Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A little bit of mental toughness

Somehow, I must have gotten a dose of this for Christmas as well.

One of my MAJOR problems with running is the lack of mental toughness that just seems so hard for me to come by.

Well, as the saying goes ~ sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

And for me this morning, that was a 10 mile run on my own.

Due to some illness (poor Lisa) and some schedule conflicts (Pat was hiking with relatives), this Pokey was left alone this morning to knock down 10 miles. I would have LOVED to postpone a long run until the weekend when I could run with my TRC buddies, but I am leaving town tomorrow and it just wasn't possible.

I realized how hard it is ~ mentally at least ~ to get out of bed on a cold morning, when it's dark outside and the rest of your family is still cozily sleeping when there ISN'T someone waiting on you. I so wanted to crap out on this run.....until the realization hit that this was my last long run before RNR. So up and out I went.

My goal was to knock down 10 miles....which would be my longest solo run ever. The longest I have managed by myself is about 6 miles. I was nervous about the prospect of being out on the road for 2 hours with just me, myself and I. Sometimes I am not the best company, and I am definitely not the best motivator.

It was cold ~ about 35 degrees at 8am ~ and I had some technical issues with clothing which kept me fussing with my waistpack and shirt for the first couple miles. I was tired, especially after a couple hectic days with the holiday chaos, and a TON of bad food....so I wasn't sure how the run would go. I just wanted to keep moving and knock down the miles.

Miles 1-3 were *okay*....that is always the toughest part of the run for me as I take a hecka long time to warm up.

Mile 3-4 was feeling good....I stopped after mile 4 at a grocery store for a bathroom break, to refill my water bottle and to eat a gel (Cytomax was the gel of choice today).

After I got moving after the break, Micheline called and I chatted with her for the next 1.3 miles. It was great ~ a running buddy that was a few hundred miles away!!! :P


I felt good until about mile 7.5 and the fatigue really started to set in. I hadn't really paid much attention to my buddy Garmie until about mile 8 (he was really just accompanying me for mileage-tracking purposes, not so much for pace). Once I got a look at Garmie at mile 8, everything changed.

Check out this Bad Boy:



Until mile 8, all my splits were UNDER 13 minutes, and for the first time I had potential to run the 10 miles in 2 hours or less ~ which has always been sort of an unspoken, mental goal that I have had....a benchmark of progress, so to speak.

Knowing that was the only thing that kept me from walking the last few miles home. The next couple miles were rough ~ as seem by the 13 min pace due to more walk breaks than earlier in the run ~ but I was moving in the right direction.

And as you can already tell, I didn't make the 2 hour cutoff. But you know what? I DON'T CARE! Do you see that last split?

11:40 baby............after NINE miles.

It took every ounce of every thing that I could muster...but I got it done. I kept remembering Pat telling me that THIS is where you improve as a runner....in the last couple miles when you want to quit. And then there was Lisa telling me....gee, if you can run 9 miles, certainly you can run 10. LOL :P So even in their absence, the people that motivate me continue to have impact.

Somehow today I managed to dig into a place that I had never touched before. Somehow I was able to grab some mental toughness and see the whole thing through. I ran the best 10 miles of my running *career* today, and just could not be any happier!!!!!!!

Long Run:

Distance: 10.0 miles

Time: 2:05:28

Average pace: 12:32


Can you see me with a big, goofy SMILE on my face??? It's been there all day :P


And now a BIG HUG to Lisa ~ my poor, sick running buddy ~ GET BETTER SOON WOMAN! We have a HM to run!!!! :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Wog

I love the term *Wog,* which I stole from Tigerlilly because sometimes it is just so indicative of what I do. I jog....and I walk. Therefore, I wog. I love it!

So this morning was my Christmas Eve wog......which was fantastic. I had planned on 3 miles, and finished up at 3.55 after all was said and done.

I took off out of the gates and knocked down the first mile at 11:44. Do you all get how fast this is for me? By myself, nonetheless? I was stoked. But then reality hit, and with a long run pending day after tomorrow, I figured it was best to not try for a 3 mile PR this morning after all :P

So I covered up Garmie......jogged a little, walked when I wanted/needed....and just enjoyed the morning out.

I was ECSTATIC to discover at the end of 3.55 miles that all my splits, even with a few walk breaks intermingled, were under 13 minutes. I mean ~ think about it ~ when one runs a 12 minute pace, and then takes walk breaks ~ splits are never under the 13 minute mark. Well, kids....this was today:

Mile 1: 11:44
Mile 2: 12:36
Mile 3: 12:51
.55 mile: 11:51 (pace)

Total: 3.55 miles
Time: 43:38
Average pace: 12:18

This tells me that my running pace has MUCH improved lately. I am close to saying I have knocked a minute off my pace from a few months back. What a good, good way to be winding up 2007.

Garmie has never, EVER surprised me in such a good way before. He must know it's Christmas :)

Happy Holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Quick run update

Yesterday morning I was reminded of why I run. It was 37 degrees and sunny when I left the house a little before 8am....and it was just beautiful.

This run was quite possibibly the best 5 mile, SOLO run I have ever had. Without my running buddies, I tend to walk a bit too much [insert embarrassed face here] but today was the exception.

I headed out slow and easy, and maintained an easy pace for the entire 5 miles. The goal was to be slow (even in Pokey terms) and keep moving. I walked only once, after the 3 mile mark, to adjust some clothing and take a water break. If not for that break, all my splits would be negative.

Slow, steady, consistent, WONDERFUL run:

Lap 1: 12:37
Lap 2: 12:30
Lap 3: 12:20
Lap 4: 13:28 (walk break)
Lap 5: 12:10

Total: 5.0 miles
Time: 1:03:11
Average pace: 12:37

Friday, December 21, 2007

G.I.G.O.

I am a bean counter by profession, and we have a saying in the accounting world:

“Garbage In, Garbage Out”

(or GIGO for short ~ we accountants love acronyms :p )

In my work world, it basically refers to transactional integrity. Meaning if you put garbage (bad data) into a system, you basically get garbage (bad data out). Makes sense, yes?

In my running world, it means that if you eat like crap for three days straight, you end up with a lousy, painful, exhausting run.

It is entirely too embarrassing to even account for a fraction of what I have put into my body over the last couple days….my blogging buddies would be disgusted. And the sad part is that I didn’t really care. I knew I was eating like a cow, and just didn’t care.

It took all the mental and physical energy that I could muster last night after a long, crazy week of busy days and late nights…..to really get out of the house and run. My plan called for 3-4 miles; I somehow managed to drag myself for 3.

Again, mentally….it is so refreshing. I wish I could find a way to run every day because I know it would keep my eating in check. My run last night was definitely an *atonement* of sorts for my bad choices during the week ~ I paid for them every step of the way.

But it’s okay ~ I got myself out of the house and ran.

I’ve now got to stay on track for 5 miles on Saturday; 5 miles on Monday and then a long run on the day after Christmas. During that time, I need to learn to control my mouth.

Part of me is leaning toward returning to Weight Watchers after the New Year. I need something to keep me on track. I need the constant kick in the tail.

Tonight is our friends’ Christmas party…..a huge deal that we look forward to every year. We have Mexican food, the kids decorate cookies and then we walk around the corner from our friends’ house to see the most awesome Christmas light display ever…..kind of like a Candy Cane Lane or Christmas Lane kind of setting. It has been our tradition for the past 10 years or so. I can’t wait. Today some of my stress subsided and I really feel like I am in the Christmas mood :)

So HAPPY HOLIDAYS everyone!!!! We’ll be up North after Christmas, but hopefully I’ll be able to still give everyone a yell before 2008!


Short , Seriously Slow Pokey Run
Distance: 3.0 miles
Mile 1: 13:05
Mile 2: 12:30
Mile 3: 12:05

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Officially *Official*

That's what Lisa made the Tumbleweed Running Club when she got Pat and I these great shirts as a surprise Christmas gift (pic stolen from Pat):


We MUST be an official running club now with cool digs like this. Thanks again so much Lisa!!!

Have I mentioned in a while that I have the best running buddies EVER? I don't know what I would do without them.

For those who are still wondering......IFG was defeated yesterday in the battle over pumpkin loaf, but claimed a victory later in the day over a batch of chocolate cookies. Yup....really gotta get running tonight :)


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

If pumpkin loaf could talk



I would be in BIG trouble right now.


Because a full loaf the delectable little treat is sitting on my desk today, staring at me….just begging to be eaten. One of my coworkers somehow thought it would be a nice gesture to bring me some of my favorite holiday food….not realizing that it would put IFG and Pokey into a heated battle for the rest of the day.

*sigh*


So far, I have resisted for 4 hours. Now it is just a battle of principle. I am such a SUCKER for sweets…….ugh, it’s horrible.

I need to run tonight, but probably won’t be able to until tomorrow.
Here’s my plan for the next week:

Wednesday ~ 3-4 miles
Thursday ~ 3 miles
Friday ~ off
Saturday ~ 5 miles
Sunday ~ off
Monday ~ 5 miles
Tuesday ~ Merry Christmas!
Wednesday ~ Long run with Pat & Lisa ~ actual mileage TBD: 10-14 miles
Thursday ~ off

Starting that Thursday, we will be up in Flagstaff until January 1, so I have some work to do to figure out a running schedule. I need a “longer” run of 6-8 miles over the weekend of the 29th, but it’s going to really suck having to knock that down by myself :( I’ll probably just have to have the family drop me off somewhere so I have no choice but to run home!

After the first of the year, we have one weekend run left – a 5 miler on 01/06/08 and then ba-da-bing: Rock N’ Roll!!! It’s crazy how fast that has snuck up on me.

Oh yeah……and I just have to say that I got the absolute BEST surprise Christmas gift from a fellow blogger yesterday…..but the catch is, there is still another one of these great gifts that still needs to be given….so MUM is the word until then, as to not ruin the surprise. I sooooooo want to post a picture, but I guess it will have to wait. My Surprise Santa ~ you know who you are ~ THANK YOU again! I LOVE IT and can’t wait to show it off!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Frosty

I don't care what grief Pat gives us about living in AZ, while Mr. Marathon was snug in his warm bed, Lisa and I ~ along with the great company of her friend T ~ headed out at 6 am when the temperature was a CHILLY 37 degrees!!!!

And you KNOW it's cold when after 8 miles your running buddy looks over and says "WOW....you have FROST on you!!!" My black shirt was frosty alright, and so was Lisa's visor. So I think we can fully substantiate that it was COLD today :)

To help Lisa out, I'll post splits from Garmie....but for this run, it's also important to note the actual running pace for the 6 miles that we ran with T.....since she is a speedster, and my sheer goal this morning was to be able to keep up. We did R7W1 intervals, but our MAX running pace was CRUISING! (at least for this slow poke) So while the overall workout pace was still 12:45.....check this out:

Lap 1: 13:38 (from my house to meet Lisa - includes walking warmup)
Lap 2: 8:00 (.55 mile walking to meet T)
Lap 3: 11:42 (here we go..... running pace ~ 9:48)
Lap 4: 12:16 (running pace ~ 9:50)
Lap 5: 12:19 (running pace ~ 10:21)
Lap 6: 12:59 (running pace ~ 10:37)
Lap 7: 12:59 (running pace ~ 10:10)
Lap 8: 12:39 (running pace ~ 10:09)
Lap 9: 13:04 (running pace ~ 10:11)
Lap 10: 5:05 (.45 mile ~ running pace ~ 10:24)

Overall run: 9.0 miles ~ average pace 12:45

AWESOME RUN!!!!!

When I get more time, I'll post some of my thoughts about running in the cold, in shorts and unable to feel your thighs....and the potential consequences :(

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,
I am sorry I wrote this letter so late. What I wish for for Christmas is a mini Little Tikes quad for my brother Trevor, and an autographed Steve Nash jersey. Also a Steeler bracelet. I would also like a play kitchen for my brother, and I would like a digital Under Armor watch. Another last thing is an electric guitar. I promise that I will never forget the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Christ.

Thank you!
Love,
Dylan


I found this tucked in my purse this morning and it truly warmed my heart. It reminds me to be thankful of what wonderful children I have and how truly good their hearts are.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I.GOT.IT


They say to be careful what you ask for because you just might get it....so I have to confess:

I GOT IT.

Am I over myself? Not quite yet, but I’m working on it.

I guess this could be termed a FUNK just like many of us bloggers have been in and out of over the past few weeks. I’m just not usually funky, so it’s hard for me to know what do with myself when I get stuck in one.

Last night was probably the worst I have felt in a long time. I was exhausted and sluggish, and just over all crabby. Dylan had a band concert, which was GREAT…and afterwards we went out for Mexican food with the grandparents and all. I ate horribly….then came home, got the kids to bed and then wanted to crawl in bed myself. I felt so incredibly LAZY.

But as usual, I decided to check blogs first…..

I read all the amazing comments from my fellow bloggers, and it is always good to know that others are pulling for you and that many also have an IFG (girl or guy) that drops in for visits now and then. It’s always good to know that you’re not alone in the constant struggle for weight loss and fitness.

Micheline has ridden this road with me before, and her dissertation is what I constantly used to get via email when I was having a “moment.” It’s funny how differently people are motivated by different things ~ Mich has known me long enough to know that the best way to get me moving is TOUGH LOVE. Can you tell she’s a lawyer? She’s awfully wordy, eh? :P

All my newer friends were a bit nicer….except for Eric, whose email to me essentially said “what is all this crap?” LOL…you guys are all da bomb!

The final slap upside the head for me came last night when I read Lisa’s blog. And I quote:

….. I didn't want to get this far and then mess it up…..


She’s talking about RNR, and how hard she has worked. And lemme tell you, the woman has worked HARD.

We are supposed to run together on Sunday and it hit me like a ton of bricks……..I also will NOT be the one to mess it up for Lisa. She needs a running buddy on Sunday morning at 6am that is ready to rock and roll and knock down some serious mileage. NOT someone who is lazy and lethargic from a week of lousy eating and no running. She doesn’t need a running partner to bring her down and compromise her training. She needs someone that is equally motivated, focused and committed.

So that being said, the choice was easy. I got myself dressed and at 9pm headed out to the garage to dust off the dreadmill and get myself moving. I was tired, but told myself (outloud, I believe) that even walking for 30 minutes would be better than what IFG was taunting me to do ~ which was go lay in bed and forget about it.

So I hopped on and went. An easy jog at 4.5mph for the first mile; another easy 2 miles at 5.0. A little walking cool down and all became well in my world again.

I was totally mentally refreshed. A 3 mile jog and a good nights sleep, and like I said – I am almost over myself. I feel much better today.


Thanks for the kick start!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I'm havin' an issue over here!

To steal an all-too-applicable phrase from Laura’s blog – my Inner Fat Girl has come to visit.

We’ll call her IFG for short – and I’m hoping that *visit* is the correct term to use and that she isn’t here to stay.

I know for sure that IFG has taken hold of me this week, especially since I sit here typing and munching a Fairytale Brownie – my third one this week. Ever had one of these things? DON’T. They take hold of your taste buds and your psyche and never let go. They are evil little squares of sugar and fat.

I have been an emotional eater all week. And it just fosters the cycle that I set up for myself. I feel like crap and am stressed ~ so I eat like crap ~ then I feel like bigger crap. And the cycle repeats itself until I give IFG the boot and get back on track.

Sometimes that takes longer than others, and this week it has been especially long. I haven’t run since Sunday, but I sure have managed to consume enough calories to sustain a small country.

I have looked in the mirror all week and been disappointed in how my clothes fit, yet I refuse to do anything to kick IFG to the curb. Instead, I keep feeding her and she continues to keep me from exercising….and I end up HERE. Stressed, tired and frustrated.

I haven’t even been near the scale – that would just make me feel worse. It would remind me that I am still 20 pounds over my goal weight and am doing nothing to get myself closer to it.

Of course, I could just sit here and be mad at Marcy….who is able to eat like crap and still be a skinny little thing :P YUP, that’s what I think IFG and I will do this afternoon…..sit here and be disgruntled.

Sooner or later Micheline will come over to my blogland and bust my chops and tell me to send IFG packing. I might even get a much-needed kick in the arse.



Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Official Pokey Sighting

Move over Big Foot, Lochness Monster, UFO’s and Santa Clause – there has been an even more unbelievable sighting in a heavily populated region of Arizona!!!!

Yes, folks – it was the first, official POKEY SIGHTING to be reported in the area.

It was recorded just over a week ago and the source, although highly credible, felt it necessary to confirm the sighting with the subject involved. This is the account of how it went down:


Observer: Hey….do you run in the area of [insert cross streets here]?

Pokey: Yes, I do. Why…did you almost run over me with your car? [both parties chuckle]

Observer: No, we just moved to that area and were driving home the other night and thought we saw you running down the street. “Bob” said, “hey, isn’t that Dylan’s mom?”

Pokey: [laughs] Yeah, it was me. Was I by myself?

Observer: Yes, and I thought it was strange because it was dark.

Pokey: Yeah, I run at night alone. Crazy, huh?



Some more running conversation ensued, more pleasantries were exchanged and we parted company. This was at Dylan’s football party last evening, and the woman was the wife of his Line Coach.

As the first public sighting with someone actually be able to identify me while trudging down the road (which is a challenge cause I move so fast and can sometimes appear blurry), I was happy with the conversation.

She used the word RUN….I acknowledged….and she didn’t even look astounded! Lucky for me, she must have spotted me at a time when I was actually moving and not stopped on the side of the road to fuss with my Garmin or copping a walk break.

I left the party last night realizing that for the first time, I wasn’t embarrassed to admit to someone that yes, I RUN. She didn’t seem surprised by this admission, and it felt good. It was different from the first few times….way back now…when I was too embarrassed to tell anyone (outside my family) that I was training for a road race. Then when I DID tell people, they were consistently surprised. After all, I didn’t *look* like a runner. And honestly, I still don’t.

But I DO and I AM. And I hope that more people I know see me propelling myself down the street and ask me about it….just so I can tell them that I AM A RUNNER.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday Tag

Get to know your RBF's.....holiday style!! You can insert any holiday of your preference in the list below to let us all know how you celebrate this time of the year! Then TAG five of your other RBF's so we can get to know them too!


Here it goes...


1. Wrapping paper or gift bag? Both – but I don’t do bows

2. Real tree or artificial? Fake all the way....I'm fussy about pine needles in my carpet ;)

3. When do you put up your tree? Thanksgiving weekend

4. When do you take down your tree? Hubby takes it down after New Years when he is home and I got back to work :(

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes – but only the lowfat kind

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Barbie Townhouse and Corvette

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes

8. Hardest person to buy for? My parents and in-laws

9. Easiest person to buy for? The kids!

10. Worst Christmas gift you've ever received? Nothing comes to mind...I'm pretty easy.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail

12. Favorite Christmas movie? Christmas Vacation and Elf (we've watched them both several times already!)

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Early December

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I can neither confirm nor deny, Senator.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Pumpkin bread and chocolate fudge (although not at the same time)

16. White or colored lights? White

17. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night

18. Traveling for Christmas or stay home? Stay home

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet Cupid, Donner, Blitzen & RUDOLPH. My kids have only listened to that song 3000 times so far this season ;)

20. Angel or Star on top of tree? Star

21. Open presents Christmas Eve or Morning? Both...my side of the family opens on Christmas Eve; hubby's on Christmas morning; our family opted for the Christmas morning tradition.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Holiday traffic, rude people and those who forget the real meaning of the holidays

23. What I love most about Christmas? Making a birthday cake for Baby Jesus with my kids on Christmas Eve and watching their excitement on Christmas morning!


TAG......you're IT ~~~~ Lisa, Pat, Micheline, Nancy and Wes!!!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

5 on the 9th

WOW, it's been a while. It's crazy trying to catch up with everyone after being MIA for a week, but I'm trying....

This week was crazy. I flew out Monday morning to North Carolina for a week of hustle and bustle business and ultra exhaustion. My weeks spent at our plant out there are filled with 12+ hour work days, combined with late night dinners...and often, a few too many martinis :P This week was no different, except we snuck in a couple of late mornings in to the office and it made it more manageable. I cant exactly complain while spending a week at the Duke Mansion in Charlotte.....it was fantastic. The holiday dinner was taking place there on Thursday night, and I was traveling with my boss (our CEO) and he didn't want to have to change hotels mid-week. So he twisted my arm and we stayed in luxury all week.....instead of my usual Hampton Inn or Mariott Courtyard.

Friday morning we hopped a plane back to Phoenix...arriving around noon and giving me just enough time for a short nap together with my main little man and then heading out to the AZ office holiday dinner on Friday night. This time it was the Ocean Club.....which again is another place that I would be crazy to complain about having to go to. After an 8:30 dinner, my company put us up at the Westin Kierland (are you having any pity for me yet? ;) and I think I passed out there before my head even hit the pillow. Hubby and I woke up Saturday morning, had an early lunch and spent the rest of the day knocking out some Christmas shopping for the boys.

It goes without saying that it was sure nice to pick up my boys and spend a quiet night at home after a long week. I am glad that I don't travel all that often for business (only 4-5 times a year) because I just wouldn't make it.

So after a week of little sleep and a full-on eating fest, I somehow managed to get out of the house this morning for a short run. I hadn't run a step all week as I had planned, so this morning's agenda was just a 5 mile easy run.

It was about 40 degrees when I left my house (chilly for AZ) and I had waaaaaaay overdressed. But imagine my surprise when I stopped about 1.5 miles into the run to adjust some clothing and LO AND BEHOLD......who do I see? LISA LISA LISA!!!! What a sight for my sore running eyes!!! Now this crazy woman had already run 9.5 miles, but somehow agreed to trudge on with me for a portion of my run. We ran almost 3 miles together and then parted ways so Lisa could get home on time. Silly woman, I KNEW she wouldn't walk the half mile back home like she had said...and sure enough, she pulled the Half Mary!! AWESOME Lisa!!!! :P

My run was pretty much so-so......we walked quite a bit during the middle couple miles...all the while Lisa apologizing. She must have forgotten that she has alread run 11 miles and DESERVED the walk breaks......I was just mooching off them out of opportunity :P

So although I missed my 8 on the 8th, I managed 5 on the 9th :) Given that I hadn't run for an entire week, I wasn't too disappointed.


I was pretty pleased that I was able to kick it up a notch on the home stretch....that's like sprinting for Pokey!!!!

I

have no idea yet what this week will bring.....my schedule is full every night except Monday, so there isn't much availability for running :( I'll squeeze a run in when I can and hope for the best. Lisa and I chatted and I think the TRC might try for a 12-13 miler on Saturday. I can't wait to hear all about how Pat ROCKED the Fiesta Bowl Half Mary today :)

Short Run

Distance: 5.0 miles

Time: 1:01:59

Average pace: 12:23

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A whole lotta RAIN and RUNNING

Yep, this was the gang this morning...


Of course, Lisa made us wear the bike helmets. Sometimes these triathletes are just SO demanding....


Lisa, Pat and I hit the mudbog this morning, also known lovingly as the canals.....and somehow managed to knock down 11 miles together in the wind, rain and (sometimes) mud.



This of course, was despite my whining and the pained look on my face from about mile 4 and beyond. My legs still had a rough time, and I fatigued very early in to the run. But as any good running buddies would do, the dynamic duo pushed me trudge on. Just like the US Postal Service....not rain, sleet or snow could stop the TRC this morning.


Pat took off like a bandit and held our first mile at an 11:50 pace. Mile 2 was 12:08. Yes, funny enough, these are the fastest 2 miles I have ever run in my life. It was good to find out during the car ride home that Lisa had also taken notice of our increased starting pace and shared some initial concern! But I am the Pokey, so the rest of the miles became much more indicative of our typical LSR pace. And I take full responsbility for the CRASH during Mile 10 :P My buddies had to accommodate some additional walking on my behalf.



And since I was in charge of Garmie this morning, here's the skinny on the mudbog run:




I think I am going to take next weekend off from a long run.....first, because I'm not able to run (schedule wise) on Saturday morning, and second because I think I need a rest. Stop laughing all you serious runners, but for some reason I think my legs are not getting well-rested enough between long runs. Lisa said that maybe I didn't rest long enough after the HM?? I dunno....but I think a break is in order. I am traveling this week also, and won't get much (if any) running in....so I think a 5 or 6 miler next weekend will suit me just fine. I'm sure the TRC will have another long run together the weekend after.

BIG thanks to my running buddies for another great run, and a whole ton of laughs!


Happy weekend!



11.01 miles


2:25:40


13:14 pace


**Okay, so I stole the picture from Pat too :P


When running in the dark, dreary rain, it is always important to have a running buddy with neon shorts :P




Friday, November 30, 2007

Rain, rain go away

Come again another day...
The Tumbleweed Running Club wants to play...




or at least get a 10-miler done :P

It never rains in AZ....except today. So I found us some motivation for our long run tomorrow:

Walking gets you wetter — primarily because you’re in the rain longer.

Of course, it depends: how tall you are, how broad your shoulders are, how deep you are from front to back, how fast you run and walk, how slanted the rain is, and how much rain’s coming down.

Doug Craigen, a physicist from Winnipeg has done the math and programmed these factors into a calculator. A typical scene: a 5 foot 4 inch person with naturally curly hair, bad knees, in a blue fleece jacket reluctantly opens an office door. The red 4Runner sits 200 yards away in the pelting rain.

Options:

1. walk (3 mph, 1.3 m/s) and have 7.5 teaspoonfuls of rain splatter hair and jacket.
2. run twice as fast and get only 4.8 spoonfuls.


Easy decision, despite bad knees. Run!

That’s what a couple of meteorologists from the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. found when they actually performed the experiment. They dashed 109 yards (100 m) through the Carolina rain and then weighed their wet clothes. The walker (Thomas Peterson) got 40% wetter than the runner (Trevor Wallis). Peterson and Wallis reported their results in the peer-reviewed Weather journal.

Walkers get wetter.

Source: http://www.wonderquest.com/rain-run-big-guns-universe-begins.htm


Who knew, right? AMAZING.

So no walking tomorrow, TRC. I want to stay 40% drier :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

\wurk\

1. work

Pronunciation:

\wurk\

Function:
noun

1: activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something: a: sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result



Mr. Webster and I were definitely on the same page when he made this the first-listed definition of the word WORK.

Now, if you were reading the Pokey Unabridged Dictionary instead, it would say



1. work

Pronunciation:
\wurk\


Function:
noun


1: see RUN.



Total: 4.0 miles
Pace: too slow for mention

Monday, November 26, 2007

Exhausted

Just some quick stats on my short, slooooooooow run tonight (do I have any other kind?) It was quite a day and it took every ounce of energy and motivation I had to make it out of the house tonight.

And I'm only posting splits to appease Wes and his request for negativity ;) Not fabulous to have negative splits on only a sub-3 mile run, but I'll take what I can get :P

Lap 1: 12:43
Lap 2: 12:22
Lap 3: 6:42 (.6 mile/11:11 pace)

Total: 2.6 miles / 12:14 pace

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Testing, testing...

1........2..............3.................anyone there?

I am playing with my new toy (yes, Santa came early :P) and trying to check out some data from today's great run with Lisa and Pat.

10.35 miles
2:15:54
13:07 avg pace

Be back later with the scoop :P

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oh, happy day

Know what this is?





It is a 2nd place trophy in the State of AZ football championship!!!!


Yes, they lost on Saturday...to a much better Tucson team. Not a bad trophy for second place, eh?

BUT WAIT!

Just when life was seemingly back to normal......we find out today that our team was offered the ONE wildcard slot for Nationals. ONE wildcard in the entire country. Could we turn it down? Of course not.

Off to Florida we go. Flights are booked and plans are being made. After today, I know who my good friends are ~~~ the ones who promised to visit me in the looney bin after I get committed.


As an equal opportunity parent, kudos also go out to my youngest son (who turned 3 in August) for his ability to say goodbye to his night-time companion:

Yesssssssssssirrrrrrrrrrrreeeee.....we are out of pull ups at night! He told me tonight that he has plans to "pack them all up" and take them to his baby cousin (who is 18 months old). My baby is growing up.


So overall....a productive few days since my last post.


Me? Oh yes.........just a 3 mile run on Monday evening at a pokey-pace. I don't have plans to run again until Thanksgiving morning, where I will conduct my own Turkey Trot (sorry, Pat...can't make the one in Mesa afterall) and hope to get in another good 5 miles. Then a 10 miler on Saturday with the TRC should top off my week. WOWZA...that would mean 23 mile week! SWEEEEEEEEEEET!


And if I don't make it back here before then...


Have yourselves a great ol' TURKEY DAY!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Recovery

"Hi, my name is Pokey. I am a half-marathoner (tee, hee!) It has been 5 days since my last run."

(dang, that sounded nice!)

So I guess that means I am officially *in recovery* right?

Well, if recovery is always as good as it was this morning, heck...I'll run a half-marathon EVERY week! :P

I had a FANTASTIC 5-mile run this morning. Other than the fact that I had to run it solo...just me and my iPod....I can honestly say it was the best 5 miler I've ever run. Remember the girl who was sweating bullets the night before her first *group* run? The solo runner who couldn't fathom the idea of actually running with other people? Well, that same girl was sure missing some running buddies this morning :( SHOCKING, I know.

So if you think that's a big shock, hold on to your seats because what I'm going to say next is going to make plenty of readers fall over in shock ----- I ran the WHOLE thing.

I took one brief walk break (no more than a minute or so) at my turnaround point 2.5 miles out......and even ran through stop lights.

Hold on a minute....pigs must be flying here....

OLD POKEY: "Oh look, a red light. Cooooool, I can sneak in a break. I'll just stop and wait for the light to change....maybe 3 or 4 rotations." :P

NEW & IMPROVED POKEY: "Crap, a red light. I'll just keep running until I get a break in traffic and I'll cross then."

I felt so good, I can't even explain it. Of course it was a slow run (duh), but I could tell from the get go that it was going to be a good one. My body felt great, including my legs....even the fiesty calf muscle from last Sunday behaved itself nicely.

I can't even remember the last time I ran that far continously. It was SPECTACULAR!!! I think I will plan on staying in recovery forever then :P

Next week the TRC resumes with a long run together.....positive vibes to Pat who is in Vegas this weekend, trotting around like a turkey or something.... he's a maniac.

So now I'm off.....Tucson today, Flagstaff tomorrow. There is no keeping up with the Pokey this week!!!! Happy running everyone!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Valium, anyone?


No wait...I don't mean do you want some.......I mean do you HAVE some???

For ME!!!!!


Sadly,I don't have the time or the brain power to even whine about what a crazy week this has been so far. So I will just let out a big, ol' ******SIGH*******

There. I feel much better. :)

I am ITCHING to run today, it's just a matter of if I can find some spare time. I could REALLY use it for some stress relief. I am hoping to get a quick run in tonight.....then a 5ish miler on Saturday morning before we head to Tucson.

We will be in Tucson on Saturday for D's football game (regional champs this time), and then heading to Flagstaff on Sunday for our ride on the Polar Express. Anyone ever been on this thing? I hear it's fantastic. The kids are really excited.

I've been trying to get around to posting for the last couple of days just to say THANK YOU to everyone here in BlogLand that has supported me so much in the past few weeks...and especially all the support in the past couple days following Big Sur. You guys have no idea how much all your kind words and encouragement have meant to me. I could not have found a better group of running friends anywhere else! You guys ROCK! :)

And as promised, here's a few more pics of Big Sur.....


Pre-race bliss:



A picture of the, AHEM..... "flat" course at Big Sur. Anyone besides me see the hill we're climbing here? This was at the the turnaround point between mile 6 and 7.....also known as the "Longest Mile of My Life."




"Hey look, Micheline....we get to run downhill now!!!!"



Almost to the finish....


AHHHHHHHH......FINALLY!
>
Can you say "DONE?" :)



This concludes this episode of the Big Sur Half Marathon for 2007.

Until next year :)


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

13.1 Lessons Learned at Big Sur - The Race Report

I am back....alive and kicking! Here is my first pass at a race report....hope it makes sense! Sit down....it's a long one! :P


Pre-Race

The weekend was fast and furious just like I had expected. We had D’s championship football game at 10:30 am on Saturday morning and our flight to San Jose at 2:30.

The boys played an awesome game and won the championship that was rightfully theirs - a close game that came right down to the wire. Rick and I made it down to the field to celebrate with the team, watch them get their trophies and then literally ran out at 12:30 amidst all the post-game chaos happening on the track. I hated to leave…but duty called. We got to the airport with plenty of time, hopped on our flight and landed a couple hours later in San Jose.

Micheline and Chet had driven down from Reno earlier that morning, so they had spent the day playing tourist in Monterey. We met up at our hotel, got checked in and headed to Fisherman’s Wharf for dinner. We ate at a great little seafood restaurant there (forgot the name) and had a great time doing some catching up.

After dinner we walked around the wharf in the rain. Yup, you heard it – RAIN. The forecast for the weekend had totally flipped out – they were predicting rain and 50 degree temps for Sunday morning. This obviously called for some wardrobe reconsideration, and luckily both Micheline and I had come prepared for the occasion.

We didn’t spend much time out and about, but instead went back to the hotel and hung out in the lobby for a short while. Then it was decided that a good night’s sleep was probably in all our best interests. Micheline and I reviewed the game plan for the morning and called it a night.

Back in our room, I got all my gear together. My pack with gels, band aids, body glide….the works. I got my bib pinned on my favorite running shorts, after they promised they would behave themselves in the morning. It was a close call – I had a pair of Nikes waiting in the wings for an opportunity, but they got sidelined for my old favorites :P

I think lights were out by 9:30 p.m. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz............


Race Morning

I woke up at 2 am. Nope, still not time to get up.

Then 4am (which was actually 5am my time). Okay….there was no point in going back to sleep for another 45 minutes, so I got out of bed around 4:30am. And since I was up, I decided to be weird and take a shower. I know you are asking – who the heck showers before a run? Well, I do. It wasn’t so I would be squeaky clean, but more so that I would be AWAKE.

I had a moment of concern after my shower when I realized how humid the weather really was. The minute I got dressed, my clothes stuck to me…including my shorts. This made me worried about chafing….especially if it was going to be pouring raining outside. I opted not the lube up with body glide just yet, and just see how it went.

I drank my Starbucks Iced Coffee, got my stretching done, pee’d 30 times, drank some water, slapped on my layers of clothes (jog bra, Under Armor short sleeve, Under Armor long sleeve (which I stole from my son!), waist pack, ipod, sunglasses on the top of my head, shoes and socks….. and headed downstairs to meet Mich and Chet.

The lobby was flooded with people. My dear hubby, who had never been in a race environment, was amazed at the crowd. Everyone was spread out all over the floor, stretching, eating, drinking, pacing….you could find just about a little of everything.

Mich and Chet were already down there – people watching, of course. One has to remember that both of them are regulars in the ultra running community – which is often very different than the road racing community. Micheline had already scouted out our starting corral, which was literally right outside of the hotel front lobby.

The best news of the morning was that there was NO rain. It had rained all night, but had cleared out by 6am. It was still chilly, and quite windy – but at least we weren’t going to get soaked. That was a very good turn of events.

We chatted for a while and I took some good hearted abuse from Chet for being a Nervous Nelly. :) Funny thing is – I WASN’T nervous. Not that morning at least. I had spent weeks being nervous about this thing, yet I honestly felt calm during that last half hour before the race. I did have a case of the nervous-pee syndrome, but that was about it.

Micheline popped some Nuun into her water bottle, I ate a Chocolate Gu, downed it with some water/Gatorade mix and we headed outside about 6:50 am.


The Starting Line

5000 people – need I say more?

We were corral *D* - the last corral before the walkers.

7:00 we heard the hooting and hollering from the front of the pack. Our group started moving slowing toward the starting line.


Miles 1 & 2

I felt great. We headed out at a decent pace, and clocked our first mile just a few seconds over a 12 minute pace. It was good – not too fast (chuckle, chuckle) and not too slow.

The second mile was good too – except that the PortaJohns were calling both of our names. That’s the only issue with pre-race Starbucks. :)

So at the end of mile 2, we took a bathroom stop. This was also the point where we shed the long sleeves. As I’ve mentioned many times, I am a sweating fool. By this point, I was already burning up. It felt good to lose the layer and keep on moving. We tied the long sleeve stuff around our waists, and headed out.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this was also the first of many occasions where I doused myself with red Gatorade as a result of not being properly accustomed to my new water bottle. I had been using an Ultimate Direction bottle, which does not require any closing after a drink. The Amphipod, however – not so much.

Strapped to my right hand, my newest addition spewed Gatorade at me when I reached up to re-insert my headphones after the clothing change. Micheline got a good chuckle, and I headed off with a stream of red fruit punch down my shoulder and arm.


Miles 3 through 5

There isn’t much that sticks in my mind during this period of the run. I think we were about the 5 mile mark when I actually voiced to Micheline that I was feeling really good. The first couple miles were in town; this segment got us out to the coast. We chatted about the great houses along the route, many of which had spectators on the front porch, hot coffee in hand, cheering on the runners.

We had started doing some intervals after our bathroom break – R2/W30sec – and it seemed to suit us well for a while. There were MANY runners doing the interval system, and watches could be heard beeping on and off from the start.

However, I do know that it was in this segment of mileage where the foundation for some of my trouble started.

It is just a little four-letter word that is very new to me.


HILL


I remember very clearly trying to shush Lisa on our last long run when she and Pat were discussing the meaning of a “rolling course.” I guess in my brain I knew what that meant for me, I think I was just in denial.

So there isn’t a pretty way for me to say it – the hills kicked my butt.

Ahhhh, the great Equalizer, as my dear running partner with no training called it. Micheline is a good hill runner – I am not. She knew very well that this would be where my training fell short, and hers picked up. And although she has pushed and prodded me to get some hill training done in the past…and I didn’t listen…. she was kind enough to not even say “I told you so,” even after I gave her the opening to do so :P

Now that we were out on the coastline, the hills were plentiful. Not half-mile hills….but “rolling” hills. Thus came the realization of what that term really meant.

The only option for me at this point was to walk the hills, and then run down the other side – even if it meant running through planned intervals. It worked well on the first couple hills – and Micheline pointed out that we even made up our time on the downslide – but that quickly changed.


Mile 6 & 7

I can honestly say that the mile between 6 and 7 was the LONGEST MILE of my LIFE.

The sun had come out, so it had warmed up a bit. I was HOT.

The turnaround point was just past Mile 7, and the hills continued to beat me up. We did intervals when we could, but I walked most hills.

Our dear, sweet hubbies were waiting for us at the top of the hill at the turnaround point. Rick has a picture of us as we were approaching that pretty much sums up all my feelings about hill running.

This was me

:(


This was Micheline


:)


I’ll have the real pictures tomorrow.


We said hello to the hubbies, handed off our long sleeve stuff, got in a quick kiss and turned to head back down the hill. We were a little more than half way done.


Miles 8 though 10


These miles were like déjà vu. Same hills, only from the other side.

This is where I really remember starting to feel tired. As I would later regret, I remember saying to Micheline “I actually wish I could say something was hurting, but it doesn’t. I’m just plain tired.”

I ate another Gu somewhere along this stretch too, and was always willing to partake in Gatorade and water at the aid stations.

We trucked along…I think this is where I started singing a little “Prince” music to Micheline. You know the song – “The Pope”????? Yeah, that was the one. And the true friend that she is, she didn’t even complain :)

I continued to douse myself with Gatorade after each drink since I couldn’t remember to close the spout. By this point, I had red streaks down my right leg and into my socks as a result. My trusty partner was SUPPOSED to remind me to close it afterwards – but I guess she had other things on her mind!

Maybe she was too busy trying to tune out my whining….which although I had promised her wouldn’t happen…had commenced right before the turnaround point. Micheline is a ROCK….never complains, just stays focused on the goal and moves on. Me? I can complain with the best of them. Most of it starts when I start to get pissed at myself for some reason or another. In this case, it was because I was mad at myself for letting the hills get the best of me. I was also mad that I was so tired after only 7 miles. I was mad that 2 weeks earlier I had knocked down a great 10 ½ miles at home, yet it didn’t seem do be doing much for me here at good ol’ Big Sur.


Miles 10 though 13.1

You know just when you think it can’t get any worse?

Never, never, EVER think it. Because just when you do – IT DOES.

Just past the 10 Mile mark, I had a tremendous cramp / spasm in my left calf. The same spasm I had a month or so ago while running at Tumbleweek. Of course, this time it was the cramp X 10.

This is where the race started to fall apart for me – both mentally, and physically.

I would run when I could, and then walk when the cramp started up again. The problem was – not even walking felt good. It hurt when I ran; it hurt when I walked. There was no getting away from it.

Mentally I wanted to try to just keep running, but my body wouldn’t listen. I also knew that if I pushed through the cramp too far, I would end up on the ground in some serious pain. So when my calf screamed “WALK!!!!!”…………we walked.

And we walked A LOT from Mile 10-13.

It could try and say I had a positive attitude – but that would be a lie. The goal was just to find a way to make it to the finish.

Most readers of this race report already know me well enough to know that I am okay with my Pokey nature, and that pace times typically don’t mean much to me right now. I am usually okay with whatever I run, however fast I run it.

But in my mind, I wanted this race to be under 3 hours. It was the unwritten, mental goal I had set for myself. Anything under 3 hours would be FANTASTIC.

I had already voiced to Micheline somewhere during that final stretch that I figured we weren’t going to make it. Of course, Micheline had a much better perspective and shrugged it off. She wanted to finish – period.

We were just over 2 miles out when we passed a time checkpoint. I almost fell over when I heard the call: 2:28 and some change. And that was GUN time.

I remember looking at Micheline – “WHAT????” And then came the thought – we CAN finish this bad boy in under 3 hours. I figured it was a no-brainer that we could cover the 2ish miles in the 30 minutes. There was definitely a big glimmer of hope in my brain!

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. My body apparently didn’t share the same time goal with my brain!

We finished in 3:06:18 – with a ton of walking even in the last 2 miles. Even in the last QUARTER mile – my leg just couldn’t hang on.

I felt like a bit of a schmuck for having to walk in the last quarter mile of a half marathon, particularly when the finish line is in direct sight. I thought I could pull off the *mind over matter* technique, but it wasn’t meant to be.

It was hobble a little, shuffle a little, hobble a little, shuffle a little…..all the way to the finish.

Although she could have easily made it on her own, Micheline wouldn’t run ahead and finish with out me. Crazy, crazy woman. We stuck out those last 3 miles – just the three of us…..me, Micheline, and my twisted up calf muscle. We were quite a threesome!


Post Race

I can’t lie to you all and say that I am not disappointed.

But I am also THRILLED at the same time.

It’s all about keeping a balanced perspective. I FINISHED my very first half marathon, and that is an accomplishment that I won’t allow myself to diminish.

Are there a hundred things I wish would have gone differently? Of course. So I’ll tackle those next time.

The one thing I did come away from Big Sur with is the confidence that I know I can do much better at the RNR in January. If I can hit 3:06 at Big Sur…..I know I can knock a ton of time off once I’m back in nice, flat, non-hilly AZ!!! :)

And then soon, I will head back to Big Sur and tackle it again. I don’t know if it will be 2008 or not, but I certainly won’t let that course kick my tail twice in this lifetime!

Also in my favor, I came home feeling good physically. My muscles felt tight on Sunday evening and Monday morning, but not what I would even call sore. My shorts cooperated and did not ride or chafe in any noticeable manner. And since we are all friends here, I can honestly tell you that my only real issue after this race was limited to underwear issues. Without going into too much detail (I’ll leave the crotch conversations to Marcy), I’ll just say that strategic placement of Body Glide may have done me some good. Next time, I just might listen to Chet and his expertise on Body Glide application!


My Leg

All is well in the world of my screwed up calf muscle. It actually felt normal again within a couple hours after the race.

Chet thinks the cause was dehydration; I have no idea. It was either dehydration, or the hills, or a combo of both.

If it was dehydration, I am not sure what I could have done about it. I thought I was sufficiently hydrated before the race, and certainly know that my stomach couldn’t have held any more water or Gatorade than I force on it during the race. This will be something I have to contemplate more before RNR.



So there it is folks – the race report! Thanks for the emails, comments and phone call (I think Lisa thought I was dead, LOL!) to check up on me…..we didn’t get home until midnight last night so updating my blog wasn’t exactly on the schedule.

So I think this is where I get to jump up and down:

I FINISHED!!! I FINISHED!!!! I FINISHED!!!!


3:06:18
14:13 min average pace


Here are a few pics from the Marathon site (sorry, can’t make them bigger…but you get the idea). I will have our own pics uploaded tomorrow!




Thanks Micheline, my dear friend, for a great first race! SMOOCH! :)


Lessons Learned

1. Hills require work – be trained!

2. Amphipod water bottles are great, but will drip Gatorade down your leg if you forget to close the spout

3. Don’t count on your running partner to remind you to close your water bottle

4. Not all Port-a-Johns are evil

5. Body Glide should be applied in the most strategic of spaces

6. Never underestimate the value of good company on a long run

7. Baby washcloths make great snot / sweat rags

8. Sometimes the body just has a mind of its own

9. Your oldest running shorts will always come through for you

10. It is possible to sweat like a horse in 55 degree weather

11. Hydration is key

12. A half-marathon is a fully attainable goal

13.1 Sometimes finishing is all that matters!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Deep Running Thoughts @ T-Minus 2 Days

I am in such a strange mood since yesterday. It is starting to sink in that I am 2 days away from my very first half-marathon. It has made me nostalgic, philosophical and nervous all at the same time. I just need to get out some of my thoughts.

Last night I got my final run done before Sunday. I ran a 2.83 mile loop (which I thought was 3 miles even until I mapped it when I got home) at a pretty good, consistent pace. No real walk breaks, other than for stop lights and one time to let the feeling back into my right foot. It may have only been 2.83 miles, but I did 13.1 miles worth of thinking during that time.

First, let me rewind to a couple nights ago. My family and I were leaving one of our favorite restaurants, that happens to be in a strip mall near our house. As we were pulling out of the driveway of the strip mall, we had to wait for a runner to cross.

This isn’t unusual in our neck of the woods this time of year – there are typically many people out running, jogging, walking, biking etc. But it was the particular runner that was different.

It was a man – maybe late 40’s or early 50’s. He was a large man. How large, I can’t venture a guess, but he wasn’t petite. He was dressed in all black – sleeveless shirt and knit shorts. He had a black armband with an MP3 player strapped to his arm. He topped off his ensemble with a black sweat band to catch the sweat pouring down his face. He was different from most of the other runners I usually encounter.

As we waited for him to shuffle across the driveway (and yes, I mean shuffle – however, it is descriptive only – no negative connotation) I said to my hubby – “Now I actually think I could beat him.”

Hubby responded: “Well, at least he is out there running” to which I immediately explained that I was in no way ridiculing or poking fun of this man. On the contrary, I explained to hubby that this particular man was more inspiring to me than any runner who could knock down a 7 minute mile without thinking. My comment was meant to be more self-depricating, in fact, as I am fully aware that there aren’t many people that run slower than me. With that cleared up, we drove home.

Fast forward to last night: I am about a mile and a half into my run when my right foot goes numb. So I stop at a corner to stretch it out and let the feeling come back. I am almost ready to continue when I notice someone coming up the other side of the street, toward the corner where I am standing.

It was the same man.

I know that he saw me standing right under the street light, yet I started to wave and I noticed he had his head down, eyes down, and slightly pointed away from me into the bushes. I stood there for a second or two, waiting for him to look up – but he never did. He reached the corner and continued shuffling down the street. I could hear his feet on the pavement as he rounded the corner and went on his way.

I started running again, and my brain was flooding. I was disappointed that this man wouldn’t acknowledge my presence, when all I really wanted to do was encourage him with a “hey, how ya doing?”

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. This man reminded me of someone. Someone I haven’t seen for a very long time. Someone that used to run at night…wearing all black (despite the safety issues)…..shuffling down the street and refusing to meet the gaze of any passers by. Someone that used to run at night, in all black, simply to avoid being seen and acknowledged by others. Someone that was so embarrassed by their running ability (or lack thereof) that this was the only to keep their new hobby “secret.”

This man reminded me of MYSELF.

Even down to the sound of his shuffling feet – it was ME.

Lisa and I even talked about this on our Monday night run. We have both been closet runners, in the dark of night all because we were embarrassed or ashamed. I think there are others too – maybe Jeff, maybe Dan…..any of us who struggle or have struggled to balance being an overweight, rookie runner.

Yet there comes a time…..somewhere, some time….when we finally get the courage to let our guard down….let our insecurities fade away….and let our running abilities (or lack of) hang out there for all the world to see. We enter races, we find running groups, we run during the daylight hours on a public street….and we make our running, joggling or shuffling a public sport and say screw anyone who tries to bring us down. We become confident and determined no matter how slow we are or how much overweight we remain. Somewhere, some time, we decide that we are RUNNERS.

I can’t pinpoint the day or time when this happened for me, but it did. And my thoughts immediately shifted to all the great things that the future holds for this Man in Black who has the courage to get out and run. Someday he will run during the daytime, maybe even with another runner. Someday he will wear an appropriate night-time color – even like my white running shirt that is disgustingly the most UNflattering thing I own. Someday he will meet me or another runner on the street and not look the other direction. Maybe he will even wave and say hello.

I got teary thinking of this Man in Black as I went on my way, mostly because he was a reminder of how far I have come. I often tend to focus on where I am NOT….instead of where I AM and how far that is from where I STARTED. Those are the things that should be important to me and my running.

Big Sur has made me nostalgic. I re-read my race reports from my very first 5K race, and the 12K race last September. Those reports remind me of how far I have come; Big Sur is here to remind me of how far I have to go. I want them linked to my blog “for the record” so I never lose sight of my running past.

Micheline and I have spent the last couple days talking about all the logistics of this weekend, and it has finally sunk in. I am running a Half Marathon on Sunday.

THIS Sunday.

It has potential to be cold, rainy and wet.
It has potential for me to spend quality time with my buddy who I don’t get to see nearly enough.
It has potential to kick my butt as my longest run ever.
It has potential for me to give my kids something to be proud of their mom for.

But it is CERTAIN to be FANTASTIC!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Paparazzi

Greeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaat! Just what I need - pictures of me looking like I've been run over by a truck. All I can hope is that Mr. Running Shorts indeed agrees to cooperate for the pictures. :P

My dear, dear hubby put a new draw string in my shorts for me last night. I am hoping this does the trick.

Say cheese :P

-----Original Message-----
From: 'MarathonFoto' [mailto:mfservice@email.marathonfoto.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2007 8:42 AM
To: Karen
Subject: MarathonFoto will be at Big Sur Half Marathon taking photos


Greetings from your friends at MarathonFoto!


By now you are ready to run in the Big Sur Half Marathon. We just wanted to let you know that we will be at the event taking photos to record your achievement. After the race we will send you an email link to your photos when they are available for viewing.

Good luck and remember to do two things to make this work well:

1. Smile when you see the photographers! (um....okay)


2. Make sure your bib number is clearly centered and visible so we will be able to identify you after the race. (translated: make sure you are not hunched over in visible pain so we can see your number)


Our Customer Service staff is available to assist you:

* Phone: 1-800-424-3686 or Outside US 1-641-472-6892
* Online: http://www.marathonfoto.com/customer_service.cfm
* Mail: MarathonFoto, 2280 West Tyler, Fairfield, IA 52556


Darn paparazzi....

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Respect

It's one of the top values that I try to instill in my kids.

Respect for other people - their opinions, beliefs, values, and their time.

So it really IRKS me (my substitute word for the vulgarity running thru my head right now) when others don't respect MY time.

I just got back from a football practice, that was supposed to be from 6-7pm (just a light additional practice - they normally practice on T and TH)...........that ended at 8:15.

Can you see my freaking PO'd face?

When I dropped D off, I asked his line coach: "you practicing until 8 tonight as usual?"

"Oh no" he says, "only an hour tonight."

Well, FRICK. I had planned on going to Home Depot to order our carpet, and go to the drugstore for a sick-kid drug run. An hour is hardly long enough to drive anywhere around here - especially when our practice wasn't at our usual location close to our house.

So what do I do? I head to the Great Indoors instead, peruse the carpet selection that is waaaaaaaaay to large for my brain to handle on a night like tonight, go to the drug store, pick up food for me and D, and head back to practice. Like the good doobie that I am, I am there by ten minutes until 7.

So explain to me why I sat in my car for almost an hour and a half? Because some people are disrespectful.

I know this is a total rant, and I'm sorry. I just had way too much time to think as I sat there, like a teenager dinking around on my cell phone to pass the time, going over and over in my head all the things I COULD have been doing.

As I watched about 5 runners pass by, it occurred to me that this time could have been well spent on my short run. COULD HAVE, had I known I would be there until 8:00.

I am on the verge of getting sick, I am tired, and I am pissed.

My blood is still boiling. Overreacting??? Maybe. So be it.

The List Goes On

The updated TO DO list:

  • Pack (list below)
  • Search for the bottom of the laundry abyss
  • 1 more short run to go – either tonight or tomorrow
  • Pack boys’ stuff for the weekend
  • Pray that my running shorts cooperate
  • Find a way to get new drawstring in to running shorts
  • Make spa appointment
  • Stop eating so much Halloween candy already!
  • Nurse sick kids back to health
  • Don’t catch bug from aforementioned sick kids
  • Buy noisemakers for Saturday’s football championship
  • Get caught up at the office
  • Print boarding passes (Friday)
  • Upload new songs to iPod (hopefully I will get around to this)
  • Charge iPod, camera, etc. (thanks Dan!)

Running Items to PACK:

  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Running shorts
  • Under Armor shirt
  • Long-sleeve shirt for pre-race
  • Jog Bra (no Katie Holmes for me!)
  • Watch
  • Post-race clothes – for sweatbag
  • Ipod / headphones
  • Waistpack
  • Handheld water bottle
  • Gu / Cytomax gels
  • Kleenex
  • Small wash cloth
  • Bandaids
  • Body Glide
  • Sunglasses
  • Safety pins
  • Starbucks Ice Coffee
  • Gatorade


Thanks, Pat for sharing your list with me. Have I missed anything?

I am not doing too well mentally this week....it has been tough. The kids are sick - especially my little one - and there is just too much for me to do. I am behind at work, and it stinks.

D's football coach needed help writing a proposal for an NFL Football Grant to help cover costs if the team ends up making it to nationals in Florida. I am one of those parents that always jumps to help - sometimes to my own detriment. It has to be submitted by tomorrow - we just got the info the day before yesterday - so I had to sit on my hands to keep from volunteering. My plate is full, and I just couldn't do it. Hubby said he was proud of me for being reasonable for once.

I was also supposed to teach a Junior Achievement lesson at D's school this morning, which I spent the last 2 days preparing for. I had to reschedule since T is sick and I worked from home today to be with him. *sigh*

I had also hoped to get new carpet for our family room ordered this week, so it could be installed before Thanksgiving. I have been driving around for 3 days now with the sample boards from Home Depot in my car - do you suppose I have gotten back there to get it ordered? Ummm....NO.

Above all, I am just hoping and praying that I do not get sick. It's usually a given that when you're the snotty-nose-wiper, you usually end up getting the bug too. I have been extra careful this week, and have pumped up on my vitamins and Zicam so.....FINGERS CROSSED.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Love Letter

Dear Mister Running Shorts:

We have been together for quite a long time now, and without a doubt you are my love. You have been with me through thick and thin (literally) and through all kinds of weather. I have always trusted you and you have never let me down.

Now all of a sudden, I sense a change in you. You are irritating me, rubbing me in all the *wrong* places and just generally being uncooperative. This would not concern me so much, if we did not have such an important rendezvous coming up where your attendance is required.

Your unwillingness to cooperate lately has left me considering other prospects. It is possible that Mr. Nike or Mr. Brooks may be stealing my affection. I would hate to leave you after all our time together, yet I have to look out for my own interests.

I need to know your intentions. Will you cooperate on Sunday and stay in your place? Will you promise not to be so rough with me? If I get you a new drawstring, will you promise not to threaten to slide down like you did last weekend? I need answers to my questions so I know how to proceed.

You are putting me in a tough situation so close to our special day. Would you please consider making some changes and returning to the way you were?

Sincerely,
Pokey


Monday run: 4.38 miles (3 miles with Lisa)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Check List

One week from today.

[hold on while I puke]

Ok, I'm good.

The ongoing checklist:



  • Made a packing list - CHECK
  • Finally received new Amphipod handheld watter bottle - CHECK
  • Stocked up on Cytomax gels - CHECK
  • Changed travel plans to accommodate football playoffs - CHECK
  • Finalized schedule for boys while we are gone - CHECK

Still to do:

  • Fax drivers license and authorization letter to Micheline to be able to pick up my race packet at Expo
  • Laundry
  • Laundry
  • Stop eating Tootsie Rolls
  • Not get sick - everyone else in my house is :(
  • Did I mention I have laundry to do?
  • Complete 2 short runs
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
  • Find a way to calm my nerves
  • Figure out race wardrobe
  • Make appointment at the spa for Monday morning :)
  • Pack

I'm sure there is plenty more to do, but this is all my brain can accommodate right now. My nerves are starting to get to me. The realization when this morning hit was BIG. ONE WEEK.

And I guess I should clarify: when I said in my last post that I was *READY* I guess I should have said that I am as ready as I am ever going to be. I have no choice but to be ready.

Did you see the new cartoon in the upper right? That's compliments of Micheline. She thinks that is me. Funny girl.

I also forgot to mention that I had a great lunch date on Friday with Pat, his great wife Amy, and Eric (Tigger). Hopefully this was just the first of the RNR group get togethers! And as only would be appropriate - we ate at PF Changs. :)

And yes, D's team made it to the Championship Game this Saturday. This makes them two games away from going to Florida. Buckle up Mom...it may be a ride!

We revamped our travel plans to leave Saturday after the game. This means I get in to Monterey much later than I'd hoped, and will miss the Expo. :( Micheline is going to have to pick up my packet and stuff for me. Then we can have dinner...and get to bed. We will come back later on Monday so that Hubby can play golf.....and I can go to the spa. I figure I will have earned it by then! :)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Today was It

The LAST long run before Big Sur.

My *coaching staff* had recommended a long run of no more than 6-7 miles, so that is what I had on the books.

When I set out this morning, I had no idea it would be one of the BEST feeling runs I’ve ever had! :)

With the help and conversation of the best running buddies in the world, the TRC knocked down a fantastic 7 miles together.

We set out at 6:30 am – a little later today – 53 degree temperature – and ran the first mile straight through. According to Pat’s garmin – we maintained about a 12:38 pace. That’s pretty darn good for a Pokey fresh out of bed on a cold AZ morning!

After a walk break at the first mile, the gang agreed to try the walk/run method that I had experimented with in the past, AND am considering using at Big Sur next weekend.

So we set out for the next 6 miles at 3 min run/30 second walk intervals.

I could blab about this for quite a while, but I will just say it ROCKED!!!

Lisa kept hearing mysterious beeping noises in her head, which she tried to convince me were from my watch, indicating our walk break (see me rolling my eyes?)….but in the end, we all agreed it worked out wonderfully.

Per Mr. Garmin, our running intervals averaged a 12:28 pace; the overall average (including the walk intervals) was 13:08 over the entire 7 miles.

Oh yes - this average also includes the 6:27 pace for the entire 272 feet that Pat and I ran when he wanted to race to the finish :P He beat me, so my pace was slightly slower than 6:27…and I’m sure it’s the only sub-7 minute mile pace this Pokey will ever see!!!

I felt fantastic during the entire run, even at the end. Was it the intervals? Was it the Cytomax gel that I tried for the first time? Not sure. But I’ve learned not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Back when I started this thing, I could never even imagine myself running 7 miles. And I certainly didn’t ever imagine that I would ever be at a point where a 7 mile run felt great, during AND after the run. I am not the least bit sore, or tired… I just feel AWESOME.

Today I realized that I am as ready as I am ever going to be for this half marathon. Nothing I can do this week will change my performance in any way. I have done all I can do to this point. I guess that means I am officially *READY.*

Friday, November 2, 2007

More Pokey Speedwork and a Long Run

*SIGH* I am so ready for this week to be over.

I wish it was Monday, November 12.

D’s team would have won the football championship and football season would be officially over. My home life could get somewhat back to its strange state of normal.

Big Sur would be over. I would be happy and content about finishing my very first half-marathon and the stress and anticipation would be gone.

But nooooooooo…….it’s not November 12 yet. :(

The calendar is just not cooperating with me. I get knots in my stomach just thinking about the coming weeks………




So I’ll ramble about this past week instead.

I somehow managed to get some short runs in on Tuesday and Thursday, and tried to incorporate some pseudo-speedwork into each.

Tuesday I ran around the park during football practice, and then hit the streets some for the "speedwork." I found a little make-shift *track* for myself at the entrance to a gated community – per my eyeball, it seemed like maybe a ¼ mile – so I tried doing some speedwork around there. It worked great until cars started trying to pull into their neighborhood and there was some freak running around there in the dark. So instead of getting run over, I called it a night, jogged back to the park and watched the end of practice. I think my workout ended up being about 45 minutes.

Last night (Thursday) was one of those nights where it took everything I had to get myself out of the house to run. I was exhausted, it was 9pm….but I got out. Hubby chided me on the way out the door “don’t fall asleep while you’re running, okay?” Funny, funny man. But yes, I was THAT tired. I just needed a quickie workout.

So I opted to mix it up again and did some run/walk intervals. By the time the workout was over, I had run close to 3 miles – 2min run/30second walk intervals. And it felt GREAT....even after starting out being so tired. I didn’t even feel like I was running. And you know what – my average pace was lower than if I had run it normally.

I’ve had that phenomenon before, and that’s why proponents of the run/walk system say it works so well. You run faster during the running intervals since you aren’t as fatigued. VERY TRUE.

So I spent most of the workout pondering Big Sur in my mind. Should Micheline and I attempt the run/walk method instead? There is NO doubt in my mind that that would be a super easy way to knock down the 13.1.

OR…do I treat it like my long runs, where we run and then just take walk breaks as needed?

I get pretty fatigued during long runs, which I don’t think would happen using the run/walk approach.

OR….maybe we run/walk – but lengthen the run interval?

Shoot, I don’t know. I mulled it over in my mind for 30-some-odd-minutes last night, and still didn’t come up with what I think is best. I need to talk to Micheline. But it did make me realize that we don’t have a plan. And I NEED a plan. I’m anal that way. A true bean-counter by trade :P

Tomorrow is a somewhat long run with the TRC....Pat for sure, and hopefully Lisa too. I am planning on 6-7 miles for myself - not sure how many my cohorts will knock down!

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Remember Why

WOW....I was doing some internet research this morning on nutrition for the coming week in preparation for Big Sur.

How appropriate that I came across this 2005 article from the Monterey County Herald - which is completely in reference to BIG SUR! It definitely spoke to me. And the information is good - no matter what race you are getting ready to run :)


Some tips for half-marathon novices

Donald Buraglio and Mike Dove
Nov. 04, 2005


We assume you've done the basic training to get ready for the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay this Sunday. But as a novice runner, you may still be looking for some last-second advice and know that last week's column on race strategy for experienced runners doesn't fit your profile.

With that in mind, here are some things to keep in mind to help you conquer the 13.1-mile course.

• Think positive: Your brain is one of your most important tools during a long run. Unfortunately, it can also be your worst enemy. Use the power of positive thinking to help you succeed.

Starting now, continually tell yourself that you are going to have a wonderful day. Visualize yourself feeling strong and persevering through any adversity to cross the finish line. After all, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, 90 percent of the race is half mental.

• Fuel up: Starting today, eat carbohydrates to top off your glycogen (energy) stores and drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. Pasta, potatoes, bagels and rice are great pre-race meals, but keep the overall size of your meal consistent with your normal routine.

On race morning, wake up early and eat a banana or bagel to maintain your glycogen supply. Keep drinking small amounts of water or sports drink but not so much that the dam bursts before you get to the porta-potty.

• Gear up in advance: At Saturday's race expo, you will be given a microchip that goes on your shoe laces as well as a number to pin on your shirt. Do all this on Saturday night so you don't have extra hassles on Sunday morning.

• Do nothing new: Race day isn't the time to experiment with new gear or routines. Don't do or use anything that you haven't done before on a training run. Don't buy new clothes or shoes at the expo and wear them in the race. Stick with what you have found to be comfortable while training.

The same rule applies to food. Don't eat anything unusual on Saturday or Sunday. Give your body what it's accustomed to before a run, and you won't upset your stomach during the race.

• Go early: Allow enough time to park and wait in a bathroom line. Dress appropriately, double knot your shoes and drop off your bag before the start. If your goal is simply to finish the race, there is no need to do a lengthy warm up. Consider the first mile or two your warm-up miles.

• Know your place: Follow race etiquette and line up in the proper starting area (indicated by signs) at the start based on your bib number. You don't want to be stampeded by faster runners behind you trying to pass. If in doubt, move farther back. Don't worry about the time it takes to get to the starting line as your microchip will record your actual time from start to the finish.

Once the race starts, if you have to walk or slow down considerably make sure you move to the side of the road, out of the way of other runners. If you are with a group of runners, try to keep only two or three abreast so runners don't have to weave around you to get by.

• Start slowly: Most novice runners start too fast then pay the price in agony later. It's better to run slightly below your goal pace for the first few miles, then settle into that pace.

Don't feel compelled to keep up with anyone once the race starts. If you start conservatively, you'll be feeling good and passing people later in the race, which is a great feeling.

• Use the aid: It will be crowded at aid stations but make sure you stop and drink some water or sports drink even at the first-aid station. If you need to slow down to drink, make sure you move to the side of the road.

• Watch the pace: Wear a watch and check it every mile to see how fast you are going.

Volunteers will shout pace times at various mile markers as well. The markers are accurate -- so trust them! If you see that you are substantially ahead of that pace, slow down to avoid paying the price at the end.

• Enjoy the day: Despite what we wrote last week, races are to enjoy. The energy and enthusiasm of 5,000 runners and walkers is contagious. Be thankful you are participating and healthy enough to enjoy the day with others. Enjoy looking at one the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

Remember why: Every novice runner has a reason for trying this race. It may be to raise money or to raise awareness for a cause, to shed some extra pounds and get healthy, to find an identity or regain control of some aspect of your life. Race day is when those ambitions are realized, so when the going gets tough, keep reminding yourself of why you started.

Monterey County Herald