Saturday, February 22, 2014

Rage Is the Best Motivation

Today was a beautiful Ohio day--50 degrees, sunny.  I was aching to go outside and run, but my husband works on Saturdays, and I can't leave my kids alone if there is a possibility that I can't get back to them quickly.  So, I cleaned my house and I stewed and glanced longingly outside.

This is NOT how 50 degrees looks in Ohio, but for a runner, it's pretty damn close.

I decided to take my kids for haircuts to a modestly-priced, popular chain salon, where I watched a woman butcher my daughter's beautiful curly hair.  I wasn't able to stop her in time to fix the damage.

This is a haircut?  SMH.

I was so angry that I reverted to my very best suppression tactic:  the smile.  As we were waiting for my daughter to finish with the haircut, my son looked at me and said nervously, "Maman, please don't smile.  You're freaking me out."  He knows.

When I got home, I thought I was going to erupt, but I held it together, and thank God my husband came home early from work.  He is a smart man when he chooses to be, and after I told him about our afternoon and I showed him "the haircut," he wisely decided to take the kids out for shopping and dinner while I went for a run.  I do love that man; that is why I have allowed him to live this long.

I haven't been able to run on roads and sidewalks for a few months because the weather has been so treacherous, but today the snow had melted on most of the sidewalks, and I was excited to put my legs through their paces.  I have been running on trails on Sundays, and the massive amounts of snow and ice meant that my pace was usually around the 12-13 minute/mile.  What was particularly difficult for me was that I didn't absolutely know that it was because of the snow or if it was because I lost so much of my training when I was recovering from my broken foot.  Today I decided to push myself, and I'm so glad I did.

My 4.06-mile run today clocked in at 41 minutes, a 10:09 pace, and this included having to walk on occasion when there was ice on the sidewalk.  I am so happy!  I can still run, and I can push myself without snapping the foot in two!

When I came back, I was zoning in my runner's high, and two glasses of wine and some pizza later, I'm still glowing.

I am so lucky.

After all, it could have been my hair.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cross-Training Is Fun!

A few weeks ago, my kids and I went cross-country skiing with members of The Ohio Runners Network.  I had only tried cross-country skiing once when I was about twelve, and my kids had never tried it, and honestly, none of us is particularly graceful, but I thought, "What the hell!  Let's give it a shot.  I already have a broken foot; what else can go wrong?"

We went to the Kendall Lake Winter Sports Center in Cuyahoga Valley.  There were lessons there ($15.00 for three hours, skis included), but I had not registered us ahead of time, so we decided to wing it.  Without lessons it costs $7.50 for three hours.  Let me tell you that this was the best money I have spent in a long time!

We are lined up and ready to go!
The eleven-year-old took off with my running peeps as soon as we booted up, leaving me with the six-year-old, who decided to practice falling down and eating snow.  Eventually he got tired of laying in the snow, and we were able to ski in a one-mile loop around a meadow.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am a serious cross-country skier.
We even saw deer beds in the middle of the meadow.   How do we know there were deer lying in the snow all night?  I would say the prodigious amounts of deer droppings were a hint.  This, of course, was incentive enough for my son to get up out of the snow and try some faster skiing.

The Ohio Runners Network, looking badass and pretty and the same time!

We skied for about two hours, and believe me, that was plenty. told me that I burned about 1,000 calories, and I believe it!  My glutes, thighs, and arms felt like Jello when I finished, but you know, Jello in a good way.  Not the Jello-mold-your-aunt-brings-to-your-house-filled-with -disgusting-bits-of-fruit way.  I was so exhausted at the end of the day that I didn't even eat dinner, and I  was in bed and asleep by 8:00 pm.  Bonus!

Every day that I manage to get outside, I am so thankful to live in an area that has so many opportunities for healthy, outdoor fun.  Even in the damned snow.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

40 Degrees Warmer. . .and STILL COLD!

Ohio has really taken a beating so far this winter.  I have had nine snow/extreme cold days, and we just started February.  There were a few days that it was colder in Ohio than it was in Alaska.

It was with this thought that I bundled up and went running on my favorite trail with my peeps this morning.  As I drove Deidre to the meet up point, I said, "Hey, this is going to be great!  It's forty degrees warmer this week than it was two weeks ago!  How about that?"  Deidre was not impressed, since that meant we were still going to run in twenty-degree weather.  Honestly, I was dreading this run because I could see that the roads were crappy, and I couldn't tell which clothes to wear.  Note to self:  When it is snowing, you do NOT need to wear your puffy running jacket.  You will be TOO WARM.

When we got started, I felt great, and I took off.  Boom!

This is EXACTLY how I look when I take off quickly on the trail.  These are my running peeps with me.

When I realized that I had just TORN off from the group, I stopped and waited (and blew my nose).  Then I got cold.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I stop running and get cold on the trail.  The S is for Stephani,  of course.

We did six miles, and I have to say that I feel fabulous!  I always forget that I love running in the snow (until I go running in the snow).

On a side note, Suegene confirmed my deepest suspicion about myself as a runner:  I am not truly a runner until I can blow snot rockets.  It is true, and alas, I am still not there.  I carry tissues.  I am an impostor.

I have set myself up for a great week, and the week will be much better when I find that damned groundhog and KILL IT.

Tell the truth: Can you blow snot rockets?

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Wanna Be a Turtle?

No, not this kind of Turtle:

And not this kind of Turtle either:

Unless you CAN be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and then you absolutely should.
I am talking about a Towpath Turtle:

This is EXACTLY how I look as a Towpath Turtle

The Towpath Turtles is a structured training program through OneLife Fitness Coaching.  The season runs from late February to October, and the training is based around Akron.  The culmination of the program is the Akron Marathon where most members will be running the half marathon or a relay for the full marathon.  The coach of the Towpath Turtles is Sheila Avsec, who provided this description of a Towpath Turtle:

I believe that to be a runner, one does more than run, namely a Towpath Turtle is defined as:

• A runner who runs on a regular basis, regardless of distance or speed;
• A runner who participates in the running community: as a volunteer, a member of local running club, and as a spectator/support crew member for other racers;
• A runner who knows about his/her sport – about proper fueling and nutrition, injury prevention and recovery, race etiquette, and the running community in general;
• A runner who is supportive of his/her peers and other runners.

The long runs are on Sunday each week, and this was the main reason I joined the Turtles in 2012.  Sunday is really the only day I can leave the kids for a few hours since my husband works every other day.  When I joined the Turtles, I thought I was just joining a group of people who wanted to run on Sundays.  At the time I couldn't run at all, and I secretly suspected that I would never be a runner.  

I was wrong.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I realize that I am a runner.

This day was the first unofficial 5k I ever ran, and on that day I realized that I could run and I liked running.  This is because of the Turtles.

I am in my second year of blogging, and many of my posts are dedicated to the Towpath Turtles.  Click here to read one of my first posts about being a Turtle.  They got me all the way to my first half-marathon, but they taught me so much more than how to run.  I learned about teamwork and sportsmanship, two things that I never considered to be part of running.  

Most of all, I learned that running is an investment that I make in myself, and I am absolutely worth the time and the effort that investment takes.  I couldn't run before because I didn't believe I could.  Because I believed in being a Turtle, I learned to believe in myself.

For anyone who is interested in becoming a Turtle, Sheila has posted the following information on Facebook:

Attention to everyone interested in signing up for training with OneLife Fitness Coaching for the 2014 Towpath Turtles season:

I will be hosting an information session on Sunday, 2/9/14 from 1-2pm at the Akron Main Library in meeting room #1 (60 S High St, Akron Ohio) to discuss the different types of training available:

Large Group Towpath Turtles, This is a structured half-marathon training program. We meet for 31-weeks on Sunday mornings and is an "A-Z" training program that starts on 2/23.

Small Group Towpath Turtles, (training starts on 6/29/14) This is a 12-week program for those who do not feel ready to commit to a long, structured program or for the half-marathon but want to be a Towpath Turtle on our Relay Team.

Information on individual training and "OneLife Mobile" training will be available as well. The 2014 Turtle Season starts on Sunday 2/23/14 and new Large Group members will be accepted from 2/9 - 2/23.

Invest in yourself.  You are worth it.

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