13 02 2013

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A clear day

13 09 2010

It has been a very long time… and perhaps I can’t claim my blog title any longer. I only made it to mid-May. But I learned a lot along the way. Mostly – that I can take more control of my life and what I do with my days. I was determined to spend more time with my kids over the summer. Less work, less exercise. A financial and physical setback, but one that was essential to my feeling like a good mom. And I am proud to say I did that.

And if I learned anything from my half-marathon journey it was to cater to my desires for improvement. Otherwise, I spend so much time feeling guilty and apologizing to those around me. I have given up on the idea of balance — that I could possibly answer all client demands and deadlines, give my family the attention they need AND tune into my health. There may not be a day when all three happen. The balance can’t be measured in days — but in longer periods… weeks seem more realistic at the moment. Maybe months are better…

I had a great summer playing with my kids and appreciating the freedom to have days with them. I squeezed work in — and lots of active days walking the dog, riding bikes, etc. Just nothing I would count as true exercise worthy of recording in my blog or training log.

My kids have been in school now for exactly a month, and I have been heads down working… and working… and working… still not running.

Today I have some clarity. I met with my diabetes doc for my regular 3-month check-in. My A1c level (that measures blood sugar over 3 months) and my weight are EXACTLY the same as 6 months ago — March, when I was running A TON!

But wow – I don’t feel as great as I did then. And this skort is feeling a little tight in the wrong places… I miss the clarity and sweat and pride that came with running and heading toward a goal.

So, in the last hour from my new laptop at a coffee shop I resigned from a board I’ve been sitting on for four years, and I passed off a small client that was eating precious time.

My great friend and roommate in Atlanta and I used to joke that in our simpler lives either boys were good and work was bad or work was good and boys were bad. That was all we had to focus on, and – even then – we could only be REALLY good at one thing at a time.

Now — with a job, kids, just one boy!, and their daily demands, I can only expect myself to succeed at one thing at a time. So less pressure for exercising SO much and trying to do it all.

Today there is clarity. Tomorrow… maybe a run!

Days 138-139 – The Never-ending Celebration

19 05 2010

A birthday gift I will treasure!

Even though I created a blog and drew some crazy attention to myself with this exercise-every-day/half marathon training project of mine, I really didn’t want to make a huge deal of turning 40. I will admit that it’s been a great excuse to have a fantastic few days with dear friends who celebrated and showered me with indulgences — from a pink bedazzled wine glass, a pedicure, total surprise dinner out and, best of all, great catching up time together.

We all get so busy with everyday life, and we see one another several times a week — passing in parking lots and playgrounds and exchanging a few stories and updates. But nothing beats hanging out time when there is no place else to rush off to. Or long overdue phone conversations with favorite lifelong friends. I really appreciate all of you so much and if turning 40 encouraged fun times, I’m glad to have done it. Thanks again to everyone who made my birthday WEEK fantastic!

I feel like it’s been one long great party that started with Cinco de Mayo and kept going…Field day, kindergarten graduation and end of school this week — followed by an upcoming family wedding and vacation — (thankfully) takes me out of the spotlight, but keeps the celebration and fun times going as we kick off the summer.

I will go back to daily exercising — very anxious to take my new Garmin for a trail run — but thinking of a summer vacation from blogging as I maximize the precious days with my kids at home to play. I imagine I will find reasons to write here and there and find articles I simply must share with fellow runners, moms, diabetics and others in this wide world of readers who have found me (never imagined anyone would read my random posts…) and encouraged me.

I will be on a quest for a new goal to keep me going — another run? or something totally different? I’m not ready to decide, but I know I will enjoy the journey to wherever it leads me.
(A photo taken by Jo-Anna at the race of me and Kerrin by the coyote warning sign. No, we didn’t see any in the park!)

Day 137 – Post-race Bliss

17 05 2010

The view from City Park race site

The day after a long race is awesome. You can take a hard-earned rest day and (if Mother’s Day, your wedding anniversary and your 40th birthday all fall within the same week like mine) you just might get a gift certificate for a massage. Just what my calves and quads ordered.

I’m feeling pretty good and chalking that up to a Powerade recovery (chalk-like) powder my bike-racing neighbors shared for immediately after the race to recover quickly.

They posted the official results today, and I’m very proud to have an official time of 2 hours, 14 minutes and 40 seconds. That includes my 4 minutes worth of blood sugar testing/fueling breaks. My handicap. I was 181st place out of 410 runners in my female 40-49 age group. I did have the advantage of likely being the very youngest in the group, having only been 40 at the start of the race for about 45 minutes.

I was humbled this morning by this inspiring story in the Denver Post about Kerry Kuck, a Type 1 diabetic who is blind and ran the half with a guide. He finished more than 20 minutes ahead of me!

I did beat Todd, whose name I wore on my bib, by about 30 minutes! As much as I like to analyze race results/statistics, and as I explained to Zach when he asked me if I won, it’s only about reaching your personal goal. Another Denver Post article quoted Kuck saying it perfectly:

“You’ve got poor people who wear holey blue jeans, millionaires in three-piece suits, but we all look the same. We put on our shoes, pull on our shorts and we’re all the same out there. And you’re not running against the other runners, you’re all on the same team. It’s you against the course, and everybody who finishes is a winner.”

Day 136 — 13.1 Miles Behind Me

16 05 2010

A wonderful race day started with a huge surprise. Jo-Anna picked me up at sunrise (5:45 a.m.) — what an amazing friend to be up with me so early and smiling. When I got in her car and we started talking… Kerrin – hiding under a blanket – jumped out of the back seat! I screamed, nearly peed my pants, and still can’t believe she came all the way from Pittsburgh to surprise me. I am so lucky to have such incredible friends — Kerrin and Jo and those who have followed my blog in support, emailed, texted and called with encouraging words and birthday wishes. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In short, I met my goal of running a 10-minute per mile pace the whole way and keeping my blood sugar from tanking! My time (by my watch) was 2:10:26. I stopped the clock during two pit stops for glucose checks and refueling and hydrating with Jo-Anna and Kerrin on designated corners.

It was a beautiful morning with chill and sunshine — perfect for running in shorts and long sleeves. It was the flattest course I’ve ever run. Sketchy-yet-entertaining areas of Colfax Avenue on the 7 miles east gave way to the beautiful gardens and the canopy of 100-year-old trees in my old Park Hill neighborhood that led to back to City Park and the finish line.

Such a huge help having my friends waiting at 5.5 and 9 miles with bananas, Gatorade and a backpack full of supplies…I couldn’t have done it without you cheering me on. And, of course, heading for brunch and window shopping in Cherry Creek after. Kerrin and Jo-Anna have been my race buddies and close friends for six years now. Ever since we decided (ironically, while sitting at McDonald’s with our kids after preschool) to do a sprint triathlon together. Five tris, several runs and countless memories later, they knew just how to keep me laughing and running today.

More birthday festivities followed, and I had such a good time — maybe in a post-race fog — that I forgot about it being my 40th. I feel just the same today…not older but maybe a little wiser after training for and running this race. Scott and the kids gave me a new Garmin 405 GPS running watch from my wish list… to track all those miles waiting for me on the road ahead!

Day 134 – Run Like Todd

14 05 2010

Today was packet pick-up at City Park. A reality check as they were setting up barriers for the course — causing some butterflies in my stomach as I stood in line with people who looked very fit and fast.

When I picked up my number I was pleased to see that I am #2300 — I love very round, even numbers! A huge relief, because a few years ago, Jo-Anna and I picked up our triathlon packets to find I was #666. Really – that’s what they gave me and wrote in huge black magic marker on my arms and legs on race day (it’s customary for a tri to i.d. the participants, and it usually doesn’t wash off for days). This is what you want to be wearing to brunch in Boulder to turn some heads.

Much happier with #2300, I looked closer at my bib number to see TODD in large letters on the bib. Turns out someone misprinted EVERY bib number, so I will be masquerading as Todd Blum, a 27-year-old man who wears an XXL shirt and presumably runs much faster than me. Maybe that will work out well… especially if he has my bib. Not if he gets my female M shirt though. Perhaps he’ll medal in my 40+ age group?

They said our timing chips were accurately assigned to our own names, and you had to check at a laptop manned by a 12-year-old boy who assured me my chip was tied to my identity. Why this little boy had this job is a mystery. His dad must have been the embarrassed printer.

I breezed through the Race Expo to pick-up a very unisex-looking white tech tee with the lime green race logo. White is not the best color for sweating in. I will probably never wear this shirt, but will keep it because I will have earned it (or Todd will have – I’m so confused now). And it says “Colfax Marathon,” so if I do wear it, I will seem more impressive than the half-marathoner I’m trying to be.

In my ongoing pursuit of race accoutrements, I bought a HydraPouch at the Boulder Running Company’s booth. I checked these out online a few weeks ago…a very soft, lightweight plastic that opens like a coin purse (the kind the bank used to give you for free and my grandma collected for us). You’re supposed to fill it at race water stations to carry with you for a bit, then clip to your belt. It’s a cool concept, but I wonder how long those lines will be for the refills?

With my SpiBelt (which they were also selling today) and my new, blue pouch, I will totally look like an amateur ready for action. Good thing, in that case, that my own name is NOT in large letters for all to see. I will be sufficiently hydrated, ready to run like an XXL 27-year-old man!

Days 132-133 — Bounce back

13 05 2010

I tried to bounce back today — like my poor daffodils and tulips drooping from yesterday’s heavy, wet snow and now trying to stand back up in the sun. I took three cold, ugly days off and went out today for a 4-mile run on the park trail that left me mentally recharged. I think for 130 days running I was more excited about the half marathon than I am now. I am glad I’m doing it, but will be so happy when all 13.1 miles are behind me. In, wow, like 50 some hours from now…

The great news is the weather looks perfect for Sunday — low 70s and sunshine — in stark contrast to the crazy cold we’ve had. As far back as I can remember, from West Virginia and Georgia to Texas and Colorado, the weather has been nice on my birthday, when Spring is in high gear and something fantastic is blooming.

So much on our family list these last few weeks, that it’s been nice to have bad weather cancel soccer and baseball and give us a few nights to chill out – literally as the temps fell below freezing at night and the snow accumulated early yesterday morning. I really should be solidifying my race plans and filling my iPod with new surprise songs. I did order a cool gadget called a SpiBelt. (The black one with the hot pink zipper if you’re curious.) Clips around your waist with a small, tight pocket that can hold a Blackberry, keys and/or a snack. I tried it today and it really didn’t bounce around or ride up just like they promised.

This will be good for extra glucose tablets on the run. And, after the race, I can be a private eye and keep my secret camera in there…or wear my insulin pump better with a dress. The SpiBelt, and my pit crew Jo-Anna (who graciously offered to come with me race day and meet me along the course for Gatorade refills and blood sugar checks) will ensure I cross the finish line upright. Looking like 007…

So does my commitment end soon? Not sure yet. When I was more energized about the half, I thought maybe that was my new thing. Perhaps I’d do another one in the fall to keep me running longer and doing Pilates on off days. But now, I think I just want to run because it feels good. And it sure feels better at 5-6 miles than double digits. I’m still committed to my “Run 750 miles in 2010” challenge through the Buckeye Outdoor Training Log. I’m at 294 miles now, so not out of the question to hit the goal if I average 15 miles per week (3 relatively short runs). Time will tell!