Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Scaredy Cat

Kelly and I have talked about getting together for early-morning runs.  We have talked about it.  We have both been slacking in the running area since the Mardi Gras run, so we finally put our feet where our mouths are and agreed to get those early morning runs in.  So I checked with her before I left work, and she agreed to be at my house at 5:15 for a quick 2 mile run.

So I wake up at 5 am, and I'm realizing that I'm supposed to make a cobbler for work.  I did not go to the store to buy stuff for cobbler and I'm thinking I should get up and run to the grocery store to get the stuff, and I'll still have time to make it.  Thank goodness I woke up early!   Then I get a text from Kelly..."I'm just now leaving my house" and I'm all "Oh my gosh! What happened?  What's wrong that she's leaving her house?" totally forgetting that we have a running date.  So I dash around the house to get ready before she comes over. 

This was a particularly foggy morning, so as we took off into the back of the neighborhood, I'm all creeped out.  We turned around and decided we'd run in the more populated/crowded part of my hood.  We started and immediately the body is protesting such movement so early in the morning.  It's still very foggy, and I realize that I am the biggest chicken on the face of the earth.  We got near a lift station, and it was making noise, and I was all "What the hell is that?"  When I calmed down from that noise, some guys was making lots of noise with his front door, and that freaked me out.  And it was so foggy, so every scary movie was coming to mind.  Ridiculous.

We turned and kept going, but I never realized how not-well-lit my neighborhood is.  Or maybe it was just the fog, but it seems like when we are in our early morning runs on the other side of town that it is much lighter.  No biggie.  We made a loop and since it was only a mile, we did another loop.  Once we got back to my house, I was all warmed up and ready to go, but it was time to start the morning routine, so back in the house I went-away from the dark and fog and scary noises.

I'm such a chicken.  There is no way I would have been able to do that run without having a heart attack if it weren't for Kelly.  Speaking of Kelly, she is doing the Rodeo Run in Houston on Saturday.  So this is the first time that we won't be running a race together.  And it doesn't seem right.  Today during lunch she went to go pick up her race packet.  Without me.  And Saturday I will be picking up mine.  Without her.  Alas.  I hope she doesn't find a running buddy to replace me.

So now my trip is in just a few days, and my stomach is in knots.  I'm getting so nervous.  Not so much about the run.  I feel pretty good about that part of it, and I'm just praying to have a good run day.  Just the trip and leaving home and leaving my little one.  Luckily for me, she'll be distracted with a trip to see her cousins!  And Angela and I will be on a girls trip that we haven't had in the 25 years we've been friends and I'll be running the race of my dreams.  I never thought I'd be able to do something like this.  So why be afraid?

It'll all be good.  My sister is telling me to just "zen" and say things like oooommmm and stuff like that.  I think I'll go try it. 

Although I'm alone in the house with the little one sleeping.  If I make weird noises, I may scare myself.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Do's and Don'ts

I have forgiven myself for my "slacker" week and have since become more comfortable with the renaming of such week to "recovery" week.  I am learning that there's a difference between losing motivation and just listening to your body and being still once in a while. 

After running a half marathon, DO allow yourself to take a break. 
But DON'T beat yourself up over it.
After resting up, DO get right back on track and get moving.

I was able to get a few workouts in this week, including Zumba on Thursday with my neighbor Jamie.  I've been hounding her for about a year now to join me; and to shut me up, she finally did.  And she had a great time, and I have to say that she rocked the class!  It was fun, and during one of my favorite songs, Diah called a bunch of people up to the front of the class.  Tangila was up there, and Tammy got called.  Well, Tammy was not going up there without a cohort, so she took me up there too.  This time I tried to remember to start everything on the opposite side, and a good time was had by all.  Diah also did Helle Decale at my request.  She called me up to the front again, but I was all "That's ok! I've already done that today!"  We had fun, and Jamie will be a willling particpant next time I ask her to Zumba with me.

So, DO keep asking people to exercise with you.  You never know when they'll say yes and find something they love to do.

Saturday was our scheduled 6 mile run, and we were to meet up with the group at 6:30.  But at 5:00 when I woke up, it was raining and I could hear thunder.  I texted Kelly in hopes that we could meet up later, and she agreed.  Sure enough, Coach Ric sent out an email cancelling everyones run due to the lighting and thunder. 

That evening was father/daughter date night, and I spent the day with my little one getting her nails done and having lunch.  All was wonderful...until it was time to fix her hair.  Then it all kind of went to hell.  But it was temporary, and soon enough they were ready to go. 

Lesson learned:  DON'T assume that children will believe you when you say don't touch the curling iron because it's hot.  They will most likely test that theory anyway.

There was a Zumbathon going on, and I debated on going.  But I so seldom have the house to myself, I opted to stay in.  I ordered a Greek pizza and was going to watch Bad Teacher and have a glass of wine.  Or two. 

After a couple of pieces of pizza and a very full glass of wine, I realized something was missing.  And that something was a margarita.  I texted Tiffany who was just about to get to the gym to work out.  She didn't want to pick me up to get margaritas but she did accept my offer to join me in opening a bottle of wine.  We had a really nice evening just talking, and it was the perfect girls night that I didn't plan.

So, when you have a night to yourself, DO call a friend over for a glass of wine.
However, DON'T drink too much and DON'T eat an entire pizza.

Cut to 6:45 am when it was time to get up for my 6 mile run.  I had the sense to take some Advil before I went to bed, so I didn't feel too bad.  I got dressed and had a little bit of protien bar and some coffee.  Kelly waited for me, and then we took off into the cool windy morning.  Right away, I felt the effects of my evening.  I was winded and tired before you know it.  The funny thing that happened on this run was that we were being followeed by a squirell.  As crazy as it sounds, he would pass us up and run up a tree.  Then he'd position hiself to look at us as we passed him.  Then soon enough, he would do it again.  I've never had a stalker, and I never thought when I did it would be a squirell. 
But even this squirell was not enough to make me want to keep going.  In my head I was thinking how I could ask Kelly to cut it short, how about if we just did 3 miles?  But I couldn't say it.  Not only because I didn't want to ask her, I didn't want to fail her, but also because I knew I needed the run.  So we kept going.  I guess about after 2.5 miles, I sweated enough of the toxins out, and I started feeling better. 

It ended up being a great run, and I felt so good afterwards.  It would have started out better though if I hadn't had the equivalent of an entire bottle of Shiraz. 
So once again, lesson learned is when you have a 6 mile run scheduled for the early morning, DON'T drink 5 glasses of wine the night before.  It's really not supposed to be a glass per mile kind of thing.

Later, Jamie and I ended up at Zumba again, and that was great too. Although most of the people in class had attended the Zumbathon the night before, so the entire air of the class was kind of lethargic.  But still, it was a good workout, and more toxins were released by the crying of the fat cells. 

When in doubt, DO make the fat cells cry.  ALWAYS opt to make the fat cells cry.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Skipping, Spinning and Shaking

After resolving to workout harder yesterday, I couldn't sleep.  I laid in bed until about 1 am with my eyes wide open.  But still, I had to get it back.

I've been a bad girl.  Monday night is my women's group, and we are supposed to be reading a scripture every day.  I have not.  When I say it was a slacker week, I meant it in more ways than one.  So, rather than going to my women's group which I'm kind of having issues with anyway, I decided to do something else for my soul.  A different kind of chicken soup if you will.

I figured I could make it to the 5:30 spin class and then catch the rest of Zumba, and it would still be an earlier night.  So off to the rec center I went.

I met a few people outside of the spin room, and Stephanie, our instructor, was late.  The small group of us went in and set up our bikes and someone even set hers up.  She was pleasantly surprised when she walked in and said we weren't giving her reasons to scream at us.  She was almost chipper.  Then I saw her crack a smile and I almost fainted, but then I realized it was just a face she was making as she was trying to loosen the knob for her bike seat.  So we start class (which has been reduced to a 45 minute class now) and almost immediately she has us standing up.  Then something strange happened.  She started talking to us.  She was telling us that she has a secret admirer.  Someone sent her a dozen long-stemmed roses, and it was not her boyfriend.  Then she said that she watches too many Lifetime movies to be comfortable with having a admirer/stalker but she was smiling. 

So even though she's in a great mood from receiving beautiful flowers, she is still a robot and tough as can be.  But I was enjoying class a little more since she is acting more like a person.  I was getting tired as she was having us do jumps and what not, but I knew I had to stick it out since class was reduced by 15 minutes.  So I kept up.  I kept adding tension when she said to, I sped up when she said to, I was totally hanging with the class.

She has some really fun music and I found out that she also has a kickboxing class after the spin class.  Since she was acting like a nice person, I asked her about it.  So I said, "You have some really fun mixes.  Where do you find them?" 
She barely acknowledged me and said, "Oh.  They are from my other gym."

So, I thought I'd try again.  I said, "Do you need gloves for your kickboxing class, or is it all kicking."
 "We have gloves." she said flatly

Would it kill her to make eye contact or even speak without sounding like she's totally annoyed?  Maybe her alien leaders didn't teach her those things before they sent her here.  

Well I wasn't about to touch her gloves because the last time we used them, my sister got some sort of weird rash on her hand.  So I'll hold off on kickboxing until I get my own gloves.  I really don't like having to take her classes, but since options for spinning and kickboxing are extremely limited at the rec center, I'll have to use her for my advantage and ignore her lack of interpersonal skills.

As I left the spin room, I ran around the track to get to the stairs.  It's only 1/10 of a mile, but it's better than nothing.  I made it to Zumba 20 minutes late, but I jumped right in.  The only problem (and this is not new) is that Diah takes a break in between almost every song.  On any given day, this frustrates me because all it does is give you a moment for your heart rate to come down.  Well, since I've already had an intense workout I don't need a break every 4 minutes.  It was really messing with my flow, and the I lost the intensity. 

But still, it was an hour and a half workout, and some of it was intense.  So it's still a good work out night. 

And I still have time to catch up on my scriptures. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

From Halfer to Slacker

It's been one week since the half marathon, and I would love to say that I have been rocking it every day since. But the truth is far from that.  I haven't. 

I had a really, REALLY bad day on Tuesday, and it zapped my energy.  Thursday, which is the exercise night I most look forward to, didn't even sound appealing.  I told Kelly I wasn't going to Zumba, because "I just don't feel like it!"  Then I thought about it and thought that is precisely why I should go to Zumba. 

After texting with Tiffany, she told me I would be going and I would be there 40 minutes early to get my weight training in, too. 

Well, I didn't get there 40 minutes early; I got there 25 minutes early.  And although I felt like I wasn't giving it my all, I did give enough to have some sore abs.  And we were in Zumba, and I did try to give it my all, but I didn't.  When a song came on that I didn't like, I really just half-assed it.  And the same with new songs that I didn't know. 

I did manage to work up a sweat, but it wasn't the same intensity as usual.  But I am glad I did go.  Because it's all I did all week.

We were set to run Saturday morning, a slow six miles as prescribed by Coach Ric.  But Kelly's daughter was sick all night, and the two margaritas I had the night before plus the 40 degree weather was enough to motivate me to stay in bed.

Slacker!  I know!

So today, I was all set to Zumba my heart out and get a good run in too.  But then I remembered that I had made early dinner plans with my daughter and my friend Mindy. 

I'm chalking this up to a slacker week.  Actually, let's call it a recovery week.  That sounds better.  Maybe only half true, but better nonetheless. 

But that will change.  I'll give myself this week, but I am back on the wagon tomorrow.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Galveston Mardi Gras Half Marathon

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Mardi Gras Facebook page had posted that it was forecasted to rain.  Comments were such as "Bring it on!" and "Running in the rain makes you hard core."  My friend Dianne says that if you are running 13 miles you are already hard core, and I tend to agree.  I dont think I need rain to increase my hard coreness.  But what is a Warrior Princess to do?  One must prevail. 

Cut to 3 in the morning when I checked the radar.  It showed this huge green area with yellow cells headed straight toward the island.  There was no way it was not going to rain.  And it was 50 degrees outside.  Awesome!

Sure enough, Kelly and I left my house at 5:30.  As we got closer to Galveston, the rain started.  We stopped at a gas station about two miles away from the race start line because even gas station bathrooms are better than port-a-potties.  As I got out of the car into the cold, I thought "This sucks!" and I hated the fact that we were going to have to run 13 miles in it.  It was so cold, and the wind was blowing so hard the rain was coming down sideways.  Once we got to the parking garage, we parked and sat in the car for about 30 minutes until we couldn't really wait any longer.  I got a text from my friend Tiffany wishing us luck and telling us she wished she could be there with us.  I texted her back that I wished I was with her (in a warm house) as I was feeling definitely not hard core and thinking I should renounce my Warrior Princess title. I kept checking the radar, and I told Kelly I may as well stop because it was not going to give me any good news.  This was our fate.  And I was not particularly thrilled, but I just kept saying, "This is awesome!"  hoping eventually I would believe it.

Fake it til you make it, right?

We left the parking garage and the winds were so strong!  It almost blew my visor away.  Amazingly, it stopped raining as we made our way toward the start line for which I was incredibly grateful.  It took no time at all for the gun to go off, and it was time.  I turned on the Garmin, but I put it in my fuel belt in a plastic bag because I didn't want to take any chances. 

We ran the first mile before starting our intrevals.  It was a great mile, right at a 14 minute pace.  Soon enough, we came to the sea wall, and it was awesome!  The beaches were as clean as they can be in Galveston, and the water was very pretty.   Before we hit mile two, we saw fellow Road Runner, Andrea.  She was standing on the corner and cheering us on!  That was great!!  We had to make a loop in this neighborhood before heading back to the sea wall to backtrack and go further down the island.  I was feeling okay, although I was feeling my calves quite a bit.  I think this was because we did not really stretch.  By mile 3.5, we were back on the seawall.  It was raining lightly which wasn't bad, but the wind was terrible.  I found out later that they were blowing at 20 mph, and it was all against us as it would be for the next five miles.  It was brutal and constant.  Kelly almost lost her cap!  We pushed on, and I started to struggle a little bit around mile 6.  The mean girls in my head were telling me I couldn't keep it up. The wind was beating us up, and I was tired.  I needed to rest. 

However, that did not stop me from getting ready for my picture to be taken.

We continue on, and we got a slight repreive from the wind.  Just a little, but not much.  I was trying to shut out the negative thoughts in my head, and then I heard it.  A voice telling me, "Shut up!"  Very loud, just like that.  "Shut up!  Why are you saying you can't do this!  You're doing it!  Stop saying that you can't!"

And that's all it took.  I found my groove.  And then it started to pour.  Not heavy, heavy rain, but heavy enough to where there was a steady stream of rain falling off my visor.  By mile 8, our feet were soaked.  We started talking a little bit more.  It was a strange part of the route for me because I had no idea where we were, and every time I thought we should be turning left to go back toward the main road, we were turning right.  I was all "What the hell!"  We came up to a portable potty, and it was positioned right before a photographer around mile 10.  Kelly had to stop at this one, and she was pretty irritated that they had positioned this potty where a photographer would be.  They took another picture of us at this point where Kelly is scowling at the camera and there I am behind her with another smile. 

We continued on.  Kelly told me I was doing great, and I told her she was too.  But she wasn't.  I couldn't tell to look at her, but she was struggling.  I encouraged her, because she did look great!  But at this point, we got lapped by a full marathon pacer.  That didn't help the attitude.  I told her to imagine the little pacer balloon was a margarita and we were chasing it.  Then I just kept trying to talk.  I brought up sit-coms and movie quotes.  I talked about the hamburger we would have when we were done.  We kept going.  We got to mile 11, and then it was just a 5K to get to the finish line. 

I just kept babbling on.  I'm surprised she didn't trip me or something.  We got to mile 12, and then we were turning to head back to The Strand, and we would be done!  Once we got back in that area, we came to the trolley tracks, so I started sining The Trolley Song.  I was just feeling so good, and having the best time, cold rain and all.  Soon enough, I looked up and I could see the finish line.  "Kelly, we're almost there!" I called out.  I don't know if she could see it or not, but I could.  We took a quick breather, and then we ran it in.  We got to the 13 mile marker, and I could see the clock.  It was at 3:28:58, and I got so excited!

"Kelly!  We can make it under 3:30!  Let's go!" 

"Oh, Candi. I don't think I can!" she cried.

"Come on, Kelly!" I shouted, "Let's do this!"

And we did.  We picked up the pace!  We were running and I started laughing, and then we crossed it!  We crossed the finish line at 3:29:32, and I saw Kelly throw her arm up into the air in triumph as I raised my arms in victory!  And then a volunteer placed the medal around my neck, and then another gave me a bottle of water, and I gave her a hug.  Then I hugged Kelly, and and I cried tears of happiness!  It was the best feeling!  Really, just amazing!  Immediately, they were taking our pictures in front of the Finisher banners!  Awesome!  Just awesome!

We went to the finisher area and got a breakfast taco, and I think it was the best breakfast taco ever!  Kelly's husband bought us lattes and we found a place to hang out while the music was playing.  I was dancing and eating my taco, and I was just on cloud 9; except where were my peeps?  My husband was not there, and neither was my friend Dianne who was coming to see me cross the finish line.  I called.  No answer.  No problem.  I dance around a little more.  I call again.  Nothing.  Then I called Dianne.  They got lost, but they were close and would be there any minute, but Jim was not answering their texts either.  Now I'm freaking out because the weather is awful and I'm thinking that he got into an accident while trying to hurry up and get there.  Finally I went back toward the finish line and there him and the little one were.  I know he was dissappointed, but I was just relieved they were there since I was approaching full panic mode. 

Soon enough, Dianne and Scott were all there, and we were all together.  It wasn't until then that the cold started settling in.  While running, we hadn't realized just how cold it was, but now we were wet and definitely feeling the chill.  We took off for a celebratory lunch at The Spot, a great hamburger place on the sea wall. 

While we were there, several people approached us and asked us about the marathon.  We got congratulatinos and also a couple of runners that were talking about how horrible the run was.  Kelly was agreeing.  The lady said that she runs marathons, halves and fulls, all the time, and she almost quit this one because the conditions were so awful!  Wow!  I didn't think it was that bad.  Then I checked my facebook, and others were saying the same thing.  I guess I was still on a high, and I was grateful that I didn't struggle as much as I could have if I had let those mean girls get to me.   And maybe it was my job that day to be with Kelly to tell her that she could finish this.  I know I've had my days where she pulled me through.

Stuggles or not, we did great.  We were hoping to finish around 3 1/2 hours, but I was thinking it would be more like 3:35 or 3:40.  Our final official chip time was 3:28:07!  A whole minute and 53 seconds faster than I had hoped for!  And I learned my lesson to take a dry pair of socks to change into after running in cold rain.  You really can't warm up when your feet are cold and wet.

I can't help but wonder what our finish time would have been like had we not been beat up by the wind all that time.  As much as I had to talk myself into thinking it was going to be an awesome day, it just was! 

Rain, cold air, strong winds, and 13 miles.  I guess it's just part of being Warrior Princesses. 

And we are hard core.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Packet Pick Up Day

It was early October when I made the decision to sign up for a half marathon.  Now we are just days away, and it's hard to believe that so much has happened in these last few months.  Really since July when I serendipitously joined this running group.  All I wanted was to be able to run three miles with ease.  And although there are days where three miles just plain suck, I know I can do it.

Today was packet pick up day; and Kelly and I endured torrential downpours to journey to On The Run on our lunch break. 

 Although we did have heavy rain, we did not have cows; and we were able to make it to our destination without any problems. 

Our packet is pretty cool.  It came with my bib with my name on it, a customized cap, a Brooks long-sleeved shirt, and Mardi Gras beads all in this really cute purple drawstring bag.  Love it!  Except....the shirt is florescent green!  It is so bright!  I can't imagine wearing it because I would look like a bright green tennis ball!  See exhibit A below:

Exhibit A

But the bibs are cute.  Ours are purple and the full marathoners' bibs are green.  I read that 80% of the 1500 runners are doing the half.  Should make for a good, non-crowded run.  I am just hoping that it doesn't rain, but if it does we've got a cool cap to use so the sweat-mixed rain doesn't get in my eyes.

I'm excited!