Run: Unintentional elevation training

I never thought of myself as directionally challenged, but then again, I’ve never lived anywhere but the greater Phoenix area for most of my life. As a native, It’s pretty easy to know your way around. But add tall trees and elevation, subtract 20 degrees and I get mixed up pretty dang quick. This is a fact I was unfortunately unaware of until after my Pine Top running excursion (how I forgot about the Tempe Town Lake confusion, I do not know)

Things started out fine. Okay, I just turn right, and I’m going to make another right and then I’m going to turn around and make two lefts. But then rights turned into lefts and one turn turned into three and before I knew it I was stuck in the labyrinth that is Pine Top and had no idea which direction I was headed or what street I resided on.

Luckily, boyfriend's sister, Miss Brie, had her cell phone handy and remembered what streets the cabin was on. A few wrong turns later, I finally found home. Silver-lining? I ran for an hour in high altitude, and let me tell ya, high altitude hurts the lungs!

Well technically it’s good for the lungs, but I swear it literally hurt to breath at times. I can’t believe how much of a difference it makes. By the end of my adventure I felt an awkward combination of embarrassed and proud (awkward because I got so lost and the entire Mr. Wonderful family knows, and proud because I just conquered altitude training… okay… maybe not conquered...).

I also felt exhausted. I really wish you could see me superior dramatics after a run. After my hour-long, high elevation run, I proceeded to throw myself on to the floor while throwing water on my face and whining. It’s quite obnoxious.
I would love to head north before Rock N Roll and get in super elevation shape, but sadly Phoenix sporting season is in the dead middle of winter, and I don’t think I’d like running in the snow. Uh well, once a desert rat, always a desert rat.

Rest: Relaxing Pine Top style

Mr. Wonderful and I headed North this weekend and stayed at his parents’ cabin. It was so refreshing to get away from the heat. It was also refreshing to get away from technology.

You see, boyfriend and I are pretty much internet addicts (I won’t tell you who’s the farthest gone), and the rest of technology’s dealers are close behind: Cell phones, DVDs, Websites, blogging, social media, chatting, even GPS systems. We love it all. We do also read a ton of books.... but we're even saving up for a pair of Kindles.

I never had realized just how much time I spend on the Internet until my first trip to the cabin. We don’t have a Wi-Fi connection there and our phones barely have service. It usually takes me a couple days to adjust — I do a lot of pacing back and snacking. I typically start drinking around three just because I don’t know what else to do. But this restlessness eventually passes and then all my anxiety melts away. We read, write, discuss art, love and life and listen to old country records. We play with my dog and do puzzles. It really makes me wonder if people really are happier without the distractions of modern society. Is that too hippy for ya?

Well anyway, here I am back on the magical Internet. I can't help it, I just LOVE the internet.  Here are a few pictures from the weekend:

We did a puzzle. It was circular, 750 pieces and I'd say 65% green, so it was very difficult.

We played with Calypso.

Calypso peed. 

We played in the woods.

Stay tuned for my Pine Top running adventure! 



Run: Hydration in the Desert

I've read a few articles about hydration, but I've never seen any of them mention temperatures above 90 degrees. In case you don't know, in Arizona, it hits 90 by 7am... or earlier. Well I decided to do my long run on Monday morning since I haven't been working on Mondays. The goal was to do 8 miles, which is a little steep for me but I've been feeling ambitious. Much to my dismay, I slowed to a meandering walking pace at about 6.3 miles. How depressing.


No seriously. Let me remind you that I am a novice runner, so I have never had to run in the summer. I have read a lot of conflicting literature on hydration, but many of them say that you don't need to worry about drinking water if you are only running for an hour. I was planning on running for 1 1/2- 2 hours, but I don't have a fancy water bottle belt yet so I figured, how bad could it be?

It was bad-- real, real bad. I started around 7am, and I was feeling pretty good. My knees hurt a little, but being the competitive to the point of irresponsible person that I am, I kept running. I ran on the canals by South Mountain, which I have never done before. It was a beautiful run and I was instantly charmed by rabbits, gofers, lizards and the occasional unidentified critter (which I dramatically always assume is a rattler). By 7:45 am, it was about 95 degrees and I was fading fast. My skin literally felt like it was burning, and not just in a sunburn kind of way. It felt like it was burning from the inside, like my skin might burn off. My hands were tingling, my eyes were stinging, my heart felt like it was sticking to my ribs with each pump and I was sweating a lot-- I mean A LOT. But I kept running, because that's what endurance means, right? Endurance = just keep running.

God I was so mad when I had to stop. No water? What was I thinking?

So I leave you with two thoughts:
1. I need to buy a runner's belt for water and gel and things, and I would just love some suggestions. I am fairly thin and short with a big booty so I don't want to wear a belt that is too lose and gonna bounce around back there. I want something snug and form-fitting... if that's possible in a water bottle belt. Please help!

2. It's really struck me lately how so much of running is a personal experience. No matter how many articles you read and experts you talk to, it comes down to what works for you and your body. Sometimes my body is a big fat wuss and needs water, some times my body feels like it can do sprints barefoot without feeling any current pain. Ya just never know because it's different for everyone.

The last issue of Runner's World featured an article titled, Sipping Points, which I thought was a well-written, well-cited and informative article. The author makes a few hydration suggestions, one of which is to keep track of the water you drink before/after/during each run and keep a journal. The journal, ideally, will help the runner be more aware of her hydrating needs.

And there lies reason number eight why I should be keeping a running journal. Ah, the to-do lists never end! 


Rate: Barefoot Running

I'm pretty skeptical of this fad. I had no intentions of trying it. But then, something happened.

One of my good friends decided the best way to spend her 40th birthday is to fly to France for two weeks, alone, for an introspective and wild adventure. I am so jealous... however I've still got a ways until 40 :) This friend and I have spent many an afternoon walking our two pups through the moderately charming streets of Tempe. Her dog is a rescue, used to be a wild pack dog, and therefore is extremely skittish. However, I've known the dog for a while and she likes me and my pup. It was only natural then, when my friend politely asked if I would watch her dog, Sarah, while she is away, that I agreed. It also didn't hurt that she offered me $20 a day, and money is something I desperately need. So all is well, right?

Wrong. The dog has been terrified and shaking from the second she was dropped off. She won't sit down and continues to pace my house for hours at a time. I tried treats, walks, pets-- everything. But she wouldn't even let me near her. And then something terrifying happened: I opened my front door slightly to get something out of my car, and Sarah pushed the door wide open with her nose, and bolted-- at a full sprint. I grabbed a leash and immediately sprinted after her. There was no time to put on shoes. 

Well to sum it up quickly, although there were a few breaks when Sarah slowed down to consider the treats I was waving at her, I ended up sprinting through my neighborhood sidewalks, barefoot, in my jeans, screaming for all the neighbors to see all while dodging piles of glass. Sarah, luckily, just ran home. I finally caught her as she was waiting at her owner's backyard fence, about a mile from my home. Brilliant. Once I had her captive I started bawling. Why? because I was stressed, exhausted, feeling emotional and so completely relieved that I didn't lose my friend's dog.
The point of all this, is that I did barefoot sprints... even though I wasn't intending too. 

When I woke up the next day, I was in an incredibly sore state. I could barely walk. My ankles-- ankles of all things!-- were throbbing. My calves were so excruciatingly tight. And now I get it. Minimalism running builds muscle. It builds muscles that I do not usually use when I am wearing shoes. And apparently, those muscles are going to take forever to loosen up again.
Even with that said, I don't intend on incorporating barefoot running into my training any time soon. If for no other reason, because it may give me horrifying flashbacks.


Run: Homemade vegan recovery shake

I faint easily. I also get nauseous easily and I have asthma. No. Big. Thang. But I do feel like I need to eat more than the average person my size in order to compensate for my woozy tendencies. In fact, I even feel the need to have a recovery shake after a five, or even three, mile run. On the days when I pretend I’m a cyclist and hit the road on two wheels, I chug through my water bottle within the first 15 miles and by the end (about 30 miles), I’m taking deep breaths in hopes of postponing any medical emergencies before I can get my hands on a power bar or doughnut. It’s kind of pathetic. But really, I require a lot of nutrients so I am always on the look-out for good recipes and dishes.

I’m a pretty busy lady, so shakes are becoming a staple part of my life. I have been determined to find a tasty recovery shake that really helps me feel better. I’ve tried diet shakes, Muscle Milk and more, but all leave me feeling exhausted later. So, I came up with a new recovery shake recipe, that seemed to really work after my five-mile treadmill run yesterday (I've been coming pretty close to my five mile base run days, however I'm still working on the ten mile long run goal) Although I am sore today, I never felt like crashing yesterday. I maintained energy after my run and felt my body getting stronger. Here’s the vegan recipe in case you want to try it. The Life’s Basic protein is a pretty intense flavor that I tried to cover up with the apple juice, so you may want to try a better tasting powder. I tried to stick to the right ratio of carbs, protein and sugar, but I'm totally open to suggestions! 

(measurements are approximate)

2 cups frozen peaches
1 cup oatmeal
1 scoop of Life’s Basic Plant Protein Greens Powder
    * I think this was the key ingredient. I’ve never used protein powder before, and I think it made a huge difference.
½ cup of apple juice
2 cups of vanilla Tempeh milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Put all ingredients into a blender and add more milk if it seems too thick. Serve cold and enjoy!

P.S. Will some one just drag me to a running club? I can't seem to get myself to do it. Thanks.


Rest: When I grow up,
I want to be superwoman

Hey ladies, you know those moments when you’re feeling pretty great about yourself and then some goddess walks by and your entire sense of self shatters before you? Okay maybe you don’t, I’m probably a little crazy. But I think most of us have at least met a woman that we envy, and I mean really envy.

I call those women superwomen. Superwoman (definition from the Kelseyyourecompletleyinsane dictionary): A girl who has it all — athletic, hot, funny, extremely intelligent, social, stylish, compassionate, likeable, loving, confident, down to earth and has a successful career and a strong family. They’re few and far between and they probably don’t actually exist, but I’m infatuated with them. Think Kelly Ripa or Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook

So what does this have to do with my weekend? Well as I continue to pursue my writing dreams, I’ve become increasingly more obsessed with perfection. I want to be a superwomen. I really, really do. Is that screwed up or what? I know this a common feminist conversation, so I can’t be completely off my rocker here.

With my wonderful boyfriend out of town for the weekend, I intended to complete my list of goals which included strenuous workouts, ten-hour working and writing sessions, journaling, blogging, cleaning, seeing my sister, running errands and hitting the town with the ladies. Well I completed some of those things. In fact, I completed a lot of them, however a major chunk of my weekend involved drowning myself in alcohol so that I wouldn’t contemplate what my boyfriend could be doing or how many times he’s gotten hit on in San Francisco (he’s awesome, I’m totally a jerk for even worrying about it). Needless to say, much of my to-do list remained unchecked.

Perfection is a horrible goal and I do not recommend it to anyone. But I thought hey, why not let my readers in on how much of a crazy I really am.

Highlight of the weekend: I made dinner for me and my two buddies, Lauri and Rhiannon. I set up the patio with chili pepper lights, two tables covered in retro tablecloths and lots of food and wine. I made an Indian-inspired, red lentil pasta that was overall mediocre, but the ginger peach crumble was delicious. Three bottles of wine later, we headed to a local bar on our bikes. Well, actually they were my bikes, and Rhiannon and Lauri were very wobbly and giggly cyclists.

Weekend list of goals = fail.

Girl night = Success.

Perfection = A lifetime project. 


Rate: Freelance Fiver

I've missed you guys. I really have. Life has been quite the whirlwind, roller coaster, box of chocolates and any other idiom you could fit in here.  I'll shamelessly start this post by admitting that I receive weekly horoscopes in my inbox. No, I don't take them as truths or anything, but I do look forward to the charming fortune that the Frisky comes up with every week for my ever-fiery Aries soul. This week, my horoscope suitably told me that this week I would enter into the best phase of my life that I have been in for years. Who knows if that will actually come true, but I'd like to think that kismet is finally on my side. For the last few weeks, my writing career has finally began to take shape. Get this guys, I have five different writing gigs underway. FIVE. Holy BOJOLIES! I don't mean to brag, but this is a really exciting fact for me. I was serving tables three months ago and now I'm a working writer. I won't go on to tell you the other exciting/new/good things in my life, but all I'm trying to say is that the horoscope may be right. In celebration of this new phase, I've got some interesting posts coming your way. Stay tuned for my newest running adventures, thoughts on how to be a super woman, philosophizing about liberal arts majors, reflections on my continual life epiphanies and goals, and of course the rest of my usual ranting.


My Apologies

Due to a new job, a new nephew, a broken down car and an altogether sense of being overwhelmed, there will be no new blog posts until next week.

It's just a very short hiatus, please forgive me!