Sunday, August 29, 2010

Five Years, or We Remember

What was I doing 5 years ago?
I was glued to the news. I had no idea how much was about to change, and how dramatically.
None of us did, really.

I've written about this before, on my old Myspace page, but I forgot to print it out before I deleted the page so forgive me if you've already read something similar. What I said then was a lot about how the world stopped for so many of us with ties to the Crescent City. If you aren't too familiar with New Orleans, you should keep a couple of things in mind: it's below sea level, and it's a fishbowl. A lot of us - and by that I mean the people who didn't live there - were under the impression that NOLA had somewhat dodged a huge bullet named Katrina. That is, until I came back downstairs, dressed for work, and saw the film of the water just pouring into the city from the breached levee.

My heart dropped into my shoes. Our beautiful, vibrant fishbowl was filling with water, and the tears came like the flooding. I only remember being horrified and texting the husband "the levee's broken, NOLA's flooding, it's BAD" and then being unable to move for a while, unable to tear myself away and hoping I was about to wake up. It only got worse from those first pictures, as you know. So much worse, for so many.

There's a lot of political controversy surrounding the government's response, all the way up from the local to the federal level, and I won't get into my personal thoughts about it. I will say this, though: there's absolutely NO controversy about the swiftness and extent of the response from everyday people, people with no real tie to the city other than as part of the human community. For every person who said there was no point in rebuilding after Katrina, there were - and are to this day - hundreds who stood up and said "What can I do to help you rebuild this amazing city?" You see, we need New Orleans. We need the history, the music, the "laissez les bons temps roulez" spirit, the food (oh have mercy, the food!)....without New Orleans, our country would be missing part of its heart and a large part of its soul.

I need New Orleans. On September 18, 2004, G and I were married there and now it's a permanent part of him too. I've spent time there since I was a little girl. As a Louisianian, it's part of my heritage, part of what I want to pass down to J as what is good and right about life...that freedom to let go of your cares for a while and remember what good music, the hot sun at the Fairgrounds, and a cold one in your hand can do to soothe your tired spirit. It's coming back. People are still working tirelessly to ensure that we always have the Crescent City as a place for all of us to call home, because for a lot of us, it is, whether it's where we get the mail, or where we left our hearts.

It's been five years. We remember you.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Right Now

Find me more motivation....I dare you.....this song is just about as good as it gets for spurring you on to reach a little higher, move a little faster, and generally remember that your life is going to pass you by if you don't get up off the sofa.

Pride. I gots it.
I am 8 weeks out, 7 if you count the taper, and today I ran 10 miles.
I plan to train to 12 miles and let the adrenaline of race day carry me the last 1.1 mile.
After the past two weeks of dejection and self-doubt, I NEEDED today. This morning's run started out with something to prove, and I came home tired, but feeling confident that I'm going to cross that finish line. As if it needed to get better, there is a glimmer of possibility that I may beat my time goal.

So what did I do right?
I have really been working to improve my hydration this week, particularly yesterday. I am no longer any fun on Friday nights, it's a couple sips of wine and off to bed early. I drove the route yesterday and (thanks for helping via phone, Mom!) marked off 2-mile intervals for gatorade drops. Nothing like dropping bags of ice, water, and gatorade in people's yards at 5:50 in the morning - I was waiting to be cornered by someone's territorial dog... All my clothes, deodorant, the whole nine yards were set out before bed last night. An entire powerbar for breakfast, one final potty run, and I was out the door. In a bit cooler temps, just so you know.

What a huge, huge psychological advantage not to have to worry about water or electrolytes! I knew the run would be broken down into 2-mile chunks, just like race day, and I could just do them and tick them off, one by one. A perfect strategy, to focus on something small rather than one large, sweaty, tiring block of running. The mystery of the morning was how I managed to run the first 2 miles at a pace MUCH FASTER than I typically run, even on the dreadmill. I'm pleased, because it means I may be able to spend time working on speed instead of just cranking miles out, but it can be a concern because going out too fast on race day can ultimately kick me where the sun don't shine. Do you need to run faster? Add this to your playlist: Don't Rain On My Parade from the Glee soundtrack.

At any rate, I have the rest of my weekend to enjoy and I'm hungry enough to eat a burrito the size of Guatemala. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend too, burrito or not.

Right now
It's your tomorrow
It's everything
Catch that magic moment, do it right here and now
It means everything.....

(and yes, right now a bowl of soup would be nice)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Funsucker.....

That's been me these past couple of weeks. In terms of running, I mean.

There's an under-the-weather Snoog in the house at the moment. Typical toddler cold. He's not so sick that he has to lie around the house in his jammies, but he's not so well that he sleeps all night by himself (who am I kidding? Child doesn't sleep all night by himself when he's perfectly healthy, but that's another post). The executive decision was made that he was going to go ahead and spend this Tuesday morning as he usually does: at school. No fever, no coughing, no copious snot, so off he went. I figured I'd spend Tuesday morning as I usually do - at the Y taking a class, with a run afterward to build up my mileage for the week in an effort to improve my performance on the weekends.

I didn't have a lot of time to spend running, but I managed to get in a very comfortable couple of miles. Along the way it became clear what my problem has been for these past couple of weeks: I have become the funsucker. There was a time in my training when I was running because I enjoyed it, and then I started getting all concerned about pace per mile and how fast other people were running the same distance and being a purist about NO WALKING (backfire!)....and I started feeling anxiety and dread every time it was time to run. No more fun, just work work work. I lost sight of the idea that I should be ENJOYING this - that race day isn't part of my job, that it's going to be FUN.

Suddenly it was time for me to hop off the mill and retrieve the kiddo. As I was walking to the car - in the pouring rain, lovely! - it occurred to me how much I enjoyed those easy couple of miles and how much better I felt. No need to criticize my performance or wonder what I should tweak for the next run.

I take that back. Next run, I need to remember to have fun.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Silence is Golden

Let's not discuss today's run.
Let's just leave it with a song I love.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

This S**t is BANANAS....

Sums up yesterday's run nicely. Hmmph.
Shall we revisit Things I've Learned? Here you go:

1. Long runs on treadmills? B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Granted, it was out of necessity, but really. Sing me a lullaby now.
2. I can come up with a LOT of reasons to stop running, particularly between miles 3 and 6.
2a. I hate miles 3-6.
3. It's too close to call - am I just that mentally tough that I didn't quit, or am I just too bloody stubborn?
4. Clif Shotblox = vaguely cough-syrup flavored, but the caffeine is a nice touch.
5. The towel! Your nice gym towel does you no good at home on your kitchen island, just so you know.
6. Sometimes you keep running because it feels. so. good. when you stop.

I remember having to push through a big plateau when I got to a 4-mile long run. Is it possible that I'm having mental blocks in 4-mile increments? There was so much anxiety surrounding this week's long run (the dreaded 8-miler, round 2), and I'm not entirely sure why. Now that I'll be moving up to 9 miles this coming Saturday, I'm not feeling quite as much stress. Check back with me later in the week on that.

One thing giving me grief this week is the concept of goals and (possibly unrealistic) expectations. Because there never seems to be any sense in starting a project haphazardly, without a clear delineation of what I intend to accomplish, I set a bar for myself when I started training for this race. It's possible that I was a little, um, hasty when I set it. Suffice it to say I'm not feeling too good about my chances of living up to my own standards, and suffice it to say that's not sitting well. Somehow I'm having trouble wrapping my head around two ideas here: that for every person out on that road on that October morning, there are beaucoup more people sitting at home on the sofa; and that just getting my rear in gear and running 13.1 miles is an accomplishment in and of itself, no time goal required. Only the finish matters. I can't stand the thought of letting myself down, which is what I'm afraid of. The path out of my head is not clearly marked right now, and I'm stumbling around in here, and it's a bad neighborhood sometimes.

So yeah. This s**t is bananas.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Say what you want about Kanye, he's good for two things: a good laugh, and a great running tune. This brought me home this morning. Can I tell you how thrilled I was to hear the first notes of Daft Punk when I needed them?

I've gotten geeky about running lately. There's a website you should check out if you run (, where people post their routes and distance and occasionally even some comments about the terrain/grade/scenery. It wasn't too hard to find the distance I needed in my neighborhood, so I abandoned the full sun and relentless concrete of Bayshore Boulevard for a much shadier, more comfortable run today. Should have done it some time ago, now that I think about it. I've realized I'm more than "halfway to the half" now - with just under 3 months to go.

Unfortunately, I've also had more than one flash of "what the hell am I thinking? I can't do this! This is too much, I won't finish, or my time will be an embarrassment." I may have to walk through the water stations - in fact, straight up I PLAN to walk through them so I don't spill the water! - but I've got to deal with these negative thoughts that could sabotage my run on race day. What I'm told is that I need to not only visualize myself at the finish line, but that I need to visualize myself overcoming obstacles along the way. Things like heat, thirst, negative self-talk, and fear. I CAN do this. I WILL do this. It may not be easy or comfortable every step of the way, but I am training to the best of my ability, using a program that is shown to work, and because I will be prepared, I will be prepared to succeed.

Basically, I'd rather wipe the sweat from my face with the towel than throw the towel in. I don't quit well.

Harder, better, faster, stronger....indeed.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

And In My Spare Time...

Today I have already:

Fed and dressed myself and a small boy.
Taken small boy to school.
Taken myself to the Y to do my weekly speed/tempo workout.
Sorted the laundry and started what will be the first of 3, possibly 4, loads.
Showered, dried/ironed hair, made halfhearted attempt to clean up eyebrows, made halfhearted attempt to fix mangled cuticles.
Abandoned those last two efforts on the grounds of hopelessness.
Picked up small boy from school and put him down for nap. He is not sleeping.
Eaten lunch while seated, without someone on my lap.

Today I still need to:
Finish that laundry - including folding and putting it away.
Straighten up kitchen.
Polish fingernails and check toenails for chips.
Take small boy out of the house for some kind of activity that doesn't require time outside.
Dress myself and small boy for big husband's work "family dinner".
Leave the house on time to be at dinner - across the bridge - for 5:30 reservation.

And they say moms who stay home with their kids don't work.
I've got your "I don't work" right here......