Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Who you callin' slow?

I am slow. I have never broken the tape at the end of a race, have never received an age group award - heck, I've never even placed in the top 50% of finishers in any race that I've done. I am a "back of the pack" runner. I am slow.

Recently, I've gotten faster. But I still consider myself slow. Then, today, I read this article.

"Here’s a secret about running. The feeling you get after a new PR, the satisfaction from a tough workout well done, and the disappointment from a bad performance all feel the same no matter how fast you are. That’s the beauty of our sport."

Huh.  Well, there's something.  Last year, when I ran my first 5K, it took me over 41 minutes.  Then, a few months later, I ran a 5K and it took me just under 36.  I was elated.  Yet I down played my elation, because 36 minutes is "slow."   I improved by over 5 minutes - cut my pace by over a minute per mile - and yet I still felt unworthy.

Last month, I ran/walked a 10 mile race, and while I was thrilled with the race and my finishing time, I didn't do a race report ON MY OWN BLOG because I felt that my time was nothing to "brag" about.  Plus the fact that I hadn't actually RUN the whole thing.

". . . regardless of your pace, you’re doing better than almost 80 percent of Americans. In a study conducted by the CDC, researchers found that less than 20 percent of Americans get the recommended levels of exercise, and more than a quarter of U.S. adults do not devote any time to physical activity."

 Again, huh.  I'm in the top 20% of something.  No matter what my pace.

I am run/walking a half marathon on Sunday, and I'm going to probably finish at the back of the pack.  But you know what?  I'm going to write one hell of a race report - and I'll be damn proud, no matter how my finishing time may compare to others.  Because I will have done something I never thought I'd be able to do, and that is worth bragging about.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Relentless. Forward. Motion!

As much as I love sleep (and trust me, I looove sleep), there is something almost magical about forcing myself out of bed before the sun comes up to go on a run.   

Today was my last long run/walk before my upcoming race.  I wanted to do 8 miles, with at least 2 at race pace.  Ended up with 8 miles, 3 of which were sub-race pace.  Whoops.  Actually, I say that, but who the heck knows what my race pace is these days?  Especially with this whole run/walk thing, which has totally thrown my mind for a loop.  I don't think I have any actual idea how fast I can run these days, because I haven't tried to run fast (save for the "run" portions of my run/walks) in forever.   

Once this race is over, I can put the run/walking behind me and hopefully get back to just running.   It's not that I have anything against run/walking - and, heck, it's given me some mile splits that I'm not sure I could replicate just running - but it's not what I started out wanting to do.  

I am feeling better about my running over all, though - and I met my April mileage goal already (and still have one run to go this month!), so that makes me happy.  Now if I could just meet my weight goal....  But that would require me to not eat things like I did yesterday, and really, why would I want to give that up? LOL  No, really, I do need to do something.  I'm up 3 lbs over where I was a month ago, and that's just no good.  I'm still in the "normal" BMI range (not that I put much stock in BMI), but I am not happy with where I am.  So....... gotta do something.  

In any case.  7 days till the Frederick Half Marathon.  Whoot whoot!  Ready or not, here I run.... ;-) 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Food coma

Instead of running 8 miles this morning, I decided to sleep in.  Then, after spending time with my family this  morning, this happened:

Chicken n Biscuits 
And then this (which I forgot to take a picture of before I started GORGING myself on it):

Strawberry Shortcake

Now, my husband is taking the kids to his mother's house, and even though I'll have a few hours to myself, I'm too freaking tired to go run, so I think I'm just going to slip into a little food coma.   Somebody wake me up in time for my run tomorrow morning, mmmkay?  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Special Delivery

I love mail.  

A  blogger I read posted awhile ago about getting excited about receiving mail, and today, for me it was quite true.  Packages from Amazon, Running Warehouse, and Gone For A Run all graced my doorstep and I did a happy little dance.  The Amazon package was a surprise - books from my mom for my kids (awww!).  The other stuff, I actually ordered and have been (not so) patiently waiting for.

First, the bras.  So freaking excited, it's almost actually a little sad.  I wanted to find sports bras that had actual clasps in the back, but I'm on the smaller side, breast-wise (yes, I just typed that), so mostly what I end up with are compression type bras.  They're fine, they do the job, but some days, they are freaking impossible to get in and out of.  After a particularly bad run a few weeks ago, I had to pitifully call my husband in to help me get out of one, and then wearily explain to him that I was not trying to come on to him, I was just stuck and had wrenched something trying to get myself ready for the shower.  (Poor guy LOL)

So when Running Warehouse announced this week that they had select Saucony products on sale which included bras with BACK CLOSURES I was thrilled.  I bought the only two colors they had - black, and a dark pink.
Of course it's sideways... Pfft. How did that happen?  Anyway.  Saucony Curve Crusader Bra

Have not tried them on yet since I just got them, but I'm sure I'm going to love them, if for no other reason than I'll be able to get my self dressed and undressed.... something that I have been proud to be able to do since the age of, oh, I don't know, THREE.  

Moving on.  The box from Gone For A Run held two items.  First, these puppies:

13.1 Flip Flops from Gone For A Run

I saw these and immediately had to have them.  My "debut" half marathon is next weekend, and I'm not the bumper sticker sort, but I wanted something to commemorate the event, since I figured people would stare at me oddly if I wore the medal everywhere I go.  Since I pretty much live in flip flops in the summer time, I figured these would be fun.

The next item I purchased just a few hours before I found out about the Adidas shirts.  Kinda bummed about that, actually, since I'm pretty sure that the shirt I'm bought didn't benefit anyone except the people who made it, but oh well.  I still love the message, and will wear it a lot.

Love this shirt! It came out of the package mighty wrinkled, though, didn't it? 
I'm still waiting on one more item that I've ordered recently - I don't know what got into me, but I've been on a running-related spending spree lately.  There must be something in the water.  

How about you? Any fun running related purchases lately?  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

What a difference a day makes.  I was all "woe is me" this past week, thinking that my upcoming HM was going to be disastrous due to lack of training, injury, and overall lack of talent.  Then I got up at 4:30 yesterday morning to run 12 miles before the sun came up, and an amazing thing happened.  It was.... easy.

Not easy like falling down is easy, but easy as in...  smooth.  Mellow.  Fun, even.  Granted, it was also super slow, but my paces were fairly even (I think - my Garmin betrayed me, more on that in a minute), and I never felt "OMG, I don't want to do this anymore" like I did on my last long run. I also didn't really have any of my usual "Gah, you're so slow, why do you bother?" thoughts like I sometimes do.  I just told myself "Nothing to prove, sweetcheeks," over and over.  Because, really.  Come on.  I am not Shalane Flannagan. I am not Deena Castor.  No one is writing articles about me in Runners World.  If it takes me 3 hours to finish a half marathon, no one is going to  notice, or care.

So.  Here's a bunch of stuff I learned on my run yesterday morning:

  1. Doing a longer run in loops (as opposed to just one out and back) is beneficial because I can get more water, if needed, and make a potty stop, if needed.  Yesterday, it was needed.  Badly.  I'm sure if anyone had seen me sprinting towards my house after 7 miles yesterday morning, they would have called the cops, because I'm pretty sure I looked terrified.  I was terrified.  Terrified I was going to do something I hadn't done since I was 2.  TMI, sorry.  Having a bathroom available on your route can be a good thing, that's all I'm saying! 
  2. My Forerunner 10 is not as smart as my Forerunner 110.  My 110 will automatically save a run when it goes into "Power Save Mode."  (Like, for example, when you have to dash into your house to use the bathroom and it loses satellite)  The 10 will power down, but it will not save your run unless you are paying attention enough to scroll through the screen and hit "save."  So, I lost the first 7 miles of my run.  I have no "proof" that I ran 12 miles yesterday.  Lamenting this fact to my husband, he replied "Back in my day (yes, he really said that), you just went out and ran, and didn't have all these fancy watches."    Thanks, dear, but back in your day, dinosaurs roamed the earth.  Cut me some slack. I like technology! LOL
  3. At 5 a.m., when it's dark and my neighborhood is asleep, the birds are FREAKING LOUD.  Holy moly, I couldn't believe how loud the birds were.  I think they were having the bird equivalent of a kegger, because they were making some NOISE.  Sheesh.  
  4. Stepping into a huge, deep puddle 3 minutes into your run is not fun.  Yet somehow, it can be ignored and forgotten if you're enjoying yourself enough. 
I'm sure there were other things, but that's all I can think of right now.  Needless to say, I'm feeling much better about my "debut" half marathon, and am more determined than ever to just enjoy the day and not worry about the clock at all.  There will be other races where I've been able to actually get my training in, and for those races, I can think about a goal time.  For now, I'm just going to enjoy the fact that my feet can carry me miles upon miles upon miles.  And that I can eat a Butterfinger afterwards and not even feel guilty. LOL 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Helter Skelter

I wanted to run 4.15 "for Boston" yesterday but my ankle was killing me.  I ran the first mile, then took a break, used the bathroom, took pictures of the park.  Then I started running again, having decided I would do 2.62 instead.  My ankle hurt so much, I wanted to walk.  Out of nowhere, I had the thought "Some people don't have ankles anymore, suck it up!"  I gasped, loudly, almost a sob, and kept running.  I finished the 2.62 and hung my head, trying not to cry.

Monday, to put it bluntly, sucked.  Tuesday was the anniversary of the shootings at Va Tech. Yesterday, there was an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas.  Today....  today I'm just tired.  I'm PMSing, not sleeping well, my ankle is bothering me, and I am supposed to run my first ever half marathon in two weeks. I need....  something.  

Since there is no magic wand, instead I'll just watch two videos - one which has been a favorite of mine for awhile now, and one I just saw today.  

The First Gold

National Anthem sung by thousands in Boston

Next week will be better.  We will soldier on.  There is no finish line. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A different kind of Shock and Awe

After dropping the kids off at school yesterday, I went to Panera, grabbed some breakfast, and hightailed it home to watch the Boston Marathon.  I used my cellphone to chat with friends on Facebook as I watched the race on my husband's laptop.  After the elite women had finished, my mom made a comment on Facebook that made me realize that she, too, had been watching.

I called her and we chatted a bit, laughing and happy, in awe of what we'd seen.   It was a great day.

Fast forward three hours to me sitting in the car loop line at my son's elementary school, my daughter sleeping in the backseat as we waited for school to get out.  I checked Facebook (I'm slightly addicted) and saw the words "marathon" and "bomb" in the same sentence. It made no sense.  I Googled and found nothing.  I went back to Facebook, and there were more posts.  I Googled some more, and there it was.  Bombs had gone off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Immediately, my feed was filled with "The girls were at the finish line - have they checked in?" and "Oh, my god, B was running, what time was he expected to finish, has anyone called him?" and on and on.  I sat with tears in my eyes, not knowing if runners, volunteers, and spectators that I knew had been hurt in the blasts, or if they were safe.

A few hours later, after everyone that I know had been (thank heavens) accounted for, I started thinking about the victims of the explosions.   Not just those who had  been killed and injured (though, obviously, my heart went out to them and to their families, and I cannot even imagine the horror that they all endured), but the runners, volunteers, and spectators who were there.

The Boston Marathon is a Big Deal.  It's a great day for Boston, and a great day for runners. Qualifying for Boston is a life-long dream for some, while others work tremendously hard to raise money for charity so that they, too, may be allowed to run along the same streets as elite athletes.  Boston aside, Marathons themselves are a Big Deal.  Hours upon hours are spent training for a marathon.  Hundreds of miles are logged, injuries are sustained, sleep is lost.  People who run marathons endure so much for the chance to cross the finish line, their arms raised in triumph.  To be able to say I Did It!

For thousands of people yesterday, that moment of glory was taken away.   OF COURSE the main focus should be on the actual victims of the bombs.  OF COURSE the runners who were not injured are grateful for their health and safety.  OF COURSE.   But I can't help feeling sad for those runners who trained so hard and fought for so long, only to have their happy ending taken away from them and replaced with unspeakable horror.

Fortunately, the general consensus seems to be, "We will run again."

My thoughts are with the people of Boston, the victims of this horrific incident, and runners all over the world.  God Bless.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I need a vacation

If last Sunday's 10 mile race had gone the way yesterday's 10 mile training run went, I'm pretty sure that I would have cried and decided to bag my upcoming half marathon entirely.   Holy moly.

I headed out at 3 in the afternoon (which was fairly silly of me, in hindsight).  By mile two I was spent, and seriously considered turning around and heading home and pushing my long run to Monday.   I didn't.  I should have.

I walked nearly all of miles 5, 6, and 8.   During mile 8, I wanted to sit down on the pavement and call my husband and beg him to come get me.  I came close to tears.  It was just a silly, no good, crappy kind of run (walk).

After I'd gotten home and cleaned up, I started thinking about it.  What went wrong?

  1. Hard race effort last week.  (Apparently it takes me a long time to recover)
  2. Starting out at 3 in the afternoon after spending most of the morning/early afternoon on my feet.  (Probably best to do my long runs first thing in the a.m. from now on)
  3. Wrong shoes.  (My husband got me shoes for Christmas and they are 1/2 a size too big.  I did not think it was a big deal.  I'm starting to realize it is.) 
  4. Not running enough during the week to support higher mileage on the weekend.  (I ran 6.33 miles over two runs this past week, then went out for 10 yesterday.  Not the smartest.) 

So, while yesterday did not go as smoothly as I'd hoped, at least it was a learning experience.  I am two long runs away from my first half marathon (AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!), and while nothing has gone according to plan over the past few months, at least I have complied a laundry list of "What Not to Do"s.  

I'm learning.  Baby steps.  And after the half marathon, I can let myself relax for a little while.   Well, until it's time to start training for my next half marathon.  (Which, I promise, I'm actually going to train for.) 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Judge & Jury

When I was younger, my mother would get upset at me for taking a long time to decide what to wear to church.  "No one's even going to be looking at you," she'd tell me.  At the time, my 14 year old brain thought that was kind of rude.  What do you mean, they're not going to look at me? Why not?

This afternoon while I was struggling a little bit through my "easy" run, I started to really think about who is - and who isn't - looking at me.

The young guy who blew past me with no shirt on - did he think "Move aside, old lady, real runner coming through?"  Maybe.  Or maybe he was thinking about the date he had coming up, or the ball game he was planning on watching when he got home.  

The lady who is probably a few years older than I am who ran opposite me and raised her hand in greeting - was she thinking "Heh, still faster than YOU are, girl?"   Maybe.  Or maybe she was wondering what to feed her kids for dinner, or trying to decide if she really wanted to leave her husband.

What did I think of when I saw those two?  The guy - I registered that he had no shirt on, then wondered about the black things on his legs.  "Compression sleeves, no, socks?  Look like they're probably socks. Man, it's nice out here. Just another half mile, though, then I'll turn around and head home."

The woman I passed - I saw her.  That's pretty much it, I can't even remember thinking anything about her, really.  "Half a mile to go before I get home. I should slow down.  What's my 'easy' speed supposed to be these days, anyway? Man, my legs feel like lead tonight. Ugh."

I tend to think that people (I don't know who, really, just "people") are judging me, and finding me lacking.  I'm slow, I'm overweight, is my butt jiggling too much in these capris, should have worn a skirt, blah, blah, negative self talk, blah.   But when I see other people out, running through my neighborhood, I never judge them.  

I am no saint. I judge people.  Silently, usually, unless I'm with my husband and we're out playing the "Holy moly, does she not have a full-length mirror at home" game.  (Horrible, I know, but hey, you know you've had those thoughts, too)   Yet when it comes to running, I am judgement free.  I'm just happy to see other people out, enjoying the same thing I'm enjoying.  (Or not enjoying, as the case may be)

So who is looking at me?  Who is judging me?  Me.  I am.  Why is that?

I don't want to be a negative nelly, I don't want to think of myself as not enough - fast enough, thin enough, enough enough.  I want to celebrate the fact that I'm better than I used to be.  Stronger, faster, more capable.  I want to run in a new direction.

Tomorrow, I will run to the corner of I've Got Nothing To Prove and Whatchu Lookin' At, Sister streets, and I will hold my head up ........ and stop channeling Dennis Haysbert, because I swear I was just hearing his voice just now.  Those damn AllState commercials.  Oh, my.  Where was I?  LOL

My circle of running friends is so supportive and encouraging - and they don't judge.  They are just happy for me, for my accomplishments, and don't hold them up to anyone else's for comparison.  They know what I'm trying to remind myself.  Yes, I enter races - but not to compete against others.  I enter races to compete against myself.   So, again, I say - I am stronger, faster, more capable than I was a week ago, a month ago, a year ago.

Judgement is for the plaintiff!  (Or am I the defendant? I confuse myself with these silly analogies.  Who let me have a blog?)

Anyway.  the kids are in bed. It's time for a popsicle.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Trail-ing behind

Having long runs and/or races on Sundays totally messes up my weekly run schedule.  Ideally I like to run M/W/F/Sa in order to take advantage of the fact that my daughter is in preschool on Monday and Wednesday mornings.  Because of Sunday's race, however, I took Monday off (can you say sore legs?), so today was my first day back at it since the race.

Sunday's race weather: 43 degrees (ish).   Today's run weather:  80 degrees (also ish - it could have been a tad warmer).   Undaunted by the 40 degree difference in temperature, I decided to do some exploring at our local park and run the trails.  Usually, the "trails" I run are paved paths.  Not so today.  

See? Dirt and roots and stuff!
Aside from the random horse poop I encountered along one stretch of the trail, it was really a very nice run.  Of course, I only lasted about a mile because I was convinced I was going to get lost, twist an ankle, get eaten by a snake, etc, etc.   So I made my way back to the paved paths... and totally lost my mojo.   It was hot, I had no water with me, there was no real shade, I was tired, excuse, excuse, excuse.  I just gave up, honestly.  2.33 measly miles at an agonizingly slow overall pace, and I headed back to my car. 

I did, however, manage to find a pond that I never knew existed!


As I was driving home, I thought about an article I read in Runner's World magazine about mental toughness.  About how you can't quit in training and expect that your race times are going to improve.  I guess mental toughness is something I need to work on.

So.  More running, less geese! Or something. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cherry Blossom 10-Miler

Entirely too exhausted mentally as well as physically to bore ya'll with a full report, so here's the short and sweet version.

Today, I ran past a bunch of these:
Sorry for the blury, it's hard to walk and photograph.

After I finished running past all of them, I got one of these: 
My first medal ever! 

Super thrilled with my time, super bummed that I now feel like death warmed over.  Seriously, I feel like I have a hangover, and this happened after my last couple of long runs, too.  I am either not getting enough water, or not getting enough nutrition.  Either way, it's crappy.    

So, to recap.  Awesome race, totally thrilled...... except for the headache and nausea that I am currently experiencing.  Yay me! =)

Michelle also ran this race today, and graciously waited for me after she finished.  She kicked butt during the race, but I'll let her tell you about it. =)

Now, for a nap! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Boston, baby!

Before I started running, the Boston Marathon wasn't even a blip on my radar.  I'm sure I'd heard of it (maybe), but certainly didn't CARE about it.  Last year, however, I watched it live on my laptop.  It's amazing how different things are now that I've become a runner.  My world has expanded.  I read magazines I never would have touched before, I watched the Summer Olympics and shouted at the television as Mo Farah and Galen Rupp came into the final straightaway in the men's 10,000m race, and I watched both the mens and the womens Olympic Marathons - without fast forwarding.  I was riveted.  

The 117th Boston Marathon will be run in just over a week.  I will be watching it again.  This time, though, I know someone who will be volunteering at the race - and I'll be thinking of a friend who "BQ'd" in her very first marathon (which also happened to be her very first race!).  Couch to BQ.  Not exactly something that happens every day! Not to mention, she didn't just squeak by.  She could have walked for awhile and still made it.  Unreal. (BQ = short hand for "Qualified for Boston."  Qualifying standards can be found here.) I  barely made it from couch to 5K!

Speaking of my lackluster running ability......... I didn't run today.  Eek.  Today was supposed to be my last run before my race on Sunday, and it just didn't happen.  Too much going on, the day got away from me and now it's dark out, my back hurts, and I'm just beat.  Bad Di! Bad!  Oh, well.  Nothing I can do now but wait and see.

So, are you going to watch the Boston Marathon? 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Weight, what?

When I started running last year, it wasn't with the goal of losing weight.  Sure, I had (have) a few pounds to lose, but that wasn't my goal.  I hate trying to lose weight, to be honest (who doesn't, right?) and for a long time I've been in denial, anyway.  

I'm 5'7" and have been since high school.  I was "skinny" right up until about... oh, age 25.  In college I was "scary skinny," according to some. (98 lbs) I slowly gained weight until I was hanging out in the 130's by my wedding day in 2005.  I wasn't "scary skinny" anymore, but I was slim and happy on my honeymoon.

Fast forward a year.  I weighed 168 lbs.  I gained 30 lbs the first year I was married.  Eek, right?  Fast forward again, to 4 years later, and I'd had two kids and still weighed 168 lbs.  I told myself that's just where my body wanted to be.   Three years later, I realized maybe that's not so true.

At the beginning of 2012, I weighed 162 lbs and started running.  In February of this year,  I weighed 151.5.  Not a  huge loss in a year, but a steady one that I was maintaining easily, without too much change in my habits at all.  (Which is good, because I cannot "diet."  I end up practically stuffing my face if you tell me I can't have something.)

I wasn't too concerned about my continued weight loss, though I did set a goal to reach 145 by the end of 2013.  Easy enough, right? Slow, steady loss that I could easily maintain.

Except I weighed myself this morning and the scale told me I weighed 155.5.  Whoops.  Wrong direction.  So. Maybe I need to pay more attention to what I'm eating and how much time I'm spending just sitting around.  I won't be turning this blog into a weight loss blog, but I'll probably post now and again re: my progress, just to try to keep myself honest and accountable.  I'll never be 98 lbs again (thank god), but I really wouldn't mind seeing the 130s again sometime.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sticks and stones

After my 8 mile run (in the rain!) yesterday, I came home tired and I know I should have stretched and treated myself well.  Instead, I took a quick shower and headed out to dinner with my family to celebrate my husband's birthday.  Fortunately, other than being heavy and tired feeling, there was no residual "ouch" in my legs - but I know that I'm playing fast and loose (tight?) with my running health, and that I ought to take better care of myself.

(Especially considering my history of shin splints!)

Reading SUAR today, I was reminded once again of my lackadaisical attitude about stretching, massage, etc, and started wondering - am I the only runner in America who doesn't have an intimate relationship with her foam roller? I do own The Stick, and I use it occasionally, but it's not something that has become habitual.

So what about you? Yay or nay on the self-inflicted torture self massage?

Source: girlbikelove.com