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.  =)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Galveston Half Marathon-Race Report

January 27, 2013

The week before the half marathon was good.  We had a great 6 mile run on Saturday, and I had managed to get in three good runs during the week, each one ranging from 2.5 to 3 miles.  I was still nervous, but I was feeling better about it.  We had packet pick up, and then I really started to get excited.  Paula wasn't with us, but we managed to get a group picture anyway.

Me, Paula (on the phone) and Kelly

The day before, I followed Coach Ric's nutrition plan as closely as I could, and before I knew it, it was time to go to sleep and get ready for race morning.

Paula picked us up, and we drove to Galveston.  The weather was all ready better than last year.  Last year was freezing, raining, and the winds were over 20 mph.  This year was a cool 60 degrees with clouds promising to keep the sun away.  

We met up with our fellow Road Runners before the start, and I stretched as best I could with all the excitement in the air.  My IT band was making its presence known, but it wasn't any worse than it's been in the past, so I knew it wouldn't be a problem.  At least I hoped it wouldn't.

The gun went off, and we were on our way.  We made our way to the sea wall, and I honestly don't know if there could have been a more perfect day to go for a run.  The temperature was great, the breeze coming off of the gulf was heavenly, and the sun was starting to make it presence known.  We were hitting mile 2 when the lead runner was on his way back and at mile 4.  It's always amazing to see the elite , and it's a benefit of being a slow runner-we are always still on the track forward when they've already made the loop.  =)

When we made the loop and came back to the seawall, we were really having fun.  We started singing and laughing and just took in the view.  Kelly was feeling really good, and we starting ribbing her about lacing her Gatorade chews with something.  I had Skittles and M & M's in my pack, and Paula had Gatorade chews, but they weren't having the same effect on us as Kelly's were.  

Mile 4.  Pictures don't do the scene justice.
So far, everything was going great!  Then at mile 7, we had an awesome surprise!  We had our own pit crew!  Most of our Road Runners had run the Houston Marathon a couple of weeks ago, so a few of the ladies came to cheer us on.  And that.  Was.  Awesome!

Our awesome Road Runner family!
Me at mile 7!
I remember making this turn last year.  This turn led to a four mile loop that seemed to take forever.  This is where it started raining pretty hard, but it's also where I found my groove.  I also remember that there were several porta potties in these next four miles.
So, I told Kelly and Paula I would run ahead to one of the potties as to not slow us down.  So I did.  I ran ahead.  And I ran.  And I ran.  And there were no potties!!  WTH??  It wasn't until  about mile 9.5 or 10 that we found one!  And by then, I knew that stopping was going to mess with my rhythm.  But, what are you gonna do?

So, we keep going.  Paula's foot was starting to bother her, but she still looked strong.  It was around this time that we noticed two ladies.  We had been around each other all throughout the race, but they caught up to us when I had to stop for the potty.  One of them seemed to be struggling.  Kelly worried about her, and she decided that if we caught up to them again, she would offer them a Gatorade chew.  The sun was trying its best to peek through the clouds, and I could feel the first beads of sweat getting into my eyes.  

At mile 11, we saw our pit crew again.  They truly gave us the extra bounce that we needed!  They had ice towels and ice water for us.  As I grabbed an ice towel and draped it over my head, I swear the Angels starting singing!

As we continued on, we kept encouraging each other.  We stayed as steady as we could.  We passed our last water stop, and before we knew it, we only had one mile to go.  We made our last turn, and in the far distance, you could see the finish line.  

We were on a walking interval when the pain in my knee started shooting like fireworks into my upper thigh.  I couldn't continue to walk, or I wouldn't make it.  I had had visions of us crossing that finish line with our hands joined and our arms raised in victory.  But I could no longer do the intervals.  

I ran.

I makes no sense to me that I can run with less pain than walking, but that's the way it was.  I ran, and I reached those girls that Kelly was worried about.  When I reached them the first time, I saw one of them look toward me and she said, "Let's go!"  They started running, and within seconds they started to walk again.  

So I passed them up.  And I heard one of them say, "Well, it's only one of them."

I didn't have time to really process that, and I just kept running.  When we got within a couple of blocks from the finish line, I heard them coming from behind me.  We were side by side running toward the finish line, and all I could think was that she was going to be in my pictures and ruin them.

You could hear the crowd, and I heard someone say, "You have 30 seconds!"

Well I don't know what was going to happen in 30 seconds, but I knew I had to step it up and finish in 30 seconds.  So I gave it my all and ran as fast as I could.  And I saw that girl look toward me and then she stepped it up and ran faster.  As she waved to her friends cheering her on, she fell back a bit.  But then she realized I was ahead of her and she ran faster to beat me.  And she did.  And she is in all of my finish line pictures.

Although I am smiling in my finish line pictures, I wouldn't have been.  I was so focused on finishing that I didn't even really hear my friends calling out my name.  But then I heard someone screaming, "Smile!  There are cameras!  Smile!"  So I started smiling for my pictures, although I didn't look up.  And there is a random girl beside me.

I thought it was funny.  In no way did I ever think I would be someones competition. That we, Half Marathon Group A, would be a threat to someone in a race.  Gotta love that twist!

I saw my husband right away, and my little one ran up to me and gave me a hug.  I turned around quickly because I heard Kelly's name being called out as she was about to cross the finish line.  Paula was right behind, and they gave Kelly the medal to put around her neck.

We did it!  Our amazing friends were there to congratulate us.  And then, again, going above and beyond, they had chocolate milk, nice and cold and ready for us.  I wish I could express how much it meant to us that they were there.

We made our way over to the post-race party (I hobbled) and got our snacks.  I wasn't really feeling hungry at all, but I got my stuff anyway.  We enjoyed the weather and sat for a while.  Paula was quiet, but the content look on her face was beautiful!  I was so proud of her and so happy that she had accomplished this.  Like me, this was not something that she set out to do.  But do it, she did.  She opted for heading home, but she had her treats to enjoy on her drive.  

Kelly and I and our families were going to head back to the sea wall for lunch, but we opted for a spot on The Strand, right by the post-race party.  It was a beautiful day, and we had much to celebrate.  

And celebrate we did!

I was disappointed that we didn't beat last year's time.  In fact, my time was 50 seconds slower.  But I really can't complain.  Other than my pain in my leg, I felt pretty good.  Maybe not like I could have keep running, but definitely like there is another half in my future.

The Worst 13

January 14, 2013

We did some traveling over the holiday.  Before Christmas, I had my first 13 mile run of this training season.  And it was a good run.  It didn't start that way though.  I thought I was going to have to stop in the first few miles because my IT band was acting up.  My chiropractor had told me if I had to alter my gait in any way, it was time to stop.  

But it's so hard to stop. 

We hit the intersection at mile 5, and something happened.  Either my legs loosened up or they went numb.  But either way, I would be able to continue.  At mile 10, a fellow Road Runner drove by and gave us peanut M & Ms.  That was awesome, and it was just the fuel I needed to finish the run with ease.  I felt really good and  felt like I could have kept going.  

After Christmas went on our trip. I took my running shoes, but running in the snow is something I am unfamiliar with; and I let the ice intimidate me.  I wish now that I would have went ahead and went out for at least a mile...  Alas, I didn't.  I have these beautiful pictures of snow, and I imagine myself running in them like the Rave Runs they have in Runner's World magazine.

This should have been me, although maybe less maniacal 

We made the long drive and arrived home on New Year's Eve.  We were all tired, and it was a quiet celebration at home.  Then I woke up and the new year welcomed me with a fever.  There would be no long group run for me.  I did my best to get well quickly, and I was able to go for a good 3-mile run the following Wednesday.  I worked out some trying not to push it and have a relapse.  Saturday's run was a scheduled 12 miles, but we opted for 13 since Kelly was not with us for the first 13-mile run.  Not only that, but we had only run the 13-mile distance once.  Last year at this point, we had run that distance at least 4 times before our first race.  So off we go for 13.

In my mind, I see myself as this elegant runner.  I am graceful and powerful and I picture myself 50 pounds thinner.  In reality, my face is the color of a tomato, I am hacking up phlegm every 20 minutes, and I am not above going into the bushes to do my business and wiping myself with wet leaves. (gross)  My point is everything was going well until mile 8, then things started falling apart.  My chest started to hurt.  I couldn't cough up the congestion as easily as I had been.  I was slowing down.  In the last two miles, I asked for an extra walking interval.  Kelly and Paula were very accommodating.  I stretched.  I focused on my breathing.  But I was not rocking this run by any means.  We kept going.  My hips were tightening up.  And my chest hurt.  And all I wanted to do was finish.

It's such a fine line and it's a constant mental battle.  Am I quitting or do I need to stop?  And if I stop, is it only because I want to?  Is it because it's too hard?  How do you trust yourself to know when all you want to do is stop?  How do you know you're stopping for real reasons, not ones that you trick yourself into believing?  I can't stop because I will feel like I failed.  

"Do you need to stop?" Kelly asked me.
"I need to finish." I replied.
And we kept going.  

I was falling behind.  And with every walking interval, my legs were fighting me.  We were finally within a half mile from Paula's house where we started.  Kelly's watch went off for us to take our walk break, but I kept going.  I knew at that point if I stopped again, I wouldn't be able to start again.  Kelly gave me a thumbs up and let me go.

And I ran.  I found a stride, thankfully, and I kept running.  I was going to make it.  I was going to make it to Paula's house and finish what I started.  Then both of my calves started with spasms.  Less than 200 yards to go!  I refused to stop; I was going to make it!

Then I turned a corner, and a car was coming, and I had to stop.  And that was it. It was as if the record scratched and everything else did too.  I didn't run again, but it was just a short walk to her driveway.  Still it was frustrating!

Me, Kelly, and Paula after the 13 miles

The run ended, but my heart didn't.  My heart rate was very slow to come down.  I was hurting.  I have never felt that bad after a run.  Kelly drove me home home.  As soon as I came in I laid down on the floor to stretch, but it ended up being me just laying on the floor.  And my heart rate still wasn't back down to a normal level.  I was going to go upstairs to lay down, but I didn't make it upstairs.  I made it to the couch, and literally crashed for 45 minutes.  And I had no energy for the rest of the afternoon.  It was awful!

Needless to say, I was kind of freaking out because the Galveston Half Marathon was at the end of the month.  A bad run can really mess with your confidence, and this one was definitely messing with mine.  It was by far the hardest 13 miles I have run so far.

I could only hope that race day would be better. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When Life Knocks You Down

January 14, 2013

I've thought about posting for many months now.  But I have not had the "want to" to put words down.  It's like when you avoid talking to someone because you don't want to answer the question you know they'll ask you.  Or not going to church because you think God is so disappointed in you, it's just easier to make excuses not to go.

This year was is off to a rough start.  I woke up with a fever on New Year's day, which also happens to be my anniversary.  After taking a couple of sick days, I went back to work.  And things there weren't good either.  I felt hopeless.  I was without hope.  And that is not a good place to be.  

I don't like feeling that way, and I couldn't see a way out of feeling that way.

I have been exercising.  I haven't stopped, although I did have a lapse when I was sick.  I am still running.  I am still swimming.  I am still getting to the gym.  

And I am still not losing weight.

I am frustrated.

But I am still here.  And I am still in it.

I guess hopelessness will not win after all.  I will keep saying this until I believe it.

Warrior Dash 2012

November 12, 2012

Although there has not been a large lapse in my exercise, I felt very unprepared for this Warrior Dash.  The lack of weight loss has been weighing on me (no pun intended), and although the negative voices in my head are not as loud, they are still ever present.

But, the day had arrived.  I had my racing tiara ready to go, and we took off to my sister's the night before the race.

In the morning, we got ready to go, and I went to get my tiara.  And it wasn't there.  I knew I had brought it with me because I wore it for a minute in the car.  So I went back to the car to find it, but it wasn't in the car.  It was in the driveway.  Where I had ran it over.  It was in pieces, and I was so sad. 

Alas, a Warrior Princess must prevail; so we took off to Cedar Creek without proper adornment.

We were all set to go.  This year it was my sister and I, and her friend Chris and his daughter Mary.  Che and her husband were to join us, but unfortunately  we got separated, and we ended up in different waves.  =(

We only ran the first half mile or so since Mary was recovering from a week of illness.  But we were fine with that.  The weather was beautiful, and we were just happy to be out doing the Dash.

The first obstacle was the Breakdown Barricade.  This is where you jump over a fence an then have to crawl under some barbed wire a couple of times.  I was happy to find that this year, I was able to get over the barricades much easier and I didn't have to flop myself over them.  There was a man struggling to get over them, so I gave him some encouragement along the way.  Next up was the trenches.  This year the ground was not as soft, so I squatted myself along to get to the other side.  

Pretty soon, we were caught up an backed up at another obstacle.  I think this was called the Cliffhanger, although we had to pull ourselves up a slope rather than repel down.  Some people were attempting to climb it without the rope; but I knew I would use the rope.  We continued on and once again found ourselves backed up for the same obstacle, although this one was a little steeper.   It was also here that we found ourselves being lapped.  Guys were running ahead of the line and taking their turn.  Some people got a little irritated with that.  One of the runners shouted, "We're actually racing!" like the rest of us are only faking it.  I get what he means; he was going for time and prizes.  Fine.  But I think if you want to be a contender, you should sign up for the first wave so you don't have anyone ahead of you.  You can't expect to cut in front of lots of people and not expect for someone to get upset.  This is what I'm thinking, and then it was time for me to take my turn.  I'm climbing up the slope and all of a sudden the rope is being pulled up between my legs and getting harder to use because one of these guys cannot wait for me to finish getting up the slope.  I looked back and was all, "WHAT THE HELL?" and he was all, "Sorry." But I don't think he was.  It was rude.

After this second slope, I was feeling pretty good.  I know I have slacked on my strength training all this time, but I was happy to find that I was stronger.  I felt stronger, and I could tell that these obstacles felt easier than before.  So now, I'm hearing the Rocky song in my head, and I'm feeling pretty good.

Then we saw a Kobota coming to get someone that had torn a ligament.  Yikes!

I think the next obstacle was Hard Rain.  This was our first water obstacle.  We stepped into murky water to get to a wall.  This is basically like a reverse Great Warrior Wall.  You had to climb up a ladder first and then come down the other side using a rope and small slats.  The extra kick here was they were dousing us with water at the same time.  So I'm climbing up this ladder, and you can't see anything because the water is falling down as well as being sprayed on you from the side.  And I slipped.  I didn't fall down, but I did have to pull myself back up.  After that I was kind of nervous about slipping, so I was slow and careful.   Cautious, but still feeling strong.

And then we hit the Capsized Catamaran.  

Into the dirty water we go.  And it's deep.  Chest deep.  And there's some sort of weeds floating around hitting my legs.  Now would normally be the time that I start freaking out, but instead I'm looking ahead to the buoys we have to get over.  I jump up and pull myself up.  But I can't get up.  Again, I try to pull myself up; and I am not successful. I start shouting to Angie that I can't get up.  I move over to her side hoping the water is not as deep and I can pull myself up.  But she has to help me to get over.  Back into the water we go, and it's even deeper.  Like I can't touch deeper, so I start slowly swimming to the next buoys.  And those weeds are sweeping past my legs again.  The water gets less deep as we get to the next buoys.  And now I'm angry.  I was feeling so strong and now I can't pull myself up over this damn buoy.  And I was going to be damned if I wasn't going to pull myself up on this next one.  I cursed out loud as I jumped up and pulled my leg up.  I think I kept cursing until I was up and I knew I would make it.  And I did as I heard the Rocky song playing in my head.  Back into the murky water I went to the plank where we had to use a rope to pull ourselves out of this river.  Well, it wasn't as easy as I had thought it would be.  The plank was a little higher than expected, and when I jumped up, I banged the crap out of my shin.  And it hurt!!!  Once I was up, you could already see the forming of a bruise.  It throbbed and ached for the rest of the race.  

The Rocky song stopped playing.

Next thing I remember is Mud Mounds, which wasn't hard but rather annoying.  These were five mounds of mud that you had to climb over.  The surface was either slippery or rocky, basically anything but stable.  My legs actually got a little tired on this one, but it wasn't bad.  I definitely started feeling that I was definitely getting a little more beat up this year, but I was still good to go.

Instead of the Road Rage and Storming Normandy, we had an obstacle that was a mix between the two.  This one was a long run of tires covered by a net.  So basically you had to bear crawl under this net and through the tires.  About half way through it, I said, "Can I just say...that this SUCKS!"  It was a lot of tires.  The good part is, I started feeling pretty strong again, because last year I wouldn't have been able to bear crawl for any length of time much less over tires.  So Yea!

We knew now we were reaching the end.  We came up to the Teetering Traverses.  I was ready for this one, but then I kept thinking about the woman who was carried off on a gurney last year.  I didn't know it at the time, but when our pictures came back, I saw it.  And then this woman was yelling, "It's so high!" and I told her not to look down.  But I did take my time.

Right after that was the Cargo Climb.  I used my knee to pull myself up because my legs were tired, and I gave myself a nice big bruise on my knee to show for it.  Up and over we went, and again, I felt the climb was easier than last year.
Then came the wall.  I actually paused for a minute here.  It seemed like I couldn't do it.  I couldn't quite figure out the timing of it or something, and I remembered getting back on a bike after so many years, and I knew it was going to be a piece of cake.   I pulled up, and there was no turning back.  I had another moment of panic however, when I couldn't get a good grip on the top of the wall.  But it was just a moment, and then I was over it.   Angie and I high fived after that, and then we were rounding the corner to the end. 

 It was time for the Warrior Roast.  We ran to the fire.  Angie said, "Are you ready?" and I said, "NO!"  Because I can't jump to save my life.  I am a horrible jumper!  But it was now or never, and I was facing another first, so I ran anyway.

And then I jumped!  Over the fire!  And again over the fire again and again!  And I actually leaped!  It was awesome!

Last was the Muddy Mayhem, and I saw my family right before I went into the mud pit.  The mud was thicker and more shallow than last year, but this time I didn't have to fight to get out of the pit.  I was out, and then Angie and I danced our way over the finish line.

Last was the Muddy Mayhem, and I saw my family right before I went into the mud pit.  The mud was thicker and more shallow than last year, but this time I didn't have to fight to get out of the pit.  I was out, and then Angie and I danced our way over the finish line. 

Another Warrior success!