Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In the Rear View Mirror

2013 was an interesting year.  Great in some ways, not so great in others.  For those who love numbers, let's see how it all lays out, shall we? 

Total Miles: 518
Total Races: 5
Half Marathons: 2
5Ks: 2
10 milers: 1 
States in which I ran: 4 (ok, 3 states and DC) 
Pairs of shoes: 2
Time spent running: 109 hours, 15 minutes, 7 seconds

Not what I'd planned on (I DNS'd three races this year!), but over all I'm good with it.  And I doubled my mileage from last year, so that's pretty cool.  

Can't wait to see what 2014 brings.  

Happy New Year! 

Friday, December 27, 2013


The presents have been unwrapped, the Lego sets have been built, and our Elf has flown back to the North Pole.  Christmas is technically over.   Of course, the house is still decorated, and there are new toys strewn everywhere, and I may never get all the tinsel out of the carpet.  But what I'm really left with, after all the ho-ho-ho'ing, is a sense of calm.

I had written a post about all my failures in 2013 that I was going to post after Christmas, but then Christmas came and I realized I didn't feel that way anymore.  My husband, whom I honestly take for granted entirely too often, gave me the "usual" gifts.  Then he gave me something incredible - the gift of faith.

Not faith as in religion, but faith in me.  He gave me this:

(Not my photo)

Inside the box, he wrote me a note.  It said "Self doubt is the killer of all ambition.  Never doubt what you can do. I love you."  

So, my only "resolution" for 2014 is to try to believe in myself more.  I give up way too easily, and it's partly due to the fact that I don't believe that I can do things.  Really need to work on that. 

So, 2013 didn't turn out the way I thought it would - but it's ok.  You stumble, you fall, you learn, you get back up again.  2014 is a blank slate - and it's up to me to believe that it will be great. 

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Magic

I don't remember Christmases (or much else, really) from when I was a kid, but as I grew up, Christmas was always a time of sadness for me.  I'm not sure why, really, there was never any great trauma in my life as a child, nothing horrible happened to me or anyone I loved around Christmas time.  Yet I continued to get melancholy around the holidays.  I'd listen to songs like "The River" and just get all angst-y and sad.

Since having kids, though, I have rediscovered the joy of the season.  Since we are not a religious family, our Christmas celebrations lean more towards the hedonistic Santa-and-reindeer centered sort, but we also focus on the love we have for each other, and for our family and friends, so I don't make any apologies for our less than devout interpretation of the season.

This year, especially, I am truly enjoying watching my children light up when they encounter each aspect of the holidays.  Light displays, neighborhood decorations, Santa at the mall, etc.  Each new thing (whether they've seen it every year or not) causes a joy in them that is just beautiful to watch.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Minor Christmas Miracles

Oy Vey.

The good:  I am once again the proud owner of a laptop that actually works, and my husband is once again fully funded at work, which means that my job hunting has been put on hold for the time being.

The bad:  I haven't read any of my favorite blogs in FOREVER and may never catch up.

The ugly: I have gained 5 lbs in the past month and haven't run in almost two weeks.

BUT! I am optimistic.  It's nearly Christmas, and I can feel the magic.  So, after I desperately attempt to catch up on all I've missed on the interwebs in the past three weeks or so, I will be back to posting regularly.

Commence happy dancing.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Technical Dificulties

I never realized how dependant I am on my laptop until it stopped working recently. Though I have a smartphone, I guess I'm just kind of old fashioned an prefer working on an actual computer to do certain things. Hence the lack of blogging recently. 

My husband has mentioned maybe getting me a new laptop, but I'm not 100% sure when that'll happen. So I guess I'm on hiatus for awhile. 

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Happy Holidays. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

In which she whines

I'm an optimistic realist.  I generally look on the bright side of life, even though I have battled with what I term "low periods."   Last week, when I finally shook off the lethargy and sadness that had been holding me captive for a few weeks, I felt great.  Rejuvenated.  Life was good.  I ran 5 miles on Thursday and felt better than I have in ages.  Things were looking up.

And then on Saturday, everything changed and I spent a solid 24 hours either crying or trying not to cry.  I'm still feeling sad and terrified, but at least the crying seems to have stopped.

I hate that I cry over everything.  It's a physical reaction that I have never been able to control - when I get even the slightest bit sad, I cry.  When I get really angry, I cry.  When I get really happy, I cry.  I have no control and it's very very annoying.

When my husband told me that he wants me to get a job, ASAP, I was sad, scared, and angry.  Hence the uncontrollable bursts of crying for a solid day.  Now, before anyone jumps to conclusions and calls me lazy - the reason I'm upset that I have to get a job right now is not because I'm opposed to working.  I have been looking forward to going back to work when my daughter is in school full time.  But she's not yet.  Which means that not only do I have to find a job and aftercare for my son, I have to find daycare for my daughter, plus whatever job I find will actually have to pay enough to pay for that daycare, plus enough extra that it's actually helpful for me to have said job.

On top of that, I'm terrified because I've never actually looked for work.  All of the jobs I've ever had just kind of fell into my lap. I've gone on interviews, but they were formalities.  I have never actually had to WORK to get a job.  Now, after a nearly 7 year hiatus from the work force, I'm scared that I won't find anything - especially in this job market, with my limited skills, plus my lack of a degree.

Plus - and this is the part that really kills me - in order to save money while I'm looking for a job right now, we've decided to pull my daughter out of the preschool she's in.  I am more broken-hearted over that than anything else we've cancelled.  (No Christmas party this year, no trip to New Orleans for me to run the Rock N Roll half marathon...)

Reading back over this post, I want to smack myself.  I know that people have things way worse and that I'm so incredibly lucky that I've had the past nearly 7 years to stay home with my kids.  I know that getting a job and putting my kids in daycare is not the end of the world. I know that taking my daughter out of preschool (when she can already read anyway) is not the end of the world.   I'm just feeling so lost right now, and all of my normal optimism has fled and I am just terrified that things are not going to work out.   My husband is the pessimist, not me, I don't know where my faith has gone.

It doesn't help that it's 20 degrees outside and I just want to eat cookies and curl up on the couch.

Anybody have any optimism I can borrow?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dashing Through The Snow

I was thinking that yesterday's post might have seemed strange to some people.  I cleaned my kitchen, and I was excited about it?  Granted, we all know that runners want a pat on the back for everything (my eyes are going to pop out, I'm rolling them so hard!), but really it's pretty simple.  I've always struggled with a mild form of depression, ever since I can remember.  I've been in therapy at a few different points in my life, I've been prescribed medication (that I never took), etc, etc.  It's never been a HUGE deal, which is why I don't talk about it all that much, but it's always there, just kind of below the surface.

As I've gotten older, I've gotten better about dealing with feelings when they come up - in fact, running has helped me immensely.   Lately, I've been in a low spot.  Not running, going off of my birth control, the changing seasons, lots of little things have pooled together and brought me into one of my low periods.  Hence, the "Yay!" moment when I was able to have a productive day yesterday, after a few weeks of lethargy.

. . . and that concludes our "Confessions!" portion of today's show.  Moving on.

Last night I got an email from a family friend.  She and her daughter were signing up for the Dazzle Dash that's being held this weekend, and wanted to know if I wanted to go.  She said she thought of me because I'm a runner.  #1, let's stop for a second so I can go "Yay! Someone thinks I'm a runner!"   LOL  And #2 - what the heck is a Dazzle Dash?   I knew it involved holiday lights, but I wasn't sure the distance, etc, etc.  The crazy limited miles I've been running lately have already lead me to decide not to go to the 5K I had scheduled the weekend after Thanksgiving, so I wasn't automatically sure that I could do any dazzling dashing.  I looked up the event.  Turns out it's a 1.4 mile walk or run through a big Christmas light display that's put on by the hospital every year. (Usually, you drive through it)  Alrighty then!  So I'm all signed up.  =)

I'm hoping that this will be the "baby step" that I need to get me back into running.  A fun event with friends, no pressure, no fuss.  Just having a good time getting a little exercise, which is why I started running in the first place.  I'm looking forward to Saturday! 

Have you ever run in a holiday themed event?  Did you dress up? 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tidy Tuesday

Alarm was set to go off at 6.  At 5:58, I woke up, saw that my husband was still in bed, and turned my alarm off.  Woke up approximately and hour later and rolled out of bed, trying to decide how I felt about yet again not doing what I told myself I was going to do.  Apathy is a weird emotion.  Or lack of emotion?  I don't know.  It's strange.

My kids woke up and we went through our normal morning ritual.  I gathered up my running clothes and hopped into the shower, and somewhere between shampooing and conditioning, I decided that running was not going to happen today.  Other parts of my life needed to be tended to.  Running could wait.

As I typed those last words just now, I nearly cringed, knowing that running has been waiting.  It's been over a month since I've done any real running, and I feel like I've been *thisclose* to not being able to call myself a runner anymore.  But that's another topic for another post.

Where was I?  Oh, right.  In the shower. (My apologies - "Don't picture it!" as my aunt used to say)  After deciding not to run, I felt lighter, and I began to think of all the things that I would do today, instead, while my daughter was in school.   Run errands.  Clean house.  Listen to Christmas music (don't judge).  Have coffee. Blog.  Be.  

Guess what?  I did all of those things.  I went to Target and got all the things on my list (and a few that weren't!).  I came home, had breakfast and watched Sleepy Hollow, and then I put on some Christmas music, cranked it up, and proceeded to clean my kitchen. It felt wonderful.  I danced, I sang, I scrubbed, I got funny looks from my dog.... It was great.

Now I have about an hour before I have to go get my daughter from school, and I think I'm going to spend some of that time vacuuming.  Exciting, right?  Well, no.  But shaking off the lethargy of these past weeks feels good.  Even if I'm not directing my energy into running or working out, at least I'm not sitting on my butt watching t.v. and eating Girl Scout cookies feeling crappy about myself.

(Though I may have a Thin Mint or two after I vacuum.  I'm only human, after all)

Do you ever listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving?  I never used to, but I kinda liked it today. =)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Funday

Yesterday I thought a lot about motivation - or, rather, the lack thereof.  I told myself that this week, I'd get up early and actually do all the things I've been putting off.  Exercise, housework, etc, etc.  Pfft.  Or not.

Alarm went off at 6.  Anyone want to guess what time I got up?  6:38.  Both kids had appointments at the dentist this morning, so no housecleaning got done.  By the time my daughter and I got home it was time for lunch, then her naptime.  I did manage to throw a load of laundry in the washer.   Quick, someone get me that mother of the year award!   


By the time we picked my son up from school, I'd worked up enough pissed-off-ness (at myself) that I told the kids to leave their shoes on, cuz it was outside fun time!  They cheered, because lately only my husband has taken them outside.  I've been glued to the couch (or the computer) more than I care to admit lately.  All of my get up and go "got up and went," to steal a phrase from.... someone.  

This afternoon, though, it was nearly 70 degrees out and the sun was shining.  There was no reason in the world for us to stay inside - especially when I had a yard full of leaves that needed raking.  10 big bags of leaves later, my shoulders were a little sore, and my throat was scratchy, but I felt like maybe I wasn't completely worthless, after all.  

We'll see what tomorrow brings.  I hope I'll actually get up when the alarm goes off.  I hope I'll go for a decent length run.  I hope I'll finish raking the leaves.  Notice how I'm doing a lot of hoping, and not a lot of promising? 

Hope, I have.  I guess what I need is more courage. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013


I've been looking for motivation lately.  Motivation to workout, to lose weight, to eat better, and just generally be a better version of myself.   It hasn't been working.  In addition to joining a DietBet, I joined Jenny Hadfield's 2013 Holiday Challenge.  No money involved in that one, but again, I was trying to get some motivation up.

Today, as I sat on my couch with my kids while they watched t.v, all of us succumbing to what I like to think of as Sunday Sloth, I picked up my Kindle and began to re-read "Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir."  At one point, Jennette Fulda writes:

People waited for motivation to find them, but they needed to go out and find motivation . . .
You just have to do it, even though you don't want to.  If you saw diet and exercise as optional, you were screwed.  It was nonnegotiable.  

Well.  How's that for a nice kick in the tushy?   Here I sit, in my comfy p.j.'s, waiting to want to work out, and Ms. Fulda comes along with her truth and just calls me on my crap.

I have to...  just do it?  Nike is right?  There's not going to be some magical pixie dust one morning that turns me into the person I want to be, the one who is dedicated, never skips a workout, and doesn't quit when things get hard?  I have to do it on my own, even though I don't want to?  Well shit.

I guess I have some decisions to make.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Over Under

If you're a runner and you've turned on your computer, phone, or tablet in the past few days, you've probably seen the piece in the Wall Street Journal by Chad Stafko entitled "Ok, You're a Runner. Get Over It." If you have somehow missed it, go ahead, click on the link.  I'll be here when you get back.

*elevator music*

Ok, we all on the same page now? I have seen lots of responses to this article, including one from Mark Remy of Runners World.  People have called the original piece "stupid," "rude," "full of asshattery," etc, etc.  While I was out on my run yesterday morning, I was thinking of the article and how I am pretty much the exact opposite of the "typical runner" that he described.  You know, the one who wants attention?

I ran on a paved trail yesterday so that I didn't have to run through my neighborhood, because I didn't really want to be seen by anyone.  Some days, running through my neighborhood makes me self conscious - because of my weight, because of my speed (or lack there of), because of all the little things that make up my insecurities.  I prefer to run in the park or on the trail because 99.999999% of the people that I encounter in those places are also out there, running (or biking).  They understand why I'm out there, as I've said before, they are my tribe.  My  people.  I am not ashamed to be running a 12:30 pace and get passed by someone doing a 7:00 pace.  Doesn't bother me in the least - because I am out there, same as they are, and we are the same at that  moment.

Non-runners, however (like the illustrious Mr. Stafko), make me self conscious.  Why is that?  Why do I let someone who does not (maybe cannot?) do the things that I do feel bad about the way in which I do them?
Why is it that when I run through my neighborhood, I fervently hope that I don't see anyone that I know?  It makes no sense.

I'm not sure where I'm going with all of this, except to say that the WSJ "article" was a piece of junk, and that I run for me, not for any "pat on the back."   Also, I need to stop thinking negatively about myself when I run through my neighborhood!

I'm sure I had other, grander points to make, but I started this post on Thursday and it's now Friday and honestly, my blog post ideas can be fleeting. LOL

In other news...... I am down 1.2 lbs, which I am happy with, but if I continue to lose 1.2 lbs per week over the next few weeks, I will not win my DietBet.  So I need to step it up!  "Dieting" is not my thing, but I have been paying attention to what I'm eating, and getting back into running is helping, too.  The Girl Scout cookies that were delivered to my house on Wednesday, however.... yeah, they're not helping so much.  Though, for the first time in the history of the world, I've had 4 boxes of cookies (well, I had 5, but I gave one way pretty much immediately - thank you, Liz! LOL) in my house since Wednesday, and I have only eaten a couple of cookies.  Normally over the course of two days it would have been a couple of BOXES.  So I say that's progress! =)    It also helps that I went to the dentist yesterday and my mouth hurt for hours afterwards.  No eating for this girl! I even went to bed at 8pm yesterday, so I got to skip my usual 9pm snack when I'm up watching crappy t.v. =)

Fingers crossed I can keep up the reigned-in eating, and I can step up my running and working out.  We'll see.

Happy Friday, all!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cold Front (and back, and sides...)

Holy Guacamole, I was not expecting 41 degrees to feel so cold today! Apparently it's time to dig out my (limited) cold weather running gear. Brrr!  Shivering burns calories, right?

Speaking of burning calories... Yeah, I'm not. I think I've actually gained a little since I started my DietBet. Ugh. Fall just makes me want to eat! 

Ok. That's a lie. Breathing makes me want to eat. Still. Ugh. 

So anyway....  

I've decided to go back to run/walking for awhile. I'm not really "feeling" running right now, and I need to do something different to keep myself going.  Today's run was all-running and while it felt good, it was only 2 miles. Anything longer than that and I kinda get bored these days. So, run/walking it will be for awhile. 

What I finally got through my thick skull is that running/being active is a lifelong thing, and like anything else in life, it will change over time. So I'll run/walk for awhile, then run again, then maybe take a break or add speedwork back in... Who knows. The main point is that I keep on keepin' on, in whatever way works best at that particular moment.  There is no "right" way to run. You just... Run.

So. Let's run.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Day Dawning

Oh, hi there!  I wasn't sure how long I'd be away from the blogosphere, hence my "pause" post, but it seems I have returned to the land of the living (and running), so why not blogging, too?

I spent three weeks after my race basically being a total slug.  I ran once each week,  in a very half-assed manner.  I ate all the food.  I gained 4 lbs.  Essentially, I was in a pit of doom.  Of my own making.  With leftover Halloween candy mocking me.

Then, last weekend, I turned on the t.v., and there was the New York City Marathon.


 I sat and watched as the elites battled it out, and I checked my NYCM app for updates on my friends who were running the race. I got excited about running again.  Of course, after 3 weeks of lethargy, my "Whee! I wanna ruuuunnnnnnn!!" was soon replaced by "Oh, crap.  I have to run."

So I told myself I'd start easy.  6 - 8 miles this week.  Baby steps.  So far, it's working.  I ran on Tuesday and I ran today.  I even did a workout DVD this afternoon while the kids were at school.  (I know, right? Crazy)

Other than my rekindled love for running, I do have another motivation to get up off the couch.   Money.

Have ya'll heard of DietBet?  Feel free to go to the website to read all about it, but the short version is this - you pay $20 (or $30, whatever the bet is) and try to lose X amount of weight over the duration of the bet.  If you are successful, you and anyone else who is successful split the pot.   The bet I'm doing runs from tomorrow through Dec. 6th and the challenge is to lose 4% of my body weight.  The pot is over $18,000 at this point.  EIGHTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.   According to the website, 31% (I think) of people who do these bets win.  There are about 900 people in my bet.  So let's make the numbers easy and say  300 people will win the bet.  If I'm one of them, that means I get $60.   Which means a $40 profit, AND I will have lost 6 lbs.  Score! =)     Of course, in my fantasy, I am the ONLY one who wins the bet, and I get the ENTIRE $18K.   Wouldn't that be nice?  LOL

Anyway, I weighed myself in last night, and started calorie counting and blah blah today.  I'm not really big into "diets," but I have gained back all the weight I've lost this year (at one point, I was 8 lbs lighter than I am now) and I'm a little bummed, so anything to kick me in the pants and get me headed in the right direction is a good thing.   Right? Right.   Plus, I hate to lose a bet!

Also, I'm about 12 weeks away from my next half marathon.  Which means I've got to get a move on, not to mention get my nutrition figured out so I don't get sick again this time.  

PLUS! PLUS - I'm going to be thirty five (shhhh!!!) in January.  I can't start another year this heavy/out of shape.  It's just no fun.

Ok, I'm sick of me already, which means I'm sure ya'll are, too.  I should have baby-stepped my way back into blogging instead of dumping a long post on you guys with no fun pictures or anything.

Wait, hold on.


Ah, doggies.  They make everything better.  

Friday, November 1, 2013


Taking a little break. 

I'll leave you with this t-shirt I saw at Target the other day.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Storm Before The Calm

Good gravy! What a crazy month October has been. I feel like I've had no time to do anything, we've been so busy. I can't believe Halloween is already here this week! 

Fortunately, things should be settling down now, and hopefully I will be getting back to my regular routine.  I've felt out of whack for two weeks now, and it's high time I got my stuff together.  Especially since the holidays are coming and I'm bound to end up busy again before I know it!

Tomorrow I'm going running for the first time in a week - hopefully my legs still remember what to do. It's no wonder I've been so nutty lately - I haven't been running to get the stress out! 

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed this time of year?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Title-free Tuesday

I thought that when I quit training with my coach, I'd feel more free, and running would be more fun.  Looking back, I'm honestly surprised I was that stupid. LOL  I have run less than 3 miles since my race.  9 days, less than 3 miles.  That's not freedom.  That's not fun.  That's....  I don't know what that is.  Laziness? A funk? A directionless cry for help? I have no idea.  But it's certainly not what I'd hoped for, or wanted.

I knew I'd need a few days after the race - though it didn't end up being for the reasons I'd thought.  I'd assumed my legs would need a break - but as slow as my race was, my legs felt completely fine afterwards.  I needed the break mentally.  So I took a few days.  No problem.  But then when I went to run, I just... had no real desire.  A mile in, I was done.  

The same thing happened today.  I ran 1.27 miles, and then just... stopped.  Walked home and sat on my couch like a slug.  Granted, I did do a short portion of my Strong Stride DVD after awhile, but, really.  A total of less than 30 minutes of exercise today.  And that's more than I've done since my race.

Part of me is upset with myself.  Another part of me is completely letting myself off the hook.  Neither part is completely right, and I know that.  But something needs to change.

Of course, it doesn't help that I just stopped my birth control, and my body is all out of whack.  Plus it's fall so it's getting dark earlier and it's darker in the mornings, too.  Add to that how crazy busy our family schedule has been, and it's understandable that I've been slacking on running.

But when I look back on my life before I started running, I know I don't want to - can't - let myself get back there.  So I have to go for a run, even when I think I don't want to.  Because I know it's good for me, mentally as well as physically.  I have to run.

I just need to figure out how to remind myself of that when the kids are at school and the couch is calling.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Trails and Treats

Today I decided to do a short trail run in my local park. It ended up even shorter than I was expecting, since I realized that I don't know where all the non-paved trails are and I didn't want to get lost and blah blah.  But it was pretty and fun, and those are two great qualities in a run!

When I got home I pulled up a map of the park on the interwebs, so next time I head out I will be better prepared! =)

If my run weren't enough fun for today, when I went to get the mail this evening, I was surprised by this little box:

After giggling at the "You Are Not Normal" bit (how did they know??), I opened it up and found two energy bars.

I have never heard of Quest before, nor do I know how I got on their mailing list, but I'm not going to complain! I'm always up for trying alternative sources of fuel. :-)  The Peanut Butter Cups mentioned on the insert look like they might be yummy, but I'm pretty sure I'll be sticking to Reese's for that type of thing. :-)

Have you ever had a QuestBar? Have you tried anything new this week?  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reflections on a Green Mountain

I keep starting this post and deleting it and starting again.  I had a wonderful weekend in Vermont. I got to spend time with some of the most lovely people I know.  I laughed my head off, I ate good food, I cried.

The race did not go as I'd hoped, due to GI issues and a bugger of a side stitch that kept recurring,  but I am so glad I went.  I'd been reading Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn and thinking a lot about my running, and running in general.  On the flight home last night, I was reflecting on the weekend and when I picked up the book again and began to read, I found this passage: 

Perhaps it is to fulfill this primal urge that runners and joggers get up 
every morning and pound the streets in the cities all over the world. 
To feel the stirring of something primeval deep down in the pits of our bellies.
To feel "a little bit wild."   Running is not exactly fun.  Running hurts. 
It takes effort.  Ask any runner why he runs, and he will probably look at you 
with a wry smile and say, "I don't know."  But something keeps us going. 
We may obsess about our PBs and mileage count, but these things alone
are not enough to get us out running.  We could find easier ways to chart and
measure things.  We could become accountants.  No, the times and charts are
merely carrots we dangle in front of our rational mind, our over analytical brain, 
to give it a reason to come along for the ride.  What really drives us is something
else, this need to feel human, to reach below the multitude of layers of roles and 
responsibilities that society has placed on us, down below the company name tags,
and even the father, husband, son labels, to the pure, raw human being underneath. 
At such moments, our rational mind becomes redundant.  We move from thought
to feeling. Except our mind doesn't just stop.  Many runners say that they become
aware of their thoughts when they run.  All day our thoughts churn away, 
turning us this way and that, but this doesn't bother us in the slightest. 
Yet the minute we start moving away from its carefully constructed world of reason, 
into the wild heart of existence, our mind panics.  Our thoughts try to pull us back, 
to slow us down.  But like the marathon monks of Mount Hiei in Japan, 
who complete one thousand ultra marathons in one thousand days in 
search of enlightenment, if we push on, we begin to feel a vague, 
tingling sense of who, or what, we really are. It's a powerful feeling, strong enough 
to have us coming back for more, again and again. 

I witnessed the raw, stripped down human spirit this weekend.  I was stripped raw somewhere around mile 11, feeling all sorts of things yet nothing specific enough to understand.  I was ill, physically, and wounded emotionally - and after the race, I learned that others had similar (and worse) experiences, as well. 

Yet after we'd all showered and reconvened for lunch, we moved ahead and joked and laughed and planned our next adventures.  

Running is different things to different people.  I'm not sure I've yet discovered what running actually is for me - but I know that it is in me, and I am better for it. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

T Minus How Many??

I was supposed to go for a run this morning.  Instead, I ate a donut.  Ok, fine. I ate two donuts.  And you know what?  I feel damn good about it.

Of course, in the interest of full disclosure, I did eventually go for a run.  Because I'm a good girl, and I (mostly) do what I'm told.  Still.  Mmm....  Donuts.


I've now been staring at that picture of a running donut for 10 minutes without typing anything.  I think we all know what's going on here. I may have mentioned it before.  It's the dreaded MADNESS.  Taper Madness.  It's the week before "the big race," my mileage is cut way back, and I am left twiddling my thumbs trying not to go bat shit crazy before the weekend.  I should be fine.  I've been through this before. I know what to expect.  Right? 

Wrong.  Because this time, there's more crazy. I'm travelling to the race.  I'm meeting people for the first time.  I'm sharing a hotel room with virtual strangers.  Well, actually, they're virtual friends.  As in, in the virtual world, they are my friends.  But they are virtual strangers.  I need a dictionary. Or a thesaurus. Anyway!  (See?  Brain.  Crazy.)  

Plus I actually trained for this race, unlike my previous half.  Which makes me kind of have expectations.  Or hopes, I guess.  And hopes can get dashed.  I don't want to be dashed.  I don't even want to be Mrs. Dashed.  (Have you ever had that stuff?)  

I have 2 more miles to run this week, and then that's it until race day.  That's insane.  Who does that? That can't be right.  La la la la la la la.  Cows. 

Bat Shit Crazy, people.  From the Urban Dictionary: 

1. batshit crazy
A person who is batshit crazy is certifiably nuts. The phrase has origins in the old fashioned term "bats in the belfry." Old churches had a structure at the top called a belfry, which housed the bells. Bats are extremely sensitive to sound and would never inhabit a belfry of an active church where the bell was rung frequently. Occasionally, when a church was abandoned and many years passed without the bell being rung, bats would eventually come and inhabit the belfry. So, when somebody said that an individual had "bats in the belfry" it meant that there was "nothing going on upstairs" (as in that person's brain). To be BATSHIT CRAZY is to take this even a step further. A person who is batshit crazy is so nuts that not only is their belfry full of bats, but so many bats have been there for so long that the belfry is coated in batshit. Hence, the craziest of crazy people are BATSHIT CRAZY.
Dude that guy on the corner wears a tinfoil hat and ripped all the wires out of his house so the government couldn't listen to his thoughts.


Yeah, he's batshit crazy. 

Is it Friday yet? 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 13 Recap

Here we are.  It's RACE WEEK!  Before I freak out over that, let's take a look back at last week. 

GMM Half Marathon Week 13 Training Schedule:
  • Monday - Rest
  • Tuesday - 4 miles speedwork
  • Wednesday - Cross Train/Rest
  • Thursday - 2 miles easy
  • Friday - Cross Train/Rest
  • Saturday - 10 miles
  • Sunday - 2 miles recovery

How it actually went: 

  • Monday - Rest
  • Tuesday - 1.8 miles of painful speedwork (nasty shin pain made me stop)
  • Wednesday - Rest
  • Thursday - 6 miles of painful running but mostly walking (tried to do the 10 miles that day, due to schedule conflicts on Saturday - turns out it was a bad idea!)
  • Friday - Rest 
  • Saturday - 2 miles easy (felt fine!)
  • Sunday - 2 miles not-so-easy (picked it up in the last mile, felt great to move!) 

Total weekly mileage: 11.84

So.  Not exactly a stellar last week of training. Over six miles short, plus Tuesday and Thursdays miles weren't very high value.  Ugh, ugh, ugh.   But! I am happy enough with all of the rest of my training that I'm just going to say Oh Well and move on.  It is what it is and I'm not going to let a few bad runs get me down!  (Plus I already wallowed for a bit - ya'll just didn't get to hear it!) 


And now it's here.  Race Week.  I will run two more short runs this week, then on Friday morning I will get up, say goodbye to my family, and head to the airport.  I am so, so, so excited for this trip . The actual race?  Well, I still haven't thought about that, to be honest.  I have no idea what pace I'm going to run or whether or not I have a time goal.  I haven't decided what fuel I'm bringing, and whether or not I'm going to carry a handheld.  All those things will get decided later this week.  Right now, I'm just going to try to enjoy the "taper madness" that is slowly settling into my brain, and the fact that I am just four days away from meeting some of the best people I have never actually met in person. =) 

Whoo! =)

What are you excited about today? 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Trail-ing Behind

Due to the fact that I have awesomely courageous and talented friends, I'm always hearing about Ultra races and/or trail races and am continually thinking "Man, I wish I could do that!"   A few days ago, a friend mentioned the Stump Jump 50K race in Chattanooga, TN, and I immediately said "I'm in!"   Granted, I would be doing the 11 mile accompanying race, not the actual 50K - and I still need to figure out funds and logistics, but I really want to do the race.  

Of course, after I told my friend I wanted to do it, I immediately realized that I know NOTHING about running on trails, and Tennessee is not exactly flat........ and I don't run on hills.  Hmm.  But! I have 12 months to train for this race, so who says I can't start to run hills?  And explore trails?

So I turned to trusty Google, and found that there are actually quite a few 50M and 50K trail races held in Maryland.  While I'm not up to running in one yet, I can scope out the courses to train on!  Whee!  LOL  

After I get back from Vermont, I will be checking out Jug Bay, an area close to me that I've never even heard of before now that apparently has some cool trails.  They even have a 5K trail race in November......  Surely I can do a 5K trail race, right?  That's baby steps, isn't it? =)  

I'm excited to have something to work towards, even if I'm not 100% sure that I'll be able to do the race in Chattanooga next fall.  Regardless, I have a feeling I'm in for some adventure! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Heat Is On

Um, hi.  Mother Nature? Can I talk to you for a second?  Ok, see, it's OCTOBER.  The leaves are starting to turn, the kids and I just put up all the Halloween decorations........ So why was it EIGHTY FREAKING DEGREES when I went on my run today????

Jeepers.  Bad enough I had shin pain, I really could have done without the heat, too, mmmkay?  


So, in case you haven't gathered, oh, blog reader, today's run pretty much sucked.  I actually walked most of it, lacking both the ability to ignore my shins, and the actual mojo to give a flying fig.  It was just all around dumb.  I've been told that it's "ok" because it's taper-time, and I had a great 12 mile run last weekend, I've done all my training, and therefore my race is going to rock, and blah blah blah.  While all of that may be true, I'd still like to be able to run a few miles without being in pain, but maybe I'm just asking too much. /snark

One good thing about wandering aimlessly down the trail today was that I was able to think.  Not that I don't think when I'm running, but truth be told, thinking is easier when I'm walking.  I'm less likely to trip on something or step on a squirrel.  (Speaking of which, do you have kamikaze squirrels where you are? I swear the ones here dart out in front of you on purpose)  Anyway.  I did some thinking.  Trying to decide what I want to do re: my running after next weekend's race.  

The sad truth is that I have no freaking clue.  But I did come up with a short term plan.  After I take a week (maybe less) off after my race, I'm going to do the following for the remainder of the month, and all of November: 

  • Monday - Rest
  • Tuesday - Short run with no watch
  • Wednesday - actually do some freaking strength training
  • Thursday - Hour long trail run
  • Friday - see Wednesday
  • Saturday - Medium length run with no watch
  • Sunday - Short trail run with no watch plus whatever I did on Wednesday and Friday
I'm hoping that this schedule (which I fully plan on making TOTALLY loosey-goosey with no pressure whatsoever) will allow me to do two things.  #1, Get used to running on trails so that I can actually sign up for some trail races, and #2, Get back to actually enjoying running, which  has been hit or miss lately.  Oh, and #3, I guess, would be to actually get in shape and possibly lose some of this weight I've gained back and maybe improve my running since being a weak ass fatty isn't quite cutting it.   

So.  We'll see.  For now, I'm just keeping my eye on "the prize," as it were.  7 days and a wake up till I'm Boston (and then on to VT) bound! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Week 12 Recap

I know I say this every week, but how is it possible I'm writing another one of these things?  I didn't realize time could actually speed up.  I thought that was the whole point of time - that it's constant...  Well, except for Daylight Savings Time, but don't get me started on that.

So.  Two weeks from today, I will be running the Half Marathon at the Green Mountain Marathon in South, Hero, Vermont.  In my last post, I told you how gorgeous Vermont is.  In case you've forgotten, here:

Granted, that picture could have also been taken in Maryland, but in order to get through some rough days lately, I've been rewarding myself with the thoughts that Vermont is BETTER than Maryland, and I just have to hang on to get there! =)

So.  Week 12 of GMM Training.   It was supposed to look like this: 

  • Monday - Rest
  • Tuesday - 5 speed
  • Wednesday - Rest/Cross Train
  • Thursday - 5 easy
  • Friday - Rest/Cross Train
  • Saturday - 12 miles
  • Sunday - 3 miles easy
What it actually looked like: 

  • Monday - Rest
  • Tuesday - Rest
  • Wednesday - 2.25 painful miles (shin issues)
  • Thursday - 5 strong miles (running is a fickle beast!)
  • Friday - Rest
  • Saturday - 12 awesome freaking miles.  So happy with this run! 
  • Sunday - 3 miles not so easy. Blah. 
Weekly total:  22.25 miles! 

This was the first week that I deviated wildly from my training, on purpose.   Well, except for the week we spent at Disney, but I had approval from my coach to take it easy that week if I wanted to.  It's not like I didn't do over 40 miles of walking on that trip anyway!   Anyway, after my freak-out over the weekend, I needed an extra rest day on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I'd decided not to try to make up the speedwork, even before I started running and realized my shins were PISSED at me.   It seems weird now, though, that I really only have one week of training left before my taper, and then, boom - the race.   

It also seems weird that after Oct. 13th, I will not have a set schedule to follow any more.  On the other hand, I am so looking forward to being more flexible.  So we'll see.  I do want to stress that my coach, Erin, is freaking AWESOME, and if anyone is looking for a coach, I would highly recommend her.  It just turns out that for me, right now, coaching is not what I need.  I do not regret the experience, though, and I am convinced she's helped make me a stronger runner.

Monthly total miles:  85.42 - a personal best by about 20 miles.  Niiiice. =)   Next month the mileage will be much lower, which I will appreciate, but I will be honest - I kinda love the fact that I've run this much this month.  Makes me feel slightly.... something.  I want to say Badass, but it's not THAT badass.  It's badass for ME, but not for others.  But, as I keep reminding myself, "Comparison is the thief of joy!"  So.  It's badass.  Yay me. =)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Frazzled Friday

So, funny thing.  When you dream that you've written a bunch of witty, interesting blog posts full of pictures and fabulous stuff and then you wake up and log onto your computer, those posts will not actually be there!  Who knew?

In an effort to pull myself out of the crazy funk I was in earlier this week, I've been eating a lot of comfort food (read: carbs), and thinking about my upcoming trip to Vermont.  Did you know that Vermont is freaking gorgeous?

Two weeks from right now, I'll be at the airport  headed to Boston, where I will meet my friend S, and her friend K, and we will drive up to Burlington, VT.  SO EXCITED.  I'm less excited about the actual race than I am about having a few days "off" and meeting everyone, but that's ok.  Some of my favorite internet peeps are going to be in the same place at the same time, and that makes running 13.1 totally worth it. 

Plus, a my friend D who lives in VT mentioned that  maybe we'd go to this place: 


Their mac-n-cheese has its own menu, people!  Plus, stuffed french toast.  Are you kidding me?  After two plus hours of running?  Sign me up! Yum, yum! 

Of course, I just totally made myself hungry and it's still two hours until lunch. D'oh.  

Have you ever been to Vermont?  What's your favorite comfort food? 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Crazy? Me?

That's how I ought to be feeling. Instead I randomly burst into tears at a stop light today, and I honestly have no desire to lace up my shoes and hit the streets.

I am stressed out, burnt out, and just... out. Out of my mind, out of my depth. 

It started on Friday. I should have known something was brewing when I got the crazy urge to dye my hair. Usually that's a symptom of inner turmoil, but it's been 5 years since I've done it, so I didn't really examine my motives - I just went with the urge.

Bad idea.



Ok, I actually have no pictures of the "during." But imagine home highlights going terribly awry (or a chihuahua with a bleach pen drawing all over my head).


(After going to a salon, begging them to fix it, saying "I don't care what color! Just help me!")

The picture does not do it justice. It's DARK. And red. And I'm not a fan, but it is better than the insanity that it was before I had it "fixed." (And, really, it's a more flattering picture than the first one, but the whole point was lighter hair. Not darker.)

So. That was Friday.

Saturday was a 12 mile run that ended up being a 10 mile run - and then even though I was sick, going to the fair with my family. Cuz I'm a mom and that's what I do. Then Sunday was more mommy duty, and more crappy running. Then today, I cried. And cried. Then I "fired" my coach and screamed at my husband. 

If this were 2 weeks from now, I'd blame it on hormones. As it is, I feel like I am just losing my mind. I need a vacation, stat. I am just overbooked, under rested, and utterly cranky. 

And now I've dumped all my crazy on ya'll. Fun, hu?

At least you got pictures this time.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Week 11 Recap

Holy moly, how is it possible that I'm writing ANOTHER one of these recaps? I mean, seriously. Are the weeks getting shorter?  Jeepers.

Week 11 of GMM Half Marathon training is officially over.  Only 3 weeks till the race!

How this week's training was supposed to go:

  • Monday - Rest
  • Tuesday - 5 miles speed
  • Wednesday - Rest/Cross train 
  • Thursday - 4 miles easy
  • Friday - Rest/Cross train
  • Saturday - 12 miles
  • Sunday - 3 miles easy 
Weekly total:  24 miles

Here's how the week actually went: 
  • Monday - Rest (of course!)
  • Tuesday - 5 miles of crap.  Managed the 3 "tempo" miles in the middle but had to take walk breaks to deal with a side stitch that would.not.go.away!   It was not fun. 
  • Wednesday - 1 mile run, plus short lower body segment from my Biggest Loser DVD
  • Thursday - 4 geat miles
  • Friday - Rest (which was not as restful as it sounds - total hair catastrophe occurred, and I can't even blame it on anyone except myself)
  • Saturday - 10 miles that were alternately ok, and horrible.  Didn't manage to finish the 12 I was supposed to.  Came home and was ill.  Blah.  
  • Sunday - 3 miles with legs that felt like lead. 
Weekly total: 23 miles

This was my least successful week of training to date.  My coach told me that if after resting tomorrow, I am still feeling tired, then I should take Tuesday as an additional rest day.  That means skipping out on 5 miles, 3 of which are supposed to be at tempo pace.  Part of my brain is going "No! I NEED those miles!"  and another part of my brain is saying "Oh, thank you, baby Jesus! I need a damn NAP!"  

So, we'll see. I have to say, though, that I'm very proud of how my training has gone so far, and I know that I have given it my all, so if I do end up taking a rest day on Tuesday, I know it will not be because I'm lazy, but because I truly need it. 

Now.  Who's wondering what happened to my hair?  No one?  Great! Then I don't have to share pictures. Phew! ;-)

Saturday, September 21, 2013


A few days ago I mentioned a group that I joined called I Run 4.  It's a group that pairs runners with differently abled kids and adults, and the runners run "for" their matches, and do what they can to add a little pixie dust to their lives.  Well, yesterday, I got my match! 

His name is Paul, and he's a total cutie patootie.  His mom blogs about their life on her blog, Party of Six.  I haven't had the chance to read much of the blog, because yesterday was full of stupid and today was busy, busy, busy, but I'm really looking forward to getting to know him and his whole family.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

On a Roll

I've had issues with my right calf and shin since... oh, forever.  Day one of running.  (Ok, fine, I've been running less than 2 years so obviously it's not "forever."  I'm allowed to exaggerate, it's my blog!)

I have one of these: 

I use it on a semi-regular basis, but not really not as often as I ought to.  For those not familiar, it's a tool that you use in a rolling manner to work out tight muscles.  Mine is the travel version, pictured above, which is slightly longer than a regular kitchen rolling pin (but much more narrow).   It lives near my bed, and like I said, I use it occasionally.  If my shins aren't bothering me and my calf doesn't feel that tight, I pretty much ignore it. 

Recently, I've been having a flare-up, if you will.  Shin pain on the runs following my speed work, and calf tightness pretty much on all my runs.  Nothing agonizing, but it's annoying, and I have had to cut one run short due to the pain.  I mentioned it to my coach, and she suggested I get a foam roller.  I've heard of them before, and I know people who swear by them, so I went online and ordered one.  

I was in no way prepared for what arrived at my doorstep.  This thing is HUGE! 

(Ugly feet shown for size reference)

Once I got over my shock of its sheer size, I went online and googled "How to Foam Roll."  (As an aside, I am so glad that it's 2013.   How in the hell would I ever get anything done without Google??)   After watching a few videos, and emailing with my coach for a bit, I went ahead and tried it out. 

Holy Mother Of God.  Pain.  Pain like... well, like really ouchy freaking pain.  Apparently my calf is more of an issue than I thought!  I've been assured that with daily rolling, things will get better, but I am in no way looking forward to more of this torture.   What I am looking forward to, however, is being able to run issue-free, so I guess I will be continuing to torture myself for the foreseeable future.  Fun!  

Speaking of torture, I have to go gently encourage my son to get off his duff and get ready for school. Happy Wednesday, all! =) 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 10 Recap

When I started training for the Green Mountain Half Marathon, I felt like the 14 week schedule was so long.  Apparently, time flies when you're having fun, because yesterday marked the end of Week 10! Holy Moly.  This week was a cutback week, which I needed more than I realized! 

What the week was supposed to look like:
  • Monday - Rest
  • Tuesday - 5 miles (speedwork)
  • Wednesday - Rest/Cross train
  • Thursday - 2 miles easy
  • Friday - Rest/Cross train
  • Saturday - 7 miles
  • Sunday - 2 miles easy 

What the week actually looked like:
  • Monday - Rest 
  • Tuesday - 5 miles (two of which were faster than my 5K pace! What, what!) & squats
  • Wednesday - Squats 
  • Thursday - 2 miles (tons of shin pain, yet again.  blah) & squats
  • Friday - Squats
  • Saturday - 7 miles (5 of which were awesome) & squats
  • Sunday - 2 miles easy & squats

Total Miles for the Week:  16 and 150 squats.  (I have now typed "squats" so many times that it does not look like a real word.  Squats. Squats.  Squats.  So weird) 

My 7 mile run looked like this: 

The first two miles were uncomfortable because my right calf (my left one is so good, why can't my right one learn from her sister??) was tight and it took me awhile to warm up.  Once I hit mile 3, though, things loosened up and I just felt great.  Probably the best run I've had in a long, long time.  Don't let the weather icon fool you, though.  This run was at night and it was dark! 

It was funny, actually, because I told my husband "I'll be home around 8:30" and I walked in the door RIGHT at 8:30 and he said "I was starting to get worried about you!"   Um... I was on time!  Jeez.  Good thing that last mile was a bit faster, wouldn't want him to call the cops or anything!  

Actually, I shouldn't say that.  It's nice that he worries.  I  just would rather have him wait to worry until I'm actually LATER than I said I'd be.  =)


You probably noticed that I actually did something other than just running this week. If you didn't notice, then you're not reading very closely! ;-) It wasn't much, but with me, baby steps are sometimes the only steps I'm capable of!  Every night before bed, I did squats.  I started out with 15 for two days, then I moved up to 30 each night.  This week, I'll continue doing the squats, but I'll add in another exercise.  I have not decided what yet.  Maybe crunches.  Like I said, baby steps.   But I realized that I can't keep expecting my running to get better when I'm not doing any additional work to get my body stronger.  So, I'm trying.  


Did you do anything new this week?  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Well, that's disgusting...

I've never been what you might call a "girly girl."  I don't wear makeup, I consider running a  brush through my hair to be "styling" it, and I don't worry too much about what the latest fashion trends are.  I do, however, like to have pretty feet.  

I don't get pedicures because I'm crazy ticklish, but I do paint my toenails in the summer time because I live in flip flops/sandals and the toes must. look. presentable!  I used to have fairly cute feet:  

Actually, in this picture, the right one looks a little janky, but still.  You can see that the toes are normal looking, right?  A little pink sparkly nail polish, nothing wonky going on.  Perfectly presentable feet.  I think I took this picture last fall, when my running was kind of sporadic and light.  (Lest you think I'm even weirder than I already am, I had painted my daughter's toes, also, and that's why I was taking pictures - but for some reason I can't find the picture of my daughter's adorable feet!) 

Anyway.  What were we talking about?  Oh, right.  

A few weeks ago, I noticed that one of my toenails was starting to look odd.  I was hesitant to remove my nail polish, because I feared what I'd find.  Nothing hurt, but the nail was very obviously not in good health.   I finally bit the bullet last night, and took the polish off.  

Uh.... err..... YUCK!   Two black toenails!  I have runner's feet!  *sob*   

I love my feet.  They, along with my legs, have carried me over 600 miles since I started my running journey. I am very grateful to them, and I know that I am extremely lucky to have them.  But come on.  Ew.  Why do they have to be so funky? 

Have you ever had a black toenail (or any other running or fitness related weirdness)?