Days 127-131 – Getting back on the running wagon

11 05 2010

My Botanic Garden Mother's Day Purchases

In the many days since my last post I have hit a wall. Not a bad wall entirely, because it came with a fabulous Cinco de Mayo block party with friends Saturday, Mother’s Day festivities with my family Sunday (Zach’s card says he loves me because I “give him cokes.” That’s supposed to be “cookies.” He had never had a Coke until Saturday night at the party when I wasn’t paying attention.), and the new flowers in this photo — my annual Mother’s Day present to myself from the Denver Botanic Gardens Spring sale Friday.

Exercise-wise I am still in a bit of a funk. Ran 7 miles Saturday (before the party) that felt similar to pulling the wagon uphill with Zach in it at the Gardens’ sale. I stretched on other days and went for a bike ride with Anna Sunday, but yesterday I gave in. No run. No stretch. Busy shuttling to ballet and just decided to take a for-real rest day on Day 130. We have cold, windy weather — even a chance of snow for tomorrow — that is not helping my cause.

The dread of the race has one bright side though – totally making me forget that on Sunday I also turn 40. The whole reason for doing this now seems like an afterthought…making it still a perfect plan that is now only FIVE days away.


Days 111-112 – Happy 40th Birthday Earth Day

22 04 2010

I didn’t realize that just weeks before I was born in 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated. How are you celebrating?

This New York Times article: On 40th Anniversary, Earth Day is Big Business talks about the irony in the commercialism Earth Day now inspires. Like the banner ad I saw: “Celebrate Earth Day with Sun Chips!”

I don’t remember knowing about the holiday in its (and my) early years — even though I grew up with quite “earthy” parents. So at least now — probably because of the marketing campaigns jumping on its band wagon — my kids know about it — and how it relates to recycling, planting trees and turning off the lights (but the last one scares them).

If Anna wasn’t dressed in a Colonial Times costume today and it wasn’t raining, we would walk to school in celebration. If Zach didn’t have a kindergarten concert tonight, we might have a “garden dinner” instead of fast pizza. And if I didn’t work from home, I swear I would bike to my office!

I do plan to run 8 miles (on legs still sore from yesterday’s Exhale Core Fusion DVD), transplant dozens of daylillies from my neighbors overflowing beds and spend time working on a project for my solar client.

As luck would have it, Earth Day and I are both Taurus — an Earth sign. says of Earth element people (also Capricorns and Virgos):

“Those with Earth signs often seem to inhabit their physical bodies which can be described in new-age terms as ‘grounded.’ Whatever their ground is — whether it is a high-rise office building or rural cottage — they’re sending out feelers through the senses. One expression of Earth sign qualities, and I’m envisioning a hippie chick here, might be someone who is easy-going and languid, aware of the local flora and fauna, often have leaves in their hair or dirt on their hands. They’re intimately attuned to the dance of nature, and love to spend time outdoors…Earth signs are here to shape, manifest, cultivate and revel in Earthly delights. Their gift to others is bringing form to ideas, making them a balancing partner for an idle dreamer with potential. They tend their own garden, and inspire others to make the most of theirs.”

As we both get older together, I hope Earth Day and I can influence my children to be the planet’s best inhabitants. Surely if I just plant enough daylillies and buy Sun Chips they will get the message!

Day 108 – Don’t try to outsmart the coach

18 04 2010

I had big plans today to get to 11 miles. I self-edited my Runner’s World SmartCoach training plan (it’s a free online plan you customize for your goal, speed, etc.) to try to up mileage to get to 13 for a few runs before the half marathon. Always feeling I need to practice the whole run (including the .1) to see what my blood sugar does with that distance.

I’m not sure where Sundays go and why they go so fast? All day long I had low blood sugars whenever I was close to finding a near-2-hour window to run. We spent many hours planting and transplanting shrubs. My friend was digging up several from her yard and I was adopting them, so they had to be planted in the ground asap — causing a chain reaction of moving other shrubs from the front to the back, etc. Scott came up with a new show to pitch to HGTV a la “Trading Spaces” In “ER Garden,” neighbors will rush down the alley with plants that need a new home before their roots bake in the sun.

Whenever I thought I could sneak away, Scott needed my help in the dirt or the kids — who were having their own block party in the alley with about six other neighbor kids — needed snacks, help, sunscreen, popsicles, bike helmets, sandbox emergencies, on and on.

So finally I ran at 5:45 — before dinner. I decided to do just the 5 miles the SmartCoach told me to do today. Maybe she knows something I don’t. Afterall, whoever created that program must have a reason for dropping the mileage in week 12… Does she know that is when the weather is perfect for transplanting shrubs? Or that after 21 miles total last week my blood sugar levels would drop in protest for several days? Or that I might just be too tired after 11 miles today to face a frantic week?

I’ve trusted this computerized coach for 11 weeks, so I let myself off the hook and stuck to her prescribed 5 miles. Even those had my blood sugar sinking and begging for dinner.

This week, SmartCoach takes me up to 22 miles total (with just a 10 mile Sunday). For much needed inspiration, my top 40 countdown song today — #32 — is: Soul II Soul’s “Back to Life” …keep on movin’ don’t stop…

Day 101 – Running in the garden

11 04 2010

Sunny Sunday with garden clean-out on the list. I always dread the job of pruning shrubs and pulling out last year’s dried up perennials, but so love the result and clearing the way for new flowers to grow. As I stood knee-deep in dead Russian sage, I was thinking gardening and running have a lot in common for my well-being. And on my also-dreaded 10-mile run later, I came up with this list of commonalities…one for each mile:

1. Thinking time: I can lose myself in weed pulling and watering just like I can cover miles without really thinking about what I’m doing. This is therapeutic!

2. Water is key: Pretty self-explanatory. In dry, mile-high Denver hydration is everything. I put in a drip system for my flowers last year. Might need a better plan for myself this year.

3. Trial and error: No one exactly taught me how to garden or run, but I love to learn about both and experiment with different techniques. Are there more garden blogs or running blogs out there? Will let you know soon…

4. You pay a huge price for neglect: Taking any kind of break is more of a financial loss in the garden — a physical and mental setback in running. Weeds take over, and legs lose momentum.

5. My kids and husband put up with both hobbies: They let me play in the dirt and on the trail — kids preferring to join me in the garden and husband relating more to the run. (Zach: “Didn’t you run Friday?” Scott: “Didn’t we buy one of those bushes last year?”)

6. Weather can make or break: Gardening and running suck in the wind, and sunshine makes both so nice. It doesn’t rain in Denver, leaving me and my flowers quite thirsty (see number 2).

7. Changing it up is a lot of the fun: Like my favorite 3-mile loop, I will always replant snapdragons, zinnias and dahlias. Beyond that, I love to try new combinations and colorful variations on old themes.

8. Outside makes me happy: I feel better in the fresh air — gardening and running get me out there, appreciating the changing colors of spring, summer and fall whether in my own yard or running by someone else’s.

9. Visible results: For every ounce of effort, if you wait patiently enough (sometimes weeks, sometimes years)…there is a tangible payoff — whether it’s a hydrangea that finally blooms or crossing the finish line for a half marathon.

10. Ongoing commitment You are never finished running or gardening. There is always the next season with goals to accomplish. No matter how hard you run or how beautiful your flower bed, it won’t look the same without equal effort next year.

So today all of my flower beds and my mind are clear — with more than 21 miles logged for the week, and a whole growing season ahead…