Monday, August 31, 2009

Missed Opportunity

The weather looked gorgeous for a nice long 18 mile run this weekend. That is the mileage I was supposed to encounter. However, I didn't get anywhere close. In fact, I completed 0 miles this weekend and instead felt like I was going to lose a lung in the coughing spells that took over my days. Needless to say, I didn't leave the house much this weekend. Although I did try to take Duke for a walk later in the day Sunday when I thought I was feeling better--that ended in some icky coughing spells in which I was trying to control Duke (a strong German Shepherd) and my own body at the same time.

Anyways, if there is one lesson that can be learned from all of this, it would be to take the extra rest day early on rather than have to miss an entire weekend due to major coughing. I went to see the doc at MinuteClinic on Sunday and she told me that I should take some Claritin. So far that has made me extremely tired and somewhat stopped the crazy coughs. I'm hoping that I can get a run in tonight. We are only 5 weeks away from the Twin Cities Marathon and I need to get some runs in!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Enountering the SWAT Team

Well, I have an interesting story for you. But first, I will give you a brief synopsis on the development of sickness. Yesterday I wrote about how I was experiencing a cough and was a bit iffy about going out on a run but felt like I really needed to. Well the cough couldn't keep me in. I kept telling myself that perhaps I was overexaggerating my symptoms and I should be able to make it at least through my 5 miler. Well I made it through (with an interesting story to tell) and also now have a serious much worse cough going on. I thought I was going to cough up a lung this morning. So, word to wise--if your intuition says you shouldn't run--don't!

Now on with my interesting story.

I headed out from my apartment onto a 5 mile mile route that has a "turn around" in front of a private school in Hopkins. Just before I reach this private school, there is a small neighborhood with some fences that divide it from a rather busy road. For ordinary people, this area of the city probably doesn't scare them. But it typically puts me on high alert because I always seem to come across teenagers with baggy pants yelling wise remarks to me as I pass through this area. This time there were no teeenagers. A man in his late 50s emerged from one of the roads going into the neighborhood and followed behind me as I ran. I was slightly on alert just because of the way he suddenly appeared but wasn't too concerned. I had also seen an Edina cop car parked on the sidewalk with no cops in it. I thought it was kind of peculiar that a car from Edina would be here but figured maybe he was visiting someone.

Next thing I knew, I heard a "Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang!!" I nearly jumped out of my own skin and stopped in my tracks. I was standing directly in front of a wooden fence so I couldn't see what the loud noise had been but I was terrified. On the other side of the fence I could see gunsmoke rising and heard officers shouting. I slowly continued walking until I reached the end of the fence (not a very long fence). Police in full camouflage and helmets with large guns started running towards the end of the fence chasing a guy. They were shouting, "Get down, get down". They took the guy down on the edge of the fence just as I passed. I was terrified at this point. I continued to walk just because I didn't want the cops to think I was running away from them (although I was in running I'm not sure why I was so afraid). I got past the fence and away from the noise and my heart was pounding so hard. I kept thinking, those cops were shooting towards the fence! I was on the other side of the fence...I could have been shot. This was probably the worst timing to have my turn around. I walked a very short distance over to the school and then realized I needed to turn around. My chest had already been bugging me because of the cold and there was no way I was going to prolong my run but I really didn't want to go back past the gun shots. I told myself that they had caught the guy. I witnessed it. I will be safe. Just walk past and get back to your run. So I turned around.

As I was walking back past the fence, I saw crowds of officers in camouflage all walking into the street that goes into the neighborhood. By the time I reached that latter end of the fence, many of them had hopped on a humvee looking vehicle and were all hanging off of it. I was standing at the end of the sidewalk, needing to cross the road that goes into the neighborhood to continue on my journey. They had large guns and were all decked out in camo. They looked at me like they wanted to say something but none of them did. I couldn't even see the driver because the windshield was tinted really dark so I didn't know if he was going to let me cross the street or not. I just waited for him to go with all of his men hanging off. Then I started to cross the street and looked down through the neighborhood. There sat a sign that I had missed because it wasn't on my path. It read, "Police Officer Training." There was no crazy fugitive on the run and whatever they were shooting was probably blanks. But I had been terrified. Perhaps a simple sign on the sidewalk that read "Police Officer Training on other side of fence" would have been nice. I completely respect the difficult job these guys have to do and it is easy to miss every single angle that someone could be affected by the things you do. At least it did put some excitement in my run.

Here I found an article with the police forces that were training (obviously not the training that took place yesterday--but I believe this is what they were doing).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yet Again...Sick

Somewhere between Missouri and Minnesota, I captured a bug. It seems like I've been sick at least 3 times this year, highly abnormal for me. It isn't even winter!

Anyways, Monday I ran 4 miles despite feeling the sickness coming on.

Tuesday, the sickness got the better of me and I didn't run.

Wednesday was worse than Tuesday. Had a fever. Went to work still...but didn't run.

I have a mild fever now but feel a little better. The runny nose stuff has lightened up but it seems I now have a cough. Really, I have to get out and run. I know..."anything below the neck, don't run." Well...I have to. I have a 9 mile run that needs to get done. I probably won't make it the full 9 but I have to at least try to make it out there.

I have an 18 miler this weekend that I am really hoping I get better for. I missed last weeks 12 miler on vacation and so I NEED this one.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Revenge of the HILLS

Vacation was...okay. It was SO nice to sleep in a little, to not have to go to work. But it rained and rained and rained in the Ozarks. I'll show you some pics of us squeezing in some activities in between the rains. But how about the running eh?
Well first I should tell you about how I ran the morning we left for the Ozarks. I decided to fit in my last 4 miler for that week in at 5 am before we left. I now know that I am NOT a 5 am runner. I don't know how 5 AM runners do it. First, it was pitch dark outside when I left. I could barely see the road beneath my feet. That is enough to give me the creeps. Second, I couldn't see the bugs flying into my mouth. Yuck. Third, I was terrified someone was going to jump out of the following items: 1) cornfields, 2) scary looking van parked on side of road, 3) woods. Oh and it was hot and humid. Anyways, I was terrified through most of the run and decided that would be my first and only 5 am solo run.
After my run, we hopped into the car and headed down to the land of many hills. I wanted to take a picture of the hills that I was running up and down just to show you the pain I endured, but I never took a camera with me on a run. Anyways, if you've ever driven through the Ozarks, it is like riding on a roller coaster. You know, the whole belly flop feeling as you go up and down hills? Yea, I was running those monsters. I will say that I shaved about a mile off of the 8 miler and did that on a treadmill. That and I never got my long run in...I'm hoping to maybe fit it in today. Although I have an 18 miler later this week so I may decide to save energy for that one. Anyways, all that hill training really did a number on my calves. Every time I go to run they seem to seize up with a bad crampy feeling. I've done so much stretching to try to relieve the pain it is crazy. It actually takes 2 miles or so for the pain to go away. Oh soon as I get a few more flat-moderate hill land runs in my legs should be back to normal. The good news--the weather was super nice outside later in the week so my hilly runs weren't unbearable. I think I was more afraid for my saftey of running on narrow windy, hilly roads as cars come flying down. Other good news--the doc cleared my lungs before we left and said it was probably the heat and lack of electrolytes that caused the funny chest pain.

Anyways, here are a few pics from our trip...enjoy!!


Out to eat

Castle Ruins

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Aftermath of a 16 Mile Run

The 16 mile run went better than I expected it to go. It was 87 degrees when I left and I was dreading the heat but knew that it had to at least cool into the 70s near the end of my run. But overall, it was an alright run.

I started out the run pretty slow because I was paranoid of falling victim to the heat. Not entirely sure what I was afraid of--perhaps heat stroke? I got my two extra bottles for my Nathan belt yesterday and they worked great. Although it was a lot more water to carry around my waist than I was used to! I was fairly liberal with my water drinking because I knew there were water fountains on the route that I was taking. It felt pretty good to not have to ration out my water intake.

The run out to the turn-around point was great. Not many problems at all actually. And I would say I probably didn't have a lot of problems until the last 4. The last 4 miles, I started to feel a pain in my lungs while I was breathing. I've never really experienced that before and so I took lots of breaks to let my lungs recover. Anyways, it was alot of running .75 of a mile, walking 1-2 minutes, running another .75 mile. I kept trying to make it to at least a mile between stops but the pain in my breathing was bugging me. Anyways, I've made a doctor's appt to check this out just to be sure. I'm sure it was just the distance contributing to it...but whenever pain moves to my chest--I always worry more than I probably need to.

Anyways, I made it the 16 miles loving the fact that I still have no knee pain. LOVING IT! Although, getting to the apartment I realized that I had forgotten about the end of the long run--when you stop running and the pain starts. I felt like puking, my legs kept cramping up, and my lungs were hurting. Oh and I was shivering--but this always happens after my long runs no matter how much water I drink. I've read a ton that says it means you didn't drink enough water but I seriously say that is crazy. Because I drank 6-20 oz bottles of water on that run yesterday. Perhaps I drank too much water. Anyways, the stomach was not feeling well either and I knew I needed to eat something. That and I figured I might be needing salt since it was clearly all over my body. Drank some V8 hoping that would help. Then I tried to eat blueberries and my stomach was not having it. Waited a little bit and forced half a bowl of bran flakes down then gave up and went to bed. Well, tried to go to bed. My legs kept cramping and I swear I was up every 10 minutes trying to get them to stop.

Anyways, the 16 miler is done. Now I am going to have to figure out when I'm going to do the 4 miler and the 8 miler since my schedule is all messed up. I love going on vacation but it really does throw a wrench in your training plan!! Anyways, headed to Missouri Saturday morning...hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Heat, Humidty, and Trips Ahead

This weekend's long run went ok. I still have no apparent injuries so I'm pretty happy on that front. Last year at this time in my training I was cringing on the long runs. However, it seems I am dealing with a different dilemma altogether, weather. I don't remember running in the heat last year at all for some reason. I am sure I did, I just don't recall it. Don't get me wrong, we've had a cool summer. But this past week changed things up a bit. I set out for my 15 mile run when it was a bit cooler but still really humid. It was like 100% humidity here during parts of the weekend. I still only have the 2 bottle Nathan hydration belt. I've ordered 2 extra bottles to attach to it but haven't gotten them in the mail yet. The end of my run was pretty tough. I was completely out of water with 3 miles to go, hot and sweat stinging my eyes. That and I had a stomach ache that was causing some cramps. Needless to say, I was walking a good portion of the last 2 miles but still managed to run a bit. I'm just happy that I finished it though.

This weekend's long run is supposed to be 16 miles. I will be leaving for the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri on Saturday early morning and I really don't want to run it down there (very very hilly). So, I'm going to attempt to squeeze it in on Thursday or Friday night. The sad thing is that it is supposed to be 90 degrees both days with more humidity. So frustrating. And I can't run in the morning because I would literally have to wake up at 2:30 to do that. Anyways, as you can see, I am really dreading my long run this week.

Also, next week I am going to have to find spots to run down at the Lake of the Ozarks. Evidently people don't do a lot of running around that area because for the life of me, I could not find a running club or running trails. I tried Map My Run and came across some highway runs but I wanted so badly for there to be a trail around the area. Maybe I'll stumble across something when we go down there. If nothing else, there is an Anytime Fitness so I can go there for the shorter runs.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Day the Music Died

It was a blessing in disguise really. I set out for a 10 mile run. Somehow I've misplaced my Ipod headphones so I had grabbed a cheap pair of headphones that I used to use to listen to sound in the digital media lab back in my student reporting days. I was just leaving Andy's neighborhood (.5 mile into my run) when the sound went dead. I looked down and realized that the wires had come out of the plug and the headphones were completely detached from my ipod (with the plug still in). I didn't want to turn around as it was expected to be 80+ degrees that day and I was already headed out late. So, I continued on. For some people, music is a deal breaker, for me it is just an added bonus.

My run was actually going quite well. There was a slight breeze and I estimate it was in the higher 70s. Nothing too bad. The sun started to pound on me about mile 3 but nothing that I couldn't handle. The turn around was also pretty warm as I was running up hill on a black tar road. I trudged on letting my feet guide me and all of a sudden a nice breeze came by. I was pleasantly suprised by the breeze. The breeze continued with me and then all of a sudden I smelt a very familiar smell that I haven't smelled in years. The air smelled like my grandmother (the one who died from NF years ago). Yea, perhaps someone used the same detergent as my grandmother and they were doing laundry. But in all honesty, I was in the middle of farm land and I haven't smelled that smell at all since visiting her house years ago. I had just passed an old farm house but it was clear up a hill. I liked to think that my grandmother was there with me (even if it is a funny thought--it was comforting). I continued on my way thinking about her and wondering whether she really could be there watching out for me. Then I saw a monarch butterfly and asked myself whether she might show me a sign through that butterfly. Well, then the butterfly flew right into me. Perhaps it was another coincidence but it helped me run--thinking that my grandmother was there and she knew that I was running because I was inspired by her. The wind continued to blow whenever I needed it and I finished the run strong. I got back to Andy's house with tons of energy left which rarely happens on my longer runs these days. So grateful those headphones broke--it helped me focus on my surroundings.