Sunday, June 26, 2011

mileage leaps

Ever had one of those crazy rollercoaster emotions weeks? Well, this one sure was for me. It's been full of the highest highs and lowest lows, so I ran harder and more miles to try to manage the stress better. I've exceeded the 10% mileage increase rule the past two weeks, and honestly, I feel much stronger rather than the dreaded injury that people have been warned about. My plantar fasciitis comes and goes on a day-by-day basis and seems to flare more when I wear high heel sandals than flats. It actually seems to be improving with more mileage. I'm wondering if the 10% rule is meant more for beginner runners rather than those of us that have been running regularly for years.. Or is it just a myth?

I used to live by the 10% rule. Now I'm living in the moment and letting my body decide what it's capable of rather than following a text book number geared for the masses. And I'm totally loving this powerful feeling of growing stronger each day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

frickin lost on a trail run...

That's it! LostTrailRunner needs to give me his name... I bet I get lost on trails more than him! Last night I sent a text to Mr. Sexy (that I met on Thursday) asking again what trail he said that was great to run on. Little did I know that would lead to an all night text session. He had a few suggestions and I decided to go for a run at Yellow River this morning. A mile into it, I couldn't help but to text him, thinking he was still on a plane. But shortly afterwards, he texted me back. Crap! I guess his flight was faster than I thought it would be. I tried to run, but knowing it was a "recovery" run and wanting to talk to him more, I gave in and hiked/texted. Of course, this would turn out to be a disaster since I totally wasn't paying attention to trail markers... Which would have been OK since I had my Garmin 310XT and hit the "back to start" mode which would have taken me back to my car... if I only had enough battery power... Note to self: make sure Garmin is fully charged before a trail adventure! Battery died on Garmin and Mr. Sexy is texting distracting things and I'm totally frickin lost... I want to focus on him, but I'm starting to fret because I'm on a trail, without water because this was only going to be 4-5 miles, and I'm well beyond that distance. I go with the flow and continue texting... and eventually it hits me that I can look at google earth on my phone to find my way back to the parking lot! I have no clue how long I actually ran/hiked today. Garmin died at 4.49 miles at 1 hour and 20 minutes and I probably hiked for an hour beyond that. I was so happy to see the street, then freaked out because it wasn't the same entrance, and I had no clue which direction to go to. I looked again at google earth and made my way back to the parking lot that my car was at. I was so happy that I swung on the swingset for a few minutes.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Earlier this week, I planned to order a Father's Day gift for my daughter's daddy (my ex-hubby), but had challenges with the website and couldn't get it to send the gift to a different address than the billing address. So I gave up and opted to go to my local REI today instead. And wow... was that a great thing! I picked out a new pair of sunglasses for myself since mine were scratched, then headed to the biking section for him. I found a cool pair of socks, but wanted to spend more, so I started staring at the riding gloves. I know he has both of these, but sometimes it's good to retire/replace. I'm standing there looking at the different options and sizes and a guy walks up and asks me if I ride. I say no, that I'm looking for a father's day gift, and ask him if he rides. He looks at me with those incredibly sexy eyes and most adorable smile and holds out his hand, palm down, to show his riding glove tan mark. I say that obviously he is a rider and rides a lot. I tell him that I'm a runner and he hates running, but enjoys hiking and there we connect... or maybe we connected before... we chat about local trail options. He often rides at a place that I run at a few times a month. I stare into his eyes and feel the draw. He touches my hand and my palms sweat and the butterflies are going crazy. I panic... I'm so not ready for this... I find a way to end the conversation, reluctantly, and he starts stumbling for how to respond. I sense a connection... I wander around the store to clear my mind in a pretend search for running socks. I regain my composure and head to the cashier. He appears at the next register shortly afterwards and finishes his transaction a few seconds before me. He very slowly walks out the door and lingers there. I walk out feeling all fluttery. He asks if I would like to get a coffee. It's been a long time since I've felt this way... and I needed to get back to work... so I say that I can't now, but would love to on another day. I write my personal cell phone number on the back of my business card and give it to him. He calls me before I pull out of the parking lot. He asks again to go to coffee today because he's leaving Saturday and will be gone for two months. I hold firm and say I can't today, but would love to when he returns. It's a short conversation that I immediately regret... I'm so busy right now and not sure I'm ready for a relationship. As the minutes tick away, I regret it even more... But force myself to stick to my word. Later I can't resist anymore and send him a text message. I watch my phone by the minute hoping he'll respond... but hours pass and nothing... until... YAY! He responded! Where will this go? Probably nowhere, but I'm going to enjoy the fantasy for a few days...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Moutains-to-Sea trail

I'm one of the few people from Georgia that had never visited Asheville, NC until I was assigned a business project there... Beginning in February, I've gone to Asheville once a month for business. I typically run near the hotel because of time constraints (long work hours), but I've been eager to check out trails. I did a little research and found that the Mountains-to-Sea trail was only a few miles from the hotel that I stayed at this time. I worked long hours Monday - Thursday so I decided to splurge and get a trail run in this morning after catching up on email and before driving back home. After google searching and talking to a local professor, I drove to the nearby Folk Art Center and parked my car. But I didn't see the trail anywhere! A woman wearing hiking gear pulled into the parking lot shortly after me. I asked her where the trail was and thankfully, she pointed me in the right direction. The trail marker for the south direction was barely visible from the parking lot.

So I ventured forward, but photographed backward. Two days ago someone told me about the trail; he lives near it and runs it often. He said that if you start at the Folk Art Center and head south, you'll go over a bridge and through a pasture, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, etc. I started at the Folk Art Center and followed the trail marking until it led to a road with no markings but a faint worn path along the road/bridge. So I followed the path over the bridge and then saw markings for the trail to continue. The next thing I know, I'm dead-ending into a pasture. I look around and there seems to be no other path than through the pasture under the bridge, so I climb through the gate and follow the foot-path while avoiding big piles of animal (cow?) poop.

I exit the pasture and am not sure where to go. I see bikers and walkers coming from two different directions but don't see any trail markers. Obviously I'm confused, looking in multiple directions and moving slowly. I run towards the tunnel, then return back towards the pasture gazing in a zillion directions. Then a woman walking her dog asks if I'm looking for the trail and she tells me to go through the tunnel and then turn right immediately afterwards. The trail marker is the white dot on the right side of the tunnel, duh, I just didn't see it.

After the tunnel is a gravel stairway, which was very cool. I had wondered why the hiker in the parking lot had on long pants with the temperature in the mid-70s. But I quickly found out why and wished I had worn long pants too. With few exceptions, the trail is a narrow single track with LOTS of POISIN IVY. I tried to dart each tri-leaf plant as best I could and prayed I wouldn't have a reaction later. I think I did more hiking than running, but thoroughly enjoyed the change of scenary.

Due to time constraints, I turned around at about 2.05 miles and returned to the Folk Art Center. I was grateful for the clean restroom and wished I had brought money to buy something from their gift shop. Will definitely have to make a return trip! Loved this trail!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tunnel Road dilemma

I'm on a business trip this week in Asheville, NC. My favorite hotel (primarily due to location) was full, so I stayed at the Hampton Inn on Tunnel Road instead. I ran from the hotel, through the tunnel and beyond, and then returned back to the hotel this morning. Running thru the tunnel was COOL! but the neighborhood is a little sketchy. I started gaining on a young man walking on the sidewalk in front of me as an older couple were coming towards us. The old man was pushing an old woman in a wheel chair and they asked the young guy that was walking in the opposite direction, passing them, for money. The young guy started yelling at the old man: "GET A FUCKING JOB AND SUPPORT YOUR WIFE!!!" and the old man yelled back and then the young guy pulled off his backpack and said it was full of bricks and if the old man didn't leave him alone he would beat him. I veered off the sidewalk into the adjacent parking lot while this was taking place and then ran faster without paying any attention to heart rate like I normally would. But it made me think... When asked for money from homeless, I either decline or give them whatever fresh fruit that I happen to have with me. The reaction of the young man today was something that I've often thought, but never proclaimed. What would you do? 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Harbins Park turtle

Sluggish aerobic trail run keeping heart rate in the aerobic range through walking up quite a few hill. HOT! Kiddo has horse camp this week near Harbins Park. So instead of getting up early and running in the cooler temps (low 70s), I decided to go for a trail run after dropping her off. Listened to Slow Runners Club podcast during the 85oF run. Their logo is a turtle. Guess what I saw near the end of my slow run? Yes, a live turtle! At least there was one creature on the trail moving slower than me!

While driving to horse camp, Kyra decided my running shoes need names since I have so many pairs and some of the same brand (3 pairs of Asics, 2 pairs of Nike, etc.). We settled on "Berta" for my trail shoes; named after a Clydesdale trail horse at Southern Cross Guest Ranch. She picked "Punkin" for my bright orange with green accented Newton Gravitas. That's as far as we got before arriving at camp. Looking forward to picking names for the rest of my shoes :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

back in the saddle

Although the calendar claims it is still spring, the heat suggests summer. Mid-90s for the highs this week with lows in the 70s. Despite the humidity, we haven't had much rain lately and when I arrived to pick up my daughter from horse camp, the arena was quite dusty. Yes, that is dust, not fog, obscuring this picture.
After two months of low mileage, trying to let my foot heal, I realized it was time to get back in the saddle. Two and a half weeks ago I picked a marathon training plan (Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning 18 weeks up to 55 miles per week) and worked it backwards to that current week and my then fitness level. I've been very good and have run all the miles planned thus far, slowly increasing my weekly mileage, and am happy to report that my foot started feeling much better after getting back into more consistent running. In fact, it doesn't hurt at all today. Yay! Right now I'm running 4 days a week, increasing my mileage by 3 miles each week and my long run by 1 mile each week. This should safely put me where I need to be to begin the official marathon training plan which starts with a 33 mile week (12 mile long run) in early July. I'm doing all of my runs by the heart rate ranges listed for each type of run in the book rather than by my goal pace, primarily because of the heat/humidity and being out of shape. For the first time in my life, I don't feel guilty about running a 13-minute/mile pace. I know that with consistency, increasing milege and weight loss, my pace will improve. Getting back in the saddle is awesome!