Friday, July 24, 2015

July 18th – 21st, 2015 – 7.43 Mile Run & 3.04 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 really have been meaning to write for months. I just haven’t been disciplined enough to make the time. But now I feel like I really need to get a goal posted!!

The Santa to the Sea Half Marathon is screaming towards us! December is just around the corner! A friend of mine, running genius and personal fitness consultant, Kim Melvin, gave me a Half Marathon training schedule. It’s about 12 weeks, which is typical, and seems quite doable.

I have never actually followed a training schedule when I was training for a Half. I just built up the miles and ran it! It seems to work for me. My position on running is that I’ll do it for as long as it’s fun. Once it stops being fun, I’ll stop doing it.

Once I discovered that focusing too much on speed robs me of the joy of running, I switched my focus and the joy returned.

Because of this, following a set schedule seemed like something that might rob my joy as well. But I can’t be sure until I try it. Maybe it will enhance the experience.

Ideally, I would run with friends. Running with friends helps with motivation, of course, but I’ve always been a rather solitary runner. For several reasons: (1) I run when I feel like it. Most times running with a group means I have to get up at the crack of dawn to meet them and I *really* hate mornings. (2) Speed has never been my main focus with running. Strength and endurance have always been the focus for me. Frankly, I don’t want to slow anyone down. If get up in the morning to run with a group that is faster than me, I end up running alone anyway. Might as well sleep in and run alone later, right? (3) I am just not a social runner. Even when I do run with others, I tend to have my headphones in and I almost never talk to people while I’m running. The only exception I can think of is my brother, who cracks me up so much during a run, I can hardly breathe. And (4) having a young family and working full-time means I am with people almost constantly. Alone time is a very rare commodity and running is my alone time. Just me and Michael and the open road and a bottle of pepper spray. Bliss.

If it seems like I’m making it excuses, I may be. I don’t know. I’ll have to try it and see.

First, I’ll have to adopt a schedule. Kim’s is awesome. Here it is:

Second, I’ll needed to find a group to run with. This came to me out of the beautiful blue. By the beautiful blue, I don’t mean the sky, I mean the Facebook blue.

Lina, a runner friend of mine posted that she was in search of someone who wanted to get up at 7:00am on Saturday to run 7+ miles with her.

As you all know, I am a person of Faith. I had been praying for the discipline to get up early to get the serious miles in. My relationship with God is very long-standing, so I have no idea why it always surprises me when He answers my prayers so swiftly. One must be careful what one prays for.

So up I got at 6:00am, so I could fuel up and leave for the agreed upon meeting place. A park, about a mile and a half from my house. A mile and a half is a perfect warm-up so I set out feeling pretty good.

When I got to the park, Lina wasn’t there yet, so I took the time to stretch and breathe.

When she showed up, looking cute and sweet and super fast, we exchanged pleasantries, briefly shared expectations (Me: Feel free to pull ahead. I am super slow and getting faster is not the goal for me / Lina: Ok, cool. Let’s go!) and hit the road.

It was a route that I am very accustomed to. I was very comfortable and the pace I kept was Half Marathon pace for me (about 12:30 min/mi).

This run was all joy. I hope we get to do it again sometime.

So! Now that I have a schedule and a friend to train with, I should be ready to go! Right? RIGHT!

I’ll keep you posted!

May 21st, 2015 – 3.04 Mile Run

This was just a maintenance run. Tuesday was calls for 3 miles. I did 3 miles. Doing 3 miles is fun. There’s not much to say against a 3-mile run.

It was humid but breezy. I ran it right after work and I didn’t take the time to fuel up properly or even hydrate appropriately. But it was 3 miles.

Three miles to an experienced runner, is like a Chocolate Labrador puppy. It’s smart, unintimidating and… cute.

See ya on the next run!!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 15th, 2015 - 3.07 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 just a regular maintenance run. There was nothing particularly wonderful about it. It was a little slow and it had been a little too long since my previous run, but I had to get this one in.

Today was the L.A. Marathon. I wasn't running it, of course, but I was there in spirit, as I knew a few people who were taking it on.

Lately, running has become more of a mental thing for me. I often find myself wrestling internally.

Should I go? I should go. I'm bummed because I can't go! Look at that lady! She's going! Wish I could go. I should have gotten up early to go. I'm not getting up early to go. No one's paying me to go. It's too cold to go. It's too dark to go. It's too hot to go. When should I go???

The obvious answer to these questions is forever and always "JUST GO!"

That is the challenge this spring and summer. To just go!

The biggest challenge will be working in a run while I'm taking care of these folks.

It may mean that the next few months will be about speed. Not because I want to get faster, exactly, but because I won't have much time to get my workouts in. I will try to keep my sessions under an hour.

This is an interesting challenge for me. I would very much like to PR in the 5k this year, but I can't help feeling a little lame for registering for a 5k. It may sound a bit snobby, but it's not just me!!! I know several runners who won't waste their Race Fees budget on 5ks. Not only that, the last time I did a race and I was stressed out about it because I felt like I hadn't trained well enough, the general consensus was "It's just a 5k. You're an experienced runner. You don't need to train, just go out and do it."

And they were not wrong!! My fitness is certainly at a level where simply finishing a 5k is a matter of course. But finishing well is not to be taken for granted.

I think for this reason, the 5k gets kind of a bad rap. My mother-in-law actually said to me once, "I didn't think you bothered with 5ks anymore."

The sad truth is , part of me wants to be seen this way! Like some racing badass who's too good for a measly 5k. But I know better. I know that I could spend the entire summer trying to PR in the 5k, and fail.

Yes, I would consider 3 miles a short run. Still, an experienced runner always respects the distance.

So that's the plan this summer. Lame or not, I will be on the watch for interesting 5 and 10k races.

And maybe a Half in the Fall. Sound good?

See you on the next run!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March 8th, 2015 – UCLA Move and Groove 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.”

It has been quite a while since I’ve posted but I have been running with some regularity. I have to confess that my running schedule has taken a serious hit over the last few months.

For some reason, I thought that when my children got a little older and more independent, I would be able to do my own thing more often.

That has not been my experience.

Aside from the figurative chess match that Chris and I have to play with Jordan to anticipate his next move so that we can thwart it, his social and overall extra-curricular activities keep us pretty busy.

He plays flag football with the Y and he’s a force to be reckoned with, I must say. Also, he is on the relay team for Junior Olympics as well as the softball toss.

Oh wait! Why yes, I did say the RELAY TEAM!!!!!

I seriously don’t want to overstate it, but this may be the best thing that has ever happened to me. Like, Ever!

I know, I know….. This is Jordan’s thing and I certainly don’t want to get in the middle of it. But I have always (since Junior High) *LOVED* track and field!!! I was never a superstar by *any* means. But I was reasonably good at hurdles and long jump.

I was *NEVER* fast enough to be on the relay team!!! So when Jordan made the team, I was ECSTATIC!!!

But I have to keep that under wraps. I don’t want to stress him out. Don’t want to put pressure on him. I will be happy with whatever he does, but OMGoodness, if he wins, I will lose my mind!!!

I problem is, I’ve never seen him in this kind of element. I’m not sure where to place my expectations. Should I expect him to blow everyone away? Or should I just be satisfied if he doesn’t flub the hand-off or drop the baton? Or Heaven forbid, step out of his lane!!!

So more often than not, I find myself just trying to be the encouraging and supportive Mom.

This takes a lot more time than you might imagine. Jordan keeps us pretty busy, but hang on! His is not the only “game” in town! We also have sweet Jayda, who is in Tech Week for the Spring production of “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.” She has two parts. She is a Silly Girl and she is a Napkin for the “Be Our Guest” number. Well obviously, this is the social event of the Season and is not to be missed!

Look at my babies!

And now, On to the Run!.....

This run was, as are most of them, very important to me. It seems that ever since I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer almost 2 years ago, every race is a milestone and a BIG deal!! Perhaps I should have always thought them big deals, but I didn’t. They were a matter of course for me. Taken for granted. I will never do that again.

This race was a good one. I was happy with this race. Ever since I underwent surgery and treatment, I have been trying to get back to what I called “My Old Self”. I feel like I have fallen short quite a lot frankly and for a number of reasons.

I have been on a chemical therapy drug called Tamoxifen for about a year now. There are several side effects that would affect an athlete: Elevated blood pressure and heart rate, blood clots, cramping in the feet and calves, dizziness and fatigue are just a few. Let us not even talk about mood swings or my menstrual cycle!

Fortunately, for me, these side effects have been pretty manageable but I can’t say that my running schedule has not been affected. But I don’t know that I can blame Tamoxifen for all if it.

My cancer story started in my 40th year. The 40th year is when things typically start to change for most people, healthy or otherwise. So I can’t be sure if I am more fatigued or if I can’t run as long or as fast or if I just don’t feel like gearing up, is an effect of Tamoxifen or just getting old!

I had a hard time training for this race. Finding the time was difficult, but even when I had the time, I found myself completely unmotivated.

Every time I did muster up the spunk to go out, I felt like a bona fide badass!! So running still holds its charms for me and the high is still a high.

With all of that under my belt and in my head, I set out for the Campus of UCLA. The Start Line was in the Wilson Plaza, off of Kauffman Hall. It was a beautiful day.

And here I’m thinking: I am under trained and ill-prepared. But I’m here. And when you’re at the Start Line, there is no complaining. There is no whining. There is no griping about what you could’ve, should’ve or would’ve done. It’s too late for that. All that matters now is the Finish Line.

So I got myself checked in and I still had about 15 minutes before the gun was due to fire. So I cranked up some Michael Jackson cuz he still gets me pumped and ran a quick ¾ mile just to get myself warmed up.

By the time I was corralled and swaying to the National Anthem, I was warm and ready to go!

It was a beautiful run. Hilly but not insane. I have absolutely no tolerance for hills so I was not at all surprised that Mile 2 was most challenging for me. Here are my splits.

All in all, a great run for me. Even at the top of my fitness, this would not have been a PR for me, but I would have been happy with this pace on a hilly course.

For the first time since I was diagnosed, I consider myself completely recovered. Completely. Recovered.

Say it with me: Completely. Recovered!!!

And for the first time in a very long time, I feel like an athlete.

See ya on the next run. And get your Mammogram!!!