Fumbling Towards Fitness

the trials, victories, and musings of a documented slow poke

Running, Researching, Hydrating, Blocked April 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lorna @ fumblingtowardsfitness.com @ 4:37 am
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It’s really a shame that there isn’t someway I could just shoot my thoughts straight from my head, while I’m running, to here.  Unless there’s an app for that…is there?  I have so many things I want to talk about and seemingly endless clarity while I’m out on the road or at work, but then the very instant I plop in front of my computer I am all things but articulate and concise or even a little bit entertaining.  Grrrr.  What I do to “try” to get past a block – freewrite?  outline?  Heck no.  I start researching stuff on the internet which leads me down all manner of rabbit holes from blogs, You Tube,  podcasts, Daily Mile, magazines, books…it’s endless.  And then I’ve run out of free time.  So no writing has occurred, but learning stuff?  Yep.  So probably not a great way to get to writing, but awesome for killing precious bits of free time.  I’m like a free time poacher.  I don’t see it much, but when I do, I KILLS it!

So my little running streak turned 49 days old today.  No big feat, I realize, but I am glad to say that running each day has effectively taken on teeth brushing status…it has to get done; I don’t even think about it.  SO, I’m glad of that.  I deserve to have to run everyday.  Just look on my DailyMile prior to the beginning of March (click on the DailyMile box on the right-hand side of this page)…pitiful.  I was a very badly behaved girl.  Speaking of DailyMile, you should totally come be my friend.  I’m a pretty good encourager (well, I’m alright).  It’s a pretty fun little site.  I get a kick of seeing how many doughnuts I’ve burned.  Also, I like joining the various challenges that people post on there.  Okay, I like the bubbly graphs.  They amuse me.

Remember how excited I was to be getting faster?  Yeah, I’m not getting much faster anymore.  Eh, whatever.  I’m so much more captivated by distance than speed, but STILL.  I’m pretty sure a big part of that is me being a lazy slacker bum about doing hill and speed workouts.  I don’t do them.  I feel guilty every week, but I just haven’t worked them in.  Lazy.  So my next goal is to get at least one of each in each week.  Ugh.  How much do I love just throwing my ear buds in and going my required mileage without having to think about it?  A LOT.  This is the next stage in my acquisition of all that discipline that eludes me.  Anybody out there have any ideas on how to get motivated for this?  Anyhow, I’ve managed to get ALL of my prescribed training runs in each week since I started my mileage buildup three weeks ago…victory!  (For me, anyway.)

It’s in the 80s and 90s here so I’m taking water with me on my longish runs.  I’m a weinie about getting thirsty while running, so I sometimes like lots.  I look like a big fat rookie, I know, but I just figure the added weight of the water will just enhance my endurance (right?).  My hydration journey started last year, while training for my first 20k.  I couldn’t get excited about the dinky little flask types of bottles-on-a-belt (see Lacey’s below, on the left), which I felt like I would easily drain within the first mile, so I opted for something a bit more robust (see mine on the right).  Also, I needed the larger pack to accommodate  my convenient running-as-much-as-I-do nose.  I just can’t execute a proper snot-rocket, so I have to pack tissues.  There, my secret is out.

This year, I started experimenting with a Camelbak.  I snagged one up on a whim one day, just before a 10 mile run, because I forgot my ten-weeks-in-the-wilderness-belt (above).  It was a cutie:

Called a “Skeeter”, it held 50oz. of liquid.  I knew pretty much nothing about Camelbaks, but this one seemed like it would do fine.  I went to put it on and found I had to let the straps out ALL the way.  Dang, guess I’m about as big as they expect chicks to get.  Anyway, I ran my ten miles and loved this thing…barely was aware of it.  I had swigged the entirety of it by mile six but didn’t suffer in the miles after.  I started thinking I might need a bigger one.  Researching the next day, turned out I picked up the children’s model.  HA!  Guess I’m as big as they expect kids to get.  Yay!  Anyway, I passed that one down Lacey, the kid-sized girl, and picked up “Aurora”:

Last week's long run

This one is a 70oz. which apparently NO one else in the world runs with.  I am the only person needing this much water, excepting those running the Sahara.  My good friend/running buddy Linda tries to get in on the long runs with me.  She gets by on a teaspoon:

Linda before last week's long run

 Today, I did 7 with my handheld bottle, which ended up being just right.  I thought it would be annoying to have something in my hand while I ran, but it isn’t so bad.  It’s got a strap to tighten around your hand, so you don’t even have to clutch it.  I am getting used to using it for shorter runs.  I’ll share with you a secret: I’ve got a 100oz. Camelbak, also, for the really long runs.  I haven’t seen many experienced runners using these things (they seem to LOVE handhelds) but I’m big on being able to leave and not come back to water source for a few hours.  I feel like a Spartan running around with a little extra weight with this one, but then I’m the distance over speed girl.  There’s my true hydration confessions…what about you guys?

I have, for now, ditched my Pandora dubstep station (don’t judge…it gets me going) during my runs and switched to running podcasts.  They’re pretty subdued, yeah, but really interesting.  Like an extension of my little research hobby WHILE I’m running…woo!  I’m listening to Marathon Training Academy and Two Gomers Run a Half-Marathon, the first being pretty informative, while the second is more just entertainment.  I’m almost out MTA episodes and searching for other podcasts to follow.  Anybody have suggestions here?  There’s also a pretty good one called RunRunLive where this guy interviews somebody in running each episode, which I love, but I have to kind of skip through some of the small talk in the beginning.  Speaking of, I’m reading a bunch a bunch a bunch about ultrarunning these days.  I’m just blown away that these things even happen and I want to know more about the people that do them.  I mean, are they super-human?  What I’m learning is that these folks have conditioned themselves to the point that they are comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Holy schnikes, do I need to learn to do this.   So I’ll report back on what I learn.  I’ve got two books going about the Badwater Ultra out in Death Valley…it’s nuts…135 miles in temps around 130.

Well, you can see that I still haven’t made much progress on the articulate and concise front, but I’m glad I finally got a little bit unblocked and threw some stuff out there.  I actually have tons that I want to talk about and get ideas from all you guys, but that will have to wait until perhaps next week, when I haven’t squandered all of my free time and I’m magically talented at writing…haha.  Talk to you guys later!

ps…check out my little garden:

I planted late this year…around the beginning of April.  Above are my little baby plants.

So we’ve had lots of rain and the plants are growing like weeds.  I’m so excited!

 

Midnight Running April 4, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lorna @ fumblingtowardsfitness.com @ 5:38 am
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Today is my 28th consecutive day of running.  Alright, it’s not much to be excited about.  Especially if you know that exactly half of that has been stinky little single miles.  But I set out to try this for a month, and I have no inclination to stop. So that, I’m excited about.  I’m also really tickled that this has fixed by problem of missing runs.  I’ve had to do a few desperate things to keep this going so now  I realize now that all those folks that I was falling all over myself admiring for doing this for so many decades, yeah, they have treadmills.  I’m convinced.  Last night, I went ahead and just ran in a thunderstorm.  One big lesson there: get that run when you can.  We had a gorgeous day all day.  I managed to busy myself with life (that didn’t involve being at work) and waited until the evening, when a storm was kicking.  Yeah, I didn’t check the weather like I learned I was supposed to.  But I was at home, which means I have about 10 pairs of old running shoes that can get soaked and lightening doesn’t worry me, so run in the thunderstorm I did.

My parents are moving from New Jersey back to Savannah which meant I was in New Jersey, helping pack the moving truck for most of last week (we’re big do-it-yourselfers).  So that was five days of getting by on the bare minimum of one mile a day and mostly at midnight, each day.  The last of those was Saturday night, after a 7 something hour drive from Atlanta (where we didn’t leave Atlanta until 5pm).  So, I set out to get a little mileage in on Sunday and barely hacked out five miles.  My body has decided that’s its new threshold.  Since the race, I haven’t managed to all-out run more than five miles without having to include a little walking, for whatever reason.  I only took about three days off between the race and the streak.  I have tendencies to get a little freaked out when I sense that I’m losing ground that I’ve fought hard to gain.  I experienced something similar in CrossFit when, after many months of improvement, I started to get slower.  Who knows what causes this crap.  Am I failing to push myself?  Anyway, I’m keeping my cool on this and working on building myself back up.  I am definitely someone who must fight constantly to keep any progress I make.   Does it work like that for you guys??

Image

Since I’ve gotten home, I’ve been doing my runs during the day.  I prefer the evening/night, but I figure I’ve got to get myself used to the heat.  So, I ran at the beach for the last few days, mostly out of laziness because it’s two blocks from my house. It’s a fine place to run.  I just haven’t perfected the whole coming up behind people that are walking and slipping by them without scaring the peewine and green goose mess out of them (my Mama’s terminology).  Now I realize there is etiquette for this type of situation.  I’m just working on my execution.  At first, I felt like my desperate huffing as well as (what I imagine to be) slapping footfalls (that I know is improper form), coupled with a polite “excuse me” would announce my approach, however a test pass past a strolling middle-aged couple proved that this was not the case.  The poor woman just about back-flipped into the sand while her husband ran off the sidewalk like he was dodging a speeding bus.  (Speeding, no, but bus, perhaps.)  I apologized ALL over myself, and continued on in humiliation.   Okay, maybe I’m not as loud as I think I am.  Shortly after were two ladies with whom I was determined to do MUCH better.  So at about 10 feet away, I politely said “coming up on your left” yet somehow earned the same reaction.   I’m now taking out my earphones for the maneuver so as to more accurately hear what others are hearing.  Clearly I am better suited for the night/lonesome running that I’ve been doing.  My favorite location is the Bay St. Louis Bridge:

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Ok, this was taken post-run, so you’ll have to forgive the squiggle-vision.  Guess I’ve gotta get my shots before I run, or it’s gonna be “Dr. Katz”.  Anyway, it’s two miles across with a wide, fenced off running lane, and hardly anyone on it later in the day.  Somehow I always have fantastic runs here.  It’s a magical bridge.

Today I registered for the Pensacola Marathon – November 11………..so, woo hoo!  I’m the kind of chick that has to get locked in and all obligated to make sure I do the work.  Since I apparently need some more mileage buildup, I’m doing this appropriately named “Mileage Buildup Schedule” for the next couple of months before I start training.  (From Art Liberman’s website, marathontaining.com.)

Mileage Buildup Schedule (Schedule I)

Week# Sun. Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Total
1 4 Rest 3 Rest 4 Rest 3 14
2 4 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 3 15
3 5 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 3 16
4 3 Rest 3 Rest 3 Rest 3 12
5 5 Rest 3 3 3 Rest 3 17
6 6 Rest 3 3 3 Rest 3 18
7 6 Rest 3 4 3 Rest 4 20
8 3 Rest 4 Rest 3 Rest 3 13
9 7 Rest 3 5 4 Rest 3 22
10 7 Rest 4 5 4 Rest 4 24
11 8 Rest 4 6 4 Rest 4 26
12 4 Rest 3 Rest 4 Rest 4 15
13 8 Rest 5 6 5 Rest 4 28
14 9 Rest 5 6 6 Rest 4 30
15 9 Rest 5 7 6 Rest 5 32
16 5 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 4 17
17 10 Rest 6 8 6 Rest 4 34
18 10 Rest 6 8 7 Rest 4 35
19 6 Rest 4 Rest 5 Rest 4 19

I’m not doing the whole thing, just jumping in around week 10.  We’ll see how that goes.

I have lots to talk about, but I gotta rush and catch a few hours of sleep before work tomorrow.  I sat up to wash all my running clothes for the week.  Streaking equal lots of laundry.  More later!

 

My own personal gag reel March 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lorna @ fumblingtowardsfitness.com @ 4:06 pm
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Turns out, posting on my work days is going to be HARD. Time is just so tight.  Also, I left my laptop at home, which was a huge part of it.  When I was leaving the house Thursday, with my bag and four days worth of groceries, honestly, I couldn’t fit through the front door.  I was running late, and in frustration ditched it.  Hence my silence (just in case anyone missed input from this bastion of useless information), and why I’m forced to play catch-up today.

That “little” rain that I mentioned in the last post ended up being an all-out thunder and lightening filled, three day soakfest.  So Thursday was another one-miler in the rain, making three in a row now glaring at me from my weekly log.  I had this super secret goal of 25 miles for the week, but by Thursday, that was wadded up in a tissue and flushed.  I reckon some weeks are like that.

The storms finally abated late Friday morning, but left us this (at our little crash pad near work):

And this:

And from our walk from remote parking up to our building (we have a fenced off little walkway through a construction site):

  

There is a shuttle that we can take, but we always like to walk.  Here’s where it got a little tricky (I promise we don’t work in a third world country):

Here’s Pilley, my dear friend/work day roommate.  She obligingly runs with me on work nights just for kicks (and never feels accomplished for it).  She was smart enough to bring flippies.

 Well the wonderful news is that by noon the sun was 1000% back on the clock so we were able to snag three miles at lunch, and probably a little skin cancer (wasn’t even thinking about sunscreen – burn!).

  It was hot, sweaty, gloriousness, and I was never so grateful for a run!

We’ve been having Jillian yoga night at least once a week, as I’m trying to be more well-rounded in my cross-training.  This one came to me highly recommended by Lacey (she is not really a therapist).  From what I’ve read, the yoga-types sneer at Jillian’s irreverent, less-than-yogaish style, but it works for me.  The great thing about DVD yoga is that it isn’t in a public or group setting, where I have exactly zero business practicing it.  I inevitably start getting off balance, which gets me tickled, which makes balance even more elusive, which then makes me even more giggly, and things just quickly deteriorate into a spectacle of desperate, barely effective restraint.  The rest of the room – calm, even, focused, meditative energy.  My little corner of the room – frizzed with choked off laughter, runny nose, and chaos.  I used to hit up a Les Mills Body Flow class at least once a week, back in the day, at which my fecklessly contained mirth regularly earned me looks from Anya, the thong-wearing (she was always in front of me and it stuck out of the top of her pants!), Russian yoga prodigy that said, “If I had a dog poo pie handy, I’d plant it right in your face.”  I tried very hard to be the very picture of composure, but of course she was abnormally attuned to energies and therefore unable to be deceived.  Then there was my difficulty with concepts such as “drawing the breath to <insert body part>.”  I’m pretty sure I don’t know how to do that.  (No disrespect intended to those of  you with a real heart and feel for this art.)

Anyway, yoga at home – yes!  (Especially one that includes the phrase “Who’s your daddy!”)  Even with barely discernible amounts of namaste within me, I’m definitely benefiting.  There’s a move called “camel pose”, for instance, which requires your body to bend backwards in a way that mine simply does not, except now it does a little bit.  Okay, that’s not impressing you.  Well I am really feeling good and much stronger as I do it, and feel like I’m looking a lot less like Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker

and maybe more like hmm…I Love Lucy.

Add Pilley, and she’ll have to be Ethel only because she’s so much less afflicted than me, and often gives the appearance of “having it together”.  By the way, I now have rug burn on the bottoms of my feet, having involuntarily slid into some deeper split-type situations than I was comfortable with.  Next week, I’ll try (to remember to try) my durn little, grippy yoga socks.

I should mention Jillian’s ab DVD which we also did after one of the little sad one-milers.  Jillian is my away-from-home workout because she’s portable.  The ab one is actually a bunch of cardio.  And it’s good!  So I wasn’t a total slacker while it rained.  We got three more miles Saturday, which finished off my running week around 15.  Still okay, and the little streak lives.

In keeping with the theme of utterly valueless information here, I was remembering having a crazy March in years past, and being warned by a friend, “Beware the Ides of March”.  Technically, it was one bad day for Julius Caesar, but I don’t know, I think it could be the entire month for me.  Whatever “Ides” are, they’ve really been giving me the business.  I’ve been extra ridiculously defective.  Enough that you could do a whole movie montage, set to the tune of “Tiny Toon Adventures” of all my trip-ups, head-slaps, scratch-outs, expletives, forgetfulness, bumps, falls, slams, bruises, bitten lip, etc.  Today, I got stabbed with a spear.  A spear!  Alright, it was a very (very) dull spear, and the part of my body that ran into it was particularly cushioned, specifically my gut.  But it did give me pause.  Anyway, I can smilingly say that it’s been an Alexander kind of week, if not month.

If you don’t own this book, I insist that you immediately get yourself a copy.  It is perfection as hilarity goes and it makes EVERYTHING better.  (And so what if it’s a children’s book.  You need it!)  My mom gave me this back when all the kids displaying great potential were given Oh, The Places You’ll Go!  Anyway, one day in particular, this week, went to industrial grade crap – one of those that makes you want to disappear and enter a mutually forgetful relationship with the world.  This is important only in that it serendipitously brought to mind some words that I really needed:  indomitable spirit.  When I practiced Tae kwon do years ago, we had to recite the tenets of Tae kwon do at the beginning of each class:  courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and this one, indomitable spirit.  I’d easily join the fan club of every one of those, but this one in particular, I always had a monster crush on.  Even the definition of indomitable is poetry:  “impossible to subdue or defeat” (Google); “incapable of being dominated” (Dictionary.com).  Now that’s just pretty.  I’d like to have about a hunderd 55 gallon drums full of that.  I could easily come up with 20 relevant applications for indomitable spirit in my daily life, right now, and especially where my fitness is concerned.  It’s something I hope to cultivate more of, this crazy month and forever after.

What are you working on?

Lorna

 

Unexpectedly fragile… March 22, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lorna @ fumblingtowardsfitness.com @ 4:39 am
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It’s late and I won’t be much of writer, and it’s all a bunch of shenanigans anyway, but if you feel like hearing about it…

Every part of my day today seemed to scheming to kill my poor little streak.

The plan was to work a long run in during my lunch break since I needed to come home tonight.  A quick little background:  I work 90 miles from my home.  Because of this, a couple of coworkers and I keep an apartment near work where we stay three or four nights a week.  We work long days – about  12 hours – so it rarely makes sense to drive all the way home for a few hours, just to come right back  before dawn.  But I planned to be home tonight and I really didn’t want to delay my departure  after work this time.  Usually, I go for a minimal one or two miles on going home nights, once I get off,  just to keep the streak while saving precious time.

As soon as I left the parking lot, this unbelievable storm got to cooking.  I creeped my car through opaque sheets of rain  to the park, stupidly hoping it wasn’t pouring there, haha.  Good Lord.  It was one of those storms that was settling in for a while, too.  Not a passing one.  Crappit, I should have checked the weather!!  I called a nearby gym to see if they charge a day rate, figuring I’d use a treadmill, worst case.  The lady was sweet and told me they absolutely do but, “Darling, don’t you come over here.  The street and parking lot’s flooded.  I understand what you need but it just isn’t worth it.”  CRAP!

I wasted over an hour, tooting around in the downpour, and time was running out so I had to head on back.  But I was feeling a little panicked.  There’s people that have done this for decades.  I can’t be the imbecile that somehow lets a little rain kill my streak after only two weeks.  No!  Well, to be honest, this is the worst storm we’ve had since maybe The storm, but so what?  It’s gonna happen.  My mind was whirring and getting a little freaked out while I tried to figure out what to do.  I checked the weather and it said 100% chance of rain through the next day.  I could run in the rain, but then I’d have wet sneaks for the next day’s running too.  Shoot.

So I pull into the parking garage at work and find a spot on a less populated floor.  And then I realize…parking garage!!  I drove a lap around the floor and found it was exactly a third of a mile.  I’ll just run my looney toons looking behind three times  around the parking garage when I get off.

Great plan, except the GPS doesn’t like it in there and I was adamant that I wanted a full mile, not a cheater.  (I wanna be honest…don’t judge!)  Eight crazy hours later, having forgotten to eat or drink anything, I found a break in the rain and went to the top deck where I could get a signal.  Knocked out the mile as quickly as I could, passing two security guards and playing like “well duh, of course I’m running laps around the parking garage in an escalating rain at night (yeah, it was cranking back up).  Everybody does.  Hello!” And made it to the car just in time as the sky came unglued again.  And I had a asthma attack.  Stupid.  I forgot my inhaler in this whole silly streak drama.  And then I drove my wheezy self 90 miles home in this crazy storm, on top of the world, having just barely saved this unexpectedly fragile little streak.

Snap.  Guess I need to check the weather.  But now I’ve got a precisely measured Plan B.  Woo!

Now what about you?