Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Left to right:
my brother
a famous guy
me
I dont' think the famous one would like this picture too much, do you? But I'm still SO happy I have it, and frankly, I think the famous guy still...like...TOTALLY rocks. I was a crazy tongue-tied fan.
I also have a pic of RYAN HALL at the Chi-Town expo, but I didn't want to wait in line for like... three hours to get a picture WITH him, so I just shot the pic over the crowd. It was ridiculous. These runners are like rock-stars to me. Seriously. I'm just in AWE of these guys! If only.... Maybe when I get to heaven I can run, but still improve...to have the discipline and the muscle mass potential to reach my goals.
Wait...I'll probably be too busy worshiping GOD to worship my awesome running skills or some amazing runner dude.
;o)

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's TIME



Time to get off of my rear.
Time to get the kids in gear.
Time to say good-bye to fat.
Time to run and all of that.

Somehow I convinced a handful of my students to run a half with me in the spring. I'm fairly excited about it, so it's time to get back out there. They'll all feel great about themselves beating the old lady, and they'll keep me motivated... I'm sure.

My #1 priority, next to building miles, is to incorporate cross-training into my schedule. I've been very remiss in that aspect of preparing for a race. I have poor muscle mass, and I know that rectifying that problem would help me with injury prevention (and improve my speed).

I ran today...and still have pain, but I'll cross my fingers that it goes away. We'll see.

13.1...sounds like FUN!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Steve, the girls and Fisherstine after the race... Is it just me, or does he seem TOO happy after running 26.2???

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Jury is In.

Verdict- 5:24:16
Sentence- Sign up for another marathon.

Parole- Granted upon the completion of a sub 4:30 marathon.
Community Service- Train injury-free and run in a COOL marathon.

CASE CLOSED!!!!

Of course, there is a story to tell here. But not tonight!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

In 9 hours, I'll be at the starting line. Ready or not.

My goals have changed, but I'm resigned to my addiction to marathons. If tomorrow isn't all I hoped it would be, I'll keep looking to the future. I don't think my goals rest in the outcome of this one race.
Ahh...the philosophy of running. If we don't get in the race, we just never know how far or how fast we can go.

Chicago...I'll meet you in the morning.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Insane Nerves

And I SHOULD be feeling this way.

But right now I don't like it.

Aaahh...the inevitable pre-race illness. Bring on the Tums.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Body Forecast


Thanks to a prescription of steroids to bring my inflammation down before the race, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be looking like this before race day in a few days.


And with a body like that??? Forget about it. If they tell me I'm too slow to cross the finish line, I'll just beat them up.


I'm actually feeling better already but bemoaning the fact that rest didn't cure my ills before now. I should have gone to the doc earlier, but who knew???

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Think I Need to Change the Name of My Blog To:

Philosophy of sitting on bags of ice watching movies and gaining weight.

Because that's all I've been able to do for the last two weeks. I did manage to get in my last long run. It called for 20 miles, but I only ran 18 to try to defray the possibility of exacerbating my injury. Nevertheless, I'm NOT healed. I am not in pain on a daily basis, but only when I run. It's not a "run through it pain," but a sharp freak-out pain.

I just don't know if Chi-Town is in the cards. I have TWO choices before me.

ONE: Don't run
TWO: Run, but give up ALL time dreams. This will require sitting out the last two weeks, making my sit-out time FOUR WEEKS prior to the race. This is a recipe for disaster.

Philosophy of Disappointment.
Philosophy of Patience.
Philosophy of Humility.
Philosophy of Mediocrity.

Philosophy of I think I'll eat a tub of Ben and Jerry's and cry myself to sleep.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sweet Little Lies...and Superwoman


Last year, before my first marathon, I honestly didn't know if I would finish. My goal was 5:30, so that I would have had an hour to hobble across the finish line (in case of injury). As the marathon approached, I secretly dreamed of finishing in under 5:00. I finished in 4:51. (This time would make a "real" marathoner depressed for weeks on end)

I think of that 80's song... (who sang that?)..."Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies..." This year, I've been fairly confident of my ability to improve that time. I've taken 2 minutes/ mile off of my average times last year, and as a result, here I am...injured just 2 weeks before the race. But another song comes to mind... "Lie to me, honey!"

I can't decide if I should lie to myself and say "you can still run faster if you just recover," or if I should tell myself the truth. "You're going to be lucky to finish."

I simultaneously love and hate the unknown. Chicago, you are my Arch-Nemesis! I will keep coming back for more until I beat you!!!! Maybe if I wore a super-woman outfit to run in, you would be intimidated into submission!!!!!! You may take me down in 2008, but I'll be back.... Moooaaaa-haaaa-haaa, haaa!!!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

YES!!!

We haven't had a frost yet. Therefore, I was able to eat another bug!!! If I could only reach that goal, at least one part of my training would be complete.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ten Reasons to Run a Marathon

10.) For Mom's...4-5 hours of alone time without having to lock yourself into the bathroom!
9.) Carrot Cake...eat as much as you like.
8.) Bonding with other runners.
7.) Hours of fun with kids riding bikes while you try to keep up.
6.) Because there's no diarreah like runner's diarreah.
5.) New shoes...every 3 months.
4.) Toxins? What are toxins? You sweat them all out.
3.) You have to run 26.2, but you get to go out of town.
2.) Free stuff at the Expo.
1.) Months of training = Grand fun on race day.

I'm feeling better... I've gotten in my miles...Chicago here we come!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Expectations

I love the book Great Expectations. LOVE. IT. In a nutshell... we have expectations for our life that don't always work out.

And I had an expectation of running a 4:30 marathon. Well, given my lack of serious training these last two weeks due to a strain/ pull/ tendinitis (what is it?).... I'm going to have to adjust my expectations. My new goal might be just to finish. OR, it might be to go cheer my hubbie on from the sidelines. He's lost 40 lbs, and has had a great time becoming his old, "fit" self. If my marathon training accomplished nothing else, this alone was worth it.

I'm supposed to run 20 this weekend, and I've been working on recovery strategies to be able to do that. I've had conflicting advice...run, don't run. Train, don't train. In the end, it's up to me.

All I can say is, if I can't run Chicago, I'm going to be forced to run another marathon in the late fall or Spring. I've been looking into triathlons. They look so much more fun. Better cross-training. My niece ran one and said it was easy compared to a marathon (tri's have varied distances, so I'm not talking about an Ironman race). I don't know, though...there's such a high experienced from running the race.

I'm reminded of Hebrews 12: 1 & 2 ... let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2fixing our eyes on Jesus...

I guess I like the idea of the finish line, of finishing strong by keeping my eye on the goal. Somehow, for me, finishing the marathon lets me know that everything ELSE in my life is going to be OKAY!

And THAT is a reasonable expectation.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Prevention VS. Progression



An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

These maxims are indeed words to live by...

Especially as a long-distance runner. Especially if you're nothing but a wannabe.

I don't have the luxury of being naturally athletic. I didn't accidentally find out that I enjoyed running. It has been a painstaking and deliberate process.

And I have learned, that prevention is as important as progression. To prevent injury, I've learned the importance of two things: 1) Ice Baths after long runs, and 2) New shoes at 250 miles.

So why would a mediocre 37 year old woman DARE to violate the big TWO??? Because she thinks she can "beat the system," "fly under the radar," or (laughingly) "muscle through it."

What??? What's that I feel??? WHAT??? No. This is NOT okay. Hamstring pull, Hamstring pull, go away, come again another day! AHH...the books are all right. An under trained runner is significantly more effective than an injured one.

I've ordered the shoes (too little too late?), compression shorts, and I'm applying ice. We'll see where we are in a few days.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Running Out of Time...

I seem to be obsessed with my lack of time.... If only I had enough time, I could accomplish SO much. My running is included in this. If I had started running earlier in my life, if I had cross-trained more, if I only had more time during the week to train.

As it is, I'm running out of time. I have six weeks of training left, and I'm not exactly where I wanted to be!! But alas, I CANNOT turn back the clock, and I must accept reality. I'm quite unsure if I will reach my time goal. I don't know if my running times today will translate to fast times on race day!! Will my adrenaline be pumping? Will the weather co-operate? Will I feel well? Will I be injury free?

Because even if I had all of the time in the world, certain factors could ruin my time, and ruin my "time." So...I'll keep at this race called life, and this race called the marathon. I'll do my part, and allow the end result to run its course.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Wall

Every distance runner knows what "the wall" is. It usually hits around mile 18, when glycogen stores are depleted, and running turns into sheer will power. I honestly didn't actually hit "the wall" in KC, because I think it came around mile 8!! My foot was so sore, but I really didn't care on that day. I came to run a marathon, and I did it. In part, I think I was able to avoid the wall because I ran fairly slow and kept hydrated and was constantly sucking on a sports bean.

But a training run? What is the motivation? Well, tonight my motivation was keeping up with a couple of twenty-somethings. They are REAL runners who had to put up with the "old lady." I gave them some good times by FALLING off the road, and insisting on walking up a couple of(let's be honest, a few) hills.

It didn't go so well, but I'm partially blaming that on the fact that I think I've caught a stomach bug or something. Remember my last post where I was complaining about my inability to lose weight? Well I lost four pounds this week for no reason (I'm not necessarily glad about that). So my stomach basically hurt or I felt nauseated the entire time, but when the schedule says "18," you put in 18 no matter how you feel. Especially when there are two young, fit, hip adults cheering you on for the last half of your run (thanks Aubs and Billy). I didn't want to be the lame doofus aunt who couldn't keep up AT ALL. I think poor Billy felt like he was on a Sunday afternoon stroll whereas I was pushed to my limits.

I didn't have fun tonight (except for the awesome company). I ran to the wall, and realize that without the motivation of an actual race, I am perfectly content to go lean up against the wall and take a nap.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

550 miles (will) = 55,000 calories

And yet...I'm the SAME weight as ever (well, minus 3 lbs). The good news is, my body fat has dropped by a "WHOPPING" 4%. You heard me. I'm not doing this for weight loss, but one would THINK I would be at my goal by now.

Perhaps it's those chocolate chip cookies, or the lattes.... or the pizza... or the carbo-loading. I actually ate a piece of carrot cake today. I'm not a fan of cake, but carrot cake? Forget about it.

Even still, TWO days in a row, my stomach has been growling VERY LOUDLY during 3rd and 4th hours WHILE I am teaching. I ran 17 miles on Sunday, and my metabolism is RAGING.

Still not an athlete. Still don't know why I do this. Still love it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Half-Way There, and Living on a Prayer

I couldn't help but think about the Bon Jovi song "Living on a Prayer" tonight as I was running. I knew that this particular run would put me half-way to my mileage 2008 goal, and I definitely need prayers to make it! I ran by a friend in the neighborhood. She asked me if I was training tonight, and I said "Yes, Pray for me!"

I also realized on my run tonight that I was surpassing 13 miles--or running more than a half marathon! I'm glad I didn't put this together before I set out! I might have been worried. As it is, I just did what the little paper with a number in a box told me to do. If I had to double that number tomorrow---I don't think I could do it.

This my dear friend is the beauty of the marathon process. When I ran 7 miles last time, it was ALL I could do. I ran 14 tonight, and it was ALL I could do. Runs will become longer, limits will be pushed, and new milestones will be met. That being said, I finally feel like I AM half way there! Frankly, this process brings LOTS of prayers.

It's not pretty--I'm slow and I'm frustrated, but I'm trusting my training schedule. On a practical note, I took my first post-run ice bath of this training period. I discovered that wrapping my upper body in a towel made the entire process MUCH more "pleasant." These baths are torture, but worth every bit of the pain.

Why do I like this so much? Frankly, it's a mystery...but I'm working on figuring it out. I think it has something to do with finding my TRUE limit, which is MUCH MORE than I thought I could take. I want to live my life that way...pushing myself, taking risks, and stepping out "Living on a Prayer."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Walk? Run? and Getting My Head Straight

Just when I think this whole "marathon" thing is out of my reach, I go out and have a great run that gives me hope. I love running with my husband, because he pushes me beyond my own expectations (he says I push him). One thing that I did do tonight, however, was turn off my iPod and spend a lot of time visualizing race day, the water stops, my pace bracelet, and THE FINISH LINE. In my mind, I calculate and re-calculate realistic finish times, and try to run hard. It is amazing what getting a brain in the right place does for a body.

One thing that helped me tonight, is instead of running for 10 minutes and walking for 1-2 minutes, we ran for 5 minutes and walked for 1. Believe it or not, this strategy cut 6 minutes off of my overall time for 4 miles. Now I'm confused. I know that on race day I WILL NOT do this. I will run from water station to water station (these lie every 1-2 miles)and walk through them. I have some thinking to do. I think part of the success 5/1 plan tonight was that it kept me cool. I'm not sure.

Tomorrow is a regular 7 mile run (the one I should have done on Wed but didn't). It's funny how as training progresses, the run that started off as "long" in the beginning becomes "regular."

Training for a marathon is education for life. You find a plan, stick to it, but stay flexible enough to make changes along the way.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Humidity=Profit for the Gym

I've refrained from joining the gym, because I am really keen on the idea of making the sidewalk my personal treadmill.

But tonight, I realized why I forked over the "big bucks" last year to run on the spinning mat. This is an annual July occurrence.

IT. IS. HOT. IN. OKLAHOMA. Not funny hot. I can't keep pace hot. My scalp is sweating hot. Freak show hot. Slow motion, nausea hot. Funny thing is, I actually LIKE running in heat, but I'm realizing that it's preventing me from maximizing my training capabilities. Well...that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I'm not happy. I like my neighborhood. I like the smell of "tide" in the air as I run past the June Cleaver house. I like the distraction of bugs. The occasional barking dog is the adrenaline rush I need. My kids love to ride their bikes with me. I like the old people raking their lawn in the evening. I saw a lady cutting the weeds by her flower bed with scissors. That's much more entertaining than CMT, TNT, TLC, NBC, or even MTV. You see?

I'm dreaming of fall. I'm going to fall in love with fall.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Freedom from Bondage

When I started this blog, it was more to share my thoughts while running than to give advice or tid-bits about my running life and schedule. The obvious reason is that I sort of stink at running. While I'm sure the practical posts will continue, I continue to be amazed at the way the mind responds when the body is stressed. My biggest personal epiphanies over the last couple of years have been while I was running. It's often just God and I ... hashing it out and talking.

I recently read (and partially listened to) Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. I don't recommend listening to this book on vacation unless you have time to kill so that you can pull over as needed and cry. Luckily, I was in no hurry. Legend has it that Abraham Lincoln met Mrs. Stowe and coyly said, "so you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war!" This incredible complement was well placed, for her heart was to display in no uncertain terms the bondage and atrocity of slavery. I was moved and broken on a new level, grasping in new and poignant ways the complete misery and dehumanizing effects of slavery.

It occurred to me, however, that I am a slave to sin. Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. If I needed to be redeemed-- I must have been a captive.

It was the dream of every slave to be redeemed-- to have their freedom purchased. Redemption means freedom from bondage. The epiphany here is that BONDAGE IS NOT A CHOICE. We don't choose to be slaves to sin, and we can't "choose" to be a "good person." We must be redeemed. The price has already been paid, we simply must accept freedom.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Biology 101

If anyone is signed up for Biology 101 this fall, let me know. We can coordinate schedules and if you follow me on one of my runs, I can hack up a gnat for your bug collection.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Running on the Beach

There's nothing like running on the beach. For anyone who lives on the coast, I feel very jealous. I can't believe how much easier it is to run in cool weather! It has been a treat, although it is very difficult to get in miles while on vacation!

On the other hand, I ran along the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, and had my first huge fall! It was quite a bloody ordeal, but luckily there was a "baywatch" hunk there to bandage me up. I ran past a sea lion and her baby, smelled fish, and listened to the ocean! This ranked up there with one of my favorite runs in my life. I sort of liked running and dripping blood...feeling all "tough." Good times.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Setting Realistic Goals

I'm feeling pretty confident about my bug eating goal. I'm not even half way through my training and I'm making progress without even trying.

On the other hand, I got a great big dose of reality on my ten mile "run" on Sunday. Maybe it was the 90degree plus weather, but it didn't go well. And when I say it didn't' go well, I don't mean: "I wanted to run 8 minute miles, but I ran 9 minute miles." I mean: "I wanted to run, and I had to walk." The funny thing is, the majority of my walking was done in the first 4 miles, after that...the sun started to set, I found my rhythm, and felt fine. I felt like I was back in Chicago--but without strangers shooting their water hoses at me, and without people yelling "YOU CAN DO IT TULSA!!"

Someday soon, I feel a long "Chicago 2007" post eeking its way out.

Until then...I'll trudge forward, eating my buggy protein

Friday, June 20, 2008

Grab a Kleenex!




Thanks, Laura for sharing this.... If anyone was needing any inspiration, this sure does it!

A son asked his father, 'Dad, will you take part in a marathon with
me?'. The father who, despite having a heart condition, says 'Yes'.
They went on to complete the marathon together. Father and son went on
to join other marathons, the father always saying 'Yes' to his son's
request of going through the race together. One day, the son asked his
father, 'Dad, let's join the Ironman together.' To which, his father
said 'Yes' too.

For those who don't know, Ironman is the toughest triathlon ever.
The race encompasses three endurance events of a 2.4 mile (3.86
kilometer) ocean swim, followed by a 112 mile (180.2 kilometer) bike
ride, and ending with a 26.2 mile (42.195 kilometer) marathon along the
coast of the Big Island. Father and son went on to complete the race
together.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Intentional Living

I heard a radio broadcast today. It struck me. Why is it that the most potent words of wisdom are often the most obvious statements? It was on American Family Radio. The Dr. was talking about the importance of intentional living. I was tired of "perfect living" by the time I was 17. For the last 20 years, I have been looking for the replacement for this unachievable goal. Instead, I was challenged today to be intentional in five areas: Faith, Health, Relationships, Finances and Work. I can't be perfect, but I can be intentional.

My training for the marathon is the same. While I (deeply) hesitate to make public my goals, my desire is to run the marathon in under 4:30. This means I must consistently run 10 minute miles. Right now I am running a fairly consistent 9 minute mile. Hal Higdon gives the best advice: To run fast, you need to run fast. While I have been working to improve my speed over the last month or so, I've discovered I can actually run an 8 minute mile (though only one at a time!). The point is, the second time around, instead of just "getting through the training," I plan to run the race with a bit more intentionality. My goals have changed. While I don't expect personal perfection (which for me would mean qualifying for Boston), I do expect myself to be intentional.

I plan on transferring this lesson to my personal life- to run the race set before me with intentionality. I have given up on perfectionism, but I can make daily choices that move me closer to my goal of finishing the race of life well.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tom-Foolery, Adios!

It's OFFICIAL!!!

All of the 18 week training programs start today! No more time for tom-foolery! I'm glad, because frankly I've been feeling a bit glum, and during my run tonight I all of the sudden felt very energetic and happy. Yes, psychotic I know. Honestly--it's like Prozac for me.

Forget about the blues for the next 18 weeks. The pressure of the "official training period" is just the thing this non-athlete needs to keep motivated.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


This is what keeps me going...look at the goofy smile on my face as I was coming in to the finish line at KC. 26.2!!! Training is hard now, but I have this elation to look forward to again. With the right training, I will be in better condition this year. I'm starting my am protein shakes tomorrow. My daughter (seen here) ran about half of a mile at the end with me...she was SO excited! How many times in your life is your kid REALLY proud of you?


WHAT is my mother reaching for? After the race, KC treats you with all sorts of water and food to munch on. I was still pretty "high" in this picture... the pain hadn't set in yet. It did about one hour later...with a VENGEANCE. This is why God invented Advil.


My husband is training with me to run Chicago. It's SO fun to do this together! We ran five tonight, and BOY does he have a runners high! The last time he ran five miles was when he was 17 years old! Ha Ha.... we may not finish looking like Ken and Barbie, but we'll have a good time trying!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Success is the NEXT run

I love summertime freedom. It feels SOO great to have time to run. My husband has been running with me in the evenings around sunset, and it's such a fun time together. A few of you have asked me about my training programs, so although this is not "philosophical," I thought I'd pass along a little practical input. I started out using Jeff Galloway's program. Most of my family members use Hal Higdon's programs. Last year, I had to start training for the marathon late due to an injury, so I just found a 16 week beginner program in Runners World (a magazine I highly recommend), and used that.

I really don't think the program of choice is the key to marathon success. Especially as a beginner, with the goal simply to FINISH 26.2, the most important thing seems to be consistency. I think one reason that I'm attracted to marathons is I don't have to think AT ALL about the long term plan. I simply have to run whatever is on the schedule. Success is THE NEXT run... not the 10, 14, or 17 mile run several weeks from now. Pick a schedule. Post it, and simply look to the next run.

I remember last year, on a 3 mile run (okay...MOST runs) thinking "I'm SO out of shape...I don't know WHAT I think I'm doing here." I still feel like that. I'm still a wannabe athlete...but I will still finish the race... slow, old(ish), and smiling.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I RAN and RAN and RAN in Chicago on the senior trip with my students. We were getting up around 7 and going to bed past midnight EVERY NIGHT, without a moment to spare in between. I was amazed at how FIT everyone seems in the city. It's amazing to me that we in this part of the world have space to run, room to roam, and yet we are so much lazier! Then again, in order for me to walk to the places I need to go, it would require walking on a highway.

I'm looking forward to getting a nice long run in tomorrow, and as far as running goes, I'm really looking forward to next week.

Monday, May 12, 2008

2 Mile Test

Well, I got to thinkin'... I should really go out sometime and try to run for speed, instead of endurance. I've never really done that before.

Mile 1: 8:11
Mile 2: (nice and easy with 2, 30 second walk breaks) 9:27

I wonder, if I tried again, could I run any faster?

But the deal is, I only ran two miles. I'm not training for a 5-k here, so there is an art to conserving energy. My friend qualified for Boston, however, with only 8 minutes left between Mile 25 and Mile 26.2 (in order to be a qualifier). Because she had done speedwork, she knew she could sprint and attain her goal of finishing in order to qualify. So...I guess that these exercises are important.

At this point, I don't have aspirations for Boston. I simply enjoy the challenge of running and running...and running..........................and............running.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Did I mention how much I love to sweat????

In honor of the BlueSugarPoet,

A sweaty haiku:

Sweat rolls from my brow,
Sweet detoxification
Salty lips smile wide.

(actually, I'm not sure, Mrs. English teacher, if I did that right, but I'm sure going to work on it)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Toenails

This is the time of year when I usually go get my "one" pedicure for the summer. I'm a big fan of the french tip pedicure. But I was wondering...would it scare the ladies to give a pedicure to someone who is missing her big toenail? I've been hiding this fact by painting the "underlayer," a.k.a. skin on my big toenail.

I really don't know why my toenails fall off when I'm in a running routine. I think this one must be a residual effect from the Austin 1/2. The funny thing is, they don't hurt when they fall off...AT ALL. I lost a couple last year, too. They do grow back.

I've seen socks that cost...like..$35 that supposedly help with this situation, but I ask myself: "If it doesn't hurt, should I spend the $35?"

I'm not getting a pedicure this year. Shucks.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Elephant

Well, let's just all acknowledge the elephant in the room here. I'm not running enough. This seems to be the condition of "end-of-the-year" teaching misc.... Another reason why I love June, July, and August. My schedule has been packed! So... while I'm not "freaking out," I realize that keeping a blog makes me feel like I'm "accountable" to someone, so I'm just "keepin it real, ya'll." I'll keep trudging along, although honestly... is it enough? No. See that counter above? It is moving, but I'm pretty sure it's not moving at the rate a marathoner should push it. Oh well. Last year at this point, I wasn't running at ALL during the month of May, because I had a hip injury. It was bad. So... the elephant is not prepared to feel frantic yet.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Throat is a Jet Engine

Honestly, at this rate, I'm not sure if 20 is too modest of a goal. It's like my fame as bug heaven has spread, and they're all seeking the light. The good news is, there is no chewing necessary. The back of my throat has the equivalent suction power of a jet engine to a bird. It's painless for us both.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Beam Me up Scotty

I'm a big fan of traveling. Like most people I know, however, "getting there" is never quite as exciting as "being there." On the other hand, half of the fun of traveling is just imagining how great IT is going to be, and then remembering how great IT was.

I realized tonight, that runs that "take me somewhere" are much more entertaining than runs which take me around my cul-de-sack. An interesting destination provides distraction, anticipation, and therefore, motivation. My cul-de-sack is LONG, and 5 laps=1 mile. I've taken this "exciting" route MULTIPLE MULTIPLE times, because it allows me to run outside right where my children are. They have a good time riding their bikes, playing on the sidewalks, or running beside me. See, these monotonous cul-de-sack runs are boring, but get the job done. While minor destinations are motivating (on a run), I must remember my ultimate destination(completing the race in October).

Circular runs are like a wheel that keeps turning. They are necessary to move toward the goal, because pushing that wheel round and round gets me closer to the destination. While I appreciate the LARGE circle around my neighborhood, it doesn't get me to the end any quicker than the small one.

Novelty is an addiction, and I realize this is my greatest area of struggle. I confess. This is one reason I made it to 26.2 last year. It was in part an exercise in seeing something through to the end with vigor. In order to complete that race, I was required to be diligent, multiple times, over a long period of time. While I'd rather have "Scotty" beam me up, I simply am a cave woman, trying to keep that stone turning round and round. My hope is that as I become more fit, that wheel will turn more smoothly.

Friday, April 25, 2008

ZZ keeps me from Slothful Z's

When I'm out on a run, I think of SO many things to write here, I find myself holding back because I fear that I'll exhaust my creative flow, but I'm just going to go with it, and start posting like a mad woman. Prepare for bloggyboredom. Read at your own risk.

Today, I was running along, listening to the ULTIMATE running song, "She's Got Legs," by ZZ Top. Girlfriend, there aint no better song for a gal to run to, OKAY???? I realize that Mr. ZZ didn't mean "She's got legs, and therefore she is capable of running a mean marathon," but I live 99% in a fantasyworld. I like to think of him singing at one of the pit stops along the streets of Chicago, and while he's playing that guitar next to the freakmobile, his long beard turns into a hand that gives me the thumbs up.

I haven't been charging my iPod like I should, and I was BUMMED when it suddenly went DEAD in the middle of this "imaginary playtime" I was having. Prior to my run today, I had struggled to find the motivation to get out there. I don't know WHY. If I don't break a sweat at least 4 times a week, I become angry, tubby, slothful, and even sad. My running is more about my emotional health than anything else!

So why is the motivation so hard to find? If running gives me an opportunity to "zone," think, and even "play," why don't I get out there every day with enthusiasm? Just when I had found my groove with ZZ today, playtime was over. Without the distraction of the music, I was forced to hear myself gasping for breath. My point is, even though something might be good for us, we still often struggle to make time for it. If it's not "easy," we generally feel that it's not "our thing." I think it's okay to make things "fun," to make the job easier. It's certainly better when we have motivation, but ultimately, we need to keep our eyes on the finish line.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Remember Me."

On my run today, I had my iPod on "shuffle." I really don't know how the song "Remember Me" by Mark Schultz ended up on my playlist, but it was there. What timing! I don't EVER recall listening to this song on a run before. This song has always moved me, but due to attending a precious and moving memorial today, I was naturally deep in thought.

The song got me thinking about all of those who have gone before us to Heaven... little tiny sweet babies, old grandma's, friends taken during the prime of their life, and fathers who have gone away unexpectedly. For those who have gone before, I asked myself "Do they need to be remembered?" They are happy already, and our remembrance will not add to their sublime joy.

I think remembering is for those left behind. Remembering is a way for us to hold on to the lessons that they taught us. It's a way to acknowledge their struggles and honor them with our respect and love. Although they are gone from earth, they dwell in our hearts metaphorically, and literally in heaven. Moreover, remembering is an opportunity to be reminded of Hebrews 12:1- Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. If we remember those who have gone before, it gives us hope and purpose. It drives us to cast aside the "waste" in our lives, and focus on the finish. It reminds us to be grateful and diligent. Unfortunately, to run a race that requires endurance means putting in a lot of time, and a lot of training. It means enduring through pain, good weather and bad, setbacks, and small victories that drive us forward. In the end, with the example and inspiration of those who have gone before we CAN make it to the finish line. I hope when I reach the end, there will be someone there, saying "WELL DONE!"

Ava, Luke, Phoenix, Micah, Mike, Ena, John, Bill, David, Walter, Charlie, Shelby, Tom, L.E., and Trevor I remember you today. Thank you for your inspiration. I'll see you at the finish line.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Secret Weapon

I had to pose for this picture to show everyone my "secret weapon." I'm doing this especially for a fashion-savvy student of mine. I noticed she was wearing the same thing in one of my classes this week. I've been wearing a bandanna when I run, but I had no idea that it was a "Spring Trend." I wonder if she wears hers in case she needs something to blow her nose on, too? ;0) Yes, I know...running is so glamorous. I've heard of the horrors of a "one-sock run," and I thought that running with a bandanna would serve this purpose as well if that ever became a fathomable option. I will not be sharing that secret, nor the secret of Vaseline, unless you join me! (It's like a secret society thing)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thoughts on Happiness

I'm quite confident that I will be repetitive with my posts, but... the repetitive points are often important.

I was thinking today about how I'm actually excited to be starting small with my running. It's a wild thing. I was running today, and I felt my face twisting up, and a knew that I was scowling. I remembered that last year, at my peak training, I would actually run with a great big fat grin on my face. It was sort-of embarrassing. A lot of the pictures that were taken by the photo crew at the Marathon were shots of me with a big cheesy smile.

On one hand, this came naturally. On the other, I recall telling myself "You really enjoy this. This is great for your health. It will be one of the best days of your life when you cross that finish line." Once, when I was running on the track at the High School in the dark, I was imagining myself in the marathon...with crowds cheering my name (drama-queen much?), and I actually (and accidentally) waved my hand at the stands like there were "fans" cheering for me. That REALLY put a smile on my face (and threw me off-pace with some hysterical private laughter). Point is, I made a CHOICE to enjoy running, because I knew that the pain and training I was enduring would have a great reward.

These days, I'm building slow--and that's completely necessary in order to prevent injury. I think the key, however, is to build slowly but consistently.

Philosophy? Surely it needs no explanation. It's about building slow, being consistent, and telling yourself "this is the best thing I've done for myself in a long time." The correlations with life are abundant. It's all about choices.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I "Ate a Bowl of Ice Cream"

AAAAAHHHH!!!!!!

Official Training? Ha Ha Ha.... Here's what happens in "real life." I'm on a "schedule" now, because if I don't have a little box with a number in it to check off, I don't run. The problem is, sometimes the little boxes fall on the wrong days. I'm scheduled to run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. However, I had a NEGATIVE amount of time yesterday, and it is a sheet of rain today (I've heard of people who LOVE to face the elements on their runs, but I'm not one of them). Running in the rain is one of my favorite things to do in the summertime, but is a big "Uh...NO" when it is below 75.

So this week, assuming that it's not still raining tomorrow...I plan on running Thurs, Fri, Sat, and then put my "long" run on Monday. This pushes next week to Wed, Thur, and Fri and hopefully I can get back on track the following Sunday.

I learned last year, that this is part of the game. It's like dieting...you slip up and eat a big bowl of ice cream. Do you "eat 3 gallons of Chunky Monkey and wash it all down with a draught of chocolate milk" because you made a mistake? No. You tell yourself: "Excuse me, fat bootie--but let's not get too excited here. The pig will not be fed due to the brain's 'perfect or nothing' issues." Because the fact is, training is not perfect, but you keep training. My goal is to (mostly) get in my weekly miles any way I can. It won't always be perfect, but hopefully, it will "Be".

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sometimes Running Bugs Me....

Just in case anyone out there reading these little ramblings of mine thinks, "that sounds great, but I'm just not cut out for that type of thing. I can barely run ONE mile!", I find it CRITICAL that I am TOTALLY honest on this journey (because maybe someone IS cut out for it...but is scared to try).

Here it is: I HATED RUNNING TODAY. In fact, I could barely run 2 miles. I did, however, struggle through 4. I called it "Running ala bugs seasoned with water and walk breaks." Ahh...but what is this about BUGS?

Remember that kid on "Peanuts" who always had the "dirt cloud" around him? What was his name? Anyway...sometimes I'm like that kid when I run... except GNATS go on a long journey with me. Apparently, GNATS can fly as fast as HUMANS can run... and for a LONG time. I refuse to believe that I'm the "stinky kid" (although I feel best when I REALLY sweat), so I am going with the (consistently proven) theory that when I have on a good dose of perfume, the bugs love me. What can I say... bugs ALWAYS have loved me. They're attracted to SUGAR, and that phrase COMPLETELY EMBODIES THE ESSENCE THAT IS "ME..." (cough)

BUT WAIT!!! THIS IS NOT THE BEST PART!!!! I will be keeping track of all of the bugs that I eat during my training (I ate 15 during training for my fall marathon). Bugs eaten (via fast and furious inhaling---an express train to the stomach) in 2008: "1." Today was a SPECIAL day indeed.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Running Buddy

I ran with one of my favorite people today. I can't believe what a great runner she is! She wants to find a 5k to run in, but has her sights set on a 10k, and would really like to train for a half marathon and eventually a marathon (as soon as she is old enough to compete). One thing that she has taught me is the importance of overall conditioning (cross-training). Although she doesn't run on a consistent basis, running 2 miles was a no-brainer for her. I know this is because she has the drive to succeed, and the muscle tone to get the job done. She cross trains constantly.
It's a pretty great feeling when your ten year old daughter shows signs of interest in one of your favorite activities. I'm VERY excited that I might have a training buddy in the near future, although I'm sure her capacity for speed and distance will exceed my capabilities very quickly.
Moral: focus on overall conditioning/ muscle tone, and if possible, turn back the clock.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

JUST enough

Today, I'm a training baby. When I ran my half in February, I was not prepared. While I really enjoyed the race, and actually exceeded my goals for the day, I suffered for it. I signed up for the February run in order to motivate me to continue training through the winter months. However, I did not train like I should have. Because really, doesn't it seem like a better idea to stay inside, watch movies and eat popcorn and cookies? I DID train, but not nearly enough.

The result? Sore knees for a few WEEKS and the inability to "hit the pavement." I have recovered some of my strength, but I am reminded of the need for a slow and steady build. One off the most dangerous threats to a distance runner is injury. Because it is IMPERATIVE to "get in miles," being forced to sit out due to injury is very frightening.

So how do you do it? You run JUST enough. NO more. Huge rookie mistake? Running more than you are prepared to run, because you "feel great." That's a great way to get an injury. This is why I plan on sticking religiously to a training program, that slowly builds my endurance. According to my schedules, I should log about 55o miles between now and the marathon. I've only logged about 85(?) so far this year, so I have a long distance to cover.

Tonight I was listening to "Alive" by P.O.D., and I was blessed to feel the wet rain on my skin, and the endorphins running through my body. I looked down and saw my feet moving one after the other in front of me, and I did feel ALIVE.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fuel

One of the reasons that I love being in an exercise routine, is that it forces me to change my eating habits. While one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE meals is a Reeses Peanut Butter cup and a Diet Coke, that type of nutrition doesn't promote a favorable outcome when I run. In fact, it's rather catastrophic when I eat that way (in terms of "success").

I've been on the prowl for great fuel. An adorable friend of mine gave me this amazing recipe today. I did my research, and discovered that 1/2 cup of this yummy goodness has 10g of protein, 3og of carbs, and 4g of fiber. That may seem like a lot of carbs to you waist-line watchers, but slow burning complete carbs are essential. We shouldn't be afraid of carbs, we should be afraid of the WRONG carbs.

When I'm properly fueled, my BLOOD FEELS DIFFERENT... I don't feel like my body is "sucking marrow" when I run, and I don't feel like I have to spend the evening on the couch after a run.

You probably saw this one coming...because folks it's obvious, but we need SPIRITUAL fuel in the same way. We can go out there and run the race for a while without fuel. We may rely on our "fat stores" for a while (great instruction that we received growing up or last year), but we will ultimately become defeated and depleted without a constant stream of HEALTHY spiritual fuel. Spiritual Candy works for a while, but is not sustaining. What's your fuel?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Amazing gRace!

It became clear to me last year when I first began my journey into the wonderful world of endurance-training otherwise known as "marathoning," that there were multiple moral and spiritual implications that could be derived from the sport of running.

It needs to be clarified upfront that I am NOT an athlete, I have LOW muscle tone, and in the world of marathon runners, I am below average. However, when I first set the goal to "run a marathon," it was a decision that I made on faith, because a few of my family members had previously been successful at this endeavour, I assumed that I had the genetic predistposition to make this dream a reality. That act of faith proved to be accurate, because I did complete my first marathon last fall.

During my training, I found out quickly that all of the athleticism in the world would not be enough to sustain ANYONE, let alone COMPLETELY incompetent ME in this task. I learned that running a "race" has little to do with "smart strategy," "giftedness," and even "will." Success in marathoning has to do with biting off a little bit at a time... combining the wisdom of those who have gone before you with a great deal of stick-to-itiveness on the part of the runner.

Life lessons galore. There is rarely a training run that goes by, where I am not blessed by a very long and insightful conversation with my God. These intimate and sometimes humbling conversations have slowly begun to change my life as I slowly hit the pavement.

Tomorrow is the first "official" day on my Spring training calendar that will lead me to October 12th, where I will run with several of my family members in the Chicago Marathon. If you care to follow my journey, here's where you'll find me.

Yesterday on a particularly enjoyable run, I was listening to "Amazing Grace" by Chris Tomlin. I realized that God HAS given me the strength to endure the race that is set before me--both literally and metaphorically. I am often tempted to give up, to say "this is too hard," or "too painful," but I know He has called me to endure. My heart felt like jumping out of my chest, and tears began to well in my eyes as I felt an intimate and personal attachment to my biggest Cheerleader- a Holy God whom I'm not worthy to run after, but I do.

Truly, Amazing gRace.