Tuesday, May 31, 2011

You Only Live Once, But If You Do It Right, Once Is Enough

I do not want to run today. I certainly do not want to study. I want to lay in bed and cry. My life's been pretty [read: really] not awesome lately. I've had a six month stretch of bad luck and bad things and bad people. It's not something I talk about often here, but it's been really, really hard. There are days when it takes everything I have to get out of bed and pretend to be a functioning adult.

I can't even pretend today. Yesterday, I found out from my Dad that my Aunt Chris was in the hospital, that she was unresponsive and they were moving her to a hospice. This afternoon, he called to let me know she passed away. I didn't know she was sick and I'm not sure how to react. My Aunt Chris wasn't really my aunt - I still question the elaborate story my grandmother tells about how she's related to us. My grandfather's cousin's wife is, I believe, what she finally settled on. But she we were all so close it didn't matter. She was a little younger than my grandmother, her son a little younger than my dad and her grandchildren both older and younger than my sister and I. Her family lived up near Albany and every summer we'd visit at least once.

Aunt Chris was a ridiculous person in the best possible sense of the word. She was Italian (the rest of us are Irish) and loud and an amazing cook. She had an internal compass that told her what was right and wrong, what was fair and what wasn't. She believed in hard work and she believed hard work should be rewarded. She loved having fun and laughing. Even when she was older, she would sit Indian-style on the floor for hours playing with children. She never stopped going - she was a hairdresser and was working until the beginning of last week. She drank Budweiser out of a can [never Bud Light - If you tried to give her a light beer she'd say "What is this crap?" in her great upstate New York accent. Even before I could read, I knew Aunt Chris got the red can, never the blue one]. When she would visit my grandparents at the beach, she would get up at 5 am, march down to the water and sleep in the sand for hours. No blanket, no chair, 9 times out of 10 no bathing suit. She'd come back to the house as the rest of us were waking up with more energy than a woman 20 years younger [certainly more energy than me]. I never saw her with a hangover. We would run the same 5 mile race every year - well, she would run, the rest of us would walk. She taught me how to play poker and left/right/center and bocce and how to bet on a horse.

But most importantly, she taught me not to care what other people thought. You work hard, you do the right thing. You love the people who love you. You value nice things, but you never let them own you. When we were younger, she'd give us orange juice in Waterford crystal tumblers with breakfast and my grandmother would hold her breath every time we picked up the glass. My cousin dropped one once and it shattered. I remember the whole room gasping and waiting for someone to yell. But Aunt Chris just said, "I've got more in the basement, watch your feet." That was it. Most importantly, you do what you want when you want. You want to lay on the sand with no towel? Lay on the sand with no towel. You want to drink beer and play poker? Drink beer and play poker. You want to run a 5 mile race the day after? Do that too. She lived such an amazing, rich, full life, it's almost hard to be sad it's over. Almost.

So starting today, I'm going to be more like my Aunt Chris. I'm going to work hard and do the things I have to do. I'm going to do the things I want to do. And most importantly, I'm not going to do the things I don't want to do anymore.

I'm going to do flashcards and my outlines and my multiple choice because I have to. I'm going to run my 3 miles because I want to. But on the way home from the library, I'll stop and grab a 6 pack of those red cans. And give a silent salute to a lady who did it right.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Flying Electronics?

Day 2

Ran 4 miles - 45 min., little bit of hamstring/hip tightness

Now that I've decided to run for 40 days in a row [well, 38 now!], I'm hyper aware of the little things that bother me during my runs [like my socks]. Today, my socks were fine, but my entertainment was a bit of an issue. My super awesome fabulous sister got me an iPad for graduation and I'm a little bit obsessed with it. I love watching tv shows while I work out because it makes the time fly, but with my little iPod touch, it's hard on the treadmill. I end up squishing way too close to the display and my stride gets all funky, and it's no bueno. But the iPad is amazing [for other reasons too, but clearly for the keeping me distracted]!

Here's my issue. I'm petrified that I'm going to fling it off the treadmill. I've lost many an mp3 player that way. In fact, I usually buy really cheap non-iPod video players for exactly this reason [the touch was ANOTHER present from my super amazing sister]. I don't know if it's my height or if I move my arms funny or what, but invariably at least once a run, my hands get caught in the headphone cord. Most of the time, I can catch it before it comes tumbling to the ground, but certainly not always. Anyone have any suggestions on how to keep my cord out of the way and my iPad in working condition?

Also, I had to go to bar class this morning. On a Saturday. During Memorial Day weekend. I should be on a beach somewhere fist pumping and drinking margaritas. Not cool. I came home from the gym and realized I had absolutely nothing to eat. My lunch literally consisted of 2 pickle spears, hummus and bagel chips and a Baby Bell cheese. I don't even have time to be a real person & go grocery shopping ... how I'm going to get my run on for the next 38 days is beyond me.

Double also, I ran in shorts today! This was the longest I've ever run in shorts [chub rub and I have a sordid history]. I was 100% concerned about how I was going to handle marathon training in SoCal in capris, so yay! Thanks, breakup diet!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 1!

Ran 3.05 miles in 34:45

1 day down, 39 to go! I can already tell what my main issue with the challenge is going to be - socks. Even though I'm super prone to blisters, I'm cheap and I'm poor so I only have a couple of pairs of awesome running, seamless socks. I usually save them for my longer runs and wear whatever cheap socks I can find at Le Targe for my shorter midweek runs. But if I'm going to be running every day, I'm going to need better socks. At around mile 2 I stopped to stretch my hamstring that felt a little tight [and figure out how to get to the next episode of the West Wing on my iPad] and somehow in the process I managed to work the seam of my sock right onto the little nub of a toe where my dearly departed toenail used to live. I kept trying to wiggle it better, I stopped and took off my shoe and tried to fix it. Nothing. Ouch.

And I know what you're thinking - why not just wash your socks more often. Because I'm lazy, that's why.

Anyone know where I can get some cheap but awesome socks? What are your favorite?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

40 Day Challenge!

Have you heard about the 40 day challenge? Danica over at Chic Runner has started a 40 day challenge - run at least 3 miles a day, every day, for 40 days. I think it's awesome! It's like a weird, Lent-y kind of thing but more awesome.

I feel like this is exactly what I need right now:
- Structure - I'm in this weird base building not quite training phase so my runs have been pretty aimless, and as such, sporadic.

- Stress Relief - Running always makes me feel better, no matter how much I try to talk myself out of running. With all my crazy bar stress and general life stress [I don't even want to talk about the last time I managed to get laundry done]

- Something to keep me motivated and accountable!

And I think if I can do this, I'll be pretty proud of myself! Gidget's Rule #6: You can do anything for a little while (in this case, 40 days).

Up for the challenge? Join me!

Also awesome sauce: I ordered a new pair of running shoes that should come tomorrow! Yes, that's my third pair; no, none of them are worn out; yes, I might have a problem.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hodge Podge and Hedge Hogs

Man, I thought law school was hectic, but apparently being a law school graduate is even worse! And so, in no particular order, here are the random things I've been thinking of/dealing with/worrying about lately:

- I am officially a law school graduate! Well, not quite officially. I'm still waiting on 3 grades, but they're not the 3 grades I was worried about. So, at the risk of tempting fate, I am officially Gidget, J.D.
- My hip hurts when I walk but NOT when I run. Fascinating? Sure. Frustrating? Absolutely.
- Between my emotional upheaval/finals/stress/accidentally buying a graduation dress that was too small, I've lost a ton of weight recently [I'm working on a separate post]. Awesome things? Being skinny. Not awesome things? Burning less calories than I used to. It used to be great to see a number on the treadmill display and think, "Now I can eat X." I now have to run more or eat less. Obnoxious.
- Bar studying sucks. Really, really sucks.
- I'm trying to get into a routine: Class in the morning, run, lunch and then the library till i die. The only problem is I HATE showering at the gym. Not just because it's slightly gross. The logistics are so unbelievably annoying. I always forget a towel or my flip flops or my shampoo. Then I have to worry about what to do with all of my wet clothes. Gross. But when I come home after the gym I never leave [case in point: I've been trying to get to the library for 3 hours now]. Have I mentioned bar studying sucks?
- I painted a fake toenail on my stump of a toe. It only looks moderately awkward.
- I still have no job and no apartment. I should probably get on that.
- I'm excited to start marathon training, but I'm also really nervous about trying to squeeze everything in.
- I'm spending a ton of time in the library and I need to start bringing more snacks. Twice last week I had to leave because by 8:30 I was too hungry to concentrate. I bought apples, hummus, blueberries, almonds and Cliff bars for kids [did you know they make them? They're smaller than regular cliff bars, which is great because I can never finish those and I feel like they're a little too calorie heavy for a mid-day snack].

Anyone have any other delicious, healthy snack options? How do you deal with the logistical nightmare of a midday workout?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Insanity Doesn't Run in My Family, It Practically Gallups

Just a quick update. I am alive. I am officially done with law school and, barring any unforeseen failures, I am about to become a JD. It's all very exciting.

My parents came in to town on Wednesday night, the same day I finished exams. I've been pretty much going non-stop ever since. My grandma, aunt, uncle and 3 small children are getting in today and my sister and her husband come in tomorrow morning. My apartment is a mess, my car hasn't been cleaned in months and my sanity is hanging on by a thread.

I was so excited when I went to bed on Wednesday night because I didn't have to set an alarm. I fell asleep around 1 am ... and woke up at 5:30. I could not for the life of me fall back to sleep. I laid in bed watching some super awesome early morning television (did you know that Boy Meets World is still on television?!?! Now you do. You're welcome). After a few hours of laying in bed feeling annoyed that I couldn't sleep, I decided to go for a run, since I knew my parents would be jetlagged and I'd have some time to kill. I figured I'd just do a quick 2 miles around my neighborhood. Bad plan. During my 2 shorter runs last week, I noticed a lot of stiffness in my right hamstring. On Saturday, I ran 4 measly miles on the treadmill. During my run I felt great, but about an hour later (as I met my friend at a dog park to chase puppies) my right hip was killing me. Like, limping ow it hurts don't make me walk the two blocks back to my car, killing me). I went home (well, I went to the library. Then I went home ...) iced, rolled, stretched and the pain was completely gone by Monday. I didn't have a chance to run again until yesterday. My run itself was fine, but after the run, my hip was killing me again! It didn't help that my dad decided he really wanted to see Venice Beach, so could we please walk from the Venice Pier to the Santa Monica Pier (6 miles round trip) and oh, we actually have to be somewhere this afternoon, so we have to walk really quickly on the way back and wait, you weren't wearing the right shoes for that? Also, in case anyone was wondering, it's kind of mortifying walking the Venice boardwalk with your parents.

I don't know if my whole family is going to make it through this weekend alive. Oh well. Gidget's Rule #5 - Roll with the punches.

Monday, May 9, 2011

You May Be Right ...

I may be crazy. In keeping with yesterday's "I am really good at random trivia" theme, today is Billy Joel's birthday. When I was younger, I loved Billy Joel. L.O.V.E.D. I stole all of his cds from my Mom and used to listen to them pretty exclusively from 6th to 8th grade [no one said I was cool]. I've seen him in concert twice and both times were amazing. I will raise a glass of wine in honor of Mr. Joel's birthday, just like I did for Mr. Truman's birthday last night [and whatever random famous person I can find tomorrow].

In other news, this weeks is the epitome of hectic. I somehow got suckered into working full time today ad tomorrow [for my unpaid dead end job, in case anyone was keeping score at home]. I have an exam on Wednesday night that I have studied approximately 45 minutes for. My parents on coming into town on Wednesday night. My grandma/aunt/uncle/small children are coming on Friday. My sister and her husband are coming on Saturday. Oh yeah, and I'm graduating from law school on Sunday. Somewhere between now and Wednesday I have to clean my apartment, study for my exam and do about 87 loads of laundry (because apparently you ca't wear tempo shorts to graduation. Who knew?). I'm also trying desperately not to have a nervous breakdown. I'm hoping to get some running time in, but I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Second Place Is First Loser

Anyone's who has ever read this blog or met me in real life knows that I am not the best runner. Let's not kid ourselves, 9/10 I'm the worst runner. I'm never going to win a race or even my age division (until I'm in the 70+ category - then watch out!). Despite what my lack of hardcore training may suggest, I don't like this about my running. When I was growing up, "winning" was everything. If you weren't the best at something or you couldn't be the best at something in the future, there was no point in doing it. "Second place is just first loser."

I think because of this, I've always been a pretty competitive person and [not to toot my own horn but] I've been pretty successful in everything I've done. Until now. I've been thinking a lot about this since the Boston Marathon. Let's face it, I'm never going to BQ. For most "casual" runners [i.e. those who do not get paid to run], Boston is the holy grail. That's what people work for and train for. It's the great accomplishment of running. And I'm never going to get there. So why run? Why put my body through 1/2 marathons that I have to slog through and come out demoralized? Yes, I like running. Yes, I like what running has done for my weight. But is it time to give up competitive running?

All of this isn't helping my panic about graduation. I worked my rear end off for 3 years and as hard as I tried, I'm not going to graduate at the top of my class. I'm not going to graduate with a fancy big law job and a 6 figure salary. I'm going to graduate in the middle of my class, from a middle tier law school, with no job and 6 figures worth of student loans. I've been asking myself a lot lately, was it worth it? I'm not sure.

I'm not going to give up competitive running just yet, just like I'm not going to give up practicing law (I totally couldn't afford to NOT be a lawyer right now). I'm focusing instead on what I AM the best at. I'm the best at straightening my hair. Seriously. I've got super thick, super curly hair down to the middle of my back and I can straighten it in 15 minutes with no mirror. I'm a pro. I am the best at random trivia - for example, today is not only Mother's Day, but also Harry Truman's Birthday and V-E Day. Your fun fact of the day. You're welcome. I was once the best at flip cup, although I am woefully out of practice. Apparently it's not acceptable to binge drink and play psuedo-drinking games as an adult. Who knew.

What are you the best at? 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

PCRF Half Marathon (Race?) Recap Part 2 [or How I Totally Took the Prize for Worst Race Fail Ever. In. Life.]

I had grand plans for Saturday night. I was going to eat pasta, drink tons of water and be in bed by 8. And clearly by that I meant eat Taco Bell, drink tons of wine and be in bed by midnight. Whoops. That should have been sign numero uno that this was not going to be my race.

I woke up on Sunday at 4:45, feeling not quite hungover but not quite right. I had casually pretended to be a real person the night before, so all of my gear was "laid" out [aka thrown in a small pile at the food of my bed]. Excellent. I got dressed, grabbed my water bottle from the fridge and headed out. The race started at 7 but I wanted to get there a little early, since I hadn't gotten my bib from Sarah yet. As I was driving down to Irvine, I had this weird nagging feeling that I had forgotten something (along with a growing hangover). Garmin? No, got that. Phone? Nope, right there. What was I missing?

I got to Irvine around 6:15 which was perfect. The race was right off the freeway, which was awesome, and there was free parking. Holla! [Something about living in Los Angeles makes a person covet free parking]. I grabbed my stuff (went back about 4 times because I kept forgetting my headband) and finally made it the start area around 6:30. The starting area of this race was great. There were no lines for the porta potties and everything was really relaxed. My first 1/2 was Rock & Roll Los Angeles in October which was huge. The starting area of PCRF was much more organized. I'm not sure if I was just more blase about this or if it was the atmosphere but I wasn't nervous or anxious at all. I met Sarah, grabbed my bib and headed to the start. Sarah was starting all the way in the front (because she's an amazing rockstar) and I headed towards the back of the pack. I lined up right behind the 2:45 group, not necessarily because that was my goal, but because it was a convenient way of keeping pace. I knew I hadn't trained, but I figured I'd run what I could, walk if I had to and sort of muddle my way through.

After a fun little warm up from Lululemon and the national anthem we were off. As I crossed the starting line (about a minute after the start - so much different than LA!), I realized what I had forgotten. Breakfast. I had forget to eat breakfast. Oh. Crap. All I had was an FRS on my way down (thanks Sarah!). This was not good. I thought about eating a Gu right away, but I only had 2 and I didn't know if there'd be any along the course. I knew immediately I was in trouble, but there was nothing to do about it now.

Miles 1-6 were awesome. I was running just in front of the pace group and I felt great. The pace was easy, it wasn't too hot, it wasn't too windy. Nothing hurt. I was jamming to my music (and by that I clearly mean singing out loud awkwardly). It was great. I had been taking water at every stop, because I knew I was dehydrated from the night before. Right around here I made mistake numero dos - I took some sort of sports drink instead of water. I didn't actually mean to take it, I thought I was just taking water. When I realized what it was, I figured I'd take it - it was calories and I needed calories. BUT. I don't train with sports drinks. I rarely drink them. In fact, I rarely drink anything that's not water (or alcohol, obvs). The sports drink was so sweet. Like, hurt my teeth sweet. It was not sitting well with my stomach and I had a ton of saliva in my mouth (note: this is the least gross part of this post. If it's too much, go ahead and close your window now. It's ok, I'll wait).

So anyway, the sports drink and I were not getting along. I kept telling myself to hold on until the next water stop, where I could grab some water and hopefully get the taste out of my mouth. At the next water stop, they were handing out water AND gels. Outstanding! I really can't say no to free things and I was pumped that I wouldn't have to use my own gels. This was mistake numero tres - trying something new in the middle of a race. I've only ever had vanilla and blackberry gus. They work for me, I don't think they're gross, and I'm a creature of habit. I'm one of those "buy the same shirt in 17 colors once you know you like it" kind of girls. This gel was neither gu, nor one of my preferred flavors. It was some sort of mocha something. I chugged as much water as I could to get the initial taste out of my mouth, then took half the gel. Bad plan. This gel was not delicious. It was not even tolerable. My stomach, which was a little annoyed at me to begin with, started an open rebellion. By the middle of mile 7, I watched the pace group pass me. Every step I ran made me feel a little more nauseous. Miles 7-9 [ish? it got a little hazy] went through some sort of nature trail with a lot of shrubbery. I started dry heaving and had to walk. Shockingly hard to run and throw up at the same time. I had nothing in my stomach besides water and gel, so I couldn't even throw up properly. To say it was miserable would be an understatement.

It was right around this time that I first started to notice how dehydrated I was getting. My fingers had been swelling a little bit in the earlier miles, but by now they were so swollen I couldn't make a fist. This was not good. I was actually starting to get a littler worried that the swelling and the throwing up were related. I stopped at the porta potty around mile 9 to try and get my act together. This was when I discovered that I had gotten my period. Seriously, body? Seriously? They don't give out tampons in half marathons. Fun fact. It was at this point I officially decided this was just going to be a comedy of errors and let it go. I'd just finish the race as slow as I needed to, I'd chug as much water as I could and I'd hope for the best.

For a couple of miles, I had noticed that I was developing a blister on my right foot. I've gotten really bad blisters since I started running, no matter how many times I get fitted for new shoes or wear fancy running socks. It's a thing. But this one was getting pretty bad. I started alternating walking and running. My hips hurt when I walked and my feet hurt when I ran. It was sort of a no win situation, but I was moving along, feeling as good as can be expected.

At mile 11, my mp3 player died. Apparently, when you plug things in to charge drunkenly, you don't always do it right. Outstanding. But I could see the mile 12 marker. I'd be fine. I took a step and felt something squish. At first, I thought I had stepped on someone's discarded gel. Then I looked down. No, no I had not. I had popped the blister that was developing on my right foot. My toes instantly felt better but my foot was now bloody. Apparently it was a blood blister. Lovely. I officially looked like the female version of 2004 Curt Schilling.

I crossed the finish line and just laughed. This was easily the most ridiculous run I have ever been on. I grabbed about 14 water bottles and an apple and headed back to my car.  My feet hurt and my hips hurt, but other than that I felt ok. I had started to develop a really bad headache, but I chalked it up to a combination of dehydration/allergies/residual hangover. When I was driving back up to LA, I started getting a little dizzy and I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. It was actually a really scary experience because I didn't know what was wrong with me. I pulled off and found a bagel store. I grabbed a bagel and another water and sat in my car eating it. I finally started to feel better, but I have officially learned my lesson. Gidget's Rule #4: Don't run a half marathon on an empty stomach.

When I got home, I showered and then headed right back out to the library. No post nap race for this girl. All in all, I was glad I ran it. I don't know that it accomplished what I had hoped, though. I was pretty disappointed in myself for not pushing through everything. I knew I wasn't physically in shape for this kind of distance, but I didn't realize that I wasn't mentally in shape either. That was absolutely a let down and something I'm going to need to ruminate on a little bit. One of these days I'm going to run a race that I have actually trained for without being injured. That will be awesome.

What's your worst race experience?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

PCRF Half Marathon (Race?) Recap Part 1 [or How I Decided This Was A Good Idea]

Let's get this out of the way now: This sucked. Not because of the race, not because of the organizers, not because of anything other than I sucked and was woefully unprepared. But I did it, and that was pretty amazing.

Ok, on to the deets (do people say deets anymore? did I just date myself?).

Yes, I have been MIA. No, I didn't secretly plan to run a half marathon and not tell you guys. This one just kind of ... happened. I'd been feeling pretty low about myself. As I mentioned, D's new girlfriend is in my profession and she's unbelievably successful, in a way I'll never be. I know I shouldn't compare myself and blah blah blah but honestly (and we're all about honesty here - Gidget's Rule #3: Always tell the truth), it's been a huge blow to my self esteem. I've been doing a lot of internal soul searching and I've been feeling pretty unaccomplished. Yes, I'm about to graduate law school, yes, I moved across the country all by myself but I couldn't convince myself those things were awesome.

I had 2 exams and a paper within 24 hours of each other on Thursday/Friday. I was drinking my 3436th latte of the morning when I got this magical tweet from the beautiful Sarah:
Well, no, no I wasn't. I had an exam on Monday and an exam on Tuesday. I was going to spend my entire weekend in the library, by myself, feeling alone and stupid and unaccomplished. But wait, why do you ask? Oh, you have an extra bib for a half marathon? On Saturday? No. No, I couldn't possibly ... Well ... Ok, I'll do it. 

Here's what was going through my head:
"I'm not trained."
"I couldn't possibly."
"Well, I was going to run 6-8 miles anyway."
"How bada$$ would I be if I ran a half marathon in the middle of finals?"
"I bet she never ran a half marathon in the middle of finals ..."

"Ok, I'll do it."

And just like that, I was running a half marathon. In 2 days. With no training. On 4 hours of sleep. OUTSTANDING.

Stay tuned for Part 2 [or How I Totally Took the Prize for Worst Race Fail Ever. In. Life.]

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Half Marathon?

So, I ran the PCRF half marathon today ... yeah. About that.

I finished and I didn't die. Let's just leave it at that for now.

Off to ice, bandage my feet (because there is definitely blood on my sneakers ... excellent) and head to the library. Because I'm in the middle of finals. Yeah. I don't know who thought this would be a good idea.

Race report to come!