Tuesday, September 29, 2009

To Gu, or not to Gu, that is the question...

Gu = goo  which is a type of energy replacement for runners, and anyone who needs it for their performance event of choice.  My friends had a big bowl full of this stuff.  In the olden days I guess we would use things like honey to do the same thing.  I didn't run far enough to need Gu, but will in the future as I up my mileage.  Another good question...Is it better to under Gu or over Gu?  I would say over Gu'ing would be best.

What a great weekend!  Saturday was spent picking up our race packets and hanging out with good friends up in Bellingham WA in anticipation of the race on Sunday.  We had spaghetti for dinner along with a bunch of other great foods.  Carbo loading anyone?  We watched the UW Husky game...the less said the better.  And laughed a BUNCH! 

Race day started bright and early while it was still dark.  I stumbled down the stairs and Dawn handed me my "pre-race meal".  Personally I need to eat a little something and have a bit of coffee to get me going and get me through.  Don't mind the face I'm making in the photo...I had a mouthfull of homemade egg muffin and didn't want to show it to the world.  I was extremely pleased to see that the t-shirts we received were orange!  My most favorite color.

I wasn't feeling any pressure - at least I didn't think so - but right at the start of the race I began to hyperventilate.  The air was so cold coming off the bay that when it hit my lungs I couldn't catch my breath and at that point we had to go up a fairly steep hill.  It took the first mile or so to talk myself down and settle into a good pace.  About 18 minutes into the race we were pointed up a gravel trail and at the top I heard someone yell SUE!  It was Jody, a woman I had met at the Danskin 6 weeks prior.  Then up a little further and it was Lisa wahoooing and helping me along.  She yelled that it was the half way point and all down hill from here.  (Not exactly true on the down hill part - but it was the half way point).  Up another little steep hill and it was Theresa and Patty (sorry if I mis-spelled your names), who I had just met at packet pick-up the day before.  Having a cheering section is SOOOOO helpful.  Since I was feeling so good I just knew I could run the whole thing, so got myself into a rhythm and at about the the one mile to go marker I picked up the pace and passed a few people.  I may have kicked too soon, because my legs felt like they were completely dead about 100 meters before the finish line.  Not the best place to start looking bad since you have all the people cheering at the finish, a professional photographer with a really large lens, and they are announcing your name over the loud speaker .  In my finish line photo I have my eyes completely closed...which really does sum up how I was feeling at that point.  It  took me about 3-4 minutes to recover, eat a little bit of food, and drink some more water. 

I walked back to the 5k half way point to hang out with the volunteers who had cheered me on and to wait for Dawn, Bill, and Mie to finish the half marathon.  I was feeling remarkably good at this stage - my knees were a little achy, but that was to be expected.  I had felt no other pain during the run other than the hyperventilation.  I could have really used a pair of gloves though.  My hands were icy cold. 

We met up with the half marathoners back at the start/finish line and had a post race meal. (Have you noticed it is all about the meals?)  We ate at the Boundary Bay Brewery (Save the Ales), and I had a great french dip and a Scotch Ale.  That is me on the left, Dawn in the center, and volunteer extraordinaire Lisa on the right.

All in all I think it was the perfect way to experience my first race.  Thank You to everyone who helped me - and most especially to Dawn and Bill Wefer for walking me through step by step and having me stay at their house on the lake!  Love that place and the people who live there.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

38 minutes 17 seconds...

Just back from the race and it was fantastic.  I ran the whole way and had a decent time for my first 5k ever.  Had a fun time last night with good friends and good food.  I won't make any comment on the UW Husky football game we watched...

I think I'll take a little nap and write more later - hopefully with pictures..

Friday, September 25, 2009

On Sunday I run...

Well...what seemed so far away when I signed up and started this whole thing has arrived.  I will be running my first ever 5k on Sunday in Bellingham Washington.  Beautiful setting, good friends, good music, and hope for the best.  I truly believe I can make it without having to walk, but even if I do I will be happy to finish.  I had a good run last night, although for the first time my bad knee (cartiledge) started to hurt.  It's fine today, so we're a go. 

Hopefully I will have a great post and a picture or two on Monday.  Then I will start training for the next distance and keep this old body moving!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

5 Days until my first 5k...

How did it ever get here this fast?  I can really feel the difference in strength when I run, but it does not feel like it has been 5 weeks since I started this little adventure.  I have not yet run 3.1 miles, but with the adrenaline and all the people cheering us on I am hoping I can run the whole distance without too much trouble.  Even if I have to walk a minute in the middle I will feel like I accomplished something big.  I am really looking forward to seeing all my friends this weekend as well.  They will be running the 1/2 marathon - at least some of them will, and it should be a great couple of days.

W6/D1  That was yesterday...Week 6 Day 1.  I ran 16 minutes/walked 1 minute/ran 13 minutes.  Not too bad.  I was at a big whippet racing event last weekend, and I still managed to get my run in while everyone was at lunch on Sunday.  I was pretty proud of myself. 

I won't be running like this on Sunday, but I will hold that feeling in my head to keep me going.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monumental Brain Shift...

That's what I had this morning at the grocery store.  I used to eat very poorly - high fat, lots of red meat, bread & butter, very few veggies, etc.  This morning I needed to stop at the grocery store on my way to work because I was out of just about everything.  I walked in and realized I didn't even want to go look at the foods I normally purchased for lunch.  What I came out with was bananas, apples, blueberries, snap peas, and one energy bar.  I would not have bought the bar, but I was so hungry I was starting to feel sick.  I got the one with the least amount of saturated fat I could find - didn't even care what flavor.  Just wanted to have something in my stomach.  As I was walking out I started laughing about what a crazy change this is for me - I used to avoid vegetables at all costs as several of my friends can attest.  It felt good.  What an amazing thing is the human brain.  I really think the 'Pod People' have taken over my mind and body...but for now that's a good thing.

Today's workout is Run 12 minutes/walk 1 minute x2, then run 2 more minutes.  I can do it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The halfway point...

At least for the initial 'get off the couch' plan.  So much has been accomplished in 4 weeks, but guess what...I have gained 2 lbs.  I know (at least I hope) this is due to fat moving to muscle, but it is a little disappointing.  I would have hoped for at least a little weight loss with the better meal plans and greatly increase energy output.  I have only 2 weeks to go before my first 5k race and I am looking forward to it.  It will be a blast as I will be going with friends - although most of them will be running the 1/2 marathon - but we will all be there to savor the moment.  The only real pain I am experiencing is tendonitis in my "good" knee, so I bought one of those little braces. Color me surprised when it really did work.

My friend, Dawn, emailed to say how proud she is of me, and my focus on the goal.  (OCD can help alot with focus).  Everyone has been extremely supportive and you all ROCK!.  It just doesn't feel the same without the well wishes (and goading when necessary) of friends and family.

Now I need to find the exercise plan that will move me up to the next intermediate goal.  A huge Thank You to everyone who has read my blog and given me great feedback and encouragement.
This photo is of Dawn and I just a few weekends ago - and if you look closely at the clipping below it you can see her on the right hand side of the front row below.  Seems we have been friends for a very long time.   

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gather Ye Poopbags, While Ye May...

That is what popped into my head Friday night as we ran our return route home.  You see, HotRod poops alot, so I just bag them and leave them there along the road.  I pick them up, one at a time, as we go back over the same ground. After all...who wants to run through the neighborhood with 3 bags of fresh dog poop? I checked with Patience just to be sure it wasn't a line I had read on one of her "poop blogs", and she didn't think so.  I heard it in my head just as Robin Williams quoted the real words in "Dead Poet's Society".  Just a little surreal, but funny (at least to me).

There was one really excellent moment on the run.  It was a run 10 minutes/walk 1 minute x2, and then run 8 more minutes.  After the second 10 I exclaimed to HotRod, "the last one is JUST an 8!!  Can you imagine?  Three weeks ago I thought running for 8 minutes was a huge task sitting out there ahead of me...and now it was just an 8.  Wahooooo!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Little voices in my head tell me bad things...

I'll just start out by saying I was not in the mood to run last night!  I hadn't eaten enough and wasn't hydrated enough so knew it was gonna be bad.  And bad it was.  About 2 minutes into the 2nd 9 minute run this little voice started telling me "Go ahead and stop running...nobody will know...you can make it up tomorrow".  I slowed down to a point where people walking WOULD be moving faster than me.  My arms were moving as if I was sprinting, but the feet were barely moving in a forward direction.  HotRod WAS walking. But I told myself it was now or never, and it would feel so good when I completed the workout as it is suppose to be done.  I am happy (and proud) to say I kept running.  The final 9 minute run really wasn't all that bad.  Never underestimate the power of the mental game.  It can make or break you. 
This is how I felt last night...just wanted to lie down and do nothing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Yesterday I had a break through!

Better a break through than a break down am I right?!  Previously I explained that I am so not flexible that I can't even get close to touching my toes - ever.  Well...last night stretching was much, much easier and I can now get my hands on my ankle.  Whoohoooo!  I know that is nothing to a lot of people, but for me it is huge.  Hopefully that will transfer into an easier run tonight - run 9 minutes then walk 1 minute x3.  Should be interesting.
HotRod's Motto...Shut up and race!

Monday, September 7, 2009

And the wind doth blow, and the rain came down in sheets...

Yesterday was my first bad weather run, and it really wasn't all that bad.  HotRod informed me that he doesn't run on Sundays (which we all know is a lie, duh!) so he stayed home.  Sunday is supposed to be a rest day, but I was busy at a whippet get-together (along with a beautiful old Red Setter & one rambunctious young smooth fox terrier) on Saturday and was too tired to run when I got home.  That's me with the big smile on the right with Gracie and HotRod.
I felt like I was back in College running intervals in the pouring rain - if you don't run in the rain in Seattle you just don't run.  What I was lacking was a lightweight waterproof jacket.  I may go down to REI today since they are having a big Labor Day Sale.  I have plenty of windbreakers in various shapes and colors, but none are waterproof.  I also have my rain gear for whippet race days, but they are a little too heavy.  For the time being I will probably just go with what I have and get wet.  Only 20 days left until the first 5k run.  I may have to start running on the treadmill when the weather gets too bad and it is too dark to run on the road.

Hope everyone had a good Labor Day Weekend, for tomorrow we labor again!

Oh Yeah!!  I forgot the best part.  I found a $5 bill during my run - it was in a ditch and covered with mud - not sure how I even saw it in the first place.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Did I get the wrong shoes?

The right shoes can make a huge difference in how you feel when you run.  On the other hand the wrong shoes can make you miserable.  I bought a stability shoe - the ASICS Gel-1140.  Now that I am running more and walking less the arch of this shoe is really causing pain in my foot, and up the back of my leg.  There are so many different types of shoes now that it is difficult for me to find the right one.  Do you have a high arch and overpronate?  There's a shoe for that.  Or if you suponate and have no arch - there's a shoe for that.  I pronate slightly and have a medium to high arch.  Now I need to find the right shoe for me.  But...I paid a bunch of money for these shoes and can't really afford to be buying more.  This is basically the only pain I have when running, so I need to get this taken care of quickly.  Stay tuned for more as the shoe turns...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I was dreaming that my knees were really hurting...

And then I woke up - and they really were hurting.  It pisses me off when I have pain in dreams.  If for some strange reason I manage to get to sleep despite the pain...I should NOT have to feel it while in said sleep state.  I got up and took some Advil, which did eventually help, but I'm still pissed off hours later.  I do think the pain is arthritis jabbing me due to the change in weather and not my workout regime, but I think I better back off a little until things stabilize. 

Only 170 more days until my 50th Birthday.  If I can't find an official half marathon to run by that time I am going to organize my friends and have them run one with me as part of my Birthday party.  I wonder what we should call it?  The Sue Hopper Doomsday Run? :0)  I think I will make up some t-shirts and goody bags!
I found this old, yellowed piece of newspaper recently when looking thru all my old pictures - taken in 1972.  I'm the cool one on the end of the back row on the right.  You can't tell but my sweatshirt was tie dyed, and you gotta dig those Daisy Dukes.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Good-Bye Shadow

Shadow was a feisty little whippet girl who belonged to my friend.  She lost her battle with lymphoma yesterday and will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Don't neglect your stretching and cross training

Stretching after every workout is a must for me, and should be for everyone.  You will be more limber, which will help you run better.  Also, you will have less soreness in your muscles if you give them a nice slow stretch after you run.  I am one of those unfortunate people who is incredibly non-flexible.  When I try to touch my toes I can reach just about halfway down my shins...on a good day.  Slowly but surely I get a little more flexible every day, but it never gets to the point where I can touch my toes.  Mostly I have been doing my old high school track & field stretching with a few other stretches added to cover all of the muscle groups.  I may try added some yoga.

You should also be doing some cross training.  My bike is out of commission at the moment or I would be riding.  I add in some light weight lifting to increase my core strength and to strengthen my back - which is of major concern for me.  Sometimes I just turn on loud music and dance around like a crazy woman for a half hour to an hour.  The dogs and my cat run and hide, but it's something I have always loved to do.

Check out my knobby knees in this photo - I think I was about 10 years old at the time.  It makes my knees hurt just to look at them in this picture today. They don't look like they are even remotely in the right alignment!