up running 8.32 miles - the longest practice run I've ever had. I knew I would have to start slow on this one. I was itching to run because I hadn't run since last Thursday, but just thinking about the overall distance kept me restrained.

I'm getting sick of the party animals on Ocean Drive.  Most Sundays it's pretty quiet down by the beach because everyone's indoors watching Sunday Night Football, but there was an Art event and they had the majority of South Beach blocked off for tourists and party-goers.  I try to keep my head down and stay focused, but it's amazing the amount of attention people will give you... JUST for being a runner in the midst of mayhem.  You've got the 'funny guy' who starts to run next to you for a few steps.  Then there's the 'couple' that doesn't seem even the slightest bit concerned that they're about to stroll directly into your path. Oh, and the worst is when you're approaching the 'group' and they just start yelling, "Run Forrest, run!" Under normal circumstances, it's nice to run in public in the case that you're inspiring a pedestrian to consider getting out there to run on their own, but when kids are drinking, it's more like survival of the fittest. Maybe I should wear black... instead of so much ... pink. Would that make me look more serious? Definitely. That'll shut them up.

I felt good at the end of the run. I've figured out that I can run forever at a nice, slow pace. I've developed techniques during my runs to stretch all parts of my legs mid-stride, to keep them relatively relaxed. I'm also building my pace and can feel my body getting stronger. The only thing that needs a bit of work is my breathing. As soon as I finish a sprint, my lungs are SCREAMING. We can't have that. Maybe I should swim more.  Oooooh, I can swim in our new apartment's pool. Move-in day: Feb. 21st. 22nd floor, Midtown II. It's going to be AWESOME.

Well, another successful Sunday has passed. Nick's coming this week. I'm going to make him try this new Run Club run on Tuesday. Heh heh heh. It's amazing what you can do when you're surrounded by tons of other people working for the same thing. He'll be fiiiiiiiiiiiiiine!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

You Can't Buy Victory

The wonderful thing about competitive sporting events is that at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how much money the next guy has, if he can't perform.

In business, for example, yes I suppose the performance and competitive edge of engineers, marketers, educators or whatever industry you're in, has a say in the outcome of a situation. But there is always the dark side of a financial bribe that could possibly give someone an easy-in, be it a company or an individual person. Same in politics.  The advantage of having a heftier wallet than your competition inevitably lurks as a potential determinant of the final cards.

It's not that way in athletic competition.  I bet that guy screaming down the highway in his a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y   g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s Lamborghini tonight probably couldn't hit a black diamond on his  snowboard on the 2nd day, like I did. (I can safely say this because I'm convinced that a hardcore snowboarder doesn't exist in South Florida.)  A dude in his super high tech and flashy running gear panted "Wow, you're fast. I've been trying to pass you ever since that last corner" as I hit the boardwalk tonight. Yeah, we know who would've won in a fast sprint!

Wealthy individuals can certainly afford the luxury of hiring the best trainers that money can buy.  But what you can NEVER buy, is dedication. You can't buy a yes-I-can attitude, or the mindset of pushing your body further than you ever thought it'd go.  And those people are the ones who emerge victorious. Whether it's the disabled teenage girl taking her first steps out of rehab, or Lance Armstrong biking for his next Olympic Gold, they're on the exact same page as the person next to them. It's not about who has the bigger wallet. It's about... who has the bigger drive?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Long Walk

I knew it was going to be a bad run even before I started.

As I laced up my shoes, my stomach felt queasy and when I stood up, I got a rush of blood to my head.  "No big deal. You can push through it. Just take it slow, set your stride, you'll be fine." I ran 4 miles to my turnaround point, the Starbucks on Ocean Drive at 1st street and had to stretch out my right calf. (I've never stopped on a run before!) About 3 blocks into the return, I felt severe, unrelenting nerve pain originating under my right clavical and piercing straight down my side to my hip. Time to walk.  I was able to jog slowly slowly slowly... the remaining 2.5 miles to the movie theater where I popped in for Black Swan. ---Awesome, awesome, awesome movie, btw---

When I got out of the theater, I realized that I had pulled both of my calves and my right quad so badly that I was limping.  And I had 30... blocks... to go, to get home.  So off I limped to the boardwalk, and started my 30 blocks in a creepy mist where I could hardly see the dim lamps let alone any  approaching company.  Every step hurt.  I knew that I was going to have to sit it out for at least two days.  But I was jolted into 'survival mode' as a small girl in pink shorts walking down a boardwalk at 10:45pm on a Monday night, and kept a strong pace.

30 blocks is a long time to think about things. I thought about my life, about my time in Miami, about what I'm going to do in April when I will be able to leave, why I didn't like turning 26 and where I envisioned the rest of my year to be heading.  I realized... I don't know very much about myself. I felt like I was stripped down the barest version of myself. No music, no cell phone, walking alone on this creaking boardwalk, seeing bright stars over the mist and hearing the rise and fall of the waves. I haven't stopped to think: "Katie, if you could do anything, be anybody, say anything... what would it be?" in a very long time.  It was one of the heaviest and yet one of the lightest moments of my life. I liked the quote from the trailer of Sucker Punch which I heard tonight, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

I did a lot of walking tonight. And in that sense, maybe it was actually one of the... best runs I've ever had.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

2011 Resolutions

Here we go! A new year and nothing but the sound of everyone's new year's resolutions flittering through the air.  That's where the resolutions start... in the air. Many of them will stay... in the air.  But hopefully the majority of people can get them to hit the ground running. (Get it? Running?? It's a RUN blog?! Haha.)

Well, since I'm 115 lbs, I certainly won't be pledging to drop any weight.  I'm pleased by social media's encouragement of healthier-lifestyle resolutions, which can be see seen splattered across nearly every news magazine at the checkout line.  Seems like everyone's set to lose a couple of pounds (Jack Black's shooting for 50! What would a skinny Jack Black even look like??)  I personally believe that resolutions should be natural, they shouldn't be forced. I shouldn't have to sit down and make a list of things that I will resolve to do. Honestly? What do I want to accomplish in 2011? I want to save x amount of money (and I've set up the budget plan to do it!) and I want to run a marathon in under 3:45.  Wow, when I put it in that perspective, the saving money looks really easy.

I did 3.5 miles at Run Club on Thursday, and another 3.5 on Monday night.  I'm just trying to get back into the swing of things. Tomorrow I'm doing a 15 mile bike and hopefully I can bang out a 7 miler on Monday.  I'm registered for the ING Miami Half Marathon on January 30th (whoop!). Wow, that date's creeping up pretty quickly. My two runs last week went well. I'm obviously not pushing myself, with a 7 mile total in 5 days without core or other cardio workouts, but as I've said from the beginning, what fun would it be if I was killing myself? I've also been fighting the cough-of-death cold all week. Things will pick up quickly; it's baby steps for now.

Wish me luck tmw!