Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Welcome Change of Pace

We spent the weekend visiting the hubs' family and attending a wedding in Pennsylvania. FINALLY, some time out of town, away from the relentless and seemingly interminable Florida summer. Every cell of my being was so, so ready for fall weather. HAHA. It was NINETY degrees yesterday. Much cooler at night, though, than we get here, so we drove around and planned out Friday morning's run and I felt confident I'd be enjoying some better temperatures.

Oh, yes indeed.

It was misty and foggy, but I didn't care because I wasn't drowning in my own sweat for once. I'd heard that running in our summer heat can add up to 2 minutes per mile to your pace on a long run, but really? Amazed? Understatement! Imagine my shock when I realized how quickly I'd covered those almost 11 miles, given that what I lack in speed I make up for in determination. On the whole, the run was a lot of fun. The best word to describe the topography of a typical run here is "flat"...okay, that's not the best word, it's the only word. Friday morning I experienced hills for the first time. I'm not going to tell you I loved them at mile 10, but was it fun? You bet. I realized about halfway through that I wasn't doing the sweaty shuffle, I was RUNNING. Still. Then again, there should probably be some credit given to the fact that pacing is something I've been working diligently to manage..

The lesson from the week is this: the sometimes uncomfortable effort required to go uphill is worth every second when you're flying down, feeling like a champ. That's probably something we'd all do well to remember just in life, period, not just running. It's also the reason you get the wayback playback from the iPod - this song, which I can never resist anyway, showed up as I was tackling the third and final loop of the run. I caught myself mid-fist pump and realized I was singing along as I went from one hill to the next.

We took the little man to a wedding, and he wore a tie, and he danced. We took him to a festival, and he met one of the Phillies and petted a bulldog and saw people playing guitars. We took him for walks, and he picked up "treasures". I'm 4 weeks away from my first half-marathon, and I think I'm ready.

I gotta keep on trying 'til I reach the higher ground.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Defying Gravity

A better title of this post may be "I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends", and that was the way I sat down to write it, but then when I realized I'd played this song 4 times in a row on yesterday's run, it only made sense to share it with you.

Welcome to Downerville, population Me. All week long. I've been emotionally and physically burned out, it's been a long 6 months of training. Trying to pretend I wasn't miserable, ignoring it, not talking about it...not working. I didn't want to spend a bunch of time bitching and moaning on my parenting board, mostly because I have so many friends there who are agonizing over the kind of circumstances life just deals you sometimes, not the ones in which you choose to entangle yourself. Small, almost, and petty to complain about not wanting to run when the post above you is about a baby with cancer or someone who desperately wants to have another baby and can't seem to make that happen. I needed to be petty, though. Sitting in front of the laptop crying doesn't feel good. I didn't expect anyone besides the runners in the group to comment, but you can expect me to be carrying all their words with me on every training run until these two races are over. Between them and my sweet friend who has already been there, done that with training coming to sit with me and talk me through all my anxiety about my training and race day particulars, I went to bed Friday night with a sense of calm instead of a sense of dread. Can you guess how good that felt?

Two miles at a time. Just keep running. One more song. If that song's not working the magic, hit that forward button and make a note to get that song off the playlist. One more song became five, and two miles at a time became eight miles already behind me and you know what, I'm not stopping at 10 because after that there is just one more and I'm ready to get home. Eleven miles done. Feeling strong and settled and determined. Defying gravity.

I'm through accepting limits 'cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change, but 'til I try, I'll never know...

More later about things other than running. It's been a great weekend. I'm on borrowed time, though, with a napping Snoogle and chippy toenails. Happy NFL Sunday!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Most Valuable Lesson

I'm not going to spend a lot of time analyzing today's run in written form. It didn't go well, and I can't think of any reason other than my head just was not in the game. I never found any kind of rhythm, ended up walking at least as much as running, and once it became clear that I was probably going faster walking, I had a decision to make. That's what today's post is about, that decision.

I went home. Yeah, I packed it in at mile 9.5 of what should have been 12. To my credit, I did run the last half-mile or so without a break (which was my deal with myself - if I could finish strong, I could go ahead and put myself out of my misery).

While I was shuffling along after the mile 8 Gatorade break, it hit me that I was just hurting. My legs felt like lead pipes wearing concrete shoes, and suddenly I thought, "Girl, you survived your last bad run, you'll survive this. Do you want to crawl home in tears, hurting so badly that you are no good to your family for the rest of the day and possibly the weekend, or do you want to be kind to yourself?" Stopping when I did was technically only a stop about a half-mile short of last week's 10-miler. There are plenty of long runs left before the taper, and there's nothing to prove today.

Or was there something? There was, when I think about it. Moderation and I are not usually very good friends. I'm sort of a "go big or go home" kind of person. It's hard to be good to yourself when you have that mentality. Black or white, success or failure, no in-between. Eat nothing. Exercise to exhaustion. No room for missing the mark, no extenuating circumstances. That's great when you feel like anorexia's all you've got going for you, sure. It's a fast route onto a locked unit. At this point in my life, there's got to be a touch of grey. I've got to remember that there are times when going all-out is totally appropriate - like on race day - and times when it's not, like today, when I knew my absolute best wasn't going to get the job done (and that continuing was actually risking injury). Kindness seemed the best solution.

It's a decision I'm more or less at peace with. All this "honoring the divinity within me", a divinity that obviously just was not up to running 12 miles today, is new to me and I'll admit I'm still working at being okay with it. The kindest thing I can do for myself now is to do what I need to do to recover from the stress of the morning in the physical sense, and then to allow myself the luxury of putting it behind me and moving on.

Maybe I'm going to be good at being a grown-up someday.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I Think I Can....

No further explanation required. The playlist was good to me today.

The End of an Era (i hope?)

By that, I mean the end of the constant blister debacle. I took myself to the running store this week and was professionally fitted for shoes. Yesterday was my birthday, so I suppose this also refers to the end of 37.

Let's revisit Things I Have Learned:
1. Time stops for no woman. All done 37, hello 38. I have one more birthday before a complete year-long depressive freakout ensues.

2. My husband is the shiznit. We are the proud holders of two tickets to see Anthony Bourdain in November. Sweet....

3. My child has sad, sorry listening skills. Please, please tell me it's because he's staring his second birthday in the face. (despite this, he is also the shiznit)

4. Do you run? GO GET FITTED FOR SOME DAMN SHOES! It's pretty much guaranteed you're not wearing the right shoes. Everything - and I do mean EVERYTHING - I thought I knew about buying myself running shoes was wrong with a big capital wrong. Not even the right size.

5. Running is infinitely more comfy with the shoes you are professionally fitted for.

6. No need to be a hero, speed demon. For real. I'm not the world's fastest runner (which is an understatement), but for some reason this morning I thought I'd put my new sports watch to good use and time my splits. That was a stellar idea when it was in my head. Less so at mile 6. Something tells me miles 6-10 might have gone by much quicker had I not gotten all speedy right out of the house. Ooof.

7. I'm reminding myself of number 6. In all seriousness, this is a potentially race-killing mistake. I've got to hold back that desire to gain time right at the start. I can always make it up later if I save my reserves properly - in other words, if I have some reserves to use. Which I will not, if I repeat today's faux pas.

That about covers it.

By the way....I know some amazing people, and they know some amazing people. Do you remember my blog post about Owen (it's ok, you can go back and look for it and read it now, I don't mind)? Well, my fundraising page went up Wednesday and I've already raised $900 for Children's Hospital of NOLA!!!!! I keep telling Owen's mom how blown away I've been by such generosity. It really is awe-inspiring. I am so proud to be running in support of such a wonderful cause.

Time to go settle in on the sofa for a little College Game Day! Football season is upon us in full force - it's the most wonderful time of the year! We're all geared up and ready to shout "Geaux Tigers" and chant "Who Dat?" with all we're worth. Whatever team you support this season, I hope you and yours enjoy every minute of it, and I wish you a great season and a spot in a good bowl game.

Unless you're a Gator fan.
Then all bets are off.

Happy long weekend!!!