Wednesday, December 30, 2009


It's cold outside. It's also cold in my apartment. And now I have a cold. The second one this month! The toughest part about a cold is the difficulty in deciding if you are sick enough to forgo training or not. Is is worth it to possibly make yourself sicker? Or is taking yet another day off just going to exponentially increase that detraining effect? Once again, I get to struggle with these questions daily.

There's an old theory that if your symptoms are above your neck, you're good to run. If below, stay away. I've found that often if the former is true when I start a run, the latter will be true the next day. The viruses are failing to take into account the fact that I am on the verge of signing up for a half marathon; I have some training to do! My compromised immune system is not due to the lack of vitamins I'm taking. On the contrary, I've been very conscientious about those lately, with my wedding coming up in just... (checking  108 days. Every bride-to-be knows that hair and nail growth are of utmost importance at this time. In addition to the vitamin supplementation, I have been eating very well (or um, at least, very copiously), and surely have exceeded my RDI of all the antioxidants and immune system boosters. I had both flu shots, I use my hand sanitizer constantly, and I avoid shaking patients' hands unless they are insistent upon it. So what's the problem, body?!

I'm hoping an escape to (slightly) warmer temperatures on the beach this New Year's weekend will give me just the remedy to my cold. And if not my cold, then my constant coldness!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Christmas Run

Tuesday night, instead of the usual track workout, Paul (track coach extraordinaire and John Denver lookalike) held his 22nd annual Christmas Run. I mentioned it to a friend last week, suggesting he come, forgetting he is Jewish, and he responded with a "I'm not sure a Jewish kid running around and singing carols is a good idea." We actually sang only one carol this year (as we jogged through the local bar), so maybe it could be the Holiday Run with Santa Hats and Small Twinkly Lights. 

This year it consisted of the aforementioned bar jog (we returned later to partake in the specific bar activity of drinking beer), plus another 3 or so miles of too-fast running. We returned to the starting spot, a small golf clubhouse, and awards were given to local runners from the old school days, as well as recent performances. We had a special guest, Dave Wottle, 1972 Munich Olympics 800 meter gold medalist, come out. We watched this awesome video of the race and then the one where Mr. Wottle beats Steve Prefontaine in the mile. I'm pretty proud to have been accepted to Rhodes College, however indirectly, by Mr. Wottle, the Dean of Admissions. Plus I have even known his son Mike since sixth grade. I feel somewhat famous myself because of that. Check out Mike and his wife Sharon's blog over there ---> , the Wottles. I do remember Mike blaming his mom when he didn't win races in track. I guess you have to have some excuse when you're a champion's descendant! 

Along the same lines as our Christmas run is a slightly more risque version, combined with the Kona underpants run. Check out what they do in Boston: the Santa Speedo Run. Looks a lot like this to me. I think I could even wear the same outfit. Especially important would be the compression socks. Brrr.

Another upcoming Memphis event, speaking of running and cold weather, is the annual Parkway run. This is a 17ish mile run around the perimeter of downtown and midtown, more or less. Luckily there are beer and water stops, plus a sag vehicle to pick up those that were a little too ambitious at the start. I've put this one on my calendar (since of course my one 9 miler since September will have me well prepared), but only in pencil, since it's looking like Jenny's third one is less than enthusiastic to enter the cold world from his dark, warm, all-you-can-eat buffet venue. Who can blame him? If he decides to stay warm until next week, it will be a traveling Christmas holiday for me; we'll all go to Little Rock to welcome him, and run some hills of course. 

So that about sums up my holiday running festivities! It's almost Friday!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Is it winter already?

I can only imagine what official winter will bring to us. But I know, I really can't complain when Memphis gets into the 40s almost daily (except yesterday). It was a cold windy run downtown last night (and thanks again Nancy- I made her run her second run of the day without a hat or gloves) that marked my return to a running streak. I have had this awful cold and cough for over two weeks, and during that time only managed a smattering of runs. But I'm back! Of course, I guess to be an official "streak" you have to run on consecutive days... hmm..

In other exercise news, I received my first swimming injury on the first day back in the pool in about 3 weeks. It was mostly likely the corner of the yellow rectangular paddle in the next lane over (who thought putting corners on swim paddles was a good idea?) that brought me to tears during our pull set. It's still pretty painful, slightly swollen, and a little bruised. The perpetrator probably knew he did it (especially after I said something to him), but he really doesn't care. He's actually broken a girl's metacarpal the same way. Who knew the dangers of the Fogelman Y morning master's swim class?

Last weekend I partook in the spectating of the St Jude Memphis marathon. I can't decide if the marathon was motivating to me or not. On one hand, it's always fun seeing your friends PR (go Laura, Jonathan, Lindsay, and Bailey!). I get excited about my own training for about a day or so, then realize that there's still quite the temperature gradient between my bed, the hallway, the front door, just outside my door, my car, and the park by the river. I thought about my ideal marathon while I was trying to cheer for the runners in between convulsions of shivers. I'm not sure I'm into this cold weather, wearing-everything-in-your-closet-and-shedding-during-the-race thing. But then again, my last marathon attempt was in 95 degree heat with a similar humidity level. How about 70F? I know that's not "ideal marathon weather" but it IS indoor thermostat temperature, so I know I can be comfortable there. I think my best IM marathon was in about that temp (my BEST best marathon, which is my only stand alone marathon, which is only 3 mins better than my best IM marathon, and was 9 years ago, was in about 20F, and loads of fun in the 10 miles running up 3rd street into the north wind).

So that motivation thing again. I think what it takes for me is positive reinforcement in the form of feeling better at that 9 or 10 min per mile pace. And that's definitely happening. Who knew that simple consistency in running can help you get better? Warm weather would help too, but that's not in the immediate forecast. So for now, I'm going to get comfortable in my winter weather gear and just get moving.