Sunday, October 30, 2011

Geek Girl Fights the Killer Cold

I’m not one prone to getting sick. I’m not a germaphobe I just tend to stay pretty healthy. If I’ve been around someone sick, I usually take some extra vitamins, but overall don’t worry about it. The last three days in the UK, I started to come down with something. I tried to take cold medicine before it really caught me in its grips, but it was too late. By the time Risa and I got to the airport to fly home, I sounded like I had the plague. I probably had half the plane groaning about the sick girl in seat 39D. I had hoped to hit the ground running when I got home, but the sound of my wheezing and coughing, soon made me realize that it wasn’t going to be possible.

Deciding to do the best thing for my body, I rested that weekend, sure that I could kick this bug’s butt and be back on the road and in the office on Monday. I lasted five hours at my desk before I got sent home. Tuesday I only lasted one. Finally, realizing this was out of my control, I went in to see the dreaded doctor. We went through the usual formalities before I asked the doc the important question “Can I start running again”, the response I got was a burst of laughter. It probably hadn’t helped that my voice sounded like a frog and every few minutes I’d sound like I was coughing up a lung. For the first time in my life the doctor prescribed no exercise.

I did my best to follow his advice, but I went back to work that Thursday and since I’d survived the whole day there, I decided to go for a three miler when I got home. It was a pretty pathetic effort, but I finished. Saturday I went out for five miles and made it four and a quarter. I’m terrified of the ground I’ve lost, but at the same time conscious of the fact I’m still battling the cold. This is one of the hardest things I’ve faced since becoming a runner. Mentally, I’m ready to get back out there, but physically, I just can’t yet. Sometimes it’s hard to be patient.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Running UK Style

I’m back! What a trip! I had very little time, so no blogging for me. I managed to fit in two really great runs. The first run was three days into the trip. I had been itching to run the whole day. The bus ride felt like it would never end. We arrived in Plymouth with a couple of hours of free time before dinner and drinks with our fellow travelers. The instant the bus stopped, I jumped out, grabbed my luggage and made a beeline for our room. I threw on my jogging clothes and headed out the door. We were staying right on the water front. It couldn’t have been a better location. I started at an easy pace, running along the cobblestone walkway along the harbor.

People greeted me with friendly smiles and waves. A couple of young men waved from their perch on a boat moored nearby. I felt exhilarated and a little nervous to be running in England. What if there were unspoken rules that I didn’t know? What if people didn’t run along the harbor like I was? After about half a mile, I just let all the worries go. I was in England, Plymouth of all places and I was going to have a great run.

Once I reached a dead end at one end of the harbor, I turned around and headed back. I continued past my hotel heading down to the other end of the water front. I ran past pubs with loud drunken singing and souvenir shops. I reached the Mayflower steps, where the pilgrims started their journey to the new world, my home. I felt like I was running through a movie, a place from the past.

Mayflower Steps

Finally, I reached the Royal Citadel, an old fort dating back to the 1660s and instead of turning back, I braved the steep incline and attacked it with vengeances. I was feeling good. It went up and up and up till I reached an expanse of green grass and some steps. I jogged up the steps, sucking air like crazy. I reached the top, finding the base of the ferris wheel that I had seen from a distance when we drove in and to my surprise, found several beautiful memorials to British naval history. At that time, I stopped my watch and took a breather, reading each plaque and enjoying the awesome view. The ferris wheel rotated slowly behind me as I took in the beauty of the moment.

When my breath was finally back under control I ran back down the hill, running into several other members of our tour group and encouraging them to venture up the path that I had just come down. It was a wonderful run.

The second run I did was half way through the trip. We drove into Aviemore Scotland after a long day on the bus. I’d been feeling the running itch for a couple days at that point, but hadn’t had the opportunity to bust out the running shoes. That night, LingGeek and I had decided to skip the sheep dog show and go ahead and make our way to the hotel. We explored Aviemore’s high street, which didn’t contain much before breaking off to head our separate ways. I’d already heard from our tour guide that there were some great running trails in the area, so I set out to find them.

I didn’t have much luck. I jogged around, trying to find the infamous trails and was just about to throw my hands up in defeat and do some street running when I jogged by a local fisherman. He waved me over, so I slowed down to chat. He told me right off that I looked lost, and I confirmed it. He had a wonderful Scottish accent and he must have noticed my own odd twang because he promptly asked me where I was from. When I told him California, he got excited, stating he knew where that was, “It’s in America” he stated proudly, I smiled in response.

When I travel, I love talking to locals, but I’m usually too shy to initiate it. The fisherman was easy to talk to and we discussed local running and the upcoming half marathon Aviemore was hosting in just two days. He pointed me in the right direction to the running path and I set off bidding him good bye and hoping he would still be there with his fishing pole when I jogged back by later.

The jogging paths where all they had promised to be and more. The path wound around a small loch, surrounded by trees. Smaller trails shot off, heading up the mountain and here and there were benches tucked in among the greenery. The area was quiet and peaceful. I jogged along the lower path, finding my rhythm and working out all the kinks and stiffness I’d developed from sitting on the bus for so many hours. I then ventured up the mountain paths, having to walk when it got too steep and exploring the new trails that split off. I discovered a second loch and took a breather, my breath puffing from my lungs as I looked over the still water. Scotland is a truly beautiful country.

I started running again, coming across a hiker and later a young man sitting along the trail, his back leaning against a tree, a beer in his hand and the expanse of the town far below. I slowed down to enjoy the view, but moved on, trying not to interrupt his moment of solitude. It started to sprinkle, the small drops feeling refreshing. I headed back down to the low path, wound my way around the loch a few more times. Somewhere along the way it dawned on me, I was in Scotland, Scotland! And I was running around a loch. Just how often in my life would I experience anything like this?!? Motivated by the thought, I did a few more laps before heading in.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

UK Bound

Naturally, I can’t sleep this morning. I fly out for the UK this afternoon. I’m starting to get more and more excited.

I got in a good run last night. Daddio and I made it 10 miles at about a 10 min per mile pace. It felt good! We talked about scifi shows and time paradoxes. Yeah, we’re geeks. I’m just happy I’m taking a break on a high note. I’ve had a few rotten runs lately due to fatigue and I had really hoped to get a good run in before I took a two week break. It is always a bummer to end on a crummy run. The rest will do my body good and help my sore feet heal up before I hit my race season.
I'll try to post if I can, but I don't think I'll have time. This trip is going to be amazing! 

I’m so ready for vacation!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

On Call Mom

I have a couple things to report, some good, some bad. I hit another big benchmark today. If you are one of my lovely friends that has been following this blog, you may have already noticed this from the little mileage counter up in the corner. *Drum roll* I hit 100 miles in 30 days today! One stinkin’ hundred! It wasn’t that long ago that I was trying to reach 40 miles in 30 days and 100 snuck up on me. It was an exhilarating moment for me as I saw the last mile get completed on my Garmin Forerunner. I felt like fireworks should be going off or something. Maybe they were somewhere in the world at that very moment.

I’ve been really busting out the miles lately because of an exciting event coming up. I’m going to the UK for two weeks with LingGeek my bff. We have been talking about seeing England and Scotland for years and now we’re finally doing it! We leave on the 6th and won’t get back till the 20th. I’m really looking forward to the trip, but I’ve also been dreading what it will do to my training. I’ve read in more than one place that you loose roughly 20% of your fitness if you take two weeks off. Twenty percent! That’s a killer. It’s going to be a busy trip, but I’m going to sneak my Garmin Forerunner along for the ride and see if I can squeeze in some miles. Hopefully I won’t end up getting myself lost!

So I’ve finally gotten to the point in the post where I’m going to explain the title I have chosen for this post. No, I’m not the mom on call in this instance. I’m very single and, at this stage in my life, childless. The mom on call is my wonderful awesome mother. So a little about me that will help you understand the situation. I am currently working as a code monkey and renting a room from my parents in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. Yes you heard right, I’m a 27 year old renting from her parents. Have you seen the rent prices in Santa Barbara?!? Anyway, to the story. My Dad and I often run together, he inspires me and also is my coach. Just about everything I’ve learned about running, I learned from him. So it’s not unusual, that almost every Saturday we go out for a run together. Today we planned on going about 14 miles. We got a late start because I put in a few hours at the office this morning, trying to get all my projects in order before I take off for my pre-mentioned trip and Daddio takes FOREVER to get going on Saturday mornings. He’s slower than a girl getting ready for her first date.  ;)

From my first step, my legs felt tired (did I mention I ran 100 miles in 30 days). I had a dreadful feeling I wasn’t going to make it 14 miles. Around mile seven my legs felt like I was dragging a ton of bricks and I was starting to really take notice of the heat. Daddio was sounding good and strong, but he usually doesn’t let on till days later if he was struggling. Around mile 8, I asked him if he had his phone with him (he did). I hate quitting, but when you are miles away from home, it’s somewhat of a comfort knowing a ride is just a call away. I tried to push on and stay focused, but I knew I was hitting the dreaded wall. When we hit 10 miles, we were finally in the shade (I have to admit I was hogging the shade the whole run) and Daddio pointed out that if we were going to call for a ride this would be the place to do it. I tried to put it off, but my tank was empty, I had nothing left and we were still a good three miles out. So, finally admitting defeat, the call was made. Mom came swooping in for the rescue, picking both of us up and getting us home.

Overall, it was a good solid run, but my body was tired and God had turned up the heat. The last few Saturdays, I’ve been blessed with tempts around the low 60’s so the heat today took more out of me than I had expected. It’s also a good idea to carry a phone on longer runs. You never know when you’ll twist an ankle or hit the wall. This is the first time I’ve had to call for a ride, but I was sure glad to see that car pull up with my smiling mother.