Sunday, August 23, 2009

Man Imposes His Own Limitations, Don't Set Any - Anthony Bailey

Well, two weeks without my team was tough. Add in traveling, long nights, early mornings, and food on the road - and, well, getting back into the groove during the week isn’t the easiest. My body hasn’t been sure which direction I have wanted to take lately. “Are we marathon training or just on summer vacation?!” The 8 miler in Florida wasn’t too terrible, but the 14 miler on my own this week sucked. Since last weekend allotted absolutely no time to fit in a 30 minute jog, let alone my 14 mile training run, I had to opt to do it on Monday evening after work. So, trying to pysch myself up, I planned out my route on, picking some new roads to travel so the run wasn’t too mundane, and listened to some upbeat music while getting changed into my running gear. I chose my Team In Training shirt to also remind myself why I was out there, and hopefully give me a mental push when I hit exhaustion, but my shirt did me one better. When I got almost completely around the Haines Point portion of my run, one of the bikers, who had ridden by me a little earlier, slowed down to chat with me for a bit. Turns out she ran the Nike Women’s Marathon back in 2006, and she offered two bits of helpful advice: first one was – “Save your energy for the second half of the run – trust me,” (I think they have changed the course since 2006, but I will still heed her advice. Plus, who guns it at the beginning of a marathon anyway? It’s all about pacing yourself.); second was – “Slow down at the finish line or you will miss the firemen like I did.” (Very helpful! One of the most exciting parts of the marathon will not only be completing it – but completing it while getting a Tiffany’s necklace from a fireman in a tux! I mean…come on!) We didn’t talk long, and I didn’t even get her name, but it was a nice little break from my route that day. Thank you shirt!

After Haines Point, I had my run take me down the National Mall and up around the Capitol Building where I had a fortunate run in with my old running group, the Capital Striders (though, I didn’t recognize anyone anymore since it’s been so long since I’ve been a “regular”). I stopped and chatted with my old friend and supervisor of C.S., Rick, for a minute or two – and promised him that I would catch up with them on Thursday evening. I didn’t want to stop too long since 14 miles typically takes me over two hours to complete (140 minutes – if I’m keeping a half decent pace), and I knew I was running on the slow side that day. My knee began to hurt on mile 4, and was progressively feeling worse, it was approximately 90 degrees out (at 7:30 p.m.), and I was really starting to feel the exhaustion hit. When I took off again, I knew I wasn’t going to complete 14 miles that day. My body and my mind weren’t into it. So, I recalculated the run in my head, and shortened it a few miles to get back sooner. All would have been fine…but, my darn knee had other plans, and they apparently did not include me running any farther. I got half way around the Capitol Building, and tried for the down hill descent (which is usually the fun part) and I, just, couldn’t. So, not having brought my Metro Card or any money with me, I walked the remaining 3 miles back to my gym so that I could finally head home. I was on autopilot at that point, utterly spent, only 9 miles into my run. I would have been frustrated, if I had any energy to be so.

When I got back to the gym, I noticed a fine dust covering all over my body. “Hm, that’s interesting, I don’t remember it being all that dusty on the trail today.” I realized in the next second that it was just all the salt residue from my dried sweat. So, so gross. A shower was first on my list of things to do upon getting home, followed immediately by the consumption of food and lots and lots of water (although, I had most likely had 3 gallons or more that day already).

On a related note, I have decided to actually start using the gym I pay 38 bucks a month for again. Although the gym at my new work is one of the nicest I’ve seen (and trust me, I’ve worked in almost every office building DC has to offer now), it doesn’t have any classes - and I’m thinking that is what I need for a little added push at the end of my training. Since I no longer have Lisa to be my slave driver instructor (tear), this week I signed up and did my very first Spinning class. I have to say - I felt a little violated by the bike seat. I do not need to ever be that friendly with a piece of gym equipment, ever, especially when others have been just as familiar with it before me. No one else seemed bothered by the rather uncomfortable contours of the seat, but I found it hard to ignore. That's not to say that walking in to this particular exercise I was naive to the fact that the bike seat wasn’t going to be the most cushy thing (years of having a bike being the means of transportation as a youngster taught me this), however, what did catch me off-guard was what I saw when I actually walked in to the class.

My gym keeps their spinning classes below ground, completely separate from every other thing in the gym: aerobics, weights, cardio machine, locker rooms - which means, I can safely deducted that people who do spinning should be hidden away, and, probably, mocked. So, being my first Spinning class and all, it was my first trip as a gym base dweller. It all seemed very “street level” normal, until I walked into, what could only have been, my classroom: a Rave Discotheque, complete with black lights and Tide Splattered Walls. I felt I should have brought some glow sticks along with my bottle of water.

The light blue outfit I had chosen for the workout glowed back at me from the wall mirror, contrasting nicely with my black light darkened skin. (Truthfully, I haven’t looked so tan in awhile - will keep in mind next time I’m feeling pasty.) The teacher was something akin to a crazy bike messenger, who feels it’s not only comfortable, but completely normal, to sit erect on the bike seat and do a variety of stretches. Let me reiterate my earlier statement of…OUCH! Can’t we STAND and do this, lady? Apparently, if you’re in the bike room, you are on the bike. Fan-tastic.

Although it was hard to focus elsewhere, I was thankful for three things: One, I was not the only first timer in the class, Two, I did not “spin out” and whack myself on the back of the leg with the bike pedal (which the other new girl did), and Three, the instructor picked very good, very distracting music to go along with her routine. I was, of course, wearing my heart rate monitor throughout, and checked my wrist every so often to see how I was doing. I got to a respectable heart rate of 166 on some of the tougher parts of class. To be fair, I kept my resistance lower then I could have handled for my first stationary ride out. I wanted to feel out what a Spinning class would actually be like. I still built up a pretty decent sweat, which I’m sure all of the metro riders adored me for a second time this week (Angelic "Sorry!")

I made good on my promise of meeting up with the Capital Striders on Thursday. Just like Monday night, I knew no one but Rick. For the first few minutes, Rick and I kept smirking at each other as all the other Strider regulars introduced themselves to me and tried to convince me what a great group I was about to join. We then let them all in on the “big secret” that I had actually been a member since 2006 when Rick introduced me to the crowd as a Strider original. Everyone was super nice, and, as predicted, still 10x faster then me. Although I could feel that I was keeping a good pace for myself during the 5 miler (a 9 – 9:30 minute mile), I had a 65 year old guy on Rock Creek Parkway that refused to let me pass him, and I came in dead last for the Strider group. Tough luck! The upside was that my knee felt great. I mean, really good. A complete 180 from Monday. I think it was from the accelerated pace I was able to keep since I was running with other folks. My assumption made only more solid after my 10 miler this weekend back with the Team. I started slow, and my knee was bothering me slightly, and when I picked the pace up about half way through, I didn’t have any knee pain at all. So, this means, I’ll just have to run the marathon fast…rrrrriiiiight.

Best of luck to me on that one.

As you know, training is only part of the battle, and the other part is fundraising. Let me take this opportunity to thank those who have so generously donated:
- John and Aileen: You guys are such a wonderful couple! Thanks for you support and I hope you guys will be able to make it out to my next fundraiser!!!
- Gideon: Just in case you have forgotten, I’m completely jealous of your year o’ fun away from fluorescent lights and polished shoes. Keep me updated as you and Emily make your way across the country. I am looking forward to catching up with you guys over on the West Coast!
- Donna: My dear friend. Thank you so much for being such a great support through everything (including marathon training!!). Best of luck on your upcoming run. (Check out
HER progress – and make a donation to, yet, another great cause if you can!!!)
- Monique: You inspire me with your Triathlon training. Every time I think I am tired, I think of you doing three times as much as me. GOOD LUCK! I know you’ll do great!
- Teresa: Thank you thank you thank you! Keep up the AMAZING job you’ve been doing with all of the many runs you have completed this year. I can’t wait to hear about your next one!
- Rachel: You’ll be doing one of these before you know. There’s too many of us not to convince you ;) – can’t wait to see the new digs!!!
- Dirk: Your donation was so generous. I am so grateful to be surrounded by so many caring people. I’m just too lucky.

Upcoming FUNdraisers Scheduled:

August 27, 2009 (THIS Thursday): Happy Hour at
McFadden’s (Foggy Bottom Metro) starting at 6:00 pm. A 5 dollar cover will get you $2 domestics and $3 rail drinks until 9:00 pm – just tell them you are here for my HH. (Reserved tables down stairs by the bathroom)

September 22, 2009 (Tuesday): Have Lunch and/or Dinner at
The Green Turtle (Gallery Place/ Chinatown Metro) and 10% of the days profits will go towards my fundraising goal. The more you eat and drink, the more money goes toward Cancer Research!!!

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