Thursday, June 27, 2013

this training for the BIX business is fun

I broke the 6-mile barrier today for running without stopping or walking.  I didn't PLAN to.  The thing is, I'm trying to stay up around or over 5.5 miles, and usually I have to weave around the neighborhood AFTER Augie hill to add some distance.  To be honest, I don't FEEL like adding distance once I've run that hill...I just want to go home.  So, I added distance BEFORE the hill, and I made sure a good portion of that distance was on an incline.  And the accidental result was I passed 6 miles, by the time I got home.

My slowest mile was 17.01.

My fastest mile was 15:50.

The other 4 miles were in the 16+ range.  

So the only thing that could have made me happier than just breaking the 6 mile barrier would have been if I'd have also had a mile in under 15 minutes.  

Next goal!  :-) 

Friday, June 21, 2013

an ugly run is still a run

It was an ugly, ugly run morning.

First, I didn't want to get out of bed.  REALLY, REALLY didn't want to.  Took some serious pushing to get me up and dressed and out the door, and all along, I was trying to find reasons not to run.

Then my foot thought it might hurt.  But I stopped and loosed the laces, and that helped, much to my wanting-to-go-back-to-bed disappointment.  

The air was thick and muggy...felt like it added 20 pounds to me.  Talk about resistance. 

The street I take out to 30th is worse than any sidewalk, with its many broken layers and potholes. I tripped.  I did not fall.  That's good, because I might have come back home to bed, had I hit the ground less than a mile from home. 

Usually I don't get terribly sweaty until sometime during the 2nd mile.  I was wiping sweat frantically (to keep it from running into my eyes) within less than half a mile, and that never got better. 

The gnats were having a heyday.  Flying in my eyes, up my nose, buzzing in my ears.  I swallowed a few that I couldn't spit out.  Then one flew right into my throat, hitting a sensitive spot that sent me straight to gagging and retching.  This continued for most of mile 2, no matter how much I cleared my throat.  My body went into "producing mucous to repel it" mode, hardcore.  I finally had to blow my nose with my little mesh reflective vest, to avoid actually throwing up.  I was starting to panic - Augustana hill is early in mile 3, and I knew if I kept gagging like that while breathing harder, there WOULD be hurling.  Happily, it cleared up just before I turned the corner to go up the hill.  

Only one of my 5+ miles was at a pace under 17 minutes this morning (ironically, the "fast" mile was the one where I was retching and gagging).  You might say my butt was dragging.  I was one big body ache by the time I got home.

Still, in the end, I did it. I chose love - movement, perseverance, consistency, when I could have just given up.  

That is the value of learning to love my body, right there.  

And that will pay off, come Bix day!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

home grown kefir

Awhile back, my mom gave me a starter to make kefir.  Maybe you remember me mentioning kefir here before.  It is a fermented milk drink - sort of yogurt-ish.   The starter for it is also called the "grain" - it looks like a little glob of cauliflower, but is actually, according to my shortcut Wikipedia, "a combination of bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars." 

Here's how I make my kefir each day:  put the grain in a mason jar.  Add a cup of skim milk.  Top the jar with a coffee filter, secured with a rubber band.  Put the jar on my shelf, away from direct sunlight (no, not in the refrigerator!)  In 12-24 hours it is thick.  I stir it and pour it through a mesh sieve, to strain out the grains - which I put in a clean mason jar with more milk for tomorrow.  The stuff I strained today, I put in the fridge with a lid.  the stuff I put in the fridge yesterday, I pull out, stir, ad some cinnamon and honey, and drink with my breakfast.  

Kefir is a slightly sour and somewhat bubbly drink.  Some days, it is kind of yummy with the honey and cinnamon stirred in.  Some days, not so much.  Either way, it is absolutely drinkable, though my mom does all sorts of creative things with fruit and a blender to make hers nicer - appealing, even.

So why do I drink milk I've let sit out at room temperature for a day (or sometimes more)?  Becaause it's crazy good for me!

  1. Probiotic - intensely so - up to 4 times more so than the kefir that can be purchased in the store.  Good for the gut.  
  2. Full of B vitamins and the elusive vitamin K2, which helps with metabolizing calcium.  Also full of calcium and phosphorus.  Good for the bones. 
  3. Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-tumor in effect.
In other words, it's like taking a preventative medicine, almost, as far as I can tell.  

And couldn't be easier to make.  I recommend!  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

lessons from running, for life

I have been running for about 2 years.  One thing I have noticed for sure:  the discipline and practice of running regularly lends itself to all sorts of lessons for life. 

Decide in advance, if you want to be consistent.  This morning, there was resistance in me.  I woke up considering reasons (read: excuses) not to run.  It is very easy to come up with perfectly reasonable sounding rationale to skip a run, most any day.  When I was first at this, I had to trick myself.  I had to do stuff like: 

  • make my bed the very instant I got out of it, before I even went the the bathroom, in order to help discourage me from deciding to get back in bed
  • lay out my clothes the night before, to avoid becoming overwhelmed with clothing decisions and giving up on the run
  • get dressed as fast as I was able, and push myself out the door before I could think twice about skipping
  • never turn around to go back inside once I had stepped outside, even if I realized I was missing something - too easy to sit down and decide not to go
  • write a blog, so if I bailed out, I would have to say so and feel embarrassed

By deciding ahead in those little ways, I managed to push, pull, cajole, and otherwise manipulate myself into doing the right thing, even if I didn't feel like it.  After doing it long enough, it became more an engrained habit - something I don't WANT to avoid.  Still, lots of mornings I make my bed before I go to the bathroom, and I push myself out the door before I can decide to think about it. 

Improve in small increments.  Starting running by using the C25K (Couch to 5K) method was brilliant.  With the mixture of walking and just short bursts of jogging, I could manage, and the improvement was so gradual over the weeks that I got better without being in pain.  Though I took a BIG jump in increment re: the distance I run recently (from 2.8ish miles to 5ish miles per run), within that framework I am only pushing for small increments of improvement.  Adding a hill here or there.  Pushing myself first to get under 17 minutes per mile, then 16...and today I finally reached my current goal of getting ONE of my miles (not all 5 of them..just ONE) to be under 15 minutes per mile.  Truth:  I shouted for joy when my phone reported that goal being met this morning.  It doesn't feel heroic, aiming at small increments of improvement.  It often feels like "not enough."  But the little successes along the way carry me much further than when I used to make giant goals that would consistently turn out to be unreachable before I ran out of steam. 

It's an inside job.  I am very surprised at how much of running happens in my head.  I mean...what a physical thing to do.  Feet to pavement.  Swinging arms.  Breathing.  I wouldn't have guessed that the MENTAL is such a big part of the equation.  When I want to pick up the pace, I do it from inside my head.  I just repeat the word push push push push inside my head.  That's all.  And my posture improves, my steps lengthen and quicken, my pace picks up.  I never think about my leg muscles or push harder with my butt muscles or whatever.  Just the word and the gathering of force, there inside my head, and somehow my body responds to that in a way whose connection I do not yet really feel. 

The contest is all within me.  I don't need to compare myself to others as I run - that is almost sure to leave me feeling discouraged.  I stay focused on doing better than I did before, and ALL THE TIME I am excited about running, tickled with my progress, pleased with my body.  It's okay that others can run twice as fast as me, easily.  It's okay that others are about half my body weight.  It's all okay.  The contest is all within me.  As long as I am striving to better where I am in comparison to where I have been, it's a win.  It's enough.

Oh, there's more, but it's past my bedtime.  Those are some good lessons that I carry forward, beyond my running, into my writing, into my workplace, into many other realms. 

It's good stuff. 

(This was yesterday's blog - I didn't have a decent internet connection last night when I wrote it.)

Friday, June 7, 2013

recovering faster

Didn't fall this morning.  :-)

Tried a different route, going down 17th street hill and through downtown so that I could run back up the 20th street hill. In my wanderings to try and make sure I got a full 5 miles in, I accidentally got 5.8 miles in.  WOO HOO!!! Bring on the Bix!

My body is recovering more quickly from my runs these days than it used to.  When I first bumped up to 5 mile runs, I was just flat out TIRED for the rest of the day, not to mention severe foot and leg pain for the rest of the day.  Part of the solution is I'm more consistent about taking some Ibuprofen or Aleve after the run.  That helps with the pain part.  But the TIRED part - my body is managing that.  I am less and less tired after each run.  

We really are fearfully and wonderfully made.   

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

if you don't like braggin'...skip this one

It was another adventure run this morning.  Having conquered one of the 38th street hills, I decided to run the opposite direction and take a whack at another 38th street hill...the one at Augustana College.  It's still not as big as Brady, but it's nicely close in quality and size.  

Things that made it an adventure:

Coming down 30th street hill, the stoplight halfway down turned yellow right as I stepped into the intersection.  Not wanting to have to stop for the cars there waiting for their green, I gave myself a giant mental PUSH and HOLY COW I was surprised at how fast I scooted through that intersection.  Felt like I knocked 20 years off of me in those steps.  I find it interesting - fascinating, actually, that going faster is about a mental push, not a focus on straining muscles.  That is not what I always thought.  

At the bottom of the hill, down across from the railroad tracks, I fell.  Third fall ever while running. the other was on a sidewalk.  DARN SIDEWALKS!  Most of the impact was on my right knee and hip and the heels of my hands...I felt myself going down this time.  It was a slower fall.  

You know those annoying people who gotta show you their owies, like no one else ever got hurt before?  Yeah.  I'm one of those.

The good news was I was able to get right back up and start walking quickly enough that I can't find the stop on my run readout.  And I was back to running within a few seconds. 

That just made me mad, basically, and determined that the Augie hill would not defeat me.  Turning right, up, up, up I went.  Did I slow down?  YES.  Did I stop or even walk?  NO.  I think you know what that moment is called, even without me naming its obnoxious name.  :-)

When I got near the top of the hill, it started a nice, light rain.  That was a relief - it was 61 degrees out and I needed the cooling down by then.  Not miserable rain.  Just enough to make me almost laugh at the trifecta of badass factor points I earned today:  fall, hill, rain.  WIN!  And to top it all off, only one of my miles (the first) was over 17 minutes, and also one of them was under 16. 

I can't believe I ever thought running wasn't fun.  

Monday, June 3, 2013


I defeated the 38th Street hill this morning!  No puking, AND no stopping or walking!  WOO HOO!!!  Now I can move on to exploring other hills in the area as well.

I don't know if that was from conditioning or the simple fact that it was almost 15 degrees cooler this morning than it was for my runs last week (YAY!!!) But I suppose it was probably both.  

Monday, hit me with your best shot.  I already won the day.  :-)