Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Photographic Proof

So I guess I'm going to just have to buy this photo, since I'm so in love with it. I just wonder if they can crop out the weirdo guy behind me!!

There's the smile. The victory. The strength. The Toughness. 

The 13.1 miles of NOT going to give up on this one. 

13.1 miles of I'll slow down later. 

13.1 miles of Sub-11 minute miles?? You've got to be kidding me!

13.1 miles of I'm following the pace group!!

13.1 miles of DetermiNation.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Overheard: A Post for Stephan

Him: Hey! Why didn't you use my phrase?

Me: What?

Him: There was ass everywhere.

Me: Huh?

Him: "I kicked so much ass, there was ass everywhere."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My New Shoes are Sauc's.

That's so funny!! Isn't that hysterical?? Yes. It is. And it's true. I've ventured away from Nike to purchase my first pair of Saucony shoes. I'll let you know how they are in a few runs.

You know, I was just thinking about the first half marathon I ever ran- it was last year this time. Let me see if I can dig up the results.....

Yeah. Look at that. Sigh. I was so young back then. I didn't follow a training plan for that race- I simply put in a 7 mile run with Stephan a few weeks before and kept running whenever Sawyer took a nap.

The day was cold and rainy- My iPod broke and kept updating my pace and time every 25 seconds. I never walked once in that race. It was a good race.

Which is why I decided to run it again this year. You know, just to cap off my running year and allow myself a second dessert at Thanksgiving.

Yeah, that and..............   I PR'd the half marathon by TWENTY FREAKEN MINUTES.




10 x 2.


So.... how does one knock a full minute and a half PER MILE off of one's distance pace?? Good question. I'm choosing to blame the zombies.

Here is the recap- short because I get bored of listening to myself type.

We arrived at the 5k starting line about 5 minutes after they started. Wrong starting line. Jump back in the car (pick up a guy named Pat because he was also at the wrong place) and cruise over to the half marathon starting line about 3 miles away. I started in the back near the 12 min/mile people. Which is usually my place.

I saw the 11:05 pace runners up ahead of me and decided that it would be nice to keep them within sight for a few miles. So I started running. I ran the first 7 miles under 11:00 per mile. I kept thinking, "I should probably slow down." But I never did. I actually passed the pace group. (They later caught up when I tried to answer my cell phone while running)

Guys, you have no idea how amazing it is to have any relationship at all to a pace group. The only pace group I've ever seen during a race was the run/walk pacers who passed us during the Soldier Field 10 Mile. I've never been fast enough to follow a pace group.

Until today.

I think I just kicked something's ass.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Something to Say About This

Ok people. I'm about to rant. It might be an unfair rant. I might feel differently in the morning. But here's the deal: sometimes people can really say things that are hurtful. They're not meaning to do it- it just comes out that way.

This afternoon I was told that I was, "weak and frail."

It was an indictment of my pulse, not my person. But still... Those words have stuck in my brain and irritated it for hours. And like a splinter in a thumb, it's grown and festered until now it's all I can think about. "Weak and frail" are words you'd say to me if you wanted to pick a fight, make me prove you wrong, or decide to inflame my temper to gargantuan size. "Weak and frail" aren't going to make a good mantra for the 1/2 marathon on Saturday.

The biggest problem? "Weak and frail" is what I'm secretly afraid of is going to look back at me from the mirror one day. "Weak and frail" is what I run to avoid, eat healthy to side-step, go to therapy to counteract. "Weak and frail" is how I spent the first 20-something years of my life before I decided to shut up and put my shoes on.

"Weak and frail" makes me want to punch something.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Definition: The training phase right before a long distance event (such as a marathon) when a runner starts to cut back on his or her mileage. This reduced training phase gives runners a chance to rest, recover, and mentally prepare for their race.

Tapering doesn't happen in life. It only happens in running. Is there any other time when you ramp up your effort and energy, rack up new and exciting goals, and then just stop? I mean, yes, that's sometimes called, "Quitting". And when we were preparing for the Nashville Marathon in 2010 instead of properly tapering, we just stopped running.

But a proper taper for a 1/2 marathon means reducing your miles the week before(ish) to pre-training levels. For me, this means a week of 2-3 mile runs. That's a 30 minute run. It takes me longer to find my shoes than to actually run this distance. Runners tend to be very agitated in this phase. First of all, we have lots of time on our hands. It confuses us. Also, we have a big race coming up, and we're nervous about it. How do we deal with nerves? By running- oh, wait.... we're running less. So we get to just sit with the nerves.

This week is also when the nitty gritty of race-day logistics becomes a reality. When do I pick up my packet? How am I getting to the starting line? Is my family coming? What am I going to wear?

[Packet Pickup Definition: Before you get to the starting line you need to acquire your race number (bib), and perhaps a gear check tag (plastic number to tie to your bag if you want them to hold it for you while you run), and any other goodies people want to shower you with (anything from Chapstick samples, nail files, coupons for smoothies, etc). You'll also get your t-shirt or other race swag- which is the real reason you signed up for the race. Anyway, you have to get in a line and sign a waver and then volunteers will hand you a bag with all of this stuff in it. This is "Packet Pickup"]

I think that runners, as a group, are generally very bad at this type of logistical planning. We're much more focused on the immediate, "where are my shoes?" questions. "How much further?" "What's going on with my hamstring?" So the tapering phase is frustrating.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chai Tea, Tai Chi

"As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard."

[I finally, just now (literally, 60 seconds ago) finished my internet class, "The Power of Your Awareness. Whew. That was a tough one. That was 9 weeks of 60-120 minutes of power point presentations, plus homework. Then quizzes. I learned a lot, but it was a fight there for a while. Regardless, here is a post about water.]

Ten years ago I was working in an office. The job was pretty challenging. Lots of things would come up and need to be dealt with quickly. And many many things popped up simply to make the task at hand even more difficult than it began. A coworker and I started soothing each other with this phrase, "Be water." We meant it as a reminder to flow around or over the obstacle, NOT to try to push through it. Keep moving, keep flowing, keep progressing. Ten years later, I can add something to the list of positive qualities of flowing water: persistence.

Flow. Allow. Breathe. Accept. Act.

You might bump into a rock now and then, but if you just allow yourself to flow around it, you'll keep your forward progression.

Maybe I should have been a swimmer.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wicked Which

I went for two runs on Monday morning.

For the first run I threw on my windbreaker pants, fleece sweater, baseball cap, gloves, and scarf. The wind was almost unbearable. It threw itself right into my eyes, pricking tears instantly. Every lunge forward gave the wind an opportunity to steal precious inches from my stride. My quads froze almost immediately, and numbed to an ice-bath-like temperature for the remainder of the run. My nose ran. I've never mastered the snot-rocket, but the wind was wipping so harshly that it evaporated almost immediately. My lips chapped and cracked within minutes. My throat dried out. The clear sunlight taunted me from far above my head. I ran for 3 miles. They were slow, painful miles. It was like something out of a Russian novel in it's sadness and torturous nature.

The second run had me dressed exactly the same way. But the gloves were too much. They came off. The fleece got unzipped, and I debated losing the scarf and hat. The sun was warm on my skin. I debated the intelligence of not wearing sunblock. The sweat dripped down my temples and dried in salty riverbeds along my chin. I could feel the humidity of my breath bouncing back and forth across my face. My strides were long and confident, and I ripped off the 3 miles like a jigsaw through a pumpkin.

Punch-line? This was an out-and-back run. I started on Monday heading into a 30+mph wind, and ended it with the wind at my back.

Dude. Wind. Not my friend in the winter.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Now it's a Thing

a.k.a. "Best Photo Ever Taken in the History of People Taking Photos" part II.

I go to acupuncture. It's an amazing 40-45 minute space of my week that is just for me. She talks to me, assesses me, places the needles, and then leaves me alone. For 40-45 minutes. Alone. By myself. In the quiet. With heat. Lots of heat.

It's both my Heaven, and my Hell. It's warm. But I'm not 'accomplishing' anything. It's peaceful. But it's just me and my brain. I've started using the time to practice all of the tools I'm learning through the class and the therapy and the books. I count to 9. A lot. It's a tough 40 minutes sometimes. I have to lay totally still. I don't do that in life.

And so... as a part of the therapy that's keeping me off of meds and out of a straightjacket, Jinny agreed to participate in this:

It's just now striking me that, while I am not a tall person by any means (5'4" by my last count), all of the members of my therapeutic team are shorter than me. Huh.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Warning: I'm blogging about reading someone else's blog. Heather from Dooce.com posted something last week that has been stuck in my head all day. She is introducing a giveaway to celebrate this month of thankfulness. And at the very end she said, "Again, thank you, especially those of you who have given me the benefit of the doubt. May the same be given to you when you need it the most."

Yes. Please.

It's like passing it forward, but with Grace instead of just paying someone's tollbooth toll. Give someone a break. Look at them and realize that they didn't mean what they just said. They're having a moment that they will probably look back on and regret. And you can be the bigger person, not so you can brag later that, "some jerk" did that "really annoying thing" and you just let them get away with it. No. You can give them the benefit of the doubt.

Yes. Please.

Because I'm feeling like, lately, the chances are pretty good that the person who is doing or saying something insensitive or self-centered is probably me. And I could use a little Grace until I get myself back together.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mind. Blown.

You guys are going to laugh at me.

No. Seriously. What I'm about to wax poetically about is totally ridiculous. It's about Pirates of the Caribbean. It's this quote:

"The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?"
~Capt. Jack Sparrow

Dude. Thousands of dollars in therapy over the last 15 years, not to mention the hundreds I've spent on books and classes, all summed up by a rum-addled fictional character in thick eye makeup. I don't even want to 'unpack' this for you ('unpack' being my favorite new therapy word, since it's generally the most disorganized part of taking any trip and consists mainly of upending a suitcase into a laundry basket and dealing with it a week from now).

Instead, I'm going to finish off this glass of wine (I know, why is the rum always gone??), maybe eat more Halloween candy (don't worry, 18 miles this week makes up for it), and go to bed early. Which is EXACTLY what Capt. Jack would do if he was a 30-ish mom in the suburbs.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Gift to Myself

I've been lusting after something for a while now. I first saw it advertised in Runners' World magazine, and then I started getting coupons. And THEN it started chasing me around the internet. Everywhere I went I saw ads for this thing.

So for Sawyer's birthday I finally broke down and bought one. And then I bought one for Stephan!!

This is a RoadID Wrist ID Sport. It's blue. It has my name on it- Stephan's cell phone number- my dad's cell phone number, a note about my allergies (none known) and the word "Survivor". I wear it on runs just in case something were to happen to me. 

I also wear it around the house because it makes me feel like a badass. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Overheard: In the Bathroom

"Mommy!! I peed on something!!"