Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Am I going to hunt prey? Run a 50 miler? BQ?

No, none of that.  Well, not yet (the 50 miler is next year's goal).  I'm not going to suddenly become competitive in my age group, train for a sub-4 marathon, run blistering track workouts or wear a running skirt (I don't know what THAT has to do with anything).

What the hell do I need a coach for?

I've been asking myself the same question ever since I originally had the idea, about 6 months ago.  I certainly don't need a coach.  I'm not a talented runner.  No matter what I do, how hard I try, I think the best I can ever be is mediocre.  I've been running now for 5 years; it's not rocket science.  We're made to do this.  Put one foot in front of the other.  If you want to run fast, run faster; run long, run longer.  Eat well.  Drink consistently.  Prepare to get your poop on.  Change your shoes regularly.  Wear good socks.  Don't increase distance by more than 10% a week, or distane and tempo together.  Run regularly.  Wrap your toes in duct tape to prevent blisters.  Tuck and roll.  Take rest days.  Cross train. Listen to your body.  Keep moving forward.  If you just want to go running, really, I think this is all you really need to know.  It's all I know, and it's served me just fine.  I run road, I run trails, I run mountains, I run flats, I run 5ks and marathons and ultras, I run in sunlight and darkness and have run (mostly) pain free, and recover quickly when injured.   I've read a ton about running and have it dialed in -- I know what works for me.

So, what the hell do I need a coach for?

Well, I don't need a coach.  But I want one.


Well, what if?  What if I ran consistently, and followed a training plan?  What if I didn't roll back over and go to bed when I didn't want to go for a run?  What if I ran paying attention to pace?  What if I run at a pace that's uncomfortable for me?  What if I hit my target milage?  What if I'm accountable to someone other than myself?  What if I really have a good base of fitness?  What if I toe the line of a race and know that I have adequately trained for it, instead of doing just enough to get by?  What if I stop calling myself a loser?  What if I expect more of myself?

What am I capable of?


For three months, I'm going to try to find out.  I need help doing so.  After three months, I very well almost certainly may go back to my just-get-by lazy ol' ways, because hey! it's worked for me so far, and I think it's pretty awesome that I'm a runner at all.  But for three months I just want to see what I can do.  My goal is simply to be consistent, and serious, about running.  That's it.  No massive changes, no I'm gonna run sub-10 miles, no crazy track workouts.  Just be steady, and challenge myself a little.  Within that consistency, challenge and dedication, what am I capable of?


Stay tuned.

Monday, February 21, 2011

So here's a couple things you may or may not know about me.  I'm so very much not a natural athlete.  I did not start running (or really doing much at all, fitness-wise) until the year I turned 40.  I was not a total couch potato, but I couldn't have run a mile if you held a gun to my head (not EVEN if you said there were jalapeno potato chips and cokes at the finish).  Yeah.  I started running because I got a bee in my bonnet about doing triathlons.  I was all, Let's see how long this idea lasts!  None of it came quick or easy.   I started the C25K program in January, 2007 and remember staring at my watch, counting down the seconds, dying for the :90  run portion to be over.  I could barely run for 90 seconds.  The first time I ran for 20 minutes without stopping (something like 3 months later, man it took me a long time to get there!) is one of the most memorable moments in my running memory.  I did a couple of triathlons and then, typical for me, I lost interest.  

But the running thing, somehow, stayed with me.  

At times I ran a little, at times I ran a little more.  A few years passed and I find myself running a marathon.  And then some more.  During this entire time, I don't really pay much attention to my pace.  Or my schedule.  Or the amount of miles I run a week.  Or any of that stuff.  The only reason I pay any attention at all is because I'm obsessed with my Garmin and the way it keeps track of all my nice crunchy numbers and it effortlessly puts it all into a pretty calendar that I can look at and marvel, Wow, I RAN ALL THAT SHIT!  Plus I had some sort of training schedule to reach the marathon distance, a schedule I followed a little more than half of.  Three years ago it took me 1 hour to run 5 miles (on the road, on a good day, minus all of the pee, tie my shoes, look at the grass moments), it takes me the same amount today.  I'm happy with that.  It's nice and round and makes long runs easy to calculate.  It's a nice easy pace.  Sure I've run a marathon, which I was about three-quarters trained for.  Sure, I did an ultra, which I was maybe a little more than half prepared for.  I'm a lazy runner.  I lack discipline.  When all you folks are forcing yourself out of bed first thing in the morning, talking yourselves into going out for that 7 mile tempo run in the rain and earning well-deserved accolades for your ballsyness and commitment to yourself, your body and your sport, I'm rolling over and never even waking up.  And that's fine by me.  Different strokes.  And different speeds.  I have no athletic ability whatsoever and am probably made up entirely of (really, really) slow-twitch fibers.  I have come in DFL in at least 5 races, and deep, deep in the back of the pack in the all others.  Happily, I truly couldn't care less (except maybe it would be nice to finish earlier, you know, when there's still food available. Or people there.  But that's all).  Basically, I am the slowest, most undisciplined, laid-back and unconcerned runner I've ever heard of, with a little asterisk there signifying that, ok, she does run long distances.  Other than that, bleehhh, really, I suck.  I run because it zones out my brain and lets me eat a lot of food without getting fat(ter), I race because that gives me (some) inspiration to run, I keep track of my pace because I'm a little gadget freak.  I'm slow, I'm lazy, and I just don't care all that much.  

So, guess what I did?  I went out and got myself an honest-to-goodness running coach!  Oh yes indeedy, I've signed up for a couple of months of coaching from none other than SUAR.

Why Beth?  Because I personally think she's just awesomeness personified, a totally inspiring and talented runner, she's an actual coach who's as funny as they come and can probably dish out the appropriate can -- and brand -- of whipass that I need, she shits in trees, leaps massive hurdles, runs with freakin' Dean whatshisname, AND she GUARANTEED me that after three months of following her training plan I would have arms and abs just like hers!!*

*She didn't.  I won't.  But wouldn't that be awesome?

Why a coach?  for, ME?  And what do I hope to accomplish?  and , yeah, um, WHY? That'll have to wait for the next post, because I've got dinner plans and Pam's comment from the last post made my laugh like crazy in the yoga parking lot and I hate to think of her dying because of my lack of follow through.  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Is this thing on?

Ahem, yes, hello there.  I'm back.

There has been so much stuff going on!  Let's get up to date, shall we?

Guess what?  It's been snowing in Tahoe!  Endless sunny days for six weeks, lovely but not the best for a ski town, sunny sunny then this week? Snow. A shitton!  Like, something like 6 feet(!!) in three or four days. It stopped snowing, finally, sometime Saturday.  So. Much. Snow.  Shovel shovel, snowblow, ski in powder up to my chest, my chest you guys!, shovel shovel, snowblow, repeat repeat repeat.  What a week!

Our front door.  It's there, somewhere.
(from the railing in the distance, the ground is about 12 feet down)

The view from the sliders to the side deck.

Guess what?  I've been running.  Running running.  5 miles at a stretch.  A couple times a week.  Painlessly.  I have not had knee pain in weeks and weeks, and today was Officially Discharged from PT.  I'm back!  I'm ready!  I'm running!  And I have some really wacky news in the running department, something one really wouldn't expect from me, totally out of character, something that really rocks my socks.  Something you can read about in the next post.  

Meanwhile, I've also been trying to master (in my feeble, feeble way) skate skiing.  I'm starting to get the hang of it, just a little bit, and hopefully will not implode when I debut my skills at the Great Ski Race 30K on March 5.  It'll be an adventure!

Guess what?  Remember my henna party?  I got totally inspired (in a very different way than Tom did, but that's besides the point) and decided right then and there that this was something I needed to learn more about.  So I got myself some henna and a couple of weeks ago I did this on Tom's shoulder:

And I thought, hey! This is cool!  And I read some more and got some more stuff and learned a little bit more about the whole technique and last night I tried out all of my new skills on myself.  Here's me with the henna paste still on my skin (it took about an hour to apply):

I taped it all up for safekeeping, then 10 hours later removed the tape and the paste and here's my dyed skin:
It should get darker over the next 24 hours, and lasts a couple of weeks?  We'll see.  I'm really intrigued by this henna thing . . . I think I'm going to henna everyone in reach!