Friday, December 30, 2011

Another Sleepless Night

Thursday, December 29, 2011
Somehow, children know when you have an agenda.  And then their inner radar kicks in somewhoe they aquire the ability to stay awake ALL NIGHT LONG to foil those plans.

Kelly had called me while we were in Austin to set up a running date.  We were to meet at my house at 7 am for a 3 to 4 mile run.  So I go to bed early.

Then the little one wakes up.  At 3 am.  I was going to take her back to her bed and snuggle with her until she fell back asleep.  But she didn't.  And she didn't.  And I'm getting irritated.  Finally around 4, I say goodnight and go back to bed.  But I can't sleep.  So I'm playing my Words With Friends game.  And my friend Terrie played back.  So I ask her, "What are you doing up?"  She replies, "My WWF went off!"  Oops!  My bad.  So then she told me about this ghostfinder app that she found that shows you were nearby ghosts are.  So I downloaded it, and I found out there was a ghost in my room that was saying things like, "William.  Dad.  Actually.  On."  What all this means I don't know, but I must not have taken it too seriously because I fell asleep. 

When I woke up, I found the little one where her father had left her - on the couch watching TV.  She had never even gone back to sleep when I left her, she had just gone to daddy's side.  Now I'm fuming.  So I take her back to her room and sit there with her until she actually falls asleep.  Which is when Kellly shows up.  Good timing!  So we snuck out after I opened my oldest's bedroom door...just in case.

The run was not so great.  I was tired, but the company was good and so was the conversation.  I am really glad that we were out, because I was so frustrated with the non-sleeping child that it would have made for a very cranky me.  I haven't been able to download the run yet, but I think we were very slow.  Like closer to a 16 or more minute mile.  We'll just chalk it up to a good, slow training run and be glad that we were out.  Even though we were slow, it seemed to go by pretty quickly.

After a much needed nap, Zumba was on the agenda for the evening.  I'm missed all the classes for at least three weeks, so I was determined to get to it.  It was fun as always, and the music was a little different.  Some old classics and some new and unfortunately there was that damn Ricky Martin song.  At one point, I looked over at Tiffany, and I just started cracking up at the moves to "La Vida Loca"  I was laughing so hard and bending over.  My friend Tammy thought I was going to throw up.  So, to sum up-an hour long workout and lots and lots of fun!

Last night, she slept like an angel...all night long.  Because I didn't have early morning running plans, I'm sure!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Not From Hell Hike

After celebrating a nice quiet Christmas at home, the fam and I took off to Austin to visit my sister and her brood.    We had a nice and relaxing time.  We ate well, but not crazy; and we indulged in good wine and a spicy margarita.

Today, we took the kids and hit the trail for a post-lunch hike.  It is the same start as the hike from  hell that I have come to love to hate, but it veers off in another direction.  I was hoping to get some great pictures and enjoy my little one, but the kids took off, and basically I never really caught up. 

We passed lots of water, which was really nice because apparently the creeks have been dry all summer.  Now they were full and flowing, and we were accompanied by the wonderful sounds of water gliding over the rocks downstream.  There was some elevation changes, a little less than 200 feet worth I think, but enough to get the heart rate up.  I did manage to get a picture with my little one, but she was already tired and, in her words, "not happy!"

We got back to the car, and my warrior princess sister said she was going to walk up the first hill.  I would drive and meet her at the top.  My brother-in-law offered to drive if I wanted to join her, but I really didn't.  I really should have!  But I really didn't want to.  And I didn't.  So much for my WP title.  My not-so-happy little one did though, and she made it about half way up before she opted to get into the van and ride the rest of the way up to meet them at the top.  I was very proud of her.  She may have been tired, but she kept going and I thought did a great job on the hike.  I wish we had more of those types of nature hikes in our area, but I'm glad that we got out today before we had to head home. 

I think she'll sleep well tonight.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas!  It's Christmas Eve, and most of our group got their run in yesterday.  Kelly and I had decided to keep to our Saturday routine, and we changed the location from the "schedule."  We figured it wouldn't matter since I didn't really think anyone would be looking for us.

I got to the meeting location first, which was a school with no lights on.  As I pulled in, there was a truck.  It was so dark, I couldn't tell if there was a person in there or not.  But why would someone be there?  I parked and positioned my mirrors to where I could see if someone got out of the truck.  But then I just got too bothered by it, so I moved my car.  I was waiting for Kelly to arrive, and then I started thinking about how dark it was and how I wouldn't see anyone if they were coming up to the car.  Then I thought of how Kelly and I would have to start our run, and no one really knows where we are.  In the end, the freakish side of me won out, and I ended up texting her to meet me at the rec center.  The well-lit, much less scarry parking lot of the rec center. 

We had 8 miles ahead of us.  Coach Ric had sent us a modified plan since our half marathon is two weeks after the Houston Marathon in which most of the group is running.  The temperature was 50 degrees, and I had a long sleeve shirt, although I had forgotten my ear coverings and gloves.  That's ok.  I was ready to go. I had mentioned to Kelly that I was kind of dissappinted that I wasn't feeling very sore this morning since I thought I had a pretty good work out the night before.  Maybe I should have stepped it up a notch.

We started off by going  through that dark school parking lot which I hate.  Its the one that reminds me of Monty Python where the knight is running and running and not getting any closer.  Eventually we got to Magnolia which is where most of our long-distance running takes place, although on most runs we are coming from the other direction.  There were no runners out.  We usually see quite a few people on our runs, but this morning, we saw only two other people.  Two!  Which means we are freaks.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  We are fine with being freaks.  To add to the freakishness, Kelly mentioned that she wished she had running gloves instead of the blue gloves that she had on.  They are very blue, and she worried that people would think she was crazy running with those.  I was all, "Kelly!  You are out at 6:30 in the morning.  In the cold.  On Christmas Eve.  And you are running!  I think people thinking you are crazy is going to come from many other sources!  Your blue gloves will have little to do with people thinking that you have lost your mind!"

Right about this time, it started to rain.  It was right at 6.5 miles.  It wasn't raining hard; it was just drizzling and cold.  Then it started running down my face, which would have been fine except that it started mixing with the sweat on my forehead and running into my eyes and burning!  At mile 7.25 we changed directions and then rain was running staight into my face.  I couldn't see.  My hands, which were cold before, were now freezing and moving them was difficult and painful.  To make matters worse, we were back on that dreadful Monty Python driveway.  Luckily, the rain didn't get much harder; and once we passed that driveway, we were almost home free!

We did make it.  8.02 miles at a 15 minute/mile pace.  We agreed that we had done a great job and that this early morning Christmas run was well worth it!  We went into the rec center to refill our water bottles and stretch.  When we were climbing the stairs, my legs were feeling so sore.  I had to stop and strech my calves while going up.  When we got to the mat, my frozen hands were still protesting any type of pressure, but I couldn't understand why everything else hurt so much more than normal.  Then it hit me!  I was sore from the workout the day before!  There was the soreness I was missing earlier!  Yea!

So...overall-Success!  It was a good run, although I didn't feel quite as strong as last week's, it was good.  I know there will be good runs and bad runs, but I'm hoping that the Galveston half day will be a good run.  Regardless, when I think of how far I've come, I consider it a Christmas miracle.  And I'm grateful.  I'm grateful for my family and friends who cheer me on.  I'm grateful that I have Kelly to run with.  I'm grateful that I have two coaches who are vested in my accomplishments.  And I'm grateful to God for giving me the strength and courage to continue and move forward.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Shelly

I have a friend named Shelly.  In my last post, I asked for accountability; and Shelly gave it to me!  Yea, Shelly! 

At around 8:23, I got a message from Shelly asking if I had made it to the gym.  Well...I had not.  We had our neighbor Christmas party last night.  We had a really great night, wine was flowing, and a good time was had by all.  I had so much fun in fact that I slept the latest I have slept in I don't even know how many years.  I slept until 10:15.  Now with this being said, I should also mention that I was awoken at 7:30 in the morning by yappy dogs.  When this happened, I laid in bed for half an hour playing Words With Friends and checking Facebook and yada yada yada until I fell back asleep.  But still, 10:15 is crazy late for me, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

So no, Shelly, I had not made it to the gym yet.  And at 2:30, I could hear her message echoing in my head.  So off I went to the rec center.  It was a ghost town.  There were only four other people in the weight room.  I noticed they added a new machine that I stayed away from.  It was a stair machine, kind of like an escalator, and you just climb and climb and climb.  I did my best to not look at that machine because I know what I have to do to get better and ready for that Austin hike from hell.  But today it is Christmas Eve Eve, and I gave myself a present by allowing myself to ignore it.  Instead I jumped on an elliptical for a quick warm up before hitting the mat.

I grabbed some weights and started some circuit training.  It's been so long since I've done some of these exercises, but I immediately felt my muscles jumping for joy!  It felt so good to be working my arms and abs.  I had put my phone in a locker, and I couldn't remember all the exercises, so I improvised a bit; but I think it was still a good workout.  I used to Bosu ball to do some crunches and push ups.  The push ups, I felt, were much better than I remember.  I guess the few push ups I've been doing here at home are working. I did some arm exercises while sitting on the ball, and some squats while holding the weights.  I think I will be sore tomorrow, but I welcome it.

I couldn't make the fat cells cry for too long, though because we were going to church for our Christmas Eve Eve service.  I wanted to get some cardio in too, so I went back to the elliptical machine and watched Lethal Weapon for 20 minutes.  I ended up with a 1 1/4 mile and drops of sweat running down my face.  Success!

And I owe it to Shelly!  I was so comfy in my pajamas that I could have easily stayed in them until it was time for church.  I believe I would have if it wouldn't have been for her!

Thanks Shelly!  Love you!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Almost, but not Quite

I resolved to get to the gym while I'm on break.  But that hasn't happened...yet.  So I am feeling like a slacker.  Yesterday, I didn't get out for a run, but I promised myself I would today.  Kelly called, and said she would join me, and we set a date for 7 am.

My plan was great.  I would let the little one stay up a little bit later, so she would sleep in a little bit.  She could watch a movie in her room if I was not back before she woke up.  If she needed anything or got scared, big sister would be in her room.  It was all set.  But of course, when you make plans like this, little stinkers have a way of foiling them. 

First, she had a hard time falling asleep. It was already later than usual, so this was frustrating.  Then my other daughter got me into Pinterest, and I stayed up way too late looking at things that I'll never have, places I'll never go, and things that I'll never make.  This put me to bed at a later time too.  Then little one woke up at 4 am from a bad dream, and once again, she had a hard time getting back to sleep again.  Finally I get back to sleep at 5:30 or so, and the alarm was set to go off at 6:15.  And it did.  And I snoozed it.  And it went off again.  And I snoozed it again.  It was so warm and cozy in my bed, and I could feel the cold air above the blankets.  I checked my phone, hoping against hope that Kelly was texting me that she couldn't make it.  But there was no message and I heard a voice say, "Enough already!  Get up!"

So, begrudgingly, I did.  Sure enough, Kelly showed up at 7:00 on the dot.  We decided on a short 3-mile run, and we took off out into the cold.  We started on the trail, and there were many ducks and other birds by the creek.  I thought there would be more people out, but we didn't see many other runners-only two actually.   It didn't take long at all before I was happy to be out of bed and running outside.  It felt really good, although I was a little bit worried about the little one being awake.  Before we knew it, we were on our last mile and heading back to the house.

Kelly had to get back home right away, and when I got back in the house, my kiddos were still asleep.  I curled up on the couch with a blanket and turned on the TV.  I don't know why but after a run on a cold morning, I have the hardest time getting warm.  I had an hour to myself before the little one was up and ready for the day to start.

So I feel really good, and I know I have to get to the gym.  Why is it so hard?  My mind is there, but I'm letting life get in the way.  I'm almost there, but not quite.  Action!  I need to put myself back into action!  I am always the one telling other people that you have to make the time.  There will always be something else to do and stop you from your fitness goals, and now I'm not taking my own advice.

I'll get there.  If you're reading this, please help hold me accountable!  =)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Come on!

The good news first.  The past two Saturdays have had great runs.  The bad news: that's the only exercise I have really gotten in the past two weeks.

Good intentions don't always outweigh the actions themselves.  I even signed up for this challenge on mapmyrun.com to run 50 miles this month, but for two weeks I have not logged any weekly runs.  Bad Candi.  Bad, bad Candi!

Last Saturday, we were to run 8 mile repeats for a total of 10 miles.  As we started out, it was so cold and the wind was brutal.  The worst thing was my feet hurt.  I'm not sure why, but we ran the first warm up mile and then the cold wasn't so bad.  But the wind was.  Once we turned off of that first street, the wind really hit.  It was howling and blowing so hard, we couldn't help but laugh at how absurd it was.  Luckily we only had four miles to go before we could turn around and head back.  The repeats weren't bad, but they weren't great either.  Some of that was because the wind was pushing so hard against us, but another part was because we had eight of them to do, and I guess we were pacing ourselves.  The other reason I think is because we both missed our weekly runs.

Once we got to our turnaround point, it was a world of difference.  The wind was behind us, it was quieter, and more importantly, we were on our way toward a gas station for a potty break.  The problem came in when we lost count of our repeats. We got to the station at about mile 8.  So were we on repeat 7 or 6?  Neither one of us are confident enough with the Garmin to be willing to start pushing buttons and risk losing the data of the run, so we guessed.  And we guessed wrong.  Of course we didn't know this exactly until we downloaded the run, but we did do 7 of the 8 repeat miles.  The last portion of the route was about half a mile, and we just ran it in.  After the repeats, it felt good to just run at an easy pace.  Total distance for the day was 10.11 miles. Yea!

So cut to Monday.  Leslie, my fellow warrior princess, called me at work and we quickly walked a mile (in small heels) in our building.  Later that evening, I drove my little one and our neighbor to gymnastics, and then things got crazy when i got home.  So no run.  Tuesday, it was time to try to get some Christmas shopping done.  So no run.  Wednesday-hubby plays softball and little one has gymnastics.  So no run.  Thursday was the office Christmas party followed by my daughter coming home to get her wisdom teeth pulled.  So there was wine with dinner followed by pre-surgery margaritas.  So no run.  Friday, I am supposed to be off because of the long runs of Saturday.  So no run.

Which brings us to today.  Coach Ric has modified Kelly and my routine since our half marathon is not until February.  So rather than 9 miles, we were assigned seven.  The catch is we were to run this seven miles at our half marathon pace.  For us that is about a 14:45 minute pace.  We decided we would do 5:1's since we haven't done them in quite a while.  It was cold, and it seemed like the Garmin took forever to load the GPS so we could take off.  Kelly would take care of the intervals and I would time the laps. 

Once again, my feet started hurting; but it stopped after the first mile and a half.  During that time, while my body was still waking up, I questioned if the 5:1 was too ambitious.  But Kelly said she felt fine, so we just kept going.  We stopped at the gas station at about mile two.  As I left, I thanked the clerk, and he gave me a thumbs up and wished me good luck.  I thought that was nice.

 The first three miles were not at our half pace.  But by the fourth, we had kicked it up a notch, and the fifth mile was our best with a time of 14:15.  That was the best mile, and the rest of them were right a 15:00 give or take a few seconds.  We had one that was a little bit worse, but it was because we took an extra minute and stopped to get a water refill.  At one point, Kelly asked if i wanted to change the intervals, but at this point we had two miles left.  I said, let's just do it; and my numb legs just kept going.

Once we go to the final stretch, we ignored the beeps of the Garmin and just ran it in.  The final distance was 7.25 and our average pace was 15:00 exactly.  Not quite our half marathon pace, but close enough.  I was proud.  It was a good run, and I felt strong.  We were able to stay for some of the other group members to come in, and I met a woman named Sonya who had missed much of the season due to an injury.  She is back in action and already ran the San Antonio half.  Amazing.

I haven't gained any weight back, but I've been saying for a while now that I have to step up my game.  But it's not happening.  I know the new year is coming and it's the time of the  year where everyone makes their resolutions.  But come on!  I don't want to lose this time.  I also have my Road Runner miler shirt.  It is snug, and I need to make sure it fits better by February.  So there is no time to lose.  I'm off this next two weeks, so I intend to get to the gym and get some work done.

It's a busy time of year, but I cannot slack off.  Must! stay! focused!!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

More and More Miles

Last night, I started feeling ill.  My husband had been sick earlier in the week, so I blamed him for giving me the "ick."  But I had my Saturday run, and I wasn't going to miss it unless I was on my death bed.  So I took some Sudafed and Advil, and the plan was to go to sleep a little bit early.  Come 8:30, I realize that my fuel belt is stuck in Houston, and I am without a place for my water or my Skittles.  I was in full fledged panic mode.  There was no way I could carry a watter bottle with me for 14 miles and God only knows how many hours.  I was freaking out.  Luckily, my husband is very sweet, and he took off to the store to buy me a inexpensive replacement.  =)

At 4:15, my alarm went off, and I was up and dressed in no time.  At 4:30 when I was driving down my street, I saw a woman running by herself.  I thought to myself, "She is crazy!!"  Ya.  She's the crazy one.  I'm leaving my warm bed at 4:30 in the morning  to drive across town to do the same thing.  Hello pot.  Meet kettle.

We have missed two Saturday runs, so I was really looking forward to conquering the distance.  We set our Garmins and took off.  It was not good.  I was tired and winded in no time.  I kind of worried and hoped I would find my groove soon.  If not, I would be in trouble.  The conversation kept me preoccupied and pretty soon we came to part of our route where we go past this pool.  But today, we were supposed to turn at the pool.  So we turned.  And we're running along happily until we pass a street where we see the back end of car dealership.  This means that we are going back in the direction where we came, and I have led us astray in my quest for following the route.  We took a minute to pow wow, and we decided (or rather Kelly bullied me ;) ) into just doing our normal route We would make adjustments later on. 

At about three miles, I started feeling good.  Eventually we come up to a park, and I told Kelly that we would need to stop and see if the bathrooms were open.  But they weren't.  And then we got to our water station, and there was no water!!!  OH!!!  NO!!!!  Then I remembered that they had moved it down a bit, and we wouldn't be getting a refill until mile 8; and even with my humongous new bottle, I wouldn't make it.  Luckily Kelly had $5 with her and she had to use the bathroom, so we detoured again (this time on purpose) so we would go past a convenience store with a very gross bathroom. 

Somehow both of us managed to mess up the Garmins.  Well, Kelly's wasn't her fault; her Garmin lost it's GPS signal for about half a mile.  I paused mine when Kelly went to tie her shoe and forgot to restart it.  We estimated that hers was off by .9 and mine was off by .8.  We calculated how much further we needed to go since we were so far off course.  Turns out we could have turned around about 1/10 of a mile earlier, but we needed the water station - for water and for a stretch break.  It's funny that all sense of decorum and embarrassment kind of disappear at mile 10.  I didn't care how I looked; I sat down at the corner of that intersection to comfort my legs with the butterfly stretch.  We took a couple of minutes, and then we were back on the run.

I was all too aware that this is where everything started to hurt last time.  But I just kept hearing my sister say, "Ain't nothin' but a thing!"  I don't even remember when or why she said that, but I just kept hearing it and thinking, "This is just what we do.  We just keep going."  The only thing that hurt now was my toes.  And it wasn't really that they hurt more than they were just sensitive.  But my back was okay, even with the 100 pound water bottle on my back. 

At about 11.5 miles, I was getting tired.  Kelly asked me if I was okay, and I was; I was just tired, and I found myself wishing the one minute breaks weren't going by so fast.  Her calves were on fire and in need of some relief.  We would get to the corner (about 12.5) and take another stretching break.  It helped, and we started off again; and I felt a little refreshed. 

We got to 13.1 and I announced it and asked, "Where's my medal?"  After that, it was quiet.  We were in the home stretch and focused and out of conversation.  We ran side by side in silence.  When we were getting close to the corner where we turn to get back to our cars, I heard Kelly whispering, "You can do this.  You can do this!"  I said to her that there was no fight going on here.  She was doing this.  She was going to finish this and there was no arguing over that.  If there was a fight going on in her head, she was definitely going to win.  As we approached the corner the marathoners were passing the street on the way to finish their 26 mile run. 

Usually we run the distance in, but today we took our intervals.  When we got to 14 miles, you should have seen the look on Kelly's face! It was great, and I'm sure the joy on mine matched hers.  We saw the group by the driveway, and knowing we may get hugged at the end, Kelly said, "I am so gross."   I said, "Kelly!  You just ran 14  miles.  You are not gross.  You are AWESOME!!!"  In all actuality we were both gross, but it didn't really matter.  The Garmin beeped, and we ran it in with Coach Dan waiting to high five us at the finish!

This was a first for both of us.  Kelly had never run 14 miles either; and at 14.25, we both had a new record under our belt. It was an incredible feeling.  I just felt very confident today, after the first three miles, that is.  I wasn't doubting that I could do it.  I was tired, but not defeated.  It may be time to go ahead and put that 13.1 sticker on my car.  =)

Countdown to Mardi Gras half - 64 days!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Terrie

Earlier this week, my friend Terrie said she would go running with me.  Today was the day.  And she is so awesome, she rode her bike the two miles to my house before the run.  We walked to the trail head, and decided to do 1:1 intervals since it has been a long time since she has run.  The weather was nice and cool, and we started out with a good pace.  I think I may have been a little slow for her, but we stayed together.  We ran the trail into the park and made the loop back to the house.  On the way back, she asked me if I liked running.  I do.  I like the after feeling.  I love when you have those runs where you find your groove and you just feel like you could just keep running. I love the feeling of accomplishment. 

While I was telling her this, I remembered that first 5K I did on the treadmill.  I would have never hit that button if Terrie hadn't mentioned using it for her walk the night before.  That night at the rec center is when something switched in me.  It was the night I met my goal and then realized I could keep going.  Suddenly, the desire to push past the fatigue paled in comparison to the desire to achieve more.  Everything changed in that moment for me.  And I know that if Terrie hadn't told me she did the 5K loop on the treadmill, I would not have had that moment.  So thank you, Terrie - for that inspiration and for running with me tonight.

We ran 1.6 miles and then had to come back so she could make the ride home before dark.  I decided I would go out for another couple miles, so off I go.  Unfortunately, my body had other plans, and I only made it 1/2 mile out before I had to turn around and walk home.  Slowly. 

I made it home.  Barely.

I just got an e-mail from Coach Ric reminding us to eat well tomorrow for our long run on Saturday.  I think I should start hydrating now.