I've moved!!
NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE: runaroundsara.blogspot.com

Monday, July 11, 2011

Git R Done!

In talking with a friend today, she mentioned that she hadn't been getting my blog updates lately. That's because I have changed my blog address and she wasn't following me on my new blog!  

Many of you haven't either!! 

Please go to my new blog 

and follow me there! 

I won't be blogging here anymore and I don't want you to miss out on any of my wicked cool adventures!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I've moved!!

If you remember correctly, last week I had a contest to re-name my blog. Jennifer and Richelle both suggested some great names and will both be winning a pair of snazzy socks. Congrats and thank you for your ideas!

I have decided on the name Run Around Sara. In fact, I've already migrated everything over to my new blog. Please go visit me there, and of course follow me there as well!!

Go now! 

Oh and I also created a twitter account: @runaroundsara. You know, if you want to follow me there too. Or something.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Running is the devil. It hurts people.

NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

As I sit here with ice on my shins, I’m reflecting back to the past few months. I’ve been so emotionally drained because I’m pushing myself physically and yet, still, I cannot run for 3 minutes straight. I’ve been doing this since January. Swimming, biking and trying to run. I’ve surpassed my swimming and biking goals easily. Yet I’m stuck on running. I’ve tried the Couch to 5K program in the past and haven’t been able to move past week 3 because I can’t get up to running for 3 minutes straight. So in beginning this triathlon journey I decided to follow a triathlon plan and work on the running that way. It didn’t work. So I switched to other running plans. I tried running drills, I tried short intervals for longer periods of time, I tried everything I could think of, but I just couldn’t get this running thing done. Finally I decided to give Couch to 5K another chance. I worked my way up through week 2 and I felt strong and confident that maybe I could do this. I had been building up endurance and strength in other areas since January, and now I needed to work on the running. Finally, I hit week 3 and even though I knew I hadn’t been able to do it in the past, I felt confident. Until I tried it again. I’ve tried Week 3, day 1 three times now. I told myself I wasn’t going to go past a day that I couldn’t complete and go about it at my own pace, but that I’d keep to the schedule so that I didn’t do too much too fast and get hurt.

Well guess what. I’m hurt. Last night I went for a walk with my mom and dogs, but decided to do a few running intervals up and down the side streets of our complex. I started having shin pain and had to walk most of the time. Tonight, I tried Week 3 day 1 again and couldn’t run for more than 45 seconds before I had to walk due to the pain in my shins. First, I had a hissy-fit and flailed my arms, stomped my foot (which made my shin hurt more) then cried "Why the hell can't I just DO this?". Finn looked at me curiously, probably wondering if I was talking to him or myself. Then I re-grouped, because now I was crying in public and I tried doing a speed-walker shuffle/pee-pee dance run-walk thing. That alleviated the pain and I was going faster than my normal walking, but it’s still not running. And I’m sure I looked wicked cool. Seriously, just try and picture it.

I started thinking about why I’m having shin pain now, after 6 months of trying this running stuff and I think I’ve found the culprit. Pavement. I’ve done almost all of my training up until now on the treadmill. Besides my 5K races, I haven’t been outside at all before Week 2 day 3 of Couch to 5K. Even though I’m completely discouraged, and pissed off that I can’t do this, I’m not a quitter and I will complete this.

I have two options right now. I can continue my training on the treadmill and finish the couch to 5K program on the treadmill and then transition to pavement after I know I can run for 30+ minutes straight. Or, I can start over. Week 1, Day 1 on the pavement and build up that way. I'm seriously torn between the two. Both have pros and cons. Your thoughts?

Either way right now I need to take a few days off of running so my shins can stop hurting. I also need to be stretching more. Maybe take a few yoga classes like I keep talking about to get myself more limber. 

But no matter what I decide, I will never quit. Quitting is a weakness and I’m way too proud for that bullshit.

By the way, don’t forget to check out my “What’s in a Name” contest. It ends on Friday night. Hurry up and enter, because as it stands, Jenn and Richelle are winning by default as they have the only entries! And really with so few entries your odds of winning are huge! 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What's in a name?

NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

I've been thinking about the name of my blog and I want to change it. I think. 

More specifically, the address. Right now it's http://sariah8.blogspot.com. Since this is a blog about my mission to a triathlon and what I'm doing to train, I'd like it to be something about that and not "sariah8" which is really a username more than anything. And because I'm also planning on a half marathon after the triathlon, I guess I'm in this for the long haul and don't know if I just want it to be all about the tri. But, I'm indecisive. And I also can't think of a name. So I need your help.

Any ideas? I was thinking of making this a contest/giveaway, but I'm new at this and don't really have anything to give away. Um, a pair of socks? YES. A special fun, funky pair of socks. Who doesn't like socks? And I'll choose the socks based on the winner's personality. So they'll definitely be fun, funky & cool! Really, this is a win-win situation for all of us!

Here's the deal, you can list as many blog names as you like. But put each idea/name in a different comment. And follow me too. Yes, bonus points if you're a follower. Who knows, maybe 2 pairs of socks will be given away! (Probably) Actually, yes. I will choose a winner based on the blog name choice and another winner will be chosen at random for a bonus prize.

Okay, let's get organized. First winner will be chosen based on my biased opinion and what I like for a blog name. The second winner will be chosen at random. The prize: besides the sheer satisfaction of being the winner, SOCKS.

Enter as follows (each entry needs a new comment):
  • Suggest a name for my blog (or two, or three, or seven)
  • Follow my blog (and then you'll have to re-follow my new blog once the new name is chosen, haha!!)
  • Promote this contest/giveaway on your blog, twitter, facebook, run through the streets screaming, make posters, etc.

What I'd like:
  • Something clever of course, because you know me. I'm clever.
  • Using my name is good (it's Sara in case you're new around here)
  • Anything dealing with swimming, biking, running, triathlon, racing, etc
  • Catchy is good
  • Play on words
  • What you think when you think of me (maybe I don't want that)
  • Brutal honesty

I'll end the contest on Friday of this week (6/17/11) and announce the winner on Saturday, 6/18/11. A whole week of fun!

I can't wait too see all your ideas!! And GO.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mental fatigue vs. Physical fatigue. Which is worse?

NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

Que a serious post here:

Something’s going on with me lately. I’ve been having what I’ve been calling psychotic breaks. Or mental breakdowns. Whichever sounds scarier. I’ve diagnosed myself on WebMD, and it’s true. I’m crazy.

When training for a 5K or 10K or triathlon, or half marathon, or anything really, is the mental fatigue worse than the physical fatigue? I get it that I’m working my body harder than I have before and I’m pushing the limits. I’m getting stronger and I’m able to do much more than I could 6 months ago. But I feel like I’m losing my mind. Like I’m so mentally tired that I can’t control my emotions in a normal way. I’ll fly off the handle and get really angry and scream in a Hulk-like manner, then dissolve into tears for an undetermined time period. And then 10 minutes later, I’m fine. Back to “normal”.

A few things have happened lately that I am not proud of and I debated talking about it here to give the full picture, but decided against it because, honestly, I'm ashamed of my actions. I've done a few things in the past two months that I haven't been able to control and immediately regretted, which causes the tears and hysterical crying. Maybe it's my way of "getting it all out", but it's not cool. I need another outlet. This anger is NOT like me. I don’t know what to do. Yoga? Meditation? Massages? Will that really help? Is it worth my money?

Is the fact that I'm pushing myself physically affecting me emotionally and mentally?

I’ve been slightly more moody than usual too. But I’ve attributed that to stress. And the only stressful thing going on lately is this triathlon training. When I push myself too hard, I get stressed out and tell myself that I need to calm down and take more rest days to balance everything out. But then if I take more rest days, I panic and think that I won't be ready in time. It's a vicious cycle.

I also don't have anyone to talk to about it really. Not in person anyway. I ramble about 5Ks and training runs and bike rides and what I did last night for my workout, but no one that I come in contact with on a regular basis really cares. It's not stuff that anyone is really into, so to them it's boring. It would be like someone passionate about politics talking to me about the debate they watched on TV last night. I'd gloss over and tune them out within 30 seconds because I don't care. So I don't expect anyone to really want to hear my ramblings, especially since this has been going on for the past 6 months. I know if the situation were reversed, I'd be sick of hearing about it. I have a group of people that I'm doing this triathlon with, but we don't train together on a regular basis. We just schedule things every now and then depending on all of our schedules. So it's not like I have someone who's obsessed with this like I am who can understand where I'm coming from. Even though I'm surrounded by people doing this with me, I feel completely alone.

What do you do when you have moments like these and don't know which end is up?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

April vs. May: The ultimate showdown on National Running Day

NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

April totals
Swim: 1.45 miles
Bike: 42.16 miles
Run: 18.5 miles
Rest days: 12
Yoga: 20 mins

May totals
Swim: 2.62 miles
Bike: 25.27 miles
Run: 18.03 miles
Rest days: 15

Compared to April, May sucked. I mean, it wasn’t horrible, but my running was less, my biking was almost half, and I had more rest days. I need to work on that hardcore. Swimming looked pretty good though! I really felt like I did more in May. And seeing the numbers puts me in my place. So I need to cut it out and stop with so many rest days. I mean, I know I need to rest my body, and I think I really only took rest days when I was in pain, sick or utterly exhausted (or unless I hadn’t taken a rest day that week and it was scheduled). Except for last weekend. Two of those rest days were complete laziness. But 2 out of 15 isn’t too bad. Should I really be putting myself down for this? Or is it normal? I feel like I should have done better.

I’m stepping up my game in June. I swear. Maybe.

I started that enthusiasm with a run this afternoon. I had a vet appointment for my mom’s cat at 6pm. I get out of work at 5pm, So, I planned to run after I got home from the vet at around 6:30 or 7pm. Instead, I got out of work early around 3:15 and called my vet to get an earlier appointment. They didn’t have one for the cat doctor, but I needed to take my dog, Snickers, in for her yearly exam anyway and scheduled a 4pm with the dog doctor.

Meanwhile, a huge storm front was moving through.

The white X is where I live. On the outskirts of the storm.
By huge, I mean severe thunderstorms and tornado watches. Since it was only sprinkling when I left the vet’s office for the first time, I decided to get my run in before my second vet appointment. I took my other dog, Finn, with me. He’s 7 months old and not a good leash dog, but I figured, practice makes perfect, right? So we set out. It was barely sprinkling as we started and figured I wasn’t going to melt so why not? Well, after about 3/4 mile, it started downpouring. That’s why not. One of my neighbors saw me go by and opened her door and yelled out to me “We’re under a tornado watch! You should get inside!” I replied “Yes, I know, thank you!” and continued on my way.

See those 3 blue spirals? Yup, tornado touchdowns.

Finn actually did quite well on the leash.
New running partner!
Completely soaked.
What was I thinking? I have to admit, I was more concerned with getting hit by lightening that I was with a tornado. I was counting the seconds between lightening and thunder to make sure I was safe. All of a sudden, I saw lightening and counted to ONE, before the thunder snapped all around me. Finn was jogging slightly behind me at this point and he hightailed it up to me and tried to go between my legs, almost toppling me in the process. I was already soaked, I didn’t need to fall into a puddle, thankyouverymuch.

I took that as a sign to turn around and go home. After vet appointment number two, the sun came out. My timing is amazing.

But about the actually running. I re-did Couch to 5K week 2 day 3, since I hadn’t run in a week, but I felt like it was easy. I mean, not easy, but I probably could have done week 3 day 1 which goes from a 1:30 running intervals to 3 minute intervals. And, this was outside and not on my treadmill where I’ve been doing the C25K program. I thought it was going to be harder. I was pleasantly surprised. However, my biggest critic (myself) had been analyzing everything. Either my biking last weekend really helped strengthen my legs and made my running stronger, or, I was running a lot slower than I do on the treadmill. My pace on my Garmin says that I was running slower. WAY slower. Yet my average times are right on point, even faster, than what I was doing on the treadmill. Whatever, who knows. Blame it on the rain. And really, isn’t the point to keep running for longer periods of time, and work on the speed later? Right, I thought so.

I guess it was only fitting that today is National Running Day

I found that out tonight after my run. No, that’s a lie, I heard about it earlier today on twitter, but I forgot about it until I saw people talking about it, and showing off their badges, when I was reading blogs tonight. So of course, I got my very own badge. I mean, really, If I’m gonna do it, I want a medal badge for it.

Uh, not really. I run because I have to. Because it's part of the triathlon. It doesn't feel great. Whoever tells you that is lying. It hurts.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Biking 101: The photo companion

I've moved!!
NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

The helpful photo guide for the previous blog post:  Biking 101: Don't bike by yourself in a secluded area. Imagination is a killer.

And, go.
The beginning of the Cotton Valley Trail
So it looks like I go across the tracks...
...and onto this path. 
Nope. I had to get onto the tracks.
But then it turned into this and stayed mostly like this. Very nice.
This was where I had no clue where to go.
Off to the left are rocks.
To the right are the tracks, but no path. WTF?
My leprechaun led me down this path.
And then through this fence, where I was sure I was going to
hit my handle bars and go ass over tea kettle.
And then there was this beauty.
Water on each side.
Nice view, eh?
The end of the trail in downtown Wolfeboro
Then I biked back. For that visual, just scroll up and look at the pictures in the reverse order.

This is the Fernald station. Guarding the entrance to Creepyville

Signs informing where to go and how long it takes to get there.
And....an outhouse. I don't know if it's in working order. I didn't check.

I'll leave you with this one bit of helpful information. If a sign tells you to get off your bike and walk across the platform, you should probably listen. Especially if the railroad tracks aren't even with the path.

Like this...
Because something might happen...

Someone didn't read the sign.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Biking 101: Don't bike by yourself in a secluded area. Imagination is a killer.

I've moved!!
NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

I’ve been excited to bike the Cotton Valley Rail Trail in Wolfeboro, NH ever since I heard of it about 2 weeks ago. That’s a lie, I knew it existed before 2 weeks ago, but I have never been on it and I didn’t know anything about it. It was described to me as flat, paved & easy. I figured it would be a nice leisurely bike ride and that I could convince people to bike with me on it. I also have an upcoming 5K and duathlon that will be running along the same trail, so I wanted to check it out and see for myself how it looked.

I checked it out on Google maps and figured out where it started and ended so I had an idea of how long it was and how many miles I’d get out of it. It showed me that it was about 3 miles long, one way. So I knew that if I wanted to get any good mileage on it, I’d have to do an out and back at least twice.

Yesterday, I headed down to one end of the trail and became dinner for 472,389 mosquitos as I unloaded my bike. I kept telling myself that all I had to do was get moving and they wouldn’t be able to keep up with me and buzz in my ears (HATE that).

I started off and was a little surprised that it wasn’t paved. It was dirt and gravel. I figured that it would start off a dirt path, then turn into paved for the majority. Nope. Not one inch of the trail was paved. Luckily I have a hybrid bike and not a road bike. I don’t think I’d have been able to bike it if it was a road bike. About a 3rd of a mile down the path, it went across the railroad tracks. There was a sign that said, “Walk across the wooden bridge” for bikers, but then the path ended. Kinda. I could either bike down the middle of the tracks or cross over it and go into a wooded path. There was a sign pointing me towards the wooded path, so I figured that I should follow it and maybe it would even out and become paved at some point. I followed that for about 20 seconds before it became impossible to ride. There were roots everywhere and there was no way I could stay on the bike and make it out alive. I got off my bike and started walking. After about 2 minutes of walking and constant thoughts of, “This cannot be right”, I decided to go back to the car and head to the other end of the path in downtown Wolfeboro and start from there. When I got back to the railroad tracks, I looked up the tracks and saw the path continue further down the tracks. I thought maybe I was supposed to ride down the middle of the tracks and meet up with the path on the other side. That was exactly what I was supposed to do. So I continued on the trail.

It was strange to be riding on dirt and not pavement. I was worried that maybe I’d pop a tire on a stray rock of something, but everything held up okay. I was riding behind houses and along the water. It was a nice ride and there were some beautiful parts of the trail. But only as it headed towards downtown Wolfeboro. The other way? No. More on that later.

I got to one point on the trail where I was a little confused as to which way to go. Right at that moment, I heard a bell and someone informing me that they were “passing on the left”. It was a little old man with a big basket attached to the front of his bike.  As he passed I said, “I’m not sure where the trail goes from here, do you know?” No answer. He peddled off towards a trail that I wouldn’t have noticed if it weren’t for him. So I said “Oh, this way? Ok yeah, sure I’ll follow you”. It was a bit of an Alice in Wonderland moment and I was following the crazy white rabbit. Or a leprechaun. Either way, it was odd. I had no idea where I was and it looked like it might have been the right path. Maybe. This part of the trail wound back and forth, whereas the rest of the path was straight. With each bend of the path, my little leprechaun man disappeared and I had to hurry to catch up with him. Then as soon as the path straightened out again and started looking like it had earlier, he pulled over to take a rest on a bench and I kept going. I definitely had a “did that just happen?” moment.

I got to the end of the trail in downtown Wolfeboro and stopped for a moment to check out the map. It was there that I realized that the trail wasn’t just 3 miles. It was 3 miles from where I started to where I was at the moment, but if I had gone the other way, it was another 3 miles. I guess Google maps didn’t get that memo.

On the way back, it was still light out, but the sun had gone down considerably and there was a lot of cover from the trees, so I didn’t need my sunglasses. But I noticed that there were swarms of mosquitos (or black flies, either way, not a good time) in the middle of the path, just hovering, waiting for someone to come by. Since I was moving, they couldn’t swarm me, but they sure as hell could swarm together and wait for me to run into them. I put my sunglasses back on as protection. A little later, I passed a woman on her bike and we smiled at each other. A bug flew into my mouth and I almost died. Not really, I just spit it out but, gross. From then on, anyone I passed got a closed mouth smile, which probably looked like a creepy grimace. But, no bugs!

By the time I made it back to my car, I was curious about the other side of the trail, so I decided to check it out. The easiest way for me to say this is: It. Was. Scary. It was secluded and mostly woods with a few houses and warehouses spread out along the trail. I had an uneasy feeling the entire time. It might have started when I saw a man sitting in his car in the parking lot to the trail. My imagination might have started to play games with me. Let’s just say I kept looking over my shoulder to make sure I wasn’t being followed. About a mile in I came across a jogger, and then another biker, both women, so I felt a little better, but I still was a little nervous about my surroundings. I saw a warehouse that looked sketchy with a brand new SUV sitting out front and I immediately thought, “Why is there such a nice car parked at an old warehouse? That’s probably where they take people to torture them, then kill them”. I pedaled a little bit faster. Then I saw a rundown house and thought, “They probably keep a lookout for people on this path and come out here and kill them as they pass by”. For some reason, I kept going. My imagination had already taken a trip somewhere bad and there was apparently no talking myself out of it. As I continued on, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a pair of jeans slung over a fence of some sort. I turned to look and realized it was a barbed wire fence. There was nothing around this area. No house, no road, no nothing. Just woods. So of course I thought, “Holy sh!t. There is a guy living in that house up there that took a woman off this trail and killed her and hung her jeans up over that barbed wire fence as a warning to all other people. And he might get me! But I’m not wearing jeans. Maybe he won’t want me”. Remember, I said there was no house anywhere? In my imagination, there was. Then I started singing to myself. You know like those little kids in movies when they are scared in the dark and they sing to themselves to make everything less scary? Yes, that was me.

As if all that wasn’t enough, I started seeing weird marks on the trail, like the dirt was darker in some places than it was for the majority of the trail. I’m sure it was from the recent rain in the area and the puddles hadn’t fully gone away, making the dirt darker, or you know, mud. But this crazy, insane, scary place that I was in at that moment had me convinced that they were bloodstains from people who were killed out on the trail in the past few months. That was the final straw. I turned around and hightailed it out of there. I tried not to look at the jeans on the barbed wire, the sketchy house or the warehouse with the new SUV in front of it, but I couldn’t help it. I needed to be sure no one was coming for me.

On my way back, I saw another jogger coming toward me. I muttered to her, “Good luck out there”. She smiled and said “Thanks”. She had no idea.

I made it back to my car and saw at the station that the sign said 3.1 miles to Wolfeboro and 7.8 miles to Route 16. Both via the trail. I had only ridden about 2 miles toward Route 16 before I freaked myself out enough to turn around. I can’t imagine almost 6 more miles of mental torture!  I’ll ride the 3.1 miles over and over. That part of the trail was nice. No way in hell am I riding 7.8 miles along that death trap the other way!

Of course for this adventure, I forgot my camera, and my phone. So, no pictures. However, I will try this trail again. Hopefully tomorrow and I’ll bring a camera to capture the picturesque views and oddities of the Cotton Valley Trail. I know you can hardly wait so I’ll try to be quick about it. For now, here’s a picture of the trail headquarters right near where I parked, AKA, entrance to CreepyVille.

Right behind that red building is the entrance to CreepyVille

Update: Check out the photo companion for this adventure!