Monday, August 22, 2011

August 17th & 21st, 2011– 5.00 & 3.74 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.”

Both of these runs were bittersweet for me.

August 17th, 2011 – 5.00 Mile Run

This was a run where Chris dropped me off 5 miles away from home and I just ran it in. Jordan had gotten in trouble at the BGC, so I made him run it with me. In my opinion running is *way* better than spanking. Not that I’m terribly opposed to spanking on the rarest of occasions, but if you had to choose, wouldn’t you rather just run him for 5 miles? Sure you would!

He took it like a man for most of the run. When we were about a mile from home, he started to break down. Four miles is the longest I’d ever run him so it made sense that he would hit the wall at this point. I gotta hand it to him though, he did pretty well. We were running very slowly but he was in bad shoes and wasn’t wearing proper running gear. I would have been uncomfortable too. Good job, Little Man!!

Unfortunately, during the same time Jordan and I were getting this run in, a very old and very dear friend of mine was about to Cross Over. Scott Nelson was a friend from high school. He graduated two years ahead of me and we sang in the award-winning Mt. Whitney High School Pioneer Choir together.

We were partnered together for one of our annual shows and I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world! He was the best of good guys. Super hot, very talented, super fit and just good at everything he did. He was a shining star in Choir. Choir members were not the band & chess club geeks you might imagine. Not that I have a thing to say against band nerds or Chess Club geeks. I think they rock! I love geeks!!

But when I was in high school, Pioneer Choir was definitely the destination of the Big Men/Women on Campus. Half the football team was in Choir and just about the entire cheerleading squad. Not that it matters really, I only mention it because for generations football players and cheerleaders seem to always be the barometer for which “coolness” is measured. And I say it to say that all the cool kids were in Choir and Scott was the coolest of cool kids.

“The Lord Bless You and Keep You” was a song that Pioneer Choir sang every year at the annual Christmas Show. We sang it when I was in high school, twenty years ago and they sang it up until the director transferred to Point Loma University. They may still sing it now. I hope so. It was a great tradition.

This is for you, Scott. Rest well, my friend:
(Mt. Whitney Pioneer Choir – 2000)

Throughout the years Scott stayed connected with the school, being a beloved football coach and math teacher. He remained an avid Tri-athlete and all-around fitness guru. He was a member of the city Tri-Club.

During a regular training session, he was biking with a friend down Rocky Hill Drive in my hometown. He struck a teenaged runner. The runner survived with minor injuries, but my dear friend spilled and couldn’t recover from his injuries. He perished at the scene.

August 21st, 2011 – 3.74 Mile Run

This was another run where we were on our way home from running another errand and I asked Chris to drop me off so I could run it home. This was a very pleasant run in a GREAT neighborhood. Scott was still very heavily on my mind so it was kinda rough in patches but I was glad to be out there again.

It had been awhile since I was able to face another workout. But we must keep moving….

Bye, Scott.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

August 2011 Week One – 10.2 Miles Total

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.”

Although, August is working out to be as busy as July was, it’s starting out to be a better month for fitness. I hope I can have a pretty strong month, as I can’t seem to find a race to participate in.

There is a half marathon I’d like to register for in September. Maybe Chris will register me for my birthday. If so, I’ll use August to prepare myself for it.

I’ve been excited to try my new Stinger Waffles, but I haven’t done a long enough run to warrant it. I’ll letcha know how it goes when I do.

August has been pretty crazy already. My Uncle Leon passed away and that was unexpected. So I had to shift some plans to make it out to Bakersfield to attend the funeral. He was one of the coolest. Rest well, Uncle Leon.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a Southern Baptist funeral. If you have, you know that they are very formal. My mother (far right) is the last of 13 siblings. This is only a fraction of them, but all the siblings wore white with red roses. I’m just a grandchild, so a fabulous gold suit would do for me.

Another thing you would notice about Southern Baptist funerals is that while they are very somber, we believe we will see Uncle Leon again so they also tend to be very happy occasions. Here’s a fraction of my very large, happy and well dressed family. It’s over 100 degrees In Bakersfield and we are still so cool!

Then, as you may know, I am a HUGE Michael Jackson fan! So I took a day out in the month of his birth (b. August 29th, 1958) to remember The King and visit his grave. I went with my friend Sherri to the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. This is me posing with his clothes, I’m *so* excited!

And here I am at his grave with my offering of sunflowers and a nice note. Many other fans were there too. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who mourns the loss of the greatest entertainer who ever lived. I love Michael!!!

Now on to the run:

August 1, 2011 – 3.05 Walk
I have been meaning to add walking to my workout so that I might learn a little patience. I am still reading “A Few Degrees From Hell: The 2003 Badwater Ultra Marathon” and I am learning the value of training passed exhaustion and to just keep moving.

Jordan got in trouble at the BGC so I told him he had to walk the 3 miles home. We talked about why he’s always in trouble and tried to come up with means and ways to help him. It was a nice walk but took way too long.

Turns out I don’t have the patience for walking or my son when he’s not behaving. It’s not that I won’t try it again, but running is just better. We all know this.

August 2, 2011 – 3.82 Mile Run
This run was very therapeutic for me. Right before this run, I’d learned that my Uncle Leon had passed away. I ran it without music which is unusual for me and just took the time to pray for my family and think about my uncle. Just listening to the rhythm of my breathing and grateful for every breath.

When I got back from the run, I called my mother…. That’s almost always frustrating. This time wasn’t any different. More prayer and grateful for the run.

August 9, 2011 – 3.03 Mile Run
The funeral is finished and the late days at the office have ceased for the moment so I can get back to my regularly scheduled program. I asked Chris to drop me off at the BGC so I could run home.

It had been a week since my last run so I was very ready for this one. I knew it was going to be short, so I felt like I could push myself a little bit. So I sprinted the city blocks and recovered at the traffic lights.

The weather was just perfect. I know the rest of the world thinks we’re fruits and nuts, but I l just love living in Southern California!

August 10th, 2011 – 3.40 Mile Run
This was just a maintenance run. I won’t be able to run tomorrow because scheduling won’t permit it so I wanted to be sure to get this run in. This was a nice easy run. When we picked Jordan up from the BGC, I asked Chris to drive an extra block up the road so I could get just a little bit more distance with this run.

It is on these runs where I am looking for the joy. I often find it. Running is the silver bullet of health and fitness and the Green Tea of exercise. The more I read and research about it, the more I think “Why doesn’t everybody do this?” It seems to fix everything and make everything better. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks and it’s something everyone can do, at least a little bit. So have a cup of green tea then strap on the Asics and hit the road.

QUERY: While I do love the running, I need a solution to this!

These specialized, long distance, moisture wicking running socks cost $13 a pair. For me, that’s a lot of money, especially considering I could get a 6-pack of socks for $10 at Target! I went to a specialized running store and bought these after a consultation with one of their “fitness experts” after telling him that I needed socks that would stand up to long distance running. He positively assured me that these were the socks of my dreams (Yeah... I dream about running socks!). They would keep my feet dry, blister free and would last for months.

If you follow my blog, you know that I am a recreational runner, intermediate at best. I get about 3 miles in at every workout and I do the occasional half marathon. These socks are practically brand new and they already have holes!!!

I don’t use my running socks for anything but running, I wash them very gently and I keep my toenails trimmed. Does anyone else have this problem? How long should quality running socks last and do you think it would be OK to darn these socks or would the extra seam cause blisters?

Monday, August 1, 2011

July 19th thru 31st, 2011 – 19.17 Miles Total

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.”

July 2011 was a rough month for fitness for me. The kids had swim lessons, which they enjoyed thoroughly and I enjoyed watching them go. Also, there was a lot of activity at the office as we were making ready to ship a new release. WOO-HOO!!!

Needless to say, I let life get in the way of my workout a lot this month. So I will be covering 7 activities with this entry.

July 19th, 2011 – 1.5 Swim & 1.17 Mile Walk
This was a swim after the kids’ lessons. Afterward, I walked home, looking ghetto fabulous in my Egyptian cotton wrap, my Crocs, Marc Jacobs sunglasses and my hair all over the place. I asked Chris to go ahead and take the children home after class and I would walk back but I kept my running bag with me, so I looked like a pampered homeless person, carrying 40 lbs of gear.

Wouldn’t trade it, though, because it was either that, or no workout at all. So I’m calling it a win.

July 24th, 2011 – 4.1 Mile Hike
The Wildwood Trails! I’d heard that there was a waterfall somewhere on this trail and I was determined to find it. This was a hilly trail and the terrain was rocky at times. But it was firmly packed and very well populated.

I had a great time with this one. I didn’t realize until afterward that I had taken the long way to the waterfall, but that was A-OK with me! I enjoyed every minute of this run/walk.

July 26th, 2011 – 3.07 Mile Run
As you may know, I am a HUGE Michael Jackson fan. I went out with a friend this week and she recommended that I read "Moonwalk". This is the one and only autobiography of the King of Pop. It was certainly not brilliant, but it was a nice look into the brain of a musical genious. It may seem like a bit of a stretch to say that reading it made me a better runner, but I really believe it did.

Whether you're a fan or not, it can't be denied that he was great at what he did. Therefore, if you are seeking greatness in any aspect of life, it may behoove you to at least consider his advice. One thing that was prevalent in the book was that he was always studying: watching James Brown, Jackie Wilson and Fred Astaire. And he was always reading about his craft and working toward bettering himself and learning from people who had done it before him. I loved that about him. And he was so committed to everything he undertook. He either cared not at all or one hundred and crazy percent!

So I’ve started reading “A Few Degrees From Hell: The 2003 Badwater Ultra Marathon” and discovered that I am a GIANT wimp!!! These folks are no joke! Crossing Death Valley in a 135 mile foot race in record heat is nothing short of amazing! It is a book full of people who care one hundred and crazy percent.

I highly recommend the book. It is a compilation of the accounts of 25 Badwater finishers. Their stories are more than remarkable. I was a quarter of the way through the book when I had to stop and find the YouTube videos of “Running on the Sun”. You gotta check it out. It adds pictures and faces to the stories, which is always inspiring.

The book and the video encouraged and inspired me because while these folks were certainly fantastically fit, most of them weren’t professional runners. They weren’t all “young” either. Many of them were older than me…. some, *much* older. But what inspired me more than anything is that just about all of them walked. They walked large portions of the race.

Now, I know it was 135 miles and that is, Ummm….. WOW! But at the core of it, it was a race. A race that they trained for, planned and prepared for. And they weren’t shocked to find that they had to walk. For many of them, walking (particularly the hills) was always a part of their training.

The point is: These are the best of the best in the running world and they felt no shame in walking. I always thought walking was a sign of defeat and failure. But no. I have heard it before from better runners and now I *finally* believe….. There is no shame in walking!!!

Well, I didn’t walk for this run. It was only 3 miles. But I ran it easy, with the Badwater finishers on my mind the whole time, encouraging me along the way. Great run.

July 28th, 2011 – 3.92 Mile Run
This run was extra nice. We were visiting the In-Laws because they needed some technical support. While Chris was working on their issues, I took the opportunity to run the beautiful hills of Camarillo.
It was nice and easy.

July 30th, 2011 – 3.26 Mile Run
This was just a maintenance run. Just a little something to get the miles in. I’m not sure what’s going on with the weather, but it has been so mild and wonderful here lately. There hasn’t been a day when I had to cancel my run because of the heat.

Now that I am reading “A Few Degrees from Hell”, I thought, as long as it wasn’t over 95, there was no reason for me to stay home. So I was mentally ready for some heat training. However, when I got ready to hit the pavement, it was almost chilly!

We went to a Saturday night service at church, so I asked Chris if he would drop me off on the highway. Once the soft shoulder gave’ way to an actual paved sidewalk, he pulled over and let me out so I could run the rest of the way home. The traffic was pretty sparse for a Saturday night so I guess I lucked out. Another great run.

July 31st, 2011 – 2.15 Mile Hike
This was the same Wildwood Trail. But this time I took the short way to the waterfall. Jordan wanted to see it. I was supposed to get a long run in, but when your son wants to hang out with you, you change your plans.

The month was already shot for booking any record breaking mileage reports, so I was OK with letting it ride. School starts next month and things should get back to normal.

At this time last year, I made a commitment to run one organized race every month for 12 months. August 2011 would have been the 12th month, but I can’t find a race in my area in August. It’s weird. It’s as if the whole running and fundraising community is on a hiatus. I will keep looking to see what I can find, but if I can’t find anything soon, I will change my goal and make August 2011 the month where I clock my first 13+ mile run. I’d be calling that a win too.