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.