Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bite the Bullet!

I had a mental relapse yesterday… I bit the proverbial bullet and registered for the Marine Corp Marathon, scheduled for October 30, 2011.

I had filled out the online registration form and was hovering over the “submit” button, and second guessed myself, so I canceled out. About twenty minutes later, I tried to do it again, but the website was experiencing heavy traffic and I could not get through. But that worked out in my favor – a coworker, Jeff, came back from his lunchtime run and I was able to bounce the marathon off of him, asking if I was being unrealistic or setting my goals too highly. He encouraged me to do it, stating that October would give me more than enough time to build up the mileage. So in the last ten minutes of the lunch hour, I logged back in, got into the website, and registered. I clicked the ‘submit’ button quickly, before I could think about what I was doing. Of course, then I spent the rest of the afternoon in a near-panic at the mere thought of what I had just committed to!

If nothing else, I can always defer the registration to next year if I have to…

The more this sinks in, though, the more I get this urge to go out and buy a complete new set of running gear – new shoes, new pants, new shorts, new shirts, all in bright colors, and made of some fancy, hard to pronounce material. But alas, my checkbook keeps that dream at bay!

Week 6 – Tuesday (Strike 3?)

(Random route through town)
44 min. / 2.4 miles

Well, tonight was another BAD workout. Nearly immediately, I felt pain in both ankles and shins. I thought I would warm up and relax a bit, but it just never happened. Ultimately, I ended up cutting my run short, doing a 180, and heading home, walking most of the way. Walking gave me time to evaluate a bit: I know I felt extremely rushed before the workout, like I was racing against an imaginary clock to get out and run before some arbitrary time limit. And at the beginning of the run, I had a lot of distractions, too – my iPod kept coming unplugged, my HR monitor stopped instead of starting, and my cell (which I carry for the GPS function…) was just an overall pain, mostly because of its size. And finally, the weather was a contributing factor, I think. It was in the low 20s, I changed what clothing I was wearing so I was constantly chilled instead of warming as I went along, and due to the storm yesterday, there was still areas where ice and slush were in my path, which I recognized was making me tense up as I tried to avoid falling on my oversized ass. From all of this, I know I was not in the correct mindset before the run even started, which I know was a big part of the negativity. For me, it is nearly all mental – especially when there is pain involved.

The huge let down for me was the timing of it. After the ChiRunning workshop on Sunday, I was really looking forward to having a good run, to put some of what I learned to work. And while I was able to do that to a small degree, by then the damage had already been done. I think I need to spend some dedicated time to just working on the form focus points, not worrying about the distance or timing, but just concentrating on correct form. I really wish I either had a treadmill, or that the high school track was clear for running – but it is still covered in snow. Actually, I really wish I had access to a high school gym… then I would have the space to do the exercises, sprints, and stretching that I do not really have room for now. The second aspect of timing – and perhaps the most damaging aspect - is that the Marine Corp Marathon opens for registration tomorrow at noon. Had this been a good workout, I would sign up with the confidence that I could train through the next 8 months and make it through in grand fashion. But because it was such a negative workout, I am now having HUGE second thoughts about whether I am cut out to be a runner, whether I can actually get motivated enough to train for a marathon, and whether I am just dreaming of a goal that is not really within my reach.

Something tells me that tonight is going to be a very long night…

Clothing rant

I was out running some errands today, and stopped in at the local Big Box sporting goods store to look at what they had in running clothes. What a disappointment.

First off, they are a HUGE Nike supporter. Not that I am truly “against” Nike, but I have always heard that they employ children in their workshops and such, and would like to avoid that… hard to do when they are the only thing around, I know, but still.

Secondly, and I have noticed this at dedicated running stores, too, it seems all running clothing is sized for either really big people or really small people. I am 6'-4", 240 pounds. Not small, by ANY stretch of the imagination, but I only wear a 40" waist with freakin' long-ass legs. But by the time I get a pair of pants that fit my legs, I could act as a second sail for an America's Cup sailboat just by stretching the top of the pants out! Stupid. Same with shirts, too - by the time I get a shirt that fits my shoulders, it's a blimp at the waist.

Sad, really. I walked out without buying anything. That is a good thing, I know, but still, it would be nice if I could at least ATTEMPT to look like a runner...

Monday, February 21, 2011


I know I've been lax in my writing, and most of that was because I wasn't feeling motivated to actually run. In truth, I think I was avoiding it. But that changes now...

Sunday, I attended a ChiRunning half-day workshop in D.C. UH-MAZE-ing! I learned so much about what I was doing wrong, and how to correct it. In just four short hours, instructor Lloyd Henry from On Point Fitness worked his magic and had most of the class running gracefully, pain-free, and naturally! It was the best course I've taken for sheer "ah-hah" moments.

I know I need to maintain the running form focuses, and I need to work on getting my endurance up. But I am completely motivated to keep this going. Of course, it doesn't help that tonight we're expecting somewhere around 6-8" of snow... but hopefully I can get my run in before it starts.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Garmin Demo... and local stores rant.


I stopped at the local running store tonight, mostly to grab a few gel and try to motivate myself some. I was looking at the case of GPS watches, and one of the workers informed me that the Garmin rep was actually going to be there doing a demonstration… in an hour! So I ran out, grabbed something quick to eat (oops!), and was back there to hear the schpeal. I will admit, I already had my mind made up to which one I wanted… but after listening to him talk, now I’m not so sure. I really liked one of the lesser models, for the more “everyday” stuff. I could see me wearing it as a watch, and monitoring my heart rate as the day went on, etc. But for running, I’m not convinced it would do what I want it to do. The one I really didn’t like at the start, but found myself leaning towards at the end, was the massive 310XT. This watch can do everything except fly the space shuttle! I really liked some of the functionality of it, the ease of use, and it was the only watch with a vibration alarm – something I am EXTREMELY interested in! So now I’m not sure what I want. I guess my big holdup is that I don’t think of myself as a runner, so I’m having a hard time justifying the cost of this beast.

On a side note (see the ‘oops’ above), I was limited for time and availability, so I had a burger from BK. I know this goes against my no fast food rule for the month, but there wasn’t much other option. And I didn’t go all out like I normally would’ve. So sue me…

I do need to mention, though, that I was extremely disappointed with this local store. I know I am bigger than most runners - 6'-4", about 240# - but they had ZERO clothing options for me. Not even their stupid-design t-shirt. Nothing was over an XL... my shoulders require a XXL. Nothing anywhere near my length for pants, nothing in my waist size. I can buy shoes, socks, and hats from them, and that's about it. I am trying to be a "support local stores" type of person, but when your local store doesn't support YOU, why the hell should I?! I think it's pathetic. And no, I did not ask the employees if they could order anything - ultimately, if I need to order it to get it, there's no use doing it from the store. I can go to a different, non-local store and get it much faster. This weekend, I plan to visit two or three other stores - all over an hour away, but if they have what I fit in, well-worth it. Ok, rant over...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Week 4 - Monday (Decent day)

(2/7/11) - 17:15
(Random route through town)
Slow and easy... NO PAIN PLEASE!
Very slow, a little discomfort, but all in all, ok.
45 min. / 3.15 miles / random intervals, as needed
Avg pace of 14:03 (12:15 running pace, 20ish walking pace)

So today wasn't too bad. I didn't bring the interval timer. I just strapped on my iPod, and headed into the misty road. Running (ok, more like slow jogging...) in the rain and the music in my ears sure helped to distract me. I had a little bit of discomfort in my shins and ankles, but for the most part, no big problems. I did notice a bit of discomfort in my chest - more of a sharp pain than anything else, but I am "watching" it... if it doesn't get better soon, I will head to the station and check myself on the Lifepak.

The biggest change for me was that I did "as needed" intervals. If I felt winded, I walked, if I felt pain getting bad, I walked. When the pain felt relaxed, or when my heart rate came back down, I started jogging again. It seemed to work pretty good, too, so I think I may just keep doing that instead of trying to follow some set plan.

Feeling lazy...

So it's been a week since I've run, and I've only walked once or twice in the mean time, and I have to admit, I'm kinda liking NOT running. But there is a big part of me that feels like a bum, too. Oh, the contradictions... I think my biggest issue is that I have no accountability. My sister asks how my running is going, but that's only once or twice a month. I don't have any friends that are interested and knowledgeable enough about running to keep me accountable on a day to day, week to week, level, a byproduct of simply not having many friends. And the lack of encouragement, accountability, and motivation really bugs me. There are people in the office that run - some at more
advanced levels, some at a more intermediate level - and I know that I am the "beginner" - but it drives home that I am an outsider here in the office, and here in the sport of running, as I often am everywhere. Once again, this goal is going to be something that I have to accomplish on my own, and to be completely honest here, I don't know that I am
strong enough to even approach the goal, let alone accomplish it. Something has to give, and I am afraid of what that might be...

On a different note, I have fallen in love. Wheat Things Sundried Tomato and Basil crackers ARE AWESOME! Holy crap. I had to force myself to put the box away, they just have an addictive flavor to them that if I don't pay attention, the whole box would be gone! Wow. Seriously, try them...