Monday, July 30, 2007

I guess I'm the one who needs to acclimate... once again I felt like I was running a quick pace, but overall, it came out to a 10minute per mile average on a 4 mile run, which was just as flat as it was hilly.... gotta be the humidity! But I feel good. MOB and I did a 16 mile bike ride on Sunday - I'm liking the biking... it's tough but not as tough as running - at least you get a chance to coast now and then...

MOB and I are going to do the Atlanta Track Club 5k on August 18. Yay! Something to look forward to. And I get to run with MOB. Well, I get to see him at the start line and finish line at least - and that's good enough for me.
I really like this bride's dress... and yes, there's a reason I'm looking at pictures of wedding dresses... these two sites have been a really terrific idea resource for a very small non-traditional ceremony... and

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Maybe my standards are too high, I don't know, but does anyone know of a decent 10k in August near the ATL? None of these are getting me raring to go... I know - it's August, it's Georgia, but hasn't anybody acclimated yet? I may do the ATC Grand Finale 5k just because it's less than a mile away and only $5...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

For whatever reasons and none of them good probably, I didn't run since last Saturday. My motivation is still low. I love the Wednesday night group, but I realized today that while the challenge they offer is going to ultimately improve my running, it's a bit demotivating and demoralizing to always be the last one in. I need to add something to my training, like a few 5 or 10Ks to get some sense of accomplishment out of all this hard training. Any half or full marathons that I had in the plans for this year are no longer in the picture. I'll be scouting around to figure out what else is out there for me.

Today I decided to do something completely different for a Saturday. No long run. Instead I tried some impromptu tempo training, without any training plan in place for what I'm trying to accomplish. I'll try to get around to creating a time-improvement training plan for either a 10K or half marathon. I'll try to get back into marathon training towards the end of the year with the Georgia Marathon in March 2008. (Hm, the word "try" has appeared several times in this last paragraph. I'm blocking out the little yoda voice that is at the moment saying "there is no try, there is only do...")

Here's my stats for today's run.
Time: 10am, Terrain: flat, stayed in Piedmont Park the whole time, ran a mile warm-up and 3 1/2 mile repeats at the running track and a mile cool-down. Weather: warm and very humid, some light rain. Total mileage: 3.5

8.04 roughly 1 mile
1 minute rest
4.11 1/2 mile
2.41 minute rest
4.10 1/2 mile
3.47 rest
4.19 1/2 mile
4.23 rest
8.41 roughly 1 mile

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Today's route.
10.30 pace. I was kind of surprised that it came out that slow, it felt like I was running a decent clip, but then - look at these hills!

Around 8am as as I entered Piedmont Park, the previous night's rain was steaming up from the ground like a thick fog and I heard the sound of a bagpipe floating across the lake. There were no events today in the park and not many people out at this time yet. I expected to find someone decked out in the traditional Scottish kilt, but instead, I saw the bagpiper in t-shirt and shorts practicing by the side of the lake. It made for a nice start to the run.

At 8 miles, I had to make a decision - turn left and go another 4 as planned, taking me down the Freedom Path, with not much shade and more hills or turn right and take the shady, downhill path home. Looking at the map now, I realize why I decided turned right at that point.

By the time I came back to the park, cars were lined up trying to get into the small parking lot and there were tons of people everywhere - soccer, volleyball, softball, bootcamps, runners, walkers, dog-walkers. The bag-piper was long gone. All the foggy steam had evaporated off leaving a bright blue sky and a pleasant breeze. Nice day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

8.41 pace on this hilly route. I was the last one in. I love this group!
Culinary inspiration has been completely absent from my life during past month or so. MOB's been doing a great job at keeping me well-fed, but whenever it's been my turn (which has been less frequently lately) the results have been as lackluster as my running (not that MOB would ever complain - one of the many reasons I like him so much :) ). I was getting frustrated with myself because I know that the reason has been simple lack of effort. I can cook better than I have been.

So, last night I decided to get back on the horse and I tried the recipe for Creole Stuffed Tomatoes torn out from a recent Creative Loafing. Was it ever good. And not that difficult to make. More filling than I expected too. I served it with couscous (spelled right?), which turned out to be a good pairing as the tomatoes release a lot of tasty juice when you cut them open.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

12.3 today. The first 10 were great, the last 2.3 were a struggle. I am beginning to wonder if I should carry some kind of gel with me to help me once I pass that 10 mile mark. I usually have a bowl of Cheerios before I go out on these long runs and that seems to help my energy level for those first 10 miles. After that wears off though, I really feel like I am running on empty. I will have to be careful in what I choose though, because I have a very sensitive stomach - especially to sugary stuffs.

I am happy that there hasn't been any knee pain to speak of.

During the Wednesday runs with the speed demons, another runner and I discussed whether it was our aerobic capacity that was holding us back. The legs feel okay, but the heart and lungs just can't seem to work hard and fast enough to keep up. I guess that will improve if I continue to run with them, but I wonder if there are other things I can start doing to help. Yeah, like I have the time for it even if there was!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My legs were beyond tired when I attempted an easy 6-miler on Tuesday morning. I made it out to the park, but it didn't take long for me to completely lose my motivation and wind up leaning on a wall by Lake Clara Meer to watch the ducks paddling around. I managed to jog/walk back home and resolved to try again at lunchtime. At lunchtime I made a very lackluster run up to the Highlands and back with plenty of walk breaks. Not my proudest moment, but c'mon - I did an 11.3 miler on Saturday and an 18 mile bike ride on Sunday.

MOB's right - I need to get a training plan together or my motivation will continue to swing wildly.

Tonight's run was another tough one with the Oakhurst running group. Still a great group, but every time I run with them, there are parts of the route where I think my heart is going to leap out of my throat and roll down the hill behind me. And if it did, I wouldn't have the energy to chase after it. In the end, even though I'm usually the last one in, I'm doing really good compared to how I'd do on my own. That keeps me coming back to these guys.

As for the drawing / art stuff: I'm still working on the surprise gift for someone so I can't share pictures of what I'm doing, but I'm getting a lot done and am very excited to keep working on this. I'm mainly doing pen drawings and have bought some nicer colored pens with very very fine points. Really happy with the results and am finding it easier to draw and sketch more often.

I think the increase of creativity is making me dream more at night. I wake up nearly every morning with some dream or another in my head. That hasn't happened in a very long time. A few days ago, I woke up in the middle of a dream about taking care of a horse. That's a good sign. Usually when I dream of horses, I'm in a good place in my life.

Speaking of good places, MOB and I received a very generous gift from a friend of mine - a gift certificate for both of us to take part in last Tuesday's Blues Beer dinner at The Brickstore. It was a very well organized event, with tasty food and delicious beers. We were sat at a table with a couple of guys who were pleasant enough and one in particular shared MOB's passion for beer and running. I highly recommend attending any of these events at the Brickstore. Apparently, they have an ulterior motive in that they're trying out some menu items for the restaurant that they will be opening in Grant Park sometime soon. I don't mind being their guinea pig!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

11.3 miles today and they felt great. I did the 8 and 1 run/walk intervals and focused on running on the balls of my feet (my whole foot lands, it's just that my weight is on the ball when each foot lands where it used to be that I would land on the heel and transfer the weight to the balls of my feet. I've seen people who run only on the balls of their feet, the heel never touching down and that just looks weird to me.) My pace felt good. Overall, including the walk breaks, it took 1 hour and 57 minutes, about a 10 minute pace on a moderately hilly route. No knee pains. My calves have been really tight the last couple of weeks, probably because of this new running style. I can tell I'm going to have to start stretching more on off days.

It's great to have motivation again. Now that I look back on it, I think I lost it around the same time that I started thinking that I wouldn't be able to do Chicago. I really really want to do that race. I don't know why that one has me hooked more than any other. Maybe because I've always loved Chicago as a city, maybe because I've heard so many great stories about the marathon there. Maybe because I wanted to run that one as my first but then let logistics get in the way of my planning... and maybe that's why I'm even more determined not to let logistics stop me again.

Who knows. All I know right now is that I'm feeling much better about running again.

Oh, I forgot to mention that during the Peachtree, I ran past this guy. Very inspiring.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Finally got a sketch done this week!

I am going to try to focus on improving my technique with the black pens before I think about color for now. A little water color on this would be nice, but I will hold off.

On the running front, things have been getting better and my motivation is improving. Yesterday's Peachtree was a lot of fun, even though I got very little sleep the night before. I managed to run through with no walk breaks. I didn't try to sprint at the end like I would normally or push myself too hard; I just wanted to enjoy it and I did. I ended up finishing in 54 minutes, which is not my worst, not my best, and totally okay with me.

MOB was just after mile 5 watching the race and it was the first time out of five Peachtrees that I saw someone I knew among the thousands of spectators. It was a nice feeling and gave me a boost at the end when I needed it most.

Last week, I made it to the Oakhurst Running group again even though they nearly killed me the first two times. Killed me with speed that is. They are really a friendly group and one of the runners makes sure that no one gets left behind, which is nice. Last Wednesday was a little better because 1. I was better prepared by having a bottle of water with me and 2. there were people running (or willing to run) at a little slower pace - which was still very fast and challenging for me but not impossible. I think our little group of 4 (the laggers) ran at about an 8.30 pace for 5.2 hilly, hot, humid miles.

My thoughts about marathon plans are currently in a state of flux, shifting over to actually going up to run the Chicago marathon (which I've been registered for since early in the year). I may miss my niece's wedding, but they (my sister and my niece) have already indicated that this was okay. I don't think it would phase them. And, it may be an afternoon wedding, in which case I could go to the ceremony and skip the reception. Now the only issue is looking into the hotel at such a late date... I wish I hadn't fluctuated in my planning in the first place because there was an awesome deal lined up for me that I let pass. It's no longer available.