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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Shame...

So, I suck. Correction, that should be plural. WE suck. Let me tell you the truth right now. I have not ran one.single.step. since our half marathon. Other than running from the corner to the house one morning because Isaiah forgot his lunch box at home and the bus was coming. The knee pain from the half marathon lingered on for longer than we expected. Jacob's knees were sore for about four days longer than mine. On October 16th, we vowed that we would go for a run on the 18th which was the following Monday. The reason for this? A very busy weekend where one of our best friends was getting married and we were pretty involved in the wedding. I felt good. I was excited. My shoes wanted my feet in them. On the 17th, the wedding was gorgeous. And wet, in several senses. They hosted an open bar, which I understand is incredibly generous. I am not a big drinker so this didn't excite me quite as much as some people, I'm sure. Unfortunately for me, I'm not a big drinker, so it doesn't take much to get me to a state of blithering madness. I was fine, and cut myself off at one point. I thought I was so mature for it, and patted myself on the back. Somehow though, I wound up back at the bar with a friend who ordered me another and I couldn't turn it down. I sincerely believe that this last drink lead to my demise. I am known to be a little bit clumsy even while sober. So three sheets to the wind, I should not be surprised that I managed to roll my ankle-while barefoot!- knocking me to the ground. The next morning I woke up with a queasy stomach and a tender ankle the size of a softball and the color of an eggplant. Super hot, I know. This delayed our running schedule yet again. =(

This leaves me here, on the 27th, with 13.1 miles for the month. So much for my 50 mile goal for the month. I will just have to make sure I hit it next month. Hit it and exceed it. I am so determined to hit this goal this time. No injuries, no excuses. If we have something going on in the evening, I have to get my booty out of bed and get it done early in the day. I can and I will. I have a little over three weeks until my birthday; I wonder if I can hit 50 miles between now and then? That will be my 'A' goal. 'B' goal- 50 miles in the month of November. 'C' goal- no c goal, only A and B.

The good news is that we are feeling back on track again. I have worked out two days this week already, and we are planning a run this evening before dinner. I found this cardio boot camp video on exercise tv online that I have favorited because it is awesome!! I really would like to make the investment in P90X or Insanity. I hear great things about both these regimens and know that they get results. Last night we hit the gym in our garage, and I feel great! We worked out chest and triceps and threw in a bunch of crunches. I haven't gained any weight since the lapse in working out, which is awesome but I also haven't lost any. Jacob has gained a few pounds back, but that's nothing that he can't lose quickly once we are solidly on track again.

Hope everyone has an awesome Halloween!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A little of this and that...

Our first half marathon is under our belt, and I couldn't be prouder. I'm wearing my race shirt today (again). It's been a painful week of recovery. Both our knees have declared mutiny. Watching us walk for the first 48 hours was like watching a 90 year old couple. We were hobbling around and every time we stood up was a huge ordeal of first straightening out our legs and then straightening up our backs. Quite the sight, I'm sure. I really would like to shoot for more HMs in the nearer future. It doesn't look like it's in the cards for us though. Each HM in our area averages around $50 per person. With the current J.O.B situation that we are in, $100 is a sacrifice, not to mention the extra cash to be spent on gels and stuff to get us through the event. Not to mention, new shoes, which I think we are both in need of. Interesting timing because....

I just finished reading 'Born to Run'- OMG best book ever. To me. I'm not usually a big non-fiction reader so I wasn't sure how I would do with this one. Lucky me, it read like a novel. I learned so much about the Tarahumara and also some big time ultramarathons and those that run them. I really enjoyed reading about Barefoot Ted, and I think I may look further into the minimalist running experience. If we are built to run, if the evidence clearly shows that we evolved our bodily stature in a certain manner for a certain purpose....why shouldn't I trust that what I have been given is enough? I am amazed by this breed of runner, and definitely plan on finding out as much as I can about them. What if the problems that we all suffer from can be tied to a simple dependence upon modern technology? Isn't that what lead to this epidemic of obesity in our country? In trying to be as efficient as possible, we have created more problems. What a thought. I will continue to report on my findings.

On to more somber business. The month of October is a tough month for a lot of people in my life. First, October 7 is my niece's birthday. She would have been four years old yesterday. I can still remember the first day I met her and I can tell you what pictures I took that day. You can read more about her story here. I wonder what she would be like today. I imagine she would be a little spitfire. She would be shy with strangers, but opiniated with family. She and Justice would gang up on the boys and give them a run for their money. This is what I imagine, anyway.

Tomorrow is Nicholas' birthday. He would be 22. My sister and he would probably be married by now. He was so sweet; I really think he was good for my sister and both the children. Not many young men would think twice about being with a divorcee with two children that required special attention, but he seemed to embrace it. He loved my sister and both Adam and Christina. I regret that I didn't get more of a chance to get to know him better.

Next week Friday, October 15th, marks the three year anniversary of the passing of Matthew, the son of one of my closest friends. He is a constant memory to my entire family. He was only in this world for 10 weeks, but has touched so many lives and continues to on a daily basis. My friend Denise is one of the strongest women I know. She also blogs and can be found here. We have a strong base of friends with children that love to play together. I just know that Matthew would have made a delightful addition to "the gang". How I wish our children did not know the pain of a missing friend.

Next week Friday, on the anniversary of Matthew's passing, I will be running a virtual 10k. I am running this 10k in honor of Christina, Nicholas, and Matthew. All three are held near to my heart, and October is a month that they all share in some way. I feel like they had no control over the last page of their lives, so I am going to take control of the pages within mine. I will run because they can't.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Urban Cow Half Marathon- Race Recap

Our race preparation really began on Saturday. Jacob had to work, so I made sure I packed him a nice, carb-y lunch with a good mix of carbs and protein. I ran around with the kids most of the day and we enjoyed a lunch with a little extra brown rice on the side for me (I mix in chopped olives and raisins, yum!). I visited the race expo, which was a little disappointing to me since I hear these are really great places to meet vendors and get gear. There were not a whole lot of booths here. I did get to stop at the Fleet Feet booth and scored two 13.1 stickers and a visor for 50% off. Score! When we got home I started preparing my very first homemade spaghetti sauce. Thank you Runners World for including several tasty pasta recipes in their current issue!! I made a delicious pomodoro base and prepared Fettucine Capricciosa. YUM. I used garden vegetable fettucine to add a little extra oomph in the veggie department. I had to time all of this just right, since we had a surprise engagement party to head to that evening. We had to leave the house at 5:45 to be there in time, so we ate a super duper early dinner. I was worried about throwing off our regular schedule but the party was for my brother-in-law, so we figured it was worth the risk.
Up at 5:30 am. I had everything prepared the night before to get us out the door in a timely manner. Unfortunately, my husband somehow still took FOREVER to get ready. We headed out the door at 7 am. The race started at 7:45. Luckily it's just a few miles down the road, but we had no idea what to expect with traffic and parking, etc. Parking was available the local community college, which happens to be located across the street from the starting line. Very convenient, and it was a nice way to get warmed up a little bit. They offered shuttles to the starting line every ten minutes though, just in case. We walked on site and immediately found our friend Monica, who owns the Grocery Outlet in Rancho Cordova. We stopped and chatted with her for a moment while we pinned on our bibs and got our timing tags situated on our shoes. I had to go pee- BAD so we said our goodbyes and headed to the porta potties, where I stood in line with probably about 100 people. As I stood in line, the race started. I wasn't too worried since there were a TON of people there and we usually start more in the back of the pack anyway. Once I finally got out of there though, only the stragglers strolling on through were left so off we went. As we came across the line, the announcer says, "gotta love the runners jumping in late, running in from the bathrooms!!" I gave a little wave and smile and we were officially off! We saw Monica standing by the sidelines cheering us on and she snapped our picture.
There I am in the pink skirt with Jacob behind me!

We felt pretty good, we took in our Gu Chomps in the first mile to give us some extra energy since it had already been almost 2 hours since we had breakfast. The first few miles felt great and I was totally ready to go go go the whole time! At around three miles, we found ourselves next to a woman who was power walking about as fast as we were jogging. So Jacob asked her about her pace and fell into a conversation with her. It sounded like her finishing goal was right around ours, so he asked if it was okay if we hung out with her for a while. Her name was Linda, and chatting with her sure made the time and miles go by much quicker than I expected. Before I knew it, we were at the halfway mark. Around mile eight I felt what I was positive was a blister developing on my right foot. Lame. At around this point is also where we fell completely silent. Shortly after this, I looked at my husband and realized that he was sweating so much that his visor was dripping! He had his own tropical rainforest going on in front of his face. As we ran along the river, we came across a head wind which I'm sure felt much stronger than it really was. As I was off to Jacob's left and slightly behind him, this head wind also blew his dripping hat sweat right onto me, so lucky me I got to share his little climate for a little bit. I was too tired to move out of the way though.

Mile 9 and I felt a slight cramping going on in my upper calves. A new kind of discomfort. Luckily, it passed fairly quickly. At this point, we were still alongside Linda and she was keeping up a great pace. She looked back at me a few times and told me that I was doing great. Jacob was extremely supportive as well which was good because it would wind up coming back to him in the last two miles.

Around mile 10 is where Jacob ran out of steam. I naturally slowed down with him since my legs felt like lead pipes. He fell behind me and I kept looking back at him to make sure he was still there. "Don't worry", he said "you won't lose me. I'll follow you anywhere." So on we went. Right about this point is where I started to feel HOT. It was warming up quickly and we were in direct sunlight. I kept telling him to just keep going. On the side of the road, they had placed signs with pictures of cancer patients and sayings like "Because of you, he can play sports." "Because of you, she can be the grandmother of triplets." It brought me to tears. At this point, I was very emotional because of the distance we were running, so seeing things like that just brought me over the edge. It was great motivation.

Miles 11 and 12 were just trudging along. We never broke our stride, just slowed down. We had lost Linda at some point between 10 and 11. We just kept motivating each other to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I would push him and he would push me. At the 12.5 mile mark, we could hear the announcer over the loudspeaker and we could see up ahead a finishing line marker, around a corner with some trees. Go, Jacob said. "Look, we're there! Just a little bit further, push it! Let's have our kids see us push it through the finish line!!" Turned out it was a dirty dirty trick. As we got closer, we realized that there were no spectators cheering us on because it wasn't a finish line at all! It simply said "1/2 mile left!! Get Moooooving!" It made us laugh, and pushed us through the last 1/2 mile.

Crossing the finish line, we were side by side and I grabbed his hand as we crossed over. Linda came running up to us, full of congratulations and excited to see that we hadn't gone over our goal time by too much. She finished just a few minutes ahead of us. We took a picture with just the two of us and then one with her too. If it wasn't for her, we probably wouldn't have kept going so strong as long as we did. And she said if it wasn't for us, she probably would've slowed down too! We will forever remember her as our first HM pacer.

It was exciting to see all the spectators in the neighborhoods that we ran through and elsewhere along the route. I loved that Fleet Feet had their employees out cheering us on. Some were even dressed in cow costumes with signs. There were also aid stations every 2 miles, manned by local school cross country teams. These kids were also sprinkled throughout the route, cheering everybody on. I'm telling you, that was a great touch. They made the difference. Our cheerleading team was sparse. Our friend Monica and her daughter were there, but they were working their booth and also helping at the finish line. My brother-in-law was supposed to pick up our kids from my sister and bring them to see us finish, but that didn't work out. (Totally another story for another time, good grief. Suffice it to say I'm totally disappointed and pissed off by it.) Maybe next time.

I was really excited to have met a new buddy that is excited about working out and keeping moving. I'm also really excited to have met my DM and bloggy buddy, Jose and his wife Amy at the finish line. They were volunteering this year and we got to chat for a little bit. I hope to see more of them and get to cheer them on at races in the future.

So our FIRST half marathon is in the bag!! Our finish time 2:48:53. Our pace 12:54. We are already talking about the next one. Maybe in March, maybe sooner? I'll keep y'all posted!! Until then, here's some pics for your viewing pleasure!

Me, with my finishing trophy- COWBELL!

Sweet, sweet victory.

Friday, October 1, 2010

So I lied, sue me!

Mel @ Tall Mom on the Run high fived me today on her blog for our first half marathon. It felt great to see recognition, and to know that we are all linked together through this common goal, this passion. There are many people running this weekend, people that I don't know personally and will probably never meet. Take for instance Jamie @ Running Diva Mom. I have been following her marathon training. I am awed and inspired by the 20 mile training runs. One year ago, I would never have imagined myself running for any distance, much less in the double digits. And yet she does it. Often. She herself has two children that are close to my own kids' age. She makes the time to get out there. It is her priority. This weekend she will be running her third marathon. I will be thinking of her toughing out double my distance when I feel like calling it quits during our race.

I fear that after this half marathon is behind us, we will lose our sights on the real goal here. The half marathon is just the dangling carrot right now. We are out of shape parents! I need to lose at least another twenty pounds and Jacob, well he needs to lose at least another fifty. His goal is to shed about ninety. I am nervous that with the inclement weather coming and my sister probably moving out in January, we will find that it's just easier to stay in. We have our home gym, but it's not the same. Our intention is to run every other day for 3-5 miles at least. Maybe we will decide to throw in a few longer runs here and there, but we are keeping it nice and easy, realistic for now. My goal for the month of October is to run FIFTY miles, and I expect all of you to keep me to it. I'm serious. Make me accountable. If we alternate 3 and 5 mile runs throughout the month after a week break after this weekend, I should be over 50 miles. So. Keep me in line, people!! I will love you for it, I promise.

I picked up our race packets today. (Have I mentioned that I feel ridiculous calling this our race? I'm certainly not racing, merely hoping to finish.) It was amazing seeing people leaving Fleet Feet with their race bags. People of all ages and sizes. The shirts are pretty darn nice, if I do say so myself. Jacob is excited to see it, as he has been hoping to expand his running wardrobe. And the little backpacks are super cute too! Justice helped me out by wearing her Daddy's on her back while we walked to the car. Let me just say thank you Sacramento Fleet Feet for having such a great store and an awesome system for the packet pick-up today. It was quick and painless and that's a lot for me to say, considering I did have a cranky 2 year old with me.

That's all for now, see ya soon!!