Monday, April 30, 2007

A great, great weekend

Registration Fee for Country Music 1/2 Marathon:

Motivational T-Shirts for Country Music 1/2 Marathon:


Thorlo Socks, New Balance Shoes
for Country Music 1/2 Marathon:


Finishing the Country Music 1/2 Marathon:


Now to come back down to earth. Heh.

Thanks for the many, many comments all week long, especially the "Done!" ones. You have no idea how much you were all on my mind as I raced plodded through the streets of Nashville. I wasn't going to let you down by not finishing, no matter what!

There was one moment around the 12th mile when I felt kind of woozy and lightheaded and even kind of lost my balance for a bit, but I shook it off – as athletes do, heh! – and kept on going. After that point it was all downhill and so close to the finish line I wouldn't have quit unless I were dead.

Some fun stuff
I wore a t-shirt with a West Virginia University logo on the front, and was greeted by spectators all along the course shouting, "Go, West Virginia!" and "Hey, Mountain Mama!" Very motivating. At one point a band was playing "Take Me Home, Country Roads," West Virginia's unofficial anthem made famous by John Denver. Don't I look great as I find my daughter and grandchildren in the crowd? This was taken mere yards from the finish line.

Spectators along the roadsides toasted us with a variety of libations, including tequila, Red Stripe, champagne and coffee. One guy offered cigarettes – no takers on that one.

I was amazed at how many people brought cell phones with them, and checked in along the route. We heard lots of "I just passed the five-mile mark" type conversations along the way.

My son-in-law, Tyler, ran the race with me, finishing seven minutes ahead of me. [There we are, after we crossed the finish line and stopped gasping for breath.] He's much taller, but also much younger, so I pretty much kicked his ass. [I crack myself up!] He wants to wear a shirt next year that says "Hang up and run."

Next year
Next year?
Looks like there will be more of these for both of us. We're already talking strategy to improve our times. I had no idea when I registered how to estimate how long it would take. You had to finish in less than four hours, so I put down 3:30, which put me in one of the last corrals, where most of the walkers were. Tyler could have been in an earlier corral but elected to stick with me most of the way. [Thanks again, Ty!] We probably ran an extra mile just navigating around people who were slower than we were.

I'm definitely going to do more weight training. I know I would have felt better at the end, no matter what my speed was, if I'd been stronger. But the training I did was so valuable. I amazed myself, week after week. Having that medal placed around my neck was A Moment, for sure.

I placed 61st out of 403 in my age division. I still can't believe that. When I looked in the paper at the finish times for older divisions, though, the top three women in the 70-74 group finished faster than I did. Heh. Here are my times and splits:

Chip time begins when your shoe, which has a computer chip attached to it, hits the starting line. Clock time is when the first runner hits the starting line. So we basically stood around waiting to start for nearly an hour.

The rest of race day was hard. Aching muscles, extreme fatigue, massive quantities of water. My daughter fixed a fabulous steak dinner Saturday night, which was just what the doctor ordered. I was surprised at how much better I felt Sunday morning. I had an eight-hour drive to get back home, and only took a couple of short stretch-your-muscles breaks along the way. I feel normal – well, actually, better than normal – this morning.

I feel like a runner.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


The official results aren't yet available, but my best estimate is that it took about two hours and 35 minutes to FINISH my first half-marathon!

It was soooo much fun.

I'll write more on Monday, and will have pictures to share then, too. My daughter did a wonderful job and also was so much support for me in this crazy plan.

Thanks again for all the cheerleading!

Friday, April 27, 2007


For now you know one of the greatest
principles of success; if you persist long enough
you will win.

Og Mandino

If I make it to the finish line, that will be victory enough for me.

I have one fear, and one fear only. I hope I'm not the fattest woman on the course. After the carb-fest I've been on since, oh, about Easter, I very well could be! You know how some pregnant woman really do eat for two? Well I've been taking that carb-loading-before-a-race theory very seriously. Heh.

Really, I just hope I don't make a fool of myself and I hope it's as fun as I think it will be. Thanks for being with me!

Thursday, April 26, 2007


A couple [couple, two, get it?] of you have asked if race results will be available somewhere on the web. They will, but I don't know when they'll be posted. Isn't technology wonderful?

Then again, sometimes technology isn't so great. Our water went out this morning. I blithely assumed the only magic I'd have to perform would be a flip of a circuit breaker – a two-mile walk to the pump and back – but nooooooooo. An emergency call to the pump repair wizards, a trip to the laundromat, three hours of labor, 20 feet of well pipe, a new pump and XXXX [yes, four figures] dollars later and we have water once again. For how long? Who knows?

I'm ready to move. Or convert to Amish. Just think of the biceps I could develop pumping my own water!

But I digress.

Two people have been tremendous sources of practical advice and encouragement, and I especially want to thank them. My husband's son, Lee, who I mentioned yesterday, gave me a great deal of reassurance about the logistics of the race. WS, also a racing veteran, has been regularly commenting and cheerleading for quite some time now. I feel like I really can do this. Thanks so very much.

Your comments this week have been so inspiring! Lori and Grumpy's flowers are lovely and will be traveling to Nashville with me, along with all your good thoughts and positive vibes. I'll try to post a "One" tomorrow from Nashville.

Two days until race day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


As you might imagine, yesterday was a pretty busy and stressful and tiring day, made even worse by the fact that I wore a dress and pantyhose and heels from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. How do you guys who work in dress-up offices do that day in and day out?

Funerals bring out the best in some people, the worst in others; we had both. The worst wasn't as bad as it could have been, thankfully. Family dynamics seem to be exaggerated at Times Like These, as you probably know. But we all got through it without having to make arrangements for any more funerals.

I'll leave the worst to your imagination. The best was walking into the church and finding nearly every pew filled with friends who wanted to remember, one last time, a man who meant so much to so many. And the other best was being able to feel the heartache and pain and loss, without a little help from a bottle. 'Nuff said.

A nearby floral shop called three times yesterday [you were wondering when I was going to get around to mentioning a "three" thing, weren't you?] – twice at my home and once at my mother-in-law's, where they finally were able to reach me. They needed directions to my house to make a delivery. I couldn't imagine who would be sending me flowers, and the thought crossed my mind that somehow there was a mix-up and they should have been delivered to the church.

Shortly after I got home my alarm system started barking as the delivery van pulled into the driveway. Floral delivery people must have the second-best job in the world, watching as the recipient of an arrangement smiles with delight upon discovering who would be so thoughtful. [The best job in the world is delivering your dogs to you when you've left them at the kennel doggy camp.]

My thoughtful angels were Lori and Grumpy, who wanted to show their support and encouragement for the race. How did they know that I rarely get flowers delivered? I am so touched! Thank you both.

Thanks, also, to my daughter, who gave me a heads-up about another favorite blogger. Considering how little time I've spent at the computer lately, I'm sure I'm the last to know that Crazy Aunt Purl has some big news. [My Google Reader informs me that I have 51 unread blogs this morning. Can you imagine what that number will be by Sunday, when I get back from Nashville?]

Three days until race day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I feel as if I've been running continuously since Saturday afternoon. Life has been a blur. Umpteen-million unread e-mails and favorite blogs have piled up, and if yours is one of them, I apologize for neglecting you, and thank you for continuing to stop by here with a comment and a word of encouragement.

Our little household doubled from two to four yesterday when Mr. Shrinking Knitter's cousin and son came in for our friend's funeral, which is today. By this afternoon it will be me and the dogs, as everyone, including Mr. SK, scatters to their various homes and jobs and lives.

I ran three miles in 31:23 yesterday, a nice, steady, manageable pace for me. It was supposed to be a rest day but I had to switch today and yesterday around because today? No time at all to do anything but get dressed up and pay my respects. The graveside service is this morning with a memorial service later this afternoon. I'm not sure I can stay dressed up that long. Heh.

Tomorrow may be my last run before the race on Saturday. I'm supposed to do another three-miler on Thursday, but that's when I'm leaving for Nashville. If I do it, it'll have to be very early in the morning. Mr. Shrinking Knitter's son – who has run four marathons and a couple of halfs – says I'll be fine skipping that last training run.

The fourforecast for Saturday looks good. I haven't been able to get the hour-by-hour yet, but the day looks like this:

The race begins at 7 a.m. and around here the temperature is very comfortable for running then. That "10%" is the chance of precipitation. Whew! I won't have to stash dry shoes and socks somewhere along the route!

Sorry for another blah post ... life should settle back down for at least one day this week. Tomorrow.

Monday, April 23, 2007


I got an e-mail from the folks at Elite Racing the other day, reminding me that the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon is just five weeks following the Country Music Half-Marathon. In, um, San Diego, which is a long, long way from the Middle of Nowhere. Those sweet folks told me that I was already in great shape, and promised that a five-week training schedule would be included in our goodie bags in Nashville. From the website:

Snort! Jumping from a half to a full marathon in five weeks? Not in my lifetime. Heh. But Josie is training for it, and I love her attitude. She says, "I'm really looking forward to just enjoying the runs rather than stressing out about how long/hilly/warm they'll be now that my whole attitude toward the marathon has changed (don't stress … just have fun)."

I need some of that attitude. Much of my stress has to do with what's been going on here this week, but I'm also worried about hurting myself on these last few runs. My right leg, which I felt I had strained on Saturday, is fine but now the outside of my left knee hurts. I hope it's just all in my head. I've been trading painful knees off and on the last couple months, but they usually quit hurting after a day or two.

This week I was supposed to rest yesterday and today – the first two consecutive scheduled rest days since late January – but the funeral is tomorrow, so I'll do tomorrow's short run today.

I'm leaving for Nashville Thursday morning, as planned. Because of the way things have gone this week, Mr. Shrinking Knitter won't be able to come with me. Disappointing, but it can't be helped.

Thank you all for your kind comments and e-mails. I really appreciate all of you.

Five days until race day.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Well, unlike Mary Christine, my run yesterday was not-so-great at all. I started out well, highly motivated and energetic, but quit two-thirds into the 12 miles. By the seventh mile my right leg was sore behind my knee – is that a hamstring? – and I felt slow and heavy and labored. My car was parked at the eighth mile and even though I tried to talk myself into passing it, I just couldn't. Eight miles in 100 minutes – I've done that before, and had hoped I'd do better.

Now I really do feel like a slacker.

Six things I saw on my run yesterday:
  1. A beaver swimming down the river
  2. A great blue heron, lifting from the water's surface through the fog
  3. Fog
  4. The sunrise
  5. My breath
  6. The first lilacs of the season
Because most of our days and evenings have been spent at the hospital this week, I needed to start early. I was on the road well before 7 a.m. – I usually start running at about 10. It was cold and foggy and eery and lonely, matching the mood around the Middle of Nowhere perfectly.

Our friend died peacefully yesterday afternoon. He'd been in a deep coma since at least Friday morning, and yet still didn't want to miss anything. One of his daughters likes to say he "didn't travel," and he didn't. We're so sad here.

Six days until race day.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Your enthusiastic and supportive comments have put me in seventh heaven this week. I sincerely thank you, and I only wish you could all be in Nashville when I stumble across the finish line next Saturday.

Next Saturday! Gulp!

The extent of my physical activity yesterday was vacuuming and damp-mopping the floors. Oh, and 60 pliés. [I'm so glad that gives you a chuckle, PQ. And now we want a progress report!]

I spent most of the afternoon and part of the evening at the hospital [about seven hours, total]. Our friend remains critically ill; we didn't expect him to live through the night, but he's just not ready to go yet.

My long run today is the last one before the race. I think most training schedules begin the taper two weeks before race day, but I've followed this plan since mid-January and am more than pleased with my progress. In fact, I'm stunned that I've been able to accomplish what I have so far. So I'm sticking with it and will be running 12 miles today.

I'm going to park halfway along the four-mile-long road I've been using for long runs and double back on one end, rather than extending it up the road I went on last weekend. You know, the one with the, ahem, 'gentle' hills? I want flat, familiar territory this morning. Also? I can put a couple water bottles out by my car and grab them as I go past, rather than lug them with me. Today is a shorts-and-t-shirt day, and my shorts pocket is only large enough for a key and a stopwatch.

I've been running without music for a couple of weeks now and am surprised every time at how much I enjoy it. I never thought I'd be able to run faster without it than with it, but there you go.

It's been hard for me to write this week, with everything else going on. I appreciate it so much that you're still reading, despite the utter boredom of my drivel. I know it sounds like a junior-high diary: Went to school, ate lunch, walked home with my friends and then talked on the phone all night. Homework sucks. I wonder if you-know-who likes me?

Anyway, I'll get back in the swing of things once life settles down again.

One week until race day!

Friday, April 20, 2007


I can already see I'm going to have trouble keeping up with this countdown theme I've got going on here. Reporting a nine-mile run Wednesday on the "Nine" day was rather serendipitous.

Yesterday I did an abbreviated tempo run. It wasn't on the schedule – I was supposed to run three easy miles – but I was so fired up about running a mile in less than 10 minutes that I wondered if I could set another personal record.

I drove down to the two-mile flat road [a four-mile loop], walked half a mile to warm up and took off. I punched the stopwatch when I started and then put it in my pocket until I finished three miles. I'd hoped to do it in 33 minutes, something I'd never done before. Instead, it read:
Get outta here! I was pumped all day. In case you're interested, here's the pace:

[I'm so grateful for those webmasters who put these running calculators on their websites. I'm also proud to say that before I thought to look for one, I was doing just fine with the calculator widget on my computer.]

I don't run today. I understand the need for a rest day before a long run, but I really feel like running today. It'll be hard to not go. Weight training just doesn't give me the same sense of satisfaction that running does, although I know it's necessary. A side note: I've been doing 30 pliés each time I brush my teeth, instead of 15 twice or 30 once. It just doesn't seem right to brush without throwing in those deep knee bends. That was a quick habit to form.

Can't think of a segue from pump-you-up running to calm-you-down knitting. So here's the knitting report.

As you can imagine, I've had quite a bit of sitting-around time at the hospital lately. Being a
[mostly] one-project-at-a-time kinda gal, I've made great progress on the Sailing Pullover I started on Oscar night. All that's left to do is to pick up stitches around the lower edge and do an inch [maybe an inch and a half] of garter stitch. I tried it on this morning and it fits beautifully – not too loose, not too tight, and the sleeves are the perfect length. I'm anxious to begin knitting for our expected granddaughter, who will be making her appearance in about three months. Tempus is fugiting!

And it's fugiting right along toward race day, as well. Any ideas for the number seven?

Eight days until race day.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I'm such a slacker.

A 10-mile speed drill goes something like this:
Mile 1: Warm-up walk
Miles 2 through 9: Alternate fast miles with walk/jog recovery half-miles
Mile 10: Cool-down walk

So the way it works out is that the last 1.5 is a recovery half followed by the cool-down. I figured I already knew how to walk, so I quit at nine. Besides, my car was right there and I had a hard time walking past it to get that last mile in.

I did the first two fast miles at 9:52 and 9:48. I was stunned! Who knew I could run that fast? [Quit snickering, WS!] Each subsequent mile was a little bit slower, and the last one was 11:26. I probably should have grabbed a gel pack to suck down halfway through, but I forgot, or didn't think I'd need it, or thought I was Superwoman or something like that.

In addition to being a slacker, I'm also delusional.

Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I will be at the hospital again today; there's little change in our friend's condition. His daughters seem to really appreciate our company and support, and there's no place we'd rather be.

I've had a couple of e-mails hoping Mr. SK will be taking photos at the race. I can guarantee you that he will not. His photography skills aren't good at all, and he'll be the first to admit. My daughter, however, is a pro; she'll be there with lenses and hoods and whatever else she needs to get the job done. And she also knows how to use Photoshop. Maybe I can get her to carve off 10 pounds or so before we post the finish-line shot. Heh.

Nine days until race day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Commence countdown

Today is the last day of counting double digits before the half-marathon. Life, of course, is getting kinda complicated. I suppose it's a test; I hope I pass.

Mr. Shrinking Knitter's oldest friend in the world is dying. He's lived a long and fulfilling life, and is fighting valiantly to stay with us. His daughters and his friends [known to one and all as "the poker boys"] have all given him 'permission' to let go, but he's stubborn and doesn't want to miss anything. It's unbelievably difficult to watch him struggle for each and every breath he takes.

The Virginia Tech massacre is weighing heavily on me, and not just because I live so close and know so many people who are connected to the university. I've heard from friends all over the country, offering support and prayers. This has touched us all. I'm irritated with those who proclaim, "Let the healing begin." Let us grieve. Please. Time is the great healer, and there's plenty of that [she said blithely, knowing full well that anything can happen at any time].

I did some stress-eating yesterday. If you run in the morning, you're supposed to eat carbs the night before, so I could just say I was following orders. But I know better, and you do, too.

I ran four miles on hills yesterday in slightly less than 51 minutes – that's my best time for that route. I ran halfway up almost all the hills, all the way up two of them and ran gently down all of them. Also ran all the flat spots. My knees feel fine; usually they're a little ouchy after hills. Must be all those pliés!

So. This is kind of a subdued [I always want to write "Sub Dude"] post. Not whiny, though, this being a No-Whine Zone. I'm just not feeling too chipper this morning.

Today's run is a 10-mile speed drill. How appropriate, with …

Ten days until race day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I live an hour away from Blacksburg, VA, home of Virginia Tech University. When I belonged to a knitting guild, I drove to Blacksburg twice a month for meetings and fellowship with other knitters. Our group met directly across the road from the campus.

Blacksburg is so small, though, that just about everything is across the road from the campus.

Small and friendly and quiet [except on football Saturdays!], and except for their excellent sports teams I'm sure the rest of the country didn't think much about that school or city at all. Until yesterday.

I didn't hear about the tragedy until after the Boston Marathon elite runners finished. Mr. Shrinking Knitter flipped over to the news and there it was, in your face, every channel. He had to leave about 4 p.m. At 4:45, the howling winds we'd had all day howled just long enough to knock out our power. For the next 12 hours. And this time, for some reason, the phones went out as well.

Today the talking heads have moved beyond reporting the facts of the matter, and are speculating about the shooter's motive and how it could have been prevented. How could anyone predict a horror like this?

The combination of our very ill friend, the cuh-razy weather [West Virginia has been declared an emergency – the entire state!], the news from Blacksburg and the loss of power tested my ability to stay calm and centered. I give myself a C.

We went out early yesterday morning to see how high the river was. We drove down the road where I do my long runs, as far as we could go. The picture on the left is the sixth green of the little nine-hole golf course near the beginning of the road. Three greens were completely under water.

We kept driving, maybe another mile and a half, and had to stop. That's probably a foot and a half of water across the road; the truck in the photo was stalled. In the second picture the driver has the hood open. I did a seven-point turn [hey – it's a one-lane road!] and we went back home.

The road to Alderson was closed, so I didn't make it to the prison last night for drawing class. With the power out, I probably wouldn't have gone anyway.

Technology is great, and I'm quite the electronic gadget collector. But when you're left with a rapidly discharging cell phone and a 5" black-and-white television with 10 dying size-C batteries, you learn quickly that technology is a two-edged sword. The good side, of course, is instant communication and entertainment at your fingertips. The bad side is that the good side needs Mother Nature's cooperation for everything to work right.

Right now, even with the power on, it seems like the world just isn't working right.

Eleven days until race day.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pliés, please

Our friend Lori is having trouble following her physical therapist's suggestion to do 30 deep knee bends each day. Understandably, she's afraid of reinjuring her knee, and, face it: It's hard to hang out by yourself doing exercises. That's why gym classes were invented, isn't it? Heh.

So here's the deal. You brush your teeth twice a day, right? While you're working that minty fresh magic, point your toes out, keep your back straight and lower your butt toward the floor 15 times. It's a solidarity thang. Too bad we can't take pledges and collect money for starving ballerinas.

Seriously … let Lori know you're supporting her efforts to get back to normal mobility. It'll make her smile. She could use a smile.

To answer WS's question about tapering: This week is still at 31 miles – three three-mile runs, a 10-mile speed drill and a 12-mile long run. Next week it drops to 11 miles plus the race: two threes and a five. The road I use for the easy runs is two miles out and back for a four-mile total, and I'm perverse [or maybe OCD?] enough that I just can't stop until I get to the end of the road. So this week I'll be logging 34 miles.

Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I were at the hospital yesterday afternoon visiting a friend. The friend's daughters were there, and upon learning I'd run more than 30 miiles last week one said, "Wow! You can probably eat anything you want!"

SNORT! Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I kind of looked sideways at each other and I just said, "Oh, don't I wish." And then I dropped it. You'd have been so proud.

[We went back last night and our friend was doing much better! He's like a cat with nine lives; I think this is about his seventh.]

As I mentioned yesterday morning, it was pouring down rain. About 11 a.m. it kind of let up a bit so I grabbed my old shoes and headed out for the easy-run road. Sunday has always been a rest day, but I hadn't run on Saturday and I was really antsy. A short run seemed like a great idea. And it was! I didn't take the Shuffle or the stopwatch [although I did glance at the clock in the car at the beginning and end – 50 minutes], and I really had fun. The south side of the road is bordered by a cliff, with lots of baby waterfalls – freshets [a good Scrabble word, by the way] – springing out of the rocks. The Greenbrier river runs along the north side. Usually a clear-green, gentle, meandering creek, it's now swollen and muddy and lapping at some people's porches.

Shortly after lunch the winds picked up and the temperature dropped, and it's no better this morning. I'd like to think my inner coach was the one who said running yesterday was a good idea. If I do anything today it'll be on the treadmill. Maybe I'll try to match PQ's personal best speed for a mile.

And then I'll call 9-1-1.

[And speaking of PQ, her blog has been nominated for a Blogger's Choice award. Vote early and often! Heh.]

Twelve days until race day.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Was it something I said?

Wow, what a lot of comments you left yesterday! Thanks very much for taking the time to – ahem – weigh in. Heh.

WS, your experience and advice is so very reassuring. I feel like I have a real coach, albeit a long-distance one, and I appreciate your taking the time to answer my novice questions.

Mr. Shrinking Knitter's son finished the Columbus Half in less than two hours, with no training to speak of. Then he worked the rest of the day. When he came to our wedding celebration in September, he ran 15 miles in the morning, then toted supplies, moved furniture, mingled with guests and stayed out pretty late in the evening, without falling asleep in his dinner [my grandchildren both did!]. His ears surely were burning the next day, when Mr. SK's cousin and I couldn't help but be amazed at his stamina and energy. We both agreed that 15 miles of running would have sent us straight to bed, if it hadn't killed us first!

Proving, of course, the old saying: That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Jen, that's so cool that you've also run the Columbus race. Thanks, too, for the advice to get blister-proof socks. I just found out there's a running store about an hour away from me. I might not make it there before the race, but I will pick up a pair sometime to try them out. Right now I like the shoe-sock combination I've been training in, and from everything I've read it's not a good idea to change anything on race day.

Race day. Yikes! Less than two weeks now. Can you hear my heart thumping?

Andrea suggested that maybe the rain is contributing to my aches and pains. Not so much; they're gone the morning after a long run. And a week later, so are the memories of the aches and pains. Kinda like childbirth. Heh. [Although, to be honest, I had two C-sections, so, truly, I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies. Unless a surgeon is present.]

Welcome, AZ Hiker Chick! And I wish your passion for yoga was contagious. I do love yoga when I'm doing it. It's so easy for me to put it off until later, and then not do it at all, day after day. LME is another yoga proponent; I keep hoping that the inspirational fairy godmother will hit me with her wand if I keep reading about it. Although I don't think it works that way.

It's still raining here. It rained off and on all day yesterday, all night, and presently it's pouring. Those nearby rivers I love running along are going to flood if it doesn't stop soon. I've lived here almost 10 years and we haven't had a major flood in all that time, but shortly before I came here the town of Alderson was devastated.

On days like this, I can't help but think about the inmates at Alderson. Most of them don't work on Sunday. They live in big dormlike buildings, two women each sharing 500 tiny cubicles. The TV rooms also are filled with cots because the dorms are so overcrowded.

They walk endless outdoor laps around the compound when they're not working or taking a class. Today, though? No walking laps,
no softball, no volleyball, no place for private thoughts or peace. No matter how you feel about prisoners, we all need that.

No running for me today, either, unless the rain lets up later on. I'd like to get out for a three- or four-miler, but I doubt if it happens.

Thirteen days until race day.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Good call. I think.

In one way, it was an excellent decision to do the 11-mile run yesterday, since it's been raining steadily for a couple hours now, and should continue to do so for the next, oh, 48 or so. And then it's supposed to snow.
[Disclaimer: I did not take that photo. Google Images is my friend.}

But I'm not sure it was such a great idea to run eight miles Wednesday, four Thursday and then go long again yesterday. I'm hurtin' for certain this morning!

I woke up at about 1:45 a.m. with muscle aches, even though I'd dosed myself with an Aleve at 10:30 p.m. I had to get up and come read blogs, answer e-mails and play Solitaire to distract myself until I could sleep again.

The thing is, I had so much fun while I was running. The weather was perfect – around 50 degrees and sunny, with just a light breeze. I felt great, even going up those hills, which weren't so gentle after all. I had to walk two of them, which slowed me down slightly, and I had to stop to tie and retie my right shoe four times [too tight, too loose, etc.], but I ended up doing 11.2 miles in 2:20:25 – a 12:32 pace. I was supposed to do a 13:45 pace, but I think that would almost be walking now.

At any rate, it's done; I logged 31.2 miles this week. Not bad for a middle-aged fat lady, eh?

Amy, are we having our first spat? Spring is the only season in which I haven't tied the knot! Heh.

Wonder if or how the predicted nor'easter will affect this? Here are recommendations from the BAA. I'll be watching … since it looks like Monday will be a snow day here in the Middle of Nowhere.

I also wonder how the rain in Ohio today will affect the Columbus Half-Marathon … Mr. Shrinking Knitter's son [who is my running inspiration] will be running it.

Two weeks until race day.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Quote Day

there aren't enough sit-ups
in the world
to take you back in time.
so i'm working
on embracing the present,
including my present body.

~ amy
Doesn't that just sum it all up? Amy is one of my regular blog reads, and probably one of yours, as well. If she isn't, you really ought to add her to your Google Reader feeds [click on her name to jump to her blog].

For as long as I can remember [well, maybe not quite that long, but since I was in my late teens] I've heard and read that accepting what we have, where and who we are, how life is – acceptance is the answer. When I got sober I heard it again and again, at nearly every meeting, along with this strange concept of living 'just for today,' with no regrets for what has been.

I know I have to plan the plans, but not the results, and apparently I haven't been living by that precept particularly well or this staying the same weight, week in and week out, wouldn't be so frustrating.

There's always something else to work on. Will we ever be finished?

If you have the Quote of the Day on your Google homepage, here's what you saw yesterday:
Ellen. She cracks me up. A good comedian will take what is, twist it a bit and make us laugh at the truth, instead of whine or moan or bitch about it. Can you study that? If so, sign me up. But I think it takes a special way of looking at the world to be good at it.

Responding to Denise's comment from yesterday's post, here's a pattern for you to knit your own! Missing any other body parts? Let me know ... I can probably find a pattern for it. Heh.

ws left an answer to a recent question: Yes, they will run the half-marathon if it rains. I assumed they would. I remember when Oprah did the Marine Marathon in the rain, and how she fussed about her hair. Good idea to have someone along the way with dry socks and shoes if it's precipitating. Thanks, ws, for that suggestion and for being in my corner, so to speak.

I appreciate all your comments and support. I'm getting very antsy. I told Mr. Shrinking Knitter I'm having trouble sitting still and I can't quite focus on whatever is at hand. It's difficult to sit through the news – well, it's almost always difficult to sit through the news, but for different reasons – but it's also difficult to sit through a baseball game, something I used to have no problem doing.

I did find a movie last night that held my attention [and I made lots of progress on the pink garter-stitch pullover!]. I wouldn't have given Without Limits a second glance had I not started running.

Since I'm way off schedule this week anyway, today is not only not a rest day, it's not even going to be yesterday's scheduled three-mile run. The way the weather is looking this weekend here in the Middle of Nowhere, today is the optimal day to do Saturday's long run. Rain is coming in for the weekend, and even some snow – maybe a lot of it! – is predicted for Sunday.

And so even though I've planned the plan, the result is I'll be running 11 miles today instead of tomorrow. Which means two weeks in a row of a nice, long, restful weekend.

I rather like that result!

One more, before I go:

So it goes.
~ Kurt Vonnegut

Fifteen days until race day.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Movin' kind of slow

I feel like I'm walking through molasses in clogs this morning. Last night's sleep started at 10 or so, stopped at 12:30 a.m. when the power went out briefly and resumed an hour later. I woke up at 7:07 this morning – pretty late for me.

It's good to know I'm not alone in thinking that fat calculator is full of hooey. The Hussman Fitness link over there in the sidebar has a pretty accurate BMR calculator – I think M@rla recommended it to me quite a long time ago, and while even it suggests I should eat 1350-1450 calories per day [too many for me], it's more realistic than any other I've found.

I used MapMyRun the other day to find a safer 11-mile run for Saturday – safer than the one where I would have to deal with coal and logging trucks and 18-wheelers. The total distance is in the ballpark: 11.45 miles, giving me a bit of warm-up and cool-down distance. After I did the eight-mile tempo run yesterday [10 seconds slower than I was supposed to – darn!], I drove the long route. The last seven miles are gentle hills, only about 100 feet from the lowest point to the highest. They also are seven miles I've never run before, so it'll be new scenery, which will be a very good thing.

It's not that I'm bored with my usual routes, it's more of the "familiarity breeds contempt," or at least comfort. The four-mile flat run is truly easy at this point. I just can't imagine I'm actually writing that, thinking it and believing it.

Yesterday was cool and rainy; I left the iPod in the car and I really liked running without music, although I'm sure that contributed to my slower time. It helps to have something peppy going on in my head to keep pace with. But it was also nice to listen to the birdsong and the river and even the rain.

If you walk or run for fitness, you probably have two or three pairs of training shoes cluttering up your bedroom or closet. I accidentally wore an old pair yesterday, which might also have slowed me down a bit. I could really feel where the rubber meets the road! I thought I might have to go get a new pair of shoes today, to have time to break them in before the race, so was very glad to see my "good" shoes parked by the chair where they usually are when I finally got home.

I haven't learned yet that I will get warm, no matter how chilly it is when I start out. I wore a long-sleeved t-shirt under my favorite cotton hoodie and soaked through both of them by the time I hit the halfway mark. That made the second four miles more than slightly uncomfortable, and I ripped off the hoodie at the seven-mile point. I just couldn't take it any more!

If you've been here for a while, you'll notice I haven't been talking about food or knitting lately. I'm still sort of following the YOAD plan, although I've added some sugar back to my diet in the last couple weeks. I need the quick shot of energy from hard candy or a gel pack on the long runs, and I have to admit that since I'm eating it during a run, it's also pretty easy to justify having a cookie here or a sweet treat there. It's one more thing to get back to doing right, after the half-marathon, and it certainly contributes to my weight staying the same. Average daily calories are in the 1400 to 1500 range right now; I eat when I'm hungry and I probably need more, since the long runs are slowing down when I should be getting faster.

Knitting? I made and felted a larger bowl, which ended up being more like a shallow tray, and also made two of the smaller bowls in a dark red to go with my dark red living room furniture. I'm still slogging away on the all-garter-stitch, all-the-time pullover. I bought a couple of patterns for some felted animals [I ordered them from Woobee KnitShop, and can highly recommend their excellent service!] which will be for my new expected granddaughter, whose room is going to be decorated in a zoo theme. Those are next in line, after the pullover is finished.

I think that covers it. Four easy miles today ... and I really mean that!

Sixteen days until race day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

This just in!

In mid March, Kenyan Samuel Wanjiru again ran a World record (pending the usual ratification procedures), clocking 58:35 in the Fortis City-Pier-City Half Marathon in the Netherlands.
That's a 4:28-mile pace. Makes my lungs hurt just thinking about it.

The fat of the matter

If WS says finish-line momentum exists, then I believe it. Thanks for your comment and encouragement.

I'm assuming, because y'all are such good little weight-loss bloggers, that you at least get the weekly e-mail about Sally Squires' "Lean Plate Club" in the Washington Post, whether you read the column or not. Yesterday's piece linked to a new calculator at the American Heart Association website designed to tell you how many calories you should be eating and how many of them should come from fat.

I think we've all learned that fat is not the Big Bad Wolf of Dieting. Rather, we need some fat in our diets for vitamin absorption, satiety and energy, to help keep our skin supple and for warmth. At least that's why I need it. I lost a good deal of weight 10 years ago on a very low-fat diet. My skin was dry, flaky and itchy, and I was cold and hungry all the time. I had plenty of energy for my job and the gym, but slept a lot when I wasn't working or working out.

This time around I'm not so strict about limiting fat, but I am choosy. I use heart-healthy olive oil wherever possible, and I love the flavor of sesame oil added to sautéed vegetables or rice. I still like butter instead of margarine, but I save it for fresh-from-the-oven bread – a rare occurrence. [Really, there's no substitute.]

So I popped over to the calculator to see how I'm doing. According to John Bingham, the ratio of carbs/fat/protein for race training should be 50/30/20, and I try to follow those guidelines. I recorded my age, gender, height, a goal weight of 135, and chose the "active" activity level. Here are the AHA recommendations:
First, the 2120 calories will never happen, not unless I suddenly develop one of those wasting diseases where I have to drink milkshakes every hour on the hour. [Would that not be the most ironic way to go for someone who's had a weight "issue" since the age of 12?] And second, they actually allow trans fats? I guess 20 calories' worth isn't a whole lot, but why bother, knowing what we know about trans fats?

When I plug in my current weight, the daily caloric level rises to 2390. First, I would gain a lot of weight eating that much. But if I subtracted 750 calories from that total – reducing the weekly total by 5,250 to create enough of a deficit to lose 1.5 pounds per week – the number is 1,640. Not too far off the mark for the average dieter.

Of course by now you know I'm not at all average.

So I'll just muddle along as I have been, taking comfort in two things:
  • I'm not gaining weight.
  • My heart is in great shape.
Seventeen days until race day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Whoomp. There it is.

As I struggled to stay asleep this morning [it just wasn't happening], I had the cuh-razy idea that maybe I'd lost a pound or two this week, and I could call today's post "Whoosh. There it goes."

But, nooooooooooooooo.

If you read M@rla's blog yesterday, you'll note that in the comments some smartass named Debbi said she was two pounds heavier after a very long running session on Sunday, and was then three pounds lighter yesterday morning. She is I am monitoring and recording my progress for informational purposes only. Today's report: Plus two from last week.

As I said in M@rla's comments: "Screw the scales!"

In a comment here yesterday, WS recommended MapMyRun [thanks, WS!] as a way to plan distance runs in advance or figure out how long they were after the fact. Once you've input the data – which, as you might expect, takes a long time on dial-up, but it can be done – you can click on the "Elevation" button and get a graph of the terrain. My Sunday run took me from 2,005 feet at my driveway to more than 2,500 feet near the church camp. [That's more than 40 flights of stairs.] I don't know about you, but I'm impressed. Heh.

The Country Music Half-Marathon website includes an elevation chart, and here it is for your utter boredom!
I don't anticipate any trouble with the hills on that course. It's too bad they can't reverse the route, because there is a slight hill as you approach the finish line. But the general trend is downhill, so that's good. I keep reading about this thing called momentum that carries you through. I just hope it decides to show up at the right time.

This part of the Middle of Nowhere is blessed with a couple nice rivers. Roads that follow rivers are generally not very hilly, including the two where I've been doing most of my training. But neither of those roads is long enough for an 11-mile run, unless I go back and forth multiple times. I just want a nice long straight run, or at least a nice long out-and-back loop.

As I drove along the river last night on my way to the prison I set the odometer to measure the distance from a tiny little bump in the road called Talcott to the edge of Alderson: 11.25 miles. Perfect! Except that it's a fairly well-traveled road with a very narrow berm, so not a particularly safe route. The nice thing about rivers, though, is they have roads on both sides. I'm going to either drive out again today or use MapMyRun to find a good route on the other side.

Today's mission: Four miles. I took a rest day yesterday, so I'm off schedule, but I can make it up Friday. That means running five consecutive days, but a four-mile run seems like a walk in the park now.


Eighteen days until race day.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Close enough

Does one's body ever become accustomed to running without the accompanying aches and pains? That's a rhetorical question. I think.

Easter was lovely. Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I took his mother to church and out to dinner, stopped by the grocery for crudité supplies, stopped to visit a sick friend in the hospital and made it home shortly after CBS began its afternoon telecast of the Masters.

My plan to run in the afternoon, thus forcing myself to eat lightly, worked quite well. I had a teensy slice of lamb, a portion of baked salmon, a scoop of mixed vegetables [broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, etc.] and sampled several salads from the buffet. All of it had settled enough that I could begin the long run shortly after we got home.

If you'll recall, our heroine was going to run an out-and-back loop to the entrance of a church camp located 6.3 miles from her driveway.

The last three miles is virgin territory. I may have driven on it at one time or another, but I've never walked or run there. The first half-mile was pretty flat, giving me lots of hope. I then encountered a slight upward slope, nothing I couldn't handle. And then the terrain just went up and up and up until I encountered a sign indicating that the church camp was one mile to the south. And it was one of the steepest downhill roads I've seen in all the time I've lived here in the Middle of Nowhere.

I quickly calculated that 10.6 miles is pretty close to 11, which is what my long run was supposed to be this week, so I turned around and scampered back down that long stretch. Because I had to walk so much of it, my time was abysmal – two hours and 25 minutes – but it's done! And no one is happier about it than I. [To be fair to our heroine, hills are not usually a part of her training runs. So 2:25 on hills isn't totally abysmal, just slightly.]

[In fact, I had a bit of trouble settling down after I got back home, and Mr. Shrinking Knitter said I was acting kind of 'high.' I'm not sure if it was endorphins or relief that I didn't break a limb completing the exercise!]

I took an Aleve before I started the run, another before bed and still woke up in pain about 1 a.m. I read many blogs in the middle of the night, but was too tired to comment. Apologies! I finally got a few more hours' sleep and then woke up at 7:30 a.m.-ish, not quite rarin' to go, but better than last night.

This week I do three four-mile runs, one eight-mile run and another 11-mile run. I will definitely be out searching for a six-mile stretch of
flat road before next weekend. The next time I see the hill I climbed yesterday will be from a car window. Now I know why West Virginia is called the Mountain State.

Nineteen days until race day.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Funny bunnies

I either saved this from someone's blog last year or someone e-mailed it to me. I can't remember. Hey, I'm old. Cut me some slack. If it was on your blog, speak up and take credit. I think it's hilarious.
Happy Easter! I'm taking Sunday off … see you Monday!

Eleven miles today?

I don't think so.

I knew it was going to be cold today, actually the coldest day of the week. But I also knew I could tough it out for the first mile and I'd be comfortable the rest of the run.

But when I looked outside this morning the roads, cars, driveway, grass, trees and flowers are covered with this fine-textured powdery white substance. I'm not sure if the FBI will be coming to investigate an anthrax scare or not. I am sure that I'm switching today's and tomorrow's running schedules.

Tomorrow being Easter and all, Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I will be taking his mother to church and out to dinner. He'll come home to take a nap, because he always eats too much at Easter dinner. Knowing I'll be running in the afternoon will be an excellent incentive for me to eat moderately and wisely.

There's really nothing that could make me run today. I'll lift weights, though, so I don't feel like a total slug.

Jen commented yesterday: "
Running makes me hungry, and especially hungry for carbs. Are you making allowances for your activity when you plan out your diet?"

So here's what I wrote back to her: "Running doesn't necessarily make me hungry; that is, I don't feel ravenous or have stomach pains or anything like that. But I am eating more, and especially eating more carbs, during this period of intense training. I'm not even trying to juggle the YOAD plan (or any other specific eating plan) at this point. I'm just trying to get to the starting line, and then the finish line!

I'm still keeping track of everything I eat, and I'm still making healthful choices. I think any dietitian looking at my daily food intake would approve. But in order to make it through these longer running days, I have to eat more calories than my particular stubborn body needs in order to lose weight."

It felt really good to come to the conclusion that weight loss isn't the priority right now. I wish I'd known that a month or so ago. I feel less frustrated – really! – just writing it down. So thanks, Jen! Turns out you gave me more to think about than yesterday's quote did.

's feeling terrific today, bad knee and all, with the news that she won't have to have surgery after all. I'm really happy for you, Lori, and I just know physical therapy will be as good a workout as tennis lessons would have been.

Three weeks until race day!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Friday Quote Day

"You can have anything you want
if you will give up the belief
that you can't have it."
~ Robert Anthony
Now there's a promising thought. Is that why I'm so stuck in the weight department? Do I really, really, really believe that I'm destined to stay this weight?

I truly believe I will cross the finish line at the Country Music Half-Marathon. Truly. I may be the last one across, but I'll get there, eventually, and I sure do want it.

I want to lose the rest of this weight, too. I'm doing what I think I need to do to make it happen. I'm trying not to be obsessed about it, to have some balance and to cut myself some slack. Clearly that isn't working.

I think I need to get obsessed about losing weight again. I was so single-minded when I started, all through the winter and spring of 2006. I remember starting to relax over the summer, and then Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I got married and then we had the big party after the wedding and then I got plantar fasciitis and couldn't walk and then I got ... stuck.

When I start writing about those Friday quotes, I never know what I'm going to say. I've given myself a lot to think about this morning.

When I got ready for the four-mile run yesterday it was about 30 degrees and snowing. Just flurries, but still. So I thought I'd just run on the treadmill. After just three-quarters of a mile I was done. Not done running, just done running on the treadmill. I went outside after all and I wasn't cold at all. I'll have to remember the treadmill-warm-up trick if global warming doesn't kick back in here pretty soon.

The drug program graduation yesterday at Alderson was especially poignant. The Assistant Warden sat next to me; this was her first graduation since coming to Alderson. I asked if she'd brought a handkerchief. She hadn't thought she'd need one, but we both surely did before it was over.

There are some great women in this group. They're excited and full of knowledge and enthusiasm; after going through the drug program they're armed with an arsenal of useful tools for dealing with life on life's terms. But they're scared, so scared, to go home and deal with friends who still use drugs and families who get drunk every weekend – or every night! They're afraid they won't be accepted. They're afraid of coming back to prison. And the sad part is, some of them will.

I want to shout with glee that Florida's Governor Charlie Crist has restored voting rights to some convicted felons. Read about it here, if you haven't already. [The coolest thing is – politics alert! – he's a Republican! It gives me great hope when Republicans start doing the right thing.]

It seems to me that if you've committed a crime and been arrested, arraigned, tried, convicted, incarcerated, released, paroled and made restitution – well, at that point you've paid your debt to society. However, our justice system and American way of life dictates that a sentence follows a convicted felon the rest of his or her days. Nowhere is this more evident than in applying for a job. It's SOP for employers to ask: Have you ever been convicted of a felony? If the recently released felon answers truthfully, he or she will almost certainly be passed over for the job. The alternative is to lie and hope you don't get caught. How is that helpful in living a good, clean life upon release?

I could go on and on and on about this, but this isn't the time or place. Maybe I will start a new blog. How's this for a good title: Turn Left at the Middle of Nowhere. Heh.

Twenty-two days until race day.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Well, slap me up the side of the head

You mean I could have been dreaming about fudgsicles, eclairs, birthday cake and cigarettes? Mmmmmmmmmmm! [If you haven't a clue what I'm talking about, read yesterday's post and comments.] Y'all have much better dreams than I do.

I found many recipes for fresh spinach lasagna yesterday – Google is my friend – and chose this one from I need to find some basil today; if I don't, I'll just throw in some pesto and call it good. [Heh ... like you really needed a link to Google, right? I'm just full of linky love this morning.]

So I did my seven miles yesterday in 80 minutes. That's an 11:25 mile pace – much faster than I expected. My knee didn't bother me a bit, and hasn't since. I didn't even need to ice it, but I'll definitely remember the frozen peas trick. I have one of those frozen gel packs. Would that work as well, or is there some magic in peas that I don't know about?

I was pretty tired yesterday afternoon and decided to rest and let the house fall apart for one more day. Just as I hit the couch, what turned out to be a fairly mediocre movie called The Long Run was starting. It takes place in South Africa and is about a surly old running coach who discovers a young African woman with natural running ability. He trains her for a race called the Comrades Marathon. I have no idea if it was based on a true story or not. I'll tell you this, though: I've watched several marathons and none of the African women runners are as short as this one was, nor do they have such juicy booties.

It gives one hope, especially if you're short and have a juicy booty. Heh.

The first Comrades was run in 1921. It starts in Pietermaritzburg and ends in Durban –
a distance of 89 kilometers [that's 56 miles for those of us in the U.S.]. Last year's male winner ran it in 5:35:19; the female winner did it in 6:09:24 – a 6:35 mile pace.

My seven miles in 80 minutes is looking pretty lame.

The Comrades is billed as the Ultimate Human Race, with the tagline "It will define you." Pretty challenging words, there. Hey, Lainey, Mary, Adam – wanna sign up? Registration is still open for this year's event!

Anyway, back to the film: I had, of course, hoped to pick up some nifty tricks on how to increase my speed. She seemed to kind of swing her arms back and forth in front of her; I tend to pump mine along my sides. Her stride, even for a short girl, was much longer than mine. Short of a leg replacement, I don't know what else to do about that. But it was only a movie, and I'm sure they weren't marketing it as a training film.

I'll just keep plugging along, grateful to get back to my car with the key still on my person and my knee still working like it's supposed to. Four easy miles this morning and then I get to go to a drug program graduation at the prison this afternoon. I know I say this about every graduating class, but these women are so inspiring! I wish them all the very best.

Twenty-three days until race day.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I dreamed I made spinach lasagna ...

in my Maidenform bra.

Raise your hand if you're old enough to remember those ads. Heh.

Seriously, last night I dreamt about making spinach lasagna in great detail. Whole-wheat noodles, fresh spinach [can you even make spinach lasagna with fresh spinach? All the recipes I have call for frozen-thawed-drained.], part-skim ricotta, long strips of fresh carrots, etc. The recipe was supposed to fit in a long rectangular casserole dish but I cut everything in half to make it work in an 8x8 square, since I was the only one I was cooking for. [For whom I was cooking. Whatever.] Where was Mr. Shrinking Knitter during this dream? Maybe he was still on his Vegas vacation.


I did four miles at an 11-minute pace Monday and four miles at a 12-minute pace yesterday. Today is one of those tempo runs: one mile warm-up, five miles running at 12:22 and one mile cooldown. Theoretically I can do this.

I'm having some sympathetic knee pain – not nearly as traumatic as Lori's, but yesterday my right knee hurt all day and evening. It was painful to walk, my knee is hot to the touch and it feels like a bruise when I press on it. I've been slathering on the Aspercreme, taking Aleve and wearing my patella strap. It's better this morning, but I'm not so sure it's a good idea to run hard today. It feels much better this morning, although still warm and still a bit of a bruisey feeling. Film at eleven!

Speaking of running, do go read about Lainey's Excellent Half-Marathon Adventure if you haven't already. I'm so proud of her!

Speaking of film – well, not really, since the camera is digital – I tried taking photos of the gorgeous full moon last night. My dogs were beside themselves, wondering why I was sitting on the patio when it was dark outside. They plastered themselves to the patio door and didn't move until I gave up. There's this thing called camera shake, you see. Which is why you're not going to see any of my attempts.

Oh, okay. Here are two. The first one clearly illustrates the concept of camera shake. This was using the "Sports" setting and auto focus:
And this was using manual focus, wedging myself into a chair and not breathing the whole time the camera was working its magic. [I was too lazy to drag the tripod out. So lame!]:
Okay. Off to find a spinach lasagna recipe using fresh spinach, before the bag in my crisper turns to green slime. Like the last one did.

Twenty-four days until race day.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My new favorite bling

Well, not really bling, 'cause it doesn't shine or sparkle. It just rests there on my shirt, causing perfect strangers to stop me to ask, "Do you mind telling me what your button means?"

I have the bumper sticker version and have been closely followed a couple of times, until the driver who's ready to slam into the rear end of my PT Cruiser "gets" it and then passes me with a big smile.

My daughter gave my husband a t-shirt emblazoned with those inscrutable numbers, and we've also added a cap to the collection.

Have you figured out that I'm not talking about fitness or weight loss at all? Although I suppose, the way things have been not progressing around here, I could make that my new target date to be at goal. I'm hoping for sooner, though.

I'm purposefully apolitical here at the Shrinking Knitter, but I've had so very many unexpected positive responses to my new jewelry that I just had to share. To get your own, click on the bling.

Thank heaven for small favors

At least I'm not a loser, like those Ohio State Buckeyes.

Which, of course, means my weight this week stayed the same again! I'm not even going to total up the calories in/calories out this week. I don't even care. I eat the same boring crap every day and run more than ever and who cares what the actual numbers are? Right? Right!

As for the basketball game, at least some of those Gators have to graduate and move on this year, giving everyone else a chance to dance next year. They're just so good at every position. The Buckeyes obviously aren't bad – you don't get to the last round by displaying mediocrity.

You don't get to any goal – the National NCAA Championship, a 4.0 grade average, the job of your dreams or the magic number on the scale – by being average. The common denominator of success is giving it all you've got. And then giving it some more.

It might look to you like I'm doing that, but seriously? After 15 months of plugging away at it – and six months of backsliding – I'm cutting myself some slack somewhere. I just have to figure out where.

As Jonathan mentioned this morning, motivation is something that ebbs and flows, comes and goes. You know it when you've got it, that charged-up feeling inside that nothing's going to stop you. But it leaks out as time goes on, little by little, like air from a three-day-old birthday balloon. You don't even notice it until one day, 15 months later, you wonder why you're not excited about stepping on the scale, fixing the oatmeal, lacing up your running shoes, tackling the challenge for one more day.

What was new and fun and full of promise then is just same-old, same-old now. Jonathan asked, "What does it take to be successful?" I know one thing: Same-old, same-old isn't the right answer.

Finally, are they at it again? This looks like a real website, but then so did the wholesome swimsuit one.

Twenty-five days until race day.

Monday, April 02, 2007

One more thing

I meant to throw this into the earlier post somewhere but forgot to resize it until just now. I'm still playing with the new camera. We rarely have such dramatic sunsets. Or if we do, I'm busy doing something else. Isn't this stunning?

Crunching the numbers

First, today's Daily Candy writes:

P.S. Thanks to all you April Fools who wrote in about Friday's article on WholesomeWear.

Oh, those crazy kids.

Okay. It seems like a lot of you keep track of your accomplishments and progress with spreadsheets. My Mac and I don't have Excel, but we do have an old piece of software called AppleWorks – a suite of programs which includes a spreadsheet. When I bought the Calorie King program I abandoned the two spreadsheets I'd set up last year. Calorie King has a check-in page where you can record your weight, measurements and a journal entry. I've been using the journal entry to keep track of my running miles.

One of my AppleWorks spreadsheets tracked pounds lost, starting January 1, 2006. The other logged miles walked; I started that one May 1 and stopped using both of them October 1. Incidentally, I reached my lowest weight October 1, as well. As of last Tuesday I'm seven pounds heavier than I was six months ago.

Sigh. Moving on!

I downloaded NeoOffice last week, which includes a spreadsheet program. I haven't even launched the program yet, but it's been recommended to Mac users as a nifty office suite, and it's free. I'm all about free! In the meantime, my Mac and I have a little calculator widget that comes in handy when I feel the urge to figure out just how many miles I actually have run lately. I started the half-marathon training January 22, but I started tracking my mileage January 1. So here's how it stacks up, walking and running, for the year:
I'm not surprised that the average minutes per day has stayed the same. I've done very little exercise above and beyond what's recommended on the training schedule. In fact, I skipped four days in March because I was sick, so this month's numbers might have been slightly, but probably not significantly, better had I been able to get those days in.

I'm thrilled that my pace is getting better as time goes by. That's something that feels pretty static to me, but there it is in black and white – I'm
now running one minute per mile faster than I was last month.

I need to increase the number of minutes of intentional activity per day in order to lose weight. I keep remembering those two-hour gym sessions, back when I lost weight 10 years ago. The increase in minutes doesn't need to be – and probably shouldn't be – road work. More weight training would be most beneficial all the way around.

My day yesterday ended up being in the car and at the mall – no intentional exercise at all, but it was a scheduled rest day anyway. I accomplished everything I set out to do and got home in plenty of time for the opening pitch at 8 p.m.

I was sound asleep by 8:30. And then, woke up completely at 3:30 a.m., ready to start the day. So here I am. I need to run four miles today and I think I'll make it an interval session. Obviously I have plenty o' time to play around with the dumbells and barbells and weight bench, oh my!

Still no update from Lainey herself, but it's so cool that Shauna was there to see her cross the finish line! I can't wait to hear all the juicy details.

Obviously my little cheerleading from the Middle of Nowhere will not reach Atlanta. But just in case: Go, Bucks!

Twenty-six days until race day.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Random thoughts or the usual madness – you decide


I did a little scale hop this morning and was shocked – shocked! – to see I've lost 10 pounds since my regular Tuesday morning weigh-in.

April Fool!

You know I'm feeling pretty good about things when I can joke about something as serious as that. Heh.
I'm thinking about Lainey a lot this morning. She hasn't published a post-race update yet, but she's probably already finished her first half-marathon [I'm pretty sure this is the one she did], since it's early afternoon in Edinburgh as I'm writing this.

While Lainey has decided that, as she says, she's so over long-distance running, I'm already trying to decide which race to do next. Running at my age isn't the easiest exercise I could choose to do, but it seems to be the best for me. And believe me: I've tried them all.

Well, not tai chi. But everything else.
Mother Nature was cooperative yesterday in drying up the rain mid-morning, allowing me to run nine miles outside. It went well, although I was a little slower – 105 minutes – than I'd like. I did nine miles in 102 minutes several weeks ago, but haven't been able to match that time/distance combo since. I think I'll just take a nice long walk today, which is a scheduled rest day. Or maybe I'll go shopping. I pretty much have the day to myself and there's no good sports on until tonight. [Mr. Shrinking Knitter is out of town this weekend, and tonight is the first baseball game of the season! Yeah! Opening Day! Or Night, as it were.]

[By the way, have y'all noticed that sports is my reality TV? You know what I'll be doing Monday night, right? Go, Bucks! Beat those Gators!]
Someone visited my blog yesterday by searching for the words "broken metabolism." I'm so glad I'm not the only one.
Thanks for the nice comments you left yesterday about my writing. I seem determined today to prove you wrong. Heh. Next time I decide to go off on a tangent I might tell you about the time I crashed my dad's airplane. Into a Honda.
Okay, off to straighten up the house and figure out how to fill the next 11.5 hours until the first pitch.

Twenty-seven days until race day.