Monday, March 25, 2013

So many things...

It's well past bedtime, but I can't sleep.  So many things stuck on repeat in my head.  I often have a sleepless Sunday night, sometimes it's just anticipating the workweek and its resident chaos.  I've added to that chaos a bit this weekend by ignoring such things as, oh, laundry and food shopping in favor of a day shuttling my son to a school competition an hour away (and using the early rounds to get in my 13-mile long run, woohoo!) and a day sitting on my heinie recovering from said 13-mile run.  Well, not really - there was a walk around a local park to take pictures of examples of erosion for an upcoming science project (the nagging of which I am certain will dominate my life for the next six weeks) and a three-mile run with S this morning.  So, in about eight hours, I will wake up the kids - and I have no clue whether the boy child actually has clean pants to wear.  I comfort myself with the reminder that he is twelve, it will not be the first time he re-wears dirty pants off the floor of his room, and it certainly won't be the last.

The runs were lovely.  And COLD.  Mid-thirties temperatures - haven't run in that cold a temp since December, maybe.  S admitted to me this morning when she arrived that the ONLY reason she got out of bed was because I was waiting.  I told her it took all my willpower not to text her a cancellation myself.  We were rewarded with a beyond-words-gorgeous view of the clear sunrise, the rose clouds, Mount Rainier, and the state Capitol all in one fell swoop.  And hot coffees afterward.  I think even S took hers hot instead of her usual iced-caramel-latte.

Yesterday was Knowledge Bowl for the boy.  This is sort of like team Jeopardy, random academic questions and the kids have to buzz in and have a few seconds to sort out the right answer.  However, they do it in teams of three, and they cannot communicate verbally during the round - only hand signals to determine who thinks they most likely know the answer (closed fist is "no clue", five fingers is "I absolutely positively with every fiber of my being know this answer").  It's comical to watch the dynamics amongst these smart, assured, competitive kids - and very very difficult not to blurt out the answer myself.  I wish I'd thought of this before, but that turned out to be a really good reason to go for a run - the actual reason is, I knew I'd be bored if I sat through five rounds of this with the added stress of restraining myself.  Besides, a long run takes a good chunk of family time out of the weekend, and I'm trying really hard to minimize that absence when it will be noticed (hence, 6:00 am runs).

I started planning this run two weeks ago.  Turns out there are some quiet neighborhoods and lovely paved trails along the rivers and dykes out where we were in Grays Harbor, which fit well into my planned route.  I would meander through the neighborhoods for a bit, head north on one trail, cross through town, then head south on another long one that skirted the harbor to a large athletic complex; then turn around and head back the way I came.  Turned out to be a great run - lovely (if cold) weather, solid 10:00-per-mile pace, gear and fueling worked well.  My gear belt stayed in place, rather than riding up to my ribs like it has been of late, and I made the right shoe choice with my Brooks (that took way too much brainpower early in the morning, let me tell you).  (And no, I don't think anyone cares, but want to make note for my own memory.)  However, there were some lessons learned...

Lesson Number One: route maps on computer screens don't look the same on the ground.  I hadn't anticipated things like, oh, VERY STEEP HILLS up into those neighborhoods, or the fact that the neighborhood is only half-built and many of the roads were incomplete or impassable.  But once I was able to orient myself, it proved about impossible to get lost.  I met some lovely big dogs with their people on the trails - thankfully all were friendly.  The harbor trail was utterly deserted - three miles straight of seeing absolutely no humans.  A little freaky, especially when the song that pops on the playlist is "Every Breath You Take" by the Police ("...I'll be watching you...").  It was about that time that I realized the pepper spray, which I'd remembered to put in my run bag, was still sitting in my run bag back in the car.  Sigh.  Same thing on the return stretch, no other people in sight until I left the trail.

Lesson Number Two: running with music is a learned skill.  For the first time, I ran outside with some music.  I had a single earbud in, and put some random tunes on my phone so I wasn't carrying multiple devices.  I really liked it - more than I expected I would.  However, sometimes your feet don't go at the same rhythm as the music.  Sometimes breathing in a staggered pattern (in on three beats, out on two) takes great concentration to overcome the driving 4/4 rhythm of most music.  (And sadly, even though I have "Take Five" on the list, it didn't come up.)  Sometimes you really don't want to hear that song, but you don't know yet which button to push to advance it because you haven't used this setup before...  I'll certainly do it again, but I didn't anticipate the little oddities.

Lesson Number Three:  battery life on the phone must be considered.  Apparently running the GPS, MapMyRun, and the music player all at the same time for two and a half hours will sap your battery to nubbins.  I don't anticipate I'll have to do all that very often - I usually know where I'm going and don't have to consult a map every few blocks.  But next time I do one of these fit-a-run-into-some-other-activity things, I need to remember the charging cord that plugs into a wall.

So that was my weekend.  I thought I'd gotten a picture of these freaky trees with bat houses in them - they looked like something out of a Scooby-Doo episode, or perhaps an Edward Gorey cover - but it appears my phone was so busy doing all its other stuff it forgot to actually save the shot.  Either that, or I didn't leave enough room on the phone with the eleven hours of music I dumped to it.  Next time, pictures, I promise.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

I'll take it.

So this was a fun week.  After a rough start Monday, I had twelve miles banked by Wednesday night.  I also got my first group run ever – and it was a blast. 

Math Teacher had a department meeting Saturday morning (!!) so our run will be Sunday.  So I got the long run out of the way – a nine miler with a friend from the budget department at work.  She’s a born runner – tiny, lithe, fast – but she was willing to hold a 10:30 pace with me while we tackled a big chunk of the half-marathon course for Capital City. (THANK YOU!!!)  Oh, and let me not forget to mention it was the part with ALL THE HILLS...
Mile 2, San Francisco Street; Mile 4, Legion Ave; Mile 5, Eastside Street.
So given that, I'm quite happy with the pacing.
What worked: 
  • Running with a friend! So much better mentally than taking it on alone. 
  • Fueling - peanut-butter toast with juice for breakfast; gel at mile 6 (should have taken it a bit earlier, but I forgot), and a bottle of Nuun for the road. 
  • My purple shoes also felt wonderful throughout. Nice to know.
What needs to be looked at:
  • the tights with the zipper down the back … not sure what I’m going to do about them.  I wore them Wednesday and the zipper chewed up the skin along my Achilles quite painfully.  I had planned to wear the tights again today, but the skin is still raw – I couldn’t stand the chafing.  I think if I wear mid-calf socks under it will be fine, but I can’t try again until the skin fully heals.
  • Between that and a couple stupid little owies I’d given myself this week, I had my concerns (seriously, who bruises their foot by crossing their legs?  Me.  I’m so very talented.) but thankfully they didn’t affect the run.  Maybe next week, I can be a bit more careful in the day-to-day stuff.  Or, just not allow myself to wear shoes.
  • Oh – and next time, need tissues.  Or another wristband.  It is allergy season, after all.
* * * * * * *
Training update:
Last week – I hit all my runs.  It was a bit of a wonky schedule, but they all got in.
This week:
  • Midweek – the five-mile option with Run Like a GRRL, as well as one or two four-milers, which hopefully will fit into lunch hours.
  • Next weekend – an easy three miles or so, and about a 10 mile long run.