Monday, March 31, 2008


I have a bunch of randomness to piece together today:

1. Last night, I had the Best. Steak. Ever. If you have a P.F. Chang's near you, RUN, don't walk, there and get this steak. It's not on the regular menu, but it's been on the "seasonal" menu since September at least. (Quite a few seasons) It was a New York Strip, medium rare, with a teriyaki sauce and spices crusted on the outside. Medium rare? Not my usual way to eat steak (medium), but that's the ONLY way they'll prepare this one. There is no asking how you'd like your steak. It only comes medium rare. And it is a beautiful thing. The brown rice, lettuce wraps, and spring rolls were yummy, too. Probably a 1500 calorie meal and worth every bite.

2. I met a fellow new runner today. She is 59-years-old. She took up running when she was 58, exactly one year ago this month. She was signing up for the 5K I'm helping plan. She's running 10-minute miles like me, and she always wins her age group. Her grandkids think she's cool. What an inspiration! (And I thought I started running kind of late.)

3. I ran 75 miles this month. It was my longest mileage, up 5 miles over January's total of 70. No wonder my knees hurt.

4. Last night, we drove the first 10 miles of the half-marathon course (then ran out of time due to play tickets). It was good to see what to expect, but also brought out the response, "Seriously??"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why I Run

Sometimes it makes me feel like this: (and that's enough)

Thanks to Katie at Sister Skinny for posting this on her blog.

Doesn't watching that make you want to go run a mile or two?

New Pictures

The March blizzard (by Tennessee standards):

Silly (but adorable) hairstyles....

The whole family on the day of Nathaniel's baptism:

"A new creation."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Picture My Run

Here are some pictures from the trail about 20 minutes from my house. It's a very scenic place to run. (It's also where I lost my child for 20 minutes. See the March entry "Running While Panicking." Scary!) These are old railroad beds that were replaced with paved and wooden trails.
I've been to the trail a couple of times this month. The only problem with running here in the summer, I'm told, is the SNAKES. They meander across the path, probably hang from the trees, and swim in the water. What does a runner do when she encounters a snake on a bridge? Jump over it and keep running? (perhaps a little faster?)
My knees are still feeling the 12 miles three days later! I had a short recovery run this morning to try to relieve some of the stiffness and soreness. Luckily this is a drop down week.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Still Standing.... After 12 Miles!!

I ran my 12-miler and I feel fantastic! Ok, well, not fantastic-fantastic, more "pretty darn good for someone who ran 12 miles"- fantastic.

For the first time, I have no post-run tummy issues or chills. I don't know which part is the magic formula, but here's what I did:

7:00 a.m. breakfast bowl of Special K and cup of coffee
8:00 a.m. had 1/2 plain bagel
9:00 a.m. had 1/2 banana
9:15-9:30 6 or 7 oz. of Accelerade
9:30 a.m. begin running
Lots of water during the run---20 ounces by mile 8, plus 10 more. Also, 3 Cliff Shot Bloks and 1 Tropical flavored Hammer Gel.
5 oz. Accelerade after run and more water

We ran at an average 10:35 -10:45 pace each mile except for when we didn't (two port-o-potty breaks, two walking "fuel" breaks for water and gel/bloks, stopping at mile 8 to stretch). That brought down the average to 11:05 overall and a total of 2 hours, 14 minutes. If I can run that last 1.1 miles in under 16 minutes, I can squeak in at my under 2:30 goal. Of course, the start is going to be staggered for the 22,000 runners, and I'm sure I'm in one of the rear chutes, so that may get my time a little off. But, my Garmin will tell my true time. (After saying that, I'll probably forget it that morning!)

Three things that really helped:
1. I got my MP-3 from the car at 8 miles and listening to my songs really picked me up when I was struggling. I like "depriving" myself of the music until I really need it. Plan to use that strategy on race day.
2. Doublemint Gum. Having that (also at mile 8) energized me and made my mouth feel fresh.
3. Breaking up the mileage into small segments. We ran a 4-mile paved trail out and back. But mentally, it seemed like 4 miles, then 4 miles instead of 8. Then, after stretching, we ran out two miles and back two. Not adding up how many I'd gone or how many I had to go before finishing helped immensely. My mind concentrated on running 4 miles or 2 miles at a time, not even thinking about 12.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Common Ground

Last night I took an important step in my running life---- I joined the local running club.

I attended their meeting last month to check it out, but only a handful of people showed up and I didn't meet very many people. And honestly, I wasn't sure I really fit in. They were nice, but I felt somewhat out of place. I'm so glad I gave it a second chance. Last night, it was packed with runners of all shapes/sizes and ability/experience levels. I saw a few familiar faces from last time and met a couple of new folks. I found common ground with a mom of four who has been running about the same amount of time as me and who is about my pace. She's also training for the same half-marathon as me. Actually, pretty much everyone in that room is training for that same race.

It is going to be so neat to be a part of this community of runners and athletes. (Several are involved in duathlons and tri's, too.) The common theme is that everyone is crazy for running. Everyone is interested in being healthy and strong. There were people in their twenties up to people probably in their sixties! (Actually the youngest member was 7---- her parents are really involved.)

They run together once a week and one really experienced member is planning to do free speed training for the members on Saturday mornings to help us improve our 10K time (focus race in June), and then he's going to train us for the next half-marathon in October. In order to stay motivated in the upcoming hot, ridiculously humid Tennessee summer (so I'll be ready for the October race), it will be helpful to once again have a coach and a training group. That made all the difference in January when it was soooo cold. Plus, we are getting matching shirts, so at races people will know we are together! I am ALL ABOUT matching shirts. I think that was the biggest reason I joined my sorority in college---Alpha Delta Pi--- the cool matching shirts!

Yes, I'm a joiner. I'm not built to go through this life alone. I like to share my experiences with other people. As my pastor would say, I'm "relational." Not that I don't enjoy the rare instances of time alone, I just think joys in life are sweeter when shared.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

10 Miles Ain't So Bad (Or Is It?)

It IS kinda bad, actually. I just completed my first ten-miler. I ran 9.2 about 3 weeks ago, but this is my first time in double digits. It makes the half marathon seem more doable. Though if someone told me I had to run 3.1 MORE miles at the end of that 10 today, I'd have probably sprayed them in the eye with my runner's mace. Or smacked them in the head with my Nathan Speedbelt 2 hydration system.

K. and I met bright and early for a morning run today. We were basically over dressed and under hydrated---- at the end of the run it was a pretty warm 65 degrees. I knew it was supposed to be warm, but I'm so used to long sleeves and long pants that I put them on out of habit. I completed 10 miles in 1:52:04. Overall pace was 11:12. (dang walk breaks!)

Speaking of walk breaks, we took a hydration/gel break at 3.1 miles for about 90 seconds, hit a port-a-potty at a construction site at mile 5 (it HAD to be done), and walked a minute or so around six-and-a half. Our last water stop was at 7.5, but we kept moving (walking) through it---though we did pause to stretch a bit. The last three miles were tough. But we made it!

As I type, I'm sitting on the bed with frozen bags of golden niblets on both ankles and knees drinking a glass of Accelerade Advanced Sports Drink which claims to "speed muscle recovery, reduce muscle damage, and enhance rehydration." Great, my muscle recovery needs to speed up, my muscle damage needs to be reduced, and my rehydration needs to be enhanced. Win-Win-Win! Oh, I forgot to mention the taste..... Nah, it's not too bad if you drink it really, really cold.

Am I a runner yet??? Because of the walk breaks, many would say I am not. Galloway's article below still pegs me as jogger. But I think 10 miles should count for something!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

For the Mommies...

This is hilarious! This ultra-creative momma wrote a song containing things a typical mother might say in a twenty-four hour period (to the tune of the William Tell Overture).

Can YOU relate? Have these phrases ever flown out of YOUR mouth?


The Phases of a Running Life

Looking in the motivation section of the Runner's World website, I came across this article by running guru Jeff Galloway. It was too cool not to share. Read and share with me where you fit in!

The Phases of a Running Life

Our running life isn't static, a single note played over and over. It is growth and movement, an evolution from our "birth" as runners to the fullest development of our potential. After those first labored steps, every runner goes through stages, enduring a few "growing pains" along the way. But if you're open to each of these phases, you can continue to benefit from the positive elements of each one as you move on to more rewarding running experiences.

The Beginner

Perched on the edge of a new, vigorous life, the beginning runner is primarily a sedentary person. He or she is impatient with the slow process of weight loss and the almost imperceptible increase of running pace. Filled with exuberance, beginners often push too hard, get injured or tired, and quit, only to restart a dozen times. Though they sometimes struggle to "just get out there," novices eventually learn to enjoy the relaxed feeling running brings. When they start to sense a clearer, more focused mental state on their running days, they're on the verge of entering the next phase. (I'm actually past this stage. Yay!)

The Jogger

Though the jogger may sometimes lack the motivation to start a run, he feels secure with the habit of running. Joggers have begun to feel like part of the running community and may enjoy identification with a particular running event. As joggers enter the next phase, some become competitive and train hard for faster times or challenging events. (I think this is where I fit in.)

The Competitor/The Athlete

There's a competitive streak, often hidden, in all of us. The negative compulsion of the competitor is an obsessive pursuit of personal records or age-group awards. If the competitor can break free from this preoccupation with ego boosts, he'll strive to bring out his best on any given day. This marks entry into the world of the athlete, who pushes through tiredness and discomfort, developing the capacity to deal with adversities in races and in other areas of life. The athlete finds success in every running experience. (I'd really like to move here!)

The Runner

It is possible to have it all. This phase balances the elements of fitness, commitment, competition and mental invigoration with the demands of career and family. Runners have a life apart from running, yet appreciate how running enhances each area of their lives.Intuitively, the runner combines strength, speed, form and endurance with motivation and willpower. The running experience itself confers so much satisfaction that each run becomes a natural expression of who the runner is and what he stands for. (Someday..... perhaps)

As a runner, you can relive the enjoyment of each stage--the beginner's excitement and the jogger's glow of fitness; moments of the competitor's ambition, balanced by the athlete's quest for personal excellence. And for the runner, it's possible, on parts of every run, to transcend the physical experience, letting your mind soar.

If you are running, what stage are you in?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Running Vs. Parenting

I have to say running is going much better than parenting this week. So, I'll talk about running. I had a great 6.25 mile run this morning at a 10:19 pace. It was sunny and 40 degrees, no major wind---coolish, but near-perfect running weather. I actually did more than my training plan called for and incorporated some pretty decent hills in my neighborhood. I didn't even take a walk break, which was quite an accomplishment for me. It just felt GOOD to be out there. I had missed that.

I've noticed lately my running partner and I are actually not following our Runner's World training plans very closely. Mine has my longest run at 11 miles two weeks prior to the race. However, on the day of the Country Music Half-Marathon, I don't want to have never even run 13.1. I want to KNOW that I can do it, so the only way to do that is to run 13.1 before the half-marathon. We actually plan to try for a long distance of 14 or even 15 miles, so on the day of the race, 13.1 won't even seem like a big deal. (Is there a scenario that 13 miles isn't a big deal? We'll see.)

Sure, the guys at Runner's World are the experts, but this time we're writing our own plan.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Running While Panicking (aka My Kid Is in BIG Trouble)

Wouldn't you think that in a panic you could run faster? I found out yesterday that my body actually can't. Maybe if I were being chased instead of doing the chasing......

This blog isn't just about running or just about parenting. Those two worlds collided yesterday with less-than-good results.

In an attempt to be Adventurous, Fun Mommy, I took my five-and seven-year olds to a paved bike trail in the woods about 10 miles from our house. It's called the Bicentennial Trail and it's out in the middle of nowhere. They were on bikes and I was on foot. I thought I might as well get a few miles in on our adventure.

The last thing I told them before getting out of the car is to not ever get out of my sight. They could ride a little ahead, but I must be able to see them at all times.

Our goal was to ride two miles, rest/turn around, and come back. The complaining started around 0.5 miles. My seven-year-old Nathaniel was not enjoying the trail. It crossed a few wooden bridges, and that freaked him out a little. There was also a ravine on one side of the trail, and even though I told him to ride on the other side, that freaked him out, too. (In all honesty, the ravine freaked me out a little, as well. I positioned myself in between the kids and the ravine though.) We saw lots of families out for a stroll, kids on bikes (many even smaller than mine), and other runners. It was a beautiful day (sunny and 75), and the trail scenery was amazing.

Finally, at about 1.8 miles, my son mutinied. He said, "I'm not going any further." I let him know the 2-mile marker was just ahead. We could see it. He said he was turning back NOW. I told him, "No, we are going just a little further, then we'll turn around." I assumed he'd follow us, he's typically a fairly reasonable being, so Annabeth and I kept going. (You know when you have a small child who refuses to follow you and you act like you are going to leave them, then they give in and follow you? Doesn't work at age seven.) He called my bluff and not only did not follow, he actually turned around and headed back up the trail. Alone. Not a stellar parenting moment on my part, by the way.

When I looked over my shoulder and realized he'd left us, we immediately turned back. I could not believe he'd done that. He was on his big-kid, geared, FAST bike while I was on foot with a five-year-old on a little bitty bike. I hoped he'd go just a little distance, stop, and wait for us. Or head back in our direction. I called his name over and over. I scanned the distance for his red shirt and red hair. I tried not to panic.

For nearly TWO MILES and about 19 minutes in the woods in a strange place, I saw no sign of my son. I constantly checked the ravine as I ran, I even looked in the water as we crossed the bridges. I asked strangers if they had seen a little boy in a red shirt (one said yes, he was far ahead). I imagined that people I passed----middle-aged men alone on bikes or jogging---might be that "bad" kind of stranger. At times we passed long stretches where we saw no one else and I worried he would panic if he realized he was alone in the woods. I felt so helpless and I literally could not go any faster or get to him any sooner. Annabeth was so tired, but I told her we could not stop until we found Nathaniel. Emotionally, I alternated between really, really scared, mad at him and myself, feeling helpless, and just plain sad.

Finally, at the front entrance, I saw him with a couple on their bikes. He had told them, "I went too fast and Mom went too slow, so we got separated." Not exactly. I'd like to say I ran toward him and embraced him, forgetting all my anger, filled with relief that he was ok (like in the movies), but that's not how it happened. I just eyeballed him and said, "This is NOT OK."
He knew he was in trouble and just said, "I'm sorry."

There was punishment (continuing throughout the week). He understands (somewhat and without any exact details about the stranger part) the dangers of what he did and the unkindness of making me crazy with worry.

Anyway, that was our unfortunate afternoon. Thank God he was safe and it worked out ok. That's the last time I'll try to be Fun, Adventurous Mommy. Regular, Safe Mommy is better.