Sunday, March 31, 2013

March in Review

Miles Covered: 54.4 miles
15.5 miles walking
38.9 miles running

If I were travelling from Bag End to Rivendell, it would be Day 9 of the journey. We would have made it to Bree, met Strider, had the ponies stolen, and be heading on the East Road.

The Color Run
Color Me Rad

First off, my Facebook page has over 120 Likes! Happy dance!

I've settled on the 10K option of my May race (although I haven't registered yet). It will be a lovely Mother's Day gift, and I have a deep love of Texas wildflowers; I'm hoping the scenery will help with my motivation.

I started the training this past week in earnest--an easy run/walk plan. Because of the time crunch (and my current level), I started at Week 3. Really, that is about right. I'm still working out the training schedule. I prefer to run Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday (although that was thrown off this week). I've started joining a work buddy on Wednesday mornings for Kinect Zumba. I've tried the heavy bag in our back yard. We also have some new Sandbells. The possibilities for cross-training are endless, as long as I keep on track.

I will also be getting a 5K race in during a professional conference at the end of April. I'm hoping to make a good showing. Since my Team Tough Chik singlet finally arrived, it will be a good opportunity to wear it. The singlet is not quite the colors I expected, and I will have to think through the outfit in its entirety. Because that's what I do.

I'm also feeling a sea change in my personal/professional life. Without going into too many details, I've been feeling overwhelmed, tired, sad. While running has helped keep me from drowning, these feelings have been huge. But lately I've been dwelling on the power of compassion and kinship, as well as trying to focus personal vision, being in the moment, embracing gratitude and joy.

Spring has come, and I intend to run through it.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Race Report: Color Me Rad

Charity: Special Olympics of Texas

Finish Time: No blessed idea

I was more nervous about this race than I have been for a long time. Part of it was going to a location that I didn't know very well, and parking issues worried me greatly. Part of it was the fact that I had so many people joining me. I was worried about finding everyone, pacing ... I really wanted everyone to have a good time.*

Librarians don't get much hotter.
Despite my worries, we all gathered together. Our troop of dads minded the Girlie Fest while we got into line. Groups of runners were let through about every five minutes, making it feel a lot like waiting in an amusement park. We were chatting along when we heard the announcer say, "First, you'll go across the bridge ..."

Bridge?! Why did there have to be a bridge?

When we finally got going, we tended to divide into tortoises and hares (I'm decidedly a tortoise at this point). Once over the bridge, the course was pretty flat and took us around Reliant Park in places that I don't remember ever seeing before (although there was still lingering scents from the Rodeo). Three color stations that I remember. My hand got a puddle of yellow, so I slapped it on my face Celtic warrior style.**

I have no idea how fast we were going because I made the conscious decision to turn off my Runkeeper. It was twitchy at first, but every now and again I have to remind myself to just be in the moment.

IMAG0869When we tortoises finished, the hares attacked us with color bombs--along with our families who were pretty multicolored themselves. When we went for donuts afterwards, a lot of the color didn't come off right away from my hands. With a lot of scrubbing, I seem to have come clean. Good thing, since blue, pink, and purple gathered on my arms in a way that made me look more than a little bruised.

Also, we have the parish photo tomorrow morning.

I know I've said it before, but for me, running is mostly a solitary activity. It's my time to recharge and think. That's all very well and good, but there's a place for community too--building up one another, taking in different perspectives.

IMAG0864 IMAG0865 IMAG0866 IMAG0867

Thank you, Team Chunky Wonder Woman, for running with me and being my community.


* Mister reminded me that these were all adults. There is a difference between being team captain and a mother hen.
** Or Uruk-hai if you're super nerdy.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Unexpected Race Report: Color Run

Charity: Expedition Balance

Finish Time: 0:49:30 (according to my GPS, this was actually closer to 4 miles; the actual 5K was completed in 0:39:44)

Do you ever get the feeling that the Universe wants you to run?

Before the race
I had a lot of plans for this weekend that got scrapped due to logistics--one of the Navy Marathon races, Neon Splash Dash ... ultimately, I thought I would just hang out with my girl, do some housework, whatever. But then one of my friends needed someone to run with. It worked out that her dad could stay with Miss, so I offered my company.

Clara is what the Kids Today call a Cool Chick (is that what the Kids Today say?)--a fellow parishioner, sometimes babysitter, and talented actress (congrats on getting into HSPVA!) She was a pleasure to go with--great conversationalist, kept a great (but not impossible or uncomfortable) pace. She was very patient with the Old Lady. I can't speak for her, but I had a great time.

An art project by one of the runners;
she asked us to write on her back
our answer to the question
(Can you find mine?)
The course itself utilized a closed freeway ramp. That means hills--mostly slow inclines instead of the sudden dips of Allen Parkway. I think I remember 4 or 5 color stations (either powder or liquid). According to my GPS, the course was longer than 5K--more like 3.95 miles; I ran more than I normally do, and I could have kept going.

This was a great race for tutus and costumes. Saw a Batman and Iron Man (masks only). Some togas. Never got close enough to the Runacorn (the unicorn mascot) to take a proper picture.

Since I have another color-throwing-type race next week, here's what I learned:

  • This is not a "serious" race by any means. Yes, untimed. More than that, there were so many people that when we could run, we had to do a lot of bobbing and weaving. If you are one of my runners who is afraid of not being "trained," you'll do just fine. You will be surrounded by walkers with a ton of walkers behind you.
  • People slow way down and queue up for the color stations. Like a water station, you don't have to stop at the first offering; keep going, and there will be someone else to slap you with color.
  • The color gathers in a lot of unexpected creases. I found a lot of wrinkles I didn't know I had, and my daughter called my face "creepy." I found a lot of green in my ears later as well.
After the race and being attacked
by my Miss.
I had hoped that we would finish in time to get to church afterwards (and I think Clara made it), but my Little Miss lollygags and dawdles so much that by the time we pulled out of the parking lot, services had well and truly started. Plus I was kind of stinky. So we headed for home. Sort of. We did detour for donuts ... where we ran into another Color Runner. (Insert knowing laugh here.) After I got clean, we dyed eggs, which seemed appropriate.

IMAG0846As for getting my clothes clean, any liquid color that was used is still there (but very pale--a lovely lavender). I'm probably not going to wear my star skort next week for fear that it gets ruined. I will have to think of another option. One last tip for next week: I wore older shoes, and I'm glad of it since my daughter doused me in powder at the end.

Thank you, Universe, for the opportunity to run this week. I'm excited about doing this all over again next week!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Team Chunky Wonder Woman Assemble!

Color Me Rad is a week out. You can still participate as a runner, volunteer, or spectator! Please follow the link for general race deets. This post, however, is specifically for my team (or those who love my team).

1. You should have received an e-mail from the organizers re. packet pick-up, parking, maps, etc. If you haven't received that yet, please contact me so I can send the info along (although all the information is on the Web site itself).

2. Our wave is at 9:20AM. I am planning on being there about an hour early to account for parking ($10 cash, unless you are planning on arriving before 8AM--which I am not), settling in, etc. I would like to do a team picture at 9AM.

3. Plan to be covered in color--which is kind of the point.

  • Wear white or light colors primarily.
  • Bring a change of clothes or a towel so you don't cream out your car on the way home.
  • Be prepared to tuck away electronics from the colored dust. I'm using my Spi Belt (and maybe a plastic bag as well).
  • Don't forget I have socks to give away!!!
  • I will also have WW temporary tattoos for thems that wants em.

4. Go at your own pace! If you feel like running, run. If you feel like walking, walk. I see no need for the team to stick together the entire time. This group has varied abilities, race experiences, injuries, etc. I suspect that I will probably be the slowest of the lot. It would be nice if you waited at the end and kept your color bomb for when we all are across the finish line.

5. However, you MUST RUN during the following:

  • When you cross the Starting Line--you'll be happy with a strong start.
  • When you see a photographer. You'll be happier with your official race pics if you look like you're working it. Also SMILE! 
  • When you cross the Finish Line. (Mister always makes me really push it those last few yards, and I'm always glad I do.)
6. Bring your joy. This will be Easter Saturday; in the Christian tradition, we pull out our Hallelujahs at sunset that we've had tucked away for 40 days. I can tell you that these past two weeks have been less than pleasant--work stress, special projects, back pain, intestinal distress (oh the TMI!). I know a lot of people who are going through some less than pleasant things as well. However, I'm going to remind you of what you already know: you are Wonder Woman (or the superhero of your choice). You are strong. You are amazing. Let's celebrate that together.

May you find an unexpected blessing this week. I can't wait to see you on Saturday!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Today's Run OR Fighting Back

The past week or so I just haven't been hitting it as hard. Part of it has been giving in to PMS--my joints tend to get super loose and tender during this time, and I'm afraid of injury. So, as far as my activities go, I had slowed things down--long evening walks with the dogs, gentle yoga.

That would have all been okay if I hadn't been eating like a crazy person and letting my sweet tooth reign. On top of that, I've been finishing up a several month training program by spending this past week sequestered in a conference room for eight hours straight each day working on a presentation. I'm not used to being that sedentary that long during the work day. And someone brought cookies ... lots of them.

So, yeah, although it's not about the weight and although I've been maintaining around 191 lbs., I know that I have to get a bit of religion again. Since today was my day off, I was determined to get a decent workout in. Mister joined me for the run as participant rather than coach. I should say "run" because there was a lot of walking. A lot. We only got 4.5 miles done.

"Only"? Am I really saying "only"? I guess I am. I should be proud of how far I've come rather than berate myself. But when I'm considering a 10K with a two hour time limit in May, I know I'm going to have to step up my game and soon.

2013-03-14 13.07.45_0_Anyhow, after our outing, Mister suggested working at the heavy bag in the back yard. A (very) long time ago, he had bought me some pink hand wraps as an enticement because you might have guessed that I can be coerced into many activities if I can wear cute things. I figured I owed him--and myself--to give it a try.

2013-03-14 13When Mister said I was too timid about it, he is right. I was nervous about not knowing what I was doing, about doing something wrong. I was afraid of hurting myself, afraid of breaking the equipment. (Don't get me started with the speed ball. That just freaked me out.) I did a one minute round while feeling silly and scared a good portion of the time. Then again, I run races dressed as Wonder Woman--I can get over the scared.

Will I do it again? I've got cute pink hand wraps, so you bet!

All in all, a good day off. I'm sore all over--shoulders, arms, back, waist, legs. I vow to do better with the running and add in the new activity of the boxing. I ate fairly cleanly (although I will probably have a beer tonight).

There's no shame in falling as long as you get back up and keep fighting.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My First Giveaway!

Color Me Rad give away socks If you're playing along at home, you know that I'll be running Color Me Rad on Easter Saturday with several friends.

Some weeks back, they asked for stories of people who run with joy, color, and general rad-itude* I thought, "Why not?" So I sent them my story. And they liked it. And they sent me some stuff for it. Which I, in turn, am sharing some of with you.

Socks. Because I love you. Socks without love is an empty thing.**

Follow the link below to enter. Like and Share and all those Social Media things you do so well. Random drawing will occur at midnight on 27 March. If you're running with me at Color Me Rad, I'll make sure I get them to you in time for the race. Otherwise I will mail them that Friday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* Evidently, "rad" is back in the vernacular. I, however, will not be able to use it since I remember using it the first time.
** Was that a pun? If so, that was a really bad one. As if there are good puns.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Random Thoughts While Attending Family Fitness Night at Little Miss's School

- We were greeted by several girls who would guide us through the stations and answer questions. They were eager but wouldn't stop talking and got in the way of the sign-up area--so kind of like our Miss right now, only older. I watched Mister's eyes glaze over--my grandmother had an apt saying: "It's a long road that doesn't turn."

- Zumba kicked my bootie! I thought I had rhythm, but I was very, very, VERY wrong. All y'all who do that on a regular basis (or at all, for that matter)--my hat's off to you!

- My BP was 120/84 (after a little bit of relaxing from the Zumba). My glucose was 104. This pleases me.

- Unsweetened carob chips are made of the despair, self-loathing, and a little bit of vomit.

- On the other hand, beet brownie bites are made of unicorn kisses and delight!

- I met a coach who had spent 8 years in the Army, and a large portion of that time in Iraq. When he came home, his kids didn't know who he was. I am reminded how lucky we've had it as Mister is finishing up his Reserve work with the Navy.

- Thanks to the Boot Camp station, I think Mister is ready to have a torrid affair with Sandbells. I have to admit that I even really liked playing with them (and I hate weight work). They land with a very satisfying thump when you toss them, and they lend themselves well to working with a partner (like using a medicine ball--which I also dislike). But seriously, I caught Mister pricing them out when we got home.

- I had no less than four women comment on how "precious" and "sweet" Mister is, mostly for how he walks Miss to the door each morning and sends her off with hugs, kisses, and encouragement. I told Mister that I think this put him on the Hot Dad List--or at least a Good Dad List, which is pretty hot in my book. Either way, his ego's a titch embiggened.

- Somehow we got on the radar to be on the PTA (or at least one of the committees). I'm blaming Mr. Hot Dad.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Today's Run OR Five!

So, yeah, I ran 5 miles today, which is kind of a Big Thing, I guess.

I like to do long runs on Sundays. I can sleep in late (for me), which usually means listening to On Being while I doze in and out. This morning, all five mammals in our family were in my bedroom; four out of five were in the bed with us (Bella was sleeping on the dog bed on the floor). Squishy but cozy.

7AM: up and out. The intention was an hour of running and hope it was at least 4 miles.

Mile 1: Disappointed that I wasn't able to sustain running for as long as I had been earlier in the week. Tired from a long day of work yesterday. Achy loose joints (hello, hormones). Couldn't decide between music and NPR (finally landed on music). Cranky around the edges. This is not going well.

Mile 2: Mindless movement. Some walking. Some running. Meh.

Mile 3: Making better time than I thought--not great, but not lousy either. Keep going.

Mile 4: Fifty minutes. I got this.

Then I had a weird thought: I have a friend who recently made her goal weight of under 140 lbs. Then it occurred to me that for some of the pages and blogs that I follow, I am what they want to be by simply being solidly under 200 lbs. People say they are inspired by my journey, but I'm so deep into my head that I just don't see it. I need to be gentler with myself. We all do.

I round the corner; I'm finishing up the hour and check my mileage--4.8 miles. I might as well finish up the 5 miles.

And I do.

And I think I could keep going. I think I could do at least another 1.2 miles. I could do a 10K. When? How soon? I could sign up for the 10K version of the Wildflower Run, but there's a strict 2 hours cut-off. That would be close. Which is better--more wildflowers or mimosas sooner? If there were a medal ...

Anyhow, maybe next Sunday I'll budget the time just to see.

Friday, March 1, 2013

February in Review

Miles Covered: 47.2
12 miles walking
35.1 miles running

If I were travelling from Hobbiton to Rivendell, it would be about Day 6. I would have left Tom Bombadill's house and entered the Barrow-downs.

3W Heart Throb (Virtual)
Rhythm & Blues

Run Free Marathon

When I get disappointed with my numbers, I have to remind myself that this was a short month. I've walked the dogs less at night. This past week I've been trying some weight work on my non-running days. I know I need to add some yoga at least once a week too. If I did all that and walked the dogs at night, it might kick-start some weight loss again. For one brief shining moment, I flirted with 189 lbs. (There. I said it.)

Food journal has been a bust. I'm just not into it, can't force myself to do it. With so many things pressing for my attention, I'm letting it go for now. Just trying to make better choices. And failing.

I'm going to stop talking weight now.

I ran into my high school biology teacher on Facebook this month; he was also the cross-country track coach. He was asking me if I'm such a runner now, why didn't I run track then? I didn't want to get into the whole hating-my-body-always-picked-last-jock-hierarchy mindset that paralyzed me in the Non-athlete category for decades.

At the same time, I'm hearing my daughter complain that she's "the slowest in [her] class." While I'm trying to tell her that finishing is what's important, I know in my heart that Fast beats Finish when you're young. Finish is a realization that comes when you're older and realize that most of it doesn't really matter anyhow.

Sometimes it sucks to be young.

Meld into all of this that I received an Athleta catalog this week. I'm flipping through the beginning pages full of bikinis wondering why I got it to begin with ... Momma's used to getting plus-size catalogs, after all. Then, I get to the running gear, and I remember: oh, yeah, huh.

It's all such a new mindset; I wonder if I will ever truly get used to it.