Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What's On Deck

Sometimes the best way to keep myself in check is to put it in writing. For all to see. To hold me accountable. But then if I subscribe to the “Don’t take anything personally” mentality what do I care if everyone knows or not? Which means I can only be accountable to myself. Even if I do good, I have to believe it. And if I do badly I have to deal with it. So the whole accountability thing should not work in theory. But then should is a great word. It comes right after “try” on my list of most irksome word. Do or do not. There is not ‘Try’. Yoda said that I believe. Anyway, it helps to write things down I think. And there is no more room for reorganizing this week so it’s got to play out like this.

Tonight I need to run and do some strength training.
Thursday I need to bike and swim then go to kickball
Friday is biking and strength training
Saturday is biking, swimming, the Kentucky Derby, a green expo, and travel…..yikes!
Sunday I will be walking the MS Walk and then swimming

Luckily I am just starting training so the time commitments are no more than an hour each day, save Sunday.

I’m also writing this now because I am cranky at work and at least I can control my workout. Unlike this program I am creating that keeps failing which clearly has nothing to do with the user……I wish this day would quit me. How do I get some kind of sponsorship so I can get paid to train? Since I’m not the fastest, maybe I can convince some company that I am the most inspirational. That’s a good angle.

Ugly Shirt

For those interested here is a picture of the ugly 10k shirts.It's hard to see from the picture, but the middle river looking part is a sea of people with trees on either side. This picture does not show the snow that was coming down....must have been taken from another year. Oh, and I don't have a picture of the back which is equally as bad. There were about 7 sponsers who are all listed in bright bold red lettering all the way down the back. Ususally, there are sponsers listed, yes, but typically they don't take up the entire back. Oh well. I've got plety of T-Shirts that I like and I don't wear.

Once I heard/read (I can't remember) that a grandmother/mother (somebody - I can't remember)....

stay with me, I remember the good part,

made a blanket out of all the shirts that this girl had collected from her high school years. Sort of like a patchwork quilt. I think that would be really neat to do someday when I am done with the race shirts. To sort of have a memory of all the races I ran. And it would be recycling to boot!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekend Pick-up Race

I decided late Thursday night that if I was going to go out and support my boyfriend for his 10K (one which I had already declined to participate in when he asked) and if I was going to be running 6 miles anyway that weekend, I might as well get a t-shirt out of the deal so I hastily signed up for the race. The t-shirt is the ugliest one I have ever gotten.

The weather was the worst I have ran in. I think. Unless I have blocked worse from my memory. It was gusty and snowing!! And of course cold because gusty and snow never come alone. Cold race days are tough because how do you dress warm enough for the pre-race period, what do you do with your stuff you aren't wearing during the race, and most importantly, how do you get warm after the race?

Even with bad conditions, I ended up with at 6.2 mile record. I was pleased with my 10:45min/mile average pace. Yet, I can't ditch this nagging feeling I had that I had in fact run a faster 10K at some point. I could have sworn it was in 1:04 and change, but how could that be? That would mean about 10:20min/miles. Impossible right? Nope. I checked my garmin and it said that in fact I had run 6.21 miles September 9, 2007 in 1:04:09. Bummer dude! But that was not really a race, nor on a certified course, but I bet I was hauling that day because I don't think the time and distance are that far off. You know that I think about it, I think even blogged about it! Let's check the records.

Yup. Sure enough:

I'm all confuzzled. In this post on 9/21 I claim it as my fastest at 1:04:41, yet my garmin has a faster time the week prior. Whatever. I felt great about the race. Feel like it was a fast time for me. Still froze to death (nearly) on the way home.

Back to the race real quick, there was this girl that I seemed to be pacing with well so I thought maybe I would just follow her the whole way. I took a liking to her especially because she was wearing dang near the exact outfit I wore in the 1/2 last weekend. I called her Mini-E. She was thinner, taller and had a cleaner stride than me. So I thought if I can keep up life, will be good. Just before the half way point I thought "I wonder if Mini-E is holding me back?" So I passed her and never looked back. As far as I know I finished before her, but it was a busy race. Along the wayI thought this was somehow symbolic. Maybe on some deep (deep) level there is a mini-e inside of me holding me back because she is safe and I need to pass her and keep running.

Let's not think to deeply on this one, huh?

Tri Report:
Week 1 and I'm already backed up! Today I need to swim and bike and do some strength training. Completely doable except I didn't get in my minimum 15 miles running this week and that's going to bum me out, but I don't think I want to run today with the other stuff on the menu. We'll see, but don't expect much.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Swimming, biking and running oh my!

Why is it that when you are on a bike you are always going into the wind no matter which way you turn? Ug. Today was the first official bike ride. It was only 20 minutes and supposed to be at a high cadence, but I'm not sure what that means so I just tried to go fast. Fast=15 mph. I ended up going about 5.2 miles in about 22 minutes. It was alright I guess. I can see where biking for an hour and then running for a 1/2 hour is going to be a challenge. Well good - I didn't sign up for a cake walk.

Yesterday's swim seemed easy enough, but I am headed back to the pool tonight to try some technique drills. Without an instructor this is going to be kind of hard to really improve on my efficiency, but it's worth a try. I am hoping to just be able to increase my endurance for swimming and get stronger.

My run on Tuesday wasn't really worth mentioning. 3 miles - eh done. Thursday I am going to do some interval training on a hill. I would like to keep my weekly mileage between 15 and 20 miles per week. Actually, I probably won't ever hit 20 but I'll pretend I am being restrictive for training sake. As if I didn't have a ceiling I would go hog wild and accidentally run 60 miles one week. It could happen.......

This is a side note: I never, not ever spell 'challenge' correctly. I always spell it challAnge and good ol' spellchecker always corrects me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What's your motivation?

I think my secret motivation for trying new sports all boils down to the fact that I gotta buy more gear! I'm not athletic, I have a shopping addiction. At least I feel like if I am buying gear it has a useful purpose instead of the excuse that I just generally "need" it.

Case in point:
Last summer I bought some nice collared polo shirts when I took up golf. The clubs were purchase the year before.

This winter I bought a new snowboard. That was after the winter before I had bought snow pants and a winter coat.

For the 10 mile last year, I needed hydration belt for the long runs and hot summer days (and nights it turned out).

I'll keep running long distances to justify my need for energy replacement products because I like the hardcore feeling I get when I have been at something for so long that I need to refuel 1/2 way through.

I finally broke down and bought a yoga mat when I realized that other people step on the mat with bare feet in the exact spot I put my face.

I need a new pair of running shoes every 6 months or so because I wear them out (this purchase alone is enough to keep me running for years!); specific clothes for races in certain weather; headbands, gloves, socks, tank tops, jackets, long sleeve sweat wickening, long sleeve warmth conserving, etc.

The list goes on, but I digress.

I bought goggles and a swim cap in anticipation for tri-trainig.

And I still neeeeeeeeed so much more!

Swimming suit - something sporty that will stay on
Biking outfit for after the swim
One of those handy race number belts so my number always shows when I change clothes
Sporty sunglasses
Biking shoes (might need these)

I can't wait to go shopping!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Earth Day 1/2 Marathon

Wow! Wow. Fantastic, difficult, fun. Lots of great descriptor words for this race. Man, it was hard. If you can run 3 miles and you jump up to 5 one weekend, it's a challenge, doable. If you go from 8 to 10 again tough, but you can do it. I was not expecting the jump from 11 miles to 13 to be so difficult. Oh man, the last .5 miles was brutal.

The course was basically flat but there were a few uphill parts. I know I have strong legs because I may not have been as fast as most people, but when runners started dropping like flies going uphill, I powered on and made it to the top. It was nice to know I had the endurance. They say that the excitement of race day will keep you going until the end even if this is the first time you are going that distance. What race day did for me is make me excited and my pace a little faster than I wanted. But that's ok - I did great for the first 7 miles. I felt really good. And my pace was about 15 seconds faster than my goal. I mainly had a goal to keep me moving along. Really it was just a guideline that I wanted to stick by. And if you consider that I took walk breaks at 2, 4, a shorty at 5 and then 6 all 1 minute each, then that means I was running faster than just 15 seconds faster than my goal pace. I'm proud of this. Miles 8-10 were tough, but I got through them at closer to my actual race pace. Between miles 9 and 10 the time seemed to fly by. So that was nice. Getting to 11, then 12 and finally 13 was a whole other story!

My Forerunner showed a drastic change in pace, and not a positive one. All miles were over 12 min/mile! After mile 12 before getting to 13 I must have walked every quarter of a mile. I told you it was brutal. Three to four of us started introducing ourselves and shouting encouragements as we passed each other between walking. We just kept going back and forth. By mile 12 I could hear them announcing names at the finish line which was like a false bottom. I felt a lot closer than I actually was.

My last walk break was about 1 block long. This lady I had been running back and forth with asked how long I was going to walk and I said "Just to this last corner because then people are watching!" We got to the corner and both of us just bolted. Well as fast as one can bolt after running 13 miles. The last effort lasted about .15 miles and I worried that I spoke too soon and didn't have it in me to finish. But I did. We crossed the finish line at the same time. I didn't even cry I was just so happy. I didn't cry. Until I was sitting by my aunt and she hugged me and I collapsed on her shoulder and said "That was SO HARD!" because I finally didn't have to do it on my own anymore; she could hold me up.
Let me go back to the beginning for a minute. I left out the part how there were almost 1800 people in the race and I was closer to the back of the pack that was lined up at the starting line. When the gun went off and we headed toward the first corner, I am not kidding, there were like 5 people behind me. Total. I was so disheartened, but I kept thinking, run your own race. You know how long this is going to be and you know what you can do. Just keep doing your own thing. Sure enough, shortly after the first mile I started passing slower people and walkers. The longer the race went on the better my position became. I still only finished about 80 people ahead of the last person, but eh. Whatever. It was a small race and I think the level of runners was higher that usual. I mean people don't just sign up for a 1/2 Marathon a few weeks before and wing it (if you're a newbie I mean) so I think people were pretty prepared.

Something very disappointing is that my finish time on the results page is like 2:37 something! First of all, my Forerunner said I did 13.36 miles in 2:36 so something stinks in suburbia. Also, I was a good two minutes behind the gun when I crossed the start line and I think the official time is based on the official start. The better have a chip time at some point otherwise I'll have to tell people that I was pacing 12 minute miles. And I didn't! But I believe you have to go by what the results say when people ask. It's too much to explain (except to your closest friends and your blog) that the results say this, but your forerunner said that and really if you take into consideration the winds speed.......blah, blah, blah - you have to take what the clock says.

I feel great! Each day I feel better and better about the race. Nothing but good feelings about it. I might even sign up for a 10 mile race in June. There is also another 1/2 then, but I think I am good with 10.

It's going to be a good week!

Hello Triathlon training!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Eye of the Storm

Ah – the taper week. A final week of rest. A time to bask in the glory that has been the training thus far; to reflect on how far you have come. And to worry that by not running your usual mileage you will somehow lose everything you have painstakingly built up. At least I do. Experience should tell me that this is not true, but habits are hard to break.

I'm eerily calm today. I’m ready to run.

Pain is my privilege. I am tremendously fortunate to have the body and the mind to be able to run. I’ll have family and friends there to cheer me on and many more supporting me in thought. Their presence and support are sources of strength for me. I hope I make them proud.

Inspiration Ally:

“By perseverance the snail reached the ark.” - Charles Haddon Spurgeon

(This is not an indirect slam towards myself about speed, just a good quote)

“You're not obligated to win. You're obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day.” – Marian Wright Edelman

And a favorite of mine:

"Success is my only mother*$&#) option, failures not.......Feet fail me not, this may be the only oppourtunity that I got." - EMINEM

Thursday, April 17, 2008

E Eats Everything

If I had a theme song, today, this would be it. Get a grip, Emily! GEEZ!

In Other New

My goal for April was to catch up with friends. I made a list of who I wanted to call, who I wanted to email and how often I was going to communicate with them (at minimum). So far I have to say, I’m not doing so well. I’ve only emailed 2 people and I have a much longer list of people to call. It’s strange. I want to talk to these people, I care about what is going on in their lives, but sometimes it just seems like I shouldn’t start a conversation unless I have about 2 hours open in case we go that long. Seems very rude to say “Look – I’ve only got 10 minutes because I’m very busy, but I wanted to get you called”. Then again if we talked more frequently for shorter intervals maybe I wouldn’t need such a big block of time. I still have 2 weeks (I’m giving myself until May 3rd) so if you are reading this and you haven’t heard from me in a while, consider this your warning.

As if I wasn’t nervous enough about planning for the race, not to mention actually running it, I have to give my 6th speech on Friday morning. I feel like I have gotten to a point where I can whip out these speeches no problem. Well there is one problem; whipping them out doesn’t help me become a better communicator. I’m just spinning my wheels and wasting my time by doing so. I’m really going to focus as much as I can to practice and improve on this one. Even if it is last minute.

Kickball is starting tonight. Yes – it’s an adult league. How fun, huh? My uncle once said to me “Yeah – I’m thinking about joining a hide and seek league myself”. Hardy har har. It’s a whole other group of friends to hang out with. It’s fun to be involved in stuff.

And that’s the other news in a nutshell.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Mitch Hedberg was probably the funniest comedian out there. I got to see him in person for a recording of his last CD before he passed away. Anyway, hear this on XM radio and it was somewhat relevant since I just purchased something with "easy payments".

Look for more of his stuff on youtube. You won't be disappointed.

Wave on Wave

I'm getting excited. Then I get nervous. But mostly I stay excited. Oh and sometimes I feel apathetic, but it goes back to excitement.

Do people think I'm a runner? Who cares! I cannot/will not be labeled! It's exhilarating to just be. And be happy. On Saturday I'm going to rise to a challenge. And that's what it's all about.

The biggest unknown I have about the race is how I'm going to write something witty on my shirt with out actually writing on my shirt.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Success and Support

I have arrived. One week until race day. The 11 miles I ran yesterday helped to calm my nerves a little. Before yesterday I was viewing this last long run as a 50 page research paper I had to write. I was staring a a blank document with the cursor blinking and thinking how much work and effort this was going to take. But to my surprise I felt good after 5 miles, my legs starting tiring at 8 but I knew if I could just get to 9 that it would only be another 3 miles and I could make it. The last 3 were the final miles; I was out of the guts of the run and into the end. By the time I hit 10 I was so excited to be going the longest distance of my life that I found some energy somewhere. It didn't last too long, but it was just enough to get me to 11. I needed this run. It left a positive feeling with me that everything is going to work out.

Fun story: My boyfriend finished his run right as I was arriving to start mine. I asked him how far he went and he displayed his Forerunner. It said 13.1. I said Wow! Did you do a 1/2 for me? He said yes and I said - great! I can go home then. :) I had been very apprehensive about this run all week and he knew it. So I think this was his way of helping me, by challenging himself too, he was putting himself in my situation. It was nice to have him go before me. Then he showed up with the dog after I was finished and was walking the last quarter of a mile to my car. I cried. It was so nice to see him. The day was a struggle and he was proud of me and was there to revel with me in my success. He picked up a nice pasta dish for me on the way home, and got the ice packs out of the freezer. I would do the same for him.

Fast forward 2 hours. I'm laying on the couch. I made my "long run reward" purchase of the Wen hair care system (only $29.95 but then you have to pay $90 for the 90 day supplies after the into period....we'll see about that). It was an infomercial that I had my eye on for a few weeks now. The only thing better than shopping online is shopping from your couch! Anyway, I was laying there when I got this intense craving for a blizzard from DQ. It was an inner struggle like no other. You would have thought I was dealing with Sophie's Choice. I didn't want to move, but I wanted it real bad! This was a dilemma. So I turned to my friend and texted her with my problem "How do I get to DQ when I can't even walk?". She replied back "Want me to pick you up?". Keep in mind that this friend had just ran 18 miles that same morning - her longest run ever too. Now that's a good friend. I think it was the best blizzard I ever had. I mean how often can you say you deserve a blizzard?

Beautiful day, lots of sun to boot. All in all - a victorious day.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Biggest Loser

I love this show. I love Jillian Michaels. I want her to be my best friend.

That yells and me and calls me a girl scout.

(to my friends reading this, I like you the way you are. Please do not start doing this just because I want Jillian to)

The only thing keeping me on the treadmill last night was that I wanted to watch this show and I thought well I might as well be on the treadmill instead of standing in front of one watching the television. The one chick, Ali, lost 11 pounds. IN ONE WEEK! And she only weight 140 something to begin with. The other girl, Kelly, lost 13. Seriously!?! That can't be healthy. But they have doctors and trainers and stuff so I guess they know what they are doing. I'm not gonna try it, but holy cow! These girls rock. They totally beat both the men!

*sigh* It was a good show. I can really relate to how they feel and what they are going through.

So my run. Um yeah. It was, um, good. 2.6 miles. Boring, a good pace, but still just eh. I feel like I might be coming down with a cold. It seemed worse at the gym. I'm going to do a make-up tonight and then get back to the regular schedule tomorrow. I finished last night with .4 miles of walking at 2.5 mph and a 14% incline. This is a great workout for all the muscles from your butt to your calves. All in all, 3 miles. Not a complete loss.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

3rd Time's a Charm

Yesterday was the third time in my life that I have ever run 10 miles! And I knew that around mile 8 I would be sitting at home, lounging looking at it rain outside today and thinking "Boy! Am I glad that's done!". And I am! I was 1 minute faster than my 10 mile time from last October. It was a hard run though. I had knee trouble around mile 6 or 7 I can't remember. Then I had hill trouble between 9 and 10. Hill trouble means there were hills and I couldn't make it up them. In fact I could barely walk up them. But I knew that I just had to get in the miles, so I was OK with giving myself a break and a pep talk and then was ready to finish the last mile. Phew. I often think about how long I have to run and my feelings towards it are daunting. Apprehensive maybe. But somehow I manage to not think about it not happening. I know it will happen. I don't know how. I can't say it'll be great, but I don't worry about it. How this one happened was exhausting and somewhat painful but it happened. I guess my point is, before you worry about how, just get into it and the how will figure itself out.

Today I am going to watch the Twins game from the couch. Thank you to my cousin for giving me that fabulous idea. Here's to a great Sunday knowing there are 6 days before I have to run 11.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Run Clubs

Anybody ever intimidated by joining something new? Some of the worst feelings I can imagine are the feelings of inadequacy when I consider joining a running group! I'm willing to bet though that if you are the slowest one in the group it's only because the other people your pace are too afraid to join. They think they will be the only one running their pace. Take it from the last girl in the group, when you get a good run in, it doesn't matter if you have somebody to run next to you or not; I don't really talk when I run anyway. The group is there when you start and you finish and you all have the same thing to talk about: That last hill was super hard or I thought I was going to lose it when the wind hit on the south side. Nobody says, that last hill was harder for me because I was going 2 minutes per mile faster than you. Bottom line, groups are nice because they keep you honest and motivated and there is a great sense of camaraderie. The next race I decide to be serious about, I will consider joining a group. Just find the one that is right for you because they are out there. Beginner groups where you run/walk, women's groups, pace groups etc. Don't be intimidated!! Anybody can run if you can pick up your feet!