Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Longest Non-Race Run Ever!

And I just want to say again that plantar fasciitis can kiss my gluteus maximus. I ran 9 miles tonight and my arch does not hurt at all. Ha!

Like the title says, this was my longest ever non-race run. I was pretty nervous about it, not because of the distance, but because of how my stupid foot has been behaving lately. Once again, the weather was amazing for February - a balmy 65 degrees. Let me remind you that it snowed on Monday.

Welcome to Central Virginia, the land of bi-polar weather.

Anyhow, Prabir joined for me tonight. He lasted until 8.5 miles, when he had to stop thanks to some serious cramping. I kept going with out him (sorry Prabs). I was amazed at how great I felt - not short of breath at all, my foot didn't hurt. The only thing that hurt a little bit was my left hip. By the end of the run there was a nice breeze going and I felt perfect.

Here's what the mighty Garmin had to say.

You can see where we walked in mile 7 and then paused to
stretch in mile 8, which didn't work things out enough for poor Prabir.

Moving pace is dramatically better than elapsed time.
We hit lots of red lights, naturally.

I'm really really pleased with this run and I'm hoping that I've seen the last of the arch pain for a while.

My new Brooks came last night, but I opted to not test drive them on this 9 miler. I'm going to do that on Friday, when I have 5 miles of tempo work scheduled.

Oh, and my reward for 9 miles? A delicious spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy's.

Sorry this entry wasn't very entertaining... we are currently tied with Northeastern, a terrible team. We are playing like crap and we just went into overtime. Ugh! So needless to say, despite the great run, I'm not in a great mood since we are losing to a team that has lost 5 of its last 6 games!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday

I have an announcement.

I have decided to give up running for Lent. Forget about that half marathon that I've already shelled out $300 to participate in. And all those miles I have logged in training. And the arm warmers, tank, and sparkly BIC Band that I bought just for that race. And the new shoes that haven't even arrived yet. Forget it!

.... just kidding.

But I am  giving up two things for Lent.

Starbucks. Adieu, beloved Caramel Macchiato, until April.
Image Source

And Luluemon.

Yes folks, you read it here first. I'm going to refrain from purchasing overpriced lattes and workout clothing for the next 40 days.

In honor of Fat Tuesday, I stopped by Starbucks on my way to work and got a grande Caramel Macchiato, which I then drank extremely slowly (it took me an hour to get through it).

And I bought one last piece of Lululemon:

Cool Racerbreak Stripe Ribbed in Paris Pink
(because we all know that if 'Paris' describes an item, I must have it)

Hopefully my abstinence from these two will help my wallet get fatter over the next 40 days.

Or, I will just go on a crazy Starbucks-fueled Lululemon buying binge on April 9.

It's really a toss up. Only time will tell.

Are you giving up anything for Lent?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Plantar Fasciitis Can Kiss My Gluteus Maximus

Speed-walking grandma was back at the Y track tonight, along with blonde weight lifter guy and social hour girls.

I was also back after my self-imposed exile. It snowed last night, then melted off during the day but I still canceled my run with Prabir to opt for the safety of the indoor track.

My foot is still kind of aching, but no as much as it did last week. Instead the various other joints of my left leg hurt instead - ankle, hip, knee. I figure that I'm thinking too much about my foot hurting and over compensating by adjusting my stride and running funny. When I let my mind go blank and just run, I found that nothing hurt any more than usual.

Garmin doesn't work inside, so I used my trusty Timex. My splits worked out like this:

Mile 1 - 9:20
Mile 2 - 9:00
Mile 3 - 8:57
Mile 4 - 8:48

Total - 36:05

I see negative splits.

Take that, plantar fasciitis. I hope that I'll be able to do the full 9 I'm schedule for on Wednesday or I will feel officially behind.

In happier news, today I debuted my new Lulu Define (which inspired the Lululemon Monster post). I just have to share how adorable it looked with my favorite Lulu running skirt:

Totally. Worth it.
I also wanted to take a minute to share my newest apparel obsession, BIC Bands. When my cheapo drugstore headband popped off my head mid run (despite being secured with a barrette) for the umpteenth time, I decided to take the dive and give BIC Bands a try. Skinny Runner constantly raves about how much she loves them, so I figured they must be worth it.

This is Skinny Sparkle Gunmetal

I am happy to report that these live up to their reputation. I've been using this one for two weeks now (including at the Virginia is for Lovers 14k) and there has been no slipping at all. I love it so much that I ordered two more (whoops), one in bright green for the Shamrock Half and a black and the Minnie American in Paris only because it had "Paris" in the title and I'm a sucker.

Oh, and besides being awesomely cute and slip proof, BIC Bands gives back a portion of their profits each month to a different charity. How great is that?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Self-imposed Exile

"Don't be one of those stupid runner people," warned my mother when I talked to her on Friday.

"Mom, what do you mean, 'one of those stupid runner people'?"

"Don't keep running and end up really hurting yourself."

Well folks, nothing shames me into good behavior faster than being admonished by my mother.

So, I decided to not run again until Monday. That meant three whole days off. Actually, it really only meant that I would skip the 5 miles of tempo run that Training Plan called for on Saturday morning. But still, the prospect of three whole days off made me feel like a failure.

I found lots of ways to distract myself this weekend. Without further ado, here is a pictorial representation of my weekend.

If the foot is better, I've got 4 miles scheduled tomorrow with Prabir. Right now it is snowing, so that could impact tomorrow... but then again the high for tomorrow is going to be 52 and any snow that falls over night will probably be history by the time I'd be setting out. If worse comes to worse, I'll be back at my favorite place, the indoor track at the Y.

For now, I'm going to go hang my heels off the stairs to stretch my foot and enjoy the two hour finale of Downtown Abbey while the snow falls.

Any snow where you are? 
Does a shaming from your mom still work on you?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Richmond Rave: Sticky Rice/Carytown Cupcakes

As I'm sure you're all well aware, Valentine's Day was this past Tuesday. Instead of going to dinner, Husband and I decided to do lunch. After endless debate about where to go (not really - I've somehow been appointed the "authority" on where to eat, so whenever I invite someone to lunch and ask where they want to go, the answer is "You pick." Don't ask me how I got this power. I don't really know that much), I selected...

Sticky Rice
... Sticky Rice as the winner of our Valentine's Day Lunch Contest. I've been there one or two times for lunch with my coworkers and thought it was a place Husband would like.

Sticky Rice is what I would call a hipster sushi/noodle joint with a touch of grime. Just enough grime to make it hipster while still being chic and appealing to the average customer. The funny thing about the selection of this restaurant is that neither J or I eat sushi, and that is what Sticky Rice is known for. I've tried really hard to like sushi, but it just hasn't happened yet. Maybe someday.

Anyhow, the interior is your standard mix of booths and tables with retro-style metal chairs. We arrived at 11:45, so it wasn't busy yet. I always select a booth if given the opportunity. I really love the attention to detail in Sticky Rice's booths.

Their logo is painted (or maybe inlaid, I couldn't tell) into the wood of the booth.
I also like the bright murals on the walls. And I'm a huge sucker for decorative ceilings, especially pressed tin.

I want pressed tin in my kitchen. WANT.

Today I went with an order of a house specialty - Sticky Balls - as the appetizer. My coworker had ordered these for the table at a previous lunch and they were absolutely divine, so I wanted J to try them.

Tuna, crab, siracha rice in an inari pocket, deep fried and topped with scallions, wasabi and eel sauce.

They tasted as amazing as they look. J also approved.

For my entree, I selected my usual from the Noodles portion of the menu: Sesame Chicken with Udan noodles. I am a sucker for noodles in whatever form I can get them and I particularly adore udan.

Chicken and mixed vegetables tossed with teriyaki sauce
Topped with bean sprouts, sesame seeds, and cilantro
Husband ordered Curried Fried Rice and by my observation, enjoyed every bite of it.

Our total bill was $31 plus tip. The Sticky Balls were a bit pricey at $8 but worth every penny; my entree was $8.50 and Husband's $9.50. He got a Coke ($2), I stuck with water. For the quality and amount of food we received, I would say it's a fine price. The restaurant was also not crowded at lunch (though I hear it can get crazy for dinner), so our service was fast. We arrived at 11:45ish and were out by no later than 12:30, so if you have an hour-long lunch break it is doable.

I think that the next time we go I will try some sushi - probably something on the boring side like salmon, avocado, and maybe shrimp.

Carytown Cupcakes
Because of Sticky Rice's fast service, we had some time to spare and were able to make a quick stop for dessert at Carytown Cupcakes. I know that cupcake shops are kind of passe now, but you all know how much I love cake (including cupcakes), so I don't really care if the new rage is cake pops or gourmet popcicles - for me, cake is where it's at.

Personally, I love Carytown Cupcakes. The fun thing about this shop is that in addition to their classic flavors (vanilla, chocolate, carrot, red velvet, hummingbird), which are available everyday, they plan a weekly special menu of unusual/gourmet cupcakes. For instance, the Valentine's Day Flavors for Feb 7-14 included Chocolate-Raspberry, Strawberry, Chocolate Caramel, and Cherry Chocolate Sunday.


They can get even more creative than that - next week is "Guys' Night-Inspired Flavors" such as Guiness, Bue Moon, and Chocolate-Bacon (which I've heard is the way).

We were a tad bit gluttonous and got 2 cupcakes each:

Blackberry lemon, Raspberry Chocolate, Red velvet, and Carrot cake

Being a gourmet cupcake shop, these 4 little things set us back $11 (technically, they set Husband back $11 as he was kind enough to buy them). At that price they are not something I will eat every week, but they are a nice treat every now and then.

One trick/warning: make sure that you dont' get more cupcakes than you will consume in 24 hours. Carytown Cupcakes are all natural and don't use any preservatives - they need to be eaten with 24 hours or they will not taste so great anymore.

In conclusion - Sticky Rice = funky, hipster noodle/sushi joint with fast service and average price; Carytown Cupcakes = creative and classic, if not slightly pricey, flavors for a special occassion.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

An Open Letter ...

... to the people using the track at the Y.

Dear girls sauntering around the track while talking/texting on your cellphones: That doesn't really count as exercise. You might as well go home and sit on the couch.

Dear power-walking grandma: I love you. I hope that someday I am healthy and active enough to be able to book it around the track at the Y. You inspire me.

Dear people walking side by side talking: This track is not wide enough to have social hour during your walk. Please get out of my way. And if I bump into you while trying to pass, I'm not sorry. Thanks.

Dear 40-something woman with the high-definition muscles and tan addiction: I'm sorry that my ghostly pale legs are blinding you. I am not worthy.

Dear teenage boy wearing a bottle of cologne: I can smell you from across the track, but I guess I should be glad that it's cologne and not Eau de Teenage Boy Sweat.

Dear parents of the unattended children on the track: When I have a head on collision with your precious child because he or she was running crazily against all track traffic and said child breaks a tooth or something, I won't be sorry.

Dear red headed guy: You run faster and further than I possibly ever could. What is your secret?

Dear girl in the short shorts: I can see your butt cheeks. You should probably buy some longer shorts.

Dear blonde weight lifting young dude who is always hanging out in the corner of the weight room that looks into the track: I'm impressed by your dedication. And your muscles. If I was 10 years younger and not happily married, you might be in trouble.

Dear clueless dude who is walking in the middle of the track: There are three simple rules of the track. 1) Walk/run in the direction that the arrow is pointing. 2) Slow moving traffic stay to the inside of the track. 3) Pass on the left. If you are walking in the middle of the track, you are disobeying rule 2 and you cause me to disobey rule 3 and I almost smash my elbow on the railing or trip over you when trying to pass. PLEASE WALK ON THE RIGHT. YOU COUNT AS SLOW MOVING. I bet you are also the jerk who drives the speed limit in the left lane on the highway.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tempting Fate on Monument Avenue

Ever since mile 7 of the Virginia is for Lovers 14k, the arch of my left foot has been howling at me. I'm not sure what the problem is. Being the pessimistic person that I am, I immediately self-diagnosed my problem as plantar flaciitis and started to research stretches and treatment options. I've been doing a series of stretches and rolling my foot on a frozen water bottle, but it doesn't seem to be helping very much. Insisting on running 4 miles with Prabir on Monday despite pretty bad pain in the arch probably didn't help matters.

But I am stubborn and despite this, I was determined to run the full 6 miles scheduled for tonight. One, the weather today was absolutely gorgeous and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to have a nice outdoor run. Two, I was lazy last night and decided to not go to yoga as scheduled. So I stuck my Zensa compression ankle support on my left foot thinking that maybe that would help and set out on my usual 6 miles route.

Around mile 2 my arch started to hurt. But I kept going and told myself that maybe running in the grassy median that runs down Monument Avenue would be better than running on the sidewalk.

Image source 

Pretty, right? Of course right now there are no lovely leaves. But this is where the tempting fate part comes in. The thing about Monument Avenue is that it is a residential street in a city and this grassy median is, naturally, where people take their dogs for walks. And we all know what dogs do on walks. We also all know that not all dog owners pick up after their pets.

But my arch hurt so much by the time I hit the 3 mile point that I decided that I'd rather run in the median and take the rather large risk of stepping in a pile of dog poo than keep running on the concrete sidewalk.

Luckily I made it through the dog poo gauntlet unscathed this evening. Unfortunately, I don't think that running on the grass helped my pain at all. As I write I'm sitting with a giant bag of ice under my foot. It has gone numb at this point. I'm feeling pretty bummed about the whole situation. The next 3 weeks are the most intense of my training for the half marathon and the last thing I need is to be sidelined by a foot problem.

I think that my iPod is starting to be able to sense my mood. Tonight I was having a really hard time with this run and suddenly I was treated to what seemed like non-stop Lady Gaga tracks, even though the iPod was set to shuffle. I'd say that Gaga tunes always provide me with the most inspiration when I'm running. I imagine that if I just keep running (and running... and running...) that somehow my legs will magically lengthen, my cellulite will disappear, and I will be svelte enough to be able to rock a Gaga-esque outfit such as the one featured in her Monster Ball tour poster:

Yes, I've convinced myself that if I run enough,
I can be this hot.

Tonight some of my favorites got pumped into my skull at just the right times: "Starstruck" during mile 1, "Just Dance" during mile 3, "Bad Romance" during mile 6.

In the end, things shook out pretty nicely even with the intense foot pain.

In other news, last night Sherrod Wright of the GMU Men's Basketball team gave me (and all of Mason Nation) a fabulous Valentine's Day present:

VCU is our biggest rival and this game was tight the whole way through. I was convinced that we were going to lose and had already written a capitulation tweet when we were down by 2 with 3.8 seconds to go. When Wright hit this basket, at first I didn't even realize what happened and then it hit me. I leapt out of bed and started yelling "HOLY SH*T!" over and over, jumping up and down. It was an AWESOME ending to a hard fought game.

Hmmmm... perhaps all that jumping up and down wasn't the best idea for my foot. Oh well. It was worth it because now the three way tie for #1 in the CAA conference is down to 2 - Drexel and George Mason! We face VCU again on February 25 here in Richmond and yours truly has tickets. Can't. Wait.

Are you stubborn like me and run despite injury?
What music inspires you the most when you run?
If I run enough, will I be able to look like Gaga?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

For the Love

Reasons to love the run:

Crossing the finish line.  Having a reason to buy excessive amounts of Lululemon.  Being able to say "I am a runner."  The insane, winding conversations to be had with a running buddy.  The pure delight in the first bite of an Egg McMuffin after a long run or race.  Feeling like you belong to a club a million strong.  Discovering hidden parts of your city.  Being inspired by the other runners that you meet along the way.  Clif Power Blocks - like delicious fruit snacks for adults.  Weighing less than you did in the eighth grade.  Mid-afternoon "fueling."  Being able to drink a lot more wine thanks to a faster metabolism.  Carb loading.  Getting to travel to new places in the name of a race. Frilly flirty running skirts.  Sparkly BIC bands.  Discovering a whole community of fun, interesting blogger runners.  Knowing that you will never regret going for a run.  Wearing obnoxious neon yellow running shirts.  Knowing what the word "fartlek" means.   It allows for the guilt-free consumption of cake.  Medals.  That moment when you feel invincible - like you could run forever and ever.  Watching your mileage count tick up and up to levels you never thought possible.   Rediscovering your favorite songs as they blast in your ears and you have nothing else to concentrate on.  Knowing that finishing is winning.  Hilariously bad race photos. 

Why do you love the run?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Race Recap: Virginia is for Lovers 14k

Guess what?

As predicted, after all of my obsessive worrying and weather channel stalking, IT DIDN'T RAIN ON ME!


This is my first official "race recap" so bear with me. I'm going to start with the expo and end ... well, at the finish with sections divided by bold headings and a "grade" assigned to each part of the race.

Expo/Packet Pickup - A
J and I arrived on Friday evening and headed straight to packet pick up. Pick up was the the Virginia Beach Field House which was easy to access with plenty of free parking. We got there around between 3 and 3:30 pm and it was a ghost town.

*cricket cricket*

I was happy about this. Many of the races that I run have 20,000+ participants and the packet pick up and expo are a complete mob scene.

My bib and goodies were in my hands in less than 5 minutes. The shirt for this was a black jacket with the logo embroidered on the left chest (photo later). It is probably the nicest freebie I've gotten at a race and I hate to say it, but I liked the red t-shirts that were laid out better. Not sure who got the red t-shirts instead of the jacket, but I kind of wished I could trade.

The "expo" part of this was pretty spare - one or two vendor booths, Sportsbackers, Dick's Sporting Goods, and a few others. We zipped right through and headed to the hotel. I'm giving it an A - would've been an A+ if there had been some more vendors.

Race Day Arrival/Parking - D
The race website had suggested that everyone plan to arrive at the race by 8:00 am, as the road into the parking/start area was going to be closed at 8:15 am. Trusty Google maps (and our ride from the field house to the hotel the night before) told me that we could get to the race in 15 minutes.

I hate waking up early (a poor quality for a runner, I know), so I decided that if we left the hotel by 7:35 we'd be more than fine. After my breakfast of 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich and a Gatorade Prime, we hit the road.

My chauffeur

This is before we hit the traffic. When we were less than a mile from the parking lots and sports complex, we hit a parking lot. And it was raining.

Two things that I hate: traffic and rain.

It was 7:55 when we hit this. I figured we'd be fine - we were only 1 stop light away from the sports complex. But no, it took us 20 minutes to go 1/2 mile and we were at the stoplight when the police closed off the road at 8:15. I was not amused by this at all. The sports complex is right to the big Virginia Beach Amphitheater that holds thousands and thousands of people for concert events and they couldn't handle 3,000 people coming to a race?

Because we couldn't access the parking lots that we were supposed to be in, we ended up following some other other cars who were obviously filled with racers and parked illegally (shhh) in a hospital parking lot that was close to the sports complex. We then had to walk about 1 mile to get to the start, which was right outside of the field house where we had picked up my packet the night before and where the finish line would be.

Start Area - B+

Finally at the starting line!
Race Day outfit:
Brooks Ravennas
Injinji Toe Socks
Lululemon running crops (from BF, my first piece of Lulu)
Lululemon Run Swiftly Tech Short Sleeve (it's my pink sadly you can't see it here)
Lululemon Featherweight Hybrid Running Jacket
Lululemon Running Hat (not sure of the "real" name)
Lululemon Run Mittens 

Of course I had to go to the bathroom even though I had already gone 3 times before leaving the hotel. Luckily, I had "my person" with me (I refer to my non-runner race escort as "my person") so that he could hold all of the stuff that I had to take off before going into the port-o-john.

There were more than enough johns, so the line moved quickly and the one that I used was shockingly clean.

After putting all of my stuff back on, we listened to the National Anthem, which was song by Mrs. Virginia, then I went to get into my corral. There were 5 corrals and I was assigned to corral 2, so naturally I lined up behind the flag that said "corral 2" on it. This race actually started in waves, meaning that they let corral 1 go, then held corral 2 for 30 seconds before letting them go. Because of this, I figured out that I had not lined up in the proper corral because the announcer started talking about corral 3 and welcoming us to the start line. I didn't really care that much, but was kind of annoyed that I somehow lined up wrong.

Course - B
Good things about the course:
1. Flat
2. Good course support. Water stations every two miles or so and it looked like there were a couple port-o-johns at each. I carry my own water so that I don't have to slow down at water stations and luckily didn't have to utilize any port-o-johns (thank goodness), so I can't speak to the quality of either.
3. Some entertainment including DJs and a cheer leading squad.
4. For the most part the course was paved and wide. We spent a lot of time on streets with a few detours - one through the gravel parking lot at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater, then into the Amphitheater itself (which was neat), then through recreational field areas where the path was paved but very narrow - about 3 people wide.
5. Cute "decor." There were themed portions of the race such as Lovers Lane, where a couple was actually getting married during the race (they ran the race too - their wedding party got an 8 minute head start then they started 5 minutes before everyone else). Along the lane people had sponsored signs with little messages of encouragement/love. My favorite said, "Hey Dad, how about you take us for a walk when this is over? Love, Gizmo and Rocky." In the Amphitheater there were signs with the titles of love themed songs (Love is a Battlefield, I Would Do Anything For Love, Love Stinks, etc). There was another mile of Valentine's jokes (What did the girl sheep say to the boy sheep? I love ewe.) and cheesy pick up lines lined Mile 7.

The meh:
1. Not very scenic. The area that we were in included a sports complex, a hospital complex, an outdoor theater complex, and the section of recreational fields (soccer, tennis, etc). P-r-e-t-t-y b-o-r-i-n-g. Maybe I've been spoiled as the majority of my races have been run in Richmond, Washington DC, along the beach in Ocean City, and in Charlottesville.
2. Very exposed with little shade or cover from trees or building. It was cloudy and overcast the entire time, which I was thankful for. If it had been sunny and on the warm-ish side, it could have gotten hot and uncomfortable very fast. If it had been raining, I would have gotten completely soaked.
3. Accuracy. I don't think that the course was measured accurately. I hit start on my Garmin as I crossed the  start line, and as the race went on I was consistently hitting my miles a little bit before the mile-marker flags. A 14k is supposed to be 8.7 miles (8.699) but my Garmin read a total of 8.73 miles.

The Finish - A
The finish line was actually inside of the field  house. After crossing, each runner was immediately handed their medal and a carnation.

It doubles as a bottle opener. WHOA!

The weird thing was that after the finish line, they had large plexiglass barriers up between the finished runners and the spectators. J was able to find me and he banged on the glass to get my attention. It kind of felt like I was in quarantine or something. Food and liquids were right around the corner. I skipped past the bananas (I hate bananas... another bad runner quality that I have) and opted to grab the bars they were handing out - "Eat Think Smile Natural Energy Bars" - never heard of 'em. There was plenty of Gatorade and water available as well. Then, as if we had enough hands to carry something else, they handed us our "special surprise" which was a beer glass with the Virginia is for Lovers logo.

Apparently you were supposed to use this in the finish festival, but I was so God-blessedly hot that all I could think was that I had to get back outside as quickly as possible. As soon as I found J we bolted out of the building, but the people who were taking advantage of the free beer and Moe's looked to be happy enough.

I wish this Acura had been a prize!

All the swag - race jacket, medal, and beer cup

Overall Grade - B
I think I would run it again. If I do, I will definitely arrive earlier. The arrival was the worst part of the race and being frustrated and rushed is not a good way to start things out.

Personal Performance - A
This race was great for me. I tried really hard to go slow my first mile and then to shoot for an average of 9 minutes per mile. It was the longest I have ever run without stopping to walk - I had to walk a few times during the Army 10 miler thanks to stomach issues. Near the end I started to get some pain in my left hip and my arches, which usually means that I need a new pair of shoes (which is probably true... I was going to try to hold out until after the half marathon but after this, I don't know).

I found myself running faster and faster as the race went on and it felt great. Part of this might have been my motto playing into things (the faster you run, the faster you're done). Around mile 7 I decided I was just too hot so I unzipped my jacket and wrestled it over my race belt. Of course as soon as I did that, there was a turn in the course and we suddenly found ourselves running directly into a very strong, cold headwind. I was freezing and just wanted to be finished.

Here's what the all-powerful Garmin has to say:

I see negative splits!

My official results say I finished in 1:19:29, 406 place out of 2901. I'd say that's not too shabby!

I hope I can keep this pace up for the half - if I do, I have a shot of finishing sub-60:00. But I don't know, it depends on if I get any hip or arch pain, because that really killed me near the end, despite what the numbers say.

Songs of the Race:
Mile 4 - "So Happy I Could Die" Lady Gaga
Mile 6 - "Beautiful Day" U2
Mile 7 - "The Cave" Mumford and Sons

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Rain in Spain

I watched My Fair Lady  the other night so when trying to think of a fun title for this post, that's the first thing that popped into my head.

Sadly, this entry has nothing to do with the rain in Spain staying mainly in the plain. The rain, it seems, is staying mainly in Virginia. And I want it to go away.

I already mentioned that they are calling for rain in Virginia Beach this Saturday, which is conveniently when I'm supposed to be running the Virginia is for Lovers 14k. My attempts to rein (punny!) in my obsessive checking of the forecast on haven't been successful. Right now, the chance of rain is not only still there, but it now is specifically calling for MORNING rain. And wind.


Despite all of my whining, I'm going to tell you that I'm not really a pansy runner.

Ok, maybe a little bit.

I will run in the cold and in the snow. When training with the Y group for my first 10k, it snowed or iced or was freezing cold with biting winds for most of our group runs. That didn't phase me. I will run in a misty/drizzly kind of rain as long as it isn't too cold. For instance, it had been raining for days before September's Maymont 8 Miler and it rained on and off during the race. This was a trail race with lots of tree cover, so I didn't even know it was raining until my husband told me at the finish line.

But I will not run if it is hovering in the 30s and raining. During the summer I turn into a total wuss. I absolutely despise sweating - yeah, I know, I picked the wrong sport - so if the thermometer is above 70* you will find me on the dreadmill or putting in my 5483020 laps around the indoor track at the Y. Maybe I should have made one of my resolutions for 2012 to be to toughen up when it comes to running in the heat.

Anyhow, I have been so looking forward to this race (mainly because of it's cute name and equally cute medal) that I am considering throwing my pansy ways out the door and still running the race, even if it is raining.

Medal from 2 years ago. Adorable, right? Worth being wet and cold?

Of course what is more likely to happen is that I will have done all of this fretting for nothing. I will show up to the race on Saturday at 8 am and then run my 8.69919 miles and it won't rain at all.

Is there a certain type of weather you hate to run in?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Feeding the Lululemon Monster

I have a very bi-polar relationship with Lululemon. I've been inspired to write this post because I just blew $80 on this Define Jacket from Lululemon and I'm conflicted about it.

Let's start at the beginning. The Lululemon Monster first got my best friend in 2010. I gave her a bunch of crap and rolled my eyes as she spent gobs of money on over priced clothing to sweat in. My own work out wardrobe was mainly purchased at Target. My philosophy was that if I'm just going to make it smell gross, why should I spend more than $20 on it? I had gotten along just fine with my Target dri fit shirts, sports bras, and pants.

BF tried valiantly to persuade me to try Lululemon. She came to visit and let me wear her $120 Scuba Hoodie around for a while, assuming that once I had a piece of it on my body I wouldn't be able to live without it.

I resisted.

Then she threatened to buy me Lululemon for my birthday. I tried to fend her off. "I don't want that overpriced stuff!" "You're crazy!" "STOP WASTING YOUR MONEY!"

Eventually I ended up going to the local store and trying some things on to see what size I was because if she was going to insist, I didn't want her to waste her $$ on buying the wrong size. Somehow I made it out of the store without buying anything. The cheapest thing that I tried on was a $39 work out tank that I could not justify buying.

My birthday came and my presents from BF were a pair of Lululemon running crops that I don't believe they make anymore and a grey Run: Swiftly Tech shirt.

I fell in love with the running crops. Before I knew it, I found myself buying a few Cool Racerback tanks and Flo Y bras.

Her plan had worked. I was hooked. I jokingly refer to her as my pusher. And we are terrible influences on each other. I try to restrict myself to the We Made Too Much "sale" section of the website. I say "sale" with quotes because even on sale, this stuff is ridiculously overpriced. Even though I clearly know this, I keep buying it.

Before I even got to work this morning, BF had texted me to tell me that they had added some jackets to the WMTM section. All Lulu addicts know that checking the WMTM section obsessively and pouncing as soon as your desired item appears is absolutely necessary because if you don't, it will be gone forever or the only way you will be able to get it is by paying someone 3x retail price on eBay. Or you will just spend the rest of your days saying, "If only I had been able to get that Surge Stripe Cool Racerback. I just know my life would have been better."

This is where the jacket pictured above appeared this morning. I sat and waffled.

The angel on my shoulder said:

Do you really need to spend $80 on a jacket right now? You could really use new work clothes. $80 would buy two pairs of work pants or 2 sweaters or 2 shirts. $80 is what you spend on groceries for a week. $80 is two tanks of gas. $80 would buy five work out tops at Target. You already have a Define jacket. And a black Northface jacket. And what about that pesky credit card that you swore you would have paid off by the end of 2011?

The devil on the other shoulder chimed in:

But look! It's $79 instead of $108! The Define that you already have is dark - this light one would be more visible at night. It'll make you safer! If you wait too long, it'll be sold out. Then you'll be sorry. Oh, and if you sell that Glacier Life Power Y Tank on the exchange for $40, you're really only spending $40 more! A Define for $40 - you can't beat that! Besides, your credit card balance isn't so bad. You deserve this jacket - make it an early "Way to go on your half marathon!/Happy Birthday to Me!" present.

Well, you already know who won. The devil. I justified away my $80 jacket, even though I know that it's ridiculous.

So how do they do it? How do they make an otherwise semi-frugal and reasonable woman spend $80 on a jacket she doesn't really need?

Keep reading after the cut if you want to know my theory.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Great Timing

My post about spontaneity could not have been better timed if I had planned it, because nothing about this evening's run went according to plan.

And I was 100% fine with it!

I was scheduled to meet Prabir at our usual time and in our usual spot for a 5 mile run. It had been raining off and on all afternoon and it wasn't clear whether we'd get rained out or not. Prabir ended up being caught up in a meeting at the last minute, so I offered to meet him at his work instead of at the Y as usual.

While I waited for Prabir to appear, I snapped a few photos.

Guess where? It'll be a Richmond Rave at some point.

Because we were starting in a completely new location, I had nothing planned when it came to route, so we just started running using the beep of the Garmin as it ticked off the miles as our guide. We decided early on to do just 4 miles, and we got there in a round-about way.

It was pretty cold tonight , but I enjoy a cold run. It was fun to mix it up and start somewhere new. And as always, Prabir had plenty of predicaments that he needed to talk out as we ran. I played my usual role of bitchy therapist.

Now we are watching GMU take on HOFSTRA. Mason in particular is finding the game very stimulating.

We're down by 1 point at the half. I think I need some Oreos to deal with this stress. HOFSTA is a 2-11 team!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Spontaneity = Good?!

For those of you who know me, you know that I am not a spontaneous person. Actually, I am the complete opposite. I am a planner. The type that I call "Planny Plannerston." I write a week of menus to inform my grocery list. I write packing lists even if I'm only going away to my parents' house for the weekend. I have a giant spreadsheet that I use to plot out our household cash flow and budget plan for at least the next 6 months. I schedule everything far in advance (October 2012 is already pretty booked).

You get the point.

If something doesn't go according to my carefully laid plans, I get very upset.

While planning can come in handy, my obsessive levels of plotting can also wreak havoc on me. I get very stressed if things aren't working out the way I planned. I fret and worry in advance if things are looking like they might not work out perfectly.

Believe it or not, I was NOT a bridezilla (but that's another story).

So why am I going on about this? Because my obsessive planning can really be a help to my running. And a hindrance.

For instance, yesterday I got my panties in a giant twist because the weather forecast is calling for a 30% chance of rain this Saturday - the day of the Virginia is for Lovers 14k. Obviously my plans for this race did not include rain. I then obsessively checked every hour to see if the forecast changed.

This morning I woke up and immediately grabbed my iPhone to check the weather forecast. Then I said to myself, "Kathryn, this has got to stop. You can't change the weather. Just let it GO!"

In an effort to tone down the obsessiveness, I tried to just let it go when it came to tonight's run. I had to bump my half marathon training plan by a week when I got sick earlier this month and was out of commission for a few days. When I transferred the weeks, I somehow missed this one - so there was (gasp) no Training Plan to dictate my running this week. I have the 14k this Saturday (as long as it doesn't rain, that is...) so I'm going to take it a bit easy.

Thanks to the lack of bossypants Training Plan, I decided that I wasn't going to try to aim for anything in particular this evening. No goal distance, pace, or pattern. If I felt like running 5 miles, I would run 5. If I felt like 3, I would run 3. I would run at whatever pace felt good without obsessively checking my Garmin to see how fast I was going.

Here are the results:

I also completely changed up my course tonight. This is a big deal for me. Usually I obsessively plot out my running routes on then commit them to memory before I set out. Once I had a 4 mile/5 mile/6 mile route plotted out, I stuck with what I knew.

Getting the Garmin has helped me embrace a little bit of spontaneity in my run, but usually it was limited to running on a street parallel to my normal.

At the start of tonight's run, I kept running into my arch nemesis, Red Light. I did not want Red Light to ruin my momentum again, so the third time I ran into one I decided that instead of waiting I would take a left and keep going into an area where there aren't nearly as many pesky traffic lights.

It was very refreshing to mix things up. I need to do it more often because I find things in Richmond that I never knew about before. For instance, tonight I discovered a Starbucks at Robinson and Stuart that I never knew existed. Good to know! I even decided to run through a park that I usually just run around.

So, lesson learned for the night? Spontaneity = good. Planny Plannerston can take a backseat sometimes and the world won't stop.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Well Lookie Here

Guess what I did today?

Yep! I managed to get all of my other "priorities" taken care of and get those pesky 2 miles in. I have to remember that it takes less than 20 minutes to do 2 miles and there really is no excuse for not doing it. I ran these two in my neighborhood - the first time I've ever run in the neighborhood. I know that sounds weird, but it's true.

By the way, those were supposed to be easy miles. I really need to learn how to tone it down. Geesh. These are probably the fastest two miles I've ever run!

Here's what else I accomplished:

  • Oil change for the baby car. The battery is 100% fine, so that's good news. Who knows why she was being testy in Maryland... probably wasn't used to the cold.
  • Starbucks and Valentine's shopping at Target
  • Grocery shopping
  • After the 2 miler, took Mason out for a 1.3 mile walk
  • Laundry
Made guacamole from scratch

I will enjoy scarfing this down during the Super Bowl tomorrow

I fell in love with guacamole in December and have been itching to make some at home. Husband does not like guacamole, so I've been waiting until I had a party to take it to. I used Pioneer Woman's Pico de Gallo and Guacamole recipe. It was so very easy and based on the little bit that I allowed myself to eat this afternoon, it's delicious.

And it's also GEORGE MASON GREEN! 

Mason and I cheering on George Mason Men's Basketball

Mason, Husband, and I cheered on my boys this evening in their big win against Old Dominion. The first half was U-G-L-Y but we somehow pulled it out. Actually, it was ugly until Husband stopped watching and went upstairs. Hmm... connection?

Now I'm settling in with some Oreos, a cup of milk, and My Fair Lady on AMC. A great end to a productive day.

Oh and one last thing....

Mason is now #1 in the CAA YEAHHHHH BABY.