Thursday, February 21, 2013

Stick a needle in my eye....

I've got eye issues. I've had them since I was a kid. It seems like I've had different sorts of issues, at different times. Things will be fine for a few years, then something flares up and I spend some quality time with my eye doctor. After last November's big eye pressure action, we decided that, this year, it would be time to do the cataract surgery we started talking about over a decade ago.

I went in last Friday to have my eye measured. They used several different machines, including one where I looked into a cone shape of concentric circles... sorta like this, only purple and black

It produced a brightly colored printout that looked a bit like this:

After that machine, there was another machine, and then a really terrible one with water, a laser, and a cup over my eye. The less said about that one, the better...

Then I was taken through all of the cataract surgery information .... the nurse was very, very thorough, and there were lots of slow, detailed explanations. We both kept laughing and saying that, well, the standard patient for this procedure is, well, thirty years older than I am. So it's good to be VERY CLEAR with instructions.

Then yesterday I had a "procedure" to help prep my eye for the cataract surgery next month. I was having an Ozurdex injection -- basically having a pellet of steroids injected into my eye. The pellet will slowly dissolve over the next few weeks, serving the dual purpose of cleaning up any inflammation in my eye before the surgery, and helping recover faster after.

I didn't really know what to expect. Other than that they were going to STICK A NEEDLE IN MY EYE. So I guess I expected something like this:

Antique Dewitt & Herz Veterinary Syringe, Chrome Plated, Germany c. 1890
I am smart enough not to actually look at what the Ozurdex applicator looks like, even now -- heck I'm having this done on my other eye later this year. So for now, ignorance is bliss.

I didn't realize until the night before that I would actually have the option of being knocked out. What? You mean I don't have to WATCH you come at me with a needle? Sign me up.

When we got to the doctor's office, Wil settled in to the waiting room while I was whisked back to get ready. Booties on my shoes, one of those lovely caps on my hair (bringing back memories of my mom and her fellow O.R. nurses), and a fetching hospital gown over my clothes. Sean, my nurse, helped get me comfortable on the chair/bed thing, while another person gave me a heated blanket. Ahh, the joy of a heated blanket.

I signed paperwork, confirmed that, yes, it was the LEFT eye we were going to work on, Sean drew a big black X over my left eye -- something I forgot about until hours after I got home and Wil asked if I was planning on removing it. Ha.

Then the drops started. A simple numbing drop -- probably the bright yellowy one. After that was in for a while, they put a bunch of lidocaine gel in my eye -- which was weird because I could see it, but I couldn't feel it. Look down at my feet, look up past my forehead, and then close my eyes. Okay. While that was taking effect, they put the IV shunt in my hand and started hooking me up to a bunch of monitors. Sean told me that, if they had it in stock, I was probably going to be given Propofol -- Michael Jackson's drug of choice. OoooooOOOOOOooooohhhhh. Because they were going to knock me out, they put a small oxygen tube in my nose and told me to try and remember to breathe through my nose. Even when I was out.

Though the bustle I just tried to lie there quietly, breathing deeply. Through my nose.

They gave me a second gloop of lidocaine gel, and, while my eyes were closed, wheeled me into the bright lights of the operating room. Eric the anesthetist told me that he would be there throughout the procedure keeping me happy (I had told him that I was 'pro-drug, anti-discomfort' when medical things were concerned). I heard Dr. Carroll and remembered to ask him how long before I could run. He said, "Saturday".

And then they were sitting me up in the chair. My eyes were closed, I felt a little funny, and the first thing I said was, "When can I run?", which made them laugh. I opened my eyes and said, "Oh. You're already done, aren't you?"


I sat there for a little while as they took all the various sensors off, took the IV out, and basically came to. As I sat there I heard the Eric say quietly to Sean, "Yeah, but who's Charley?" I said, "Oh, that's my brother. Did I say his name?" They laughed -- a little embarrassed -- and said, "No, no. That's just an anesthetist joke. I used to always say that when people came to, but then one day a woman was horrified that she might have said the name of her brother-in-law, because she had a huge crush on him. Awkward!"

(How great is it that there are anesthetist jokes?)

Then after a few minutes I basically got up, gave them my booties, hat, and gown, and left. Rebecca had arrived to drive us all home, and that was it. No pain -- other than slightly itchy eyes for a bit. The one weird thing is that I can actually "see" the steroid pellet bobbing around in my eye. It's not visible to anyone else -- it's inside my eye, after all -- but it's always there, just at the top of my vision. I know that I will probably stop noticing it -- and that it will dissolve away in time -- but boy oh boy is it distracting now.

I'm taking it easy the rest of the week -- no boot camp, no running -- though I might go for a tiny little run on Saturday or Sunday.... So hopefully this blog can go back to running soon!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Birch Bay Half Marathon Race Report

Getting ready to watch the sunset the night before the race
I'm so glad we decided to run the final race of the 40@40 project in Birch Bay! Though the race website left a bit to be desired, and, well, we had a little scare when they didn't have records of our registration (hooray for having the confirmation email on my phone), but we still had a great time.

We picked up our packets and this time I made sure to grab a map of the course -- hey, stranger things have happened, right? I even made sure to put the map into my race belt so that, even if we did get lost, we'd have an idea of which way we should go.

Even though the night before the race was glorious if cold, race morning dawned a bit drizzly. So we layered up with tights, a couple of shirts each, and LSD Lite Jackets. (Can't tell you how happy I am that this jacket is available in black!)

I'm not sure we've ever looked so happy before a race!
With a 9am start we had a very leisurely morning -- had a little breakfast, read a little -- before driving out to the state park for the start. I was kicking myself, a little, that I hadn't scouted out the start ... we basically drove into the park and pulled into an end spot, not realizing we were still half a mile or so from the actual start line! No worries, though -- we were in front of some sparkling clean restrooms, which meant we could take a last-minute pit stop before walking to the start.

I wasn't sure what to expect -- how many people would be there -- but there was a sizable group standing behind a line of paint in the road. Nice and relaxed. Someone was giving something of a course talk -- I heard instructions to "stay facing traffic", but nothing else as he was speaking in a normal voice and without a megaphone. Oh well, that's why I brought the map.

I guess this is the START!
Wil and I were still standing around chatting and taking pictures when the race started -- there was no countdown, no horn even... but everyone suddenly started running. Okay then!

We ran through the park and along the curve of the bay as the rain started falling harder. At the stop sign by the market we veered to run up the hill -- at the top of which I decided to get rid of my gloves. I did regret this a little while later, but I was still okay.

We ran on and on through the quiet roads, seeing very little traffic. We ran down a little hill and suddenly had a really nice view of Semiahmoo Bay (at least, I assume that's what the name of that water was...). We turned and ran along that bay for a bit, before reaching the course split. Full marathoners continued on, perhaps to make a loop of the little peninsula, while the half marathoners turned left up a little hill and made our was back inland for a while.

view of Semiahmoo Bay (I think...)
Wil and I were running pretty strong at this point, despite the increasing rain and wind. Wil even put his jacket back on because it was getting cold. A little ways longer along the road and we made a right turn to the out and back hill.

I had read race reports about this -- that there were two hills, that the second was bigger, etc. So I tried to psych myself up for this a bit. So up we went. I decided I wasn't all that interested in running up the hill(s), so I just walked briskly and enjoyed it when I passed people who were running. (That always makes me feel happy, I don't know why.) When it leveled out a little, we ran again, until it got steep. Now, it didn't occur to me that these were the two hills -- I kept expecting to see another hill looming in the distance. Especially after it was level and we were running again -- I was sure that we would now reach the second hill.... except that it looked as if people were turning around... oh. That WAS the hill? Okay then!

We hit the turnaround, grabbed a bit of Gatorade (purple!), and made our way back. We kept it steady on the flat, but then really opened it up down the hill. Awesome!

When we got to the bottom of the hill we were suddenly caught up with a bunch of people we hadn't seen in a long while (well, apart from already making their way back!). That was pretty great. Another right turn pointed us back toward Birch Bay, and I felt like we were really in the home stretch.

Umm, except that we hadn't even hit the 10 mile point yet, but hey.

We ran past our place, thinking longingly of the jacuzzi tub and massage chair waiting for us inside. A little while longer and we hit the 10 mile marker and grabbed a packet of vanilla bean Gu (my favorite!). (The Gu was perfect -- so cold that it had an almost chewy consistency. I LOVE that.)

oh I do like to be beside the seaside...
We probably faded a little as we ran back along the seafront. A young woman passed us (we had been leapfrogging with her) and we decided we didn't want to pass her again so she didn't feel pressured, which made us hang back a little. I wasn't thinking about much at this point, other than just getting done.

We got to the entrance of the park and started seeing people leaving. It was a little weird to run past people who had clearly finished, but who weren't cheering or supporting other runners. Oh well. Maybe no one cheered for them, either.

In the end, we got to the finish, held hands, and ran through the chute. It was then that the weird disbelief set it. We did it -- we actually did it. We ran forty half marathons in a year!

We got our medals, had our pictures taken, took some pictures ourselves, and then wondered if the tub of Red Vines and little place of banana slices was for finishers, or for a private group. We couldn't decide, so we just decided to head to the car and back to our place. On the way, of course, we actually CHEERED for the other runners. Yep,

2013 Birch Bay Half Marathon medal

Would I run that event again? Probably not. But it was something of a rare breed: a February half marathon that isn't all that far from our home. Especially given the late start (9am!), we could have gotten up early and driven north for the day. Of course, we do love an excuse for a weekend away!

The real question now is what's next? What project will we work on now? Frankly, I have no idea. I will continue to chip away at my 50 States project, but that will still take me years. A smaller goal is that I want to run 13 half marathons in 2013, running one each month from now on. (Well, okay, at LEAST one per month...) In 2012, February proved to be the difficult month, so it's good to have run this race. In fact, I'm pretty much set (well, registered, anyway!) through June. So I will try and continue with that.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Forty @ Forty!!!!!

We did it!!! Finished the Birch Bay Half Marathon in a respectable 2:18, despite hills and rain and gusting wind. Now back at the Birch Bay Getaway, me warming by the fire, Wil enjoying the massage chair (!!!!), and getting ready for a dip in the massive jacuzzi tub. Heaven!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! Wil and I celebrated with cards, candy, and presents this morning, before we both had to scarper off... Wil on his bike to work, me in my car to the Alter-G.

There's nothing interesting to report regarding my run ... other than today the TV was stuck on the CBS morning show.... which isn't interesting at all. 

But it gave me a lot of time to think about running.... what I like about it, and what it means to me. So I figured that, in honor of Valentine's Day, I put together a list:

10 Things I Love About Running

1. New shoes -- I love the first runs in a new pair of shoes. So springy!
2. Quiet time -- I love having a chance to think without having anything else I should be doing other than just running.
3. Exploring new places -- I love running in new places, especially during a half marathon because it gives you a chance to see an awful lot of a town...
4. PRs -- I know that I won't always get PRs, but it's really great when I do!
5. My 50 States project -- It's always so satisfying when I get to check off another state.
6. Half marathons -- I love running races... the silent camaraderie with other runners... and having someone else plan the route AND hand me water...
7. Race signs -- I love a good race sign. They always make me laugh. My current favorite is any take on the "that's what she said" theme.
8. Medals -- I LOVE a good race medal. 
9. My running buddy -- I'm so proud of what we've done together, running side by side all the way.
10. Finishing -- I love the feeling of accomplishment when I'm done!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

the Ghost Runner... and Boot Camp

Yesterday morning I was heading out to go to the Physical Therapy place -- where the Alter-G is -- had just turned up my street .... and there he was. The Ghost Runner.

(Yeah, I finally named him.)

I mean the guy who I used to always see running around Ballard... and whenever I mentioned him to other runners who lived anywhere nearby, they would say, "Oh! I know that guy! I see him on ...."

It seemed like everyone I knew also knew of this guy. I assumed he was totally hardcore -- twice a days, even track workouts. For a while Wil and I even snapped surreptitious photos of him and sent them to each other. Another friend, however, thought that perhaps he was suffering from anorexia or some other illness. Still, I preferred to think of him as just that crazy ghost runner.

Then I stopped seeing him. Months went by, and I started to worry. I mean, I honestly used to see him a couple of times per week.

But yesterday, there he was, loping down the middle of the street.

It seemed like a good sign -- the return of spring and all that -- and kicked off my own two-a-day... a run on the Alter-G in the morning, and then a run with Suz after work.

Today was my second boot camp session with Kerry.... and it was so tough! We all warmed up together, then split into some groups and did a four-part circuit with two minute intervals. First we ran up and down the stairs, then we did lunges and squats, then pushups and burpees, and then "hello dollies" and bicycles. And I thought I was going to DIE. May I point out that I had been going to boot camp?!? Just not working hard enough, I guess!

Tomorrow: back on the Alter-G!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Today I Altered Gravity...

Okay, today was my fourth session on the Alter-G... and I felt like it was time to mess around a little.

After all.... it's an ANTI-GRAVITY TREADMILL.

Had a slight hiccup while starting up -- I was standing there, arm extended, pressing "select" on a remote control and wondering why it wasn't working. I was all zipped in and the machine was calibrating... but all of a sudden it stopped and flashed "CE2".

Oh poop.  I pressed "stop", hoping it would clear the error. Nope.

I was just imagining trying to call for help, when I decided to just press "start" again. This time, I followed the instructions. Because, apparently, when it says "stand still with your arms crossed", it means you need to stand still with your arms crossed.

So, fully calibrated, I started my warm-up walk. After 5 brisk minutes I cranked it up to a 10-minute mile to warm up my legs, and set the machine at 80%. Five minutes later, feeling warm, I sped up at 0.2 mile increments every minute. When I got to 8-minute miles, I decided to decrease the percentage of weight I was running at....

First I decreased to 70 percent -- springy. I sped up.

Then I tried 67% -- hey, that's running at 2/3rds of my weight. I sped up again.

Then 60%. Wow. More speed.

Then 50%. That's silly. Just silly. More speed!

Then 40%. I was having a hard time touching the tread, but my legs were flying. At this point I was running a 6-minute mile. Which I do not run in the real world. Perhaps on the moon.

I slowed down to 7:30 pace while cranking the weight back up.... For the last couple of minutes I ran at 100% -- while panicking slightly that I wouldn't be able to keep up. I very, very quickly reduced the pace down after I hit the 30-minute mark. Phew.

Not sure I'll play with the support much more -- it was really nuts.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Vast Improvement!!!

Went "home" to Vast Fitness Boot Camp today -- so nice! On Mondays and Wednesdays we'll be meeting at the Phinney Ridge Center in the funny little "auditorium" room where I once went with Rebecca to a "natural products" fair in the early days of Deluxe Foods...

Today was testing day, and, well, I've lost a lot of strength. So sad. I tested today at 15 military pushups and 25 modified pushups; 30 sit-ups, 1:25 wall squat, 1:15 plank. Wow.

But I am sure that Kerry's camp will whip me back into shape. My goal is to get to 25 military pushups by the end of camp, along with 40 sit-ups, 1:45 wall squat, and 1:30 plank.

Best part was seeing Kerry and the gang again -- Kelsey, Sarah, Damon, Hiromi, and.... um... two new people. One or two others should come (a lot of folks skip test day). And already I feel much more at home -- we chatted, cheered each other on, and still got in a good workout. Sweet.

Friday, February 8, 2013

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Miranda is one of my all-time favorite television programs. Her best friend, Stevie, like to motivate herself and others by holding up an image of M People's Heather Small on a stick and singing "What have you done today to make you feel proud?" It makes me laugh every time.

So what have I done today to make me feel proud? Well, I went to boot camp at Sync Fitness -- which was good enough to make me sweaty, but I didn't push myself hard enough. And I didn't have fun. So I"m proud to report that I have also signed up for Vast Fitness starting next week. So excited!!!

Also we decided to make the final run of the 40@40 project an official race, rather than a run that ends at the pub. So next weekend we're going to go up north to the Birch Bay Half Marathon. Looks like a pretty course -- other than the big hill up and down in the middle... -- and it has a nice almost-symmetry about it.

See, Birch Bay is where we (and everyone else) took a wrong turn during the 2008 Birch Bay International Road Race and turned a 15K into an 18.5K... only a mile and half short of inadvertently running our first half marathon! So having this be the end to 40@40, well, that just makes perfect sense.

So tell me, what have you done today to make you feel proud?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Alter-G, take 3

Woke up feeing stiff  and sore in my hip flexors... which reminded me that I didn't bother to stretch after my last session. Oops.

Just because it's easier to run doesn't mean I should stretch after, right?

Tangent: While reading about Taft last night I saw an article about the president throwing out the first pitch -- which started with Taft -- and noticed that of the men shown (Taft, FDR, Eisenhower, Nixon, Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama), only Clinton and Obama were left-handed. Which made me wonder about any connections between left-handedness and political leanings. But I digress.

Walking around at work yesterday afternoon I felt awfully stiff too, come to think of it. Perhaps going from 0-1 days of exercise / week to 3 days / week to 5 days / week might be too steep a ramp-up? Too much too soon?

When I got to the treadmill this morning the television was on.... so I ended up watching 40 minutes of "Today". I have to admit that it was a pleasant distraction, and that I feel like my workout went faster. (And not just because I mastered the zipping into the machine!)

I walked for five minutes to warm up, then ran at 10-minute mile pace for 5 minutes to get loose, and then cranked up the speed again. Still felt too goofy to really play with the gravity settings, but I went faster and farther than last time.

Again, soaking wet neoprene shorts. Didn't realize this was some sort of "sauna shorts" scheme.

Today I had 4.5 straight hours of meetings... was worried I would be really stiff when I got up to leave, but I actually felt pretty okay. Phew.

Tomorrow is my last day of boot camp at Sync Fitness -- because I start back at Vast on Monday! So excited!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

TAFT?!? Really? TAFT?

So I saw a headline on the Washington Post's site today: "Nats' New Mascot Taft..."


The Washington Nationals chose TAFT as their mascot? What a weird choice! He's the portliest of all our presidents, weighing in at somewhere close to 350 pounds. And I couldn't make any mental connection between him and baseball. So WHY? (Oh! Just discovered that Taft was the first president to throw out a ceremonial first pitch on opening day! See pic below...)

This required further reading .... and apparently everyone but me knows that, during the fourth inning at Nationals' home games, there is a Presidents Race where giant Washington, Lincoln, TR, and Jefferson race around the outfield. Who knew?

THEN I discovered that, after six years of racing, TR was only finally allowed to win in the final game of the 2012 season. Really? He's probably the fittest president until Obama. But whatever. I was happy to learn that TR finally won.

Then I started thinking more about poor Taft. The mascot version of himself is noticeably slimmer than he was in life. But he was a big, big man. Will he end up playing the role of buffoon? I mean, really, I'm a geek and all *I* know about Taft is the possibly apocryphal story that he got stuck in his massive bathtub.

Look, of course I would like to see TR win a few more races. Not to take anything away from Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington, of course. But let poor Taft win a couple, too.

I always like to think about which five presidents I would like to have dinner with... Lincoln, Kennedy, and TR are always invited... and Jefferson is usually on the list, too. I still also would include Carter, because he's lovely. Washington... well... maybe. But maybe I'd invite Taft so I could learn more about him. Or just admire his lovely 'stache.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Alter-G, take two

Went to Kirkland before work today for my second session in the Alter-G. I was a little worried that I would forget how to operate the machine. My anxiety was heightened when I walked in, checked in at the front desk, and was asked if I knew how to turn the machine on. I said, "Ummm... I know how to start it..." and the woman said, "Oh, it's probably not 'ON' yet -- there's a little switch on the back of the treadmill, just switch it on."

Cute me spending at least two minutes staring at the machine and trying to decide what side is the "back". Is the the side behind the instrument panel? Is if at the foot of the treadmill? Is it on the side farthest from the door? For future reference, it's at what I might call the front -- the farthest forward part of the treadmill, behind the instrument panel. Okay then.

So I turned that on (figuring that perhaps it would need to "warm up" or something, and then struggled my way into the shorts. See, to use the treadmill, you have to put on these special shorts that I "rented" (really, just put down a deposit on). They're made of neoprene like a super-tight wetsuit, but with an attached rubberized... flange. I think flange is the only possible word for it. Sorta like a spray-skirt on a kayak, except attached to a pair of shorts. Anyway, they're cut very small, I guess so that they keep the "flange" from moving.

Once encased, you step in to the machine, which looks like this:

You step in to the "black hole" (trying desperately not to step on the tent part), and then pull the sides up by lifting the blue handles.

When you have it at hip level (lucky 13 in my case), you slide the red lever halfway across, and then the frame will "click in" to the locked position.

Then the fun begins -- you have to zip yourself into the tent. I remembered the advice I received on the first night: tuck the flange in first, then start zipping. So I tucked myself in, then started the big zipper. It goes all the way around -- which went fine until I was just past the halfway point. Zipped in enough that I couldn't turn far enough to see what was wrong, but not zipped in enough to see it by turning the other way. As I blindly tried to free the zipper pull, part of my brain started to imagine the call I would place to the front desk. "Umm, hi there. I'm back on the Alter-G treadmill in room 9.... and I'm stuck..."

Anyway, I got the zipper pull unstuck and zipped myself all the way in. Did I say the fun had already begun? Nope, this is the real fun.

You press the "calibrate" button and the "tent" starts to inflate. It's noisy and blowy and a little bit weird as the machine works out how much you weigh by inflating the tent until you're lifted off your feet for a second or two. It then settles right down, and you're on the belt again, but the sensation of being lifted up is a little disturbing.

You then select the weight (by percent) you'd like to run as. When the machine was demonstrated to me, he chose 80%. Now, I don't even know if you can choose a lower percentage... but I suspect you can because people who are injured use these. Heck, I can't even figure out why anyone who isn't recovering from an injury would ever run on one.... other than just idle curiosity, like me. So I set it at 80%.

Then I set the incline at "2", even if I'm not sure what that means. Two percent grade? Two inches? Who knows?!?

And then I set the treadmill rolling. I started with a 5-minute warmup walk -- I sometimes overstride on a treadmill so I wanted to make sure and get very warm before I started running. And after that was done, I let it loose. I started with a 10-minute mile pace, which I ran at for 5 minutes. That seemed a little too easy at only 80% of my body weight, so I sped up pretty rapidly until I was running at 7:30 miles. Woot.

I ran for 30 minutes, then cooled down for 5 minutes while gradually increasing the percentage back to 100%. (I had been told that if you didn't increase the percentage back to normal, your legs would feel like lead...)

When I finished my workout, I stopped the machine, which deflates the tent. Then you unzip, lift the flange out of the opening, and then (while holding the handle on one side) release the lock lever and lower the frame down before stepping back out of the tent.

I wriggled out of the shorts (soaking wet -- ew ew ew) and then cleaned up the machine... and then headed out.

I have eight more sessions left -- looking forward for more! (And perhaps next time I will play with the percentage more...)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Boot Camp Smackdown

Okay, so I never managed to go back to boot camp after our Canyonlands trip in October.... and then when camp started up again in January, I knew we would be out of town.

So when a Groupon (or whatever) came up for Sync Fitness, an indoor boot camp in Interbay, well, I decided to try it. I mean, $49 for a month's worth of boot camp is a great deal -- even if I didn't really like it.

So I started going the week before Christmas -- and it was okay. Nice facilities -- being indoors, but having a big open space meant that the workouts were varied, there was a lot of equipment (weights and such), and we still had a lot of room for cardio. And while I liked the main instructor, Jill, the class was missing something... an esprit de corps, I guess.

I went pretty regularly before we left for Disney World, but then figured I would just let it go, relax for a few weeks when we got back, and then start back at my beloved Vast Fitness in mid-February. But then Sara, the owner of Sync, sent me a note offering me an additional month for half price. Well, even as a three-week tide-me-over till Vast started, it seemed like a good deal.

I admit it -- I'm a bit tight sometimes. So I worried about "wasting" even the deal I had at Sync... was trying to figure out if I could somehow delay the start of Vast, etc. But then I remembered that the reason I didn't just "take a break" between returning from Florida and the start of the next session of Vast was that, frankly, I feel better when I work out more. It's just that simple.

But I was still feeling funny about leaving Sync midway through my month to go back to Vast... until this morning.

Sync has just started an 8-week "new year, new you" program, so class this morning was rammed with lots of newbies. Which is fine, of course... but I felt like the session today was a little lower key than I like. I mean, Sara made it clear that we are all responsible for our own workouts, etc., AND she offered up higher and lower intensity versions of most of the exercises in the tabata.... BUT. It still felt funny when only three of the 18 people in the room had ever been to boot camp before.

The extra weird thing? No one talked to each other at all. At one point I caught Amy's eye -- at that point, the only other "old-timer" (ha!) -- and we both sorta shrugged. But that's still the closest I have come to any sort of camaraderie.

So that just made it crystal clear -- next Monday I go back to Vast fitness and get my boot camp on. I'm super excited!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog Day Half Marathon

This one is totally my fault.

Absolutely, totally my fault.

Since the beginning of the 40@40 project I had wanted to do at least one silly run. How silly? A track half marathon. 52+ laps around a track.

Wil was totally opposed to this idea.... and I just tucked it away. Heck, running 4+ times around Green Lake is boring enough, and at least there you've got a bit of variety.

But as we approached the end of the project, I realized that Groundhog Day would be the perfect time to run a track half marathon... and as luck would have it, this year Groundhog Day fell on a Saturday. And for whatever reason, Wil consented to the madness.

We did not have an auspicious start. I had said that we should set our alarm for 6 and get up -- after listening to "I Got You Babe", of course. But I was kidding. Wil, however, got up and 6 and would not hear of getting back in bed. I pleaded with him -- it was dark, the track would still be locked, it was FREEEEEEZING, and could we PLEEEEEEEAAAAASE wait until sunrise?

No. The groundhog waits for no man.

So I bundled up -- two shirts, a jacket, long tights, a pair of gloves. Wil wore pretty much the same stuff, but added a hat (clever boy). We both brought music, but decided not to use it until we really needed it.

We got to the track -- still very dark -- while I halfway hoped it would be locked. Nope -- gate was open. So we walked in, got to the track, looked at each other, and just started running. The time was about 6:30.

It was a good half hour before I didn't feel like we were running in total darkness. We decided to switch directions every three miles -- just to break things up a bit. But, wow.

I started trying to distract myself by marching up laps with years of my life. "Let's see, when I was 9 I went to Indonesia and started 5th grade in the fall. My teacher was Miss Kemp. She had long nails and took a cake decorating class...." But once my school years were done things got a little blurry.

And on we ran. What does that look like? Oh, a bit like this:

Or perhaps like this:

Over and over and over again.

Until we hit the 6-mile point, I kept thinking about how 10K runners do their races on tracks. But we sailed past that point... and decided to start listening to music. I think this was a big help -- for a little while. We arrived at 9 miles relatively unscathed.

But I think the laps, the lines, the boredom were all starting to weigh on us. I began daydreaming about fleeing the track and running out to the lookout and back for the final four miles. Wil quite rightly put the kiebosh on that. If we were doing this -- and clearly we were -- we were going to do it ALL.

When we only had about 3 laps to go, some soccer players arrived. By this point we were absolutely plodding along grimly. I bet they thought we were pathetic. WE thought we were pathetic. We must have looked pretty awful. My hips hurt (Why would my hips hurt?! All the turning?), my hands were cold, and I was just done.

I can't pretend we finished in good cheer. But we finished.

You would look dreadful, too. I promise.

 At the end I made Wil pose with the "3" on the track, and hold up 9 fingers. So this is supposed to say "39" rather than "please don't make me do this again".

How many? THIRTY-NINE!!!!!!

I am told that Phil didn't see his shadow... we certainly didn't. So come on, Spring!

Oh, and this one just makes me laugh. The look on that groundhog's face....