Tuesday, August 28, 2012

She was my hetero-running-futuristic-stranger crush.

Oh my.  I didn't know that I was still capable of having runner's high runs.  I thought I was destined for the that-didn't-hurt-so-it-must-be-good kind of runs.  Like my 13.5 miler not too long ago, I just assumed that it was really good when I trotted along at a decent pace without much effort.

But yesterday, I was head-in-the-clouds euphoric.

Admittedly, the first 3/4 mile was not all roses and puppies, but the other 6.25 miles were bliss.  I took advantage of the low (re: 30%) humidity and shady Greenway.  It was still warm, but I felt really comfortable.  I liken the summer's humidity to training inside a centrifuge.  So I felt very free yesterday to just breathe.  Aaaahhh...

I was running at a tempo pace for most of the run averaging an 8:01 pace overall.  I wasn't lollygagging, but somehow I still felt as though I was just enjoying the moment.  There was a fleeting moment of me thinking I should just run until I felt like stopping.  But being grossly under prepared for a long run (no fanny pack of water/gels), I decided that would just be silly.

I embraced the euphoria.  I kept my eyes away from the ground and soaked in the scenery.  I listened to the world's cheesiest mix on my iPod.  I stopped hugging the right side tight and actually veered towards the center lane.  I know, I know, really living on the edge stuff.... 

As I was walking to my car as I finished, there was a runner (I could just tell) about to begin her run.  She was about 20ish years older than me and I was immediately struck by how I idolized her.  She looked confident, calm, and wryly smiled at me when we passed each other.  Her running clothes screamed "I care enough about my appearance, but I don't obsess".  Her physique suggested that she was ridiculously in shape, but she wasn't afraid to eat a donut or have an extra glass of wine. 

She was my hetero-running-futuristic-stranger crush. 

As if I needed a another reason to keep this a lifelong habit....  However, fresh inspiration never hurt.  She has no idea that she inspired me.  There are plenty of 'strangers' on the Loop that probably have no idea they've inspired me.  I feel like inspiration is a pay it forward kind of thing--I can only hope that sprinkle a little inspirational dust wherever I go.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Run like you escaped from the loony bin

Friday, 9:30pm, J. Alexander's: Eating slices of filet mignon dipped in bernaise sauce.  Sipping an Oregon pinot. 

Friday, 10:00pm, J. Alexander's: Eating a ridiculous dessert called 'Powerful Stuff' (ice cream, Oreos, Snickers, caramel, assorted calories). Sipping a glass of Bailey's.

Friday, 11:45pm, home: Fall asleep full and tired.


Saturday, 9:15am, home: Wake up.  Contemplate running.

Saturday, 9:17am, home: Decide running=good.  Text Jeff to meet me at the Greenway at 10:15.

Saturday, 10:20am, Greenway: Begin a 10 mile run with Jeff.

Jeff is not a regular runner.  But he managed to run/walk 10 miles in a pretty decent time.  And honestly, had it been cooler, he probably would have not had much issue.  But it was pretty warm and I was glad to be rockin' the fanny pack of water.  It came in quite handy.

I ran over 11 miles.  I was circling back and forth when he was taking walk breaks.  My Garmin map probably looks a little bananas.  So I will post his map instead.

We took a little side detour just before the 7 mile mark to get water at the park.  My body was kind of confused that we were doing all this resting.  Once we got to the final mile on the Greenway, I busted out a sub 8 mile like a gleeful kid at the playground.  I am pretty sure that anyone passing me by thought I was escaping the loony bin because I was soaked in sweat and smiling ear to ear.

I am thinking that all these hot, wine-dehydrated, stressed-out summer runs will equate into a pretty killer fall.  I'm excited about running *fast*.  This *fast* thing is relative person to person, but I'd be happy if I could be faster than last fall.  Might have to cool it on the Bearnaise sauce and Captain Crunch........ugh, whatever....

Friday, August 24, 2012

Two reasons to break out the champagne

Adam and I are generally lucky people.  I definitely do my fair share of whining, but in reality, we have it pretty good.  We have supportive family & friends, yummy food on the table, a pretty nice roof over our heads, and aside from Adam's MS, we have no major daily health issues.  So I am pretty pleased that we are able to celebrate twice this month!

1. Adam passed his state licensed optician exam!

2. I am starting a new job with better pay, better hours, and better commute in just over a week!

My running has been pretty great this past week and I am hoping that my mileage for the month is only second to March--when I raced my last marathon.  I have been better about listening to my body lately and pushing hard when I feel great and going slower when I am achy and tired.  It's a novel concept, I know.

That glorious fall running is just around the corner.  There is always a short period of time that I can squeeze in an after work run before the darkness thing becomes an issue.  But I really cannot complain, because winter running actually is really quite awesome in Atlanta.  I think I might have put on full pants (instead of capris) once last year.  I'd gladly trade my hydration pack for a long sleeved shirt!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cashing in good karma points

I feel physically drained.  But in a good way.  I'm going to sleep like a baby tonight.  In fact, I probably could fall asleep right now and not wake up until tomorrow morning.  Given that it isn't even 7pm though, I will restrain myself from crawling into bed before I've even had dinner.

Hopefully today was the last of the 4:30am wake-up calls for a long, long time.  I consider myself to  be a morning person, but prefer to wake up with the sun.  Not hours before.  Mad props to those people that can either A) exist on just a few hours of sleep or B) be disciplined enough to go to sleep early enough to wake up refreshed at 4:30am. 

After working and leaving at a reasonable hour (why do I still feel guilty about this?), I came home to relax for a short while.  Then I got on the treadmill and got so wrapped up in finishing a movie that my 4 miler turned into 7 miles.  Sweet!

3 days of running in a row coupled with physical work days beginning at 4:30am have left me pooped though!  I actually kind of enjoy feeling this way when I don't have anything pressing to do.  I mean, the house needs cleaning, but it'll be dirty and waiting for me tomorrow too. 

Tomorrow I am going to dinner with a dear friend/former coworker.  I have the weekend off.  11 miles in the books already and it's only Tuesday.  A customer of mine brought me a cake yesterday because he was appreciative that I always make him a cup of coffee when he comes in.  Guess I cashed in some of those good karma points.  Better keep paying it forward to build up my karma points bank.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My fuzzy running buddy (pic)

Since our youngest dog, Torrance, has shown her impressive running skills while escaping from the yard, I thought I'd try her again on another run this morning.

Here's the latest damage after capturing her last week:

I've determined through trial and error that my normal 7 mile run is a bit too long for her.  So when I was thinking about just doing 4 this morning after my 13.5 on Friday, I figured it wouldn't be too much.


She was great the first mile, pulling on the leash and gleefully running ahead of me while we clocked an 8:00 minute mile.  The second mile was pretty decent and the leash began to slack.  By the middle of the third mile, she began to lose steam.  She started to run behind me and our pace definitely slowed. 

By the last mile, she was pretty much being pulled.  We stopped and started. And stopped and started.  It was pretty humid out this morning and my Garmin was having issues because my arm was so sweaty.  I have no idea what our final mile split was because of the technical difficulties.  All I know is that it was no where near as fast as our first 2.

We'll try again when the weather gets cooler.  It felt nicer this morning, but I think she'll do better in October when I might contemplate wearing capris instead of shorts. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dude, whatever gets you through the long runs

I have been a terrible blogger.  And a terrible blog reader.  I haven't had a day off since last Saturday and I've been filling the time doing everything away from the laptop.  In fact, I just realized tonight that it probably has been almost a week since I have looked at the interwebs from an actual computer and not just my phone.  Doh!

But the good news is that I have been running. And making some major life decisions.  The life decisions will be for another post, but soon, I promise! As for the running, I definitely feel great after today's random 13.5 miler.

I actually took advantage of the cooler (re: low 80's) temperatures and headed outside to the Greenway this morning.  I contemplated going the first time I woke up at 6am, but decided to sleep another couple hours and go when it was light out.  Yes, I am one of those annoying people that can pretty much fall asleep anytime, anywhere.

I wore my sexy fanny pack/water bottle holster and that was a smart decision.  After each gulp throughout my run, I actually managed to feel the residual effects for at least a few tenths of a mile.  Cool. 

The last 3 miles were kind of iffy.  My feet were sore, I was hot, and I felt like I was done sorting out my thoughts.  But I dug deep and managed to power through those final miles.  Plus, I did this cheesy thing where I was imagining various Loopsters waiting for me to high five them as I ran by.  It gave me some sort of accountability knowing that someone was waiting for me to pass them by.  Probably sounds a slightly bananas, but you know, whatever gets you through the long run...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

How we party at the Liebowitz castle (pics)

It was just another Friday at the Liebowitz castle.  I ran my 7 miler and found myself feeling better running at a faster speed.  That was kind of cool.  I smell a great fall for running for this girl around the corner!

After I finished running, I helped Adam finish mowing the backyard.  He edged (which I hate doing) while I did the last few swipes.  Then I blew off the patio and the driveway.  Then I was pooped!  And I still needed to make dinner for 11 in the evening!

We cleaned up and headed to Trader Joe's for fresh flowers.  They have great stuff at reasonable prices in their floral department.  It was the perfect topper for my 3-tiered cake:

My dear friends' 10th wedding anniversary was yesterday and we had a dinner party to help them celebrate.  I made the 'wedding' cake over the course of a few days.  White sour cream almond cake with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream layers topped with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.  Probably top 5 cakes I've ever baked if I do say so myself!

We had a really fabulous time celebrating and I kind of stopped at one point and tried to soak in the moment.  Sitting at my dining table surrounded with a lot of really great people having loud, happy conversation is pretty much a perfect Friday night. 

The tablescape:

I was exhausted once everyone left and we finished cleaning up.  I was asleep before I hit the pillow.  But it was totally worth it--sometimes the most exhausting are the most rewarding.  Kind of like running...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I'm training to....keep my wine calories in check

Most of my run today was pretty status quo.  I finished a movie and started watching some videos on YouTube to bide the last 15 minutes of my run.  I have been hanging out with my treadmill a lot since summer's evil twins heat & humidity have been brutal.  Thus, I have watched a lot of movies and TV.  And I'm not really even much of a TV person.  But staring at the wall is mentally fatiguing after about 3 minutes.

I got pumped up on my final mile--watching USA Swimming's 'Call Me Maybe' video for the umpteenth time (it's so wonderfully cheesy).  It's been awhile since I've done some real speed work.  But I felt pretty great.  And I want to run a mile fast.  So I rested for a couple of minutes, picked a new fun song, and cranked up the speed.  After 7 miles at 7mph, I managed an 8th mile at 6:50. 


I don't know that I will ever go sub 6:00 again like I did in high school, but I'm happy with a sub 7:00 on a 'just because' whim.  All it took was a little bit of mental motivation today.  I'm hoping that in 6 weeks time, I can comfortably return to outside runs with regularity again.  I 'spose it would be important if I were training for something, but it's all about maintenance and keeping those wine calories in check right now. 

Shoe update: once my calves adjusted to the minimalist qualities of the Pures, I am happy to report that I feeling good about my change.  The longest I've run in them are 8 miles, so it'll be interesting to see how I feel once I test them on a double digit run.  My ankle is still a little tight from rolling it last month, but I think once I am 100% healed, I will feel great about my change.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Is the IOC hiring?

I have been neglecting my blooping again.  In between running, sleeping, watching the Olympics, and work, I've been trying to squeeze it all in.  I keep trying to get to bed at a decent hour, but those Olympics are sucking me in every night! I'll sleep in September... 

My new minimalist shoes are proving to be a mostly good thing.  I was lucky to run all morning runs this week and I feel a little less achy.  Today was a little tougher than Tuesday and Thursday, but I still maintained a decent pace.  I am anxious to get back out on the road once the fall temperatures arrive.  Every fall I've shaved a little bit of time off than the fall before so I am curious to see where I stand at age 30.  Getting faster or slowing down?

I have been pretty stressed about navigating my next steps with my work situation.  I'm ready to have it sorted out.  But to be honest, there is some comfort with status quo and I SUCK at dealing with change.  I'm about to have to make some tough choices and I can only hope that they end up being the right ones. Gah!

On a lighter note, I am super excited to be hosting my dear friends' 10th anniversary party next week.  I love to entertain and this should be a lot of fun.  I met them about 6 months before they got married so I didn't get the chance to attend their wedding.  I actually took care of their cat while they were gone--a perfect gig for a college kid strapped for cash.  Now I get the opportunity to celebrate with them!

Time to get ready for an awesome Saturday night of O-L-Y-M-P-I-C-S!!!