Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Today's Run OR Mixing It Up

Just for kicks, I went to check out a trail at a nearby park that I heard about. Cute park, safe. But a circular track that I would guess that was maybe a half mile in circumference; meaning I did many laps. Have to admit that I'm not a fan--I like the feeling of destination. This felt too much like rat in a cage. It was a nice change-up, but I'll stick to my usual route.

The running itself was not spectacular. After the two virtuals, I'm feeling low on mojo. Not good, since I've got two races coming up in a couple weeks (one virtual, one in-person). No expected PRs, but I'd like to stay under 45 minutes for each. I may take Bella out with me for runs the next week or so simply to work on technique.

I also think I need to put the hammer down on my eating. I always say it's not about the weight, but I know I will perform better if I'm carrying less bulk. Healthier choices, portion control, and watch the comfort eating.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

It's Not About the Weight. Until It Is.

Today I'm out and about with my daughter when she sees a picture of a model wearing a mint green coat. She comments that the coat is pretty, and I agree. She mentions that she thinks the coat is meant to fit skinnier women than me. I say, "Perhaps."

After a moment, she tells me, "Momma, I hope I'm skinny when I grow up. Not 'well-tended' like you."


We proceed to discuss the difference between merely skinny and healthy, making good choices about exercise and food. Trying to set aside my wounded pride, I worry that she's buying into Girl Culture already. The thing is, when I was young, I was on the taller side and developed quickly. I wore my first bra in the fourth grade. Even while I was dancing, I still wore a size 12 pants. I'm curvy and always have been. Chances are that my girl will not be model-thin either. My mom tried to warn me that everything would be okay, that she felt this way at one time, but I still felt fat, horsey. I have the feeling history will repeat itself, and that makes me sad.

And I have to admit my own part in Girl Culture. I felt myself smoldering in anger at her comment even though I don't think she meant it to be mean. But I could feel that urge to indulge in passive aggressive behaviors. For good or ill, I came clean with her. I told her that her comment really hurt my feelings; I said it made me think I wasn't pretty to her. She said she did think I was pretty. I told her that I loved her no matter what, and I that I forgive her for her comment. I'm afraid this didn't lessen the looks versus character struggle. But I felt the honesty was more important to our relationship.

When I relayed the story to Mister, he said, "Can we at least give her credit for using 'well-tended' instead of  'fat' or 'chubby'?"

Little victories, I guess. At least it keeps me humble.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Today's Run OR Educating Luna

artist unknown
Set the alarm early for today, as I want to make three miles the habitual run from now on. The majority of the night was spent in twilight sleep--that dozy you-don't-think-you've-actually-slept-but-time-passes-and-weird-dreams-occur kind of sleep. I do know that I had dreams about attending a poetry writing seminar, being told my poetry sucked, and writing more poetry (mostly about running). I remember thinking what I was writing was good in the dream, but when I tried to recreate it when fully conscious--um, no.

I digress.

The dogs, too, were pretty restless throughout the night (lots of toenail tapping on hardwood floors). However, I had decided before I fell asleep that I would: A) go for an actual run; and B) take just Luna with me to see how she does.

We have a long way to go yet. There was weaving (dog). There was swearing (me). And poor Luna was spooked by a bus that rushed past us. All that, plus GPS issues (damn you, clouds!), made the run less than satisfying. On the other hand, I am the good kind sore, and I can better face the enforced rest my schedule is demanding this weekend.

Luna was also much more subdued during breakfast and morning activities. I have confidence that time and consistency will make her a better running partner and a better dog overall. I wonder, though, if I'm going to have to get a walk in tonight to make sure everybody sleeps.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

About the Dogs

Yes, we do allow it. I know.
My running schedule has shifted this month. It's not really the cold (which is nonexistent right now); it's about the dogs.

If I run when it's dark, I really like to have at least one dog with me. Our neighborhood is safe, but there are some places on my route that make my radar squeak. Even if I'm with a cream-puff of a canine, I figure the big dog-ness at least puts others at a distance.

Bella (my black Lab) has been my running partner from the start. She's easy going, and I can give her a lot of lead on the retractable leash to sniff around while I work on form. Luna (my white Shepherd) has potential; she is responding well to leash training, but she is more headstrong and needs to be kept in check more. So, if I want to concentrate on my running, I tend to favor taking Bella; however, the wailing Luna makes at being left behind is heart-breaking (and not ideal for my family at 5AM). If I run with Luna, I have a more difficult time concentrating on my form; of the two dogs, however, she's the one who needs the out-going more.

My temporary solution has been to run by myself during daylight as my schedule allows and walk both dogs at night during my "off" days. Good enough for now; but as it gets hotter (and it will!), early mornings are going to be the best time to get the running in.

Last night, I did some small runs with both dogs during our outing. I noticed afterward that I was so busy trying not to trip over Luna, that I had not only run a much longer stretch than I usually do, but I also managed to regulate my breathing. The back of my thighs are really feeling it this morning, however.

So I guess the solution is to keep working with Luna, and chances are she will be better able to accommodate me come May when temperatures start to soar. Plus she'll be more visible. (My dad had a belt rigged for running with two dogs; I may ask for his help with this as well.)

As a side note, we lost our cat, Diana, this week. She was old and had been sick the past week or so, but the turn was sudden and unexpected. She died peacefully in my arms, and Mister buried her with her sister, Diva, in the backyard next to our statue of St. Francis. This is the first time since I was nine that I haven't had a cat around, and the space is unfamiliar. I am sad, but I am in no rush to replace her. The two dogs (especially at their size and level of need) is enough for now.

Still, I have found I need to walk out my grief more in the past couple of days, and I am grateful for dogs and moonlight and silence.

Monday, January 21, 2013

(Virtual) Race Report: Princess in Training 5K

License to kill twice?
Charity: FUNd Run 4 Bling splits proceeds between the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lazarex Cancer Society and Team Diabetes

Finish Time: 0:43:01

If January race #2 was going to happen, it really had to happen today, as next week is a Reserve weekend. There was a part of me that was hoping for a repeat of Saturday's time, but at mile one, I knew that it wasn't going to happen.

IMAG0641-1I could pull out my excuses--didn't sleep well at all last night, imbibed too much with friends without sufficient hydration, achy muscles, hotter than I anticipated ... blah-dy blah blah. Truth of the matter is that I really wasn't into it today. I knew I had to get it done. I knew this was the time to do it. So I went.

Yet, my time is still respectable for me--pretty average, all told. Lovely weather. The miles got done. The medal was earned. (Miss was less ceremonial this time, just handing it to me with a flat, "Here.") And the post-race kale butternut squash soup lunch tasted amazing.

I have some worries about next month's races, but I'm going to set them aside for now. One-sixth of my 12 race year goal is done.

I wonder how long before Miss notices the crown charm that came with the race packet? I better go enjoy that too.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

(Virtual) Race Report: I Tink I Can 5K

Licensed to kill ... miles
Charity: FUNd Run 4 Bling splits proceeds between the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lazarex Cancer Society and Team Diabetes

Finish Time: 0:39:57

Wow. This was not quite a PR, but damn close. Seriously, I was seconds away from it.

Lately I've been working on getting my head out of the intervals, as I seem to be getting too used to them. Instead, I've been visualizing my usual route as I fall asleep, running each segment in my head. At the risk of sounding all weird and metaphysic-y, I think it's been working. Or at least it's been breaking my walk-here-run-here-don't-deviate mental blocks.

As usual, started out gangbusters; actually was doing an eleven minute mile for a majority of the first mile--which was pretty solidly run. That second mile, though, is still my wall. (Should I keep pushing it or just accept that's what my body does?) For the most part, however, my breathing was pretty regular.

In other words, good run.

My family--my awesome, awesome, supportive, and amazing family--was waiting at the end of the block to greet me at the "finish line." Little Miss gave me my medal, as is only proper.

Along with my medal, I also got a temporary tattoo and a Tinkerbell charm in my race packet. I'm not quite sure what to do with the charm yet. Tink is wearing a red dress, which kind of goes with my general WW theme. I have started a running charm bracelet, but that's a Pandora style.
au natural

I decided that I would wear it as a necklace at least for today. That should work until Little Miss sees it and asks to wear it. Because that's how things work around these parts.

My medal and my time are mine.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Highs and Lows

If I were a hard-ass, the weather wouldn't matter. But I am so not a hard ass.

There was an electrical hiccup at work that sent me home early. It was in the 70s and humid, but I knew the weather was going to take a sudden turn (this being Texas and all). Of course, I go for a run ... Of course?! Go exercise instead of napping or reading or lazing around? What is happening to me?


Sunday was 40s and drizzly. Icky. But seeing the marathon runners on my way to church, I longed to be out earning a medal. Laid out cute clothes for Monday morning. Intention set.

Cut to Monday lunchtime knitting group: I had to confess I didn't go--cold, drizzly, tired. I used the excuse that it would fit my schedule better if I ran today, but in essence, I suck. Thankfully, two other runners in the group confessed to the same thing. (I did take the dogs out later for a long, ambling walk to clear my head of a difficult day.)

This morning ... 30s and drizzly. Ugh. I was psyching myself up to go when Mister offered to go with me--not a run, though, just a walk. And you know, I feel like I've been disconnected lately. The time together to talk was restorative (even if my toes were a little frozen).

I've said it before: I don't exercise to lose weight. I'm exercising to find myself.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Race Envy and Expo Adventures

I'm not going to pretend I don't have race envy right now.

Not only is there the Disney marathon this weekend,* but the Chevron Houston Marathon is in town just to rub the salt in the wound. This race is evidently a Big Deal--something that I didn't even pay attention to a mere year ago. The Expo, however, is free and open to the public; I popped by after a day of training for work (when I really needed a stretch anyhow).

I have to admit I was a bit overwhelmed. Some things of which I wasn't a fan:

  • For the most part, most of the vendors seemed to be selling a lot of the same type of thing (honestly, I don't know what a "good deal" would have been). 
  • I tend to be shy around really aggressive salespeople. 
  • I had to dig for bigger sizes.
  • Got blocked by people who wouldn't move at a couple booths.
I did, however, pick up a tank in pink that I had been lusting after for some time. I also registered for the Rhythm and Blues 5K in February (aka my race within a race) and got some free sandals for my trouble. The only freebie of note were some gloves.** I lingered over some reflective clothing, but didn't want to spend too much money.

Next year in Jerusalem ... so to speak.
It was interesting to see myself as part of a larger community, though. And, yes, it did feed those marathon dreams.

Earlier today, I was discussing running with several of my classmates. I received the inevitable encouragement: "Of course you can run [race of increased mileage]; it's only [# of miles more]." And really that's why my brain can't have nice things--it's always getting cluttered up with wacky ideas like that.

What's 23 more miles, eh?

* Someday.
** My body may be XL, but my hands are small, bitch. Let me choose my size.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Poll: Which February Virtual Race Should I Run?

I'm torn between two virtual races in February, so I thought I'd tap the Hive Mind.

Choice 1: For the Love of the Kids 2nd Annual Valentine's Day Race
Charity: Hole in the Wall Gang
Cost: $27 (limited slots, so I'll have to decide soon)
Dates: Feb. 14-16 (would have to fit it in with work)
Perks: Performance shirt (shown left); really good medal

Update: Can you believe they sold out already? So, it's a total moot point. Don't I feel a right nitwit ...

Choice 2: 3W Heart Throb Virtual 5K
Charity: Athletes Serving Athletes
Cost: $21
Dates: Feb. 9 (same weekend as Rhythm & Blues, so it would mean running two days in a row, which I usually don't do)
Perks: Much cuter shirt (shown left); cotton-blend, but girl-fit available. No medal, but random drawing prizes (some of them pretty good)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Plans and Schemes for 2013

My feet ache already.
As I've been filling in my calendar with work and Reserve weekends, I've been doing my race planning as well. I'm so je ne sais quoi that I've actually started a spreadsheet of races for which I am signed up and races I would like to run.

The next few months are shaping up thusly:

January: Two virtuals for which I am already registered. I thought about an in-person as well, but the Reality Fairy hit me in the head.

February: One of two possible virtuals, depending on who has the better shirt/bling/deal.

Just to show the Reality Fairy what's what, I am seriously thinking about Rhythm & Blues 5K; if I go by myself, I could actually drive there, run the race, get the bling, drive home, clean up, and be in the pew for church on time. I presented the idea to Mister last night at dinner, and I think he liked the idea of the race-within-a-race idea almost as much as I did. He challenged me to PR to make it really worthwhile. (Is it tacky to wear one's medal up for communion? I guess that's the sin of pride ... I'm totally wearing it at lunch, though.)

March: Not only signed up for Color Me Rad, but I've found myself as a team captain for three other runners. (Registration is still open, and you are welcome to join Team Chunky Wonder Woman of course.) I am going to have to do some shifting around of my work schedule (long story).

Turns out that the Navy marathon, which also has a Wounded Warrior 5K, is occurring during Mister's Reserve weekend. He's going to look into the possibility of getting permission to drill down at NAS Corpus Christi (and maybe get fitness credit). This base is near and dear to us, and it would be a nice way to round off his Navy career (or rather, my living with his Navy career).

April: I'm seeing if I can get permission to attend this year's Texas Library Association in Fort Worth. Not only is my book boyfriend one of the keynote speakers, not only will I be able to arrange dinner with one of my dearest friends who lives in the area (you heard me, Natalie!), but I would also sign up to run the 5K and run with some of my favorite librarian friends. I am obligated to run at least one race while wearing my Tough Chik singlet; if anyone is tough, it's librarians--we manage budget cuts, difficult clientele, and changing technologies all while wearing a smile.

I will pause my planning, as I see the Reality Fairy swinging her wand ominously. If I'm front-loading, it's because I dread running in the summer.

Then again, that's when I began this crazy dream ...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Object Lust: Running Case, Unsolicited Commercial, and Purple Passion

IMAG0611-1Good thing I ate my black-eyed peas and cabbage for the New Year because it seems I won a goodie from Groovy Baby Action Gear. It's a tight fit with my 'Droid, but it works. It will nicely take care of my pocket-less problems with my running skorts come warmer weather.

If it seems I have a bit of a love affair with this Etsy shop, it's kind of true. The sleeves --seen here and here--are cute and super comfortable. She offers so many fabric choices that I have a difficult time containing myself. There are a couple versions of purple that I will need at some point.*

Speaking of purple, I have been entering every possible give-away Enell has offered for their purple sports bra with less success. I think I'm going to suck it up and just buy it, since it will go with my Tough Chik singlet really well.

Speaking of give-aways, I've finally gotten it together to get a Facebook page myself. I've got a little over 30 "Likes" going right now. I'm thinking of some give-aways myself when I hit the 50 and 100 mark (said she in her optimistic voice). So, "Like" early, "Like" often.

* Just a reminder that the owner has kindly offered a 10% discount to my blog readers if you use the code NOTICIBLYFOXED. You probably want to follow her on Facebook too.

Friday, January 4, 2013

It's Not About the Weight (Except When It Is)

Toaster Time Machine

I am not making losing weight one of my 2013 resolutions.

Yes, my weight gone down significantly--that's going to happen with consistent movement and (semi-)mindful eating. Where I get frustrated is that there is no predictable way to control the number. My hormones fluctuate and I retain water (no matter how much water I drink). I get sick, and I have to cut back on my activity. Someone brings cake to work--and I have a tough time saying no to cake. Even when I record everything I eat, I never seem to lose the recommended pound a week. For me, this is a recipe for crazy, and I have enough of that in general.

What I can control is how often and how long I engage in activity. I can control only having one helping of dinner and filling up with veggies, fruits, and/or another glass of water. I can control the number of races in which I participate and how I train for them.

If there's going to be a bumper sticker, this is it: Losing weight is a byproduct, not the goal.

That being said, I do dream of being able to walk into shop for pants in the "regular" section. I dream of being able to buy a geeky print skirt or dress from Etsy without having to special order it. I dream of being able to buy cute workout clothes without studying fitting charts or searching racks. Already, however, I can buy a girl cut t-shirt from Woot, and it fits without my boobs distorting the image or too much back-fat ripple; that feels like a definite start.

If, however, weight loss is your goal, that's cool. It's just not mine. Instead, I'm going to try to run/walk at least 500 miles, run a total of 12 races (virtual and in person), and do a 10K before the end of the year. I'm pretty sure in all of that I'm bound to lose some weight somehow.

SHM Cumulative Half Marathon: Day 4 - Finish!

IMAG0607Completed (with 0.1 miles extra).

Also finished the monster for 600 Monsters Strong. (It's very squishy.) I had been waiting for a PO Box; if it doesn't get sent today, it will be sent the beginning of next week.

I hope somehow my small contribution helps.

Let there be peace. May our children not be afraid.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

SHM Cumulative Half Marathon: Day 3

Had to watch my time, as Mister had to go to court this morning. Still managed to get my 3 miles in. Just 3.5 miles to go, which means a little longer run tomorrow. Hopefully.

One and a half ears left on the monster plus assembly. With some effort, I can have it finished by today. Hopefully. 600 Monsters Strong is working on getting a PO Box, plus one of the organizers has been sick, so I'm not sure that it will actually be mailed this week. As long as it gets done, I'm okay with that.

I'm actually thinking about what specific goals I want for this month, as well as this year. Let me finish this particular short-term project first, though.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Even though it would have been nice to start the new year with a run, the rain and achy joints made it ill-advisable. I'll be back at it tomorrow.

I have, however, been knitting until my fingers are sore. I have only the ears left to knit, and then assembly. I suspect I will have that finished tomorrow, so that I will be able to mail it on Thursday when I finish my 13.1 miles.

I suppose I should declare some resolutions at this point. I'm going to try to lose weight; that's a byproduct of the running rather than a reason. I'm not sure about setting mileage. I'm still striving to at least one race a month.

If I'm declaring a goal, I want to learn to love the body I have--right this minute. Don't waste time complaining that it's not enough of this or too much of that. Right now, it's a pretty good body, and I intend to appreciate it as it is now and as it will change over the year.

I look forward to wonders in 2013.