Why you should only sign up for races while sober…

As you know, I am trying to make my triumphant return to running.  My literal first steps towards this goal culminated in a one mile run.  My most recent efforts have included a 38 minute run at an average pace of 7.4 mph.  The hotel treadmill inexplicably displayed my total mileage as 3.1, but I’m pretty good at math and I don’t think that adds up.  Anyway, I have primarily been going to Power Hour because it’s so hot outside, I can’t stomach a run outdoors after work, and my fuse is too short from my lack of stamina and speed that I cannot deal with the people on the indoor track who openly defy track etiquette.  A few weeks ago, I jogged about 3 laps on the indoor track, and a tween walking around the track with his older sister/babysitter dared walk on the inside of the track for a protracted period of time.  When I said “excuse me,” Carrot Top said, ne, commanded, that the inner lanes are for walkers!!!  I calmly screamed “look at the sign!” and gave up in defeat shortly thereafter.  I have not returned to the indoor track, the former home of my winter 18 or 20 milers, since that incident.  I don’t foresee a trip back to the track until I can tune up my anger management techniques.  Maybe I will take a yoga class…

But I digress.  I have been torturing myself with Power Hour, a class which offers ample running, hill work, and strength work to make me feel like less of a sloth when I sit on the couch watching Real Housewives of New Jersey later in the evening.  It also exposes my shoulder scars to enough UV rays to guarantee I will be branded with these imperfections until I am 80 and the rest of my body resembles an old leather briefcase.  Power Hour has introduced me to some people who I find fascinating, because they too enjoy masochism.  On Friday night, some of my Power Hour friends and “real” friends joined me for Happy- not Power- Hour.  This was an excellent way to kiss goodbye one full week without alcohol. I must say, taking a week off of social drinking was remarkable.  I saved probably $12 in cheap wine and staved off SuperBaby learning the term “Mommy Juice” for at least another week.  Seriously though, I feel marginally more energized and think I will make a habit of not drinking during the work week.  Granted, I’m not a booze hound. I may typically consume 3 or 4 glasses of wine total from Sunday-Thursday, but it’s the principle that counts.  I also have cut out virtually all caffeine and processed flour, so I am feeling rather superior these days.  After consuming two glasses of delicious wine, the name of which I cannot recall, I returned home with my friend Erin and we started talking about running. We thought it would be really fun to pick a race in the fall to do.  We decided to choose a half marathon, since Erin is still nursing a back injury and I will be recovering from a second shoulder surgery.  Instead of thinking our choice through in a sober state of mind, we voted on the inaugural Savannah Rock n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon & Marathon on November 5.  I even found a coupon code to get $10 off registration! We immediately registered online, texted a few friends from Power Hour to harass them into signing up also, and patted ourselves on the backs for our foresight to register early and save $10.

The next morning I see a confirmation email from Active.com congratulating me on registering for the race.  My first thought was “Race, what race?!”  My second thought was “Wow, my brain hurts.  Wine has a lot of sugar in it.”  Great, I roped myself into another race without having even built back up to a solid 10 mile per week base.  And by solid, I mean pathetic.  And by pathetic, I mean “I’m not judging you if you consider yourself a runner and all you run is 10 miles per week.  It’s just that you can’t exactly race 13.1 miles at once if you are running/jogging 2 or 3 miles at a time a few times each week.”  Plus, given I am likely having repeat shoulder surgery very soon, I won’t be running until early August at best.   My negative, super sarcastic brain (which typically wins) laughs at me maniacally, telling me I am shooting for a world record for signing up for races I cannot attend/complete.  See, e.g., Myrtle Beach Marathon (not enough time to recover from Kiawah), Corporate Cup 1/2 Marathon (too much pain 5 days before surgery), Providence Marathon (registered before I realized I would need surgery), and The Scream Half Marathon (wedding that weekend).  My positive brain, which is a rookie, is all about promoting good Qi and making sure I get back into the running that I love.  This part of my brain has decided that Savannah is going to be the one race all year that I fully train for and that I can use to accomplish a PR (under 1:38).  So I mapping out my training schedule, just like I have done in the past.  Here is a sampling of my goals for the next month of training, which will probably take closer to 6 or 7 weeks because of my recovery from surgery:

Mondays/Wednesdays: Power Hour

Tuesdays: 30 minute run at HMP + 10%, 10 cycles of Tabata Sprints (30 seconds sprint, 15 seconds walk)

Thursdays: Intervals (4×800, 8×400, 10×200)

Fridays: Off

Saturdays: Start with a 6 mile run at half marathon pace + 20% this Saturday (on the treadmill at the Aria hotel in VEGAS!!!), add 1 mile per week for three weeks, then back down 2 miles on week 4.

Sundays: Easy 2-3 mile jog

Not too daunting, certainly not like marathon training.  If anyone has any suggestions which one may consider constructive, please send them my way. Happy running, and don’t sign up for any races in the immediate afterglow of Happy Hour!

Motivation

As you know, it’s been a while since my last post.  I’ve found I haven’t had motivation to post, mainly because I haven’t had motivation to run or even exercise all that much. I never realized how easy it is to get out of the exercise routine.  It’s just as easy as getting obsessive about working out, planning out interval work, and making sure I get at least one chicken biscuit a week.  I am three months post surgery and unfortunately, not making much progress with my range of motion.  It is looking like I’ll need another surgery to remove a bunch of scar tissue.  Supposedly, the recovery isn’t supposed to be as bad.  This isn’t surprising to me, given that I don’t think any recovery from a relatively “minor” surgery could be worse.  I know I didn’t have a hip replacement like my dad, or get hit by a bus and have to learn how to walk again like that firefighter in New York, Matt Long, that ended up doing a freaking Iron Man a few years after he almost died and was told he’d never walk again.  But still, I’m not used to being laid up.  I didn’t even take off that much time off (5 full weeks) when I was with child or after I had Superbaby.  It’s not easy, but I think I’ve finally found my motivation again.

My motivation is twofold:  cute exercise clothes, and doing an Ironman one day.  So, the only thing bad about these workout clothes is that they are likely going to lead to my filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy.   However, I find that I can make room in my bank account by eliminating other things, like food and work clothes.  I’ll just wear the same black shift dress to work every day and drink tap water. I never drink enough water. Maybe I can throw in a few free Splenda packets from the coffee machine at work. Just kidding, I like Sugar in the Raw.  So what are these wonderful clothes that caused me to break free of my DVR and Kindle-reading cocoon?  None other than lululemon.  I’d heard about this gift from the textile gods before, but didn’t really shop there until last summer when I won a tank top in a pushup competition (seriously) and then bought another online.  But when lululemon opened a store in the nearby mall last month, I figured I would pop in because I had a $25 gift card.  Mind you, you can only buy two headbands or a water bottle for $25 there.  I knew this going in.  I walked away with a couple pairs of their split shorts and scoop neck tanks.  Let me tell you people, these things are LIFE CHANGING.  Not just because you may not be able to make your car payment if you buy four articles of clothing there, but because of the comfort.  I felt like I was naked when I ran in these things.  In the good way, not in the “oh crap I got on the school bus naked” in your dream kind of way.  No hint of chafing in sight.  Granted, I didn’t run 16 miles but I usually get some chafing in the summer due to my biscuit thighs.  As for the tops, they somehow managed to minimize my super large upper body and make me feel like I looked good (even if I didn’t).  And the built-in bra provided good support to someone of my (maybe) above average chest stature.  So needless to say, I was hooked.

I decided I needed to take every opportunity possible to model my new ensembles.  And purchase more ensembles.  I began reducing the number of meals I ate out, and generally have tried to reduce my overall caloric intake.  This has produced three miraculous results: 1) I lost a couple of those pesky post-surgery pounds, 2) I look better in those glorious scoop neck tanks, and 3) I haven’t bounced any checks despite buying $54 scoopneck tanks.   I also feel healthier overall, and better fueled to tackle my workouts.  I have since purchased a few other goodies, all of which I love.  I just can’t get enough.

I also have a legitimate, non-vain source of motivation for getting back into running.  I eventually would like to do an Ironman (well, probably just a half Ironman).  Or maybe what’s happened is my friend Sherman (the Shermanator- he just did his first Ironman at the age of… we’ll just say, he’s not 25) is just strong-arming me into thinking I can do one.  I’ll never have the bone strength to do an ultramarathon, but I think with my swimming background I could kill some triathlons.  The only problem is that I don’t have a bike and I’m deathly afraid of falling off the bike.  Oh, and I can’t really swim right now because of my jacked up shoulder.  Well, I’m not going to let that stop me.  At some point in the future, I should be able to move my shoulder more than 15 degrees in any direction.  And Superbaby will probably get better at gift giving, meaning I can probably score a tri bike from her. Triathlon bikes are expensive!  I guess I could try riding a Huffy from my childhood days, but I have a feeling my legs would fall off or I’d miss the cut-off time for the Ironman bike leg.  So in the mean time, I just need to get myself back into fighting shape with spin classes, running a lot, and Power Hour.  If I need to have another surgery, I am not sitting on my butt for five weeks eating chicken biscuits.  I’ll run and eat my biscuits.