Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm not wasting a 545am wake up.

Remember that time I totally busted in the mud, but it turned out to be a good run anyway? No? Let me refresh your memory.

I'm excited that I can run again. No injuries, no rules or regulations about when or how far or how fast. It's nice. So, as unfun as it is to get out of the bed at o'dark thirty (which, by the way, why can't it be o'dark o'clock? huh? or 10 after o'dark? why?) running down the mall at sunrise usually outweighs those few minutes of slogginess at 545am...even if the sun is hidden behind a lot of clouds and the entire morning is a comedy of errors.

Yesterday, I got to work, dumped my stuff in the locker room, grabbed my hat because I thought it might rain a little and headed out. I very helpfully left my carefully packed hand held water bottle in my bag, but that's ok, I'd survive. Off I go, down 17th Street, easy warm up, this is great, but there's a dude that's just behind me and that's annoying. I decided to drop him. Done.

There's apparently a lot of construction going on down at Lincoln right now, leaving one side of the path closed off and the other side somewhat dark, at least for this dreary early morning, and crawling with runners. I deicded the dirt path alongside the paved trail sounded like the MOST fun, so I went that way. Did you notice how I mentioned it was dark? And crawling with runners?

Oh this is fun, I thought! Similar to a trail! Look at me, leaping over all these tree roots! I'm so agile! Look at all those Army guys running this morning! Look at - whooooooooooooooooooooa - the ground! It's muddy. And cold. And - geez, get up already. But first, turn off your Garmin. (No, really, I turned off my watch before I even scraped myself off the ground.)

I sat on a bench for a minute and thought I was probably going to have to go to the emergency room for a concussion for jarring my head and neck so hard until I realized, oh, actually, I'm fine. I got up and ran back to the WWII memorial, in hopes that the bathrooms were open and I could wash some of the mud off my legs and hands. They were...NOT. I cleaned up my bloody knee at a water fountain and got the dirt off of my watch (yes, I know! weird, right?) and just about then, it started to rain. Not like, a little bit of rain, but total downpour.

I could either go back where I had just come from, resulting in about a 2.5 mile run/fall/run event or I could continue on. Obviously, I continued on. I'm not wasting a 545 am wake up. Up Independence, down the mall towards the Capitol, puddle after puddle, the mud slowly washed away as I squished through mile after downpouring mile. Slowly, the rain eased up and the sun came out. And just as slowly, I made my way back to work, stopping to wring out my clothes at stoplights.

My shoes are still wet, and my ribs hurt like hell when I laugh. I've got a nasty bruise on my knee and the palms of my hands are a bit sore. But it's the farthest I've run since the Ironman, and I feel a little bit like a badass, so, yeah, it was a good run.

Monday, September 26, 2011

we scaled small mountains

i'm not entirely sure why i've never done this before, but sunday was my first trail run/hike/walk. i wish i knew why i'd never tried running on trails before, because now my main problem with trail running is that logistically i can really only figure out how to do it once a week. maybe twice. and that's not enough.

lucky for me, lindsey was more than happy to be dragged along on my quest for adventure and we meet up at 9 in rock creek park. unfortunately we missed cat, who was already out pounding the trails when we arrived. it was unforunate for two reasons: we would have loved to have her company and more problematically, neither lindsey nor i had any idea where these infamous trails WERE.

so, we did the only thing we could. we just started running around and looking for trails. fortunately for us, people who know about these things were right about the trails being easy to find (well, i mean when you are looking for them, they are. i've been to rcp many a time, and never noticed a single trail.)

so we found a trail and off we went! we quickly found ourselves in the middle of the woods, running up hills, running over tree roots, running across a creek (well i was gingerly hopping from rock to rock, afraid of getting my feet wet, but lindsey was far more agile), running, running, running, and boom: we're on connecticut avenue. it felt like we had been out there forever, considering how winded we were standing on that sidewalk, but my garmin said it was about a half a mile. so we dove back in.

we went down hills, over rocks, lept fallen trees, scaled small mountains (hey, you don't know, you weren't there), laughed, walked, and all of the sudden, boom: we're in a parking lot. we briefly discussed heading up to the road to see where we were, but why bother with that, when there's an option to go back in the trail and go another way?

we did this for an hour. we'd walk around a bit, see another trail and attack it. it was truly the most fun i've had in a long time and i'm so grateful that lindsey decided to join me, even though i apologized for probably 30% of the day about walking up hillz. in my defense, any time we came to a fork in the road, she said, let's go UP!

4.5 miles later, we made it back to our cars, dripping in sweat, filthy, with muddy shoes and smiles on our faces. i've got 2 trail running races on the calendar for the fall and i was considering a third. i think THAT decision has been made.

Friday, September 23, 2011

it didn't take

i got an idea today for how to award prizes in the off season tris. i won't give it all away, but a certain friend who will go by the name @plainiejanie and another certain friend who shall be called @emilysweats both claimed to be more sweaty after a certain particularly sweaty spinning class. i actually thought that i had won, based on the fact that every square inch of my body and the towel i brought into class was soaking wet, but both of those girls had puddles of sweat under their spin bikes. i'll have to try harder next time. gosh, makes you wonder why that room smells so bad. #notreally

i had hoped to go for a very short run after, purely because it sounded like fun, but as it turns out, i felt a little bit like death. #gettingbackinshapeishard

have you ever seen that seinfeld where george takes a shower and then immediately after finds himself still sweating? that was me. today's shower didn't cool me off. it didn't make me stop sweating. it didn't take. i was toweling off the entire time i tried to get ready. which didn't make me feel any less like death. so i put on a drywick shirt to wear until i got to the office, trying to prevent my work shirt from getting a) sweaty and b) rained on.

when i stopped down at the front desk of the y, the nice man at the front desk goes, wow, you really ARE dressing down today. i looked down at my outfit. a pacers half marathon shirt. brown pants. bright neon nikes. embarassing blue bike helmet. wet hair in a ponytail. i said, wait no! i'm just wearing my gym shirt because i thought it would be raining when i left. so my work shirt would stay dry. he was like, yeah, sure you are.

i have finally cooled off and stopped sweating, i'm wearing a jacket with my brown pants and work appropriate shoes, but my still wet hair is still pulled back and i just. don't. care.

speaking of - where can i find a job where neon nikes are work appropriate? because i'd like to apply.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


my alarm went off this morning at 530 am. everything was lined up for a bike ride at hains point with a friend. tires pumped, breakfast stuff ready, bag packed with work clothes and more after work sportz clothes. instead of hitting snooze for 5 minutes to adjust to the idea of getting up, like i always do, i hit DISMISS. what is that??????? i never hit dismiss.

i woke u abruptly an hour later and wondered what time it was. yikes! 630! after realizing there was no good way to salvage the morning for sportz, i just went back to sleep for 30 minutes. i think my body was trying to tell me something. it was very clearly saying: shhhhhhhhhh. stop it with the sportz. i want a break. and i believe that when your body is trying to tell you something, it's always good to listen.

however, i've now had an extra *90* minutes of sleep (unheard of!) so tonight i'll make up for this morning's sportzFail with a quick swim and some body pump. then tomorrow morning, i can do a short run and then spinning with @emilysweats! #win-win-win-win dismiss button, you are dismissed. i'm back with the program.

and of no interest to anyone but me: i remembered bread today, so i won't have to eat a pile of turkey, tomatoes, avacados and cheese for lunch. i can actually stack them up neatly and cover them in carbs. #yaylunch

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

this stuff is fun!

i'm currently on a training/exercise/sportz kick. i've been doing two a days whenever possible, lots of strength, speed work, extra swims. good grief, who am i? i'm sure this desire for extra sportz will eventually wear out its welcome, but for now, i'm just trying to enjoy myself and shoot, this stuff is fun!

tonight, for example, i was on the fence about joining in a group bike ride. i wasn't meeting anyone, i wasn't even sure if anyone i knew would be there. but, i had brought my bike this morning, i had a car full of spandex and i found myself driving over there. i was sort of just going through the motions. the part of my brain that knew that you never regret a workout was in charge. and guess what? it was fun. like, super fun. like, i ended up beating dudes up hills fun. i was right. (hey, at least i'm not having to admit someone ELSE was right.)

in related news: tonight was the first night i've showered in my own bathroom in weeks. i know, right? but it's almost as if the ymca is a second home, i've got so much stuff stashed there. thank goodness for the kit lockers.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

wednesday whys

here are the questions that are floating around in my head this wednesday.

why is running so hard?
why can't i seem to get back in shape post-race?
why is it taking so long?
why am i complaining? i am not injured, i can run (albeit slowly and for shorter distances than i'd like) and the weather is actually quite nice latey. so, geez. i should zip it.

why is my new bike saddle giving me a pain in the *saddle area*?
why must it get dark so early and why does the sun take so long to come out?
why am i complaining? it's still warm, and i can still ride for an hour or so before work and i still have friends who are willing to meet me and ride. i should be thankful.

why am i signed up for another ironman?
did i let janie pressure me into doing that? or did i pressure myself? do i really want to do it? who can i ask to find out?

why am i not racing savageman this weekend? (wait, answered - see question 2.)
why did i get suckered into volunteering this weekend, when i volunteered for no less than 31 hours this weekend. no, not an exaggeration or typo. 31 hours. i just wanted to sit down and relax and play and enjoy the weekend and now all day saturday is basically tied up.

why is it so hard to get out of the bed but so easy to remember how fun it is to do sportz the second you start doing them?

Friday, September 2, 2011

fast but slow

i got a few little tastes of speed this year and i found out - it's fun to be fast!

**now, i'll back up and clarify, this speed of which i speak is all entirely karen-centric and not meant to be associated with my swim, bike, run colleagues who are light years faster than me. i guess i should edit that line above to say "it's fun to be fastER!" ok. yes, that's what i meant. **

however. fast is not what i am right now. i can't even do fast if i try. my legs just don'twanna. recovering from finishing 140.6 mile race is a long process and one of the things that is affected, not surprisingly, is your speed. not that speed is the only problem, or even the least of your worries, but it does affect fun. since i'm only in it for the fun, well, yes, i have a problem.

your mind thinks, how about an easy 10 miler? your mind is your enemy here. people training for a long race can toss around phrases like "easy 10 miler" and "recovery run" and "hill repeats" and "track workout." people recovering from long races cannot. well, you can toss them around, but they land with a thud on the ground.

people recovering from ridiculous races or injuries, or both, can toss around phrases like, "30 mintues non stop running" and "i'm back up to 4 miles" and "i'm pain free!" and be immensely proud and totally excited.

but here's the dilemma. fast is fun, right? the faster you do your allocated 4 miles, the more fun it is. BUT, the faster you go, the sooner you are done, and the less time you have spent crunching gravel on the mall, watching the sunrise, and giving that slight nod to other runners saying, yeah, i know, it's awesome, isn't it?

you want to go fast, but you want to take it all in...slowly.