Just to let you know- this blog is no longer active. I'll be keeping up my 101 in 1001 list until its completion, but will not be writing new posts. You can read the post below if you want the long version. Thanks for the journey to all my friends in the blogosphere!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2011?

It seems absolutely crazy that in a few short weeks it will be 2011.

Thank goodness though.

I wouldn't classify 2010 as a bad year. I have way too many blessings in my life and have had too many good times with family and friends this year and I wouldn't trade in a moment of those events. It's just been a really intense year- of work, school, and life. I'm looking forward to a more balanced 2011.

I went back through my blog post to see what athletic goals I had made (and undoubtedly not fulfilled) for this year, and thankfully I found none! Don't shoot for the stars and then feel relieved when you don't reach them!

I did squeeze in a few races (I still haven't told y'all about getting to run with Bob Harper!) and maybe at the very end of 2010, I'll take the time to properly reflect on the year, but what I really want to do now is start planning for next year!

Right now, I'm tentatively training for a March 20th marathon. And by tentatively, I mean not hardly at all because it's so darn cold outside. Which makes me start eying marathons a little later in the year. Anyone have a late spring/early summer marathon suggestion? My friend will be running with me and it will be her first 26.2 so I want it to be a good one!

Other brainstorming for my 2011 athletic goals: another half or full marathon, at least one triathlon in the summer, possibly Take the Lake Extreme (i.e. kayak, run, and bike around and swim across Lake Waccamaw all in one day), and taking some time off my 5K.

I haven't signed a contract though- so don't hold me to any of those just yet! I'll let you know when the "official" training schedule is in place.

What are y'all getting done in 2011?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The toenail is not going to make it.

I was terrified of loosing my toenails when I started my marathon-training runs last year. I can deal with a lot of painful, gross, and unpleasent things, but I'd really rather keep my toes intact. All the marathons I talked to (or read the blogs of), though, acted like losing your toenails was a sacred and necessary rite of passage. As if you couldn't complete 26.2 without sacrificing one of those little nails.

Fortunately, then I made it through the training and marathon with all ten of my little piggies and their nails. Unfortunately, now I'm incapable of walking around my house without shoes and managed to trip in my own house and ended up bleeding through my sock. That combined with my sudden return to running does not bode well for my big toe.

I'm pretty sure the toenail is not going to make it.

Four miles today. It was supposed to be six, but darkness fell. Who knew? I'm still working on this planning thing.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Putting in the Miles

I was a bit worried after my first run back earlier this week. I was sore. (That was probably more due to the Jillians Michael video I did that day as well.) I felt lazy. I worried I had lost the running gene from my inactivity over the past months.

Tonight, though, I was reassured. It was late, it was getting dark, I had other things to do, but I really wanted to just get out and give it a try. For a second, when I hit that cold December air in my shorts, I thought I had made a mistake. A couple minutes later, once I got going and got my iPod situated, I started feeling like a runner again. After a couple miles, I was bargaining with myself to stay out longer- even though it was completely dark and I knew it was time to shower and get ready for supper.

I am a runner. I am so grateful that I've put in the miles over the years to make me one. And the wonderful thing about running is that is all it takes-putting in the miles. Not talent, not speed, not fancy equipment. Sigh, I have such a strange love affair with running. How have I survived without it for the past few months?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Back!

I wasn't entirely sure if I'd be making a blogging comeback, but I'm ready to run again! And I couldn't possibly do so without recapping each mile here, correct?

The past four months or so have been, um, intense. It is one of my biggest pet peeves when people complain about things they willingly took on and I try to keep that in mind for myself as well. That said, I've tried not to grumble TOO much lately because I'm the one who overbooked myself, but I definitely have not been the most fun person to be around lately. I've pretty much been a grumpy workaholic for the whole semester. It's been early mornings, work, classes, papers, readings, assignments, grading, working through the weekend, paperwork, thesis work, contract work, and other obligations every way I turned. I felt like each time I came up for air, something grabbed my ankle and pulled me back under.

That was all I could see on the horizon because next semester was looking about the same. Which would mean- no running; more grumpiness; less time getting to enjoy my wonderful students I have this year; further neglect of my husband, family, friends, and home; and another five months of having that "crazy lady" look. It just wasn't worth it.

After a few days of soul searching, googling, and conversations with people who know what they're talking about, I decided to switch my degree from M.S. to M.Ed., drop 6 hours of classes, and abandon my thesis.

And just like that, I could breathe again.

And run again.

Two miles today! Training for marathon #2 is underway!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

How I Became a Warrior and a Biggest Loser in 1 Week: Part 1

Yeah, SueMac said it best with "Welcome back.... Goodbye.... I'll be seeing you?"

I'm not sure if I'm coming or going blog-wise. I just don't seem to be able to fit it in right now.

I did want to quickly tell you about my 2 quirky races this month: the Warrior Dash and the Biggest Loser 5K Endurance Challenge.

Two weekends ago, I flew up to New York for the weekend to see my best friend who's working on her PhD up there and we decided to round out our time together with a 3.23 mile romp through 13 obstacles. In other words, we wanted to be warriors.

Of course, warriors need weapons (obtained through the Halloween section of Target), warrior paint, black nail polish, and a waterproof disposable camera (for documentation, of course) . We considered going all out with complete warrior outfits, but when you have swords, that pretty much covers it.

There were several waves that started throughout the day so we saw the groups in front of us start and finish.

You can't really tell in this picture, but it was ridiculously steep. We were running up a ski slope, for goodness sake. I heard some of the runners who had gone early talk about walking up and kinda thought they were wimps, but after starting out strong for about 3 minutes or so, Sarah and I were definitely walking. I felt soooo out of shape, but it just straight up! Everyone except the really speedy people at the front were walking, so I made peace with it.

It was really crowded, but it started to thin out by the time we got to the first couple obstacles (running through tires and scaling walls). I'm so glad I read Heather's tip about bringing along a camera because it was fun to goof off and grab pictures as we scrambled through tunnels and through "uncharted forests." (The path was actually pretty clearly marked.) Wading through chest-high, chilly, muddy water was actually pretty fun and refreshing after getting up that mountain.

None of the obstacles were really all that extreme and definitely none of them were as difficult as just getting up the hill to begin with. It was a little scary running downhill because it was slick, muddy, and steep and we were a little bit worried about our ankles.

Near the end was the BIG obstacle, the "Warrior Roast." I have been looking forward to leaping over these flames for months! We had to go down this crude slip-n-slide that ended in a slightly gravely mud pit to get good and saturated before reaching the fire. Instead of passing the camera back and forth to get pictures like we did for the other obstacles, we decided to just leap together and trust the professional photographers for this one.
\
The last obstacle was crawling under barbed wire (that just happened to be suspended over a huge puddle). I've probably climbed under more fences than 95% of these participants so this was no biggie. Even with the sword.




We then celebrated with our warrior helmets, turkey legs, and warrior festivities! It was such a fun race and I highly recommend participating with costumes, friends, the camera, and no regard for your finishing time!

I thought I could squeeze 2 race reports into 1 post, but I think this one's gone on long enough, so I just slapped a "Part 1" into the title and will leave off here. You'll have to check back next time to hear about me getting to run next to Bob Harper in my next race!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Quick Explanation

Things are pretty ridiculously non-stop right now.

I've never had a problem with being busy. I've always managed to max out whatever schedule I'm working with and that's always been fine. In high school, I would go from school, to pick up my sisters, to sports practice, to drop off my sisters, to music lessons, to pick up my sisters...it was not unusual to drive 100 miles in a day. In college, I was the one that begged my department head into signing a waiver that allowed me to take a 23 hour semester instead of the maximum 20 hours. I never worried about "burning the candle at both ends" or "having too much on my plate." I pretty much thought I could handle whatever was flung my way.

Four years ago, when I was fresh out of college and got my first teaching job, I was rudely awakened to how mistaken I was. Being responsible for the academic, emotional, and social rearing of a class of fifth graders was by far the most difficult thing I had ever undertaken.

(Sidenote: I obviously understand the importance of parents in educating their own children. When they are actively and positively involved, almost any child flourishes. Fortunately, right now, I have a class of children with wonderful, supportive, and caring parents- and it's clearly evident through their respect for themselves and others, their academic levels, and their work ethic. When that parent support is lacking, however, the responsibility, and the blame, falls swiftly upon the teacher.)

It wasn't just how much work there was to be done. (At the beginning of the school year, I woke up at 4:30, worked on school work at home until 6 am, went to school, stayed until 6 pm, and took work home to continue until I went to bed. ) It was the overwhelming stress- worrying about my students, myself as a teacher, feeling like I would never catch up or be good enough. I quickly associated that stress with being a "real adult" and despaired that I would feel that way the rest of my life.

Thankfully, I was on my running streak at that time, because otherwise I would have stopped running altogether. Most days, it was only a mile- sometimes in the dark, going in loops around my house, but I continued my streak I had started in the prior spring, running each day until February. Running kept me afloat during that time. I lived hours from anyone I knew and even though I talked daily to my boyfriend (now husband, friends and family, they couldn't be right there with me. No matter what happened during the day, I could always lace up my shoes, put in the iPod, and disappear from my own reality for a little while.

After that first year, I got married and moved. I was at a different school, in a different grade, and had that first experience under my belt. I still felt that crushing daily stress though and wondered, not if it would pass, but just if I could adjust to it. I kept plowing on though, and that summer I started working on my masters and training for my first marathon.

Last school year was such a blessing because I finally felt like I was hitting my stride. Even with the challenge of a combination class, I started to love more days than I dreaded, and juggled my grad school and house work in the evenings. There was still stress, but more than that, this feeling of guilt started creeping in- "Why am I not cooking beautiful meals on a regular basis? Why do we STILL not have pictures up on all the walls? Why am I still not in the running shape I want to be in?" I started to worry if I didn't have these things together now, would I ever? I love reading other women's blogs, but I started to feel so inferior- how could they manage it all (and post pictures of it too)?! Especially those who have children! If I didn't have my ducks in a row now, it certainly wouldn't be happening when I was responsible for more little lives.

This past summer, I decided to take a little blog break, and I feel like I've had a little space and time to gain some perspective. A new school year has started, and though teaching will always be busy and a little stressful, I LOVE it. I love my 24 babies who rely on me to guide them and teach them, day in and day, out for 180 days. I love getting them excited about learning and the world around them. I love seeing their faces light up when they do something they thought they couldn't. Even in those moments where there is temporary chaos or frustration (think computer lab with 17 working computers, 24 kids, and a fuzzy internet connection when you're trying to access an online activity), I can't help but think how lucky I am to be in charge of these little kids and how empty my days would be without them.

I'm usually at school early, and leave late, but I feel, for the most part, that I've got things under control. At home, I'm glued to my laptop working on grad school or freelance web design, catching up on laundry/dishes/home basics, or helping my husband as he keeps his own busy-level up with a full-time job and a part-time job. I'm running just a little bit and getting a small dose of TV and facebook as I multi-task, but that's pretty much it right now.

I finally feel a little release of the guilt and stress though, because I can see an end in sight. This will not be my reality forever. In January, my husband will just be working on one job. God willing (and I pray that he is, because I'm going to need his help with this one), I will finish my thesis and grad school classes this spring and graduate in May. I am ridiculously excited about having a more "normal" life starting next summer and realize that I'll have time then to start working on those extra things- getting my house just like I want it, organizing my recipes, training for a big race.

It wasn't my intent to make this the most ridiculously long blog post ever! (Which is why I CANNOT be trusted to blog regularly right now...I make it take too much time.) I just felt the need to explain myself a little. I may be poking back around here to post some race reports (I have some short races coming up that I'm really jazzed up about-Warrior Dash in New York next weekend and Biggest Loser 5K in Myrtle Beach on the 25th- and I may or may not be running a marathon late this fall or winter. My mom and I ran the 15 mile Take the Lake last weekend and I felt pretty good until the last few miles, so if I get more serious about it, I could pull out 26.2 in a few months.), and sometime I need to do a review of my Nathan water fuel belt I've been using this summer (short version: LOVE it, don't know how I've gone so long without one.).

I seriously doubt I'll be able to resist posting about the Warrior Dash, so I'll be back soon! Good luck with everyone's fall training!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Back for a hot minute- Kure Beach Triathlon Race Report

Okay, I know I'm supposed to be staying out of blogland for a little while, but I did just complete my first triathlon since 2008 and really and truly, no one in my real life (except my mom- not because she's my mom but because she is obsessed with racing) wants to hear the full race report. And since one person asked for a review of my tri shorts I know the virtual world is clamoring for the results of the Kure Beach Triathlon, I just cannot deny you! (It may also be because I'm just a little OCD and want to properly record my results on my online log.)

In any case...

I was a little bit nervous about this race last Sunday because I really had not trained like I should. My husband looked at me in the rear view mirror as he drove my mom, sister, and I to the race start and said, "Now, we can all admit you haven't trained for this. So no one's going to judge you if you need to quit." Obviously, that was ridiculous. Even if they didn't judge me (and my mom and sister SO would, in a very loving way, of course) I would drag myself across the pavement and sand before I put up my first DNF. (I'm not saying it couldn't happen someday, but this was too short a race to let that be a possibility.)

It's been over two years since my last triathlon, so I did a lot of double-checking with my transition things. Overall, though, I felt way more prepared material and experience wise than I ever had at any triathlon. My mother graciously loaned me her fancy race bike (I've previously been the slow misfit on the mountain bike), I had on my new two piece triathlon suit (which is at least four times more flattering than my old one piece), I finally broke down and bought a race belt (I wished I had had it dozens of races ago. It makes so much more sense than safety pinning, especially onto a wet suit in the middle of a triathlon.), and I packed a gel into said race belt.

I made a few friends on shore before our wave started in the ocean, but once we hit the waves, I didn't see them again. The ocean swim was longer than I remembered from last time, but I think they may have shorten it that year because of the crazy waves. I remembered to dive under the big waves and not worry about swimming out too fast against the waves and everything went fine. (My tri shorts worked just fine in the water, Dana. I didn't even think about them once while I was swimming.)

I have to admit I was a little winded when I came up on shore and didn't think that was a good indicator for the rest of the race. After pulling on my socks, shoes, and race belt, I had a little chance to breathe and felt better as I started out on the first run. I decided to go ahead and have my chocolate gel while I was running. It was then that I realized this was the first time I've had a gel when it's hot outside. (I didn't start using energy gels until last September.) That hot chocolate goo while I was already hot and nasty was just a little bit too much, even for me. I was pretty sure I might throw it up, but I got the whole thing down. The rest of the 1.5 mile run was pretty uneventful...it just seemed really long for only a mile and a half.

I was very excited about using the race bike and I finally got to use the three words I've always wanted to say during a triathlon, "On the left!" I only actually passed about five people and was passed by approximately a hundred, but it was definitely the most pleasant bike portion I've ever had. I felt like I was going pretty fast for me, but I held back a little to save my legs for the second run.

The second run was actually much easier and turned out to be faster than the first. I was kind of doing a shuffle-run more than real running, but it seemed like that was the game plan of most and I ended up passing a few people. By the time I got to the ocean, it seemed like a wonderful idea to end in the cool water, but I realized immediately how worn out I was. I took it sloooow and easy on that last swim. My attitude was, "I'll get there when I get there."

Surprisingly, I was not sore at all afterwards and I wished that I had pushed it more on the bike. Race results came out that afternoon and I immediately compared them to my 2006 times.

Kure Beach Triathlon
Swim, 375m-13:34
Run, 1.5 miles- 17:00
Bike, 12.4 miles- 41:56
Run, 1.5Mi- 16:31
Swim, 375 M- 9:00
Total Time with Transitions: 1:38:01

Kure Beach Triathlon 2010
Swim, 375m-8:34 (5 minutes faster than '06)
Run, 1.5 miles- 16:10 (50 seconds faster than '06)
Bike, 12.4 miles- 43:11 (1 minute, 15 seconds slower than '06)
Run, 1.5Mi- 15:27 (1 minute, 4 seconds faster than '06)
Swim, 375 M- 11:12 (2 minutes, 12 seconds slower than '06)
Total Time with Transitions: 1:38:01 (3 minutes, 28 seconds faster than '06)

So, in conclusion, I'm running faster, biking slower (even with the race bike!), and swimming is inclusive (and impossible to judge between these two years because the swim course in 2006 kept being adjusted by the ridiculous waves from the offshore hurricane). Even though I wasn't properly trained, I really enjoyed the race and hopefully will figure out a way to train for future races!

Now, I'm sneaking back off for the rest of my blog break (unless I have another race report that just MUST be shared)! Pretend you didn't see me!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Taking a Blog Break

I've been contemplating a blog break for several weeks now. I love it here in blogland; I've met so many lovely people, read so many lovely things, and wrote so many random and/or pathetic things, so I don't think I want to shut down and exit entirely, but there are some other factors that have been weighing in as well:
  • My husband is sick of my laptop. (Although it's very common for him to be sitting on the other side of the couch on his own laptop.)
  • I'm kinda sick of my laptop. Between school, work, and home, I'm on this thing a lot.
  • It is waaay too easy for me to get sucked in and blog-hop on indefinitely while time passes by without me noticing.
  • I'm piddling around with my little races and whatnot now, but I'm really not doing anything that exciting or blog-worthy in the running arena right now.
  • It's summertime and I want to be out and about (or cleaning out closets or other such exciting things!)
I was still on the fence until today. You may recall that I'm a elementary school teacher. I'm on my feet almost all day, every day (yes, even during lunch) and though I may check my email and update my website while my students are at the library or whatnot, I'm rarely just sitting in front of a screen for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Well, it's summertime, of course, which means I'm not teaching and I just started working on my grad school internship. Over the course of the summer, I'll be organizing web resources for teachers, students, and parents for my school district and I'm extremely excited about the process and the outcome.

Today, though, on my first full day, I had a very quick realization, "Wow...I'm just going to be sitting in front of my laptop allllll day long. Is this what most jobs are like?" It's not necessarily bad, because I'm really enjoying the project I'm working on, but once I closed that laptop at the end of the day, I did not want to open it again for any reason whatsoever.

So, that pretty much sealed the deal. I'm sure I'll still do a least a little blog lurking (you know I couldn't quit cold turkey, right?) and who knows, I just might not be able to stay away and start posting again in a week! I'm pretty sure I'll return at some point, though...I've still got 365 consecutive runs to get in someday!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Just so you know...

I went back and conquered the bike with the clip-on pedals. I rode 11 miles yesterday and didn't have any problems (except for being sore because I never bike). I've had a lovely week at my parents' house and have enjoying a little running, biking, and swimming throughout the week, so I'm minimally prepared for this triathlon next week.

I did get a new triathlon outfit though! I'm way more excited than I should be about spandex, but it's a big improvement from my one-piece triathlon suit that I got on sale five years ago. I went to the biking store first and they only had 2 options for tri shorts. I wasn't really jazzed up about either, but I thought that was about as good as they would get. So I bought a pair, then went to Fleet Feet and immediately fell in love with these cute Skirt Sports outfits. After much deliberation, I decided to get both the tri top and shorts there and then had to go back to the biking store to return the less flattering shorts.


Images are from www.skirtsports.com

I tried the shorts biking, but I couldn't really judge the comfort because I was still sore from biking the day before. I'm really excited to try swimming in my new outfit! I'll let you know how it goes. (I know you're just waiting by your monitors to find out!)


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Biking = FAIL

Since I'm going to be participating in the Kure Beach Triathlon just two weeks from today, I decided it was time to get out the bike. (Obviously, I'm not going for a PR here.) I kinda hate biking and therefore hadn't yet brought my mountain bike home from my parents' house, so there has been absolutely no bike training in a looooong time.

When we raced our first triathlon, I used my mountain bike my parents gave me for 13th birthday. It took until my 16th birthday for us to actually go out and buy the bike, but in any case, it was a bike purchased for playing and not for racing. We knew my mom would have an advantage with her road bike, but even with that, I managed to beat her by a few minutes. Within a month, my mom had purchased a slick race bike with clip-on shoes and skinny tires. That, combined with her superior training, led her to an easy victory over me in the next triathlon.

She loves that bike.

Which is why I was slightly surprised when my mom offered to let me borrow it for this upcoming race. She was insistent, however, that I practice a lot with it this week while I'm visiting to get used to the clip-ons and gears. So, thinking it couldn't be that difficult, I snapped in the shoes and went off on a biking adventure!*

*Biking adventure may or may not have consisted of me falling off the bike in the driveway, walking in my socks, dragging the bike through the yard, taking 10 minutes to figure out how to unclip the shoes, making about a 1/2 mile of progress before goofing up the gears, falling off the bike again-this time attached to one of the pedals and landing in the barn driveway and embedding gravel into my hand, cursing, turning around, and going home and awaiting a tutorial from my mom before getting back on that bike.

I decided to remove the flat tire from my car for exercise instead. That actually worked.

By the way, the China Grove 5K Main Street Challenge was a success on Friday! My mom, two sisters, and I all ran and dad even came along to hold our race packets and eat race refreshment leftovers. For as little running as I've been doing lately, I was happy with my time: 26:42, but I think it would have been more fun to use my Garmin if I could look down and see better paces.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Upcoming Races!

There's just 2.5 days left with my 3rd and 4th grade babies! Even though a part of me is aching a little to lose them (they're a good, albeit quirky, little group of kids), the vast majority of me (and them!) is ready for summer! I've got a full summer schedule (think 3 weddings and accompanying parties/showers, an internship with my school system, teaching swim lessons, and a trip to Las Vegas!) but I'm just really ready to drop the stress and fuss of school.

And I'm ready (and desperately need) to get serious about working out again. I'm itching to really put my Garmin to work, finally fetch my bike from my parents' house, and it looks like I'll even have a place to swim this summer! So here's the plan:

June 11: China Grove 5K Main Street Challenge

This is a fun night race and I'll get to run with my mom and sisters!

June 27: Kure Beach Triathlon
I haven't done a triathlon in a few years and I'm ready to get back in the saddle. The Kure Beach race is fun because it's a double sprint (swim, run, bike, run, swim), it's an ocean swim, and it ends on the beach!

I did this race in 2006 and it was quite interesting. There was a hurricane off in the Pacific and the ocean was intensely rough. They encouraged weak swimmers to skip the swim portion, but I thought that was wimpy. I saw the first wave of swimmers go out and when a few of them came back, I thought that was wimpy too. When I went out into those raging waves, I didn't think it was so wimpy anymore. It was r.i.d.i.c.u.l.o.u.s. Every stroke I took, I was pushed back 3. I was tumbled upside down and backwards and my goggles couldn't stay on my head. I ended up grabbing a floating lifeguard's rescue tube and sobbing, "I'm a freaking lifeguard! Why is this so hard?!" After resting for a minute and getting some reassuring words from the lifeguard, I was able to move on and finish the swim. (Meanwhile, my never-panicking-relentlessly-practical mom is on shore, scanning for me for my bobbing head for over 13 minutes and praying for God to rescue me from the sea.)

The run and bike were quick and easy, but my mom was waiting in the transition area attempting to convince me not to go back into the ocean, "It would really be fine if you just skipped the second swim. You don't HAVE to do it. We all know you COULD but maybe you it's not what you SHOULD do." My mind was made up though: I wasn't going to let that ocean defeat me. I jumped back in, but instead of fighting the water, I just took it slow and easy and glided right through that last 375 meters with no problem. I learned you can't race in a hurricane.

So now it's time to tackle Kure Beach again!

September 4: Take the Lake
This is our big local event. It's not really a race, just a particiption event, but I'll be keeping times. I swam the lake a few years ago and last year Mom and I ran, so both of these should be old hat. Except 4 miles is a looong way to swim. And 15 miles miles is a looong way to run.

September 19: Warrior Dash
I'm so excited about this race I can't put it into words! You get to crawl through mud and under barbed wire, leap through fire, and scale walls...all while running. How could it get better? By combining it with a long weekend trip to New York state to see my best friend and first running buddy, Sarah! I found out about this race from Heather at Run, Mommy, Run, but I hope that Sarah and I can get through it injury-free. Rest up and recover soon, Heather!

And the big event is.......



Undecided.

I want to run my next marathon this fall, but still haven't made the final decision of where/when. The two finalists are the Outer Banks Marathon and the City of Oaks Marathon in Raleigh. What do y'all think? Have any of you ran either of these or heard anything about them?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Running with ID

How many of y'all run with ID? I know that I'm supposed to, but that's just one of those things I haven't got around to yet. I don't know if I should spring for the real thing, or just cram an index card with my name and my husband's phone number in my shoe.

It kind of seems like a moot point here in my husband's (small) hometown though. If I were to ever fall off the sidewalk, not see an approaching car, or get attacked by a wild cocker spaniel, I'm pretty sure I know how it would play out...

Lady who discovers me on her power walk: Oh dear! Mary Jo, there's a fallen runner in the road! Call your nephew over at the fire department!

Mary Jo whips out her cell phone and the paramedics are quickly dispatched. Mary Jo and her friend wait with me (unconscious) for them to arrive.

Mary Jo:
Hmm, they say that that running is bad for you. Bad for your knees, too. My cousin's uncle that lived up North was all into that running mess and, bless his heart, died from a heart attack while he was running. It's unnatural, Thelma.

Thelma: Goodness, isn't she ________'s wife?

Mary Jo: I knew she was familiar! ________, from church is his mama. Call
Derb and have him get their number from the Presbyterian church directory. Let her know to meet us at the hospital.

By this time, the volunteer fire department paramedics have arrived and Thelma is on the phone.

Paramedic 1: Alright, what we got here? Oh! I've seen her before, but she's not from around here.

Paramedic 2: Oh yeah...she's married to ______________. Remember, I used to date his cousin in high school?

Thelma: Oh, you mean ________________. She's such a sweet girl, how's her daddy doing?

By this time, they've loaded me up in the ambulance and the whole town, including my husband, in-laws, friends, and church circle have been notified. It's a closed case.

So it seems a little silly to worry about being Jane Doe here, but I do occasionally escape from this small town. Maybe I'll order the Road ID after all.

*By the way, this is the post that I complained about Blogger eating a few days ago. The reason that I couldn't find it is because I started it as a draft many months ago and never finished. So when I finished and published, it posted back in August 2009. I just recopied it here. There's your tech tip of the day! (Although I'm pretty sure most of y'all could have figured that out before me.*

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What's up, blogger?!

I wrote a long post Thursday and it has totally disappeared! Not in drafts, published, anywhere. Either blogger ate my post or I'm going crazy.

Oh well! After a very rough couple weeks of testing and retesting at school, I'm now very happy with my students' performance and am finally relaxing for the first time in weeks. This 3 day weekend, I'm going to enjoy being lazy. I brought two books to the lake: my Kindle with the unauthorized Oprah biography for my guilty pleasure read and a HTML/web design book that I'm reading cover to cover to indulge my web geek side and get ready for my summer internship. I may go for a short run, but I'm not stressing about mileage or much of anything until Tuesday!

I hope all of y'all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Running in the Rain!

A few weeks ago, I received a facebook invitation to a 5K Fundraiser at my high school, on my high school cross country course. I thought about how fun and nostalgic that would be and tossed into the virtual trash since I live 4 hours from my hometown.

When I heard about the race again, however, I realized that I would be home that weekend for my friend's bridal shower! (Yay, Heather!) I decided that the 5K would be a lovely event with my mom and sister to round out my weekend and even had fantasies of my husband making it his first official race! (Oh, by the way, you should know: the former Mr. "I-don't-understand-the-appeal-of-running" is now officially faster than me. He does have the advantage of his legs being about a foot longer than mine.)

Saturday morning, however, I was glad that we weren't able to talk him into it. As soon as the starting gun went off, the rain fell down. It poured the whole race and created messy mud slides on the trails. I love running in the rain, (I first realized running could be fun during "dry practice" for swim team my freshman year of high school, sprinting laps around the track in a downpour, giggling with my girl friends) but I knew good and well that that type of thing is not my husband's idea of fun.

With the rain, mud, and hills (this is still my original home course and I know it's the toughest in the conference!), I had to adjust my time expectations. I was keeping an eye on the Garmin, watching my time and for signs of distress from being soaked, and decided early on that I'd be happy if I got in under 28:00. Even though I'm slower and fatter, I felt fantastic running around my high school course!

It was good to see a few people from my high school past as well. I could not believe my high school track coach remembered me and was happy to see me! (I was pretty sure he was still holding a grudge from me skipping out on track my senior year.) My cross-country coach, my true running hero and teacher, was not there, but I'm sure I'll get to run with him again someday!


One of the race volunteers caught a picture of me along the course and I think it's really funny because I'm pretty blurry but the dumpster is prominently center and in focus! Even that dumpster reminds me of high school cross-country though, because that's right where we would park (run 5 miles at practice, but too lazy to walk across the school yard to our cars?) and stretch at practice.

Anyway, it was a lovely little race and fun to revisit my running past!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Excuse me, Jillian, have you ever run a marathon?

You've heard me sing Jillian Michael's praises before, right? I have the book, the DVD, have watched approximately 5 seasons of Biggest Loser...yeah, the whole 9 yards. Even though she sometimes takes things to the extreme (i.e. yelling at people who are barfing and falling off treadmills with exhaustion.), I've always had a great deal of respect for her and her methods.

Until last night.

Last night, they aired the "Biggest Loser Marathon." They've done this for a few seasons now and in fact one of my marathon goals last October was to beat Tara's 4:55 finish from last spring. Each time, I've wondered how much actual marathon training the contestants have done. Most runners (like myself) devote months to preparing for their first marathon- building up to longer runs, trying out different fuels, drinking massive amounts of water, and rearranging their eating habits. They don't show any of this on the show. In fact, they don't show any of this (aid stations, water, GUs, etc.) along the run either. They completely downplay all the preparation that goes into an event like that. Bob and Jillian only seem concerned about the weight loss and don't question the contestants at all about their marathon training.

I know this season's winner, Daris, was taking his training seriously though. He smashed the previous Biggest Loser record by crossing the finish line at 4:02 last night. (Anybody want to guess what my new marathon goal time is?) It was clear that he had crossed over from "reality show contestant" to "runner" and I was happy to welcome him into our fold.

A few hours (or maybe a day, I'm not quite sure about the timeline) later, however, it was time for Daris to defend his title as a "weight loss contestant" and step on the scale. I cringed a little. I lost about 6 pounds training for my marathon and I thought that was pretty lucky. Many marathoners gain weight from all that necessary carb loading. The week of the race, however, as I geared up for the big day, I ended up gaining back a few pounds. The day after, the scale showed all 6 of those pounds back on. It was just a temporary increase from all that extra water and food, but that water and food got me through 26.2 miles!

So, I was not surprised at all when Daris had a 2 pound weight gain. He said (without really any regret or apology) that he had been more focused on the marathon than on weight loss. "Hurrah!" replied me and runners around the globe. Obviously, this guy has found a healthy activity that he's passionate about and will continue with in the future. He's already under 200 pounds and in great shape.

Bob and Jillian did not share our enthusiasm. Bob was livid and Jillian dropped something that had to be bleeped. "What do you mean it's hard to lose weight while marathon training?" "Don't tell me about how you are just running and gain weight. That doesn't add up. It doesn't make sense."

Beneath all their accusations, Daris' pride quickly morphed to shame and backpedaling. I was h.o.r.r.i.f.i.e.d. Bob and Jillian know that gym backwards and forward; they know all there is to know about weight training and cardio pump and "last chance workouts" but apparently they don't know _____ about running a marathon.

I've been lurking around the internet (obviously, this has been irking me!) and discovered that Bob has, in fact, run 3 marathons, but I'd be real interested in seeing his times. I cannot find any evidence that Jillian has completed a marathon. I did however find a lot more people irked by all this! Like Jamie, Tall Mom on the Run, Run, Momma, Run, J at Kissing Frogs, Amy, and Laura.

So, Jillian, let's see you lace up for 26.2.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why am I only attracted to bad runs?

I know I should be attracted to nice runs. I should be content to trot along quiet sidewalks and around neighborhoods, but I'm not. Nice runs are too calm, too quiet, and they just don't keep me interested.

Now, a bad run, however, I just can't resist. I know they're not what I'm supposed to be doing, but I just fall back into the same patterns.

Right now, I'm pretty out of shape and I should have got out on a nice run around the neighborhood and called it a day. Even though I knew I shouldn't, I let a bad long run talk me into going out tonight.

We were supposed to just go for 2 miles or so, but a naughty run can always talk me into going further than I know is right. At first, it was "just to the bypass" and then "it wouldn't hurt anything to go off the sidewalk and keep going" and then it just feels so natural and you just let one thing lead to another....and you end up doing something very bad, like a 5 mile loop.

Whoops!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Salad a Day

So the running has exactly been stellar lately. I just am holding out until the end of "busy season" at school and then hoping to get back on track.

Usually when I'm not working out like I should, I tend to just let my eating habits go south as well. (I'm kind of an all or nothing kind of girl, if you haven't noticed.) The past couple weeks though, I've accidentally embarked on a healthier food track. It all started with a bag of lettuce that was past its expiration date....

I love to buy groceries on sale, in bulk. (I ALWAYS have at least 3 boxes of oatmeal in my pantry.) I know the Food Lion sales cycles and it usually works out for me. Even if we don't eat something before the expiration date rolls around, there's always the freezer. Meat, vegetables, bagels, it's all up there- bought at the peak of sales and lying in wait frozen.

There's pretty much only one thing that I can't freeze and that's lettuce. So when I discovered a bag of salad greens (only just a little) past the expiration date in my crisper, I had to take immediate action and pack a salad to take to school that day. And it still seemed to be okay the next day, so salad again it was. Then, when I shopped that afternoon, I just couldn't resist a buy-one-get-one-free coupon on two fresh bags of spinach and lettuce! At this point, I'm packing a salad each day for lunch just trying to keep a little ahead of the expiration dates.

(I should mention, at this point, that I've only been a salad eater for a few years, and really only started "craving" salads in the past months. I think I was served a salad about once a year in my childhood, so it didn't really catch on. It's really amazing in itself that I'm making or eating these green dishes at all.)

Anyway, my students seem to be amazingly obsessed with whatever I'm eating, sometimes trying to get their little faces and hands alarmingly close to my food. I feel pretty lame and a horrible example when I get questions like, "Oh! What kind of Hot Pocket is that?!" ("Kids, it's a Lean Pocket, okay, that would be totally disgusting if I ate Hot Pockets on a weekly or more basis. Those 10 fewer calories are a really big deal.") or "Why can't we bring Mexican leftovers to warm up?" ("Well, kids, you have to be a grown-up to eat this much melted grease off melted styrofoam in the cafeteria. Oh, wait! I forgot you're eating cafeteria food.")

(It's obvious that I don't actually say those things, right?)

So, I always feel better when I pack something healthy and their little eyes light up just as much over whole wheat sandwiches, fish, or yogurt. It's been a real treat though, to field their questions over two weeks of salad: "Agh! Are you eating leaves? Did you forget that you're a teacher and not a giraffe?" ("Dear children, that's real greens with nutrients you see there, not the iceberg filler they put in your side salads.") and "What are those chunks of stuff in your salad?" and especially, "Don't you need to put some ranch on that, Mrs. ______?" ("No, kids, no one needs 3 packets of ranch dressing for one salad or really anything on this earth.")

I hope I don't sound like a food snob here (remember I'm the same girl with the Lean Pockets), but I'm just kind of fed up with this whole cafeteria food thing....but that's an issue for a whole other post. It did make me smile though when one of my students said proudly last week, "Look, Mrs. _______, I'm just like you! I'm having a salad and a bottle of water!" I'm a little bit less ashamed of my example now. Let's see how many more salads I can show off between now and the last day of school!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mission Accomplished!

Forgive my absence. I've been...
  • finishing up my third semester of grad school. (I was so thrilled to be able to turn in my assignments one day before the deadlines!)
  • Prepping my babies for end of year testing. (One of my fourth graders came up to me outside, running his little hands through his buzz cut panickingly, and said, "I just need a break! I need to go to the beach and just forget all about this EOG.")
  • attending my sister-in-law's graduation.
  • directing the first annual Farmers Market Fun Run and Walk!
The race was a big success and I'm so tickled about it! We had 116 finishers and filled out all our age groups categories 1st-3rd except for one. (Those males age 20-29 must be slackers!) Everyone seemed to have a really good time and things went smoothly. (Later, I'll post a detailed run down of how everything was organized/timed/recorded/etc. and what I've learned during the process.) All our volunteers (including my lovely sisters, mother, mother-in-law, and husband) were wonderful and many participants had lovely things to say about the event.

My favorite comment from the whole event though, was, "Running this was actually really fun! You might have turned me on to something."

Mission Accomplished! : )

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pre-Race Jitters!

I've got the pre-race jitters big time. It's not the usual fretting about my time or performance, though, in fact, I haven't trained at all. This race is my big event: my first adventure as a race organizer and director!
When I decided to put this event together about 3 months ago, I jumped blind into the deep end of race planning. Fortunately, I've had a lot of support and help along the way (and will in the final few days and race day) and I've been really excited about the response. 115 runners and walkers are registered for the 1st Annual Farmers Market Fun Run and Walk and there are 3 more days to sign up!

Even with all the planning and work that's been put in so far, I've still got butterflies about the big event. I'm laying awake thinking about all the "what ifs" and hoping and checking to ensure that all my ducks are in a row. I have many friends, family, and volunteers helping out, but there are just a lot of little things that I personally have to check off my list!

Even though I'm nervous, I'm very excited that race day is almost here! The t-shirts look great, we have wonderful sponsor support, volunteers are lined up, and most importantly, we have over 100 runners and walkers! I'll let y'all know how it goes!

Oh! In other news, I enjoyed reading your responses to my Running Barefoot post, which as I was corrected by Barefoot Johnny O, : ) was not necessarily about true barefoot running, but some almost barefoot alternatives. To the disappointment of my Vibram-wearing friend, I'm not ready to go that far yet, but I am interested in mixing in some barefoot or near barefoot training. That definitely won't be happening before Saturday though!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Running Barefoot

Caught your eye, didn't I? No, I haven't actually been running barefoot but I've spent a good deal of time (that I probably should be devoting to other matters right now) lately reading/thinking about it.

I probably spent more time than most barefoot as a child. As soon as it was suitably warm, we were allowed to play outside without our shoes and I can recall the feelings of many different textures beneath my feet: grass, rocks, mud, asphalt, and pretty much everything in between. I was frequently caught at the barn without my shoes on and you can imagine that wasn't always a great idea. Like the time I stepped on rusty barbed wire and my last tetanus shot was at a fuzzy undetermined date in the past. (My parents decided I'd probably be fine without the shot. I lived.) Or the time I was standing on a fence and a calf thought my foot would be tasty. (Calves are pretty harmless though; it's just a strange sensation to have your foot in a cow's mouth.)

My dad bragged about his barefoot running on his track team in the 70s and I marveled at the way my grandma could walk across hot gravel without anything between those pointy rocks and her feet. Being barefoot in the elements seemed like a way to prove your grit.

So, of course, I fell hard for the the new "barefoot running" trend of the Nike Frees when they came out in 2005. I was training for my first marathon, was in great shape, and raved about my light, flexible shoes that taught my feet muscles to be strong. I logged hundreds of miles in my first pair while studying abroad and one of my first purchases when I arrived home was my second pair.

Shortly thereafter, however, I started having problems with my knee. I desperately tried to train through it, but a month before my marathon, it was just getting worse. 17 miles into a long run, my knee hurt so badly all I could do was limp home and I had to admit defeat.

I was advised by a doctor with running experience (who may or may not also be my mom) to quit running for at least a month or two to let it heal. After my time off, I went to the running store to seek advice and the owner was horrified when I showed him my Nike Frees and described the training I'd done in them. He said they were definitely the cause of my injury and shoes like that should only be used for short muscle building workouts on a treadmill or track.

I banished the Nike Frees and the dream of near-barefoot running to the back of my closet and moved on with expensive, supportive running shoes. I haven't had any significant knee problems since and was able to go on and finally run that marathon last year.

So, you can imagine my horror when my when best friend and first long run partner caught the latest barefoot running craze: the Vibram Five Finger. I warned her and cautioned her and reminded her of my follies, but to no avail. She insisted these were different and even worth the stares you receive when you wear something that resembles reptile toe socks. I sighed and waited for the inevitable letdown or injury.

Well, she's been running in them for months now and is still loving her Vibrams. Injury free, which is wonderful, but I considered that some kind of lucky fluke of nature. Somewhere along the way, Sarah passed me her copy of "Born to Run" and implied there was some connection between the Vibrams and the book, but that it was mostly a story about running. I started the book months ago and would pick it up now and again, but it was a really slow story to get moving. I took the book to the beach yesterday though and have almost finished it today (like I said, I probably have other things to be focusing on right now, but I'm kind of a compulsive reader...once it gets good, I have a hard time stopping until the end.)

It turns out that "Born to Run" is not only a passionate story about running and its history, but a very compelling piece of propaganda for Sarah's point of view and this whole barefoot running thing. (I think she was well aware of that when she loaned it to me.) It's got me really, really wanting to ditch my shoes and just sprint off into the distance, despite my unfortunate falling out with near-barefoot running before.

The whole logic behind the barefoot running movement is that barefoot is natural, running is natural and running shoes are not. The rate of running injuries has increased dramatically since the advent of specialized running shoes and many competitive runners all over the world and throughout history train barefoot. There are some interesting ideas and research in the book and it's prompted me to explore around the internet on the topic too.

Anyway, have y'all read "Born to Run" or had any experience in the whole barefoot running department? I highly recommend the book even if you think trading in your padded shoes is crazy. I'm kind of on the fence about which side of the debate sounds crazier now, so, Sarah, consider this a win in your book. : )

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blah................

In the next two weeks, I need to get my kids ready for the End of Grade tests, finish my grad school final projects, direct my first 5K race (almost 100 runners and walkers signed up!), and attend 2 out of town graduations. There's a lot to be done. I'm getting there but I feel like I'm dragging my feet all the way.

Running/exercising/healthy eating has not been a consistent part of my life lately. I've got the big time blahs about it. I think my husband is draining all the "health energy" out of our house. (Did I mention that he went running twice in one day last week?) I was so thrilled to get my Garmin and he's ended up using many more times than I have so far.

I think part of it is post-birthday let down. When I look towards every birthday, first day of school, race, wedding (okay, there was only one of those), summer, or any other semi-significant event, I always picture myself at that magical, ideal weight/speed/health level. And every time that event passes and I'm just the same, I'm just a little disappointed. (Once, when I was in high school, my aunt told me,"If a woman can't lose weight for her wedding, she can't lose weight for anything." That off-hand comment stuck with me...especially when I could not lose weight for my wedding.) By now, I should understand cause/effect and just accept the consequences of my actions. (Don't I ask my my students to do that all the time?) The only times I've been successful in losing a decent amount of weight have been when I was marathon training. Which is kind of frightening because it tells me I'm ALWAYS eating enough calories to support 26 mile runs, even when my only current exercise is grading papers.

I need a new race (preferably a marathon if I want to lose weight) or crazy goal. I don't seem to function well without one.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Belated Blog Birthday

(I just couldn't resist the alliteration!)

So I completely didn't get around to celebrating my blog's 1 year birthday yesterday because I was too busy celebrating my 25th!

Although the original intent of this blog was to keep me accountable for all 365 days of running (and that has obviously been a FAIL on my part), I have definitely reaped benefits! I have so very much enjoyed discovering all of you lovely people and your blogs. Y'all have definitely kept me accountable for many a run and I've learned so much from you in the fields of running, food, and just life in general!

So thank you for a lovely blog birthday! I'm looking forward to (and will soon let you in on) my goals for this year of my life and blog!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reorganizing

If you've popped by my blog anytime this week, I apologize if you've encountered a mess. I just discovered "blogger in draft" and feel foolish for going so long without it!

I'm still moving things around and figuring this out, so let me know if you see anything you love or hate. I'm working on my masters in Instructional Technology and have pretty much become a huge tech nerd so I love this kind of thing. Between school, life, and grad school, I'm created a ridiculous amount of websites, blogs, online courses and projects over the past year. I live on my laptop. I'm pretty sure my husband's going to throw it out the window one day.

Tomorrow's my blog's birthday so I better get it together!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I tried to tell y'all....

I can't believe some of y'all were happy to go to the 25-30 age group! There must be a different breed of runners in your areas because I need you to check out the age group results from the 10K I ran on Saturday....

Yay! I came in second! If I had known 1st was less than a minute ahead of me, I could have pulled out a little more push that last mile.


Umm...yeah. I can't compete with people who run almost 7:00 minute miles. Especially when they are able to run 6 consecutive 7:07 miles.

Maybe I'll have some kind of speed epiphany when I turn 25. I doubt it. I'm not really into aiming for specific times right now, but I could see myself really getting into that and training for speed at some point. Especially if I had a competitive running partner.

Any of y'all really get into speedwork and drastically drop your times? What age group are you terrified of or overjoyed about?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Oak Island Lighthouse 10K

I went back and forth about registering for this race since it was over an hour drive and it's been a different kind of week, but in the end, I decided to sign up and I'm so glad I did! There are few running events within driving distance of here, so I hardly ever get to do casual short races unless I'm home visiting family.

One thing that prompted me to sign up the realization that I'm going to be moving up an age group in just one week! Unfortunately, this age-group move, is NOT going to be benefical to me. (Unlike my mom's last age-group move; She was THRILLED to be turning 50. "Now I won't have to compete with those 45-year-olds anymore! I'll be young and spry compared to those 54-year-olds!")

The 19-24 Female Age Group is not that competitive. Really good runners in that age range are on college track and cross country teams and not messing with the weekend races. Many others in that group are still in bed at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. So the few of us that are out there are pretty likely to snag an age group award!

The 25-30 Female Age Group, however, is a whole 'nother ball game. Those former college cross country stars need somewhere to keep competing and you better watch out for those hardcore new moms with the jogging strollers!

Anyway...back to today's race: the Oak Island Lighthouse 10K. It was a decent sized race with over 400 participants between the 5K and 10K so I was surprised they didn't have chip timing. They trolley-ed us out to the race start, which was at the bottom of the bridge that leads out the island. (I was more than a little nervous about running over this huge bridge on a windy morning. Luckily, though, they had the road blocked and we got to run right up the center of the road, away from the low railings and the potential tumble to the waterway below.) I guess since we were right on the bridge, they couldn't set up a starting line. We were all just milling around in a pile when they called "Start!" without much fanfare or warning.

The bridge was windy, but not so bad, but within that first mile, my legs started doing funny things. My right shin was hurting so badly that I had to stop to stretch twice and I was running on the sand and grass beside the road because the pavement just made it worse. Before mile the halfway point, both calves were cramping and I was just in general, not happy with the way things we're going. It was hot and I had no idea what my pace was since I was stopping to stretch. I was fantasizing about my soon-coming Garmin (which actually arrived later today!!!!) and frustrated because I didn't see any mile markers after Mile 3. Somewhere along the way though, my legs worked themselves out and I started to get myself together. I felt pretty good by the time I reached the end and was pleased and surprised to make it in under 58 minutes!

I didn't feel like sticking around for awards, but my friend that happened to be there for the 5K texted me later to tell me I won 2nd in my age group! Like I said though, this is my last race in the 19-24 group, so I better savor this, because I don't anticipate another award for a good decade or so.

So, all in all, a good run! Have any of y'all experiencing random shin/calf pain out of nowhere like that though? I hope it was just a fluke!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Go hug your grandma!

My husband's grandma (the destination of all those "grandma loop" runs) passed away this week after almost 91 years of excellent health and then a gradual decline over the past months and weeks. I'm very close to my own grandma at home and other the past couple years my husband's grandma has been a kind of a surrogate grandma since we live here instead of near my family.

She was an exceptional, caring, funny lady and will be greatly missed by everyone in my husband's family and the countless people who she loved and welcomed as family. We're so grateful though that we were able to have her so long. All she asked God for was to live long enough to see her three children grow up that they could take care of each other. According to her, after her youngest child (my mother-in-law) graduated from nursing school, anything after that was "borrowed time." She was surprised and felt blessed that she was able to see her grandchildren grow up too and even meet a few great-grandchildren.

Obviously, life as normal take a pause during a time like this, and running has dropped by the wayside. I'm making the time to call my own grandma more often (when I can catch her between tilling her garden, mowing, and watching my little cousins. She is NOT allowed to use the bushhog or climb on top of the garage anymore though!) and want to make sure I don't take her, my other grandparents, or anyone in my life for granted.

Now, you make sure to do the same! Go hug your grandma!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Garmin and Other Ramblings

First of all, let's get this Garmin mess out of the way. I've made up my mind; I'm going to bite the bullet and get the Garmin! I keep wishing I had one (especially planning this race) and I'm tiring of hemming and hawing. Except, actually, this one last time because I want to be sure I'm getting the right one. I've looked and compared online and I think I want the Forerunner 305 and that seems to be what most of y'all have too. My only concern is how big it is! I'm nowhere near a store that carries them, so I'll have to order online. Convince me one last time: if you have a Garmin, let me know what model you have, how much you love it, and that it's worth the money.

So I was going to list my runs and workouts since the last time that I reported them, but then I flipped back a few posts to see when that was. Yep, it's been 11 days. I have no idea how much I ran on each of those 11 days. I just wrote a post on how I can't remember anything.

So you'll just have to take my word for it that I got in a mile or two or three each day for the past 11 days.....except for Friday...in which circumstances did not allow. I'll make up for it with a two-fer one day later this week, but it's not going to be today.

Spring Break has come and is very nearly gone. I didn't accomplish everything I wanted to, but I did see friends and family, get a lot of work done for my race, and get a few things done around the house.

In completely random running news, when I was at my parents' house for a few days this week, I discovered a new toy that my mom won for a door prize at a race. I got extremely excited for a second because I thought it was a fuel belt and I was already scheming how to label it mine. Although it had pouches like a fuel belt, it actually was something much fancier: a running light belt! It actually has an adjustable beam, adjustable brightness bulb attached to battery pack so you can illuminate the road in front of you. It's advertised for "low light running and walking" but obviously that would be too practical and I decided to test it out in the pitch dark running up the side of the road.

I had trouble getting the belt adjusted in the beginning; it wouldn't sit still on my hips and I tried it around my natural waist, but that wasn't comfortable. I eventually did get it situtated on my hips and it stayed in place. The light was really bright...I could easily see where I was going and I'm sure any passing cars could see me a mile away. (Luckily, I didn't encounter any cars on this quick run...only a few startled cows.) I'm sure I actually looked kind of spooky...this bouncing light moving up the side of the road.

It was a fun excursion, but I wouldn't want to go more than a mile or two using that as my only light. I kind of felt like a horse with blinders because all I could see was what was lit right in front of me.

If you are a night runner though, I think this makes a lot more sense than wearing a light on your head. (I saw several different headlamps at the running store I stopped by this week...I didn't know there was such a demand!) The brand was GoMotion which I haven't heard of, but I haven't done much research in this area before.

Anyway, that's that and it's time to get ready to go back to school tomorrow!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fear of Forgetting

I have this fear of forgetting things. Forgetting memories and events, more specifically. Almost as if they would not exist anymore if I could not remember them.

This fear has grown lately as I move farther and farther away from childhood. I use to remember EVERYTHING. With ridiculous detail. My sisters and I were so baffled and horrified that our mom couldn't remember what roller skating rink we went to for my 8th birthday or the name of my best friend's sister. She said she had enough information to keep in her head that she just had to let go of those details. I thought that was silly.

Fast forward to now...I can't even remember my workouts from 3 days ago if I don't write them down. All of the sudden, when I became a "real adult" and had 20 little students to worry with and plan for and organize, irrelevant information fell by the wayside. Now, my sisters look to me with horror when I have completely forgotten about a trip we took or a conversation we had months ago.

I don't think it's necessarily that I'm busier or have more going on. (In high school, I kept up with classes, sport practices, lessons, my sisters' schedules, etc. One semester in college, I had to get a form reluctantly signed by the dean of my department allowing me to take 23 hours of class instead of the normal maximum 18.) I think it's either because of the weight of responsibility that comes with a classroom of elementary children that rely on you for their every need for 8 hours each day or something to do with brain science and the difference between a child's and adult's memory.

Anyway, all of this is to explain why I'm so driven to put things on paper. I kept a diary all throughout my childhood, but my writing was not very consistent. Sometimes there were would be weeks or months between entries and during middle school I had almost daily detailed reports on the vastly interesting (okay, in retrospect, not quite so much) aspects of life as a pre-teen.

I greatly regret I did not keep a diary during my first year of teaching (or any of the past few years, for that matter.) I had a roller coaster of an experience and it's too easy to just brush that off as the past and forget what it was really like. (I had so many funny teacher stories from that year, too! Sometimes, one of my sisters or friends will ask me about a story about one of those students and I will have completely forgotten until they remind me what happened.)

Obviously, this blog, in a way, is a diary, at least of my running life. So I'm trying to keep things organized so I can look back on my fails and triumphs (and sometimes read between the lines to my life outside of running, too.) I put all my results I could dig up into one post that I can link one the side and add to as needed, and I'm going back through and properly labeling my posts. At least as properly as I can with labels such as "patheticness," "lame excuses" and "interesting runs." Anyway, I'll try not to make things too complicated!

I hope y'all are enjoying this lovely weather. I'm out the door for a quick run before our tax appointment!

Race Results

I'm trying to get all my race results organized in one place...I'll explain later.

October 26, 2002

2002 3-A Midwest Regional Cross-Country at McAlpine Park; Charlotte, NC
23:15
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April 25, 2004
Angels Race Sprint Triathlon, Lynchburg, VA
1:56:25
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November 14, 2004
Battleship Half Marathon; Wilmington, NC
2:41:34 (Sarah's and my first half marathon...we were so proud to finish, lol)

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April 10, 2005
Angels Race Sprint Triathlon; Lynchburg, VA
300 M Swim- 5:37
25K Bike- 1:10:29
5K Run- 33:03
Total Time with Transitions- 1:49:09

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December 24, 2009
Mooresville Fire Department 5K
25:22
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April 29, 2006
Owl's Roost Rumble III 5k Run
27:22
-
May 30, 2006
Bare Bones 5K, Salisbury, NC
26:11
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June 25, 2006
Kure Beach Double Sprint Triathlon
Swim, 375m-13:34 (There was a hurricane in the Pacific...I literally almost drowned.)
Run, 1.5 miles- 17:00
Bike, 12.4 miles- 41:56
Run, 1.5Mi- 16:31
Swim, 375 M- 9:00
Total Time with Transitions: 1:38:01
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September 17, 2006
Angels Race Sprint Triathlon; Winston-Salem, NC
300 M Swim- 5:04
20K Bike- 48:06
5K Run- 27:52
Total Time with Transitions- 1:25:08
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May 19, 2007
Mission Run; Salisbury, NC
26:20
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June 9, 2007
Varmint Half Marathon; Burkes Garden, VA
2:06:36
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June 22, 2007
5K Main Street Challenge; China Grove, NC
25:27
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July 8, 2007
Summer Roundup Trail 12K; Colorado Springs, CO
1:27:42
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July 28, 2007
Salisbury Greenway 5K
26:00
-
August 11, 2007
Rowan Alliance; Salisbury, NC
27:04
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November 2, 2007
Pumpkin Festival 5K; Stateville, NC
31:05
-
November 11, 2007
Battleship Half Marathon; Wilmington, NC
1:59:55
-

April 26, 2008
Dogwood 10K; Fayetteville, NC
58:37

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May 17, 2008
Rotary YMCA Triathlon; Statesville, NC
300 meter swim- 5:26
11.6 mile bike- 1:34
5K run- 29:16
Total Time with transitions- 1:39:05
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February 14, 2009
Myrtle Beach Half Marathon
2:23:27
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April 11, 2009
Bunny Run 5K; Concord, NC
30:46
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July 25, 2009
Salisbury Greenway 5K

25:25
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September 5, 2009
Take the Lake- 15 Miles; Lake Waccamaw, NC
2:57
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September 12, 2009
Historic Mooresville 5K
25:57
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October 18, 2009
Des Moines Marathon
4:39:45
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November 7, 2009
Pecan Festival 8K
Approximately 44 min., 1st Place in Women
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March 21, 2010
Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon
2:07:58

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Summer has Sprung!

All of the sudden, we've gone from freezing to blazing!

Clues that Spring (with temps close to Summer) is here:
  • After taking the winter off, my car air conditioner just decided not to show back up to work this spring. It is HOT in that car after school gets out in the afternoon.
  • Once again, I'm a sweaty mess after a workout. (Which is a good thing! It feels like evidence.)
  • I spent a few hours, laying out reading "Little House on the Prairie" at the lake this afternoon. (I accidentally starting reading it when I was waiting to get my nails done and that was the only book I had in the car. I read all the Laura Ingalls books multiple times when I was little and picked that copy up at a thrift store to add to my classroom library. I felt a little ridiculous reading a children's book at the nail salon, but I got so into it! I forgot how wonderful those books are.)
  • And most convincingly, it's spring break!!
In other news, I have a horrible confession: I did not run yesterday. We didn't get home until 10 and I didn't want to have the late-night treadmill discussion, so I just let it go. I did get in two runs today...one before supper and then one after The Shred Level 2. (Please ignore the fact that they were each only 1 mile.) I really liked Level 2! I've done Level 1 probably 15 times, but I was scared to go up because I was afraid it would be too hard. There were a few difficult moves, but overall, it was doable and there were some fun new moves!

Have a Happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Who would have thought?

Y'all remember my husband, right? Mr. Practical? The one who is constantly trying to convince me to get 6 hours of sleep instead of getting "one more thing" done? Who still doesn't doesn't quite understand the appeal of family trips built around running races?

He's been kind of walk/jogging and has actually been running quite consistently lately, but I was still shocked last week when I caught him packing a bag to take to class. He was super casual about it, like it was not completely out of character for him to "go by the gym after class gets out at 9:30."

And today, I thought he was about to rush out the door to his next scheduled activity, but instead he wanted to know where the iPod was because he was "going for a quick jog."

Um, hello? I'm thrilled but I'm trying to be low key about it. We're actually running at about the same speeds right now so I just may have a running partner. (I obviously just think everyone should be a runner, so this is a success close to home!)

Maybe I should get some inspiration from him because I need to kick it up a level. As promised, I have been running daily (Do you see my daily running old friends- 1 mile and treadmill?) and I'm finally going to graduate to Shred Level 2 tomorrow!

Thursday, March 25
- 1 mile, courthouse loop; Shred Level 1
Friday, March 26- 2 miles, downtown and back; Shred Level 1
Saturday, March 27- 2 miles, neighborhood loop with Mr. Practical; Shred Level 1
Sunday, March 28-1 mile, I think. It might have been 2...I can't even remember where I ran and that was just 3 days ago. That's really bad, right?
Monday, March 29- 1 mile, to Grandma's
Tuesday, March 30- 1 mile, treadmill
Wednesday, March 31- Yoga; 1 mile, courthouse loop

Next week is Spring Break though and I'm looking forward to free time to actually get some decent workouts!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

31 Days, Hopefully?

If I had continued my 365 consecutive days of running, I'd be in the short rows now. Obviously, that's not the case though. It doesn't look like I'm going to be starting over anytime this year either. If you observed my repeated attempts and fails from April to September of last year, you'd probably agree. It's just not feasible when I'm teaching, in grad school, and have a rinky-dink treadmill that shakes the whole house and prevents others from sleeping.

I think 31 days is pretty feasible though, so I'm going to end the rest of my running (not calendar) year with a few last meager goals. It's less than a month until my birthday and I'm celebrating the last days by running each day and finally finishing Jillian's 30 Day Shred! It's my birthday present to myself and hopefully I'll enter this next year in a little better shape.

I'm only 3 days, 5 miles, and 3 Shreds in, but I feel so much better having that commitment each day and not being able to talk myself out of it!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Confessions, Lessons, Blessings Race Report

Confessions:
  • This was my first anti-social race. I chatted it up with some nice people waiting for the shuttle, in route, and before the gun, but once the race started, I was iPod-on, eyes-ahead. Part of me kind of felt like I missed a little of the race experience, but part of me didn't want to muster up the energy to make small talk while running. I did pop out one ear bud at mile 6 to ask this nice couple for the time (57 minutes in) and then when they passed me at mile 12, they offered the time again. They were so sweet.
  • I didn't study the course map well enough and I couldn't remember where the water stations were. It screwed up my GU schedule and I skipped one water station that I really shouldn't have.

Lessons:
  • Even though I've been taught this lesson before, I definitely learned it again today: I can finish a race without training properly, but I cannot enjoy the whole race without training properly. I was pretty miserable the last 3 miles or so.
  • It's time to buy a fuel belt, for real. It's not cool to have my GUs stuffed in my waist band and I could have used water between some of the water stations.
  • I think it might be time to go for the Garmin. Or at least a new sports watch, but even as I type that, a watch seems really lame and I think I need to bite the Garmin bullet.

Blessings:
  • I don't know why I ever doubted that chocolate would be the choice for me in energy gels. It's my first choice in any other realm of life, why would running me different? I thoroughly enjoyed both my Chocolate Outrage GUs...it's kind of like dark chocolate syrup, right smack in the middle of a workout. How could that be wrong?
  • Despite my right knee going berserk the last 2 miles, I was able to finish the race in 2:07:58, which is not fabulous, but I think is pretty decent for the amount of training I put in.

Overall, my experience with the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon was good and I think I definitely earned my hardcore badge by getting up at 4:30, driving by myself to the beach, running 13.1 miles, and making it home, showered, and dressed in time to be in the church choir at 11:00. I iced my knee for a while and took a nap (which I hardly ever do) this afternoon and I don't think I'll be too sore. I do plan to take it easy on the knee the next few days to see what's up, but I think it's just an symptom of undertraining and not anything major.

Give me some tips on fuel belts and Garmins...I think my birthday list will be mostly running gear this year!