30 April 2012

101 minutes of fun...

It was nothing exciting...just 101 minutes of pleasant, steady cardio. And there's no way to make that exciting to a reader. I did a 20/12/20/12/25/12 series alternating from the elliptical to the stairmaster. Those are minutes. As boring as the workout sounds, I did learn something! The SM is way harder than the elliptical. WAY. But that's not why I only did 12-minute SM intervals...that was a pre-set block by the SM and I didn't want to spend the time figuring out how to adjust things, it being my first time on that particular machine :)

I haven't run since my brutal 10-miler a week ago. I overdid it on that one. Not wanting to worsen any twinges or shooting pains has driven me to the machines...and I am totally digging them. It's pretty amazing to just crank for over an hour, sweat buckets, step off sore and have no pain. I'd forgotten how awesome that feels. This week I'll begin re-incorporating running into the mix. The upside of the machines is I am getting a real ass. I only get a butt when I lift heavy (squats, dead lifts, cleans, leg press), do plyometrics regularly, or run stadiums...and now apparently with the elliptical. Baby don't quite got back...but at least my pants don't fall off anymore!

Boring. Boring. Boring. Unless my pants were to actually fall off...and that would be kind of funny.

Tonight I head back to the climbing gym...this time I will have the secret spy camera ready! Of course, tonight there will probably be no one in a photo-worthy outfit because it always works out that way.

I could bring my daughter.

Awesome longhorn boots...

...strap-on horse head...

...add cowboy hat and tutu :)

Climbing gym couture, for sure!

Here's hoping I successfully lightened things up after yesterday :) 

29 April 2012

Some points on team selection...

A long time ago I used to row.

I rowed a lot.

I wasn't the best...not by a long shot, but I was pretty good.

Rowing is, for the most part, a team sport...unless you're in a single. Some might say technically that's sculling...but whatever. Sculling can also happen in a team format. I did a lot of sculling, too, and I'm just calling it all rowing. So the two rowers reading this who are getting all twisted about nomenclature, chill out.

A team usually means more than one person. Generally, there is a process for selecting the members of a team. It can be as simple as two (or more) people looking at each other and saying, "Hey! Let's be a team!" And when there are the exact same number of people looking at each other as the size of the team requires, things are usually quite straightforward. Everyone makes the team!


Happy, happy :)


But sometimes it gets complicated.

For example, sometimes there are more people interested in being on the team than the size of the team will allow. This situation requires an actual selection process. A selection process can happen in a myriad of ways, some of which are listed below...note: this is not a finite list:
  1. Some of the people realize that the intensity of the other interested parties is greater than/less than their own, and they maturely recuse themselves from the mix.
  2. Some of the people think they see these differences and immaturely start excluding the 'undesirable(s)' from team communications with no conversation.
  3. A series of selection criteria might be utilized. The criteria could be closely related to the team event or could be completely seemingly inconsequential...or something in between.
  4. A vote might be taken (a popularity contest, if you will).
  5. Some might resort to bribery or blackmail (buying or weaseling their way onto the team).
  6. A coach (or selection committee) might step in. 
In any event, once you get more people into the mix, someone is bound to get left out. It is never really fair. And feelings are almost always hurt. And no matter how determined one is to not take it personally, not making the team always stings. There has to be a reason. And you have to know it. It feels a lot like getting dumped.

In all those years of rowing, I learned some valuable lessons about team selection. The first is this: whenever you put yourself out there, remember you are doing it by choice...no one is making you do it. Number two...however the sh*t shakes out is how it is and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it this time. (Well, except some people do complain about Olympic team selection and take coaches and committees to court ...yes, coaches and committees do bogus crap sometimes). You can hope to be better prepared next time...if it is, indeed, what you really want. And if you're not interested in trying again, you might want to look at that and ask yourself as you're feeling pissed off at not making the team, "How badly did I really want it?" The third really important thing I took away from team selection processes was this: unless you are a superstar (not just in your mind but in actuality) or a favorite (yes, coaches and committees do play favorites), you have to get yourself in a position somehow in which the coach or committee cannot turn you down...you have to create such a strength of presence that in some way shows you are invaluable to the team. 

Or you could just go form your own team. 

It took being left off of a LOT of teams for me to learn all of these lessons. Getting cut two days before Nationals was no fun and was pretty demoralizing. Three and a half years of training to finally get to race for the first time as a senior in college was emotionally grueling. Being a member of the fastest boat in training and having it torn apart by the coach less than a week before the big race pissed us all off. There are so many stories I could share... remember, I rowed for a long time.

The bottom line is this...

A selection process comes with a certain amount of subjectivity unless it is set up to be purely objective. When there is a review, when the decisions are placed in the hands of individuals instead of based upon marks on a tally sheet outlining specific points to be rotely accrued or the time shown by the hands (or digits) of a clock or placement in a trials race, opinions and taste and entrant cohesiveness come into play. Team selection is rarely a random process. As with all areas of life, when you give it your best shot and you fall short of the mark, the best way to handle it is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, take pride in knowing you did your darndest and start prepping for the next go-round. 


25 April 2012

I am seriously not making any of this up...

About 2 months ago I started going to a climbing gym. It's really fun, and I love it. My approach to climbing has been similar to most things I enjoy in life...give it all you've got and don't worry about what you look like. But as with running (or anything, for that matter, I guess) there is a fashion angle to the climbing gym. One would assume it would involve names like Patagonia, prAna, The North Face...I'm sure there are other brands, but not being one to pay fashion much attention, these are the ones that immediately jump to my mind.

Remember what happens when we ASS/U/ME?  Yeah. So don't.

The gym I frequent is in Berkeley, California...and perhaps that has something to do with it. I still think it would be creepy for me to whip out the camera at the gym to photograph other people, so I had to recreate some of ensembles from images found online...

Last night

Dude wearing this...

...but roll the top down to be bare-chested, 
and roll the legs up to show off these...


...and sub in a pair of these...


I am seriously not making this up.

Night before last

Chick wearing this...



...but throw on one of these...


...yeah, the BIG one...
and strap on a climbing harness...
but on a chick...

Is this like the male version of camel toe?

I am seriously not making this up either.

I am also not making up that I got my permanent top rope card on my first test! That is soooo totally meaningless to probably everyone who reads this blog, but I was very proud of myself. Even though I didn't know the proper names for a lot of the things, I knew everything that they and I were supposed to do to be safe and non-life-endangering (this loopy thing goes over here and the belay thing goes on that dealie with this guy around over on this nubbin... yes, I do sound that smart in real life). It is like passing the swim test at the pool...go across and back without needing to be saved and you can go swim in the deep end. Now I don't need to 'test out' every time I climb...just flash my slick, blue card :)

Another thing I am not making up is that my application for the Nuun's Hood to Coast Relay team was accepted, meaning I am on the team. But you might have already known this :) The full list of team members and alternates can be viewed by clicking this image...


The last thing in this post that I am seriously not making up would be the results of the random number generator thing for the giveaway of Nuun and assorted fueling/running/whatever items...

There were a total of 51 individuals who commented. The randomly generated numbers were, in order randomly generated, the numbers 46, 30 and 1 which correspond to the following contestants:

Kyria
The Empress
TinaFab

Congrats, ladies! 

Please email me at xlmic (dot) tio (at) gmail (dot) com to confirm your interest and so we can discuss not only where your prize is going, but what the "assorted items" might best entail :)

Many thanks to all who participated!

I'm not making that up either :)

24 April 2012

Counting down...



One month... I will have completed my next race and seen the nudie booties. The San Francisco Zazzle Bay to Breakers 12K takes place on Sunday, May 20. My A+ goal is to finish it while loving and enjoying the process. I've decided that is my new A+ goal in every race. Any sort of spectacular time in anything is just gravy :)

Two weeks... I will have celebrated the day of my birth. The one after this one has a zero at the end of it...so excited! I am going to take charge of the day and make myself a cake and give myself a present.

One day... I will announce the winner(s) of Taking It On's most recent giveaway! If you want to win it, you gotta be in it :) Click here to enter...you have until tomorrow (Wednesday) at noon!

One hour... Nuun will announce their 2012 Hood to Coast Relay team in less than an hour! Some people will be elated and others will be sad. I wonder in which category I will land? Did you see my application? It was killer!

**update:  I made the Nuun team...to see the full list and their official announcement, click HERE!


And go click on that pink badge in my sidebar and vote for this blog in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Outdoorsy Mom Blogs contest....'cuz I am waaaaayyyyyyy outdoorsy ;-)

22 April 2012

Workout Week in Review 4/16-4/22...and giveaway!

Monday...70 min. elliptical

Tuesday...off

Wednesday...90 min. total cardio = 20/20/20/20/10 alternating elliptical and running. The running 2x20 minutes totaled 4.4 miles.

Thursday...off (unless you count my 3 hour nap...which I guess you don't)

Friday...20 min. bike ride quickie (not much but counts for more than a nap)

Saturday...60 min. elliptical (1st gym visit of the day) + 25 min. of 'power' bouldering (I got there 25 minutes before closing on my second trip in and did as many bouldering routes as I could manage in that amount of time. It ended up being a semi-cardio workout and managed to rip me out of a 4-day funk).

Sunday...10+ miles. This was my first double-digit run since the Las Vegas Half-Marathon in early December, I think. It was really hard. And slow (over 105 minutes). And hilly. But beautiful. Made me realize that A) I miss long runs...a lot...even when they hurt and I have to go to the bathroom really badly, and B) the elliptical is NO substitute for running. You're thinking "Duh!" I know.

The weather this morning was trippy.
It was super sunny but a bit breezy at my house, and since it was boiling hot yesterday,
I dressed in short shorts and a tank. 
As I turned onto the highway facing my destination 10 minutes away in the hills,
I was scared by a dense, dark fogbank.


Since I was a little late as usual, I just forged onward, figuring I would pay the price of underdressing.
It turned out to be gorgeous...fully sunny but with the huge fogbank on the west side of the ridge trail.
I was so bummed I hadn't brought my camera on the way out...
but really glad I wasn't toting it on the way back :P

I hope to get more running in next week. And more climbing.

In other news... this Tuesday, April 24th is The Big Reveal...Nuun will be announcing their 2012 Hood to Coast Relay selections from the over 60 entries they received. Run Zoë Run has a list of links to many of the applications, so if you are interested in seeing what sorts of cool, creative applications people submitted you should click here to go check it out. I'm starting to feel nervous. I loved my application, but I know it was pretty 'out there' :P Whether Nuun selects me or not (and I really hope they do!), I am very proud of my submission. I did my best.

I was thinking it would be fun to do a selection pool giveaway and have people comment on who they think would be on the team and whoever got the most right would win something, but with over 30 individuals being chosen, those would be some really long comments.

Instead, let's just have a giveaway :)

Leave a comment by noon on Wednesday 4/25 if you're interested in winning a tube of Nuun, an assortment of fueling products (like Gus, Hammer gels, Clif shots, Honey Stingers, etc.), and whatever other workout-related trinkets my pocketbook can supply at the moment. Winner(s) will be chosen at random after that time on that day. The number of winners will depend on my mood and the fatness of my wallet at the moment...but there will be at least ONE winner :)

It would be awesome if you were a follower either on GFC, Twitter or Facebook (see sidebar), but it isn't necessary. Taking It On does not discriminate. All you need to do is leave a comment... nothing mean ...got it?

You gotta be in it to win it!

Oh, and you can leave a comment if you don't want to win anything, too. I won't force you to take free stuff :)


17 April 2012

Some Things I Don't Understand...

Why hasn't my Nuun Hood to Coast Relay Application video gone viral? Dude...that was my ticket outta here! My husband was going to retire on the fame and fortune we were going to reap! I understand the popularity of the little girl playing with the dead squirrel, but if videos showcasing the popping of the world's hugest zit (not even technically a zit, more like a boil) and people trying to pogo-stick on a treadmill go viral, why not a video of weird, semi-softcore-esque running-and-squirting by an almost-50-year-old lady to an early 90's one-hit wonder dance tune? Hmmm... wait...don't answer that.

Why doesn't the speed with which one can elliptical translate directly to the speed one can run on the ground? Sort of late to the whole 'machine' game, I have recently discovered the elliptical trainer...and the fact that you can change the little read-outs to see stuff like calories burned (which I don't care about), total strides (holy jeez, that number is kind of scary after 70 minutes), and distance (whoa! cool!). I just wish that I could maintain that same intensity and speed on asphalt. Any physicists out there ...or whatever smart, scholarly types might know the answer to this? It probably has something to do with impact, right? Or maybe friction? I'm grasping at terms here...help me out, smart people!

Why did I buy this stupid, plastic bouncy ball? Was it because my 3-year old wrestled it out of the giant wire cage in which it was trapped (against my protestations) and then proceeded to bounce it all over the place (again, against my protestations), dirtying it all up? And why did this guilt me into buying it instead of gross me out about Target's cleanliness?



I think it was because this cuteness was irresistible.



Did you ever buy the big plastic bouncy ball? What color? How long before that sucker popped or was deemed off limits because the bouncing all over the house drove you insane?


Do you travel as fast on the real ground as you do on the elliptical trainer?


In other news...it's the Return of the Pink Circle Contest! If you feel so inclined, smack that button in the sidebar or click here to be transported directly to your own personal voting booth.

15 April 2012

Just hurt me.

Ever have one of those runs that hurts...in a delicious way?

Not an 'o, sh*t...i'm injured again!' kind of hurt. I'd say it's an 'o, wow!!! i can't wait to get into an ice bath and then roll the crap out of my legs!' kind of hurt.

I just had that run.

A bit under 9 miles of mud and hills and rutted road in 90 minutes. And it felt great!

Only one problem...


It's the Birthday Soup.

And inside the 'soup pot' is my lacrosse ball. 

All three of my awesome, hurt-alleviating tools are currently in use, and the slightest disruption of the soup-making process results in a sort of shrieking that I really can't stomach right now. So my ice-bathed, achy, sore legs will have to wait for rolling. 

I know, I know...I am the parent and I should just take what I need...but my three-year old's joy and excitement and enthusiasm about making this birthday soup is so endearing it hurts...more than my legs. So I'll just put my feet up and wait.

What's your preferred method of recovery after a satisfying and arduous workout? If you say drinking chocolate milk, I might laugh so hard that I wind up spraying Nuun all over my face.

Do you ever find yourself letting your kids do things that make your life harder because they are so totally cute you can't stand it?

14 April 2012

X = 10 ...

My girl is X-ceptional. She is X-traordinary. She can be X-asperating, too.



And her name really does start with an 'X'.

Today, Baby X turns X.

10.

Double digits.

The big One-Oh.


We will celebrate with cake and climbing. She has requested a trip to the climbing gym as her special treat. My girl has a great sense of fun and adventure :)

I do feel kind of badly that this year is a 'lean' year. Last year we were off gallivanting around Europe...well, visiting friends in Paris anyway. And we got to go the the incroyable Parc Astérix actually on her birthday! This year it's just cake and climbing. I guess I shouldn't feel badly because that actually sounds kind of awesome.

Last year I wrote two posts in honor of her birthday. The second one contained the story of her birth day and all of the growing up pictures...click that if you'd like to see my lovely girl through the ages :) This year it's just the picture of her as the antelope ... and cake and climbing.

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl. You really are X-tra special :)


Addendum:

Dad got donuts for them for breakfast while I lay in a migraine-induced fetal position under my covers. They love donuts...a lot. Like me, they always think they can eat more donuts than they are really able...

This weasel-y looking thing is the remnants of Q-man's maple bar...
the custard grossed him out so he just skinned the chocolate off the top.

Also an addendum:

The joy of donuts was, unfortunately, overshadowed by a fight over a plate. A plate. A plain white plate. Screaming, shrieking, doors slamming...the works. Don't worry, though...everything's fine now :)

12 April 2012

Finding my happy place...

It's been a really rocky road lately here in XL-land. All of the health issues (most notably serotonin absence and hip pain presence) were really wearing on me. Even as I started to clear up all the 'down', I was still struggling... a lot. Last week, in an endorphin-less haze, I succumbed. To the elliptical.

And it really helped.

Who knew?

Oh, all those people who suggested it? Right.

So last week I started using the elliptical trainers at the gym. Maybe it was the week before, but last week was when I really got serious. (I hope y'all read my sense of humor into that...lately my humor has been too subtle or 'off' so I'm just checking ;-)  ) My physical therapist and I had discussed this piece of equipment before. We both agreed that going backward would really help strengthen things that are weak...things that start messing me up when I run. Twice last week, I went backward for 4 minutes and forward for one minute for a total of 25 minutes, and then I hopped on the treadmill for a little bit of sort of running.

This week I stepped things up a couple of notches. 55 minutes on Monday. Wowza. For the first time in I don't even know how long I had a deliciously sweaty and invigorating workout that did not hurt. Did you read that part? Did. Not. Hurt.

Then on Tuesday I decided to go run for a half an hour, and the strangest thing happened. It didn't hurt. Not only that but I was running paces similar to last summer and fall for my runs of similar intensity. It just felt easy and relaxed and fun. And I started to just about cry. My eyes did, in fact, well up with tears. And I was smiling very, very broadly. Part of that might have been due to the music that was playing... and what I now associate with that particular song, but it was largely the familiar-ness of the way I was running. It felt like the good ol' days.

Wednesday I hit up the elliptical again...this time for an hour. Dripping sweat again, and oh-so-satisfying. I may or may not have done the whole singing out loud thing...ummm...yeah, I did it. So embarrassing for everyone.

Thursday I decided to run a hill while my son was at soccer practice. I tried to time it correctly, but I managed to return literally 2 minutes late and the field was empty! I freaked...until I saw him and two other kids goofing around at the far end.

Pretty residential street on the beginning, gentler part of the climb.

Where the steep starts to kick in.

Right before the top.

Today's run elevation profile...
...uphill also discussed here.

Distance: 4.20 miles 
Avg. pace: 10:25 min/mile 

By now some of you might be thinking...Geez, woman...you run so rarely and so slowly and you're always showing us these crazy hills like you're some kind of something... and if you're thinking that, you may be excused from the table :D And no dessert.

I am so heartened by my workouts this week. It feels amazing to begin to feel like myself again. And this extends to all areas of my life. All of them. 

And it's about time. This girl and her siblings deserve a happy, healthy, feeling-good mom. And my husband deserves that 'me' as well.







10 April 2012

I'm Too Sexy for my blog


The music video at the end of this post was created as an entry into a contest.
The prize was a spot on a distance running relay team...
more specifically, Nuun Hydration's Hood to Coast Relay team.
Thanks for stopping by and checking it out :)


Don't go clicking that "play" arrow...
that's a screenshot and no movie will start.
The movie is below :)



I'm a runner
You know what I mean?
I wanna take a little run on the highway.
Yeah, on the highway...
in the relay, yeah...
and I'll drink a little Nuun to rehydrate...      (having fulfilled the cutesy quotient...I now give you the reason you're all here)

video


And that's why I should be on the team.


Nuun makes you sexy.


Ω • Ω • Ω • Ω • Ω • Ω • Ω • Ω • Ω • Ω

Special Acknowledgements:

Artistic direction…me
Camera work…my husband and RoseRunner 
Inspiration…Nuun and Right Said Fred
Editing magic…Sir Nathan of The Shire


08 April 2012

Scoping out the competition...

Who does this?

It doesn't matter where you are...

  • at the supermarket...do you peek into other carts to see what other people are buying/eating? Does that person have more fruits, veggies and lean proteins than you have? More cookies, Cheetos and frozen pizzas? who has the cutest outfit?
  • at the playground...do you notice which caregiver is texting/smartphoning? who is bossing the kids around? who is keeping a watchful eye on them? who has the cutest outfit?
  • at a party...can't help but check out who is showing off fake boobs? whose are real? who looks the hottest?
  • at a race...always find yourself seeing the legs that scare the crap out of you because you know they will be running at least 2 minutes per mile faster than you for the whole race? hunting for that person who you might be able to suck the energy out of pace off of? who has the cutest outfit?
I do this. 

I'm being honest. Except for the noticing the outfit part. I only do that in the party situation.

So of course I had to scope out the competition for the Nuun Hood to Coast Relay Team. If you go to YouTube and search "nuun application", you will be able to check out a whole bunch of them. Did you apply? It's not too late...the last day is April 9.

What I learned from this reconnaissance exercise was that some of the ideas I was nurturing had already been used. I was bummed. But then I became inspired. Mine isn't ready to share yet, but I'm showing you two of this year's applications that I particularly enjoyed.



This one if from Alanna, writer of Love My Runners. Alanna was Runner #1 for After-Nuun Delight at last year's Hood to Coast Relay and is looking for redemption :)



This person's is hilarious. She is an Oiselle employee who blogs at Running Starfish.


Good luck to all of the applicants :)


06 April 2012

The Striptease Run

Yesterday I had the great fortune to run with a really fast runner...the fastest marathon runner I've ever personally met...who is also, and most importantly, really nice and very, very funny. This runner is so unbelievably gracious that she agreed to:

  1. come to my neck of the woods to run and
  2. run at my pace (which probably felt like crawling backward over rocks to her) and
  3. listen to me run my mouth pretty much non-stop (I don't get much adult interaction) and
  4. help me work on my Nuun Hood to Coast Relay team application...she appears in some clips as well as shot some of the footage.
While I did have my hair done samurai-style, what most differentiated this run from other runs was neither the hairdo nor the big-ass hill that we mostly ran up...

Camera is not tilted for effect...and that hill was long!

No. It was the striptease.

Yeah, you read that right.

As in clothes coming off.


See? I'm no liar.

More than once, too.


We met up about a mile from the foot of the big-ass hill, whereupon I informed her that she would be helping me with my little project. I'm all about the surprise factor :)  We ran the straight, flat bike path as a warm-up. My husband tried some filming in this section...it didn't come out all that great.

Then we turned the corner, and that's where RoseRunner said something like "HOLY SHIT!" as she looked up the face of The Beast. (Note: that thing between Mile 1 and Mile 2 is The Beast).


I must say, having company and conversation up that thing makes it infinitely easier. Infinitely. And it was a lot of fun showing her around a place she had never been. There's nothing quite like a relaxed lunchtime run through a very pretty area on a very pretty day. 

Oh...you want to know more about my project? 

Nope.

What's that you say? If I loved you, I would?

Still, my answer is "no."

I'm such a tease.

05 April 2012

Blister Care

What do you do when you get a blister?

When I used to row, I got blisters at every seasonal transition. In the spring when we went back out on the water after a winter of land training, the oar shredded my hands that were no longer appropriately callused. When summer's humidity kicked in...a new set of blisters appeared. As we headed back indoors in the late fall and winter, more time on the rowing machines meant different blisters and different calluses.

People often wonder why rowers don't wear gloves. Maybe rowers do nowadays, but back when I was rowing we never wore gloves. You lose your feel for the oar. And rowing is all about feel. Rowing with a hand covered with blisters is near impossible. You have to "take care" of them. The proper technique is necessary to avoid ripping or infection. If a blister rips, it is then an open wound. It is excruciating to put any pressure on an open wound. Sitting out practice time means your boat is without you. Going without you for too long necessitates replacement. Minimizing (or avoiding) time out of the boat was of tantamount concern.

I'm sharing with you the blister-popping method that I learned back in the day. I got the blister in question on Tuesday, popped it Wednesday, ellipticalled on it Wednesday night and ran on it this morning. This method is highly effective. Watch and learn :)



Addendum:  the additional peroxide use is somewhat overkill. Either peroxide or alcohol will work well.

Additional addendum:  cover with a bandaid to protect it from dirt for a few days.

Remember... happy feet = happy runners :)

04 April 2012

Samurai Trail Running...with minor injuries

What is Samurai Trail Running?

It's pretty much just like regular trail running, but you put your hair up like a samurai...

...comme ça...
pink, sparkly BIC Bands head band optional.

Today I decided to break in my trail running shoes. They were new...

...and oh-so-clean!

I'd had a hankering for a pair of trail running shoes. You know, with all the running I've been doing lately, the Newtons and the Mizunos just aren't enough. *cough, cough*liar*cough, cough* ...a-hem... But money has been super tight – as evidenced by my running out of gas a lot lately – so new shoes seemed a ridiculous notion.

Until...

Our REI dividend arrived along with a 20% discount coupon on one item, and the dividend was way huger than I had ever imagined! 20% off + dividend = new Brooks Cascadia 7's  :)  And I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to run my Jelly Bean 10K...trail-style. I suck and forgot my bib :(


You know that thing about nothing new on race day? Yeah... I went home with this...

But I attribute it to the soaking wet wool socks bunching up...
not the awesome and lovely new shoes.

Everything started off dry. But I knew that wouldn't last long because we've had a good deal of rain lately. Everything was fresh and green and just beautiful. My plan was to run 2 of the three-plus-mile loops that I ran a few weeks ago.

Small water crossing at the beginning of each loop.

Pretty trail.

More pretty trail a little further along.

Little waterfall next to trail right before big-ass hill.
At about Mile 1 and Mile 4.

Beginning of major big-ass, never-ending hill from hell.
I really motored up this hill on the first lap.
Not so much on the second lap :P

That, through the little lit space, is the crest of the major big-ass
mo'fo' hill that is preparing me well for the Hayes Street Hill,
which I will encounter on May 20.

Ahhhhhh...finally!
Downhill and dry!
I picked up the pace considerably...especially on the first lap.

Unfortunately, I came upon more and more of this...
Super sticky, clay-ey mud.
Deep...and super sticky with lots of puddles.
And did I mention that it was super sticky?

Like so sticky that it literally sucked my shoe right off my foot...for real.
*Photo not staged*

It took me a while to navigate to a place with semi-solid footing where I could put my shoe back on. By this time my socks were soaked. This is where they bunched up and created the blister-friendly environment. All of this happened in the first lap.

Despite the mud and soaked shoes and socks, I felt great when I got to the bottom of the hill and faced off at the beginning of the whole ordeal again. I decided that YES, I was going to proceed with the run. Go, me.

So stupid.

First, I forgot to mention that in that first loop I must've twisted or rolled over on my left ankle no less than 6 times...probably more...and my right ankle enough times to make it yell at me now even after icing. I did the whole, "Oh, rolled ankle...keep going...loosen it up...stopping will make it seize... motion...loose...keep running..."

Second, I had run the first loop hard. I worked the big-ass hill like nobody's biz. I was happy and smiling as I reminded myself over and over all the way up how strong it was making me...how preparing it was. What this means is that I was rather fatigued for the second loop. The challenging terrain and the tiredness pretty much meant an end to decent and safe running form. The second time up it, I wanted to stop badly several times. I kept asking myself, "Are you feeling injured?" "No. Just tired." "Then keep going because the work over time will take care of that." So I kept going. While the UP was very challenging, it didn't hurt me.

Third, the down hurt me. By the time I got to that previously pictured mud field, my ankles were screaming as they had been perpetually rolled. The slipping and sliding and bad landings had taken their toll on my glutes and stabilizers. Everything was fatigued, and my form went to crap. I slowed way down so as to not aggravate anything that had been 'disturbed.' By the time I finished, I was so happy to hobble to my car. Sitting down never felt so good.

Now officially broken in :)
And I am ignorant...could trail runners tell me...
do I just hose them off or what?

After peeling my socks off, I drove home barefoot.
Which is legal.

What did I learn today?

  • Trail running is tough stuff. You use lots of additional muscles that are not used in road running. The anti-tripping muscles, for example.
  • Wet, bunchy socks = big blister possibilities.
  • I am not in shape. My fitness is so questionable now...so sad :( 
  • My hip likes running better when I am in shape.
  • Big, sharp sticks lurk in the mud...waiting for unsuspecting trail runners to land on them, at which point they try to stab said runners in the crotch...
It's okay, though. He just got my knee.
It's not that bad...it was just really scary when it happened :P

Course elevation profile:

I believe those completely bizarre spikes and drops from 0.8 to 1.4 miles happened
when my Garmin spazzed out. Or maybe I stepped in a really big hole 
and that's when I twisted my ankle.

Distance: 6.25 miles ...clearly, the course was long  ;-)
Time:  One hour and 14 minutes. No guns. No chips. Just a finger on a button.

Maybe tomorrow I'll do a blister-treatment video...

01 April 2012

The Time We Went Hamsterballing...

Do you know what a hamster ball is? It is a clear plastic sphere that you put a small, pet rodent in so that it can run around without escaping or getting lost.

Did you know they make human-sized hamster balls? Some people call them ZORBs and they call what you do in them ZORBing.

I call it hamsterballing.

Big G was invited to a hamsterballing party today. We had no idea what to expect...

Much like Alice in Wonderland, we knew not what awaited on the other side of the hole...

...then we got our first glimpse...
...of giant, inflated balls!
the red part is where you crawl in.

G's friend's mom saw an online coupon for this ... activity. She knew it would be great for a birthday party. Smart mom. Nice mom. Not a fun-sucker like me. The guys who provided the fun were from Games2u.com...130 franchises in 28 states so if this appeals to you, check that link to see if they are near you.

The kids were all flipping out with excitement by the time the hamsterball guys were ready to let 'em rip.

There is a red portal on opposite sides of the sphere...
here's Q-man getting ready for his ride.

And of course I went in...because I'm always up for doing something stupid off the wall :)

warning: there is musical accompaniment to this video...
you might want to turn the volume down...
or maybe up.
So. FUN.

What do you think? Does this scare you? Excite you? Intrigue you? Would you do it?





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