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!