Tuesday, August 26, 2008

gangsta' factor

I've been back at work since the end of July, but my students' first week of school was last week. I have to say that I'm glad to be back. However stressful and sometimes dangerous my job can be, I really love what I do. I love my students, and I've missed the goofy things they say.

Case in point....

Conversation between Jeremy (a 6'4" giant who is an amazingly talented basketball player) and I as I escorted a group of students to their P.E. class:

Me: Jeremy, what's going on? You are so quiet!

Jeremy: I hate running. I'm not going to do it.

Me: Aw, come on, it's not that bad! Don't you have to run up and down the basketball court? You need to practice running to get better at basketball.

Jeremy: Well, ya...but it's not the same thing. I'm already the best at basketball. Besides, I'm quitting basketball.

Me: Well, okay...don't you still play street ball? You still have to run to play.

Jeremy: G*, it's not the same.

Me: Well, would it help if I gave you a basketball to bounce as you ran around the track?

Jeremy: [eye roll]

* My students often call me "G." Sometimes it stands for "gangsta" and sometimes it stands for the first letter of my last name. In this case I think he was referring to my last name because my "gangsta" factor is in direct relation to the coolness rating of the advice I'm dispensing.

Monday, August 18, 2008

hello, OCD

After I finished a swim last week at the Y, the lifeguard stopped me. He asked if I was signed up for their distance challenge. No two words are more dangerous in the English language to Betsy than "distance challenge." He explained that it was a running tally of Y swimmers' laps. All we have to do is tell the guard our total for that day at the end of our workout and they enter it into our own personal "challenge chart." I'm used to thinking of workouts in yards, not laps, so I spend a lot of my workout trying to convert them in my head (there is a reason why I am not a math teacher). Whoever has the highest number of laps at the end of the year wins some (to be determined) prize. The prize could be a pair of Speed Sockets...I could care less. The challenge has been made. I shall not resist. I have an inkling that I will not meet the challenge this year because it started in January...all that pesky marathon training is getting in the way. However, come January 2nd...IT'S ON!!!

On the running front...
I tried a Vanilla Orange Carb Boom!* for my 10 mile run on Saturday. The verdict?
Taste-made me gag
Energy Level-Eh...nothing to write home about. I'm willing to try it again, but I think the GU and Hammer Gel work better.

*I love that they put an exclamation mark at the end of their product name...like that extra punctuation is going to make you run faster.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

8 on the 8th Olympic Style Race Report

My Non-Runner Nancy virtual race turned out to be 9 on the 9th. We were challenged to do it with some sort of Olympic flare, but the closest I got was simulating the polluted air of Beijing by running a route along the congested main street in my town, with a little construction sand mixed in...apparently Beijing has a high concentration of desert sand in their air. I flirted with the idea of prancing around my living room with one of marathon medals post race, but I refrained. I don't have good curtain coverage on my living room windows and the neighbors may have questioned my sanity more than they already do. Here's my play by play report...

Night before: I'm only including this part because I was so proud of myself for planning ahead. I had a baked potato with black beans and veggies for dinner. Potatoes work better for me than pasta for carbo-loading. I added in the beans for extra protein to see how it would affect my run. I kinda lost some nutritional brownie points later that evening when I had a low fat ice cream cone from McD's with a friend (seriously, is crack on a cone).

Pre-race: I slept in until about 6:30 (whoo hoo!). Had some Simply Harvest while I waited for the dogs to do their business. I'm experimenting with pre-race meals* to see how it effects my time/stomach/need for a toitee. I usually do toast with peanut butter and a banana before a big race (just a banana or other fruit before a morning run). I'm also experimenting with energy gels. I downed some water and tried a Hammer Gel for the first time (tropical flavored). I put my water bottle and my baggie of Clif Bloks in my mailbox and away I went!

Race: I will spare you a mile by mile replay. Especially considering I was going solo, I don't have any dramatic battles or happy runner conversations to re-enact for you. I do have to say, I felt AMAZING!!! The weather was beautiful. We had a break in the heat and humidity. It felt like going on that first fall run of invincibility when your body wakes up and realizes that you aren't running with a 2 ton anvil on your back. It was one of those runs that you remember and cling to when the going gets tough and you have to remind yourself that running feels amazing...like you can do anything, go any distance, and you just can't wait to do it again. The only mishap was that I was so in the zone**, that I missed my scheduled water stop at the police station. I had gone a mile past the station before I even realized where I was, so I decided not to back track and waited until I looped back by my mailbox. I also tried out one of my new running skirts. I purchased two different brands online, both the same size. I tried out the first one earlier this week and it fit well. The one I wore yesterday was way too big, so I had to keep pulling it up for fear that I would be giving local traffic a little show.
My time at the 8 mile mark: 1:17.42
My time at the 9 mile mark: 1:26.53
I ran 20 minutes faster than my super 15K race two weekends ago, which kind of gives you an idea of how miserable I was during that race. Proper fueling, weather conditions, and a well planned race REALLY make a difference!

Post Race: I refrained from doing a happy dance around my living room and decided to try the Hour-After Plan outlined in the latest Runners World. I got as far as the "5 minutes after" hydrate step before I got side tracked (hello, ADHD). I did eventually eat and stretch though. I ended the race with Olympic flare by doing the legs up the wall stretch*** while I watched the Olympics on T.V.

*The hot cereal worked great. I liked the added almonds for extra protein and yumminess. Hammer Gel tasted like what I imagine a## in a tube would taste like, but it was effective. After I fought back my gag reflex, I was able to stomach it. I liked that it has less calories than Gu (I'd rather ingest calories that I actually enjoy). The packaging was a little awkward...I nearly lacerated the roof of my mouth on the wrapper (GU packets are smaller).
**Bubba was thinking about Laura's foray with the Gooey Butter Cake and realized that I should have told her about O'Connell's Pub. They have a Gooey Butter Cookie, which would have saved her (and the hotel plumber) from committing the crime of flushing Gooey Butter goodness down the toilet.
***Note to self: Take shoes off before doing this stretch...you will have some explaining to do about why you have scuff marks on your wall.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Quatchi gets chicked

I've been swimming about 2-3 days a week in addition to my usual 5 day/week run schedule. I HATE to lift weights, so I figured swimming covered my upper body strength training, a little bit of core work, and fed my unending need for endurance endorphins. Plus, it's something I know how to do. I spent more of my life in water than on land for the first 20+ years of my life as a competitive swimmer, water polo player, and (gasp!) a synchronized swimmer.*

Yes, yes, feel free to laugh hysterically now. I'll wait.........

.....done yet? No? Okay, take your time..............

Okay, now that you've sufficiently recovered...

So after years of green hair, wearing drag suits that made me look like I got mauled by a bear, having the shoulders of a linebacker (my speciality was the 100 fly), dealing with hand cramps from unending bouts of jazz hands, and watching my skin dry out like a prune, I hung up my fins and traded them in for a pair of Asics.

Happily ensconced in the running groove, I managed to cut out all other activity. This brain trust move netted me a laundry list of injuries and very impressive set of incredible hulk legs **. Seeing the error of my ways, I've re-integrated swimming back into my routine.

Which brings me to my story from yesterday's trip to the Y.*** For several weeks now, I have found myself swimming with the same group of people. We don't talk much. Swimmers aren't as chatty and friendly as runners. It must be the whole I-may-drown-myself-if-I-open-my-mouth-to-speak thing....details. One particular guy and I always manage to end up having to share a lane. Swimming laps in public is a lot like carpooling with a stranger, only with a lot less clothing. There will never be a situation where you will voluntarily dress in clothing that resembles underwear and get close enough to a person to see their back hair (hopefully males only)in public and it be "normal."**** So, yesterday evening Sasquatch and I were destined to share a lane...again. However, we had the added bonus of two other strapping (albeit less hairy) young lads in the lane next to us. Now, I had already run early that morning and put in a full day's work, so I was pretty wiped out, but I couldn't resist trying to keep up with the boys. Nitmos and Vanilla seem to have a fascination with getting "chicked" while running...well, I was on a one-chick mission to not get "Sasquatched.*****" I quickly realized after literally eating their wake and feeling like, "Yes, now I know what it must feel like to do an open water
swim in a triathlon," I wasn't going to chick them on sheer speed. I then proceeded to puff myself up and did whatever any self-respecting marathon runner would do...I chicked them on distance. Sure, any Yeti can swim fast and "harass humans traveling through a forest"******, but can those giant man beasts go the distance? So, who prevailed in the battle of Quatchi versus TheBets?

....Yup, you guessed it, Quatchi got chicked. He tuckered out every couple laps, trying to impress me with his speediness, but *yawn* I wasn't impressed. It takes a lot to impress a green tinted, giant calved, purple short donning, jazzy handed, endurance freak. Better men have tried...and failed. We shall meet again on Friday, O'Hairy One. Maybe we should start carpooling....

*None of these pictures are of me, of course. I have long retired my sequins and matchie matchie swim suits.
**Now try to get the mental picture of a green-skinned, purple short clad monster doing jazz hands out of your mind.
***No, as far as I know I did not have a run in with Hot Dad.
****Unless, of course, you are a stripper. Side note to my side note...I was in a computer training today for a reading program for my students. One of the reading prompts asked them to identify the sight words "lap" "cash" "pole" and "dancing." I about fell out of my chair. REALLY??? Awww...come on! REALLY??? I can't make this stuff up. Either my computer had a dirty, dirty mind or their random word selector has a pervy virus.
*****If you guys can have your own made-up word for getting trounced by a girl, we can have one for when we are beat by hairy beasts.
******Seriously, who knew Teddy Roosevelt wrote a book about the territorial habits of Sasquatches? Ahhh...gotta love this great country.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

bubba's perfect gift

I celebrated my 32nd birthday on Independence Day this past month. A few weeks later, I got a text message from Kir. She was in Philly doing a triathlon. The text said that she had just found the perfect birthday gift for me when she went to pick up her race packet. I assumed the gift was running related, so my interest was peaked. What could it be? Goofy bumper sticker? Funny running shirt? A case of discounted Body Glide? East Coast Hot Runner Guy? Sadly, she made me wait to find out what it was....she sent it in the mail.

Well, a few weeks go by and I was eagerly awaiting my human-sized UPS box with air holes (After all, we can't have Hot Runner Guy suffocating, can we?). Alas, the delivery was a large white envelope instead. Yipee!!! My "perfect gift" had arrived. I ripped the envelope open and....

.....ta da!

Bubba was very happy! It was a Bondi Band dedicated to him. Aw, thanks Kir!

Now, I have never used a Bondi Band before, so I was intrigued. I sweat buckets when I run, so I was a little skeptical that it would work. I've worn it for a few weeks now, and I have to say I'm impressed by it's absorbency. I still get sweat in my eyes, but it's not as bad as it used to be. I tend to pull it down every once in a while and use it to wipe my eyes...it's quite handy. The only down side is that I forget that I'm wearing it and often wonder why people are staring at me so much, until I realize that they are trying to read my forehead. This,and the fact that I'm advertising that I like to eat, maaaaay be one of the reasons why I'm still single.

Just a side note about Bubba....I think he thinks I may have scurvy. I have eaten an obscene amount of fruit and vegetables in the past five days. Here's the break down...
oranges: 5
plums: 5

kiwis: 5
bananas: 10
salads: 4
bags of frozen veggies: 2
apples: 2
handfuls of dried cranberries: too many to count
watermelon: 1/4
Bubba: happy
TheBets: acidic mouth screaming for mercy

About Me

My photo
I'm a teacher with a running problem, or maybe I'm a runner with a teaching problem...you pick.


races completed

A bunch of 5Ks...I've lost track over the years...

O'Fallon (IL) YMCA 15K Winter 2007

St. Louis Track Club Half Marathon (spring) 2007

Spirit of St. Louis Marathon 2007

Boilermaker 15K Roadrace 2007 (Utica, NY)

Lewis and Clark Marathon 2007 (St. Charles, MO)

St. Louis Track Club Frost Bite Series 2008


-10 Miles


-Half Marathon

Go! St. Louis Half Marathon 2008

Route 66 Festival 10K 2008 (Edwardsville, IL)

O'Fallon (IL) Summer Sizzler 15K 2008

Lewis and Clark Half Marathon 2008 (St, Charles, MO: DNS-cancelled due to Hurricane Ike)

O'Fallon Fall Finale 15K 2008

St. Louis Track Club Half Marathon 2008 (PR!)

Mountain Home Half Marathon (Arkansas) 2008 (2nd in age group!)

Great River Road Run (IL) 10 miles

St. Louis Track Club Frost Bite Series 2008-2009


-10 miles

Phoenix Rock-n-Roll Marathon (AZ)

Go! St. Louis Half Marathon 2009

Kentucky Derby Half Marathon 2009

future races

race wish list

Big Sur Marathon
Disney Marathon
Nike Marathon
Marine Corps Marathon
Great River Relay
Bolder Boulder
Chicago Distance Classic