Sunday, December 28, 2014

Year-End Goal Review

I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately, Peeps.  The weather has been so nice that I've been able to run in the sunshine most days during my Christmas break from school.  One day I even ran in a t-shirt and capris!  During those runs, I've had lots of time to think about what I've been able to accomplish this year and where I fell short.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am reflecting on my goals.
Let me first say that I feel very, very lucky that I was able to run this year, considering my foot never really healed from the Horrible Nut Incident.  I still have an attitude of gratitude, so don't get mad at me if I gripe a little, too.

2014 Goals:

1.  Run 1,000 miles.  I did it!!!!!  Yay for me!

2.  Run a sub-2 hour half marathon.  Nope.  2:00:52, darn it.  Read about that experience here.

3.  Blog for races.  Nailed it!  I'm so happy about this goal.  This year I was part of Team Panera for the Akron Marathon, I was a guest blogger for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, and I was a Hot Chocolate Ambassador.  These were fabulous experiences--thank you to my sponsors!

Team Panera, Baby!

4.  Destination race.  Hot Chocolate 15k--Columbus.  Sooo much fun!  Click here to read about it.

Awesome Hot Chocolate swag!

Other than those four goals, I have one more little year-end wrap up to do: pay myself.  I will write about this next week.

Here are my goals for next year:

1.  Run at least 1,100 miles.

2.  Sub-2 hour half marathon:  Akron, I'm looking at you!

3.  Race blogging:  I'm hoping to be back for Akron and the C-bus Hot Chocolate.  I'd like to thank Cleveland Rite Aid Marathon for choosing me as a race ambassador for 2015!  My efforts to arrange an official blogging position with the Medina Half Marathon and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon were not successful last year, but I'm not giving up!  Hey, guys, guys, LOOK AT ME!!!

4.  Extend my longest run to at least 15 miles.  I know this sounds kind of dumb considering I can race 13.1 miles, but we all know that the mental blocks are the hardest to overcome.  I am thinking about signing up for a 30k trail race, but I would have to do the hard training in winter, and honestly, I'm not up for wading streams in the winter, especially if the Polar Vortex kicks in again this year.  So, I'm going to try to increase my mileage on the long run, and I'm going to SLOW DOWN to get there. I'm not ready to put in the time and hard work to run a full marathon until I can run the half in the time I want, so this will be a nice side goal for me.

Peeps, it has been a fabulous year.  Thank you so much for accompanying me on this journey; you make the hard runs easier and the gloomy days brighter.  I am a lucky runner.

I love you, Man.
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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Running while Sick, but not Sick of Running

I should have known it would not work out for me when I spent the night tossing my cookies; however, I thought that if I got rid of all the nastiness, I would be fine in the morning.  I had to be; I had three exams to proctor and grade that day.  Just one hour of sleep would set me right. . . What a joke.

When I collapsed in the shower, pulled a bathrobe over my aching, shivering body, and dragged myself (combat style, elbows and knees) into my closet to lay there until the house stopped spinning, it was THEN I realized that it would not be a good day.

Meanwhile, my husband snoozed soundly in the next room, oblivious to my zombie-like moans.

This is EXACTLY how I administered my three exams.  No, I did not drive myself to and from school.  I infected my friends' cars, thank you very much.

Moral of the story:  Get your flu shot, Peeps.  I took care of everyone in my family EXCEPT MYSELF.  Isn't that always the case?  Also, wash your hands.  And don't touch anything I touched.

This morning I was a little nervous about running, as I hadn't quite sorted out the stomach part of the flu, although the fever, headaches, and shakes are gone.  I had scheduled in a 20k for a virtual race, called She Believed She Could.  Great idea, right?  Only if you aren't worshipping the porcelain god.

I didn't order a bib or medal, but I ran with women who did, and WOW--What a medal!

Jennifer models the medal.

Heather models the medal--which is almost as big as she is!
I ate my usual pre-run breakfast:  Panera bagel (French toast) with cream cheese, coffee with Thin Mint creamer, lots of water.  I drove to the start of the race, wondering if I would make it more than a few miles.

The good news is that I did one 10k loop with minimal discomfort.  I took it very easy, and I spent the time looking at the houses in Cuyahoga Falls, thinking about my breathing, and reflecting on my first semester.  It was very peaceful.

Speaking of houses, you HAVE to check out the row of haciendas on Chestnut Avenue.  Who decides to plunk down a bunch of adobe houses in the middle of Cuyahoga Falls?   I LOVE THEM!

I couldn't find any pictures that looked like the houses, so here is a picture of Zorro.  What?
I decided to go out strong, so even though I REALLY WANTED to run the 20k, I quit after 10k.  I think since my injury, I've learned that I have to take care of my body if I want to be strong and healthy.  Sometimes this means that I have to back off instead of pushing myself.  Recovery time is important, and I'm glad I didn't try for more.

Here are the lovely women who ran with me today.  They were fabulous!

She Believed She Could Run. . .

Myrna did the 20k.  What a badass!
Thanks to the women for a fun morning, and thanks to Craig and Kevin, who supported the run with water stops and marking times.

One last thing:  today I hit my yearly mileage goal!  1,000 miles!  I'm so happy!

Last Run

6.17 mi
01:08 /10:57 pace
Ran with a virtual race (no bib--I didn't sign up). I took it easy because I didn't know if my stomach could handle running after the fl... posted 7 hours ago
Week Miles
10 mi
2014 Miles
1000 mi
Total Miles
1645 mi

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

What Got Me Started

On Thursday morning I did 45 minutes of  a Tae Bo DVD I had bought about eight years ago.  I was amazed at how good it made me feel--especially in the core area.  As I punched, kicked, and jumped, I asked myself why I haven't been doing more Tae Bo lately. . .and I didn't have an answer.

Oh, Billy, I can't quit you.

I remember clearly the day I called the number from the Tae Bo infomercial.  I had decided that enough was enough.  I was tired of being fat and inactive, and I was tired of fooling myself into believing that I "wasn't that big."  The day my new tapes arrived (yes, they were VHS), I sat down with the first video and a bag of fat-free potato chips and watched it.  On the couch.  No movement, except to put the chip to my mouth.  That's how pathetic I was.


I had paid for these tapes, so I intended to use them, and I did.  Everyday.  At first I thought I would die during thirty minutes of exercise, but gradually I was able to increase my fitness and my skills.  Eventually, through exercise and tracking my food choices, I lost about forty pounds.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I do Tae Bo after losing about forty pounds.
Tae Bo was a gateway drug for me.  I moved on to other challenges:  biking, walking, Bhangra dancing.  I loved all of it, but what I really wanted to do was run.

For nine years, I watched runners on the Blue Line run by my house for the Akron Marathon.  Eventually I had two children, and together we would cheer on the runners going by our house.  Each time a runner passed, and there were SO MANY runners, I was envious.  I wanted to be that strong person who was running so far, so fast.

On the tenth year I decided to do something about my jealousy; I joined the Towpath Turtles.  My original goal was to run a three mile leg of the Akron Marathon, but my newfound running club buddies convinced me that I had what it takes to run the half marathon.  And they were right.

I intend to write about the powerful influence of a running club later; today I want to take it back to what got me started, or more precisely, WHO got me started.

It was you, Billy.  If I hadn't ordered those tapes, if I hadn't stopped eating chips so I could try a jump-kick, I would never have been able to run 8.5 miles for FUN this morning.  I would never have run five half marathons and a gazillion other distances since 2011.  I wouldn't be blogging for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, an opportunity that excites me since it combines three of my loves: running, Cleveland's funky neighborhoods, and writing.

I look forward to sharing my journey with you.  I promise you that while I may take a few stutter steps now and then, I will NEVER go back to being that person sitting on the couch eating chips and watching exercise videos.  I have gained so much; I intend to continue forward.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I vow to continue to move forward.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Off-Season Fitness

Today I ran on sunny Sand Run with my friend Debi.  Normally Debi and I run at five in the morning, so it was rather refreshing to see each other in daylight.  We decided to run the path, which is six miles, and tack on two neighborhood miles in the middle.  This way the last three miles were downhill, which is GENIUS when mapping out the long run.

This is EXACTLY how Sand Run looks in the sunshine. . .in pixel world.

Normally I would never run fewer than ten miles on a Sunday run. . .and I feel a bit sad that MyFitnessPal tells me I burned fewer than a thousand calories. . .but honestly, why do I need to run at least ten miles today?  Sand Run has plenty of hills, which increases my effort and consequently my fitness (tell it to MyFitnessPal, though), so it was a fantastic run.

I don't have any races planned until April, when I'll be running in with a relay team for the Canton Hall of Fame Marathon.  I might do a five-miler before then, and it's a teensy bit possible that I will run the Shamrock 15k, if I feel like torturing myself.  Click here if you want the details about that particular hellish race where I battle the Voices in my head.  Anyway, since I don't have any goal races until April, I had better think about what I'm going to do in the off-season, especially withYou-Know-What on the way.

My goals (so far):

1.  Finish my goal of 1,000 miles for 2014.  I'm pretty close.

2.  Do at least two short runs and one long run a week.  If it's too cold, I'm going to either use a Leslie Sansone DVD, or I'm going to bring up Dr. Who on Netflix and run in place to it.  Shhhhh. . .Don't tell my husband, but I'm planning to buy him a treadmill for Christmas.  I'm looking through Craigslist as I write this post.  Do you think he'll let me use it?

3.  Strength training.  I need heavier weights, and I think I'm going to try some Kettleball DVDs.

4.  Do yoga at least once a week.

The most important goal is to give myself a break.  I'm not going to set any time goals until my half marathons come up.  Our bodies need rest and relaxation, and so do our minds.  I am going to refrain from beating myself up mentally for just RUNNING instead of running with a specific purpose.  I'm going to run to enjoy.  What do you do during the off season?

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