Monday, December 30, 2013

December in Review

Miles covered: 59.3


Races: Color in Motion

Reflection: You know the best thing to add to holiday stress? Training for a half marathon. But, hey, you can totally eat another cookie and call it carb loading, right?

But seriously, this has been a tough month in general.

The week before Christmas always tends to be the worst of the season for me. The novelty of the holidays has worn away. Deadlines to mail things, buy things, make things, bake things, attend things loom large. The Child has another series of inevitable breakdowns that result in calls with teachers and strategy-developing. I long for simplicity but can't seem to break the straitjacket of society. Simply saying no is a difficult discipline. The low-level background noise of missing my mom also becomes a little louder at the time. I know it was probably all a facade, but she just seemed to do Christmas well and remember the little things that I just can't seem to master.

So, needless to say, my Blerch and my Black Dog have been double-teaming me. Not that this about the weight, but my mental state and the number on the scale (which I have been actively avoiding) are inversely proportional.

But there's that Half staring me in the face, so I do the running at least. Even though there's no time limit, I feel horribly undertrained. My rational mind can look at the distances I've covered and know that it will be just fine, and I know I will finish (probably in a little over 3 hours); I'm just not sure about the rest of me.

I'm kind of okay with letting this month just go away.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Race Report: Color in Motion

Finish Time: Somewhere around 43 minutes (Dude, tag me on Runkeeper!)

Charity: Girls on the Run

I thought I was pretty done with the throwing-color-at-you races, but I had to do this one.

Back story: for the medical insurance at our work, we are required to do a biometric screening and do a minimal amount of health maintenance; otherwise, we have a financial penalty. That's all I'm going to say about that. However, if we exceed the minimal amount of activities, we are put in drawings for various things.

Win$low--proving it is, indeed,
hard out there for a pimp.
Team Forced Fun means
dressing like Grumpy Cat
I was ambivalent about the whole additional activities thing until I ran into a friend at work who said he was going for the platinum level--for irony cred and possibly a Wii. This friend (let's call him by his hip hop name, Win$low) is one of the funniest, most curmudgeonly people I know (and I know a quite a few). So when Win$low said he was doing a color-throwing run, my ears perked. When I found out his team was Forced Fun, I was in!

We met in plenty of time before the race to be annoyed by the fog, the cold, the loud music. I am beginning to realize my love-hate relationship with novelty races, and it was fun to be hanging out with someone who can be as snarky as I am.

I did a fun run once.
It was horrible
As Captain of Team Forced Fun, Win$low had put together a chant:
Is this fun?
Are we having fun?
Which is really running in a nutshell.

Now, both of us feeling curmudgeonly toward our fellow runners was neither here nor there.  Youngsters covering each other in colored powder and jumping around before the race even started is just how those crazy kids are going to act. However, as we looked out over the parking lot that was to be our course, we both noted how sketchy the terrain looked--uneven, potholes, gravel, slick, muddy.

Kids today, amirite?
Once the race finally got going, it turned out our comments about the course were not far off. Less than a half mile in, I took a spill. I could tell that I had torn up my left hand and right knee pretty badly; but I could also tell that the damage was pretty surface, and I wasn't going to be a wuss over a scrape. So we kept going.

So many places
to hide our corpses...
Apparently to our doom.

At about the mile mark, the course left pavement for tall grass and muddy bogs. And then led into some woods with a steep dip at the entrance and frequently only two-persons wide. Keep in mind that this, being a "fun run," includes strollers and little people and walkers and people stopping to take pictures of themselves. Our general course of action was to keep moving; when the undead attack, they will go for these slower people first despite the scent of blood that I'm giving off. At last, we finally left the woods in a schlurpy section of mud and finally made it back to pavement. But I felt bad that I was so skittish about keeping up a run for fear of falling again.

Oh, yeah, and there were those color station things. No water station, though. No clear finish line. Not really a medical tent to check my road rash when we finished; there was an ambulance that had gone out toward the bog, presumably to attend to someone with far worse problems than a few scrapes

All in all, I would avoid any event that lists Sam Houston Race Park as the location. Actually, the original locale was listed as Reliant Park, which I have run several times. I would recommend avoiding this organization as well.

That being said, there were some good things. I did enjoy Win$low's company. I got a lot of good responses for my Grumpy Cat t-shirt (even though a couple people asked me if she was my cat, proving that there are, indeed, people who are more out of touch than I am).  have now done a race in a tutu (which cleaned up pretty easily since they only used powdered colors). And, after I report this to the benefits department, I should be at the gold level.
The "on purpose" color
The "not on purpose" color
Was it fun?


Did I have fun?


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thoughts on My 43rd Birthday

On my 40th birthday, my stepmother asked me if I was dreading the entrance into a new decade. I answered, Not at all! I felt courageous and capable! These feelings only multiplied when I took up running at 41.

Today, I am 43. I am beginning to feel old.*

It's been nibbling at me a while now and in the weirdest ways:
  • Was that a hot flash? I believe it was!
  • Those weird hairs that show up in the most inconvenient places are now turning white!
  • Just in time for me to need bifocals.
  • Both my parenting and running friends are in their 30s. This should not matter. Until you realize that they have never heard of the cartoons you used to watch. 
  • I am not the first stop when people at work are having trouble with their computer. Not only that, I have moments when I blank out on technobabble and have to secretly look up what a coworker is saying.
  • I am one of the few who retains a shred of institutional knowledge at work. (Yes, kids, I even remember using vacuum tubes. For reals.) 
43 does look pretty good, though.
I'm trying to approach the aging thing like I do the weight thing--I can do marvelous things right now; if I wait until I am perfect, nothing will ever happen. But while I can lose weight, I can't shed years. Feel younger and stronger, yes; but those other things--they are part of the landscape now, baby.

So while I have the courage to dye my hair purple or wear animal hats or use "awesomesauce" in casual conversation, my mom saying, "There's no fool like an old fool" rings in my head. It's probably for people like me that goofy purple poem was written.

I'm still holding to the ultimate goal of running long enough so that I finally qualify for an age group award. But until then, yes, tell me I look healthier; tell me I look thinner; but, above all, tell me how young I look!

* Yes, yes, I know that this is going to be a lot like the parenting thing--some will be in wide-eyed innocence while others will laugh knowingly and say, "Oh, just you wait ..." But this is my space, so let me rant!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

November in Review

Miles covered: 58.9

Firefly Run
Step Out - Walk to Stop Diabetes
TXU Energy Turkey Trot

How I See Myself Doing Yoga
(Your reality may vary.)
Even though I had a couple of not-great race experiences this past month, I see myself leveling up a bit as a runner. I'm able to run for 60 minutes without a walk break (slow and steady; no speed records yet). I've incorporated weight work and yoga into my schedule, and I'm seeing how much more supported my runs are. The next step is going to be adding some speed play and longer distances; a decent half-marathon training should do that (suggestions welcome!).

I've made my yearly goal of 500 miles with change, even with being grounded in early summer.

5Ks are now "quick outings" and routine. I'm endeavoring to do the same with 10Ks. I had intended to run one this weekend for my birthday; a funeral came up, and, well, some things are just more important than races. I had hoped to get a Christmas-themed race in during December, but my work schedule isn't leaving me much room for the races that I had wanted to do. I do have a silly 5K on the 14th. And there's always that slender, slender chance that I'll be able to do the half on New Year's Day.

For the most part, I will try to embrace an Advent way of running--prepare and be present.

In the meantime, if anyone is still wondering what to get me for my birthday or Christmas, I love race registrations.