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This morning dawned drizzly and gray… perfect for running 10 miles! 😛 It wasn’t drizzling enough really to be a bother and it did clear up by the end. I’d gotten an e-mail from Melissa that something had come up and she wouldn’t make the run which meant… I was a pace group of 1 today. Was rather hard to motivate myself out the door but I figured running 10 miles in a drizzle with the next pace group slower was a heck of a lot better than either doing it alone or suffering the consequences of skipping it (OUCH!) so I dragged my lazy behind down tot he site. There I met a member of the SF team who couldn’t get up to the city for this training, and was in the SF version of my pace group there. So it was a good thing I showed up, as I did indeed have a group!
So for today’s run they started us with a warning that we would include hills. On a gravel path. 😛 We were strongly discouraged from running downhill (my knee needs no such discouragement, I know better!) A mile in I am cheerfully scoffing at the trail, “where are these hills I was warned about? My FLAT roads at home are hillier!” and so the trail said “oh you want hills?” yeah. It looked like a 30% incline up the side of a dam (well actually it LOOKED like about 60% incline which means it probably really was 30%). My running mate was having a slow starter day due to it being spring break and her teacher body no longer used to 8 AM, so we decided to be kind to our bodies, seeing as there were 8 miles to go, and just walked the hill. I could feel it in my knees just WALKING down the thing! No way I’m running down on gravel… Thankfully the turn around point for the first leg was right past the hill, so we were soon back at pace. We also got a weeeee bit slowed down by some technical difficulties (I had managed to reset the interval programming on the watch and couldn’t figure it out while moving), and one point where we turned the wrong way trying to get back to the paved 2nd leg of the trail.
Somewhere along the paved leg of the path it must have stopped raining… didn’t really notice it until about mile 7 or 8. So you can tell how non-rain the rain was… I hit the second turnaround point feeling better than I had at 5 miles last week, and managed to do the run intervals all the way, but BOY were my last 2 miles slow. My running partner was a kick though. She too has run a marathon before (I swear I’m the only first timer int he group!), and was regaling me with how fun it is to every week, do something you’ve never done before. 3 steps past the 8 mile marker she was cheering me for having gone further than I’ve ever gone before. it was a good thought, it definitely kept me running to the end. I was definitely the one holding us back on the last leg, and we finished in about 2:11, which is a bit more like 13 mins/mile than 12… 😛 but we’ve never been lectured for running too slow, and they had expected slow times with the hill additions. All in all, I feel more tired than last week, but better physically. I’m in a lot less pain, and no weird foot pains. So I think I’m finally in the right shoes.
My plan for this week? Well I’ve been thinking my route needs some spicing up. That hill experience has reminded me all too clearly of WHERE I am running this marathon… SF isn’t exactly what you would call a flat city. I think this shall be a hill week and we;ll see what happens. Any and all advice on how to run DOWN hill in a way safe to weak knees is welcome. So far I walk anything steeper than, say, 10%. I’ll let you know how it goes (or if I chicken out, 😉 )
So yesterday I talked about my new thing, where I’ve decided to try to run faster on my short, middle-of-the-week runs, both for the heck of seeing that I can run faster without dying, and because I have this hope of doing a second, faster marathon, and I figure may as well start sloooooooooooowly building up speed on my short runs now, so I can stretch them out later if I get into Nike. Well, today was the first time I was really “serious” about going faster (not so fast I get winded, just pushing a little more than I would if I had to go 10 miles!) – Tuesday I kinda had the idea half way thru the run, mostly because I *thought* I was going really slowly. It’s actually kind of fun to try to run faster on these “shorter” distances like 4.4 miles (again, OMG I’m calling 4.4 miles shorter???????). For me to run faster, I don’t actually feel like I’m moving faster – the rhythm of my feet on the sidewalk is about constant. I just FLY more each step. Stretch my legs! larger strides. I think of it as running further, not longer. I get more air in each step and more or less fly forward, and concentrate on feelign the stretch in my legs as my stride lengthens. It actually feels really good. I can’t sustain it uphill (heck, uphill I’m happy to not slow down) but on a flat or downhill it really does feel like flying, a bit, and I swear my legs stay looser feeling thru the whole run when I lengthen the pace. I got home feeling pretty much fine – mild ache in my knee where it always mild aches, mild ache in my foot where it’s hurt since Sat’s long run, but nothing new or extreme, and not all that tired either. New shoes must be working. Then I looked at my watch as I walked up to the door… 47:30! That’s about 10 3/4 mins per mile! It feels kind of impressive to cut, what, 5 mins off my previous time just by deciding to do it, and not hurting for it. 🙂 Then I shower and put on my size 4 jeans as its a work at home day… Damn things are already loose. I swear I need a weight loss sponsorship from DKNY, this is gonna get expensive…
So if any runners are out there reading my blog (and I’ll post this on Spark people too…) I have a question. Is this a sane training program? I had thought from my AIDS marathon training manual that the on-your-own runs were also to be at our slow pace, but I rather like pushing faster on the shorter runs. I just want to make sure I’m not risking injury or something, especially as running is a bit new to me. Any comments or suggestions?
(insert Simon and Garfunkel song here…)
Well my mom says I don’t talk about running enough in my blog. For the runner folk reading, sorry about the knitter kitsch! but it is my knitting store blog so like the sock photos are pretty obligatory.
So I got out running again yesterday despite still hurting a bit from the 8 mile run. Hopefully the foot will clear up before too much longer. It wasn’t the best of mornings for it – thick gray clouds hanging down over the sky, but not too cold and no threat of rain so I went out to try out the new shoes. I think they are a success so far – I don’t seem to hurt MORE anyhow, and my feet seem to be hitting the pavement centered. I’m starting to get a bit bored with the route, and I either need to start running to music or something for entertainment, or find a new run. Another way I can tell I’m getting a bit bored… the run FELT really tiring and I wondered if maybe I shoulda taken another day off… till I got home. 4.4 miles in 50 mins. And I wasn’t even trying that hard. That’s about 11:15 per mile, way faster than my usual 53 mins/12 mins/mile! I know I’m not really working on speed here, but heck, that WAS my single mile time back in the Jr high days of phys ed. I went insane and signed up for the lottery for the Nike Women’s Marathon (tune in April 1 to see if I made the cut) and if my name is drawn, the goal will be to run my second marathon FASTER than the first, so its nice to see that at least for “shorter” distances like 4.4 miles (OMG I’m calling that a shorter distance?!?!?) I can already go faster.
Then, I was a very good girl. I got my letters out! Printed, signed, folded, stamped, mailed. I really hate this asking for money thing. The whole point of the marathon is, tis a fundraiser, right? 😛 Seriously, its scary, 2% of this area has AIDS. It makes me wanna sing that song from Team America! We say the words “Aids epidemic” and we picture starving round bellied children with big eyes on some international charity poster but its right here at home in a big way. Yet I find myself freezing up whenever I tell someone about that part. Even here I go on mostly about how much fun I’m having running, because the training is so much easier to talk about. But I’m really not doing this just for me. Its this stuff that gets me through the end of the longer runs, when I hurt and I think a 10K is long enough already! Anyhow, I hope my letters wing happily out into the world, are well received, and don’t end up in the trash with the other 100 million trees that get turned into junk mail every year. I also need to get better at doing this in person, so if anyone out there has DONE this sort of thing before I’d really love some pointers!
I’m in the process of adding 2 new patterns to my site. Its great procrastination from everything else on my to-do list. I love life when you can procrastinate your to-do list by doing things on it SO much further down on the list (but still important) that they almost feel fun!
The first is a pattern with my new favorite yarn, Panda Silk by Crystal Palace. its a bamboo/wool blend with a touch of silk, and its wonderful soft and almost all the colorways are great – the kind of subtle, tonal variegated that you can actually knit patterns with. These are the first of 3 panda silk socks I’ve created: Sugar and Spice! The pattern is fully written and ready to order.
Soon to be added (NOTE: added 4/6/08) are some socks made with Jocelyn of Cavyshops wool/tencel blend yarn in a luscious colorway she calls Green with Envy Blues. I had started this stitch pattern in another yarn when it immediately reminded me of scuba diving thru COLD kelp forests, and the sunlight streaming through in beams. I suddenly KNEW what yarn the stitches needed! I’m calling these Mermaid Forest, capturing that soaring-thru-giant-trees-of-kelp feeling with a prettier word that “seaweed”
Hope you enjoy them!
Well if I can run ALL my sponsorship through knitting patterns I’m certainly doing a good job of fundraising today (must write letters!) Instead of doing my letter campaign, I knit the top of the marathon socks. I am VERY happy with how they have come out:
I also ran across a rather amusing webpage through Peter that I just have to share: The lamp that knits its own shade! Check it out:
Yesterday was a bit of a nervy day for me. Don’t know why… couldn’t sleep despite jet lag. i suspect I was just a tad worried about the 8 mile run, having been sick and away from running for a week and a half. And well… knee didn’t like Thursday’s run at all. So I woke up jet-lag early anyhow, and got to play with some new yarn I picked up for marathon socks. 🙂 A friend of mine, Jocelyn, is going to generously donate some custom-dyed AIDS marathon colors bamboo/merino yarn… but you know me, I can’t wait. 🙂 And another runner friend of mine swore after several tests she liked Tofutsies best as a running sock yarn so… 😛 hey I need 2 pairs of socks, that way I can hope ONE will be clean! So I cast on what ended up being wayyyyy too many stitches and made my first picot edge before running off to another day of training.
At the site, all was well. I met up with Melissa and another new member of the pace group whose name has completely slipped my mind. No one was adverse to the possibility that I might need to take it a bit slow, and the coach felt that with my 6.5 miles 2 weeks ago, I should be ready to go. So we set off. i was nominated leader for the week as I had my snazzy new watch all ready to go, and we set off. First 4 miles were a BREEZE. We chatted the whole way, some about running, some about life. Both my pace group friends have run marathons before, and our new member (Sarah?) will be running a 199 mile relay race with friends from work who think a 9 minute mile is unbearably slow. She was very much enjoying running at a steady 12 mins per mile lope for a change!
So we turned around at the 4 mile marker, and of course THAT’s when my knee starts complaining. 😛 4 miles away from the car! At this point I’m really enjoying the company and I am not feelign it that bad, so I decide to Press on, paying good attention to my feet and making sure I’m not twisting or anything. Nothing hurts more than an ache, its just my left leg is a LOT more tired than my right. My right is like “what, this is short, lets do 10 miles” and my left knee was so ready to quit at 5! We keep on, going a little slower, and I make it to the 1/4 mile left marker before I decide enough is enough, its starting to turn from ache to pain. no shame in a 1/4 mile cool-down, and the rest of the group didn’t mind walking the last stretch.
We get back to base, and coach is pleased that at least ONE of her pace groups didn’t exceed their speed limit. She asks a few questions about the knee, and reviews with me some of the stretches we went over earlier that morning (FOAM ROLLER LEG MASSAGE! YES!) and basically seems unconcerned. I’m more or less okay til we walk DOWN some stairs to the snacks. Yeah, left knee isn’t doing stairs. otherwise I’m fine. I snack on bananas, whole wheat pitas with hummus, and chatter a bit more before heading back up to the store (runner’s factory) and the car.
I spot a running jacket by a sign “40% off” and decide to go shopping. YAY, an inexpensive jacket! Still too cool in the mornings at the start of runs, and I want something I can take off without losing pace. I note that a few other AIDS marathoners are going over shoes and that’s when it hits me. it isn’t my KNEE that is hurting, really. My left foot HURTS. on the outside. hmmmmmm that’s odd, that’s not where its supposed to hurt…. So I sit down with one of the Factory guys, and we start going over shoes. he looks at the barely visible wear pattern on my soles and states it looks like we over-corrected my stride – I’m hitting on the outside of my foot. We go thru a few shoes, and then he happens to look DOWN as I’m changing out shoes and said OH! I have high arches. Well yes, I knew that, its why I pronate… Apparently many people pronate because they have flat feet and fallen arches. And my <sarcasm>lovely lime green and silver</sarcasm> are designed to correct just for this. Throw in arch support insoles and they FEEL great on my feet til I try to move in them for any length of time. So we go to a shoe that’s designed more structurally for high arches, and less for flat feet and motion control, pop in my inserts and the guy swears my gait is vastly improved. I can’t tell – it all just kinda hurts at that point (almost an hour after the run and the endorphins are seriously wearing thin)
And here’s the best part… THEY EXCHANGED my used shoes! I love the Runner’s Factory!I suspect tis a “we love you AIDS Marathoner’s” deal but I was really thankful to not have to drop another $100 on shoes. And they said brooks is really good about takign returns. no receipt, no box, I didn’t even have the original inserts with me. He just went and asked the boos, and I have new shoes and a $10 credit toward my jacket for the difference. 🙂 I really do have a new favorite store. They spend a lot of time making sure everything is right. Today is most definitely a DAY OFF so I can’t comment on the shoes.
So this morning in procrastination of writing my fundraising letters (no really I’ll make myself do it first, lol) I find myself casting on for the marathon socks. I’d been intending to save the bridge motif I was cooking up for Jocelyn’s yarn, but after the first attempt I kinda knew this yarn wouldn’t like any of the patterns I’d been browsing thru, and well.. 😛 I have no patience with knitting. So I started charting and swatching the bridge. Here is my rough draft so far:
It’s going to go thru a few changes in the final draft. I think I need the bridge towers taller, the space under the arch a bit shorter, and just plain knit instead of purl as the background under the bridge. But at least to my eyes, even in the loud yarn, its clearly discernible as a suspension bridge. That little patch will repeat 4 times around the sock, for a short cuff, then into a very plain sock foot. Knitting I’m reminded that I really do like the tofutsies. Its very soft, unlike a lot of the commercial reduced wool blends. Not QUITE as soft as the Panda Silk, but very nice. I think I need panda silk running socks too… 😛 the colors aren’t AIDS marathon themed but WOW that yarn feels nice… Anyhow it will be a struggle all day to get the letters written before casting on for the sock now that I know how I want to do it!
Ski week ended well. I got brave/impatient on the last day, didn’t wait for the slower folks and went out with Peter and the more advanced gang. We had a bit of “fun” when we learned that the ski lift we needed to get to the area we wanted to explore (one of the busiest lifts at the resort too, of course) was down for repairs and somehow let ourselves be convinced that taking a gondola down to a bus over to a gondola on the other side of the resort was a good idea. An hour later and minus Peter’s ski goggles, we were back on the slopes. I came in at 4 PM after several red slopes, DEAD TIRED and sniffling. Spent the next 2 days asleep in the van back to Geneva and asleep in my hotel room. Well, asleep and using up a whole box of hotel kleenex and most of a roll of toilet paper trying not to drown so I could get back to sleep… 😛 The internal weather cleared up a bit on the last day and I got to see a bit of Geneva. Of course by then it was cloudy and drizzly OUTSIDE, so we stuck to tours and such (UN buildings, and some lovely heated public transport lake boats…)
And the most complete, total random thing happened. Peter’s mom called… and found out we were in Geneva. AND FLEW DOWN FOR DINNER. Uh huh… It appears that her new “friend” owns an air taxi service. He had to get a plane to Geneva to cart some people to Moscow, so she just hitched a ride down, then trained over to meet her friend in Zürich. What a lifestyle, eh? Peter’s mom sure knows how to pick men with resources, I’ll give her that. We had a charming dinner together, over the worlds best seafood risotto. Peter proceeded to catch my cold (which I in turn caught from a chain of sick ski geeks) and had a miserable flight home, but other than that, travel was uneventful and we are safe and sound back home.
Absolutely insane numbers of pictures of snowy mountains, most taken by Peter while he waited for me to catch up, are available at our family website.
So now I’m back home, back on the program. Apparently the world exploded while I was gone. SCCPA board decided to go with the expensive web master, and the person delegated to make sure this happened delegated it to ME and waited ’til I came home… 😛 joy, delegation and committees, WHAT have I gotten myself into? but I only had 5 messages on my work line so i survived the morning. That and the fact that morning started in my jet lagged brain at 4 AM has gotten me mostly caught up. I DDR’ed yesterday ans was surprised by how quickly I got tired – that cold really took it out of me. Heck, Monday I couldn’t’ walk at a fast pace down a street without getting winded tho, so I guess 30 mins of the hardest DDR songs on my current mix is an improvement.
And today I went out for my usual run, with my shiny new interval watch. Despite warnings I found it easy to figure out (no thanks to the included directions!) and discovered much a I had expected that I was NOT doing a 4:1 ratio at home. Probably was indeed doing a 2 min/30 second thing, both the run and walk sections felt WAY TOO LONG. Especially when it wouldn’t let me stop running at the top of a HILL! bad mean nasty watch 😉 I am also still very much feelign the effects of having been sick (or taking a week off running for daily skiing for 5+ hours, you decide) – my knee started complaining about 3.5 miles in and I decided to walk home when it didn’t recover in an extended walk break. I fear it may be time to crack out the knee brace if I’m gonna make 8 miles Saturday! Hopefully it won’t take me too long to get back up to speed. Any and all advice from people more sports-savvy than myself on ramping back up after having been too sick to crawl outa bed is highly welcome!
I’m sitting in our ski apartment, hiding from the last dregs of a storm. So far its been quite a week. It started out with lovely weather – sunny but cold. It then dumped some snow overnight, then kindly cleared up for the day, which is exactly what weather should do ;-). I teamed up with one of the other ski-geek “guests”, Fredericke, who is a ski beginner like me, and we had some “fun” exploring the slopes together. Seems here in the Alps they must be more worried about lawsuits than back home, because they ONLY call a slope green if you can ski down it the first time they strap waxed sticks to your feet. So we took off for an area of the mountain clearly marked all blue, starting with some slopes so flat you have to pole yourself along them cross country style. Marvelous views tho, so quite nice. We decide we’re a bit bored, so try something a bit steeper… it gets STEEPER than that half way down and we decide to cheat and take a cross country trail home. We somehow talk ourselves into trying this same slope the next day with Fredericka’s travel buddy, Johannes (who can ski circles around us) and basically get to slide down the slope sideways. Yeah, This is where I decide if I’m going to enjoy skiing (and catch up with my husband the Swede) I need lessons!
So I sign on for lessons, and the next afternoon am happily racing down that same slope (well, not racing, but I was actually skiing back and forth not sliding sideways down it) That’s when we hit our REAL adventure. Peter’s ski mate, Jes (our host and closest in skill level to Peter) calls off an afternoon to shop for skis that actually work, so Peter and I decide to try out some blue slopes on the swiss side of the mountain, having been happily ensured by the day’s instructor that I can handle anything blue. We ride up the mountain, the day after another night storm and a really cruddy/snowy morning, and the sun is glistening on the pristine snow below, and we see this boring little “I can’t believe tis not green” slope below us. Then we start going UP, and enter this cloud. Little did we know this was the last sun we’d see for a day or 2… We hit the top and its snowing again, rather thickly. We both decide its probably not the best day to get too far from the resort, so head off down the boring blue slope. Except for one problem. Its snowing so hard you can’t SEE the slope. The snow is white, the sky is white, we’re hundreds of feet above the tree line and pretty much the whole world looks like a child’s drawing of a polar bear in a snowstorm. Happily Avoriaz has trail marker signs. Standing right next to one, you can JUST make out the next, about a football field or less away. Happily, I’ve learned how to ski looking downhill just that morning, and I more or less get down the mountain by spotting on one sign after another, counting them down from 60 (most of the slopes start at 24…. LONG hill). I had to make it down. There was a chocolate/walnut/banana crepe at the bottom with my name on it. Peter, the fool ordered ice cream with his. As if we hadn’t just seen more frozen white stuff than I ever wanted to in one lifetime. I jokingly stabbed his ice cream to death for him and exchanged snow storm war stories with our waitress, who has also been caught up that mountain in a white-out.
Today’s weather was even crappier. The morning’s instructor pretty much rejects half the mountain (Peter apparently got to try it and and the snow was blowing so bad you couldn’t even SEE the signs…) and finds the one side sheltered from the wind. I’m having a miserable day of it, pretty much stressed by the weather and forgetting everything I’m supposed to do, falling in the snow and soaked to the skin… and then the instructor surprises the crud out of me, by stopping on the middle of a perfectly nice blue run… and pointing down a hill. I can immediately see a problem. The signs here are the wrong color. Red? In this weather? (for American skiers, red is a level we don’t have between blue and black) My instructor of the day is NOT a talker, so he just grins and points and pretty much makes it clear that I am indeed to go down the steep slope, despite a sincere wish for windshield wipers for my goggles. I must say its amazing how fast everything you’ve learned comes back to you when your choices are do it right or break your legs… 😉 I make it down the slope in one piece, without even falling once or stopping all that often, and even manage to go a little smoother and faster than some of the other poor sods out in the snow. In fact the instructor’s only comment was that I looked good – I was taking my time and looked comfortable. I thought it wasn’t so bad actually… until we took the lift back over it. I went down THAT????? I didn’t DIE? 😛
When I got back to the meeting point, Peter was there and got to hear I managed a red slope, and then we went in and HID. 🙂 Changed into dry clothes, watched the weather get worse over lunch, made fun of a friend who had insisted this morning he was the smart one for booking an afternoon class… As I type now the storm appears to be blowing out (I can tell because I can see something other than white out the window) and as far as I can tell, even the greenest of green slopes (the one this resort actually labels green) have the lifts closed. The place is shut down (well, all except the coffee and beer and eternal crêperies) and I’m wondering if David actually DID ever get his lesson. Weather looks like it should be good for tomorrow, and hopefully today’s precipitation was more snow than rain… I’ve got one last lesson then I hope to take off with Peter down some long runs over the border into Switzerland. 😛 He wants to ski into a nation where they should technically check his passport… then its a few days around Geneva and back home!
Peter and I will be attending geek Ski Week in the French Alps, leaving tomorrow morning. Missing 2 whole Saturdays of training with the team 😦 Oddly enough, my entire pace group ALSO has to miss those 2 weeks so it won’t be holding anyone else back and we can catch back up as a group. And I’ll be getting in PLENTY of cross training. Even got me my own very own ski boots that actually FIT MY FEET. On sale since they’re 2-3 years old style, they cost about the same as a week’s ski boot rental so what the heck. I’ll bring back lots of snowy pictures to make up for the sunshine pics yesterday, okay? 😉
Today’s lesson was all about FOLLOWING THE PLAN. I’m not good at that. 🙂 So I ran yesterday KNOWING I was going to make up my long run today. First mistake. Peter wanted to come along, so I took him on the usual route in the photos, then was going to do a nice 2 laps plus about 1/4 around the park. Well… that 1/4 seemed pretty lame , and at just under 6 miles I still had that feeling of “I can keep going, sure” so I did. OOOOOPS…. The park is pretty hilly. Those last 3 uphills pretty much killed me. My knee started insisting that walking would be a lot better than running at the top of the last hill, and I still had trouble listening to it. (it’s feeling okay now – poppier than usual but no signs of actual injury). Let’s say that that extra .4 miles was the difference between coming home feeling “hey I could go out and finish a marathon right now” and coming home going “okay, I’m DONE for today.” :-p I really will try to be better at sticking to the plan. Seems well designed! Happily I felt like myself again after a shower and brunch, so I didn’t overdo too badly!