An Ode to Cross-country

Cross-country. When I first started running it was after not being able to make any other sports team and my mom suggested I go out for the cross-country team. I thought it was some kind of traveling group.

When I found out it was running I wasn’t impressed. More like I was left in a pant but being that my parents were both runners I was also determined to do well; this was all on my own, my parents never put any pressure on me, all self-imposed.
cross country shoes

But regardless, I wanted to do my best to keep up with the other runners if for no other reason than to avoid feeling embarrassed about being outed as the girl who couldn’t keep up. Cross-country was my first introduction to this whole ‘running thing’ and so it will have a special little place in my heart. *Cue warm fuzzy music and Hallmark card.*

I also thought it was a lot more exciting than track because of the change of terrain, I wasn’t all too jazzed about running in a million circles like a gerbil. (Cut to today, I’ve done 10 mile tempos on the track and actually preferred it because I can be OCD anal about my splits, not to mention countless thrilling miles on the treadmill…haha.) I liked the challenge of hills too…the first time I went to the Mount Sac course, that sick little part in my brain all us runners have thought, “Awesome, this course is going to HURT!”

Hills are tough but there is a method to tackling them. Keep your eyes locked on the crest, know the end is going to eventually be there and what goes up must come down. Don’t hunch over, don’t overstride; keep your feet moving forward, if anything shorten your stride and dig into the ground with your forefoot, claw your way to the top.

Use your arms to your advantage, keep them swinging, did you know your feet will always keep pace with your arms; swing your arms faster and your legs will follow suit. Run THROUGH the top of the hill, don’t stop right before you get to the crest; make it over the hump and use that momentum to your advantage to flllllly down the backside.

There is an art to running downhill too; don’t fight it, let the hill carry you down. Focus on staying controlled and keeping your form. Don’t fight it.

Cross-country will get you muddy, get you dirty, make you tough. It will make you strong mentally and physically. The challenges each course sets before you is different, unique, but in the end it comes down to this: Will it be you or the course that wins?

1) Did you ever run cross-country?

2) Do you prefer cross-country or track?

3) What do you have going on this weekend?
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Setting a Warm-up Routine – You’ll Run Better and Feel Better Doing it

I don’t want to waste energy. I’m really late and the gun is JUST about to go off. I don’t really need to. I’m just plain lazy.

All reasons, ahem excuses, that people give for not wanting to do a warm-up. The energy wasting one is something that I’m sure even the most seasoned vet is guilty of when they first started out, I knew I fell for that one in my first few meets. Or I guess back then I was probably also just lazy too. Though this is one of the biggest fallacies even though common sense might lead you to plead a case for it.

runners on hill

One of these doesn't belong, can you guess which one? :)

Physiologically your body CAN’T perform at its best going from 0 to 60 the second the gun goes off. Sadly we are not a high performance sports car that all the macho guys drive, peel out, and feel like ‘the man.’ Rather, our muscles burn glucose (energy) most efficiently if you gradually work into that faster pace. Not only will you be running faster if you’ve warmed up but it will actually feel easier too. [the same rules apply for the actual race, and that's why it's smarter to run negative splits; go out at one pace and pick up the pace as the race progresses, make that closing mile/lap your fastest]

What constitutes a good warm-up? Well, that is different for everyone and it’s a matter of finding one that fits with you. Still, there are some general ingredients to add to this recipe; I’ll just put out what worked for me when I was racing. Another couple of things; the other major benefit of having a warm-up routine set out is once you find the perfect recipe for YOU, stick to it. Keeping the same routine helps eliminate variables for the race but it also helps mentally.

serious runner

Art Credit: Cait Chock Designs

The routine helps keep some of those nerves at bay. For me, the day before and of a race I’d try to limit thinking about the race too much to avoid getting overly nervous. But once I started my warm-up that’s when I started to really focus again. During my warm-up I’d mentally run through my race plan, think about staying relaxed, calm, and remembering what I wanted to accomplish for the race.

The routine, my body knew it and could go through it on auto-pilot, it was known, familiar, and that was reassuring. It also allowed my mind to focus on the race at hand. Another reason why I was able to run through it all on auto-pilot is I did basically the same thing before hard workouts. Just as with other aspects of training, come race day you want to limit any variables. So practice what you’ll be doing come the actual day.

Finally, with timing, I usually liked to start 50-45 minutes before I had to get to the line. I’m also really anal, and would rather err on the side of being early to the line rather than feeling rushed or heaven forbid not make it!

Here is a little sample or rough guideline to get you started:

* 2 miles easy: Keep this easy and you want to actually be overly warm if anything; that’s why even in hot conditions you’ll see people layered up in sweats. You want those muscles as warm as possible before you strip down to that singlet. People vary how long they run, but you want it to be at least 10 minutes.

* Drills and stretching: After the running I’d do some static stretches then move into a set routine of drills (think quick feet, A skips, butt kickers) to get my feet moving fast and work on turnover. I’d then do dynamic stretches, mostly leg swings. Keep the sweat on and I liked to keep moving around.

* Strides: After drills I’d then do 4-6 strides, 60-100 meters long. The last few I’d do faster than race pace, staying controlled and keeping good form.

* Stripping down and spiking up: Time to take off the sweats, I’d usually be so hot by this point I couldn’t wait to get rid of all the sweats. Then change into the shoes I’d be racing in.

* Head to the line and last strides: Then time to get to the line, I’d usually do one or two last short strides and then time to go!

race

Art credit: Cait Chock Designs - Inspiration: Mamma Nappy's amazing cookies! :)


I know that cross country season is well underway, so good luck to all those racing! I also know there are tons of people signing up and training for road races; for some it are their first races and I thought about posting this because I had been hearing from some that they didn’t even know what a warm-up was, so I hope this can help them out and do their best come the big day. :)

1) Do you do a warm-up routine before your races or hard workouts? If so, what?

2) Name one reason people may not want to warm-up?
The first time I went to a junior high meet (mind you I didn’t train at all before, that was an ugly 400…haha) my mom suggested it but I thought she was insane. I also didn’t want to look like a weirdo being the only kid running around before the actual race. Gotta love self-consciousness and peer pressure.

3) Happy Wednesday, what was your workout?
11 mile run outside and core, I’m slowly feeling better going sans tready…yay. :)

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I’m a Runner…Don’t Drop the J-Word

Don’t call me a jogger. You can call me any other kind of name, throw insults at me like rapid fire, but once you bust out the J-word it’s on.

girl runner
Okay, okay, that may seem a little extreme and I do say it half-jokingly, but as a runner I would be lying if I said the hairs on the back of my neck didn’t prick a bit anytime someone says, “Hey, I saw you out there jogging the other day.” I then feel compelled to kindly, jokingly correct them, “Hey, now, you saw me running…don’t be busting out the J-word.”

Don’t worry, I make sure to laugh, but there is some truth behind it. There is a difference between runners and joggers, but where does that line exist? Yesterday this very thing came up and my friend said to me, “Okay, then what exactly separates running from jogging?”

I’ve had this discussion plenty of times with different folks, of different levels of fitness, backgrounds, and over time I think my definition of running has evolved.

runner sitting on track
I used to have a little time cut-off, where once you go above a certain pace you are no longer running, but jogging. That got to be pretty black and white, and I thought solved the debate easily, but then I had my injury and when I FINALLY got to the point of testing out the legs I knew for DARN sure that what I was doing fully fell under the jogging (if not walking) category of that definition.

I was embarrassed, a little appalled, and hung my head for a second, thinking, “Well, that’s where it lands, you’re now fated to be a jogger.” But then I thought about it more, and I knew in my bones that I was a runner. I was a runner, regardless of the fact that I was painfully, excruciatingly slow. (I wish I had a video of my first few attempts actually!)

runner optical illusion
Running is a state of mind. It’s something you build into yourself; I like to think a part of it is always there but it’s in chiseling it out that you uncover the passion. Like finding your niche.

So yesterday my answer to my friend was along these lines: I think it’s all how you think about it. There is a degree of perceived exertion level, so for a 4 minute miler, to them running at a 9 minute/mile pace would certainly feel like jogging. But if your mile best is 9 minutes, to you perhaps it would FEEL like a 14 minute/mile pace was more like jogging. The perceived level of exertion.

But then, let’s add more gray area, say that 4 minute miler was left unable to run for an extended amount of time and when they came back they were busting their bum to run that 9 minute/mile pace. I still would qualify them as a runner…they get a little freebie pass because I’ll bet they know what a fartlek is and it isn’t some grammerschool joke. They know what a tempo is, they know that a 5k is 3.1 miles, they know that it takes four laps around a track to equal a mile. All of that is built in and retained.

They feel at home around runners, they can flash that nod wordlessly to someone they just met but find out is also a runner and they both smile knowingly. ‘Ahhh, a fellow member.’ It’s like a cool cult, where we don’t drink the Kool-aid but we chug from our own waterbottles. We may still wear Nike shoes but it’s only because we train in them. ;)

Eventually I got down to a faster pace that does fall into the old ‘safe time-cut off’ of my antiquated running definition. But now I see that doing that is too black and white and there needs to be a more flexible definition.

What makes a runner is purely mental.

1) What do you think separates a runner from a jogger?

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What NOT to do When Running — All or Nothing is Not Smart

At least I didn’t step in it! Yes, this girl with no coordination was at least able to dodge the steamy pile of horse doodoo on the bike trail today. My friend, no so lucky in the poop department and he wound up with a splatter of birdie variety. Heads up.

pile of poop
On that lovely opening, I had a run around the lake today and while it really only has some rolling hills it felt like mountains. I honestly have to do some serious hill work. But for this girl, of the past seven days, six of them were not on the treadmill. (Yesterday I did a little quasi-tempo effort on the treadmill. I call it quasi- because while it felt hard the pace is a nice slap of reality too…lol.) So, total miles outside works out to be: 66.

Would I recommend ANYONE do that? No. Listen to what I say, not what I do. Also, one of the main reasons I had to run outside was that my treadmill was being moved so I couldn’t get on it. Like I said, there are differences between inside vs. outside running and if you are only used to doing one, jumping full bore into the other is just plain not smart. What I would tell people is that you should gradually switch from one or the other; or if you are a science person, titrate the ratio.

If you don’t? A sore tushie, hams, and calf muscles. Actually, now it’s that I’ve got twin psoas tightnesses going on. [These are really deep muscles on either side of your stomach/abs.] The funny thing is I feel them the most going downhill, so just further proof I need hill work. :) Actually, I’m lucky it’s just sorenesses; like I said: DON’T go all or nothing, and that really applies to anything.

For example, if you are just starting to build your mileage, don’t go from 15 miles per week to 30. Stupid move. If you’ve never done a 400 repeat in eons, don’t go to the track and bust out 20 your first time out. Not smart. If you’ve only been running on flats, don’t go to a super hilly trail and only run there until you think you’ve mastered hills. Ouch and not a good idea.

runner in forest
Why? You’ll wind up injured, overly sore and not want to run at all, or mentally set yourself up for failure. Instead: the rule of thumb is to only up your total weekly mileage by 10% each week. If you’re just starting to integrate faster workouts into your routine, start out with doing some faster strides at the end of some of your runs or in the middle as pick ups. From there it might be smart to move to fartleks and tempos before gutting out tough track workouts.

Finally, with hills it’s not just that you’ll be sore if you haven’t done them but your entire body will be a little thrown out of whack; most likely your form will be altered because you aren’t used to doing them and that can lead to pulling or tweaking something. Also, running downhill puts an exponential amount more stress on all your bones/tendons/ligaments/muscles than just regular running and they will make you sore too.

Summing up here? It’s all about easing into new stressors…or, for science folk, titrating. :)

1) What did you do today? Did anyone race?
No race, just 11 and change on the trail…sans horse doodoo. Then I had a lot of fun cheering my sister on at her soccer game! It was a tie, but at least they still have their no losing streak alive.

2) Do you find yourself breaking rules, or doing things you would never suggest anyone else do?

3) Anything exciting coming up for you?

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Women’s Marathon Records Under Scrutitny and Reverted to Times of Decades Past

Are you joking me, IAAF?! In case you haven’t heard, apparently the new rule is that if a woman runs a world best time in a race that has men in it, the time WON’T count as a legitimate World Record. That’s insane! What does this mean for women’s distance running?

That stellar 2:15:25 Paula Radcliffe ran, void. The new ‘World Record’ (and I’m going to continue to use air quotes going forward) is 2:17:42. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great time, but it’s only her third fastest time over the distance. I thought we were supposed to be pushing our sport FORWARD, not taking steps back.

Additionally, shouldn’t the IAAF be more concerned about drug cheats and covering matters there, why are they scrutinizing women’s records when there are far more pressing matters to be discussed. I mean, there are quasi-men running in women’s track races, yet they allow those records to stand.

“To have it stripped from you, when no drugs were involved, when no scandal was involved, is just hard to believe,” was Deena Kastor’s reaction upon learning about the ruling. She is having her name taken completely out of the record books, as her 2:19:36 previous American Record was under mixed race conditions. So, the ‘new record’ is reverted back to the 2:24:52 run by Joan Benoit Samuelson back in 1984.

“I wouldn’t mind if someone would have broken that record because it’s gratifying to see the sport move forward,” Kastor continued. “But to have it taken away? That feels like a little bit of a cheap shot.”

Those are my thoughts; if we are going to go that route, should all track records not done on cinder tracks be null and void too? I mean we are living in a world that is constantly propelling forward in everything; new technology, new strategies, new theories, new thoughts and ideas. Along with that, training has advanced, shoes have advanced, spikes are lighter, tracks are better, heck, we have anti-gravity treadmills to run on!

The IAAF’s argument is that having male pacesetters for women is giving them an unfair advantage and leads to faster times. Now, yes, having a pacer is certainly a luxury, but men have pacesetters available to them for races, should all records done with a rabbit now not count?

True, women are ‘lucky’ in that they have another gender that is genetically able to cover distances faster and thus are able to theoretically pace for the entire distance of a race. Men don’t have the luxury of getting horses to pace them through full distances, but they have other men around them that can race them along after a pacer drops out. In the case of Paula’s 2:15, it is so far ahead of what any other woman could run that there is not even a pack she could work off of.

Now, sometimes just because men are in the race that doesn’t necessarily mean they are there to pace the woman. Sometimes the women blow the men out of the water anyways. Still, Paula Radcliffe herself notes that in setting her record time in 2003, “I was actively racing [the male pacers]…I fully believe that I would have run pretty much the same time that day alone.” Touche.

I just think it’s sad that all of these records are being scrutinized in the first place. First there was the whole Boston Debacle, now this. I don’t understand why instead of being excited over an evolving sport, with records done clean, officials insist on wiping away these times. Again, I’m just going to go out and say that there are way too many dirty racers that they need to be working on busting instead of nitpicking these issues? Is it more a matter of that they have just simply given up on tackling that front and then instead are trying to just shift focus and bring up non-issues instead?

Regardless, I’d like to end with what Kara Goucher had to say, because I think she sums it up perfectly and succinctly, “That’s too bad.”

1) What are your thoughts on this whole record debate?

2) Have you run in a mixed race or had men pace you?
I have, and yes, of course having a pacer does help, but it doesn’t make or break a runner’s performance. If you run it on your own two feet and the distance is accurate, count it! I’ve also had women pacers too, so just because it’s a man shouldn’t even be an issue.

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I’m De-Awsome Apparently and Carrying Water on Runs

I’ve been informed that as of yesterday I am no longer awesome. This is coming from my friend (and new housemate) in reference to the fact that for the very first time I ran with a Garmin. “Well, that was a long time coming,” you think, “did you also know there is a thing called a cell phone?”

I’ve talked before explaining my old school ways, but let’s face it, I finally cracked. Since I now plan on doing a lot more running outside, I would be lying if I said I’m not OCD about at least knowing how many miles I run total. Before my accident I always just ran for time, I knew my ‘easy pace’ and then estimated the miles. Ya, I knew that most days I was probably running a bit faster than that, but I counted it off of the pace and if it was a bit over I was okay with that. I would rather be a little over than under anyways.

women runners

But now I have no clue what pace I am going, or what certain paces feel like, my inner-calibration is wonky. I know I’m way slower than before and trust me, getting into the groove that first mile must just look plain comical. So I borrowed a Garmin and strapped that gargantuan thing on my wrist. Sidenote: they really need to make that thing smaller, I mean sheesh! I’ve seen the older models where the face is smaller so I want to try one of those.

Not going to lie, I like it, but only the really basic features. Tell me my total time, total distance, and I was interested in my overall pace average. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

On another subject, I was asked why I didn’t bring any water, sports foods, gels, etc. with me on my runs. The thing is, I never have, but I think that’s because I’m not training for a marathon or ultra-distance. Now, I want to put the disclaimer front and center: I am NOT an expert here, I’m just saying what I do, what I’ve read, and things I’ve heard/talked about with other people I know. Yes, some of THEM are experts, but I am not.

Just my thoughts on the whole ‘to tote accessories or not to tote,’ I don’t bring anything because 1) I don’t want anything more on said person than must be there, like I said that Garmin was bugging me only because it feels like it will take up my whole forearm 2) my stomach is really sensitive and I don’t think eating/drinking would turn out too great on my run 3) I’m not running far enough.

Now, I know that total distance is all relative, but for me, I don’t think it’s necessary to eat or drink anything in the amount of time I’m gone. Now, if I were to run a marathon I know that I’d have to train myself to eat/drink because you need to do that if you want to do your best. I’ve read before that generally if you’re running an hour or less it isn’t necessary to have anything, but if you go longer you should think about restoring your glycogen stores and rehydrate.

woman drinkingYes, sometimes I run more than an hour, but I still think it’s in the zone of not needing anything because it’s not that much more. Though, I’ve run with plenty of other runners on our long runs sans toting extra gear and then refueled/rehydrated upon our return. That’s just what I’m used to and what works for me.

So, I don’t tote. But if you’re running mega miles and training for a marathon or more you SHOULD be training to eat just like you’d be training to run that day. If I ever decide to try and cross that bridge, then I’ll do just that.

Finally, it’s a totally personal choice. I think newer runners may feel more comfortable bringing some water if it’s hot, and if you get used to packing then perhaps you’ll be more likely to continue doing so. However you wanna roll. :)

1) Do you tote on your runs? If so, how far does it have to be for you to tote?

2) What do you think about on your runs? Do you ever get songs stuck in your head that you don’t like and then the rest of the run you keep repeating bad lyrics?

Yes, I do, and today was one of those times.

3) Do you run off of time and then estimate the distance from a certain pace?

4) Not a question, but a kindly request. The rocking Christina needs your help, so if you would, head over to her blog and check out the teeny tiny favor that she’s asking for. Do it, it won’t take but a minute, but you’ll get some good karma vibes! ;)

 

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A Beeping Street With a Kankled Runner on it

Beep. Honk. Squeal. Ya, there was a car that peeled out and the squeal sent me jumping out of my skin (mind you the car was probably about 50 meters away and nowhere coming near me! haha),  but I did it. Street traffic…faced the fear for 11.14 miles.

runner on treadmill

Definitly broke the '20 min. limit' rule :)

If you’ve been reading along on this blog you probably realized that I do most all of my running on the treadmill. That was up until the last few days. After I got hit by the car it took me over a year to get over the surgeries and then actually get back to running period, and when I did I really only felt ‘safe’ on a treadmill.

I could have gone to trails I guess, but there weren’t all that many close-by and I had a treadmill in my apartment complex so I just stuck to what was easier. A few times I would ‘man-up’ and run the less than two miles outside to get to a track and finish my run around there, but I think that was about two or three times. The streets scared the bejeezus out of me.

This coming from the girl you used to consider treadmill running ‘weenie running.’ But I moved to a place where there is a great bike trail and I figured I could handle that. Bikes whizzing by me is about the fastest thing around, I can handle that.

Moving to the outdoors was refreshing (far less boring…haha) but it was a SLAP in the face too. That 1.5% treadmill grade is easier than actual outdoor running even though that’s the accepted equivalent. I did a few days of bike trail runs and today, instead, I hit the roads.

super hero runner

I stuck to a short loop around my house, only crossed through some stop signs and decided to just turn right at stop-lights, but I did it. Most of the streets weren’t too busy but for a few of them I passed some shopping centers and there was a good amount of traffic…haha.

It felt good. Sorry, treadmill, I love you, you honestly have been a bestie for so long and I’m sure I will return to you at times, but for the time being I have my sights set on being a ‘real’ runner again. :)

1) Last random thing that you saw outside that made you do a double take?

There was a man about 50, reeeeally tan, totally shaved head except for a spiked, blue mohawk that was at least 6 inches high.

2) Do you have any strange fears?

3) How is your Tuesday plugging along?
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Two Days in a Row…My Bum is Feeling It

They say that putting the treadmill at 1.5% grade makes it equivalent to running outside. I don’t care who ‘they’ are but I’m telling you that running outside is harder, one and a half, schmone and a half. ;)

running away

Road vs. Tread

Okay, no, I know that there are differences between ‘real’ running outside and running inside. On a treadmill your strike, footfalls, and gait are able to stay exactly the same. Even on a flat road, you will make some turns, there are variances in the road, you move to avoid a branch or rock, slight elevation, slight grade down…normal stuff. All of these things add up.

The other big difference is that on the tready you actually don’t use your hamstrings at all. The way the belt moves, it works only your quads; the movement of the belt actually drags your leg back and thus takes your hammies out of the equation. So going outside it’s a little bit of a shock to the backside of your legs!

So in an effort to return to being a ‘normal runner’ I’ve taken it to the streets. Well, not the real streets, but outside on the bike trail. I feel safer there, still working against a little residual ‘I’m a weenie and cars kinda freak me out’ fears, but a bike trail I can manage. Now that I’m living closer to an awesome bike trail I’ve been going there.

It’s also a slap of reality, I’m also able to go faster on the tready than outside…most of that I think is just ‘me’ though because I’ve never been a real power runner, so the difference in paces I think is more overt just because I have strength that needs to build up.

runner

This guy kicked my tush today. :)

Today was a good one, hillier than I’ve been doing…I say this and laugh because I ran with a good friend of mine (actually, it’s so funny because he’s about 7 years younger than me and I remember when he FIRST started running, him going out to his first races and now here I am running with him…PS-he kicked my butt and was way too nice to admit I was definitely the dead weight holding him back…haha!) and when I said, “So now we’re done with the rolling hills, this is flat from here on out, right?” his reply was, “Oh, yea, I forgot about the hills…haha…ya, I guess those were them, I was distracted talking!” I guess the only thing I can feel better about is that at least I was able to hold a conversation the whole way through. ;)

Ahh, but I loved it. The other great thing about the bike trail on the weekends too, you see tons of runners getting their miles on. Oh, and bikes…but runners are better. ;)

So kicked Sunday off to a good start; backtracking a bit, I also had a great Friday when I went out to On the Border with my fam and my little sis’s boyfriend. Mexican food and good conversation always makes for an awesome night. As for the boyfriend, all I have to say is this: this was just a ‘regular’ day, no special occasion and he brought her flowers. Earlier in the week he picked her up from school with a surprise: a limo waiting to drive them to San Francisco. Ummm…where were guys like these when I was in high school?!?!

 

san francisco

Sis and the BF at San Fran

 

So, fun Sunday runs…like the title notes my hammies and bum are feeling it a tad but it’s a GOOD feeling. The feeling like I’m back among the outside runners…and YES, regardless of what David may think, those WERE rolling hills!! ;)

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Update: this runnerchick somehow made a dorkette mistake and a few paragraphs were repeated in my post!! What was I doing?! Anyways, you no longer will see double but that’s only thanks to the amazing Christina for telling me!! Thanks so much and I emplore you all to go and follower her blog because it’s totally stalkworthy! :)

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1) What were/are you up to this weekend?

2) If you’ve spent a lot of time doing treadmill vs. outside running, do you find you can go faster on the tread than outside, even if you have it at the 1.5% grade?
This is true for me even when I do hard workouts on the treadmill vs. if I do the same workout on the track. It gets me frustrated when I can go faster on a treadmill tempo and then I take it to the track and I’m slower…what’s the dealio?!

3) Have you ever been surprised with a trip in a limo?
No…but sign me up.

4) On the Border is Mexican…love me my Mexican food…what’s your favorite Mexican dish/food?
Bean burrito, Baby!

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When Treadmills Revolt and Walking

Temporarily out of service. This is what my treadmill has informed me; I guess that whole saying of, “If you don’t give something a break it will devise a method of its own to get one” is true. Actually, I know that’s not a saying but I’m making it one…sounds legit.

runner on treadmill
Actually, I can  breathe a sigh of relief because my lovely tready is actually only getting work done on her and didn’t interrupt any actual miles that needed to be logged. But she’s been finicky and throwing up error messages the past week and so, my friend, the Fit Guard diagnostic man is on the job!

This has been going back and forth for weeks, working through the web of phone calls between companies, people, repeating the same thing over and over to the next person. Diagnosis: walking too fast for the cool-down. What?

Okay, the deal was that after I’d finish my run, I’d stop it (of course make note of my final stats, I’m not anal about those at all), get a drink of water, then return and just do a short cool-down walk. Well apparently if you start walking faster than the treadmill as it ramps up it stages a revolt. Random story that I guess is just further proof running is better…walking is nothing but a headache and will cause you problems. ;)

I jest, but actually on Wednesday I went out to join a friend who is part of a 5k training group. The people who meet up are in various stages of fitness, but mainly JUST starting out and to them a 3 mile race they have coming up sounds like an epic distance. For which most of them are walking it. It’s fun to hear them talk about their goals, watch them beam when they finish and see the Garmin tell them they clocked 2.88 miles.

One of the ladies completed her fastest mile yet and we all know how good a new PR feels. She was in the more advanced group and alternated between walking and jogging. It was a nice change of perspective for me; many of my friends or people I talk to are ‘runner runners’ and to them 2.88 miles would be a warm-up. Their PR’s would be minutes faster, but you know what, everyone is in a different stage and point.

The thing is, I remember being that lady thinking that finishing 2.88 miles WAS a marathon. The first time I ran a whole 5k I was on cloud nine. It was refreshing to be among some newbies. Anyways, sometimes it’s really easy to always have our sights set on ‘one-upping’ ourselves; we get lost in only looking forward to the next goal, the next race, getting a faster time, that we forget to enjoy the moments of our accomplishments.

runner on track

Juuuuust a quick peek though! ;)


Sometimes it’s necessary to just take a quickie sneak peek behind you (I know, this is breaking a cardinal rule in racing, never look back, you can’t let them see your weakness…lol) and see how far you’ve come. Just a quick peek though, we can’t let those egos get out of control…haha. :)

1) What’s the ‘worst’ error type message or even that’s happened to you on a machine?
This isn’t mine, but I like the story of my friend who was doing 800′s on a treadmill, but halfway through his last one the treadmill shorted out because he was going too fast…haha. Love it!

2) Are you kind of a fast-walker?
I don’t mean to, but I guess my ‘normal people walk’ is quicker and it annoys my family sometimes if we’re out shopping.

3) What’s the last thing you did that you were proud of? It can be anything, not just running related. :)

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A Tribute to Kikko and a Confession

It’s so easy to take people for granted, that they will always be there. This applies to pets too. Dogs have a way of working their way into a family I think that is unlike other pets…though this is admittedly coming from a ‘dog person.’

When I was little I was dead-set on being a vet…that was until about the age of nine when I realized how much schooling was involved. Later, being that I really can’t stand vomit (blood not so much, I think I would have enjoyed surgeries and such) I know it was the right choice…I really can’t stand vomit, and poop too.

boston terrier kikko
I  always begged my parents for more pets, when I was just starting high school we got our first Boston Terrier. We named him Kikko, after the soy sauce, because my dad is half Chinese-Hawaiian and we had rice about every single night for dinner and the Kikkoman Soy Sauce was as much a staple on the table as a fork. (Yes, we stink and don’t go ‘all the way’ and use the chopsticks…lol.)

Kikko started the Boston Terrier ball in motion. My dad was adamant with: ONLY ONE DOG. But he fell in love with Kikko off the bat and it was then him talking my mom into letting us have more. Three more dogs later, and yes by now I’ve moved out and away.

When I was up in Portland those visits were actually pretty far and few between, so come Christmas or whenever and I did step foot into the door this was the usual scenario: dogs rush up in a stampeded of paws, snorts, sneezes, gas attacks, and barking, trying to asses if this was a stranger or not. Not Kikko though, he didn’t bark like the ‘stranger’ kind of bark, it was more like a bark of recognition and greeting, like, “Hey you, it’s been awhile.”

The others realized it was me after a bit and plenty of pets. We called Kikko the ‘old man’ and he was getting up there in age for dog years. He got slower, didn’t put up too much of a fight if another dog wanted the ball; he reminded me of the old soul who watched from the deck in his rocking chair, content with life and watching over his brood.

Every time I came home to see them I felt a lot of guilt. Guilt over the fact that I didn’t see them more, like I abandoned them. Those first ‘stranger barks’ only exacerbated that.

When I moved out I got a cat, Baily; like I said I’m actually a ‘dog person’ and wanted a dog but I lived in an apartment that allowed no pets at all and getting a cat was a stretch. When I moved back to Cali, I’d be lying if I didn’t harbor fantasies of getting a dog; my sister was the one who got the fourth Boston and I was asking all up and down about where she got hers.

Kikkoman was the old soul in the rocker, but I still never really thought of the day his chair would stop rocking. Sort of like it would be on an infinite pendulum; it’s easy to take people for granted and feel like they’d always be there.

kikkoman soy sauce

A week ago my dad texted me that Kikko was at the vet’s; he hadn’t been eating or pooping for awhile. Back and forth to the vets, it ended up that he had a very serious infection and had to have surgery on his intestines to remove 4 growths and 4 inches of intestines. He was put into ICU and as of yesterday at 5pm my dad let me know that he’d seen him, that he was doing better, but had to stay at the vets for another 3-4 days.

I think we all though, started to breath sighs of relief, as it looked like the trooper would pull through. A little over an hour later my mom let me know that the opposite was true and Kikko’s rocker had stopped rocking.

They always say that when anyone dies to remember the good times and focus on those. Looking over pictures has helped, but it hasn’t killed the guilt. I’m guilty I wasn’t able to really say ‘good-bye’ and that’s my fault.

boston terrier sumo wrestler

When I was up in Oregon there was an excuse for not seeing him, but now I’m only miles away and I should have gone to visit him. Yes, he was in the vet’s some of those nights/days. An excuse. Yes, I was in the midst of a fight with my mom and that’s why I really didn’t want to go to the house. An excuse. Yes, we kept getting ‘good news’ that he was getting better after every time back from the vets and thought all would then go back to normal. An excuse.

I deal with things a lot with words. I talk too manically fast and scattered to make much sense sometimes, but writing I am able to be more concise, get to at least some of my points, and express a bit better what I’m thinking or feeling. Is a blog the best platform for this, I don’t know, but I tend to write about enough other things on here (farts, gurgly guts on runs, random tangents) that I needed to pay tribute to my little guy.

Kikko, I’m sorry. I hope you know that I love you, always have, I never failed to notice that you never forgot who I was or thought I was a stranger if months and months went by and you never saw me. Your departure hit me hard; this sounds horrible and I hope PETA doesn’t come after me for saying it, but your loss I think hurts more than if my cat died…we aren’t supposed to admit favorites between pets I suppose.

But I will remember the good times; picking you out as a pup, posing with you for our Christmas card, taking you on that one awful walk you reeaaaallly wanted to stop so you just laid down on the pavement but the momentum of the other two dogs still dashing forward made you sort of drag along before everyone stopped, herding you into the crate at night, and hearing your not-so-soft snoring.

It’s easy to take people for granted, that they will always be there. Your rocking chair may have stopped but it will forever still be sitting out on the porch right where you left it.

<3 you Kikko.

 

 

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