Wednesday, March 22, 2017

WWU - 11+ Miles, Kill Me Now

Seriously, every time I run a really long distance I wonder what in the hell I was thinking.  Because it's hard, so hard.  And at some point during the run, I usually end up going through the five stages of runner's remorse - for this particular run, it started around the 8 mile mark and it went something like this:
  • Denial:  This is getting hard but I've totally got this.  I can do it!
  • Anger:  Dang it, why am I slowing down?!
  • Bargaining:  It's OK, I'll just go a little slower.  I can do this, right?
  • Depression:  Fine, I'll walk this hill.  And that hill.  And maybe a little over there...
  • Acceptance:  It didn't go how I wanted, but I finished the run.
This was Diane's 18 miler, and we had a pretty good plan set for her route and who was going to be running with her.  She and Jeff met at 4:00 am and ran 6.5 miles; I thought they'd be at a certain spot around 5:30 am, so Cary and I met up there and saw their blinking lights in the distance - we couldn't have timed that any better!  We ran another loop, and then Jeff and Cary dropped off, for a total of 11.5 miles (Jeff) and 5 miles (Cary).  Diane and I refilled our water bottles and set off again - I just realized that this route had us running to the access road of the freeway at two different points...that's one way of knowing that you're running a really long distance!

We hit our turn around point and headed back a couple miles toward our still-closed new road, but going that direction, we had a couple of steep hills and we walked them.  I thought I was just getting tired from the hills, but once we turned onto the new road, my legs were done...and we had about 3 more miles left to go, which doesn't sound like a lot until you add them to the 8.5 miles already done.  We'd arranged for Jeff to meet us somewhere along the new road to bring water for our final refill; he was there, and I really, REALLY wanted to get in the car with him and be done with this run.  But I didn't want to abandon Diane.  I also didn't want to interfere with her run, because she was doing great.  I mean, amazingly well - at this point, she was at mile 15 and looked like she could go another 11.2 miles with no problem.

Diane pointed out to me that maybe I needed more fuel than just Tailwind (I started with a 24 oz bottle of it, and refilled with another 24 oz bottle); I'd hoped to make it through the run using only Tailwind, but I guess it just wasn't quite enough for that many miles.  And really, once she said that, I realized that I was just out of energy; I wasn't hurting worse than any other long run...it truly was a fueling issue.  I had some Bolt chews with me so I started eating them but I was still going really slow and I didn't want to mess with Diane's momentum.  We were coming up to a point on our route where there's about a half mile out-and-back jigjag, so Diane took that while I went straight, mostly walking as I ate the rest of the chews.  We figured she'd catch up to me fairly soon.  I started running a little and walking a little and by the time she caught up to me I was feeling better; we finished the run with Diane hitting 18 miles (a new distance record for her!) and 11.15 miles for me.

I got in my car and drove to Blue Baker to meet up with everyone; on the way, my radio played "Hurts So Good" and then "Stayin' Alive" - both songs couldn't have been more appropriate considering how I was feeling!
The face of someone who just ran 18 miles!  Jeff with the assist of not only miles, but extra digits in order to show Diane's new record mileage.
The face of someone who survived running 11+ miles, with soaking wet hair thanks to 100% humidity and fog rolling in toward the end.
 
All the food - in reality, over the course of three hours I managed to eat the bacon, the chocolate milk, the scone, a couple sips of OJ, and lots of coffee.  I really should stop getting two pastries after my long runs, but it all looks so good!
Another game of pass the baby was played with Mason!  He's three months old and is smiling and laughing now. 

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A few people have commented that I must be doing well as I'm not hurting/injured with running so much, and until a couple of weeks ago, I would have agreed with them, but things are starting to hurt a bit - new things, like my knees, which rarely bother me except for when I need new shoes (and I only have 200 miles on my favorite pair, so that shouldn't be the issue); my left shin is also starting to hurt, and my hip flexor on - you guessed it - my left side was really sore a couple of days before Saturday's run.  I started doing some stretches for the hip flexor and was pleasantly surprised to get through the run without it bothering me, nor did it bother me afterward (I'm still doing the stretches, though - insurance at this point).  I do use my BFF Buffer every day on my sore muscles and that helps immensely, but the truth is, running this many miles puts the hurt on my body.

Also in the comments, some people have mentioned that I might as well run a half marathon now.  I briefly looked running a half marathon in April, but after the windy 10 miler a couple of weeks ago, I realized that I didn't want to run a race just because I was semi-trained for it...for me, running that many miles is still quite a challenge both mentally as well as physically, and I've done too many races where I wanted to quit partway through them.  I have a five mile race coming up this Sunday, and I'm actually looking forward to that one - were it a half marathon, I don't think I'd have the same attitude.

I'm trying to be kind to myself when it comes to running; yes, it's a challenge, and a good one as I do enjoy it, but I don't want to end every long run with the feeling of defeat...so for that reason I'll stick to helping my friend get to her goal, and keeping "my" long runs to a more reasonable number for me.

Monday, March 20, 2017

File This...

File this under TOO TRUE:
Allie posted this to Jeff's Facebook page a day after this exact scenario played out - tax time is stressful!

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File this under DANGIT:
My little Haviland dish, that I've had since I was 18 or 19 years old, broke the other day!  This is why I can't have nice things - well, for longer than 35 years or so, I guess.  I'm going to try to glue the pieces back on, once I figure out what glue works best with porcelain.

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File this under HAHAHAHA:
Jeff was using Google Maps on his phone a couple of weeks ago, looking at the distance from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, when he said "Why is Trump's head on my map?"  Allie and I thought he was joking, but nope, there it was.  I figured it had to be some sort of trolling thing, but some Googling led us to discover that it was from a site Jeff visited that was documenting hate crimes against immigrants by Trump supporters.  Which is sad to see, but good that it's being documented.  However, last week his map looked like this: 
And for someone who doesn't like Trump to begin with, it's pretty annoying to see his face when you're just trying to drive somewhere.  That doesn't stop me from laughing at Jeff's exasperation, though.  Just to be clear, I'm laughing at the faces, not at the amount of hate crimes.  That is pretty horrendous.

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File this under NEVER LET YOUR PHONE FALL INTO YOUR KADULT'S HANDS:
I was playing around with Siri when they had a promo tied in with the Lego Batman movie, and this came up.  Thanks, Sam.

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File this under AWWWWW:
Baby Mason wore the sweater and hat that I knitted for him recently!  He's pretty adorable, and quite the dapper little dude in his church outfit!

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Friday, March 17, 2017

FMM - It's Curtains For Us

New curtains, that is!  Thanks to delaying our long run from Saturday to Sunday last weekend, we had the energy to install our new curtain rod and hang the blackout curtains in our bedroom.  Of course, it didn't go without some minor issues, such as my realizing that the curtains I bought at Ikea were 98 inches long, and I didn't have that much wall space to work with.  I briefly considered hemming them with my sewing machine, but chances of me getting both panels hemmed the exact same length were iffy, so I went to plan B, which was to look for another set of curtains.  Target had a lot to choose from in the 84 inch length, plus I had a 30% off coupon; the bonus is that we both like the color of the new curtains better, so it all worked out in the end:
Turns out, it's pretty hard to take a picture of closed blackout curtains without having to turn on every light in the room - they really do what the name implies!
 
I can't get over how nicely the color ties the room together with the bedding and the chair in the corner.
Close up so you can see the color and texture - these are the Tara Eclipse curtains in Teal.

While Jeff was installing the curtain rod, I was pulling all of the furniture away from the walls and doing a much-needed deep vacuuming.  I dusted, and ended up not putting back the little LED clock on my nightstand - mostly because I don't use it for an alarm - but I wondered if not having that bright red light in my face at night, combined with the blackout curtains, would make for a better night's sleep.  Jury is still out on that as it's only been a few days, but I think it's helping.  It definitely is a much darker room at night now.

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We had a treat last Sunday while we were at Blue Baker, in the form of getting to see one of the bakers make bagels!  This guy is so friendly - he always waves at us when we come in and has the biggest smile on his face.  He's very good at what he does - quick and efficient - and it's fascinating to watch what he makes.  I don't know that we've really been around to see the bagels being made, but what first caught our eye was that he was making round balls out of the dough.  Then he took some, flattened them out a bit, and sprinkled cinnamon sugar in the middle before making it into a ball again - and then he rolled the top into more cinnamon sugar - OOH!  That's how the cinnamon bagels are made - they have the best chunky topping on them that goes really well with cream cheese:
Cinnamon bagels in the making. 

Then he started with whole wheat - first he made the dough balls and let them sit for a bit, then he pulled them apart to form the traditional bagel shape:
He lifted the tray to show us and oops, they started to slide off!  Good thing he caught them in time.

Even though I was not hungry, it was all I could do to not buy a bagel now that I'd just gotten to see how they were made.  It was really fun to see this process; we keep saying that one of these days we need to take a bakery tour, as everything they make is so delicious!

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There's a reason why I don't like gardening, and it's bugs, critters, and the like.  Jeff does all of our outdoor planting - I can handle the indoor succulents, but I just don't like surprises when I work with the plants.  Case in point:  the other day when I went out to water, I reached for my sprayer nozzle and this lizard jumped out and scared me:
No SIR - you need to get off of my watering station!

While I was taking a picture of the scary lizard, I noticed a hole in the ground, which means that something is living there, ack:
Jeff said it's most likely a frog hole...but what if it's NOT?? 
Paco was being a big brave dog, checking it out.  Luckily whoever is living there didn't come out when that nose poked its way inside the hole!

So now we better get some rain on a regular basis because thanks to that lizard and the hole in the ground right by the patio, I can't water my plants.  OK, I'm kidding - I'll water them - but not without a thorough look-see before I reach for anything...you can't be too careful when it comes to these wild creatures, right?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

WWU - All The Miles!

I am a low mileage runner.  Even when I'm in the depths of my training for a half marathon, I rarely hit 50 miles for the month; I checked my running logs and the last time I had a 50+ mile month was in 2015 (I had several in that year).  I run less miles than a lot of runners and I'm good with that; it works for my body and my level of pain tolerance, as I call anything in the 8+ mile range the hurtin' miles.

However, in helping Diane with her marathon miles, I've racked up 34 miles already for March, and we're not even halfway through the month!  What the what??  It's pretty crazy; I didn't set out to do this, but bumping up everything, from our usual 2.25 mile weekday runs to 4 or 5 miles, plus my running half of her long runs with her has meant that the miles have added up quickly.

Last Thursday, we ran 5 miles.  Y'all.  Five miles is normally a long run for me!  But there we were, running it before work.  I haven't run five miles in my neighborhood in forever (or maybe ever, I can't remember), so I figured out a route - just to give you an idea, here's my notes that I took as I was mapping it out on Map My Run:
I can't read my writing, either...

We had a good run, until suddenly we both ran out of energy - for whatever reason, neither of us thought to bring any fuel for this five miler, which goes to show you how differently we looked at a weekday run vs. a Saturday long run...on a Saturday, for 5 miles?  We'd have used fuel for sure.  But not on this run; we had our handheld water bottles because it was warm and muggy, but that was it.  Lesson learned on that one.  A secondary lesson for me would be to note that it's pretty challenging to run 5 miles and then stand up at the gift shop for the next four hours, but I survived.

On Saturday, Jeff and I woke up extra early to meet at 5:30 am to run 10 miles with Diane.  As we were driving to the clubhouse, it started to rain.  We got there and parked behind Diane's car and it started to pour.  It was already warm and (obviously) humid and then with the rain?  We quickly nixed the run and decided to do it the following day.  That is the beauty of a smaller group of running people - you don't have to run if the weather is bad, especially if it's supposed to be clear the next day.  So, we went home and back to bed; all three pets slept with Jeff which was pretty cute.  He'd been out of town and I guess they missed him.

On Sunday, Jeff and I woke up extra EXTRA early, thanks to Daylight Savings Time starting overnight.  I knew a cold front was supposed to have blown in, and it did - the temperature was 48 degrees, yay!  I got dressed and went outside with Paco and immediately came back inside and changed into warmer clothes as it was windy and really cold.  Even still, when Jeff and I walked outside to get in the car, he decided it was cold enough to need gloves and earwarmers, so he went back inside to get them for us and I'm really glad he did, because that wind was biting!  I finally thought to check the "feels like" temperature, which said it was 42 degrees, with north winds of 16 mph with even stronger gusts.

We met up with Diane and took off running, hoping to warm up.  It was cold and yes, super windy!  We were about a mile into the run, going down a sidewalk, when I thought I saw a big pile of dirt (like, almost as tall as I am) ahead of us on the sidewalk.  It was really dark, but sure enough, when we got closer that's what it was, so we had to do a little off-roading and step through the rain-soaked grass into the street to go around it.  We kept running into these dumb dirt piles, which was a pain.  Naturally this was on our out-and-back section, so we got to deal with them a second time.  I think they are digging holes to put in street lights, which are much-needed on this stretch of roadway and will be wonderful to have, but running through a construction zone was not fun.

Finally, we were out of the dirt pile zone and into another mess - thanks to the rain, dirt runoff from more streetlight installation on our nice, wide-sidewalk road meant we had to be extra careful not to slip in the thick sludge.  Between that and the wind, it was slower than usual running.

We hit the water stop at mile 4.5 and I refilled my water bottle and added more Tailwind.  Aside from about 6 or 8 Sports Beans eaten at mile 3, this was all the fuel I used for the entire 10 mile run, and it worked out really well.  Next week I'm going to try running with only Tailwind and see how that goes.

We finally got to the closed road, where we could run right down the middle of it without worrying about vehicles.  It was great, except that the wind kicked up plus I guess with no houses or trees around us, we just felt the wind more, so those miles on that road were rough.  At one point we were running on a slight incline, fully into the strong winds, and I'll be honest, I just wanted to turn around and go home.  But I think we were at mile 8.5, and it would have been silly to quit so close to the finish, so I kept going.  Jeff said something along the lines of "I think Shelley's had it - she's stopped talking" and he was right.  Dang that wind!  Even Diane later said that this run felt harder than her 16 miler the week before, so it wasn't just me.

Once we were back at the clubhouse, we quickly changed into warm, dry clothes and zipped over to Blue Baker, where Patrick, our favorite counter-guy, was working on learning our names - last week, we discovered that he refers to us as "pumpkin muffin" (Cary), "diet Coke" (Diane), "extra butter" (Karen) and so on.  Not sure what I was (probably "bacon on the side") but it was really funny.  As usual, my eyes were bigger than my stomach - here's what I ordered:
Bacon (on the side, LOL), a blueberry scone, and a cranberry walnut muffin, with lots of coffee.

But here's what I brought home for later:
After four miles, I could have devoured everything, but my stomach shuts down once I hit the longer miles.

The muffin and scone were good the next morning, too.  This Saturday has Diane running her longest run yet - 18 miles!  I will be with her for part of those miles, but I'm not sure how many just yet.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Turning That Frown Upside Down

I'm sure I'm not alone in stating the obvious - we all have those days when nothing feels quite right, even though nothing particularly has changed.  Last week I was there.  Although I'm running more than ever, and focusing on making good-for-me meal choices, I was feeling blah.  It doesn't help that no matter what size I am, my stomach is always larger than I'd like, and couple that with wearing capris for my runs, which cut into my stomach no matter what size or how high or low the waist is, I was not in the greatest of moods.

A flip of my weekly calendar page showed that I had my hair appointment on Wednesday with my usual cut and highlights - all the good stuff.  Sure enough, I walked out of there feeling fabulous, and that feeling has stayed with me since then.  Nothing has changed except for my hair - I had more layers cut into it to take advantage of my natural waves, and of course the highlights brighten everything up.  But that's it - my stomach still looks the same, my clothes still fit the same...and yet?  I feel lighter, and my mood is much better.
During - all foiled up with highlights.
After - laughing because I tried to get my hairdresser in the shot with me and she literally dove out of sight yelling "NOOOOOOO!" (her hair wasn't done, haha).

Can a haircut really make that much of a difference?  I have to say yes, and I bet a lot of you will agree.  It's not that I spend a lot of time on my appearance, nor do I constantly look in the mirror (or the modern-day equivalent, take selfies), but on a subconscious level, when my hair starts to get overgrown, it drags me down.  How else to explain the fact that when I put on my capris to go run the next day, I didn't get that UGH, my stomach is so gross feeling...and believe me, nothing else had changed aside from the hair - I didn't miraculously have a body transformation overnight.
A real after - in the parking lot of the grocery store.  Had to document this style as I probably won't be able to replicate it.
Couple of days later, this is what I was hoping for - nice curls with minimal effort (aka all I have to do is scrunch my hair a bit while I blow dry).

I don't know why something like hair can lift me up or bring me down, but that was the only change I made last week, and my mood did a 180.  For good mental health, I'm glad I always schedule my next hair appointment when I'm there for my current one because obviously this is something I need to keep up with.  And I guess it could be anything - getting your eyebrows done, or your regular manicure, or whatever - but somehow, just a little bit of beauty pampering really makes a difference, doesn't it?

Friday, March 10, 2017

FMM - Knitting and Pets

I've been knitting pretty steadily on my throw made from...well, it was leftover sock yarn, but I broke into my yet-to-be-knit sock yarn to add some more colors, so we'll just call it my Potluck Throw from here on.  I'm taking progress pictures as I go, and have better success with them some days more than others:
I told him not to touch it...so he put his paw on the edge.
Pretend yawn forced him to put two paws on the throw...
Mr. Innocent:  Throw?  What throw??
 
Just tinking 'bout life...
 I tink dis throw is mine, dat's what I tink.
 
Sigh.  I know it's going to be covered in pet fur eventually, but I was hoping to wait until I was actually using the throw to have an animal laying on top of it.  I guess Kip decided he didn't want to wait.

And then, when I finally disturbed him and took the throw so I could knit on it?  Kip found the next best thing:
My tray of yarn.  Give him an inch, and look what happens!

When I'm knitting something that's a gift, I don't let Kip near the yarn, but in this instance, it's OK since the throw is for me.  Still, he sure seems to think all the yarn belongs to him now!  

Here's another picture of the throw, taken when Kip was outside:
No Kip, but of course Paco had to run over when I started taking pictures!

I need to spend some time weaving in the ends or else I'm going to hate myself when it's finished...a few minutes every couple of nights to keep up with that task will pay off in the end.  And I'm hoping to get to a yarn shop next month to buy a couple of skeins of a solid color yarn for the edging - I'm thinking charcoal gray, but we'll see what is available.  

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Speaking of pets, Paco lost quite a bit of weight when he was sick, so we decided to supplement his dry food with some canned dog food.  It worked out to feed him the canned stuff, which he loves, in the evening.  What I didn't anticipate was the food coma that it would put him in - it's just like when you feed a baby and they drop off to sleep - Paco barely makes it to the couch before he is OUT for the night:
We feed him around 6:30 but it's still light out.  No matter - for Paco, it's light's OUT.
Another night, another food coma.

The extra calories in the canned food are helping, as he's looking much less bony.  I guess if there's one thing I know how to do, be it for human or canine, it's how to put on weight.  At least Paco needed to gain it; our poor dachshund, Jackie, spent most of her life on a diet and much like her human mother (me), she had a hell of a time getting the scale to budge. 
Jackie and Pumpkin - my favorite picture of them. 

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Have a great weekend - I'm going to run my legs off and then spend the rest of it lazing around - living life at both ends of the extreme, that's me!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

WWU - 8+8=16

It's interesting, having a running buddy who is training for a marathon.  Especially one who doesn't hurt after running many, many miles - I mean, after that hot and humid Houston half marathon, where everyone in our group was wrecked?  She felt perfectly fine.  I promise you that Diane isn't a robot, but I don't understand how she can run twice as far as me and feel so darn good afterward, while I'm dealing with sore muscles and taking Motrin and laying on my heated mattress pad!  Which is why she's going to run a marathon soon - hey, if it doesn't hurt, then now is the time to go for it.

So in keeping with her schedule, I bumped up my weekly mileage a bit, running 3 miles last Tuesday and 4 miles last Thursday, because that's what her training called for.  This week, we ran 4 miles yesterday and will run 5 miles tomorrow, and then we only (only!) have to run 10 miles on Saturday.  Whew!  But I'm getting ahead of myself - here's how her 16 miler on Saturday went down.

Jeff is an early-morning person, so he volunteered to run with Diane for her first 8 miles.  They met up at 4:00 am and ran two 4 mile loops; I was driving over to our clubhouse and spotted their blinking lights at the water stop nearby, so we timed the hand-off perfectly.  Cary and I set out running with Diane at that point; our plan was to run to the new closed road and then run up and down it several times - that road is perfectly flat and great for getting in some mindless miles where you don't have to contend with anything but the occasional group of deer grazing nearby.

We ran up and back while it was still pretty dark; Cary dropped off to run back to the clubhouse at that point, while Diane and I soldiered on.  By then it was getting lighter, and we saw a camouflaged  porta potty that we'd run by twice already but hadn't noticed until then.  Our walking interval worked out perfectly for Diane to take a couple of pictures of it:
This is on a new road in the fancy neighborhood that we run through; I guess it only makes sense that they try to gussy up the porta potties during construction!

After he recovered from his 8 miles, Jeff drove in from the open section of the road (no one drives on it, because right now there's nothing there) and dropped off a jug of water so we could refill our bottles, which worked out great.  I drank an entire bottle of Tailwind and ate a package of Sports Beans (half at mile 3 and the rest at mile 6) and I felt good - no bonking there, nor did my stomach get all yucky.  Once I was finished with the Tailwind I just refilled my bottle with plain water; I've ordered some portable Tailwind stick packs to carry with me on future long runs, so I'll be able to keep up with that once I've depleted my first bottle.

Diane and I kept running and eventually we hit the magic number where we could leave the closed road and head back to the clubhouse.  We ran back and BOOM - she hit 16 miles on her Garmin - another distance record for her!  I hit 8 miles, which is a lot for me when I'm not training for a half marathon.  I didn't set out to run this much after Houston, but I have to say, it's not bad, and I like running with Diane and helping support her as she works toward her marathon goal.  While I was pretty sore on Saturday, I felt fine the following day, so I should be able to keep up with running these longer distances.  I'd like to think it will help for the two races that I will be doing in the next six weeks, but knowing me, probably not.

After we finished, we chatted with everyone before changing and heading over to Blue Baker.  Meanwhile, Jeff had gone home, showered, napped, and was already at BB waiting for us.  To get us moving faster, he texted the following picture:
Fresh, hot ciabatta!  Our baker takes care of us.  
My breakfast - scones!  Bacon cheddar, and raspberry.  I couldn't finish them, but after running 8 miles, everything looked good when I was standing in line to order, so I indulged in two flavors.

We had a great time at breakfast and even got to play "pass the baby" with Mason, as CC and Loretta came for a little while.  Mason was a good sport with letting a bunch of smelly runners cuddle him.

This Saturday is a drop in mileage for Diane - she only has to run 10 miles.  Which I plan on doing with her, which means it's an uptick in miles for me.  Runner's math - the only time when the person who is training for a long distance does less while the training buddy does more - I don't get it, but I'll be there to run alongside of her, regardless of the math.