Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August reading recap

August is done? Already? Where'd the last 31 days go?

The good news? I read in August. No more one book months for me. No sir. I finished three books for a total of 1,384 pages. That brings the yearly total to 21 books and 7,991 pages. For comparison's sake, I had finished 22 books and 8,080 pages by the end of August last year. So I'm a little more than halfway to my goal of 40 books by the end of the year. Which would be great. Except there's only four months left. Gulp. Good thing I've got my eye on some shorter, quick reads coming up.

So what'd I read in August you ask? Take a look.

Get Lucky by Katherine Center
The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Get Lucky was a mindless chick-lit book. But I totally needed it after reading Schindler's List. The Way the Crow Flies had been sitting on my shelf since 2007 when I bought it, so I figured it was time to crack it open and attempt to read all 820 pages. And yes, I finally jumped on the Sookie Stackhouse bandwagon. Loved the first book of the series, just started the second installment and look forward to reading the rest of them.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Round and round I went

Nine miles is in the books.

I followed through with my plan tonight to head over to the YMCA to get my run in. I went over to the facility on the other side of town, the one I normally don't go to. It's the fancy new one. And it has a running track suspended above the gym. And since I couldn't imagine pounding out 9 miles on the treadmill, that's where I went.

I had a plan. Start the run on the track, see if I can get at least half of it done and then head downstairs to the treadmill where I could entertain myself with the U.S. Open while finishing up the run.

A mile on the track, if you ran in the outside lane, was 11 laps. Easy enough to keep track of. When I got there, a bunch of ladies were just getting done with their walk - which was nice since they were walking four wide on a track with three lanes. That wouldn't have been easy to navigate around. Otherwise there really weren't many people using the track. Just me, a man who walked for about 20 minutes and a woman who started running right before I left.

So I started running. And as usual, I started too fast. But it didn't seem fast. Felt pretty comfortable actually. But I knew that fast first mile would come back and haunt me later. As I was running, and keeping track of lap numbers in my head, I decided to aim for 5 miles on the track, leaving 4 miles for the treadmill. But you know what? I was still feeling pretty good after 5 miles. So I kept running. Threw in a couple of short - half lap - walk breaks at miles 5 and 6 and ended up doing 6.5 miles (72 laps) on the track before heading down to the treadmill for the last 2.5 miles of my run.

Between the track and the treadmill I made a pit stop in the locker room to fill up my water bottle and down a mint chocolate GU.

I stepped on the treadmill, found the U.S. Open and started running. And immediately I thought to myself, I should have stayed upstairs and run in circles for the last 27 laps. That treadmill was brutal. I swear, it was the longest, most painful 2.5 miles I've done in my life. I was running slow. And the walk breaks? They were getting longer. And I felt like everyone - all 6 people left in the cardio room at the YMCA - was looking at me and thinking I had no business trying to run. Granted, they didn't know that I was already on miles 8 and 9 of my run.

But run I did. Kept alternating between a walk, a slow shuffle and some little bursts of "speed" (if you could call it speed). And I was never so happen to see the odometer flip over to 2.5.

Done. The 9-miler is in the books. And looking at the splits, I'm fairly happy with them:

12:33 (little bit more walking here, I was starting to get tired)
11:47 (half mile on the track, half mile on the treadmill) *
11:20 *
12:04 *

Looking at the times, even though I struggled a bit, I think the run/walk combination I was using in the later miles was working for me. I have a feeling that considering the lack of training I've put in for the upcoming Fox Cities Half Marathon on September 19, I may use the run/walk method. And I think I still may be able to put up a somewhat decent time. And not kill myself.

* Miles on the treadmill

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Weekend wrap-up

I've determined weekends need to be longer. Oh, and Mother Nature needs to stop it with the heat and humidity.

But anyway. It was a busy weekend. Dinner with the parents on Friday night, followed up by refreshing - although a bit windy - 13.1-mile bike ride around the airport grounds on Saturday afternoon.  The evening was spent watching the wolves eat their dinner, catching up with the baby baboon and realizing goats have really freaky eyes at the Menominee Park zoo, dinner and a movie. It was a good night (The Last Exorcism, I recommend waiting for it to come out on DVD).

And today was draft day - deciding which NFL players would be lucky enough to call themselves a member of Crime and Grime for the 2010 fantasy football season. There are some returnees from last year's championship team - Peyton and Eli Manning and Dallas Clark - along with some new additions - Wes Welker, Miles Austin and (representing the Green and Gold) Ryan Grant and Donald Driver. Should be a good year.

Anyone notice that a run is missing? There were plans to do an 8- or 9-miler, but I wasn't planning on having enough time to do it Saturday. And today? It was just too dang hot. So the long run has been pushed to Monday. Again. But I have a plan this time. Instead of 8 or 9 miles of the treadmill to nowhere? I'm heading over to the other YMCA in town tomorrow after work. I'm planning on doing a good chunk of the run on the running track (where 10 or 11 laps equals a mile) and finishing out the remaining miles on the treadmill. I think it's a good compromise. Instead of running to nowhere for that many miles, I'll be running in circles. But it'll be better than running outdoors when the mercury has hit 90 and it's humid. Plus when I do make my way to the treadmill? There will be the U.S. Open to watch. Watching tennis while running? Sounds like a deal to me!

Hope you all had a good weekend!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mama Goes Masters Virtual Race Report

If I had received this race for a birthday present, I'd be utterly disappointed.

So MCM Mama, I ran this in honor of your birthday. And I apologize.

Because the 8.25 miles I set out to run on Sunday? Epic. Failure.

Where do I begin?

Let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start....OK, enough of The Sound of Music soundtrack. Sorry). I signed myself up for the 8.25 mile version of the virtual race. I'm in the midst of getting ready for a half marathon in September, and it actually worked out that my long run last weekend was supposed to be 8 miles. No problem. Right? Wrong.

I should have known from the get go that this wasn't going to be pretty. For starters I putzed around all Sunday morning and finally headed out the door at almost 11:30 a.m. Should have just gotten up right away and ran. But I didn't. Second, I believed the weatherman. Seriously. Who believes the weatherman? Apparently I do. Anyway he said that it was supposed to "less humid and more comfortable" on Sunday. Temperatures in the upper 70s and a low dew point. Um, I think it was 80 degrees when I left and slightly humid. And my planning skills? Obviously hiding since the route I planned out? Barely a bit of shade in sight. And there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Made it kind of hot.

But I ran. I set out with my mind set on finishing the 8.25 miles. Probably not fast, but I'd be finishing.

First mile went OK. Started to get warm during the second mile. By mile 3 I was throwing in some short walk breaks. And during those breaks I found myself wondering if I'd truly be able to finish. I was struggling. But I kept running. And I was nearing the turnaround point, where I'd be able to grab some shade for a few minutes while I took a GU and refilled my water bottle.

Then I was introduced to the asphalt.

Yup. One moment I was running along. The next I was sprawled on the road.

I'm not sure what happened. My foot may have gotten caught in a small, baby pot hole. I could have tripped over my own feet. Who knows. All I know is somehow I managed to fling myself to the road.

I sat up quickly. Glanced around. Good. No cars in sight. No one saw me take the digger, except maybe the guy who was mowing his lawn, but he was behind a tree, so chances are he didn't. I stood up and shuffled off to the turnaround point where I assessed my injuries. I still had all my limbs. No bloody knees. Mostly just some road rash on my arm which I used to break my fall. (Although 2 days later my arm/shoulder is super sore)

Here I was, 4 miles into a planned 8.25-mile run and I was hurting a bit. I debated if I should keep running. Ultimately I got on my phone, called my Mom and had her pick me up. She dropped me off in their neighborhood and I ended up doing another 2 miles, so I finished the day with 6 miles.

So I'll have to let the race director, MCM Mama, decide what to do with my results. Technically I signed up for the 8.25 mile version, and since I didn't actually finish, I could post a DNF. But I managed to fall right as I was hitting the 4 mile mark (another race option) at 45 minutes. Problem there is I didn't official "switch" my registration.

So if MCM Mama says I can go with the race switch, I finished the 4 miles in 45 minutes. If I need to stay with the 8.25-mile distance, I'm taking the DNF. It's MCM Mama's birthday (happy birthday!) and her call.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday: Bullet point style

I'm hauling out the bullet points today. Some stuff to say, but not a lot of time. So short and to the point it is.
  • Ended up getting stuck at work late on Friday. Partly due to a bigger story that came together late in the day and partly due to the massive storm that rolled through Oshkosh right about quitting time. And since it was coming down in sheets - sideways - I refused to drive in it. So sitting at my desk late it was. Kind of threw off my post-work plans. So no run.
  • Saturday I spent a good chunk of the day driving around in swanky cars. For a good cause. It was the Drive for a Cure event at one of the local car dealerships. There was a fleet of 100 cars. You went, signed up and drove a pre-determined 11-mile route. The dealer would donate $1 to the Susan G. Komen fund and since breast cancer is something that has touched my family - my grandmother passed away due to it when I was 4 - it's a cause I support whole-heartedly. So I drove. Four different cars - a Nissan Altima, a Lexus sedan, a sporty BMW sedan and (my favorite) an Acura TSX - 44 miles. A good time. For a good cause. I felt speedy. But thankfully I wasn't speedy when I drove by those cops who were sitting out on the route taking radar.
  • I had an 8-mile run on the plan for Sunday. I was going to add on an extra quarter-mile and count it for MCM Mama's Mama Goes Masters virtual race. It was ugly for so many reasons. Look for the race report soon.
  • I haven't run since Sunday.Blame it on that ugly run Sunday. Hoping to sneak in a run on Wednesday after my nephew's birthday party.
That's it. Hopefully I'll be back to somewhat regular blogging (and blog reading) habits soon.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I'm skipping the run tonight in order to head down to Waterfest, a local concert series we have here in Oshkosh. Considering it wraps up for the summer on Sept. 2 and I haven't been to one concert yet, I figured I better go. Plus a friend and I got our hands on free passes. You can't argue with the four-letter word FREE.

2. I finally got around to registering for the Fox Cities Half Marathon last night. No turning back now. I will be covering 13.1 miles on Sept. 19. I'm guessing it'll be a mix of running and walking. But those miles will be covered. And besides, I remember saying I was going to do the race and focus on having a good time.

3.Making a mental note to update the running playlist. Coldplay's Viva la Vida came on my iPod today. Remembered I really liked that song. And yet it's nowhere to be found on the playlist. That's just wrong.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Schedule? What schedule?

I've determined that for the upcoming Fox Cities Half Marathon it wasn't even worth it for me to stress out about putting together a training schedule.

Because I haven't followed what I put together.

First off it was super abbreviated. When I penciled in runs on my calendar I think it ended up being 7 weeks. Not a ton of time, but I was OK with that. I figured as long as I got the long runs in and a few runs during the week, I'd be able to handle the 13.1 miles.

Well those mid-week runs? Not really happening as often as I'd like. But it's not because I'm not running, because I am. It's just that the times I do run during the week I've got a few other priorities.

Mainly the long run.

See on the schedule the long run is penciled in for Sunday, but I figure if I get it done Saturday or Sunday it's good. Well. That's my problem. I haven't done a single long run on a Saturday or Sunday yet.

Don't believe me? Week 1 I just skipped the long run all together - it was 5 miles I figured I'd be OK. Week 2 was the start of the crazy heat wave. And while I could have done it on my parents' treadmill, I didn't. So Week 2's long run actually got done on Monday.

And Week 3? Well Saturday it was still crazy hot and humid and I spent most of the day running around after The Rugrats and taking them swimming (think of it as cross training). And Sunday? While it was finally cooler temperatures with no humidity there were some wicked winds to deal with. But I thought I'd just do it Monday, maybe head out to the trail after work. Well, I ended up working late and by the time I got done, I was HUNGRY! So I skipped it.

The long run for Week 3? It got done tonight. On a Tuesday. And even though it was perfect running weather, I had to do it indoors on the treadmill since I wasn't sure if I'd be done by the time it started getting dark. But the 7 miles are done. And that's what matters, right? So here's hoping I get in two shorter runs this week yet and then actually do Week 4's 8-mile long run on either Saturday or Sunday. Because as the runs get longer? I can't imagine doing them after work.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. Mother Nature. This is getting ridiculous. Temperatures in the low 90s, dew points in the 70s and a "feels like" temperature of 101? Not funny anymore.

2. Given those conditions, I probably shouldn't complain about the massive headache I've got today considering I spent 4 hours outside this morning standing in the sun. Blame it on work. I had to go watch the SWAT team training involving a gunman who takes a ton of hostages on a college campus. I was drenched by the time I was done. Actually went home to take another shower before going into the office. Of course, I shouldn't complain. Have you guys seen the amount of gear SWAT team members have to wear? Poor guys.

3. The headache means no run for me tonight. So I'm hoping to sneak one in before I go into work Friday afternoon. And considering it's supposed to be just as bad again tomorrow, if the run gets done, it'll probably be done indoors on the treadmill. Again. We'll see if it happens.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I have an announcement

So I found myself filling in the blanks and signing up for another half marathon last night.

No. Not the Fox Cities Half Marathon in September. Heck, I still need to register for that one. Which reminds I should really do that sometime soon.

No. Another one. It'll be half marathon No. 3 for me in 2010. And this one? It's not even in Wisconsin.
I'll be going out to Las Vegas with my sister-in-law and some people she knows from work and we'll all be running the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas half marathon on Dec 5. Should be a good time. I've never been to Las Vegas, so what better way to see the strip than by running 13.1 miles, right? I just hope it's worth the registration fee - a bit pricey for my tastes, but I'm only going to do it once.

Anyone else ever done Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas? Or any other Rock 'n' Roll events? Thoughts?

Oh and for the record. It's still hot. Still humid. Still miserable. So it was another day on the treadmill. This time a four-mile jaunt.

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's summer. I thought I was supposed to get to run outdoors.

Seriously Mother Nature. What have we done to make you so cranky? Because it's been in the upper 80s with dew points hovering in the mid-60s to low 70s for the last week or so. And it's kind of getting old.

Makes running outdoors hard.

Especially when I look at the National Weather Service page at 5:30 p.m. as I'm about to head out the door from work and see that it's 85 degrees, with a 72 dew point and one of those "feels like" temperatures of 95. You don't have to try much harder to get me to skip a run.

But I resisted. Went over to the YMCA and got on a treadmill. Pounded out 6.4 miles to make up for the long run I skipped this weekend. Longest run since Green Bay in May. And first long run of my very short half marathon training program. Legs were starting to get mad at me during the last mile, but kept putting one foot in front of the other. Finished 6 miles in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 30 seconds and tacked on a very slow 0.4 mile cool down.

And even though I did the run indoors, it was still stifling hot. Stomach felt a little queasy at the end. Probably should have hydrated better during the day. But I came home, took a cool shower and ate a light dinner and now I'm just going to relax for the rest of the night.

But Mother Nature? I know the weatherman is telling us this heat and humidity isn't going anywhere this week. But can you change your mind? Weathermen don't mind. They're wrong 90 percent of the time anyway. Thanks.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Showing off my bling

There is a possibility that I'm the last person in Blogland to do this. But on this steamy Sunday in August, I'm taking a few moments to show you folks the bling I've collected. I believe Marlene started off showing us her medal collection and I'm pretty sure every blogger I read has followed suit.

I'm just a little behind.

But my collection. Here it is. I don't display my medals anywhere special. They hang off the edge of the bookcase that sits in the hallway between my living room and bedroom hallway. If people know to look for them, they spot them. Or sometimes the ribbons and medals will catch their eye. Otherwise the medals just kind of hang there. Although I might have to figure something else out since I'm running out of room.

Since the collection is a bit small, I'll take you on a quick tour.
First up, my favorite. It's the medal I got after crossing the finish line at the Green Bay Half Marathon in May 2010. Yeah, the half marathon where I almost cried as I ran the lap around Lambeau Field. The half marathon that marked the end of my battle with The Monster.
And since we're talking about the end of The Monster, we've got to go back to the beginning too. This is the medal I got after finishing the Fox Cities Half Marathon in September 2007. My first half marathon. And it was about 2 months later that The Monster invaded my head.
The Danskin Sprint Triathlon and two Trek Women's Triathlon medals I've collected over the last three years. The one on the left with the green ribbon, that came from the Danskin Sprint Triathlon in July 2008, my very first triathlon. The two Trek Women's Triathlon medals were from 2009 (center) and 2010 (right).
And these are the few age group medals I've gotten my hands on. Three are from the indoor triathlons my YMCA has put on over the last two years, but the one with the skinny red ribbon? That's actually from a 5K, Run for the Paws, that I did last Labor Day with my friend. Granted, it was a really really small race (like 30 people tops), but I was still proud of my age group award.

So those are my medals. Like I said, it's kind of a small collection, but I'm proud of each one. And I'm hoping to add some more bling to bookshelf in the coming months. In fact, stay tuned this week. I'll have an announcement coming up.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. The nasty humidity we've been dealing with all week has finally broken. So of course I was excited to get outside for a run tonight after work. Too bad that was an epic failure. Blame it on the fact that between noon on Wednesday and 4 p.m. today (a grand total of 28 hours), I spent 18 hours at work and 7 hours sleeping. The other three hours? Getting ready for work in the morning, getting ready for bed last night and I'm not sure what I did during that last hour. A night shift to an early morning shift back to back? Leaves a tired Badgergirl who just wants to go home and nap. But I didn't nap. I just crashed in my recliner and stared at the TV. The run? It'll get done tomorrow.

2. I started a new book the other day, The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald. I don't buy a ton of books, instead relying on my local library to get stuff to read. But this is one that I actually own. And since it's been sitting on my shelf since July 2007 (yes, the receipt was stuck inside the front cover), I figured it's probably time I read it. It's a long one though. And given my recent reading slackage, I'm crossing my fingers I finish all 811 pages by the end of August.

3. My Dad is over the moon with excitement. Less than a month to go before he gets to see Lady Gaga in concert. And since I'm his driver, I'll be seeing her as well. And yes, I admit. I'm actually looking forward to it. And speaking of my Dad, anyone have tips on what I can say to him to convince him that it's OK to wait until later in the evening to go for his walk? He likes to come home from work and immediately change his shoes and go for his 3 mile walk. Not usually a problem. But when it's 90, the dew point's in the 70s and he just got done working a long day at the hot mill he works at, I think it might be best for him to wait. Or even skip the walk. Or make use of the treadmill in their basement.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

July reading recap

July's reading totals? Yeah. Those would be somewhat pitiful. And even more pitiful when you consider that I spent a week on vacation smack dab in the middle of the month. But at least I read.

The pitiful results? I finished a grand total of one book. Yes. One. As in a single book. I'd feel better if it was at least a monster of a book to finish, but it wasn't. It was 398 pages. So that brings the yearly total to 18 books and 6,607 pages. Kind of eerie, but if you compare where I am this year to where I was at the end of July 2009? At this time last year I had just finished a month when I read one book (apparently July isn't a very reading friendly month) and my yearly totals were 18 books and 6,309 pages. Same number of books, but I've got 298 more pages done this year.

Enough numbers. What'd I read?

Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally

I picked this one up after seeing it on the bookshelf in my room at my parents' house. I've read it once before - in eighth grade before I took a class trip to Washington D.C. where we went through the Holocaust Museum. It was also the same year the movie came out. I wanted to see it, but had to have my Mom take me since it was an R movie and I wasn't close to being 17 years old (or however old you have to be to get into an R movie). I enjoyed it. Actually got a lot more out of it this time through than I did when I read it in junior high. And it reminds me that I find this period in history fascinating. May have to find some other stuff to read on the topic. Suggestions?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Time to stop the slacking

Two months. Two months of limited running.

I really had no excuse. There was no injury. Sure it was kind of hot and humid. And a bit wet - thanks Mother Nature for that 11 inches of rain you gave us in July. And I guess I did put some focus into tri training for High Cliff and Trek Women's. But none of that is any excuse of my fairly infrequent running.

In a perfect world, I would have taken a week or two off to recover from the Green Bay Half Marathon in May. But remember, that was in mid-May. By June 1? I should have been back to a regular running schedule.

I wasn't.

So now I find myself in a predicament where I'm 7 weeks away - 48 days to be exact - from the Fox Cities Half Marathon on Sept. 19. And my longest run since Green Bay? That would be tonight's 4.6 mile jaunt on the treadmill.

But it's a new month. And I've got some new motivation - seriously when you see a number like 48 days staring at you, it'll kick your butt in gear. Starting today I run.

I've got an abbreviated training plan penciled into my calender. I'm aiming for 4 or 5 runs per week with a long run on the weekend. In a perfect world, I would hit 11 miles before half marathon day shows up. But I guess I'd be happy with 10 as well. As for a mindset approaching this half? I'm not out to necessarily hit a PR (although I admit it would be nice), but I'm going to approach it with an attitude that I'm just running it to have fun - which kind of sounds weird. Seriously, when was the last time I ran 13.1 miles for fun?

So that's the plan for the next 48 days. Regain my running mojo. Train for a half. And run it to have a good time (without dying of course). I'm putting it out there so I've got to hold myself accountable now. Help keep me on track guys!