Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"You Choose, You Learn."

OK, so bringing it back down after yesterday's temper tantrum...

So, in my dual quest to both cut back on caffeine and to maintain a better level of hydration, I have become quite the drinker of herbal tea. I try to make sure I have a decent variety, and also try new flavors, because drinking the same thing over and over again just gets boring.
One particularly stressful afternoon, while perusing the tea aisle of SuperOne, I found this:

Since it goes without saying that I have a tendency to get rather wound up, I thought this might be a good one to try.
While making my first cup back at the store, I looked over the ingredients:

Uh, catnip? What? Why is there catnip in my tea? 
Curious as to why the people at Celestial Seasonings would put an herb that generally makes felines act as if they've taken up use of illegal stimulants, I performed what will probably reign supreme as the strangest thing I have ever Googled at work: "Effects of catnip on humans". Lo and behold, I learned from this site that catnip is used for the following: 
   -relief of anxiety attacks
   -relief of insomia
   -reduction of respiratory problems
   -toothache remedy
   -relief of stomach aches
   -healing of wounds
   -improvement of IBS symptoms

It is also extremely dangerous for pregnant women to use, as it can induce uterine contractions.

All that aside, the tea is pretty good, and it actually is quite effective in its purpose. Perhaps, I should have had some of that last night. Live and learn, right? 
(PS--I did run today, and despite the lingering throat soreness, I felt awesome. Rest day theory, FTW!)

Monday, January 30, 2012

"I'm Gonna Let It Go"

Let me preface this post by saying this: welcome to my inner monologue. I am not implying that anyone said or thought the following about me. I am simply letting you inside my head.

Today, despite the sore, scratchy throat, the headache, and the slight body ache that I woke up to, I took my running clothes to work. I had planned on going out for a short 4 after work, but as the day went on I wavered on the idea. In the end, I opted to rework my week and spend the evening resting on the couch, hoping to nip the ick in the bud.
I swear to a divine being, every time I decide to skip a run, this darn Facebook group posts this freaking status:

This mentality of "push through anything" or "run every day" or "only slackers spend the evening on the couch" that I get from that just kills me. It's not just that particular status--it's a lot of the things that get posted or extolled on that site. It just drives me bonkers.
So, why did I let a stupid Facebook post get to me? Maybe it's the pressure of being "the girl from the running store". Maybe it's the myriad of healthy living related things I follow on social media. Maybe it's the mileage logging sites I am on. Either way, no matter what decisions I make regarding myself and this sport, I never feel like it's enough. Little things that shouldn't matter wedge their way under my skin. So, even with the ick feeling, I still did planks, sit-ups, tri-dips, and pushup, so I can try to reassure myself that the day wasn't wasted. It wasn't a wash.
OK, I <3 to Run. Put me in that "didn't" category. I did not run today. I did not run today, because I just didn't want to. That does not make me a bad runner. It does not make me a "not real" runner, whatever the heck that means. It means that I did not feel well, and I opted to take a day and let my body regroup. It means I will come back stronger because of it. I am not in active race training, I am just maintaining. Moreover, I am learning perspective. Part of that is that if I want to keep running as part of my lifestyle, I have to stop comparing myself to others. It means I have to be OK with my decisions and not make them based on what I perceive others reactions to be. There is a difference between something being inspring and something just driving me to a point of anger. And, if something as freaking petty as a Facebook status can make me jump to my blog screaming, then I know what a good step to take right now will be.


Friday, January 27, 2012

"And The best Game You Can Name, is the Good Old Hockey Game!"

I'm heading to the Michigan Tech @ Minnesota-Duluth men's hockey game tonight. I don't have a dog in this fight, so I hopped on the "I'm Indifferent" train.

I'm setting the Over/Under on the "Vermont? WTF?" comments at the game at 5. Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"So I’m Just Sayin’ What I Think"

As part of the management team of the running store, I take care of some of the fill-in orders for products. With training season approaching, it was time to start filling in the race nutrition, among these being GU products. As always, I peruse the website to check on flavor options and the correct names for placing the order.
And there it was.
Peanut. Butter. Gu.

Now, let me tell you, I am a girl who loves her peanut butter. It is a daily staple in my diet. There are few peanut butter related products I will not happily shove in my face.
This, however, was a case that might have been the exception to that rule.
I called over to my co-workers, informing them of my discovery, and was immediately regaled with a chorus of requests to order it. So, that is exactly what I did.

Yesterday, I arrive for my closing shift to find the awaited order had finally arrived. I had to try this, no doubt. My co-workers had beaten me to the punch and generally had positive things to say.
Spoonful of GU, away we go.
My thoughts: You know those peanut butter candies you find around Halloween?
You know, those ones?

This tasted almost exactly like those. More sweet than salty, truly. Not bad, though. Knowing my own personal tastes and preferences, this might be a good one to use before a run, especially since I usually have toast and peanut butter for breakfast before long runs and races. However, I would not want this during a long run. I tend to prefer lighter, fruity flavors mid-run, and think this would be too heavy. 

So, yeah. Peanut Butter Gu. Interesting, that's for sure. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Dirty Laundry"

No, that title is not a metaphor for anything. I'm literally talking about dirty laundry.
I spent the greater majority of this morning lamenting the inevitable trip to the laundromat I would have to make today. There are fewer places in this world that I dislike more than the laundromat. A complete first world problem, I know, but it is the truth. My internal monologue was a steady stream of complaints, accusations, and entitled whining because I don't have a washer and dryer of my own, and how we've put it off past the point of what we could do in our building's single coin-op facility. Oh, the first world horror.
Oh no! Not the Laundromat!!

However, the trip itself was not so bad. Perhaps it was a divine force's way of reminding me to see the bright side of things, or perhaps just a series of happy coincidences. Either way, my dreaded trip was made quite tolerable by these little bright spots:
-Upon exiting my apartment building and upon arrival at the laundromat, I had doors held open for me by complete strangers who saw a small woman wrangling 3 large storage bins. One case, the person wasn't even heading in to the building. She simply saw a person in need and helped. Simple gesture, simply heartwarming.
-The laundromat has washers named after characters from "The Office", and dryers named after characters from "Seinfeld". I chuckled when I saw the one named after Michael Scott was labeled "not working". Definitely amusing.

I want people to be afraid of how clean I make their clothes.

-Wednesday morning is apparently not a peak time to do laundry. Free run of the place. No battles for the washer, no stalking down dryers... That is the part I hate the most about these places, and it was a non-issue!
No, Kitty! That's my dryer! Maaaaaaaaaaaammmm!

 One thing I still feel justified in complaining over is the sheer volume of clothing needing to be washed. Between the running clothes, the hockey practice clothes, the coaching clothes, the playing hockey clothes, the work clothes, and the day-off clothes... there is a metric crapton of laundry to be done at any given point. I don't even know how Brandon and I would handle it if we ever thought to add kids to the mix... We would literally be swamped in dirty clothes.
I've seen the future. You might need more dryer sheets. And a bigger hamper.
I might think twice again before recommending the three layer system to people when they ask about how to dress for winter running. Or, at the very least, throw them a warning--"Yes, you will be warm, but you may have to up the number of times a week you wash things. Or, start being very, very nice to the partner/parent/housekeeper that will be handling all this for you."
Well, all joking aside--neither of us will walk around for the next few days smelling like a biohazard. You're welcome, Duluth.

(A shout out is owed to the great men and women over at Cracked.com for the inspiration behind the formatting of today's entry.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"I'm a Renegade, I Always Was"

First race of the season!

Date: 1/21/12
Name: "Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run"
Distance: 10K
Location: International Falls, MN
Time: 48:01
Place: 2/48 Female, 2/8 20-29 Female

I seriously should run more races in the insane cold. Or, I should just have the DRC Renegades with me at every race I run. Seriously, I'm not sure how this race could have been more fun or more perfect. It was by far and away the best I have felt at a race since I ran the Bayshore Half Marathon last May. No doubt, the full night of sleep and solid breakfast (bagel and peanut butter, FTW!) allowed because of the later start time helped things--it's just easier to pull a decent race off when you're rested and feel good. I also think the general good-vibes of the crew I was travelling with helped as well. It's hard to get yourself too keyed up and nervous when you're spending most of the time laughing because your group has befriended and adopted the guy who was our server for dinner, or because of the goofy mock-awards ceremony held after said dinner. (I won a box of Peanuts bandaids in honor of my recent trait of being injury prone.)
I don't even know how I managed it, but I was also dressed pretty much perfectly. Mind you, I was wearing 3 shirts and a fleece, the warmest running tights I own, knee high socks, a hat, a gaiter mask, and my stupid black puffy gloves. So, basically half of my running clothes were on my person at the start of the race. Somehow, and I'm still not sure how exactly, I managed to get my DRC team singlet on over all that, too.
On the plus side, I didn't really look as ridiculous as I felt, and we all were bundled to the almost absurd point:

The race started and ended at Rainy River Community College, and we arrived just in time to watch the two guys from our group who were running both races finish the 5K. (They took 2nd and 3rd in their age group, the first two of seven medals our crew would take home that day.) We staged ourselves in the college just inside the closest exit to the finish line, where we found our waiter-friend again after he finished his 5K (instead of jumping a van ride back to the finish like he claimed he did last year). Due to the indoor walkways of RRCC, I was actually able to pull off a decent warmup and shake out run. We headed outside with 2 minutes to go, had a starting line dance party, and then we were off!
The race itself was just plain awesome. I wound up losing the neck gaiter at about mile 1 because it was making it way too hard to breathe. I was also plenty warm (as I should have been with 5 layers on), and even with the loose snow on the side streets the footing wasn't bad at all. Things improved just before mile 3, when they spat us back out on to the main highways through IFalls. By this point, I had caught and passed every woman that I had seen, and I couldn't see any more in front of me. I knew there was no way I was the lead, but I was really curious just how many more were in front of me. I was also holding a good clip, and felt really, really strong. I did want to catch and go with one of the guys from our group, but I wondered what would happen if I did (meaning--would he try to take off on me, and would I try to go with him, blow up, and crash and burn?), so I opted to just keep him in my sights.
After looping us along the main highways, they brought us back in to RRCC for the finish:
Classic finish photo--reaching to stop my darn Garmin (it took 3 attempts to get to it after I crossed the line). I was really, really happy after the race--my goal was to be under 50:00, so I easily got that. No matter what, though, my time would have been a PR because it was my first 10K. We bummed around the finish area, taking turns going inside to warm up while making sure someone was always out there to get photos and support our crew as they finished.
While we waited for finishers and for the awards, they started posting results. I actually gasped, bad melodrama style, when I saw how I did. (A woman standing nearby asked if I was OK, that's how horrible of a noise I made. Ugh.) In all seriousness, I was pretty thrilled. At that point, I thought I was 4th overall, 2nd in age group, and I was freaking thrilled. I'm sure that doesn't show in the photo from the awards ceremony at all:
The Renegades cleaned up the hardware, too. Seven of our fifteen took home an age group medal between the two races. So, so, so awesome.
After the ceremony, we went back to clean up, and take in a bit of the town before we headed back to Duluth. This may have included turkey bowling:
Lesson learned: running I can do. Throwing a frozen turkey at bowling pins? Not so much. 4 attempts to even hit the freaking pins. But, it was too much fun. We then ate burgers the size of small countries, went to the Runner's Reception, and headed home.
Oh, and the obligatory hardware shot:
My first race of 2012. My first 10K. My first top 5 finish. My first age group medal.
A.W.E.S.O.M.E! It's been a long time coming, and I am hopeful that it's a sign of good things to come. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

"It's Only the Beginning"

Hello and welcome.

Some of you may be following me over from my old blog. Some of you may be new to the inner workings of my mind. Either way, thanks for clicking on whatever brought you here.

There are many reasons why I started this blog. Partly as a chance to vent the constant stream of thoughts in this head of mine. Partly as a chance to chronicle adventures. Partly as a chance to log miles, race highlights, and all the other running stuff that tends to happen to me.
The biggest reason I moved the show over here was this: I did not like the direction my old blog had taken. I had stopped writing it for me, and started writing to be like and please others. I was more preoccupied with pageviews and comments, and less about the content I put up there. Also, I felt trapped by the title and premise--"I can't talk about the road trip I took/the silly thing Brandon and I did last weekend/my thoughts on what happened here on this blog, this is just about running."

Let me tell you this: when your job is to talk about running with people, sometimes the last thing you want to do when you get home from work is talk about running with people. Sometimes, you just want a reminder that there's more to your life than shoes, gear, and logged miles.

So, here we are. The URL is "Runner Girl Says" because there's no denying it--I am a Runner Girl, and that's OK. Here, however, you will see the runner girl discuss her view of the world around her, from the Runner Girl's perspective.

So, again--welcome, and thanks for being here. Let's have some fun, shall we?
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