Sunday, November 28, 2010

Walk With Me

Tecolote Park Trails

Taper time! The Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll half marathon is next Sunday!

I think this is the first time I am taking a taper week as a no run week.  After two ridiculously busy weeks back at work, my body is just saying "no."

I am listening.

In addition to my body just saying "no," I am dealing with some allergies that I haven't had to deal with in YEARS.   This time I can't pin-point the triggers, but I've looked as if I've aged 10 years over the past two weeks due to the itchy eyes, dry skin around my eyes, and darker than normal allergic shiners (under my eyes.)  There is no concealer or cream that will camouflage any of this allergic reaction.  I have two theories to my allergy dillema.  The office where I work is right next door to a lumber retailer, and they create plenty of dust, OR it's the scented oil diffuser bottles my boss has put in the office since I was last working there full time.  I'm guessing it's the scented oils causing the issues.  I'm going to ask my boss take those out for a week to see if it makes a difference in how I feel/react.  My boss did give me a sample Rx for a newer allergy eye drop, which does offer relief, but it's just a temporary fix.

Did those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving have a good one?  I'm certainly thankful for all of my blogging friends.  Running and reading would not be the same without you all. 

Thanksgiving was quiet this year.  Hubs and I opted to sleep in instead of run in a 5k Turkey Trot.  We both needed the rest.  Most of our relatives were in other states and cities this year.  There were only about nine of us at my sister in law's house  for Thanksgiving dinner, compared to the 20+ people we're used to.  I did host a day after Thanksgiving dinner for my side of the family, but that was easy, since I swore NOT to use leftovers.

This year Evan wanted to help.  I showed him how to use an apple peeler, how to use the food processor, how to measure ingredients, how to roll out a pie crust, and how to saute' mushroom.  These new cooking skills beat out watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

Evan is demonstrating his mad rolling pin skilz.

A future chef?

I also stayed away from the Black Friday sales. I did partake in some internet shopping, but there was no way I was going to set foot in any mall or store, even for groceries. I'm all for a good deal, and kudos to those of you who camped out to get a good spot in line for a good deal on that wide screen TV or computer. Working in retail many years ago sort of ruined the thrill of shopping for me. I did work all of those crazy retail hours and had to deal with the aftermath when it was all over.

Hubs and I did get in a couple of walks:


For both walks we tackled Illion St, which is what I refer to as "The Hill." This street has a 16%  grade, and I would equate it to doing stairs, just because you need to use your legs as if you're ascending/descending stairs. I've mentioned this street before because we've seen Marines train by running up and it over and over again.  The only thing worse just as good is the steep hill that goes through Torrey Pines State Park towards USCD.   Since I have the La Jolla half marathon in my future, and the route goes through Torrey Pines State Park, I will be utilizing "The Hill" as much as possible over the next five months. I hope shin splints will no longer be an issue...


Finally, this:

Evan - Watching TV with Transformers.

Monday's Song:
D'yer Mak'er- Led Zeppelin - Running With The Black Knight


Check out this sweet giveaway at Run Faster, Mommy for really cool Sporty Girl's jewelry!

Monday, November 22, 2010

D'yer Mak'er

Yee-haw!  One week back at work full time and I've already put in overtime.  Due to the actions of the ghosts of employees past, there's a lot of  corrections to be made, pick up the ball that was dropped, and bring everything up to speed.  I realize I have plenty of catching up to do, but it's coming back rather quickly.  Every night before I leave they say:
"No texting or e-mail messages, OK?"
"We know where you live!"
"We'll make you come back!" 
The reason being is that their last two employees quit by text message and e-mail.  I'm glad to be back, even though it seems overwhelming at times. I know everything will fall into place.  I've been to this rodeo before.

Running is happening, slow, but it's happening. I'm still dealing with shin splints, although they are less sore. My last run before the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll half was less than stellar, but I got it in, hills, shin splints and rain.

We were supposed to do a flat run out by the bay, but we had a social networking group join us for the run, and we met out at the RU facility in Sorrento Valley, and it was much easier for the group to meet indoors, especially since it had been raining that morning. This group handled their runs differently than what I'm used to. Instead of sending people out by pace (all the 8 to 9 minute milers take off, then the 9 to 10 minute milers, etc), they sent people out by how far they we running. I was running with a pretty nice group until we arrived to the intersection where the people running 6 miles went one way, and the people running 11 miles went another way. I suddenly found myself alone, since I was the only woman over age 40 running more than 6 miles at a much less than an 8 minute mile. I don't mind the alone time, though, but that's when I was going up hill. The shins weren't too happy with me. This had to be one of the slowest runs I've had lately, but I just wanted to get in the 11 miles without walking. The run up Coast Highway through Del Mar, to the "Welcome to Solana Beach" sign is actually a pleasant run, especially early in the morning. I didn't take pictures, but it was also quite damp out, and a camera would have been a moot point, unless it was waterproof. I avoided any heavy rain until I had only a half mile to go. You just can't outrun Mother Nature. A nice, steady shower hit. It's one of those rain showers that's great if you're indoors with a hot beverage in front of a fireplace. Alas, I was running underneath the I-5 at that point, watching the rain from the underneath the bridge and I really wanted to finish. It would have been easy to just stand there until the rain let up, but maybe it would rain for hours. I made myself run the half mile in the rain back to the warm confines of RU. It honestly wasn't a huge stretch or feat to run in the rain, it was actually kind of nice. Running in the rain gave me the excuse to explain my slow pace, but we all know better.

There's so much more to talk about, especially about work -- it's like a sit-com -- but my mind is toast. 'Nite.

Thursday's (November 11, 2010) Song:
Sweet Serendipity -  Lee DeWyze


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sweet Serendipity

 It's sort of funny how life unfolds.

Running into my former coworker Darla at Sunday's 5k turned out to be quite a serendipitous thing.  Monday she left a message on my cell phone telling me that the office where I work (on call) had a Craigslist post for a full time optometric tech.  I had no idea.  It's either hit or miss with when they do need me and they have not needed me to fill this year thus far, and it's November.  When looked up the job posting I noticed that it was very recent and for a job position I already know quite well.  I took a chance and and e-mailed my boss, pleading my case and even offering to become ABO certified at my own expense.  Tuesday afternoon I received an e-mail from my boss saying they wanted to talk to me on Wednesday.  Amazingly enough, two weeks ago I had scheduled myself an eye exam for that Wednesday -- I'd be at the office anyway. I went in with an open mind.  The funny thing is that I had the eye exam first, before they would even talk to me. Fine, but, for the first time in YEARS I had a dilation exam, which meant my eyesight would be compromised during our chat following the exam.  Not only that, having my vision compromised made me feel queasy.  After pre testing, the exam, frame selection (yeah, I got new sunglasses and regular glasses) and a little chit chat with my coworkers, the grilling began.  They first wanted to know my motivation for coming back full time, then they wanted me to know that they changed their entire office dynamics, and if I could bring my roller skates because it would be that busy.  I plead my case (without being able to see and wanting to barf).  It must have been what they wanted to hear.  I start back Monday. They even offered to pay for my ABO certification.   They also went to wearing scrubs, which will save me a ton of money in not needing a career wardrobe, and they will pay for those as well.

Two of the reasons why they're bringing me back on is because they know I can be trained on all the new procedures/equipment/tools and I'm not a psychopath.  Yes, they actually used the word "psychopath."  Since another long-time coworker had to relocate 6 months ago, they have not been able to find anyone to replace her.  People interview well, but they become complacent after a short time and their performance falls apart, or their true nature comes out and they're just bizarre.  They've had 3 new hires who did not meet their standards in the past 6 months. 

Needless to say, I called Darla and thanked her profusely for the phone message about the job listing.  She is now working in another field, which is why she didn't go for it, herself.

Oh yeah, when I was in RU on Wednesday morning, Bryan asked me if I knew anyone who would want a front desk/general office job.  It seems they're having trouble finding decent office staff as well.  I said I was looking for work, but I was going in to my office later that same day to ask for full time.  Then he started asking me about my job experience and  rate of pay.  It felt like an interview while he was working on my shin.  I think he would have hired me based on our conversation.  I would have taken a job a RU if the full time job at my office fell through.

They say things happen in threes.  Dollars to doughnuts I start receiving calls from all the places I sent applications and resume's to over the past year. 

Now I must go and dust off my roller skates. Monday will be here soon enough.

Monday's Song:
There and Back Again - Daughtry


Monday, November 08, 2010

There and Back Again

 Pre race photo op with "Mik", "AKA Alice" and "Walter"

Sunday was the Shelter Island 5k Run. This is a favorite because there's a champagne brunch after the race. The brunch is held at Humphreys, the same place where Hubs and I often enjoy summer concerts. Sunday's run felt a lot like summer.  I ditched my jacket before the race because it was already warming up at 7 AM. It felt more like July than it did November. I'm still dealing with shin splints in my left shin, but I figured I'd just cruise this 5k instead of race it. I cruised, but I should have cruised a little slower, even though I felt like I was going slow for me. I could not run faster at all, even if I tried. I couldn't even make a mad sprint for the finish line when it was in sight. It just wasn't going to happen. I sort of broke even with my last 5k - July 4th 2010 in Coronado. Sunday's 5k was actually a few seconds faster than Coronado, but still a good 4 minutes away from a PR.

Here's my stats:

Time: 29:19
Pace: 9:27
F 50-54: 12 out of 56 
The fun thing about this particular race is that it sort of feels like one huge party and EVERYONE seems to be in a great mood.  I'm sure the champagne/mimosas helped with the great mood.

AKA Alice and Rich

Hubs and I with my former coworker Darla.  We haven't seen Darla in a  few years!

Hubs had a really good race day.  Even though he really wasn't attempting to go for a PR, he achieved just that...  An all time 5k PR.   He finished in 30:10, a 9:43 minute mile pace.  This is the first time he has broken a 10 minute mile pace.  My friend Rich had a really good run too.  His time was 24:30 - Pace/mile 7:54,  a new PR,  taking about two minutes off of his last 5k race.

 Cheers!  Mimosas makes the shin feel all better!
Photo credit to Rich
A group from RU was also at the run, and I did see my PT Bryan run right past me, but I did not see any of them at the brunch.  They were wearing bright yellow tech shirts, but it turns out they all changed out of their tech shirts after the race. I was looking for a group with bright yellow shirts, which is probably why I never found them.

The next day...

Monday was little bit rough.  My shin is not too happy with me.  I've been doing everything I'm supposed to be doing for it, and it's helping, including this:

I have about eight of these cups and a ziplock bag with homemade blue ice(a slushy ice pack) in my freezer.  I'm foam rolling, massaging, stretching, doing ankle exercises, point and flex exercises, modified squats and lunge matrices. (It's an RU thing - squats and lunges are the cure all for just about everything.) You name it, I'm doing what ever it takes to relieve shin splints.  I've been to the doctor, the chiropractor and my physical therapist.  I appreciate all the advice and kind words everyone has given to me and, trust me, I've been trying it all. 

I've been back to using the old school Bowflex, low weight high rep exercises and utilizing the row attachment seat for some sort of alternative cardio since I don't feel like going into the gym and using their crappy old stationary bikes. 

I have just less than 4 weeks until the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll half marathon.  I still need to get in some mileage, and I plan on taking a very conservative approach to it.  I need to put a 10 miler this week, even if I run/walk the entire way. 

Wednesday's Song:
Ramble On - Led Zeppelin - Black Knight


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Ramble On

Anything but a Wordless Wednesday...


FYI, in my last post the dog is trying to eat the bubbles and having fun.  When she was much younger she would love to chase the bubbles with a "woohoo!!!" attitude.

It figures that now we're  into November the weather is more summer-like.  I'm  not complaining one bit, but after the overcast and sometimes cold summer, I am enjoying the warmer weather.

 Clear skies.  
I know, not exciting.  This is the view from the parking structure of my doctor's office.

Running has been less productive as I would like.  I just can't get beyond the shin splints, still.  The right leg is OK, it's the left leg shin that will scream at me when I run anything beyond 5 miles.  It's not as sore as it was just a few weeks ago.  I know if I just stopped running for 3 weeks I could probably get rid of the shin splints once and for all, but  with a half marathon in about 4 weeks I can probably take one week off.  My mileage base isn't what it used to be, either.  The most I've run (at one time since about August) is 7 miles at one time.  Not good.  I'm all set for a slow 10K, not a half marathon.  My weekly mileage has suffered, too.  I've been running about 10 to 15 miles a week -- Not good, either.  Yikes. I guess my strategy will be to enjoy the ride, so to speak. My pacing is off, too.  I should be running in the low 9 minute mile to mid/high 8 minute mile range for a half marathon, not 11s and 12s.  I was so looking forward to PRing at the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, but I guess it's not to be.  I also have a 5k THIS weekend that I was hoping to do well at, but I'll do well when I'm finished and enjoying the champagne brunch after the race is over.

I know every runner tends to go through some sort of slump due to injury or  unforeseen circumstances, but, come on already.  It has been over 3 years!  I haven't had a PR since 2007 or early 2008.  2008 was when I had the fractures and surgery.  2009 was all about rehabbing and rebuilding and I was happy just to get going again.  2010 started out hopeful  and I was making a ton of progress, but then it was one illness or injury after the next.  Perhaps I need another odd number year.  2011?  Please?

Remember those Nike Lunarglide + 2 test shoes?  I LIKED THOSE, a lot.  They're more comfortable and durable that I expected they would be.  I've had past  issues with Nike's not lasting more than 100 miles, which isn't good for marathon training.  I've put well over 100 miles on those Lunarglides and they have hundreds of miles in them.  From what I've heard,  they're featured in the November 2010 Runner's World Magazine*.  They didn't use my 2 cents, but I thought I'd give those a positive mention , anyway.

Currently, I'm testing the Saucony Pro Grid Jazz 14.  I've had these a couple of weeks.  They're super durable and, for a neutral shoe, are really supportive.  These feel much firmer than other neutral shoes I've used, but Saucony's are durable and can usually take a beating.  Bonus points that they're not making my shin splints worse.  I still have my Sauconys from a wear test I did well over a year ago, and those still have a lot of run left in them.

Although the pastel green color is minimal, I still have issue with pastel colors on my running shoes, however, the mostly black, white and silver overlays and details makes up for it. 

Last week I pulled a muscle in my right hamstring while at my RU Run Fit Class.  As usual, I wasn't doing anything extraordinary.  We were doing warm up exercises when the cramp suddenly came on.  Most of the discomfort is gone, but every once in a while  I feel that minor tension in my hammy.  Sheesh.

Halloween came and went.  The kiddo went as Ironman.  His mother went to a party as a version of Lady Gaga the night before. I didn't dress up this year. Call me crazy, but I stayed home with the dog and doled out candy to the 30 trick or treaters who came by.   Go me.  My daughter took the kiddo trick or treating closer to our house and Hubs took the kid trick or treating on a second shift in a different part of the neighborhood.  It's not like the kid needed any more candy, I just think Hubs really likes trick or treating, plus there's a street in our neighborhood that caters to the adults and hands out bowls of chili and Dixie cups filled with margaritas.

Tuesday I was at the rental house waiting for the new renter to show up with a rent check.  She called to say she'd be about 30 minutes late.  I decided to walk my old run route in that neighborhood. Not much has changed there, other than a few more homes are up for sale, but I put in my 2 mile loop.   It was a beautiful day in the old neighborhood.

Since I had my cell phone with me, I used the GPS running program, however I just found out that Bones In Motion is closing shop and we can transfer our past data to another application.**  That's nice, but my cell phone doesn't work with the new application.  My cell phone carrier is not supported.  I was planning to post that map here, but now I can't.  SIGH.  I need to migrate  three years worth of data over to the new application so I don't lose it, but it won't migrate everything, such as my notes on the run and mile splits. Now I'm really glad that I have my Garmin, but that means I need to remember to wear it every single time I run, and I don't always remember to wear it.

It's kind of funny that, as adults, we still receive stickers.  Here's two I've just received:

I always expect the "I Voted" sticker.

I did not expect the nurse to slap a sticker on me for getting a flu shot.

I'm still going though testing to figure out the intermittent fatigue I've been dealing with all summer.  Today I gave more blood for allergy testing, although I have no idea which allergies I'm being tested for. I really should have been given a referral to an allergy specialist, but we'll see if anything shows up.

Finally, I was rummaging through several item that were in storage.  I came across a series of watercolors and inks that I created when I was a sophomore in high school...  19*cough*74*cough*...

This was before the advent of disposable, pre-filled tech pens and Prismacolor felt tipped pens that comes in ten-thousand colors.  I used cake water colors, sabline brushes, and a traditional fine point calligraphy pen and dipped that into a vial of India ink over and over again.  That really was so old school.  My style has changed so much since that time due to time.  That particular piece took weeks to do in a twice a week, two hour art class.  I don't think I would have the patience to do anything like that at this time in my life.  I take that back.  With the disposable, pre-filled tech pens and Prismacolor felt tipped pens the process would probably be faster, but it still would take more than one day.  I'd rather be out running.

Last Wednesday's Song:
Something Good This Way Comes - Jakob Dylan


*I still have not received that issue. 
** I don't care for it.  BiM offered more data.