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The Weekend Wrap Up

So, just under the wire but here is my third post of the week, just as promised.  And to end the week, a weekend wrap up.

 

IMG_2196Friday, after TWO months of fighting working with Firestone, they decided it was not normal that my front driver’s side tire kept losing 10 lbs. of air about every other week and finally just replaced the tire.  As much as I enjoyed spending so much time there it was really a pain in the ass to plan it into my work day every couple of weeks and I was starting to get way too friendly with the early morning Uber drivers in the area.   This is a huge relief because Hal will be shuttling us 3,000 miles back and forth across the United State in a couple of weeks and now we can be rest assured the new tires will be up for the trip.

 

vaccinationSaturday, we started off the day by getting our Hepatitis A booster shot.  We got our Hepatitis A immunization before we went to Peru this summer but needed to go back to get the follow-up shot so that we wouldn’t have to start all over with the vaccines again next time we decided to travel somewhere that needed them.  Kaiser Urgent Care on a Saturday morning is a fun experience.  There were some really sickly looking people who were all wearing masks and I wanted to ask where my mask was to protect me from whatever they had.  Before we could get our shots, we had to go through a little triage area where they take your temperature and blood pressure.  My better half has been pestering me ever since because he felt my blood pressure was too high.  My blood pressure could not have been affected by the fact he was staring at me and the monitored with a panicked look on his face that made me freak out inside.  Because of my foot and my sinus issues, I go to the doctor no less than two times per month.  When my better half is not there my blood pressure is never high, could there be a potential correlation?   But, luckily it was a short visit and we were on our way.

 

IMG_6712After brunch, the next stop on our agenda was to get the pups pictures with Santa at Westfax Brewing.  I was most concerned about this activity.  I had visions of Coaly Dog lurching towards Santa’s face and taking a big chunk out of Santa’s nose.  (Where would I get this idea?  Oh yes, because it’s exactly what she did to me about six months ago!)  But, to my great surprise, both pups were pretty well-behaved.  They didn’t get Santa half as much trouble as the screaming, crying toddlers.  What is it about toddlers and Santa?  Has any toddler ever liked Santa or are all the pictures of Santa and children between the ages of two and three just crying red-faced children staring at their parents pleading with them to get them away from this horrible man?  The Santa pictures came with a free beer so there was some people watching time after the picture taking and we were able to watch a small yippy dog actually draw blood from Santa when it attached Santa’s hand.  Fun times.

 

IMG_6686We left Westfax without incident and dropped the pooped pups off at home and headed to our next task, cat sitting!  We are cat sitting for some friends and so we needed to check on the kitties and make sure they had food and water.  It’s important to note we are DOG people, not CAT people, but at of all the cats I’ve met these cats are definitely the coolest.  I don’t know if it’s just because they were lonely because their people were away but when we were visiting they were very social and playful and were pretty fun to hang out with.  Not in the sense that we will ever run out and get a cat, but we would definitely cat sit for these cats again if the need arose.

 

Before heading home, we decided to drive by some homes that are on the market.  We are getting ready to maybe, potentially, start looking for a house.  Why they maybe, potentially you ask?  Because the Denver housing market is 100% INSANE.  We have honestly seen houses that are actually falling to the ground in their real estate pictures and they are for sale for over $300,000.  You would have to scrape the house and start from scratch and people are still have bidding wars over the land.  We are cautiously optimistic that the market is changing and that when our lease is up this next year things will have calmed to a somewhat reasonable pace.  For now, we are finding the neighborhoods we are most interested in targeting and deciding on our must-haves for our house.  For now, we’ve agreed that the house has to have a bathroom or outhouse, we are negotiable on a kitchen, but there must be a yard for the dogs – we’ll consider everything else on a case-by-case basis.

 

ogcwSaturday night closed out by attending the non-existent Golden Christmas Walk.  I have no idea where I got the idea that Old Golden Christmas would a night-time Christmas walk.  It’s actually a Christmas parade at 10:30am every Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas.   So, when we arrived, most of the stores were closed, but the lights were absolutely festive and beautiful and we got some good bar food before listening to Christmas music on the way home and turning in the for the night.

 

IMG_6721Sunday morning was pretty much the most exciting part of the weekend for me.  I RAN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN TWO MONTHS.  Now, don’t get too excited.  I ran 2.25 miles at non-Olympic pace, but you have to start somewhere.  I ran intervals to test out my foot and get back in the groove and I survived.  The first half of the run was absolutely awful.  It was like my entire body was revolting from the idea of running again and I honestly thought I would never be able to run again but, by the time I hit the midway point and turned the corner to head back towards home everything clicked and it felt so good.    My foot feels like my foot, exactly the same.  There was no pain, no new or different feelings so I am just going to go back to running.   I have missed it so much and I feel like I am turning in to an insane person. I have my third opinion with a new ortho doctor this week and we’ll see what happens then.

 

IMG_6722To wrap up the afternoon I am home with two sick pups.  Apparently, the excitement from going to the brewery yesterday was too much for them (I blame the snotty kids).  Both have upset stomachs and just not acting like themselves so we are just laying low, my better half is climbing have a great time and I am here cleaning up dog vomit and making rice (oh no, that’s not a tinge of resentment).  I think that re-watching the new Gilmore Girls will really help them feel better.  The upside of the dogs being sick (I will warn you right now this is a little gross and dark, so you may want to stop reading now) is that we have a squirrel that lives in our garbage can.  He has lived there for probably about four years and he goes through our trash, eats our leftovers and strews our trash around our driveway.  He has chewed a squirrel size hole in the top of the garbage can to make it easier to get in and out.  We have named him Trash Squirrel.  As I was cleaning up the dog vomit I was actually excited to throw it in the garbage as kind of a “screw you” to Trash Squirrel.  Halfway through this thought I realized that Trash Squirrel is just that, a squirrel, and even dog vomit up is a tasty meal…sometimes we just go to dark places when we are dealing with vomit.

 

So, I think we are caught up.  That is a lot of writing for a pretty boring weekend.  But, I kept my promise, three blogs this week and now you know pretty much exactly what we do on the weekend, so now you don’t have to wonder and be jealous!

 

What did you do this weekend?

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Planting the Seed of Doubt

In mid-May after a winter and fall of not following any sort of training plan and honestly mostly only running on weekends I decided, on a whim, to sign up for the Colfax Urban 10 Miler.  I had done the Colfax 5k and Marathon Relay in the past years and the thought of not participating in a race on Colfax weekend was starting to get me down.  So, I signed up on Saturday for the Sunday 10 miler.  The most I had run at one time since last year has been about 6 miles, but I was confident that, even if I had to walk, that I would be able to finish this race.  I was pretty excited because the race started in my neighborhood (the undesirable West Colfax) and ran east on Colfax, through the Broncos football stadium, up the Platte River, through downtown Denver to Denver’s City Park.  The beginning of the race was almost all downhill adding to my confidence that I would be able to finish the race.

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For the first couple of years of running I was strictly an interval runner.  I would do a 3:00/1:00 run to walk interval and had gotten pretty comfortable with this routine.  Last fall I decided to push myself at the Rock-n-Roll 10k to see if I could actually run a race straight through without intervals and shocked myself that I actually could.  Apparently, my training had paid off and I was becoming a “real” runner.  So, for the Colfax Urban 10 miler I decided that I was going to run the first 6.2 miles straight and see how I was feeling.  Depending on how I felt I would just continue running or switch to a 3:00/1:00 run/walk interval.

 

IMG_5523At the 10k mark of the race, when I was going to make my decision on how I would finish the race, I was feeling really strong with my running and was pretty sure I would just continue running straight through when suddenly my left hip was in excruciating pain.  I had been having issues with my hip all year (and had issues with my other hip last year which only resolved after getting a cortisone shot) and at that moment it felt like someone was shoving a nail into my hip.  At that point, the decision was made for me and I had to switch to a run/walk interval in hopes to get the pain under control.  I was still making good time and keeping up with the group I was running with, I had just switched to the run/walk interval to give my hip a break every once in a while.   I was feeling really confident that even with the change of plans I was going to have a great race.

 

IMG_5524During one of my short waking intervals a stranger came up behind me and started giving me and the woman I was running near encouragement.  Telling us that “we could do it, we just needed to put our minds to it and we could finish.”  While I usually like encouragement from fellow runners, there was something about this particular encouragement that just pissed me off.  For one, the woman that I was running with was an older woman who was absolutely rocking it.  And secondly, I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that I was going to be able to finish the race and I didn’t need to put mind to it because my mind was telling me I was going to finish – until he planted a seed of doubt in my mind.   Yes, I was walking at the moment the stranger offered up his encouragement but it was part of my plan, not because I wasn’t able to run.  I obviously looked like someone who needed extra encouragement, which kind of sucks because I was feeling really good about my race.  This stranger’s words, which I am sure were meant to be encouraging, suddenly made me feel horrible and sent me in to a spiral of self-doubt.  I immediately started thinking about how I wasn’t a “real” runner because I didn’t look like a typical runner (ie.  I am not super skinny or particularly athletic looking), I don’t run fast and did run/walk intervals, and that I would never be in the front of the pack.  All of these things never really bothered me before but these words of encouragement from a complete stranger really got to me and really made me think about how others look at me when I’m running.  I wish I was a stronger person who wasn’t bothered by these kinds of things.  I know that it doesn’t matter what my time was or how gracefully I ran, I still ran 10 miles, which is a lot more than most people do on a random Sunday, but it still planted that seed of doubt in my mind.  And obviously, because I’m writing about almost two months later, it really stuck with me.

 

IMG_5527I’m not sure what the morale of this story is.  I think encouraging others during races is great, but I am definitely going to be more mindful about the words of encouragement I share with others.  I would hate to make others feel the way that someone’s words of “encouragement” made me feel.  I can only speak for myself but the fact that I get my ass out of bed and get to the start line of any given race is a huge accomplishment for me.  If you would have told me five years ago that I would be running a 10 mile race I would have told you that you were crazy.  We’ve all taken different roads to get to the starting line and it’s important to make sure we are encouraging each other in the right ways.

Interval Running

Since I started running I have always been an interval runner. When I was starting it was out of total necessity. I was actually unable to run a long time without a break and so with the help of the Couch to 5k Program I ramped up to my first 5k using the interval method. Two years and a half marathon later I am still a committed interval runner. But now I think it’s a lot more about my mental ability then my physical ability. I can run long intervals with just a minute rest but mentally I need to know that a rest is coming up or I just spaz out and obsess over how there is no way I can run any further. After my bronchitis I got back to a comfortable 4-minute run/1-minute walk interval and have been following it religiously.

A couple of weeks ago I was reading the Runs for Cookies blog and Katie was talking about using the Jeff Galloway’s run/walk method for her training after recovering from a stress fracture. Katie was talking about the different intervals and how she changed the intervals throughout her training. Something finally clicked in my head and I thought maybe I should start mixing up my intervals to see how it affects my pace. So on my next run I switched from my usual 4:00/1:00 interval to a 2:30/0:30 interval and I was amazed by the difference. It felt awesome! The 30-second break was exactly what I needed to take two sips of water and then start running again (for the past couple of weeks running with water has become a must – something I hadn’t done in the past either). I felt like my running was stronger and that I was actually improving from day to day instead of just being stagnant in my running. Before changing my intervals I would get my 3-5 miles in each time I ran but I was never increasing speed.   By changing the intervals every time I run my pace is improving a little bit each time.

I went back through my running logs (yeah RunHelper+ app) and compared two identical runs with one using the 4:00/1:00 interval and one using the 2:30/0:30 interval. When I was running the 4:00/1:00 interval I was averaging 9:42/mile (yes I realize I am slow runner but it’s better than just sitting on the couch eating bonbons) and with the 2:30/0:30 interval I was averaging a 9:25/mile. I know to some that is not a huge deal but for someone who has seen so little improvement in pace over the past year this is a big deal. I am going to continue adjusting the intervals to see what works best for me…and who knows maybe someday I will get over this mental block and finally just be able to run the entire time!

No matter what interval I use I am ALWAYS a sweat mess at the end of my run!

No matter what interval I use I am ALWAYS a sweat mess at the end of my run!

Do you use interval training and what have you found successful?