Monday, December 31, 2012

SHM Cumulative Half Day 2: Reflection on 2012

I had this Neil Gaiman quote up at the office January of this year. I have had everything it says.

Read some fine books.
I read 48 books out of my 60 book goal. Many comic books, many biographies, some theology. Favorites include Mistress of the Art of Death, Silence of Our Friends, Let's Pretend This Didn't Happen, and the Ooku series. The Slow Fat Triathlete books were the most inspiring.

Kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful.
That happened. A lot. Who knew getting in shape could renew a marriage in such an amazing way?

Don't forget to make some art.
I did my usual dabbling around. Played with yarn. Made a go at an Etsy shop. Filmed a single episode of a video podcast. Did some voice work for an animated short that Mister submitted to a film festival.

Can you call this whole project of becoming a runner while wearing a Wonder Woman costume a form of performance art? Maybe so. It feels good to be writing regularly again.

I hope you surprise yourself.
I don't think anyone is more surprised than I am in this.

Here's to Magic and Dreams and Good Madness in 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sandy Hook Memorial Cumulative Half (Virtual): Day 1

What does a parent of a Kindergartner--or a human being, for that matter--say about what happened on 14 December 2012 in Newtown, CT? How does one begin to comprehend? How does one respond?

I've begun half a dozen posts regarding this event and erased them all out of frustration of not being able to say what I really mean. I hug my child and watch her for signs of distress. I continue to participate in our community and vote my conscience. But like others, somehow I want to help and extend my sympathy, even though I know it doesn't change a lot for those families.

I respond with the things I love in an attempt to give myself.

This week, I will be participating in the Sandy Hook Memorial Virtual Half Marathon; I will be running it cumulatively, which means I will try to complete 13.1 miles of running total in one week. The entry fee goes 100% to the United Way of Newton--that way funds will be directed to where they are needed the most. I do not pretend that the running itself is helping families, communities, and/or first responders; that part is only to make me feel better--like I'm "earning" it. I could say that I'm praying while I'm running (and I am), but I do have some perspective here.

I will also be participating in 600 Monsters Strong by knitting and donating a stuffed monster to comfort a child. The organizers are well aware of the influx of stuffed animals to the Newtown community, so they are also working with nonprofit organizations that work with children who have been victims of gun violence. One way or another, the creature I create will be put into the arms of a child who needs it. I will post pictures of my progress along with my distance report.

My goal is that the final run will be to the post office to send the monster on its way..

Thursday, December 27, 2012

201.2 in 2012

I have walked 201.2 miles since January 2012. I knew I was going to pass the 200 mile mark this morning, but I didn't know the number would be so wonderfully clever.

I know walking isn't as sexy as running, but I also know that I only really have a small window for my running activity. Walking will always be there--cheap, easy, readily available. Walking will always be my fall-back position, and I know I can do it for years to come.

In walking this year, I've learned:

  • It's not the intensity; it's the consistency.
  • I've come to really depend on some kind of activity to manage my emotional levels.
  • Nice people live in my neighborhood.
  • My neighborhood has a variety of birds and wildlife that I wouldn't expect in an urban area.
  • Despite a lot of light pollution, I can still watch the movement of the stars throughout the year.
  • There's also an annual rhythm to man-made lights, from home decorations to floodlights at the high school stadium.
  • I love the company of my dogs. I haven't had the courage to walk both of them by myself yet, so each walk is one-on-one time. Each dog opens my senses to a new way of seeing.
  • I've also learned to like my own company and being aware of my own body rhythms.
  • Weight loss is a byproduct, not a motivator.
Again, everyone who has been encouraging me this past year at all levels of my activity--THANK YOU!

And if you've been inspired but feel overwhelmed, go take a walk today to feel good today. Then go again tomorrow. Then the day after. Just go.

I'll see you for the next 200 miles ... or more.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Race Report: Santa Hustle 5K

Beard and hat
part of the packet
Charity: Toys for Tots
Finish Time: 0:42:02 

I was a little nervous about this race because I anticipated many possible hiccups that thankfully never happened--between Groupon redemption, hotel reservations, meeting up with friends, and dog-sitting, everything went pretty smooth sailing. The other worry was, of course, me still getting over the sick. I woke up feeling pretty good--and then started coughing.

The show must go on.

I made some modifications to the Wonder Woman costume to be appropriately Christmas-like by adding sleeves, long pants, and put the tiara on the Santa hat. I was very pleased with the results, as I fit in with the spirit of the event while still being true to my personal theme. It generated more than a few encouraging cheers and photographs, which pleases my ridiculously exhibitionist soul.

Sea of Santas
As for the race itself, it was kind of ... inspiring. I'll wait until official chip time, but I think I actually made a PR! Update: The chip time was not a PR, but it was the best of the month. (It did take us a couple minutes to actually cross the start line once we got started.) It was an out-and-back route, which spooked me a little at first. But, for some reason, the mile markers didn't seem quite so far apart. Coming back, there seemed to be quite a sizable crowd behind us, which let me know we were pretty mid-pack. I wished the water stations had been a little more spread out (I was pretty dehydrated at the beginning with all my mucus and stuff; I know I should start carrying water, but I'm embarrassed to do that for less than a 10K). Toward the end, traffic was getting a little unruly too. But strong finish, all told!

But here are some people who were the real inspirations of this race:

1. My Mister

Just like my birthday race, Mister coached me through (and all while having some of the crud himself). When I felt like I couldn't run any more, he set a timer for us to walk for only two minutes. Then he would set landmarks as goals. This went back and forth throughout the run, and I loved his company.

We both agree, however, that he's going to have to be more of a hard ass with me next time.

2. My friend, Antoinette

She, too, had been pretty sick this past week. Yet, she did the half-marathon (her first) in a little over three hours! (WOOT! WOOT!) She's the kind of runner I want to grow up to be. (Plus, she's encouraging and way fun.)

I'm also HUUUUUGELY grateful to her husband and boys for letting our Miss hang out with them while her daddy and I ran together. The original plan was to plop her in the jogging stroller (she still fits), but I think she had much more fun this way. (I'm not sure the same can be said of Tristan; thanks a million, man!)

3. This guy

Seriously, after seeing him, what excuse can I possibly have not to keep going and try harder.

I'll see you with my shoes on tomorrow.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Today's Walk OR It Really Isn't the End of the World

Since I finished Christmas cards last night, I thought a good way to get back in the saddle again was a walk to the post office this morning to send them off. I took Luna with me; she's been needing more training sessions herself, as boredom and anxiety (and youthfulness) has urged her to get into things.

Tomorrow I'm going to diiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeee ....

I did try some running. I was surprise that: 1) I could get into the mode pretty easily; and 2) Luna fell into step with me like a dream. But then the coughing fits would start again.

So, yeah, there's going to be a lot of walking tomorrow. But at least it's a little get-away with the family--hook up with some friends, sea food, (cold) beach, Christmas-type festivities. For now, I'm going to have to let the hope of a PR this month go.

Sad puppy face.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Grounded OR Excessive Coughing Counts as Ab Work, Right?

I apologize for my silence--not that anyone's really complaining. It's been a combination of Reserves weekend + child sick + me sick that's cut into my training. I thought I would be better enough to get at least a walk in this morning, but last night was horrible--congestion and shakes. When I took an ibuprofen this morning, my body was covered in sweat within five minutes from fever breaking. It seems that Mister is starting to get a bit of it too. We could roll with it were we not doing the Santa Hustle in Galveston this weekend.

December has been a bad month for races.

On the up-side, Miss had her karate award ceremony last night. It was cool watching her practice her stances and blocks, as well as demonstrate Stranger Danger defense moves.

Meditate on this!
What really impressed me was ansa, or when all the kids sat cross-legged, eyes closed, hands still while the Sifu provides distractions with loud noises and close passes. Of course, my girl was not the stillest of creatures in comparison to the rest of the class. But I appreciate that her Sifu pointed out that everyone comes to the ansa at their own pace, and she had made great strides from the beginning. Of all the reasons that I wanted her to do karate, I wanted her to develop the practice of stillness, as I think it will help with her perfectionism. Now that I have the vocabulary, I'm going to try to do this stance with her frequently; like a fire drill, we've got to practice when we're calm so we know what to do when in danger of falling apart.

Nevertheless, the girl leveled up to yellow belt. Really proud of her.

Now if we all could only get well...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Today's Run OR Dog Fight

My actual dogs, Bella and Luna.
They are both good dogs. Mostly.
There's a teaching that says everybody has a Black Dog and a White Dog that live inside them. The dogs are always fighting. The one that wins is the one you feed the most.

Today was a royal dog fight.

Black Dog: It's cold--36 degrees! I'm wrapping up a head cold that still gives me coughing fits. I'm retaining water. My weight is creeping up. I'm just feeling generally surly around the edges.

White Dog: In other words, all the more reasons to go. I don't have to run perfectly, I just have to move. If my breath only lets me walk, then I walk. Plus, I have a new Bondiband that needs wearing.

Black Dog: I'm not finishing these intervals. I'm still not finishing these intervals. This whole project is a lie. I should quit.

White Dog: I can't quit. I've already talked long and loud about it. I've already paid for a race in March. I have people joining me. This is just temporary.

Black Dog: My boobs hurt. I feel too fat to move.

White Dog: Temporary. Don't make any decisions today. Besides, I gotta get home somehow.

Black Dog: It hurts to breathe in cold weather.

White Dog: I learned how to run in 90 degrees and 90% humidity. It's just a matter of practice.

Black Dog: I'm slow. I'm never going to get past 5K races.

White Dog: Did I hear my app right? My average pace is under 13 minutes? I finished 3.12 miles in 40 minutes? Let's run!

Black Dog: But ...

White Dog: Shut up! Run!

Black Dog: Breath ... Trying to catch breath ...

White Dog: I need to cool down anyway. Stretch. Breakfast and coffee.

Black Dog: Make it black.

White Dog: Sure thing.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Race Report: Rudolph Fun Run

Charity: Houston Food Bank
Finish Time: 0:45:12

In a lot of ways, this is a race that almost didn't ... or maybe shouldn't have ... happened.

The zen from last night melted away with many anxiety dreams of not being able to find my costume, not finding the starting line, missing the starting time, etc. I awoke with a very productive cough--if there's a part of the body that's like a TARDIS (aka bigger on the inside), it's got to be the sinuses based on all that came out of me.

There's an Easter Egg here
for comic book fans!
We got there in plenty of time--or we would have if they hadn't decided to start 20 minutes earlier than the posted time. The start was squishy until everyone managed to space themselves out. In terms of running my level, this race was good for that--many people pushing themselves who looked like me, many families. I didn't feel intimidated. I found a woman in a blue shirt that I used to set my pace, since her runs and walks seemed to match mine. All that being said, I ended up walking more than running. And my phone fell out of my pocket in the first half mile (I got it immediately), which threw me a bit; I may have to Spi belt it in the future.

The course itself was very pretty, all neighborhoods. Only one water station that needed trash bins nearby. Cute signs showing the mile marks; I tried to be encouraged, but all I could think was, THAT WAS WAY LONGER THAN A MILE!

Lots of great Christmas costumes, and great responses to my WW costume. At one point, one the HPD officers asked me what my costume had to do with Christmas. "How do you think it all gets done?" I quipped back.

At least there were medals.
Pushed it a little at the end to make a decent finish shot. Mister and Miss were hanging out after having done her 1K. I admit to being disappointed but not surprised by my time (after I got past feeling like I had to throw up a little). It was okay. Just not as good as I had hoped.

Then we got the call from our emergency contact that our alarm had gone off and the fire department was on its way to our house. And just when I thought I couldn't run any more. False alarm--all okay.

Now to spend the rest of the weekend recovering and doing Christmas-type things. Next race: Santa Hustle in Galveston on the 23rd.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

(Virtual) Race Report: YOUR Birthday Run

My Official Race Shirt
Charity: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Finish Time: 0:42:11

I decided a long time ago that, while I may dye my hair, I won't lie about my age. Every year is hard-earned; the good and bad experiences should be embraced. So, today is my 42nd birthday--the funniest of all the numbers, according to Douglas Adams.

Not this girl.
My work schedule worked out so that I could have my actual birthday off. After dropping Miss off at school, Mister and I drove to Memorial Park for my official run. I took a risk asking him to run with me, as I know he is in better shape than I am. I made the conscious decision not to feel guilty about holding him back, since he was there for me!

Mister turned out to be a pretty good coach, in that I hated and loved him at the same time. He would set limits to our walking time. He would set goals. He checked my form.* He coached my breathing (which seems to be what needs the most work right now). I growled and groaned at him, and he still prodded and pushed.** Ultimately I was very grateful for his companionship, faith in me, and drive to help me be a stronger person. It's one of the reasons why I'm glad I married him, among other things.*** I'd really like to run with him again if he's game.

Birthday Bondiband & bling!
All in all, decent time--a few seconds better than Thanksgiving. Got to keep his coaching in my head on Saturday when I'm doing my race on my own. I will say that it had been a long time since I have used that track; we used to walk it, and it took nearly an hour. Today it seemed a little shorter.

Happy Birthday to me! May the coming year continue to be filled with infinite improbilities!

* Totally not a euphemism in this case.
** Still not a euphemism.
*** There's your euphemism.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Today's Run OR Rainy Train

I groaned when I heard the rain when I first woke up. It was too late to get to the Y to use the treadmill. But with two races this week, I knew I had to get a run in. I reminded myself that Saturday's race was a rain-or-shine affair, and that rain was an actual possibility. Why not practice running in the rain?

The results weren't great--I felt sluggish, plus the slickness of the roads made me wary. I also cut part of the route a little short to avoid mud. Be that as it may, it got done. I regret not running more than running under bad conditions these days.

I did learn a hazard of the Season, however. I normally run without my glasses. I went to turn down one street, but I saw red and green reflections on the street. I didn't remember a streetlight that way; I must be turning too early. So I went down the next street. Once I got my bearings, I realized that the "streetlight" was Christmas lights on a house. D'oh!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Today's Run OR Thanks for the Reminder, Grim Reaper!

Get this here.
Even though there's a time crunch to run on my working Saturday, I feel so much better if I get out and run first. Makes me feel productive. Or maybe it feels more like a regular work day than having to go in on a Saturday, the only difference being the shows on NPR at the time.

Speaking of, I was listening to "Only a Game," when they were discussing this study about older runners. A lovely thing to hear on the cusp of my 42nd birthday, let me tell you. Blend that with the knowledge that my dad, a runner from his 20s, had had a heart attack despite being in fantastic shape.

After I got over my initial panic and despair, I reminded myself that these are runners who go too fast (ha ha!), too long (ha ha!), and have been running for many years (ha ha ha!). I also reminded myself that, despite being obese for decades now, my resting heart rate and blood pressure are amazingly low (which has annoyed more than a few doctors).

But is this the end of my long-term marathon dreams?


Here's the plan, as I see it:

  • I will set myself the tentative goal to run at least one marathon before I am 50. And if that's the only marathon I ever run, I'm cool with that. If I get to 50 and have only done a half marathon, that's okay too. At this point, a 10K would make me happy.
  • Not right now, but in a couple years it might be time to change up sports anyhow. The focus of the study seemed to be on running. What about cycling? That will require a little more investment, but at least I have good sources and the jerseys are cute. Or maybe martial arts? Now that I have tried running with some success, my mind blooms with possibilities.
  • As with anything, I have to listen to my body and talk with my doctor. I am an individual, not a study group. In a lot of ways, this is like when we decided to finally get going with our family; according to studies, I was past my prime, there were physical circumstances that made it more difficult, and we should have given up. But after some effort, we have a child and a pretty awesome one at that. If I only have one kid and only run one marathon in my life, I am far from failure. I'm far from failure now.
But getting back to actual reality, I have two races this coming week--a virtual one on the 5th and a in-person on the 8th. Both are 5Ks, of course, so no danger there (she said in her sarcastic tone). Right now I'm concentrating on making decent time (maybe under 43 minutes each?) and figuring out what to wear in this continually fluctuating climate.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Today's Run OR I Came to Kick Butt and Chew Bubble Gum

The up side of cooler weather is that is easier to really get moving once I get out the door, if only to get warm. The down side is getting out the door, especially when Luna gets really snuggly. But I went. Of course.

Because of how the audio cues fall, I didn't know how well I had been doing until I was nearly home. I was very pleased. I'm watching my running intervals become more solid one at a time, like sliding beads on a string. Once every running interval is set, I'll up the time again.

So, yes, right now I'm concentrating on speed, although it feels strange to call it that. In my mind, I'm working on the goal of actually running an entire 5K with no walk intervals. I know it's not necessary, but I feel like I have to get this done before switching to longer distances.

I was pondering this morning about how on earth I'm going to be able to train for distance. Right now, devoting a half hour is pretty easy. If I'm going to go 10K and beyond, I need to think of 1 hour+ training sessions. Does that mean getting up even earlier? How badly do I want this?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Today's Run OR Upping the Intervals

As is common to this part of the world, temps went from low 80s yesterday to mid 50s today. When I left the house, there was a cold mist and wind that made me almost reconsider going out in the first place. Glad I did. Was even more glad for my Bondiband. (Dear Santa, please send more! All the colors!)

I nudged my intervals up from 1 min run/1 min walk to 1.5 min run/1 min walk. Seemingly minimal (and something I had sort of done before), but it was time to push myself. Of course, not every interval was completely running (partially due to traffic), but I see that I will be able to get it done to my satisfaction.

It feels foolish to admit these tiny goals. I'm basically repeating the original C25K training. One of the things I didn't like the first time around was that I couldn't repeat any of the runs; I felt forced to move forward before I was solid. I want to be a confident runner (if that's possible).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Today's Swim OR Take Courage Monday

Got going early this morning for water weight training. Pool was super full. I'm assuming post-holiday guilt for some, although I am beginning to recognize who the "regulars" are.

As for myself, I felt wonderfully stretched out in the water--like an otter. Okay, maybe an Otter Pop. Or a Tootsie Pop. But probably more like a Tootsie Roll.

Doesn't matter. I showed up. So there.

And speaking of holidays, I seem to have maintained my weight. Plus I'm having to change out rings--some too big, some finally fitting again. It's the little things.

A couple things that inspired me this weekend:

1) This video that's making the rounds on FB

2) This thought-provoking discussion on vulnerability that hit me on multiple levels.

Be encouraged! Be the One--for someone else or yourself!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Today's Run OR Cheaper Than Therapy

I need to rethink Thanksgiving weekend. The day itself is usually good after we scramble to figure out our plans (and I do no food prep except for the occasional baking--that's all Mister). The day after is a little ... blank. Part of it is post-rush let-down. Part of it is a self-imposed house arrest to avoid shopping crowds. Part of it is an annual sadness that lurks in the corners; I try not to stare at it and make it bigger. And then I usually have to work that Saturday (as I do this year).

All this to say that, even though it made getting ready a little tight this morning, I really needed to run. Another brain-turned-off-follow-the-intervals-but-not-push outing. So, speed sucked. But oddly enough, I made a PR for longest distance in a week. Unexpected, that.

But I really need to figure out a new tradition for the Friday that follows Thanksgiving. If I've learned nothing else from this venture, it's that change rarely "just happens." Intention is involved.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

(Virtual) Race Report: Gobbler Gallop

Charity: For the Love of the Kids
Finish Time: 0:42:17

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Of the virtual races I have done so far, this felt the most "race-like." Part of it was the bib. I normally feel a little weird about pinning on a bib for a run around the neighborhood; but the one that was sent in my race packet was so nice, I felt obligated to wear it. I'm glad I did. It helped me take the venture seriously.

Another part that helped was that my family got up with me to see me off; Mister set the timer for 40 minutes, and then he and Miss greeted me at the finish line (aka the end of our block).

But little things made this race wonderful. The weather is gorgeous. No technical issues with my GPS or my music. Easy traffic. Easy terrain. Met a couple walking their dogs at one point who cheered me on. I was also mindful that both my Running Mama was racing this morning, as well as one of my dearest friends participating in her first 5K; I said a prayer of gratitude for them both.

I have a lot for which to be thankful. I really do.

And now, as Master Shifu would say, "I am free to eat."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Today's Run OR Meh

Today's run was not one of those spiritual and insightful sort of outings. It was--meh. Lots of walking. Brain tuned out.

It was more something to check off the list. One less thing to feel guilty about.

I'm really okay with not everything being epic.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Today's Run OR Thanksgiving Week

After scrolling through a bunch of run and race reports yesterday, my heart wanted to RUN! I was, however, still a little sore after Saturday's excursion with Miss to Hermann Park and the zoo.* Plus, I have a virtual race on Thanksgiving morning, which means timing my runs. Would a swim be more beneficial?

Turns out the pool at the Y is having maintenance (glad I found out before I arrived). Run it is!

Great run (except for issues with my GPS)! Again, solid run intervals. At the beginning I thought, I can go longer than this! Toward the end, I was counting down for each interval, but they were completed. Says to me two things: 1) don't blow out at the beginning; and 2) it's time to up the intervals.

I'm not sure how to plan the rest of my week, though. Maybe a short, easy run tomorrow; walk on Wednesday; virtual race on Thursday; possible family activity on Friday (but what?); pre-work walk on Saturday (or maybe rest).

* If I was tired, I can only imagine what her little legs and feet were like. She did clunk out on the drive home and slept very well that night. I am probably underestimating her.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Today's Run OR Proud of My Miss

Really good run. Every run interval was solid; the times when I wanted to cut it short, the training prompted me to take a walk break. The cool thing was that all my walk breaks aligned with dicey terrain that I probably would have walked for safety's sake. And I pretty much timed the end of my cool down perfectly to my front door.

Wow, was it cold! I was not sorry for my jacket, nor did I remove the Bondiband from covering my ears.

I fear this week I'm probably going to miss my Sunday long run, as it is a Reserves weekend and we have a get-together in the evening. I do, however, have an opportunity for a family fitness event on Saturday with Miss; it's a two-mile walk/fill-a-passport-full-of-stamps-to-get-free-entrance-to-the-zoo thing. Miss will be running a 1K at the same time I'm running my 5K beginning of December, so we're trying to get her in the mode to move.

As a side note, Miss just finished her soccer session and was still excited about it.* Ditto karate; Mister was telling me that her horse stance was one of the most solid in the class. Mister was also telling me that while they were waiting for karate to start, she was running around the track; at least the bottom half of her is in great form.

I'm proud of her, not because I expect to her to be a top athlete but that she's not afraid of sports like I was. I want her to try.

* At one point last year, she wanted to quit dance because "it put darkness in her heart."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Today's Run OR Back on Track

Much better. Solid running.

I don't want to be one that whines about the weather,* but WOW what a difference cooler temps and lower humidity makes! My biggest complaint is that I can't get used to anything. At least in August, I expected it to be hot; so I ran in hot weather. I hate to go from shorts to long pants and back again--often in a week. I just can't count on anything.

There's a lesson here, I'm sure.

* Which is totally ironic, since I whine about everything else.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Managing Training and Dreams

Scrolling through my FB page, I ran across an entry from Slow Is the New Fast:

Teresa posted this and needs your encouragement: "I need to vent...and I am also looking for some encouragement. Have any of you have been where I am at at some point in your running career?? I'm at the beginning, have only done 1 5K on 10/27 and had to walk some of that due to asthma (you might have remembered me asking the asthma questions here before) but did have a great run and I was proud of
 myself but since then I have had a terrible bout of bronchitis (couple that with the asthma) and have not been able to run hardly at all. I feel so discouraged, like I just am not cut out to be a runner. Like I'm just too old (40) and this is too hard and why can't I run for even 2 miles without stopping! My goals of 1/2 marathons and even full marathons feel so daunting and unattainable. I get so down on myself and want to quit because I'm not instantly good or decent at this sport. I am supposed to run another 5K on Thanksgiving and have not trained at all due to illness since 10/27. Another 5K 12/9 too. Those times are just going to stink and I feel like why should I even bother. I feel like I need to start over with couch potato to 5K. Like all of the strides that I have made are just gone. I'm not trying to be a down, just feeling down about it."

Minus the bit about asthma, I could have written this, even down to the dates for the next races.

Trust me, I'm not giving up. Not by a long shot. It helps to know what by body is like cyclically, and rarely do things last forever.* Plus I've sunk money into clothing and race fees. Plus I've talked loudly about it. Plus I am hyper-aware that my daughter is watching me.

But I admit there are many Impossible Things Before Breakfast going on: I'm weeks away from my 42nd birthday. I am technically obese. I have never voluntarily participated in any sport until now. I still spend a good deal of my 5K time walking. But I'm still planning on hitting the pavement tomorrow morning at the buttcrack of dawn with my best effort. My bravery (or stupidity) is not in question here.

I'm not even questioning the size of my dreams. With effort, I think I can manage at least one full marathon before I'm 50.

But coming back to Earth, I really think I need to get my 5K distance at least solid running, right? Not fast, but solid. Then I can start stretching for the 10K ... then the 10 mile ... then half marathon ...

I think it's time to start back on the standard C25K training and see what happens.

* Managing infertility some six years ago can do that.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

(Virtual) Race Report: World Run Day

It's an odd convergence of World Run Day and Rememberance Day/Veterans Day. Last Sunday, our parish celebrated the Feast of All Saints (although it is actually 1 Nov). During our mass, we are given the opportunity to light a candle in memory of those who have died.

So, when I ran today, I was thinking a lot about how life and death inform each other. I run to experience and appreciate life as well as prolong it.

Not sure what
the neighbors thought
Or at least that was the intent. A lot of the run was fighting my GPS, and then later having to adjust the map manually. It's very discouraging in the middle of the run, as I can't relax and just pay attention to my body. Hence, I end up walking more than I intend. I did, however, solve part of my calf ache issues by paying attention to my feet--rolling through toe to heel rather than hitting flat.

I'm calling official time at 43:50. Really got to pick it up before next month.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Today's Run OR Consistency

Find this here.
Since my brain cannot be trusted to work with my body, I went back to the 1-1 training. Not stellar, but pretty consistent. Thanks to hormonal flux, my water weight is up and my joints feel loose. I'm participating in World Run Day on Sunday; I'm hoping I can get my time down again.

But here's where I'm proud of myself--or forcing myself to be proud of myself: my consistency rocks. I get up. I go. Period. And that adds up.

Another thing that adds up: my consistent mileage. I have to remind myself that a half hour used to mean a mile and a half. Then it meant two miles. Now it's at least two and a half miles. And this will continue.

If I'm being repetitive, it's because I'm constantly having to remind myself of my progress. Otherwise, I have a tendency to get discouraged by the Big Picture.

I'm also grateful for the consistent diminishing of the Child's Halloween haul. Between her and her parents' sneaking, all the good stuff is gone. It's easier for me to resist pretzels.*

One last thought on consistency: I think I'm beginning to see a bit of wear in my running shoes. There's the start of a teeny hole on the top of the right shoe. The padding still seems to be okay, but my calves hurt a bit with each run in a way that I think may be the shoes rather than me. For as much as I shilled out for them, I was hoping they'd last a little longer. Maybe now that I know what shoes are supposed to feel like, I can find last year's version of this year's shoe at a cheaper price.(Running a cheap sport? My ever-tightening fanny!)

* Who the hell gives out pretzels for Halloween? That's only a step up from pennies!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Holiday Wish List

This is not on the list, but who am I
to deny the joy of giving?
It suddenly occurred to me that the holidays (and, consequently, my birthday) are right around the corner. Along with the panic that I should have started my holiday knitting on 26 December 2011, I've been bulking up my Pinterest with gift ideas and having Miss start looking through catalogs. At the same time, I've been cleaning up my Amazon and Etsy wish lists so people can easily shop for me.

I used to act all contrite and blushing when it came to gift receiving. But my mom used to say, "Do you want what you want, or do you want to be surprised?" Since I want it all, I just make lists and let the gifts fall where they may.

Here are a few things on my list--either to gift me or yoink for your own wish list:

1. Wonder Woman jewelry - I've decided to make WW jewelry a Thing, especially at work. Inspiration, if you will.

2. Sparkle Skirt gift certificate

3. Arm warmers from Groovy Baby Action Gear - I know she has my measurements on hand. Any of her styles are amazing. Did I mention she's offering a special coupon through this blog?

4. Bondiband headband - I love this, but any of them, really.

5. Fox socks - Foxes are a Thing with me as well. But again, any of the novelty socks here work for me.

6. This bracelet 

7. This shirt (2X)

8. This rack for holding race medals*

9. A race registration from Run 4 Bling

10. For you to run a race, participate in a walk … move! (Because I love you. And this makes me sound altruistic, doesn't it?)

What am I missing?

* Heh, heh. She said, "Rack."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunday Through Tuesday OR The Dog Ate My Extra Hour of Sleep and Probably My Enthusiasm Too

Let's call this the down side of my mood swing.

Last week was tough in terms of getting going. I did my run days, and I walked the "off" days, but getting out of bed has been icky. Got up Sunday and did my 3+ miles in around 43 minutes (lots of unenthusiastic walking). Similar non-running story today (only worse time). I Made it to the Y yesterday for a swim; much training with the water weights. But my enthusiasm is at a minimum right now.

It's not just the running where motivation is low; it's a lot of aspects of my life. I'm at a typically low point in my hormonal cycle.* Work is not all that great right now. Parenting is ... well, parenting. Puppy training is ... well, puppy training. I'm uninspired in my crafting. I'm drifting from fluffy book to fluffy book. I'm dreading planning for the holidays. What I really would like to do is sleep; if sleep is not forthcoming (as it hasn't been much these days), then I'd like to zone out. It's that Matthew Sanford quote: "There's a small death when you realize that adult life is deeply repetitive."

I guess the point is that I didn't want to get up and go, but I did it anyway. Wheeee, I'm an inspiration.

But seriously, it is important to me to recognize the lows as well as the highs because it reminds me that most things are pretty cyclical. The low points are not forever, but neither are the highs. I'm hoping to learn what I can where I am.

* It's stupid that this affects me so much, but at least I've gotten to the point that I recognize it for what it is.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Variations on the Theme OR Have I Got a Deal for You!

Silver and Sparkly White!
Since it was getting down to the wire with my costume last week, I developed a back-up plan by having a set of bracelets and tiara that I could wear with any of my work out gear. You can expect to see this set frequently in pictures for virtual races. I have also joined Team Tough Chik 2013; one of the requirements is to wear the shirt in an official race, and these will be part of that particular uniform.

Can we talk a minute about Katie of Groovy Baby Action Gear? First off, her stuff is cute and affordable. Secondly, she does custom jobs and ships super quick. Thirdly, she's got a definite WW vibe going. Finally, she's just massively adorable herself.

Christmas stars (for me, at least)
One of the things I learned from this last race is that I really ought to be better prepared for the cold, and running sleeves are a viable solution. For my Christmas races, I've ordered a set of white stars on red that I will wear with the tank. They are amazingly comfortable (and nicely hold in the batwing arms).

Matching the skort
As a second cold weather/mid-season option, I will probably get a set of arm warmers that match my skort. (I've been considering a matching Bondi Band as well.)

I've been tickling her ear for other variations. For the Electric Run, she and I have been talking about options for a tiara and bracelets that will glow in black light. For the Color Me Rad race, we are both thinking white tiara and bracelets with sparkly red star to best capture all the color.

Speaking of Color Me Rad, registration for the Houston run is now open for a reduced fee. Several people have expressed an interest in joining me on this; I will be running in the 9:20 wave, and you can run independently or join Team Chunky Wonder Woman (my feelings will not be hurt one way or another).

But that's not all! I've spoken with the above-mentioned Katie, and she's willing to cut you a deal just for putting up with my blathering! If you order something from her shop and use the code  noticeablyfoxed at check out, you will get 15% off your order!!!* If you're joining me for Color Me Rad, you can get a set to match mine. Or design your own. Or grab one of the cute designs already there. You don't even have to run--they're good for cycling or even just layering for every day.

I know I sound like a commercial; but I like what I like, and I like to share! Seriously, go check out Groovy Baby Action Gear and buy handmade!

* This is really the only Web presence I have that doesn't have some kind of fox theme to it. Long story.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Today's Run OR Whether the Weather Be Cold or Whether the Weather Be Hot ...

I wish our weather was maybe a titch less bouncy.
Aaaand back to wearing shorts.

I shouldn't complain--the weather this morning was great! It was cool enough to get moving but not overheat. I have to explain to more northerly family and friends, though: You know that feeling you have in March when it's still cold, not too cold, but you're just kind of sick of the whole cold thing? That's how we feel about the heat in November. (Holy cow, it's November!)

Anyhow, I've been going "free-form" in terms of training, meaning I run for as long as I think I can, walk a while, back to running, and so on; I've done the route enough to know where the warm up ends and the cool down kicks in. This morning was one of those odd "I'm running. I usually walk here. Don't feel like walking. I'm running a little farther" kind of deals. Made a PR in terms of pace. So, yay!

I got my official event photos last night (see sidebar of this blog). That made me feel a little better about not making it to the event Flickr stream. I know I'm not going to be a size 10, but I wish I looked a little less bull-necked.* Costume looks cute, though. And I have a waistline. I'm planning on doing a series of progressive event shots to see the changes to my body. The bag full of Non-Recession Candy Miss got trick-or-treating last night isn't going to help any, though.**

* I'm blaming the camera position. They were shooting upward, which is assuredly not my best angle. Thankfully, I'm not the only one with this problem.
** Last year, we went out trick-or-treating with friends. One of the moms looked through the haul and declared it Recession Candy. I'm pretty sure you know what that means; for example, if you can't find the item in a non-"fun size" or there are flavors of Tootsie Rolls other than chocolate. Not that I won't eat it. Just sayin.'

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Today's Run OR A New Season (Literally)

Weather took a sharp cold turn in the morning. I had hoped to ease into it, but there you go. I'm having to relearn to breathe; my nose stuffs up pretty quickly, and the air is drier. The up side is that my cooler weather workout gear has many more pockets.

I'm finding myself in an inevitable post-event funk. All my self-affirmation seemed to melt away when I was surrounded by other runners. Not making it to any of the official pictures didn't help; as a friend commented on the last post, it was like I wasn't even there. It seems like I am more and more invisible these days for one reason or another.

One typical reaction I've had at this point of an endeavor is to quit. Thankfully, I've sunk some money into this venture. Not to mention, other people have started moving allegedly because of what I'm doing. Then there's my Miss who has a tendency to fall apart when things don't go perfectly; I'd be a poor model of behavior there. And what about my commitment to myself?

All this to say, I ran this morning--3.11 miles in just under 40 minutes, about a 1.23 miles of which was pretty solid running.

When I don't quit, I get mad. That's the time to get out of my way.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Race Recap: Great Pumpkin Fun Run Official Time

Official time: 0:41:36

I didn't make it into any of the official event pictures as far as I could see.

Local news coverage: I run by at about the 1 minute mark. Abundant footage of Miss bopping around (and Mister shivering) in the background around the 3 minute mark.

What Now?

Even superheroes have to do laundry.
I finished a 5K race, but it was a combo of walking and running. The next short term goal is to complete a 5K run--no walking at all. It's time to start really pushing myself. Long term goal is to increase my distance and work up to a 10K, but let's start here.

I will be running two virtual races in November, mostly because of my crazy schedule. World Run Day will be on 11 November and Gobbler Gallop on Thanksgiving Day. I also plan to run my birthday on 5 December. I'm trying to think of a clever gimmick, gathering, or giveaway for these events, but I really don't have anything yet.

My next race is 8 December, Rudolph Fun Run. It will be untimed, but there is a finisher's medal involved. My daughter will be doing the Cupid 1K (with her daddy beside). Then, 23 December is the Santa Hustle in Galveston which Mister will be doing with me; I'm hoping I can match his stride by then.

I'm also working on a Christmas-themed variation to the costume. Because if I can't finish fast, I can at least finish cute.*

So, what now?

I keep running, that's what.

* Oh, hello, defense mechanism!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Thank You! (Yes, YOU!)

Official chip time and pictures have yet to be posted, but I wanted to immediately thank everyone for their well-wishes, Facebook posts, and in-person congratulations. It really means the world to me!

Little Miss. Poster by Daddy.
Thank you, Lisa, for coming out
and taking pictures.
Thank you, Amanda! You're a wonder yourself!
Thank you, Charlotte and Claire! (And your mom and dad!)

Thanks, Team Tough Chik!
Addendum: Thanks, Dad, for including me in your talk at church regarding being a steward of your body! Love you!