Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Phantom Ranch

I'm going crazy thinking about the Grand Canyon.

We've been talking about trying to book a trip to the GC with the focus of hiking down to the Colorado River and staying for a few nights at Phantom Ranch. It would be awesome! Unfortunately, I hear it's close to impossible to book such a trip for when we want to go. Rooms at the ranch can sell out in less than an hour. Tomorrow I need to be on the phone dialing like a mad woman to try to secure a reservation for late September 2008.

I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to get through to book a room. Which has me hunting all over the internet to find an outfitter who can produce the same trip for me. I found one that seems ideal but it's super expensive. Still, a night at a North Rim Lodge, 2 nights at Phantom Ranch and then another night or two at a South Rim ranch. Sounds fantastic! Plus, they'll lug my gear and cook my food. I totally want to go!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Saturday Group Run - 12 miles and shoe shopping

I was dreading Saturday's run because the forecast said it was going to be really hot and humid. It was very humid, but it wasn't as hot as I'd feared so things went OK.
My Nike+ went bonkers and decided I'd only run about 2.5 miles when really I'd gone at least 4 on the trail. I killed that workout and restarted and it seemed to work a little better but over all I only got credit for about 9 miles instead of 12. Very peksy!

I bought an awesomely cute pair of pink Saucony Triumphs on eBay but I suspect they are some kind of fakes because they were inexpensive and I've never seen pink ones on sale before. I love them though.

I also got a much uglier pair of Merrell Moab Ventilators too. These are for the Megatransect. Outside magazine says they're an awesome all purpose shoe. I really wanted the KEEN Targhee II because they were awesomely comfy and super cute (the picture isn't doing them justice) but they were so heavy compared to the Ventilators I just couldn't do it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

First sign of success!

I've been putting up a lot of miles but I haven't really seen any clear signs of progress until my run last night.

I made it up the hill from hell at VF. I hate that stupid hill and I remember when I thought that I would never, ever be able to run all the way up it. I overcame that last summer but have been really challenged by this hill all over again this year. Until last night when I got right up it without even thinking of stopping! YAY!

Of course, I didn't make it all the way around the loop without stopping. The brutal approach to the visitor's center after the big downhill gets me every time. That's the next goal.

Tomorrow is 12 miles with PhillyFit. I'd be looking forward to it except it's going to be hot and very humid and possibly raining. What a lovely combo! I guess it'll be good training for Virginia Beach.

In other news, I'm doing a lot of research about hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It seems like it might be impossible to get a reservation at Phantom Ranch, which is what I really want to do, so I might have to consider actualy backpacking and camping. Yikes!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Goofy Challenge Here I Come...

I'm feeling very excited since I just booked my flight to Orlando for the Goofy Challenge.

I'm really spending a lot of money today, aren't I?

But the flight was a good deal for sure $203 round trip with all fees and taxes at the times I wanted to travel.

Now I only have to get through 24 weeks of training, 2 other marathons (well one plus a 24.9 mile race), and 4 or 5 half-marathons. Should be a breeze!

I love Running Skirts + I love Sales

I just ordered these three awesome new running skirts for 50% off at Skirt Sports!

Now I better actually do some running!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The book was AWESOME! and I also ran about 17 miles

So Saturday dawned and it was the perfect day. Sunny, cool (like low 70s with a breeze) and very low humidity. Awesome day for running.

The group went out for 10 miles and it was a particularly nice run for me since I was with a lot of different groups of people. I didn't even mind the giant hill we had to tackle. We were done by 10 and even with all the post-run snacks and chatting I got home before 11 and my book was there waiting for me!

I couldn't wait to rip the box open....but then I kind of didn't want to read it. I knew I had to finish it by the time I got to work on Monday but I tried to stretch it out as best I could. That's what allowed me to get out on Sunday morning for about 7 more miles on the Perkiomen. The day was like a carbon copy of Saturday and the Sunday run felt Ok after I got into it.

It started out kind of rough -- heavy legs, bad rhythm just off but by about mile 3 everything smoothed out and did a mix of running and walking (mostly running) as the mood struck me. I really didn't see a need to push the running but I was glad to get some back to back miles in. I really need to work out a strategy for building my tolerance for this kind of thing as we get closer to the Goofy Challenge.

I finished the book by about 4 on Sunday and then spent more time on the web reading what other people thought of it. I need to re-read some sections to fully figure out how it all works but overall I was very pleased with all of it.

I only wish that there was a book 8.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Running around the Thunderstorms + Harry Potter Predictions

Amazingly, we got in a good workout last night! I drove home through some of the worst rain I've seen since Spring and found myself at home where everything was bone dry and not a cloud in sight or on the radar screen.

After dinner we hit the trail and I got in a solid run. About a mile and a half of easy walking warmup and then I started a new Nike+ run and got in another 4 miles and change. Just about all of it running. Despite the killer humidity, I felt really good for the run and I'm actually looking forward to the 10 miles on Saturday morning.

For the first time in ages I ran without a hat or a visor and I was astonished by how much sweat those things soak up. Granted, last night would have been an especially gross outing anyway since it was so humid, but it's still pretty shocking. I won't be doing that again.

I'm mostly on a media blackout until I'm done reading Harry Potter (I really don't want to see any spoilers) so I'm having a hard time doing my typical web browsing because I'm so afraid I'll come across something and now that we're soooo close I can't risk it.

I can't wait to get my hands on that book!

For the record here's what I think:

Harry, Ron, Hermionie all live.

Draco or Snape will die.

Lord V will die (of course).

Harry is NOT a Horcrux.

Regulus Black is not really dead.

Fleur will turn out to be important in some surprising way.

I heard somebody put forth a theory where Dudley turns out to have magic because they think Petunia made a deal with Dumbledore to supress Dudley's magic in return for her keeping Harry under her roof. Now that Dumbledore is dead, that magic will go away and Dudley will suddently have powers. I hate Dudley, but I think that's a pretty good idea since it explains why Petunia really put her foot down when Vernon wanted to throw Harry out. I also think that it might soften them (the Dursleys) up a little if Dudley actually wants to use his magic and learn about it -- it will kind of give Harry back his family.

I also like the theory I heard about how Neville will be the kid who returns to teach at Hogwarts. They think he'll teach Herbology. I like Neville so I want that to be true.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'm back from vacation!

I don't think I mentioned this before, but we were down the shore for a few days last week.

We drove down on Wednesday night and spent four days loafing on the beach and doing some running/walking (mostly walking) through town and on the boardwalk. We had a really lazy approach to things and wound up getting late starts every day which made running really awful since it was in the mid-upper eighties and pretty humid everyday. The scenery was nice though, so I can't complain.

Our route was the same all three days we were out -- sometimes extended a little longer, and sometimes so pitifully slow that I turned off the Nike+. I'd say we got at least 6 everyday and up to 8 miles on our best outing. I think the most I ran at any point was 3 miles. I'm so lazy it's scary.

Tuesday had us back at home and over at VF. We did the loop in reverse, and while it was hot out, it wasn't as bad as I'd feared. I walked up the first killer hill (I should start running it in anticipation of the Megatransect) and continued walking and assessing the heat factor until we got around to the Chapel -- a little over a mile into the loop. I ran most of the way after that and it was a pretty good workout.

I had a guardian angel runner towards the end of the run: I was chugging up and small set of rolling hills and had convinced myself that I was going to take a walk break at the next crest but then this guy running in the opposite direction gave me a shout out and said "don't you stop, you can do it" or something to that effect. Which propelled me forward and I ran the whole way back to the car, which felt really good. I have such a bad tendency to always quit and take breaks even though my body really doesn't need to do it. I have to have moments like that to remind me that I'm not as frail and wimpy as my brain tells me that I am.

The weather forecast for tonight is pretty grim (thunderstorms abound) and it's incredibly soupy and humid so I am bagging the local 5K and planning a run for tomorrow instead.

10 miles on the agenda for Saturday and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm not sure if I'll get another run in on Sunday -- it depends on how much progress I've made on Harry Potter and if I can risk going out in public and the possibility of being spoiled on the ending.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Weekend Running

I'm not sure how to rate this weekend. I logged a lot of miles, but I'm not sure how good they were.

Saturday we had 6 scheduled with PhillyFit. I wanted to do more than that and I also didn't want to jump out of bed at 7:15 so Brian let me snooze it a few times and we headed out to do our own thing a little bit later in the day.

He's still nursing a sore hip so he wasn't sure what he was up for speed/distance wise so we kind of compromised - we covered about 11 miles, being sure to incorporate the big hill at Spring Mountain as a little bit of practice for the Megatransect. He didn't push it and kept himself to a pretty moderate pace. I tried to run the middle miles but I did my fair share of walking with him as the day heated up. I'd say I probably ran 7 and walked 4. I had some trouble with the Nike+ because it kept turning itself off so my effort was broken into three different segments. I'm not sure if this was operator error with me hitting the center button instead of pause or if it was related to my ongoing problems with humidity.

Sunday was hot and humid and we got off to an even later start. We just walked but we covered close to 9 miles. It was good to get out there for back to back long-ish walks but I really need to pick up the running now that New York is only 16 weeks away.

This should be strange week with the heat wave and our trip to the shore. I'm hoping to get some good running time logged.

We're trying to plan some hikes into our summer so we can prepare for the Megatransect. I think we're going to try to get to Delaware Water Gap, the Grand Canyon of PA, and out to Hawk Mountain. Maybe even a trip to the Boulder Field we visited a million years ago. We have a lot of work to do!

The only other thing I did this weekend was watch Tennis. What a totally fabulous match on Sunday! I can't wait for the US Open and I really, really, really hope we get a Federer/Nadal final. I can't even believe how good they are and how awesome that match was. It killed me to see it end. I love both of them so it was hard to even pick a favorite. I guess I was rooting for Nadal slightly more than Federer but I love him too and they both deserved it.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Excuses, excuses!

I can't get anything together this week!

Tuesday I didn't run because I had to shop for our 4th of July party. Then we went out on the 4th but we were so busy talking about the plans for getting our house in order for the cookout that we walked the whole time instead of running. Last night we were surrounded by thunderstorms and rain and I didn't remember that I have a gym membership until I was home. I can't believe that I totally forgot about the gym option.

Maybe tonight I can get out there since tomorrow I have a shorter run scheduled. We're heading into a heat wave so any miles I can get in before that would be best.

On a side note -- I am worried that Gatorade Endurance is really hard to find in stores. I think it's being phased out! oh no!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Weekend Running

Saturday morning was the PhillyFit run at Valley Forge and that meant 8 miles of hills.

We had a pretty interesting guy come to give out some tips on form and warming up properly but that cost us 45 minutes of shade before the clouds moved on and the heat started to kick in. Saturday wasn't a particularly hot day but the comination of hills and lack of shade made for a very tough day for me. Nike+ gives credit for 8.88 miles and a 11:19 pace. I was thinking that was more miles than we actually ran, but when I look at the map provided by the park, I think it's pretty accurate. Interesting!

Feeling pretty defeated by my Saturday run, and being blessed with temps in the low 70s with a breeze and low humidity on Sunday I went back to the loop and ran 5 miles on my own and felt amazingly better. Nike+ put this one at just over 5 miles and a 10:30 pace. Had it been earlier in the day, when less bikes and baby strollers are on the trail, I might have repeated the Saturday workout and gone for 8 miles.

I don't know why I'm always surprised when heat & humidity cause me such trouble on the run. It happens every time so I need to just expect it.