Friday, May 31, 2013

in which she faces her nemesis again

I went back to battle the 38th street hill this morning.  This time I approached it from the west, which meant a long, slow climb uphill before I even got to the steep part when I turned left onto it.  

Let's just say, I am impressed by this hill.  It astonishes me that I can do Brady, but not this one.

I made it up.  I made it up without puking.  But I definitely walked part of it, when I started to feel all up-chucky again.  OY VEY!

Far fewer gnats this morning.  No strange drivers.  I did get passed by 2 runners - a lady who passed within about a foot of me and never acknowledged my existence (really??) and a guy that had a good two feet on me in height, and just bounded by me in the grass like a gazelle, grinning and hollering hi as he went by.  I like people who bother to say hi! 

A friend has cued me into another hill in the neighborhood, but I can't do it yet.  First, I MUST defeat the 38th street hill.  I am gonna hang onto this like a snapping turtle until I can do it.  Furthermore, the hill is on a residential street, and those are like mazes around here.  I get so lost.  And on the bike or in the car (wearing GLASSES) I'd have a shot at finding my way home, but I run without glasses.  so I'll need to be sure of where I am going, before I go find that hill!  

Here's to a happy weekend!  Enjoy, all!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

gnat clouds, puke, and bizarre drivers...ahh the joys of running

This was my first run morning since I moved.  I was very grateful for no rain and especially no lightning when it was time to go.  Rain would probably not cancel the run.  Lightning would.  

I went off in exploration of hills.  Gotta keep training on hills, if I'm gonna survive running the Bix at the end of July (side note:  I signed up yesterday and I'm a little offended that the time classifications didn't include me.  I expect it to take me about an hour and 50 minutes to run this thing.  Longest running time available went up to 90 minutes...then..."walker."  I signed up in the 90 minutes section because darn it, I AM NOT walking!  Grrr.  People who don't appreciate us slowbies!)

A friend/coworker who runs in this neighborhood recommended 38th street for its hill, so I headed on over there.  I did some running on sidewalks, where I was unsure of traffic, but if you've been around long, you know I don't deem sidewalks an acceptable running surface.  Too irregular for me with my shuffly gate.  Too easy to fall.  When I fell last week - IT WAS ON A SIDEWALK.  Where traffic was very light, I ran on the highly preferable street, over in the gutter on the wrong side of the street, so I could see who was coming.  

Apparently I irritated or fascinated some SUV driver, who slowed and finally STOPPED while coming toward me (and mind you, it had MADE A U TURN to come back my direction, within my sight), though I was, as I said, clear over in the gutter and it was a very wide street.  I thought maybe they were going to turn into the driveway I was crossing, despite the lack of signal, but NO.  They just waited until I ran past, and then drove on.  I did not try to look at the driver.  I don't need to know if they were making mean faces or nasty gestures or obscene words.  I don't need to risk it being some crazy person who just needs me to give them a reason to say, "She asked for it."  So I kept my eye on the hood of the vehicle and ran on by, and when I was past the SUV, it drove slowly away and I might have thought mean thoughts toward it rather than thinking grateful thoughts for safety, because when it comes right down to it, I am a total ass most of the time. 

That was right before I turned onto 38th street.  Running DOWN the big hill was fun...other than the massive, thick clouds of gnats.  I assume it's the combination of the wet weather and the forest preserve all around here.  I tie back the top of my hair to keep it out of my eyes when I run; by the end of the run, the top of my hair was thick with dead bugs, and I had been swiping them out of my eyes, nose and ears (and choking them down, whenever I couldn't spit them out) for about 3 miles.  Ahh gnats.  I know I looked like a crazy person, waving them away as I ran.  Oh well.  

When I started UP the 38th street hill, I was impressed.  Okay, so it's not nearly as tall as Brady, but it gives a run for its money, when it comes to incline.  Wee HA!  I was on mile 3, trying to make it strong, chugging up the hill, slower and slower.  Thinking oh golly it really feels like I'm gonna puke...but then, I never do.  It always just feels like I'm going to.

Except:  I DID.  Oh my golly.  Somebody send the wahmbulance.  

All I had in my stomach was the half cup of water I drank before I ran, so it wasn't very gross.  But it WAS very humbling.  I heaved, tried to recover, took a few more steps, heaved again, tried to recover and stumbled, took a few more steps, finally stood stock still and just let it go. 

And because God has a hilarious sense of humor, an emergency vehicle went by right then on the other side of the street and slowed.  I looked up and started waving them on.  He rolled down his window.  "Are you okay?"  I hollered that yes I was fine, thank you, and waved him off some more.  

So, today, I WALKED the entire rest of the way up that steep part of the hill, which was probably another minute or maybe two - your sense of time gets wonky when you just got your ass handed to you, eh?  

While walking, I decided this was a GOOD thing - I just earned major badass cred by going hard enough to puke.  And, just to show 38th street it doesn't REALLY own me, I ran the rest of the way home, once I hit the top of the worst of that incline.   

Finally:  in the last mile of the run, I realized I have to buy another sweatband before I run again.  The cold weather had bought me a reprieve, but it was 64 degrees out there this morning, which is almost too hot for me for running, and sweat kept running into my left eyeball and stinging like crazy. 

You know I love this crap.  I will walk around today feeling like a superhero, for this run, despite the fact that my time was slow.  

Cuz I'm strange like that.   

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

kettlebell begun

I moved over the weekend.  I had hoped to get up and run this morning, but my first trip to the bathroom told me my feet were not having any part of that.  Was it all this rain, or 3 days of working on my feet that made my arthritis holler?  I don't know, but I didn't try to run.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.  I have scoped out a hill or two in the neighborhood, and while it's hard to find anything even close to the WOW of the Brady Street hill, I think it will work out.  

Instead, I stayed in and did some situps and pushups on the exercise ball.  And...finally tried out my kettlebell. 

A friend had told me awhile back what a good idea the kettlebell was - I was interested, but just kept on not getting one.  Finally, she gave me one.  AND a printed out sheet of some exercises for it, to get me started.  

I brought it home.  Admired it.  Intended to use it.  But just kept not getting to it.  The problem is, on my non-running mornings, it is WAY easy to want to stay in bed - especially when the night before has been late due to sitting up too long working on a blog, or out with a friend or something.  So the poor thing sat there in the corner, waiting for me.  I looked at it every day and resolved, "Tomorrow morning, I'm really gonna try it." 

Meanwhile, a friend who comes to my house weekly and also happens to work out with power lifters was very interested.  She showed me all the things she does with her kettlebell at the gym (mine is 8 pounds - I think she said hers is 25...UGH).  Then she watched each week to see if I had gotten around to removing the tag from the bell.  I intentionally did NOT tear it off just to create an impression of having used it.  Gotta keep it honest, eh?

Since I had awakened well before the alarm today, there was no putting up the argument that I needed another hour or so of sleep.  So I finally tried it out.  

It was fun.

My muscles are gonna hurt later today.  I can already feel that.  :-)

Which means:  TONING!  Yay for toning!  At 47, things don't naturally tone themselves.  Here's to working against flab and sag.  

Now let's see if I get myself to do it again Thursday.  LOL

Monday, May 20, 2013


This morning's run included an "up Brady Street hill" segment, so I didn't make my goal of also including a "run one of my miles in under 15 minutes" goal.  Oh well. 

I gotta say, this was one epic, bring on the braggin' run.  LOL 

First:  it was raining for the first 2 miles.  Any run including rain is more fun than any run that doesn't, cuz I just can't not feel like a rock star when I run in the rain.  It was 63 degrees and the wind was light, so the rain was nothing but sheer pleasure and added drama.  YAY!  

I did my first 2 miles more or less on flat surface, just snaking around downtown Davenport.  The reason for that strategy was mile 3 always seems to be my fastest, strongest section - so why not harness that for the giant hill?  It worked:  though I thought for sure I was going to toss my cookies most of the way up, the mile that included that hill got done in under 17 minutes.  So WOO HOO!  And 2 of my miles were under 16 minutes, so there's that.  (I understand that if YOU weren't the one out running, these details are probably boring and dumb, but they are endlessly fascinating for me!)

As I snaked through the neighborhood at the top of the hill, my plan got derailed y encountering some fine, upstanding individual in thugwear.  I saw him from far enough back that I crossed the street to go around him; still, he felt the need to shout to me, "Dat booty look FINE!" and while I'm sure he meant to be only complimentary (LOL) I worried that if I snaked around again, I'd encounter him again, and maybe the second time he'd think I was following him and end up saying some phrase like, "She was asking for it."  You gotta be smart.  So I changed my route to move directly away from where I supposed he was going.  I just snake around the neighborhoods so that I don't have to go too far away from home or cross excessively busy roads while getting in my 5 miles.  

Up at Locust and Main, I fell.  The few times I have fallen while running, it's never that slow-motion-I-wonder-if-I-can-catch-myself kind of fall.  It's like, I'm moving, and then I'm slamming into the sidewalk, and I didn't see it coming at all.  I really gotta learn to pick my feet up better because I'm sure I tripped just on a slight irregularity in the cracks of the sidewalk.  It was a strange fall - almost all of my weight landed, oddly enough, on one breast.  Um.  THAT HURTS.  I also skinned the heels of my hands and made my knees slightly sore, but really, the bulk of the pain was in that point of contact, and continues to hurt even now that I am home and showered and such.  

So, unlike most runs, there WAS walking in this run - I walked across the street, trying to shake out the worst of the pain.  And then I picked up and ran the rest of the way.  Thank GOD I was not actually injured in any way that affects the ability to move.  

Here are the heels of my hands.  I've decided to wear them in a bragging fashion rather than as some kind of hardship or reason to bitch.  I AM A ROCK STAR! WOO HOO!!  

lovely bruising

blood!  oh the horror!  LOL
Thus ends the story of Karen's Epic Run.  I'm thinking this is going to be one heck of a great week, if I've already squeezed this much adventure into Monday morning!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

2 bridges one morning

Great run this morning - I followed a suggestion one of my friends and greatest encouragers gave a long, LONG time ago and did the 2-bridge route - ran both the Arsenal and the Centennial bridges, with extensive touring of downtown Rock Island in between.  I accidentally ran 5.22 miles, because I miscalculated and was further away from home than I meant to be at the 5 mile mark.  So that just makes me smile.  I am sharing the route here so you can see the fun of the bridges. 

I really love the "splits" function of the MapMyRun app.  Again I can see that I stayed under 17 minutes per mile for all but the last quarter mile, part of which was my 1/2 block cooldown walk.  Again I can see that one of the miles was under 16 minutes per mile.  I think my next goal is to get just ONE of the miles under 16 minutes.  Just one.  It's okay if the others stay between 16 and 17.  But Friday is a "run Brady Street hill" day, so I don't know if that will be my day to make that goal or not.  

We'll see.  Meanwhile, THIS IS FUN. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

celebration monday

Dear body,

My Father has been teaching me well, these last couple of years, how to love you UNCONDITIONALLY, as He does.  I'm growing in that, enough that I don't hate you with bitterness and shame anymore for the list of reasons I used to hate you morning, noon and night.  I'm doing better about feeling one with you, and about finding joy in caring well for you and learning about you.

So this morning is not about saying "I love you more," because that would be conditional...but hey...WE GOTTA CELEBRATE!

5 MILES!  We did it!  Uninterrupted!  5 MILES!  And 4 of those miles were under 17 minutes each!  And one of them was only 15 MINUTES 14 SECONDS!  WOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!

Monday ain't got nuttin' on us, body! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

nothin but just straight up braggin here

I ran this morning, because yesterday morning I was too tired from a late previous night.  I woke up ready to run.  Dug out my summer-weight run wear, since I had slept with the windows open all night.  Saw out the window that it had rained while I slept.  I love wet mornings. 

I started out with a simple goal:  run 3.5 miles.  I had done something like 3.37 last time, so I knew this was only a small change in increment.  Very doable.  

Then, as I ran, I decided I really wanted to try for 4 miles.  Just for kicks and giggles.  Just to prove to myself that I could do that without stopping. It was a perfect day for it - there was a cool, light rain.  Just enough to make me feel like a rockstar or a badass or whatever, but not enough to be miserable.

A difficulty with increasing my runs is that of course Karen's Brain Does Not Think Well at that hour, so I didn't have a systematic approach.  Just snaked around the neighborhood, crossed the bridge, ran around the block on the other side of the bridge, crossed back over, and snaked around the neighborhood again. 

The little voice on my "Map My Run" app only speaks up at the mile markers.  So that's not tremendously helpful, for knowing if I'm getting close to a mark.  As a result, I was further away from home than I intended to be when I hit the 4 mile mark.  Oops.  So I ended up accidentally running 4.39 miles.  If you want to check it out, this morning's run is available.  :-)  

A fun thing for me:  3 of the 4 miles were under 17 minutes.  An even funner thing for me:  1 of the miles was under 16 minutes!  WOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Yeah, I know some of you out there run marathons and such.  And that's cool.  But I'm a big freakin deal this morning, because this overweight, middle-aged lady with arthritis in both feet just rocked new thresholds in uninterrupted running.

Color me happy. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

wound for sound on a monday morning

Okay I didn't run Wednesday or Friday last week because my son was visiting and there were showers to be timed and run wouldn't fit into that.  I missed the running, but it wasn't altogether a bad thing, since the arthritis in my feet (especially the left foot) has been especially bugging me lately.  

This morning I had one goal - bump my distance up.  I have been running about 2.78 miles for a long time.  In the last few weeks, I had added a bit more to do more like 2.9 miles.  My goal this morning was to get in an actual 5K, which would be 3.11 miles.  So I added a few little extra loops and turns and such to the run.  

And accidentally ran 3.37 miles.

And though my time per mile usually varies between 17 and 18 minutes (a time many would call WALKING but I promise you, I NEVER break stride into a walk, ever)....this morning, all segments of the run were under 17 minutes per mile!  You can check it out here, if you're into that kind of thing.

While you cannot even interest me in running competitively against another person (my presumption being they will beat me always, every time without fail, so whatevs), apparently I am quite competitive with MYSELF.  How do I know this?  My immediate response upon seeing those numbers this morning was to ask myself 2 questions:

1. How soon can I get my pace down under 16 minutes per mile?
2. How soon can I get my distance up to 5 miles each time?  

Here's a silly theory I have - wearing less clothes is making a difference in my pace.  Now, before you die or are permanently injured from envisioning Karen running in a bikini (oh!  my eyes!!) bear in mind all that I mean is this:  no ultra-cold weather running tights under my pants.  No long-sleeved under armour shirt under my long-sleeved shirt (which, note to self, has got to be switched for short sleeves if it's over 50 again on Wednesday when I next run).  No winter headband.  That's all.  These items are all very light, so it is, I presume, downright goofy of me to think that's how I got under 17 minutes for the entire duration of a 5K+.  

But that's just how I think, here in the morning before I can actually think.