Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Back to reality

Imagine my glee this morning when I glanced down at my garmin and saw that I was doing a 4 minute mile!!!! Incredible you say? Well, not really, I was on my bike at the time! It was fun. I took a brief (5 mile) bike ride at sunrise this morning. I don't want to have sore ischeal tuberosities again, so I am going to try to ease back into bike riding.

Bike riding is my favorite sport. I love it, and I am even moderately good at it. Well, except for that Super Man episode 2 years ago when I went over my handlebars and broke a rib.

Thanks for all your prayers and well-wishes for both me and my son. Blogging really gets you in touch with some pretty neat people... thanks!

Monday, 28 May 2007

Memorial Day

I ran 5K this morning like a slug. I mean really, really sluggish and slow and leaden (is that a word?) It is a beautiful morning, the sun is shining, the world looks clean and new and fresh and I am glad to have an extra day off of work.

I have a flag flying on my front porch (see above), but that is my only concession to Memorial Day. I just cannot deal with it this year. Next year I will make up for it, I promise. But this year, with my son in Iraq, I just cry whenever I see the TV, news, newspaper, the National Cemetary I drive by every day, etc.

If the kids don't come over later I will take a bike ride. If they come over, I will be busy with them. A bike ride would definitely be nice. Have a wonderful Memorial Day everyone.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Oh Yay!

I ran this morning for the first time since the race. I was heeding the advice to rest a day for each mile of the race, but I just can't do it! I ran 3.1 miles this morning and it was glorious! I ran the middle mile in 10:45. Woo Hoo! That is super fast for me. It felt great!

I swam 600 meters last night in 20 minutes. I needed to be somewhere at 5:30, and I ran into an old spinning class friend in the pool. We probably chatted for 20 minutes - which cut into my swimming time. But it was so good to see him and nice to just stand in the pool for a while too.

I am now looking forward to a nice restful three day weekend. I don't need to do anything but pull a few weeds, shampoo the carpet in the living room, etc. But I don't really HAVE to do anything. It is nice. Long ago and far away, I had thought I would run the Bolder Boulder 10K on Monday - but I am going to skip trying to do that. It would have been nice to do it on the 20th anniversary of the first time I ran it, but I don't need to do that!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone!

Friday, 25 May 2007

Much Better, Thank You.

I think I am adjusting to life post-race. Yesterday afternoon I started feeling a little bit lighter. I went out for dinner with a friend last night, and that was nice. Unfortunately though, I am eating like the last days of Rome.

The only work out I have had since Sunday has been a 2 mile walk on Wednesday morning. I am sure that is greatly affecting my mood. I brought my gym bag to work today and I will go swimming on my way home. This weekend I should have one or two runs, one or two bike rides, and one or two swims. I think I will be back on my feet in no time.

My new friend Lana (remember the kind person from the running club who came back and ran slowly with me after everyone else left?) was talking about how running actually is therapy... it is similar to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. That the movement of running actually changes our brains.... OK, I know I sound a little wacky, but I believe it.

I started running (again) in 2003 after breaking up with the man I thought I was going to marry. I was devastated. I felt that if I didn't do something drastic, I would be very miserable. So I started running. I could only run for 5 minutes - downhill! But after a week or two, I tried 10 minutes. Then after a while of that, I knew I could run a mile, so I tried that! Within 4 months, I was running 1.5 miles and very happy about it. A year after the breakup, I had completed my first sprint distance triathlon. I really feel that running changed my life.

Last summer I completed my third triathlon, and my twin daughters did it with me! That was so so so cool. They both intend to the the Tri for the Cure with me in August. My son may be home by then too! I have a lot to look forward to!
Thanks for reading this post - it is probably a little bit "out there", but then, so am I!

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Post-race Crash

Oh my goodness. For as high as I felt on Monday and Tuesday -- Wednesday and so far Thursday are as low. It is difficult to focus so intensely on one day and then have it be over! As much as I wanted it to be over, I am left with this empty feeling.

And mainly, I am left with all the reasons I wanted and indeed needed a distraction as intense as training for a half-marathon. I can barely keep from crying about some of the stuff that is going on with my job, in relationships, and suddenly I am even feeling like I MUST do some more serious retirement planning! But mainly I can barely keep my composure when I think about my son flying a helicopter in Iraq. He has been there since last August, and when he first left, I was terrified, but I came to a level of acceptance with it. That acceptance is now gone, and I am scared beyond belief - all over again.

I will register for the Tri for the Cure next week, and get in the pool and on my bike and hope that it will give me another intense distraction.

Any advice from those who have been through this? Thanks.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Still flying high

This is me at the end of 13.1 miles. I was at the absolute end of my endurance, but oh, what a wonderful thing this is. I feel like a new woman this week. I have been reading my marathon training books and find that I am supposed to crash tomorrow - the Wednesday after a Sunday race. And if so, that is fine. I feel great right now.

This race was such a victory for me. It wasn't fast, and it really wasn't a feat of athletic prowess. It was a feat of endurance and defeat over my very own personal demons - the very ones that have defeated me so many times in the past. You see, I don't like doing anything unless I do it pretty well. When I went back to college in my 40s, getting an A- felt to me like a huge defeat. A couple of those A minuses ruined my chance at graduating Summa Cum Laude. I ONLY graduated Magna Cum Laude - at the age of 48! ONLY. And when I got my masters degree at 50, I was so disappointed because I graduated without honors at all!

I think the reason I was willing to do this race is because of my age. I really think at 55, it is just a big deal to get out and do this thing. However, I wanted my time to be "good." So I trained, and trained, and trained... thinking that I was running 11 something minute miles. Which isn't bad. I was happy with that.

Two weeks before the race, I found out my time was considerably slower than that and I was devastated. I knew I could run 13.1 miles. But I would be slow. I was worried about walkers passing me (and they did). I was worried mainly about my demons raising their ugly heads and me succumbing to the seductions of my temper and my self-pity. I was worried that I would be angry, or hurt, or discouraged. I was worried I would be crying. I was afraid I would be ashamed of myself. I was worried that I would just give up and go home.

When I woke up the morning of the race, I just felt great. Every time I started getting anxious, I stopped it. I prayed that I would be able to run this race for the glory of Him, and not the glory of me. And then I decided to have the most enjoyable time possible. I put a smile on my face. I tried to encourage others who seemed to need it. I thanked every policeman along the way - for being out there so early on a Sunday morning. And every time I looked down at my Garmin, it seemed like the miles were putting themselves on there! I knew I was slow, but I was doing it! I felt great.

At 9 miles, I developed a stomach ache and I was heading up a long long long hill and I wondered how I could continue. Just then, I looked over to the side of the road and there was my friend Holly! I stopped and talked with her and after that, I was able to go on, with a new smile on my face.

This may sound Pollyanna-ish. But it is a revelation for me. I can be a long distance runner - I don't care how slow I am. I can do it! I do not have to defeat myself! This is such a victory!

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Colorado Colfax Half-Marathon - Done!

What a wonderful event and a wonderful day. Yesterday I was all keyed up and worried about what kind of attitude I was going to have during the race. I went to church last night, and just calmed right down. The calm never left me, thankfully.

I decided to enjoy the event. I was determined not to worry about my time, and not to get competitive. I gave myself permission to walk if I felt like it, stop at the porta-potties if I needed (a whole other story there!) and just soak up everything that was the race. And that is what I did. I stopped to use a rest room in a park we passed through... I walked through all of the water stops... I felt just fabulous for the first 8 miles. At a couple of miles, I passed the Cathedral and saw people heading to early Mass... I said a quick prayer of gratitude that I could be out doing this crazy thing! At about 9 miles, I had a stomach ache and felt horrible - and then I heard a friend from the sidelines! My friend Holly came out to greet me! I actually stopped and talked with her and stretched. It was a good thing, I was really tired at that point. My stomach ache did not go away until I stopped running. I don't know what that was about, but it hurt!

In the last mile, I had a new downloaded song on my iPod which was just so so so appropriate, I played it over and over and over. It was "Save the Last Dance for Me" by Michael Buble - and I danced and sang. I am sure I looked like a nut, but it kept me going up a really steep hill at the end of a 13.1 mile course... yikes. I do not know what possessed me to download that song yesterday because I have never listened to this guy before in my life, but I am sure glad I did!

My daughter finished about 15 minutes after I did... she totally enjoyed herself too. I am so glad, she didn't train at all and I was worried about her. She called a few minutes ago to see how I managed the stairs in my house... ow! I am hurting and so is she! But I have all day to do absolutely nothing - I think I will go so far as to order pizza - after I wake up from my nap! I just am so happy to have completed this thing. It was great.

The bad thing? When we got to the race start, nice and early as we should have, we heard the announcement that they had only ONE porta-potty. I am not kidding. ONE. There was a line like you can imagine. The guy ahead of us said that even if everyone used the toilet for one minute, there was no way we would even get in the john before the race started. Imagine the excitement when we saw porta-potties being unloaded from a Ryder Rental Truck.... they found 5 of them, and they were already full of s****. They smelled so bad we were actually gagging. I honestly thought I was going to throw up. But I used the thing and got to the start line in time. My daughter passed, and then had to stop at 7-11 along the way... and lost about 10 minutes there. The other bad thing? remember the race organizer who told me they would have gu at every water stop? I saw not one packet of it, but I had stuffed some in my bra.

Other than that, I can't think of enough superlative adjectives to describe how I feel right now. This course was hard! We ran through three different cities, all the way across the Denver metro area. And there are major HILLS here! Thanks for all of your support, I took all of you with me. You have given me great advice and support over the last few weeks and it made a difference!


Saturday, 19 May 2007

The Day Before

We went to the race expo last night and got our race packets. This morning at 4:00 a.m. I layed all this gear out on my bed. To say I am excited is a bit of an understatement.

Thank you so much for all of your support. You guys are really great. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will post something tomorrow after it is over!

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Three Short Days...

Here is a picture I took after my run yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed that run. Every time I glanced down at the Garmin and saw 13 or 14 minute miles for my pace, I smiled. Really - I did. I am going to glory in whatever my performance is. I trained for this! I did a walk/run yesterday and my pace was no slower than my version of "running".

I am very excited about the race. I am leaving work a little early tomorrow to get to the expo. My daughter will join me - she is joining me on the race as well. She has trained very little - but she is 28 years old.
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Four Days

Until the half-marathon! I am getting excited. I think I have the kinks worked out of my psyche, but we shall see on race day (and not a minute before).

Yesterday I purchased a new shirt with a pocket in the hem. I realized last week that what I had planned on wearing was not going to work because I had no pocket at all! The woman at the running store is also a race organizer and she assured me that I do not need to carry gel with me since they will have it at all the aid stations. So all I need is my car key, my driver's license, and a few bucks. Really, I can put all that in my bra without any discomfort, so I may wear the sleeveless shirt I had intended to wear - with the compression shorts. I also purchased a new hat - a bright bright bright yellow hat. I hope I don't regret the color.

Today I was going to take a quick run, but I slept too late and I have a presentation to make at 9:30 at work, so I need to get out of here and to work. I will run when I get home which I think will be better since it will be warmer this afternoon. Sunday's high temperature is supposed to be in the 80s, so it should be warm by the time I finish. I am not at all used to running in warm temperatures, so this will be different.

Excitement! Not nervousness or sheer terror! Chad in the Arizona Desert told me something wonderful the other day - it made me laugh and I think it is so true - This is my first half-marathon, so no matter what I do, it will be my fastest, and my PR!

Monday, 14 May 2007

6 Days

I followed my training schedule today and ran for 30 minutes. It was a lovely morning, the temperature was 62 degrees, and in 30 minutes I was able to run 2.37 miles, which is a pace of 12:50. That is information from my new super-deluxe Garmin Forerunner 305. I am going to stop looking at what my Nike + iPod says since it is obviously very wrong.

I am so grateful that I got this "ugly truth" teller before the race. I would have crumpled to the ground in profound dispair had I found out DURING the race that I am this slow. As it is, I will just go there with my head held high, knowing that I am doing all that I can with who I am today.

This is who I am. I am a 55 year old woman. I am healthy, I am strong, in spite of some pretty serious challenges. I am doing my best, and putting it out there on the line. I am not sitting at home talking about it, I am out there doing it.

This morning while I was running, I recalled something my ex-husband (the jock) used to say. "You get tired mentally before you get tired physically." I would think, "who cares? I am TIRED! It doesn't matter if it is mental or physical." but today I know that my major limitations are those imposed by my mind.

This is an incredible journey of self-discovery.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

I swear I will stop whining...

I went out for a 5 mile run this morning - with my new super-deluxe Garmin Forerunner 305 (I feel like Harry Potter with his Nimbus 2000) AND my Nike + iPod. Here is the bad news: The Nike + said I ran 5.96 miles at a pace of 11:35 per mile. The Garmin said I ran 5 miles, at a pace of 13:46 per mile!!! Obviously I believe the Garmin. (When I was in my 30s, I race walked at a pace of just over 12 minutes per mile. I walked faster than I am currently running... oh well.)

So here is the good news: Had I known how very slow I am, I would never have trained to run a half-marathon. Never. So, the Nike + iPod served the purpose of encouraging me to train for this - even though I was delusional about my times. So, a week before the race, I am faced with the fact that I am slower than I thought I was when I was really worried about how slow I am. SO, (and I know I am a broken record, but please indulge me) I will just go out and have the best time I possibly can have, not as in pace, but as in a good time. This morning I ran into an old friend who is doing the same race, only he is doing the whole marathon. I told him of my concerns (is there a soul alive who hasn't heard my concerns?) and he was so sweet. He told me what many of you have said:

By being at the start line, I will be doing more than 99.9% of people. By getting across the finish line, I will have achieved my goal.

I am carrying around "Marathoning for Mortals" by John "The Penguin" Bingham, and reading and re-reading some of the motivational stuff...here is a quote from the book:

"By getting to the starting line, you've already placed yourself in the top echelon of athletes. You may not be in the top tier of that race, but as a long-distance athlete, you are fitter, better trained, and more disciplined than 99 percent of the population that has ever lived. Remind yourself of that when you start to obsess about your pace or finish time."

Thank you to all of you kind commenters. I really really appreciate you.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

10 Days...

I found a Garmin Forerunner 305! I ran across town and purchased it and cancelled the one I ordered online yesterday. I am very excited about this cool little device. And that is the GOOD NEWS.

The Bad News is something I suspected. I ran with both my Garmin and my Nike+iPod. The Nike + said I ran 1.16 miles at a pace of 11:35 per mile. The Garmin, however, said I ran 1.01 miles at a pace of 13: something. Holy moly. I think I trust the Garmin more than the Nike +. This means I am even slower than I thought. I would suggest to myself that I get over the whole speed idea and just go for the idea of completing a half-marathon. This is going to require some (mental) work on my part.

I will try doing 3 or so miles over the weekend and see how that works out with the Garmin. One mile can be an outlier. We shall see!

Still I say - I can't wait to start training for the triathlon! Running is NOT my strong suit. But I thank God that at the age of 55, after smoking 2 packs per day for 25 years, I am able to even run at all!

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

11 Days

11 days until the race. And counting. Holy Cow. How did this happen to a nice person like me?

I rode my bike to work today which probably wasn't the smartest thing in the world. It is 8 miles each way. The ride in is awesome... mostly downhill. But then you KNOW what the ride home is like. And the last 2 miles are a killer hill. My butt hurts, which isn't exactly tragic, but I am worried because I had a tailbone injury in December which ended up as pain of my ischeal tuberosities - which is exactly what hits the bicycle seat when you ride.

I ordered my Garmin Forerunner 305 today. Yesterday I could have purchased it at my local REI store when I was there, but said "No, I will wait for Mother's Day." Today I decided I wanted it so got on the phone. Not one local store has one left. Even online they are back ordered. So I don't know when I will get it, but it is in the hopper anyway. I guess the 25% off price was too good for lots of folks to resist.

And today I just realized that the clothing I am planning on wearing for the half-marathon doesn't have pockets... anywhere. I need a pocket for my car key, and an energy gel. I think I shall try to find a running shirt with a zipped pocket. I saw one over the weekend and thought "oh, neat" but for some reason didn't purchase it. What is up with all of this delayed gratification? It is not my style - I can tell you that!

Thanks for the comments and the support. I really appreciate it.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

12 Days and Counting

That's my Nike+ page. As you can see, I am tapering in preparation for the half-marathon on May 20. I cannot believe it is only 12 days away.
Yesterday I took a 3.1 mile run - it took 36:25, for a pace of 11:44.
Today I wasn't going to run, but decided to go out for a quick 2 miles - 22:54, pace of 11:25.
I haven't run *only* two miles since I started training for the half-marathon... in January. I think I have trained for too long. I think I was actually in better shape back in February!
Question: I hope to get a garmin this weekend. My kids are getting me a Mother's Day gift certificate for REI - and between that and my dividend from last year's purchases, I think I have the garmin pretty well paid for... the cheaper one anyway. Anyone have any advice?

Sunday, 6 May 2007

New Blog

I hope to post here reflections and recordings of my ongoing efforts to be a fit middle-aged woman. I had another fitness blog, but it got linked to yet another blog I had where I didn't want to use my picture or full name. On this new blog, I would like to post race pictures, have a profile picture, etc.

Two weeks from today, at about this time in the morning, I will have just completed my first half-marathon. I feel compelled to say "But I will Be Slow." As if that matters!

Yesterday I went on an organized run with a local running club. I went against my better judgement... I had a feeling it would be discouraging - I know I am Slow. It was not only discouraging, I felt humiliated and defeated.

After the run, we congregated to eat bagels, drink coffee and gatorade, and chat. I listened to the other runners. "how far did you run today?" "ONLY ten." "ONLY twelve." "ONLY five." etc. For every accomplishment there was a disqualification. And I am clear that I also participate in this insanity. I hear myself loud and clear - I am going to run a half-marathon in two weeks - BUT I AM SLOW. I expect to average around 12 minute miles.

I need to somehow get my psyche to revel in the 12 minute mile. I need to feel gloriously healthy as I embark on this journey - this inner journey.

Thank you to anyone who has read this, and your comments are always appreciated.