• sisters on a mission.

  • Three sisters. One in Virginia. One in London. One in New York. None of whom wear shorts. Ever.

  • the mission?

    Running.
    Taking delight.
    Learning Italian.
    Getting to Italy.
    Wearing shorts.
    In Italy.
    June 2011.

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back in the saddle

Daisy : Lead Slacker

Well, well, well.   I can’t believe it has already been a month since our fun run.  And nary a peep from the sisters.  What a bunch of slackniks.

I can’t speak for Cathlin and Colleen, but my motivation tanked when we started having 100+ degree / 80+ % humidity days on a regular basis.  Who can think under those conditions, much less string words together to create readable sentences?

Plus my training has been completely out of whack.  I decided to take another break from running (the old foot issue) and do some biking instead in a nice cool gym.  Then I took a week off of everything and sat around eating cupcakes and feeling sorry for myself because my foot still hurt.  Which, sadly,  didn’t help either.  So, I sought the help of a professional (podiatrist) and am (fingers crossed) back on track.

Anyhoo, back to my misadventures in biking.  My gym has a few expresso bikes that have virtual courses you can ride.  They’re cool – the handlebars move and there is a shifter with 20-something gears.  The settings vary from flat short race courses on a track on a bright sunny day to alpine trails in the early morning to coastal rides at dusk.    Other bikers are on the course and there is a pacer that you can stay or leave behind.

My first time out, I did a 3.5 mile coastal ride and gave the shifter a workout as I chugged up and down the hills.  And curves.  Did I mention the sharp curves on the hills and the steep drop off on either side of the path?  On the curvy hills?  Leading to certain catastrophe if you strayed from the path?  I had the handles in a death grip as I tried to work up the nerve to pass a couple of riders that were blocking me.  Every time I thought I had a shot, another curve would pop up.   Damn it!  I was starting to sweat profusely and I’m sure there were unsightly veins popping out of my neck due to the stress.

Finally, I made my move on a straight-away.  Whew!  What a relief.  I settled in and made it to the finish line.  Nerves still jangling, I staggered over to the water fountain, grabbed hold of the edge and took a big swig.   Thankfully no one noticed the not-so-virtual dork with the weak knees.  At least I hope not.

Well, you know what they say about getting back on the horse that threw you (or almost made you throw up).  So, I adjusted my saddle, hopped on and rode a flat course immediately afterward, purposefully trying to veer off the trail and run into other riders just to see what would happen.

Of course the program wouldn’t let me.  The tires refused to go outside the line and the offending riders vanished in a poof as I made contact.  All that worry for nothing, except maybe a few extra calories burned.  Confidence reinstalled, I recklessly rode the coastal trail again the following week,  careening down hills and plowing into anyone who got in my way.  Take that!

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two down, one to go

gotta love coded socks

I’m happy to announce that I have officially joined Cathlin in completing the C25K training program.  Woot!

I did my last run yesterday morning on one of the hottest days (100+) of this summer so far.   Thankfully it was only 80 degrees and 65% humidity when Daisy and I headed out at 6:00 am.

If I hadn’t been so committed to finishing yesterday I might have psyched myself out when I opened the door and felt that heat.  Did the powers that be not get the memo that I was doing my final run?

Well never mind.  I was going and that was that.  I already had on my favorite and fancy-bum-worthy (and kinda pricey) asics hera socks in honor of the occasion.  The hot pink and orange ones to entice my feet to move out at a faster pace (wishful thinking).  I love the fit of these socks with their L and R on the toes.  I have four pairs in different fun color combos.  Seriously, the other socks in my drawer are jealous because they never get to go out anymore.

Anyhoo.  With happy feet we jogged down unpaved alleys for the first 10 minutes to ease into things and then crossed over onto the sidewalks of the Fan.  Very cool neighborhood.  Great architecture.  None of which I noticed as I dodged uprooted sidewalks and kept an eye out for squirrels and other distractions (for Daisy not me) while also trying to focus on my form and my breathing.

And not looking at my watch.  There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve run at least 15 minutes and then peeking at the time and realizing it has only been 10.  Also, I know I said I was going to try to inject some faster sections into my runs but with the heat and humidity I just couldn’t do it.   Or at least chose not to do it.  Still, I was plenty sweaty and Daisy’s tongue was hanging out by the time we finished.  She got some extra loving for her efforts.

I forgot to do my victory dance and couldn’t find my cap and gown.  But I did have a big fat Butterfinger Blondie at lunch in celebration.  Yum.

Dog tired

This morning I passed another milestone in my quest to become a running goddess.  Or at least to not be a pathetic, wheezing, flailing disaster running in pants.

Today marked the start of week 9 for Daisy and me in the C25K program.  Thirty minutes straight.  Woah.   We’ve both come a long way.

Aside from a short poop break (Daisy – not me), we ran all the way!  I did try to jog in place while doing the clean up which I’m sure looked ridiculous but gave me a bonus quad/bum workout.

Now I need to work on picking up the pace.  I mapped a couple of 5K routes in the neighborhood via the US Track and Field website the other day and figured out that I’ve been doing around 12.5 minute miles.   Which translates to a 38.75 minutes to do a 5K.  Which is only a few minutes faster than the Komen 5K I did two months ago at week THREE in the program (and included eight minutes of walking).  That’s discouraging.  I want to be able to do a 5K in 30 minutes.

So, I’m going to start throwing in some faster sections during my runs.  Just to prove to myself that I can.  I started today with the last two minutes and I didn’t keel over.  Woo hoo!  Oh sure my breathing was so loud you’d think I had just completed a marathon but I’m going to celebrate the small steps.

And, while Daisy has decided napping is in order after our run, I actually feel great and have more energy than when I started out this morning.  That’s a very good sign.  Woot! Another small victory.

kicking ass and taking names

Dodgeball Champion

Yes, that’s right, I am a dodgeball CHAMPION!

At great personal risk, I selflessly took a couple of hits to enable the stronger players on our team (those that could actually throw a ball and hit someone) to press on for the win.

I’m so proud.

ALSO,  this morning – after almost three weeks off from running  –  I did the full 25 minute run!   And it was awesome, even with a big dog in tow.  In fact, I felt like I could have gone farther but decided not to push my luck.

Three factors figured into the general awesomeness of the experience:

  • By the time I wrangled Daisy and got out the door, it was 6:00 and already at 74% humidity.   But, it was only 67 degrees.  Glorious in comparison to the damp 90 degree days we’ve been having.
  • I took a new route down Monument Avenue and kept to straight paths as much as possible.  The wide open space made me feel free and avoiding a lot of turns helped me keep my momentum.

I’m so glad to finally be back with the C25K program.  Looking forward to officially starting C25K Week 7 and catching up to my sisters!

downward yodeling dog

[editor’s note – please turn head sideways whilst watching the following video.  If necessary, use your hand to support your head to avoid neck strain.]*

Daisy is the chattiest dog I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.  When something exciting is about to happen (like a walk or a trip to the park) or if she just needs a little attention she starts up with the woo woo woo! Cracks. me. up.  Especially how her mouth forms a little circle.

Today, as I was gritting my way through the Tracy Anderson Mat workout, she started encroaching on my yoga mat.  By the half-way point Daisy had taken it over and commenced with the yodeling.  Who’s paying attention to me?

Silly girl.

* special thanks to Colleen for spending a good half hour on the phone with me while she rotated and resized my video.  Unfortunately, you cannot enjoy the fruits of her labor as we are too cheap to purchase the WordPress video upgrade and had to upload via youtube which promptly ignored her edits.  Lesson learned – don’t get creative with video orientation!

excuse me?

89% humidity!

I started C25K week 6 today.  Should have been easy peasy – just a few 5 and 8 minute runs – but no.  Even with my fancy new shoes, no dog distractions and a razor sharp focus on my form (semi-lucid if we’re keeping it real), I was slow and plodding and out of breath for most of the session.  I have analyzed the situation and can attribute my lack of performance on the following reasons (excuses).

First, the relative humidity was already at 89 percent when I got out the door at 6:00 am. Summer hasn’t even officially started – so not fair!  Thankfully it was only 66 degrees or I would have surely been forced to walk more than Mr. Podcast man advised.

Second, although I can’t say for sure, I would say there is a high probability that the two large glasses of very tasty prosecco I had with dinner were not sufficient to hydrate me for today’s run.   Which is also not. fair.

Third, it also didn’t help that I did not get enough sleep the night before due to a sick puppy dog*.  Which is why I ran solo and without distractions so technically maybe those two should cancel each other out.  Hmmm…  No – upon further reflection, I’m still going to count it.

* BTW, after a very expensive weekend trip to the emergency vet, Daisy is on the road to recovery.   However, I doubt that this experience will have taught her anything about the pitfalls of hoovering.

C25K + camera = slacking

me and my shadows

Hey hey I finished Week 2 of C25K!

David, Daisy and I hit Pony Pasture again for my last run of the week.  It was a gorgeous morning, sunny and not too hot / not too cold.  Such a pretty day, I felt compelled to bring a camera to record it.

Now, unless you count pushing a button, stopping to take pictures while in the middle of a workout kinda negates the whole idea of continuous movement.  In other words, I might not have gotten the best workout ever.  I hope this does not work against me when I start week three but I suspect that it will.

Since I compromised my health to bring you these photos, without further ado, I hereby present a morning on the trail in pictures (with a few words):

Pony Pasture trail

This is near the start of the trail.  I love how quickly you are enveloped in green, which by the way (since no one is asking), is my favorite color.

This gravel looks petite and friendly but there are sections of the trail with fist-sized rocks.  I’m talking several yards of potential ankle-turners.   No daydreaming allowed kind of pebbles. Not very hospitable.  You get the idea.

poison ivy, and lots of it

Don’t you love how green and lush it is on the trails right now?  So, so beautiful.  I stopped and picked some pretty greenery for a centerpiece.

Oh, just kidding.  The trails are rife with poison ivy and probably poison oak and who knows what other pain-mongers.  So, no going off-path to go after the dog.  Hey, if your dog runs through poison ivy and then you pet your dog does it transfer to you?

Daisy, communing with the James River

The trail runs right along the James River and every now and then you come to a clearing with access to the water.  Usually this spot is full of dogs splashing around and fetching balls.  Today the river was running high – life jackets required – so we didn’t  see a lot of activity.

Despite her webbed feet, Daisy is not much of a water dog.  She shocked us last weekend though when she flung herself off the edge, making a huge splash in pursuit of another dog.  I don’t think we were the only ones that were surprised.  Let’s just say she did not make another attempt to go after the ball.

twisted

There are a lot of cool sites along the way.   Always something new to see.  This vine makes me especially happy.  I even double-backed on the trail so I could run back and take a picture to show you.  That’s just how committed I was to my mission today.  I hope it added to your daily delight!

I have no idea what kind of vine this is or how old it is.  All I know is that I dig the crazy way it twists down to the ground and back up in a tangled knot.  How does that happen?

I think this would be a great location for some portrait shots, don’t you?  I need to come back here with my big fancy camera and some supermodels.  Or the nieces and nephews who are all supermodel-worthy.

Pony Pasture Rapids

During the summer, when the river is calmer, sections of the river are loaded with sunbathers splayed out on the smooth rocks like harbor seals.  Only with beer and boom boxes.  Or whatever it is these kids today use to generate music loud enough for shore-walkers to hear.

Ok, you didn’t seriously think I meant it when I used the phrase “these kids today” did you?  ‘Cause I didn’t.  I still feel like a kid myself sometimes.  Or at least in my very early thirties (which I realize sounds ancient to anyone under thirty).  Certainly not forty six.  No way.  No how.

Anyway, enough about age.  We’ve come to the end of the trail and the end of my little tour through scenic Richmond.  I hope you enjoyed the trip.   Daisy certainly did.  But next time, no photos; otherwise I’ll never make it to 5K.

someone's getting a bath