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!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Race Report: Great Pumpkin 5K Run OR N00b No Longer

Long pants were removed
before the actual race.
I was surprised how well I slept last night--only awakened about midnight when Miss and Luna-pup joined us in the bed.

As I was getting into costume, I was wondering whether to hang my bib from my shirt or my skort. Mister suggested the area that needed the most camouflaging (without being specific, dear boy). I decided the shirt, and shrugged, "Oh well, I am Chunky Wonder Woman after all."

"Oh, Momma," Miss cooed, "you're not chunky."

"Thank you, sweetheart!"

"Yeah, you're just a little fat."

Thanks, kid.


Arrived about 40 minutes before start time. Walked around the perimeter to warm up. Had to layer a pair of  long pants because it was SO DAMN COLD* My hairdresser, Lisa, popped in and out for some quick "official" pre-race pics.** Then the line up began.

It's about this time my brain reminded me how unfond I am of crowds. I told my brain to shut up. Lots of officials from our sponsors talk. My brain reminded me how much I hate speeches and would like to get on with this thing. I told my brain to be polite.

And then the starting gun went off.

I had positioned myself toward the middle, and it took a while to pass the starting line. I had already started Runkeeper, but I know the chip would register the actual crossing.

Away I went. My usual good beginning pace fueled by the people around me. Had to bob and weave a little to keep moving forward. Then the gas began to leave. I tried to keep up the run-walk pattern before settling into mostly walk. I ended up trying to keep pace with some Teletubbies.

The course was two lanes on one road. About a quarter of the way through, I saw people coming the other way. At first it was exciting to see the first finishers; but as I began to see some of the people who were around me at the start, my brain started squawking at me again: You're going to come in last. Shut up, brain, I replied.

The turn-around seemed forever away. To add to it, there was an unexpected dip and rise. But halfway done.

Heading back, I saw the participants from the walk. Of course, my brain used this as evidence that I was in last. I kept telling my brain to shut up, but my protestations were getting weaker and weaker.

Then I saw a little girl dressed as Supergirl. "Look, Mom! There's Wonder Woman!" I smiled and waved and picked up my pace. I saw another walker dressed as Wonder Woman. I smiled and waved and picked up my pace. I saw photographers. I smiled and waved and picked up my pace.

And then I thought, so what if I come in last? I've done something I've never done before. Plus this isn't my last race. This is the base line. Look at the skyline. Look at the clouds. Relax and enjoy the run.

My brain pointed out that the cones dividing the road into two lanes had been removed. I was just that slow. I told my brain to shut up and tried to keep pace with the pirate lass and the whoopie cushion.

One last hill before the finish line. I ended up walking it. Then I saw my family ... and the finish line. One last chance to pick up the pace.

So, yes, I began and finished an official 5K race.

I barely remembered to turn off my Runkeeper--time: 0:43:10. PR in elevations.

N00b no more.


I'll post "official" pictures, my chip time, and your race signs at a later date. Thank you, everyone, for your continued support in this project.

* For us, 50 degrees is cold.
** She arrived just as Mister was hitting a porta-potty and left before he came back. I'm pretty sure if it weren't for my occasionally shorter hair and credit card bill, he would think that I made her up.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Race Week: Packet Pick Up

Fall decided to arrive today. As I was standing in a very long line for early voting, huddling against the wind, I began to worry about the weather tomorrow. I'm going to try to do the race in the tank top, but I will definitely layer before and after. Hopefully the cold(er) will get me moving faster.

After "carbo-loading" at a nearby Olive Garden,* we drove to pick up my race packet. Got my t-shirt and a few goodies (what's with the coupons for rice and donuts?). Most importantly, I got my number** and race instructions.

Not much left to do before tomorrow. My costume is washed and ready to go. I have parking cash and sort of know where to go. All that's really left to do is to relax and get some rest.

*hysterical laughter* I know, right?

Don't forget to send me your race sign pictures!

*Yes, I am aware of how many things are wrong with that phrase.
** Do not taunt Happy Fun Disposable Race Chip.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Race Week: Today's Run OR Dress Rehearsal

I woke up naturally around 5AM to the sound of the dogs moving around. I was so excited to try the costume out on my last run before the race that I got going pretty quickly.

The tank fits a lot like a bathing suit--close, but not too tight. I'm a little bulgy in the center. My sports bra does show, but there's nothing to be done for that (and really it's no big deal). There is a detachable cape that I'm not using for now.

The skort is wonderful! The attached shorts do ride up a little, as will happen, but the length is perfect for modesty while still allowing movement. There are pockets on both sides, which is a huge selling point; I do wish they were a little deeper, as my phone barely fits, but it's not a deal-breaker.

I didn't wear the tiara or braces. I probably should have, but it felt too weird for a neighborhood run. Not that anyone really noticed, although I did run into the elderly couple that walk about the same time as I was out. I am a big believer in the power of hiding in plain sight.

As for the run itself, I'm a little disappointed in my time. Even at only 75 degrees, humidity was 87%! It's like the weather was saying goodbye to my training phase as well.* The temperature is supposed to take a huge dip this weekend. Hopefully colder weather plus adrenaline will push me.

Have you finished your race sign yet?

* Totally not necessary, but thanks for thinking of me, Weather!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Race Week: Great Hera! It's Here!

It's here! It's really here! If I was excited about this project before, I am twice as excited--and scared--now. This isn't just an idea. This isn't just a whim. This is the Real Deal. This is happening!*

The costume fits well and is comfortable at first blush. I won't lie--I am definitely Chunky Wonder Woman. There's not enough compression fabric in the world to make me less muffin-y. But back to the SFT** rules one and two: ditch self-consciousness and embrace Lycra. Oh, and another one of her rules: above all, have fun!

I will give it a test run tomorrow. I wonder what the neighbors will think. Good thing I tend to run while it's still dark.

In the meantime, I had a lovely walk this morning with Luna-pup, but that really deserves its own post. Probably next week, after my first race kerfluffle is over.

Remember to do your part in this silly adventure by sending me your signs!

* I think I just threw up a little.
** Slow Fat Triathlete for those of you playing at home.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Race Week: Today's Run OR Just for the Zen of It

To answer my own question of headphones-or-no, today I turned off the music, turned off the talking heads, even turned off the training, and just went for a run.

It was not bad at all; not great time, but  could be worse after two days of forced rest (not to mention intestinal issues). I kept up a decent pace (although I'm still frustrated with how I wane a bit at mile 2; something to work on next month). The sky was lovely. Lots of bird song. Passed a pair of high school sweethearts practically surrounded with heart bubbles.

There was something to be said about not fiddling with apps and just concentrating on breath and movement. I think I'm definitely going to work a run like this into the rotation.

It's weird, but I've been in the process of saying good-bye to the Old Me. Not that I'm the peak of perfection. Not that I even really regret not starting sooner. Not that I'm really sad. I just know something has changed--I am a runner now. I run races now. No going back.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wondering Woman

artwork by Hanie Mohd
My costume is on its way. I have the tracking number and everything.

I had no idea how much the symbolism of Wonder Woman has come to mean to me lately. I had a magnet here and a necklace there. But lately I've been wanting to surround myself with the iconography all the time.* She has become a talisman of sorts--that I can be both geeky and athletic.** That participation is more important that perfection. That finishing is more important than winning.

I am a Type-A personality, so these lessons are hard won. It's often what has kept me from participating in physical activity at all. However, now that I've shifted my focus from getting skinny to getting strong, I've found it easier to be consistent.

artwork by Lucy Knisley
The costume started out as a security blanket. If I was going to make a fool of myself--which I won't--at least I've had the first laugh by dressing silly. But throughout this process, I've realized that I have every right to train, to participate in races, and to see myself as a runner; likewise, I have every right to cosplay and to see myself as a superhero. I don't have to be young and skinny; I just have to be bold. I have the right to be Wonder Woman.

The first two rules the Slow Fat Triathlete** gives is to toss away self-consciousness and embrace Lycra. You do it your way, I'll do it mine.

* My Etsy Favorites and Pinterest boards are a mess with her.
** I still struggle to call myself that.
*** I talk about her a lot, don't I?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Race Week: Today's Not Run OR Anxiety Rising

Today should have been my distance run, but my body had other ideas. My digestive system has been wreaking havoc since about 2AM last night. The 'rents were in town this weekend, so I managed to hold things together for the most part for much of the day. But I'm feeling myself waning rapidly. I'm hoping getting some rest will be enough to get me back on track in time for Saturday.

Bonus: I lost another pound. Running to the bathroom will do that.

I'm also having some costume anxiety. According to the seamstress, it is being mailed out tomorrow morning. If there are no more bumps, that means I should have it in time for a practice run. I do have a back-up plan if it doesn't arrive in time, but this blog is called Chunky Wonder Woman, not Chunky Reminiscent of Wonder Woman.

I know finishing is what matters, and that's what going to happen in the end. Still, work with me, Universe!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Race Week: The Deets and a Way for YOU (Yes, You) to Participate

One week from today, I run my first in-person 5K race. Am I nervous? Does my Lab have nasty farts?*

Some folks have started to ask me about details, so I'm leaving the link right here. If you are in town, if you feel like getting up early on a Saturday, schlepping yourself downtown, and paying for parking, you are, of course, welcome. Keep in mind that even though my race starts at 8AM, if you want to wait at the finish line with Mister and Miss, I will take 35-40 minutes to complete the run. If you want to cheer along the route on Allen Parkway, you'll have to get up a little earlier, but at least there's a chance to find free parking.

If, however, you don't want to attend (or are unable to), but you do want to cheer me on, I have an opportunity for you! Take a picture or make a video of yourself holding a sign like one of these, and e-mail them to me darcy (dot) casavant (at) gmail (dot) com.** I'll post submissions this week, and there just might be a little sumpin-sumpin for your effort.

In the meantime, everybody go out and do something you love! The weather is gorgeous!

* Yes.
** I'm going to assume you are intelligent enough to translate that into a viable e-mail address. You can also ping me on FB. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Today's Run OR Ceilings, Silence, and Stress

Good run. Covered more ground in the allotted time than I think I ever have before. Breathing was steady throughout. Slowed down on my intervals toward the middle, but it looks like I picked it up a little at the end. Part of me wished I had brought a water bottle, especially since I'm still having the dregs of a cold; the other part of me was glad not to have something extra in my hands.

Mid 70s. Windy. 53% humidity.

My local NPR app tends to go out on the last third of my route, and usually by then I don't feel like messing with it. I'm on the fence about the race next week when it comes to listening to something while I run. As far as I can tell, there are no restrictions regarding headphones. At the same time, it wouldn't flow with the aesthetic of the costume. If I'm going to do the race without music or anything, I'm going to have to practice--nothing new on race day is the rule. Running without music or talking heads could make the experience interminable. At the same time, it could open me up to fully experiencing what is going on around me. There's a part of me that really wants to be present during the race and drink it all in.

Speaking of race day, I'm starting to get nervous about my costume. When last I contacted the seamstress, she said she was mailing it out yesterday. I'm the kind of neurotic that likes to have things more settled. I want it in my hand. I want to be practicing in it. I will probably all be fine, but I may have to consider a back up plan just in case.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Today's Run OR Sometimes It Feels Like Flying

I don't know if the numbers reflected it, but today's run was glorious. All intervals were as solid as traffic and terrain allowed. I kept seeing myself hit my marks sooner than previous runs. I'm dreaming of being able to make the 5K my "normal" run, and  turn my weekly distance runs into something more.

I've lost another pound as well. I seem to be tearing down that particular wall brick by brick.

I guess you could say that I'm in the upper portion of my mood swings.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Today's Swim OR Figuring Out the Schedule

I hit the Y again this morning. By the time I get there, almost all of the lanes in the lap pool are occupied; so I've been joining the blue hairs to tread water and work the water weights for a half hour. It is as pleasantly mindless as walking, and I feel it in my shoulders, upper back, and arms when I'm done. It ain't sexy, but it looks like we have a winner.

Following the suggestions of the Slow Fat Triathlete, my "inconsistent" work out schedule as it stands:

Monday: Swim
Tuesday: Interval running
Wednesday: Rest*
Thursday: Interval running
Friday: Swim
Saturday: Walk if it's a work day; family activity (swim, walk to the park, play soccer, day hike, etc.) if not.
Sunday: Distance run

I'll have to figure out how to work in the distance run on Reserve weekends, but there's less than a year to go of dealing with that. I'm not really an evening runner, but I guess I could learn to be.

* I work Tuesday nights, and it takes me a long time to settle down for some reason. Therefore, getting up early on Wednesday is more painful than it ought to be.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Race Report: Cupcake Classic

My version of a race medal
Wait, what?

Yes, my first "real life" race is in 13 days. But today I participated in my first virtual race, the Cupcake Classic. The intention was to make it a dress rehearsal for the Great Pumpkin Run, but my costume isn't quite finished. I'm hoping I will get it in time to do a practice run.

At least Wonder
Woman was
But back to this race.

Man, but the humidity was killer. First mile was glorious. Ended up walking a bulk of the second mile. Third mile a combination of the two.

Finish time: 0:39:27--a new personal record.*

I felt weird about getting myself a medal, especially since I haven't run a "real life" race yet. After the 27th of October, I expect to feel differently, though. I did splurge on the race t-shirt because, well--cupcakes, that's why.

Addendum: I got my cupcake at church.
Level up!
* Mister and I are actually arguing about the time. When we examined Runkeeper, it looks like I went beyond the 5K distance in the recorded time. My race time may have actually been closer to 35 minutes, but I'm going to err on the side of caution.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Today's Run OR Slowed Down by Compassion

Amazing run today. So many factors could have made it bad--head cold, hormone fluctuations, 95% humidity--but they didn't. I kept up a great pace throughout the run.

I did slow down near the high school.* I heard a wailing. My first thought was to keep going; but if I took a risk on bringing home a dog, how much more does a human being deserve my time? (Although, how am I going to explain this one to Mister?) I didn't have my glasses on, but I saw what was the shape of a stroller. As I approached, I saw there was a young woman sitting next to the child, and she was the one crying. I asked her if she was okay, if she needed me to call anyone. She said no. Did she want me to stay? No. So I headed home.

So I essentially did nothing. I was no practical help to her. But I did SEE her. I stopped and asked. I don't say this to mean I did anything important or pat myself on the back. On the contrary, I'm wondering if I should have insisted that I do more.

I do want this interaction to color my behavior today. I want to see. I want to act.

If you're the praying kind, say a prayer for this young woman and her child, whatever their need is. If you're not (and even if you are), consider a action of compassion today. This is an area in which I know I must always train.

* Why do things always happen near the high school? Maybe I should change my route.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Shiny Races: Is it Real or Is It Virtual?

Medal for National Veterans Day Run
for both real and virtual 11K finishers.
In a perfect world, I'd like to run a race a month starting in October. And in the process of looking at races that fit my schedule and budget, I've noticed a trend toward "virtual races," or races that you run on your determined path, by yourself or with others, within a prescribed series of dates. The caveat is that you have to submit proof of your run (like the kind I get from Runkeeper) and sometimes a picture. Some times these are free; often there is a cost. If there is an entry fee, it's usually to benefit a specific charity, and you can get a medal/shirt just like a Real World Race.

I admit this sort of thing has a certain appeal to me. I'm obviously very comfortable in a virtual setting.* The external perks are the same for the most part. Plus it fits very well within my schedule. The down side is missing out on the whole race atmosphere; it almost feels like a cop-out not to go with other people--isn't that just a ... run?

Is the bling worth it? Maybe a little. I probably can get Miss involved in "awarding" me (although she will probably want to run off with the medal herself). I think I'm going to do a blend of both Real and Virtual races this year just to keep me moving.

I will definitely Run My Birthday.

* It's how I met my husband and completed the bulk of my graduate degree while working full time. Don't judge me.

Today's Run OR Developing Strategy

First off, I love how vanilla my runs have become. I just don't think too much about going anymore.

I've shortened up my run intervals. I'm less likely to skip them that way. I felt like I covered more ground more quickly.

I also tried running with wearing a headband instead of a ponytail. It's a silly thing, but I knew I needed to get used to the sensation for the costume. It was not unpleasant. Granted, I'm not that aerodynamic to begin with, but there was a wing quality to it. And I didn't overheat.

I also think that I should keep tapering to a minimum--getting back into it after a break day was icky. I have to make sure I at least walk the day before my 5K if I'm going to keep the time decent.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Today's Run OR The End of the Formal Training

I wouldn't blame anyone
for making a sign like this for me.

Today was the last day of the formal 5K training program. The weather took a sudden turn, as will happen in Texas--temps in the mid-50s with wind. I didn't bother with a jacket, so I was shaking at the beginning.  Didn't take long, though, for my core to warm up, followed soon after by my extremities. About halfway through, I really found my stride.

All said and done, I finished a 5K in 41:11--a completely respectable, middle of the pack time. In fact, I managed to shave off 6 minutes from when I first attempted this in August. From here on out, my personal training plan will be to continue to work on sustained running during the week, and at least a 5K distance during the weekend.

Unrelated, but a titch worrisome: I seem to have developed a head cold. Yay that I still made good time despite a stuffy head and medication, but I sure could use a nap this afternoon.

Nineteen days.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Raising a Wonder Girl

Even before I started on this fitness journey, I had a rule for  my daughter--I didn't care what she chose, but she had to participate in an organized physical fitness activity every school year. I can tell that she already lives in her head a lot. A LOT. I didn't want her to neglect her body "in favor of her brain" (a lie I frequently told myself throughout the years).

I also wanted her to become comfortable in her own skin before Princess Culture really messed with her. Already this feels like a losing battle. It kills me that her current favorite princess is Sleeping Beauty. I want her to realize that waiting for someone to save you is useless--in the end, you've got to wake yourself up.

Ultimately, I don't want my daughter to think of herself as a pejorative.

Anyhow, the past three years, Miss has participated in dance and tumbling. Last year, she seemed to lose the joy in movement.* Actually, it was a rough year all around; we struggled with epic meltdowns, often as a result of her own perfectionism. Whenever something became difficult, she fell apart. Because she's a smart cookie, she gets most intellectual things pretty easily. But the physical and social aspects can be tough. All the more reason for my rule.

This year, we talked a little bit about dance, but I was worried about the baggage. Thankfully, soccer caught her fancy. ("Momma, one of the coaches is a girl!") We also got a flier from her school about a karate program. Since she's a huge fan of Kung Fu Panda,**  we presented  this as another activity for her.

Last night she had her first lesson. She came home excitedly chattering away and showing me her Stranger Danger defense moves. I'm hoping this will not only give her strength and confidence, I'm also hoping it will give her more techniques to still herself emotionally.

When we were cuddling in her bed, I said, "I'm proud of you for trying karate."

"Momma, I'm proud of myself."

* I think it was more the time of day rather than actual ability in retrospect.
**  Viper is her favorite of the Furious Five.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Today's Run OR Doggerel

The weather was perfect--slightly cool and still sunny;
The kind of the weather that makes me feel runny:
Runny nose
Runny legs
Runny feet
Runny head
It was time for me to get out of my bed.

The dog was with me, my legs stretching long;
I was hitting my marks, I was feeling quite strong.
Runny nose
Runny legs
Runny feet
Runny head
I was very glad I got out of my bed.

About halfway through in the shade of the trees,
I struggled for breath and I started to wheeze.
Runny nose
Runny legs
Runny feet
Runny head
I wondered if I should have stayed in my bed.

Then, near the end, as if meeting a dare,
I looked all around--there were cars everywhere!
Runny nose
Runny legs
Runny feet
Runny head
I was afraid I might land in a hospital bed.

But still I moved on, and I made some good time;
Just an every day run in a really bad rhyme.
Runny nose
Runny legs
Runny feet
Runny head
I'm glad I got out and instead of staying in bed.