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 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!

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!

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 29 – Fitting fit in

29 01 2010

There are days like today when all busy moms know the best laid plans have to go awry to accommodate your family and work. Scott’s day trip to Wyoming was cancelled, but not in time for me to make it to Pilates class. The pediatrician could fit my daughter into one small window during her lunch if I could hurry and get there. And Zach was really hoping I could make it back in time for his 100th day of kindergarten party in the afternoon.

So after a morning of homework with Zach (learning to spell Wednesday!), a quick trip into the city to see the doctor (en route to which we saw THREE coyotes frolicking by the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in broad daylight!), counting 100 Fruit Loops with 5-year-olds, rushing home so I could walk back to school to walk the kids home in the sunshine, responding to a dozen work emails and pulling my hair out refereeing two over-tired kids after school (whew)…I tried desperately to squeeze in the FIRM DVD (no pun intended there).

Does it still count if you pause it 6 or 7 times? An hour-long cardio fusion workout turned into 85 minutes by the time I stopped to get Zach dressed for karate class, answered the door, yelled at my children and dog several times and got things boiling for dinner…

I never, ever, ever would have worked out today under normal circumstances. That is why this 365 day plan is seriously working to make me fit it in – no matter what. I’m sure there are extenuating circumstances when I would opt out for a day, but “it just didn’t fit in today” does not seem like a good one.

29 days equals enough momentum to not want to stop for silly reasons…I’m making allowances, however, for briefly pausing the DVD player!

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!

Day 22 – Coyote ballet

22 01 2010

Two weeks ago my post “Coyotes don’t do Pilates” revealed my fear of the wildlife spotted by others in my neighborhood — not helping my motivation to get OUTSIDE as much as possible for my daily exercise.

Since then, I received my requested “coyote packet” from the aptly named Mr. Wolf at the Colorado Department of Wildlife. I was expecting a glossy brochure with tips and facts, but instead got a huge envelope full of black and white photocopied pages. I’m glad the department is not wasting money on its literature!

I’ve learned that coyotes are not likely to harm me and have only killed two adults in recent years. But these were considered random incidents and may have even been the work of part-wolf coyotes. Wolves are more threatening to humans, as we know from fairytales.

And – since my last coyote post – I saw two of them! Or it might have been the same one twice – not sure. On the route to my daughter’s ballet class we drive by the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, which is a wildlife preserve and park that is home to bison, deer, birds and others. I would definitely live there if I were a coyote – plenty of food, few people. The coyote(s) we saw on the way to ballet and back were right across the road from the Arsenal on farm land, so maybe they were hoping to enter the refuge? Or were they headed to ballet too?

Got me thinking that maybe we could lure the neighborhood pack eight blocks south where they would be welcomed, fed and safe at the Arsenal. Builders started new construction across the park from my house, so hoping the large bulldozers and noise will scare the coyotes into relocating to this nearby place — making it safer for runners, dogs and small children to utilize the trails here.

I didn’t find any info. on relocation programs in Mr. Wolf’s packet. He prefers I just learn to live with them and know how to frighten them away if they come too close. In my car, this was pretty easy, and they ran away quickly. On foot…still not so convinced. I was happy to go to Pilates again today just in case!