Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

New Shoes

I’ve had it on my list to do for oh, so long.  I have intended to get to that store, to buy those shoes, and I am so thankful that I did.  My old running shoes have lost much of their tread and are tired and worn out, yet I love to lace them up each morning (well, the mornings that I can muster getting out of bed early enough to run).

Those soles show the wear on my soul.  As I have beat out the miles on those shoes I have mourned the loss of my grandmother, weathered a hurricane, held out hope for healing, prayed for my dear children back at home in their snug beds, prayed for Handsome, begged God for respite from the chaos that is sometimes life with four children only to find that respite back at home amidst the chaos, thanked God for healing and hope, and watched many a sunrise.

“Those should last you another few hundred miles!” he said with a smile, as he handed me the brown box with my new treasures inside.

And I thought, “Oh, these will last so much more than that!”

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to eat as much good food as possible before I wake up the next morning and realize that I really should resolve to exercise more…because that’s what everyone else did!

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I’ve had so many things that I’ve wanted to get written, but none of them makes a full post…so here I am going to collect a rather random round-up of recent thoughts and goings-ons.  Proceed with caution:

  • I have a new friend.  She lives near me, and she runs too.  I have been praying for someone with whom I could work out.  Seems like she is an answer to prayer…or I thought so until she told me that she gets up at 5:20 to go running!  5:20 – I’m pretty sure God wouldn’t ordain that!
  • Speaking of running, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be running the half marathon that I told you all about a while ago.  It’s coming quickly, and I have barely had time to train – partially because of Handsome’s crazy work schedule but more so because of a couple minor injuries that I didn’t want to turn major (so I’ve been doing a lot of not-running.)  I’m thinking about trying to walk it, since I’ve already paid for it.
  • How do I explain to my children that wheat germ is good for you, but, yes, they still have to wash their hands…because germs are bad for you!
  • A little while ago I asked for a good bean recipe.  I got one, thank you very much, friend…and everyone at the dinner enjoyed (or they said they did anyway).  If I were to do it again, I would cook them a bit longer, more toward the four hour mark.  Perhaps black beans are just more stubborn than their pinto counterparts.
  • We forgot to move our clocks forward this morning.  We also decided to skip church in hopes of finding some time to rest.  I was glad that we didn’t go to church when I realized that we hadn’t changed our clocks – we would have been foolishly late; but I was sad too – we lost an hour of peaceful bliss!

How, oh how, do the weekend fly by so quickly!

Happy Monday!

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Random Notes From the Treadmill

Just have had a few things rattling around in my brain while I run, and I wanted to get them out lest they bump into and break something valuable in there!

  • I am going to have another go at the half marathon gig.  I signed up for one this spring; spring is not hurricane season.  This is good.
  • I’m struggling a bit to get my mileage up to where it should be.  I had to take some time off after my last half marathon.  I took a couple of weeks off to allow my knee to heal completely (after pushing it a bit too hard in training), then I was forced to not run for almost a month by a nasty cold then strep throat that made me want to see Jesus.  So this announcement serves as accountability; notice that I am publishing it at a time when no one will be reading due to Christmas celebrations – smooth, huh?
  • I’ve found that on the days that I run/exercise in the morning, I feel warmer all day.  I don’t feel the need to wear a blanket around the house.  I’m guessing it’s because my metabolism is higher from working out.  That in and of itself is huge motivation to run.  I just hate, hate, hate, being cold all the time!
  • I’m also back to running solely on the treadmill – what a drag!  Anyone have any great music suggestions – something upbeat and fun!  Anything that will make me forget I’m running gets special consideration!
  • Also, (at my request) handsome got me a pair of running pants for my birthday; well, he gave me money to buy some.  Problem is, said pants make me look like I have never, ever exercised in my life!  It’s not pretty, folks!  As a matter of fact, it’s an injustice!  If one is brave enough to go outside in cold weather to run, one’s body should automatically look fabulous!  Really.  Anybody have any ideas for a brand of running pants that won’t make me look horrible on the occasion that I should venture to the park to run?  I’m guessing the word miracle would be big and bold on that label!  ha!

And thus ends that most boring post ever.  Happy Day!

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I hadn’t planned on having this take up so much blog space, but after publishing that last post about the race I realized that I totally forgot to add some of my favorite details.  They are all fairly random, but they are things that helped me get through the race, either because they were encouraging or because they made me laugh.  So here they are, in exactly the random order that I think of them.

-Just after mile three of the race, my knee started hurting.  I was really thankful for that first three miles of pain-free running, but I was realizing that the majority of the race was going to include annoying knee pain.  Then I saw her.  There was a lady ahead of me.  She was running.  I was going to pass her, so you know she had to be going really, really slowly.  She was a bit overweight, and I could tell by her gait that she wasn’t exactly comfortable, yet she was making forward progress!  When I got close enough I could read her shirt; it said, “Dead Last is Better Than Didn’t Try At All!”  And I just smiled inside!  I don’t even know her name, but I was and am so proud of her – for being there, for being there in that crazy storm, for trying even though it was hard!  I tried to encourage her as I passed her, and she was smiling.  I hope she finished, and I hope that she is as proud of herself as I am of her!

-Handsome could have run the race in half the time that I did, but he stayed with me until we both crossed the finish line.  Even at the end, when I was really tired of running, and I told him he could go ahead.  The last little bit would be fine for me; I’d make it – just a little slower than he would.  He said, “No, I’m running with you.”  While I am sure I could have finished on my own, I was so thankful to do the race with him – to have that experience in common!

-There was another couple who ran about the same pace that we did.  We would pass them, then they would pass us.  Eventually we started talking and joking (mostly about the terrible weather) with us.  She had on a lime green running skirt, so it was always easy to spot her and know where they were.  At the end of the race, they caught us and passed us.  They were just in front of us, but no matter what I did I just couldn’t make my legs go faster to catch them.  I was so bummed that they finished first.  After the race, we walked past them and I told the wife congratulations.  We went on to talk a bit.  She said that this was their second half marathon and they had also done a marathon and are in traing to do another one soon.  I felt so relieved after the conversation – at least we weren’t beat by other rookies!

-At one point, we passed through an aid station that was handing out energy gel.  Handsome and I both got our least favorite flavor, only to realize then that another girl had chocolate just a few steps ahead.  We both handed her the yucky flavor and grabbed a chocolate.  She laughed at both of us – out loud.  Another girl at that aid station said to me, “I really admire you for what you are doing.”  That was a huge boost, and it made me think that I need to remember to tell people that more.  There are people in my life that do amazing things every day, and I need to remember to tell them that I think that they are amazing.  It was such a mental boost for me; hopefully I’ll remember to be that boost to others as well!

-I have never been so happy to see a Jolly Rancher in my entire life.  About mile 8.5 or so, they had a couple people with giant bowls of the candy.  I saw that the lady that I could get to was holding out a grape one (that is the only flavor that I don’t like).  I didn’t want to stop running to ask for a different flavor, so I took it.  And I ate it, and it was a wonderful distraction!  It totally is the little things in life that are wonderful!

-Even though the race was crazy wet, I did not end it with one blister!  I was SO thankful for that!  It seems like a silly little thing, but I considered it a direct answer to prayer!

-After the race they had Chee-tos.  I love Chee-tos, but I never ever eat them.  They are just so bad for me and have a ton of fat.  But just like that grape Jolly Rancher, I was very glad to scarf down that bag of badness!

-When we got back to the car, it was standing in a LOT of water.  There was so much water that I was afraid that it would spill right into the car when Handsome opened the door.  I specifically told him that he was not to flood the car; after all, we had borrowed my parents’ car when we dropped our mini-van and our children off at their house.  Happily he was able to open the door (instead of climbing in through the trunk) and get in; the water was just below the bottom of the door.  He then drove out of the “ocean” to get me!

-After the race, Handsome said to me, “Runners are really nice people!”  I totally agreed!  We were both just so impressed.  Everyone was super encouraging and friendly.  Everyone talked.  Everyone waved.  Everyone encouraged.  Complete strangers suddenly became friends as you ran together and chatted about knee pain, running gear (you know, trash bags to keep the rain out!), or the weather.  One guy started the race with us and intended to run the whole marathon.  He was really disciplined and ran at a “slow and steady” pace.  He caught up to us once after we had stopped at a port-a-potty, chatted a bit, asked how we were doing, then moved ahead.  Right at the end of the race he approached us from behind again (I have no idea when we passed him.) and asked how we were doing, then moved on ahead.  He was just really nice, and that is just one example of countless folks!  It was really an amazing day!

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My Little Secret (Part III)

So the big day was approaching, and I was doing all I could to get ready – stretching, eating well, and sleeping well…or trying to sleep well.

Two nights before the race, Handsome had a cough.  He slept through all of the hacking; I did not.

Then the day before the race, we drove to the location of the race and spent the night in a nearby hotel.  We tried to go to bed early, but it took a while to get in and get everything settled.  Then about midnight our not-so-friendly neighbors came back to their room, having indulged in a bit too much of the happy-drink and wanting to share their conversation with the entire floor!  They were SO loud, it was ridiculous!  And the party continued until at least 3am.  I slept a bit, but 5am came very, very early – and rudely.

My eyes were bloodshot, my whole body felt like jelly, and I more than anything wanted to crawl back into bed – especially when Handsome told me that it was raining out.

Sure ‘nough, it was raining out.  My knight in shining armor allowed me to wait in a dry spot while he got the car, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that not only was I going to be very wet, but I was going to be very cold before it was all said and done.  And I was probably going to have a lot of blisters too – wet shoes can do that.

When we pulled into the parking lot of the race venue, this is what we saw:

(Please note:  This video is not ours.  We did not take our camera, but had we taken it this is exactly what it would have recorded, right down to the lady’s look of horror!)

We waited in the car until the last possible minute, then stepped out into the parking-lot-turned-pond where the water was so deep that instantly my feet were not just wet and cold but completely submerged.

Dashing to the starting area, I began to look around and wish that I was wearing the latest in running gear – the ever stylish trash bag!  Everyone had one…well everyone but us and the other folks who underestimated hurricane Ike.

After trying to warm-up for a good little while, I gave up.  Warming up seemed a little senseless when with every move I just exposed more of my body to the wind and rain.

Then came 6:45 – time for the race to start.

Then came 6:50 – I moved from being cold and wet to just being miserable and wondering what on earth I was thinking.

Then came 7:05 – I told Handsome that I just don’t think I can do this.  He told me that he’ll give me the key.  Give me the key!?!  No, crazy man, you’re supposed to go back to the warmth of the car WITH me! So I stood there some more, ’cause I just couldn’t give up alone – after all this was my idea.

Then came 7:10, and I was shaking so hard that I thought I might vomit.  Mental note:  bring warmer clothes next time.

And finally, they started the race about 30 minutes late.

I had never run with 4,999 people before, so the start was a bit dizzying for me.  I just worked at putting one foot in front of the other and not stepping on anyone else.  At one point, not long into the race I remember thinking that there was no way my popsicle of a body was going to cooperate for the whole 13.1 miles.  Shortly after that, I realized that either we were going really, really slowly (in which case I was just going to walk back to the car and give up) or that the first mile marker had blown away!  And not too long after that, the first water station was just around the bed – mile 2, and I didn’t even know that I had passed mile one!  Whew!

The rest of the race was a deluge of sideways rain that blew into our faces like a billion little daggers, gusts of wind that threatened to sweep runners into the next county, ironic water stops where people stood in the drenching ran holding out paper cups and calling, “Water, water!”, shoes that squished with every step, and lots of laughter over the notion that this was my first race ever!

We celebrated a bit as we passed the seven mile mark, as we were over half-way there!

When we got to the eight mile mark, we noticed that there was a slight course change, but it was another half mile or so before we were told by a man breezing by on a bike that everyone was finishing at ten miles.  While I was sad to not run the 13.1 miles (and had actually run longer in training than I did in the race), I was exhausted at the end of the ten miles.  The wind and rain really took it out of me!  Perhaps a better competitor would have not taken the ribbon, but I gladly snatched that ribbon out of the volunteer’s hand and proudly put around my neck (well, I put it around my neck because I wanted my hands free to get food and drink…but I am proud that I have it)!

I signed up to run a half marathon.  I only ran ten miles, but I figure I used enough energy for about twenty miles on a good day!

And a couple days later, we received an e-mail that explained the course changes; here is a bit of it:

When the event started, we had every intention of allowing everyone to complete the entire distance.  Both courses were runnable and we believed given the latest weather reports that they would continue to be so. Unfortunately, the combination of (1) the storm dropping over 5″ of rain (as compared to the 3″ that had been expected) and (2) much of that rain falling immediately before the start of the race (in part due to the delay that resulted because the police were understandably late getting to their positions because they were busy working a multitude of traffic accidents)  caused a flash flood that swamped a long stretch of the north section of our course just minutes before the first runners were to arrive.  When we received the reports of the flash flooding approximately 30 minutes into the race, we immediately responded by safely altering the course to avoid the flooded area…. We apologize for not effectively communicating the mid-race course change to you via our aid station volunteers, but the storm knocked out our radio communications, leaving many of them ill-informed, as well.  To make matters worse, our finish line sound system was also put out of commission by the storm, so information could not be effectively delivered post-race, either.

And so ends the story of my first half marathon…or not.

(If you want to see the clever graphics the organizers are using to sum up the hurricane-blown marathon and more of the details, click here.)

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My Little Secret (Part II)

So after my personal treadmill 5k, I knew what I wanted to do.

I also knew it was going to take a lot of work.

I enlisted my parents and my grandparents; at first they were the only ones I told. I wouldn’t have even told them, except that I needed someone to watch the kids.

I started training, plotting courses around our neighborhood, and building mileage.

Here’s some little bits of my training journal:

7/13 – 5 miles: ran 2, walk .5, ran .5, then alternated; had to run at about 1pm in 80-something degree heat, because I slept in this morning – not so much fun, but I did make it to my five mile goal; think I could’ve run much more, if it hadn’t been so hot.

Wondering if I should have done this, made a mental note to tell Handsome that if I ever came up with another hair-brained idea like this that he should tell me to find a smaller goal!

I asked Handsome if it always hurts when he runs; he said that he usually spends most of a run thinking, “Why did I get out of bed for this; what was I thinking?” Then the last quarter mile isn’t so bad. That made me feel better.

7/16 – supposed to run 4 mi., Handsome on call last night, so can’t run in am…then pm in 90’s, walk 2 instead

7/17 – making up for yesterday, run 4 mi. through neighborhood, good run; did run 8 min. walk 2 for the first time – worked really well for me, and I felt like I could go much longer at the end of the run – yay!!! Drove my route; Google Earth is right on for distances.

7/23 – 3 miles – rough run, though it was good to get out and clear my head after the last week’s events (Grandma’s death and funeral)

7/24 – 3.5 miles – I’m amazed at how social running at 5:30 am is – there are people out everywhere – running, walking, walking dogs, getting the newspaper in their pjs. It’s fun.

7/26 – 6.33 or 6.75 miles – ran with Handsome; We can’t remember where we turned at one point, so we don’t know exactly how far we went – oops! New, thicker socks seemed to help with blister, but it was mad at me by the end of run.

7/29 – 3 miles – new personal time record

8/5 – Signed up for a half marathon on the 29th, only to have my shins start hurting the very next day. I’m guessing that I pushed too hard on the 7 mi. run, considering that I was road running and exhausted. Really frustrated at myself.

I’ve been stretching and doing all sorts of strengthening exercises, and today (a Tuesday) I decided to do last weekend’s long run (just couldn’t get it in over the weekend). 8 miles.

8/9 – 9 miles

There was this guy who was a machine running the opposite direction as us; as we were doing the last half of our run, he just powered out several miles and then left at the same time we did. Handsome and I got several miles worth of entertainment talking about how much we didn’t like that man.

8/16 – 10.5 miles done! WooHoo

Today’s run was hard, hard, hard; though oddly, it was easier for the last half!

8/22 – Ran 3.6? miles yesterday. Would have/could have gone more, except I ran out of time before Handsome had to leave for work. Rest today. Supposed to run 12 tomorrow – probably just going to do 11 and call it a day. Ankle still hurting from last week, back of right upper leg still hurting from two weeks ago, blisters are still there, but they don’t really hurt, and still actively battling shin splints. Grrr! I told Handsome that by the end of this, I’m just going to be carrying my limbs in a bag…and he said he’d be like in Star Wars when Chewbacka is carrying C3PO’s parts, except for all the hair. I laughed until I cried at the mental image of that!

8/23 – 11 miles

8/31 – Ran on Sunday instead of Saturday today. Was one of those runs when I felt like I could run forever; it felt great! The weather also cooperated, which was really nice. However my left knee didn’t. It’s been a bit sore this week, but today it was all out angry! So instead of the 9 I was supposed to run, I did 7.5 and went home wishing that I could have made it further.

9/3 – Did three miles on the treadmill. Walked one, ran one, walked one. Knee sore. Me frustrated.

9/11 – Wondering just how the race is going to go. Had a dream about it a couple nights ago – I forgot all my stuff, even forgot to wear running shoes and clothes – oops!

(Come back tomorrow, and I’ll tell you about the big day…)

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I used to be really active.  As a kid and pre-teen I danced, played soccer, and a host of other things that I really enjoyed.  When I was in college I hiked just about every chance I got, worked out several times a week, often jogging to and from the gym in the early morning.  I lived on a hilly college campus, so just getting to class sometimes involved walking up the equivalent of 10 or 12 flights of stairs…and I was always late, so I usually ran those stairs.  Plus I lived on the eleventh floor of my building, and while I liked to use the elevator, it didn’t always cooperate.  There were even a few times that I raced one of my workout buddies up to my floor; he always won, but it was always a good race!  Anyway, all of this to say, I used to be active, and I used to do cool stuff.

Then I got married and had kids.  We managed to stay pretty active hiking and walking and such until the combination of medical school and our second child sort of took over our lives.  Handsome and I were working really hard just to keep up – he with medical school and me with two young children one of whom had some medical needs after he was born, and working out just didn’t seem to fit in.  We still regularly walked miles around our neighborhood often…but really, diligently and regularly working out just didn’t seem to be happening.  To make matters worse, when we lived in Maryland, my doc was a sports medicine guy (so he could do all the doctor stuff and knew all the sports med stuff too), and his favorite question for me was, “So…how often are you working out?”  I’d just groan and pray he’d move on, because if there’s anything more awful than the yearly exam it’s being asked about your workout routine during said exam – ugh!

After we moved here (about two years ago), I really began to feel the ache of being sedentary, yet I didn’t know how to get moving again and still take care of my two children and my doctor-in-residency-works-eighty-hours-per-week husband.

In January of this year, I decided that I had to do something.  I didn’t really like the new me – the new pounds or the new feeling out of shape or the new feeling of being trapped.  I had a few voices in my head that encouraged me:  my friend E had run a half marathon the autumn before while she was pregnant, I read a post at Seeking Faithfulness and couldn’t get it out of my head (and she does cartwheels, folks!), and one afternoon my friend Michelle stopped by to use our treadmill, ran for 15 minutes, and dashed out the door to meet her husband.

I thought, “I can find 15 minutes!…Surely I can find 15 minutes!”

And so I did.

I started getting up 15 minutes earlier to work out.

I walked on the treadmill, got off, went upstairs to took my shower, and moved on with my day.

Eventually, I was walking a few minutes, then running a mile, then walking a few more minutes until I got that 15 in.

Then I was running the whole 15.

Then instead of quitting at 15, I’d run just a bit longer to get in two miles.

Then I saw a flyer for a local 5k race.  It was June first.  Handsome had to work that day, and all my normal childcare options were busy.  I didn’t get to run in that race, but after the kids were in bed that night, I climbed on the treadmill and pounded out 5k.

I wasn’t fast by any standard, but I did it.

(…and you’ll have to come back tomorrow to see what happened next!)

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