Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Another 20 mile tempo

Without even asking SR, I was a click away from signing up for the Miami Marathon this Sunday. I am completely manic and need to find a marathon to PR in - like now. When I saw that airplane tickets were over $800, however, I sighed, and thought like a rational person for the first time since I had run my 20 miles.

But, seriously, what is going on with me? I ran my fastest time yet today. After running a 20 mile tempo just two days ago. But I guess I can't keep throwing these treadmills times at you without giving you more details (fessing up a little)

1. I have the grade at 0.5%.

2. I take two bathroom breaks that are not counted in the overall time.

3. I subtract time for getting up to running speed.

The amount of time I subtract from the three treadmill startups used to be 45 seconds each time but I realized today it actually only took 30 seconds to get up to speed. So my 20 mile interval times had to be adjusted to the following:

Last Wednesday: 20 in 2:23:43 (at 0% grade)
Sunday: 20 in 2:24:31
Today: 20 in 2:23:06 (13.1 mile split was 1:33:24)

And I should probably subtract even less because even walking gets you somewhere.

So, is this training regimine so crazy that it just might work?? Or am I asking for injury? Should I keep doing it until I start getting slower or should I mix it up more? (can't help thinking of the line from a great song "you'll find the Lord in repetition" - who can name this band or song? :)). I just like it so much better than stupid intervals which I always feel just build bulk in my thighs.

Speaking of bulk, my weight has held at 108 lbs (49 kg). I like it there. I'm keeping it there. No more anorexic thoughts.

For today, I'll leave it at that. Except to say, my favorite running song while in Mammoth was this from the Minnesota native, Jeremy Messersmith.

The song I listed to over and over for 2 hours and 23 minutes to day was this (I have mentioned it before, but now you get the video).

Monday 23 January 2012

Honduras: the capital of crime

I have mentioned that I have been a medical volunteer in Guatemala. When I signed up to volunteer in Honduras and SR volunteered to take the kids there with me, we clearly did not know what we were getting into. Honduras, despite being the country to the east of Guatemala, it is not like what Michigan is to Wisconsin.

Honduras has the highest homicide rate per capita in the world: 86/100,000 and continually rising. That means nearly 1/1,000 people are murdered in this country! Just to compare, Guatemala’s murder rate is 39/100,000 and the USA’s is 4.8/100,000 and Denmark’s 0.85/100,000

When I mentioned to the Unite for Sight coordinator that I was brining my family along, we soon realized that this was perhaps the first time ever a family had come to volunteer at this site – and sight-seeing trips to Tegucigalpa were not exactly encouraged. SR clearly would not be able to stand being trapped in a little room with two little boys for 10 days. And I was suddenly in the unthinkable position of being a mom of a breastfed little baby who needed to leave for 10 days. So I absolutely dreaded the trip for months. I became depressed (as alluded to in earlier blog posts) because I had committed to going but could not stand the thought of leaving little Mattias.

The more I read about Honduras, the more it worried me. I would need to be accompanied by a local guard any time I was outside of my room. There would be no freedom, no exploring. I felt so bad for the people living there and was consoled with the thought that perhaps I would do some good for these people.

I had nightmares almost nightly about my upcoming trip.

The Lorax and I sat on the couch two nights before my departure and cried, held each other. He had just three days earlier started in his new Waldorf school. He was just getting used to life in La Crosse and now I was leaving, his rock, his “mor” and now his “mom” and he understood entirely.


But then something happened. I was hurriedly packing, as always unprepared, as always panicking, but as always also making time to check email. And there it was: an email from Unite for Sight. They explained that the Peace Corps had that day pulled out of Honduras. There were too many security concerns for the volunteers. Crime has been escalating there related to drugs and often directed against foreigners. They wrote these words “we would understand if you decide not to volunteer in Honduras at this time”

YES!!!!!!!!! Yippeee!!! I wrote back after telling SR. I told them I would prefer not to go. (I am now scheduled to go, and hopefully with the whole family, to Ghana next February. It is so much safer there and we are starting to look forward to it).

After I was no longer going to Honduras, I felt alive again and happy. I honestly didn’t know it was weighing on me so much until the weight of it was gone. It was nearly 0 degrees F as we picked up The Lorax from school, but all I felt was warmth. The warmth of my boys. (I just started crying while writing this.) I had this desire to simply sit in the house for days with them and never stop being near them.

I could now look at the pictures from our trip to Mammoth and enjoy them, knowing SR, Mattias and The Lorax were mine, all mine, and I wasn’t going to die in Honduras leaving them behind. We are a family and I am the mom, a proud, happy mom!

Run in Yosemite - completely alone, mid January!

And the lovely new header picture is from Death Valley.

Just to ruin this sentimental blog post, I have to tell you what a week of altitude training + a little happiness has done for me:

I ran 3 20 milers in the past 5 days!
Wed: 20 miles in 2:22 (treadmill at 0% incline)
Thurs: 12 miles slow (treadmill at 0.5% incline, and same for all of the following)
Fri: 20 miles slow
Sat: 13 miles, just under 8 min per mile
Sun: 20 miles in 2:23 (again, treadmill at 0.5% incline), while talking with new triathlete friend, Lisa

Totally excited about these times that predict at big marathon PR (3:10???? dare I dream?). I am also so grateful to SR for suggesting I run at an incline on the mill which took the problem pain out of my left hamstring almost immediately. Now tomorrow: no running!!! (I have to force myself to take a break).

Friday 6 January 2012

An argument against treadmill pettiness

So I showed up at the Y the day after my 19:19 5k and got on the treadmill. I used to hate treadmills. I started out at an 8 minute per mile pace. This used to be a fast pace for me. I look over my shoulder and who is on the treadmill behind me, but SR's ex-wife? We talked a little. I actually really like her. It's hard not to. She is easy on the eyes, always smells nice, knows how to apply make-up and is just a clean, organized person. Basically everything I'm not. And suddenly I find myself thinking, despite being a woman with all of the best intentions, "has there ever been a more opportune time to flaunt my compact booty?!" (if you are thinking, "get a life, sea legs" then you're just about right). So I, of course, turned up the pace, thinking the whole time "I wonder what she thinks of my ass." Well, just when I thought my ass was probably looking its best, I turned around to see she was gone. 9 miles soon down. Maybe I should stop. In walks thin guy in long-sleeved shirt who looks like he can run. He steps on the treadmill next to me. I vow to myself he will at no point run faster than me. He starts at 8.5 miles per hour. Come on, is that all you've got?? Suddenly I've decided to essentially do a 20 mile tempo on my rest day. And then I can't run one more step. Or close to that. My medial hamstring on my left leg just locked up. Thin guy in long-sleeved shirt wins. And I am injured.

The next night, I went to yoga-lates, where you have the extreme challenge of drinking a latte with your yoga. I found myself in a class with two yoga instructors and the instructor herself. And I am thinking to myself - it says on the door "yoga is non-judgemental". Okay, well, I'm not judging anyone, but no one will out cobra me. That is until I am down in the push-up position and I fall clutching my sternum in pain, having momentarily forgotten about my sternal injury from falling down the basement stairs.

Will I ever grow up?

Probably not. Today I was out running again pain free; the hamstring injury seemed to be simply induced by the treadmill. As long as I stick to my minimalist shoes outdoors, I think I am in the clear. That is a relief since we are heading to Mammoth tomorrow and as there is not much snow, it looks like we'll be doing more trail running than skiing.

But a little on La Crosse, WI

Tonight I was listening to Steve Carlyon, director of La Crosse Parks and Rec say about the proposal to develop some of the Hixon Park Land as real estate:
"I have lived in many places all over the world and there is no place like La Crosse. Young professionals are moving back. They were educated here, saw the bluffs, and they can't forget them. The glaciers have never been here. It is geologically unique..."

I got tears in my eyes. You have to see it to believe it. More info on that bad development idea here:!/SaveUpperHixonForest?sk=info

And this is how you will know you are in La Crossse: (I heard all of these recently)

"Hawkey" is a game you play on ice with a puck.
When you hear a joke, you don't laugh, you just say "that is SO FUNNY" and you have to say the last two words louder. Otherwise people might think what they said wasn't funny.
Finally, and this one I actually heard in Milwaukee and is a new verb since we left in 2008: to fellowship (v): ie, "the meeting is a great chance for people to fellowship."

Good times. I promise pics next post from Cali.

Running song of the day

Miss K by Deer Tick (thanks, Steve Q. I do like it despite the Wilco sound)

Monday 2 January 2012

10 lb weight loss, 5k

I have been feeling overwhelmed thinking about catching you guys up on what has been going on here in the US. I realized today that the only way I will get anything written is if I simply write about today.

And no, I have no New Year's resolutions, no best of lists. I am just not in that comfortable place in life where I can look beyond making it through each day.

But I guess you need a little background. SR is finally here and we have moved into our rented level of a house in downtown La Crosse, WI. The location is perfect. We can walk to the library, the YMCA, the food co-op, the bluffs and the Mississippi. The Lorax's new Waldorf school (where he starts when we get back from Mammoth Lakes, CA Jan. 15th) will be a bit of a trek, though, at 3.5 miles away.

SR left for a 36 hour ER shift last night. I ran to the grocery store with the kids in the freezing cold dark windy Wisconsinness and then we had a great night that involved a lot of bathtub nudity.

Today was the first sort of normal day in our new lives.

I set the alarm for seven. We ate breakfast: The Lorax ate four pieces of toast with Nutella and I ate a bowl of oatmeal with Fiber One on top. (Have you ever noticed that organic oatmeal tastes like dirt? I'm trying to figure out if I like that or not).

Then we arrived at YMCA number 1 in Onalaska. As we walked to the entrance from the car, both boys errupted in tears. They had never experienced such cold weather. And the wind!

I had trouble walking with the huge bag and Mattias in car seat because a couple of days ago I fell down our basement stairs and think I got a hairline fracture in my sternum or ripped some pectoralis muscle tendon insertions.

The YMCA here is holding a little treadmill 5k competition, so I decided to work that into my interval workout today.

It is so awesome how effortless running feels now that I am 10 lbs lighter (lost 10 lbs in the last two months). I dipped down to 108 lbs, but have now stabilized at 109. I always used to think this weight was too light for 5'6", but I've changed my mind. (basically, I needed a new challenge now that there are no races around here and weight loss was it. No I didn't decrease my running. Last week was 113 miles.)

Treadmill today:
2 mile warmup at 7:30 pace
1 mile interval at 5:58
run to toilet
recovery 1 mile at 7:30, no pause
1 mile interval at 6:08
recovery 0.4 miles at 7:00 pace, no pause
3.1 miles interval (5k) in 19:19
2 mile cooldown at around 8 min pace

I have decided to give up that stopping completely between intervals becuase I think it is injurious. I had thought I was going for a sub 19 5k, but then forgot to add that extra 0.1 miles into the equation while running. But it was still a PR. Of course I won't list it as an overall PR, but a treadmill PR (if I ever make that category).

I then did 15 minutes of core. It is hard to find things that don't hurt my sternum.

I got the kids. The Lorax ate lunch (two apples, two bananas and half a ham sandwich) and they had given Mattias a bottle of formula. I have not quite been able to keep up with his needs, so he gets about half a bottle a day above what I can produce. It may have something to do with my weight loss or it may not.

We then drove to the YMCA in La Crosse, where I could get more free day care!! :D I did 20 minutes on one of those machines that is sort of reminiscent of a Nordic Track but modernized to resemble an elliptical. I then did 50 lengths in the pool (just signed up for Copenhagen Challenge ironman yesterday, so I can't neglect swimming!). I picked up Mattias and The Lorax and we went to the Y's indoor playland. Good times. Seriously, it would not have been a good day for playing outside.

When we arrived home at 2:00 pm, The Lorax and Mattias both took a 3 hour nap and I worked. Ahhh. And had my second bowl of oatmeal for the day and a couple pieces of lefse.

I then cleaned for an hour, listened to Public Radio with Mattias watching me. He had an absolute explosion in his diaper and all over the high chair. Wow! It had been 5 days since the last one. The joys of giving formula. (SR is going to have a great time with that while I am in Honduras for 10 days at the end of this month.)

The Lorax had organic blueberry mini waffles with Nutella and ham circles (created by me with a bottle cap) for dinner. Sorry I just keep tossing organic out there, but I love the fact one can buy such cheap organic food in the US.

Right now we're sitting and watching Barbapapa in French, thinking of Piccola Pinecone and Marie Aline. And there is some hippi-ish sounding sitar music being played on Minnesota Public Radio.

Running song of the day Ärlighet Respekt Kärlek by Kent (great for intervals)