Friday, November 19, 2010

Why Weight?

It's that time again, people. You just finished eating the last of the Halloween candy and are starting to salivate over the Thanksgiving menu. You will load up you plate and go back for seconds as your stomach is screaming, "No more!" Then, there are the Christmas parties that begin the first weekend in December. Not to mention the frantic Christmas shopping. You are so rushed, you just grab something quick in the food court. Finally, Christmas arrives and it is a replay of Thanksgiving. As you are laying sprawled out on your couch, unbuttoning your pants, you begin hating yourself. You start listing your New Year's resolutions in your mind. If you are super motivated, you write them down. "January 1st brings a brand new me!"

I have to ask. Why are you waiting?

Last year, I began my 30+ pound weight loss the day after Thanksgiving. I got up on Black Friday and didn't hit the sales - I hit the gym. That feeling, in a deserted gym, brought on such pride that it was almost sinful. I felt liberated. I was liberated from that woman that sat on the couch depressed about the person she had become... The unhealthy, clinically overweight, lazy individual. It was time to ditch the excuses and do something... NOW. For me, that "now" was after a gluttonous Thanksgiving.

What is keeping you from taking action now? Why are you going to wait until the New Year? Think about how far ahead schedule you will be if you start now? Don't be one of those people that says, "I'm going to do as much damage to myself through the holidays and start fresh on January 1st." DON'T BE THAT PERSON. Do not disrespect yourself enough to allow that to be your plan of action.

There are so many things you can do for yourself this holiday season. Decide to place smaller servings on your plate. To help you with this, switch your dinner plate for a lunch or salad plate. Take a walk around the neighborhood after the holiday meals. During your holiday shopping, put some healthy snacks in your purse to fend off the desire to hit that food court. Sip on water while you are looking for that perfect gift for Aunt Susie and you won't get into that hunger mode.

I am not only writing this for my readers, but for myself, too. This injury has had a bigger effect on me than I would like to admit. The cookies, the sodas, the hours of television watching are slowly morphing me into that woman I never wanted in my home again. So, I am taking action once again. I am starting NOW. When I sit down with my family on Thanksgiving, I will thank God for my health, my family and friends. I will also thank Him for giving me the strength to make this change. Will you be able to do the same?

My journey (please excuse the cheesy drill team pose):

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

10 Reasons Why I'm Glad It's Fall

As previously stated, there won't be much to blog about since I'll be unable to train. I went over to Mama's Losin It and took a gander at her writing prompts. Prompt #565: 10 Reasons You're Glad It's Fall. On this chilly, rainy, dark day, I thought, "perfect".

1. Sweaters: I am constantly cold. It will be the dead of Summer and I will have the heater on in my office as I am wrapped up in my sweater or blanket. With the temperatures dropping, it is time to bring out the sweaters. Even though I'm constantly cold, I will take cold weather over hot weather any day. You can always add layers to get warmer, but there are only so many items you can take off to get cooler - and not land yourself in jail.

2. Boots: They go with skirts, pants, jeans, slacks, dresses - and yes - some braver, trendier individuals even wear them with shorts. You might be able to get away with boots during Spring and Summer, but you have no worries when its Fall. Suede or leather, all is well in Fall. You can totally change the look of an outfit with the addition of some great boots.

3. Blankets: You can also include Snuggies in this category. There is something about the warmth of an inhabited blanket. It is so toasty and welcoming that you cannot tear yourself out of its embrace. Whether it partners you reading a good book, or drinking a hot cup of tea, it tops off the evening of sheer perfection.

4. Family Gatherings: Thanksgiving is one of my favorite family holidays. Fall marks the time that you get to see those family members that you typically don't get to see everyday. Fall means my father's house is busy and loud. It means that we are closer to the even bigger holiday - Christmas!

5. Comfort Foods: Tortilla soups, baked breads, various creamy soups, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce. This is a list of foods that make me all warm and fuzzy inside. These foods don't really mix well with other seasons (maybe with the exception of the cranberry sauce). They fit perfectly with Fall.

6. Texas Weather: The only thing consistent about Texas weather is the inconsistency. Texas Fall does not bring extremities one way or the other. You get the dark, stormy weather. You get the windy but sunny. You get heat. It provides variety and keeps one from getting burned out by any one season offering.

7. Fire: With the temperatures dropping beginning in Fall, it is time to bring out the firewood and poker and start up a fire in the fireplace or fire pit. Watching the fire speak - with its crackle, pop and spark - is riveting. I can stare at a burning fire for hours... Well, maybe not HOURS. The fireplace is usually reserved for couple's movie night. The fire pit is an invitation for friends to gather and chat around the fire. Either way, it is utter enjoyment.

8. Tights/Leggings: Fall means that my razor gets some much needed time off. There is nothing worse than trying to shave when it is cold. Why bother? I don't want to be subjected to wearing only pants due to my disdain for shaving during the cold Fall mornings. Tights and leggings come to the rescue during this season. I can throw on either under a dress, skirt or tunic and look fashionable. The days that I do decide to wear pants, I can pull on a pair of tights under my trousers and add a little bit of warmth throughout the day.

9. Hot drinks: I'm not a big fan of coffee style drinks. My hot drinks of choice are tea and cocoa. Those are two types of drinks that you typically don't see consumed much during the warmer months... On this side of the pond, that is. I can enjoy my hot tea and not be uncomfortable. And thanks to a friend's suggestion, my peppermint tea fits right in during this particular season.

10. Lists: Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a list maker. It helps my organization and OCD tendencies. Fall brings me to a time of the year where I can wave my List-Making Freak Flag high in the sky. I make Christmas gift lists, Christmas card lists, home improvement lists - and most importantly - New Year organizational projects. Woo hoo!!! I start making my list of organization boxes and containers so I can hit the sales at the beginning of the year and beat those whose New Year's resolution is to "clear the cutter".

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Couldn't Sleep

My nerves were absolutely shot Thursday night. I had joked about all the forms I had to sign that mean I had to acknowledge this foot surgery could result in worsening of the condition, loss of feeling to the limb, paralysis, stroke, need to amputate the limb and even death. When the PA was going over the forms and she rattled off all of the surgical risks, she said, "If you understand these risks and agree to the procedure, please sign here." I looked at her and said, "Oh yeah, sounds like a great deal. Sign me up!" People always say that the only minor surgery is surgery happening to someone else. As the day grew closer, that saying laid heavier and heavier on my heart!

I tried to stay busy that night. Thankfully I had a great diversion; the Texas Rangers were playing the second game of the World Series (their first Series appearance in the history of the team). In between innings I was gathering my supplies and packing my bag for the following day. Diva and Captain Awesome noticed what I was doing and made requests of what to take to the surgery center. I added their suggestions to my pile.

1. Diva's dog "Maxie": She has had this puppy dog since she was four. Maxie has gone through various surgeries; herself mostly with her front, right limb. She's lost stuffing and her nose. Diva told me to take her. She would make my feel safe and comfort me.
2. Captain's dog "Mommy Daisy": After he heard Diva ask me to take Maxie, Captain told me I could take his Blue Blankie - which is his security blanket. However, he changed his mind and said he just couldn't go without Blue Blankie and asked me to take Mommy Daisy instead. Mommy Daisy is Captain's version of Maxie, only younger and darker.
3. Get well card: Not long after Diva learned that I was having surgery, she stayed after school and visited her favorite teacher from last year. Together they made a get well card for me. Diva asked me to please take it with me so I would remember that she cares about me.
4. Cleansing cloth: I was told not to wear makeup during the surgery. I had to go to work to clean up all of the items on my to-do list and there is NO WAY I was going to go to work without make up.
5. iPod: Doctors never run on time, do they? Needed the music to keep my mind off of the tick tock of the clock.
6. Promise Me book: This is the story of the Susan G. Komen organization, an organization that is very dear to me. I brought this for the same reason as the iPod.
7. Purple cross over backpack: With being on crutches, a purse isn't the most practical option for me to carry... Well, all the junk I carry in my purse.
8. Purple yoga bag: Even though Friday was our Halloween party at work, I couldn't go to work in my "Surgical patient pajama outfit." So, I packed a bag with my pj's for the ride home.
9. Meds: Mmmmm... The good stuff. I was told to stay on top of the pain and bring the drugs to the surgery center. There is some good stuff in that bag!
10. Crutches and boot: Doing what the peeps told me. They told me to bring them, so I did. Did I use them? Nope!

At eight o'clock the kids and I moved into my bedroom to finish watching the game (KISA was at a soccer game). Inning after scoreless Ranger inning, I finally gave up and went to bed (thankfully it was before the San Francisco massacre of the Rangers in the bottom of the eighth inning). Before the kids were put to bed, Captain Awesome was worried that I was going to be hurt during my surgery. He asked me what the doctor was going to do. I decided to just explain the bone spurt - the other procedures were just too technical for him. I explained how my bone was growing a hook that hurt my foot. With his hands, I showed him how your heel is mostly flat but mine wasn't. I asked him if he understood and he very articulately explained it to me. The next morning, he had to show KISA what he learned (see picture).

I went to bed but did not fall asleep. Whether it was the blinking light of my laptop or the swoosh, swoosh, swoosh of my ceiling fan, I could not fall asleep. The Hubs came home from his soccer game and I was still awake. I was finally able to doze off and was awaken to a blood curdling screaming cry. Captain had a nightmare and was in our room saying, "Mommy I miss you." He was hysterical. I shot out of bed to comfort him. I held him while I swayed back and forth. I let him to settle into bed with me and snuck a peek at the clock... Well, that was about 45-60 minutes of sleep, possibly. Score one for Syl!!!

After Captain was calmed down and fell asleep, the freight train in my bed was now keeping me awake. KISA is having some sinus/cold issues which was causing his snoring to be exceptionally loud. (Love you, KISA) I grabbed my purple earplugs. Yes, purple - is there any other color? Placed them in my ears and they just didn't do a darn thing for me. Frustrated, I went to sleep in the living room. It was a good decision, for about five minutes. Daisy, KISA's dog, has her bed in the living room and she was also sleeping.... And she was also snoring and dreaming. Between her snores and legs rapidly moving (I guess she was dreaming that she was running), I was feeling a strange combo of frustration and delirium.

About the time I was determining whether or not I should yell or cry, Hubster went into the kitchen and began making breakfast for me. The anesthesiologist had called me the afternoon prior and went over the rules and regulations of anesthesia. He said that I could eat up to 4:00am, day of surgery. Woo hoo!!!! At this point, things were getting better and better. At first I was told that my surgery was going to be scheduled at 2:45 and I couldn't eat after midnight. Yikes! Then, I received a call that informed me there had been cancellations and my surgery was now scheduled for 12:45 and the midnight rule still applied. So needless to say, after I was told the magical time was 4:00am, I was ecstatic. The hubby stepped up to the plate, literally, and made sure I had food in my belly so I was as comfortable as possible. I truly have the best guy. Yet another reason why I call him KISA.

So, with hubs in the kitchen, I decided to crawl back under the warm covers on my bed. Captain was still there so I cuddled up to his royal cuteness. I don't know if I was hoping to get some sleep in, but if that was my intention it wasn't a lucid thought. I blame it on sleep deprivation. Not long after I was back in bed, KISA came in with my breakfast - migas. I had been craving this dish for a couple of days and he decided to make it for the first time. As I told my aunt - only after she asked - "The gringo migas were great." Ha, ha. I ate up the yumminess and was again frustrated. I was beyond tired, but knew I couldn't get any sleep. I got up and took a shower. Sleep was pointless at this point. After my shower, I think I might have gotten thirty minutes to an hour worth of sleep. It's all a blur.

I went to work for a couple of hours because my to-do list had grown longer and longer the day prior. I had not second to waste. I found that to be a blessing in disguise. I was so busy that I couldn't really think about how hungry I was; however, I couldn't' stop thinking about how thirsty I was. I'll spare you those details. At 10:27, I received a phone call from my boss man. "Sylvia, it's almost 10:30, don't you need to get out of here?" I confirmed his statement. "Well, get going. Don't be late. But I have a question before you go...." I just had to include that in this blog because I was really tickled by that exchange. "You gotta get going, get out of here, but before you do can you help me?"

We arrived at the surgery center at 11:15. I overheard that they were running ahead of schedule. In the waiting room, I saw a number of individuals and only one pair. Hmmm... Was I one of only two folks waiting for surgery? You have to bring a responsible person to drive you home and take care of you. This lobby must be mostly those "responsible people". How ahead of schedule were they running? I tend to over think things. That statement isn't surprising to those that really know me

I filled out the paperwork and settled into one of the chairs, turned on my iPod and broke open my book. I listened to about four or five songs until they called my name. I was putting things away and saw the nurses face... She was obviously in a hurry. I followed her and immediately thought, "This chick needs to switch to decaf." She explained that we needed to "book it" because my doctor was running ahead of schedule and does not like waiting. She rattled off instructions for me to get ready in the restroom. I hadn't even gotten my clothes off and she was knocking on the door, "Are you ready yet?" Geez women! I just got in here. When I got out of the restroom, she just kept saying, "We gotta book it. He's rocking and rolling. We gotta book it." Don't' get me wrong, she wasn't being rude. She was actually starting to make me giggle. I asked her how ahead of schedule he was running and they told me 45 minutes. Rock on!

I finally got to the stretcher and it was my turn to hurry them up. I started giving my orders, "OK, I'm here. Give me the drugs. I'm sleep deprived. I'm tired. Put me to sleep." My doctor stopped by to say hi. He drew a winky face on my big toe and walked away. He can be so weird sometimes. I mean, I already wrote on my foot to let them know which one they need to cut open. The anesthesiologist came by to give me the "good stuff". He said hello and asked if the hubby actually got up and cooked me breakfast. By the way, my husband is a hero in that surgery center. The story of him getting up at 3:00 to fix me breakfast spread amongst the nurses. They informed the anesthesiologist he could take some lessons from my husband. Ouch! I did say hello and quickly added, "Come on. I'm tired. Put me to sleep." They got my husband to come sit by me before they wheeled me off. During that time, I'm sure his ego got more inflated by them telling him how wonderful he is. I don't remember the anesthesiologist pushing the plunger into the IV to give me the sleepy drugs. I don't remember him leaving. I don't remember being wheeled away and I definitely don't remember the conversation my hubby told me I had with the guy. KISA was told he had 45 minutes to get lunch before I got out of surgery. He would need to be there when I got out.

The next thing I rememer is being told I need to wake up. The nurse got me some water and crackers. I was still so weak that I couldn't even bite through the cracker. My sweet husband was there and broke it up into small pieces. Have I mentioned how lucky I am? He is a true sweetheart. I was able to get dressed and head home. I couldn't wait to get home and crawl into my bed. We pulled into the garage and the hubby came to my door with my crutches. I attempted to hold on and walk with them, but I was still too weak. Hubby's ex-wife had lent us a wheelchair that she purchased after she sprained her ankle. It came in handy because I had no idea how I was going to get into the house otherwise.

I was weak and off balance all night. My first attempt to use the restroom had me fall over three times. KISA was really good about giving me my pain meds and ice pack on time. I was prescribed Percocet and this was my first time to take it. I was unaware of the side effects. However, the rats running on the treadmill, black bugs flying across the room, feeling things crawl on me and my hands bleeding as I washed my face were all clues to indicate that hallucinations were one of the side effects.

KISA was also sweet enough to bring me flowers. Not traditional flowers. Not even more than one. It was one flower... Made out of icing... On top of a red velvet cake. I laughed after he explained the cake was "flowers" he got for me. Oh man, I better hurry up and get better so I can start exercising again! If anyone has ideas on how to exercise while on bed rest, LET. ME. KNOW!!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Run, But I'm Not a Runner... Or Am I?

This may sound a little strange, but stay with me...

There is a constant kidding that my hubby and I partake in. It is his way of gently making fun of his beloved and my way of lowering my own expectations. The other day, at my doctor's office, I was discussing why my foot discomfort was creating such a disruption in my life. I started the sentence with, "Because I run..." Notice I did not say, "I'm a runner..." The variations of the statement made in my doctor's office can include, "I like to run..." or "When I run..." or "I am training for..." I avoid the words, "I'm a runner" like the plague. Needless to say, once hubby and I got into our car after that doctor's visit, the harassment began. Almost in his best childlike "nah nah nah nah boo boo" voice, Hubster said, "So 'because you run', not because you are a runner, huh?" Or something like that - I try to drown him out when he's trying to be cute.*

I go to specialty running store for my shoes, because I run. I can spend hours in a sporting goods store looking at running gear and training items, because I run. I have a special savings account to pay for registration fees, because I run. I subscribe to multiple websites that will send me email notifications regarding races in my area, because I run. I receive gifts that help me in my training because everyone knows I run. I have Hal Higdon's training website bookmarked on my iPhone, because I run. I am sane (relatively) because I run. Yet, I am not able to refer to myself as a "runner".

I may have uttered the words, "I'm a runner" once and quickly retracted that statement. There is something in my mind that is holding me back from saying those words in lieu of "because I run." I think I would feel like an impostor if I attempted to say those words out loud. Let's face it... I am no Kara Goucher or Paula Radcliffe. Nor am I Dimity McDowell or Sarah Bowen Shea. By saying, "I'm a runner" I feel that I would be putting myself in the same category as these women. The only thing that we have in common is that we are all mothers and we enjoy running. Hubster might disagree with that statement, too. He seems to be under the impression that I also am a sponsored runner since all I work out in is Nike apparel, but I digress.

The playful "You're a runner. No I'm not" argument ensued for a little bit until hubby had to state the obvious (in his mind). He said, "You're a runner because you have an orthopedic surgeon and are having surgery on your foot to help you get back to running." He reveled in victory as he left me speechless. I had no words to combat his statement. So I sat in silence instead of telling him he was right.

That's right. The doctor appointment we were at on this particular day was a foot and ankle specialist that I have been seeing for about a year. It turns out that my running "career" is over for 2010. On Friday, I will have surgery on my foot to finally (God willing) get rid of this pain that has been bothersome since last year. It appears that 97% of individuals will respond well to various, more conservative types of treatment. Another 2% need a little bit more aggressive forms of treatment. Then there is that 1% that require surgery.** Oh, lucky me. I reviewed the synopsis that my doctor wrote down to give to the surgical center. He described my condition as "recalcitrant". My lucky readers get a two-for-one today. A blog AND a vocabulary lesson. Recalcitrant means "stubbornly resistant to authority or control".*** My daughter, Diva, and I laughed about this for a while. Isn't it ironic that my stubbornness extends all the way to my foot? I have a new accusation to throw at my daughter when she is being, well... Recalcitrant.

With all this being said, I will have no journey to blog about. I still won't be able to conquer my first half-marathon this year. A day or two after I was told I will have surgery, I went for a run. I know... Insane. But I figured, they're are going to fix what's wrong - why not get my money's worth? I took it easy and did a pathetic sub 15 minute mile. It was the best bad run in my history. I was smiling the entire time. I took in the joy that I was missing by trying to PR and push myself. Although I will miss my runs, I will make myself follow the plan prescribed by my doctor to have a speedy and accurate recovery. Although I will not have running stories to tell, I will be using the prompts distributed by Mama Kat and her writing workshop which can be found at www.mamakatslosinit.com. A friend turned me onto this site and I hope it will bring some of the sanity I find while I run.

By the way, because I run, I have already registered for a half-marathon on March 27th (to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure).


*I know you're reading this KISA, I love you. Smooches.
**These are statistics given to me by my doctor.
***Thanks Google!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Is This Plan B or Plan C?

My coveted first half-marathon was not conquered when I planned to complete it. I got so much support and advice from my running buddies following my failure. I love being a part of this running "cult" (I only use this word because there are so many people that still don't understand why we run). I took a week off to rest my mind and my body. My first run back on the schedule was a 5K. The race I chose was the MK5K (Mary Kay 5K), proceeds go to domestic violence and organizations geared towards women's cancer. I gave Hubster my best pouty face and asked him to join me. It worked.

I really enjoyed my first race back. The weather was beautiful. My hubby was jovial. We started off the event by watching the kids run the one mile. It was so cute. I automatically missed my kids and started envisioning them running with me. I loved watching these kids participate. The spectators cheered them on as they rounded the corner to make it to the finish line. Then, it was OUR turn.

It wasn't my best time, but it wasn't my worst. Here's a note to all those race directors out there: Do not make the course go uphill right before the finish line! I believe that I finished approximately 246th out of 900. Heck, I'll take it!

When I got home, my foot was HURT-ING!!!! I cannot remember if I hopped from the garage to the shower or if I leaned on Hubster to make it there. I do remember that while I was in the shower, and the water began hitting the bottom of my foot, I felt an excruciating pain. It brought me to tears in the shower. The first thought that came to my mind: "Please, I can't stop running!" I placed myself in the boot - the less fashionable orthopedic walking boot - and decided that I would wear it when I wasn't exercising. That lasted one workout. I began permanently wearing it.

So, as I sit here a week later, I'm trying to determine what my next move might be. Plan B was to start prepping for White Rock in December. That what the 5K signified. Having to take a week off of training, I've begun to question if I'm ready to start training again. I've begun to question if I will be ready. I began to wonder if I should start working on a Plan C.

The foot hurts and the ass is getting fat. I'm not exactly sure what to do at this point.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

HALF-MARATHON

This was the day. The day that my twelve weeks of training came to a head and I proved that I could accomplish something I never thought possible two years ago... Heck, maybe even a year ago. I picked out my outfit the night before and laid it out - complete with my "If I'm doing this it must be getting cold in Hell" BondiBand. I had all of my gear ready to go. I went to bed and drank some hot tea to aid in my drifting off to sweet dreams. As I laid in bed, eyes closed, I started replaying the advice I have received over these past twelve weeks. The one that stood out the most: "Visualize yourself crossing the finish line." I kept replaying that image in my head. Over and over and over again. It was a picture perfect moment. I looked strong. The strength of my stride got stronger and longer as I got closer to the finish line. Once I crossed the finish line, I would run into my husband's arms and my children would join our embrace (although Diva said she was sleeping in and not joining us). Ahhhh... What a sweet visual to fall asleep to last night.

The day had arrived. It was dark and early and it was time to get dressed. I found out that Diva changed her mind and wanted to go cheer me on. That made me smile. Before I knew it. We were ready to go. The dense fog made it somewhat hard for us to get there - missing one turn made us a tad bit later than we anticipated. Once we arrived to the race site, we had less than twenty minutes before the half-marathon started. My first stop was to the portapotties. Oh, the lines at the porta potties. There were four lines, all as long as the others. The conversation flowed as freely as we hoped our... Never mind, I'm not going to finish that statement.

When I exited the portapotty, I met up with a fellow running friend just outside of the potties. We overheard "5-4-3", etc. Freaked out we warmed up/sprinted to the start line - FREAKED!!! How could we have missed the start?!?!?! Then, the announcer then said, "the wheelchair half-marathoner has begun." Whew, we were relieved. We made our way to the starting corral and found the 3:00 pacer, Michelle. My plan was to stick with her and keep her pace. She's been very gracious with her advice and support this past week. I looked forward to running with her. I introduced myself and we were off.

About fifty feet along the course, I saw my family. There was KISA and Diva standing alongside the road. Captain Awesome was sitting on the Hubster's shoulders. I waved with a big smile and continued on. The pace was comfortable as Michelle said that we were going a little fast. That was a relief. I truly felt that I could do this pace for 13.1 miles. The group of runners that were running a 3:00 pace were so friendly - the ones I interacted with any way. Michelle kept us laughing and loose.

At mile one, we were a little ahead of pace. Michelle tried to readjust our strides. We looked to our left and we saw a beautiful athletic specimen gliding along the path, going the opposite direction as us. Michelle began cheering him on and we followed along and clapped and cheered. Then, one of us asked, "How soon do you think he's going to finish." We were astonished to learn he was going to finish the marathon in a third of the time it was going to take us to finish. Luckily none of us had any delusions of being, what's the word? Fast?

Unfortunately, this is basically where my story ends. Circumstances beyond my control sidelined me at mile two. I was done. In tears I called my husband and let him know I could not finish, nor could I go on to the first spectator spot at mile three. The image of the letters DNF on the race result website seared my brain and my disappointment increased. A jovial volunteer offered to take me to start line so I could meet up with the hubby. She was so perky - an obvious attempt to keep my spirits up. I told her how this week was full of barricades that were trying to keep me from running this race - and how I should have relented. I told her how fearful I was to return to our car and tell my children that I quit. She assured me that my son wouldn't remember and my daughter would learn that we have to listen to and cherish our bodies. I hoped she was right.

I saw our car and the Hubster standing beside it. He wrapped his arms around me and let me cry. When I got into our car, my son said, "I thought you were going to run longer." Dagger in the heart. :-) My daughter was so supportive and assured me that it was OK.

I came home and asked to be allowed to lay in bed the rest of the day and pout. This pity party was a one man show. The family agreed but that only lasted an hour or so. Next thing I knew, the kids came into my room with hot pink posters, purple balloons and purple streamers. They intended to have them on the course to cheer me on. Although I didn't finish - or come close to finishing - they wanted to show me how proud they were at my attempt. It was very sweet.

So, what's next? White Rock. I've already put my training plan in my agenda (scheduled workouts make it hard to skip workouts). Although I wrote training for this week, I planned on taking it easy. However, it's time for plan B. The training will go on and hopefully I will go on along with it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

HALF-MARATHON TRAINING: WEEK TWELVE

Counting down the days...

6 Days To Go: This run was a great escape. I was sick over the weekend and spent this day home with a sick kiddo (and another one trying to con her way home from school). I went out for an easy four miles. And when I say "easy", I mean eeeee-zzzzzz. My heart rate barely went into my ideal range. I think I averaged a 16 minute mile. I was singing along to my ipod during the run. I was told this week my runs are supposed to be easy. Well, mission accomplished.

During the last 1/4 mile of the run I began to visualize the race I had yet to endure. I saw the crowds. I saw myself hobbling through the last stretch of the run. I saw myself skipping through this same stretch. I saw myself crawling across the finish line. My last 1/10 mile of this run, I sprinted. I saw myself sprinting across the finish line. Then, I was done. Only two more runs to go.

5 Days to Go: I'm sick. I thought I was over the "uckies" but I guess not. This run was a little painful. My baby boy was at the doctor yesterday. He has an eye infection, bronchitis and the beginning of an ear infection. I think I have his bronchitis. I couldn't go a mile without pain in my chest. Then, my knee started hurting. I asked the Hubs to make me a doctor's appointment. I try to avoid that office as much as possible. So, here is the game plan... I'm going to go to the office, give the doctor my symptoms and tell her to get me race ready. Sounds like a plan to me.

4 Days to Go: I don't run today, but I do go to the doctor. I told her to get me ready for the run on Sunday. She asks, "Is it a fun run?" Yes... It's 13.1 miles of pure joy and sunshine and laughter and cotton candy. Yes - that's sarcasm. She tells me that I have allergy induced asthma and will need to use an inhaler on the run. She also said, "you may not finish". I have been hearing these words too much lately.

3 Days to Go: Just gonna rest.

1 Day to Go: It is the day before my race. I haven't run since Tuesday. I'm feeling 90% better. I'm not sure if I am going to make it 13.1 miles, but I know that I am going to try. I feel like I am not only doing this for myself, but I am doing this for anyone that has told me that they wish they could exercise, run, lose weight. I am doing this for people that have heard my story and reached out to me for advice. I am doing this for every single person that has told me that they believe in me.


PLANNED MILEAGE: 9 Miles
ACTUAL MILEAGE: 7.20 Miles
CALORIES BURNED: 937 Calories

Sunday, September 19, 2010

HALF-MARATHON TRAINING: WEEK ELEVEN

Did you miss me? Probably not. I didn't blog last week because other responsibilities took over. This week, I focused upon making my mileage. Needless to say, this week was a challenge, indeed!

I told myself that I had to do every frigging mile of my training plan this week. I can see my half, just around the corner. I asked the kids to tag along on Monday for my training run. I had Captain Awesome in the stroller and Diva on the bike. Little Miss Diva was texting ahead of me and it just reminded me of how slow I was going. But hey... Quality family time, right?

Also this week, the emails and FaceBook updates from my half-marathon have increased in frequency. With each email or ping from my cell phone (from a FB update), the nerves churned in my stomach. I started questioning my ability. At one point I gave myself a time limit to finish the half. Today, my goal is to just finish. Finish it. That's all I want to do at this point. Finish it. I've been told that I am not ready. I've been told that I should just put off my first half. That just breaks my heart.

I did my ten miles, the most I've ever done, this weekend. Talk about pain! Even so, a day later, I'm ready for another run. Does that make me a runner? I do believe so.

I really don't have much more to say. Only, I want to finish.


PLANNED MILEAGE: 23
ACTUAL MILEAGE: 24.07
CALORIES BURNED: 3,201

Monday, September 6, 2010

HALF-MARATHON TRAINING: WEEK NINE

I began to write and rewrite this blog three times today. There wasn't much to report for this week of training, so I wasn't sure how to fill this entry with substance. My solution? I decided to go out for a run to clear my thoughts. It worked.

This week's blog is a shout out to some of my fellow runners and my giveaway winner!

Congratulations to Anita Valle. She won the BondiBand giveaway. Anita is a fan of the "You Can and You Will" BondiBand. What a great saying! I can't wait to hear her feedback once she receives the BondiBand.

I woke up this morning and went to cheer on two of my running friends as they ran a Labor Day 5K. I'm so proud of both of these ladies. My neighbor, Dana, tackled her first 5K after surgery. She did an awesome job! Dana is also currently training for a half-marathon in December. I know she will do amazing.

The second lady is my friend Janine. This was her first 5K, period! I know how hard she has been training and I am also very proud of her. She had her hubby there running alongside her throughout the race. Her hard work really paid off.

Great job, ladies!!!! I'll say it again. I'm so proud of both of you!!!!!

There's not much to report during this week of my training. Unfortunately, I took advantage of an easy week and made it uber-easy. I had three runs scheduled, but only completed one. There always seemed to be an excuse, or a Twinkie, that got in my way. Either way, I did not do what I needed to do this week. As I look at my calendar, the reality is daunting. There are twenty days until my half-marathon. Twenty days... TWENTY. DAYS. Less than three weeks, people. I gotta get this done. I'm in the home stretch and I have to stay focused. I cannot take it easy. I got to get this done. I pray that my foot, my body and my mind can get through these twenty days.

PLANNED MILEAGE: 14.2
ACTUAL MILEAGE: 5.03
CALORIES BURNED: 793

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

HALF-MARATHON TRAINING: WEEK EIGHT

There are a few items that are constants when it comes to my training gear. The Hubs constantly jokes about my make believe "sponsorship" with Nike because I only like to wear Nike tops and bottoms while I work out. My go to sports bras are Champion C9 (with an occasional Nike bra - but those suckers are a pain to put on/off). Socks are New Balance. Now some days I'll wear a random generic shirt/short/sports bra/sock. However, one thing that I will not forget to wear during a workout is a BondiBand! Even on the rare occasion, like today, that I wear a cap, you will still find a BondiBand underneath it.

I came across BondiBand two years ago. At first, I thought that they were just another headband - only cuter. My first time wearing one, I was hooked. The headband did not slip on my head, nor did it indent my hair, like other headbands do. It also didn't cause a "headband headache" like the plastic headbands do. And they were cute! Did I mention that already? And what happened after I chopped my hair off so short that a ponytail wasn't an option? BondiBands were still there to keep my hair and sweat out of my eyes.

The headbands are made from stretchy, breathable material that provides comfort to the wearer. They come in Lycra and heavy wicking material called dry-tech coolmax. They are available in solids, prints, with or without sayings. Over the two years that I've been purchasing BondiBands, I've seen their product line grow. Not only do they offer headbands, but their product line has expanded to swim caps, wicking hats - with or without ponytail holes, and neck gators. These are not exclusively for women. BondiBands are available for men, women and children. Above the cuteness, the functionality and the affordability, the customer service is absolutely more than anyone can ask for. Rebecca, owner, truly cares about customer satisfaction. She strives to make sure that all of her customers are happy with their purchases.



So, now it is time for me to share my passion with my readers. BondiBand has offered to give one headband away to one of my readers. How can you win?

RULES
To enter, visit BondiBand at www.bondiband.com and browse their wide selection of headbands. Once you do that, leave a comment below with your favorite BondiBand design. This is mandatory before you can complete any optional entries.

Optional entries
Follow BondiBand on Facebook (1 entry)

Subscribe to my blog (2 entries. If you are already subscribed, leave a comment saying so).

This giveaway ends on Sunday, September 5th at 11:59PM CST and is open to U.S. residents, only. I will use random.org to choose the winner. Winners will have 48 hours to respond the email notification. If I do not receive a response within those 48 hours, I will pick a new winner.

Now, about my training...
My first run back after my pity party hangover was met with caution. Do you know how when you wake up the day after with that nasty hangover and the remnants of the night before takes form as fuzz on your tongue? Neither have I but I've heard stories. ;-) I had the fuzzy taste on my tongue (of failure) and pounding head pain (of self-doubt). So, how did my first run start? I'll tell you, it wasn't well. A 1/4 mile into the run I was faced with a dead rat on the side of the road. Puke crept its way to the top of my throat. Disgusting! Luckily, I was faced with a cute little bunny 1/10 of a mile later. That bunny put a smile on my face and it was there for the remainder (almost) of the run. I didn't experience a PR, but the run felt great. I was consistent. I didn't walk any of it. I wasn't miserable. I.AM.BACK!!!!!

I'm not sure if it was the cooler weather, the new Garmin sports watch that Hubs gave me for my birthday or the pity party that did it, but this was a great week. I shaved off 13 minutes from my time between Tuesday and Thursday. I ran over eight miles without walking on Saturday. I really, for the first time, feel like I can get through the half-marathon in September.

PLANNED MILEAGE: 20
ACTUAL MILEAGE: 21.58
CALORIES BURNED: 3,673
ACCOMPLISHMENT: Ran the longest that I've ever ran at once!!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

HALF-MARATHON TRAINING: WEEK SEVEN

I am sad to say that this week was not as successfully as I would have liked for it to be. My training was sidetracked due to the pity party that consumed my week. It was all because of back-to-back sub par runs. That was all that I needed to deter my training this week.

I had an awesome workout at boot camp on Monday. It was there that a friend asked to run with me the following morning. I was very ecstatic to have a new buddy to run with me. I came home and told the Hubs all about it. At approximately 5:45 the following morning, I was served a huge dish of humble pie. The request to run with me was veiled with uncertainty as she stated, "I want to see if I can do it". I didn't believe that I would be running with Joan Benoit. This woman who claimed she hadn't run in a while was totally smoking me. I felt so bad for her. I was holding her back. It was embarrassing. I was scheduled for 4.5 miles that day. I only logged three. By the end of those three miles, I lost count of the number of times I apologized for my poor excuse for a run.

I logged 1.59 additional miles during the remainder ofr the week. It was a very poor 1.59 miles. I walked/ran during that distance but was very distracted. I was still thinking about what a failure I had turned into.

On Friday, I attended the Women of Faith pre-conference. I prayed to be blessed on my way there, but my alter ego, Negative Nancy, was skeptical. God had a reason for me being there and the reason why was answered fairly quickly. That first day I witnessed a drama performed by Nicole Johnson called "The Label Maker". My friend nudged me as the character described how much better her life would be once she could organize her entire house with labels from her new label maker. "Doesn't my daughter know that you don't put the blond dolls with the brunettes? It's clearly labeled." It was humorous until the labels were being placed on family members and friends. Her husband had removed a label from their daughter's forehead. It read "chubby". There were a list of labels: "Godly", "Un-Godly", "Lazy", "Selfish", etc. What labels am I placing on everyone else. What labels am I placing on me?

Later in the day, Marcus Buckingham spoke. Marcus was a senior researcher at Gallup Organization for almost two decades. He was part of a survey that asked what individuals focus on more; their strengths or their weaknesses. Gallup conducted the survey for, I believe, four years. Each year of the study, the results were the same. People focused more on their weaknesses.

Weaknesses and labels. It was all coming together. I have been using my weaknesses to label myself. "Weak." "Incapable." "Loser." "Failure." Not only did I see the labels that I was placing upon myself. I realized the I have been also placing labels on my family and my friends. The Lord began working on my heart. That afternoon I prayed that the Lord forgive me for labeling my loved ones. I prayed that my loved ones forgive me for labeling them. I prayed that I be able to let go of this awful habit.

Then, Saturday arrived. It was a powerful day. There were tears as I listened to the speakers. Karen James, widow of Mt. Hood climber Kelly James, spoke about her husband and his love of the Lord. As she discussed the pain she felt after losing her husband, she said something that really penetrated my heart: "You can either curl up or look up during adversity."

The last speaker of the day was Michelle Aguilar, season six winner of The Biggest Loser. She would use her time pulling back the curtain for us and expose what really occurred on The Biggest Loser Ranch. Behind that curtain was fear. One day on the ranch, Michelle had to climb up a big pole and jump off from a small ledge (yes, with a safety wire). Michelle was crippled with fear and refuse to jump. She would find herself crouching on that ledge while smiling. She was crippled with fear. Down below my favorite Biggest Loser trainer, Jillian Michaels, was yelling at her to get it over with and jump off. After about thirty minutes, Michelle jumped off the ledge. Once she had made it back down to the ground, Jillian asked a poignant question, "Why are you so content sitting in your fear?" She then provided advice for this habit, "Feel the fear and do it anyway." This made such an impact on Michelle. She realized that there was no reason for her to be fearful if only she could put it all in God's hands. When you trust our powerful and Almighty God, fear should not be in your vocabulary.

I combined these thoughts together and reflected upon this past week. I have been repeating the same word over and over this week. "Impossible." I say it because I am fearful of my failure. Back to Karen James' statement, I would probably feel very content curling up in my adversity. But what does that teach me? Why would I be content sitting in my fear of failure? I shouldn't. I don't want my readers to think that I went to the Women of Faith Conference for a way to get my training back on track. That's not it at all. This conference touched me and I can't wait to see what wonderful things the Lord intends on me to do with these blessings. But hey, I'm blogging about my running, so that is why I'm relating it to this challenging week I've had.

I know I promised a giveaway this week. I hope you can understand why I had to postpone it. I felt the gift I was given at this weekend's conference was a more important giveaway.

PLANNED MILEAGE: 19 miles
ACTUAL MILEAGE: 4.59 miles
CALORIES BURNED: 1,331*

*Although I didn't run, I did three boot camps and strength training.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

To Hang Up Or Not Hang Up, That Is The Question

I had yet another horrible run this morning. This really bites. I couldn't even finish my 4.5 miles this morning. I only logged 3. Even then, I couldn't even run a full mile. That's two horrible runs in a row. A disturbing 5K on Saturday and then this atrocity of a run this morning. I am seriously considering hanging up my running shoes for good.

There are a slew of reasons why I feel I should stop.

1. My feet are starting to hurt again. Last year I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in my left heel. After six months of treatment, if miraculously went away. I was weeks away from surgery and poof. All better. I began running again the first of this year. It came back in my right foot. Took steroids and poof. Better. Now it is back. IN BOTH FEET. How's that for discomfort? It's so bad, I'm wearing my ugly shoes (look at an earlier post titled "Comfort Outranks Beauty").

2. My training is not working. I remember only a few weeks ago I doubled my three mile run, just because it felt good. Like I said, this morning, I couldn't even run a mile without stopping. What is the reason for this?

3. I am not getting any faster. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I am getting slower. How's that for motivation?

4. It's freaking hot out there. It was hot and muggy at 5:30 this morning. It is hot at noon. It is hot at 8:00pm. Does the heat affect my running? My performance? If so, how is this helping me train for my half?

The picture explains it all. I feel like a loser. I am really thinking about quitting. I don't know if I can do this. I need some advice.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

HALF-MARATHON TRAINING: WEEK SIX

There's nothing much to report this week. I'm halfway through my training and finished this week with a race. Insert sigh here ---->

I ran over five miles on Tuesday, encased by an hour of boot camp. On Friday, my legs (and buttocks) were still sore from that workout. There was more sprint work this week on the dreadmill. I even surprised myself by getting up at 5:00am on Thursday for a run date with a friend. Even I thought I was a little insane for doing that. I found a runner's diet plan midway in the week that I plan on implementing next week. Again, nothing super exciting occurred this week. Until my 5K on Saturday. Maybe exciting is overselling it.

I tossed and turned on Friday night as I anticipated my first race since Mother's Day. I don't know why I was so anxious, nervous, excited, or whatever it was that I was. I think I had higher expectations for myself for this race after all of the training that I have been doing. Let's face it. I. HAVE. BEEN. TRAINING!!!! Yes, in fact, I KNOW I had higher expectations for myself. With my other training plans, I'll be honest, I wasn't as diligent. Maybe I skipped a couple of runs each week. If I did my long run each week, that was what mattered to me most. This time, it's been much different. I have been very careful about making sure that I get my miles in. I really have!

After an argument with Google Maps, we finally arrived at the race site. It was an inaugural race, so I didn't expect a huge crowd. The course was described as "flat and fast", two words that I loved seeing described about a race. I'd say that there were about a few dozen participants that lined up for the 5K race. I'd say that the size of this race makes my mistakes more visible.

Mistake One: I was one of the first ones to line up. Yes, I should not have lined up with the fast guys, but I was ready to start.

Mistake Two: As soon as the air horn went off, I bolted. They say that a race is good to help you pace yourself and keep up with others around you. I should have lined up with at least the mid group of participants. Lesson learned.

Mistake Three: I held my breath. I don't know why. Less than a minute into the race, I was ready to stop. I had an unexplainable feeling in my throat, head and chest. It wasn't good. I seriously considered falling to the ground or twisting my ankle. I wasn't able to get my rhythm back after that horrible start.

I really wanted to cry so many times during the race. Even though the course wound through shaded paths, I was miserable. I even had thoughts of quitting... Not just the race, but training. I thought, "If I can't run three flingin' flangin' (edited of course) miles, how the hell can I expect myself to run 13.1?" I came close to stopping during that first mile and turn around. I came close to walking back to the start of the race and find The Hubster, my biggest fan, and tell him I give up. Why didn't I? I knew what he would say. Oh, but I also knew how great it would feel to have his arms around me and give me the big supportive hug that I love him for. Yes, he would support me if I decided to stop running. However, I know that if he were running next to me he would tell me that I was capable and I could do it and he believed in me. So, I kept going.

36 minutes.

Yes, it took me 36 minutes to run 3.1 miles. My desire to quit had never looked so appealing. I was absolutely mortified and it took everything in my power to not cry. I thought the race was horrible. Seeing my time was worse. This was worse than my first race after injury. Then, KISA reminded me why I participated in this race. I will take the mistakes that I made this time and learn from them. He's one smart guy.

As I close out this week, I leave you with a disturbing visual. Enjoy! Oh, by the way. Check back next week. I'm hosting my first giveaway! I'm very excited!!!




PLANNED MILEAGE: 13.1
ACTUAL MILEAGE: 14.75
CALORIES BURNED: 2,696
ACCOMPLISHMENT: I learned valuable lessons that will get me through these next six weeks.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

HALF-MARATHON TRAINING: WEEK FIVE

As I sit here and reflect upon my last week of training, I have to say... I'm tired. This Texas heat was brutal. All week the temps were over 100 degrees. On Wednesday, the heat index was 108 degrees. I walked out my door around 6:30pm on Monday to run to boot camp. That day the high was 103. As soon as I exited my garage, it felt as the heat just sucked all my energy out of my body. I went ahead and ran the 2.15 miles to boot camp. Endured an hour of boot camp, which included numerous 30 second bursts of cardio (i.e. runs). I then ran the 2.15 miles back home. The payoff? I burned over 1,000 calories during those two hours. The next day, I was spent. During lunch, in lieu of a workout, I napped at a local park.

My Tuesday workout was enjoyed in the air conditioned gym at work. I did intervals and pushed myself hard on the speed. I was quite proud of myself when I ended that workout. My Thursday run was another torture filled day. It was a mid-day run and another 103 day, heat index of 105. I ventured out with my friend, Tash. She was so supportive of me that day. I clearly did not have it. In fact, I even felt like vomiting. The greatness that is Tash was evident when she had me do crunches on the side of the road to instigate the puke. We suffered through it and even decided to take on a challenge - Mud Run. It's a 10k run in the mud with approximately 18 obstacles... Maybe it was the heat that made us delirious enough to be so gung-ho, but we are completely stoked for this challenge.

All week I had been anticipating my long run for the week. It was only six miles... I say "only" because two weeks ago, I got lost - in my thoughts, in location - and went over six miles. The only difference is that I was going to be on vacation for this long run. Not only was I going to be on vacation, I was on a ranch with tons of hills.



The night before my run, it was raining pretty hard. I was somewhat sad anticipating my run having to be regulated to a fitness center. Luckily, the rain vanished by morning. I started off my run at 6:30, thirty minutes after I wanted it to be. Every once in a while, my runs will go "off road" by a sidewalk ending and I will have to run on some patches of grass. This, however, was drastically different. Rocks, mud, weeds and wildlife! Although, I was watching the placement of my feet to ensure that I didn't break an ankle with each stride, I was still in awe of the scenery. About a mile into the run, ten feet in front of me, four deer crossed my path. It was sheer beauty. I stopped dead in my tracks and just was in awe of these animals. I literally laughed out loud as I watched the deer and thought, "This is freaking crazy." With a smile on my face, I continued my run. Up and down hills. On and off asphalt. Past bison, bunnies and another deer. I was in total awe.

The Hubster got out early, too and decided to take a bike ride to meet me on my run. He approached me in his sopping wet shirt and informed me that he came out to make fun of me for running. However, the joke was on him. He was pretty worn out when he proclaimed, "Those hills are pretty high." I asked if he was still planning on making fun of me. Defeated, he said no. Ha, ha. He rode back to the room to change shirts. Unfortunately, I could not finish up my six mile run (a tummy ache sidelined me). As soon as KISA got back to the room, I called him up and asked him to bring the car and pick me up. Hangs head in shame.

I look forward to this upcoming week. I have great plans for the week. I want to increase my strength training. I'll be halfway through my training plan. I will have run more miles than I ever have. It's gonna be great!

PLANNED MILEAGE: 16 MILES
ACTUAL MILEAGE: 14.58 MILES
CALORIES BURNED: 2,221
ACCOMPLISHMENT: Speed work proved successful. Also, worked out on vacation.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

HALF-MARATHON TRAINING: WEEK FOUR, Part 2

I decided to take a yoga class the day after my extended run. My hip flexor quite enjoyed it. The next day I decided to do intervals on the DREADmill during lunch. Eight minutes into my workout, the fire alarm goes off. Can you believe that???? I stepped outside and security guards assured me that yes, there was an emergency and we needed to vacate the building. It wasn't too much of an emergency because less than ten minutes later, we were allowed back into the building. Three of the women that were in the gym with me, and started to work out the same time I did, decided that they weren't going to finish their workout. The alarm was a "sign" that they should not workout. I laughed and started my workout over.

I struggled on Thursday trying to decide what my workout was going to be. I wanted to go to boot camp but I also didn't think I was going to get a run in on Friday, so I wanted to get that in while I could. I texted a couple of people and they said the same thing that was in the very, very, VERY back of my mind... Run to boot camp. Why did I know that was coming? I had the hubster drop my equipment and extra water off at boot camp and I made my way there. As soon as I arrived, I was informed that our warm up was a 1/4 mile run/walk. WHAT???? I just freakin' ran 2+ miles! I went ahead and did it anyway because... Well, it felt great! That following hour was torture. I was reminded quite quickly that it had been a while since I incorporated strength training into my workouts. Usually eight pound weights would start to burn during my twelfth rep. I was dying after two. We worked on the stability ball - my favorite - so that added some joy to my workout. After the hour of laughter and pain was over, my hubby arrived and gave me the opportunity to hop in the car. I thought about it. I won't lie. I thought about it long and hard. I went ahead and ran back home. I was 1.75 mile under my planned mileage for the day, so I decided to run home.

Saturday morning, an adorable little man took it upon himself to wake me up. Captain Awesome was making me laugh and my heart smile. I did not want to leave him. He has such adorable mannerisms and expressions. KISA and I laid on the floor being entertained by the awesomeness that is our son. Finally, I made myself leave my baby boy and went out for a run. My body did not appreciate that decision very much. The first 1/4 mile of my run was absolute torture. Not only was my body feeling it, my eyes were being tortured. There were people running the opposite direction as I, and they looked great. I knew that I didn't look as awesome they did.

This run had me pondering one question. Did I miss some sort of memo? Since when did the 80's era douche bag gesture of the finger gun come back? You've seen it. Hand in a fist with the exception of the index finger pointed outwards while the thumb is up. It is usually accompanied by a wink. I only ask because during my long run, three - count them THREE - runners pointed at me with their personal finger guns. One of these runners really hit a nerve with me. He made me so angry. He comes bounding towards me, shirtless and wearing Texas flag shorts. Oh, how I wished that I could trip him after his bang, bang gesture. The third person that decided to do this changed my perspective on the annoyance of this gesture - somewhat. It was about mile five. I was done for. I truly felt I had nothing left to give. I saw another runner gliding towards me. Sweat was pouring down his head. He looked as though he had been running for two hours - solely based upon the perspiration on his clothing. About three steps before he reached me, he did it. There was something different about this particular db shooting. Although he was drenched in sweat, he radiated this inexplicable energy. He was smiling a glistening white smile. I have to say... I felt rejuvenated. I couldn't help myself. I began laughing. It was all so ridiculous, I couldn't help but laugh out loud. That LOL'ing preoccupied my thoughts as I forged up the hill that was defeating me only moments before.

All in all, this was a great week - as far as training goes. I exceeded my planned mileage by almost five miles. Although Saturday's long run wasn't the icing on the cake - running out of water twice, chapped buttocks from clenching so hard until I could find a bathroom, frustration from lack of sidewalks on my planned route - I felt relieved after it was over. Yes, onlookers may have thought I was some crazy person as I traveled the streets arguing with myself (yes, out loud) about what I had left to give. I realized that I have more than I think.

Four weeks down, eight weeks to go.

PLANNED MILEAGE: 14 miles
ACTUAL MILEAGE: 19.83 miles
CALORIES BURNED: 3,323!!!!
ACCOMPLISHMENT: I didn't give up.

Monday, July 26, 2010

HALF-MARATHON TRAINING: WEEK FOUR, Part 1

When life gives you lemons... Go for a run!

Today was an emotional roller coaster. I just could not get out of this horrible mood. Around lunch time, my sister suggested I grab my running book and go to a park and take in some nature. She sent me a link to a local park and even gave a little sales pitch of the park (there are roses there). I would like to publicly acknowledge that she was right. I skipped to the chapter entitled "Potty Talk: Peeing, Pooping, Passing Gas, and Periods" and my foul mood seemed to lift away. ***On a side note, I strongly recommend Run LIKE A MOTHER to any of you women runners. It's pure greatness!*** That chapter, along with my sister's goofy text messages sent me back to work with a smile on my face and pep in my step.

That all went away in an instant. I received devastating news about some family members that had me emotionally spent. I received the news while I was at work. To add to the slew of emotions I was feeling, embarrassment was heaped into the pile. My boss walked by my office as I was reviewing details of this incident in an email. He could tell something was wrong but I dare not tell him. I gave him the, "Ummm... Yes I'm fine." tone that also implies "no further questions are welcome and I'd appreciate you vacating my office." As soon as he left I shut my door and went to pieces. KISA, again appropriately named, took me home. I swear I was in shock. I was angry. Sad. Defeated. There was this chunk of vomit that was stuck at the back of my throat that would not expel itself. I didn't even think I could face the walk to the elevators because I did not want the look on my face to solicit questions. I stopped the tears enough to dash to the stairwell that sits directly across from my office. As soon as the door shut, I allowed the tears to continue to flow as I descended eleven flights of stairs.

I came home. Took some phone calls, made some others. Cried, cursed and thought about not so pleasant thoughts. Facebook nonsense helped for about a minute. Hubby brought me ice cream and later "diet" cupcakes. I ate the ice cream but skipped the cupcakes. I let Captain Awesome know that he could have them. However, I did accept the bite the Captain offered, because it would just be plain rude if I didn't. I laid in bed trying to make sense of something that doesn't. So what do you do when something that makes no sense occurs? You do the only thing that makes sense to you. For me, that was running.

My training schedule said 3.5 miles for today. I didn't know if I was going to do that, or more. I didn't know what route I was going to take. All I knew is that I was going to run. It had rained on my way home and I dreaded the humidity that was still present, but once I took to the pavement, it all seemed to disappear. Not figuratively either. The humidity left. The heat left. God blessed my run with clouds to block the Texas sun and a breeze to get me through the therapy session I had with the road.

I felt rejuvenated just before mile three. I felt wonderful. I was with my thoughts and emotions, but my body was being strong for me. I was in the zone and just decided to keep going. At about 3.6 miles I found myself in what seemed to be a fairly new development. I had wandered into the neighborhood because I had run out of sidewalk. Not really sure how I got there, but I stopped a car and asked for directions to the last landmark I passed. I finally found myself on familiar ground and headed back home.

I felt pooped right around mile five. I got this horrible stitch under my ribs. It was painFUL!!!! I tried walking it off. It wasn't getting better. This is going to sound crazy, but the words of Sarah Bowen Shea came into my head. I had read her chapter "Mental Toughness: Training My Brain" last week. In this chapter, SBS says, "...but if your body never knows what it feels like to go longer, harder or faster, your mind will never trust that it can... Go long enough so you're super uncomfortable and every fiber of you is screaming at your brain to tell your body to slow down. Then go at least a minute - or 5 - longer." When I realized that I only had a half mile to go before I was home, I forced myself to suffer through the pain and pick up the pace. I'll be dang if I'm going to finish by walking. I wasn't sprinting, but I wasn't going at my recovery pace either. My head kept telling my body, "just one more minute longer, just one more minute longer." I got my third wind and smiled as I turned the corner into our subdivision. When I turned the corner to my street, I started sprinting. With each mailbox I reached, I told myself "harder, just a little bit harder" and I picked up speed. By the time I reached my driveway, I felt amazing... That is until the creepy guy in black shoes and white socks pulled half way up his leg gave me an oogie smile.

I'm not sure what the rest of this training week holds in store for me, but I just felt that this run deserved it's own entry.

***The picture is of a rose bush at the park that I took as proof that I followed my big seestor's advice.***

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

HALF-MARATHON TRAINING: WEEK THREE

I had high hopes for this week. After the week prior, I just knew that I was going to accomplish great feats during my third week of training. Last week I improved my time and just felt so accomplished. On Sunday, KISA, Captain and I walked to visit some friends. We logged just over two miles that day. I was so optimistic. I told myself I was going to run in the mornings and not afternoon/evening any longer. This Texas heat is just too much for this chica. Can I just say how enticing my snooze button is so early in the morning?

Wednesday evening crept up on me and I hadn't logged any mileage for the week. Of course, I could have headed out the door and go for a run, but I hadn't hydrated at all during the day. I began drinking my water as I gripped to KISA. His response?

"Well, atleast you have something to write about this week."

I thanked and congratulated him on making it into this week's blog... Again. His smile radiated with pride.

Luckily for me, my copy of Run LIKE A MOTHER by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea arrived this same day. To read about the inner argument that Dimity (or was it Sarah? My feet are too sore to get up and check my facts with the book) faced before getting up for a run motivated me to get up at 5:30 the next morning. I felt great. About three miles into the run, I got that feeling. I felt like I could go for another three miles. If it wasn't for my day job, I would have tacked on that three extra miles.

Saturday was my long run. I had five miles scheduled, but felt like I needed to do more since I lacked in the mileage department this week. I ran a mile and was faced with a challenge. I came to a corner where I usually turn, but up ahead there was a hill. That hill was taunting me. I ran in circles on that corner until the "walk" sign illuminated. By golly, I was going to run up that hill. I proceeded. Do you know what was at the top of that hil? Yet another hill. I ran up that one, too. Next thing I knew, I found myself two miles out from my planned route, conquering a number of hills, resting upon jelly legs. I asked a man walking his dogs where I was. Once he told me, I just wanted to crumple on the sidewalk. My shock must have been written all over my face. He asked me if I had gone to far. I laughed and said "oh yes".

I turned around and took a little joy in knowing "what comes up must come down". However, those darn hills were not aware of Mr. Newton's little law of gravity. I swear. I was looking forward to the recovery going downhill. I found myself NOT going downhill. At one point, I wanted to crawl up the hills. I fought off the urge to call KISA and have him come rescue me. How the heck do you think he earned his name? I finally found myself back home, laying in my driveway. As I felt the breeze, I realized one fact: those hills made me their bitch today.

Momma's going to get herself a pedicure today!

PLANNED MILES: 14
ACTUAL MILES: 9.04 (plus 2m walk)
CALORIES BURNED: 1,239
ACCOMPLISMENT: I survived!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

HALF-MARATHON TRAINING: WEEK TWO

My old high school drill team has recently founded an un-official alumni association. It started with pictures of the good old days. Ahhh, the memories. Sweet memories. Then, the videos began being posted... The memories. Due to the greatness of YouTube, I was able to view a few videos that had me reflecting to a different time... A more flexible time. It had me reaching for a pint of The Häagen-Dazs®, metaphorically speaking.

During this, my second week of training, these videos reminded me of the importance of stretching. The things I saw in those videos were only possible because of the stretching we did on a daily basis. Each day we would spend a good fifteen minutes stretching. My body needs that stretching. That fact is PAINFULLY obvious. I can feel the tight muscles throughout my body. Ok, dear body. I get it! Maybe I should start up with the good ole Geepette stretches. Not only will it make running less painful (Dear God, let that be true. Amen), I might be able to do a jump split again after this training plan is over!

For the most part, this week was a fun week. Yeah, I said it... FUN! I was lucky enough to share a lot of my workouts with loved ones. Sunday was suppose to be my rest day, but I decided to go for a bike ride. The Hubster joined. It was definitely a workout trying to maneuver the hills in our neighborhood, but it felt great afterwards. Monday was stretch and strengthen. Yeah, I skipped that. Instead, the family (minus Little Momma) went on a walk. We walked almost two miles. That included Captain Awesome asking me to run with him on my shoulders. He is too adorable to say no to, so I did. Ummm... Ouch! It was totally worth it because I was with my family. Tuesday was a solo run in the dire Texas heat. Never underestimate the importance of water.

I turned my two miles scheduled for Wednesday into interval training. I did Fartlek exercises on the track across the street from our subdivision. Diva joined in on the fun. Yes, it was a humbling experience to see my daughter bursts past her old momma. But whatever, she's younger than me and I can ground her if she shows me up too badly! The next day I ran over three miles with a friend during the middle of the day. It was great catching up with her, but horrible doing so in the midday heat. Next time we'll catch up over margaritas or something! I think I'm going to stick to evening runs. Maybe even early morning runs. This midday crap is for the birds.

RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE WEEK: So, what profoud thoughts did i have during my long run this week? Diapers. Yep, I said it. Diapers. It never fails. Anytime I get out on the road for a run, I have to go to the restroom. Why is this? What is the subconscious reason for this? Before I knew it, I was thinking about that astronaut that wore a diaper to drive cross country to kill her "romantic rival". It was a practical, yet disgusting, idea. Should this be something I consider? Sure, the quick three mile run isn't so bad; however, you tack on another ten miles... Then what? Yes, I "handle my business" before I head out the door, but something is still triggered. How can I go the distance, no pun intended, without... You know. Is this too much information, especially for week two? This isn't called The RAMBLINGS of an Ordinary Woman for nothing!

PLANNED MILES: 12
ACTUAL MILES: 13.11 (plus 1.83 walk and 6.41 bike ride)
CALORIES BURNED: 2,007
ACCOMPLISMENT: Shaved five minutes off of my long run from last week!

And now, a video for your enjoyment. I'm the one on the far right.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Are Friends Really Friends Forever?

And friends are friends forever;
If the Lord's the Lord of them.
And a friend will not say never,
'Cause the welcome will not end....

I was recently thinking about this song during a run. Of course, I could only concentrate on that one line, "And friends are friends forever..." I just don't get that. Is there really such a thing as "FOREVER FRIENDS"?

There are a couple of groups of women that I'm aware of that could be considered "forever friends." One of these groups, THE FAB FIVE, have known one another since they were five years old. To this day, not a month will go by where they don't make time to spend with one another. Do they all live next door to one another? No. They are scattered throughout the Metroplex. However, their friendship is a priority for each of them. They don't let too much time pass without picking up the phone or getting in their cars to meet one another. Yes, they have families, children, jobs; but they have each other as well. They cherish their friendship as much as they do the other responsibilities that I listed.

Is this connection, this "forever" friendship a novelty? Is it more common than I am aware of? During my time of reflection, I was able to focus on where I am friendship impaired. I realize that when my imperfections show, I dismiss friends. After all, how can I expect anyone to still want to be around someone with all of my faults? I will crawl under a rock - I won't answer phone calls or emails; I won't accept invitations to the movies or pool parties. I will live the life of a hermit until they get the picture. I react this way because of my insecurities and my embarrassment. These actions have made me lose some wonderful people in my life.

One of these people is SB. She is a no-nonsense type of person. She is such a nurturing individual. She has two wonderful little boys that will never lack for love and a husband that things she hung the moon. We met by happenstance and hit it off right away. She helped me through a rough and scary divorce. She didn't sugar coat things but wasn't stingy with her support either. I will be bold enough to say that there was a strong mutual respect between us as well. That is, until I broke it.

SB quickly introduced me to her group of girlfriends. They were all loving women. However, I always felt like an outsider... These were, after all, HER friends. They all had history with one another. They grew up together, went to school with one another. I was considered their friend, but I always felt out of place. That was something that I put on myself. They didn't do anything but welcome me into their circle. SB had to move out of state and I was heartbroken. She knew I was going to miss her, but I didn't take advantage of the opportunity to tell her how much. Nor did I tell her why. After she left, I found myself distancing from this group. I kept saying that they were only my friends because of SB, and since SB is gone I should be too. I miss those girls. And I desperately miss SB.

I will think about SB the next time I find myself hiding away.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

HALF-MARATHON TRAINING: WEEK ONE

I'm a fan of Hal Higdon's training plans. Hal helped me during my quest to accomplish my first 5K and 10K. He's never failed me before and I doubt he would fail me this time. This week would be all about doing it. "Just get the mileage in," as the Hubby would say.

I intended to start some pre-training-training last week. I wanted to do some easy runs as well as just hit the gym to prepare for the start of my official training. I began on Monday by doing some strength training during lunch at the gym. An hour later I found myself in my underwear and a towel with, what I was told but have no memory of, a handful of calendar quality paramedics surrounding me in the women's locker room. After a weekend of basking in the sun and only drinking 12 ounces of water in three days, dehydration triggered my seizures. What ensued the following week was fear. I was fearful to return to the gym. Had I drank enough water? Should I OVER hydrate to compensate? Fear kept me from the gym and pavement that week.

As I began my "official" training week this week, the fear remained. Hal had me starting with strength and stretching on Monday. I talked myself out of that workout. Tuesday was my first scheduled run. I had to do three miles. I was still overwhelmed with fear. Fear kept me from getting out of bed that morning for my early run. Fear, and a coworker, kept me from a midday run. I did not want a repeat of last week's event. After having dinner with an old friend, I came home and slipped into my workout gear. It was after 8:00 and I just needed to get it done before the day was over and I lost two days from this plan.

Once upon a time I would start off running and not stop until I returned home. I knew that it would not be the same as "last time." So, I chose to power walk for the first five minutes. This was a strategy that I continued the entire week. Before long I was running. I felt jiggly parts that had stopped jiggling a few months ago. I felt my compression shorts compressing. I felt, what seemed like, every part of my body during the run. I wasn't as fast as I was two months ago, but I tried not to focus on that part... Ok, I lie. I deeply wanted to run with a huge sign that said, "I WAS FASTER TWO MONTHS AGO!" or "THIS IS JUST MY EASY RUN." or "GIVE ME A BREAK, I JUST RAN UPHILL... FOR TWO MILES... IN THE SNOW..." Anything to justify my speed, or lack thereof. I was scheduled for three miles, but a mile in I decided to turn around and only complete two miles. It was my first run back and the pizza I had for dinner wasn't helping.

I was scheduled to run two miles on Wednesday, but tacked on another mile in light of my failure the day prior. My body felt the repurcussions from the day before. The fact that there were walkers on my route gave me some joy. As I was passing them I smiled a little. Yes, they were walking, but atleast I was passing someone!

I needed to bang out three miles on Friday. This time hubby wanted to run with me. It was a rainy Texas afternoon. I remembered my most favorite running excursion with hubby when we first began dating. We ran in the pouring rain. It was during lunch on a workday. We returned to the gym and stood outside ringing our soaked clothing out before we entered. It was the best run (most fun) that I ever had. After I remembered that run, I agreed to go. We were going to pick up Captain Awesome; we figured he would enjoy the adventure. Running in the rain brings a new level of refreshment. Have you ever heard that saying, "You make plans and God laughs."? He was laughing on Friday. We got less than a quarter mile into the run and the rain stopped. Running in the hot, humid, Texas heat is not what I signed on for. We powered through with KISA reminding me that I just needed to get the mileage in. If he was not there to support me, there is no way that I could have finished. We alternated running and walking. Sixty nine minutes, a few bouts of sprinting, and one bout of vommitting later; the three miles had been completed.

It was with utter relief that I embarked on my last run for the week. Saturday was my scheduled long run. Four miles. My body is still sore from the beating it has endured this week. I didn't let it keep me from going on my run. This run is what it is all about. This was the best run of the week. Did I break any of my personal records? No. Did I run at race pace? Not even close. Did I escape? Yes! I was back. I got lost in my thoughts. My mind was all over the place. Maybe some of those posts will turn into future blogs. I sunk back into the security of my runs. I even found myself running and dancing at the same time. What a sight! My lower body was running while my upper body was movin' and groovin' to the tunes in my ears. I found my way home and sunk dipped my head in the pool to cool off.

Week one - done! Only eleven more weeks to go.

QUESTION: How do you keep your face clear while training in this Texas heat?

PLANNED: 12 miles, 30 mins strength/stretch, 30 mins cross-training
ACTUAL: 12.93 miles
CALORIES BURNED: 1,632