My very own Duotronic Sensor Array!

20 09 2009

File:Duotronic sensor array.jpg  COOL, HUH?

OK, it’s really just a Garmin 305 but it’s so frackin’ Space-Age, it might as well be one!

I bought this gadget (on sale because now there’s a 405 that’s supposedly better) when I decided to follow a structured training plan for the half-marathon and then promptly shelved it because it was too hot to run outdoors.  I finally brought it out and got it set up a couple of weeks ago.  I really love it!

It tells me how fast and far I’m going because it’s linked to GPS satellites.  It tells me my best-paced lap, my current pace, and even how many calories I’ve burned.  It also has a heart rate monitor, so I can keep track of my heart rate when working out.  There are other functions I haven’t even tried yet, including training software that allows analyses of all the data collected.  I’ve used it on my last two long runs and am thrilled damn-near senseless to have the information it gleans.

I’m not sure if being engaged in such a personalized data-driven traning program complete with space-age gadgetry makes me feel more like a legitimate athlete or if I just like having toys, but it makes me feel better every time I strap it on.  That has got to be a good thing because it’s one of the reasons I keep throwing one leg out in front of the other mile after mile after grueling frackin’ mile.

To recap the week’s training:

Tuesday – upper body weight segments from Cathe’s Supersets DVD, 3 miles of speed intervals on treadmill

Wednesday – 13 hour shift at work….no workout

Thursday – 7.25 mile “long run”

Friday – worked in the AM then went to a wedding reception in the PM and got drunk

Saturday – worked 10 hours hungover….no workout

So far today, Sunday, I have gone on a 22 mile bike ride and cooked a nice hearty omelet breakfast.  I have hopes of hitting the weights again later.  I’ll report back in the near future.

Not exactly the Dahkur Hills on Bajor, but great IMHO

15 09 2009

Kira Nerys and the Bajoran resistance were able to hide from the Cardassians an entire winter in the Hills of Dahkur Province so they must have been quite substantial.  My hills on the trail in the Hammel Woods may not have been able to provide that protection but they sure set my thighs to burning on Saturday–and I LOVED IT!

I had a 6.5 mile run on my training calendar and, as is my custom with many things, waited until too late in the day to get started.  It was sunny and what I consider “hot” for running:  probably about 82 degrees.  So I scrapped the route I had plotted around the nearby subdivisions, and decided to head over to the woods to run on the paved bike trail.  If you pick up the northernmost section of the trail at the dog park and run all the way to the woods’ southern entrance  on Route 52, it’s 1.7 miles.  I figured I’d run out and back twice, thereby hitting my mileage target.

I got there, started running and realized it was still too freakin hot.  I’ve always noted the presence of hiking trails that lead from the bike path deep into the forest, but didn’t want to take them because of the possibility of ticks.  I hate those ugly things!  I’m not so worried about Lyme disease (hell, I’d just take a Z-pack if I ever found a target rash on myself) but I think I would scream like a little girl if I ever found a live tick embedded in my skin.  And I never remember things  like Deep Woods Off until it’s too late.

But on this day I just didn’t care.  Still stung by the humiliation of my spectacular last place finish at the 10K the week before and never ever ever wanting that to happen again, I will now do whatever it takes to be well-trained for the next race.  So into the woods I went.  IT WAS FANTASTIC!  Under the shady canopy of trees that probably could regale me with tales of Indian battles, I climbed hills, leaped over fallen branches, crossed a stream by walking over a log, and generally had a wonderful time.  Of course, I gasped and struggled and swore a lot too.  But it was still so much fun!

On Sunday, I worked 10 hours then rode my bike about 7 miles until it got too dark.

Monday was a rest day.

Today is Tuesday and I have some speed intervals planned along with upper body weights and core.  More later….

Been working on the warp drive…

11 09 2009

…getting ready for my long run on Saturday.  Actually, I’ve just been working like crazy.  Not much to report today.

 Walked 3 miles on Monday. 

Ran 1.5 miles and biked 7 miles on Tuesday. 

Worked 13 hours on Wednesday and then again on Thursday. 

Had a mere 6 hours of work today but am now paralyzed with exhaustion.

More tomorrow….

Final Frontier? No, just the final runner of the 10K today.

6 09 2009

My “Run Less, Run Faster” training program for the Disney Half officially started today.  Since this week’s agenda called for a 6-mile run and there were a lot of Labor Day races around, I decided to enter the Buffalo Grove Stampede 10K.  The excitement of a race always keeps me moving when I want to slow down, so I happily signed up for this small race in a town about 60 miles from home.

I worked a 10 hour shift yesterday and spent the night in a motel near the course.   As I unpacked I realized I’d forgotten my iPod but I shrugged off the annoyance of it.  This morning I got up early, had my usual pre-run breakfast of coffee, a banana and a protein bar then headed over to the park.  At every race, I look for runners who are older and/or fatter than me because  it gives me a little extra hope to see someone who appears to be more of a longshot than I am.  The crowd today however was virtually scintillating with the young, the fit, the athletic—-you know, the opposite of me.  I did manage to pick out a couple of  fat guys, one  lanky aging-hippie type with long wavy grey locks and a few of what I call  “old runner chicks” (lean, angular AARP-aged females with determined sun-weathered faces framed by pixie haircuts—-there’s at least one at every race).  I was a little intimidated but I thought I’d be okay.  I never expected them all to be faster than me!

I lined up near the back of the pack as always and when the whistle blew, took off with the rest of the runners.  Man, did they haul ass!   For a while, I brought up the rear along with three old Japanese ladies and a white girl with a limp.  I kept thinking somebody would slow down for a little walk-break at some point but nobody did.  Eventually when I thought my lungs were about to burst, I began to intersperse walking and running.

The race wound through a neighborhood, turning corners and crossing streets, so it didn’t take long for me to lose sight of the pack.   I pursued them as best I could but eventually reached a point when I couldn’t see where they had gone.  I turned left and kept running until I saw someone wearing a park district shirt and asked him where the 10K course was.  He pointed about a city block behind me to a streetlight and said “you were supposed to cross that street and go through the nature preserve.”  So back I went to the corner where I had to wait for the light to change before I could cross the street and attempt to rejoin the race.

By now I guess 3-5 minutes had been lost but I forged onward anyway.  I figured I could ruefully chortle “I got lost!” if anyone commented on my miserable position as the last runner.   I found the course and followed it but didn’t see any other runners until I reached a spot where people where coming back toward me from the turnaround at the end of the trail.  A few shouts of “you can do it”, “good job”, and “keep going” made it painfully obvious that everyone knew I was last.

I wanted to cry, I wanted to disappear, I wanted a hat and sunglasses to fall out of the sky and shield my face from public view and I almost wanted to quit—-but I didn’t.  I kept going.   I reached the turnaround point at least 5 minutes after the rest of the runners.  They were starting to take down the water station there but there were 2 cups left, so I drank one.

With a mere 3 miles left to run back to the finish line, I began my return to the park whereupon I noticed I was being tailed by one of the security guys driving a jeep.  I figured it was his job to follow behind the runners, and since I was the last runner he was going to follow me.  As I plodded ahead accompanied by the mechanical purr of his jeep motor instead of my favorite iPod tunes, I kept picturing him staring at my huge rear end rolling in front of him, but I didn’t turn around.  I stopped at various water stations, and smiled at the guys calling out splits:  “49 minutes”, “an hour 10”, “hurry up you lumbering fat-ass”…..well, they didn’t actually say that last bit but I assumed they were thinking it.

It was somewhere around between the 4 and 5 mile marks that I was joined by two First Aid volunteers on bicycles.  “Wow, I’ve never had my own entourage before,” I said, deciding I might as well speak to them so they’d know I wasn’t about to have a heart attack.  They circled me a few times (and yes, the word “vultures” did come to mind) and then kept a respectful distance.  Jeep guy kept putt-putting along, silently urging me forward.

Along the trail, up and down hills, over a bridge, across the street and back to the park I trotted.  Rhonda, the bicycle lady, told me I was making their day because I was such an inspiration.  Hal, her partner, said “you’re going to have a huge cheering section when you cross that finish line and we’re just starting it for you.”  I looked around, hoping I’d see a taxi that could bear me away toward anonymity, and briefly considered peeling the chip-timer tag off my shoe and throwing it in the bushes.  That last thing I wanted was more attention.

But finally there it was:  the finish line.  Almost 1 1/2 hours after starting, I scampered across to be greeted by a smattering of applause and a proffered bottle of water.  I hurried into the crowd and was doing a quad stretch when Hal approached me again.  “I want to take your picture,” he said.  “I’m the official photographer of the event today.”  I smiled lamely and posed, trying not think of a dozen disparaging captions that might accompany a photo of  The Last Runner to Finish the 10-K, then made my escape.

As I drove back to the motel, I thought about John Bingham’s tale in his book “The Courage to Start” about how he once finished last in a race and was followed by an ambulance.  “At least all I had was a jeep and two people on First Aid bikes,” I thought, and then gunned it down the road toward the motel’s  breakfast buffet.

It’s a good thing I don’t discourage easily or I wouldn’t be sitting here already planning my next race.


Catching up on last week’s training:

Saturday was a day off.

Friday I rode my bike about 10 miles.

I need a vacation on Risa, the “pleasure planet”!

4 09 2009

According to my favorite Star Trek database ( ), popular attractions include:

  • Suraya Bay, where the Lohlunat, the Festival of the Moon, is held.
  • Galartha, a cliff face that changes pitch while you climb it.
  • One recommended restaurant is a little boat that sails into the bay every evening just after sunset. Patrons wade out to it, and they serve seafood right off the deck.
  • Subterranean Gardens where all the plants are luminescent.
  • Steam-pool said to be very relaxing .

There are many nightclubs, but the Vulcan Database advises visitors be wary of the occasional crime.   According to the Vulcan database, Risa had over 200 registered Nuvian masseuses.   Risa is most noted for the frank and open sexuality of its native population.

Thinking about the need for hedonism made me reflect on what it is that usually comes to mind when I consider the concept of pleasure:  Mojitos, strawberry whipped cream cake, a day on the sofa watching Lifetime movies.  But the fact is, I do derive pleasure from running on a cool day when I have lots of energy; a bike ride through the woods; a nice long walk with the dogs.  Yes, lazing on the couch with a belly full of goodies makes me happy, but so does a lot of other stuff that won’t make me fatter.  I like that.

Nonetheless as soon as we figure out a way to transit those 90 light years to Risa without my getting too much older, that’s where I’m headed.  I’m planning a warm-up run in the subterranean gardens, a nice vigorous climb up that cliff, a cool-down swim out to the boat for have some seafood and then a nice relaxing dip in the steam pool before I head to the bar and get my freak on with the natives.

But until then, I will continue to train for the half-marathon at my sluggish earthly pace.  Since my last post, I have had a rather lackluster week as a burgeoning athlete.  I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately, something not uncommon for a menopausal woman, and it leaves me with less energy than I’d like. 

On Monday, I lazed around the house most of the day and then went on a bike ride too late in the afternoon which was thus abbreviated by nightfall and ended after about 40 minutes. 

On Tuesday, I did about 3 miles of speed intervals.

I worked 14 hours on Wednesday (which in itself would suck the life out of  a Talosian) and then slept fitfully again last night.   After moping around all day complaining about being tired, I went to the woods and ran 3.75 miles.

More tomorrow….