February 24, 2011

A Week Full of Firsts

First order of business in this blog about my week of "firsts" is a HUGE congratulations to almost half of our Galloway group members who ran the "Camarillo YMCA Love Your Community 5K" last Saturday (yes I'm behind on blogs this week!). Even though we have an 11-miler already behind us, this was the first race many had ever run and the first race we have run together as a group! It was also the first time the Camarillo YMCA has hosted this event. It was a wonderfully fun and exciting event. We will be back to participate again next year!

The trail portion of the half marathon our group is training for is on the Chesebro trail in Agoura Hills, CA. After 2 days of heavy rain last Friday and Saturday, most of the trail has been severely damaged. Two of our pace group leaders ran it on Saturday after the first day of rain and had a very difficult time navigating the rough terrain and deep mud; struggling to maintain balance and avoiding nasty falls. After a report back from them Saturday (prior to the Saturday afternoon/evening down pour), I decided not to run it myself on Sunday (I had a planned 17-miler that would have me running 8 miles through this trail) purely from a safety perspective. I'll get to this later, but I opted to play it safe by running my LSD entirely on the treadmill. Yes I know I'm crazy......

Chesebro Half Marathon Course
Hubby decided to check out the conditions on Monday morning to asses the additional damage done by Saturday's rain. This was his first solo trail run! Let's just say it took him over 3 hours to finish the course. Parts of the trail are almost completely washed out and/or the mud is 2-3 inches thick. Small holes in the grassy terrain and deep crevices formed by small streams running across whatever part of the trail was still in tact caused unstable footing and made running almost impossible. We had hoped to take our Galloway group out this weekend to run the trail for exposure to it prior to race day, but with these reports back on the trail conditions and more rain on the way, we'll be sticking to the streets and throwing in a few hills to continue building endurance and strength this weekend. The city and race organizers will change the course prior to race day if the trail is deemed unsafe by park and city officials. With all the hard work and trail running we have already been doing, I'm confident we can handle any course thrown our way!!

Let's back up one day and talk about Sunday's 17-mile LSD. This is the first time I have run more than 15 miles on the treadmill. The reasons for choosing to run this 15-miler on the TM was purely for my own safety and piece of mind. I had the stomach flu or food poisoning several days prior to a planned 23-miler and I was fearful I wasn't hydrated or fueled properly for such a long distance. I tried to go for 20 on the TM that day, but my body would only be able to hold on for 15.

On the heels of a full week at work and 2 days of heavy rain (which thankfully broke for a while Saturday morning so we were able to race in the sunshine!), I was more inclined to stay in bed watching TV. With this 17 miler on my schedule and an aggressive time goal for Grandma's marathon, there were no excuses for (a) skipping it all together; or (b) cutting it short and hope the 20-miler I'm running on March 6th doesn't kill me.  Trying to make the best of the tug-of-war going on in head ('you should be running outside - the sun is coming out!' vs. 'wouldn't you just like to stay home and be lazy'), the compromise was deciding to run it out on the treadmill, fueled by a little motivation from Clark Kent (aka Superman) via Smallville Season 2. After almost 10 seasons together, we have a close relationship you know... so what if he's made of cardboard? ;-)

Comic Con International 2010
I continue to struggle with treadmill guilt. This day was no exception. While my friends in the mid-west and on the east coast stick it out in subfreezing temperatures, here I am in beautiful Southern California, the sun is shining and I'm voluntarily choosing to stay indoors, running in essentially the same spot for over 3 hours. "Real runners would take advantage of this gorgeous day". I just wasn't feeling motivated to get all my gear out, pack my fuel belt full of Sports Beans, Water and Accelerade, get in the car, drive out to flatter ground and add another hour to an already time-consuming run.

It wasn't until I posted my TM work on Daily Mile (Sign up and start logging your workouts with us today!) that my guilt over copping out on finding an outdoor alternative course slowly began to subside. I got a few comments about being 'hardcore'. That confused my guilty brain for a bit. Hardcore? More like "wimpy-core" I thought. Wouldn't 'hardcore' mean that I tackled that trail despite the conditions? I'm so thankful for the support system I have find in the DM Community. It's because of days like this, when I'm not feeling good about a run (for whatever reasons), I understand the importance of surrounding myself with fellow runners to bring me back to reality and bring the accomplishment to light. I mean, really, I'm feeling wimpy and lazy for running 17 miles on the treadmill??  My definition of lazy seems to be a little outrageous. We are our own worst critics at times I suppose.

In the end, my final time spent running the 'mill was 3 hours and 16 minutes. Just enough time to watch the first 4.5 episodes of the season. I loved re-living those old episodes. It was about the time we started watching Smallville that I made a lot of big, positive lifestyle changes, including starting to run again. So while the show itself is filled with Superman-like messages about being a good example and taking selfless actions for the good of others, I also associate it with the New Vera (who is now 4 years old - LOL!).

To help pass the time and keep things fun, aside from staying invested in the events of each episode, I mentally kept track of all the things Clark accomplished and discovered about himself while I ran my piddly 17 miles:
Image credit:  www.scificool.com

  1. Jumped into a tornado to save Lana's life and rushed her to a hospital without her knowledge
  2. Saved his dad from being buried alive under a house following the passing of aforementioned tornado
  3. Saved Lex Luthor (who Clark is actually friends with initially) from being shot by Jonathan Kent after Lex's new bride compelled him to kill Lex so she could inherit Lex's fortune. 
  4. Discovered Red Kryptonite turns him into a bad boy/rebel. (Kryptonite is known in these early seasons as 'meteor rock' because Clark is too young to know about Krypton, Jor-El, the Fortress of Solitude, or the extent of the powers he is discovering throughout his younger years. He only knows he's some kind of alien that his adoptive parents found near his spaceship in a Smallville, KS cornfield in the middle of a meteor shower that destroyed the town and that the green meteor rock makes him incredibly sick. Oh the drama of it all!)
  5. Discovered his ability to start fires (heat vision power) and set multiple objects/buildings on fire before learning to control it with the help of his dad
  6. For the very first time, Clark was forced to tell his BFF Pete about his "secret" (i.e. the superpowers he knows he has at this point in the story) after Pete found Clark's spaceship in a cornfield which disappeared from the Kent's storm cellar at the end of Season 1. That's a story for another day....
And all this human did was run 17 miles....  well done human, well done.

I forgot one final first!  My highest weekly mileage EVER last week - 37.2 miles! :-)


Greg Strosaker said...

Yes, you were hardcore to put in 17 miles on the TM - I have trouble doing a tenth of that. And congrats on the weekly mileage PR.

Ilona Meagher said...

Fun post + I ♥ your ComicCon pic, too! Kudos to you on your phenom TM run + everyone that participated in the 5K last Saturday. ^5!

Kelly said...

Awesome job on your 17 mile TM run! Man, and I felt pretty proud of myself for doing 11 today ;) I couldn't imagine doing another 6! Kudos to you!

Nicole D. said...

Hi Vera,

Keep up the good work! I know about a great health/fitness event taking place at a couple Whole Foods locations next month. If you are interested in finding out more, email me at nicole {at} m80im {dot) com.