Monday, August 31, 2009

A Breakthrough at the Apple

AM: 30 mins. ellip.
20 mins. core
25 mins. pool
PM: Chiro

I was at the fitness center doors at 7:30am daring it to be closed, but to my shock and awe it actually appeared to have opened a few minutes early. As a result, I was able to bang out some quality time before heading to morning core and pool practice.

In the afternoon I planned on exercising again, but my appointment at the Apple proved prohibitive. The good doctor tried acupuncture on me for the first time, and apparently you're not supposed to exercise afterward, so just like that I had a legit excuse for bagging the PM effort. Today was also the first time he enlisted a machine called the Power Vibe (which, as a side note, is a phrase I wouldn't recommend googling from your work computer). Before I hopped on, he told me that the vibrations of the machine were such that if I do indeed have a fracture I would feel distinct pain, so both of us were pretty excited and relieved when I did not. This all but rules out the possibility of a stress fracture and offers me a dose of much-needed optimism for the week ahead.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Week in Review

0 miles
6 hours elliptical
2.5 hours pool
2 days at my new job

Well, friends, another week of no running. I'm still itching to get out there, but I've finally surrendered to the idea of getting completely better before attempting another jog. That said, I've noticed marked improvement this week--in everything from range of motion to weight bearing to walking stride--and I'm hoping that one more week of rest/x-training/chiro will have me on the mend for good. There's still almost 3 months remaining until XC nationals, which means I can afford to bide my time. After all, it worked for Tanya in the spring!

Gettin 'Er Done

AM: 30 mins. pool
PM: 60 mins. ellip. incl. 5x3 mins. hard, 3x1 min. sprint

As far as elliptical workouts go, I was quite pleased with my effort this afternoon. The hip flexor/quad area has improved to the point where range of motion is completely normal and even moderate weight bearing doesn't cause much of a problem. As a result I can go quite hard on the torture machine and end up feeling as though I've come away with some modicum of cardiovascular benefit. Tomorrow I'm back to the Apple and excited to get treatment again.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

An Honest Day's Work (Not Workout)

AM: 30 mins. pool
PM: 35 mins. ellip.

I put in an honest day's work at the running shop today, and by the time I got off work past 4pm I wasn't too pumped about going to work out. Nonetheless, Jordan swung by to pick me up and we headed up to school, him to run and me to ellipticize. Imagine my chagrin when I saw that the fitness center--which, keep in mind, had only opened for business at noon--would be closing for the evening at 5pm. 5pm?!?! Seriously?? By the time I changed clothes and made my way back to the cardio room it was nearing 4:45 and I was quite frustrated. I contemplated not even making the effort but I decided to hop on a machine anyway and bang it out for as long as I was allowed. In the end, 35 minutes was all I was afforded--which was actually a bit of a gift, considering the guy who was manning the fitness center stayed open a few minutes later because he was working out as well--and, to be honest, my efforts were so half-hearted anyway that I was (secretly) grateful for the excuse. Jordan and I capped off the trip to campus with a visit to the dining hall and a free meal for the evening.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Predatory Elliptical

AM: 60 mins. ellip. incl. 20 mins. hard
PM: 25 mins. pool

I did my predator "run" on the elliptical today and went really hard (as lame as that sounds). As a result, I was the excessively sweaty kid breathing waaaay too hard for the fitness center and making everyone else around me uncomfortable. Good stuff.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


AM: 50 mins. ellip.
PM: 20 mins. core
30 mins. pool

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


AM: 30 mins. pool
PM: 30 mins. ellip.
15 mins. core

On the plus side, I started my new job today.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Worst Case Scenario

AM: Laziness
PM: 50 mins. ellip.
Chiro appt.
25 mins. ellip.

I woke up this morning at the leisurely hour of 9:00 and thought, "Why?" As in, why would I go do the pool this morning? I don't really want to. It's not really going to preserve my fitness that much. I'd rather drink coffee and feel sorry for myself. So, naturally, that's what I did.

Things picked up a bit in the afternoon, and around 3pm I headed up to school for a double elliptical sesh with a chiro break sandwiched in between. To be honest, I left this appointment at Greenapple's feeling a bit discouraged, as he said at this point he can't rule out that I might have a femoral stress fracture. In my mind that would be worst case scenario, as it would mandate me taking 8-10 weeks off and basically end my xc season before it begins. (Sound familiar? Oh, yeah, that's basically what happened to me in outdoor track last semester. Sweet.) He said he's 75/25 in favor of it being muscular rather than bone but at this point the only way to rule it out definitively is to get an MRI, which he and I and everyone else knows I can't afford. In the meantime he's going to treat it as aggressively as possible assuming that it's not a fracture, but of course my mind has immediately latched onto this worst case scenario as being a certainty. If there's ever a time for positive thinking it would be now, so any well wishes sent telepathically to my right leg would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not So Fast

AM: Attempted/failed run
PM: 50 mins. elliptical
20 mins. core/strength

Thought I might be able to run today but within a few steps I could tell the pain in my upper quad/hip flexor was going to be prohibitive. So frustrating. In the afternoon I got to watch everyone else on the team do barefoot running, strides and plyometrics that I couldn't do while I sat around and did nothing. Great start to the week.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week in Review

0 miles
4 hours 25 mins. pool
4 hours 30 mins. elliptical
4 AFDs

I'd like to focus on the positive, so I won't dwell on the obvious reality that this week was a big step back for me in terms of training. Patience may be a virtue but it's not one of mine, and this whole cross-training mandate is growing tiresome. All I can do at this point is continue to listen to my body and trust that things will improve soon.

However, it's hard to feel sorry for myself when I focus on the positives: Jordan is here, we're slowly but surely settling in to our new apartment, and I got to see my bestie Brooke this week. Running is a big thing, but it isn't everything.

Raise Your Hand If You're Tired of Unpacking

AM: ~5 hours of unpacking/moving/walking to and from the Dumpster
PM: 45 mins. elliptical

Just by looking at the numbers, it doesn't seem like I got a lot done today in terms of exercise. However, I would beg to differ. In fact, I would like to propose that "moving" (alternate moniker: "unpacking") should be officially recognized as, if not a sport, then at least a relatively strenuous physical activity. Bonus points for living above the ground floor. Double bonus points if you're doing it almost entirely solo.

The morning started bright and early at 6:15 with the rude awakening of my alarm. Jordan wanted to go meet the team for their 7am long run, so after dropping him off at McAlpine I headed back home to get started on the dirty work. I spent literally the next 3 consecutive hours unpacking (with the assistance of a steady drip of coffee), took a break to pick him up, and then got right back at it. I lost count of how many trips I made downstairs to the Dumpster and back but my quads certainly did not. By mid-afternoon the place was looking somewhat respectable (if very, very crowded), so I left Jordan in charge while I departed for a mandatory team meeting and, finally, some exercise. I was too exhausted to do more than the 45 minutes outlined above, but I'm hopeful that I can attempt to run tomorrow for the first time in a week. We'll see. For now...well, I've got more unpacking to do.

P.S. If anyone wants to break into our apartment and make off with, say, about 30 pairs of Jordan's shoes, I'll let you know where I keep the spare key.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Busy Bee

60 mins. elliptical
15 mins. core

Jordan's coming today!!!

In light of this fact, I spent most of the morning/early afternoon cleaning, organizing and otherwise attempting to prepare for his arrival. The good thing is, I got a lot done and the apartment looks great. The bad thing is, I kinda don't think we have room for the Ford Escape-ful of belongings he is supposedly bringing with him. Hmm.

By early afternoon I told Jilane I absolutely must go work out, and requested that she hold me accountable for doing an entire hour (i.e. eternity) on the elliptical. Once I got on there I decided it would be easier/funner if I started with 15 mins. warmup, then did some core (hey core, remember me? I used to exercise you two or three times a week until about a month ago?), then hopped back on the torture machine for another 45. My plan worked brilliantly and actually made the entire outing manageable from both a mental and physical perspective. Oh, and the range of motion in the hip region is greatly improved as well. In all areas, things are looking up.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Water Aerobics...But Wait, There's More

AM: 45 mins. pool incl. 10x2 min. on, 1 min. off
PM: 50 mins. elliptical

Today's pool workout was pretty unremarkable. My favorite part was when the grandmother came with her two grandsons and said, "Boys, stay away from that lady. She's doing water aerobics." Which is when it hit me that I was, indeed, doing water aerobics. FML.

On the other hand, I passed the afternoon elliptical section with a smile on my face because:

A) I got a job! I found out via phone a few minutes into my workout that I will be the newest part-time employee at Run For Your Life here in Charlotte. Last semester I managed to procrastinate my job hunt until, well, never, so I'm super excited to have the chance to sell some kicks and make a few bucks this time around.
B) Chandler highlighted my hair! Well, the time of my workout was pre-hairstyling, but I was excited about heading straight to her apartment after my elliptical sesh.
C) And, oh yeah, Jordan decided to move two weeks early! I took a call from him around 1, informing me that he was escaping Oklahoma in a Ford Escape and was headed my way. Best. Surprise. Ever.

So yeah, for a day that started with fairly inauspicious beginnings, Friday turned out to be pretty awesome.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

There Is a Light

AM: 30 mins. pool
PM: 45 mins. ellip

So today's cross-training was a bit lackluster, to be honest, but I'm okay with it because I think I had a semi-breakthrough. Simmons got me in with a great sports chiropractor today, Dr. Greenapple, whose office happens to be literally around the corner from where I live. I could pretty much walk there if I wanted to. Anyway, the good news is the doc said there's nothing neurological going on that's causing my hip flexor problems. Actually, the hip pain isn't really coming from the hip at all (which is how these things always seem to work out), but rather as a result of several muscle groups in my leg and glute that aren't firing properly. After some laser therapy, some ART, a few back cracks and an application of super-badass Kinesiotape, I felt noticeably better. Even just while I was in his office I could tell my range of motion was greatly improved. Don't think it's a big accomplishment to be able to lift your knee to 90 degrees? Well then, you've definitely never experienced a problem like mine. I don't think this is going to be an instant magic bullet remedy, but the doc suggested that if I see him Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week he believes I'll be good as new. This was definitely a positive way to round out what has been an otherwise uninspired (and uninspiring) week on the sidelines.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lucky 13

AM: 50 mins. pool incl. 13x90 sec. on, 90 sec. off
PM: 40 mins. ellip.

So yeah, I'm kinda getting tired of this.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

12x400, Sort Of

AM: 50 mins. pool incl. 12x90 sec. on, 90 sec. off
PM: 30 mins. ellip

Had I been running, this morning's workout would've consisted of 12x400m with 90 seconds rest. I decided it would be super fun to replicate this effort in the pool, and figured keeping things on a 90-second interval would be easiest. As lame as this sounds, I pushed pretty hard, and at least felt like I'd gotten some semblance of an aerobic workout by the time I finished.

In the afternoon I was finally able to gain access to the fitness center, which pleased me greatly because it meant I wouldn't have to "double" in the pool. The elliptical motion doesn't seem to bother my hip, so I plan on incorporating this for the next few days until I start running again.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls

AM: 60 mins. pool incl. 10x1 min. on, 1 min. off;
10x2 min. on, 1 min. off; 2x30 sec.sprint
PM: 30 mins. pool

Yup, I'm not even attempting to run today. Smart? Probably. Enjoyable? Not at all. The only upside is I'm using the pool at the new apartment complex, meaning I can work on my tan and hopefully eliminate some of my sports bra tan lines in the process.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Week in Review

41-42 miles
3.5 days at 5,500 ft.
2.5 hours pool
2 days off
6 AFDs

As far as training weeks go, I'd rank this one as fairly dramatic. I mean, throw in a combination of driving cross-country in the middle of the night, passing out post-run and virtually maiming myself running down the mountain, and you've got quite the exciting week. At least it's entertaining for my loyal readers, I suppose.

Ah, memories. This is where we were last Sunday night.

Obviously the objective for next week is: Be. Smart. And I promise, I will try my little heart out. If it means taking the entire week off and spending it cross-training, then (sigh) I suppose I will do it. But perhaps it won't come to that; we'll just have to play it by ear. For now I know at least the first few days I'll be relegated to the pool, and I'm okay with that. It was much harder to take days off when we were in the mountains and the sole purpose of being there was to run. Back in the heat and humidity of Charlotte, to be honest, I don't mind taking a break.

Probably Not My Smartest Idea

50 mins. (6.5 miles)
2 mile walk

When I woke up this morning my hip felt noticeably better than the previous day. This made me happy, since I didn't want to miss out on yet another run at Moses Cone while everyone else did their long runs. Originally I was also supposed to go long, but at this point I would take anything as opposed to sitting it out yet again. Plus, it was an absolutely gorgeous day--sunny, slightly cool, and a touch less humid than in previous days.

The run started out at a conservative pace around Bass Lake with Jess, Jenna, Holly and Maraya (an incoming freshman), then halfway around the lake we took one of the side trails that would wind gradually up the mountain. They had plans to run all the way up to the fire tower, while I was hoping to make it up to the Manor with Jess before turning around. The trail is literally uphill the entire way until you choose to turn around, gaining altitude all the while, so the 8-minute pace we managed going up felt harder than the watch would suggest. My hip felt okay but not great going up, and every few steps I would feel a twinge of discomfort. Probably not good.

Gorgeous view of the Manor from Bass Lake

After stopping to stretch and admire the view at the Manor, Jess and I turned around to begin the descent back to the lake. Aaand that's when the level of discomfort increased from around a 2 to, oh I'd say about a 6-7. The downhill was way worse than the uphill, which I suppose I could've conjectured ahead of time, but of course stupid me refused to be patient. Oh well. Decided to walk a few loops around the lake when I returned, with the combined intention of keeping my hip loose and killing time while everyone else finished their runs. Oh, and to snap a few pictures.

Bass Lake scenery--could be a postcard.

I should probably take a few days off when I get back to Charlotte.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another Day Off

AM: 40 min. walk (2+ miles)
PM: 35 mins. pool

Uggh. Shoot me. I hate taking days off, especially up here in the mountains, but after a few hobbly steps this morning I could tell the hip was having none of it. So frustrating! Guess I'll continue to hot tub/BioFreeze/stretch/rest for the remainder of the day and see how things feel tomorrow.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Grandfather Mountain Cinders

AM: 3 mile w/u
5k predator run in 18:28 (6:13, 6:11, 6:04 for each 1.05 miles
= ~6:00, 5:58, 5:51 per mile)
1 mile c/d

Total: 7 miles
PM: 30 mins. pool

I woke up this morning feeling refreshed after 9 hours of sleep in the mountain air. I was anxious to test out my hip flexor and hopefully work out with the team. We loaded up just after 8am to drive to the Grandfather Mountain track, which is a really awesome cinder oval that measures just slightly over 400m per lap (hence my splits at each 1.05 miles above). It also sits at about 4,200 ft. altitude, which adds to both the majesty of the surroundings and the hardcore-ness (yup that's a word)
of the run.

We warmed up out and back on an undulating gravel road, and from the outset I could tell my hip was sore but much better than yesterday. The noticeable limp was gone, and as the warmup miles ticked by I began to feel more and more comfortable. There was still some nagging discomfort--I'd put it at about a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10--but I could definitely tell things we
re looser after the warmup than when I began. Still cautious about overdoing it, I decided to run the first few laps of the workout and make the call from there.

The girls team poses at the Grandfather Mountain track

Whether it was indeed a result of my warmup, or the more primal aspect of having adrenaline flowing as I toed the line, at any rate my hip instantly felt the best of the day as soon as I started the tempo. I still felt twinges throughout but overall it was manageable. The idea of a predator run is to go out conservatively and to speed up with each mile, so from the outset I decided not to get too hung up on pace and to just focus on staying relaxed. The cinder surface felt awesome, although the home curve was a bit sloppy--gravel was way too loose--so I took that turn on every lap extra wide, swinging out into what probably would've been lane 3. Although I didn't have anyone to run stride for stride with on this effort, I definitely fed off the energy of having other people on the track at the same time. Surprisingly I didn't really feel the effects of the altitude either, or at least I didn't realize it. My breathing was noticeably labored on the final mile, but overall I was surprised at how fluid and relaxed I felt throughout. Using this as a gauge of my fitness--first true workout in several months, at altitude, with a bum hip, running by myself--I'd definitely say I'm in better shape than I thought. Of course I did get lapped twice by Mike, so then again maybe not.

The hip was really stiff and sore afterward, so much so that I cut the cooldown short. I think a regimen of BioFreeze, hot tub and stretching is in order for the rest of the day.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Up To the Mountains

AM: 30 min. walk
PM: 55 min. pool (5 min. w/u, 10x1 min. on, 1 min. off, 10x2 min. on, 2 min. off)

Well, I've officially screwed up my hip flexor. Tried to go out for an AM jaunt with Jordan but only made it a few awkward steps before deciding that this was a no go. I opted to go for a walk around Myers Park instead in hopes of shaking things out. I was pretty bummed, since this would have been my last chance to run with Jordan before he heads back to OK for the rest of the month, but I definitely made the smart choice.

Just after 1pm I met the rest of the xc team at school, bid Jordan farewell, and climbed aboard the turtle top for a trip to the mountains. We will be spending the remainder of the weekend at 5,000 ft. up in Banner Elk, and getting in runs at places like Moses Cone Park in Blowing Rock (where ZAP trains) and Grandfather Mountain. Should be a good time, assuming my hip cooperates. That said, in keeping with my theme for the day of not being a huge dummy, I skipped out on the team's run at Moses Cone this afternoon and instead detoured to a nearby outdoor swimming pool. Armed with my water belt and the $3 entry fee, I set out to do some aquajogging while the rest of the team ran. Though I wouldn't necessarily call this a super fun experience, at the very least I felt like I was doing something productive on the day. Guess in that respect it can't be considered a total loss.

Tomorrow morning we're slated to do a tempo/predator run at the cinder track on Grandfather Mountain. I'm hoping things feel better by then, as I would love to get out there and push the pace for a bit. We'll see. In the meantime I plan on putting the hot tub to use at the super nice house where we're staying. Strictly for therapeutic properties, of course.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Well, That Was Embarrassing

57 mins.
7.5 miles

This morning we broke from the norm and headed out to Reedy Creek Park for our run. The park is located in far north Charlotte, near UNCC, and has sev
eral miles of dirt and gravel trails. The guys and girls teams started out together but quickly strung out, and I found myself running with Holly and Jenna (the new asst. coach) for the remainder of the run. The pace was fairly slow but the run was still challenging due to the constant undulating hills. Plus, none of us were very familiar with the trails and we were constantly approaching forks in the road with no idea of which way to turn. Half the time we picked an option that took us somewhat in the right direction and the other half of the time we ventured a few meters down a trail only to realize it wasn't the one we needed to take.

A wintertime view of the Reedy Creek Park trails

Despite the lack of structure on this run, all was well until about five miles in. At that point my right hip flexor, which had been feeling slightly fatigued throughout the run, really started to bug me. The muscle almost felt like it was strained or pulled, though I have no recollection of doing anything yesterday that might have aggravated it (although my hips did feel vaguely out of whack during the workout), and the feeling of mild discomfort intensified dramatically over the remainder of the run. I was grateful to see the parking lot come into view just after 55 minutes as I hobbled to the finish.

At that point I figured the hip flexor was going to be the extent of my problems. Since we were waiting for several members of our team to return from their runs, I sat down on a nearby ledge and tried to relax. After a few minutes I started to feel vaguely nauseous. A few minutes after that I started seeing spots--sort of like what happens when you stand up too quickly after sitting down for a long time. I remember turning to one of the girls next to me and mumbling, "I think I'm going to pass out." Aaaand that's all she wrote. Next thing I know, I woke up from what felt like a lovely nap to discover about a dozen people standing over/around/behind me trying to ascertain whether or not I was dead. It certainly wasn't one of my finer moments. Jordan, of course, was still running and was completely oblivious to the entire situation. Worst. Boyfriend. Ever.

So anyhow, after a few minutes of laying down and a few swigs of Gatorade I felt relatively normal. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why this happened, as nothing like this has ever occurred before. My guess would a combination of dehydration (3 bouts of physical activity yesterday, most of which took place in the heat), exhaustion (still not caught up on sleep from the last two weeks and the travel days) and really low blood sugar. Had I not already decided to skip the evening run due to my hip flexor, this would've definitely solidified my decision.

Need I comment on the irony of me staying healthy through the entire summer, then getting banged up literally two days after my return to Charlotte? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back At It

AM: 25 min. w/u (2.5 miles)
Target: 6x2 min. on, 2 min. off
2 mile c/d
Total: 8-8.5 miles
15 min. ice bath
PM: 3 miles
30 mins. pool

Without question, this is the first day in several months I've felt like I was actually training. Our first day of official team practice was jam-packed with action, including everything listed above plus several hours of meetings. I was thoroughly exhausted by day's end, but glad to be back at it.

The workout at McAlpine this morning was okay but not great. Actually, my hips/pelvis felt all out of whack, almost like I need to be adjusted. I'm attributing this entirely to the previous days' lengthy drive. Whatever the cause, things never felt like they completely clicked into place, and throughout the workout my range of mobility felt somewhat limited. Not sure what I can do about this right now but I'm hoping it'll work itself out naturally.

As for the actual intervals, I ran entirely with Stephanie "Pezz" Pezzullo, a former ZAP runner who now lives in Charlotte and is coached by Simmons. I thought she would leave me behind from the gun, but fortunately (for me) she too had a long drive the day before and was feeling rather sluggish. We matched each other stride for stride until the very last interval, when she finally cranked into another gear and left me a few meters behind, but overall I was pleased to be able to hang with her. Neither of us are sure what pace we were hitting during our "on" sections but we both felt like it was faster than 6:00 pace (indeed, the one 1/4 mile interval I actually charted from marker to marker was covered in just under 90 seconds). Not blazing, but passable. Overall I'm looking forward to getting in more workouts together, as I feel we complement each other nicely.

Also of note, the heat and humidity were horrendous. The heat was no worse but certainly no better than in Norman, but the humidity was definitely higher. I doubt I've sweated that much on a run in quite some time, and even several minutes after we finished I was still literally dripping. Pretty gross. I can't wait for the crisp, cool weather of autumn to arrive. Until then I suppose I'll just have to continue to tough it out.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Return to Charlotte

66 mins.
~9 miles

Well, needless to say, I was quite exhausted today after all the driving and lack of sleep. Our compliance meetings and paperwork were tedious, but mercifully we wrapped up around 2pm and I was able to nap and relax for a bit. After a trip to the grocery store, Jordan and I didn't get out the door until at least 7:30 tonight for our run. The air was still quite warm and fraught with moisture--naturally, the day we arrive marked the beginning of a heat wave in Charlotte, ushering in the warmest temps they've had all summer--and despite the absence of the sun I was sweating almost immediately. That said, we had a really nice run down the bike path, through Freedom Park, up East Blvd. and through some of the uber-wealthy neighborhoods around campus. It felt great to finally shake the legs out after several days of being sedentary. Tomorrow morning will be the first official team practice, and I can't wait to get into a routine here.

Ketchup Post

Sunday: Off
Saturday: 65 mins. (9 miles)
Friday: 8 miles
Thursday: Off
Wednesday: 8 miles AM, 4 miles PM
Wed-Sat: 10+ hours working the sidewalk sale at OK Runner

So, if I were a truly dedicated blogger I would recap each of these runs (or, as you can see, lack thereof) in detail. Unfortunately I'm typing this at 3pm on Monday, after having just endured 5 hours of NCAA compliance meetings preceded by a 20-hour drive on 3 hours of sleep. So, needless to say, I'm just not in the mood. The good news is I'm finally back in Charlotte and in the process of getting settled and will return to form shortly.

As best I can remember, most of these runs took place in OKC from our temporary home base at Spencer's casa. The two off days were simply unavoidable and, honestly, probably best for my body in the long run. Thursday morning I was awakened by a wet nose poking me in the arm--no, Jordan wasn't drooling on me, but Spencer's dog Chelsea was quite the fraidy cat (dog?) and was begging to jump into bed with us because of a storm raging outside. I obliged her and reset my alarm for a few minutes later than its previous setting, hoping the weather would pass, but the heavy rain and accompanying thunder/lightning didn't abate until well after we'd arrived at work. Even Jordan, who normally ridicules me for feeling like I'm going to melt in the rain, wasn't up for braving the monsoon. After a 12-hour workday at the sidewalk sale we were too exhausted to seriously contemplate running, and when Gus offered to buy everyone a round at Louie's we needed to hear no more.

Sunday was off because it consisted solely of driving. We left OKC just after 6am and didn't arrive at our interim destination, Birmingham, until after 6pm. At that point all we had time for was dinner with our gracious hostess Brooke and a 3-hour "nap" before waking up just before 1am and getting back in the car. We arrived in Charlotte at 8:20am on Monday, just in time for my 8:30 NCAA meeting, exhausted and wearing the same clothes we'd donned over 24 hours earlier.

On that note, it's time for either a shower or a nap. Maybe both. Perhaps a snack. Will update more later.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Doubt Jesus Would've Kicked Us Off the Track

AM: 60 mins. + 2x100m strides
8 miles
PM: 4 miles

The plan this morning was to accompany Jordan to the Bishop McGuinness track for some easy grass jogging while he worked out. Unfortunately, as you can read in his blog, it was not to be. I did manage to complete about half of my run with a few miles of it on the grass before he was unceremoniously dismissed, but I had to pound out more time on the streets than I would've liked.

We got in an easy run around Brookhaven after work tonight, sweating profusely in the 95+ degree heat. With the craziness of the epic OK Runner sidewalk sale and tax-free weekend up ahead, this very well might be our last opportunity to double this week. Glad we were able to take advantage of it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

AM: 8 miles
PM: 3 miles

So it looks like for the time being our home base will be Spencer's pad in OKC. Huge props to him and his roomies for taking us in and so graciously hosting us for the next few days. The plus side for us (in addition to, you know, not living in my car or on the Norman High track as Jordan's mom feared) is we get to explore some new places on our runs this week. He also lives literally 200 yards from the Bishop McGuinness high school track, which should come in handy as well. Today's run found us meandering through Nichols Hills, the most affluent neighborhood in town. I realize this doesn't impress most of you, but having lived in major cities with major affluent areas such as Dallas, Atlanta and Charlotte, I can vouch for the grandeur of some of these homes.

Despite the scenery, I was thoroughly convinced from my first few steps that this was going to be a death march. We got out the door even later than yesterday and the humidity wasn't nearly as forgiving today. In a word, it was sweltering. That said, we enjoyed a breeze for much of the run, and it wasn't until the last mile straight into the wind (funny how it changes from "breeze" to "wind" depending on which direction you're going) that I really started hurting.

I was desperate for a pedestrian pace this evening, which worked perfectly because Spencer was looking to get in an easy few miles. We agreed to let Jordan tag along if he didn't press the pace, and fortunately he complied. This was nice and relaxed, despite my persistent side stitch. I think I was geting poked by one of the dozens of sweet potato fries I'd enjoyed at McNellie's less than two hours prior. We capped off the evening with a visit to StuCat and some quality time with our new roomies.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Week in Review

70-71 miles
9 miles barefoot
1 night homeless

10 trips to the storage unit
00 (at least) pieces of sushi

I was pleased with the way this week turned out, as I succeeded in kicking up the mileage a bit while not compromising the quality. I got in a solid uptempo effort and plenty of barefoot running, which always makes me happy. Next week is a bit up in the air--confounding factors include our aformentioned homelessness, the busiest week of work all summer at OK Runner, and the impending trip back to Charlotte--so while I'm hoping for another solid block of training, I'm also realistic about the possibility that it just might not happen. We'll see.

Carolyn and Craig enjoying tasty food and beverage at Sushi Neko

Without a doubt, the highlight of this week was last night's sushi crawl in the city. Jordan and I joined Scotty, Spencer, Craig and Carolyn, Carolyn's oldest son Robbie, and their friend Bart for an epic night of raw cuisine at several of OKC's finest Japanese establishments. We kicked things off at Kang's, where we enjoyed edamame, a few rolls and some Japanese beer. From there it was on to our featured establishment, Sushi Neko. The place was packed, the vibe was great and the sushi was awesome. Simply great. I've been to a plethora of sushi joints in my time and can easily put this one in the top 5. If anything, the one down side here was that we ate so much we couldn't make it to our planned final destination, Tokyo. Maybe next time.

Spencer and Scotty are so high on life right now.

Though our sushi stomachs were full after Neko, apparently some people's drinking stomachs were not, and the talk quickly turned to where our next stop would be. Spencer suggested the Lobby Bar next door and off we went. While the bar was hopping, we quickly discovered that the real action was taking place in the adjacent banquet room. That's where a lucky couple was celebrating their day of wedded bliss with a few hundred of their closest friends. Alas, the reception was closed to outsiders like us, but only until Carolyn and I managed to score an invite from one of the reception's patrons as he returned to the reception from the restroom. The rest of our group managed to straggle in as our groupies, and before I knew it Carolyn and I were down front participating in the bouquet toss with the rest of the female guests.

At this point allow me to say that I've never crashed a wedding before, nor have I ever really considered it much of an option, but we had an absolute blast. We sang, we danced, we stole things (namely wedding favors, and perhaps a goldfish or two from one of the centerpieces). The highlight just might have been posing for a photo with the bride and imagining what her reaction will be a month from now when she flips through her wedding album and stares in bewilderment at the photo of her and a
half dozen total strangers. Classic.

Yup, there's a live goldfish in there.

I will close with a great story from the evening, which Jordan no doubt appreciates more than any of us. Early on in the reception, the young chap who invited Carolyn and me in graciously offered to buy us a drink. Not one to turn down such hospitality, we accepted. We exchanged pleasantries as we walked up to the bar and somehow the topic of running came up. The guy mentioned he had just run OKC as his first marathon and...wait for it...Carolyn pointed across the way to Jordan and said, "Guess what, he's the guy who won the marathon this year." Our gentleman friend stared, squinted for a minute, then widened his eyes in amazement as he said, "Oh wow. Is that...Jordan Kinley?!?!"

Aaaand that's how I learned that the guy I was flirting with to score a free drink was, in fact, more interested in my boyfriend than he was in me. Sigh.

Wedding think the jeans are a tip-off?

Lake Hefner Long Run

88 mins.
12 miles

After last night's revelry and merriment, all the denizens of Chez Spencer were understandably slow movers this morning. I personally didn't stir until well after 9, and our group didn't mobilize for some physical activity until nearly 10. Even at that, things got off to a rocky start
, as our two cyclists (Spencer and Scotty) were confounded by a flat tire and a bloody nose less than a mile out of the gate. Once we finally got everyone fixed up, Jordan and I headed out to the lake in Scotty's car with the peloton in hot pursuit.

Minutes later, Jordan and I were parked at Stars and Stripes Park and ready to embark on a little jog. A loop around the lake the way we navigated it came in at just under 10 miles, and since I was looking for 12 and he 16 we decided a loop together would be a good star
t. The late start time meant temps were already soaring into the upper 80s, but fortunately the humidity was down and a strong breeze throughout kept things bearable.

After a slow start we began clicking off the miles and I felt pretty good. That changed when we hit a long section across a bridge, probably 2-3 miles in total, that turned us directly into the wind. We hit 7 miles right at 50 minutes, and at that point I could tell Jordan was just as eager to speed up as I was to back off so I told him to go on ahead. From there on out I was content to wog it in at a much more pedestrian pace. The last few miles weren't pretty as the heat finally started to get to me, but luckily the run
was brief enough to prevent me from falling too far into the hurt tank.

Top chefs

The best part about the run was undoubtedly the brunch that the boys whipped up for us afterwards, followed by some serious R&R in the afternoon. Nothing better than enjoying the simple pleasures of a lazy Sunday with friends.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Moving Day

AM: 43 mins.
6 miles
PM: 4 miles

The fact that we had a chance to run at all today, much less double, is nothing short of a miracle. We received a call yesterday around 5pm confirming that we needed to be out of Jordan's apartment that night--we thought we'd have until Monday morning--and at that point we had literally NOTHING packed. Naturally, this threw me straight into panic mode, especially since we were both tied up at work until 7. Needless to say, we spent the next 12 hours packing, throwing crap away, taking trips to the storage unit and stuffing my car to the brim. Somehow we managed to snag 4-5 hours of sleep in there, but we were up and at it before 6 on Saturday and the apartment was completely vacated by 8:30.

So, from there we had nowhere to go. We were officially homeless. Our improvised plan of action was to drive over to Scotty's sister's house and hope for the best. She lives right across the way from OK Runner and we were hoping to take a quick shower there before work. This afforded us just enough time to get in a run and, despite both of our overwhelming fatigue, I think we both felt worlds better afterward.

I was only on at the running store until early afternoon, so just before 4 I had the chance to sneak in another few miles. Seeking out soft surfaces, I drove over to Norman High and was content to run loops around the grassy perimeter of the school. I ran s-l-o-w, didn't even start my watch, and I doubt a single one of my miles was faster than 8 minutes. No worries though, as I was loving the relaxed pace and the soft surface. I didn't even notice the heat despite it being 90+ degrees outside, and would've enjoyed running a few more loops if I didn't have to get back to Scotty's sister's house to shower before our sushi crawl in the city.

And on the matter of the sushi crawl, let's just say that was an experience that deserves a completely separate post. Stay tuned...