Monday, February 28, 2011

February 28th, 2011 – 2.99 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.”

This was a great run. It was experimental. I had just received my 5-Fingers in the mail today!!! After reading “Born to Run”, I wanted to try running barefoot. I’d tried a barefoot run before and it felt great.

However! My Southern Baptist upbringing dictates that I can’t run around barefoot in public. A lady *never* shows her naked feet in public! So I thought these would be a great option.

All the articles I read about barefoot running said to start off very slowly, so I wanted to do an easy 3 miles. The previous barefoot run was 1.77 miles and that went very well. Three miles should be OK. If I had to walk the last mile, I had already decided to be OK with that.

I don’t know that I will be able to wear these with every workout, but I was really surprised at the way my body responded to them.

For one thing, it’s actually more comfortable to maintain a faster pace. Getting slow and sloppy hurts immediately so my form had to stay tight. Secondly, I was really surprised that there was no pain at all for the first two miles.

As I was working on mile 3, I noticed that I could hear my footsteps when previously, I could not. Hmmm…..

So it seems that as long as your footfalls are virtually silent, you’ll be OK. If you can hear your footsteps for 3 miles, you’re beating yourself up pretty badly.

By no means have I taken hold of the whole barefoot running thing, but I think it’s a good thing and I’m on my way. Good workout.

February 27th, 2011 – 3.70 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.”

This run was all joy. I ran it with Jordan. There was quite a bit of hill work but I couldn’t feel it. I was running with my Boy!!! It had been a pretty rough week for him at school and he had spent the whole weekend grounded. This was not a disciplinary run, though. It was all fun.

I needed to get a run in. I was desperate for it, really. It had been three days since my last run. I can skip a day with no trouble. I prefer not to skip two. By the third day, I’m starting to get really uncomfortable. I’m not sure if it’s the lack of motion that my body craves or the just the remorse I feel. Like I’m cheating on myself.

Whatever the reason, I really felt like I had to get out today. I told Jordan that if he ran it with me, I would take him to the Sweet Factory during the run. There were several stops and walk breaks so my pace was all screwed up, but it was a respectable distance.

Next month, I really need to start working on the full 10k distance and trying to get some decent speed worked up. I have never run a 10k without walking every 4 minutes. The goal is to do it 9 and 1 or to run the whole route.

The biggest issue that I have with that idea is that I never seem to really improve my time when I run the whole route and I tend to exhaust myself so that I need 2 days to really recover. I mean, a two-day recovery would be fine if I were knocking 5 or 10 minutes off my time, but when I’m not, what’s the use?

Aw, well… That trouble is for another time. We’ll talk about that later. Today is all about a glorious day, with a giant bag of Jelly Bellies and some bonding time with my favorite little man.

Love you, BIG Boy!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

February 23rd, 2011 – 3.02 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.”

This is a picture of a very tired lady! *sigh*

This should have been a very low key, relaxing run and indeed it was. I didn’t work hard. I wasn’t working on speed or trying to break any records. It was just a maintenance run to get the miles in for the night.

When I changed my clothes at the office and strapped on all my high visibility gear so I’d be ready to run home from the BGC when Chris dropped me off, I knew I was hungry. Starving is more like it.

But I figured: Aw, who cares? I’m pretty tough. It’s only a 3-mile run. A half hour at most. I can get through a 3-mile workout without being properly fueled. It’s not like I’m new to this.

I was right in theory but wrong where it counts. This is a rookie mistake and I most certainly should have known better. It was as if my WipeOut experience, where I did the shooting the day after a half marathon (have I mentioned that a few million times?) taught me nothing.

The moral of the story is: Your body always rules!!! – Your brain might think you are up and ready for something, but a healthy body will always try to preserve itself.

If your brain tells you, you can drink a gallon of liquor, your body will pass right out and leave your brain blank and lying on your friend’s front lawn until its ready to get up.

If your brain tells you, you can eat a 3000 calorie meal, your body will use what it can and store the rest as fat for a rainy day. If that rainy day never comes and the 3000 calorie meals continue, your body will begin to protest. That’s when diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and overall less effective organ function sets in.

Even when you live a relatively healthy lifestyle and your brain tells you, you can work out while improperly fueled, a well cared for body will carry you through the workout because it loves you BUT it will protest.

And when your brain tells you, you can compete well on “WipeOut” without being properly rested, a healthy body will carry you through, but don’t expect to make it to the WipeOut Zone!

All in an attempt to preserve itself.

In my experience, the ONLY time this isn’t true is during pregnancy. When you’re expecting, the tiny human in your body gets first dibs on everything!!! If you aren’t getting enough protein, iron or calcium, it will take it from your very bones with no regard for your wellbeing and leave you tired, weak and in extreme cases, with fewer teeth.

Tonight, I abused my body by doing my workout without properly fueling myself. I did get through the workout but my form suffered and fatigue came early. Consequently, I am feeling it in my knees and I am still tired the morning after.

So remember to take care of your beautiful, healthy body. It’s a good one, and it’s the only one you’ve got!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February 22nd, 2011 – 2.99 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 know I should stay upset, but this was a great run!!! Jordan got another note from the Principal. This time I ran him hard. Speed drills for three miles.

He ran and cried and cried and ran. I would have been furious but I just couldn’t be. I worked him pretty hard. We ran every block and had about a 5 second break at every corner. The rule was: Don’t let me beat you to that corner. He took it like a champ.

I was really proud of him. I may be ruining him for running but I really hope not. He could compete well in school. Much better than I did when I was his age.

I couldn’t run 3 miles when I was seven!

Good job Jordan! Now let’s have a better day at school today.

Monday, February 21, 2011

February 19th, 2011 – Love Your Community 5k

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.”

This was a great race!!! We were in the throes of a major storm system and I was sure we were going to get rained on (please forgive my ending a sentence with a preposition)!!! The weather turned out to be beautiful and God held the rain until the race was well over.

Also, I really really *really* wanted to PR this time. It was a perfect venue for a PR. Flat course. Great neighborhood. Inaugural event, so there were fewer than 200 runners. I hoped to place in the top 10 of my age group but that gets really difficult with these types of events.

For one thing, it was a smaller event, which draws people (like me) who are trying to PR. Secondly, the registration fee was really reasonable ($20), which draws all the people who are really fit but don’t like to run and they just wanna see how well they’ll do. Finally, the venue and the reasonable fee draws all the running clubs, groups and teams.

It’s really distressing when you train and train for a run and you psych yourself up and make yourself believe that you are a woman among women and you are going to DOMINATE this thing!!!

Then you get to the event and you see teenagers in their micro shorts and cross country team hoodies walking by with their young, strong legs with no cellulite or evidence of childbearing. They’re slim… and fast… and I’m pretty sure they’re all high.

But they’re nothing compared to the 30+ freaks of nature on those “Stroller Mom” teams! Those women are no joke and they will kick your ass! They show up with their super fit husbands with their Tri stickers on their cars and all the right running gear. They don’t run because they have to. They run because they need something to do between rock climbing, shark biting and alligator wrestling.

I can’t compete with those women. I know they’re in my age group, but they are machines. I don’t understand them at all.

And don’t under estimate that 73-year old Army Vet. He’ll kick your ass with a smile on his face and call you Ma’am while he’s doin’ it! I got passed by that guy right at the finish line. Crap! He was a worthy foeman and I love him for his Service but at that moment, I wanted to take him down with his own service revolver! Blast! He beat me by 4 seconds!

And then you run into the couple wearing their matching Official Boston Race jackets. Really? If you qualified for Boston, what the heck are you doing HERE?! Turned out they were just volunteers (their words. I would kill to “just volunteer” at Boston!)


Even with all that competition, I did reach my goal. I set out to run the race in under 34:28.4, which was my personal record and be in the top half of finishers. I did that (another preposition. Sorry). I ran it in 31:53 and finished 75th of 157. So I am calling this one a WIN! and I am so grateful that I get to belong to this exclusive group of people whom the rest of the world doesn’t understand.

Monday, February 14, 2011

February 12th, 13th & 14th – 1.25 Mile Hike, 3.87 and 2.14 Mile Runs

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 have added weight training to the mix. I know I am late to the game on this, but I resisted weight training for years simply because I just really hate it. Then I was presented with the only situation that would make me do this thing that I really hate: Chris made a commitment to be more active. *sigh*

I’ve been praying about this for months. Even before the doctor told us that he was headed for some serious health issues if he continued on the path he’s on.

I didn’t push or nag. Just told him that I would be up for whatever he chose to do and I continued to pray about it. Of course, I was really hoping that he would get into running, but I knew it was unlikely that he would.

Soon after the first of the year, he started making noise about weight training. I groaned inwardly cuz I just really hate weight training. But I’ve known for some time that I needed to start cross training and stretching.

So we were on the watch for a nice weight set that we could use together. We were hoping we could get something decent for $400. We looked and looked and finally made a decision and everything we wanted was going to cost about $379. Score!

Then I showed the brochure of what we were looking at to a friend at the office. He said, “You should buy my set. It’s just sitting in storage.” Cool! I asked how much he wanted and he said $20! SWEET!!!! Chris went to look at the set and it turned out he had an Olympic size bench with the bar and lateral pull down attachment, an abs bench, a flat bench, a curling bar, adjustable dumbbell, more weights than we will ever use and a tree to hang ‘em on! Chris decided to take it all and gave him $40!!!

Since we got such a great price on all of this wonderful stuff, Chris went and bought me a full set of kettle bells and a medicine ball for Valentine’s Day! So romantic! Seriously… I loved it!!!

So for the last 3 days, I have been running AND weight training. Needless to say, I am exhausted. Today’s run really showed it. It was so sloppy and it took twice as long as it should have for me to run 2 miles. Sure it was hilly, but it was just way too hard on me.

The 1.25 mile hike was all joy. I took Jordan on this hike and we ran through a really pretty avocado orchard. We took pix next to some beekeeper's boxes. It was probably dangerous. Clearly, we were on private property, but it was right at the same gate as the hiking trail and there were no signs that said “Keep Out”.

Here are the beekeeper's boxes. I just thought they were cool so I asked Jordan to take a pic.

Then he just kept snapping!

The 3.87 mile run was as also joy. A nice Sunday afternoon run. It was nice to do it because pretty soon, there will be no way I could run almost 4 miles in the searing heat that is Simi Valley! I took Jordan with me. I let him decide the pace. He decided we would do 3 minutes on and 2 minutes off instead of our normal 4 and 1. He wasn’t in any trouble so I allowed it. He wanted to hold hands on the walking intervals and who’s gonna say no to that?!

It was great. I love running with my boy!

The 2.14 mile run was almost total misery. Sure it was hilly and yes hills suck, but this run should not have been as hard on me as it was. But there was weight training on the same day as all of these runs with a .75 mile run at the end.

So, yeah… For me, this is over training. I will rest tomorrow. Tonight, I will rock the kettle bells and sleep soundly.

Here’s a special treat! Chris McDougall, author of “Born to Run” speaking at a Health Expo about the NYC Marathon and the Tarahumara. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

February 8th, 2011 – 1.18 & 2.77 Mile Runs

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 a rough day and running came to my rescue more than once. During the workday, I was struggling through unimaginative figures that would not balance no matter what I did and when I picked Jordan up from the BGC, he presented me with a note from the principal. *sigh*

The first run was along the creek bed behind my office. Strictly speaking, I was trespassing but people do it all the time. I had to hop a fence to get in.

It was an out and back route. It was a short run and there was nothing noteworthy about it. It was enough to take my mind off work for a few minutes and relieve the stress that was creeping up my neck from my shoulders. Felt good.

Getting home and dishing out disciplinary consequences was where the blessing really showed itself. Apparently, Jordan was very rude to his principal and had to write his own note, which he gave me to sign.

There are very few spankable offences in our house but bold-faced defiance is one of them. However, Jordan almost always has the option of working off a spanking. Working off a spanking usually consists of scrubbing a toilet, tub, mirror, wall or floor.

Tonight, it manifested itself in what turned out to be a 2.77 mile run. This is not the first time I have used running as a form of correction and I find it to be very effective. The lesson is: If you want to screw around at school, you’d better have a strong back!

I outfitted him in some running gear: an iPod Shuffle, arm warmers, running cap and a flashing clip light for high visibility, as we were running after dark.

There were to be no rest breaks, except for the traffic lights and even then, we would dance vigorously so our heart rates didn’t drop.

I didn’t work him beyond his capability, but I did work him hard. When we got to the halfway point, I gave him 60 seconds to catch his breath and he asked me why I run when it’s so hard. I told him, “Running is totally natural and it’s only hard because we have gone against nature for too long.” Then he asked, “Why do I have to run when I’m bad at school?” I told him, “Cuz I don’t pay bills for grown folks. After graduation, you have to get outta my house and if you’re not prepared for college, you will be prepared for Boot Camp!”

We turned around and headed back, running hard and waving at the people who were smiling at us as we were dancing at the crosswalks.

When we got back home and ran up the driveway, I gave him a high-five and told him he did well. Then I asked him, “College or Boot Camp?” He said, “College!”

Good boy!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

February 4th, 2011 – 8.43 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, I needed to run. I needed to run long. I needed to feel everything and nothing at the same time. I missed the drive, the freedom and the joy that comes with running until it’s just you and God and the movement of your body. So I decided to run home from work. Home is in the next town over. It sounds pretty impressive when I say it like that, but these little bedroom communities are all about 7 miles wide.

Mile 1 was rough. The first mile is almost always rough for me. I’m sure there are some elite runners whose conditioning is so great that they never need to warm up but I am *not* like that. I always need about .75 miles for muscles recognition to kick in. Also, mile 1 was very hilly and I had to fight to get over it. Then I walked down the other side because I haven’t mastered the art of running downhill without hurting myself and I couldn’t afford to injure myself right at the beginning.

As I am working on mile 2, I turned a corner and I started running down a highway. This is obviously the scariest part of the run. I have about 3 miles of highway before I reach the city limit and I am racing against the sun set. I was all decked out in my reflective gear and I had a flashlight and pepper spray in hand, but I really didn’t want to run this highway in the dark!

At about mile 4, I get a call from Chris telling me that he has run out of gas on the freeway and needs leave the car and walk home to get the other car and will I please call the BGC and the daycare lady to let them know that he is going to be late.

At this point, I am realizing just how self-centered I am when I am running. I was thoroughly annoyed by this. Not because I didn’t care about my stranded husband, but because I felt like I was in a far worse situation than him! I realize he hadn’t chosen his plight and I had brought my situation on myself , but, I was out there, at dusk, in the rape zone, trying to keep my eye on traffic and any fugitives in the bushes who might attack and now I have to be further distracted by a phone call he could have made! Other than that, there was very little I could do to for him in that situation. So I had to fight my way home and stress about whether or not Chris made it home and to the childcare providers before the kids realized something must be wrong.

It’s black as pitch by that point and more than a little frightening. I’ve decided that if any cars pull over, I would start screaming before I waited for any explanation because there is just no reason for any cars to be pulling over on this creepy highway.

When I’m rounding out mile 4, a truck pulls over and starts right for me. I raised my pepper spray and opened my mouth to start screaming my head off. Then the driver blew right passed me and pulled into one of the ranch homes. Sure, I scared him more than he scared me and he probably thought I was crazy, but who cares?! I have too much to live for to worry about looking stupid or making a fool of myself!

At Mile 5, I reach the city limit. It’s still really dark, but at least I’m running on sidewalks now.

At Mile 6, I passed the Target and the city lights are bright enough that I don’t have to use my flashlight any more. I’m feeling pretty good. Aside from the few inclines that I came across, I haven’t walked much at all.

At mile 7, I am feeling great! I passed the Golden Spoon and I wasn’t even tempted to stop in.

Mile 8 is great. My music is singing me home and I am so high on life, the police lights in my neighborhood don’t even phase me. I stop for a millisecond to make sure I don’t recognize any of the cars in what seemed like a pretty serious pile up, and keep on moving. I am desperate to finish this run in 1:45.

I made it home! The kids are eating pizza and the dog is licking the salt off my calves. I still needed to go get the car off the freeway with Chris so my day is far from over but at least I made it home safely (Thank you, Jesus!) and I don’t have to cook. Win Win!

What a great run!!! Can’t wait for Daylight Savings to spring forward so we can get more light in the day. Even though I would never allow my kids to do it, I will definitely do this run again.

Note: I had Chia Seeds and water before I started this run and I didn’t have to hydrate the entire time. Usually after a short 3 mile sprint, I am desperate for water when I get home but I ran this full route and didn’t even realize I hadn’t had any water until almost an hour after I made it home. I highly recommend Pinole and Chia Seeds for running fuel!

February 2nd, 2011 – 2.77 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 was good. The easiest and the hardest run I’ve ever done. I ran speed intervals on a hill. I ran 30 second sprints with a full 2 minutes of recovery, which was way too much. I knew it was too much, but I did it anyway. So this was a wimpy run but I enjoyed it.

The first mile was miserable because I’d never done speed intervals before, but the rest wasn’t bad. In the past, whenever I focused on speed, it sucked all the joy out for the process.

And what is the point of doing it if it doesn’t bring joy? I’m not getting paid. I’m not in the elite league. When I register for a race, I’m not gonna be the one tearing the tape. If there’s no joy then there is no point. Beating myself up on the pavement is almost completely useless. My only goal at any race is to finish faster than I did last time.

While focusing on speed is a drag, focusing on kicking your own arse is glorious. That’s what this run was all about and I that’s what I did. It wasn’t much. It wasn’t great. But it rocked! Cuz it’s all about joy.

This is me hanging with my daughter, which brings me joy.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January 30th, 2011 – European XC Challenge – 5K

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.”

This was a great race! I had never done one like this before. I usually stick with road races and the occasional appearance on WipeOut. This race was different in many ways, but the most significant to me is that this was the first bona fide “race” I’d ever done, really.

Even with the half marathons I’ve done, there were people there who showed up with every intention of walking the entire route. With this race, every level of fitness was represented, but every participant ran it. There were no walkers. Even though no one seemed overly concerned with their time, everybody was there to race!

It was relatively flat but this was a rough course. Marshy and wet, with many obstacles, natural and manmade. This is the difference between road racing and cross country competition and I can absolutely see why people get addicted to it. It was awesomely insane!!!

Here’s a bit of the course. It may not look like it, but God sent the rain and upped the awesome level.

This is Ben making announcements. “We tried to make the course as safe as possible, but it’s still pretty bad so watch out!” Really… This was is opening speech.

And here we are at the Start, with Ben's dire warning still ringing in our ears and completely unconcerned.

This is me at the Start. Happy to be healthy enough to take this kind of abuse. Praise God!!

I think this guy was first in the 10k.

This is me at the Finish! All muddy and wet, but glad to me there!

This is the lady that I chased for 2.5 miles. She was in FANTASTIC shape and I was thrilled to pieces to be able to keep up with her. We were strangers at the Start and good friends by the end. I only beat her because she dashed into a thatch of bamboo grass to go pee. That’s hardcore!

A great race! Much love to the organizers. I was 5th in my age group. The lady in 4th place beat me by a quarter of a second.

January 28th, 2011 – 3.08 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.”

This run was pretty rough. I ran on my lunch break again. For some reason this route is always really hard for me. It’s an out and back route and it’s relatively flat, although there is a slight incline on the return trip.

There is a lot of traffic on the street and many big rigs, so the air quality is pretty poor. I suppose that can have something to do with it, but I don’t know.

After the first mile or so, I got to run the creek. I always like running creeks. You get the muscle recall exercise of running on dirt without having to go to the edge of town and the footing is usually surer than a normal trail run.

I am running the Compete Green European XC Challenge this weekend. There is a 5k and 10k option for the same price. I am registered for the 5k but if I get there and feel like I’m up to the 10k, I’ll go ahead and do it. The fees are the same and they start at the same time.

I’ve never done a XC race before. This one is supposed to be flat but it is on a marshy trail with obstacles and whatnot. “Natural and man-made” is how the obstacles are described on the course description.

I’m looking forward to it! Let us hope that’s a better run than this one. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day and a bad workout is 10 times better than no workout.