Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bale of Turtles

The way to recuperate your running mojo?  An evening run with a bale of Turtles.  That's right, people; look it up.

I came home from my last teaching day before Spring Break tired, dejected, miserable.  Then I saw the post on Facebook for a Thursday night Towpath Turtle run.

Me to Husband:  Are you cool with leftovers tonight?

Husband:  Sure.

Me:  Because I'm outta here.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I run with Turtles.

I had a lot of demons to chase away, and thank heavens, so did everyone else.  It was nice running with Turtles, both experienced and new, and it was nice just being with people who don't care about my work or private life and just want to run.  And run we did.

Me:  Let's pick up the pace a little bit when we double back.
Shelby:  Ok.
Me:  We're not going crazy or anything, just speeding up a little.
Shelby:  Race you.

Challenge accepted.  At this point, I feel honor-bound to tell you that Shelby says she did NOT say, "Race you."  I responded to her that she was THINKING it and that it was our Vulcan mind-meld thing and I couldn't write THAT in the blog because people would think I'm weird.  ahem.

I finished my 4.75 miles by adding another speed spurt with Leigh.

I am happy; I found my mojo.

I think I'll get up and run tomorrow morning.

I love you, Man.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Trouble Is that I Think I Lost My Mojo

The trouble I am currently running from is a seriously bad attitude.   Don't laugh--I don't mean the regular "I pity da fool" bad attitude I usually display.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I forget my water bottle.

I used to set up my running clothes the night before and anxiously consult The Weather Channel fifty times before leaving for a 5 am run.  Hmmmm. . .Feels like 22 degrees.  Well, it's still double digits, right?  Now I just set out the Leslie Sansone DVD the night before and prepare myself for a morning of perkiness.  I hate perkiness.

This is EXACTLY how I look. . . never.

I am so sick of this weather.  I know; I chose to live in Ohio, but March 24th and still looking ahead to a week of snow and rain and cold is TOO MUCH.

Today I tried to sabotage myself again.  I set myself up for a run-fail because I knew I had to pick up my daughter from Girl Scout camp at 9 am.  This cuts into half of my long-run morning, and I was prepared to blow off the Turtle run at 10 because I was sure my daughter would take forever to get ready to go and there would be traffic and snow and my car would break down and aliens would kidnap me and I would not be able to do it.  It turns out that the same running gods who pushed me to PR at Shamrock also pushed me to get home by 9:21.  Then I had a choice:  Should I run the 3+ miles to the Turtle run, or should I hang out with the family and then drive to the run?  The weather was cold, windy, and miserable.  I accepted the challenge, strapped on the iPod and Garmin, and took off.  This was one of those runs where every song seemed to mean something to me.  In particular, I remember Adam Ant's "Is It Me or Is It the Medication?" and something by Mumford and Sons (everything by Mumford and Sons is really about me, you know).  I managed the miles at about 9:21/mile, but I didn't feel good. (I just realized that my arrival time--9:21--is the same as my pace-per-mile.  I swear that I didn't make these times up, and I JUST REALIZED that they are the same.  The Universe is messing with my head!)

Later, running with the Turtles, I had some good moments.  I enjoyed seeing so many people loving the run.  I was happy to see David, whom I miss on the long runs.  I had a great conversation about focus with Shelby, who noticed that I am battling demons.  Maybe she was alarmed because I refer to my Voices with a capital V.

Anyway, I ended with 7.5 miles.  That is a decent long run, which means I am not kicking my ass for not getting in a run today.  I'm not even going to chastise myself for catching a ride back home with Deidre instead of running back.  I feel satisfied; I feel that I did enough.

I've got to shake this.  I don't want to believe that I lost my mojo.  A wise woman (Dr. Ruth, I believe) once said, "Do it even if you aren't feeling it."  I don't think she was talking about running, but I'll take that advice anyway.

The sun will come out tomorrow. . . ok, not in Ohio, but SOMEWHERE.  When that happens, I want to be out running.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Holy Shmoly!  I just compared my finish times in the Columbus Hot Chocolate 15k and the Shamrock 15k, and . . . I PR'd by three whole seconds!!!!! Woohoo!

Reasons why I am amazed by this:

1.  The Columbus race was relatively flat, and the Shamrock was all hills.  Painful hills.

2.  I deliberately held back because I didn't want to die on the hills.

3.  I spent at least two previous posts bitching about the fact that I wasn't going to PR.

4.  I spent my last post bitching about the race itself,  and


5.  I did it without music!  

This is EXACTLY how I look when I run a 15k without music.  Right now, the Voices in my head are saying, "Punish them.  Punish them all."
Among other things, running teaches me that I am stronger than I think.  I do know that I often try to sabotage myself with negative thinking (hence the music), but obviously my spirit is telling me something completely different.  Now I'm pissed because I'm wondering how I could have done if I hadn't held back.   Ok, enough.  A PR is a PR.  I will take it.

Thanks again for your kind words of encouragement (and of course for the Turtle calls on the course).  I will definitely run this course again, and I will start with the right attitude.  FEAR THE TURTLE!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Top o' the Freaking Hill to Ye!

So, today I ran the Shamrock 15k, sponsored by Summit Athletic Running Club.  It was my first race without music, and while I am happy to know that I CAN run without music, I would have actually enjoyed this race had I been listening to my tunes.

I started the race with Heather and Shelby.  Heather and I have a difficult time holding back in the beginning of a race, and we both decided to start in the ten-minute corral.  When the gun went off, we shot off with it, and we couldn't get the pace slower than 9:21.  Shelby, who is a badass, tore ahead on the downhill part, and I didn't really see her again until the turnaround toward the end.  Way to go, Shelby!

Going downhill was great except that we knew what was coming next.

Heather:  What goes down, must. . . 

Me:  Shut the hell up.

I wasn't in my "I love you, Man" phase yet.

I told myself that I would not walk the hills, and I didn't.  At the top of the steepest hill, I yelled, "Yes!  I made this hill my bitch!" which is my tradition on big hills.  Sometimes people appreciate that and sometimes they don't.  I had a lot of grumpy people around me today.

Around mile five I started dreaming about pulling a DNF, just so I could get some peace.  I was cold, tired, and hungry, and my bat-shit crazy mind was pulling me in a million different directions.  At one point I started pretending that this guy from the movie The Leprechaun was chasing me.

I'm the leprechaun; give me back my gold!
Ah, The Leprechaun.  One of Jennifer Aniston's finest oeuvres.  

Miles six through nine were where I started my chanting/breath combo.  For three freaking miles I chanted (in my head), "I am strong.  I got this.  I am fast.  I got this."  Sometimes I kept chanting, "Chicken chicken chicken chicken," in the background.   That is because I was thinking of this blog post from the Blogess about picking your battles (which is HILARIOUS).  Needless to say, this was not fun.

I would like to thank the Towpath Turtles for being Superfans around mile eight and the end.  I could hear you yelling from the opposite end of the block, so you gave me a target to run toward.  I decided at that point that I would have to at least look like I was running fast while you were out there.

I've got my medal.  I've eaten my lukewarm soup.  I've warmed up in the shower.  I think I'm going to have a beer and dream about a ribeye steak.  Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Push It Real Good!

Spring has sprung, and with the sunshine (all five minutes of it) comes the desire for extra miles.  I haven't been running too far lately--three to four miles at a time during my midweek runs and six to eight miles on the Sunday long runs.  Work has been stressing me out, and I think I've developed an eye twitch that makes me look like Blofeld.

This is EXACTLY how I look after a staff meeting.
The solution?  Drink more.  No, I'm kidding.  The solution is to push myself more on my runs.  I've been trying to keep the pace under a ten minute mile, but some days are more difficult than others, especially when I can only run to a Leslie Sansone DVD (she never paces faster than a ten-minute mile, and usually it's a fifteen-minute mile).  One thing I really want to do is get back to the ten-miler-minimum on my long runs.  I also look forward to running Sand Run again, which isn't appealing at five o'clock in the morning but is super-appealing at eight o'clock on a Sunday morning.

I've got three half-marathons planned this year, and I want them all to be as fun as my first, the Akron Marathon.  In order for that to happen, I need to feel comfortable with a faster race pace.

Next Sunday is the Shamrock 15k, and I've only practiced the course once.  I'm trying to mentally prep myself for not even approaching a PR on the 15k.  My only other 15k was the Hot Chocolate in Columbus, which was  a very flat course.  I'm already beating myself up about it, which sort of defeats the purpose of entering the race in the first place.  Sunshine could make all the difference on this one.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

You Gotta Have Faith

It looks like my plans for running a half marathon in June are coming to fruition.  To recap, I have been worried that the Hall of Fame City Challenge would not happen in June.  For more details (and some griping), check my post here.

I received an email from Hall of Fame City Challenge which directed me to the site.  There, the race director assured us that there will indeed be a marathon in Canton, and it will be Saturday, June 15:

The Hall of Fame City Challenge was formed to take the place of the Canton Marathon, which never got off the ground for 2013. Fortunately, an organization was able to be formed quickly and there will be an endurance race in Stark County again this June.
While you may have heard conflicting news stories about whether there was going to be a race, or that there were going to be two races back to back, the Hall of Fame City Challenge is THE June marathon.

Considering is still selling registrations for this race, I'm starting to feel better about my chances.  I realize, though, that I have possibly overbooked myself during that month:

May 19th:  I'm running a 10k in the Cleveland Marathon (Because I registered super-early, I only paid 20 bucks for this event!)

May 25th:  Medina Half Marathon  (This is a free event!  Check it out on Facebook!)

June 15th:   Half marathon in Hall of Fame City Challenge  

I don't even know if there are any 5k's I'm supposed to run with the Turtles during that time.  I'm exhausted just looking at this!  

By the way, I caved, and I am running the 15k in the SARC's Shamrock 15k and 5k.  Without music, but I can't guarantee it's without bitching and moaning. 

This is EXACTLY what the hills are like in the Shamrock 15k.

  I'm going to really need some support on this one!