Saturday, May 18, 2013

So Far, So Good

It is very easy to fall out of the routine of getting up early, so when the clock started going off at 5 am, I was not happy.  Kelly and I had decided to start swimming in the mornings; and let me tell you, if she wasn't there waiting for me at the natatorium, I am certain that I would not have gotten out of bed.  

The first few mornings were the worst, and I told Kelly that I really didn't like her anymore.  Her response?  She didn't like me either.  Once that was established, we jumped on in.  There's nothing to make a morning person like me (sarcasm here) happier than cold water.  I'm pretty sure there may have been an expletive or two uttered, and I can't even blame anyone else for it since the natatorium is basically empty in the mornings.

Now as much as I'm complaining, I do have good things to say.  After the first 25 yards, it's not so bad.  After 5 minutes, I start feeling great.  After 25 minutes, it's time to get out of the pool so I can be ready for work on time; and I'm wishing I had another 30 minutes to swim.  And yet, the next morning, I am fighting once again to get out of bed.

There has also been some Zumba and running.  The Road Runners are starting to meet up again on Saturdays before the official training seasons begins.  We've ran a couple of 4 mile loops, and they've been good.  I've been trying to get a couple of runs in during the week as well, and although most of the time those runs are uneventful, I did have some excitement there.

This was a snake on the jogging trail behind the house
It's a snake!!  I can't tell you how freaked out I was.  It was huge!  And it had fangs!  And I'm pretty sure it was breathing fire!!

Ok, so maybe it was just a rat snake, but maybe it wasn't.  I have no idea.  All I know is that it was a snake, and I am not a fan!  I would have much rather had encountered a heron or a turtle.  But this monster probably ate both of those!

Most of the time, the trail is actually a very pretty place, but I think I'll think twice about running on it at dusk.

I've been monitoring carbs, and it seems to be effective.  So far, in 11 days, I'm down 4.5 pounds.  I guess it's about balance, but I'm scared that my body doesn't know how to let go of carbs because that's really the only thing different that I've been doing.  And I love potatoes.  I do.   And now I have to think of them as an enemy.  As poison.  At least that's how I feel right now.  And it makes me sad.  

So I won't focus on it too much.  I'll count my numbers, and swim my laps, and run my miles.  Even though at 5 am I won't be happy about it.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Recommiting to the commitment

Sunday, May 5 

It is so incredibly beautiful out today.  It's one of those days that I wish I could freeze in time.

My little one has made a swim team.  She is very excited about it, and I am too!  I love that she has found a sport that she will enjoy and can excel in.  I always wanted to be athletic when I was young, but I just wasn't.  And although I could argue and call myself an athlete, most days I don't feel like one.  Not really.

My little Angel Fish

It is going to be a challenge to get my workouts in with swim practice 4 days a week, but it's time to refocus.  I have not been watching my diet.  I haven't been awful, but I haven't ignored the chocolate or the ice cream; and giving in to these things more often than not is not good for me.  It becomes too easy.

This week, I didn't get any workouts in at all.  Which I really don't have an excuse for because they cancelled swim practice Thursday and Friday because of the weather.  Thursday I had no excuse; I should have come home and laced up.  Friday, I was just tired.  The stress of the week just caught up with me and I ended up taking a 20-minute nap as soon as I got home.  After that I still didn't do much.  At all.

Kelly and I discussed all of this on our run this morning.  We set out at 7 am for a few miles and good conversation.  It was a good run, and I felt much better than last Saturday's run.  I don't know what it is, but I think there is some fear from my previous "injury" that makes me more cautious about the pains I feel when running.  I did stretch much better this morning, and I think that helps.

But I digress...We have decided that we have both become too complacent.  We need to recharge, and re-motivate.  Now that she's a member of the rec center again, we are committing to meeting in the mornings.  Monday we will start with a 20 minute swim.  It's not much, but it's all the time I can afford right now, and I think it will jump start the day.  5:30 will come all too quickly on Monday, but I also know that without her waiting for me at the pool, it would be way to easy at this point to just roll over and go back to sleep.

I also have to pay attention to my diet.  I am committing to taking my lunch and preparing healthy snacks for the day.  I am very good at doing this for my little one, but not so much for me.

Baby steps.  Again.

If you are struggling, please comment and share your struggles.  For me, it's already May of this year,  and I have made no progress!  At all!  And to top it off, I don't even think I couldn't run a half marathon tomorrow if my life depended on it.

And that makes me sad.  

I am enjoying my beautiful Saturday.  I've shampooed my carpets and tidied up.   As I'm sitting out here in my backyard listening to the birds before they go into the night, I know I have work to do.  I am looking for and asking for reinforcements.  I hope we can keep each other motivated.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Running for Boston

There is no way to understand.  Because I, like everyone I know, cannot fathom any explanation to justify the horror that has occurred, yet again, in our country.  How is harming innocent people, innocent children, justified by any cause?  Lives were stolen, loved ones were hurt, and a nation attacked grieves once again. 

I overheard someone talking about a radio show where a runner in the Boston Marathon had called in and said that not only did all of these horrible things happen, but she was cheated of finishing her dream race.  People called in and said all kinds of mean things to her and about her for mentioning this.  And I think that is so wrong!

Whoever this evil minion of satan is, he did many things.  He murdered innocent people, he injured hundreds of bystanders and loved ones, and yes, he stole dreams.  Whatever dreams they may have been, whether running the marathon or visiting Boston or even just making it back home from a hard day, those dreams were interrupted.  As I say these things, they are merely words that cannot even begin to reach the depth and severity and intense feeling of these statements.  After unspeakable acts like this, we question our safety, we question our actions, and we worry even more about our children as we send them out to this uncertain world.  We cry because no matter what we do to protect our loved ones, we are never secure as we never know what evil lurks around the corner.  

But if we stop moving forward, he wins.  

But then stories start to surface.  Stories of kindness, stories of those who ran from their homes to help, stories of strangers helping other strangers and offering whatever they could to bring comfort and order to an unimaginable situation.  There were lots of posts from runners telling their stories, and they were so inspiring as runner's stories often are.  

Nothing we do can undo the evil that has transpired.  There are no words that can take away the pain. But we can pray.  And we can run.

Yesterday was dreary as if the atmosphere was overcome with the sadness and sorrow of us all.  And I didn't want to run, but I did.  Because I could.

As I ran, I thought of Boston.  Every step was a prayer, my cadence a song of comfort, and every breath a wish for healing.  Maybe there's not much I can do to ease the suffering, but I can stand united with my fellow runners.  I can run with all my heart.  I can dedicate my miles in the spirit of hope and peace, and I am reminded that we are not alone.

A group started on Facebook called Run for Boston 4/17.  The idea was to run and post a picture holding a sign.  Our fellow Road Runners met this morning to do just that.  

The 4:30 am crew

The evening crew

Kelly and I ran for Boston, too.  I posted our pictures to the Facebook page, and I was filled with sense of pride as I looked through the pictures from across the nation of runners running as a gesture to show our solidarity.

It may have only been two miles, but we ran it with all our hearts.  The next 26.2 miles I run are dedicated to Boston.  I may never run a full marathon, and I may never qualify for Boston; but I am proud to call myself a runner.  We are strong and we are united.  And it is with our strength and our hearts that we prevail.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekends are Entirely Too Short

We are a pretty boring family.  We really don't do too much on the weekends; but even so, I do love being home.  This weekend was a little more eventful, but still very laid back.

We started off by going to the local farmer's market in town.  I wasn't really sure what to expect because it's not very big, but it was pretty cool.  We started with a local organization's plant sale.  I have been wanting to grow some basil for quite some time now, so I thought what better time than the present.  I also spotted some cilantro, so I bought one of those as well.  Next up was a couple of tomato plants and one jalapeno  and we were good to go!

We also bought some fresh roasted coffee beans from a local coffee shop.  Yum!  I thought it would be a nice splurge for those weekend afternoon coffee binges.  Finally, there was a booth with Indian foods.  I'm not a huge fan of Indian cuisine, but they man was very friendly; and I ended up loving the  spinach and cheese samosas and paratha dip.  So I made out with quite a booty.  

Next up, there was a fun run and event called "Paws in the Park" going on at the park by our house.  We hit the jogging trail with our dog Daisy in tow to check it out.  It was quite a sight.  People from everywhere came out to have their dogs join these competitions.  We watched the Frisbee competition for a little while before trying to check out the expo.  Daisy would have nothing to do with it.  She was completely overwhelmed and was scared anytime another dog approached her.  So I stayed out in the open while the little one went to check out all the pups.  She entered this pug pin, and they loved her.  They surrounded her and licked her all over.  This one little guy just crawled up in her lap, and he stayed there for quite a while until she had to get up to move on.  

We walked back home, and  Daisy was completely worn out after that.  She slept the rest of the afternoon!

Today was a little more "vigorous" on the exercise side.  I tried to get the little one to play Just Dance with me, but she pooped out after about 6 songs.  Just when she was quitting, it was the perfect time for me to leave for Zumba.  This was my first real Zumba class in a month.  I wore good shoes, so I could fully participate; and boy was it fun!  None of my friends were there, but I still had a great time.  Part of the fun came from watching this one lady in class.  Now I'm all for giving it your own style, but seriously.  This lady may as well have just plugged in a CD at home and started dancing.  She was completely free styling it, and she had on one of those belly dancing skirts, so she was noisy too!  And not even necessarily on the beat.  It was almost like something you would see on YouTube, like that Russian guy in the speedo doing an exercise class.  Only he was following the class.

Later, I went for a quick run while the kiddo was getting her bath.  It was a little cold, but I warmed up quickly.  I used my phone's Map My Run app.  And it sucks.  I know where my half mile mark is, and I wasn't there when it told me I had run a half mile in 2 minutes.  LOLOLOLOL  Like that would EVER happen!  It was all jacked up.  When I reached my mile mark, it told me I had run 2.  It basically turned my 1.67 mile run into a 3.39 mile run at a 7 minute pace.  And this is why:

I don't know anyone who runs like this!
In the real world, my pace was just under 14.5; so I was happy with that. It was a good end to the weekend.  

Now the countdown starts until the next one.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hit the Ground Running

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I've been very careful these past few weeks.  I've only exercised in ways that were low impact on my legs.  No running, no lunges, no squats, and no Zumba.  I've felt really good, or rather my legs have.  Dr. John suggested running mile repeats to get me back in the game, but since my Garmin is refusing to pick up satelites, this would be difficult.  Instead, I decided to take it slow and run 3:1 intervals.

My plan was to wake up and run to the rec center.  I could do a Zumba class, and then my friend Tammy would bring me home.  As I walked out to the trailhead, I was nervous.  I've missed running so much, but I am still very aware of the pain I was in and the pain I went through to get the issues worked out at the chiropractor.  I don't want to get back to that place, so I was sure to stretch very well before taking off. 

The first three minutes were hard, and I was scared that I had fallen back even further than I thought I would.  But after the first 1/2 mile, I started feeling better, and my breathing fell back into its natural rhythm.  Shortly thereafter, I crossed paths (litteraly) with some fellow RoadRunners.  That was pretty cool.

I am happy to say that there was no pain!  I didn't think my pace was very good, but I was just so happy to be out and running again, that I tried not to care.  I did say that I was going to take it easy, so I tried to just focus on the joy of the moment.

And then I came to the Bailey bridge.  How I love/hate that bridge, so I tried to focus on the fact that after I crossed it, I only had a little over half a mile to go.

After the last walk interval after the bridge, my iPod started playing "Some Nights" by Fun..  I love that song, and I love the line, "What do I stand for?"  In that moment, I stood for persevering and overcoming obstacles.  So I ran it in.

3 miles with a 15 minute pace.  I was happy with that.

I stretched quite a bit before going into Zumba, but I realized that I left my Zumba slip-on things at home.  So I half-assed the class.  I didn't dare risk trying to twist on the floor with my running shoes since running shoes really only like to move forward.  It was still fun.  But the best part was the run.  It felt great to be back out there.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Race Report: Rodeo Run

The day of the Rodeo Run was fun!  I've never run in downtown before, and I'm glad I didn't have to drive into the traffic and craziness that comes with it.  Carol had the honors of doing that while I let Suri navigate in the backseat.  There were thousands of people, and my legs were feeling great!  It was cold, but it was still early and the sun was trying to break through the clouds; and I knew when we started running, it would warm up.

And then I felt my IT band behind my knee, but it wasn't bad.  Definitely not the worse it's felt, so I was still optimistic about running.  After hitting the porta-potties, we made our way to the start line. 

Me, (cold) Marian, Elaine, Kelly, Carol, and Amy...
and the porta-potty in the background
We met up with our friend Jackie and her niece before the start.  They were running the 5K and Marian, Elaine, and Amy were walking it.  They had two separate start times for the 5K and 10K, so we split up at this point.  It's my understanding that this was a different race and a different course from previous years, so I don't have anything to compare it to.  but it seemed a little disorganized.  They had more potties by the 10K start line, but they had them facing the crowd; and that was causing congestion issues.  We found a spot kind of away from all that to wait on the start.  

Finally the gun went off!  And we didn't move.  And we didn't move.  And then I wondered if the gun had actually gone off.  And it did, but there was just that many people!  It was a few minutes before we got back into line and more than 6 minutes before we crossed the start line.  

And then we were off. The crowds lining the sidewalks were cheering, and it was a great day to be outside. And then I felt my legs.  And I knew I was in trouble.  I was falling behind Carol and Kelly and we weren't even a mile in.  

It wasn't the same jarring, sharp pain that I had been feeling; but it was pain.  I wasn't going to make it.  That's a horrible feeling.  So many things were going through my mind, and then I heard Kelly say, "Oh how beautiful!"  I am so happy that she said that because otherwise I would not have looked up.  We were in the middle of downtown Houston.  The sun had won its battle with the clouds, and it was reflecting against the towering skyscrapers that were surrounding the course.  The sky had changed from the ash gray color it was to a beautiful Oiler blue (if you're from Houston -or a long time football fan, you know what that means.)  

And then that beautiful moment passed, and I was back in the race.  Kelly, I know, was feeling great.  I was holding her back.  Close to mile 2, I saw an aid station.  I would stop. I told Kelly to go ahead and run on.  She didn't.  She said we could slow down.  She said we would just have a fun run.  After all, it was Saturday, and this was just another 6 mile run.  

I passed the aid station, and slowly we kept going.  Then my leg went numb.  It felt like I was running on a foot the size of an elephant's and it was tingling.  How in the hell your leg can fall asleep while your running, I don't know; but mine managed to.  Again at the 5K turnaround point, I told her to go on.  I would just turn around and finish the 5K.  In my head, just the thought of running to the 5K finish seemed like agony and unreachable.  She questioned me, "Are you sure? "  No.  I wasn't sure of anything except that I honestly didn't think I could do it!  I started to cry.  But when we got to the 5K turnaround, I kept going.

Finally, around mile 4 or 4.5, I started feeling better.  I'm not sure why, but I would take it.  At mile 5, Kelly did take off.  She finished strong. I know she could have PR'd if she hadn't stuck with me, but I also know that without her, I would have never have kept going.  She truly is a gift to me.

So, I'm almost finished.  I pass mile 6, and then someone shouted only .2 to go!  WTF? 0.2?Well, I'm used to 0.1.  A 5K is 3.1.  A half marathon is 13.1.  POINT ONE PEOPLE!!!  So I was totally disgruntled that I had 0.2 to go!  I did not finish strong, but I finished and I finished it running.

The results weren't as horrible as I had thought they would be.  My second split pace was about a minute faster than my first, but it's still not a time that I'm proud of.  This should be getting easier, and this was not an easy run for me.  As dissapointed as I was, there was still much to be grateful for.  I did finish, and I was with a great group of ladies.

We celebrated with hot pastrami sandwiches and a bloody Mary   Well, at least I did.  When I saw that bloody Mary  I had to have one!  I justified it by saying my body must need the lycopene.

The course was great, the crowds were great, the bands were great.  The post race party was not.  By the time we finished, the booths were closing down even though it was supposed to be going on for another 45 minutes.  No bananas, no yogurt, no baggies of goodies.  They did have water, thank goodness.  But seriously.  If you are going to sign up 15,000 runners, you need to be ready to accommodate 15,000 runners!  Every other race I've done (not that I've done tons or anything) has had post race food and goodies for participants, but they were giving everything to everyone and that left nothing for of the runners.  Bad.  Bad, bad, bad!

So the next day, I was in pain.  I told my husband that I shouldn't have run.  Later that day, I said what I had been thinking and dreading, and that was that I was going to have to stop running for a while.  I actually started crying as I said the words out loud.  I've had those moments before when I realized that, no matter how slow I am, I am a runner.  This was one of them.  When the thought of not being able to get out there breaks your heart, you know.  Whether it's a 16 minute mile or a 6 minute mile, a mile is still a mile; and not being able to run even one makes me sad.

Running has come to mean so much to me.  I can't wait to get back out there.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Preparing to Rodeo

So, since the half, I've been in a bit of pain.  Some pain is normal, and I am used to pushing through.  After all, the legs either cooperate after mile 3 or they go numb.  Either way, I get to keep going.  But lately, the pain is different, and it's not good.  It's had me a little worried, not to mention I had blood drawn and my CRP levels are elevated, which means that there is inflammation in my body somewhere.  

All of this makes for a worried me.  

I signed up for the ConocoPhillips Rodeo Run last year on the day that registration opened. Then last month, a few ladies from work got caught up in the excitement and signed up to do the 5K Fun Run/Walk, so there has been lots of excitement in the air.  Except deep inside, I've been worried.  

My weekly runs (which haven't been frequent enough) have been painful.  It's a different pain, and with every step I feel like my bones are jarring.  What do I do?  I've rested enough to where there should be some relief, and yet Thursday, Kelly and I ran only 2 miles, and it was so uncomfortable.

I managed to go to see Dr. Hernandez today (my amazing chiropractor), and she suggested not running for a while.  Well, that would be devastating in itself, but I have this run tomorrow!!  I've got my packet and everything!!!

All kidding aside, I would have forgone the run if she said to; but instead, she agreed to try to get me fixed up.  All I had to do is promise her to stop immediately if every step continued to hurt.  

She worked me over, and got me all taped up and ready to go.  

Although I think my legs look like something out of a movie that I just can't name, the tape is amazingly comforting.  Walking out of her office, I felt like I could run right then; and I haven't felt that way in weeks.  That in itself was exciting.  

So, I'm getting ready for bed and ready to run.  We're meeting all the ladies at our work parking lot at 7 am and we'll be go for another adventure.  

I'm praying that it goes well.  For all of us.  =)