Saturday, December 27, 2008

Goals and Challenges

I'm at 604 miles! That goal is done and I'm right on track for the half-marathon coming up in February with my 9-miler this morning.

The Holiday Challenge may not be going so well. I haven't weighed since the other day when I was up 3.2 lbs. Maybe the 11 miles I've run since then helped. It's going to be embarrassing if I fail at my own challenge, though!!

That leaves me thinking about the NEXT set of goals and challenges.

I think 2009 is going to be THE YEAR. In new-runner talk, that means a MARATHON. A real one. Not half of one. Not a mini. The real deal. Just saying that on here makes it seem like a committment. A spring marathon perhaps? Well, the Country Music Marathon is practically in my hometown (45 minutes away). April 25, 2009, here I come!

My last half-marathon time was 2:15, but I'm not training for a 4:30 marathon finish or anything. (Not that that would EVER happen!) My goals would be two-fold:

1. Not to die.
2. To finish, plain and simple. Even if I have to walk the last 10 miles.

Surely I can do that. Seriously, I'm ok with a 6-hour finish. I think they stop timing the Country Music Marathon at 7 hours.

I wanted you guys to know first. THANKS FOR ALL THE SUPPORT IN RECENT MONTHS!

I read something encouraging the other day. It was actually on a piece of Facebook flair. It said, "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" Immediately, "Run a marathon" came to mind. Of course, I could fail, but I might as well try.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to All!

I hope you are all having a great Christmas with people you love.

Running has taken a backseat to LIFE this week. Wrapping presents, hunting for presents I've hidden, but can't remember where, entertaining three children.... It's been a pretty busy week. I've managed 8 miles and need to do 2 more, but can you leave your family on Christmas Morning to go for a run? (Of course, I did sneak on here to blog...) They are all downstairs eating country ham and biscuits-- a Southern tradition on Christmas morning. I may have 1/2 of one. (I did an early weigh in for the Holiday Challenge, and I'm up +3.2. OOPS! But I've got until next Wednesday, right??)

One neat thing that happened this week is that my husband ran for the first time since July! He wants to share this passion I have so badly. He was up to 3 miles in July, then broke a bone in his foot. It didn't heal correctly, so he was in a boot for quite a while and still has a little foot pain. He ran two miles nonstop on Tuesday.

I have a long run of 8 or 9 scheduled for Saturday. I may just have to skip the easy two-miler for this morning. I have to make green bean casserole anyway.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Caroling and a Crisis!

Our church doesn't have Sunday school, we have a community groups--Bible studies that meet in homes. Last night was our Christmas party. At 6:00 about 10 adults and 8 children from our group met at the nursing home to sing Christmas carols, pass out sugar-free candy canes and spread a little Christmas cheer. Had we practiced singing as a group? No. Had we ever actually heard anyone in our group sing? Nope. But it was Christmas carols we’ve known from childhood, how hard could it be?

When we got there, they had moved several of the elderly into the activity room to hear us before they started bingo at 6:15. For musical accompaniment, one of our group members had brought her sons (grades 6 and 8) who have been taking guitar lessons. They knew two songs: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “Silent Night.” We had a CD for “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” I had printed out the lyrics for everyone just in case they didn’t know the words to the lesser known verses of the songs.

The boys started strumming and we started singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” You think when a group of voices come together in praise, it’s going to sound good. Not necessarily. We quickly realized that we sounded awful! We were almost all off key, hitting the wrong notes, not together in harmony… it was BAD. The elderly folks just kind of looked at us. After the first song, silence. No applause or anything! One person asked, “What church are ya’ll from?”

We started “Silent Night” and a few residents joined in to either help drown out the noise or maybe they were getting into the spirit a bit. I had a hard time keeping a straight face as I listened to our vocals. I made eye contact with Chris once and we both had to struggle not to crack up. Our hearts were in the right place, but our voices were ALL OVER THE PLACE! We actually got light/polite applause for that one.

On our third song, “Jingle Bells,” we had a CD to accompany us. What we didn’t know was that it was “Jingle Bells: Extended Version.” We sang it over. And over. And over. It was the song that WOULD NOT END. The CD was in their very complicated karaoke machine, so we couldn’t even figure out how to turn it off to put us (and them) out of our misery. Finally, “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” came on the CD. Again, it was the Longest. Version. Ever. We sang it like 92 times. And not just the fun verse everyone knows. There was something about figgy pudding we sang about 30 times.

Finally it was over and we made our embarrassed escape after passing out sugar-free candy canes as payment for putting up with our horrible singing.

We reconvened at our house for the food/fellowship part of the evening. About 30 minutes into that part, a nine-year-old community group kid brought my two-year-old Julia to me. She was crying and saying her arm hurt. Well, that was because while playing with the community group kids from ages 2 to 12, SHE DISLOCATED HER ELBOW. The next thing I know, Chris and I have left about 20 people at our house and are on our way to the ER. A single gentleman in the group volunteered to watch the kids after everyone left and to put my six and eight year olds to bed if we weren’t back. I told them to stay as long as they wanted.

After a really quick trip to the ER and her getting her arm snapped back into place (on the 3rd try! Ouch!), we came home and almost everyone was still there! They were cleaning my kitchen. How sweet is that?

She's fine now. It was the 5th time her elbow popped out of place (loose ligaments in that right arm). It's called "nursemaid's elbow."

My run didn't go very well yesterday, either. Just one of those days I guess.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Is This Too Ninja?

I was thinking of getting one of these....

For my running buddies to the NORTH: Do you wear one of these? How cold does it have to be to need it? I trained short distances in Jan-Feb last year. This year it will be 10+ miles at a time. In Tennessee, we get into the teens---I'd say 8-10 will be the lowest low. The wind chill frequently gets into the single digits and even negatives occasionally, however.

I'd like to be warm on those long runs, but I don't want to look like a complete dork/ninja/cat burglar while doing so! At least it comes in white (very fencing-attire looking), red, and navy besides ninja black.

I don't know.... is it OVER THE TOP? (ha ha good pun)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Going for 600?

Wow, I finally added up my mileage. A couple of months were missing when I gave up keeping up my log, but I estimated (probably on the low side) what I ran those months.

I'm at 559 miles as of today. I'm supposed to do 8 tomorrow and 16-18 per week for the next two weeks. That puts me on track to hit the 600 mark by New Year's Eve--just barely. Of course, that's barring illness, injury, sick children, and school's out starting next Thursday....

But I do like nice, even, round numbers.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Speedwork is Stinkin' Hard!

My half plan called for speedwork on Wednesday, but since it's nice out today and supposed to snow on Wednesday, I met up with my friend for speedwork today. We met at a park with a track (not the spongy kind at a university, just a paved oval). I was supposed to run 5 miles in all with two miles at 8:54 pace (yikes--for me, anyway). We warmed up for over a mile and then I BUSTED OUT MY FASTEST MILE EVER-- 8:39 pace. My fastest mile prior was 8:45, but that was last February. You'd think I'd have improved a little more than 6 seconds in almost a year.... It was tough to maintain that speed and I considered throwing up a little afterwards. I'd LOVE to get faster though, so this is the kind of misery I must put myself through!

After jogging/walking a half mile for recovery, we started with round two. We both fell a little short this time-- 8:59 pace for me. But if you AVERAGE them together, I ran two miles at a little less than an 8:54. We got in the five miles, so week 2 of training has started off rather well. The rest of the week is just an easy 3 miler, an easy 2 miler, and a slow 7 miler. I think I can handle that!

I just realized we are leaving for the beach in about 3 weeks. We are going for New Year's Eve and the first week in January to St. George Island, Florida. I was nervous about getting my runs in, but having researched it a little, I'm thrilled! The island is covered with paved paths for runners, rollerbladers, and bikers. There is one path that is six miles from start to finish. Florida is mostly flat, the temps will be between 50 and 65 degrees, I won't have to worry about traffic, I'll have on-site childcare (the grandparents!)-- it will be running perfection. I can't wait. (I'm almost a little sad that it's my drop down week.) However, the 12-hour drive with my three kids-- I'm definitely NOT looking forward to that!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Half-Marathon Training Has Begun. Again.

Last weekend, I decided I needed MORE from my training runs. Running aimlessly with no races in sight was ok, kind of freeing, but I prefer to run with a purpose.

So, I found a winter half-marathon called (appropriately) the Frostbite Half-Marathon because I will surely get frostbite in my 2+ hours out there on February 14. It's part of the state parks series here in Tennessee. It's a very small race in a state park called Cedars of Lebanon.

I got on Runner's World's Smart Coach and printed out a program. My training actually started this past Monday. I was supposed to run 2 easy, 5 tempo, 2 easy, and 7 long. I switched them around (to accomodate Christmas shopping!), but managed to get in all 16 miles. It was touch and go at times---dragging three kids to the Y at 5:00 p.m. so I could run two miles on Thursday night and again on Friday night, but I got them all in. I think in this busy season, getting the miles in is going to require a little creativity.

In lieu of the race I was supposed to run today, I got up, got my cheerleader all dressed and ready to go, then went out for a quick five-miler that began and ended at the activity center where her game was. It was a good solution and I was able to get my run in AND not miss a single cheer. (She did great, by the way. I was amazed she got out there in front of probably 100 spectators! I'll post a picture later.) Luckily the activity center is right on one of my favorite running routes.

I haven't had a 16-mile week since October. It feels good to have a running purpose again. Running for fun is good, too, but I use running to feed my type-A personality, and accomplishing something is the name of the game.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mommy First, Runner Second

This first weekend in December is packed with activities. One of them is the Jingle Bell Jog, one of my worst running memories from last year. It was just a terrible race-- raining, cold, ridiculously hilly, and I didn't do as well as I'd hoped. I'd planned to redeem it by doing much better this year. It's Saturday at 9:00.

However, my six-year-old's cheerleading debut (for church basketball) is 9:30 a.m. on Saturday as well. Hmmm.... I'm not at all convinced she'll actually get up there and do a cheer. She's painfully shy. They had one quasi-practice two weeks ago. They don't actually know any cheers or moves to go along with them. It may be a disaster.

But how can I not be there?

I tried to figure out a way to make it work. My 5K time should be about 28-29 minutes. Then the church where the game will occur is about 12-15 minutes away. IF the race starts on time, I might miss only one or two cheers. But I don't know how it works---they may only do one or two cheers! They ARE kindergartners after all. (It's not like they actually KNOW two cheers....)

Ahhh, it's just a race. No biggie. If there's a chance she's going to get out there and cheer, it'll be because I'm there to hold her hand through the process.

Plus, if I'm out at a race, who'll get her uniform on correctly and fix her perky cheerleader ponytail complete with grossgrain ribbon? Hubby? I don't think so.

Running is important in my life, but it's not THAT important.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday Challenge Weigh In Today!

If you are participating in the Holiday Challenge, weigh yourself today and write it on your calendar. In one month, after all the festivities are over, we'll weigh again. The goal is not to gain more than two pounds of holiday weight or to maintain your current weight.

**No one, including me, wanted to post weight on here, so just keep up with it at home. Good luck. Remember your January 1st weigh in!

Nothing like some major mileage to burn up those extra holiday calories....

P. S. It's snowing here in Tennessee! It's very light, melting when it hits the ground, but definitely snowing. I can't remember snow this early in December before. I should get out and run in it, but I have to START my Christmas shopping since I avoided the crowds over the weekend. Have a great day!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fitting In Some Miles

What a fun and busy Thanksgiving weekend! On "Thanksgiving Eve," hubby and I got a sitter and went on a date night. We went to a Japanese steak house and enjoyed the food and the chef's entertaining demonstration. I carbed up quite well for the next morning's run. On Thanksgiving morning at 7:30 a.m., my running club had scheduled a special group run called the Frosty Five-Miler. Only four of us showed up, but it was still a great run. I guess everyone else was busy. I can't imagine what they were doing. :-)

The weather was perfect--- sunny and high thirties to start, then low forties. Is that great running weather or what? We took our time, chatted, and burned up our calories so we could eat with abandon the rest of the day. I, for one, should have run farther because the seconds (thirds?) on the sweet potato casserole alone surely made up for all 500 calories I burned on the run!

During our chat during the run, another running club member said she reads this blog (Hi!) and there was much poking fun at both of us (ok, mostly me): "The only thing worse than reading somebody's blog is WRITING a blog." I should have said, "Dudes, don't knock it until you try it!" But whatev.

After my enormous, gluttonous lunch, I felt like I should run five more miles, but by then I was too sleepy from the apparent sedative in the turkey.

On Friday, I just worked on putting the new house in order. It's like shoveling snow in a snowstorm to try to do this with three kids home from school. As I put away, they got more out. We came to an "understanding" finally. (I threatened to lock them in their rooms for the rest of the day if they didn't stop making messes.)

I had planned to run on Saturday morning and even had two options: a trail run with the running club of four extremely hilly miles (would have been my first actual trail run) OR a run at my favorite flat, paved trail with my old running buddy Kelle (back on the road after time off--Yea!) to work on speed.

It was good to have options, but neither happened. It was sprinkling, then pouring at the time I was supposed to run. I quickly decided to run indoors at the Y, but then the rain suddenly let up to a sprinkle. It was 38 degrees, overcast, and sprinkling. Great for an outdoor run, no? I popped on a baseball cap and three layers on top, one warm layer on the bottom and ran 4.5 miles in my neighborhood alone. BUT I did work in 6 good hills and one mile at race pace, so there. Hills AND speedwork. Mission accomplished.

A quick shower was followed by breakfast with Santa (my two-year-old's first encounter with Santa--EVER. She was always terrified before.). My eight-year-old isn't a believer anymore and my six-year-old isn't sure. They point blank asked my husband if the Tooth Fairy was real a few months ago and he didn't want to lie. He figured, how important is the Tooth Fairy anyway? Well, my son is pretty sharp and he figured out if the Tooth Fairy isn't real.... I wish he could have stayed a believer a little longer.

So, all-in-all a good holiday has been had by all (and it's only Saturday at 4:30 as I write this). I'm so glad I got to get a few miles in. It really makes such a difference

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get three kids to cooperate for one half-way decent picture???

Friday, November 28, 2008

Would You Do a Reality TV Show?

Runners can certainly be a competitive bunch. I, however, was born without the competitive gene. Luckily, running is the sort of sport where you don't HAVE to have a competitive spirit. You are just competing against yourself. In races where I have it in my mind I want to beat someone, I typically get totally anxious and stress myself out. It sucks the pleasure out of running, for me anyway. However, if my goal is to beat MYSELF (my last race time), I keep a cool head and usually perform.

All of that brings me to the CRAZIEST THING to come my way in a long time. I got this e-mail from our Homeowner Association President today:

CBS is interested in doing their next reality show in our sub-division. The show will film for three weeks in the summer and will air in the fall.

The producers of this new show are the same that do The Amazing Race, Survivor, and last year's Kid Nation. The show will be highlighting the fact that there are still neighborhoods in America that have a family atmosphere where people want to get to know their neighbors.

CBS will choose seven to fifteen families that live in close proximity to each other. It will be an elimination style show involving fun family competitions. The families that are chosen will be given a stipend of about five thousand dollars with the opportunity to win more prizes as the show progresses. Ultimately, the family that wins will be given an undisclosed cash prize. There will also be opportunities for prizes to be awarded that will benefit the whole community. For example a pool, playground, or community center have been mentioned.

I TOLD YOU IT WAS CRAZY! Of course my hubby wants to apply, but the idea of it makes me feel sick. Kind of like the butterflies I feel right before speaking in front of a large group of people. I have absolute stage fright. I HATE public speaking. I've never been in a play. I don't like to be up in front of people. And the idea of having a film crew in my life for three weeks---no freaking way!
My husband thinks since I'm a runner, I would be good at the competitions. He doesn't realize that running is the only sport that I've ever been remotely coordinated at. Putting one foot in front of the other doesn't take that much coordination frankly. It's not like I'm jumping hurdles! Or even trail running.

So, anyway, what would you do?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Little Inspiration for Your Holidays

As runners, I know we sometimes get in the mindset that we can just eat whatever we want and never gain weight (or is that just me?).

Well, with the holidays upon us, I propose we all take the HOLIDAY CHALLENGE. The Holiday Challenge is to weigh yourself on December 1 and then again on January 1. The goal is to have the scale on January 1 (despite New Years' Eve celebrations!) reflect a weight NO MORE THAN TWO POUNDS heavier than the weight on December 1. (It would be just cruel and wrong to try to LOSE weight during the holidays!)

Think we can all do it?

I got this idea from Real Simple magazine. The author of the article talked about knowing that weigh in is looming might help give us some self control. We can be one another's accountability!

On December 1, be sure to write down your weight on your calendar at home! Then we'll check back in on January 1!

Are you in?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Marathon Month!

My Marathon Month is almost over and I have survived! (But I didn't actually run a marathon, it only felt like it.) Back in the summer I actually toyed with the idea of running the Chickamagua National Battlefield Marathon in November. But the hot, humid July, August, and September in Tennessee put a hold on those plans. As it turns out, it was definitely for the best. November is a crazy month in my house with 3 birthdays. (We knocked the last one out last night at Chuck E Cheese.) But then, the new house happened.

One day in September on a whim, I had my realtor-friend Jennifer show me a house in my neighborhood that was for sale. It didn't look like much on the outside. But I couldn't believe how perfect it was for us on the inside! Before I knew it, we'd put our house on the market, it sold in 10 days, and we were suddenly packing for a move seven houses down the street.

The move last Wednesday really went great. The toughest part was getting 3 kids ready for school while frantically packing last minute items like their toothbrushes, bedding, etc., before the movers arrived at 8:00 a.m. The movers were actually about 10 minutes EARLY. That led to my ever-helpful hubby just shoving stuff randomly in dresser drawers-- stuff we still haven't found all of! I'd really like to know where my master bedroom phone is, for instance.

But, all in all, it went really smoothly. We are getting settled. I'm almost done with all the boxes, believe it or not. Hubby and I are a little OCD about having boxes of stuff laying around. All the junk in the basement---that's a different story. Out of sight, out of mind.

The two-year-old is a little bewildered. We're all a little turned around--opening the pantry door when we are looking for the garage or the laundry room. But we'll get there. It was funny the other night when I told my son to go to his room for misbehaving. He headed straight for the master bedroom. I was like, "Ummm, that's not the way to your room!"

I did finally work in a TWO MILE RUN yesterday!!! Yea!! I ran round and round the indoor track at the Y, and it felt GOOD. This sinus infection has been stubborn and yesterday was the first day I felt better. I'm starting a Z-pack today, so hopefully that will be a little more effective at knocking it out.

Anyway, this was supposed to be a quick update.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Out of Pocket for a While...

The computer will be unhooked tonight (sob, sob) for the move, but the new house won't have Internet service until Friday. I don't know how I'll make it three days, but I don't have a choice!

I will miss all my bloggy buddies!

I did finally go to the doctor yesterday and was diagnosed with a sinus infection (as I suspected). So, I wouldn't have had any runs to talk about anyway. I hope to feel up to running (and find time for a run) on Saturday. I haven't run since last Thursday, so I'll probably ease back into it after a 9-day drought. I hope I can still run! It's like riding a bike, right????

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Running Song!

Check this out---it's the new version of "I Like to Move It, Move It" from Madagascar 2. Great running song and the video is pretty cute! (Yes, I am the mother of small children.) I'm pretty sure when this rolls around on my MP3, it'll bring a smile to my face!

Does it make you want to move it, move it?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Not THAT Hard Core

I had a race today. I paid $25 to pre-register on Tuesday. I did all the required speed work and tempo runs the last two weeks. I was so ready.

Then on Thursday, I started sneezing. I had that telltale tickle in the back of my throat that kept me awake all night. My sinuses closed up. I had a headache that wouldn't go away. All day on Friday, I tried to tell myself it was just allergies, but my energy was completely sapped. (I don't think allergies do that.) So, maybe it's a cold, maybe it's a the beginning of a sinus infection.

I woke up this morning after another sleepless night of not being able to breathe hoping to feel better. I showered and put on my new running tights and new Nike shirt. I looked the part, but I sure didn't feel it. I even pinned my race number on, got in my car and drove about one mile before reality set in. I realized as I was driving that I could hardly keep my eyes open, I couldn't breathe through my nose AT ALL, and my head and ears were aching. Plus, it was windy, only about 40 degrees, and raining. I came to my senses and turned the car around.

I'm a pretty dedicated runner. I've run in 90 degrees and 19 degrees. I've run on no sleep before. But RACING an 8K in the rain with a head cold? I'm not THAT hard core!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Running Makes Me Happy

About a year ago, I realized that running makes me a happier person. As you run, the stresses of life just melt away (at least for a little while). I've really put this into action this week. I've found that amongst all the stress of moving, taking time to go for a run lifts my spirits so much! It just makes me feel energetic and content and well, happy. Two miles, four miles, any miles make a big difference in how I feel.

So when I went to the running store to register for this Saturday's Turkey Trot, the car magnets and stickers caught my eye. Normally, I'm not a bumper sticker/magnet kind of person. However, I decided to finally declare myself a lover of running by plastering it on my car. I just had to pick the message: "Runner Girl"--- but at 38, can I really call myself a girl? "13.1"--- true, I've run 13.1, but I'd rather wait for "26.2." "run"--- simple and to the point, but a little dull. Finally, I saw it. "I HEART running." Perfect. I really do heart running. My car says so.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

These Days...

Pack box..... re-pack what two-year-old unpacked.... change Pull-Up.... get her some "juith" in sippy cup and a snack.... go to YMCA for hurried work out.... come home.... stress out a for a few minutes about upcoming move.... destress with some blog and Facebook time... pack some more during her afternoon nap time... deal with uncooperative 8 year old regarding homework... deal with uncooperative 6 year old regarding everything else.... (if this is what 6 and 8 are like, what are 13 and 15 going to be like???).... eat fast food for dinner.... pack some more.... catch up on laundry... eat fattening late-night snack.... go to bed.

Start all over.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Long Run Amnesia

I have forgotten what it feels like to run long. I haven't run more than 6.5 miles in a row since mid-October. What did it feel like to run for over two hours straight? (well, not exactly straight--I seem to recall some walking)

It's funny how soon you forget. For two months, runs over 10 miles once a week were the norm. Now when my friends tell me they ran 10 or 13 or whatever, I'm like, "Wow, that's impressive." It just sounds so far. Maybe my brain is blocking all those long runs out!

So, just in case you are blocking those traumatic long run memories out, too, here's an excerpt from a neat blog entitled The Back of the Pack. She calls it "Lessons from Long Runs" and it's really inspiring.

I am a lot tougher than I thought I was.
I can keep pushing when it doesn't seem possible to move another step.
Legs and feet that radiate pain can recover with just a few minutes rest.
Running with friends is the best.
Running alone... is good too, and sometimes necessary for the soul.
A person doesn't really need toenails on their first two toes.
Toenails don't grow back when you don't take breaks from racing.
Confidence comes from running a marathon.
Confidence comes from knowing you can endure.
Confidence comes from knowing you are strong.
Life doesn't have to slow down as you age.
Running can start at age 36.
Marathoning can start at age 48.
There is no end in sight.
It's important to eat and drink when running long.
It's important to eat and drink in the right quantities.
It's important to eat and drink adequately the day before the long run.
Solid food is better for some tummies than gels.
All manner of solid food will work.
Real Coke is a fine fuel.
So is chocolate soy milk.
And best of all? Starbucks Doubleshots!
Rest is imperative.
Six hours a night for weeks on end is not good rest.
Dreams can come true.
I have more...
resilience, fortitude, strength, breath, confidence, pride, stubbornness, stupidity, silliness, stiffness, speed, endurance, friends, love, freedom, grace, dreams and power
than I ever imagined.
And that is what running long has taught me.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Great Running Morning

My alarm was set to go off at 6:20, but I woke up at 6:14. I love it when that happens. It's sunny and in the low 40's---great running weather.

I'm about to head out for a 5-7 mile run. I think running so little this week has made me more excited about running this morning. I'm going to run the 8K course (and maybe a little more) from next week's race at tempo/race pace if I have it in me. I'm hoping someone, ANYONE from my running club shows up. But I'll hoof it alone if I have to.

One of my last two races of the year is this Saturday. Since the half, I have been focusing on getting faster and not walking (that really helps in the fast department-- ACTUALLY RUNNING the whole race!).

Update: Three of us showed up for the run. I ran 1/2 mile warm up, 5 miles at a 9:24 tempo pace, and 1/2 mile cool down. That pace was tough, but put me in a good mindset for the race.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Finding the Balance

Wow--- I'm finding it difficult to find the balance between day-to-day responsibilities (cooking, cleaning, mothering, laundering), packing for my move in 12 DAYS, exercising and running, and my favorite outlet---blogging and reading the blogs of others.

Luckily, I'm not in training for anything. I'm doing short, fast (relatively speaking) runs when I feel like it and/or can fit them in. I've run only 5 miles all week (3 on Tues/ 2 on Wed), but some running is better than no running. I didn't make it to Pilates class this week and found I really missed it. (Check out Faith Hill's abs on the cover of this month's Self magazine--all due to Pilates! Ok, and possibly a personal trainer.... a chef..... but STILL!)

It may be a bit boring for a while, but I hope I you'll continue stopping by this blog (all 4 of you!). The comments you leave are so encouraging and I feel like we are actual friends rather than virtual friends!

One week until the next race---an 8K next weekend. I'd better get some runs in before then!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Exciting Election Day

Today our schools are closed because the schools are used as polling places and there's no way to secure them. The "zoo" and I are just hanging out and watching cartoons so far, but I plan to take them to the YMCA in a little while. I am so glad I early voted and don't have to wait in a long line with three kids in tow.

I'm very slowly packing. Some things will just be transported in my car since I'm just moving down the street. It's hard to know how to do this! Like I can just set my dishes in a box, put them in the car, then put them straight into the cabinets.

We get a key next Monday to begin to move things into the basement area, but we can't actually "live" there until the 19th. That's when the movers come. I'm very excited because I just love CHANGE. I get so bored with living the same life day in and day out. Change is good.

Nathaniel, my oldest, will be 8 tomorrow. Eight is the first age that doesn't sound "little kid" anymore. I can't believe my "baby" will be that old.

I've never written about it on here before, but Nathaniel has severe ADHD. He was diagnosed at 4 and a half. I read a recent study that parents of kids with ADHD are twice as likely to divorce than other parents when their ADHD kids are 7 and under. It puts that much stress on the marriage and family life. But, the study found that after the kids turn 8, the divorce rate returns to the normal rate. ONE MORE DAY!! Whoo, hoo! Honey, we have almost made it! :-)

On today's agenda is an attempt to make a cake in the shape of a giant Lego. I'm going to use my bread pan for the rectangular shape and mini-muffin cups for the little circles on top. Then frost it all. Wish me luck! This is my first creative cake endeavor. Anything for my little (big) boy.

That's my little politician and me dressed as Sarah Palin for Halloween. I don't think I nailed it. I'm more like a poor-man's Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin....

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Running Vs. Racing and a 10K PR!

I think I finally know the difference between running a race and racing a race! Running a 10K is fine, racing one is kind of brutal!

Pushing yourself for 6.22 miles is hard. Doing a 5K is so much different. In a 5K, you push at 90 or 95% pretty much the whole way, which is usually 30 minutes or less. The whole time you know it will be over soon, there is just another mile (or two).

In a 10K, you have to find the delicate balance between pushing hard enough, but not so hard you can't maintain it for over six miles. You push at maybe 85% to 90% and then at 95-100% for the last .22.

Today I really pushed for a sub-1 hour finish. I finished in 58:23, a time I'm truly proud of. I would have been happy with 59:59 though! I just wanted to FINALLY run a sub-1 hour 10K. My average pace was 9:23/mile on my Garmin. I didn't walk, I didn't stop at any of the three water stops, I didn't chat, and I didn't stop pushing the whole way. I even found my music distracting. I put on my MP-3 at mile 3, but found I had to turn it off to concentrate on my breathing to maintain that pace. My Boston Qualifier friend Lana* had reminded me that many of the faster runners don't listen to music when they run. They instead focus on their pace and breathing--- what a novel idea! :-)

(*When a BQ friend gives you advice, you take it! She also told me to remind myself when I was feeling discomfort throughout the six miles not to put a negative spin on it, but just to think, "This is what it feels like to race." It's how it's supposed to feel. It's not supposed to feel good, it's supposed to hurt a little. Or a lot.)

Oh, and my other speedy friend is still speedier than me, but this time only by 11 SECONDS. I can live with that. We are usually 2-5 minutes apart! Neither of us placed in our age group unless you count 5th and 6th out of 9 as placing. That 35-39 year-old group is a tough one.

All in all, it was a good day.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pace Setter of the Week!

My blog buddies at 26point2ers interviewed me as their Pace Setter of the Week!

Today I'm taking it easy in my one day "taper" for the 10K race tomorrow. In the race, I'll be competing with an old friend in my age group who ALWAYS beats me in every race, by at least a minute or two. However the finish line works out this time, it'll be good motivation AND I'll most likely have someone to run with (or play cat and mouse with) for the full 6.2 miles! And if she finishes first, I can always use the excuse she's been running one year longer than me.

I actually owe my running to this girl. Watching her start from a nonathlete and train for the Country Music Half-Marathon made me think, "WELL, IF SHE CAN DO IT, I CAN DO IT!" And she got really skinny and buff.

Inspiration can come from the strangest places.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fun Songs I'm Adding to my MP-3

I'm downloading these before Saturday. Some bring back memories (high school in the late 80's!) and some I just discovered. All are good for running motivation. Check them out on You Tube!

Animal by Def Leppard
You Shook Me All Night Long AD/DC totally classic!
You Give Love a Bad Name Bon Jovi
Paralyzer Finger Eleven
Stronger Kanye West (I'm overdue adding this one. Everyone runs to it.)
Boom Boom Boom Outhere Brothers (apparently from the 90's, but I missed it somehow!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Stuff!!

I spent about 3 hours shopping today. It was so frustrating! $100 doesn't go very far.

I did get these running tights/pants at the local running store for $59 (OUCH!). Of all the tights I tried on, these were the only ones that worked (mine are actually trimmed in sage instead of light blue). They are fairly thick with a soft, fuzzy inside. Some of the really thin tights like the Under Armour ones felt like they needed another layer---not for warmth, but for coverage! And the thick Nike ones I found at TJ Maxx for only 19.99 didn't fit---the mediums were too big in the waist but good everywhere else. The smalls were so tight that it hurt to bend my knees. I figured bending was important, so I had to put them back even though they were SUCH a bargain.

I ordered this Varitherm shirt from Champion Sports online. I have it in pink from last year, so I ordered it in "pearl" (white) to go with the above pants. It's warm, but not hot. ($23 and shipping was free for creating an account.)

Then, after trying it on at Hibbett Sports at the mall for $55, I came home and ordered this Nike dry-fit half-zip in sage (to match the trim on the tights) from Road Runner Sports for a bargain of $47 with free shipping.
Last but not least, I found a super-thick black Nike mock turtleneck at TJ Maxx for $16.99. It is fleece-lined and dry-fit. I can't imagine ever needing another layer with that. It will be for the coldest of the cold days. Sorry, I couldn't find a picture. I had to get it in large. That Nike stuff runs small. I can't run in something that is squeezing me to death!
It looks like I was a bit closer to $150. I honestly feel guilty. (I'm a stay-at-home mom with no income. But I can't imagine my hubby would want me to be cold!)
And I'm not even counting the two shirts I'm RETURNING to TJ Maxx. I bought them before deciding on the tights and they just don't match anything I own.

Running Is Cheap?

I've got $100 in my pocket and I'm off to the mall to look for warm running clothes! I'm also $16 poorer from registering for this Saturday's 10K race (actually, with the long-sleeved t-shirt--non technical though--they have promised, that's a relative bargain).

Who said running is an inexpensive sport??

Today, I'm going to attempt to run 4 miles at 9:40 race pace. If it doesn't go well, I'm going to adjust my time goal. I want to challenge myself but NOT set myself up for failure!! I want to continue to feel good about my sport/hobby/self. :-)

I'm on quite the exercise kick this week. On Sunday evening, I did crunches, arm work with free weights, push ups, and Pilates during the commercials on Desperate Housewives. (Usually just Tivo it, but commercials do have their uses....). I ran Monday, Pilated and ellipticalled yesterday (yes, I know those probably aren't real words), and hope to run today. Is that four days in a row? What's wrong with me??

On a side note, when I did the 100 push up challenge, I could do 25 or 30 in a row and even got up to 103 (done in sets of 25-30) total push ups (boy style). That was in July, I think. Yesterday, I barely squeaked out 12! If you don't use 'em, you really do lose 'em!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just Run

As a runner of one year and four months, I have discovered that I'm still a little behind the learning curve when it comes to running.

Over the weekend I got out some old Runner's World magazines and looked at an article, "How to Run Any Race Faster" or something like that. The author pointed out that to run a race a certain pace, you have to actually run some of your training runs at that pace. Well, you would think that would be obvious, but looking back, I haven't been doing that. And the author didn't say anything about taking walk breaks!

Today, I met my friend Amy for my first run of the week. For months, I've had an easy two-miler scheduled on Mondays as a recovery run from the weekend's long run. Today, I could just run. I could make it up as I went along. It felt really freeing. We decided to do three miles. I decided to run the middle mile at my projected 10K pace for Saturday to see how comfortable it felt. We warmed up at about a 10:20 pace for the first mile, then ran a 9:18 pace for the middle (too fast---race pace is 9:40), then cooled down with a 10:30 mile. I didn't have any walk breaks again. Maybe I've broken the "mental" aspect of that habit or maybe we just weren't pushing that hard. I'm hopeful, though.

It was about 45 degrees with a strong, cold wind. I hadn't been that cold on a run in about 7 months. I even got out my ear warmer band. I realized something today---I NEED COLD GEAR!

I'd love a pair of those fuzzy, fleece-lined tights and a warm, but breathable jacket. ANY SUGGESTIONS???

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Saturday Six

For the next several weeks my running club is going to have six-mile Saturdays to maintain our base of mileage until we start training for the Country Music Half-Marathon in January. I waffled on whether to go this morning or just run in my neighborhood alone. At 7:45, I decided to throw on clothes and go. I was actually the only ONE to show up at 8:00 a.m. However, I lucked upon two other runners I knew who wanted to run the 10K course for next weekend's race called the Sango Scamper.

I've been in the bad habit of running at an inconsistent pace and taking walk breaks lately. What seems to be happening is that I am running too fast (for me), and my heart rate goes up too high. Then I feel like I have to have a walk break to let my heart rate go back down. Then I do it all over again.

Today, running with these women, I ran my first true tempo run in a while--- a slightly uncomfortable, but manageable pace with no walking. About mile 3, I was ready for my usual walk break. (Part of it is mental, I think.) I wasn't dying or anything, so the lead runner suggested we just slow down a little, but not walk. I kept going, and you know what? After that few minutes of tiredness, I got over it and was feeling just fine.

So, for the first time since maybe February or March (if ever), I ran 6.22 miles WITHOUT A WALK BREAK!! I was so proud. I kept a consistent pace and a consistent heart rate (I assume). My time was about two minutes slower than I hope to do in the race next weekend. That means shaving 20 seconds off per mile, which could be tough--9:40/ per mile for six miles. Yikes!! But, I will have so much more confidence next week when my energy is flagging since I was able to run the whole course without walking this week.

Today's run was exactly what I needed! And to think I almost didn't go!

I didn't plan to have a good run today. There was wine at my bunco group last night..... I was up late and didn't sleep well..... I was a little, um, dehydrated this morning.... I didn't eat a special breakfast or have Gatorade or a gel or anything. But somehow everything fell into place. (About a week too late??)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I’m done beating myself up about not making my goal finish time by 49 seconds. Why is it that we are so hard on ourselves sometimes?? I was ready to quit running, quit exercising in general, and basically give up on MYSELF. Pretty dramatic, huh? I’m such a goal-oriented person (that’s why I like running and doing races) that I was kind of devastated to pour four months of my life into something and come up short---even 49 seconds short.

Then my husband and some good friends talked some sense into me. They reminded me that I ran 13 miles on Saturday. Not everyone can say they’ve done that. (My husband says there is no way in the world he could ever finish 13, but I disagree.) I actually ran 13.1 miles three times in the last 6 weeks, that’s three half-marathons in two months! And hello, I got a PR! Just what the heck was I whining about? I think I’ll blame it all on the FEMALE CATCH-ALL FOR INSANE BEHAVIOR: HORMONES!

One thing that caught me off guard on Saturday was that I really was in pain and struggling some in the last three miles. Maybe running three half-marathon distances that close together wasn’t the smartest move I ever made. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to stay with my pace group when they were running faster than we were supposed to go in the first 6 miles. Maybe I should have done a little more (ok, any AT ALL) cross-training on my days off of running just to build up my endurance levels a bit more.

Looking ahead: For the next couple of months, I’ll be running mostly six-milers or less. I’ll hit some pilates and yoga classes. Maybe do a little more strength training. In January it all starts over again. The Country Music Half-Marathon is April 25, 2009 and I’m going to run a 2:10 if it kills me.

Bob Glover, author of The Competitive Runner's Handbook, writes, "Feeling worthwhile as an athlete doesn't come easily. Whether you run a 5-minute or a 10-minute mile, are twenty years old or sixty. You strive to do your best just like the Elites up front. Feel proud of yourself as a runner. Don't compare yourself to others and feel substandard." Thanks, Bob. I needed to hear that.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Race Report!

Short version:
I PR'd by 3 minutes, 12 seconds! I finished in 2:15:49. But it wasn't all rosy. They were out of Gatorade at the last 3 water stops (and I hadn't taken any in the first two because it sometimes upsets my stomach) so I wound up with gluteus maximus cramps after my finish line sprint--- horrible, I-can't-walk, charlie-horse-style cramps on both sides of my butt from salt depletion. Not fun.

Long version:
I had run 13.1 miles twice in the 5 weeks before the race. I felt ready. I drank plenty of fluids on Thursday and Friday before the Saturday morning race. I even watched the movie Spirit of the Marathon for extra inspiration! I slept ok on Thursday night, but I woke up in the wee hours on Saturday---around 3:30 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep. I had to get up at 5:15 anyway, so it wasn't so bad.

The usual breakfast (coffee and Special K) at 5:30 a.m. was followed by 1/2 a bagel on the way to the race for extra carbs. My friend and I picked up our chips, did a short warm up, maybe .25 mile, visited the port-o-potty twice and it was race time! I was feeling ok at this point, but a little nervous about making my goal.

About 115 of us lined up at the start and the strangest thing happened---I was near the back and never even heard the start. I didn't hear a count down, a gun, or even a "go." The people near the front just started moving. I was in no hurry because it was a chip-timed race, but then I noticed there was no start mat to cross. I guess to save money on mats and the timing system, we all got the same starting time. I know I lost precious seconds in my journey to actually cross the starting line. (If I had realized there was no mat there, I would have lined up further ahead!)

The race started and I wound up running with with two first-time half-marathoners for the first six miles. We had the same finish goal-- 2:15-- so we were a mini "pace-group." We set a fairly challenging pace, but tried to make sure we didn't start out too fast. I was able to talk, but it was a little bit of a struggle, so I was probably at the right "race pace."

All three of us stopped at the two port o potties at mile 6 (I had to wait because they got there first). At that point, I was glad for a little break from running! I was finding I wasn't having a great running day (actually I knew by mile four that it wasn't a great day. Not an awful day, either, but everything wasn't quite coming together.)

Maybe I set my goal too high, but I was having to push harder than expected to maintain the needed pace. (Training Mistake #1: Not doing the tempo runs called for in my plan at a fast enough pace to get me used to pushing. Too many of my training runs were at a comfortable pace due to the heat we've had here in Tennessee, even the "tempo" runs.)

The men stationed at the half-way point told me I was at 1 hour, 7 minutes and I didn't hear the seconds. I was on pace for a 2:15 finish, but just barely. Since my energy was flagging a bit at around 6 and a half miles, I put on my music for the first time of the day. I knew it would give me a burst of energy. It really did! Mile 7 was my fastest of the day at 9:33 pace. I passed my pace group and one or two more runners. I felt pretty strong around 8 and 9, too.

Then I ran into the most difficult part of the course. Mile 10 was hill after hill. I had trained on hills a little (perhaps not enough?). I remember thinking in mile 10 "I need to find a new sport. I hate running." I was running alone, really low on energy, and the hills were not my friend. People I had passed earlier were now passing me, including both of my pace group friends! I did have the pleasure of passing a couple of new folks there, but then I was walking, too. I felt like I needed to save some energy for the finish, so I thought it best to conserve by walking the steepest part of the hills. Plus, I was running so slowly up the steep hills, that walking wasn't that much of a change! (Training Mistake #2: If at all possible, run the EXACT course prior to race day. I would have known more of what to expect, how much energy to conserve if I'd done that.)

Finally, I was off the hills and somewhat on the home stretch. I had "fallen apart" on the hills, fallen way behind my little pace group, and was just ready to be done. (They finished in 2:08 and 2:13---dang first timers!) During all of this, so many negative thoughts pulsed through my brain. I decided to never run a marathon, never run another half-marathon, and that maybe running more than 5 miles was just plain awful. I was actually mad at running. My left leg hurt from the hip to the knee and my right ankle hurt. My gluteus maximus on the left side was so tight, but I never stopped to stretch. I didn't have anyone to talk to, nothing interesting to look at, and I was just pretty miserable.

In the last two miles, no one passed me. I overtook one man and one woman. I could see the finish line. Yet I was still struggling physically and mentally. I tried mind over matter. I was willing my legs to move faster and would think I was running maybe 9:30/pace, then look at my Garmin and was at a 10:35 pace. Slow felt fast at that point. I needed to average a sub 10-minute pace in that last mile, and I just didn't have it in me. With 1/2 mile to go, I took a final walk break! (I was just done at that point and realized my goal was out of reach.) I bucked up a little after a few seconds, decided I would come in under 2:17, and I started running again.

Then I saw a little kid in a red jacket running toward me. It was my son Nathaniel. His friend joined him and my friend Rebecca ran out, too, to run me in. I ran with them until I was close enough to see the finish clock. It was on something like 2:15:30 and knew I could make it under 2:16 if I really pushed. I ran faster than I have ever run in my life. My Garmin clocked me at a 6:01/pace at some point in that last little bit. I crossed at 2:15:49 with my seven-year-old son by my side.

I got my medal, they took my chip, and then I stopped moving for a second as they handed me a bottle of water and a Gatorade. Suddenly, both muscles in my booty CLENCHED UP. I have never had that happen before. I couldn't believe the pain. I tried to walk out the cramps, but the muscles were so tightly clenched, that I could only hobble. I looked like those people at the end of a marathon who have hit a major wall. I quickly drained the Gatorade because I figured the cramps were related to salt-loss from everything I've read (add in the hills, too). I had eaten two gels, but had not had any fluids other than water throughout the race. I kept walking and after a very long 6 or 7 minutes, the muscle cramps subsided.

I never got around to stretching after the cramp episode, so I paid the price the rest of the day and on Sunday. All of my leg muscles, my knees, and my ankles hurt.

In summary, the race just wasn't fun. I didn't really enjoy any of it, it was hard, and I wasn't as prepared as I thought I was. I'm just being honest. We all know some days on the road everything comes together and some days things don't. I guess you take the good with the bad.

I'm less mad at running today and might do the Country Music Half again in the spring. Now THAT was a fun race with thousands of runners, a palpable energy, the huge crowd support--- ringing cow bells, people calling out my name (from my shirt), live music playing. I hadn't realized how much all those distractions kept me from focusing on the running. The crowd almost carries you forward in a big race. You don't even see the hills, you just see long stretches of people, you hardly feel your own pain.

I don't think I ever have a marathon in me. For a while, I'm sticking to short runs and maybe a short, fun race or two. Or not. I've got to recover from this race in more ways than one!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Are You Gonna Win This Time, Momma?"

My five-year-old asked me that the other day when she heard me talking about the half-marathon. She asks me that before every race.

As you can see from yesterday's post, I'm a little race-obsessed. I love to do races. Of course I have NO CHANCE of ever winning one, but there's something magical about that starting line. And every single time I cross a finish line, I feel such a sense of accomplishment. Bringing home the occasional age-group award feels like winning the lottery.

So, no, Annabeth. Mommy is not going to win this time, either. But I will start and I will finish and that's good enough for me.

Some neat quotes I recently read in Running for Mortals by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield:

What's the difference between being a jogger and a runner? Signing your name on the entry form.

George Sheehan, a running philosopher, once said that we are all athletes. Some of us are just in training and some of us are not.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's Next?

To avoid that post-race let down feeling of "What's next?" I've been trying to decide which fall races to do. There are so many coming up, but with two of my children having birthdays, my husband's 40th, MOVING, my 11th anniversary, and general $$$, I don't think I can do them all. Here's what I'm trying to decide between:

October 25-- my college alma mater's 5K Scholarship run. I did it last year. It's a small, very hilly race. I came in last in my age group and 3rd from last overall. (It was only my 2nd 5K race and I'd been running about 4 months.) I'd like to think I'll do much better this year which is one reason I'm considering it. I was a scholarship kid, so that also makes me want to do it. BUT, it's one week after the half, and I may not be fully race-ready. I'd love to PR. (I'm still in the honeymoon phase where every race is a PR.) However, spending $35 on the half one week and $20 or 25 the next week seems extravagant. I may let this one go.

November 1-- Sango Scamper. I didn't do this race last year, but I could choose between a 10K or a 5K. And it's right down the street practically! I would like to do a 10K under 1 hour (that's been my goal for a while, but I haven't done any 10K's lately). I came so close in May two weeks after the half in 1:00:10 (9:42 pace). But I honestly don't know if I can run that fast anytime soon! Or I could do the 5K and have a good time for Vanilla's Shave My 5K Challenge. (Vanilla is a blogger who challenged us to post a 5K time from a race in Dec 07-March 08, then to race in the latter part of 08 to see how much we could shave off.) I'm running out of time on that one, and this is a relatively flat course---great for a PR.

November 15-- Turkey Trot 8K. I loved this race last year. Five flat miles. I like five better than 6.2 It's hard to maintain a fast pace for 6.2 miles. Five is a little easier.

December 4 (I think)-- Jingle Bell Jog. My worst race ever. (also the "stubble" time to beat in the challenge). There was freezing rain, hills, little kids passing me. It was demoralizing. I want to redeem this race. Plus, it's the last race in "race season."

That's $100 worth of races, practically back to back, in a period of 6 weeks when EVERYTHING ELSE is going on. But, it does sound kind of fun, doesn't it?

Any suggestions?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Race Week

Today started my half-marathon race week. It's not a total big deal this time since I've done one before and have run 13.1 twice in the last 5 weeks. I'm as ready as I'm going to be! I wish I were a bit faster, but with the hot weather we've had throughout training, I've had to put lots of walking into my runs. That isn't going to work to my advantage on race day, but I had to train in the conditions I was given. This past weekend the weather was back in the mid-eighties and I had a terrible run on Saturday (only made it 5 of my 7 prescribed miles).

Still, I'm very excited about the race. I know at least 10-15 other runners doing the half-marathon. Hopefully, they won't ALL beat me, but they actually might! I'm just going to run my own race. It's about me doing my personal best, shooting for that PR, not about what anyone else is doing. The time I hope to beat is 2:19:01. The course is a little easier than the one in the Country-Music Half Marathon, so that will work to my advantage. I also won't be ziz-zagging around tons of walkers, nor elbow-to-elbow with 25,000 other runners. This is a tiny race. I also won't have to get up at 4:00 a.m. since the race is right in my hometown. I hope this is all a recipe for success.

Here are my goals:

1. I'll be happy with matching my 2:19:01 or beating it slightly.
2. Hoping for 2:15 or less
3. Finishing in 2:10 would be phenomenal, but is probably not gonna happen.

I took it totally easy last week because of that ankle issue, and now this week is taper. I hope these two easy weeks of running let my body rest, heal, and get ready for Saturday!

P.S. The conference was wonderful. I came back with such a contentedness in my spirit.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Packing My Bags....

I'm packing my bags for two different reasons!

Tomorrow Chris and I leave for Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, which was amazing last year. It's a conference for church leaders, but it's not boring and sedate. It's rocking. There are nationally known speakers, great music. It's a great time of spiritual renewal. I need renewal because.....

We sold our house! I'm not only packing my bags, I've got to start packing EVERYTHING. It was a whirlwind sale. We were on the market for 10 days. A month ago I wasn't even looking for a new house. Now, we found a house we want, have sold our house, and are moving in six weeks. Phew! I'm glad I'm not cramming marathon training in there, too. Letting the Rocket City Marathon go for this year was a good move. The timing just wasn't right.

Speaking of running, after my 13.1 miles on Saturday, I've been having some old trouble spots flare up. My right ankle especially has been bothering me. I have got to take it easy between now and the half on Saturday, Oct. 18! I don't want to go into it injured. What a great excuse to back off the running!

So, I'm off to get some mental, physical, and spiritual renewal for the rest of the week. Plus, I'll get some quality time with the hubby, which is always a good thing. (And with 3 kids, it's surprisingly RARE!)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rave Run

You know that page in each month's Runner's World that has the Rave Run? It's usually someone running somewhere exotic or beautiful like in the mountains at sunrise. I had a different kind of rave run today.

Today was my last long run in preparation for the half-marathon. I was totally dreading it. I had planned to run 13.1 miles on the course of the half-marathon with my buddy Kelle and the running club. Well, as it turns out, ALL of my running friends were on injured reserve this week for various reasons. I knew I'd be on my own on this long run for the FIRST TIME in my running career.

But as it turns out the run was actually pretty great for several reasons!

1. Three words: Mocha Cliff Shot. OMG!!! Those are the best gels ever. It was like squirting Hershey's Syrup into my mouth in the middle of the run. Plus, it had 50 mg. of caffeine, so when I was slowing waaay down in the middle, it gave me a little pleasure and a little boost.

2. I did briefly have one of the running club folks with me for the first two miles, and we ran those miles in 9:36 each! That's 10K pace for me. Yes, it was starting out too fast, but it felt good.

3. Running among farms and fields, barns with smoking tobacco (we Southerners love that smell--it's not at all like cigarette smoke), fog lifting, sun rising..... it was actually kind of amazing. I didn't even have any music on for most of it. I didn't run the exact course---just the beginning and end of it, so I had to be creative and journey down a few new roads to get to 13.1.

4. I remember what it's like to run in cool weather! It's nice. I think that's why I was running faster. I was trying to get warm. It was only 45 degrees when I started and 65 when I finished. I have to remember to dress for 65 next time and just tough it out the first mile.

5. Dare I say, running alone isn't so bad. That 11-mile stretch alone with my thoughts, amusing myself, talking to God, writing this entry in my head actually felt right. I was out there in the middle of nowhere for two hours by myself. I didn't focus on pace, I just kept moving, kept putting one front in front of the other. It reminded me of my very first few long runs last winter when I was first discovering how peaceful this sport can be.

So, expectations were LOW before today's run, but I was pleasantly surprised enough to rave about it! I love it when that happens. (Isn't it usually the other way around? You feel good, expect to have a GREAT run, then it goes down the tubes.....) Not today!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Caffeine and the Buddy System

Today I'm operating on too much caffeine and not enough sleep! Don't you love those days?

For the past four nights, I haven't been able to sleep. I don't know if it's a cold or allergies, but I have this little tickle in the back of my throat and I'm really congested. I took Sudafed or something similar three nights ago, and it kept me awake and made my heart race. But not taking anything keeps me awake, too. However, taking something during the day makes me sleepy. Go figure.

About 9:00 each night, I expire. I just have no energy and need to go to bed. (Where I toss and turn and cannot sleep.) It's a little annoying.

I had plans to run with my buddy Kelle this morning. We made the plans last week before the cold/allergies hit. I felt like crud all day yesterday and kept wanting to call her to cancel. But, I knew I had six miles on my plate and if I wasn't feeling well, there was no way I'd do them by myself. Maybe one or two, but not six.

I dragged my tired booty out of bed this morning, hydrated with not one, but two cups of coffee and munched on some caffeinated sports beans, met Kelle at the park, and we had a good run (80 degrees at the end. Still!). The Buddy System really paid off. Not to mention the caffeine.

It's sad when you have to stop every half mile or so to blow your nose though.

Friday, September 26, 2008

How I Feel Sometimes....

Life Intervenes

Today our house goes on the market. You can imagine how much de-cluttering, organizing closets, touching up paint, washing trim, etc., has put a crimp into my running!

We're in kind of a weird situation. We built this house for a family of four about 4 years ago. Then, two years ago, this happened:

We found ourselves with not two, but THREE children!

So, we're moving down the street. There's a home with more bedrooms seven houses down. Our kids won't have to leave their friends, change schools, or really alter their lives much at all. I'll still live in a great neighborhood (with excellent running paths!) with great friends. It's win-win. Except for the whole selling-my-house part. I'm the first to admit I'm not the best housekeeper. Now, every morning, all beds must be made, all floors swept, etc., before we leave the house. The house must be show-perfect. Every day. With three kids. I'm scared.

I still plan to run. I can't focus my whole life on cleaning! I'm running 3 or 4 miles today, then coming home to resume washing trim and walls. This week became an unscheduled drop-down week. I've run a total of 8 miles. Sometimes LIFE just intervenes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bursting with Pride!

I am bursting with pride right now. Today my second grader qualified for his school's 5K Club by running a mile in under 10 minutes. It's invitation only, and he qualified with a 9:44 mile. He's never shown any interest in running, but he's full (and I mean FULL) of energy all the time, so it will be so good for him. He's not fond of P.E. or team sports (and not super-coordinated), so an individual sport like running is perfect for him. There's no pressure, no one getting mad at you if you mess up, it's just you against the road.

Last year, he didn't even come close to qualifying. This year we talked about it. It was 8 laps around some cones in the school yard. I talked to him about not going out too fast, but not walking either if he could help it. I told him to run as hard as he could on the last 4 laps. I guess he did!

I'm so happy to have another runner in the family. My five-year-old has done two one-mile-fun runs, but lately hasn't shown any interest when I try to get her to sign up for races (almost all local ones have a one-miler for kids afterwards).

Now, Nathaniel will have run club once a week where they train for their target race---a local 5K in April. It's a HUGE race in the area. All the local schools compete to see who has the most parent/child/teacher participants. I've never actually run it, but you can bet I will run it this year---alongside my son.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Beautiful Run of 13.1 Miles

I finally had a great run---the kind of run that reminds me why I do this! This morning I set out with our running group to run 12, but I was open to 13. Somehow everything fell into place--- good weather, no aches or pains, energy, speed (for me).

I finished 13.1 in 2:29, just 10 minutes off my race pace from the half-marathon in the spring.

I walked for a minute every 2.5 miles, up to mile 10. At mile 10, I walked a little, hit a port-o-potty, and refilled my water, so I lost at least 6 minutes. Then I felt so great I kept going all the way to 13.1.

Now that I've had a good run and gained back a little confidence, maybe my posts on here won't be so whiny. :-)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tempo, Where Did You Go?

Yesterday, I ran with two different running friends from my usual group. One has been running about a year, is a couple years older than me, but seems to be a natural when it comes to running. She's faster and fitter than me with fewer weekly miles (go figure?) and having taken the summer off when I kept pounding the pavement. She makes running look pretty much effortless.

The other is training for Chicago and I would say a life-long athlete (and a P. E. teacher turned SAHM). She's super-fit (you know you are, Tammy!), and I would say that fitness is very important in her life. I literally saw her out running like 4 weeks after having a C-section. That's just hard core! She was pushing her two-year-old in a jogger when we ran yesterday. I know she's much faster than me running solo, but with a kid or two in the stroller, I thought it might even out. Hmmm, not so much.

I'm just glad running is an INDIVIDUAL SPORT, because often when I run with a group, I'm the one bringing up the rear and struggling to keep up. That's how it was yesterday. It was only a five-mile tempo run, but I'm so used to the long, slow distance with walk/recovery breaks, I had to (ashamedly) ask them to walk a few times. It's like my body can't switch gears to the tempo after so many of the long, slow runs. I can do speed intervals, but it's the MAINTAINING of a decent pace where I struggle.

It kind of made me question my overall fitness level regarding the half-marathon exactly one month from today. We were running 10 - 11 minute miles and it felt like I was out there trying to run 8:45 or 9 minute miles. It was one of those strange days where you feel like you're going fast, you're working hard, and you look down at your Garmin and it reads 11:15/pace. Man, I hate that!

Well, at least I still have a month....

Oh, and it had gotten so hot (still!) by 10:30, that I went to the Y and did my last two miles on the treadmill. At least there, I knew I was running at the assigned pace. So, I managed to get in my seven miler, but it wasn't pretty.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

8 + 3 = 11?

I did my first double today.

Part ONE:

My 38th birthday dawned hot and humid. Getting up at 5:26 a.m. to prepare for a long run was tough, but I knew I needed to stay on my training schedule, birthday or not. My running buddy Kelle arrived at 6:30 and we headed to the trail along the river about 15 minutes away.

That's when things kind of stopped going our way.

As we approached the northern trail head, we passed a pack of 7 large, loose dogs harassing about 5 dogs behind a fence. They were about an eighth of a mile from our parking lot. As soon as we got out of the car and got our gear together (water bottles, gels, cell phones, mace...), we heard lots of crazy barking. It sounded like the lot of them was headed our way. Oh yes, and our running group didn't show up or at least we couldn't find them. The parking lot was pretty much deserted. We hopped back in the car and decided to head to the southern trail head four miles away. On the way there, we passed tons of duck hunters--- guys dressed head to toe in camo carrying large guns. Apparently today was the first day of duck hunting season and our trail was near several duck blinds. I was thinking, "O-kay........ getting shot by a wayward bullet on my birthday would not be good."

At the other trail head, our group was still nowhere to be found. (There are only two entrances.) A lone car was in that parking lot. It was now 7:10 a.m. and at least 78 or 79 degrees with literally 100% humidity. And bugs. Lots and lots of bugs--- flying around, biting us. Spiders, too. I used to love this trail, but today it felt rather desolate and full of too many critters in general, while strangely lacking humans. (Last time we ran there, a herd of deer ran across the trail just a few feet ahead of us. A big one stopped and turned back to look right at us, then ran along. That was a little disconcerting. We're NOT WILDLIFE PEOPLE, if you couldn't tell. We DO NOT camp.)

We finally got started on our 11-12 mile run. By mile two, we knew it wasn't an 11-12 mile day. If we had started in the slightly cooler weather at 6:00 a.m., maybe. However, my outside thermometer read 74 degrees at 5:30 a.m., so it probably wouldn't have mattered. We ran the four miles of the trail and back for eight total and called it a day. It was too hot, we were getting eaten up by bugs, and we just weren't feeling it.

Part TWO:

We drove the 20-minute drive home. I came in the door and never got to even sit down. It was time to take my daughter to gymnastics at the Y. I loaded all three kids into the car (leaving my husband to do some home projects in peace) and headed to the Y. Since I was still in my running gear, I became MULTITASKING MOM. While she was at gymanstics, I hopped on the treadmill and finished the last three miles. I was able to do my post-run stretching while I watched the last 15 minutes of her class applauding as she finally learned how to land a cartwheel.

So, I guess I got my 11 miles in one way or another. I spent the rest of the day replacing all those burned calories with lots of birthday indulgences!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Actual Running and TMI

Despite my other post, I wanted you to know I did do some actual running this week! I ran 10 miles--- 6 miles pre-illness Monday morning and 4 miles today. I hope to run 11 or 12 on Saturday for my long run of the week.

Today I tried a new class at the YMCA---Pilates. I've done yoga and strengthening classes that involved Pilates moves, but never an all-Pilates class. I have to say it wasn't too bad. We didn't focus just on abs, but did lots of hip work and even some arms. I think I was expecting more abs. But, my hips have been tiring on long runs and sore afterwards, so strengthening them would be good.

There's another reason I tried Pilates today. **If you are male, just go ahead and stop reading right now.**

I went to the ob/gyn yesterday. Apparently having 3 babies (including 8.5 and 9 lb. ones) and then running on hard surfaces for long distances for over a year haven't done the old pelvic floor any favors. Nothing is actually falling out per se, but I don't think certain parts are where they are supposed to be. 'Nuff said. I have two options: Pilates or surgery. Well, duh! I'm opting for Pilates. I hope to make it to one class a week and do them at home another day.

So, yes, running is good for lots of your parts, but maybe not so good for others. It's a trade off I'm willing to risk.

I think I'm over my burnout. I did 1 hour of Pilates and then ran 4 miles, including speedwork in the last 3. That was enough for one day, I think.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Back-to-School Curse

The back-to-school curse has struck my household. Each school year dawns with new and exciting illnesses brought home to contaminate the whole family.

It started with my seven-year-old on Friday night: "Mom, I think I'm going to throw up." And throw up he did. Spectacularly. So, a restful Friday night turned into laundering his bedding, steam cleaning the carpet and his mattress, and comforting a sick boy. Food poisoning? Too much junk food? Or just a fluke? I wondered.

Then at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, my five-year-old yelled, "Mom, I think I'm going to throw up." Uh-oh. She was very, very right. For the next 9 hours, she was terribly sick, AND not from just one.... um... orifice.

On Monday afternoon I called my husband at work to see what he wanted for dinner. He sounded awful. Yes, the virus had taken down one more. He came home at 5:00, skipped dinner altogether and went to bed. There was more of the same just like the other two.

Finally, I got into bed at 10:00 on Monday night and noticed my stomach felt off-- kind of bubbly and uncomfortable. From 10-12:30 a.m. I was nauseated, but I kept thinking, "I can BEAT this. I am STRONG." At about 1:00 a.m., I stopped fighting and the virus won. FOUR out of FIVE family members taken out.

Now, my two-year-old Julia is a cute little ticking bomb. I'm just waiting for the inevitable middle-of-the-night cries. Tonight? Tomorrow night? I think it's only a matter of time. Maybe, just maybe, it'll skip her, but I'm not counting on it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Not That Into You

Dear Running,
Lately, I'm just not that into you.

I only ran 4 miles all week. I was supposed to run 14 miles, so I'm a little behind. I did bike/elliptical for forty minutes on Tuesday and walked for 2 1/2 to 3 miles on Thursday, so there were three days of exercise. But this is the first week in forever in which I didn't run much. I needed a physical break, but most of all, I think I needed a mental break. The half-marathon is in six weeks. I hope I can crawl out of this hole before then.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Not a Runner Today

I woke up this morning and knew I wasn't a runner today. It just wasn't in me. Normally, I don't have to force myself to go; I look forward to runs. My "drop down" week is starting to look more like a "drop OUT" week. I haven't run since Saturday.

Today instead of forcing the four-mile run I wasn't feeling, I went to the Y and did a hopefully equivilant 40 minutes of cardio-- I cycled for 4 miles and then did the elliptical for 20 minutes. That counts, right?

While I was cycling and ellipticalling (?), I started reading The Shack. Has anyone else read it? It's powerful. I was fighting back tears at the gym during a certain part near the beginning of the book. I'm also reading the Non-Runner's Marathon Guide for Women (hilarious) and Running for Mortals. I have zero time to read right now, which doesn't exactly explain why I'm trying to read THREE books at the same time.

Anyway, I utilized the power of multitasking as I got to enjoy reading AND exercising at the same time. You just can't do that when you run! (Well, I guess I could download a "book on tape" or something....)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Running, Reunion, and Recovery

I actually had a good run on Saturday. I managed 9 miles pretty well, but by the end of the 9th mile, my legs were clearly fatigued and my hip joints were sore. I got a blister for the first time in this training though. That afternoon I received my new anti-blister Wright socks ("no blisters--guaranteed!") from Road Runner Sports in the mail. They are made of two thin layers to absorb friction (or something like that). But it was too late.

I was careful to ice my shin and my knee that tend to bother me after the run, and both felt great.

After my run and a few hours of recovery, I went to my 20-year high school reunion. I shoved my tired feet and my new blister into heels from 6:00 p.m. to midnight, including dancing from about 9-12. So. Much. Fun! I didn't even notice how tired and sore I was until about 11:50-- I was just having too much fun talking to everyone and hitting the dance floor for the first time in years. Then as the clock struck 12, this Cinderella's shoes came off, the reality of a long run plus dancing set in, and I walked/hobbled back to my hotel room. I lay in bed that night just aching from the waist down. (**How did Katie Holmes do it when she went to that premiere in 4-inch heels just hours after running the NYC Marathon last year?) It was worth it, though!

Yesterday, I managed a 20-minute walk to loosen things up. It helped-- a little. Today is normally a running day, but I don't think so! My feet still hurt. This is my wonderful RECOVERY WEEK anyway! I only have 5 miles, 5 miles, and 4 miles on the calendar.

Happy Labor Day!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dark O'Clock

Here I am up at dark o'clock on yet another Saturday. Planning to do 8-10. I'd really like to do 10 better than last week, but tonight is my 20-year high school reunion (yes, I AM old). I've got my dancin' shoes laid out and I want to be able to use them! So, 8 sounds a littler better.

It's 70 degrees with 100% humidity according to I'm headed to my favorite trail by the river, so maybe it won't be too bad. I'm hoping to remember the bug spray this time.

I ran hard two days in a row and my legs have struggled the rest of the week. Yesterday I only did 1.5 of my easy 2 miles. Next week is a drop down week and I think my body is ready. I'm having sore shins, ankles, and hips. Body, are you trying to tell me something?

I'm sure I'll look lovely on the dance floor tonight after running long this morning! Kind of like Elaine in that episode of Seinfeld......

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Just Call Me Slacker McHeavy Legs

My legs are rebelling. They are not happy with me or this training regimen.

I ran 10 on Saturday. Sunday--nothing. Monday--No running, but I did some squats. Not many, maybe two sets of 10 or 15? Unfortunately, I don't do them often enough, so I was a bit sore on Tuesday. Tuesday--I did those two miles with the toddler in the stroller and then only 3 hill sprints.

But I woke up today with seriously tired legs. I knew when I rolled out of bed that I didn't have much running in me. I went to the indoor track at the Y (which is 1/16th of a mile) to do speed intervals. I was shooting for 6 miles in all. I walked a couple of warm-up laps. Then my friend Kelle and I ran 6 laps fast, then walked two (or something like that). I mostly yapped and she kept up with the laps. Around the 4-mile point, I was so done. My legs felt like they were made of lead. I've read that when they are flooded with lactic acid, that happens. Maybe that was it. I dragged myself to the treadmill to attempt to finish the last two miles and I made it maybe one, but that was with lots of walking. My shoes were scraping on the belt as I "ran."

Note to self: the day after hill sprints, don't attempt speedwork.

I picked up Julia from the nursery and thought I might feel better if we ate lunch out somewhere. Keeping "eating like a runner" in mind, I picked Subway, and we shared a turkey on whole wheat. Oh, and some sweet tea. (Sweet tea makes everything better if you are from the South.) Overall, it was a fairly healthy choice for me.

Afterwards, we made it to the door of the grocery store, but I could not drag myself in. My legs were STILL made of lead and I just didn't have the energy to push a two-year-old in a cart all over a huge grocery store. So we went home. I put my legs up and my quads and shins and feet just ached. I must have pushed too hard this week (with only about 6 miles to show for it). I believe I need a day off tomorrow!

Random food-related item: Last night, my husband was in charge of dinner and he chose New York Pizza Depot---the BEST pizza in Clarksville, TN, by far. It's really thin, slightly greasy (but not fried!) He got me a slice of cheese in honor of me trying to eat better. And you know what? I didn't even miss those pesky pepperoni! I think if you are in a striving-to-be-healthy period and want pizza, thin crust cheese pizza isn't the WORST way to go.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Eat Like a Runner

Do you eat like a runner? I Googled the phrase "eat like a runner" and read several articles. Apparently I do not actually eat like a runner!

I had a sluggish run on Saturday. Could it have to do with more than the triple H (heat, humidity, hills)? Could it have to do with the big N--nutrition?

If "we are what we eat," then the day before my 10-mile run, I was a Chinese buffet. Now I should know better. I LOVE Chinese food, and the all-you-can-eat option combined with my lack of self control is a dangerous combination. I enjoyed sesame chicken, General Tsu's chicken, both deep-friend and covered in high-calorie sauces. I had a couple of crab rangoons and a spring roll, also deep-fried. And lot's more that I won't even go into. (It's making me hungry.) Sure, there were lots of carbs to "carb up" for my run the next morning, but I'm pretty sure all the fat and MSG had a detrimental effect.

Then AFTER my run on Saturday, I stayed off the healthy-eating wagon by refueling with Mexican food for lunch and last, but not least, pizza and hot wings for dinner. Did I mention the ranch dressing? It was lite at least.

Now how can I expect my body to perform the way I want it to when I eat like a 20-year-old college guy? I was doing better for a while, but I pretty much blew it this weekend (and all last week if I'm honest!). Old habits are hard to break. It's what I grew up with, and here in the South, it's just a way of life! (My state is the 3rd most obese state, sadly.)

So, I'll pose a mini-challenge for myself---No fried food for one week. Eat healthier in general. I have to start today (Tuesday) since I had a couple of tortilla chips yesterday and not the baked kind.

I discussed this with my neighbor and she said she'll be my accountability. We had the best "mommy workout" this morning by the way. She's a runner, too, so instead of heading to the Y to do my scheduled 2-miler, I put Julia in the jogger and my neighbor pushed her DOUBLE jogger. It was a short run, so we decided to add some hill repeats at the end (without the strollers--we took turns). Then we did some sit ups and push ups.

Now, I can skip the gym and just enjoy the day at home. Yeah! Tomorrow is 8 miles of speedwork (according to my half-marathon plan) OR 5 miles (if I go by the marathon plan I printed out just for fun/curiosity). I'll probably just compromise somewhere in the middle.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Triple Threat

I faced the triple threat today: heat, humidity, and hills.

Our running group met at 7:00 a.m. (perhaps later than we should have) for a 10-miler on the course of the October half-marathon. We are having typical August-in-Tennessee weather again. It's hot. It's humid.

I had never run this course, but I remember driving it once last spring and thinking, "There is NO WAY." There is hill after hill. Now, here I am committed to running the race in a little more than a month. I learned an important lesson today---run on hills more! My last two long runs (9 miles each) were on a flat, paved bike trail and the treadmill. They in no way prepared me for ten miles of rolling hills. What a difference!

It felt like we were running about 5 hours, but it was only two. We were deep in the country, surronded by farmland. I ran alongside corn fields and even saw 3 mules grazing in a pasture. (I actually thought, "I wonder if I could ride one of those to my car?") It was a loop, and I'm more of an out-and-back girl. The loop seemed ENDLESS, especially since I didn't know where I was going.

As usual, I ran out of fluids. I carried a small bottle of water (12 oz.) and had one Nathan fuel belt 10 oz. flask filled with G2 and one with water. You'd think that would be enough. But with 2.5 miles to go, I was empty. I guess I drank more due to the heat.

I did give away one ounce of water today. My dog-loving friend Rebecca would have been proud. At mile 3 on the run, a frisky little puppy started following us. Well, actually she was running in between our legs, tripping us up, and jumping up on us. But she was cute and sweet. (I'm guessing Golden Retriever or Lab or something.) She would not heed the commands of "Go home!" She decided we were HER PEOPLE and she was determined to run with HER PEOPLE. She ran with us for SEVEN MILES. She was panting and kind of frothy around her mouth, so other runners and I sacrificed precious ounces of our water for her. I squirted about an ounce of my water (when I was already running low) into her mouth. Seven miles in a fur coat is a long way. At the end of the run, one guy loaded her up in his car and drove her home. She hopped out at her house and lay down on the porch, exhausted but happy.

I fueled with raisins and pretzels again today. I have to say around mile 7 or 8, my body felt pretty done. I don't think real food quite gives me the boost that gels or Sports Beans or bloks do. Usually I can tell when a gel or whatever "kicks in" and my legs feel new(ish) again. The food-food didn't have that same effect. However, I didn't have stomach issues, either. I've still got to figure this all out.

All in all, it was not my best run, but I survived. (And not hanging-on-a-thread survived, but ran some, walked some survived.) At the end, Kelle and I were running the distance between two light poles, then walking to the next one, then repeating. It was more walking than I would have liked, but with the triple threat of heat, humidity, and hills, it was what we had to do.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Date with The Boss

Just a quick non-parenting/non-running update: the Bruce Springsteen concert in Nashville last night was..... ok. It started an hour late (Diva!). I was thinking, "Dude, we're old! Get out here," as the time ticked away. We were definitely among the youngest folks there. People kept chanting, "Brrruuuuucccceee," which sounded like "Booooo" to me. I kept thinking, "Why are they 'booing'? Are they mad the concert is so late?" Chris cleared that one up for me. Thanks, Honey.

I was a little surprised that in the first two hours, I only knew two of the songs. Two! I guess he played a lot of really old stuff and some of the brand new stuff, not the 80's stuff I know. There was no "Dancing in the Dark" or "Born in the USA" or my personal favorite "Born to Run." He probably saved them for the encore. Unfortunately, we had an hour drive home and my dear hubby had to be at work early, so we took off before the encore.

And either I'm gettin' old, or this was the LOUDEST event I've ever been to. Seriously, I thought my ears were going to bleed!

But being in the room with The Boss and watching him rock out was pretty cool. He's still got it. And I was almost as excited to see Stevie Van Zandt from the Sopranos. You can tell they still love what they do (and they've been doing it a loooong time). There was quite a bit of audience interaction where he just let people touch him as if he were a Rock God. He also pulled a girl on stage for her Courtney Cox moment. I admit I was a little jealous.

I'm still mad I missed "Born to Run," but now when I hear it on my MP3, I at least have a visual to go along with it. Speaking of long runs, I have 10-11 on my schedule tomorrow. I'm excited to be in double digits! (I'm not counting the 10-miler where I walked the last 1.5 when I got sick.)

10 Years of Running: Confessions of a Declining Runner

Two months ago, I hit a pretty significant milestone:  ten years of running.  I began in June of 2007 at the age of 36 .   On day one, I tho...