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!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Looking ahead, beyond the 10-Miler

It seems hard to believe, but the training program for the upcoming 10-Miler began 22 weeks ago!  It seems that my life has changed in so many ways because of the program.  Running has become an integral part of my life, something my family and friends now accept as part of me.  This is definitely a good thing, and while my weight has not dropped, I feel healthier, more willing to accept who I am at this moment, rather than waiting "until I lose 5 more pounds".

That having been said, I must confess that I will be glad in some respects when the training program and the race are over.  I no longer fear that I will stop running once the program ends--I won't stop, I'm sure of that.  But my long run won't necessarily be on Saturday mornings, and I won't be quite so obsessive about Monday, Wednesday, Thursday runs.  The mileage will become less important that the overall quality of the run.  And if the girls have activities going on first thing on a Saturday, I'll be there.  I'm incredibly grateful to my family, particularly my dear husband, for patiently waiting to begin our weekends until after I have had my long run, my breakfast and my shower (in that order!).  

The idea of a half marathon has been swirling around in my head for weeks now, and I know that I could tackle one (tomorrow's long run is 12 miles, so the distance isn't an issue).  But rather than jumping in and entering one of the many 1/2s that are coming up reasonably near our area (the Run for the Dream in Williamsburg, the Rock-n-Roll in Va. Beach, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Maryland), I am going to give myself a break and just enjoy RUNNING for the sake of running.  I'm promising myself that I won't even think about entering another race until May 1.  Sound reasonable?  

I can see you nodding your head, "Very good, Grasshopper.  Patience, Grasshopper."  :)


Happy running!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Puzzled about a bruise, unhappy with my run.

It's been a tough couple of weeks at the Turtle Ranch, with GrazMan out for 8 days, then coming home from his trip with a bad gout attack.  Now youngest child is sick and has been out of school ALL WEEK with a fever, cough and congestion.  This puts added stress and worry on both hubby and me, and neither of us is getting anywhere near our requisite amount of sleep.  Add a little "ick" at work and things just aren't what I'd like them to be.

Well, my new M.O. lately when things get tough is to run it out.  Running, even on the 'mill, will most likely get my mind off of my problems long enough to start feeling that great flow of endorphins.  So tonight I got home from work (after listening to elder two squabbling on the ride from school, not pleasant!), changed into my running clothes and noticed a MASSIVE bruise on the back of my left leg.  OK, here's the scary, "Am I really getting that old?" part.  I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how or when I got the bruise.  You would think a bruise that big would have made some lasting impression even on my feeble brain, but evidently not.

(My lovely bruise.  The bizarre lines are not some weird skin issue-they're just from sitting in the desk chair!)

I got on the treadmill for tonight's scheduled 5 miles (not running outside today--80 degrees when I got home and I have not re-adjusted to warm weather running yet), and the first 2 miles went by okay.  Not great, but okay.  Somewhere during the third mile my leg (yes, that beautiful gam pictured above!) started hurting, with lines of pain running from my glutes down to my heel.  How weird is THAT?!?  I made it four miles and decided that running through the pain was not smart.

But seriously, folks, who gets a bruise this size, on the back of the thigh, without knowing how it got there?  And why would it hurt while running, when I didn't even know about it until this evening?  Is it pschyosomatic?  Is it something serious?  Or am I just becoming that old fart my kids already suspect me of being (I am, after all, a Methuselah-ish 45, you know)???  Well, that's life.  I'll either make up the extra mile or I won't, but come Saturday I need to be back up to speed because we're scheduled for TWELVE MILES, and I know RBR will not let me wimp out!

Happy (healthy) running to you all!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Negative splits!!

Perfect weather, friendly volunteers, and the world's best running buddy who did not let me give up on an unexpectedly steep hill!! Check out these splits (fast people, try not to laugh!).

Me, Roger, and Robin post-race

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ready, set, RUN!

Tomorrow is the 8K, and the weather forecast has changed a bit for the better--now they are calling for upper 30s during race time, which is the temperature range in which we have been training.  :)

I'm going to pick up my race packet after work, and now my stomach is starting to churn.  Why is that???  I'm only racing against myself, my expectations, my past times.  If it takes me an hour, it isn't the end of the world (although I would love to see a sub-55:00 time)!  Deep breath in, deep breath out!

It is important to focus on the important stuff, like the fact that the fam and I went to see the Harlem Globetrotters last night (thanks to the wonderful radio station that gave me tickets!).  What a fantastic evening!  Those young men sure know how to put on a good show!  We got to go backstage before the festivities to meet with a couple of them, which thrilled the girls to no end.  It is these events which make such wonderful memories--not the time in which I run a race!

Happy running!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gearing up for an 8K!

As a new runner, I have not done much racing.  I like the concept of it, and the flow of adrenalin on race day is really cool.  But because I am a novice--and such a slow one at that--the days leading up to a race are still very stressful for me.  Saturday is an 8K sponsored by one of our 2 local hospitals, and while I have seen a map of the course, I have not run it, and I am a little fearful of some of the hills.  However, there have been a lot of hills in my last two long runs, so hopefully I'm ready.  

The good news?  I'm looking forward to a break in our usual routine--and maybe a little extra pasta Thursday night!  (I know, I know, an 8K doesn't really call for much carb-loading, but I'm using this as a dry run for the Big Race--less than 24 days away now, so I'm giving myself permission!).  Even better news?  The remaining 4 members of my family will be volunteering at the 8K--Tony & youngest will be cheering from the sidelines, while Thing 1 and Thing 2 will be manning a water station.  They are all quite psyched about this, and I can't wait to run by them!  :)

Happy running!  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Thankful for Eldest Daughter's Help!

Yesterday's program called for 11 miles.  Since I'd run 10 miles 2 weeks ago, I figured this would be well within my reach, but I hadn't counted on circumstances being quite what they were.  GrazMan is still out of town (boo!), so I packed the girls up and spent the weekend at my mom's (all of 8 minutes away, but still ....).  I wasn't sure I wanted to put Mom up to watching all 3 girls while I spent 2 hours running, so in the back of my mind I had planned on bringing us home and doing the 11 miles on the 'mill.  Painfully boring, but I would've done it.  Mom, however, stepped up to the plate and said that she would hold down the fort while I ran.  Yay, Mom!
Timing-wise, I had wanted to run first thing Saturday morning, as I usually do.  It was pouring when I got up, though, and the weather forecast called for 60 degrees and sunny by afternoon, so I figured I would wait.  Good idea in theory, but the reality is that 3 p.m. is NOT my ideal time for running.  Maybe other people can run at any time of the day (or night!) and be fine, but my energy level is definitely not at a high point right then.  Add to that the killer hills in my mom's neighborhood and let me tell you, I struggled.  

What saved me?  Olivia. 

Eldest daughter, almost 14, decided to ride her bike the entire run.  Sometimes she'd ride ahead of me and circle back, but most of the 11 miles she was right next to me, keeping me company, taking my mind off the run.  At 8.33 miles in I really started feeling it--I was actually in pain, although nothing specific, just an overall achiness.  I wanted so very much to stop, and Olivia must have seen the look on my face because she said, "I'm so proud of you, Mom.  You can DO this!"  And I did.  All 11 miles.  Not fast, not pretty.  But I did it.  Thank goodness for that support!  Love you, Liv!

Happy running!