« November 2005 | Main | January 2006 »

December 30, 2005

clown shorts

I made good on my resolve to spare the hamstring for exactly one day - on Wednesday I slept in, did not run in the morning, went to the gym after work for an hour split between the elliptical and the stairmaster. This all felt ok, and I was surprised that the elliptical is now easier for me than the stairmaster.

Yesterday morning I decided to try 8 very easy miles. The hamstring was tight and sore from the first step, and by 4 miles the soreness had spread to more of the leg, so I decided to make it an easy 6 instead. The soreness wasn't terrible, but I couldn't see those 2 extra miles helping me any more than the leg was hurting me. The leg was even sore to walk on for a little while, but it settled down and I tried not to mope the rest of the day, even did a pretty good job of it.

Last night my luck started to change. I was finally able to fix my laptop keyboard (for some reason c, d, e, 3, and f2 stopped working, which is really bad if you type the word select all the time like I do); this involved taking the laptop partway apart and then putting it back together. I received some stuff I'd bought really really cheap from sierratradingpost.com including some of the reddest red-red running shorts you've ever seen, red with tiny swatches of red-white-and-black flowers on the sides, and one size too big, as it turns out. I spent some time mashing my hamstring and got it to loosen up, and decided to try 8 easy again this morning in the clown shorts so I'd have something to laugh about if the running didn't go so well.

It didn't go so bad, much better than yesterday. I resisted every urge to push or go up or down a hill, and it was pretty much an 8-mile run like any other. I can still feel where the hamstring is tight, and my hip/glute is pretty tight on that side, but I know how to treat that, and I will.

I'd registered for a 5-mile race tomorrow but I'm not going to push my luck. Instead I'm going to run long with the long-lost friend I mentioned a couple of posts back. I hope he won't mind going kinda slow.

Posted by joe positive at 9:30 AM | Comments (1)

December 27, 2005

aarrgh, hamstring

My left hamstring has been mostly quiet since last week when I saw the massage therapist. But I had a nice hard run Thursday and then there was that rainy windy slog in the hills Sunday...this morning I had no track scheduled so I decided to do road repeats - 2x3min, 2x2min, 3x1min, 1x2min, 1x1min - and during that last 2min the hamstring started to hurt. Idiot that I am, I did one more 1-minute-hard (just to make sure it still hurt, I guess), then cooled down, went to phone, and booked the last open appointment my massage therapist had this week.

At the appointment this afternoon she (very painfully) got just about all of the spasm out, but she told me that after last week's appointment she should have told me not to run for a few days. To make up for the omission, she told me this afternoon not to run for 4 or 5 days, to give the hamstring time to knit back together before I started tearing at it again. As much of a mileage junkie as I am, I'm inclined to follow her advice, at least partially - maybe run very easy for a few days and supplement with the elliptical. It's tempting to say screw it, what does she know and keep on with the 80something mpw, but I've been here before: 12 or 13 weeks from a goal race, feeling the beginnings of an injury, and ignoring it, only to admit defeat days before the goal race. We'll see.

Apart from the kind of shitty news from the massage therapist, it's been kind of a shitty day. I wasted all morning on a bizarro production problem we could not have predicted in a zillion years (the solution was something we wouldn't have thought of in 2 zillion years); I failed my certified-DBA practice exam again; a friend's dog died.

Posted by joe positive at 7:49 PM | Comments (0)

December 25, 2005


This morning I went to the hills with my friend Albert to run in a squall line. My husband, who hates running in the rain more than anything, had planned to go but started waffling when the forecast called for rain, 15 - 20mph wind, and falling temperatures. I assured him it wouldn't rain a drop and kept on assuring him until 5:25 this morning, when Albert picked us up in a steady drizzle to drive to St Leo. The sky opened up on the way there, but the rain magically abated during the first 10-mile loop. Mike's still building a mileage base these days, so he wisely holed up in the car after 10 miles and let me and Al go out and tempt the weather gods again. This time the gods took us up on the offer and gave us wind and rain and rain and rain and wind so strong the rain hurt when it hit our skin. I did manage my planned 21 and Al did his 22, but our pace suffered a good deal during the later miles.

When we got back to the car there was hot cocoa (courtesy of Mike, thanks! you rock) and then we stopped for breakfast at an oddly-crowded truck stop. I don't really have any family so xmas has always been a weird sort of day where I feel I'm supposed to do family things because everyone does (but I don't). I can't think of a way I'd rather spend xmas morning than what I did today.

Posted by joe positive at 6:02 PM | Comments (2)

December 24, 2005


(no, not servers named after horses, and not the album either)

Last night the dogs were hanging out in the yard and started barking their heads off at something. My husband looked out the window and said, "hey, there's some horses coming down the street." Sure enough there was a hayride-type wagon pulled by two clydesdales headed up the street. We live in a very old suburb of Tampa, and while we're a good 3 miles from the 7 tall buildings that make up dowtown, we're not in the country either. I've never seen a horse around here or even any place a horse could live. This morning during my very nondescript run I could see the white marks their hoofs left on the asphalt.

Posted by joe positive at 5:34 PM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2005

free at last from an action-packed week

I have disconnected from the VPN, shut down outlook and SQL enterprise manager and the not-so-nifty SQL 2005 client tools, and now I'm free not to be an IT worker bee for the next 3 days, unless the pager goes off. I'd kinda hoped for a quiet week, but developers kept wanting to throw their undebugged, half-written code into production, so I've been very busy helping them with their throwing.

Because this week saw an increase in mileage, I've done little else but work, run, and sleep. I blew off a lot of email, which I hope to catch up on starting now. I did manage to go out to eat at a real restaurant with my husband. I'm not sure we've done that since our trip to Baltimore in October, but anyways it was a treat as always.

About the running: this week I've done almost everything on the schedule; I slacked a mile on two separate runs so I could tack them on to my hill run this coming Sunday. So far it's gone like this:

M: 8.15mi in the morning; 3.85 at night, all easy
T: I love track! 12xsort-of-300, sort-of-200 rest (I can't find 300m on a 400m track when it's dark outside), avg just under 1:05, 9mi total, I love track!
- sore hamstrings getting more sore -
- massage Tuesday afternoon
W: 8mi in the morning, 3 at night, very easy and babying the hamstrings
R: 14mi mostly low 8s, last 2.5mi @ 6:48, felt really good
F: 9mi in the morning, 5 in the afternoon, all easy, hamstrings still happy

Tomorrow I have 8 with 8x strides, and xmas morning Albert and I (and maybe my husband and maybe our friend Mary Ann) will go run 21 or so in the hills. If all goes well I'll have 89 miles this week. If all goes well I'll have over 3500 miles for the year.

Posted by joe positive at 5:18 PM | Comments (1)

December 18, 2005

hard meant hard

I love running the day after a hard workout because I get to putter around just taking it easy, daydreaming about anything, rubbernecking around the neighborhood. The trend in outdoor xmas decorations this year is inflatable 5-foot-tall stuff - santa, reindeer, elf, snowman - that looks like hell but is fun to watch deflating. Someone's got a new bulldog puppy who's at the stage where he's so plump and floppy-looking you'd swear you'd leave a dent if you poked him lightly with an index finger. The lady walking her pekingese up the street is followed, as always, by her cat and the cat's kitten. The old Spanish man rides by on his three-wheeler and waves, and I wonder what's happened to the doberman who used to run by his side, but I don't speak enough Spanish to ask. All this reverie is meant to soften up the fact that I ran 9 miles this morning at 9:25 pace - yes, you heard it right - which is all my legs wanted to do. I've read someone's opinion (can't remember whose) that hard workouts should be run hard enough that you have no choice but to run the easy ones at an easy pace. I guess that's what's happening here.

Posted by joe positive at 2:16 PM | Comments (1)

December 17, 2005


Where I work there's a long-standing convention of naming servers after animals, which gets me involved in email conversations with subjects like "blocking on the hedgehog" or, simply, "vultures." As I started my semi-long run this morning I saw a couple of packs of vultures circling over things that must have been very interesting to them. A few weeks ago I saw a bunch of them in the street ripping up a cat they'd either found dead or killed themselves, and from that point on I decided to stay as far away from them as possible.

The rest of the run wasn't nearly as morbid, and while I did my share of daydreaming I was also able to concentrate on what I was trying to do. The basic goal was 18 with the last 7 in 51min. To make it a bit more edutational (edutaining?) I amended it to 2.55 @ whatever, 3@8:15, 3@8:05, 3@7:55, then 7.05@7:17. This may sound overly anal, but it fits in with logical loops in my neighborhood and actually helps me not to think too much. It was mid-50s and overcast, and just after the 2.5-mile warmup it started to rain. 55F is not a good temperature for rain because there's just nothing you can wear that won't get wet and stick to you all coldly and wetly, so the only choice is shorts-and-a-jogbra, brr. My legs are pretty amply insulated (heh) and just felt a slight chill, but my skinny little arms were freezing. Now I know why those eastern European girls wear those arm-warmer things. Anyway, I spent most of the next 6 miles trying to slow down into the 8s (I was muttering "cool it" every so often until I realized people could hear me), and most of the 3 miles after that speeding back up into the 7:20s, so the last 7 miles wouldn't feel like such a shock. I ended up getting the last 7.05 at 7:07 pace - faster than I'd planned, but hopefully not so fast that it defeated the whole purpose. Came home, drank a cup of hot cocoa, then climbed into the tub to soak my pissed-off hamstrings. I will do nothing but easy running for the next two days. Ahhh.

Posted by joe positive at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2005

blah running

Not blah in a bad way, just nothing special. This morning I ran just over 8 miles starting slow, getting faster, then slowing down a little at the end. Then after work I ran just under 5 on the treadmill at the gym, mostly at recovery pace. I'm tired and my hamstrings (both) are a little sore, as are my hips. Tomorrow's MP run should be ok, though since I'm not working this weekend I could conceivably put it off until Sunday if I had to. We'll see.

Posted by joe positive at 8:44 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2005

I love track, yes I do

I love track in the afternoon, when the good rubber-surface track is closed to the public and instead I go to the middle school with the asphalt track, when the PE teacher is driving a golf cart all over the track because it's boring watching a bunch of multi-sized middleshcoolers play touch football in the infield, when entitled matrons pace round the track screaming into cellphones. I love track all the time, but especially in the afternoon.

Actually it wasn't that bad. There was a fairly stiff headwind on the backstretch, but of course that meant a tailwind for the start and home stretch. The workout was 10 miles including 4x100m strides in the warmup, then 1600/1200/800/400 with 400 rest, then cooldown. Goals were 6:20, 4:12 (this had to have been a typo so I decided it really meant 4:42), 3:05, 1:30. I actually ran 6:13, 4:38, 3:09 (oops), 1:28. For the rests I walked 100m, then jogged 300m. The 1600 felt easier that I thought it would. The other items felt as hard as I thought they would, but I was so happy to have gotten the 1600 over with that it didn't matter as much. My stomach was very unhappy with this business of afternoon running, but I managed to hold on until the cooldown.

Something very weird and happy, and running-related: I heard from an old friend whose band my band used to play with (if you can follow that) and who was a cynical punk-person who also liked pop music, like me. He called today because he ran the half-marathon Sunday, and he saw my name and my husband's name in the results, and he wanted to know if it really was the girl who used to smoke 1000 packs of cigarettes a day and let him bum smokes (actually I'd sort of force him to smoke, as in "you know you want one, c'mon..."). It turns out he's been running for years, and he coaches a cross-country team, and we spent over an hour talking about running, for god's sake. He knows a lot of the people from my running club. It's like we inhabited separate, parallel universes for the past 4 years. What a cool thing.

Posted by joe positive at 8:49 PM | Comments (1)

December 11, 2005


This week has been good for running, bad for blogging, up-and-down for career choices and whatnot. Basically, I've been busy either running, sleeping, or working, leaving no time for band practice, holiday parties, or blogging. But it's OK.

This week I ran mostly easy (way easy, as in 9s) most of the time except for track on Tuesday and a couple hard miles Thursday. Tuesday's workout was 10x400 with 100 rest, with a goal of 90s and an actual average of 88s, whoohoo. My coach says that the short rests help give a tempo-like spin to the workout, and I suppose if I hadn't walked 20 - 50m of most of the rests that would've been the case for me Tuesday. Thursday was an easy 7, then 2 miles in 6:41, 6:39.

This morning I ran a half-marathon that happens to be the race in which I PR'd two years ago. Since then I've run 4 halfs ranging from mediocre to crappy, so I really wanted to do well today, even more than I let on. Before the start I ran into a woman I know, a really strong masters runner who, it turned out, wanted to break 90 minutes too (I think she's way capable of better than that, but...). My husband was going to pace me as long as he could - mainly to keep me from going out too fast - and so he and Kris and I ended up all running 6:50somethings together until mile 8, when Mike dropped back. I stayed with Kris a couple more miles but by 10 was really starting to fade, but she encouraged me to stay with her, which I thought was a really nice thing. We ran together until about a quarter-mile from the finish, when she pulled a few seconds ahead of me and I didn't follow. I thought we had sub-90 in the bag, and even though she and I are both masters I felt I owed her for pulling me through the bad patch. Turns out neither of us got the sub-90; Kris got 1:30:15 and 1st masters. and I got 1:30:25 and 2nd masters. Considering my PR was 1:38:33 until today, that's OK by me.

Posted by joe positive at 3:50 PM | Comments (2)

December 4, 2005

fun computering

lest anyone think I'm completely one-dimensional: this weekend I downloaded FireFox 1.5, which would be a huge yawner except for the fact that I'd completely forgotten how to install stuff on this linux box (it's not like windows where you double-click setup.exe and some installshield wizard walks you through it). After only one false start I got this done, and it reminded me of how neat and alien linux is, and how I really wanted to learn how to fool with it as well I can fool with windows, and how I've done almost nothing since installing SuSE 9.2 back in January. I have the SuSE 10 CDs sitting here, and if I end up unemployed in the near future I vow to spend some time on this box trying to upgrade it and learn what the hell I'm doing.

Posted by joe positive at 5:46 PM | Comments (1)

happy ending

happy ending to a miserable week.

Not really miserable, just hectic and sometimes frustrating. Come to think of it, most weeks are probably like that for most people, so complaining is definitely bad form.

Anyway, runningwise it's been pretty good, actually. Tuesday a cold front came through during my track workout, which made that workout a little harder but the rest of the week sublime. Today was the best yet - a long run in the hills with my fast friend Albert. Though I was scheduled for 14 miles, coach said it was ok to do 18. Through some miscalculation I ended up with a bit more than that, also at a pace a good bit faster than intended. I place the blame squarely on the weather. Al and I were both amazed at how easy it felt to click off 7:3x mile after mile, and when we blundered into sub-7 territory after 8 miles or so, we had to tell ourselves to cool it. It wasn't dog-easy, but it felt good. The best part is that it still feels good now (no stiffness or excessive fatigue). I'll sleep well tonight.

Posted by joe positive at 5:24 PM | Comments (0)