Monday, October 29, 2012

How to Stay Fit When You Are Stranded on Vacation

Rolling with the punches here in Washington D.C. where all the tourist attractions (and the Supreme Court) is shut down in anticipation of a "historical" hurricane that so far is just a lot of wind and rain.

(unfortunately the pictures don't seem to be working, sorry.  Trying to post from my iPad.)

Knowing we would be stuck inside through at least sometime Wednesday, we took the opportunity while the winds were slower than 50 mph to get outside and....run in My Very First Hurricane!

Here's what I learned: How to Get Fit in a Hurricane, presented in the style of every terrible women's health magazine.

1)   Turn off the weather channel and head outside in whatever clothes is left in your suitcase.  Strengthen your hips by dodging all the doormen who ask to get you a taxi in disbelief that you are headed out into the rain.

2)  Puddle jumping = pliometrics! Really engage those muscles and jump to burn off all the beers you drank while watching the Giants win the world series.  You can do some high jumps like Mario by letting the wind boost you.

3)  wind? Perfect.  Use this obstacle to your advantage by either creating a challenging resistance workout, or practicing your Michael Jackson lean like this broken model in the Space and Aeronautics museum.



4) Eating well is hard when all you have access to is non-perishable foods picked up from 7-11 before all stores closed.  Make a meal of some Hostess donuts and Goldfish, which will nourish you with all the preservatives you need to stay fresh while locked inside for three days.

5)  when you get too wet and chilled to run the rest of the way to the hotel, knock on the White House doors and beg Michelle to give you refuge.  Tell her you love her Jason Wu dress so she knows she can trust you, even though it's only kinda true.



6). Take the time to have a private talk with Abraham Lincoln, who has never been so lonely and misses the thousands of people who usually admire him each day.  Tell him Jefferson is still pissed that his memorial isn't as popular, and is scheming a nip-slip so he can get some more publicity.  Try not to slip on the marble steps that have judged you for making disrespectful tabloid jokes about old presidents.



7)  treat yourself to some free acupuncture by allowing the wind to pelt your face with sharp raindrops.  So good for the spirit.

8) when it starts flooding, utilize those arm muscles and start swimming through the 10 inches of rainfall.  Extra power calorie burn!

9). When you really feel miserable and wet and cold, run by the Korean war memorial and realize what a wimp you are.



In all seriousness, I'm just trying to kill some time here with my cabin/hotel fever.  We are stuck on the East Coast with hurricane Sandy, and posting with an iPad is ridiculously hard so this postvwill be short despite my boredom.  We did run about 6 miles this morning in the whipping rain, and seeing the memorials in rain and solitude is something I will never forget.

The pre-hurricane vacation was fantastic, thanks to many of your great NYC and DC suggestions, and a couple amazing (but not pain free) runs.  Can't wait to be home in california with the calm weather and Giants fans.  See you soon!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Concrete Jungle


Hello and goodbye world wide web! I have time to dish out a quick run-down through day 13 of operation: “rest because of mysterious buttcrease/hip issues,” and then I am spontaneously combusting into a vacationer, because we booked some last-minute flights to the east coast to check out the concrete jungle of New York City and Washington, D.C.

I didn’t keep track of my "rest/cross-training" workouts last week so my recap below is based on memory but I think pretty accurate.

Monday: swim for one hour, easy, lots of breaks for goggle issues, ear issues, not-able-to-swim-so-good issues.

Tuesday: swim for one hour, new $15 pair of Speedo goggles are so fantastic.  I do 10 “sprints” of 50m (one round-trip lap) with an equal recovery.  This is really, very hard, because when I try to “sprint” my form deteriorates and I kick so much that I actually think I slow down…and then I start to breath harder and take a breath every stroke, which makes me feel like I am drowning.

Wednesday: my first ever spin class!  I have heard rumors since the beginning of time that spin classes are HARD, so I was shaking in my boots.  Knowing that the class is really as hard as YOU make it for yourself, I chose to try and make each interval HURT.  But still, I left the class thinking….hmph.  I feel nowhere even CLOSE to as drained as I would from a track workout.  Neither swimming nor biking are getting me to that foggy-brain super-hard-workout fatigue that running does.

One evening this week: a class called something like Aqua Challenge, that was described as a mix of cardio and strength training, in the water.  I figured there was a 50/50 chance this was going to be a gentle class for senior ladies, but it turns out the odds were 100%.  Because I was the youngest person by 50 years.  And while the ladies clucked like chickens (gossiping) and kind of floated around, I tried furiously to make the class do something for my muscles.  The whole thing was very bizarre.  One point for me for being adventurous and trying out different classes at this new temporary luxury gym; One point for the gym for tricking me into taking a class that was not even close to what it was described as.

The trend is that these gym classes do not challenge me nearly as much as I can challenge myself on my own, or Jillian Michaels can challenge me in my living room.  The classes are catered to wimps.  Everyone seems to be phoning it in, I hate that! Once again, confirmed that I am a solo-exerciser.
 
Thursday: swim for 1.5 hours, two miles.  The first mile is relaxed free-style (front crawl? I don’t know what you call it) with two quick stops for water at the edge of the pool.  The second mile is alternating “drills” of kicking with a board, swimming with a foam thing between my legs, backstroke, butterfly stroke.  The 1.5 hours got me pretty tired!

I still don’t know how to do a cool turn at the end of a lap—everytime I try, I do a full somersault and then end up facing the wall like whhaaaa?

Friday: swim 1 hour, easy, drills mixed in. 1.3 miles-ish. 

Some other evening this week: a class that is advertised as strength training.  It was pretty weak sauce.  A lot of lunges and lifting a bar, but Jillian Michaels still makes me more sore.

Saturday & Sunday: Camping!

We camped and hiked and tried to make my niece love me (she likes me only slightly more than her tea set, slightly less than the pillows in my tent) in Big Basin State Park.

We were on this awesome steam train, and the Gentleman and I were the only childless people on it.

She held my hand for 2 minutes and then decided to put her hands all over the dirt instead

Big Basin is where the Gentleman and I went on our very first date almost five years ago (unofficial date because it was with a third wheel/other law school friend) right after finishing our first law school finals. 

Five years ago! Still smiling because I hadn't received my first law school grades yet...

After five years, we are much less awkward. ^

Camping was c-c-c-c-cold, and at night I stared at the tent ceiling listening for the Blair Witch and mountain lions (falling acorns sound a lot like pitter-pattering feet) but somehow did sleep a little. 

We hiked about 8-10 miles, ignoring my doctors orders to “avoid activities that mimic running,” since she ignored my orders to FIGURE OUT WHAT THE CURSE is wrong with my body by getting me an MRI.


This is what 49 degrees requires when you are a warm-blooded California girl

It warmed up delightfully

We definitely look five years older, huh....

Now we’re headed to NYC, a vacation we had originally planned for December, but circumstances led to us pushing the vacation up.  We have spent the last few years mostly tackling nature's jungle at National Parks, so this is our attempt to do a “city vacation.”  Already disastrously more expensive – we are staying in a tiny hole for $200+ a night in NYC, and tried to purchase Book of Mormon Broadway tix until learning it would cost over $500 for the two of us, with seats that were described as having a “partially obstructed view.”  Dammmmn, NYC.  High rollers allowed, only.

My anticipation is even higher for Washington, D.C.  I lived in D.C. for a semester in college in 2004 (during the Kerry/Bush election) and haven’t been back since.  I have so much nostalgia for my time there; every weekend I visited a different museum, historical site, or government building, and ate it up like a hungry nerd.  We’re going to try and cram all that into 3 days. 

I will probably try running a few times on vacation (I cannot wait to try a run in Central Park or retrace my 20-year-old steps around the Mall and up the Lincoln Memorial steps) and am so anxious to get back on dry land and run.  Hard.

Unfortunately, I can pretty confidently predict that my buttcrease issue has not healed or improved during my two-week hiatus.  I have a few ways of testing out the situation (one is by swinging my left leg forward; one is by lying on my stomach and raising my left leg up) and I can still feel the tight tug in that buttcrease area. Note: none of the "cross-training" activities caused any pain in the buttcrease, so it did get a break and chance to heal if it wanted.  New self-diagnosis evidence suggests that my buttcrease issue may be ischeogluteal bursitis.

Either way, two weeks lost for nothin’, so consider me pissed off and ready to run while in the East Coast!

Last time I went on vacation to Zion/Bryce Canyon I received some really great tips from you, so if you have any MUST DO’s for NYC or DC, please share! My #1 in NYC is being a live audience member of SNL, but it is highly unlikely to happen, so perhaps a Daily Show or Letterman viewing instead.  My #1 in DC is to watch the Supreme Court, I cannot even describe how excited am I for that!

If I post in the next week, it will be short and sweet, but most likely I’ll be MIA for a while.  I will miss you all!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mortified

I am so embarrassed.

The most embarrassing thing that could possibly happen at work, happened today. 

I cried.  In front of my bosses, my coworkers.  At least half the office saw it, and I can only hope the rest of the office won’t hear about it.

I have enough self love to know that the reason I cried is not my fault….not entirely my fault at least, mostly the fault of a dangerous psychopath, but I still keep replaying the incident and wishing I had ducked into the bathroom to compose myself before walking into work, shaken, and welling up with tears.

This is a story, my friends, of road rage.

It started very, very boring.  Driving to work, listening to recaps of the presidential debate, binders full of women this, act of terror that. 

So many binder jokes to choose from.  I got tired and picked this one.

I turned my blinker on to change lanes because my work exit was approaching, and began to change lanes.  The sports car behind me chose to change lanes at the same time (no blinker, of course), and I guess, having expected or hoped not to find me in front of his car again in that lane, he gave me several long honks, and then proceeded to menacingly tail my car. Inches. I could see his face.  After a minute of tailing me, I gave him the acknowledgement he was seeking and flipped him off.  Not to mention, I was annoyed that he honked at me for rightfully making a lane change.

Once I exited the freeway, it was clear that he was still tailing.  I turned left at a light; he got right behind me.  I turned into my business center; he was still behind me looking pissed as all hell.  I drove into the parking lot for my office building; so did he.

Then, not sure whether he was following me or coincidentally headed to the same building, I decided to hope for the latter and drove toward a parking spot.  He sped in front of me, blocked the parking spot with his car, rolled his window down, and spewed profanities.  Over, and over, and over again.

He yelled at me for a solid minute (I’m not recalling much except for the word “fuck” was used a lot), and I literally did nothing.  I didn’t blink, smile, frown, or open my mouth.  I just watched him yell, anxious for him to move his car so I could park, and hoping he didn’t flash a gun (which, based on his rage and unfortunately his stereotypical punk appearance, I assumed he did have one). The more I didn't respond to him, the angrier he seemed to get.

He finally pulled away and parked in front of the building, and proceeded to walk towards the same building where I work. 

I don’t know why I didn’t stay in the car at that point.  I was wondering what I should do with my car since I was worried he would come back and damage it.  But I guess I was thinking that my coworkers were my safety, and if I got to them they could protect me or tell me what to do.

So I walked inside the building, and he was there, slowly walking up the stairs, waiting for me.  He glared at me with darts and said more angry things. He walked into the glass doors of the business right across from our firm, eyes on me until he touched the doors.

I walked into the glass doors of my work across the way, stunned, and froze in front of our secretary, a woman I consider a dear friend.  I failed to get any comprehensible words out.

“I….just….”

“what!? What’s wrong?”

“I….was….(shaky voice, eyes begin to well, two partners whose office doors are open right behind the reception desk look up to see what is wrong)….harassed in the parking lot.”

I couldn’t talk anymore, because I could feel I was about to start crying, and really REALLY DID NOT want this to be happening in front of these partners. 

“what!? By who?”

“By….” (I point across to the other glass doors.)  “By HIM,”  I say, as he walks out the doors of the other business.

The two partners are standing up now, fully engaged, and all four of us look out the glass doors at the Road Rager.  He sees we are all looking at him, and knows that I've just tattled, so he starts talking at us.

The partners step outside and ask, what is going on.

His response, so innocently, with a newly adopted restrained tone.  “I was just trying to ask her why she flipped me off.”  He talked a little more, became a little more defensive and angry, at which point:

Partner: “hey, hey, nobody flipped you off.”

Me: “um, yes, I did, he was….”

(some unintelligible chatter, everyone is talking at once)

Partner: “hey hey, go on with your day.  Go on with your day.”  And he shooed him away.  

He was just a courier dropping off something at the business next door.

We quickly got back in the office, and everyone is looking at me.  I am so not okay.  Knowing I am about to cry is making me want to cry.  I try and explain a little more about what happened; how he followed me into the parking lot, and threateningly blocked my car to yell at me.  Tears….coming….oh no.  One partner puts his hand on my shoulder, in comfort.  This is so, unrecoverably, awkward.

I go to my office and try to calm down.  I can’t even describe how badly I was hating what just happened, not because I was threatened, but because I was SO EMBARRASSED to be seen this way at work.  Why didn’t I keep driving elsewhere until he wasn’t following me? Why didn’t I go in the bathroom before heading into the office?  Why didn’t I just walk back to my office instead of stopping to tell the secretary what had happened? Why did I flip off a psychopath? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?

The rest of the day only led to more embarrassment as I got teary eyed again when one partner asked me what exactly had happened (I hadn't been able to explain much at all during the tears, and I think they understood to let me be alone to try and get composed). He asked why it was shaking me up so much--was there some history here? No! I explained I had never experienced anything remotely like this before. I explained further, laughing with wet eyes still, that the reason I was so upset was because I was so embarrassed!

The day got better, albeit only slightly, when one of the partners did the absolute perfect thing.  He came to talk to me, joked about how he had assumed he could save the day and tell the Road Rager he was wrong, only to hear me pipe up, “um, I did flip him off…” and then shared his own hilarious stories about road rage. 

Cheered up, still mortified
I can’t wait for this to be 5 years behind me.  So embarrassed.

Anyway.  For fucks sake, I already know this, especially living in Oakland where people literally get killed over road rage (although my work is in a much sweeter family suburb area) but we don’t always practice what we preach: don’t flip another driver off.  I don't think I ever will again for the rest of my life.  Lesson learned, it only takes once to learn this one.

And while I'm giving advice: grow a pair.  I can't explain why I couldn't compose myself.  It bothers me, because I know that no other male over the age of 15 would have cried over this, and its frankly terrible for my profession for a woman to look "weak" or overly emotional in this way.  I question if the partner was onto something when he wondered if there was some underlying issue from my past that made this shake me up so much.  The only other time I can recall crying because someone yelled at me was my dad yelling at me, and that happened a lot (still occasionally does, although there is less yelling and more disapproving silent treatments, which affects me just the same).  I also tend to get teary when I haven't slept much; when I am stressed; and maybe, unbeknownst until know, when I DON'T RUN FOR 8 DAYS.  Hmmmmm?

I'm gonna go for a swim, where nobody can see me cry.  Or pee.  Just kidding.  Holy shit this was an honest post.  Thank you public diary.

Monday, October 15, 2012

No More Trouble Zones

RoseSwimmer here!

Listen to what happened.  You will never believe what happened.

I swam this morning, and I had a really excellent fabulous time!  Honestly.

Day six.  Now that I made it public and fully accepted letting go of the CIM 3-hour goal, my mind relaxed.  I got over it.  I'm almost kind of enjoying that the break from running is forcing me to try all sorts of new activities that I previously "wouldn't have time" for.  Because previously whenever I found a free hour, it was devoted to running.

In the past weeks, I was craving that 3-hour marathon with every piece of me.  The interruptions in my running were destroying me, because I felt like I was hanging on to the possibility of reaching my goal by a thread, a piece of dental floss.  The closer I got to December, the more I couldn't visualize a marathon with a healthy body.  My running ailments were code red annoyances.  Coming to terms with burying my December goal has made it significantly easier not to feel in despair over the ailments or anxious to find a quick fix on the buttcrease.

I was sore this morning from the Jillian Michaels video I did yesterday.  Sore butt, sore abs, sore arms.  All of this made me happy, and made me excited to do more strength training.  I know a Jillian video is small potatoes for many, but I really love this video and it makes me sore in all my favorite places.  It's a little over 50 minutes total, but it always goes by so so fast.


I wish this was actually called "tough bad-ass squats with weights."  Although it is true that my butt causes a lot of trouble.

For those of you who have done this "No More Trouble Zones" video, can we talk about how much I hate this chic?


Green tank girl.  I think her name is Kristen, even though Jillian gets all sweaty and calls her "Krishen" at one point.  She just has this terrible, hideous, rainbow spouting glory smile on her face the entire time.  She's working her ass of and looks like a jack-in-the-box toy.  Is this supposed to make the person at home feel better?  To work out, burning in pain, look up and see some blonde white girl smiling like she just arrived for an interview?  

Kristen, Krishen, little Ms. Jillian's A+ Student, I need you to know that I hate you.

Anyway. Jillian made me sore.

So I swam this morning, and I suited up more appropriately.


Swimsuit, and un-pictured swim cap and goggles, courtesy of my swim-coach father-in-law.

It is actually a water polo suit, which means it is extra snug to prevent psychotic players from pulling on your suit.  It has a zipper from the buttcrack up to the neck.  I feel like I'm getting ready for a ball when I put it on.

I had to empty the goggles of water pretty regularly, and when I really pressed them hard into my skin it felt like it was bruising the bridge of my noise.  I guess I need to try a different pair...

And I can't believe I had no idea....that a swim cap doesn't keep your hair dry.  I came inside after my swim, stripped off the cap, fully expecting to have beautiful Kate Middleton locks cascading down my shoulders.  Instead, a wet ponytail flopped onto my neck like a slug.  Hmm.  I figured I wore the cap wrong, until a friend told me that actually, swim caps don't keep your hair dry.  (Thanks Greg).

The swim: I was out there for 1 hour, swimming time was probably about 53 minutes?  I took short breaks, often (like 2 seconds at a time to fix the goggles).  It was so beautiful and peaceful.  The pool is outdoors, so I swam while watching the sun rise, the fog burn, the steam rising off of the pool.  Just the gentle sound of other swimmers.  Nobody bothered me (sweet).  I had watched a beginners' form video prior to heading out since Christie gave me a smart link to swimsmooth.com, and I think it really helped.  I focused on thrashing my legs less (whoa, that had been slowing me down) and pressing backwards with my hands instead of downwards. 

I was dreadfully thirsty so next time I will be sure to bring some water.  It's sick, really.  I'm totally looking forward to my next swim.  Running? Who? huh? see ya in 8 days.  Out of sight, out of mind....sorry running.

While we're making fun of that stupid sport of running, watch this.  The Gentleman was very proud that he found me a running-related joke on one of our most-visited websites, funnyordie.com, of course.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day Five

It happened on Thursday.

I became worn down.  I've never felt this way before about running.  I am THISCLOSE to being able to run hard and pick it back up and train for a December 2, 2012 marathon.

But mentally the unknown has worn me down.  The unknown of which days I will feel great, which days I won't be able to run at all.  The unknown of how much I am damaging my body by continuing to run month after month on an imperfect left leg.  The unknown of whether I have a femoral neck stress fracture since apparently my readers know more than my doctor and she should have sent me for an MRI, not an X-ray*.

So I give in, I give up.  I'm officially going off running, for a minimum two weeks, starting last Wednesday.  That makes today, Sunday, my fifth day of no running.  Already almost half-way done! Unless, of course, this two weeks turns into four weeks turns into 8 weeks....

I officially killed the Garmin.  Giving it a 2+ week vacation.
*I followed up with my doctor about getting an MRI after my x-ray results came back normal.  She basically said no, because that requires a referral to an ortho, and the ortho will require that I first try PT and rest.  So I'm trying PT and rest. 

Last Sunday was the San Jose RnR half marathon.  My body hurt.  On Monday, I ran in the evening with the Gentleman and felt mostly good.  Tuesday I ran on the treadmill at the gym, 8.46 miles in one hour.  Wednesday I met with my doctor who gave me an x-ray and suggested I take two weeks off.  I convinced her that the two weeks would happen after I ran the CIM.

Then I changed my mind.  The two weeks starts now.

This will be hard, so hard.  Taking time off running is probably a no-brainer when you CAN'T run, but I can.  In three days, I know I will be sitting on the couch thinking, "what the hell I am doing, I can totally run right now if I wanted to."

This will be a mental battle.  It has been only five days and already I've flip-flopped literally once very 15 minutes.  "I'm taking two weeks off, I will feel so great afterwards, it will be worth it."  cue 15 minutes later: "I can totally run a few miles this evening, just test the body out, it will feel fine.  I've been comfortable enough running for a year with this on-and-off issue, no reason to stop now when I have a marathon I really want to run."

Let it goooooo.  Let CIM gooo.  Let it go.  It's gone.  The CIM goal is gone. 

I'm so nervous.

I'm nervous that I will take two weeks off, and the buttcrease issue will still be exactly the same, and all I will have lost is two weeks of fitness and fun and training.  I doubt that time off is the fix.

I'm nervous that I will get used to sleeping in and being lazy and I will never get back into my groove where running is as obvious as brushing my teeth

I'm nervous that my runner's appetite won't adjust, and I will pick my running back up a few pounds heavier and running will feel that much harder
I''m nervous that I will lose my runner's appetite, and lose all the hard-earned body mass I currently rock.

I'm nervous that I will seriously get depressed after day 7.  I don't think I've ever stopped running for more than maybe 6 or 7 days in years....

I'm nervous that instead of continuing to cross-train with strengthening, swimming, yoga, or whatever, that I will virtually do NONE of it because I really have no interest in those activities.  The thought of swimming for more than 10 minutes makes me want to karate chop the water.  Maybe I'll do karate instead.

I'm nervous that I won't make it two weeks without running, because I am very, very, very stubborn and very, very, very eager to run.

I'm nervous that if/when I start running again, it will be three weeks before CIM, and I will want to run it anyway, and getting a Personal Worst will feel very gross. 

I'm nervous that I'm going to resent every blog I read where y'all are running and racing.

I'm nervous this blog will SUCK when all I can talk about is how I stretched for 10 minutes and then rant about other sucky bloggers

What's the most that can happen in two weeks?  I'm not going to forget how to run, right?

I wonder what other activities I can do.  My doctor mentioned swimming.  I wrote her an email asking for follow-up, and she said to avoid activities that mimic running, like "walking, elliptical, and stair climbing."  Walking and the elliptical have never aggravated the buttcrease, so that is kind of hard to swallow.   But fine.  She recommended swim, bike, yoga.  I will do yoga when I'm dead.

But what about the other options? Jillian Micheal's videos? Jump rope?  Rock climb (I hope!!)? Ribbon dancing? Dancing dancing? Dancing in front of the mirror?  Dancing in front of the mirror naked?

Let's talk swimming.

Wednesday, off.  Thursday, off.  Friday, life is starting to really suck without endorphins, so I give swimming a try.  Even though....I don't have a one-piece swim suit.  I don't have a swim cap.  I don't have goggles.  And I don't know how to swim laps.  I mean, I know how to swim, but really don't know form and etiquette etc.

I used a guest pass at a gym near my work that has swimming pools.  Plural, because this place is bigger than a Costco, which makes it 3,000 times bigger than the gym by my apartment.  No exaggeration.

Derrr.  Fucking self-pictures in mirrors.  Always comes off as a dirty politician tweeting a 17 year old his bod.

I swam for thirty minutes, and looked at the clock 30 times.  I can't believe how long 30 minutes of swimming felt.

My eyes were stinging.  My left shoulder hurt near the end (still hurts today).  And the friendly old man in the lane near mine kept stopping me to talk about swimming and form (guess he noticed mine sucks).  When you're at the gym on a bike, treadmill, elliptical, you can talk to the friendly chatters without it breaking into your workout.  In the pool, not so much.  I had to stop and wait for him to stop talking to swim again.  STOP talking to me people.

The Gentleman's dad, who is a high-school water polo coach, is hopefully hooking me up with a swim suit, swim cap, and goggles so the next few trips shouldn't be so brutal.

Saturday I rode the bike at my normal hot-fart gym for one hour.  Much more tolerable, the time went by quicker, and now my whole crotch area feels bruised.

Today I did a Jillian Michaels video, since my arm is too sore to swim, my crotch is too sore to bike, my whole body is banned from running, etc.  I kind of half-assed it because I didn't want my arms to be crazy sore, in the hopes I could swim on Monday.

What activities have helped you get through a running "rest"? 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sassy Pants

If I could sing you a song through the computer, it would go like this: "look at meee, here is a picture of meee, in which I, am, runningggg."  I sound exactly like the lead singer of Offspring when I sing, so you can picture that voice.  The Gentleman describes Offspring's voice as "a dead cat come to life."

That building to my right? Is where I saw Peter Gabriel 5 days prior.  So much San Jose in one week.



Fashion police

Let's talk about the shoes in that photo.  I'm wearing the Nike Air Pegasus 29 in "night blue" aka totally purple.  This was my first real good wear of the shoes, as in, worn on a run that wasn't easy or short.  Verdict: love 'em.  I didn't notice any issues of pain or blisters, they were just plush and comfy and light and along for the ride.  Then again, I may have been too busy hating my butt to notice any shoe problems.  I'll probably wear them for the upcoming marathon!

Let's talk about the shirt.  Cotton y'all.  I'm wearing a cotton shirt! How dare thy!?

After my laundry disaster, a very sweet race director by the name of Leila got in touch with me and sent me some of her race's t-shirts.  She runs Picnic Dash Productions, they do a bunch of races in San Francisco that benefit non-profits.  (She specifically told me I didn't have to write about her generous act, but I wear the shirts she gave me a lot so I shall give her a shout out).

Let's be real, part of why I love cotton shirts is the fabric feels better to wipe my sweat and my snot on.  I was still a little sick on Sunday and I knew I needed a good shirt for blowing my nose on.  Snot rockets are not appropriate when you have people all around you at a race.

The shorts are pretty much my only shorts left that are really tolerable for racing/long runs after the laundry disaster.  I can do with almost any top, but I am picky about my running shorts.  So I've been doing a lot of laundry so I can wear these shorts a lot.  It helps that I haven't done a lot of running lately.

Operation: buttcrease

My primary care doctor squeezed me in today to talk about my butt/hips.  I had actually never met her before, long story that has to do with me never seeing my doctor for anything because until recently my health plan wasn't so good.  I guess that's actually a short story.

She was really lovely and seemed focused on trying to find out what is wrong instead of telling me running is the devil and "I gotta go, bye".  She invited in a "roaming physical therapist" and hooked me up with x-rays, so hopefully I hear about the X results soon.

The physical therapist who came in had atttittuuuuude.  Sir sassy pants, or he just hated me.  He seemed frustrated with me for not knowing the name of all the parts of my body.  See, I took a guess about what a "hip flexor stretch" was and got it wrong, which earned me a scoff from sir sassy.  Dude-ical, memorizing body parts to get a physical therapy degree is your job, not mine.  Orrrr....I guess should know where my hip flexor is.

Anyway, I got the feeling that between the two of them, they were thinking I may have either arthritis (eh?) or tendinopathy (which I understood to be tendinitis that has....gotten worse).

My homework is stretching and strengthening of the hamstrings, stretching the hip flexors, and.....2-4 weeks of rest.  Swimming is okay during rest.

As long as the x-rays don't show something requiring immediate rest, both my doctor and the PT were satisfied with letting me train through early December for a marathon, and then taking that 2-4 weeks off.  Looks like this means December is going to be suck town USA, and I will have to draw daggers all over the dipshitty magazines that say: "how to handle the holiday weight gain!? Exercise for an extra 30 minutes, and then pick the candy cane over the pecan pie to save 3 pounds!"  Not running during the fattiest month of the year should be awkward for my jeans.  At least I won't have to deal with tripping while running in the dark winter hours!

Operation: three great concerts in one month

I know what you're thinking: another concert? Is Rose Runner moonlighting as a concert critic?  Is she secretly a musician?  Is she a tool and a poser who thinks she discovered Pitchfork?

We caught a Grizzly Bear concert at the Fox Theater in Oakland last night.  It's true, I spend all of my disposable income on running and concerts.  And the occasional fancy meal.  If you think you don't know Grizzly Bear, you probably actually do know this song which is either in commercials, or is ripped off by copycat music in commercials.  But this song is the one that you should know about if you want to know about a really neat song.




The performance and music were great even though my ears were ringing afterwards.  I guess the band members didn't hear me when I said "turn it down!" in the general direction of the stage.

I gotta go stretch n' stuff.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

San Jose Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon

Nobody bought my San Jose RnR half marathon bib.  You guysssss-ah!

So I ran the thing, which I deeply wanted to, especially after not running all week.  I was excited about the big field (approximately 12,000 runners) which meant it had the vibe and energy I am used to finding in full marathons (LA marathon, Eugene, CIM).

Reading a running blog which is all about injuries/body issues is NOT INTERESTING, so I'm going to try and limit that aspect to just one or two paragraphs and give you the choice of skipping on by.  Warning: that paragraph is the next one.

The backdrop to Sunday's half marathon was that I had not run a single yard at faster than an 8:45 minute pace in 2.5 weeks.  If anyone knows something I don't, please share, but I'm pretty sure that after 2.5 weeks of running slow, your body doesn't really remember how to go fast.  I had also run about zero miles in the seven days leading up to the race.  Every time I went out the door to try and run, I found myself "limp-running" due to a sharp pain in the front of my right hip.  I don't know who's keeping track, but let me recap one more time: I have a chronic (one-year now!!) left leg buttcrease pain that is easy to run through but becomes vicious while running races/tempos because it causes my leg to lock up.  And for a little over 2 weeks I have had a new pain in the front of my right hip.  I thought it was a femoral neck stress fracture because it didn't feel like it originated in a muscle/tendon, but my chiropractor thought otherwise.  I still don't know.

Before:

Saturday night, I had also sorts of stress issues about how to get into San Jose and find parking before the race in my style (which is to show up at 3.4 minutes before the race starts).  I have never driven to a race the morning of this far away (one hour away) and for stress-relief purposes I prefer to stay in a hotel or friend's home for races an hour+ away.  I solved this issue by not sleeping at all (join the club), getting up at 5:50, leaving the house at 6:07, and parking a few blocks from the start at 6:58.  The race started at 8:00 a.m.  Do you know what this means? I WAS SO BORED.

I have never been even CLOSE to this early to a race.  The nearest runner-up might be a time that I was 12 minutes early to a race.  How early was I!??  I was so early that all the port-a-potties were empty and unused.  So I used all of them.  Just kidding, but I did go to the bathroom twice out of boredom.

Know what else happened because I was so early?? I got hungry.  And thirsty.  And so that is how I started the race.  Right after finding these suckers at like 7:54, who I had been searching for like crazy the entire hour prior.

Me, Dennis, Katie, Jessica.  I was about to striptease my throwaway shirt.
 I had three options:
1) start very safe and slow, check how butt and hip were feeling, then take it from there.
2) Run the entire race conservatively as an easy fun run
3) start out at race pace, and see if I can hang on.

I jogged maybe about a mile in total before the race to warm up and stave off my boredom.  My buttcrease was feeling tight.  My front-hip issue was feeling encouragingly mild.

I chose option number 3.  I guess I still live under the delusion that my current race pace is 6:30, despite the fact that my body hasn't let me train to make that a reality in weeks.  And so, my "race pace" didn't last very long.

Mile 1: 6:36
Mile 2: 6:26
Mile 3: 6:31
Mile 4: 6:39
Mile 5: 6:36
Mile 6: 6:42

It was exactly mile 5.6 when my buttcrease pain began to spread and cause the leg-lock feeling.  I remember looking at my watch and thinking, ugh.  We're not even halfway.  So I told myself to get to the half-way point (6.6 ish) and then I could stop and stretch out my hip so that I could run a little more comfortably, and hopefully keep up a decent pace.

I ended up stopping just after the mile 7 sign, for the quickest stretch I could manage.  I'd guess about 15 seconds.

Mile 7: 6:48
Mile 8: 6:46
Mile 9: 6:55
Mile 10: 6:42

I suffered through the last 6.3 miles. That's all I remember.  Surely there was fun energy with the live music and some beautiful neighborhoods, but it was mostly uncomfortable for me.  My body sux.  I let myself take another stretch break during the beginning of mile 11, probably another 15 seconds, and focused on my stride (thinking maybe shorter strides don't aggravate the buttcrease).

I mentioned that I started the race hungry and thirsty.  I had a Gu in my pocket, but I just could not bring myself to eat it.  Some days, I really cannot-will-not eat while running.  I did my best by grabbing only Gatorade over water when it was available (3x I think?), and slowing down enough to actually get some down my throat instead of in my hair, etc.  I faded a little, but I'm blaming this on my body issues, and not on my fueling.

Mile 11: 6:56
Mile 12: 6:50
Mile 13: 6:38
0.29: 1:49 (6:20 pace)

By my watch: 1:29:01 for 13.29 miles = avg pace 6:42.



Pace liar
Main screen












Officially 1:29:27, 6:50 pace.



I have a confession.  I actually don't think I know what it means to "run the tangents."  When there is a turn, I run near the inside of the curve.  I try to aim towards more of a straight line than a C-shaped curve.  But every single race I have run, I end up about 0.05-0.10 farther than most of my friends (most of them clocked about a 13.24 yesterday, to my 13.29).  Not a big deal of course, but I really wonder what I am doing wrong?

Afterwards:

I met with some friends who had AMAZING races*, sat on the grass, and ate my free Jamba Juice smoothie and Snickers Marathon bar.  And stretched a lot.  My upper hamstring/buttcrease was mad at me.

Naomi, Dennis, Me, Katie, Jessica, Sesa

*Dennis ran a 1:30 after having run THREE marathons the prior weekend.  Read that again.  He ran almost 80 miles in three days, in altitude, took 6 days off, then ran a 1:30 half marathon.  Jessica dropped her PR from 1:35 down to a 1:30, and is about to drop another huge PR in New York for the marathon.  Sesa killed it again with another PR with a 1:51.  Katie ran her butt off in 1:39 despite running a marathon the week prior and hanging out in the port-o-potties for 8 minutes during the race. And my friend Amber (not pictured) ran a PR despite shin pain and the absence of her normal running buddy.

I stalked some strollers hoping to find Janae and her cute babe (ahem, Brooke not Billy), but it was chaos there (18,000 runners and their family members) and, by golly, I hadn't expected to look for her right on my tail with an uber-fast post-pregnancy race debut!

In sum, I have decided that my new training plan is to get pregnant, and run 3 marathons the week before my next half marathon.  Seems to be working for everyone else.

I drove home, and put a water bottle under each of my buttcreases because it hurt too much to sit in the car for a full hour.  Once home, I met up with the Gentleman and we went to a sports bar to watch the 49ers game, where I still could not sit.  Then I passed out (remember, no sleep that night) and despite my strongest urges NOT to share this embarrassment with you, it makes me laugh too hard not to.

It's true.  I often sleep with the pillow on the wrong side of my head.

Reflections:

I had fun.  Rock 'n Roll may be expensive, but the race was fantastic.  Very organized and punctual, thousands of really spectacular volunteers.  The course was crazy-flat and easy; this should be a PR course for anyone, unless you are me and your body slows you down by the month.

I am not happy with a 1:29 in the least.  I know that I can't expect anything better given the dead halt in my running the weeks prior, and the pain that persists when I try to run faster.  But just a few months earlier this year, I was running in the low 1:27s, and I expect only to improve.  Isn't that a huge part of what makes running so addicting? I expected to be running a 1:25 by this point in the year.

Running in and of itself will always be enough to please me, no matter how hard or what speed.  But when it comes to putting down the money to run a race, I don't have the patience to remain stagnant.  1:29 is not only standing still at this point; it is moving backwards.  This is basically the half marathon pace I was running in early 2011 on accident, without working for it.

I suppose I will be meeting with a doctor again this week, finally getting some x-rays/bone scans/MRI/MRA done.  If someone would just TELL ME WHAT TO DO to make my body better, I would do it.  I have spent time and money on three professionals who have all told me to continue running, while voicing optimism that my running issues would be fixed.  1) a Kaiser physical therapist who told me to stretch more, stand more (advice taken).  2) an out of plan PT who told me to do glute strengthening exercises (advice taken, except kettleball classes were rejected due to hating it).  3) a sports chiropractor who gave me confidence that I would be feeling great within 3 sessions of ART.

The saga continues. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Good & Bad

I'm feeling a flat-line of emotions about the fact that the first few weeks of my marathon training went from a steady build to a dead halt during the last two weeks.

11 days ago, on Sunday, I felt the first sign of pain that kept me off my feet.  Since then, only two slow runs, and one long trail run.  Speed work out the window.

The more time I spend away from running, the angrier my body seems to get.  My legs feel heavy.  My buttcrease feels sore.

My mornings are so, so boring without running. (I've been sleeping in a little--6:30-ish--but still have been setting the alarm because I wake up each day hopeful that it will be the day that my hips popped into happiness overnight and I can run without any issues). I would normally jump on the elliptical while taking a running break, but I've taken a few days of total rest.  I spend the morning stretching, foam rolling (especially that upper hamstring/buttcrease area), doing deadlifts, push-ups.  Ugh, my day feels so empty without that invigorating morning run.  This is the first time I have been so bored that I actually thought I understood why people have babies.  I needed company.

But I'm tolerating it like a big girl! I've had a sneaking suspicion for weeks that this was not going to be a smooth build for the Califiornia Int'l Marathon.  It will be a big mess.  I think there is like 8 weeks or less left.  I'll be very happy and lucky if I make it to race day with any sort of confidence and steady training behind me.  The big three-hour goal is slipping...slipping away.  But I assume my body needs the break, so here you go! now heal!

My doctor thankfully was confident that no stress fractures are going on here on my new hip problem.  He dug into the tendons and muscles that were all tangled up on the inside of my right hip bone.  He even managed to bruise whatever muscle runs right over the pubic bone.  So I've got that going for me.

And now, the $100 I dropped on San Jose Rock 'n Roll half marathon is taunting me for this Sunday.  I think I will run it, and if I have to drop out, at least I got to experience the newest trend that is obstacle races.  Rock 'n Roll races have the obstacle of trying to finish without being poisoned by the water.  Amiright?  Las Vegas urban legend?

If anyone wants to buy my bib, you name the price.  If no one buys it, I will run it and probably continue to ruin my body.  That's a threat.  The race is this Sunday, San Jose. 

So that running talk was kind of a mix of good and bad, right?  Good: I'm listening to my body, I'm not feeling too bratty about not getting to run.  Bad: I don't get to run, my body continues to betray me, I feel so much more whole when I can run.  Let's do some more goods and bads?!  (this is really just a cutesy way to categorize some random thoughts that I felt like writing up).

Good: Peter Gabriel concert on Tuesday night.

This is kind of a terrible picture.  Gripping my tix.

Yup, I have connections in HIGH places; row 5,0000.

Sir Gabriel puts on a great show, has a voice that withstands time, and can still kind of dance even though he looks increasingly like a Wizard.  (His Wizard phase was actually the early 2000's).

Still cute

He kept us up 'til 1:00 a.m. on a "school-night" (including the drive home) which was rough, especially since the Gentleman and I both have a mild cold right now.  I can't wait to sleep until 10:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Bad: the blogger who cried Gluten-Free

Memo to all the peeps who go “gluten free” or “dairy free” as a diet trend while claiming to suddenly discover an intolerance:  you’re ruining it for the people who actually have celiac disease or lactose intolerances.  Because I don’t believe any of you.  I believe you may have found some legit benefit from the trend, such as "more energy" or whatever, but I mostly believe that y’all want a beard for your disordered eating.  “I eat whatever I want, but I don't eat gluten or dairy because my stomach is sensitive, I can’t eat meat because I am environmentally aware, and so I the only thing I can eat is sugar-free syrup and egg-whites and zero-calorie yam noodles!”

Go on, you buffoons, and coddle each other with low-calorie internet love and support.  I can’t believe the cheerleading of this unhealthy lifestyle.  “Your recipe for the fiber-one truvia bean brownie looks SO GOOD I can’t wait to try it tonight!”  No, no no no no.  It does not look SO GOOD.  Unless you haven't eaten anything but gum and diet coke for the last 24 hours.

Good: So many of you are racing this weekend and I am so excited for you!

Bad: I wish I was racing too and am jealous of everyone whose body is behaving when you run hard.

Good: All of our 11 Television channels are broken for some unknown reason so we haven't been able to watch the presidential debates.

I consider this a good thing because I believe that not getting too invested in politics is good for your blood pressure.  Call me apathetic, or call me sane.

WHAT could possibly be this funny? 

Bad: facebook....my mom literally posted ("shared") 9 political images right after the debates ended.  I guess this is a step up from the chain emails.

Good:  read this piece about runner Kip Litton if you haven't already.  Gracie pointed me in this direction, and I lost about 30 minutes at work because I could not stop reading it.

Kip.  


Bad: I've been getting so much spam in my blog inbox lately! Luckily, it is screened out by Blogger and never published, but it has really increased lately.  I think it is because I included the word "workout" in a recent post.  So much of the spam and email offers I get is related to diet pills.  So fucking shady.  Who buys diet pills?  Seriously check yourself.  Before you wreck yourself.

Good: this quote that I found, from Hannah (Lena Dunham) on the TV show Girls, which I have never seen, but now know is quotable: "I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time, thinks I'm the best person in the world, and wants to have sex with only me."



Not only is this a splendidly accurate quote for probably most women I know, but if I can get real mushy here for a second, reading it made me smile and feel giddy-happy to think that I got what I want out of "someone."  I'm going to speak on the Gentleman's behalf when I say that he fits the bill for that description (or at least he makes me believe it is true!).  Honey, you can confirm or deny by commenting for the first time ever.  It might get real awkward in here if you deny.

And let's end on that Good note!

Tell me how your butt/hip running issues are doing; whether you want to buy my race bib; and what you look for in a partner.  Did you find what you were looking for?