Sunday, September 30, 2012

Today's Run OR Best Guesses

I love my Bondiband.
Today was supposed to be the longest run of this training--3.5 miles. I'm going to have to guess that I did this, as the GPS never kicked in.* This was both good and bad. Bad, in that I don't know my stats precisely. Good, in that ... I don't know my stats precisely. I had to trust my instincts and previous data. I know I had good running intervals. I know about how long it is to certain points in the neighborhood from former runs and walks. I know I made it to checkpoints in better time than I did last week. I am bugged by the impreciseness, but I'm going to let it go in favor of my larger sanity.

A friend of mine wrote a great post on Facebook about "just a little more." That was one of the coaches in my head. The other coach was sweet Bella, looking back with her open-mouth doggie grin, "C'mon, Momma! Let's keep going!"

So, GPS be damned: I keep going.

27 days until race day.

* I manually entered the data on Runkeeper to my best guess. The map is nearly impossible to manipulate.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Shiny Running Outfit Friday: For the Frustrated Medievalist

Today's Swim OR Rule One of Slow Fat Swim Club

In an effort to change things up, I decided to go to the Y for a swim this morning. I put on the sleekest swimsuit I owned*, grabbed the bag I packed the night before, and headed out.

When I got there, I hesitated. The lap pool was full of be-goggled swimmers with fancy handfins. I was pretty sure a lifeguard was going to tap my shoulder and say, "'Scuse me, ma'am, could you make room for the real athletes?"

Then I remembered Rule One of the Slow Fat Triathlete: abandon self-consciousness. I got up at 5AM. I suited up and drove myself. A lane was free, and I had every right to be there and move.

So away I went. Twenty solid minutes of back and forth crawling and backstrokes. I gave up when I was winded and my arms ached. This is another area where I'm going to need a lot of work, but you gotta start somewhere.

After I was done, I didn't even bother dressing. I just wrapped myself in my towel and drove home. When I got there, Miss noticed that I had done something different. I told her I had gone swimming, and she made sad noises that she and Daddy didn't come. I told her it wasn't to play, it was to work--although the work was fun to a degree. Then she noticed what I was wearing.

"Momma, is that your racing swimsuit?"

I haven't even run a true 5K yet. I can barely sustain five minutes of running. To consider a triathlon someday is really ridiculous at this point, right? Or is it an okay dream?

"Maybe so, hon. Maybe so."

* AKA the one without the skirt that hides my fat. Or that I fool myself that it does.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Today's Run OR Managing Mojo

Today was another one of those days where I thought I sucked but the numbers were okay. I knew I had to really move simply because I had a finite amount of time to get this run in, get myself ready, assist getting Miss ready, and getting out the door. This week I have felt like a slug, but I attribute much of that to puppy scheduling* and the return of humidity.

The need to change up to my routine is becoming more and more evident. I know I really should only run 3 days a week. I know I need a rest day. That leaves 3 days of seeking out other activities. There are videos, yes, but mentally I need to leave the house. There's walking, but I'm getting bored with that now.** I've been reading both Slow Fat Triathlete books, as well as talking to some folks, and getting ideas. Tomorrow, I'm going to try to get to the Y in the predawn and see about getting a swim in.***

Race day in one month exactly.

* Baby Anything--puppies, kittens, humans--means a run of sleepless nights. Or maybe that's just me.
** Granted, most of my runs are still walking, but we're going to ignore that.
*** I also see that there's a cycling class early on Wednesday, but that's a full hour; I'd really have to think through the logistics. Let's just start with the swimming.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Shiny Race Wednesday: Austin Gorilla Race

Two things have been occupying my (little) free time: looking for shiny races and looking at shiny running clothes. Everyone has his/her carrot, and these things are mine.

I will proceed to inflict these on you periodically.

Austin Gorilla Run - next race 19 January 2012
I said I wanted silly in my races, and I think this may be it. Registration is crazy expensive because you get a GORILLA SUIT. Yes, the goal here is to run a 5K in a FREAKING GORILLA SUIT. (Registration subsequent years is much cheaper, as you will already have the suit. Unless you wear it out. Which you probably wouldn't. Because that would be weird.)

Proceeds support the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Today's Run OR Who Are You Going to Believe?

As your hat reads, so goes your thinking?
Today's run fell into the Not Fun category. I'm blaming high humidity and lack of sleep. Steady intervals were always attempted but rarely completed. But while I kept thinking that this had to be the worst run ever, my numbers kept chirping back at me as very good.

I was confused, but I kept going.

It was only when I got home and sat down and felt my extremities tingling and my heart pumping that I began to believe that the run was good.

Silly brain.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Today's Run (or Head Games)

A bird hanging out
at the end of our cul-de-sac.
I did not bring it home.
Long run this morning. It was meant to be 3 miles, but with (unrecorded) warm up and (recorded) cool down, it was closer to 3.5 miles. All told, I was out 53 minutes, but I did the 3 miles in about 45 minutes. Still a long way to go, but a couple minutes shaved off. So, progress.

About halfway through, self-doubt was starting to raise its head again. It didn't make sense, though, as I have been cranking out 2.5 miles a couple times a week; another half mile really shouldn't make that much difference. I think the reason it seemed to take so long is more due to the fact that I was thinking through the additional mileage to my route.* But as I run it on Sunday mornings from here on, I'm sure it won't feel as eternal.

This is a factor I'm going to have to get over pretty soon. I can't run every 5K route before the actual day. I can study maps, though, for all that's worth. It kind of helps that I drive home from work along the route of my first 5K; I mentally run it as I head toward home ("This is the first mile. This is where I will turn.").

I think this is going to have to be a lesson in letting go and being in the moment.

* I also have a terrible sense of direction and am constantly terrified of getting lost. I have been known to do "dry runs" to appointments and build in "bumbling around" time.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Today's Run (or More Gratitude)

Not much to say about the run itself this morning. The temperature was actually a little cool; the older couple I usually meet on my cool down were nicely layered. The runs are beginning to get easier, although I still have to work at running the entire interval.

Fall is here--at least momentarily--and that makes me happy. I want all the pumpkin-flavored things!

After a hiccup of getting pedometers out to everyone, the Get Fit on Route 66 program is happening in earnest at work. I hear the subtle click of pedometers everywhere. In the program, we "start" at Chicago, and every 100 steps equals a virtual mile (with a goal of 213,300 steps by the end of the program). My job is actually pretty active when I work public service desks; I average about 5000 steps or so each day. Add in when I park and walk from the garage. Add in my morning activities. I'm pretty sure I'm going to zip through this thing. The ticker below shows my total as of last night.

With this morning's run, and I've "passed" St. Louis, MO. Since Mister is a volunteer, he's allowed to play along. It's not really a race,* but I'm smoking him on this one. I also momentarily weigh less than he does; eventually, this will always be the case.

One more thing to be grateful about: My hairdresser took some pictures of Little Miss and me when we went  in for a haircut.** Right after noticing how gorgeous my Miss is, I thought, "Hey look! I'm getting my jawline back!" It's not really about the weight loss--it's about being strong and healthy and confident. But the weight loss is a huge boost in all of these arenas.

Tomorrow, though, rest. Saturday, easy walk. Distance run (3 mi) on Sunday.

* Yes, it is.
** Lisa Whitlock of Hair Psychiatry is a whirlwind of a woman. Not only does she get my hair right every. single. time. at a price I can afford, she also has sidelines as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator (among other celebrities) and a photographer. She has offered to take pics of me in my Wonder Woman costume, and I'm going to take her up on it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Today's Run (or I Was Glad)

I was glad when I said unto the dog, "Let us get up and go for a run this morning."

For the cooler morning weather, I was glad.
For the head cold that has settled into my nose instead of draining down my throat, I was glad.
For being able to run a little longer than last time, I was glad.
For the high school athletes running their laps, I was glad.
For the elderly couple making their daily walk together, I was glad.
For the crowing rooster I hear on my cool down walk but not from my house, I was glad.
For stars and sky and hope for the day, I was glad.
For noticing the strength I'm gaining before the fat I still have to lose, I was glad.

I was glad when I said unto the dog, "Let us get up and go for a run this morning."

(Every now and again, you just got to get your psalm on.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Today's Run (or Inspiration and Resolution)

IMAG0189My friend, Jenn1, ran her first 5K race last night. I had thought about going to root her on, and it turned out that the timing (plus Mister's Reserve center being halfway to the race site) worked out very well. She finished strong and looked amazing. That, plus the whole festival atmosphere and range of body types made me say over and over again, "I want this! I really want this!"

On the long drive home, my thighs ached to GO! I thought about doing my distance run when I got home, but I wasn't sure about the drivers at that time of night. I planned to get up at 5AM and go before Mister left for the Reserve Center. But between the Coke I had at dinner, the high from being at the race, and a head cold that is beginning to settle in, I chose sleep this morning instead.

When Mister got home this afternoon, I took advantage of marginally cooler weather and headed out by myself--not even a dog. Just me, my breath, my steps, some Beats Antique, and a light rain. I kept up a steady pace, if not a fast one. In the same time my friend ran 3.1 miles, I did 2.5 miles. I refuse to be discouraged--there's still a month to go in terms of training. Plus, finishing is finishing. And I will finish.

IMAG0183While I was mostly in blank brain mode, I did notice that many of the signs I put up about the dog had been removed. I had taken her earlier in the week to the vet, and she had no chip. She was put on a round of antibiotics and anti-wormer as a preventative. No response to the signs. No response to online queries. In the meantime, her appetite has significantly improved (although her bones are still prominent). She and I have also seriously bonded. I had been fighting baby animal cravings for some time. After some discussion, we decided to give her a forever home with us.

The name that rolled around my head when I first met her was influenced by her wolf-like features and pale color; it stuck the entire walk home. 

Her name is Luna2

1 At the risk of embarrassing her, Jenn is one of those amazing friends everyone should have. She taught me the best things I know about librarianship (which is my day job), how to be fearless in knitting, and that the Mommy Wars can be irrelevant if you want them to be. That I am inadvertently chasing after her in this arena as well, I hope she doesn't find stalkery. Truly I did it independently. 
2 To placate my daughter, her long name is Luna Faline Puppo. I admit that if I were a Good Mommy, I would have let Little Miss name her completely. But Little Miss tends to fall in and out of love with goofy names. I really wanted a Forever Name to be more appropriate to the animal.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

This Week in Motion

Although I have been moving regularly, I haven't been as consistent in my writing. The week seemed to be eaten up by work issues and trying to get Unnamed Puppy socialized and integrated within our family rhythms. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to get my distance run in this weekend with Reserves, thunderstorms, and what wants to be the beginning of a cold. I may just have to put it off until my morning off on Tuesday; that will put me behind the training schedule at large, but life happens.

Just to clarify, I'm not running to lose weight. I'm running to be strong, to challenge myself, and because it's fun (it is, oddly enough). That being said, I've lost another pound--it's coming off as slow as I run, but I'm steady on both counts. It did cause me to have a bit of a clothing issue; when I started to run, my skort started to fall off.

So there's that.

I've also been nosing around Pinterest, and discovered some virtual races (races that you just run where you are and send in your stats). Many are free. I've decided to do the Cupcake Classic as a dress rehearsal for the Great Pumpkin (I should have my costume by then). There is bling if I want to order it, but that feels weird to do for myself. I do have an idea for my faithful readers (all 5 of you), so watch this space.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Today's Walk (or The Sleepless Shuffle or Stepping Out on Route 66)

Didn't sleep well last night. I always have a difficult time winding down after my evening shift. Plus Unnamed Puppy was restless in a way that made me wonder what she was getting into. When I finally got to sleep, I was awakened in the middle of the night by potty runs--both a talkative Little Miss and Unnamed Puppy. (I had a vague memory of this part of babyhood.) Anyhow, I'm glad today was a rest day--just a simple walk with Miss Bella. I reminded myself that just a few months ago what I consider a rest day used to be a workout day. I've come a long way.

I've also lost another pound. For a brief blink, I may actually weigh less than Mister.

I'm participating in a program called "Get Fit on Route 66" through work. It's basically wearing a pedometer and trying to make 213,000 steps (Route 66 being 2133 miles) in 10 weeks. I'm already over 5000 steps before my day has truly begun. I don't see this as being a huge change or motivator for me other than an esprit de corps thing for work. I probably would love it more if there were an electronic component--interactive map, badges, widgets. I turn stupid for shiny bits of code.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Today's Run (or Pretty Vanilla)

Bella* and I went out this morning for a pretty vanilla run with the exception of deliciously cool weather that I know won't stay. I'm still unable to add in warm up and cool down time to my training program. Checking the Runkeeper forums, I see other people are having the same issue. I'll have to work around it for a while. Not ideal, but not a deal breaker.

I did discover that I didn't quite look too closely at the program--today was a 2 min steady (run), 1 min slow (walk) set of intervals. In another week, it will expand to 2.5 min of running, 1 min walking. I was surprised during the run, but it doesn't scare me. There's still a ton of time before the first 5K. If I think too hard, I'm worried that I am going to make a fool of myself; then I remind myself about the costume--I'm already there. I can't really lose in the long run.

* Unnamed Puppy, should we keep her, will have have her health improve and learn some leash etiquette before I take her on a run. I will probably start working with her on walk days. The fact that Mister and I are having the conversation regarding working the dog logistics into our outings is a good sign.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Today's Run (or I've Done It This Time)

Today was to be a distance run--2 miles + warm up/cool down. Except that the update to Runkeeper doesn't have an intuitive way to add in the warm up. I'm going to have to investigate here.

The run was going pretty well, but halfway through, I ran into a guy with two dogs--a basset hound and a white dog. He had been going along when the white dog had joined him. The dog seemed to enjoy our company more, so she hooked up with us. I kept expecting her to break off and head toward home. The farther we got the more she kept up with us, orbiting my heels. I ran into the guy with the basset again and told him I would take her on home and figure out what to do from there--at least get her safe.

I got to the door, and asked Mister for the key to the back yard gate. He ... wasn't too happy. Little Miss asked me what her name was. I let slip the name that I had been rolling around in my head. Mister was even less happy; a name is nothing but trouble, after all. We went on to church.

That afternoon, I made posters and plastered them around the neighborhood. I met a really nice family along the way who live in a nearby apartment complex who took one for their bulletin board. While I got in an extra mile and a half, I was trying to disassociate myself from her, try not to get attached.

Too late. Too late.

She's very, very sweet--affectionate, responsive to body language. She and Bella get along well (of course, Bella gets along well with all creation), and she has made friends with the neighbor dogs as well. She and  Miss played together well. She has been negotiating with our kitty, Diana; so far, Diana is coming out on top.

She is very thin; I can feel her ribs predominately. After some coaxing, she has been eating and drinking; in fact, she hasn't stopped at every chance she gets. I figure she's a puppy by the size of her ears and gangly legs. By all appearances, unspayed and most likely not chipped. We will get her checked out tomorrow. We'll also see what CAP says about what to do with her. Mister bathed her, but she wasn't all that dirty to begin with. We borrowed a crate from a good friend to give her a secure, safe place for the night.

Mister is beginning to cave. He says we'll give it a week--see if all goes well, see if anyone contacts us.

At this writing, she's sleeping at my feet. I'm trying to keep her name in my back pocket so my heart doesn't break too much if it doesn't work out.

Too late.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Brief Interlude for Cute

Since today was an everyday sort of walk (although there were a couple of lovely Springer spaniels and a house that was TP'ed), I give you my companion, Belladonna, from a couple nights ago.

She knows "walk" better than "run," but "Go for a ..." usually means something good. 

I'm beginning to know exactly how she feels.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Today's Run (or Discovering My Toes or TMI)

The thing I love about doing this training program on Runkeeper is that I can go into each run and check my time on the intervals. I wasn't quite as fast as Tuesday, but I was far more steady. I feel really good about that. I also feel really good that I did it after two non-running days (one day was Pilates,1 one day was rest).

I am so full of TMI excitement in terms of body awareness right now.2 In some ways, it's like a baby discovering she has toes--it's always been there, everyone has them, but what a wonder to herself. 

The last time I really felt this way when I was trying to get pregnant with my daughter. What should have been easy was difficult, and I felt defective. After a lot of observation of many different factors, I realized that, no, my body didn't follow textbook guidelines in terms of timing. But my body has definite rhythms that can be predictable to a certain degree. My body is not defective; my body is simply ... mine. Once I figured out those rhythms, I marveled at what a wonder my body is--how unique, how amazing. 

Knowing my body's rhythms means that I can work with them instead of against them. When I physically get achy or more sensitive, I know it's not a permanent thing and adjust my movement (but keep moving). When my mood darkens, I know it's a temporary cloud and try to harness the creativity that can come from being more emo. Sometimes I get frustrated with myself because I don't run the way others do. Sometimes I get frustrated by advice that would be good for another person, but not me. It may be textbook, but it may not be me. It doesn't mean I'm wrong or bad or a loser. It just means I'm moving the way I'm meant to be.

What I really am discovering is that running is another way to know myself, and what I'm discovering is pretty cool.

1 Yesterday I felt the gentlest ache to know that I had done some work. It was a "Hello, Sweetie!" rather than "EXTERMINATE!" And 10 points to Hufflepuff if you get that subreference.
2 Seriously, I nearly broke into my Running Mama's office at work to overshare. Instead, I sent my husband a text because it's his job to put up with me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Embracing the Athena Label

My Running Mama1 told me about Athena Class runners, or women runners who weigh more 150lbs.2 This evoked some mixed feelings.

I've been a fat girl long enough to understand euphemism and marketing. "Rubenesque" means "fat." "Junoesque" means "fat." "Goddess sizing" means "fat." Gilding the plus size lily doesn't make me feel better about myself; it only raises my level of distrust.

I may change my mind about this one, though.

I admit that I have always had a soft spot for this particular goddess, aside from the fact that my native state bears her on its seal.3 She's got a definite nerdy vibe. Known mainly as the goddess of wisdom, she seemed to favor the clever hero (Odysseus) rather than the obvious jock (Achilles). She favors strategy and courage rather than brute strength. That she also involves herself in fiber craft and costuming makes me love her as well, but one can only carry a metaphor so far.

It's curious why this should be the chosen symbol for heavier woman runner.4 Is it the brains over conventional beauty thing (although she is a beautiful goddess)? Is it the woman warrior image? Either way, I've decided to squelch my skeptic this time and embrace it. It fits with the whole Wonder Woman thing nicely anyhow.


I begin to sing of Pallas Athena, the glorious Goddess, bright-eyed, inventive, unbending of heart ...5
...if you could improve my Personal Record, that would be pretty cool.

1A coworker who I can only really blame for getting me into this hot mess.
2The male counterpart is a Clydesdale. This used to be Filly Class, which is such the confidence builder.
3Before all of you Classicists jump down my throat to correct me on various points, please just run with the general feel of this post. Also, it is a cool thing that I have friends who are Classicists.
4Seriously, if anyone could send me a history of the origin of the term, I'd love to read it.
5Homeric Hymn XXVIII (at least the first part).

Today's Run (or Feeling Good)

Despite a night of poor sleep, it seems my hormonal fluctuation abated. Joints were good, other parts less achy, determined attitude. Started Week 3 of my training program strong--steady runs, great time.

What I like about this program is that this is as hard as it's going to get. From here on out, each week will consist of two days of  20 minutes alternating running and walking (or "steady" and "slow," according to the prompts) plus warm up/cool down, and then one day each weekend for building distance (1 mi, 1.5 mi, 2 mi, 2.5 mi ...). With the conventional program, I dreaded the longer intervals ("Ugh, I gotta run five minutes straight"). In a way, this program builds in the "cheats." I'm not going to make every single run interval right now. But I noticed I ran more than I did last time, covering more ground more quickly. I suspect as I continue to do this over the next four weeks I will "cheat" less and have to adjust my route to account for more distance within the time allotted. I also love that the scheduling fits within my lifestyle--I can really only budget 35 minutes on a work day; Sunday mornings are good for longer runs before church.

I'm hoping I can do the first 5K in about 35-40 minutes. That should put me in the middle of pack.* A doable goal.

*Hooray for mediocrity!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Today's Walk (or Moving to My Own Beat)

Kept it easy today, as parts of me are still sensitive and it's Hot as Monkey.TM But I wanted to get out today because there will be some schedule hiccups later on this week.

Normally when I go out, I listen to the local NPR station; the reminders of time keep me on track for the rest of the day. But since today is a holiday, I popped on the Tarkan Station on Pandora; this usually gives me a nice blend of drum solo dance instrumentals. I have dabbled in belly dancing now and again. While I was too out of breath to ululate, there may have been a hip bump. And a snake arm. And a camel. Of course, not while anyone was looking. I think.

The couple folks I did run into gave me odd smiles. It took me a minute to realize that I was still wearing a flower that my daughter insist I put in my hair. I was so busy looking for my earbuds, I had forgotten to take it out before I left the house.

No shame, no gain, right?

Sunday, September 2, 2012


More than one person has told me directly or indirectly that my consistent walking and attempts at running have inspired/motivated him/her.

I am honored you think so, but I sincerely don't get it.

I watch as others that I have "inspired" lap me--faster time, farther in the C25K program. And there are others of my friends who have been doing the C25K independently of me who do so much better than I do (aka my inspirations). Ultimately I feel like a tortoise among so many hares.1

Trouble with being a perfectionist is that I'm consistently surprised when others don't view me the way I view myself.2 Yes, my thinking is constantly questioned by loved ones, and this is exhausting to them. Yes, I constantly challenge my own thinking, which is exhausting to me. But on occasion, the message gets through.

A friend sent this blog post to me, and it made me cry.3 Was that what you meant?

Yeah. All right.

For every comment you make: Thank you. For every "Like" for my Runkeeper status or my blog posts: Thank you. For every encouraging word you give me in person: Thank you.

Really. Thank you.

I will make every effort to return the favor. Because, honestly, you inspire me too.

1Motto: Slow and steady wins the race. Unless it's a real race.
2Even more painful is watching my child following the same path and knowing there isn't much I can do to help.
3By "cry," I mean ugly, open mouth sobbing crying. I may have mentioned I'm a little hormonal right now.

Today's Run (or TMI)

Training day--1.5mi run/walk. I didn't feel great about it, but the numbers are adequate. I'll believe those.

Heavy PMS* this weekend--painful water retention, loose joints, fatigue, dark mood. I'm worried I'm going to get hit with all this on race day. But if that's so, I'll run what I can run and walk the rest. In other words, a race is just a plain old run. With many more people. And dressed as Wonder Woman.

In the meantime, today may have to include chocolate. But that's okay since I got the run in.

* Which is not "all in my head," by the way.