Sunday, February 27, 2011

Songbird Habitat Trail

My plan was to run 1.5 - 3.5 miles to bump up my mileage to no more than 10% over last week. My legs were tired from yesterday's 10 mile hilly run around the mountain. And my body was under-fueled. I managed to lose a pound yesterday and haven't had much of an appetite. Tired legs + under fueled = not a fun run = walk up the hills and jog slowly on the flats/downhills. Plus, part of it (the Songbird Habitat Woods Trail) was a trail that isn't frequently used and was covered with slippery leaves and had a good bit of rocks, so I took it slow to be cautious too.

But, it was a gorgeous day, 73 degrees, so I had an awesome drive to and from Stone Mountain with the top down on my convertible. (the picture here is from the day I bought it and includes my daughter and her current bff a.k.a my other daughter). I wanted to run on the Confederate trail, but all the parking lots near trail intersections were full/overflowing (cars parked on the grass). So I ended up at the more secluded Songbird Habitat Trail. It's a short trail, but a change in scenery is always appreciated. I remember walking here with my friend, Anna, and our daughters about a decade ago, when the girls were 2-3 years old. They chased butterflies on that warm spring day. Fond memories.

Despite today's run not being the best, and not feeling well earlier in the week, I'm happy with my accomplishments this week. I lost an average of 1.7 pounds from last week, logged 24.7 miles (which is my highest weekly mileage in 2011), and maintained my running streak. Groundhog Day #26. Yay! Now, unfortunately or fortunately, my pants are sagging like those silly boys that think they are cool. I hadn't planned on going clothes shopping until I hit my goal weight, but think I might have to buy a few intermediate sized pants if I want to maintain a professional look at the office. 8 pounds does make a difference. Woohoo!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

big red blinkie light

When did 10 miles become "easy"? For the first time in forever, I set out on a 10 mile run with no dread or fear or thoughts of it being hard. I went out with the intention of running very slow and just enjoying a few hours out in the sunshine with the hundreds of other bikers, walkers, hikers, and runners at the park. I've run the 5-mile loop around Stone Mountain many times over the past few decades and know it's a hilly route. But I've also learned how to manage those hills... walk when needed.

It was a gorgeous day; 65 degrees and sunny. My favorite parking lot was overflowing with cars when I arrived, but thankfully I snagged the last spot in the next lot. I wore my camelbak and had 3 fun-size snickers instead of energy gels. They are easier on my tummy than the sports gels, and taste better too without the stickiness of gel packets. I started slow and remained slow. I took 30 second walk breaks up some of the steepest hills, and jogged the rest. I was honestly surprised when I finished the second loop and felt like I could easily run another lap (5 miles). But I stuck to my plan of 10 LSD (long slow distance).

Near the end of my first lap, a woman on a bike with a big blinkie red light on the back passed me. She seemed so chipper pushing up the hill. She wasn't on the bike pictured, but she was just as bright and glowing. I couldn't help but wonder... is that Katie that posts regularly on Daily Mile? I didn't see her face, but saw long blond hair. When I returned home and sat down to log my run in Daily Mile, I noticed that she had posted a 15 mile bike ride at the mountain in shorts and a tank top. I couldn't help but ask if that was her... it was.

I completely enjoyed this 10 mile easy run. So what made it "easy"? Slow pace, perfect weather, and...  the number one contributor: my running streak. Groundhog day #25

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In the eyes of the beholder

If I had been listening to my iPod during this lunch time run, as I normally do, it would have been just another ordinary average run. A happy one because I exceeded my goal of beating my pace from a month ago on this same route (11:48 avg on 1/19, goal today was 11:45 avg, accomplished 11:33 avg). But what made this run truly extraordinary would have gone unnoticed if I weren't tuned into my surroundings. This route passes the high school and elementary school.

As I was approaching the elementary school, I noticed a teacher with 3 or 4 visually impaired children standing beside the sidewalk. As I got closer, I heard her describing to the children the noises they were hearing ("we're near the road", "cars are approaching", "a bird is chirping", "a lawn mower is cutting the grass", etc.). I was tuned into their conversation and ran past without saying a word. As I passed, with thudding footsteps and slightly heavy breathing, one little boy said during a pause in the teacher's description, "and someone is running. Is that a high school track star?" This totally made my day! and would not have been known/heard if I had earbuds in my ear. Life is so much sweeter when experienced totally.

Later, my daughter drew on my hand. A star makes you special, a smiley face makes you happy, a heart makes you loved... she explained. Life is grand!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

groundhog day #22

Groundhog day #22. Felt awesome to get in a solid 3+ miles this morning! I've been preparing and packing my meals/snacks yesterday and today to make sure I stay gluten-free. Yesterday and today I had no gluten, but apparently the effects from the weekend lingered through this evening. Daisy enjoyed checking out my lunch bag :-)

Monday, February 21, 2011

gluten hates me

After the race on Saturday, I went to Ally's house to pick up kiddo. They had just finished grilling hamburgers, and freshly sauteed onions that smelled heavenly, and kindly offered one to me. I couldn't resist. I was starving and LOVE burgers and onions, and wanted to spend a little extra time chatting with their family. I thought for a second about eating it bun-less, knowing how massively improved my digestive system has been since going gluten-free, but didn't want to appear to be weird, so I ate the amazingly delicious burger the traditional way... on a white bun. What was I thinking? Obviously I wasn't! That evening, the traditional gluten-intolerant symptoms reappeared. No fun. The next day wasn't much fun either. The following day, today, a federal holiday, I had plans to go to a lunch movie with a friend, but she had to cancel last minute for work reasons...  So... what to do? Might as well go to my favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch. Not sure if there is gluten in the tortilla chips, but I didn't care at that moment since I was already having issues from the bun on Saturday. Might as well enjoy comfort food...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Run the Reagan half marathon

Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious! I had planned to run this half marathon with Tonya, but she had to cancel last minute to fly to Wisconsin to be with her mom who is in the hospital. I almost backed out, since I haven't run anything over 6 miles in the past month and wasn't sure about leaving kiddo home alone for the morning because she woke with a sore throat on Friday.

But... Friday after school, kiddo called me and said she has a group science project due on Monday and the kids needed to get together to work on it. They ended up at Ally's house. Later I called to check on their progress, and spoke to Ally's mom. She asked if I was going to run the race and said they always volunteer. Then it clicked!... I remembered seeing them at an aid station during the last few years! I explained my predicament, that kiddo was originally going to spend the night with Tonya's family, but that fell through so I was backing out of it rather than leaving kiddo home alone. She said that she was more than welcome to spend the night with them and help them at their aid station in the race, which is the last one before the turn around point. Kiddo wanted to, so now the race was back on.

Best part of the race? Kiddo ran with me for the middle mile of the half marathon, from aid station to turn around and back to her aid station. That was such a boost! She wanted to run faster, but I explained the importance of a slower pace in a longer race, and she stuck with me. Since she compromised for me, I compromised for her and "raced" her the last 20'ish yards back to the aid station. She won, of course!

The 5K was underway as I arrived at their turn around point. Running with the 5K people the last mile and a half of the race was also a huge encouragement. Some were running, some were walking, most were breathing hard and I was experiencing brain fog as I pushed as hard as I could to the finish. I saw my neighbor, Sarah, just ahead of me in her first 5K ever. I was a little disappointed in the medal; the one last year was so much cooler, but this year isn't the ugliest one I've received.

After the last half marathoner went through the turn-around aid station, they packed up and went to the finish line. Kiddo saw one of her classmates running the 5K. Now she wants to run the half marathon next year. She's only 12 and hated running until a month ago. Woohoo!

(after we got home, she wanted to go to the park to run. She wanted to run 3 miles faster than her classmate ran the 5K this morning. I was shocked and impressed!)

Groundhog Day #18 - "Think it will be an early spring?" Yes... I should have worn sunscreen. Was 68 degrees and sunny at the end of the race. Then I had to drive with the top down, and go to the park, etc. All day in the sun without sunscreen was not a smart move. OW, my face is fried!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

kiddo asked me to run!

I needed to go into work insanely early, so I planned to do my run in the evening. Imagine my surprise when kiddo called and wanted me to hurry home from work so we could go for a run together with the pups! I've dreamed of this day... She's always hated running, but her new PE teacher is obviously a great influence! Fun run/walk by the light of the moon. Thought this would be a great opportunity to continue breaking in my Newton Gravitas. LOVE these shoes!
Groundhog Day #14

Saturday, February 12, 2011

skating legs

Once upon a time... many, many years ago...  I spent way too much time in a tiny little town on a business trip. On this trip, I worked long hours in a stressful environment in a town that had very little to offer in terms of entertainment. I've always hated running in cold weather. The small town didn't offer much, but it did have an ice skating rink so I decided to skate instead of run to relieve stress. I spent hours gliding around the rink as fast as I could propel myself. There weren't many people there so I could freely go as fast as I wanted. For some reason, each time I've gone ice skating since, that memory returns.

I had planned to do my long run today, but kiddo had alternate plans. Does ice skating for 2 hours = a long run? Probably not... especially considering the crowd, which meant speed was not an option. But we had fun... (And I did manage to squeeze in a mile before going skating to make groundhog day #11.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

groundhog day #10: Hitchcock Woods, Aiken, SC

Movie quote of the day:  Phil said, "I'm betting he's going to swerve first."

Which is exactly what I was hoping as I ran on trails shared by horses. Thankfully, I saw lots of horse poop, but didn't have to dodge any galloping ones. But... who would have guessed that wet clay is slippery?  Ooops, busted my butt, but got up and dusted off and continued on. Glad I was wearing tights!

It's been a busy travel week. I was in Asheville, NC, Monday through Wednesday, and Aiken, SC yesterday and today. Last night at dinner I google searched trails in Aiken and found a place called Hitchcock Woods. One of the parking areas is less than three miles from the hotel, so I decided to go there for a lunch time run before driving back to Atlanta.

What a find! The coolest part was seeing an owl on a limb in a tree beside the trail. Aiken seems pretty flat, so I was a bit surprised at the rolling terrain in these woods. I covered 5.03 miles of trails and that's nowhere near the total distance of trails in these 2100 acres of woods. The website states there are 65 miles of sandy trails. Looking forward to checking out other trails when I return in a few months.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

groundhog day #9

Movie quote of the day, "Do you ever have deja vu?"

This morning I certainly did to wake up for at least the 4th if not the 5th time this winter to snow on the ground. I can't remember it ever snowing this many times in one season in Georgia.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

groundhog day #8: Asheville Biltmore Park

Movie quote of the day, "Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooooold out there."

It was definitely cold, 18 degrees, but a lot more scenic than the wall in front of the treadmill! Just an easy mile near the hotel to keep the streak alive.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

groundhog day #7 = 1 week!

As Phil Connors said, "You gotta want it." It's getting easier as the routine is starting to gel. But this treadmill running is getting old. The best time for me to fit in runs during the week is early morning, while it's still dark outside. I've been weary of the boogie man, but don't think I can handle another treadmill run. Tomorrow, I'm heading outside, regardless of lighting or weather.

Monday, February 7, 2011

groundhog day #6

Movie quote of the day, "Phil, if you could be anywhere in the world, where would you like to be?"

I started my day with an easy run before a long drive to Asheville, NC with two hilarious co-workers. This isn't the place that I would pick out of "anywhere in the world", but I'm definitely not complaining!

I decided to add Groundhog Day movie quotes to my Daily Mile entries to keep this more entertaining. Since my runs haven't been particularly blog-worthy, here's a summary in case you are wondering.

groundhog day #1 = 3.12 miles
groundhog day #2 = 3 miles
groundhog day #3 = 1 mile
groundhog day #4 = 3 miles
groundhog day #5 = 3.75 miles
groundhog day #6 = 2.38 miles

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day

Here we go again...  In December I attempted my first running streak, which lasted 15 days until I was derailed on a particularly busy and stressful day. But I was happy because running daily cured the plantar fasciitis that I had been struggling with for about a year. In January, I ran much less than I intended each week and I've had this nagging ankle pain ever since a trail run that I did on New Years Day. So I decided to start a running streak again. And why not start on Groundhog Day?  Not only is 2/2 my grandmother's birthday, but Groundhog Day was a hilarious movie, so this will be an easy day to remember. This is going to be FUN!

Phil Connors quote from the movie Groundhog Day: It's the same thing your whole life: "Clean up your room. Stand up straight. Pick up your feet. Take it like a man. Be nice to your sister. Don't mix beer and wine, ever." Oh yeah: "Don't drive on the railroad track."

And I'm simply going to add one more thing to the list: run at least one mile.

Groundhog Day #1:  Ran 3.12 miles