Sunday, July 28, 2013

Race Report: MRTT Katy Chapter Running Mad Virtual

Finish Time: 0:41:32

Before we get started, the costume that I wore was:

Mad Hatter in almost a two to one vote. I had rigged a fluffier bow to a headband to wear as a necklace, but it was just too dang hot to wear that for any length of time. (Seriously, it was so humid that every layer was soaked completely through by the time I was done.) The fascinator, however, worked out swimmingly.

IMAG1899For those of you who are disappointed, know that the kitty ears were not wasted, as Miss made use of them--and added her own tutu, because that's how we roll in Girl World. Just to prove the apple-tree correlation, once she heard that she could wear a costume, I had no problem getting her out of bed and dressed (along with the fact that she was going to be playing with some of her buddies). In true LARP fashion, she told me she was the Cheshire Kitten who was gradually learning to disappear; she hadn't mastered leaving behind her smile, but she could leave behind her tail.*

But back to the running.

The original plan was to simply follow the C25K training plan of the day which was to walk 5, run 20, walk 5, run whatever was left. I'm not going to lie about the Fail--I ran about 10 minutes before giving in to my brain. But that's two minutes more than the intervals I had done before, so I'm not beating myself up over it. Also, while I did walk, I didn't stay walking, which is progress for me. The run intervals weren't long, but they existed. Getting it all done in under 43 minutes lets me know I'm back on track to where I used to be before my surgery.

Did I mention the humidity?

Not pictured: a teeny tiara
(because Miss ran off with it, natch)
I was a little nervous about the course because I was not familiar with the neighborhood and get easily lost.** Thankfully, the signs along the route were clear and encouraging. I was so impressed by the organization of this event--from the signs to the food to the everything! That's a ton of work, and y'all did an amazing job!

Also: Best. Swag. Bag. EVer.


I have to say, though, that the best part of the morning was meeting people. Although no one believes it, I'm an introvert by nature, and I have to work really hard to not clam up in new situations. This group was so friendly and fun that the interactions were easy. By the by, the mod of Motivating Me - Running Myself Fit is my new hero with her teaching and parenting and running stories.

I left this event really excited and motivated ... which is a good thing since official training for my 10 miler starts tomorrow. Just proving that we're all mad around here. But the best people often are.

* I totes should be copyrighting this. It would make such an awesome picture book.
** Really. I give blank stares to anyone who gives me ordinal directions, and I always build in at least 15 minutes anytime I'm driving someplace new because I WILL get lost.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Worst Parent in the World

So I'm standing in the middle of kitchen, eating ice cream directly from the carton and trying to figure out how to fix my daughter.*

This has been a difficult week in general for Miss for reasons I can't altogether put my finger on. Usually, when she takes a step back behaviorally, she's about ready to take a bound forward developmentally. Or it could be that she's not getting enough sleep. Or any number of things.

But it all accumulates in her falling into a sobbing heap in the middle of karate class yelling, "I CAN'T!"

I could see her struggling to balance during the kicks. I could sense her rising anxiety while running relay. Somewhere along the line, she became overwhelmed. The teacher is by no means ignoring her--he's encouraging, working beside her. But at some point, another parent is walking down the wall asking if anyone knows who belongs to the little girl in front who's crying.

Normally, parents are not allowed to observe the classes. I know it's not a great day for her teacher, but I also trust him to do his job. I also know that when Miss is in that headspace, giving attention to the meltdown can sometimes feed the monster. I'm skirting the line between letting her work through it and removing her so she doesn't disturb the rest of the class. This other parent forces my hand.

I pull her aside, try to get her calm as much as possible, then send her back in. The rest of the class, I'm on the side in case I need to pull her out again, but I'm also trying to emphasize that quitting is the last option on the list. But no matter what I do, I know the I am the Bad Parent.

We get through it. We get home. I try to ask questions to find out what's going on, but her narrative wanders as it will. The entire time I am fighting the urge not to completely lose my shit.

Here's the thing: I get it.

Watching her melt down in frustration is probably the ugliest and most truthful mirror you could hold up to my interior self. I distinctly remember complaining to my mom about not being able to hit a ball or run fast, something that seemed so effortless to my peers--and worse, something my peers teased me about. I have visceral memories of trying to shove tears back in my head during a sixth grade music class because I couldn't convert what seemed like random clapping into musical notation. Hell, I remember snapping at a bowling party as an adult to someone who was trying to give me helpful advice.

She may not believe me, but I do--I do--understand.

So back to me in the kitchen: I put away the ice cream and go to check on her. I knock gently her closed door and ask permission to come in. She's naked as a jaybird and happily playing. I ask if she's okay, and she chirps yes and asks if we can go to the Y for swimming. I say we can later and go to make a more nutritious lunch, shaking my head.

Was she playing me? No. As I said, I know what those feelings are like. I fight them even now. I look at my behavior even a few months ago--it's hard to put my weakness on face-to-face display. I'm terrified with the race tomorrow--finally meeting some folks in person and then showing off how slow and inexperienced I still am. I still take the risk, though, because the reward is worth it. I will have completed 20 minutes of uninterrupted running (if I don't get too lost). I will have made friends. I get to wear a cute costume. There should be an awesome swag bag.

I'm trying to remember what my mom told me when I was having perfectionism tantrums--it gets better; I will find what matters to me. I didn't believe her at the time. I was pretty sure she didn't understand. But it did. And I did. And she did.

Somehow I'm learning to step into arenas that don't come naturally to me. A little. I've learned to sight read in a stumbling fashion, but I will still not voluntarily go bowling.

Is the It Gets Better speech enough to sustain my girl through next week, much less this afternoon?

I may end up at the freezer again tonight, spoon in hand. Thank heaven I'm going for a run in the morning.

* I know I'm probably going to take a lot of flack and get a lot of unwanted parenting advice from this post. I guess that's the risk with sharing something that's honest. Then again, someone may feel relieved that someone else is going through this too, which is worth the risk.

But I swear it will come back to my running journey. Stick with me.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Decision

This coming Sunday I will be joining my succubus friend and the Katy chapter of Moms Run This Town for the Running Mad Virtual Race. Yes, it's a teeny race. Yes, we'll be running neighborhood But with such a delicious theme, I really don't think I can resist a costume opportunity such as this.

Trouble is, I can't decide between two of them, and I need your help.

I have often seen a runner without
a smile, but never a smile without
a runner.

Option 1: Cheshire Cat

Simplicity, really. Duct tape kitty ears. Smile on a stick. If I have time, I may make myself a tutu.

If I were doing a bigger race (and had more time and money), I would probably order a custom skirt from Rock City Skirts (pink and purple stripes?) and some gloves from Groovy Baby Action Gear (we'd have to discuss fabric options, but I love the embroidery). I would also improve on the ears and maybe a tail.

We're all mad around here.
But the best people are.

Option 2: Mad Hatter

This one took a little more craftsmanship, if I do say so myself. I knitted and felted a little top hat (as one does), added embellishments, and attached it to a headband.* Quick addition of a ribbon tie.

Again, if it were a bigger race/more money and time, again I would consider some gloves/wristlets, some wacky socks, and stitch together a couple of scarves for a fluffier tie.

I know, right?

So here's how you can help me--go to my Facebook page and hit the Like button on the picture of the costume that you think I should wear on the day ... and I'll do it.

And just to sweeten the deal, those who vote for the winning costume will be put into a drawing for a BOGO coupon for Groovy Baby Action Gear! (Thanks, Katie!) I'll do the drawing on Sunday after the race (along with pictures, of course).

All the best people are mad, after all!

* No worries about wasted effort. I've made (and worn) a couple fascinators. I love stuff like this. This will get use no matter what.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

C25K Re-Do Okay: Week 4

Confession: Even though I've dabbled in this Running Thing for a little over a year now, I have never managed to run an interval over three minutes.

Until now.

The five minute intervals this week (especially the last one) were tough. Day 1, I found myself counting my breath, and ended up cutting the final interval too short. Day 2 was textbook, and I credit it to the fact that I knew geographically where each interval ended.

Soaked by the rain and feeling good.
Day 3 nearly didn't happen because as soon as I got dressed, rain dumped down. After a while, though, it let up a little, and I headed out. It was a struggle--I was fighting hormonal flux plus my midsection under my surgical scar ached a bit. I tried to keep it slow and easy, distract myself, badger myself, set landmarks (with a landmark right ahead so I didn't stop in case that wasn't far enough). Final result--all running intervals made except for a minute off the last one due to negotiating some mud.

From here on, it's an adventure.

As for the rest of this past week, it's been busy as usual. My Miss had her 6th birthday, and she continues to amaze me every day in every way.

In your TMI Moment of the Day, I finally figured out that rather than being constantly angry or sad, my PMS this month has manifested itself as a giant ball of apathy. At least that's what I'm calling it because I have felt myself unusually detached from what's going on around me (with a few exceptions). The weird part is that I feel like I'm better at work and at home by letting problems roll off my back. The flip side is that I'm worried a lack of passion and empathy isn't terribly healthy either--or at least it's not "me."

Or maybe I just need a nap. I think I'll go with that.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

C25K Re-Do Okay: Week 3 (with a Brief Commentary on Marriage)

Finished week 3 of  C25K, and today's run couldn't have been more perfect (for me). I really had to coach myself through that last run interval (3 minutes), but I felt good having done it.

I'm a little worried about next week with its combos of 3 and 5 minute run intervals. It is crazy humid lately. Plus I just don't feel like my endurance is back to where it was. I'm trying not to worry, but the end of September will be here before I know it.

As far as recovery in other areas, nights are still tough when the scar tissue swells. I've also been trying to introduce some foods back into my diet with varying results.

Go read Kingdom Come if you haven't already.
In other news, this week Mister and I had our 16th wedding anniversary.

Mister and I are familiar with the nature of obsession, as the contents of our house can attest. He has done oil painting, golf, stained glass, woodwork, and currently animated film-making and dabbling in cycling. I have done cross-stitch, embroidery, polymer clay sculpture, multi-media collage, knitting, and crochet, as well as the running. Between gear and race fees, running is not less expensive than my other interests. Of course, there's also the time--and child care.

I mention this simply because I need to step back now and again to thank my family, especially my husband, for the support and encouragement in this journey.

Mister knows that this, of all of my obsessions, has a benefit for him in that I have been far more sound in mind and body. Not only am I easier to live with, there's a chance running will allow me to live with him longer as well. And he's been more [ahem] attentive lately. He assures me that I have always been beautiful to him (and I believe him). The new factor has been my confidence--the belief in my possibility and strength, seeing myself as an athlete and--dare I say--a superhero. It's my new-found confidence that he finds sexy. I'm doing this for me, not him, but total Bonus!

So, thank you, hon, for cheering me on, coaching me, and sometimes just going along beside me. I'm up for another 16 years if you are!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

C25K Re-Do Okay: Week 2

So very tie-tie, Mummy.
Made it through my second full week of work, including a full weekend shift. Tired, yes. Very. Occasional moments of pain. My evening shift (which only happens once a week) is still on the tough side. But I'm trying to make sure I use what I am supposed to have learned--slow down, ask for help, delegate, set limits, accept support.

As colleague said to me, "You don't do anything easy, do you?"

Nailed it.

By George, I think she's got it!
I finished the second week of C25K, and I'm pleased so far. My running has been sloooooow but steady. The beginning is strong but not too fast. The middle has been steady and comfortable. The end has taken a little effort, but I've managed to talk my way through it.

In other words, I'm finally doing what I'm supposed to be doing.


I'm also finally getting into my head that's it's okay to wear a fuel belt in the summer, even if it's just a couple of miles. If I have to give an explanation, I could say that I'm practicing carrying the weight. But the real reason is that it's hot, y'all! And by showing up and getting it done, I have earned the right to be comfortable--or at least hydrated.

Anyhow, I'm thinking that I need to start adding in some cross-training again. I'm just going to see how the energy and pain levels go.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

June in Review

Miles Covered: 25 miles
16.8 miles walking
8.2 miles running

If I were travelling from Bag End to Rivendell, we'd be camping after Frodo has been injured.

Races: Electric Run

I don't know if I can say that I am fully recovered, but it's close. I've been back to work an entire week. Not only have I begun running again (albeit slowly), but I've completed a race. I still have wobbly moments, but I'm feeling more in the game again.

I've started C25K again to improve my running duration time. I will not finish it before bumping into the training for my 10 miler; but the 10 miler training starts out with 2 or 3 mile runs, so I'm okay. When I saw the doctor this past week, she told me no heavy lifting for another three months, so no weight lifting for a while. I have been approved for swimming, Pilates, and some light heavybag work when it comes to cross-training. I've also tentatively looked into getting a bike.

Naturally, the weather has taken a turn toward the blistering hot, as it will. I'm not sure what it is, but I suddenly I'm not afraid of working out in just a sports bra, muffin top and all. A lot of it has to do with the fact that my scar is easily irritated, no matter how light the fabric. The other part of it is the awareness that I'm alive, I have the tracks to show it, and I have earned the right to be comfortable.

Effs given = zero.

Okay, maybe one or two.

My midsection is still a little numb at times, and when I sit, it pooches. I thought maybe it was still a little distended from the internal damage. I made the mistake of asking Mister, and he said that it pretty much looks like it did--I've just lost weight in my boobs. Um .. yay? Since there are still occasional pops and itty sharp pains, I'm not jumping into core work just yet..

How long can I claim I'm recovering anyhow? I guess until it's done, and not a moment sooner. Not if I want to stay well.