Feeds:
Posts
Comments

I hadn’t planned to stop running, but, you know, life happens.  This spring we decided to sell our house, and the preparations kept me super busy (and stressed), so running kinda left me for a while.  I went a week without running, telling myself I’ll get back to it next week, and that stretched into two weeks of no running, and so on.  After a month of not running, I stopped making excuses, and just convinced myself that I didn’t need it.  I didn’t have time to feel guilty.

Back in March, before I had stopped running, there was the registration for the Beach to Beacon 10k.  It is an annual tradition in my family to run the Beach to Beacon in Maine every August.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but the registration for the race is super competitive and nerve-wracking!  This year, on the designated day in March, I woke up early and got my laptop up and running.  I had my credit card at the ready, and my typing fingers were in top form.  I had my cell phone next to me, and my sisters Julie and Beth were on text alert…we always let each other know the moment we are able to register successfully.  In past years, the race has filled its 6000 general registration spots in 3-4 minutes.  You have to type super fast, not make any mistakes, and hope that the website doesn’t crash due to the sheer number of people trying to do the same thing you are trying to do.  I’ve been through this before, so I knew what to expect.  The clock said 5:59am.  I started clicking the “register” icon on the website repeatedly, knowing that in the next minute or so, it would magically load the 1st page of the registration.  Click, click, click.  Heart pounding.  Eyes unblinking.  Click, click, click.  Nothing was happening.  6:00am….Click, click, click.  I start panicking.  I quickly shoot a text to my sisters “I can’t get in! It won’t load!” (although I’m sure I didn’t bother with punctuation under the circumstances).  In the next 2 harrowing minutes I see texts from both of them “I’m on the 3rd page” or “almost done”, and I haven’t even gotten in the gate yet!  I’m still clicking REGISTER, and nothing is happening.  Then I see both sisters have gotten in, they are registered.  Beth then started to try to register me.  By this time I have lost hope, and I’m sure I’ll have to enter the lottery (for those who don’t get in, or are too faint of heart to attempt general registration).  Beth is a fast typer, but it would be nearly impossible to do 2 registrations back to back before the deadline.  It’s 6:06am….I’m sure the registration has closed several minutes ago.  I text the girls that I am going to sign up for the lottery and hope for the best.  Then I start getting frantic texts from Beth asking “What year were you born in?????” She is still trying to get me registered!  I answered the text with my birth year.  Then I notice that the texts from my 2 sisters seem to have been delayed.  They are coming out of order on my phone.  At about 6:10am I called Beth (why didn’t we do that before?).  She said she was able to register me; I was in!  Beth is officially the champion registerer for the Beach to Beacon!  The birth year question was totally delayed on my phone…by the time I had answered her, she had been done with my registration for about 5 minutes.  She guessed my birth year (she was under an enormous time pressure to fill something in, she couldn’t think, so she put 1975).  I was born in 1973.  So for the race I would be 2 years younger than my actual age.  Sweet!  (PS: Beth I think I still owe you money for the registration.)

As the spring and summer went on, I wasn’t running, and I didn’t seem to care.  I had a lot on my to-do list to get the house ready to go on the market.  I painted the entire interior of the house by myself, refaced the kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities, and packed up most of our junk and stored it off-site.  All while working full-time and taking care of 2 kids by myself, as my husband travels a lot for work.  But I’m not complaining, I’m proud of all I accomplished!  The house looked great.  After what seemed like an eternity (it was actually 5 weeks) we received the right offer and accepted it.  We had already committed to buying another house, so everything fell into place at the last minute, one week before the Beach to Beacon race.

On August 2nd, my daughters and I flew to Maine from Minnesota to see our family.  The girls have fun with their cousins, and I love spending time with my mom and my 4 sisters.  This summer, Julie had also not been running and Beth had not been training as much as she had hoped, so we had come to an agreement that we would treat the race as a casual “sister chat session”, and take walk breaks (normally a big no-no during my races, self-imposed, of course).  We had a few days to spend catching up with friends and family, and then it was the night before the race.  Beth called me. She had a proposal.  That we not even go to the race, since we’d have to get up early in the morning, and we aren’t in shape, yada yada yada.  I, of course, had been toying with that idea myself, but I was torn, willing to do what the majority wanted.  Julie wanted to go, because she would have felt guilty about registering and then not running, when so many people who wanted to run had gotten shut out of the registration.  So it was decided that we would bite the bullet and do it.  So there I was, sitting on my mom’s couch on Friday night, and without any training, I was going to do a 10k on Saturday morning.

race1

Race morning is always exciting, albeit early.  I got up at 5:30am, ate a half of a bagel, and heard Beth’s car pull up in the driveway of my mom’s house.  Beth’s husband Brad was also running (although he was ACTUALLY running), and he sat in the back seat as we headed toward Cape Elizabeth, about 30 minutes away.  Of course we encountered some traffic as we got closer (other runners and spectators), but it wasn’t bad and we were able to make our way to the parking area at Hannaford Corporate to meet Julie before getting on the bus to the start line.  We didn’t have to wait all that long to get on the bus once we got in line, but we DID have to wait for Beth to use the port-o-potty before actually getting in line, which set us back a little on time.  This is Julie and I on the bus:

race2

The bus ride seemed to last forever, and then we started to see runners walking along the side of the road, so I knew (or assumed) the start line was nearby.  The bus dropped us off at a dump.  Yes, a dump.  We started walking in the direction that all the other runners were walking.  And walking.  And walking.  We literally walked about a mile to get to the start line.  Not a good start to my 10k, with a body that hadn’t done any exercise in many months.  As we got up to the staging area, another bus was dropping off runners (they had parked at a different location, and THEIR bus driver thought he should drop them near the start line, go figure).  At that moment, my friend Sarah came off the bus with her sister and husband!  We went to college together in Pennsylvania, and she now lives in Maine (steps from the finish line).  Most years we have seen each other at the race.  Until next year, Sarah!

race13

Anyhoo, after standing in the longest bathroom line ever, we finally made our way to the start corral.  Here we are, still looking optimistic:

race3

 

Since I wasn’t running the race for time, I carried my phone with me during the race, something I’ve never done before.  I figured I could finally document a race in pictures, as it’s happening.  Brilliant!

We started the race in the usual fashion (not being able to hear the actual start announcement, and just following the crowd to the start line).  Brad left us behind, and the three sisters ran together.  At the beginning of the race, it was like I’d never stopped running.  My muscles seemed to remember what to do, and I found a rhythm (that didn’t last long).  Beth was the only one of us with a GPS watch (I had forgotten to pack mine for my trip), so she was in charge of letting us know when we could take a walk break based on distance.  She announced that we would run a 1/2 mile and then walk. Um, that was way longer than I had anticipated that I would have to run without stopping.  I haven’t run ANY miles (not even 0.0001 miles), let alone a 1/2 mile, in 4 months.  But somehow we were able to do it, then we walked.  In the blink of an eye, Beth, the keeper of the time and distance, then announced it was time to run again.  We had walked 1/10 of a mile.  I may have protested (I can’t remember if I said anything aloud or if I was just cursing her in my head), but I obeyed.  We went on like that for the first few miles, running WAY more than I had bargained for.

We hit the halfway point of the race, and came to the straight section by Cape Elizabeth High School.  Julie and I were staying side by side, and most of the time Beth was a few steps ahead of us.  I snapped a selfie as we ran, and Julie (who is ALWAYS ready for a cheesy running picture) obliged.

race4

Notice the woman in the white shirt raising her arms behind us.  She had been attempting to photobomb our selfie, and as she passed us a few seconds later, she admitted it.  We laughed and said “we’ll forever remember you”, and “I’m getting teary just thinking about it” and other such camaraderie nonsense you say to complete strangers during a race.  We thought we were hilarious (maybe we were delirious?).  Don’t forget that woman, she will reappear later….

After we passed the high school, we approached the curve onto Shore Road, where I knew my friend Patty would be watching the race (if she hadn’t already gone home, because we had been going super slow!).  I see Patty once a year at this corner.  Our reunion was about 30 seconds long, as I gave her a sweaty hug and snapped a selfie (did I mention how bad I am at taking selfies?  Especially in bright daylight so I can’t see the screen).  Love you, Patty!

race5

 

After that, the course passes down a long and winding road that leads to the park at the finish.  Along this road are houses, most with long driveways.  The homeowners always camp out at the end of their driveways with their friends, cheering on the runners, and often playing loud music to lift our spirits.  One such song we heard was “We Are Family”, which we sang (of course), but we changed the next line to “I got half my sisters with me” (which was true).  Throughout the next few miles we saw the woman in the white shirt several times, and we joked with her “Stop following me” and so forth to keep the mood light.  We talked to her and found out her name was Jeannine and she had 4 sisters as well (one of whom was also running the race).  So we would chit chat a little with Jeannine every time we passed each other doing our walk/run.  Coming up to mile 5, the road opens up to the ocean on the right-hand side.  It is a glorious sight after essentially being in the woods for several miles.  It was foggy that morning, and as the salt air hit my nose, I snapped a picture of the inlet.

race6

And then finally, mile 5.

race7

 

Shortly thereafter we passed the “Beach to Bacon” house (they hand out bacon to the runners, smelled super good, but the thought of consuming bacon after 5 miles of untrained running was very unappealing at the time, so I passed on that).  The rest of the race was kind of a blur to me.  My legs had gone their limit, and I knew that coming into the park at almost mile 6 there is a brutal, short hill that I was dreading.  Right before the park entrance, Jeannine appeared and ran beside us.  She literally pushed me up the hill by putting her hand on my back (which made it SO much easier!).  I was grateful.  At the top of the hill, though, I was gassed out.  Beth took off ahead, as did Jeannine.  Julie stayed with me but willed me to run the last 3/10 mile.  It was crazy.  I could barely lift my legs, but I ran.  Finally the finish line was up ahead, and I was able to lift my arm enough to take a blurry pic.

race8

We had planned to do jazz hands at the finish (for the picture) but I totally forgot, because my brain lacked oxygen at that moment.

race 11

No surprise, this was a PW for me (personal worst, a term coined by my cousin Jane at this very race several years ago).  But guess who we saw right after we finished?  That’s right, Jeannine!  Obligatory selfie with a stranger:

race9

There is more to this story (of course)….We parted ways with Jeannine and headed over to get our bags.  There we ran into Jeannine again (stalker?), and she had found her sister, Tiffany.  After introductions, Beth says to Jeannine’s sister “Wait, are you MaryBeth’s friend Tiffany?” Of course, they know each other through a mutual friend!  We laughed about it being a small world etc.  As Beth, Julie, and I go to the food tent and laughed about it some more, we realized that Tiffany and Jeannine had actually been a part of our Beach to Beacon email group a few years ago (we had never met them in person).  Coincidence?  I think not.  (actually I do, I just had to say that).  Small world indeed!

After we had consumed some food and water, we headed to the line for the bus, which is always sooooooo long.  In order to get to the line, we had to go down some stone steps.  FYI, running a 10k with zero preparation will make it difficult for you to go down stairs without looking like an idiot.  For several days thereafter as well.  Fun times.  I felt 50 years older at that moment, instead of 2 years younger than my actual age (according to the B2B).  In line with Julie, who had picked up some swag (free Blue Cross Blue Shield shades):

race10

We stood in line for about an hour, as my muscles got stiffer and stiffer.  Then we rode on a school bus for 20 minutes bouncing around on our very sore muscles.  Then we drove back to mom’s house for another 30 minutes.  I would find it necessary to take ibuprofen around the clock for the next 3 days.  It has been 7 days since the race and my hips are still sore.

So, running a 10k without training is not recommended.  But I had a great time despite the physical pain, and it only makes me more motivated to actually strive to beat my Beach to Beacon PR next year….1:00:21.  Can it be done????  Maybe if I train…

Advertisements

I haven’t run 6.2 miles since 2013.  I did on Saturday for the Get in Gear 10k!  It feels good to be “back”.  I put that in quotes because I’m not all the way back, but part of the way.  I have the rest of the summer to get back into 2012 shape, or at least closer to it.  That was the year my Get in Gear time was 1:00:11.  So close to my goal of under 1 hour!  That was also the year I ran 100 miles in the month of June.  My time at the Beach to Beacon 10k that year was 1:00:21.  So close again!  And 2012 was the year I WOULD have reached my goal if the Time to Fly 10k hadn’t actually been unfairly longer than an official 10k.  But I’m not going to dwell on the past (although I’m still thoroughly irritated by that!).  I need to focus on the here and now.

The Get in Gear holds a special place in my heart.  The 5k was my very first race, back in April 2008.  Every time I go back, I am hit with a wave of nostalgia for that first race.  I remember the emotions I had that day.  Excited, nervous, awestruck that I was running in an actual race.  This time, I was running the 10k, a course I know very well.  I have run this race 4 times before, including the 1/2 marathon in 2010, which shares the 10k course.  It’s a pretty flat course, which is nice especially since this is my re-introduction to road races after a hiatus.  My goal was to be under a slow 1:10.

My coworker Jamie had a baby last year, and wanted to get back into running like I did.  We have been working toward this day since January, checking in with each other almost daily with our accomplishments and struggles as we trained.  We met at 7:30am Saturday morning and drove together to the race site.  We were both nervous and excited!  We parked on a side street and walked to Minnehaha Park.  It was cold outside (low- to mid-40’s) so we headed for the indoor pavilion.  We stayed in there for a little while, warmed by the hundreds of other people milling about in there.  Then we went out to the Falls and got a picture.  My selfie-taking skills suck.

20160430_081550

The 10k (and 1/2 marathon) race start was at 9:00am, and the 5k (which Jamie was running) started at 9:20am.  We walked from the falls, and I dropped my bag containing my phone and keys at Gear Check.  After wasting as much time as we could chatting and people-watching, I headed to the start corral at about 8:45am.  I positioned myself near the 12-minute-mile pacer who was holding a sign.  The road filled in with people, some of whom were doing the 10k and some the 1/2 marathon.  I was standing shoulder to shoulder with strangers.  Anyone who’s been in the start corral of a big race knows exactly what I’m talking about.  The chatter of all the excited conversations going on drowns out all other noise.  I was vaguely aware that the announcer was saying something on the loudspeaker, but there was no way to hear what he was saying.  And I’m only 5’2″, so I couldn’t see above people’s heads to know what was going on up ahead at the start line.  Basically I was stuck looking at people’s backs.  I looked down and saw a sea of running shoes on feet, all different types and some very colorful.  I wished I had my phone to take a picture of all the feet, but I would have wanted to crouch down to get a good angle for the picture, something I couldn’t have done in the close company I was keeping.  I heard the last line of the Star Spangled Banner being sung, and when it ended, there was a round of applause and some excited cheers from the runners….let’s get this thing going!  Excited chatter started again, deafening any sounds coming from the loudspeaker.  When you’re that far back, you can’t even hear the official start of the race.  At some point, the crowd just starts moving forward.  We walked for about a minute, then right before the start line mats, began jogging.  As I crossed the mats, I hit the start button on my Garmin watch.

People-watching during a race helps me to pass the time.  There were people of every fitness level, some tall, some short, some with friends, some alone.  The temperature being in the 40’s brought out all variations of dress.  Some runners were wearing t-shirts and shorts (too cold for me!); presumably they were doing the 1/2 marathon and would be out longer, when the temperature got into the 50’s.  Some were wearing multiple layers of shirts and/or jackets.  I had decided to wear a long-sleeved shirt, realizing that I might get hot later on, but I didn’t want the temptation of trying to remove my jacket while running.  I was cold at first, but warmed up by the first mile.

It was pretty crowded on the course, and I don’t like getting stuck behind slower people, so I ran up on the curb around mile 1.  It was kinda like running on a balance beam.  It was about as wide as both of my feet side by side.  I was up for the challenge, and I stayed on the curb for probably half a mile, then dismounted (hehe).  I tried to keep my pace around 11:00min/mile by looking at my Garmin now and then.

Right around mile 3 we have to cross a bridge.  In order to cross a bridge you have to climb up onto it, and the uphill was hard, even though at home I have plenty of hills on my runs.  I powered through (I passed several people walking up that part) and got onto the bridge.  Halfway over the bridge and it’s a nice downhill slope.  We passed the 5k mark, and I looked at my watch…a little over 34 minutes.  If I wanted to make 1:10, I’d have to speed up a little.

Having done many 10ks in the past, I knew that around the 4-mile mark I could gradually increase my speed without jeopardizing my finish.  I couldn’t go all out until around mile 5.5, but I could increase gradually until then.  Somewhere between 3 and 4 miles, we came to a hill.  What?  I don’t remember this hill being here!  But then it occurred to me that every time I do this race, I say the same thing about this hill.  Damnit, I must block it out every year.  I muscled up the hill, and I would barely classify what I was doing as running, but I kept at it, and eventually got to the flat section at the top.  And a little bit farther and there was a nice downhill section.  I sped up and let gravity carry me down.

At mile 4, there are timing mats.  I recalled that the race results will report how many people you passed from that point to the finish line, and in turn, how many people passed you.  I was determined pass a greater number of people than passed me!  My gradual increase in speed would guarantee that.  My watch even registered that I was running at a 10 minute pace at times.  The old me, the one who raced for time, was starting to surface.

Up ahead, I saw the bridge that we cross on the way to the finish line.  The half marathoners continued down the road, but those of us running the 10k took a sharp left after going under the bridge.  The incline up to the bridge is short but brutal, this time made so much better by a (very loud) police officer yelling and clapping “You can do it!  Keep it up!  Great job!”  I smiled, even though I felt like dying at beginning of that bridge.  That is at about 5.5 miles.  Time to turn on my “switch”  (Natalie coined that term when she was about 4 years old, running in a fun run).  That bridge was the last obstacle before the downhill to the finish.  As I ran up the front side of the bridge, I started passing people.  I was going faster now, though not my fastest, as I wanted to save that for when I had the finish line in sight.  I was gasping for air like a fish out of water, but that didn’t stop me from pressing on.  I looked ahead and picked out someone from the sea of runners, and made my way to them and passed them.  Then I picked someone else up ahead.  Repeat.  Then finally, the downhill off the bridge.  This is it; get out of my way!  I passed a bunch of people and started sprinting toward the finish.  I crossed the mats that were about 100 yards from the finish, and the announcer called my name as I came up to the line.  I hit the stop button on the Garmin: 1:09:02.  Even though my goal was under 1:10, I was a little disappointed with my time.  Honestly, I had thought that I would be at 1:07 or so.  But I don’t really care, the most important fact of the day was that I had just run 6.2 miles.  Satisfaction.

My official results are below.  I did pass more people than passed me!

results 1results 2

And they had my Salted Nut Roll at the food tent.  Bite size, but whatever.  A great way to end an eventful morning.  Until next time!

20160430_112017 - Copy

20160430_102241 (1).jpg

 

 

Saturday, April 23: One week until my 10k race!  And I ran 5.5 miles!  I had hoped to be up to 6 miles by now, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.  Honestly, I wanted to turn around at the 2 mile mark, but I pretended that I was running the race, so I pressed on.  The library is 2.5 miles from my house, and today I ran only 0.25 miles beyond that to my turn-around, and I couldn’t believe how FAR it was!  Regardless, I did it, and I will run 3 more times (3 miles) this week in preparation for the race.  I really can’t wait!  It will be my first real race in over 2 years.  My goal for the race is to 1) run the whole thing (not a problem) and 2) finish before 1:10:00.  That seems like a given (I ran the 5.5 miles in 1:01:43), but I take nothing for granted.  So, officially, I’m ready!

As I ran past the library and onto the longest quarter mile in history, I looked ahead.  Less than one mile down the road is Prince’s home and recording studio, Paisley Park.  He lived in my small Minnesota town, though I rarely gave him a second thought.  On long runs (seems like so long ago), I used to run past Paisley Park.  It’s about 3.5 miles from my house.  In the wake of his death, several friends and neighbors have said that over the years they had spotted him at the grocery store or around town, but I never did.  Honestly, unless he was wearing his Purple Rain getup, I probably wouldn’t have recognized him.  I wasn’t a particular fan of his music, but even I can acknowledge that he was a gifted musician.  More than that, he seemed to appreciate Minnesota and his many fans.  Every now and then, it would be announced in the afternoon that he was giving a surprise performance that night at Paisley Park on a first come, first served basis.  For some lucky fans, this was an opportunity of a lifetime (he had one such performance just a few days before he died).  It always struck me as generous.  Celebrities often appear as untouchable, but he always seemed willing to share his gift with his fans.  For that, I respected him.

Natalie, who is 10, had no idea who he was, or that a celebrity had been living in our small town (why didn’t you TELL me someone famous lived here????   I actually had, many years ago, but she didn’t care because she didn’t know who he was).  This past Friday, everyone at her school was talking about Prince, and she learned some things.  When I picked her up on Friday afternoon after work, I asked her if she wanted to go down to see Paisley Park, and, curiosity getting the better of her, and she said yes.  We got there around 5:30pm.  The place was packed.  She saw the news trucks with their super tall antennas.  She saw the helicopter hovering above, taking pictures of the area.  She saw all the fans milling around, looking at the fence filled with balloons, messages, and flowers.  Many people were wearing purple.  She asked: “Is this history?”  I said, “Yes, this is definitely history.”  We stayed for a little bit and took some pictures.  In the car on the way back we talked about Prince.  She asked, “Exactly how famous WAS he?”  I thought about it for a minute, because a legend such as Prince is hard to quantify.  I explained, “If Taylor Swift remained just as popular as she is right now, 40 years from now, THAT’S how famous he was.”  “Whoa.”

RIP Prince, there is no doubt that your legacy will live on.

 

The Get In Gear 10k is in 3 weeks.  I have been increasing my weekend runs by a 1/2 mile each week, and this week was slated for 5 miles.  I remember (with some fondness and admittedly, some jealousy) when 5 miles was my normal easy morning run.  My house is exactly 2.5 miles from the library, so I used to run to the library, go around the outside of the building, circling back toward home for 5 miles.  Last weekend on my 4.5 mile run, I could see the library up ahead a 1/4 mile, right before I turned for home.

This morning, I ran 5 miles.  I did it!  It wasn’t pretty.  It wasn’t fast.  It wasn’t fun.  But I sure feel better having done it!  (And no, I didn’t return my overdue library books).  This run was a big hurdle for me…if I can run 5 miles, I can run 6.  If someone twisted my arm and insisted that I run a 10k next weekend, I could do it (provided they let go of my arm).  So the plan is to do 5.5 miles next week, 6 miles the week after that, and 6.2 miles for the race.

FYI, running in 20-degree weather (such as this morning) poses a few problems for me.  When I run, I breathe through my mouth (gasping may be a more appropriate word).  When it’s cold, the air doesn’t feel all that great going into my lungs, but it’s my tongue that suffers the most!  The tip of my tongue gets so cold, and kinda goes numb, which drives me nuts.  Sigh.  The second problem is cold fingers.  I wear thin knit gloves in colder weather (you know the kind you can buy for a couple dollars at Target, so you buy a few pairs, and then a few days later can’t find 2 matching gloves at home).  But my hands were still cold this morning despite the gloves, through the first 1/2 of my run.  After that, the tips of my frozen fingers slowly thawed and actually felt warm.  Which brings me to the pectoralis story that you have been waiting for since you read the title of this post…

Last weekend, when I went out for my run it was about 40 degrees.  I wore my little knit gloves, because, hi, 40 degrees is still cold.  About a mile in, my fingers warmed up.  Then my hands felt sweaty.  I debated taking the gloves off, but where would I put them?  I took stock of what pockets I had on my person.  None at all in my pants.  I could stick them in my waistband, but that would be uncomfortable.  The only pocket I had was on the left-hand side of my jacket (Monster Dash jacket, circa 2012).  I don’t know why it only has one pocket, but I could put them both in there…who cares if I’d look like I had a tumor sticking out of my left side?  I took the gloves off, pulling off each finger (my hands were sweaty and sticking to the gloves).  I hadn’t stopped running during all of this, and I held each glove balled up in each hand, to see if that would be fine.  Nope.  Felt weird and sweaty.  So I put both gloves in my left pocket.  Now to zip the pocket.  As I continued to run, I crossed my right arm over to my left side, pulling down and away from my body on the bottom of the pocket, to give adequate traction.  Then my left hand fumbled for the zipper, and pulled it up, sequestering the gloves in their new home.  As I pulled my arm back to the right, and my right pectoralis muscle came back into its anatomic position from that Twister-like, awkward cross-over, my pec muscle went into a spasm.  And not a minor one, I might add.  It was so painful!  Prior to this incident, I had never given my pec muscles much thought.  And now one was screaming at me.  I was trying to continue to run without looking like an idiot in pain, all the while thinking “I’m having a right-sided heart attack!”  After a few seconds (seemed like hours) it calmed down, but was still sore.  By the next day, it was totally fine.  So, you apparently use your pec muscles when you run (you’re welcome for that little tidbit of info).  I will never again take any of my muscles for granted, and I swear I will give them the respect they deserve.  All because I had cold hands.

So, I haven’t posted for a year and a half.  Eighteen months.  Many, many days (I don’t have a calculator handy).  I’d like to tell you that in the interim I have been a running machine, and have broken some speed records and was invited to represent the U.S. in the over-40 Olympic Games.  But alas, that is not the case.  I have struggled with running since the birth of my second child.  It’s like I lost motivation.  More like I lost momentum.  If you stop running for a while, it’s a heck of a lot harder to start back up again (from scratch), than if you just taper down a little then try to get back to the previous level.  Really hard.

But (lucky you), I’m back!  I started running again mid-December 2015.  In painful 1 minute bursts on the treadmill.  I slowly worked my way up, and then one day I went from running 5 minutes at a time, to running 20 minutes at a time.  It’s really all the same effort, just depends on how long you can endure it.  Reminder: I hate the treadmill.  But at this point, it was the only solution.  The indoor track was not in the cards this year.  Because of my husband’s frequent travel schedule, it was impossible for me to leave the house to run.  Can’t really leave 2 sleeping kids at home by themselves at 4:30am.  At least I don’t think you’re supposed to, anyway.  So the treadmill it was.  I worked up to 30 minutes of running, then increased my speed.  Many times I have felt that I was going to die, but I’m still alive, so that’s good.

On weekends for the past month, I have been running outside.  That first outside run of the year is always a painful lesson, because it never equates to the same distance and effort on the treadmill.  It’s always harder outside!  It’s very hilly around my house, which is good for training, so I slogged through those first few pavement runs and now I’m doing better.  Last week was 3 miles, this week 3.5!!  We are in uncharted 2016 territory now.

Next bit of news: I am running a 10k on April 30!  It’s the Get In Gear that I’ve run almost every year since 2008, other than the last few.  I can’t wait!  I decided to sign up for the 10k so that I would train harder and be ready for a few more 10ks this year.  My coworker is running the 5k, and is also starting over with running, so we have been reporting to each other every day at work on our successes (and many failures!).  We are working together toward this goal, which has helped me so much to stay accountable.  With 6 weeks to go till race day, I’ve got another 2.5 miles (or so) to add to my distance.  I plan to add a 1/2 mile each weekend.

Running is still hard at this point, because I have about 40 pounds to lose.  I have already lost 10 of the 50 that I have set for my goal.  It’s slow-going in the weight loss department, but I’m working on my issues.  I’ll get there, but a little later than I had planned.

Lastly, a friend commented to me that my blog was motivational for her in the last year as she took up running and lost weight (she has accomplished that—she is awesome!).  For me to be a small part of her success is humbling and gratifying.  I always said that if even one person gets something out of my blog, it will have been worth writing.  Now that I’m struggling again to start over, I went back and re-read some of my posts…they will serve as my motivation to keep going.  I know how I felt when running was “easy”, and I’m determined to get that back again.  The picture I chose for this post is from the morning of the Get in Gear 5k, April 2008.  My first race ever!

 

Until next time, happy running!

 

 

5k dreams

Last night, I had a running dream.  I haven’t had one for a while, but on the eve of my first race in almost a year, the visions came.  I was running fast and it was easy…invigorating!  I woke up knowing that I wouldn’t feel like that today, but with the hope that some day I would know that feeling again.  Natalie, who is now 8, would be running today as well.  She didn’t seem to be as excited as I was this morning (I know, what??).  She hasn’t been running at all, but we had planned to run/walk this one together.  Perfect for me, since I’m only on week 5 of my C25K (re) training.

It was a gorgeous morning….a high of 81 predicted for the day.  (The last weekend of September?  Yes, please!)  When we got to the race it was probably in the low 60’s.  Perfect running weather!  (Despite this, Natalie did her obligatory whine about the temperature—“it’s cold!”—but it was short-lived.)  She allowed me to have someone take our picture together.

20140928_081401

FYI, race bibs cover a good part of the post-baby belly….bonus!  Maybe I could start a new fashion trend.  I could wear a race bib wherever I go.  “Oh this?  I’m running a race later.”  Obviously.

We dropped our bag at the bag check (much to Natalie’s horror—“You’re giving these people your phone???”), and walked toward the start.  Ran into some of her classmates and their moms, and headed to the start line.

At 8:30, we heard the horn signaling the start, and started running once we crossed the start line.  I tried explaining to Natalie the magic of the chip embedded in our bibs.  The whining started shortly thereafter, although it was much less annoying than last year, and said with a smile.  “Running is hard!”  “My legs are tired!”  “Why did you sign me up for this?  I never said I wanted to do this race!”  “Don’t sign me up for another race unless I say I want to!”  {insert my eyes rolling after each of these statements}

She begged me to walk after we had only run for a few minutes.  I could have run longer, which felt good.  There were lamp posts lining the road, and we decided we’d run from one to the next, then walk to the next, then run to the next, etc.  It was a pretty good system.  I cringed a little when she asked if we were at mile 2 yet, and I knew we hadn’t even gotten to the turn-around.  She took the news like a champ (a champ who has been defeated, and wants to give up).  After the turn-around, I convinced her to run a little farther each time (i.e. to the next street sign), because the faster we went, the sooner we’d get there.  She got somewhat of a second wind, and heeded my advice.  We made it to the bridge over the road, and we ran to the finish from there.  She kept saying she couldn’t do it, but she did it.  I have to say it felt really good crossing a finish line again, with all the excitement of the fans and the music.  The announcer called out our names as we crossed (baffling Natalie yet again—-“how did they know who we were??”).

We went through the food line, and I got my Salted Nut Roll!  Natalie didn’t understand why I had to take my picture with it. #saltednutrollselfie

20140928_093605

We walked over to the waterfall, and I took a picture of it (sans Natalie in the picture…that was apparently asking too much).

20140928_093527

All in all, it was a successful morning, and I can’t wait to do it again!  I’m actually entertaining the possibility of doing the 10-mile next year (I ran it in 2012)!  We’ll see how that all works out 🙂

Progress…..

Well, I haven’t written since June, but it’s not because I haven’t been running.  It’s because it’s difficult to type more than a sentence with a baby on your lap.  So I’m seizing the opportunity (while she naps) to type out this post that’s been swimming around in my head for the past month.

During my maternity leave, I was walking 2 miles each morning with the stroller, hoping to build up my stamina.  It was while walking that I came to accept that I’d have to essentially start over with running.  I’m ok with that.  When I first started running in 2008, I did my own version of Couch to 5k….walking and running on the treadmill, slowly upping my running minutes.  This time, though, I have a smart phone!  I downloaded the free C25k app on my phone and waited for the opportunity to try it out (tongue-in-cheek, waited=procrastinated).

I went back to work full-time on July 30.  I had to figure out WHEN I could run.  As you know, I have always been a morning runner.  But the baby gets up at 6am when I get up, and I just don’t think it would work out for me to get up earlier to run.  I would be worried that she would wake up, and that she would wake everyone else up while I was out running.  So, I came to the conclusion that running on the treadmill in the evening would be the best for everyone.  Blah, I hate exercising before bed, but whatev.

The first week of August I tried out my new app.  There’s actually a lady who tells you when to walk and when to run.  I love her!  Especially when she says “Start walking”.  I don’t love her as much when she says “Begin running”.  However, she’s nice enough to tell me when I’m halfway through my workout.  I really needed her.  Someone has to tell me what to do!  I have followed all of her instructions to a T so far.  I’m on week 4, day 2.  It is up to 5 minutes of running at a time.  Man it’s hard!  I have to keep reminding myself that it will be easier later on.  If I push through the hard stuff, I get to the easier stuff.

My weight has steadily been going down.  I have been trying to be good and log all my food each day with myfitnesspal, although during the workweek it doesn’t always happen.  I have lost 37 pounds from the day the baby was born, 16 pounds from where I settled about 2 months ago.  I have 14 more pounds to get to my pre-pregnancy weight, and 30-40 pounds beyond that to be at my goal weight.  By the way, I love the myfitnesspal app, because it has a barcode scanner!  I just scan the barcode on my food and it automatically enters it in!  Way easier for me.  And I need all the easy I can get these days.

In other news, I registered for a 5k Sept 28!  Yikes, that’s only 3 weeks away!  I will be running with Natalie and some of her 3rd grade friends and their moms.  This will be Natalie’s 3rd 5k (she’s 8).  Let’s hope it goes better than the epic fail Turkey Day 5k last year (the last race I did).  At least her toes won’t be freezing into popsicles.  Everything’s better when your toes aren’t freezing into popsicles.  I’ll report on the race afterwards…fingers crossed for minimal mid-run whining!

Until then, here’s a peek at my inspiration:

 

Esme

Esme

Sister Selfie!

Sister Selfie!

Aaannnnnddddd…..she’s awake.  Gotta go!