Thursday, April 5, 2012

East Nasty Run #2, Round the Lake

I was a little apprehensive about this run for two reasons.  First, I was concerned about the hill coming out of Shelby Park and second I was on my own for this run because all of my friends had other plans!  But, a goal is a goal, so I sucked it up and drove over to East Nashville.  I got lucky and actually spotted a friend when I got there, Quincy!  Not a friend I could run with, he is much too fast for me, but it was great seeing him and he introduced me to a few people, although I couldn't run with them either!

Once again East C.A.N. was there with an adoptable dog.  They didn't give much of a story for this one.  I'm not sure if it was a boy or a girl.  He (or she) was very pretty though.  They asked for a volunteer to run with him and a guy stepped up to take him out.  This however, didn't work out so well.  Turns out he (or she) didn't want to run.  He (or she) made it about 5 blocks before wanting to turn around so he took him back to the start and headed out once again.  How do I know this?  Welll, he passed me a couple miles into the run!  Man, these East Nasties are fast!

I liked this route although once again the Garmin doesn't really do justice to the elevation changes.  Either that or it's just me not getting along with the hills.  I guess it could be a little of both.  I'm hoping that after 12 weeks of running in East Nashville me and the hills will be getting along better. Anyhow, I guess it's just that time of year but everything seemed so green and pretty and if my phone battery hadn't been so low I would have taken some pictures as we ran down into Shelby Bottoms, around the lake, and back out.  Running out of the park wasn't as bad as I expected.  I walked a few times but all in all I think this was a pretty good run.  I'm looking forward to Run #3.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

East Nasty Run #1, One Hilly 5k...

Okay, so I started this blog last year to document my training for my first triathlon and my first marathon.  I didn't do very well with that, however, I've recently been inspired by a friend of mine, Tracy Turner, who is blogging about training for her first marathon (Marine Corps in Washington DC this October) and I'm going to make another attempt at this!

I recently set a goal to run all 12 East Nasty runs in succession, leading up to the run of all runs "The Nasty"!  Last night was my first run titled "One Hilly 5k", and in my opinion it was!   This run, like all of the runs, started at 11th and Holly in East Nashville.  When I got there I remembered why I stopped going to these runs, it's the adoptable dogs they show before each run!!!!  Okay, I am just kidding about that but I'm terrified that by the end of this running series I'll go from having zero dogs to having twelve!!!  Last night's adoptable was a cute little puppy.  Looking at the website I think he might have been Copper.  Julianna and I stayed as far away as we could because we are both suckers, but I did talk to the lady from East C.A.N. beforehand.  Copper was found tied to the porch of a house after the family had moved.  I don't understand how people do these things!  He was such a cute and sweet puppy that I'm certain he will find a good home soon!

The route, in my opionion, lived up to it's name.  I live in the flat 'boro but I try to run in Cool Springs and Nashville as often as I can but this still seemed very hilly to me!  I was very proud of myself that I ran up Shelby Avenue, not a huge hill but a long incline and really enjoyed the downhill into Shelby Bottoms.  Unfortunately I had to stop and use my inhaler when we go to the bottom.  I never equated my breathing issues to allergies, but I guess that's what causes them.  I've always had trouble at the change of the season so I guess that's what it is.  Anyhow, after a moment's panic of thinking I had an empty inhaler (I didn't), we were back off and running.  Now we all love the hills because we know what goes up must come down, right?  Well, in this case what goes down must come up!  I think I did okay on the hill out but I did have to walk so I convinced Julianna to walk "the poles" with me.  This is my method of getting up a hill when I can't just straight run it.  I'll run to a pole, then walk to the next one and so on.  Before I knew it were up and out of the park.  The last hill caught me a little off guard on Holly Street.  I saw it as we were running down Holly and it looked huge!  Once we got on it though it didn't seem so bad and I ran most of it before having to walk.  Truthfully, I think I could have made it up this one but my head made me stop. Yep, still fighting the head games, but I'll come out on top, I'm sure of it!

Almost at the end of the run Julianna saw some friends of hers, Brian and Ashley, so we stopped to chat with them before running to the finish line.  Afterwards Julianna and I headed down to 3 Crows Bar for a beer and some more conversation.

Things I learned on this run?  I do suffer a little from allergies.  I can run the hills but I need to push a little harder on them.  And most importantly, I need to run faster so that there will still be some water after the run and we'll be able to get a seat at 3 Crows Bar to enjoy our beer!

Here is the Garmin data for the run.  I just found my chest strap and wore if for the first time in awhile.  I am little disconcerted that my heart rate was so high on this run, but overall it really was a good run. 

I'm looking forward to Run #2 Round the Lake next Wednesday!  Looks like we run into Shelby Bottoms again but down the hill we ran up last night which means up the hill we ran down.  It's going to be fun! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Well, I am very wary of writing this post because I am not certain that I'll be able to do my little Suki justice!  She was a very special friend to me and losing her has left an indescribable hole!

I met Suki 9 years ago.  She was 4 years old and belonged to Marcia, my friend David's girlfriend.  When I moved in with him I had no idea the bond that Suki and I would develop.  I don't know how it began or when it began, I just know that it did, and we really did develop an incredibly tight bond!

I have said to many people that I may not have made the move to Tennessee without the very wonderful birthday gift that Marcia gave me in 2006.  That's when she said that I could bring Suki with me.  I know how much Marcia loved Suki and I know how hard that must have been for her, and I'll be forever grateful to her!

Suki and I had a wonderful 9 years together.  I wasn't the best mommy in the world but I loved her so much!  I looked so forward to seeing her when I got home at night!  There was nothing more special than her waiting for me and greeting me at the door!  Suki was paper trained, and every night I would come in and ask her if she'd been a good girl, and she couldn't wait to take me and show me that she had!  Please excuse the mess that my house was this day, but this is what we did every night when I came home:

Suki couldn't jump up on the furniture so I built 'steps' around the furniture to help Suki climb on.  When she got too old to use those Ray, my friend Debbie's husband, built her a ramp to use.  They have no idea how much it meant to us because it gave Suki her freedom back. 

A lot of people didn't get to see the energetic side of Suki, so here is a little video to show that.  I was trying very hard to get her to bark but she just wouldn't cooperate.

I'm not exactly sure when things changed, it was very gradual.  She stopped barking at me when I came home.  I really miss that attitude bark I used to get when I left her alone too long.  Oh, she would tell me all about it!  We stopped going in to see what a good girl she was, although she always was!  There was no more licking me in the face in the morning when she wanted to get up!  Back then I just wanted to sleep but you had to love it when she did that!  Eventually she loved to sleep even more than I did as you can see in the next video; one of my all time favorites...

What a sweet little angel she was!!!  I took her to get groomed the week before she passed.  She was so exhausted after that she came home and took a nap.  She didn't even eat the treat I gave her.

I had a book club meeting that night and believe it or not, Suki slept through the entire thing even as Tamara and I passed her back and forth, taking turns holding her.  I had spent the whole morning telling her she was getting all gussied up for the ladies, and then she slept right through the entire meeting.  About 5 minutes after everyone left she woke up and I took this picture of her and posted it on the facebook page so that they could see her awake.

Frankie said that it looked like she was saying 'hey, did I miss something?', and I think Frankie was right!

I've got a ton of pictures and a ton of memories that I clearly can't put into this blog, if I did it would quickly turn into a book!  This won't be the last you hear of her or the last pictures that you see of her.  I am certain there will be more from time to time.

It's been a month since I lost my little Suki Luu.  I want to thank everyone for their support during this time.  The facebook comments, the flowers, the calls, the cards.  They all really helped a lot. 

Suki has found her final resting spot inside our air conditioned house, of course.  I can't pick her up and hold her anymore, but she's here; I can feel her.  This is my memorial to Suki. 

The red bracelet that says "Bark Loud" was given to her by my neighbors, Holly and Shawn. The necklace was made by my friend Donna.  I know that she made it for me, to help me get through this time, but I decided to let Suki wear it first and now I just don't have the heart to take it from her. 

I don't know if there really is a Rainbow Bridge but I'd like to believe there is.  I look forward to the day I'll be able to hold my baby again and she can give me the kisses that she always saved just for me.  Until then, I will have the memories and plenty of pictures to remind me of the good times!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Longest Run So Far

It's been awhile since I have blogged!  I'm not sure why because I have been staying pretty busy, but for some reason, I was having a hard time getting back to writing.  But, I figured now that I am in full blown training for my first full marathon, it was a good time to get back to it.

A couple weeks ago I ran my first run with the Nashville Striders.  It was a 14-mile run, one of a series for their fall marathon training.  It was a hot day, although thankfully from what Inez told me, it wasn't as hot as the year before, and the second time I've ran that distance.  The run didn't start out very well because I arrived just as they were taking off.  We got a few blocks down the road and I realized I hadn't even turned my Garmin on, and then when I turned it on it was still set for cycling from the day before!  Long story short, the run didn't go that well.  One of those "hit the wall" kind of days.  The bright spots were getting to run with Inez again because we hadn't ran together in a long time, and Rachel joining us for 5 miles of the run.  Oh, and discovering Bongo Java.  Their coffee is better than Starbucks and I can't wait until I'm in Nashville and I get to try it again.

Last week was an 'easy' week, if there is such a thing when you're training for a marathon and then today was our 16-mile run, the longest run I've done to date!  I was really struggling with the thought of running this run.  I think I was trying to think of any reason I could to get out of it!  I rode 16 1/2 miles on the bike yesterday (tough ride!!!) and my knee was kind of hurting.  I twisted my ankle on a trail run on Thursday and that was really hurting yesterday!  I had to get up at 4:30.  It looked like rain, whatever I could think of!

Anyhow, the alarm went off at 4:30 and from what I could tell there was no rain so that excuse was gone!  Ankle was still sore, but what are you going to do?  Anyhow, I got up, got myself ready and headed to Cool Springs for the 6:00 start.  I was early this time!  Gave me a chance to get to the bathroom and get situated before the run.  Much better than seeing everyone taking off the second you get there! 

Inez left me in the first mile for a bathroom break and said she would catch up, so I kept going.  I was running basically by myself as the rest of the group is much faster than me, but there is something about running with a group, even when you're not 'with' the group, that makes the run better.  It was hot at 6:00 and there was no breeze!  I was really hoping that the 35% chance of rain that Weatherbug was predicting would come through!

Well, Inez didn't catch me and I ended up running the first 8 by myself.  Luckily when I turned the corner onto Carothers there was a good breeze picking up!  It made all of the difference!  I wasn't running fast and I took some walk breaks, but I was feeling pretty good during the first 8.  I tried to pay as little attention to the Garmin as I could.  (Inez had basically asked me to leave it at home, which of course I refused, but I promised I would not mention how far we had gone or how far we had left to go. -- Did I mention how tough the 14-mile run was for me 2 weeks before??)  I did sneak some peaks though, of course!  I tried to pay attention mostly to my heart rate and was pretty impressed that so far I was staying in my aerobic zone and I tried to concentrate on that.  I have to admit I probably used that as an excuse to walk a hill or two, but a friend told me yesterday it was about time on my feet so I took the walk breaks in stride!

I took a couple of photo ops during this run and this was the first one.  This is the hill on Liberty Pike that is part of my Nissan 5-Mile Loop!  Although normally I am running down it!  When I saw it I had planned on running the entire thing but I didn't!  I don't think I even ran half before walking the first time!  Then I employed my run to the next light post strategy and that got me up and over it just fine.  However, one of my new goals is to run this entire hill during the Viva la Diva in November.  Mind over matter, right!?

I took this picture while I was running.  My phone was in a ziploc
bag and I didn't bother taking it out so it's not the best picture
in the world.

I took this one on the car ride home. Oh yeah,
the car behind me was really enjoying that!
On the other side of the hill was a water stop provided by the Striders.  Did I already tell you how great that organization is?  After that about a mile until the turnaround and halfway point!!!!  This is the portion of the run where I saw most of the rest of the group.  Yep, you got it, they were on their way back!  Oh well, I kept my turtle pace and just planned on finishing the run!  I was actually feeling really good at this point.  In fact, except for the first mile (11:16) this was my best mile (11:18), that's how good I was feeling.  I don't think that it hurt that there were major storm clouds in front of me! 

Yes, I wanted rain, but this was screaming major downpour!
Luckily this storm passed us up.  I made my turnaround at mile 8 and hooked back up with Inez.  We ran/walked the last 8 together and it did rain which was awesome.  I never once mentioned the mileage or pace which I know she was grateful for!  (I was watching though!!!)  I didn't hit my goal pace, but as someone (Gail Lage) pointed out yesterday, it's not the pace I need to be worried about but logging time on my feet!  That was a big mental help for me!  The other mental help came from Donna who told me to concentrate on tomorrow's run and not the 18 or 20 that I'm doing in the next few weeks.  I can't tell you how much that comment helped my psychie!

Anyhow, I'm still not sure I've got this 26.2 in me, but I'm not giving up!  (Yep, my friend Jill pointed out that I'm not one to give up on something. -- aren't friends awesome!!??)  I do feel a little better about it after getting this 16 in the books!  I can't say I'm looking forward to 18 next week, but I'm ready to get out there and try it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weather Radio -- Friend or Foe?

My mother used to live in Hampstead, NC, right outside of Wilmington, NC, and there was lots of weather there; hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.  I used to visit her and inevitably at least one night during my visit her weather radio would go off warning us of some impending disaster.  Although it usually wasn't for her area, it still scared the crap out of me whenever it would go off in the middle of the night!

Fast forward about 10 years... I move to Murfreesboro, TN.  Apparently tornado alley!!!  Who knew!!!???  And, what do you think is one of the first things I do?  Yep, I buy one of those stupid weather radios!  Now, I know they are good, and one day it is going to save my life, but nights like last night really make me question whether it is my friend or my foe!

So this morning I'm sound asleep and what do you think happened?  That's right... at about 3:00 a.m. the radio starts blaring that awful warning and when I jump out of bed with my heart pounding out of my chest to find out what terrible thing is headed my way, it is a thunderstorm warning, and not even for my county!  Now, I know that severe thunderstorms can bring hail and strong winds, but I don't think my house is going to blow apart or away because of a severe thunderstorm.  So therefore, I don't really want to be awakened at 3 o'clock in the morning to find out there is a warning in the next county!  Or 10 minutes later when it gets closer.  Or 15 minutes later when it has reached my county but not my part of the county!  The fourth time was a generic thunderstorm watch which did include Murfreesboro and finally, the fifth time... yes, I said the fifth time, the thunderstorm warning was in my area.

So, yes, my weather radio does warn me of impending tornadoes in the area which makes it my friend, but please, please, please let me sleep if it's just going to be a thunderstorm! By the way, this is where I was going to say something funny and witty, but I've got nothing.  I just want to sleep through one of my favorite things... a thunderstorm!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

RC Cola and Moonpie 10-Mile Run 2011

I thought about signing up for this race last year.  I went on to register and while reading the information for the race came to the warning that said something to the effect that this race is hilly and will be hot and if you are not in shape for it you should not sign up for it.  Well, that was enough to scare the crap out of me, so I skipped it!   I did, however, make the drive to Bell Buckle for the RC Cola and Moonpie Festival so that I could partake in one of my favorite things; the deep fried moonpie.  I went with my friend Julia and arrived just as the last runners were coming towards the finish line.  It must have been close to 100 degrees at that time and I was so glad that I had come to my senses and not signed up to run it.

Julia cooling off from the 100 degree weather!

Julia eating her first deep fried moonpie.  I thought
 she had enjoyed it but I found out this year
that she didn't like it after all!

Well, fast forward a year and I decided I wanted to brave the heat and the hilly 10 miles!  I knew my friend, Inez, would be running it, although she almost didn't because of her heel.  I begged and begged my friend Kay to run it and she finally agreed!  And it took right up until the day before the run to finally convince Letitia to do it, but she signed up as well!  Inez's daughter, Elizabeth, was able to run it too and her son, J.B. went with them and rode his bike.

Here, I'd like to say that I can't blame Kay for not wanting to do the run.  She was moving to Mississippi and had to get packed, moved, move her sister, etc.  But, I finally convinced her this would be a good farewell run for us and luckily everything worked out and she was able to do it.  When I finally registered I was disappointed that the warning was no longer there!  Maybe they had an "in" with Mother Nature and knew the weather would be good.

So, on a not so hot day in June, we all converged on the small town of Bell Buckle, Tennessee, ready to tackle the 10-mile run.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't cool and it was definitely humid, but it wasn't as hot as it has been in past years.  Check in was quick and easy leaving plenty of time to prepare for the run and take a few pre-race pictures.

This is Kay, ready to rock n' roll!

Wow!  That is a lot of pink!!!!!
 So, I mentioned earlier that this would be my last run with Kay. Well technically that isn't true because we will be running our first full marathon together in October, but with her moving to Mississippi it is definitely our last opportunity to run together for a long time!  I've gotten used to our weekly runs after work, and have mentioned that her patience running with me was instrumental during my heart rate training!  I'm going to miss that so this seemed like a good way to end that era!

I really liked the route, and I didn't think the hills were too bad.  Add 10-15 degrees though and it might have been a different story.  I love running on country roads, which was one of the best things about Ragnar Tennessee last year, so this was a really nice route for that!

Inez just ahead of us in her patriotic red, white and blue!
I was actually taking a picture of the cattle crossing sign;
Inez just happened to be near it!

These cows were running with us at first but by the time
I got my camera out they were taking a run break!
I also assume they are the ones using the cattle crossing!

I guess the cows belonged here at
Happy Valley Livestock, Inc.

And the people of Bell Buckle are great!  At the top of the hill at mile 4 1/2 the family who lives out there was outside with ice water and a hose to cool us off!  They weren't an official water stop, they were just out there helping us out!!!! 

Just before the hill at mile 4 1/2. 

I don't think the picture does the hill justice.  Let's just say there
were a lot of people walking up it!
There was also a nice man out with his hose around mile 7!  It wasn't as hot as it has been in past years (from what I've heard) and the hose felt good so I can only imagine how great it must feel on those hot days! 

I was having a lot of fun with this run, as you can tell by the pictures.  It's not often that I stop on a run to do that.  I think Kay's expression says it all right here...

She kind of looks like she's saying "Enough with the pictures!", doesn't it?
But that didn't stop me.  I took a few more...

Letitia's Happy 40th birthday sign that we posted
just after the turn onto Liberty Pike!

And I even had her run ahead of me to get these shots of me running!  LOL

Crossing the finish line at the 2 hour mark. 
(Thanks Julia for the picture!)

It was a very fun run and I am looking forward to tackling it again next year!

Inez, Kay and Letitia enjoying the great spread the Moonpie Festival provided!

And I finally got my deep fried moonpie!  Yummy!!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

... Tempo Run -- Fail

It's been a rough week trying to get my runs in with bad weather and adding swimming into the mix.   I was pretty tired today and I had a bad feeling about this tempo run tonight, but I felt I would have been madder if I hadn't attempted it at all.

SmartCoach plan had me doing a 1-mile warm-up, 4 miles at 10:18 and a 1-mile cool down.  The weather wasn't too bad so I can't really blame it on that.  I think it was mid to high 80's at the start with a nice breeze.  It felt really good in the shade but it was a little warm in the sun.  I was supposed to meet up with the other NoBo mentors and run and then have dinner and drinks with them but I even failed that tonight!  If my speed work had been out of the way I would have met them and ran with them.  As it is I was going further than they were so I planned on heading out early and then hopefully running into them after.  Then as I was driving over to the trailhead where they were meeting I remembered that the bridge was being repaired and was closed during the week.  I didn't think I'd have enough greenway to run from there so I went to Old Fort instead and ran to Cason and back.

My warm up was okay but going my 11-11:30 minute pace my legs were feeling tired and I was already worried about the 4-mile tempo portion of the run.  I'm not sure if I was too tired to manage it or if I psyched myself out but it was a fail.  I successfully completed the first mile on pace but strugged during the second AND third miles.  I started the fourth mile out walking; not a good start, and I even think I walked some more in there but knowing it was the last fast mile I had to do I was able to put mind of matter and run that one on pace too.  Sometimes I think the hardest part of my speedwork and tempo runs is jogging out that last mile cooldown.  I'm usually sufficiently tired that the pace feels okay, or even hard, but after pushing myself fast for the other miles, the last mile just seems to drag on and and on and tonight was no exception.

I'm not sure if I'm more upset because I knew I wasn't up for this run and tried it anyway, or that I failed at maintaining the goal pace.  I guess ultimately it's better to have attempted something and failed than not even attempt it but at the moment that doesn't make me feel much better.

My mile splits were 11:16/10:13/11:03/11:36/10:16/11:51.  The one upside is that somewhere along the run I decided I would be happy if my finish time was 66 minutes and it was.  1:06:21.

I'm thinking tomorrow would be a good rest day and hopefully I'll be more successful during my long run on Saturday or Sunday.

Happy running.