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?