Friday, August 23, 2013

One Year

It's officially been a year since I started running.  There are a lot of things that I have learned.

My top 10 things I've learned about running this past year:
  1. It doesn't matter how fast you are, it matters that you've gotten your butt out the door.
  2. Give yourself something to work towards...a goal.
  3. Make your goal attainable.
  4. For goodness sakes...breathe.  After doing my half marathon, my silly breathing technique didn't seem so silly to me.  I could hear people coming up behind me that were breathing in ways that seemed silly, but I'm sure worked for them.  I might have thought a couple people were dying in need of a water break, but they kept running.
  5. If people pass you, who cares?  Who am I kidding?  I care!  Yes, it pained me to have people pass me, especially people who were older than me, but I had to remind myself that I was in it for me.  Maybe at some point in their lives, they started out like me.  Or maybe, they never experienced starting this running business in their mid 30s, so they have no idea where I've come from.  Either way, finishing, no matter how I got there, was #1.
  6. Find your happy place.  This may include a nice trail where you live.  It may include music.  For me, it's a little of both sometimes.  For my half, I started out with music and at some point *probably around the half way point* I went unplugged.  It was a great decision.
  7. Be comfortable.  Isn't that the same as your happy place?  Nope.  You need to make sure that you have good fitting sneakers, you're wearing clothes that keep you cool *or in the winter...warm!*, and clothes that are easy to run/breathe in.  If you're uncomfortable while you're running, it will be miserable.
  8. Don't be afraid of the elements.  Okay, well if there is extreme weather, then be afraid of the elements.  But, if it's snowy or rainy...give it a go.  Weather conditions won't always be perfect and if you allow them to get in the way, then you're giving yourself an excuse to not go out the door.
  9. If something seems hard, it may very well be.  Try it again.  Which leads me to #10...
  10. Don't give up!  Just because it's hard, doesn't mean that you should give up on it.  Keep working on it and you'll get your groove!
One last thought on this whole running business...have fun!  If nothing else, be able to laugh at yourself.  If you fall...pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and keep going *unless you're seriously injured!!!*  Life is too short to live wondering if you could have done a 5k.  No one can ever fault you for getting out there and making you a healthier you!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

13 for '13--A Review

Here it is, now August and I'm just getting back around to do a little review.  Terrible.  Life is all about getting in my way right now.  Or, I'm getting in my own way.  Or something.

My original list *I'll add where I'm at with each in parenthesis*:

  1. Continue to maintain my goal weight.  And, I need to give myself a 5 pound buffer even though it pains me to say so...I need that.  It's more about being up 5 pounds rather than down 5.  (Sadly, I'm struggling.  With going home for a month, my weight has increased.  I know that it has and I am slowly getting back in the saddle.  I need to do it for me and no one else.)
  2. I want to keep remain dedicated no matter what!  It's hard, but I enjoy it far more than I ever thought I would.  (Running is my buddy.  It's my frustration release.  Even with my knee problem, as long as I'm not trying to come down a hill, I'm okay.  I had a great run yesterday!)
  3. I want to spend time with my hubby at night at least once a week *I guess I should clue him in on this too, huh?*  I just bought Battleship *the game* for he and I to play.  We've also played Othello recently.  This is an adjustment over this year's goal of going on a date night 1x per month.  (Hmm, this has really lacked.  We have played canasta recently, so I guess something is better than nothing.)
  4. Take time for myself.  I really need to continue to do this for myself.  I need to be vocal about it too.  I'm hoping that I can do this once every other week or so.  Hoping to.  (This is still a work in progress.  I often don't know when I truly need this time and I often shrug it off.  Don't we all?)
  5. Spend less time on the computer.  I typically spend some time on the computer in the morning while I drink my coffee/tea; some time while I eat lunch and then again after dinner.  The goal?  I need to limit it a bit more.  I'm going to set the timer and spend no more than a half hour in the morning and at lunch.  Then I can spend a bit more time on the computer after the girls go to bed.  (I can tell you that this has dropped a crazy amount in the last week.  I've been *mostly* facebook free with the exception of checking on a few friends via my hubby's account.)
  6. Do more crafty things with my girls.  I did quite a few things with them just before Christmas and I'd like to keep doing fun things with them.  They loved it!  (This has taken a wee break since things have been busy.  We'll need to get back into that now that fall is upon us.)
  7. Bake more with the girls.  They enjoy the baked goods that I make, so I'd like them to help more in the kitchen.  (Also, the heat of summer...doesn't exactly lend itself to lots of baking.  Again, fall is upon us and I'm looking forward to doing more.)
  8. Write one letter/card by hand a month.  I am modifying this one from this year as well.  A handwritten note can make someone's day so much better.  Have you tried it recently? *no I don't mean a personal e-mail either!!*  (I am doing really well with this.  It means a lot to me to get these notes out in the mail.  It probably means more to the people who receive them.)
  9. Continue taking my girls outside to do things like sledding, bike riding, and walking.  I have a blast too.  We've gone sledding several times already.  We just love it!  (We spent a crazy amount of time outside while we were home in NY.  If you could see how tan my girls are, you'd know it was true!  We even got to spend a day at the beach; this is a luxury we don't have here.)
  10. Express my feelings better with my friends, husband and girls.  *A repeat from this year.*  (Failing.)
  11. Read at least 3 books this next year.  I enjoy it...I need to do it for myself.  I need to make time for it.  (Also failing on this even though I have a couple of books fired up and ready to go.)
  12. Encourage others who are continuing their journey or starting a new journey.  It's a hard road, but one that is worth it!  (I hope I'm doing that and if I'm not...kick me in the pants so that I can do it in return!)
  13. Laugh at myself, laugh at my children and roll my eyes at my husband *another adjustment from one for this year.*  (I think I have the rolling my eyes at my husband down quite well.  Laughing at my children?  Still needs improvement.)
 So, that's where I'm at.  Life continues to throw curve balls.  And, I'm on a roller in which I'm yelling, "Please let me off!  I'm going to be sick!"  Except, no one hears me.

Don't give up friends.  I haven't, but sometimes we lose our way for a bit and need to fight, crawl, get back to where we need to be.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Half Marathon

Hi dear friends near and far.  It has been a long summer.  A busy one for sure!  We spent a month visiting family, friends and going to Ohio to visit more friends.  It was fantastic!  One unfortunate event?  I managed to exercise for a little over a week, but my right hamstring muscle started to seize on me.  It was painful.  And, while I stretched it, it didn't want to let go.  I babied it, but by doing that, caused my quad to get grumpy too.  So, I did some bike riding and surprisingly had some really great rides!  I even went on a bike ride with my dad.  He kiddingly asked if I needed him to bring the 'tow rope' with him.  I said no. :)  We logged a 13 mile ride together!

We came home, and I ran a couple of times.  Then, I took that Friday off and took on my first half marathon that Saturday (August 10th).  My plan going in was to run as much as I could.  I also planned to start with the walkers at 6am because I just didn't know what to expect.  Friday evening, I picked up my 'race' packet.  I knew full well that this wasn't a 'race' for me, but a scenic route that I had never taken before.  After getting home, I organized all of my gear for the morning.

Surprisingly, I slept fairly well.  I got up at 4:30, had a little something to eat, and as I got ready to put my chest strap with heart rate monitor on, my watch battery died!  Ugh!  Thankfully I had a back up *the kind where you put your fingers on the sensors.*  Eh, it would work.  I got into 'town' for my 'race' around 5:35-5:40 which gave me a few minutes to throw on some sunscreen and go to the bathroom one last time.  We were to hear a speech from the race director at 5:45.

While we stood there, the 'trackers' recorded our bibs into their 'computers' and the director talked.  He counted us down to 6 and we were off.  I started like I normally do, with my 5 minute brisk walk.  Then I turned it over to running: 3 minutes on and 2 minutes walking.  That was fine until I really hit the trail.  It was a very steep trail.  According to my map, it was only a 700ish foot gain overall, but it was enough to kick my pants.

With that said, I walked quite a bit.  When it leveled out, I ran.  But even in places where it had 'leveled out', it wasn't completely runable *is that even a word?*  There were large rocks in the path which made it difficult to actually run.  When I finally felt like I had gotten in my groove *around 9 1/2 miles oddly enough*, I was going down a small knoll *hill?* and my left knee started to give out.  All I could think of was, really??  I had stopped a couple of times to stretch, but now my knee was giving me grief.  It wasn't my right hamstring which had been giving me problems since being in NY.  It was my left knee.  Argh!!!

From there on out, I stopped making any attempt to run.  I was there to enjoy the views.  And they were magnificent!  At mile 11ish, an older lady passed me who had been walking the entire time.  As she passed me, she says, "It's all down hill.  It's burning up the quads!!!"  Ha!  At that moment, my quads were the least of my worries.  My knee didn't like going down hill.  A volunteer saw me around that point too and asked if I was okay and if I was in the half.  I told him that I was supposed to be running, but was definitely walking at that point.  He asked if I was okay and I told him that my knee was sore, but that I was going to make it.

I was going to make it!  I might crawl across that finish line, but I was going to finish!

I was getting close and I was able to hear the cheers of the finish line.  It was just me and my victory.  No one to give me that last boost.  But, I finished.  Time doesn't matter at this point, because I set a goal and accomplished it.

A couple of days after the 'race', I checked back in to see if they had posted the results and they had.

I didn't finish last.