Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April 28th, 2010 - 10 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

I knew tonight’s run was going to be a long one. I had been psyching myself up for it all day. It had to be a well executed run because I really felt like I injured myself after the last one. It felt good at the time, but the next day I was having some serious Achilles Tendon issues in my left leg. I don’t know if it was because I had adjusted my foot fall and been too hard on my heels when I went to plant them or if it was because I didn’t stretch afterward. If I haven’t already told you, I really hate stretching. Hate it. I rarely do it. If I were advising people, I would tell them to always be sure to stretch. Stretch during a long run, at about mile 7, after the run and do a serious stretching session on rest days. But I never do.

I did this run 4 minutes on and 1 minute off, as usual, and I knew I had to take it really easy. I’d just read the site for the Disneyland Half Marathon in September and it said that all the runners had to maintain at least a 16-minute mile pace. Typically, I would never worry about that. Even when I’m running a fever, I maintain a 12-minute pace, but now that I knew it was required, it was really stressin’ me out.

So mile 1 was as usual, just terrible. I decided that I would keep Country music on the iPod. I love the country music that I have but I wouldn’t call myself Country music fan. I am however a HUGE sucker for Patriotic Music and that ends up being Country Music more often than not. But I digress.

Let’s skip to Mile 5. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…. Really. I’m going delirious so I take some GU and wait for it to kick it. It'some horrible citrus flavor that I can barely get down. I bought it when I was trying to find a favorite. I'll be sticking with Chocolate Outrage from now on.

Mile 7 is feeling pretty good and there is a slight decline so I am picking up some serious speed. I pass a lady like she’s standing still. I'm feeling good.

At mile 9, I know that I am a half mile from home. I'm exhausted and I have absolutely hit the wall but I need to figure out how to add an extra half mile to the run so I can get an even 10. Crap!

So I turn the corner and start up the street toward the school instead of crossing the street and heading toward home. Home!

I don't even remember what I did when I got home and I still can't find my Pepper Spray. The kids were still awake and I am so happy about that. I can't wait to give them hugs and kisses, but I can't because I am disgusting. I need to shower. So I keep them at arm's length and pray with them and listen to their day. I'm barely paying attention. Ten miles takes me to my limit and I am barely functioning. But I love these little people and they give me strength.

Now where the heck is my Pepper Spray? I gotta find it before one of the kids does. Zzzzzz........

Monday, April 26, 2010

April 26, 2010 - 3.5 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Tonight's run was really good. I asked Chris to drop me off in the middle of town so I could run home. It was strange because I really felt like I was pushing and pushing, but when I checked my time at the mile mark, it was 12:35! What?! There is no way. I was doing at least a 9 minute mile. My stop watch had never lied to me before, so I gotta tell you, I felt pretty betrayed.

So I ignored the stop watch for the rest of the run and just focused on my heart rate. I was at 95% for most of the time. So it was a sprint. Screw the stop watch!!!

Mile one was rough, as usual. For a minute, I really wondered why I was doing this. I didn't really catch my stride until 1.75 miles which is late for me. Maybe it was because I didn't have Sarah with me. It was just me and Michael Jackson. Don't stop 'til you get enough!!!

Mile 2 was my mile. I was making great time (I'm assuming. I wasn't on speaking terms with my stop watch if you'll recall) and my stride was just what it should have been. My form was good and my speed work was right where it should be. It was a good Interval Training session. Certainly no where near qualifying for Boston, but that's never been on my Bucket List anyway.

By the time I was pushing mile three, Micheal is singing in my ear, "Will You Be There" and that is a great piece for a warm down. I'm feeling good and the run is almost done. Sweet!

As I turn the corner into my neighborhood, I run into Jim sitting on his porch with his dog. Now, I know what you're thinking, "Your workout is sacred and unless you're bleeding from your eyeballs or a train is bearing down on you, you don't let anything interrupt you!" I know. I get it. I feel the same way. Really. But Jim is super cool and his dog Chelsea is 14+ years old and she's been circing the drain for a while now. He's going to be a mess when that dog dies and I really felt like the investment in the relationship was worth my dropping heart rate. So I stopped and had a lovely exchange with my neighbor and his dog. I believe it's what Jesus would have done. Ah well, once again, my warm down was interrupted by the humanity around me.

So I walk a few doors down to my house and I am almost completely recovered. Still sweating like a horse, but I'm not wheezing like a sleestak like I would be if I had sprinted all the way to my doorstep like I'd intended to. Chris is fighting with Jordan to get his homework done, Jayda is sitting on a floor having an animated conversation with her new shoes and Sarah is whining and jumping all over the place because she thinks we're going for a run.

This is my life. This my Happy Place. I smile and wonder what was beating in my chest when I was reaching my peak speed a few minutes ago because clearly, my heart was here.

See ya tomorrow!

Friday, April 23, 2010

April 22, 2010 - 6.5 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Tonight, I was able to take advantage of a very rare opportunity: An empty house. When I got home from work, the kids hadn’t made it back from California Adventure and Chris was staying late at the office before he had to run off to church.

With this bit of unexpected fortuity, of course, I decide to get in a quick run. I knew I had about an hour and a half, so I figured I could get in 6.5 miles with no trouble, so I set out. I had recently read an article that listed 100 Beginner Running Tips. I wouldn’t be considered a Beginner Runner, but I am hardly advanced, so I find that I can be well advised by just about anything that has to do with running. One of the tips was something like: If you usually run with music, try it without music. I strapped on my iPod and plugged in my ear buds but decided to run only the first half without music.

I thought I would be insanely bored, but to my surprise, I was able to focus more on the run and what my body was doing without the distraction of the music. Without the music, I realized that the people who passed me on the street were actually saying things to me and even shouting encouragement I couldn’t hear before. I was even aware that Sarah does a LOT of whining when we’re running and I had no idea! Every time she heard or saw another dog, she would whine because she wanted to play, I guess.

I was able to focus on my breathing pattern and cover distance more efficiently when I was able to listen to the music of my breathing, foot falls and arm movements. I was able to transition in the Zen phase of running much sooner than when I run with music. I actually had no desire to turn the music on at the halfway point and went ahead and finished the run in the loudest silence I’d ever heard. I could understand how many runners say their imaginative juices really flow during a run.

I will likely continue to use music on most of my workouts, but that was really good advice and I’m sure I will forgo the music from time to time going forward, especially when I’m running a new course.

I also had the privilege of breaking in my new Asics!!!! They were great!!! I used the Fartlek Method like I always do when I’m running more than 5 miles (4 minutes on, 1 minute off). The last half was a sprint and it felt wonderful! No pain in my knees, hips or lower back at the end of this run, which I’d thought was just par for the course, part of getting older. Turns out I was just in the wrong shoes. Go figure.

I made it home in time to run through the shower, start dinner (no one else was there, so I just had veggies and water: mashed sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli. No meat. It was *really* good!), and stretch while I watched Jeopardy before Neena & Papa got back with my beautiful babies, who I’d missed so much it hurt. Jordan rang the doorbell. When I opened the door, he walked right by me and complained that the house smelled like poop. I told him it wasn’t poop, it was broccoli and “where’s my hug?!” Then he ran at me with a bone-crusher and was full of stories about all the roller-coasters he’d ridden. Then I went to get my baby girl out of the car. The hugs still come from Jayda without requesting.

*sigh* This is makes it all worth it. They had a great time with their grandparents. I got to get in a really good run, in great time. Neena & Papa had a great time but were happy to give ‘em back. I kept the kids up until Chris got home and more whoops, kissing and hugging ensued. Jordan actually cried, he missed his Daddy so much.

My heart is warm warm warm. See ya tomorrow!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 21, 2010 - New Shoes!!!

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Today was supposed to be a running day. Couldn’t do it, though. We had to take the kids to their grandparents so they could go to California Adventure tomorrow. But that’s not to say that today was a not a day that improved my running prowess. I am excited to say that I was able to procure a pair of Asics! You know, the line the pros wear? They were $39 at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Moorpark. I never thought I’d ever have a pair of Asics. Top of the line pairs are well over $100. The ones I have are the very basic type: Asics Gel Strike-2. Mine are pink, of course.

I haven’t been able to break them in yet, but I can’t wait. I was in Adidas before and they were OK, but they didn’t seem to support my arches as well as the Nike’s Women’s Runners I had before. They got pretty good reviews.

I’ll keep you posted and let you know how I like them.

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19, 2010 - 3.75 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Tonight's run was great. The first mile was as usual... Just terrible. I seem to keep forgetting that I am getting older and not taking pain medication before I get started. So I am hurtin' for real right now.

There was something really strange about the start of the run. Even Sarah didn't seem to want to be out there and that is very unusual. She's usually my strength when I don't want to keep going, but she was lagging and crossing me. Quite a few times, I had to stop before I tripped over her. I considered tying her to a tree and coming back to get her later. (I'm kidding. I could never leave my Girl!)

At about mile 2, I hit my stride. The Jackson's were blaring in my ear asking "Can You Feel It!" Yes, Michael, I can feel it! So I pick up those knees and increase my stride. Even Sarah is getting with the program and running to my right and slightly behind. It was perfect! I knew I would be hurting when I got home, but it didn't matter then because the endorphins were doing their job. I'm not even bothered that the Sausage-less Sausage that I pan fried to go with tonight's spaghetti and mushrooms is repeating on me like a bad BAD yeast infection. I feel good!

At the start of mile 3, I hit one of my last street lights and I am holding everyone in sight personally responsible for my dropping heart rate. I'm staring them down like a pervert at a beauty pageant and in my mind, they are trembling in fear!!!

At the home stretch, I am fighting toward my house and I'm thinking it's going to be the perfect end to a pretty good run and set my focus on my garage door and sprint toward it with reckless abandon. Then a neighbor shows up with some worthless, rodent-like, pathetic excuse for a dog and Sarah bolts for it, splitting my focus and breaking my stride. Stool!

So, I call her back to my side and get her back in stride and race toward my house. My temporary fantasy world is shattered. My world where I am champion, the strongest athlete and only my opinion matters. I get to listen to my own music for as long as I want and I don't have to consider anyone else because I am running! I am free, I am fearless and I am sexy as hell!

Here, within these walls, my family needs me. They don't care that I'm sweaty, exhausted and clearly in pain. They need kisses and hair bows and to have their homework checked. They need baths and prayers and they need someone to listen to what happened at school today because I am a Mommy! I am well loved, I am all-knowing.... and I am sexy as hell!

It's not a bad gig! See ya tomorrow.

April 19, 2010 - Forgive Me, For I Have Sinned....

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

It's Monday morning and I have a sin to confess to you, my partners in sweat: I did not run at all this weekend. Not one step. I could beat myself up over it or I could rejoice in the fact that I got some premium, spontaneous sex this weekend. One of the many perks of marrying a younger man.

So what now?! Well, I replay the compliments I got from my hairdresser about how my efforts are "showing in my face", keep a mental snapshot of how great I looked in that suit at the BGC Fund Raiser and get my butt moving again!

Truth is, it felt good to take this very undeserved break. I spoke with a neighbor on Sunday and complimented her on her efforts. She was looking fantastic! I asked her what she'd been doing and she told me the she'd completely cut out carbs for herself and her family and it was going well. She'd lost 65 lbs and her family was on board with the lifestyle change too!

Well good for her! There is just no way in Heaven or Hell that I could get my family to cut out carbs completely. She's also been going to the gym everyday. Sometimes twice. Also, good for her! She gets to be home full time and her children are young adults. My lifestyle doesn't support that kind of thing. And if you are sensing my extreme jealousy, you are not wrong. I'd love it if I could spend more time at home and have a more flexible schedule. But the fact is, I don't. And if I did, I would likely be very hard on myself if I wasn't a model housekeeper, cook and ornamental horticulturist. As it is, my busy schedule makes it so that I can slack off periodically without a whole lot of back lash. Also, if I'm honest, I have to point out that I think her current situation is not sustainable. It certainly wouldn't be for me. With such young children, the cupcakes and icecream cones just follow me around and I can only run so fast, as you well know.

Anyway, she told me that while she takes many classes and is doing her own version of weight training, she doesn't run as much as she'd like to. I offered to knock on her door when I'm doing my standard workout and I hope she'll join me from time to time. I do prefer to workout alone, but a friend is never a bad thing. There's the blessing. So let's get back at it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 14, 2010 - 3.65 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Here's a pic of me and my girl Sarah. She had to go to the vet yesterday to have a foxtail seed extracted from her nasal cavity. It was pretty insane and incredibly expensive *sigh*. She was pretty groggy last night, but tonight she was revving to go. She's sweet.

Tonight's workout was pretty run of the mill, excuse the pun. The last half was a sprint. It felt good. I came home and stretched, showered and made dinner: BBQ Chicken Wings, steamed broccoli and white rice (I know... white rice. Jeez! I know better). All in all a good day and a decent workout.

I believe I am completely recovered from Sunday's run. That is well because I wasn't sure how long it would take to work that through. I am seriously considering adding a *very* little weight training to my workout. I have hand weights (2, 5 & 10 lbs) and I would like to get a 65cm exercise ball. That way, I can work in some core exercises and use it as a workout bench for the hand weights. I will post pix of my progress, no matter how slow going it may be.

I am expecting a good night's sleep and a productive day tomorrow. Praise GOD for His goodness and He grace.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 11, 2010 - 13 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Today’s run started out with an open-ended goal. I had set my mind on a 10-mile run. If it ended up being 6 miles because the rain caught me, I’d still be OK with that. As usual, I *really* didn’t want to do this run. However, I felt like I had to. I didn’t run yesterday and I was still floating over the two compliments I’d got from friends about my fitness. I gotta say, that felt good. It’s nice to know that my efforts are reaping rewards for me.

So I got the dog ready and made sure I had at least one pack of Chocolate Gu. It’s my favorite. I was feeling pretty tight and yucky, but as soon as I set out, I felt better. The effect was immediate. It felt like my lungs were finally full after days without quality air… which was probably the case.

It turned out to be a 13 mile run. It was the first time I had ever run that far. I was using the Fartlek method and it took me about 2 hours and 45 minutes. I was glad to get through it. Simply knowing that I could do it was a tremendous accomplishment for me. By the time I got home, I was weeping openly and couldn’t care less about the JAFOs on the street.

What I learned on this run: First, that I can do this run and I am more and more excited about doing it! Second, running in cooler weather calls for extra layers. It wasn’t crazy cold, but cold enough that I should have at least worn a T-shirt, as opposed to a tank top. My muscles didn’t seize up, but they were uncomfortable. Third, you can’t underestimate the importance of stretching at every street light. Finally, ice, ice and more ice.

I was 4 lbs lighter than usual when I was finished. I know it was water weight, but it was still nice to see. As far as weight loss goes, I think regular running is a great way to have real weight loss. As opposed to starving myself or going on some eating plan that will drop 5 lbs quickly and bring it right back as soon as you go off it.

This was a good day. It’ll take a few days to recover, but that’s OK. The pain is temporary. Even the pride is temporary. In order to feel this good all the time, I’ll have to do it again and again and again!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

April 9, 2010 – Three Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

Tonight’s run was tough. It was a short one, but I am just exhausted over it. I was pushing myself the whole time. Anything under a 165 heart rate wasn’t cutting it for me today. I asked Chris to leave me at the Boys & Girls Club when we went to pick up the boy so I could run home. I’d never done it before, but I figured it would be about 2.5 miles. It worked out to be 3.1. Not too bad.

I hadn’t any intention of taking the dog, but I‘d dropped in at home before picking up the kids. She saw me in my workout clothes and wouldn’t leave me alone. Chris was no help at all because he thought it was so cute that she was so desperate to go with me. So I put her new pink collar on her because she chewed through her old one last night. Bitch.

So I started out on this run and I was looking for inspiration to keep me going. I was listening to my Michael Jackson playlist and for some reason I was annoyed by that. Weird, right? I usually *love* the King of Pop! Who doesn’t? I kept him on and kept putting one foot in front of the other. By the time I got to mile one, I was feeling TERRIBLE!!! But what could I do? I had to get home. One foot in front of the other was the only solution, so off I went.

Mile two is going to be great because I know I’m a mile from home and maybe I’ll get my second wind. I decide that the last mile will be in perfect form, so I throw those shoulders back, tuck in that butt, pull that belly button toward my spine, pump those arms like a lumberjack sawin' wood and got those knees up. My speed picks up and my heart rate picks up, too. It’s going to be a good run coming in.

This run was for form and speed. Mile one was in under 10 minutes, which is really good for me. While I was working on mile two, this lady just whizzed right by me like I was standing still. It was hard to tell because she was moving so quickly, but she had to be my age. She might have been younger, but I really don’t think so. She was amazing and her form was perfect. Her long pony tail was swishing left and right just as it should (as opposed to up and down). Just beautiful. Not a wiggle or a wobble in sight. Bitch.

When I got home, I learned that Jayda had wet herself and was in the tub. So I undressed and hopped in the tub with her. Something I’d never done before. We were both delighted. While we played and talked about the trials and tribulations in the life of a two-year-old, I was able to forget my worries and my imperfect form and just be grateful that I am healthy enough to be out there doing it and blessed to be sitting in luke warm water with such a pretty princess.

It was with deepest regret that I rinsed her hair and pulled the plug. I still had to make dinner. I wanted it to be a healthy one, so I set some red potatoes to boiling, put some teriyaki salmon in the oven and sautéed some asparagus in olive oil and seasonings. It was a good one. The kids had corndogs, so everyone was happy.

Now that I’m off to bed and not at all looking forward to the preemptive potty pitstop I’ll make before hitting the sack with the disgusting aroma of asparagus-laced urine, I find my mind drifting toward tomorrow’s run, which is supposed to be a long one. Doesn’t sound appealing at the moment, but if I can make myself believe I can get through it and feel like I do now, I’ll be out there for sure.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April 7 - 6.5 Mile Run

I knew I had to do a long run tonight. It was on my mind all day. It was a busy day at the office and I prefer it that way. Keeping my mind focused on a run doesn't always mean I am amped and ready to go when the time comes.

I had a pack of some foul tasting Berry flavored Power Gel as soon as I got home and waited for it to kick in. It never did, but with that much caffeine in my system, I couldn't just sit down and do nothing. I knew I would never get to sleep if I didn't go ahead and do this run. So I got dressed. Put on my reflective gear and dressed the dog in her reflective gear too. I throw back 400 ml of Ibuprofen to stave off any pain and hit the bricks with my iPod cranked up loud with some Stevie Wonder. "OK, Lord... help me find the blessing out here" and I start out on my run.

The first mile is always the toughest, just because I really don't want to be out there. A friend of mine recently told me that I was crazy to run without ever stretching and advised me to stretch at the half mile mark. I've been doing this route for quite awhile and I know that the half-mile mark is right at the corner where my son goes to school. So, I stop and stretch for a bit. Going forward, I am doing a perverted Fartlek Method (running 4 minutes on 1 minute off). I do this any time I am running more than 5 miles.

My muscles are warm and stretched out and I have half a mile down already. The dog is behaving and my Achilles Tendon isn't killing me yet. I'm feeling pretty good. The sun is shining behind me, so I can see my shadow wobbling in time with my steps and I think, "Why am I out here running like the cops are after me when my bottom is still wobbling like Jell-O that didn't quite make it?" But I'm out there, and turning around isn't an option. The dog would be so disappointed. So I stop looking at my shadow and keep my eyes on the prize. The prize being getting back home in time to watch Jeopardy and have a slice of the pizza my husband said he would pick up while I was out.

While I'm still working on mile 1, I am running through my neighborhood and knodding at everyone I see on the street. I'm always sure to make eye contact, smile and even wave if I feel it's appropriate. If I ever turn up missing, I want the neighbors to know and remember the thirty-something Black lady who's always running with her Black Lab and in full reflective gear with LED lights. I wanna look pleasant, but I also want to look focused. I don't want to encourage conversation. This is a workout after all, and I'm not interested in chatting or being hit on. Besides, if you're not careful, you'll get maced, thanks to the little pink "Save The Ta-Tas" canister of Pepper Spray my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas.

At about mile 1.25, I am at the corner and there's a grown man holding up a Little Ceasar's Pizza sign that says "Hot & Ready - Large Pizzas $5". I remind myself to tell my children to be sure to stay in school and I keep on running. On my short runs, I would go ahead and cross this busy street, run under the freeway, make a left and head back home. But that's the 3.65 mile trek. Tonight, it's 6.5 or nuthin', so I head on down the street. I check my heart rate and I'm doing OK. I want to keep it below 165 because I don't want to go all out this early in the run. Besides, this is the hardest part, there is a very slight upgrade. The last half of the run is ever so slightly downhill.

I've hit mile 2 and it's starting to feel pretty good. Mile 2 is usually pretty good to me. The music is blasting and The Los Angeles Mass Choir is telling me "God Will Always Make A Way". That song always makes me wanna run. Yes, Jesus! By now I've got my runner's gait going and I've settled into a breathing pattern that sounds like music in my ears. There is no stopping me now and the Ibuprofen is handling the tingle in my knees fairly well. I'm starting to think this wasn't the worst idea in the world.

Mile 3 is the magic mile... Oh, I love mile three. Mile three is where I hit my first really major goal and I start working on the descend. The run is almost half over! I have another half mile to get to my favorite part of the run! It's a quieter street, there are no stores and very few driveways. It's the neighorhood Chris and I couldn't afford to move into when we were buying, but it's close enough to our neighborhood that we can still walk tall. These sidewalks look like they were paved just for running. And on top of everything else, there is that slight downgrade. I love it! We're at 3.5 miles, and it's time to start heading home.

Now I'm running toward the sun, but the sun is setting, so I take off my shades. Ahhhh..... there's that blessing I was looking for! My muscles are moving completely independently from any thought I could be having and I'm going into that Zen state where my body just goes. Yes.... This is the runners' high that you always hear about and yes, it feels good. You start to think, "I could do this all day" and you really believe you could! That pesky booty-wobbling shadow is behind me and the body in my head is strong, firm, talented and athletic! I'm well into mile 5 and I'm feeling goooood.....

I'm in the home stretch and I like this part of the run. It's busy and there are freeway entrances, restaurants, gas stations and whatnot. I don't mind running on busy streets as long as people are driving carefully. It's better than lonely streets, especially as I'm losing daylight. I have three quarters of a mile to go and I have to stop at a light. Drat! My heart rate is dropping so I'm dancing in place at the corner and I can't be bothered by the family of four who is cracking up in their SUV.

OK! the signal has changed and I'm off again!!! I'm back in my neighborhood. A quarter of a mile left to go and I am sprinting to the "Chariots of Fire" tune in my head. The other neighborhood dogs are barking and I look like a Christmas Tree running down the street with my LED lights on. Running straight for my house, I push myself to the very limit and throw open the door!

It's always the same scene. The house is a mess, the kids are screaming, the dog is jumping around and husband is supremely unconcerned that I have once again, slain The Beast. This is my Happy Place. I love it and I wouldn't trade it for a million dollars and ropes of diamonds.

Praise the Lord.