Days 106-107 – Cheers to running friends

17 04 2010

I have a great group of mom friends who share my need to run. Ironically, I don’t exactly run with them. I love spending time with them, but I also love running solo — with my music, my thoughts, my own pace, and no pressure. Our camaraderie comes in signing up for races together and through sharing our progress, our dread of the distance and the aches, pains and gains that come with training. Race day — the motivation — is always a great girls day out, usually followed by a hard-earned brunch that lingers into the afternoon hours.

A few of these friends do run together, and I envy that. They hold each other accountable and use running time to catch up and support each other. I am so impressed and inspired by their early morning outings and 5:30 a.m. team workout sessions at the Rec Center. I love being an extended part of their group — even though I stick to my solitary runs.

My friends gathered last night to hear Dimity McDowell, author of Run Like a Mother, read from her new book at the Tattered Cover (and to celebrate Ronda’s birthday!). Dimity chose her chapter on running buddies, which is about the friendships inspired by running. Like great writers’ words often do, her insights — especially read in person with my friends beside me — caused tears to well-up among us and made me think more about my own gang.

In various combinations, my friends have met at the starting and finish lines for 5 sprint triathlons, 2 Denver Marathon relays, 4 Mother’s Day runs and a few Turkey Trots and Iron Girl Runs in between. From the early morning, sleepy carpool to the mimosas that follow, these are some of my favorites times. With our cheesy medals, cute (or not-so-cute) race shirts, and goody bags in hand, we share the pride of met goals — whether we just eeked out the distance or broke a personal speed record.

The Title 9 Mother’s Day Run (a 9.9K) has always been a favorite, because our husbands and kids are at the finish to celebrate and picnic at the Boulder Reservoir. There is a cooler-than-most shirt and necklace to wear proudly (like a BFF charm!). I’m sad none of us are doing that race this year. Just a week before my half marathon and two weeks before the Bolder Boulder for others, we’re opting for sleeping in and breakfast in bed.

Over wine last night after the reading, I realized the races, like our birthdays, are treasured milestones we celebrate. I love my mental scrapbook of years of races — my first 5K in Atlanta, finishing a race in the new Olympic Stadium with my sister, first 10K in Austin, triathlons and relays — all featuring my running friends past and present in the photos!

Today – half the family went up for a final ski day while Zach and I enjoyed a rainy day hanging out in our PJs. I did the FIRM Cardio Sculpt video (in my PJs). Yesterday’s 5-mile run was just a warm-up for trying to hit 11 for the first time EVER tomorrow — possibly in the rain…

And my tribute/countdown song for today: #33 – “I’ll be your friend” (radio mix) by Robert Owens — for dancing or running with your friends!


Days 103-105 – Time out

15 04 2010

Wow am I behind on my blog… Long enough that friends are checking on me to see if I’m okay (thanks Wendy!). The good news is I’m still exercising (late night Classical Stretch Tues., 5 mile run Wed. and Exhale Body Sculpt DVD today). Also good that my SmartCoach training plan scales back a bit this week with three 5-milers. The bad news is I am over-swamped with work.

When the kids were tiny, I worked late, late nights. 2 a.m. was a common bedtime, with painful 6 a.m. wake-up calls from my toddlers. This worked okay for years, because I could spend most days with them and hope to catch a nap with them in the afternoon (ok, Anna might have been watching Dora the Explorer while I drifted, but we got through it). And then, they started spending more time at school, I started working daylight hours, and lost my night owl adrenaline.

On Tuesday, I worked late into the night sifting through my media database to i.d. contacts who might care about luggage with built-in solar panels to charge iPhones and laptops. A very cool announcement (check out CNET if you’re really curious) from my solar client, but one that I had to email to hundreds of reporters at 4 a.m. Mountain time. Yep – I was up with the coyotes.

Proposals, deadlines, meetings, articles, pitches, reports…the center of my last three days. Not to mention spring sports season is in high gear. Swear I try not to overbook my kids, but afterschool activities are just overlapping in April/early May: ballet, baseball, soccer (x 2 kids), art, karate, glee club — whew — it’s a workout just getting everyone to the right place at the right time.

On a time-keeping note, a highlight of my week was getting a new sports watch to replace mine that died mid-run last week. $9.99 no-name model from Target (think I mentioned I lose electronics regularly), but it’s pink and just might make me faster. If it only came with extra time to read the directions…

Other good news — more than 1,000 clicks on my blog. Thank you everyone for reading and inspiring me (yeah Christy on the D.C. Cherry Blossom 10 mile!).

And finally, I give you the song that makes my 6-year-old move it like a hula dancer, and is #34 on my half-marathon playlist: “Shake Your BonBon” by Countdown. If you’ve met my son, you have to play the preview on iTunes and picture him leading the family butt shaking competition in the living room. Enough to wake you up for a 5-mile run every time!

Day 102 – Circa 1980s

12 04 2010

Mondays are tough because I plan to stretch at some point in the day, but I get busy catching up on work, errands, etc., drive to ballet and find myself running out of Monday. Tonight, for example, I did Classical Stretch at 9 p.m. to get it in. A good way to go to bed though — muscles relaxed and ready for Tuesday.

Realized I spaced on my top 40 countdown song list, so here are my throwback additions to my half-marathon playlist:
#38 — Jane Says (Live) from Jane’s Addiction’s Kettle Whistle Album
#37 — Tide is High (as made famous by Blondie) from the “I love the ’80s workout mix’) — I know, chees-ey! But it’s faster than the original, and I DID love the ’80s…
#36 — Love Shack (workout remix)
#35 — I Melt with You (live/remastered)

These are all faster, remixes I found on iTunes that are more upbeat than the original ’80s versions. They all came up on my Shuffle during yesterday’s 10-mile run and made the list because they remind me of college days with my husband in 1990 — long before he had that title.

I must have been missing him yesterday, since he’d been skiing all weekend. Was thinking about how we loved the same ’80s music in those days and spent many nights dancing to these songs — me in my leggings, baggy sweaters and Keds. Each of these songs has a story…what better to think and smile about on long run?

Day 98 – myTunes

8 04 2010

I ran 7 miles this afternoon in perfect shorts weather. Spontaneously decided to take a route that I usually save for my bike, because it goes right by the confirmed coyote headquarters section of open space and in summer has snakes sprawled across the dirt road.

Intimidating on foot, but I was feeling brave and loved the idea of dirt under my feet for a longer run. Like running on pillows compared to my worn out pavement path. And new scenery — including horses like the ones in this picture — made 7 miles float by. I need to keep mixing up my running map, along with my iTunes (those two words — my iTunes — are so weird to say together, so let’s call it “myTunes.” Wow…I have been writing for clients all day — except for the 69-minute run, and my journalistic abilities are clearly drained!).

So in one chapter of Run Like a Mother, co-author Sarah Bowen Shea talks about her “running neurosis” including that the first song on her iPod is sending her a message that she tries to decode on her run.

I laughed when I read this, because I tend to hit the shuffle button until I’m inspired at any given point in my run — but especially for the first song. I always picture the iPod god (who looks like Steve Jobs, right?) determining the next song and telling me to pick up my pace or chill out. Since I tend to lose and/or break electronics, I have the simple, cheapest iPod Shuffle that doesn’t include playlists. Long story to say that today, the first randomly shuffled song was a great version of “One” in which U2 is joined by Mary J. Blige.

I love U2 (we have tickets for June concert at Invesco Field!), but it’s usually too slow to run to. This version adds some R&B groove — blending Mary’s soulful voice with Bono’s familiar sound at a good warm-up pace. So that’s song #39 in my “Top 40 to 40” countdown that sent me off and running in new directions!