Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor…

31 12 2009

…not a freakin Polar Bear!

What in the name of Kahless was I thinking, scheduling an early January half-marathon?!  Even if it IS in Florida, I still have to train somewhere!

It is TOO COLD AND SNOWY to be running in this crazy place where I live!  Oh yes, I sucked it up and ran 4 miles outside today but I HATED IT.  I’ll do it again but I’ll HATE IT again! I CAN’T WAIT until January 9 comes and I’m done with this crazy quest!  Jeez!

I know, I know, I could run at the gym but it squicks me out thinking about all the germs lurking there waiting to jump on me.  Community acquired MRSA is no joke. 

          Nasty, ain’t it?  I treat it daily.

   And I damned sure don’t want it.

 And because I’m a doctor who would be considered pretty much a LEPER if I caught it, I run outside.

Today I ran in ankle deep snow.  My toes were frozen, my eyes were watering, my cheeks are now red and pocky looking.  But I did it.  And sure, I’ll do it again.  Maybe twice more before the race.  And then I’m done.  I’M DONE until it’s at least 40 degrees out there.  This is nuts!

Since I last posted, I also did a 60 minute step aerobics video and a core workout.

More to come.  Done ranting now….

Crashing like Enterprise-D

26 12 2009

Since I last posted, I’ve travelled to New Orleans for my birthday weekend and run the Ole Man River Half Marathon as a “practice race” on December 20.  I feel like I did okay, even though it was less than stellar.  I was scheduled that day for a 12.5 mile long-slow run on my training calendar so I decided to get out of town to someplace warm so that the run would actually take place.  Since I love NOLa and they were having a half-marathon, I figured “why not?”.

Because we’ve been caught up in the usual winter craziness at work, I was very poorly prepared for my journey and as a consequence learned a lot about “what not to do” when heading out of town for a race.  First, I booked a hotel room without a fridge, microwave or even a coffeepot.  This guaranteed I would not be able to observe my usual pre-race ritual:  early rising, relaxed high-carb low-fiber breakfast followed by substantial evacuation of bowels (sounds gross but all runners know they’d better have empty bowels before a race).  Secondly, I forgot to bring my special gluten-free energy bar to eat after the first 90 minutes of running.  Third, I stayed up too late the night before the race hanging out around the French Quarter and ended up sleeping too long the next morning.  Despite all these errors in judgment, I did okay and the breakfast of raspberry Zingers purchased from a vending machine then eaten before and during the race only cost me about 10 minutes off my time because of all the porta potty stops they caused.

Overall, I LOVED the race!  We started at Tad Gormley Stadium and ran through beautiful City Park.  The weather was perfect:  sunny and 50-ish with gentle winds.  The number of runners was small but they were not so fast as to leave me in last place.  There were plenty of water stops along the route.  And they had a WONDERFUL post-race buffet including pancakes, bananas, and a self-serve beer truck.  Nice. 

Since my son Simon came along with me (because it was not only a birthday trip for me but for him as well, his birthday being 12/25 and mine 12/21), we spend the rest of the weekend eating and drinking and carousing around New Orleans.  3 days went by so quickly!

And then I came home. 

I got back on Monday afternoon.  Tuesday I worked 11 hours then shopped for Christmas stuff.  

After sleeping about 5 hours, I worked for 13 hours on Wednesday and then went grocery shopping for the holiday. 

After about 4 and 1/2 hours of sleep, on Thursday I worked 8 hours and was immediately catapulted into the family ritual of  a long boozy Christmas Eve dinner (this year spent at a fondue restaurant).  Upon arriving home afterwards, I went immediately to bed where I remained for the next 12 hours.

On Friday, I cooked.  Yes, all day.  First brunch,  then dinner with sangria and dessert.  My son and his girlfriend spent the night and we had a very nice time.

One might remark upon the lack of RUNNING in this past week, a mere 14 days before the Disney World half marathon, and I would have answered I rested after the New Orleans Half and was going to resume running today, Saturday, December 26, with a nice 10-mile jaunt.  However, it started snowing yesterday afternoon and hasn’t stopped yet.  At least 4 inches are on the ground, the temperature is somewhere in the mid-20s and it’s positively awful out there. 

Not to be done in by weather however, I did have a spectacular Plan B.  I decided to do two 60-minute high-impact cardio videos down in the basement preceded and followed by a mile of low-impact Leslie Sansone (with the sound turned down because her babbling drives me barking mad). So I turned on all the lights in the workout area, searched out the DVDs, filled water bottles, switched on the fan and even got into my workout gear.  Then I laid down and took a nap.

I haven’t been able to summon the energy to do anything even remotely athletic today, and am currently sprawled on the sofa enjoying a Harry Potter movie marathon.

I guess sometimes you really just have to let yourself CRASH.


 But I will return to my training tomorrow.

Seduced by the sun

15 12 2009

It was a beautiful wintry day today.  The sky was a watercolor blue and the sun was brilliant.  If it had been warmer, it would have been perfect.  After starting somewhere the in high 20’s, the temperature gradually slid down an icy slope toward the biting frigidity we know and dread here in Northern Illinois.   I am off work today and tomorrow —  my first two consecutive days off since Thanksgiving  — and I was weighed down by the exhaustion I usually feel after a long run of work days.  I went to my volunteer job in the morning and then had to take the dogs to the vet at 2:00 pm for a vaccination.  I had fully intended to go home afterward and flop on the sofa for the rest of the day.  Until I saw the sun.

Something about its brightness filling my eyes gave me a surge of energy, a rush of happiness and a powerful desire to be outdoors just to revel in its company.  It was almost like the craving one feels for a new lover.  I felt a little crazy actually but decided to go along with it, so I headed over to the Hammel Woods with the dogs where we hiked up and down the hills for about 45 minutes.  The temperature was about 17 with a north wind of about 10 mph.   It was COLD!  I liked it, but it was really cold.  And I can hardly wait to do it again!

Since the abortive run last Saturday, I’ve done no other physical activity.  I hope I get a great night’s sleep tonight because I’d like to really step up the pace over the next couple of days.   I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about exercise and have learned that one’s level of fitness can begin to diminish in as little as one week spent idle.  And since the Disney World half is in a mere 25 days, I need to get to and stay at a relative peak for the next 3 and 1/2 weeks.  So even though my newfound practice of periodization calls for peaks and valleys of intensity, I feel wary of any kind of slacking this late in the game. 

More later….

Nevermind Qo’noS … how the hell am I supposed to run on Rura Penthe?

12 12 2009

It’s been COLD.  I mean BLOODY COLD.  And it has snowed all over everything.  I have one day off this weekend and I have to run 11.25 miles to keep up with my training schedule.  I look out my window this morning and it looks like Rura Penthe out there!  It’s supposed to get up to 34 today but there’s no way it’s going to melt enough snow for me to find a safe place to run.

I checked weather.com and the closest place that doesn’t have sidewalks covered with snow or ice is Springfield, Illinois, 160 miles away.  It’s about a 2 and 1/2 hour drive but that’s where I’m going.  I don’t relish the idea of trying to run in the middle of the street anywhere around here so I’m leaving Rura Penthe on a day’s pass and heading south.  It will take me about 2 and 1/2 hours to run 11 miles so I guess I can call it a mini-road-trip.

This week, I gave myself a bit of a light week.  I’ve been reading about the benefits of periodization.  It makes sense to me on an intellectual basis and I decided to give it a try.  I’ve never stuck with a training program consistently enough to follow a particular strategy because I always end up behind and struggling to catch up…..just like I’m doing now, thanks to injuries and laziness.  But given how exhausted I felt in the past couple of runs last week, I figured I needed to give myself a break.  And of course the weather here on the Klingon penal colony has not exactly been conducive to outdoor running either, so the time seemed right.

Last weekend, I had a 10 mile run planned but was invited to walk a Jingle Bell 5K with a friend in Oswego so I incorporated that into my run.  I covered 3.1 miles last Sunday walking and then 7.25 more running to achieve my total.

Monday, I took off.

Tuesday, I ran 4 miles in a snowstorm.  Yes, it sucked.

Wednesday, I took off.

Thursday, I did 2 miles of speedwork on the treadmill.

Friday, I did a 45 minute cardio DVD (Fat-burning for Dummies) and a 45 minute strength DVD (FIRM Maximum Body Shaping).

Today, Saturday, I am about to drive to Springfield for my 11.25 mile run.


EDITED TO ADD:  The further south I drove, the less snow I saw so I decided to run in Bloomington instead since it would shave about 120 miles off my round-trip journey.  I got about 8 miles done when an ice storm started and little pellets began bouncing off my face.  I guess I was not destined to run 11 miles today.  I headed home and finished the evening watching old episodes of “Fringe” on DVD.

Am I on Earth or on Qo’noS?

3 12 2009

                OR        ?

The weather here has been as extreme as it is said to be on Qo’noS, the Klingon home world.  Tuesday it was 52 and sunny, today (Thursday) it is 34 and threatening snow.  It’s enough to make you think you got sucked through a wormhole while you were asleep and deposited on some other M class planet.

Training in Illinois throughout the dead of winter for a Florida half-marathon on January 9 is definitely going to be an adventure!  In the next 37 days I have sixteen more training runs planned, 2/3 of which could be done on the dreaded treadmill if absolutely necessary.  The five long runs, ranging from 8 to 12.5 miles, definitely must happen outdoors because I need to do an out-and-back route after running half the distance away from home or wherever I parked the car in order to assure that I actually finish.  Running little loops around the subdivision makes it too easy to cut a workout short if I feel too tired.   Being stranded several miles away from home base ensures I will complete  the last grueling 20% of the distance.  I once read a quote that said something like “marathoning is not about who is the fastest, it’s about who is the toughest,”  so I will do whatever I have to do to make myself tough.  Especially since I ain’t never gonna be fast!

Sunday, November 29, was a cool cloudy day with a forecast of rain.  I dropped my Dad at the airport after a wonderful few days holiday visit, then sought out a place to run 9.35 miles.  I found it in a nearby forest preserve approximately 5 miles from the Lake Renwick Heron Rookery.  Embracing the out-and-back strategy, I parked the car and took off.  My practice for the long runs is to jog 0.4 miles and then briskly walk 0.1 mile, over and over and over again.  I go slower than my projected race pace because the goal of the long run is to build endurance rather than speed.  I made it from the woods almost to the lake before the rain began to fall.  Fortunately, the clouds dried up after I reached the northernmost point on my route and headed back south again.  By the time the GPS watch had ticked off 8 miles, I was pretty much dragging myself forward.  I finished though, and emerged a little tougher than when I started.

Monday, a cross-training day, I attempted one of my favorite aerobics DVDs, Michelle Dozois’ Rockin Body Cardio Jam, and completed about 40 of the 45 minutes before I was just too tired to go on.  Note to self:  pick something easier the day after a long run.

Tuesday, the most beautiful day of the week, I ran 5.5 miles then did some upper body weights and a short core routine.

Wednesday, I did the cardio portion of Gilad’s 45/45 Split Routine  DVD and got through it without difficulty.  Since I’d done ab work the previous day, I chose only the leg training from The FIRM Sculpted Buns, Hips and Thighs and skipped the long killer abs portions.

Today is Thursday and I am wiped out.  I slept poorly and plan to loaf around all day since it is not a work day.  Tomorrow it’s back to the grind.