Sunday, August 28, 2011

Moving sucks

I'll clarify the subject - the physical act of packing, lugging around boxes, unpacking and cleaning your old place sucks but moving into a new place is always exciting.

That's what I've been doing for the past week and why I haven't been blogging. I've also jumped off the low-carb wagon for a week because when you're moving take-out is your best friend. I'll even admit, I ate fast food once. And it was delicious.

Full disclosure though: my guilty conscience had me order a sirloin cheeseburger from Jack in the Box minus the cheese, minus the sauce and I only ate the top bun. They were kind of perplexed, I guess most people don't order a cheeseburger without cheese and oh, the blasphemy - no sauce! The guy at the window was like, "um, do you want any sauce with your sauceless burger?" (asking if I wanted ketchup or mustard packets). He was trying to be funny and I laughed because it did sound a bit silly.

I think maybe there is this line between fast food and food cooked at home. When you cross the line into fast food most people just accept they're going for the gold in calories but when the 900-1100 calories on the menu stared back at me I forgot about this line. Even though I had just ran a race and according to the Garmin had burned about 900 calories the line stood firm. And to be completely honest, fresh tomatoes and sliced onions give a sandwich moisture and simple flavor and I prefer that over a mayonnaise based sauce any day.

This is a lot to write about a burger. I probably should have titled this blog "Ode to a Cheese-less Cheeseburger". Forgive me, my brain is a bit fried from moving so writing three paragraphs about a burger was pretty easy. (Okay, I even erased one.)

I did run the race last Sunday. The one I was whining about up until the start line. What happened was I drove out there to at least get my race packet and shirt because I didn't pay $40 for nothing! It was 89 degrees and bloody hot. I was grumpy. The shirts were abnormally small and the shirt people wouldn't let me exchange it until after the race even though I pleaded as nice as I could. I know the rules but they were kid sizes! They told me I could exchange it for a MENS LARGE and then after the race get a women's Large. (I had a women's medium).
This logic didn't (and still doesn't) make any sense to me.

So I called my dad to whine consult. I think part of me knew I would feel better if he agreed with me that it was risky to run in that heat and less shitty for bailing on this important training run. The ironic thing was somehow his advice made me want to run it even more to prove to myself I could do it. I loaded up on two Jamba Juice smoothie samples, poured another in my water bottle, checked my bag and lined up at the start with the other 14k runners.

I started off slow but at a comfortable 10:30 mile pace that I knew I could hold for awhile in that heat. It felt pretty amazing to be running through the neighborhoods and having so many people awake and cheering us on from their shady yards. I found myself running faster in the sun and then running slower when there was shade because shade was rare and as I kept going those slower runs turned into fast walks. The one thing I've learned is that even though I still walk quite a bit I can walk/run and still hit a sub-12 mile and for that heat I was totally fine with that.

Mile 1 was all in sunny neighborhoods, most of mile 2 was across a hot highway overpass and then finally down a nice long shaded hill. After 2 1/4 miles I decided I was tired and hell, I had just ran 2 more miles than I had really planned on so I gave myself a mental pat on the back and schemed on how to get back and go home. The problem was, I wasn't going to turn around and go back the way we came because then I'd pass a bunch of people behind me and feel lame for quitting so soon. I'd also have to go back up that hill. I didn't know any alternative routes because I was in an unfamiliar town and without google maps I'm lost! It was that moment though that something amazing happened and I don't think I'll ever forget it.

Earlier in the day while I was volunteering for the aid station for Run Girl Run a local sheriff helped direct traffic at the intersection we were at. He was really friendly and mentioned that there was another race tonight and I told him I was running that one and he commended me and told me he would probably see me there as he was working then too. I figured the chances were slim I would see him but at that moment, when I had given up he drove by, slowed down and said "hi! see you at mile 6!" and as cheesy at it sounds I didn't want to give up anymore. I wanted to see him again and even though only him and I would know that I had spent practically all day outside in 90 degree weather it made me feel stronger and kind of awesome that a sheriff was rooting for me.

Aid station at mile 2 1/2 was placed right before the Salmon Creek trail. I could tell the volunteers were kind of tired and they weren't really passing out water/Gatorade or cheering us on but oh well. I had them fill up my bottle with water (warm - yuck) and drank three cups of cold Gatorade which helped a lot. Even though my Jamba juice/water mix was better than straight water, the electrolytes in that Gatorade really perked me up.

Miles 3-6 were on the trail and there were no mile markers so another shout out goes to my Garmin. I think that has been the best running accessory purchase yet. If you don't have one and you're a numbers dork like me, get one! I purchased the 405CX which was about $220 on Amazon but the price is worth it. Since the end of April when I bought it, the Garmin has been my training buddy. I don't even run with an Ipod anymore and I never thought I could run without one but the Garmin keeps me on target. It's nice to just breathe and take in the scenery where ever I'm running and not zone out like a lot of runners try to do. I can hit my zone but I'm always present and I kind of like that better. Plus sweaty earbuds are gross.

When I first hit the Salmon Creek trail I knew my miles were 12 - 13 minute miles and that I was doing a lot more walking than I wanted but just being out there was an accomplishment for me at that point. There was some shade and a slight wind which felt great. I kept up with the person in front of me who was also walking and running and passed someone who was a tad slower.

At mile 6 we hit another aid station and exited the trail. The sheriff also was at a little past mile 6 directing traffic and said "you made it!" which was a nice little boost! I rounded the corner and started up a long hill and saw the first photographer and mustered up enough energy to give a big smile and thumbs up! I wish I could post a few of these pictures but one digital image is close to $20. :(

A 14k is 8.7 miles and when I rounded the final corner and saw the finish line I bolted. I felt a little mean passing 3 people on the way, as these were people that I tailed the entire time but hey, use that energy surge when you have it! My time was SLOW. I think my chip time was 1:50 and that is a 12:45 pace. I have mixed feelings about it but I know it was a good run for me to push through and do even though I walked a lot of it.

When I came in they were calling out the awards and I was a bit sad because that meant no one was cheering me on as I crossed the finish, save one amazing lady who handed me a bottle of ice cold water. Most of the sponsor stations were packing up so I didn't score a protein shake or some other goodies. I did trade out my shirt though and it's a cute yellow shirt. I'll post a pic once I unpack and find it!

As for my running here is my upcoming schedule of races:
Wednesday 8/31: Portland Trail Series #1 (I am wavering back and forth over this. Details in another entry)
Sunday 9/4: Eugene Women's 1/2
Sunday 9/11: Pints to Pasta 10k
Wednesday 9/14: Portland Trail Series #2 (again, this is a maybe)
Sunday 9/18: Muddy Buddy 6 mile (bike and run)

The good news is I'll be super active for the next 3 weeks! The not so good news is the last run I did was the 14k so my 1/2 won't be as stellar as I would have liked. Moving saps your energy.

This week I hope to get a nice run in my new neighborhood. For anyone familiar with Portland I've moved to the Irvington neighborhood and it's a lovely area. It would be great to get two runs in this week (one long, one short) but I'll be happy with one. I'd love to come in under 2:30 and I plan to stick near the 2:20 pacer but I don't think I'm going to get too competitive on times for 1/2's for awhile. I don't have any others planned yet and next year with some more training I think I'll hit a great time. For now I just want to enjoy myself and even coming this far to just sign up for something like this feels pretty awesome.

Once I get back into the swing of things (ie, settled in my new space/out of the old) I plan to minimize the carbs again. But the huge pizza I bought last night from Pizza A Go Go, with ricotta, homemade Italian sausage, pepperonchini's, and tomatoes was the best thing I've had all week. That plus a spinach salad is going to last me well through Tuesday! It's nice to splurge every once in awhile. Hey and while I haven't gotten a run in, all the packing, cleaning and moving in warm weather got me sweating. I'm definitely calling it crosstraining! ;)

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