Monday, 29 March 2010

Ugh

My chaotic weekend included a conference, British daylight savings time, continuing to lose the battle against the Dissertation Chapter That Will Just NOT DIE, a night of 12 straight hours of sleep, a day where I laughed so much that my abs were actually sore the following day, the consumption of three hamburgers and the first of what may be several craptastic Yasso 800 sessions.

Go me.

Because English weather is now back in full force (rain, rain and more rain), I forwent the track (a very special one which I will post about, against my better judgment, at another time) and attempted 4 x 800m on a treadmill at the gym. Not only did I have to contend with the soul-sucking hell that is a treadmill, but I also have never done speedwork consistently so the mental anguish was rather dire to say the least.

Instead of four repeats, I completed two. Physically I could have completed four, but I was suffering under time constraints, mild shin splints and mental weakness. Again, I’ve never done this before so I think starting with four repeats was a bit optimistic. And by a bit I mean a lot.

So Yasso can kiss my ass-o. Instead I’ll be following the Runny is Funny method of repeats. Since I successfully completed 2 x 800 last week, this week will be 3 x 800. But if I don’t complete all three within the prescribed time (a pathetic for you but optimistic for me sub 4:30 each), then I will repeat it each week until I do and only then add on an additional repeat. I like this method because it speaks to the perfectionist in me while also making sure I don’t bite off more than I can chew. It’s a win-win situation really...except for the fact that I have to do speedwork in the first place. Yuck.

Say what
Since I’m majorly behind the times, I only recently saw the ten-minute video for the Lady Gaga and Beyonce song, Telephone. It was emailed to me by a friend who I have a long standing disagreement with re: Lady Gaga. My friend likes her music and thinks Lady Gaga is an artist in respect to both her work and fashion choices. I like Lady Gaga’s music but I acknowledge and accept the fact that she’s clinically insane.

I present to you Exhibit A:

I rest my case.

After I watched the video, I replied to my friend with a list of my comments. To state it simply, they weren’t complimentary. Instead of re-posting my email here, I will just direct your attention to this parody video which another friend brought to my attention. It summarizes my thoughts quite well.



Word.

All right, folks, that’s it for me. Hope you all have a good week ahead. Catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Extra credit reading

I ran an easy three miler yesterday. I swam for 30 minutes this morning.

Yeah. Exciting.

So unless you want to hear about me almost gassing myself in the shower stall at the gym this morning (two meals with beans yesterday = copious amounts of toxic butt fumes today), let me recommend you read these fine running folks who’ve all made me laugh recently.

Officially kicking my ass in the travels stakes, Frayed Laces has been running all over Europe recently. Check out her posts here, here and here.

To make you feel even more jealous and to put your joy in the coming springtime to shame in perspective, check out these two lucky bastards.

Canadians are masters of understatement.

Read two accounts of the fun and foibles of the LA marathon.

Nitmos shocks us with the news that he’s aging. And I thought flying butt fruit was a side-effect of drinking from the Fountain of Youth. Wrong yet again.

Shut Up and Run battled bowel troubles on her 20 miler last weekend and still managed a kick ass time. I hate you. No I don’t. (Yeah, kinda.)

Viper channels Martha Stewart. Not sure if he also served jail time though. Hope you didn’t pick up the soap, yo!

XC2 is gonna be the proud momma of two rambunctious boys. Go congratulate her.

Happy hump day, everyone.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Rundown

This weekend was total pants. Scratch that, all of last week sucked. It wasn’t the weather, my normal shitty workload or scheduling of any kind. It was just me.

I’ve felt mentally and physically drained all week.

Each week I have four planned runs—2 easy, 1 speed work and 1 long run. Last week I downgraded the speed work (4 miles tempo, 6 miles total) to an easy 3 miler because I just wasn’t feeling up to it. On Saturday, I stayed curled up into a ball in my pjs until the afternoon when friendly persuasion finally got me out the door for an 8 miler. Though the running conditions were actually pleasant (50s F with light warm drizzle), it was a total slogfest and I had real concerns about my planned 16 miler for the next day.

Sunday dawned and it was a beautiful day -- temps in the 50s with sunshine and blue skies. To try to motivate myself, I took the bus to Blenheim, planning to run an 8 mile loop around the grounds and then head home for the final eight. Or I tried to but I missed the bus I had planned on taking by two minutes so I had to wait a half an hour before the next one came. Argh.

Most of the county was out at Blenheim to enjoy the weather. After queuing at the ticket booth and using the loo, I headed off on my route—hopeful but weary.

Not 100 m into the run, my underwear, for some inexplicable reason, decided to head south. Majorly. I had to run a full half mile before I reached the cover of trees in order to fix the situation. The entire time, I kept having to check that my yoga pants hadn’t fallen down too since the bunching of the undies wasn’t helping any.

That situation tended to, I continued on the run, enjoying the views of the lake and fields. Blenheim is hilly, as I’ve complained about before, but it was a nice change of pace from running in Nerdtown. After a nice out and back bit along a tree-lined lane with sheep sprinkled about, things went to shit again.

I needed to carry extra items with me to run at Blenheim—cash, id, phone—so I jerry-rigged a little pouch onto my recently fixed hydration belt. I didn’t anticipate the side of the pouch would fray from rubbing against the belt strap. But, since it was super cheap, that’s exactly what it did. When I heard my phone crash to the ground (no permanent damage, thank god), I had to stop and re-sort items. I ended up having to carry the small bag of gummy bears in my hand, but otherwise I got the important stuff secured onto the belt.

Clothing malfunction #2 was a constant affair. Rummaging in the drawer for a clean running shirt that morning, I came up with one I hadn’t worn in a while. It didn’t occur to me until I was actually running in it why I hadn’t worn it in ages. The damn thing kept riding up so I had to keep pulling it back down for the duration of the run. Again, argh.

For the rest of the eight mile loop, I tried to block out the negative thoughts but to no avail. The beautiful surrounds, the grazing horses and sheep, the friendly faces, the perfect running conditions--nothing worked. I felt like poo. The only thing that got me through that loop was telling myself that I could stop at the end of it. I’d cut the run short and take the bus home instead.

And that’s what I did. It felt like the final sign of the day when I was right on time at the bus stop to catch my ride home.

I arrived back feeling defeated and ungrateful. Physically, I could have run the full distance that day. It would have been incredibly slow, but it would have been possible. But my head and my heart weren’t in it.

This week is a step-back week for me in my training and I really need it. I had to convince myself last night and this morning not to attempt to make up those lost 8 miles, knowing there would be no benefit now. Instead, I am taking today completely off. No running, no cross training. I’m sticking to my eased back running schedule this week and maybe, if I feel I have the energy, I’ll swim for cross training. But I’m not going to push it. Frankly, I can’t. I’m too damn tired.

My efforts to try to get eight hours of quality sleep per night are being thwarted at the moment—and not by my constantly obsessing brain. I live in a row house. The neighbors on one side have moved out and now there’s major construction going on everyday starting at 8 am. On the other side resides crackhead neighbor who apparently had a bad trip last night and started freaking out at 5 am this morning. Seriously, ho needs to get her ass to rehab.

So even though I live in a wonderful residential neighborhood within easy access of shops, pubs and the like, it feels like I reside in the nexus of hell at the moment.

Ok, that’s more than enough of my bitching for a year. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.

Friday, 19 March 2010

The hunger

It has begun.

The increased mileage of marathon training has initiated the insatiable need to eat absolutely EVERYTHING in sight. It doesn’t matter what it is—sweet, savoury, half a cow carcass—I just want to eat it. [Editor’s note: Minds out of the gutter, pervs.]

I’m always hungry now. This is a dangerous thing in a country that stops everything for both morning and afternoon teatime. And where I work, there are always biscuits (cookies to the rest of the world), cakes or other yummy goodness on offer.

I know thirst can sometimes mask itself as hunger, so I’ve increased the amount of water and tea I consume...to absolutely no avail. The only thing I’ve discovered is that it would be more expedient for me to work from the toilet considering the number of trips I take to the loo now.

I’m in the 30-40 miles per week portion of my training schedule. There’s just over nine weeks left before d-day.

Since the start of marathon training in February, I’ve actually lost five pounds. Is there any chance in hell that I won’t gain them back and then some before the race?

Only time and my scale will tell.

On an unrelated topic, I haven’t been able to get this song out of my head for the last three days, so I thought I’d torture you all with it too.



See, I did learn to share in kindergarten. You’re welcome.

Happy weekend, everyone.

Later gators.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Not so Wordless Wednesday

A couple of weeks ago, I was on a business trip of sorts and, since I was in the area, I took advantage and did some sightseeing. Here's some photos from my trip.

Winchester Cathedral


Gigantic stone columns separating the nave from the north aisle.


The nave


Entrance to the crypt. It was flooded the day I visited so this was as far as we were allowed to go. The dude standing in the center is actually a modern bronze sculpture called 'Sound II' by Anthony Gormley.


The main reason why I wanted to visit here--Winchester Cathedral is the final resting place of Jane Austen.


The last house Jane Austen lived in.

My potential future boss is friends with the people who own this house now. If I get that job, I'm so abusing this connection.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Later gators.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Try and fail

Something is not quite right on this British isle. This is the third weekend in a row where we’ve had sunshine and blue skies.

I feel a gigantic bitch-slap from Mother Nature coming along in 3...2...1...

Anyhoo, Sunday morning I headed out on my 14-miler. I filled my Nathan waist pak bottle with Powerade diluted with water and packed gummy bears for refueling and entertainment purposes. I do so love the little bears.

I headed out on the same path as last week along the canal and then west along the footpath wearing what can only be described as the ‘Lost Referee Looking for the Playing Field’ outfit—a white long sleeve tech shirt, black tech capris, and gray Recovery socks. I was hot and I knew it. Others agreed if the amount of rubber necking (not a euphemism) from passing traffic was anything to go by.

Right before I passed the second roundabout, I went to adjust the waist pak strap and all hell broke loose. Check it out:
One of the prongs broke off. Of course it would be the ‘male’ portion of the buckle that would break. Typical.

I spent the next two miles holding the damn thing in my hands not knowing what to do really. Then I realized that as long as the bottle (which was still pretty full) wasn’t holstered, I could still wear the belt. So that’s what I did for the remainder of the run. At the 12 mile mark I drank the last of the Powerade and was able to holster the bottle without any problem.

I have no idea what to do about the belt situation. I’m a cheapskate so my instinct is to jerry-rig something (hello duct tape, my old friend) to hold the damn thing together. I’m just super pissed that I’ve only used this belt twice and it’s already busted. What a waste of money.

Post-run, I took extra care with stretching and even did Legs Up for ten minutes. Then, since my quads were so sore after last week’s long run, I attempted my first real ice bath. Because the pain suffered by others wasn’t warning enough that this was going to suck big time doody.

I filled the tub with cold water, intending to get in and then dump in the ice. If only I had recorded the amazingly inhuman shriek that came out of my mouth when I put my right foot into the water. I’m sure it would have rivaled the sound of this ear-splitting creature.

Reassessing the situation and my wimpy-ness, I decided it would be better for me to get into the tub first then fill it up with water. Why? I have no idea, it just seemed logical at the time. And that’s what I did. I set the egg timer for 15 minutes hoping I’d last at least five (that’s what he said).

The first three minutes were complete and utter hell. I’d like to meet the genius who thought this crap up and slap him upside the head. Masochist.

Moving on...

After the three minute mark, pretty much my entire lower body went numb though it still wasn’t comfortable by any means. I managed to last a full 20 minutes by distracting myself with lunch. Because it’s a perfectly normal occurrence to be naked from the waist down sitting in a tub full of ice cold water and eating a peanut butter sandwich. Am I wrong?

My legs are feeling pretty good today and I even went for a swim this morning so maybe the ice bath was a good thing. However, I’m gonna go without one next week and see if it really was so beneficial. It’s just so much fun treating my body like a guinea pig (not a Richard Gere euphemism).

Okay, folks, that’s it for me. Have a great week ahead.

Later gators.

Friday, 12 March 2010

O mother my mother

This Sunday is Mothering Sunday in the UK. Because England’s just gotta be different and celebrate Mother’s Day on the wrong day. Tossers.

Anyhoo, big hugs to my own mother who reads this blog and all your nutball comments. In our last Skype conversation, she even mentioned the surprising re-appearance of Glaven. See, she does know who you whack-jobs are. Scary, huh?

Momma X is not into sappy stuff, so Z and I always make sure to send her funny cards. For example, here’s the one I sent her this year. MOM, DON’T CLICK THE LINK! I posted your card on Wednesday. If it doesn’t make it in time then you can click on that.

I’m such a demanding little cuss, aren’t I? Well, you birthed me, so it’s your fault. :)

As compensation, I gift you with this. (Sorry, guys, this is a bit of an inside joke.)



I love you, Mom, and I can’t wait to see you next month.

To all you moms out there, happy early mother’s day from the island of bad teeth and stiff upper lips. I’ll eat a scone for you.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Later gators.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Going long

On Sunday, the day after I ran the devil’s race, I got in my 12-mile long run. I chose a predominantly new route so as not to bore myself silly. I headed north along the canal then turned west onto a footpath alongside a roadway. I passed through three villages and around three roundabouts before heading back after reaching the turnaround point which ended up being a small airfield. I got to see two planes land. It was cool though slightly disturbing in a North by Northwest kind of way since they passed right above my head before hitting the landing strip.

I also chose this run to try out my new hydration belt. A smart person would have broken it in during a shorter distance run. However, since I no longer have the brain capacity to think of these logical things, that didn’t happen. I foolishly attempted to wear it just above my hips and therefore had to keep readjusting it. Finally sanity hit around mile 5 and I moved the belt up to my natural waist. I looked like a frequent rider of the short bus, but it was just so much more comfortable that way. No readjustments and no chafe marks. Sweet.

As far as hydration belts go, the Nathan triangle waist pak was just peachy. Since I’m a clumsy oaf, I preferred the one big bottle versus the multiple tiny ones you get on other belts. Also there was a pouch with space for tissues, my house key, gum and my handwritten directions and personal information in case I got discombobulated along the way. I really need to get a Road ID of some sort, but since my address will be changing at least three times in the next nine months, this is an easier way to go right now. I wish I had gotten the Trek pak instead since the pouch is bigger and I could then carry my phone with me. Ah well, live and learn.

The weather was surprisingly good—blue skies and sunshine though the temps were still at the freezing mark. Add in the wind and it was a bit nippy. So much so that I had a bit of a headlight situation to contend with if you know what I mean. Thankfully there was no actual chafage but running was rather uncomfortable there for a little while. Ladies, have you dealt with this before? Any advice?

Towards the end of the run, things were a bit of a slogfest. But with the bright skies and friendly folks on the path, I kept a positive attitude and made it through, massive positive split aside. Post-run, I put on one of my new pairs of Recovery Socks. They work great. No soreness or swelling in my lower legs at all. However, I would like to suggest that the company look into making thigh-high versions. My quads and inner thighs were a bit sore for the following two days.

I have a 14-miler coming up this weekend and a 16-miler the following week. One of these will essentially be a repeat of the same route, obviously just a bit longer. The other I’ll take the bus up to Blenheim, run around the grounds for a few miles and then run home from there. The added bonus being I can conveniently top up my water bottle and use the loo before heading out on the 8 mile stretch home.

Okay, that’s way more than enough of my yammering. Hope you all are having a bearable work week.

Later gators.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

6.66 mile exorcism

Last week was terrible with work deadlines coming out of my ears. This week is not much better, but I have a better handle on the situation. I didn’t run for a whole week. Hell, I didn’t exercise for a whole week unless you count the number of times I banged my head against the desk in frustration.

It was enough, trust me.

So when Saturday rolled around and I finally crawled out from underneath the covers, I knew it was time for a run. Specifically, it was time to run the Global Warming, My Ass! 6.66 mile run.

I wasn’t fast and I didn’t give a shit. It just felt good to get outside, to breathe fresh air and actually enjoy a rare bit of English sunshine. I may have been running the devil’s number, but it felt heavenly.

With that momentum, I made sure to knock out my 12-mile long run on Sunday. But to hear about that you’ll have to wait until the next blog post. Hey, I’m hurting for time and blog material these days. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, you know.

The more you know....the less you probably want to
Frayed Laces interviewed a bunch of female running bloggers who are also fighting the good academic fight in graduate school. I was honored to be included amongst such amazing company. You can read our discussion here.

I must say, I’ve never been more motivated to keep on training than I was after our virtual chat. Social life be damned.

All right, folks, that’s it for me. I’d like to say I’ll catch up with you soon, but I hate to lie, so I won’t. I hope you’re all doing well nonetheless.

Later gators.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Time to drink the koolaid

For those of you who don't know, Razz over at Running Off at the Mind is holding a virtual race, called Global Warning, My Ass!. The prizes are amazing. And by amazing I mean amazingly awful. How do I know this? Well, I'm contributing one of them and I'm guaranteeing it's going to be craptastic so don't miss out!

You need to sign up by the end of the day today to be eligible for the prize (cess)pool, so hurry your little selves on over there already. I've signed up because god knows I need another commitment in my life to cock up (hello sarcasm). I'm nothing if not a masochist.

And since I have nothing else to say (i.e. the scarlet zeros to the right), I'll leave you with a link to one of the best sites ever, Dlisted. One of yesterday's posts covered the potential de-nutting of Knut the polar bear. Michael K is a funny s.o.b.

Later gators.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Four C's of the Apocalypse

Cheese, crackers, chocolate and cupcakes.

And not just any cupcakes--caramel pecan ones.

I think my ass has trebled in size.

But work must forge ahead so until I finish this chapter section (please god, let that be today!) I'm stuck to this chair, feeding my face with anything to keep me awake. It's been two days since I last ran and we've been having some really good running weather.

It feels like karma has taken a dump on my head.

Shit.