Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Day Off

Today I get to go to the nutritionist! My doctor gave me the prescription to go to one after we talked about the Food Exchange program, and I found that concept to be quite confusing. On one hand, women with PCOS are sometimes told to use Food Exchange and to eat like they are diabetic, but athletes often have to be sure to get all their energy carbs in, and gels and chews make my tummy less upset.  But we humans are supposed to eat whole, unprocessed food to save the planet and the cows and the chickens, and I am supposed to take my probiotic here and my medicine there and where does a glass of wine fit in?  It seems like the plans and readings that I'm finding either include dairy for protein, way more meat than I'm willing to eat, or way too few carbs. 

The nutritionist works with sports nutrition, PCOS, and food allergies.  She is seeing us together, and will get my skinny M set up with a plan to get all the calories he needs.  (He tends to not be as interested in food, until he's starving, and then he defaults to roast chicken and ramen.  And green smoothies. He loves those.) I'm really hopeful she can help me figure put a simple way to understand what is best to eat and how to track it so I have enough long energy for those bike rides with punchy hills, and still keep my blood sugar in check and get to eat vegetarian again. Mostly.  I have found that I just don't enjoy meat all that much.  I'm still working off the doc's orders of "be willing to eat a bit of meat to get your calories in until you can see a nutritionist to sort this out" but seriously, I've had enough burgers for the next two years.  Yesterday, I was at a party and a dear fellow made these lovely burgers- delightfully rare.  Exactly the way I like a burger.  So maybe that excellent burger can be my last for a while! 

What will be interesting will be getting a plan for us together. M typically prefers things tart when I prefer sweet (he can make some soul-puckering smoothies!) and sweet where I prefer plain (get that sugar away from my coffee!), and I prefer vegetarian most of the time when he needs some meat, which explains why he languishes pale and anemic at my feet begging for a steak while I'm merrily chewing away on some seitan. How can we both meet our needs while I address my food allergy and endocrine issue, and he gets enough calories for a skinny athlete? 

I'm still getting used to Mondays as a day off.  I prefer Fridays- the combo of Friday and Saturday feels like a real weekend.  But Mondays works best for this parish right now, so Mondays it is. I did get to sleep in today. When I finally woke up, it was 10 to 8, which is super late for me! 

I guess I was tired!  One of the things I constantly forget about rehab is that I'm pushing my body to get stronger.  After a week of longer runs, speedwork, and strength training, maybe that explains why I was so doze-y.  Um, legit tired, much? So I'm making today a no workout day, except for maybe a light Barre workout later.  I need the stretching so much! 

In other news, I'm trying to figure out why my back pain intensifies so much on Sunday mornings.  I suspect that it might be partly due to the cathedra chairs we have- they are perhaps the most uncomfortable chairs in existence!  Stretching my hamstrings and back between services helps, but it doesn't cure the problem.  But once I get home, after some stretching and sitting on decent chairs, it's much better.  Perhaps I should leave a note for the permanent Rector- reconsider the cathedras? 

I've noticed my voice has smoothed out a bit. While it still gets gravelly after a full day of speaking, it is much easier to keep it in the smooth range. Hopefully, this means that the damage done from all the heartburn is healing, which means that the heartburn is resolved, which means my tummy is healing. Which is all good news.  (I learned in this whole saga that one of the symptoms of lactose intolerance can be upset tummy and heartburn, which many women experience as hunger pains.  So all the time I spent thinking I was super hungry and having those yogurts and cheese ticks for what I thought was a healthy snack, I was basically making myself sicker and sicker. Doh!) 

I haven't had the major days and days of consistent heartburn for a while now. (It just happens when I have a dairy mistake, which last happened a few weeks ago, and now that I know the symptoms, I can take my medicine that helps reduce the reaction that much earlier.) 

I did point out that I'm still hopeful that this allergy can be cured, and/or that maybe the nutritionist will discover it was all a mistake.  "Oh no!" She will say. "It wasn't dairy you were allergic to.  All this time, it was really BROCCOLI!"  And I'll give up broccoli forever.  

I can live with that. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bad Priest Procrastinates on Sermon

On the bright side, yesterday, I beat Level 2 of the training plan!  Yeah!  I was excited.  I'd been toiling away at Level 2 for a few weeks and was starting to feel impatient.  It was a hot, humid run, but then again, we've hit that time of year when if I want to get a decent workout in, I need to go out first thing in the morning.

I've also been doing Barre3 workouts and lots of lunges to strengthen my quads again.  Come on, leg muscles!

Mostly, though, this very moment, I am procrastinating on my sermon.  Oh, sure, it's drafted.  It was drafted by Friday.  It just does't feel like ti has gone on very deeply.  Plus, I'm a little sleepy and I keep feeling doze-y.  I've tried every trick in my book, including coffee shops, blocking webpages, and even the library.  My greatest success seems to be getting annoyed at Starbucks.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The latest run and a Monday Day Off Project

Yesterday, after work (and a little eensy beensy nap) I went for a run.  My dislike-hate-loathe-eh, it's ok affair with running is well known, and I am definitely feeling the pain of not having my beloved Ridgeline trail anymore.  It was trail running!  I miss my trails!  

So yesterday, for a "short easy" run per the training plan, I decided to try a different route.  I told myself I only had to do 25 minutes, which turned into 40, which morphed in 75!  My feel felt phenomenal, which means I think I have successfully broken in my new shoes/my feet have adapted to the new style.  

I didn't really like the new route, because it was too bright and sunny.  Chain Bridge Road does eventually turn into Vienna but where I am it was just too exposed.  But I did discover that I could turn down a side road, and discovered a new loop run, so I don't have to do an out-and-back.  Eh.  I'll take it.  

My big win for the day was pushing myself to run UP all the hills!  There was zero walking.  My legs burned, oh, ow, the burn, but I got up there.  I liked that.  I feel like I"m getting stronger and hopefully, pretty soon, I won't be humiliating myself on bike rides all the time.  It has been humbling to have to do all the stops and the heaving when I didn't even paperboy the Leadman route.  

For my day off today, I'm planning a Barre3 routine.  Yes, I'm reincorporating that.  I miss Barre3, and it's definitely a BIG challenge, but so good for my body.  And the stretching.  I need that.  

I'm also planning to work on my book situation.  We have a lot of books which have been living with us for years that we just aren't using.  After last year's moving of over 33 book boxes, we want to glean down to just the ones that make sense to keep.  So far, I have one paper bag of books ready to go.  Yeah, I have some work to do.  My hope is that by the time we are ready to move, I will have cleared out the extra books and gone through the wires and cables and chargers and gotten rid of the extra stuff that doesn't work so I am left with the actually useful stuff.  So that is my job for today. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Getting in lots of cross training

Over the weekend, I was at "camp" with my parish.  "Camp" in this case means Shrine Mont, the Cathedral seat of the Diocese of Virginia.  Virginia has no Cathedral, but they do have Shrine Mont, where there is an outdoor Shrine.  It certainly avoids the pitfalls of an expensive cathedral building to maintain, even if it means that the Cathedral isn't open during the winter months and rainstorms, and might have more than the average number of bugs in the baptismal font.  (Said the student who is serving as sexton: "Oops.  I'll have to clean that out.")

"Camp" also means houses, beds, and bathrooms, so it's hardly roughing it.  If it had a hot spring, it would be glamping.

I took my mountain bike.  The ride was just an hour and 20 minutes, but it was some nice off roads.  I walked a fair amount as I don't feel confident riding over rocks or through most streams just yet.  I had one fall, when I was trying to find the road and instead ended up on a hunter's tree sit area.  In turning around, I skidded out on the glass of their smashed beer bottles!  Little scrape, no big deal.

On Monday, M had this idea for a very fun date.  He took me ice skating!  I haven't done that in years.  He thought it would be fun for leg strength.  Let's just say that my strength and flexibility has tanked in the last year and the need for yoga and pilates is really, really confirmed.  But on the bright side, we had lots of fun!

At one point, I caught my toe pick somehow and totally face-planted.  It is the best sort of injury because, after the initial burn of shame subsided, it didn't really hurt at all.  But I do have a rather impressive ice burn on my arm and a giant goose egg of a bruise in many really impressive colors.  Seriously: green and purple and red... it's nice and round, and the first day, it was gigantic!  Definitely worth the price of admission.  I keep showing it to M, who makes admirable faces and says, "Ew!  Ouch!  Stop showing me your bruise!"  So great!

Right after I fell, this little kid skated up to me.  He must have been 6 or 7, and asked, "Are you OK? Do you need help ice skating?"  M helpfully replied, "Oh, yes.  She needs a LOT of help ice skating!"  The kid replies, "It's OK.  In the beginning, I fell like a thousand times.  But now I hardly ever rarely fall."  He skated with us for a while teaching M all sorts of handy tricks about slowing down and stuff.  Thanks for the lesson, Ian!

(Yes, the kid's name was Ian.  I told him I had a friend named Ian who is really tall and has a big beard.  He said that was neat.)

Friday, June 6, 2014

New Running Shoes

So I picked up a new pair of running shoes (the old pair was packed out) and headed out yesterday for my second run.

My first 20 minute easy run in those shoes was delightful.  I felt springy and could definitely feel the difference between the 1.5 pound pair and this 14 ounce pair!

This 25 minute easy run was a little more trouble.  It was hot and humid (although I was well fueled and watered) so I knew it would be a sweaty and gross slog.  I am focusing on keeping my stride turnover brisk and on a mid foot strike (even though there's plenty of heel cushion), so it's possible that the intense focus on form was hurting me.

Early on, I started having inner right knees twinges.  I also had some pretty big foot pain.  Ouch.  It was getting pretty sore to put my feet down!

I stopped for a stretch, and some stretching helped (but didn't totally resolve the knee twinge), and relacing my shoes helped.  I think these shoes will require tying and tightening each time with using traditional laces.  They also have stretchy laces they came with, so maybe I'll try those at some point.

Overall, I suspect it's just the sheer hardness of the roadways that hurts.  Running on road is a LOT of pounding, and I prefer trails when I can get them.  (But even the trails are paved around here.  Oh, Ridgeline, I am glad I appreciated you fully while I had you!)

I'm taking a rest day today and wearing shoes with lots of arch support.  Shoe situation to be continued...

The Ridgeline Trail and Pre's Trail, by the way, are both amazing trail systems in Eugene.  If you live in Eugene and you HAVEN'T hiked or run those trails, you are missing out!  Ridgeline covers everything up to Spencer Butte peak which is amazing, and it is really just a lovely network.  Very popular with dogs and runners.  And even in the hottest days, the Ridgeline gives you a chance to get out of the hot sun.  It always feels pretty cool.  Pre's trail is pretty flat and fast, great for speed work if you just want to shake it out a bit.  I preferred Ridgeline, overall.  Totally gorgeous, and absolutely worth it for brain candy.  It was perhaps among the most relaxing places I could flee to after a busy day!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The FreshBikes Ride, 1st Tuesday (1st Attempt)

So this past week, I went out for a ride with FreshBikes, did my two "easy" runs off my training plan, and have been in the middle of planning a joint liturgy, when two churches will share space at Shrine Mont for Pentecost.

The bike ride was interesting.  I can be very shy with new groups, so I was having all sorts of pre-emptive anxiety before the ride, trying very hard to talk myself out of it. I was so sure it would go so wrong, and since I was having to go solo, of course it would be awful, right?  I had to fight my way through so much traffic that I was totally sure I was going to actually MISS the ride!

But no.  I started putting on my gear and helmet in the car as I drove.  I even miraculously discovered that my sunglasses had survived the top-of-the-car drive there in my water bottle cage (lucky me!).  I was still freaking out, though.  My heart rate monitor showed my heart clipping along at a merry pace of 156 as I parked and pulled my bike off to put my wheels on.  My bike pump is broken, too, so every pump let air out!  That explains why I started pumping incredibly fast, hoping to get more air in than could leak out.  (M got us a new pump the next day.)

The ride started off perfectly fine as we headed out escorted by Arlington's finest.  Remember that back in the day, I was their chaplain?  Yeah, I love Arlington.  They're my favorite!  It was lots of fun to be escorted. I even got to chat with a few other riders, like the guy wearing the Deschutes Brewery shirt.  (I need a Ninkasi one!)  The ride started off pretty fast, but not too fast.

But I am really weak on the hills right now, so the main pack moved past me and I was working my way up the hills very slowly.  After a little while, I saw blue lights as the chase car moved into my periphery.  Finally, the car pulled along side me, and the officer shouted that I needed to stay to the right now.  "Do you mean I'm the sweep now?" I shouted.  "Yes!" he yelled.

This was a mistake.  The sweep is the LAST person, folks.  So I thought I was the VERY LAST PERSON on the ride.

This. Means. Panic.  I chased.  I caught.  I worked my way up.  I got dropped on the next hill because I had blown up on that chase.  I chased.  I got dropped.  Finally, I was dropped pretty far behind and I just couldn't chase anymore... when I saw the lead motor coming down the hill!

"Oh," thought I.  "If I am the very last person, if I jump in with this lead group, I will be caught by the end again soon!"

This was also a mistake.  As I turned, I saw many more riders behind me.  There were probably a good 75 people toiling away after me, so I was not as alone as I had thought.  It also turns out that the lead group were PROS who dropped me like a hot rock.  I caught one last open intersection, but rapidly came to a section where we needed to turn.  I did not know which way to turn.  I chased one other person.

He was a normal rider, but he'd had to drop off with a mechanical.  He was all fixed now, and suggested we wait for the main group.  When they didn't show up, we decided to go in search of them, so we rode a bit, found the group, and rode along.

It was GREAT until I learned they were not with the Fresh Bikes group and we were well on our way to Falls Church.

That was also a mistake.  It was also a problem since they were all splitting up to head home and we came to a section where I was once again the slowest person on the hills and they all beat me to the Y intersection where you had a 50/50 chance of turning the correct way to go back to Arlington.

I chose the wrong way.  Now I was totally solo and entirely lost.  So I kept working my way up and down hills (note to self, consider stopping for a drink and a snack next time to keep those legs happy and fueled.  I didn't eat a single thing and only drank about 4 oz of water on this humid ride).

Soon, I found my way into Rosslyn.  Also a nice place.  Also, not Arlington.

I kept riding until I found my way to an apartment complex where I asked a person walking their dog how to get to Wilson Boulevard.  I rode past all the people having their dinner, and soon started seeing riders who were waving at me.  A block later, I found the FreshBikes shop... having come from the OPPOSITE direction.

I think I rode a giant figure 8.  Kinda makes me wish I'd had my phone so I could have tracked my route!  I had not kept my phone with me, but I think that the practice of having my old iPhone handy for these things is a practice to keep alive.  If nothing else, I could have looked up where I was so I could have gotten un-lost sooner!

Other riders said I was only a few minutes behind the rest of the group, and the line was still really long.  Oh, yes, they give you free food on the first Tuesday of the month.  So I might have gotten totally lost and abandoned and lonely, but they gave me a free burrito!  And a soda.

I've switched back to regular sodas after reading too many scary things about what diet sodas can do to you.  So one regular soda and then water.  Tortilla, rice, lots of veggies and a little chicken.  Good dinner, right?  I skipped the post ride beer because I was a little wary of my tummy- all a flutter with "no one will talk to me" nerves.  It's an intimidating group to break into!

So that was my story of the First Tuesday Ride with FreshBikes.  It will be unlikely that I will make any more this summer as I have a regular 1st Tuesday meeting, but this will be something to look forward into following years!

And it gives me a while to work on my hills legs!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Race Report: Spectator Edition

I'll add photos once my photo stream catches up. 

Today, I spectated at the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon. (The one I pulled out of because I didn't think I'd be ready.) 

So M ran it.  There were a few quibbles that made me question the universe's goodness and this race in particular.    

First, early packet pickup was $10 extra, and they chose a venue in Arlington, in a busy area with very limited parking during rush hour. It meant that we had to work our way through horrible stop and go traffic (a 20 minute trip became 1 hour!) and after circling the block for 20 minutes, we let M go in.  I was pissed. (For other reasons, too.) but seriously, folks.  Because of the poor choice of location and timing, I couldn't go into the store and look at toys.  M's packet pickup became a mad dash.  (And I think stores, in agreeing to do packet pickups, hope to get some impulse buys from racers, which can't happen when your racers are dashing in and out).  Plenty of others double parked.  I may or may not have participated in one road rage-y fight over a parking spot which I lost. And the race had said that the packet people would be getting special store discounts... But the location and timing made it nearly impossible to take advantage of that. 

My advice? Longer pickup hours, maybe a different store, and scope it out in advance so you can suggest racers consider metro. Really- write on the directions that parking is limited and metro is suggested. Problem solved. 

(Priest note: M May or may not have suggested that on days when I have to spend a lot of energy turning down "regular" grifters at work, I come home very short and snappy. I hear that complaint and I note that he came home with a whole pack of Oreos, soy ice cream, and three chocolate bars, which found its way into a bowl in front of me.)

Arriving at the race was also challenging. I realized that M and I are very different in our race prep. I obsessively read race info, pack my bag the night before, lay out exactly the right outfit, agonize over my warm ups, set up my race number belt, set the alarm clock, and depart within 20 minutes of waking up. He picked out a pile of clothes the night before. Upon waking, he decided between two outfits, made coffee, showered, put on his Chacos, picked out a sweatshirt, packed his bag, picked out food... 
Meanwhile, I am internally FREAKING OUT! IT WAS 530 AND WE NEEDED TO BE GONE, ON THE ROAD, BYE BYE!!! I would have been on the road by ten after! He is so laid back and I am so tightly wound on race day... It worries me a bit for Nations! 

It was certainly a popular race.  As we neared the venue, we got stuck in a huge traffic jam. Our comfortable arrival window, having shrunk already thanks to M's leisurely morning prep (seriously, dude, you are running an effin race!! Why aren't you freaked out?!?), was growing ever smaller.

 The parking lot we were assigned to filled up, so as we inched towards another one, M opted to... Put his race number on his belt, finalize his food choices, put on his shoes, and take off his sweater, and go off to line up. (No, none of that causes me racer stress, why do you ask? AM I THE ONLY ONE FREAKING MADLY OUT?). I continued to inch along, behind no fewer than THREE official shuttles buses.  When I finally bounced over all the bumpy field and pulled into a parking spot, it was 6:59! (Gun at 7.) With such a huge traffic jam, I had hoped that the race would be delayed.  But I was sure glad M had hopped out. I jumped out, grabbed my runner spirit sign, and RAN for the line!  I made it just as gun went off, and tried desperately to make it up to the 2:15 group, where I guessed M would be. 

(Meanwhile, race fans, M had made a successful bathroom stop and had just enough time to line up with the 2:30s).  

I have to say, I was a little shocked (and stressed!) that the race started on time when there was such a huge traffic jam that was beyond the control of runners. I understand it's our job to get there in time... But really, when three of your own shuttle buses are also late, I would have delayed the start by 15 minutes.  There were runners sprinting from the portapotties and from the parking lot.  

Thankfully, I did see M just in time to unveil Sign Number 1.  Then I knew I'd have a few hours.  So I went back to the car, got the rest of my stuff, changed my shoes to sturdier ones, walked around the not yet open expo, used the portaloo, refilled my water bottle, looked at the scenery, contemplated life... You know, like ya do. 

The first runners came in starting around 1:15.  As a spectator it is very exciting to see the winners... At least, I think so! The announcer made a few jokes about the spectators wrapped up in their smart phones, and it was so true! No one cheered for the Elliptigo pacers who were hilarious (did they really do 13.1 on those things?), and the winner came into a pretty quiet reception. Worse yet, two guys sitting near me sporting the physique of seedy college frat boys decided they were "hilariously" going to make fun of the top finishers' forms. (Which were stellar.). That sort thing is just major rude. They went to sit elsewhere, but I left for a different part of the spectator area as well so I wouldn't have to listen to or watch them. But the rest of the spectators were pretty nice, especially once the Corocoran winery team showed up with cowbells.  Every race needs more cowbells. It took the finish line from a golf tournament sort of polite cheers into an actual cheering throng. 

I walked out to the course with sign #2 until I saw M. He was hurting a bit- cramped hamstrings, maybe a pulled muscle.  But still hanging in there, right on schedule. He'd run out of the 2:15 group and was solidly in the 2:10s. Later on, another person who finished near him seemed surprised she'd finished so well- she was insisting it had to be a 2:15, 2:16 finish.  Except I had watched, and it took the 2:15 people more than three minutes to cross the first timing pad.  Chip time and gun time are very different! 

The race won me over, after that rough start, with the stellar weather, great venue, and after race yoga.  Racers and spectators alike were in great spirits. And even though the race was at a winery, it was not a drinky-drink sort of event. The tasting garden was really controlled, and not the largest part of the event at all, and it seemed like people were there to socialize and relax.  So if you aren't a drinker, you'd still have fun at this event.  

Overall, M had a 2:10:30- pretty good for a first time race! He's already making plans for how to train to drop to a sub-2! (Which I think he can do, no problem.  He was running through cramps and just a week off a big bug.). 

I talked to the Newtons shoe guy (remember, I'm in the shoe market), and decided to go shoe shopping this afternoon.  Potomac River Running, like Eugene Running Company, ended up fitting me into a pair of Brooks Pure Flows(!).  But I went off to Tri360 to try their brands, and fell in love with a springy shoe from On.  This is a new company to me, but they have this open sole springy technology, so it's a super lightweight shoe with the minimalist feel, but still plenty of padding and cushy-ness thanks to the sproings built into the shoes.  The tri 360 owner and I think they'll be a good fit for all the concrete around here... I am still interested in the Brooks, but in Eugene, I split my time between trails and road.  Here, it's all road, and I want to protect my knees!  So I'll be running this summer in On Clouds. 

Newtons seem OK... But really, I just couldn't bring myself to pay that premium price tag. Seriously, I coulod make an extra student loan or car payment for that amount!