Friday, April 5, 2013

Hey! I have a new blog!

I have started a new blog!  All about fitness (with a little running thrown in) ...

Come see!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Where am I??

My emotions have run amok since the 10-Miler.  I'm happy that I ran it.  I'm not particularly happy with my time.  I'm frustrated that I had some bronchial issues that kept me from running the race I wanted to run.  I'm glad that running has become part of my life.  Wondering if racing is my thing.  Wondering if I'll be disappointed in myself if I don't put another race on the schedule.  Hoping that I can get my fanny in gear, get back into some strength training and be the best ME I can be.  

Okay, you get the idea, right?  It has been a tumultuous time.  What I DON'T need right now is to spend a lot of time putting all this junk out there for the world to see.  Soooo ... I'm going to take a break from blogging.  Maybe not from the blogosphere in general, as I really do enjoy reading other runners' blogs, but perhaps a break from that would be helpful, too, since some of my self-criticism comes from comparing myself to others, something I promised myself I wouldn't do.  So if I don't log on and see how fast everyone else is, I can't compare, right?

Anyway, I wish all of you runners much happiness and satisfaction in your running until I decide to plug back in to check on you!  Thanks for all of the support during my training and after the race.  While I've had lots of support, thanks especially to all the Jennifers who have been with me, as well as Sara, Erica, and of course, GrazMan (who supports me every day--if I were half the woman he thinks I am, I'd be pretty amazing!).

Happy running! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Race recap ... IT'S OVER!!

Friday night I got everything ready.  Number pinned on, socks, Bondi Band with appropriate saying on it.  

Water belt on the counter next to the fridge, where my water bottles were waiting.  Nuun in the handy-dandy little pocket on the belt, ready to insert just before the race.  Hoping for a better night's sleep, but not counting on it.  Good thing, because it was another rough night.  Anna came into my room at 4:40, and by the time I got settled back into bed, there wasn't a chance in the world I was going back to sleep.  Finally gave up at 5:35 Saturday morning and got ready.  Tony heard me stirring and got up.  Elaine, my usual sleepy headed 10 year old, was up before 6.  We managed to wake the others shortly thereafter so that we could leave by 6:30.

Arrived at U-Hall and got parked by 6:40, and soon found running buddies Robin and Roger (RBR#1 & #2).  Took the mandatory pre-race pics.

Anna was running the Kids Dash, so she had her number, too!  (BTW, she fell about 3/4 of the way into the 1-lap race she had entered, but got up and finished--last, but not the least bit perturbed!  That's my girl!)

Running Buds Roger and Robin, who have been so incredibly supportive throughout this entire journey.

So the race began with 2300 runners on a glorious spring day.  We found a spot near the back, since we knew we wanted to start slowly and pace ourselves.  We'd run the course a few times before, so we knew where the hills were, with a number of them occurring in the first two miles.  I felt good, Robin felt good, Roger--well, Roger is super athletic and has probably never not felt like running.  Go figure.  Anyway, we were looking forward to a nice run.

Things went well until mile 6, when there is a slow, steady incline past a cemetery on the heels of two shorter, steeper hills.  This particular stretch has never been my favorite (despite RBR1's great jokes about our whoopin' and hollerin' waking the dead as we celebrate making it up the hill).  During the race, however, my body was sending me very strong "You need to walk now" messages.  I haven't heard that in a long time, even during my 12 mile run 2 weeks ago, so what did I do?  I ignored it.  Probably not the best move.  About 1/2 mile later, I started coughing hard, remnants of last week's bronchitis.  I kept plugging away, but I didn't feel like I normally feel, and I knew I was slowing down.

We got on a great straight stretch and I figured I would be able to pick up the pace.  It didn't happen.  RBR1 said she was getting her second wind (her 8-mile wind, as she likes to call it).  I've seen this with her on our training runs--sometimes I can hang in there with her, sometimes I can't.  Yesterday I definitely couldn't, but we'd often discussed this possibility, and we both agreed that if one of us was feeling the groove, then go with it.  So when RBR1 asked, "Lisa, is it okay?"  I replied without hesitation for her to go for it.  We train together, but as Coach Lorenzoni says, your race is your own.  I was SO PROUD of her--she caught up to RBR2 and let it fly, fully a minute faster than had she hung back with me.  She has been an awesome running buddy--always very supportive, with the most upbeat attitude you can find.  I look forward to running alongside her for many years.

The last two miles were pure torture.  I finally ended up walking for two separate 15 or 20 second stints up the hill during mile 9.  I knew that the finish line and my family were waiting, so I kept trudging along, but I was feeling the pain.  I think this picture tells the story better than I ever could.  I'm embarrassed by it (I look old, tired and defeated), but I did, in fact, cross the finish line, so I'm trying hard to remember that gift I promised myself.

The lovely lady clapping for me on the right is Betsy, one of our training program captains.  Betsy is due a great deal of credit for her unwavering support of us new runners.  She ROCKS!!  The girl in the foreground in the pink jacket and knit hat is eldest daughter Olivia.  She rocks, too!  

Here is another shot as I was about to cross the finish line, holding dear Anna's hand.  It is the only shot of my legs that I have ever liked--despite how tired I may have looked from the neck up, these are STRONG legs that carried me through a tough race.  I LOVE my legs!  (However, if any plastic surgeons out there would like to contribute their services to my "End Cottage Cheese Thighs" campaign, give me a call.)

Then there was the technical difficulty.  My iSmoothRun app (the only app for which I have shelled out actual dinero, $4.99 in this case), gave me a false reading of 10:37/mile.  I knew it was too good to be true, considering my 8K time was 10:38/mile, but I accepted it and shared it on FB.  The actual race results came out later in the day and my time was 11:20/mile.  Big difference, and quite a letdown after thinking I was faster, but hey, when I started the training I was just hoping for 11:30, so I should be quite satisfied, right??  My final time was 1:51.


miPace (min/mi)Elevation (ft)

Split-wise, I'm neither surprised nor particularly disappointed.  Disregard that last 9:44 time--this is the mysterious 0.38 mile that showed up for some reason, despite the impossibility of the race being more than 10.0 miles.  (This is what skews all the splits, by the way; but while they are not accurate in terms of total time, they do show the overall picture--namely, that I started slowly, as I wanted to, got faster and stronger until mile 6, then pretty much crashed by miles 8, 9 and 10).

So what's the "take-away", if you'll overlook that overused expression du jour?

I have given this race a lot of thought, and I say this knowing that most of the folks who read this love to race.  But honestly, I think that while I have grown to love running, I really can't say that I enjoy RACING.  Part of this may stem from the fact that I have never been intensely competitive--at least not with anyone else.  I am hyper-competitive with one person:  MYSELF.  And when I try to do something that doesn't necessarily come easy, something at which I do not excel, my immediate instinct is to quit.  Give up.  Leave it for the pros.  But deciding that racing isn't my thing still gives me the freedom to RUN all I want.  That 12-mile run 2 weeks ago?  I LOVED IT!  I wasn't worried about my time, and I ran it with RBR1, not a huge crowd of people.  It was peaceful, healthy, pleasant.  Yesterday was a gorgeous day, and the enthusiasm and encouragement of all the volunteers out there cannot be found outside of a race.  I understand that part of racing, believe me.  Being part of something that is happening for a good cause (lung cancer research, in this case, or breast cancer research for the Women's Four-Miler, or the Boys and Girls Club, or the food bank), that part of racing is also super.  But maybe I volunteer for those events instead of participating.  Or I pick a shorter race and approach it with more of a "do it if I feel like it" attitude, so that so much of my life isn't about ONE DAY.  This race took on a bigger-than-life aspect.  Plans were made around it, training for it became an obsession, and the rest of the family definitely felt--if not suffered--the effects of this one race.  I'm just not sure that I, personally, want to add this particular stress to what is already a busy and sometimes overwhelming schedule.  So while I fully expected to want to come home from yesterday's race ready to sign up for the Richmond Half-Marathon coming up in November, that's not happening.  At least not anytime soon.

By the way, my dear family members were amazing about this entire process and never once begrudged any time or efforts I spent on this race.  They cheered me on, told me how proud they were of my having run the race, and lifted my spirits when I was down about my troubles and slow time.  However, it is someone else's turn, now, to hog the spotlight.  Today, Olivia scored her first lacrosse goal.  And soon both Olivia and Elaine will be participating in the Heritage Choir Festival in D.C.  Life is busy, life is good.  And I will run three or four times a week and enjoy it.  And I will re-enter my love-hate relationship with those vicious Jillian Michaels DVDs that I've ignored during my training out of fear of injuring my ankles or knees.  And I will still read the blogs of all those great running, racing women who have inspired me, and I will cheer them on before--and vicariously experience after--their races.  But for me, for right now, I think I'll jump off the race circuit.  Thanks, C10M--it was a challenge, and I'm glad to have that great sticker on my bumper.  I earned it!

Happy running!

Friday, March 30, 2012

TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY!! What I'm going to give myself ...

On Wednesday, there was a great FaceBook post on the Run Like A MotherThe question was posed:  What treats have you given yourself for getting through training or a race?  That got me to thinking, as posts like this often do.  Well, money is a bit tight in TurtleLand these days (as it is for a lot of us, I think), so after completing tomorrow's BIG RACE (the Charlottesville 10-Miler, for anyone who might not know what has occupied my every thought and action for the past 24 weeks!), I will not be buying myself anything.  However, I am going to give myself TWO very important things.  

FIRST, I am going to GIVE MYSELF A BREAK.  Yeah, I really am.  No matter how hard it is.  I am going to look at my chunky, cottage-cheese thighs and I will LOVE those thighs for having the power to get me through an intensive training program and a hilly, challenging ten mile race.  

I am going to look at my race time and I will LOVE the fact that I ran faster than I thought I could.  I am NOT NOT NOT going to look at anyone else's times, anyone else's blogs, and think, "Gosh, I wish I were that fast."  Nope, not gonna do it.  I'm going to be absolutely freaking grateful that at age 45 I can run ten miles.  And that 24 weeks ago, I was running in the 13:00/mile range, and am now in the 10:30 to 11:30 range.  That's great.  You run a 7:30 mile?  That's fabulous!  I don't, but I'm still a runner!

When my dear husband and darling daughters tell me how proud they are of me, I am going to say, "THANKS!  I am proud of me, too!"  And I'm going to mean it!

SECONDLY, I am going to GIVE MYSELF THE GIFT OF BETTER EATING.  I have been doing well during the training, but definitely not as well as I know I could.  That book I started writing a few years ago?  I'm going to finish it, and the only way to do that is to get myself back on track.  Maybe that will mean going back to Weight Watchers, or maybe it will just mean more accountability to myself.  I've done it before, and I've been happier 5 or 6 pounds lighter.  And yes, this is most assuredly a gift.  If you've walked this path, you know what I mean.  Would accepting myself at this particular weight be easier?  You bet.  But having given this a lot of thought since I posted about it recently, I decided that I feel just a little ... puffier ... than I would like.  

I will post a race recap sometime in the next couple of days, if you would like to see how things go for me tomorrow.  In the meantime, happy running!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Recovering, preparing to race!

Went to the doctor Friday after the sleepless, frightening night I had Thursday night.  Thankfully it was not pneumonia, just another case of bronchitis.  My dear doctor loaded me up with meds--normally I take a very minimalist approach to medication, but she and I discussed my intense desire to be as close to 100% for the Big Race on Saturday as I could possibly be, so we're being a bit more medicinally inclined than usual!

Friday night was another rough one, but last night I got a good night's sleep, so I decided to tackle 3 miles on the 'mill.  I took it veerrrrry sloooooow, and while I was pretty wiped out afterward, I definitely felt better knowing that I had gotten a little bit of movement under my belt.  My plan is to stick as close to this week's training program as possible--3 miles Monday and Wednesday, 2 on Thursday.  These will definitely be EASY miles.  I should be feeling close to normal by Saturday, and I will be ready to drain the tank!  

In looking back on the past 23 weeks, I am extremely glad that I participated in the training program.  Coach Lorenzoni is incredibly wise and helpful, and I know I would never have gotten this far without being in the program.  The down side is that I have spent so much time working toward this goal that the thought of being less than perfect on race day is a real downer.  Coach has told us over and over that the real purpose of the program is NOT the race--instead, the goal is to make running a part of our lives.  I can check that box, because it definitely has become an essential element of my existence.  However, for me, anyway, that race day run is HUGE.  

I've gotten some feedback (both on here and from running friends) that having a race to work toward is a really good idea, and I get that.  The Richmond Half Marathon in November is shaping up to be the most likely race I will tackle (although as I said in an earlier blog, I will hold off on making that decision until at least a month post-race, just to give myself the freedom of running simply to RUN).  I will not necessarily sign up for a specific training program for that race (or whichever half I choose to run), as long as I am getting in my long runs and get in some 10-12 mile long runs pre-race.  Having run 12 miles already, the distance isn't frightening any more--a huge accomplishment, in my humble opinion!  Speed work is definitely a must if I want to venture out of turtle territory (although honestly, I'm okay with being here--not everyone can be fast, right?).  Strength training also needs to be incorporated back into my life.  I have been absolutely horrible about this, and I'm filled with a certain amount of self-loathing as a result.  Pre-Anna (5 y.o.), I was regularly doing strength work and had managed to create some actual triceps in the area now housing my granny-wings.  As Anna would say, "GA-ROSS!".

I may or may not post on here again before Saturday's race.  It promises to be a busy week, and I'm not sure I would say anything except "I'M SO FREAKED OUT ABOUT THE RACE!", so if you don't see me, check back Sunday or Monday to see if I crossed the finish line.  

Happy running, and have a great week!

Friday, March 23, 2012

A very late night post ...

I haven't been very chatty on my blog lately, primarily due to ... LIFE.  As a working mom with three children and a husband who has had to work out of town a lot so far this year, I have very little time for me.  The good news is that I have managed to get almost all of my scheduled runs in, although I missed today's run completely (more in a bit).  This past Saturday I ran my longest distance ever--12 miles.  Running Buddy Robin had fallen a bit behind in her training since her vacation, so I agreed to run the 10-Miler course with her Saturday instead of joining our usual group for the full 12 miles.  However, I was ready for all 12, so I opted to run from the training program location home, which is 2.5 more miles.  I stopped right at the 12-mile mark and used that last half mile as a cool down.  It was TERRIFIC!  I felt strong and not the least bit wiped out, and I was grateful to have one more run on the race course before race day.  GrazMan had scrambled eggs and a cold glass of chocolate milk waiting for me when I got home--how awesome is that???

Not my actual breakfast--I did not stop to take a picture--too busy EATING!

I did an easy 4 miles Monday on the 'mill, then RBR and another running buddy came to my house Wednesday afternoon to run in my 'hood--very nice change of pace, as I don't usually get to run in the evenings during the week, and almost never with anyone.

Today, however, I was not feeling up for it.  Youngest daughter was home the entire week last week with a cough and a fever that ranged from bearable to 103, and the dear child seems to have shared it with me.  I have coughed myself silly, and in fact it is now 2:45 AM and I have not been able to get to sleep because of all the coughing.  I'll also confess that I have had a series of mild panic attacks tonight as I lay in bed trying without success to fall asleep.  Seems I have coughed so much this week that my muscles are worn out and I can't even make myself clear out the phlegm that has accumulated, so I feel panicky that I can't breath.  I know in some portion of my brain that I am not going to suffocate, but it is still scary.  It is highly likely that I will be up the entire night.  That does not bode well for work tomorrow (or getting the girls safely to and from school!), or for my 7 mile run scheduled for Saturday morning.

I think I'll be calling the doctor's office at 8:00 in the morning when they open (is that really just 5 hours away???) to see if I can get an appointment.  I have had bronchitis more times than I can count, but this is definitely worse in terms of wheezing.  PLEASE, LORD, DON'T LET ME HAVE PNEUMONIA, particularly 8 days away from the big race!!

While I am in the midst of middle of the night gut-spilling, I'm going to venture away from running for a minute to express the complete and utter SHOCK that GrazMan and I got on Tuesday when we met with the orthodontist and learned just how much braces for two children are going to cost us.  FIVE figures, people.  Five.  Thank goodness they have an interest-free payment plan, but really, five figures?!?  If you've been through this particular pain, give me a shout!  Misery does, after all, love company. 

Hope you all have had a great week!  Happy running!