Friday, December 31, 2010

Chapter 2 page 216 - Happy New Year Wishes

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 . . .


Chapter 2 page 215 - Mrs. D's blog

Have you seen Mrs. D's blog called "Running into Healthy Happyness"? Click HERE to check it out. I have read her blog many times before - always jumping into it from the Rust Belt Runner's side bar. I have loved reading Mrs. D's blog this year . . . until today! My heart broke because she feels so down on herself. She's a woman, a strong woman, a woman worthy of feeling pride! If you have a quick moment, please jump over to her blog and leave her a word of encouragement as she looks to 2011 and tries to find a place for running and health in her life.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chapter 2 page 214 - 3 Things Thursday, 2010 review

The top 3 things I'm thankful for in 2010:

1. I met an amazing person named "C" and we have become way more than just running partners, we became great friends!!!!!

2. I set a huge goal for myself (especially as a morbidly obese person) - I ran not one, but two half marathons (which included 5 months of training for the first one).

3. I was able to see my cousin, his wife, and their 2 children at Christmas this year (it had been 2 years since our last quick visit). I owe my cousin and his wife the world - they helped me relocate from the Mid-Atlantic back to Midwest almost 7 years ago. It was a lot of work and effort, but I am thankful EVERY day that I'm back here in IN and it's 100% because of their help!!! Their kids are absolutely adorable too. They are now 4 & 7 years old and are just wonderful little people. I hope we can get together much sooner in the future. I love them and am so blessed to have them in my life. I always tell them that just because I don't see them or talk to them, I think of them everyday.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chapter 2 page 213 - one year blogiversary

Today, one year ago, I jumped into this blogging this with both feet.

I owe my start to Susie at Weighing In. Thanks, Susie!

This blog started off with a way to be accountable to loose weight and somewhere along the way, I met "C" and jumped into the deep end of the pool and became a runner (albeit a very slow one). This past year has had so many wonderful moments that I feel so incredibly blessed! I look forward to all the adventures, running and otherwise, that will come from the next 365 days.

To all of you - Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chapter 2 page 212 - new kicks

After discussing my many shoe issues this past year, I decided it was time to find "THE ONE" pair of shoes that would solve all of my issues. Last week, "C" and I went to the running store and I tried on a million pairs. You can read all about it HERE. With the awesome guidance from the shoe store employee, we decided on Saucony Progrid Ride 3's, but the store needed to order the wide width. Yesterday, "C" and I went to pick them up - WOW!!! Man are they comfy. I sure hope they will fix my heel pain and keep my shins from hurting. Wanna see these beauties????


I hope to get out for a short easy run this afternoon, but we'll see how my first day back at work goes. I have them packed so we'll see. Stay tuned for an update. My fingers are crossed.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chapter 2 page 211 - not retro, it's classic

Last week I wrote about a "compliment" I received about my watch (click HERE if you missed it). Well, today "C" and I were at target and look what I found right there in the store . . .

It was right there proudly on display in the "CLASSIC" watch section. Apparently my watch is not just functional, and considered retro by 20 somethings, but it's considered classic by the Target merchandising staff. At what point does something become simply "uncool" - so far I'm retro, classic, but how close is the line to "dorkville?"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chapter 2 page 210 - TR 79 pre-holiday madness serenity walk

"C" and I walked the other half of the snow covered wooded trail that we were on the other day. It's not as undulating as the other half, and the snow wasn't quite as deep or fresh, but our footing seemed far less stable - who knows what the snow was really covering. We walked the trail until we got to the road and we ran 2 minutes, walked 2 minutes, ran 2 minutes, then walked the rest of the way to the car as our cool down. The rest of the day and the rest of the week will just be one crazy blur so I'm so thankful "C" and I were able to take 90 minutes today and just walk and talk. It was a precious holiday gift we could give each other.

To all of you - Merry Christmas! I wish for you and yours all the peace and joy of this holiday season. I'll be back in the blogosphere early next week until then, take care and God bless!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chapter 2 page 209 - letter to walking & running

Dear Walking & Running,

At this time of holiday happiness and joyous reflection on all that the year has brought us, I wanted to let you know how I've changed because of you.

At first, 18 months ago, I have to be honest - I HATED YOU. I know you're not offended because I'm pretty sure if the honestly door were wide open, you'd admit you hated me too. And since we're being honest here - I still hate you more than I like you (if only you were easier but I know, if you were easy then everyone would want to be your friend). Jus' sayin'.

Although it's not always been pleasant or fun, I am able to finally admit to the world, I like you. I enjoy you . . . love is still a bit strong, but I like you. I miss you when we're not together (I know - can you believe I'm saying that??? What's that? No, I didn't fall and hit my head). I much prefer to endure your torture with other people like "C" and "L" and all the awesome people I meet in races, but I've come to find some value in just being alone with you.

I have to agree with "C" - I think I've come to enjoy you much more in the winter than the summer. Although 15 degrees is very cold, I can keep putting on more and more layers. This year's summer temps of 100 just didn't allow me to remove any more clothing. Either way, I think we will continue to be able to be friends in 2011.

As you know, because you make my heel hurt and sometimes my shins and occassionally my who-ha, I'm getting us some new shoes next week. I certainly hope you like them - and can FINALLY be happy about them. Please - just do me this favor - quit being a royal pain in my . . . . (sorry, I'll keep it nice, after all, it's the holiday season).

I was wondering how you see our relationship developing in 2011? Hmm, what's that? Marathon? Now who hit their head? Ha - oh, joke, I get it. NOT funny! Here's what I was thinking and you can let me know what you think about it:

- 2 half marathons: Geist & Fort 4 Fitness (maybe 3? Do you think you can give me 3 this year? Ok, we can talk about the Big Sur in November 2011 at a later date . . . how's April 1 when registration opens? Deal!)

- 10 area 5K's - (do you think that's too many? No?!?! Really? You think we could maybe squeeze in a couple more? HA! Now you're just being funny)

-two 10 milers - Parlor City Trot 1o Miler (no problemo) & The Spring Training 10 (hmm, a new one, we'll see)

-River City Rat Race 10K (sure, why not?)

-one trail run such as W.O.O.F. (always fun, I know, right!)

Now, about this whole PR thing. You know that I'm just happy to make it to the finish line alive (ideally I prefer to not be last) and that PRing REALLY isn't that important to me. I'm sure you know by now that I'm not fast, and as evident these past 18 months, I'm not really getting much faster. That said, I think that in 2011, if you're willing to help, I'd like to get a 5K PR of 38:00 (that's only 11 seconds faster than this year - think you can move just a little faster? I know, it's asking a lot and it won't be the end of the world if you can't). I'd also like to get a 10K PR of 1:21:30 (that's a 35 second PR over the 2009 race). Finally, and this one will be a super challenge, but I just know that you'll be there to push me (and hopefully "M" will be on his bike the last 3 miles; wonder if there is ANY way to convince "L" to do it with me again . . . probably not!) - I'd like to get a half marathon PR of 3:00 at the Fort 4 Fitness (that's 2:48 faster than this year). What do you say? You with me?

One last thing before I close. Please know that I might still demand to sit down, fall into the ditch, curse your name, boycott your mere existence, and sabotage my own efforts when it comes to you, but I know you'll forgive me and continue to give me enough challenge to keep me interested but not enough to make me quit . . . and for that I'm grateful.

In conclusion, thanks for sticking with me. I hope that 2011 can be even more FUN (hear that - FUN!!!!! ) than we had in 2010. I look forward to our time together and know that it's making me stronger both physically and mentally.

With love,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chapter 2 page 208 - TR 78 Treking through the snow

Tonight "C" and I decided to do a quick 60 minute run on a wooded trail. We figured there would be no danger of slippery, icy roads - we were right. We neglected to think about the 3-4 inches of snow on the ground, but those are just details. We had a blast, BUT we hardly ran at all. It was such a cardiovascular challenge just to walk given the snow, the hills, and the cold that I'm fairly certain running would have ruptured my heart. We walked fast - this was not just a leisurely walk on the beach - no siree - we picked it up and put it down. We went 3.5 miles in 58 minutes. Now, most of you are saying "that's like doing nothing and hardly worth even talking about" but "C" and I are here to say it WAS a super challenge with the depth of fresh powder . We ran the last 6 minutes at a quick pace if I must say. It was beautiful and we had fun. "C" and I agreed that there will be plenty of time for pushing the pace and the distance as we gear up early next year for our next half marathon training cycle, but now . . . now is all about enjoying running and that's something I'm actually doing (shocker ain't it!)

Afterward, "L" met me at our cars and we made a quick run up to the Fresh Market so she could get a goose to cook on Christmas for her family (who cooks a goose? Apparently "L" does!).

I am truly grateful for my friends "C" and "L". I don't say it to them enough, but I'm soooo thankful that they are not just my running partners, but they are my close friends. Thanks girls!!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chapter 2 page 207 -army & retro

In 1999 I joined the U.S. Army Reserves using the split-option because I was a school teacher. Split-opt is usually reserved for high school students because it allows them to join the army as a junior, attend basic combat training the summer between their junior/senior year then continue to drill during their senior year (earning a nice paycheck) and then going to Advanced Individual Training after their senior year. The perk of split opt is that the recruit is put on a contract which mandates they must be returned home by a specific date (in time for school to start). That's really important because otherwise you may be recycled or delayed and then you could be stuck at training for anywhere from a few extra weeks to one year - totally would have cost me my teaching job if I wasn't back in time.

I tell you that all because A.) I think the entering the army process is kind of interesting and B.) because it has to do with my watch. For 10 months prior to my departing for Basic Training I drilled with my unit and was for all intense purposes in the army. Army uniform standards (at least at that time) required watches to be all black. When doing PT (physical training) I needed a stop watch because the army is ALL about a 2 mile run in a certain time. They are also all about 2 minutes of push ups and 2 minutes of sit ups. Given the need for having a watch to tell time (and military time), perform as a stop watch and a countdown timer, and if it could have the date on it all the better . . . AND it had to be all black. So . . . I purchased this watch . . .
. . .and wore it for the 4 years I was in the army. LOVED IT!!!! It stood up to all kinds of army training (sand crawling, grenade throwing, range training, repelling, etc).

Skip ahead 10 years . . .
When I returned to running last year and began to do the run/walk intervals, I pulled out my ol' army watch - FAIL. The band was old and cracked so . . . I used my awesome google skills to find the same watch on Amazon - WIN! I immediately ordered it. Whenever I'm in running shoes, it's on my wrist. Never thought twice about it. I knew it wasn't stylish but thought it kind of said i was a somewhat committed runner (it's no Garmin, but it's not a fossil gold watch either).

Rewind to this past Saturday . . .
"C" and I ran (see page 204) then we headed to the running store (see page 205). I wanted to remain in my work out clothes so that I could really test out the shoes on the treadmill. I didn't think anything of my attire - in fact, thought I was doing good. In between pairs of shoes, the 25 year old salespersons said WITH ALL THE SINCERITY IN THE WORLD, "That's a GREAT RETRO watch you're rocking there!" UMMMMMMMMMM - I ask you - what is the appropriate reaction here? Is it a compliment? Is it a slam in disguise? Is it really calling me old? Is it really saying I'm "outta touch"? Hmmmmmmmmm! I said "Oh, thanks! I was in the army 10 years ago and thought it worked well then so I got another one." His response . . . . "Oh yeah, I'm pretty sure I have something like that shoved in a drawer from when I was in elementary school." AGAIN, I ASK . . . WHAT IS THE APPROPRIATE RESPONSE HERE!

OMG - I think I was just called antique!!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chapter 2 page 206 - Shoe search

Yesterday, "C" and I went to the running store in hopes I could find a pair of shoes that didn't hurt my heel or cause shin splints (or any other issue for that matter). At first I felt as if the salesperson was blaming me for having plantar fasciitis (reminding me that I have to stretch, strengthen, ice, and massage it ALL DAY EVERY DAY). Well, I've had PF for 10 years now and I think I understand all the in's and out's of the condition. I know exactly when it began flaring up (the moment I switched to the Pearl Izumi Float shoes) and I know that if I don't run, it doesn't hurt. So . . . that means that the Pearl Izumi shoes are the underlying aggravating factor.

Once we moved past it being my fault, we began the parade of probably 10 different kinds of shoes (thank goodness I'm a neutral runner and there are MANY options). Despite me saying that Brooks Defyance was what I originally used but caused shin splints he insisted I try them again. He even brought over the trainer to tell me what causes shin splints and how to prevent them. At this point (after lecturing me about 2 conditions I'm VERY knowledgeable about, I decided to let him know I work in health care). I wasn't thrilled with the Brooks, so then we tried Nike Air Pegasus (pretty sure I wore those back in junior high), Saucony Progrid Ride (I think), Asics Nimbus, Asics Cumilous, and several others that I can't remember now (they were so unimpressive that I didn't bother learning their names). . . it became a blur after awhile. Thanks to a blogger comment the other day, I did ask about Newton's, but was told that was get someone to become more of a barefoot runner - not really the direction I'm going in right now.

I started with trying both the left and right shoes on of each pair and jogging in circles around the store. Some I could rule out right away. Some were left in the mix. Some were too small so we tried a bigger size. Some were too narrow and they would have to order the wide width. Eventually I was left with 5 pairs that I couldn't decide between. So . . . I put one kind on my left foot and another kind on my right foot and did a half mile or so on the treadmill. I was able to rule out one or other so they were returned to the stockroom. I tried on two other different shoes - ran a half mile or so, then ruled one out. This process continued until I had a Big 10 bracket situation and was down to 2 different kinds of shoes. So . . . on goes one on my left foot and the other on my right foot - back on the treadmill . . . a LOT of sweat later . . . Saucony Progrid Ride 3 (I think) was the winner. It's not as much cushion as the Nimbus (dang, those are just like strapping pillows to your feet), but I noticed my shin was starting to ache with the Nimbus on and I didn't want to risk shin splints once again.

I received some shoe tying lessons ("lace lock" technique) and placed an order for the wide width of the Saucony's. After more than an hour, we walked out without any shoes, but will receive a call when they come in. Once they arrive, it's back to the store to compare/contrast the regular width with the wide width - hopefully the glass slipper will be in the box!!!!! Fingers crossed!

Once I get them, I'll be running on a treadmill to test them out to make sure they are "the ones" otherwise the running store has a 30 day return policy.

Stay Tuned!

p.s. How 'bout them Colts!!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chapter 2 page 205 - TR 77 bloggy run & shop till we drop

At 9:15 this morning, "C" and I drove to the big city and met up with Holly from RustBeltRunner for a 5.32 miler (yep Holly . . . the .32 counts SMILE!). What a GREAT time!!! What a fun way to change up an otherwise normal training run. What an unexpected boost of excitement to get to know someone better while clicking off the miles. "C" and I had such a great time. Holly is a GREAT gal. If you don't read her blog, you really should. "C" and I hope we can all run together again soon!

We did a walking warm up and cool down and then did a 2:2 interval for the middle section. Some parts were more challenging due to the road conditions (ice, snow covered, etc) and all of it was challenging because it was only 15 degrees. We did the entire thing in 1:08 which didn't seem terrible to me. (Shout out to "L" - we missed you and you would have enjoyed Holly's walking pace!).

Afterward, "C" and I stretched then there was some clothing shedding (Holly dressed FAR more appropriately than "C" and I - man were we sweaty mess afterward). I'm definitely going to have to get a wicking hat . . . my fleece lined knit cap was so sweaty that it had frost covering it. NICE!

"C" and I headed to O'Charleys for some lunch - hot loaded baked potato soup for starters . . . YUM! We then went shopping at Barnes & Nobels, 3 Rivers Running Company, Kohls, Best Buy, Gordons, Sam's Club, and Meijer. By 8:00 p.m. we were hungry again so we stopped at Casa's for dinner. That's just a delicious place to eat (whether carb loading for a race or just enjoying a girls' day out)! We got home at 11:30 p.m. that's 14 hours just screwing around, laughing and having a GREAT time. We both said numerous times that we were so glad we did the running first thing this morning otherwise we would be too tired and too sore to do it later in the day . . . or even tomorrow (it's already after midnight as I'm typing this).

My next post will be about my trip to the running store and the latest round of shoes they had me try - I can already tell you are on the edge of your seat. Until then, GO COLTS!!!!!

Nighty Night!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chapter 2 page 204 - TR 76 a chilly 4 miler

Today "C" and I braved the cold cold cold weather and pushed through to do a 4 miler (including a significant warm up and cool down). Although the temp was actually 20 degrees, the windchill was 10 degrees. We ran an out and back - the out part was brutal . . . into the wind, but the back part was pretty nice (well, not 70 degrees and sunny nice, but sun setting in mid December where ice and snow abound kind of nice). We did the 4 miles in 1:04. We used the 2:2 interval. Our running miles were like 13:30 min/mile - 14:00 min/mile.

Now, I feel I need to address the pace. My average pace in nice weather is like 13 - 13:45 min/miles ("C" is crazy faster than I am, even if she is reading this and saying "No, I'm not!" Don't let her fool ya - she can go so much faster than I). So for us to be able to run 13:30's - 14:00's with intermittent snow and ice patches throughout the entire path in the brutal cold - I feel good about it. Here's my more of my thinking- I wanted my December and half of January to help me maintain a modest level of fitness so that I can begin training for my 3rd half (Geist 5/21/11) mid to late January. I signed up for the May race so that I could have something to motivate me to get out there in the cold (so far, it's really working to help get me to go out there) but it was late enough in May that I wouldn't have to push crazy hard on icy roads (remember from previous posts - scared of falling on ice) in December and January in order to get the full half marathon training schedule completed.

It appears that tomorrow, "C" and I will meet up with RustBeltRunner for a 5.3 miler in the big city. YEAH! Thanks to everyone who encouraged her to do it!!! Stay tuned tomorrow night for an update (cross your fingers, wish us luck . . . especially for RBB's toe).

Chapter 2 page 203 - Integrity Check

So I know none of you care - especially since no one pointed it out, but I apparently had a counting problem. For those new to reading my blog, or maybe those who have forgotten, I label all of my posts that deal with running TR (Training Report) and then the number (ex: TR83, TR84, etc).
A little background . . .
I started this blog because I loved to read Susie's blog and thought it would be a great way to become accountable in my weight loss journey. I had some readers who were friends and co-workers, and my wellness clients. I hadn't ever dreamed of doing more than a 10K at the time so there was no desire to turn my blog into a running blog (run? who? me?). My friends liked to read about the hodge podge of wellness coaching advice I had discussed in my blog. Once I went crazy, I mean, once I decided to train for a half marathon, I decided to create a special label to identify posts that only discussed my training runs - that way, my friends who didn't care could automatically skip reading them. Prior to my first half, I called posts about my running HMTU (half-marathon training updates). As a side benefit - I was able to keep track of the number of training sessions I had and so all in all everyone was happy with this system (or at least no one told me otherwise). After my first half marathon I had to change the labeling from from HMTU (half marathon training update) to TR (training report) because I'm not always going to be training for a half marathon (or at least I hope I'm not).
I have a great beagle who is old and suffers from Alzeheimers (or the dog version of it) - so every night several times a night for sevearl hours at a time, we're up . . doing pretty much nothing, but we're up (been going on for 14 months). Anyway, during this time awake tonight, I was looking back over my October - December posts WHEN I NOTICED I APPARENTLY FORGOT HOW TO COUNT!
Please allow me apologize for my false advertising. I had counted as follows:

Well . . . fear not blog followers - I have admitted to the error and gone back to correct all of my counting errors. I now stand at having 75 training sessions completed. I apologize for my error and hope you will continue to read my blog . . . despite my counting issues.

Something in Your Stocking — The iPod Shuffle Contest

Something in Your Stocking — The iPod Shuffle Contest

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chapter 2 page 202 - In search of Shoes

It's no secret that I've had a hard time finding the perfect running shoes.

When I first started running, the running specialty store said I was a neutral runner and gave me Brooks Defyance running shoes. Since I didn't know better, these worked fine.

When they needed replaced I returned to the specialty running store where they asked me if anything hurt - I said shin splints. They said they were caused by shoes and that shin splints shouldn't happen if runners wear the right shoe. So they put me on the treadmill and said I supinate a little. They said it wasn't uncommon for new runners to change their gait for the first couple of years. They put me in Pearl Izumi Syncro Floats. These completely fixed my shin splint, but it has re-flared my plantar fasciitis. It really hurts my heel.

This summer I tried Asics Nimbus and those were like strapping pillows to my feet . . . except it gave me a HUGE heel blister every time I wore them.

I have been researching and came upon Mizunos. I emailed the "shoe guy" through the Mizuno website and he made 4 shoe recommendations (Inspire, Creation, Nirvana, & Alchemy). I ordered one of each type from Amazon (huge bargins since they were coming out with next year's style and wanted to sell the remaining stock). The first pair was too small (Creation), but the next 3 pair were too big. One was better (Inspire) than the others, but my shin started to feel fatigued . . . was it because I was on a treadmill which I don't use ever or was it because the shoe was leading to a shin splint? Uggggg!!!

Even though the Amazon shoes were more than 50% less than the specialty running store - I think the lesson learned here is that getting fitted by a professional is priceless. "C" and I are going to run in the big city on Saturday (hopefully with the Rust Belt Runner) and then do a little shopping around town . . . hoping we can stop by the running company for some guidance.

Stay tuned for an update. If you have suggestions for neutral runners, I'd love to hear them.

Something in Your Stocking — The iPod Shuffle Contest

Something in Your Stocking — The iPod Shuffle Contest

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chapter 2 page 201 - Go "B" Swim Fast

Last night "L" and I were spectators at a local high school swim meet. We were there to cheer on "C's" youngest daughter who is a senior swimmer. I created some signs and practiced our cheering strategy with "L".

"L" held a sign that said "Go" on one side and "Swim" on the other.
I held a sign that said "B" on one side and "Fast" on the other.

So "L" would hold up the "GO" sign and I would hold up the "B" - then she would yell "Go" and I would yell "B".

Then we flipped our signs over and "L" held up the "Swim" sign while I held up the "Fast" side. Then she yelled "Swim" and I yelled "Fast".
Sorry for no photos of the signs - that would have surely made this post more exciting, but nonetheless, I think "B" enjoyed it. The other people watching the meet maybe were less excited about us being there with signs and cheers, but . . . ba-hum-bug.

"B" did great last night. She won all of her races (200 MR, 400 FR, 400 m free, 200 m free).

Way to go "B"!!!! Good luck with the rest of your season!!!!

Something in Your Stocking — The iPod Shuffle Contest

Something in Your Stocking — The iPod Shuffle Contest

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chapter 2 page 200 - TR 75 Sexy, Slick & Shiver

Sexy, huh?!?!

Tonight "L" and I got together for what was suppose to be a several mile training session using the 2:2 interval; however, due to numerous intermittent slippery spots, we elected to just walk. We ended up going 2.5 miles in about 38 minutes. Not a break neck pace . . . but that was to ensure we didn't break our necks on the icy path. I was pretty disappointed in the condition of the route. I had hoped that walkway would have been cleared better. I had always considered it my "go to" route in case the city streets would be impassable. Bummer!

The temp was 18 degrees with a windchill of 10 degrees. 10 degrees - BRRR! I decided to wear tights, french terry pants, a long sleeve compression shirt, a long sleeve cotton t-shirt, and my bright yellow reflective shirt. I wore a bondi band (says "Looks like walking, feels like running") and a knit cap. I also had a scarf and gloves.

We began our walk at around 5:15 so it was definitely getting dark quickly. The icy patches weren't terribly difficult to see the first 1.25 miles as is it was still light; however, parts of the way back were treacherous.

We had a good time chatting and are looking forward to going to cheer on "C's" youngest daughter tomorrow night at her swim meet. Good luck "B"! We promise not to embarrass you . . . too much!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chapter 2 page 199 - Yak Trax

Back on October 4th, "C" and I signed up for the Geist Half Marathon (to be held on 5/21/11). Knowing this race would require significant training during the winter plus we hadn't finalized our decision about whether we were going to be doing one lap of the H.U.F.F. I decided that perhaps I should purchase a $20 pair of Yak Trax - for those really slippery Indiana days. So thanks to Amazon, they arrived and now they are sitting in my vehicle just waiting to be used.

My first problem is . . . I'm not really sure what the appropriate road or trail conditions should be in order to wear them.

My second problem is . . . I'm not sure I bought the right kind. I bought the Yak Trax Walker, but maybe the Yak Trax Pro would have been more appropriate for walking/running. From, here is a picture of the Pro.
The bottoms of both the "Walker" and the "Pro" seem similar. It seems the only difference at least at first glance is that the "Pro" come a strap across the top of the foot to keep them attached more securely. I'm pretty sure I can put some kind of strap across the top if that is the only difference.

Just for fun - here is a picture of the Yak Trax XTRExtreme from their website. This picture does not show the seriously large and sharp looking spikes that area on the outer perimeter of that orange plate. And do you see those chains? If the weather conditions outdoors warrants such extreme footwear, then I have already resolved myself to staying in . . . and sipping hot chocolate.

Your advice is definitely needed -
So do any of you own Yak Trax? If so, which type? Have you used them during a winter run or walk? Are they best for fresh snow, packed snow, or ice? Ever tried them on a trail run? Any thoughts on whether that would be a good/bad idea?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chapter 2 page 198 - TR 74 Monkey off my back

Today, "L" and I were suppose to go for a run. "L" called me at lunch time and said she wouldn't be able to make it. She offered to bring her amazing grandkiddos to my office so I could play with them for a little while (they are the CUTEST kids EVER!), but I declined in order to fulfill my commitment to myself of going for a run (frankly, I was getting fed up with my constant excuses - see here - which were keeping me from just doing it). I spoke with my running mentor "M" and he said that I just needed to go out there for a 20-30 minute session. Nothing big or hard or fast. I just needed to confront my hang ups of running alone, running in the cold, running as dark approaches, and returning to running after 11 days off. So . . . I did!

Today, I got caught up at work an entire hour longer than I wanted to, but no worries, I was still going to do my planned run. I got dressed (I wore a compression shirt and my long sleeve bright reflective yellow shirt. I wore my compression leg sleeves and my french terry pants. I wore my double water bottle holder (in case I fell and needed to wash off a wound - and because I was worried something bad would happen, I packed an emergency blanket and a flash light - - - I know, there's medicine for this anxiety I seem to be having about falling). I put some watermelon chomps in my shirt breast pocket, plugged in my awesome yurbuds, turned on one of my new audiobooks (Nicolas Sparks "3 Weeks With My Brother"), and set out on the trail.

Wow - was it HARD! I put my 2:2 watch beeper on and walked for the first 4 minutes (maybe should have warmed up a little more). I then did 2:2 nonstop until I finished my trail run. I did the 2:2 interval for exactly (drum roll, please) ONE HOUR!!!!!!! Me! By myself - for one hour!!!! "M" suggested 20-30 minutes . . . . how 'bout double it!

By the numbers:
Distance: no idea - maybe 37.5-4.5 miles (couldn't run the GPS and audiobook on my phone without killing the battery)
Time: 1:05 (4 min. warm up/5 minute cool down)
Chapters listened to: 4
#of intervals walked through: 0
#of times I really wanted to quit: none - REALLY, but I passed a bench that looked tempting
# of times I kind of forgot I was running and could have kept running: 3 (minutes 36-38 seemed super easy; minutes 42-44; and then the 6 minutes I ran immediately after hitting the pavement)
Starting temp/windchill: 27 degrees/27 degrees
Finishing temp/windchill: 25 degrees/23 degrees
# deer seen: 2 right in front of me (we had a stare down)
# other animals seen: 13 (2 squirrels, a rabbit, 10 buffalo)
# gunshots heard off in the distance: 4 (PLEASE DON'T SHOOT ME! I'm wearing this ridiculously BRIGHT yellow shirt!)

What helped me complete this planned run?
-Because I started out an hour later than I had hoped, I knew the sun would be setting in an hour so the option of slowing down or walking through an interval really wasn't there.
-Because I was on a loop trail, I had no choice but to keep going. It's not like I could just turn around or quit or thumb a ride - I was in the middle of the woods.
-I had to keep listening to the book, what was going to happen next (okay, it's not really THAT exciting, but still I couldn't just stop mid chapter- that's barbaric).

What are some observations I made?
-I really like trail runs (not a new observation)
-I thought the trail was really hard to run on - 2" snow, thick layer of squishy leaves, 4" grass. I really felt as if I was completely out of shape.
-Between the cold temps (which left me unable to feel my quads so I couldn't gauge how hard they were working), the "noise" in my ears (so I couldn't gauge how hard I was breathing), and the fear of falling on the slippery undulation (which kept me from going too fast) I felt as if I was barely moving at all.
-Once I got to the road (I had to get off the trail and take the road back to my car because the sun was setting - there was no time to do another 3 miles of the trail) running felt completely different. It was
EASY!!! It was nothing like running on the trail. I had a crazy sense of joy and gratitude for running on the road. In fact, once I hit the road - I ran 6 straight minutes because it was so much easier than the trail!!!!

Final thought - by doing this alone, in the cold, with the darkness approaching, while listening to something . . . I feel I got the training monkey off of my back.

Chapter 2 page 197 - No TR 74 but . . .

For several days, "C" and I had a plan to run last night together. At lunch time "C" texted me:
"C": Are we still on for 4:45?
me: Sure, why not? It's a beautiful day.
"C": What's the temperature? I've been freezing all day!
me: It's best not to know the temp, but since you asked it's 17 degrees and the windchill is 5. See you at 4:45 (note - until this point in the day I had been in a warm office)

At 3:15 after I had been in a freezing cold office all afternoon, I texted "C":
me: I'm scared - it's really cold and it's going to be getting dark. Do you still want to run?
"C": I'm scared too. Maybe we should skip the run today. Want to still get together? We could go eat.
me: YES! Sounds great. Where?
"C": Mexican
me: I can be there around 4:30 - see you then

And just that quickly, our run became a Mexican eating fest! We talked, laughed, and spent time catching up . . . it was after 8:00 when we left the restaurant.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chapter 2 page 196 - 200th post

2 posts (pages 195 & this one) in one night - GO ME!

Despite this being "page 196" it is actually my 200th post!!!!

Cue the confetti . . . (source)

and the party horns . . .(source)


Thank you all for reading!

p.s. I promise to learn how to do a blog give-away before my 300th post

Chapter 2 page 195 - Top 10

I know, I know! Bad blogger! Very Bad Blogger! It's been nearly a week since I last posted. I've missed all of you so much. I haven't blogged because mostly I haven't had anything to say (ALL of my friends are currently saying, "what? you? have NOTHING to say? since when?"). I have nothing to say because I have absolutely done NOTHING physical . . . no running, no X train, no abs, no nothing - well, I've shivered a WHOLE LOT! I've entered hibernation mode I think.

For the purposes of making me feel better, here are my Top 10 reasons for not running in the past 11 days (drum roll please):

10. The last 2 weeks have been absolutely NUTS at work (this is legit - I've worked 8 twelve hour days in the past 14 days)

9. I hate to run by myself and my running partners have been awhol ("C's" daughter is a senior swimmer and she, of course, goes to the meets - again, legit - jus' sayin! "L" had 2 deaths in her immediate family within a 24 hour period of time and has been tied up with ALL that is involved when something so sad happens - again, legit - jus' sayin!)

8. These shorter days are killing me - anyone else feel as if it's going on 10 p.m. only to find out it's like 7:30?

7. I'm not 100% sure what to wear when the temp is 17 degrees and the windchill is 5 degrees - not exactly a good reason not to run, but seriously - what does one wear in order to be warm, but not too cold . . I don't think I own enough clothes in order to run with so many layers multiple days a week--that's a LOT of laundry. (note: I do rely heavily on the 'what to wear' feature of runner's world's website. Click here if you don't know what I'm talking about. Additional note: The website does NOT let you select "Crappy" as a weather type.)

6. I'm scared of ice . . . well, of falling on it that is. Remember my whole fall on the McDonalds black ice less than 2 weeks ago (click here if you missed it). I hurt my ankle and I think if I would have been more than a few steps from my car I would have really struggled. This leads me to the fear that I'll fall on my booty while I'm out on a run (could be several miles from my car). Lame excuse I'm sure, but I'm scared. Anyone ever fallen while out on a run and gotten hurt? What did you do? I bought Yak Trax, but have no idea when is the appropriate ground conditions to wear them. Any suggestions (side bar- as I was looking up the link for Yak Trax, I discovered I may have purchased the wrong kind . . . future post coming on the topic)?

5. I'm bored with the most accessible path we have in our city (given the road conditions and limited light it's the safest and easiest option). To be completely honest - I've never really LOVED it!

4. The park has been closed a few days . . .those are the days I've most wanted to run (correlation? maybe! what would Freud say?). By that I mean, I had a highly motivated plan to run a 6 mile trail run on Monday -extra motivated by the light snow fall - seriously, how beautiful would the trails be with as a light snow fell???? But no . . the park was closed for goose hunting (which really is a good thing - there's so much goose poop in the summer that it makes some paths a literal minefield).

3. I'm back to trying out new shoes. I'm just not happy with my Pearl Floats. They indeed fixed my shin splints but dang if they don't make my plantar fasciitis hurt for 3 days after the run - it seems like there should be a shoe that can both keep my shins and heel from hurting?????

2. It's the holiday season and well. . . .there's a lot of things to do, parties to attend, baking to be done, gifts to be bought, presents to be wrapped, and people to socialize with. Again - not the most legit excuse, but a truth nonetheless.


1. IT'S SOOOOOOO COLD!!!!!!!!!!

Have I sufficiently bored you? Bummed you? Depressed you? I know . . . I've been all of those. Tune in tomorrow for a post on how today's training session turned into a Mexican eating fest . . . oh, and I'm suppose to run with "L" tomorrow too.

Stay warm everyone!!! (Special shout out to my Florida friends, dude - welcome to the artic! BRRR)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chapter 2 page 194 - music to my ears

This post will probably be NOTHING new to any of you, but I just have to rave about my new pair of Yurbuds. I, like all of you, have read many reviews of the awesomeness that is this guaranteed-to-fit product.

As you may know, I'm not really a big fan of listening to music - not while running, not while driving, not while doing house work . . . never. I really don't know why or when this displeasure began because I used to be an an amazing flute player - but since graduating college, I've just despise background noise (including music but ironically excluding television).

Having said all of that, I was actually hoping to buy a pair of Yurbuds at the Women's Half Marathon expo but regretfully, Yurbuds wasn't there (note to the WHM folks- would be a great addition to the expo . . . as if the WHM staff reads this blog - HA!). I am a little inpatient and really didn't want to wait for the ordering process (take a picture of your email, etc, etc, etc) but eventually decided that was my only option. "C" had given me a listing of her playlist in hopes I could find some more tunes that I like (for example - HUGE fan of Black Eyed Peas "I've got a feeling"). I've been going through them and asked Santa for some more. So I went ahead with my order

Tonight - AHHHHHH (cue the choir) - the Yurbuds arrived. I immediately plugged them into my Blackberry and began my jam session. Oh yeah - they're awesome!!! I definitely will use them on runs when I can't run with anyone else. I do need to now work on not signing out loud at ear piercing decibels (I definitely sing worse than a dying deaf-mute ape).

If you haven't made the leap - what are you waiting for??? Go for it - makes a great holiday gift (for yourself . . . or someone you love who will let you borrow them . . .or for yourself).

Now I need your help (pretty please) -
What are some of your fav songs to listen to while you run?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chapte 2 page 193 - TR 73 freezing walk & friends

Today "C" was flying back from NYC where she delivered her middle daughter "A" safe and sound so that she can begin all the adventures that go with your first job after college. Good luck "A" - I'll be thinking of you and wishing you the best!

So "L" and I did something we haven't done in such a long time - we trained together . . . sort of. We took a 3.5 mile walk in the BITTER cold. Bitter I say! The windchill made it 24 degrees. "L" is an olympic pace walker (okay, maybe not quite that fast, but she is crazy fast!!!). By the time we were walking back from the park we were facing into the wind and the sleet and snow. SNOW!!! It was beautiful. It only lasted about 10 minutes. BRRRRRR!

Today's walk was primarily about letting "L" chat. Her aunt died today after having a massive stroke this past Saturday. Her other aunt who was diagnosed with cancer and has been in the hospital for about a month took a turn for the worse yesterday. It's a lot on her plate in addition to life's normal drama. Please keep her in mind as she works through the many decisions, struggles, and emotions that are certainly going to be coming her way this week.

Additionally "Allen L" from my 3 Elles blog is having surgery tomorrow. Wishing her lots of luck for a speedy recovery!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chapter 2 page 192 - My man Meb

Have you heard of Meb Keflezighi?

Do you know his background?

Did you know he wrote an amazing autobiography?

Meb, who became a household name after winning the 2009 NYC Marathon, recently wrote an autobiography entitled "Run to Overcome." I first became aware of this by reading Endurance Isn't Only Physical's blog.

I picked up a copy of this book and couldn't put it down. I'm by no means a good runner, a fast runner, a technical runner, or even a running enthusiast, but this book has something for everyone.

Who should read this book?
-Parents of high school cross country athletes (especially if their children have aspirations beyond high school running)
-College runners
-Runners who are serious about improving their time in anything from the 10K-full marathon
-Recreational runners looking for some motivation
-Any runner struggling with injury, difficulty in life, or other adversity

What's so special about this book?
-He discusses overcoming adversity (and the kind of adversity that none of us can imagine)
-He discusses training schedules, pacing, and mileage (on a scale that none of us can imagine, but still the principles can be applied to all of us)
-He discusses how faith is central to his life
-He discusses goal setting, dedication, determination, and the need to be surrounded by a strong team
-He discusses injury prevention and rehab options (that most of us can only dream of having access to, but still - it can be applied to our lives, just maybe a little less comprehensively)
-He discusses life balance between family, faith, education, and running

I HIGHLY recommend you get this book for yourself and for the runners in your life. In its 241 pages, I have learned how to tap into a deep reservoir of perseverance within myself.

Have you read it? I'd love to hear what you thought.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Chapte 2 page 191 - TR 72 & Clutz Award

Before I begin with the clutz award part of the story, I should tell you the weather stats first:
Temp 27 degrees
Wind 20-25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph
Windchill 17 degrees (BRRRRR!)

Last night at about 9 p.m. I decided that I was going to do the Rainbow Lake 5K today. That didn't leave much time for my normal routine which includes ensuring we have either a bagel or English muffin in the house which I use as Peanut Butter delivery device for my pre-race breakfast. Oh well, I decided I would just swing by McDonalds before the race and get a plain English Muffin. At the last minute I decided to go into the restaurant and go potty one last time before the race. I then purchased a large diet coke (shout out to TMB and "C") and a plain English muffin. I walked normally (not rushing or screwing around or texting) out to the car when in one split second, I was on my butt - and hard! I remember thinking (if I didn't actually say it aloud) "WHAT!". I tried to get up and couldn't. I was sitting on a patch of black ice. For my southern fans, click here to learn what black ice is all about. I had to scout to the edge of the ice and then get up once my feet were on actual pavement. The patch of ice was only about 3' X 2', but it was sooooooooo slippery! Thankfully I didn't spill my soda (awesome job, right?). I immediately sat in my car, collected myself, spread my peanut butter on my English muffin. While doing that I noticed an older lady coming out of McDonalds with a large coffee. I remember thinking "I hope she doesn't fall" - BAM, she too fell to the ground on the ice. Unfortunately, she spilled her hot coffee all over herself. I really should have reported it to the staff, but I was in a hurry to get to the race . . . and scared to walk across the parking lot again to go inside to tell them. Before driving away, I got out of the car and stood up to see if I was alright. Boy, my wrist (which I used to catch myself) and my ankle, knee, and back were all pretty sore. I thought I would still be able to do the race. Besides, there was no way my wellness client "J" (who I was meeting at the race) would EVER believe I fell on black ice - she would have totally thought that was a bogus excuse to sleep in).

I arrived 30 minutes later to the race registration. I checked in and moved around on my ankle a bit - ouch! I totally should have probably just sat out the race, but I needed to run and was kind of jealous of "C's" awesome Turkey Trot time so . . . I decided to push through (walk if I had to). This was my first race that I ever did completely by myself. Even races where I didn't bring someone with me, I usually meet someone and we end up doing it together. Not today, it was all me for the entire 3.1 miles. I listened to music which I NEVER do (not a big fan of music - I hear all of you just boo hiss!). It was alright. I couldn't use a beeper timer because of my tunes so I just did whatever I felt like.

My first interval was 10 minutes of running and 3 minutes of walking.

My second interval was "until I got to the house on the corner" which was like 7 1/2 minutes running and 2 minutes of walking.

My third interval was only 5 minutes running and 3 minutes walking (running was cut short by the one and only water station).

I then ran the last 12 1/2 minutes.

My ankle hurt worse to walk than it did to run (odd, huh?). My final time was nothing to brag about (42:48). I ended up 160th place out of 180 (there were 4 people behind me in my age group - that rarely happens, especially with such small races - I usually take the prize for dead last . . . of the last 4 was my wellness client "J").

After the race, I came home, wrapped my ankle in an ace, put ice on it while we drove an hour to another Thanksgiving party. It's REALLY sore - not going to lie.

But I feel happy I accomplished 3 miles on my own.

Here are some quirky pix:
I broke out a brand new pair of shoes for this race - yeah!
The race started at Jean Stratton Porter's house.
My wellness client "J" and I at the finish line. It was sooo cold. I know I had at least 10 items of clothing on (tights, pants, 2 shirts, sweatshirt, gloves, ear warmer, under garments).

Hope your day was great!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chapter 2 page 190 - craptastic weather

Today's weather here in Northeastern Indiana was nearly a perfect rating on the craptastic weather scale. Had it been a bit more chilly (it's currently 33 degrees), it would have been an award winning day for the suckiest weather. It was WINDY, extremely rainy, and heavily foggy.

Just 72 hours ago, this is what "C" and I were experiencing:

How quickly 72 hours passes by and now feels like months ago. I raise my glass to my new friends living in the sunny South - cheers!

Chapter 2 page 189 - Turkey Day

Just wanted to take a quick moment to wish everyone Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for on this day?

p.s. Good Luck "C" on your 5K today - you're a better woman than I for battling this Suckfest weather! Have fun with "K" & "T" - tell them I said hello!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chapter 2 page 188 - TR 71 & WHM stats

I was scared to write this post. Why? I'm not really proud of my time or pace, and I don't want you all to think I'm a loser. But . . . I'm also proud of having accomplished the race despite it being a sub-par performance.

Time: 3 hours 17 minutes 14 seconds
Pace: 15:03 min/mile (most all of you must be thinking that with such a slow pace how can I even call this running . . . I know - it's slow, we started off with a 13:45 m/m pace but as it got hotter, we slowed way down)
Interval used: 2 minutes running (which became shuffling rather than running starting at mile 9ish) and 1 minute 15 seconds walking
Overall Place: 4149 out of 4746
Age group place: 759 out 842
Temp at start of race: 64 degrees with 98% humidity
Temp at end of race (3 hours later): 78 degrees with 87% humidity
Temp increase during the race: 14 degrees!!!!!!

No PR, but this was a race about having fun (mission accomplished). I had never traveled for a race -let alone to a whole different state. We didn't have a car during our trip and we must have walked at least 8-10 miles on Friday and Saturday. I had NEVER gone more than 14 miles and this race required us to walk nearly 1.5 miles to the starting line (and then back to the hotel afterward). We didn't have access to the food I have become accustomed to in the days leading up to the race. These are not excuses they are just factors that influenced my race performance.

We did great until mile 7. We were 90 seconds ahead of my pacing temp tattoo and looking good. Miles 7-8 were where we sort of slowed down. Mile 9-10 we added a couple of walking breaks (out of the 62 intervals we ended up walking through only 5 of them - not too bad). Miles 10-12 were all about hating life. Mile 13 I was ready to run the whole thing (pretty sure I was delusional at that point).

Hope you all aren't too disappointed in me.

Here are some photo proofs that clearly show my the WIDE range of emotions I experienced during the race (starting off with euphoria, then pain, then anger, then exhausted finish).

Pre-race photo (sunrise beauty! Not sure "C" is completely awake)

Feeling great miles 1-6
"C" looks like a champ who could do this all day. Me? Well, that grimace screams it all!
Oh yeah, I see the finish line - woo hoo - come to mamma!

Check back next week for many more photos!

Chapter 2 page 187 - the mini vacation

"C" and I flew out of Indianapolis where the temperatures were about 40 degrees only to arrive in Tampa 2 hours later where temperatures were about 80 degrees - NICE! Indiana has VERY gray skies in the winter and the landscape is VERY brown (brown dead leaves, brown grass, just a sea of brown). We arrived in St. Petersburg only to be greeted by beautiful green palm trees, blue skies, and dark blue waters. AHHH!
-Took a perilous cab ride from the airport to the hotel (mental note - it's just best that you don't look at how closely the cabby tailgates)
-Checked into the hotel
-Walked SO FAR in search of food (and further because I was directionally challenged)
-Sat outside on top of The Pier and shared a delicious salad and shrimp. We just relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful sun and the water. I sent a pix of my location to all of my co-workers who would have still been in the office.
-Walked through several small shops inside The Pier
-Walked back toward the hotel and came across a movie theater so we decided to see Due Date - hilarious!
-Went to bed
-Ate breakfast at the hotel
-Walked to the Publix and bought bottled water and some items for Sunday's breakfast
-Walked over to the race starting line so we knew exactly how to get there
-Took the "looper" trolley to the Vinoy Resort where the expo and packet pick up was located
-Picked up our bibs, shirts, bags (what a complete bummer -the bag was billed as the ultimate goody bag - ultimate? NOT!)
-Walked around the expo for nearly 3 hours (it was sooo busy and so hot and so packed with women looking for clothing bargins - I think it was a good warm up for Black Friday - bring it!). I bought 5 bondi bands, and 2 pairs of stripped toe socks. "C" picked up 1 bondi band and an iFitness double pouch belt. We got some watermelon chomps which was thrilling since they don't seem to be sold in Indiana anywhere. We also got a couple pouches of mint chocolate gu (those too aren't readily available in IN).
-I rested while "C" took a few pix of the expo craziness
-Met Momma of 3 on the Run
-Took the "looper" trolley back to the hotel to drop off everything
-Walked to Nola restaurant and had a light salad and soup
-Walked to Bella Brava and waited over an hour to get a table (Momma of 3 on the Run and her friend Heidi joined us for dinner); "C" and I shared spaghetti and meatballs for dinner; enjoyed a wonderful time of getting to know Christina and Heidi
-Walked back to the hotel
-Got all of our race stuff layed out
-Went to bed
-Woke up early
-Ate our breakfast in our hotel room
-Walked to the race start
-Did 13.1 miles (way more details coming on this in future posts)
-Got a 10 minute post race massage
-Walked to CVS to get "trinkets" for all my peepes back home (thanks Momma of 3 on the Run for pointing me in the right direction)
-Walked back to the hotel for a much needed shower and change of clothes
-Took the "looper" trolley to The Pier
-Sat outside on top of The Pier and ate a salad (the dressing on the salad was so amazing!!!!)
-Bought some souvenirs at the shops inside The Pier
-Took the last "looper" shuttle to The Gatsby restaurant
-We chose the Gatsby because we could eat outside and they had 3 outdoor tv's that had the Colts game playing. We shared Bruschetta, ate Grouper sandwiches, and cheered loudly for the Colts (totally fun despite the very sucky last pass by Manning directly into the arms of the Patriots - UGG!)
-Walked down to the Gelato cafe and enjoyed a small 3 flavor gelato cup. It was so delicous.
-We walked back to the hotel and packed up our things

-We got up extra early ("C's" alarm was still set for Saturday's wake up time, then she pushed the snooze button instead of the off button so it went off again a few minutes later, then about 15 minutes after all that, her wrist watch alarm went off . . . so we just got up and laughed)
-Got ready and went to eat breakfast in the hotel
-Sat on the hotel's porch and waited for the Super Shuttle to take us back to the airport
-Flew back to IN (thankfully it was 68 degrees when we landed in Indy - helped with the weather transition . . . it was 22 degrees when I left for work the next morning)
-Ate at Paradise Bakery & Cafe (wow - the wrap and cookie were amazing)
-Fueled the car
-Drove home
-Did laundry (our race clothes were sooo stinky!!!!)
-Hugged our husbands and went to bed

The End . . . sigh

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chapter 2 page 186 - New friends, post 3 of 3

Mile 11 and hating life -
Anyone will tell you that I'm a SUPER over-the-top positive and happy person! No doubt - I can motivate, encourage, and support others like no one else on earth (okay, well that's a bit overstated). That said . . . anyone who knows me while I'm running ("L", "C", "M") knows that I can become extremely NEGATIVE. I seem to loose all sense of joy when things get hard. When I begin to struggle - EVERYONE around me hears about it. I'm not proud of this fact, and I really hope that some day I learn to love running which will stop the negativity, but for now - running is super hard for me and I struggle. Anyway, about mile 11 I was really hating life. I said on more than one occasion "I WANT TO SIT DOWN RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!!!!!!" I am also known to say things like "I want this to be over. I want to be DONE!" During miles 10-12 I was with an amazing group of women. They were struggling too, but when I said the negative things, they countered with a slew of encouraging words. They helped me to put one foot in front of the other. They helped me to not sit down. I should mention that there was a woman named Carol who told me "I'm not going up there only to come back down here" and she did in fact sit down. Carol did not become my friend - she represented everything I thought I wanted (sitting, rebelling, stopping), but became the persona of everything I didn't want (to be a quitter, to give up, to not be able to have a great story of finishing the race). To those ladies around me during mile 10-12 - THANKS!

Home Stretch, gent
I made the final right turn onto the last 800 yards and was passed on my left by an older gentlemen. He and I had been near each other for some time. We had shared some verbal pleasantries along the way and I actually think he was part of the ladies who supported me during the miles 10-12. As he passed me, he said "You've come this far, you're not really going to let me beat you are you?" Honest to goodness - I can't remember the words I said to him, but it was probably something positive and kind (I loose the funk once I see the finish line . . . just in case you're wondering - having a visual of the end really helps elevate my mood). Immediately, he slowed down to allow me to be in front of him as if to say "this is your race, not mine - go do your thing." I was shocked that someone would do such a selfless gesture as to "throw a finish", but was also humbled by the act. I told him something like "No - you go be all you can be. See you at the end." He took off and sadly I didn't see him again. He wasn't more than a few seconds (less than 30 probably) ahead of us (maybe I can search the results - there weren't many men in the race who finished near me). Anyway, I owe him a lot for showing me the impact selflessness can have on others.

I owe my training partner and friend "C" a HUGE thank you! Without "C" at my side the entire time, I would have NEVER been able to finish!!! "C" - you're an amazing person and I'm all the better for knowing you, for training with you, and for having you as my friend. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!

Coming up next -
the mini-vacation surrounding the race followed by the race recap later this week and then photos next week.