Monday, August 23, 2010

Full Term: Taper Time

Running Clothes = Excited Dogs

Today we're officially full term, 37 weeks. With only three (I hope) weeks to go, I feel as though I've entered a sort of 'pregnancy taper' period. While the entire pregnancy has been one long taper of sorts, gradually dropping mileage, I'm really feeling the slow down now. The primary exception being, of course, I'm slowing down pace and not just mileage. Still, I'm aiming to get out there a few times a week for a couple of miles. The purpose now, though, is more mood management then exercise.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chemical Spill

How often do you get to say that your run was thwarted by a chemical spill?

My usual run these days (when I make it out the door, which isn't all that frequent anymore) is the 1.5 mile loop around Caltech's campus. Usually I'll do two loops, sometimes only one and, rarely, three.

Today, I did exactly 2/3 of one loop. A half mile into the run I encounter a massive road block... the road, both sides of the sidewalk and a good section of the campus was sectioned off by police tape and emergency personnel. Hmmm... interesting. I stopped, inquired, and gained no information other then that there had been a chemical spill. While I was slightly inconvenienced, you'd think the Caltech scientists beginning to congregate in the 'green zone' had just been told their childhood dog died. No lab work today?!? What will we doooooooo?!?

So, bemused and slightly sympathetic for the police officer left to explain the situation to the growing mob of scientists (I doubt they'll take the answer of 'chemical spill' and leave it at that) I turned back towards home. Strike 1.

Just as I was considering which direction to go once I was back in the green zone, my ab muscles pointed out that I forgot to put on my support belt this morning. Strike 2. Strike 3 came when I decided to stop kidding myself about how dang hot it was. Not yet 8am and already 80 degrees. You're out. Oh well, 10 minutes of running followed by 20 minutes of stretching is not a complete loss.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

700 miles!?!

Ooops. I committed one of the cardinal sins of running. I let my running shoes travel way beyond their ~500 mile design life. It occurred to me this weekend that I hadn't purchased new running shoes since I became pregnant. A quick tally of my training log confirmed it, I'd traveled over 700 miles since my last shoe replacement!

In retrospect, endangering my knees w/ faulty shoe support happened easily enough. Usually, my cue to buy new shoes comes from a combination of an obsession with my daily miles logged and knee pain popping up on my long runs. Since becoming pregnant, I have neither been running obsessively or long. In fact, my last 'long' run was a half mary at the end of my first trimester.

So, this morning the new Mizunos and I made our debut on the streets for an easy 1.5 miles. Yes, it wasn't far or glamorous... but we're still getting to know each other. The quick trip around the block was enough for the dogs and, at 35 weeks preggo, enough for me =)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Running Naked

My Garmin Forerunner 305

No, not that kind of naked... running naked as in without a GPS device or (gasp) even a common wristwatch.

Back in olden times (aka, oh, the '90s) road running was simple and pure. Maybe I wore a stopwatch, maybe I didn't. If I wanted to know how long a run was, I drove it in my car. It was the good-old Encyclopedia Britanica version of distance running.

Then I started to get serious, in a layman sense. Running with a stopwatch was non-negotiable and every route was pre-mapped for distance via online mapping programs. It was the day of Encyclopedia Britanica CD version. I completed three marthons training this way and didn't know any better until...

My Garmin Forerunner 305 entered the scene. Hellllloooooo GOOGLE. Running would never be the same. Instant pace per mile, instant distance completed, splits, virtual partners... all only as far away as my wrist. Obsession with numbers took on a whole new meaning. I couldn't run half a mile without checking to make sure I was on pace. My Garmin battery died once during a half marathon... I almost had a heart attack. I know runners who have named their Garmins.

Imagine my dismay as, over the last  few months, those little numbers on my Garmin slowly climbed in the wrong direction. I know I'm not supposed to be going fast or far. Yet, seeing pace per mile numbers climb consistently into the double digits (and I don't just mean 10) stressed me out. The final straw was when I had to take walking breaks and realized I was concerned about the impact on my final pace/mile.

So, I returned to the days of Atari, climbing trees and looking up information in books. I completed my last two runs without a Garmin or any other timing device. You know what? It was NICE. Since my left wrist isn't nearly as captivating as the Garmin, I spent a lot of time actually looking around my neighborhood (when did that building get there?). Flowers were open, birds were signing and, most importantly, I wasn't stressing about how fast I was going. I even took a few walking breaks without stress. I'm sure I'll still use the Garmin frequently (I couldn't even go a full day without GOOGLE) but it's nice to be back to reading books some too.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lazy Week

I started out this week with the best of intentions: get enough rest and get my 15 miles (yes, low bar) in. Well, I didn't set the bar low enough.

Tuesday's 5 miler was wonderful. Check! However, when the alarm went off at 5am Thursday morning I managed to wake up just long enough to text my running partner that I wasn't coming. It seemed like a good decision at the time, I was actually still sleeping well at 5am for a change. Yet, when I actually crawled out of bed 1 1/2 hours later, I was already regretting that I yielded to the siren song of my warm covers.

The rest of Thursday and Friday proceeded as busy as planned. So, it wasn't until Saturday morning that I made it out to run again. As I've noted before, three days between runs (at this point, at least) = recipe for disaster. Saturday morning's 5 miler morphed quickly into a 3 mile run/walk as I worked through some serious calf pain (those calves weren't just angry, they were pissed off).

Ah well, worse things have happened. This morning's 3 miles were easy-peasy by comparison. I was feeling tired at the end, though, so I cut the run a bit short. I only managed 11 miles this week, but at least I'm still getting out there.