Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The Evil Eye

Someone gave me the mati.

Exhibit A: I have a mild case of athlete’s foot.

I blame it on that ho-bag woman who invaded my space in the gym showers. If she ever tries that again, I’m going to retaliate by hiking my bottom end over the partition wall and letting my bladder loose on her. However, I still need to figure out the logistics of this procedure because I don’t really feel like getting a hoo-ha full of glass shards in the process. Something to ponder.

Exhibit B: I can’t get no sleep.

Okay, that’s not exactly true. I can sleep, but just not at the time that I want. Ever since I went to the states for the holidays, my internal clock has been off. Weirdly enough this was also the first time I experienced jetlag after the England to US leg of the trip. For the first week I was in NH, I would conk out between 7:30 and 8 pm, wake up a couple hours later, try to pretend I hadn’t fallen asleep while my family mocked me for my narcoleptic tendencies, then give up the ghost and drag my carcass to bed.

Flying back to the UK sucks because I always lose sleep and have to make up for it over the next one to two weeks. It’s now been over three and a half weeks and I’m still about two hours off. This getting old shit really sucks.

I’ve taken some sleep aids at night (even some super powerful Canadian stuff a friend gave me), but all I do is wake up much later than intended and feel really groggy for the rest of the day. Last night I was actually tired pretty early so hit the hay at a respectable hour, but it still took me over two hours to fall asleep which totally screwed up my morning and prevented me from getting in my planned run. Fooooooooooooooock.

So basically, all of this adds up to me being a very tired and cranky person. Well, more so than my usual.

Recently I sent this text message to a friend:

Majorly losing concentration & will to live. Tired of diss. Want to eat burger size of my head & then lb of chocolate. F*ck my life.

The bovine sacrifice is taking place tonight. I can’t wait.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Happy happy joy joy

Carpeviam tagged me for the 'ten things that make me happy' meme. Even though she and LooMoo have taken all the good answers, I’ll give it a go anyway. I’ll just be plagiarizing like mad. But it’s all their fault!

Ten things that make me happy:

1. My family who love and support me and try not to shatter my fragile mental state by not asking when I’ll be done with my degree too often.

2. My friends because they’re nerdy and just plain nuts and make me feel better about being the same.

3. My furball.
Unconditional love is a wonderful thing.

4. My passport which allows me to travel anywhere Americans won’t get shot at on sight. Actually my US passport will soon be joined by another one. Yes, I’m becoming a dual citizen soon. Go ahead and hate me.

5. English cream teas – Freshly baked scones smothered in clotted cream and jam with a nice hot cuppa to wash it all down.
Honestly, what could be better than that?

6. Curling up with a good book.

7. Chocolate and peanut butter.
Together. Forever.

8. Trivia games (Jeopardy, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Trivial Pursuit, etc)

9. Lilacs.
If I could ever find a perfume with the exact same scent I’d be even happier.

10. Running. Duh.

Now I’m supposed to tag ten people. I usually skip this part of the meme but today I’ve decided to go ahead with it, though I’m intentionally choosing some people because I know they won’t do it. Contrary, you say? You betcha.

1. Marathon Mama
2. MCM Mama
3. Razz
4. Viper
5. Mike
6. Jamoosh
7. Lily
8. joyRuN
9. XC-2
10. Ms. V

Later gators.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Springing into action

Everyone and their mothers were out running last night. I’ve never seen so many people running in Nerdtown before. I don’t know if it’s because we had pretty good weather for the last three days or if it’s the New Year’s resolutionists being all gung-ho, but the sidewalks and streets were riddled with running fools.

On one hand, it’s kinda nice. I feel like I’m part of a large group of lunatics who like to inflict pain on themselves, albeit for a good cause. However, on the other hand, I want them all to go away so I can have my running route to myself again. I guess I could just switch back to morning running when there are always fewer people about. But then I’d have to quit my bitching. I’m not sure I like that option.

The road ahead
Over the past couple of days I’ve been putting together my race schedule for the spring. Sadly, all the races seem to be concentrated in May. Eh, I’ll live. Here’s what I’ve got so far
Okay, technically the Bath Beat isn’t a race. It’s supposed to be a day for leisurely walking around the countryside but apparently there are plenty of crazies out there who choose to run it. This will be my first of two 20 mile training runs for Edinburgh. 21 miles over hilly terrain isn’t my ideal (I live in flat country, people), but I’m doing it for the homemade cakes that are going to be at all the refreshment stops. I just hope they’re giving away better fare than spotted dick.

The more astute of you may have noticed I didn’t name the second race. I’m a bit reluctant to do so since the race is months away and I’ll just be getting you excited now for nothing. Ah, f*ck it, I like torturing you guys. I’m running this race on May 2nd. You can thank me in the comments.

And if I have the time, funds and inclination....and if you’re very, very good to me, I’ll even consider running this race in June. But I’m gonna need a lot of incentive, people. You’ve been warned.

Depending on how well Edinburgh goes for me and if I’ve made significant strides towards completing my dissertation, I’d like to run a marathon in the fall. So far my options include the following:
I don’t think I hate myself enough to attempt the hilly atrocity that is Athens. I’m actually leaning towards Robin Hood, Berlin or Loch Ness, but I would get little to no break between training cycles. This is all on the back burner for now though. I don’t have to make a decision until April at the earliest.

Okay, folks, that’s it for me. Happy hump day to you all.

Later gators.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Get away from me

It’s Day One of the month-long triathlon challenge, so this morning I woke up late (f*ck) and headed to the gym for a swim. I need to start waking up earlier, because halfway through my planned thirty minutes the pool was full. I get self-conscious practicing the front crawl when there is more than one other person in the pool because, like I’ve said before, I end up looking like a retarded baby whale missing a flipper. To avoid potential embarrassment, I did the breaststroke instead.

Laps done, I exited the pool and headed for the showers. The shower stall walls are made of slightly opaque glass, although I’m beginning to think the opaque part is the result of soap scum build-up. Anyhoo, I’m rinsing the conditioner out of my hair when I glance over at the wall on the right and notice that my silhouette looks a bit weird. I take a closer look and am further perplexed as I know my boob doesn’t look like that. Then I realize I’m actually seeing a clear outline of the woman in the stall next to mine. My brain screams ‘ABORT, ABORT!!’ so I look away, hurriedly finish my shower routine and get the hell out of there.

What I couldn’t understand is why the woman chose that stall. There are ten stalls, five on each side of the room. When I jumped in my stall there was only one other person using the showers. This woman had eight stalls at her disposal but she chose the one next to mine. Maybe it’s because I’m a little sensitive about my personal space being violated, but I always move at least one stall over if I can. This woman obviously doesn’t have personal space issues. Either that or she was trying to get a look at my chichis. WTF!

On that note, I’d like to wish you all a painless and hopefully violation-free week ahead. I’ll catch up with you all when I can.

Later gators.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Tri-ing it out

Thanks everyone for your comments on the last post. But now it’s time to get back to what this blog is all about...ME, ME, ME!

Over this past week I’ve been easing myself back into my exercise routine. Monday was that mentally painful two-miler on the dreadmill, Tuesday I did the 30 Day Shred DVD I got for Christmas, yesterday I cranked out 5K on the mill and this morning I swam for half an hour.

30 Day Shred is a nice little re-introduction to strength training for me as I was rather sore over the next two days but not totally put out of commission. The plan is to do the DVD two or three times a week until it becomes really easy and then I’ll move on to something else for strength training.

Thanks to the wonderful suggestions from MCM Mama and Carpeviam I was able to survive a longer go on the treadmill yesterday by varying my speed more often and covering the display with my towel so I didn’t obsess about how slow time was ticking by. Sadly there is still a large clock on the wall next to the tv screens so I can’t totally get away from the time obsession, but it is much better now.

Even better news is that the temperature here has risen to just above freezing so the snow is melting, helped even more by the rain we got yesterday and are enduring today. I’ll take the rain if it gets rid of the snow. I should be able to do my runs outside this weekend. Halle-freaking-lujah!

And today’s swim was preparation for an event which begins next week. I’ve decided to join the CONTACT Cape-Atlantic Triathlon which joyRuN talked about last week. It’s a month long event starting January 18th where I have to log a total of 2.4 miles for swimming, 112 miles for cycling and 26 miles for running. The running will be easy and this challenge will keep me motivated to continue with swimming and increase my cycling time for the next four plus weeks. Hell, I may actually get around to biking to Blenheim and back which I’ve been promising to do for ages now. All in all, I think this challenge is a great way to kick off the new year and see me into training for the Edinburgh marathon.

Okay, enough of the fitness yackety yack. As I send you off into a hopefully warm(-ish) and fun weekend, I leave you with this gem from Texts from Last Night. It had me laughing for a good long while.

I’ll catch you all next week.

Later gators.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Dear Running Abby

All right, people, I need your help.

My friend Mortie has a running situation. I’m gonna give you her background, let you know my two cents (which I’ve already told her in person), and then I’d like to see your 25 cents in the comments. Mortie reads this blog and I’ve told her to comment too should she feel the need for a rebuttal. Okay, here goes...

Mortie wants to run the Neolithic marathon on May 2nd. Here is her running background:
  • Except for a brief three month stint of running in 1990 when she was in the Navy, Mortie took up running when I coerced her into joining me for the Race for Life 5K in June 2008. No training really, she just showed up and ran on the day. She came in only a couple of minutes after me too.
  • Running was spotty at best for her for the next year. Then she joined me for the Blenheim 7K in May 2009. Her training consisted of only a handful of runs before race day.
  • After Blenheim, Mortie was running about twice a week for the next three months or so. This was when she ran her longest distance ever of 8K. Then things tapered off.
  • After suffering a whopper of a flu, she joined me in the Santa Run in December, again with no preparation. We ran together the whole two miles, but after we crossed the finish she felt a bit ill (residual effects of the flu) but she was fine after a few minutes and some water.
  • Since then, Mortie hasn’t run at all. Though she may have run this morning, but I’m posting this before I see her today, so I don’t know for sure. [UPDATE: She didn't run this morning. Neither did I for that matter. Stupid snow...]
The Neolithic marathon is 3.5 months away and she is determined to run it.

My two cents? I’ve told Mortie flat out that I don’t think she should do it. I think she’s going to get hurt and cause herself more mental anguish than is necessary in a marathon. On top of the minimal running prep time, Mortie has her real life to deal with. She is married, the mother of four children, the head of multiple projects, and working on her PhD dissertation. How she has time to deal with just her family life and her dissertation is beyond me, let alone everything else.

I’ve asked her if she’d be willing to be part of a relay team or to drop down to the half and she has declined both. She said she told various people last year that she would be running this race and she wants to keep to her word. I think these people would understand if she didn’t run it. But I can understand Mortie’s insistence. I am one of the most prideful individuals on this island and that’s saying something considering this is Britain. However, even with my pride-tinted glasses, I can still see how illogical this situation is.

The marathon has a six-hour time limit and Mortie is confident that she can complete it in that time, even if she has to walk most of it. It should be noted that most of the Neolithic marathon is on trails which have a good chance of being pretty muddy on race day. As for the limited training time, again she’s not bothered. She pointed out to me that Eddie Izzard started his marathon running extravaganza with only five weeks of training. I retaliated by saying he’s an idiot celebrity with the money to call in a team of physicians and the like to fix things when they go tits up. He also took about 10 hours to complete the first of his marathons. But still Mortie insists. You gotta admire her chutzpah.

So, now it’s your turn. You all have years of running experience. Tell my friend your thoughts and, if you think it’s possible, direct her to a running plan she can follow to get her through this in one piece. If you find your comments becoming rather lengthy, feel free to email them to me and I will forward them on to her.

Mortie is all ears, folks, so advise away.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Personal insulation recall

This morning I decided to weigh myself for the first time since before the holidays. I actually weighed myself once while in the states, but I was riding the crimson wave at the time so the number didn’t count. Because I said so, that’s why.

The result? I gained six pounds in three weeks. The number on the scale was one I haven’t seen in nearly two years. Shit on a stick, people, this is not good.

The weight must go before I begin marathon training on February 1st. That gives me three weeks to eat more veggies and less junk and to get my butt moving again.

I tried to make progress today but was stifled by unforeseen circumstances and the madness-inducing treadmill.

I woke late, but still dragged my carcass to the gym, sans Aeolus because the slush-and-snow covered roads are still too treacherous for my wheels. I arrived to find the pool closed for the day (mother f#%$*&!), so I settled on getting 5K in on the dreaded treadmill. I should also point out that I picked today to break in a new pair of shoes and a new pair of insoles (green Superfeet).

Holy god, the treadmill is horrible! It’s just so mind-numbingly boring. My music did nothing to distract me from the mental anguish. How in the hell do you people put up with it?

I made it two miles before I couldn’t take it anymore. I’m consoling myself by saying that it’s good not to push it too far on the first day with new insoles. However, they were feeling great so I know it’s not a valid excuse. Bah!

The roads and sidewalks are still super crappy, so the treadmill is really my only option at the moment. Sheer desperation is going to force me to listen to language learning tracks or possibly an audio book--anything to distract me from the fact that I’m running nowhere....and not even fast.

So, on behalf of myself and anyone else having a really crappy post-holiday day, I say this:


There, now I feel a little better.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Starting the year off with a bang

So, we’re on Day 8 of the new year. Anyone wanna guess how many times I’ve run so far?

If you answered ‘big fat zero’, you’d be correct! Go find yourself a cookie, smartass.

Yeah, New Hampshire in winter was not really conducive for running. Add to that family obligations, shopping trips and my leftover holiday sloth and I could pretty much tell I wasn’t going to run again there.

Last night I boarded my flight and arrived this morning to an England I don’t often see. There’s about 8 inches or so of snow on the ground which, if I understand correctly, has accumulated over the last couple of days. But since this country is not used to getting snow let alone that much of it, chaos has reigned.

There appears to be no provision for sidewalk clearance. Hell, the roads are barely cleared and there is no sand or salt used at all. Right now there’s about a two inch thick layer of ice everywhere with snow, both loose and compacted, on top of it.

Looks like I’ll be hitting the gym this weekend to get in a run or two on the dreadmill. Here’s to hoping anyway.

Right now I’m battling jet lag and trying to stay awake for a couple more hours so I don’t throw off my sleep schedule for the next week. I’m also freezing my ass off. The temps outside are about the same as they were in NH (actually they’re a wee bit warmer), but my house is a freaking igloo. We were having issues with the boiler before we all left for the holidays. Apparently these issues were not resolved by the landlord in our absence. I’ve had to restart the damn boiler twice already. I’m also currently covered by every blanket or pseudo-blanket I own including the Snuggie my aunt gave me for Christmas. (Thanks Aunt P!)

Hope you all have a great and warm weekend. Catch you again next week.

Later gators.

Monday, 4 January 2010

A change in plan

My first year of running was stellar. I ran eight races, including my first marathon, and really felt like I was kicking some ass and making great progress. This past year, my second of running, took that progress and positive attitude and pretty much shit all over it. Go me.

I ran less than 500 miles last year, 200 less than the year before. I never got around to running a second marathon and only ran one half marathon. The sole running bright spots in 2009 were my two PRs in the 5K and 7K.

This is just another instance of a repeating pattern in my life. Let’s call it the perpetual Sophomore Slump. It all comes down to that horrid word, complacency. I work hard and accomplish a lot in the first year/semester/term/etc and then I forget how much work was involved, get complacent and start hurdling down the steep slope to Failville.

Now it’s time to crawl back out of my self-made slackass hole and get serious. Let’s start by looking at my stated goal for last year. It was, and I quote, “Get faster.”

Hello vagueness.

Technically ‘get faster’ is measurable, but I don’t do well with generalities as I’m a bit of a perfectionist and will always expect more of myself. So, here are my three concrete running goals for 2010 which I will very clearly either fail or unfail by year’s end:
  1. sub-30 minute 5K
  2. sub-60 minute 10K
  3. sub-5 hour marathon
All doable goals, but they’re gonna require a lot of focus and consistency on my part.

An attempt on Goal #3 was set to happen in March at the Rome marathon, but that’s out now. My training has sucked during the holiday season and I also have a conference I need to attend that week. Thankfully I hadn’t registered for Rome yet so I’m not out any money.

So, I looked around for an alternative marathon in late spring and decided on Edinburgh on May 23. I spent a semester there as an undergraduate and love the city so it’s a great choice. It also doesn’t hurt that it was rated the fastest marathon in the UK by RW. Sweet!

I’ve already registered so there’s no backing out and no flaking on my runs. Training officially begins on February 1, so I’m spending the rest of this month trying to undo the excesses of the past three weeks and get back on track.

To add to the fun, there’s the Bath Beat on April 10. It’s a day for walking the countryside in and around Bath but you can also run it. They basically give you a map marked with the route and locations of some refreshment stops and you make your own way around. There are four distances to choose from: 12.5, 17, 21 and 26.5 miles. According to my training plan I should be running a 20-miler that weekend, so the 21 mile course is the obvious choice. However a small part of me (the crazy part) is considering the 26.5 mile course which is nuts since it’s a hilly trail run and I’m not a fan of hills. I need to sort this out soon though so I can sign up. Please, someone talk some sense into me.

All right, back to enjoying the rest of my vacation which sadly lasts only a few more days. Hope you all have a great week. Catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.