Monday, July 19, 2010

A run for my money

I'm now officially registered for the Rochester Half Marathon in September. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I'm so excited but also really nervous. (And wondering when I became the sort of person who would willingly pay $50 to run 13.1 miles.)

I went to the 9 mile group run on Saturday, which is the farthest I've run. Ever. It felt great! I keep waiting for the miles to catch up to me or to suddenly hit "the wall" and feel like crap, but so far, so good. (Incidentally, I have been running for almost 15 years now and I've had good runs and bad runs, but I've never hit this mysterious wall. Wherever it is, I hope I never find it.)

A nice lady in the group, who is an experienced marathoner, said she thought I'd ace the half marathon and could see me doing the full marathon next year. I totally hope she's right. I just want to keep up this momentum and finish the half feeling motivated to attempt the full next year.

I tried a gel for the first time during Saturday's run. About 45 minutes in, I took half of a PowerBar Chocolate Gel, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it had the consistency and taste of chocolate pudding. Yum! I'd heard that some people have stomach issues with the gels, so I figured I'd start with half of one and see how that went. It took a little bit of finagling as I tried to open/eat the gel while simultaneously running and holding on to my water bottle (I can see where the water belt would come in handy here because then you'd have both hands free, but I just can't bring myself to wear anything resembling a fanny pack. Plus, one guy told me he has 3 different belts and has yet to find one that's comfortable). Luckily the gel was tasty and my stomach felt fine, even in the summer heat, so I think I'll get more of that brand for next time.

Last week I bought new running shoes too. Fleet Feet gave us a coupon for $20 off shoes when we signed up for the program so I figured I'd go there and see what they had to say. I had a feeling that all their shoes would be ridiculously expensive (but to be fair, I usually spend less than $50 on running shoes and my current pair cost only $25 (they were on sale and I had a coupon), so my threshold for ridiculously expensive is pretty low). I have to admit that it's pretty neat how they have you run on the treadmill in the store and then you can see your stride on the video camera. The sales associate was concerned about my left foot's tendency to overpronate (rotate too far inward on each footfall) and seemed surprised that I've never had any injuries (leave it to me to have unruly feet). He suggested a shoe with more support and inserts that would help stabilize my feet and keep them from rolling too far inward. I left the store having lost $132 and gained a new sense of paranoia about impending injuries. Sigh.

But I figure if I'm asking my feet to do all this running, I should at least give them the proper shoes in which to do it. So I'll try out the fancy new shoes and see if I can feel a difference. I've decided that these are going to be my race shoes, so I won't start wearing them until a few weeks before the actual race. But I did test them out during my 3 mile recovery run on Sunday. They felt a little weird at first, but they were nice and light and will hopefully keep my feet in line. Seriously though, for $132 these shoes better make me feel like I'm just sitting on a cloud eating snacks and watching other people run.

Lyric of the moment: "Running down a dream that never would come to me. Working on a mystery, going wherever it leads. Running down a dream...I felt so good, like anything was possible..."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sorry to bug you

Last night, Jeremy and I went to see Fagbug, a documentary by Erin Davies, whose Volkswagen Beetle was vandalized with anti-gay slurs because it had a pride sticker on the back. Instead of removing the graffiti, Erin decided to drive her bug across the country to raise awareness about hate crimes.

As much as it was inspiring to see people's positive reactions and encouragement during Erin's trip, it was disheartening to see other people's negative responses to her project. Even her long time girlfriend broke up with her while she was on the road. And it makes me sad to think that in America, a country built on the belief that "all men are created equal" and entitled to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," there is still narrow-mindedness, prejudice and injustice.

People have so many similarities, yet they insist on fighting over their differences instead of just living and letting live. It's so mindboggling and nonsensical that it makes my head hurt. That has always been the thing about people that I find hardest to comes to terms with - humanity is capable of so much good, but at the same time, so much evil.

I like to think that the good will eventually win out. Also, the alternative is too depressing.

Lyric of the moment: "Ask a scientist, it's quantum physics, we are all in this together. And on the subway we feel like strangers, but we're all in this together..."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Say yes to progress

Sometimes I forget how much fun it is when you say yes and accept people's invitations and then random awesomeness/hilarity ensues.

Jeremy and I went to see Micmacs at the Little Theater and it had everything I love all in one movie (French, a group of misfits, comedy and whimsy, plus the bad guys get their comeuppance in hilarious fashion). Afterwards we were getting some dinner when I heard from Wingman. Since it was after 9pm at this point, I would normally be ready to go home and relax/go to sleep early like an old person. But it's summer and warm and sunny and the weekend, so I was all about hanging out. Wingman came to meet us at the bar/restaurant and then we went back to his new apartment, which is this neat little "garden house" with a sweet loft (I like having my own house and all but I would love to live in a loft someday). And it was all good times, plus I still got home in time to watch part of an SNL rerun and eat ice cream out of the carton (classy, no?).

Here I am in one of Wingman's hats, feeling very gangster. I totally need to get my own gangster hat. (also, I'm wearing the awesome skirt I got at JC Penney for $1.18).

In other news, we're up to 8 miles for the long group runs now, and it still feels pretty good. This coming Saturday, we'll be doing a 9 mile run. I love that every week I can go farther than the week before, but I'm still at a comfortable enough pace that I feel more awesome than awful afterwards. It feels like pushing my limits in the best possible way. But now that we're running for more than 1.25 hours, I have to start experimenting with taking in additional fuel mid-run. I bought a couple of sport gels so I'll try out one of those next week. You're supposed to take it about 45 minutes to an hour into your run. Hopefully it won't taste too bad and won't upset my stomach.

I've already been carrying a water bottle with me on the longer runs, and that's working out pretty well. I refuse to wear a fanny pack or water belt, so a handheld water bottle it is. I thought it would be all annoying, but honestly I don't even really notice it when I'm running. Plus the water sure helps in the heat.

I don't mind the heat so much (although I don't think I've ever been as sweaty as I was during last Thursday night's tempo workout in the 90 degree weather). But I need to find a way to keep the sweat from getting in my eyes. It stings so much. And that's not cool.

Lyric of the moment: "Now that I am home I’m not alone. Living my life right. I can breathe now. Hello it’s so nice to see your face again. Hello it’s so nice to see you. All good people find one another..."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July recap

This heat is making me hot and tired. But I have to say it's a welcome change from
being cold all the time. Here are some pictures from my 4th of July weekend adventures.

I ran the Firecracker 5 mile on Saturday. It was my first time running a 5 mile race, and I was glad to not have to run a full 10K because it was H-O-T. I wanted to finish under 40 minutes and I came in at 38:50 (172nd out of 666), so I was happy with that. The only thing I didn't like was having to wear the timing chip around my ankle (all the races I've run before had the timing chip in the race number you pin on your shirt). I felt like I was under house arrest the whole time. But I love how they posted the results:

Fleet Feet Sports FireCracker 5 Mile
Saturday, July 3rd, 2010 Fairport, NY
Produced & Timed by YellowJacket Racing
Total Finishers - 666 (Male - 367, Female - 297, Unknown - 2)

So apparently there were 2 participants of unknown gender. I don't know about that but I did see a guy who ran in a red, white and blue speedo, so he totally wins the prize for best outfit.

On Sunday, Jeremy and I went to Skaneateles and stayed at Mirbeau, a very fancy pants hotel/spa (compliments of my awesome bosses). The hotel, town and lake were gorgeous, though it's definitely a town for people who are way more wealthy than I'll ever be (seriously, my entire house could fit in some of these peoples' boat houses). We had fun walking around town, eating sushi on a boat, enjoying the hotel's "aqua terrace," getting ice cream by the lake and riding a bicycle built for two.

Lyric of the moment: "So whenever you need space I guess it's okay when you're floating away to feel nothing at all. We can be astronauts if you want to get out of here..."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The random awesomeness of ordinary days

Some weeks, all the days run together into sort of a blur. So in an effort to focus on the random awesomeness that can happen on even the most ordinary of days, I thought I'd keep track of all the things I loved about this week:

Saturday: After running the Airport 5K, I rushed home to shower and then head out to the Wiener Dog Parade downtown. My mom brought her dog, Dexter (a.k.a. "The Tube"), but I think he was a little scared/overwhelmed. The parade itself was hilarious, but slightly creepy. I never knew so many people owned shirts with sayings like "I heart my wiener," "My wiener does tricks" and "Kiss my wiener."

Sunday: I bought a bathing suit for my trip. This was not awesome in and of itself, but it was a means to an end. I don't know why it's so hard to find a one-piece that's not too old lady or too expensive, but I finally found one in Target that will work. I love the water, but I have never felt comfortable wearing a bathing suit in public. It's too much exposure or something. So bathing suit shopping had the potential to be traumatic, but lately I've been all like "Whatever, I'm going to the Galapagos!" I figure no one else will notice or care what I look like in a bathing suit anyway. And if they do, that's their problem, not mine. I'll be too busy swimming with dolphins or whatever else we'll be doing on vacation.

Monday: Burritos, chips and salsa. mmm...Oh, and Wingman stopped by with his sister's little dog (which he's watching for the week). I hadn't seen him in a while, so that was cool. It's weird how I go through these phases where I am basically a recluse and then suddenly everyone comes back all in the same week.

Tuesday: I went to the Fleet Feet Tuesday night speed workouts for the first time. (I had other plans on the day of the first one and then I skipped the second one to go to the gym. Now that I'm running 5 days I week, I only get to the gym 2 days, and I was starting to miss it). I was nervous going in because I didn't know what to expect, but it turned out to be a good workout and not scary at all. I'd rather run in the mornings than after work, but I'll probably go to a few more of the Tuesday night workouts. I could use the speed work and it's a nice way to work off any stress that accumulates during the day (like this Tuesday, when I came home from work to find that Lucky had barfed all over everything. She seems to be ok now though, fingers crossed).

Wednesday: I went to the thrift store and scored a blazer, button up shirt and a sweater, all for $11.41. Coincidentally, this was the first time I'd worn the pants I got at the same thrift store months ago.

Thursday: We went to the farmer's market at Boulder and I got sweet cherries and sugar snap peas and frozen chai. mmm...

Lyric of the moment: "And I've always lived like this, keeping a comfortable distance. And up until now I had sworn to myself that I'm content with loneliness. But darlin' you are the only exception..."