Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sometimes I Just want to Zumba

First off, I have to apologize for the delay. I wrote this blog a while ago, but had some technical difficulties uploading it (strictly user related). Anyhow, I think it's still relevant because we all struggle with motivation sometimes...

A few weeks ago, Colorado had some of the coldest days I have ever experienced along the front range. I have to admit that I may have become a little bit soft since my Gunnison running days (back then, I did not shy away from running outside when the mercury fell below 0 degrees Fahrenheit). After hearing the weather forecast of -7 real feel -30 the older, softer, hopefully wiser me decided that it was going to be a treadmill day. I packed up all of my stuff in the morning so I could head over to the gym directly after work. Usually I prefer to go before work but the logistics of running on the treadmill take more time, so I go after. I quite enjoy running in the morning with my husband and dog or the other ladies from the BRC team. Although it is usually colder in the morning, I find that the mornings are very peaceful and I get to see some of the most beautiful sunrises imaginable.

After putting in a satisfying day at my job that actually pays the bills, I really didn't feel like running on the treadmill. Like many other runners, I am not particularly fond of the treadmill, especially since I had also run on the treadmill the day before. After a heated conversation with myself, I finally ended in the gym parking lot and made a mad dash through the cold to the gym doors. Surprisingly enough, I wasn't the only one who didn't want to brave the cold that day and all of the treadmills were full. While waiting, I noticed that an aerobics session had ended and another was about to start. I found myself somewhat envious of the people heading into the class. Although, I have never actually been to one of those aerobic type classes, I imagine that they are loads of fun. I do go to Yoga and Pilates, but I put them in a different category.

Eventually a treadmill opened up and I found myself jogging along, not super happy to be there. I had forgotten my iPod, which meant that not only could I not listen to music, but I also couldn't use the headphones to plug into the TV sound. So, my choices were either to try to watch Wheel of Fortune, where I couldn't actually make out any of the letters, or stair at the backsides of the ever revolving group of people using the stair masters in front of me. Worst of all, I was hungry. Which, for anyone who knows me well, knows that I can be seriously grouchy when my sandwich meter is running low.

A small group of women who had come out of the aerobics class earlier were happily chatting near the treadmills next to me. They were raving about how much fun they had in the Zumba class and were making arrangements to attend the next class. I found myself daydreaming about Zumba (although I still have no idea what it actually is), thinking to myself that I am definitely going to go to the next class if this dreadfully cold weather continues. So, that kept me busy for a little while and I decided to do a time check to see how long I had been running. Four minutes and twenty two seconds. Boy, was this going to be a long run.

Exactly five minutes and five seconds later, there was a change up on the treadmill next to me. The new person appeared to be fairly fit, but more importantly must have applied Icy Hot or something similar before hopping on the treadmill. The smell of the Icy Hot and sweat brought back memories of running indoor track and the sound of my feet hitting the treadmill stride after stride vaguely reminded me of the hollow sound of the raised Mondo tracks. Indoors was always one of my favorite seasons and I found myself reminiscing. Without even thinking about it, I reached down and increased the speed on the treadmill. I looked over into one of hundreds of mirrors surrounding me and noticed that my form had straightened up and I had an extra bounce in my step. The remaining sixty minutes and thirty three seconds passed by in a blur and I stepped off the treadmill thinking well...that wasn't so bad, maybe I should run on the treadmill more often.

It's amazing what a little bit of motivation can do.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Yeah for Track!

As I packed my running bag this morning, I saw tiny black things at the bottom and thought "It must be track season". I raced at Pueblo last weekend to wake up the fast (well, faster than my slow) twitch muscles in preparation for Mt. SAC. The CSU-Pueblo track facility is amazing, but the darn turf is filled with little rubber pieces. They seem to just jump into my bag and shoes. It's amazing that there are any black rubber pieces left at any of the turf facilities with the way they like to attach themselves to everything. I should send them back so they don't have to pay for new materials. I have to admit I was a bit nervous for the 1500m race. I'm never sure if my fast gears are available and I know I'm really not a middle distance runner. The race went better than expected, although the first lap was a 78!! I was supposed to be no slower than 74, but I was sitting in the pack to prevent myself from leading from the gate. Of course when I hear the lap time I panicked and took the lead with some force. No more jogging on the track ladies...let's get this back on pace. I was successful in bringing that lap to 71 to get back on pace and then just held on tight to the finish. The lovely ladies from Adams hung on with me and on the last lap I had to dig deep to get the faster gear working. There was no true kick, more of a push to keep the lead and break anyone who thought they could out kick me. Funny enough, my time of 4:36 (10 seconds of my PR) became the stadium record. I'll take it. Since this was more of a workout day than a race day, I agreed to racing the 800m too. What was I thinking. The last time I liked this race was in high school when it was still a distance event. It sounds like Scott and I had the same race...I was in the outside alley and was gobbled up within the first 100m. I had a great first lap of chasing them down for 67s, but couldn't hold that for the 2nd lap. A great workout, but definitely not my cup of tea. It was so much fun to watch Shannon and Jay race the 5k. You guys are troopers from putting up with that wind that decided to show up in the afternoon. A big 'thank you' to Coach Chad Perry for letting us race.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Winter has hopefully passed over Gunnison and is heading to the Southern Hemisphere. One sure sign of this change is that each afternoon I am greeted by warmer temperatures and a strong gust of wind that has brought singing birds and a glimmer of green back to the foliage around the area. This also means another thing...outdoor track! Although I do have special places in my running heart for cross-country, road races, and yes even indoor track, I have to admit that I enjoy outdoor track the most. I kicked off the outdoor season last weekend with my running mates Jesse and Paul as we headed to Tempe, AZ for the ASU Invite. As much as the warmer climates made me forget about the last 5 months of bitter temperatures, the fast pace required for the 1500 and 800 reminded me just the same. My strength currently is my strength, and so to run fast in the metric mile I needed even splits. The race went out much slower than expected and I tried my darndest to make moves but it was to no avail, I basically had one speed. So on to the 800, deciding that today would be a much needed speed session rather than a chance to lower some personal records. I was staggered to the far outside lane at the start. As fast as the gun went off, I was getting swallowed up by runners to the inside. I'm not sure if the entire field made up the first stagger by the cut in line or not, but one thing was for sure, I was basically all out! As I passed through 400 I could already feel the tingly sensation creeping on. When I heard 54 seconds as the split, it went away, probably from sympathy for what was to come. I didn't have any notches to turn it up to but I gave it all I had. I don't want to say what my closing 400 was because it wasn't pretty. But lets just say that if you are scotish, you would pernounce it sixty-free. I realize that I could have gone out slower and produced a faster overall time, but hey, it was a speed session. The bright side is that these races were just "tune-ups" for a 5k at Mt. SAC in just over two weeks...thank goodness.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What I do when I can't run...

I don't have much to write about as I haven't run in several weeks due to the injury I sustained in February. So I will write about what I have been doing. At first I tried cross training--elliptical, bike, even running in the pool, but I would end up with pain at the origin of the muscle which made me very nervous. So, I stopped all of those. Instead I have been "sleeping in" on work days (which means getting up at 6:30 instead of before 5), rock climbing, throwing the ball for my dog and catching up on yard work in the backyard (coincidently that also involves throwing the ball for the dog). Friday will end the official 3 weeks off even though I didn't run for several days before that. This likely means I will start being sleep deprived thus requiring more caffeine at work, my backyard will look worse and worse and my dog will be constantly begging for me to throw his toy. But it also means I will be running!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Let's all chase each other around an oval, 'k?

The birds are singing, a bee flew up my shorts a week ago while stretching, I have a new watch tan-line, there are 50+ mph winds *nearly* everyday, there are no more icy patches on the trails to scoot across like a granny, I'm down to 1-1.5 layer(s) on morning runs rather than the usual 2-4, and the squirrels in Monument Valley are feeling....frisky. SPRING HAS SPRUNG!!! And with the springing of springtime, track season ensues! Don't get me wrong, I would be more than thrilled if cross country season was year-round, and I would take the roads for racing any day, but I decided to branch out and do one or two track races this spring. That's right, one or two, and that's extreme. Track is more suited to the graceful little impalas rather than the shambling, awkward moose. Anyhow, I had decided to do the 10k at Mt.Sac a while back, then just recently the thought occured to me that I haven't been on a track since 2008, so maybe I should try to get the track legs back before then. So I stowed-away on the bus with the UCCS team heading to Pueblo last weekend for a meet out there to do the 5k to get a feel for being on a track again. It went pretty well although not much to write home about as far as time goes. It was a lot like I remember it; laps...several of them. Nevertheless it was fun, it felt like a solid effort in the wind, I felt great overall, it was fun to see Cassie throw down in some middle distance races, and it was good to see a crutch-less Tera. But really it was just fun to watch the events unfold throughout the meet--it's like watching a circus.

So right now training is going great and next on the docket is the 10k at Mt.Sac--hoping for a great one!
Alright, happy running to all. OUT.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Races Bad Foot Good

Just an update that all seems to be good with my foot. I have ran a couple races on it since coming back and it has held up well, in fact so well that I was able to do my first long run since coming back just yesterday, the day after a race in spikes. I won't talk about the race however because it was embarrassingly slow.

After nearly 5 months off racing and training have been very tough. I have runs where I feel like I hammered a hard workout the day before but really only went an hour easy. Then I also have days where I feel pretty good. I now have 5 solid but low mileage weeks in the 55-60 range under my belt and am trying to gear up for the Mt. Sac Relays in 2 1/2 weeks. I'll be doing the 1500 there as I'm not in any kind of shape for a longer race at this point. I'm hoping if I can keep at it I can hit some PRs in late May or early June.

All I can say is don't get an injury that puts you out for 5 months because its hard to come back from. Heck, 5 months is the longest I have taken off since I started competitive running my freshman year of high school.

In the end though I'm just happy to be running without any setbacks in my foot because the injury I had can causes chronic problems and I was pretty fearful of that.


Not much running news to report but I had my 6 week checkup last week and everything seems to be healing according to the plan. I went to the CSU pueblo meet last weekend and got to see Cass, Shannon and Jay race. They all had pretty solid days and it was fun getting to cheer them on. Normally whenever I go watch races its hard because I get really jealous of whoever is getting to compete. But this wasn't bad at all. Track really isn't my thing and it was pretty cold and windy. Overall I think Im handling not being able to run for so long really well. This is definitely my longest break since I started running. I REALLY miss it but at least I'm able to stay in shape through cross training. I know my fitness comes back really fast once I start running and I'm looking forward to getting back out there soon.