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.”

Days 82-83 – Wacky Wednesday

24 03 2010

“It all began with that shoe on the wall. A shoe on a wall…? Shouldn’t be there at all. Then I looked up. And I said, ‘Oh, MAN!’ And that’s how Wacky Wednesday began.” So goes the Dr. Seuss library book we picked up yesterday. Quite fitting for a late March snow that cancelled school and my husband’s flight — but turned to dripping slush in the sun by 4 p.m.

Temperatures tumbled back toward freezing Tuesday with the heavy, wet snow falling all through the night. Thanks to my bothersome cold, I traded a 2-mile run for Pilates — trying out my newly arrived Pilates Plus DVD. An Exhale three-DVD set from Amazon also includes Thighs and Glutes and Body Sculpt. Fifty minutes of Pilates was tough with lots of core work and good stretching.

I finished Born to Run the other night and think anyone who runs should read it. True stories about amazing endurance runners are hard to put down. It also ties in anthropology (why we might literally be born to run) and examines the history of running shoes that may be limiting our ability to run without injuries. It mentions Chi Running and other proponents of mid-foot striking and barefoot running. I’m not ready to chuck my shoes (if it ain’t broke…), but the midfoot strike makes sense to me as I up my mileage and try to limit wear-and-tear on my feet.

Since my husband practically cries walking through the living room after running, I’m obsessed with ways to heal and prevent foot/knee injuries. Finding similar answers is what started author/runner Christopher McDougall’s journey that lead to his book, which is now on Scott’s nightstand. I’m trying to get him to deal with his plantar fasciitis instead of just hoping it goes away. Sent him this Chi Running article that has good info on the subject.

McDougall even brings coyotes into his book listing them among animals that can run up to 40 mph, but don’t have endurance. So I’m thinking if I do see one I just have to chase it until it’s tired the way our carnivorous ancestors may have worn out their food on the hunt. Humans evolved to breathe for the long run, while even the speediest animals will tire out.

We didn’t see any wildlife sledding in the soccer field across the street today. Just our 40 mph lab who chased her tennis ball for two hours straight. Hopefully we wore everyone out on this snow day filled with arts, crafts, forts (indoor and outdoor varieties), hide-and-seek, baking cookies, movies and sledding. I’m now totally out of ideas. The munchkins are on their own for entertainment while I pop in a Firm DVD. Time for an outside run tomorrow assuming there are no more wacky shoes on the wall!

Day 75 – Old Coyote

16 03 2010

Photo by: Canter- NPS Photo

Anna mentioned on the way to ballet class last night that we haven’t seen a coyote on our drive in a really long time. “Mating season must be over,” she offered.

I quickly changed the subject, reminded of our last discussion about why so many coyotes were visible in daylight hours…leading to a much dreaded (on my part) matter-of-fact explanation about mating…Yep – birds, bees, coyotes, humans, etc. We covered a lot of ground!

After lots of curious questions the punchline came when I asked her how that all sounded, and she said, “I’m so glad you told me. Or when I got married I would have been really surprised by my husband!” Oh – how I miss the simpler Q&A sessions of toddlerhood!

On the recurring coyote theme, today during my sun-filled 4-mile run I was listening to some mellow music, including the Weepies’ “Hideaway” album which includes the song “Old Coyote.” I had to share some lyrics:

Old Coyote waits out there
with grey-brown hair and his three-mile stare…

Ring-a-round-rosey game always ends the same way,
we all fall down.
Get up now baby. Get up now baby.
It’s your song playing…

Old Coyote’s faking sleep
Not counting sheep on the watch he keeps
We bring springtime into bloom inside these rooms
And outside under the moon.

Sometimes — usually in great weather like today when there is new music on my iPod and slim risk of coyote sightings — I can let my thoughts wonder and try to really enjoy my run. Deeper into the bookBorn to Run, I’m trying even harder to be like the ultramarathoners who run with smiles on their faces. Relax, have fun, let go!

Day 43 – Magicpalooza

13 02 2010

Yesterday was a Friday off from school, kicking off the 4-day weekend for President’s Day. Perfect for hosting Zach’s Magic 6th birthday party!

I snuck off to Pilates after missing the last few weeks — a quiet hour of peaceful stretching before the storm of 6-year-olds in Spider Man costumes hit my living room! Magic Rob turned out to be a fabulous entertainer with jokes and fart noises only a 6-year-old can truly appreciate!

Doves, a guinea pig and a rabbit appeared from flames, along with other fantastic tricks. Cake…ice cream…presents…animal balloons…Lego Land in the living room – what could be better?

Fitness plan-wise – I was glad Pilates was out of the way early in the day. Cake and birthday hamburgers counteracted my efforts later, but it is a week of treats afterall – a birthday party sandwiched by Super Bowl and Valentine’s weekend! Insulin pump overload…

My friend Wendy said she is doing an early a.m. boot camp, and I am so envious of people like her who can exercise early. It would set a whole new rhythm to the day if I could get up earlier for workouts and not spend the day trying to fit it in. The few times I’ve done it, it’s felt like a dream…never even happened…magically you are more fit!

My list of excuses is long… 1) Morning blood sugars are pretty unpredictable, so I often have to wait to be higher or lower. 2) I love to sleep – I’m just a night person and up-before-the-sun feels like punishment. 3) And last, but not least, coyotes…seriously I could not even run at dawn when they are known to be out there.

On my 5-mile run last week I froze in my tracks when what turned out to be the largest Siamese cat on Earth caught my peripheral vision on a sidewalk. It was not a coyote, but confirmed my fears that I will panic if I see one on foot…

So magic hats off to those who can set the alarm for an early morning workout. You are braver and more dedicated than I am!

Days 37-38 – Snowy run

7 02 2010

Our jam-packed weekend was super fun. Food- and friend-filled parties galore ending with the Super Bowl tonight. I squeezed in a “Classical Stretch – full body” DVD Saturday and made it through a beautiful six-mile run in the snow today.

Mild compared to the east coast’s snow storm, we just had a dusting all day long in Denver. With a few layers of warm clothes, the flakes felt good on my face and kept me cool. Nothing was sticking to the sidewalk, but the trail was tougher to navigate. I found myself slowing a bit to keep from slipping — being careful to plant my feet hard in the accumulating snow. Lottie joined me for the last park loop, which helped speed me up again.

Next week jumps to 14 miles total (from 13 this week), with a 7-mile run Sunday. The following week falls back to 10 miles, so that will feel like a vacation!

Another coyote spotted from my car Friday night crossing a neighborhood street near my typical running route! I haven’t found a widget for my blog to keep count of my coyote sightings, but I’m looking. There should be an iPhone app or something for that. I must be up to 6 or 7 now… at least this one was sticking to his nocturnal habits and ensuring that I never run in the dark!

Day 28 – Internal warmth for winter running

28 01 2010

The weatherman was wrong about the snow he expected today. We just had a few flurries and what felt like very cold temps at first. Gray skies in Colorado make us all feel like it’s freezing, since most days you can warm yourself in the sunshine. In reality it was high 20s/low 30s – not too bad.

I still bundled up in too many layers to stick to my 5-mile run plan and prove to myself that I really can run on cloudy winter days. I was telling Jo-Anna (who ran in shorts today like a real runner!) how I actually felt my hind end warm up during the first quarter mile. Like I was sitting on my heated car seat! By a half mile my legs were more than warm and wishing they could shed one of my two pant layers. By one and a half miles I was really roasting and sweating – forgetting about winter.

Revisiting some websites that talk about dressing for winter runs, I was reminded that in these temps you really only need one layer on your legs, since they are in motion and warmed from within. Your torso needs a few layers that wick moisture and trap heat to insulates your body. An outside Goretex layer if it’s windy.

Covering your head/ears and hands is common sense from sled riding days. I do need to invest in some real running gloves that wick. My fuzzy mittens just don’t cut it by mile three when they are soggy.

While I was sweating and enjoying my warmth on the trail, I decided no coyote in his right mind would come after me today in all of my gear, and that those many layers might just protect me. The kids and I saw a lone coyote in broad daylight yesterday in the car on the way to the dentist – right by a highway near the airport. So a crazy busy road with planes overhead actually made me feel sorry for this particular coyote who stood frozen in the field watching all the traffic.

Maybe coyotes also long for running in sunshine!