Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Top Ten List

Greyhound just made his list of the top ten reasons a middle-aged man should run. Here's mine of why nearly-40-year-old moms should run:

10. because there's no better excuse to buy new shoes every month and a half

9. because shopping at expos when you're not a runner makes you feel like a poser

8. because the annual doctor's visits takes so much less time when they can't find anything wrong with you

7. because, otherwise, buying that much BodyGlide is kinda gross

6. because your kids will think it's normal for mom to be sweatier than they are

5. because you get the world to yourself at 5:00 am (OK, sometimes you have to share with the garbageman, the newspaper guy, and the other runners in your neighborhood, but still)

4. because there's no better way to see the places to which you travel than on foot, during a run

3. because you can outrun most, if not all, of the other 2nd grade moms in the school 5K

2. because they told you that you can't, or you shouldn't, or that you're crazy to

1. because you can

Sunday, April 26, 2009

podium finish!

I came in second place! I wasn't even going to do this race, since I'm supposed to be about mile 16 by now. But since I was around, I thought sure, why not? Never mind that I haven't done any 5Ks on my own in a long while -- any races of that distance in the last two or three years have been with one or the other of the boys, at their pace. I've been doing 10Ks, which I love, since you go out hard but can't give too much or you burn out before the end, and of course, the half and full distances. So it was going to be a change for me to do a 5K.

Elder Child was volunteering as part of his Scout troop, so we had to be at the race site (at TDP DinoBoy's school) by 6:30ish. TDP DinoBoy chose not to participate since he had a retreat at school starting at 9:00, and the 5K started at 8:30. He could have done the mile run, but he wanted to do the full instead, so he opted to sleep in (is this my kid or what? Not even worth getting out of bed for a mere mile!!). I dropped the older one off and then turned back to the 'bucks on the corner for my oatmeal breakfast, since I had about an hour to kill before the first race.

After a bit it was time to head over for registration. I drove the route to get an idea of the elevation changes (which were gradual, but definitely there was an incline at mile 2 and a couple of rollers toward the end of mile 3 right before turning toward the finish). I parked at the remote lot about half a block away, then got there in time for the flag raising, pledge of allegiance and opening prayer (it's a Catholic school, so we get to do that), then it was time for the one mile run. A lot of the kids and families I know were out there, so it was fun to see the kids running and having a good time. Before long, it was time for the 5K group to line up.

This was an inaugural race, so nobody really knew how many people would show up. I was evaluating the field and trying to figure out how many of the women there were in my age group, and if they were, how many might be faster than me. In actuality, I wasn't concerned with whether I won in my age group, but only that I came in faster than the other 2nd grade moms!! It had been threatening rain all morning, and right before the start, it did start to sprinkle a bit, but just enough to make it steamier. There was a little bit of a wind, so we knew it was not going to be an easy go. The race coordinator gave us instructions, which basically were "Turn right," but he also told us that it was a challenging course, and he warned us about the uphill at mile 2. And then we were off.

I had a hard time catching my breath at the outset, and the humidity made it tough to find a groove. I was pretty well established in a good pace by the first half-mile though, and the wind kept us a little cooler. At the first mile marker, I was surprised to see that I had clocked a 9:28. The second mile was uphill almost immediately, and it was tough to maintain that pace. I also stopped at the water stop for a cup of water to drink and a cup to douse myself. That immediately brought some relief, as the humidity was starting to take a toll on me. We turned the corner again and immediately hit another hill. Bleagh. But, by now, we knew the worst of the elevation was behind us, and we also knew that we were past the half-way point. I hit the 2nd mile marker and was pleased to see another sub-10:00 split, although it was slower than the first one at 9:53. I was definitely starting to fade by the time I made the last turn into the final stretch. I could hear someone coming up behind me, but was determined not to let them catch me. We hit a downhill about then, and I cranked it up. I kept hearing Grace Lazenby's voice in my head, telling me to keep my shoulders back, head up, just a little more, just a little more. I don't know who was behind me, only that they didn't catch me. I pulled away right before we hit the last big incline leading to the school, and I knew they weren't going to catch me then. We had the very last turn toward the finish and I was thrilled to see 29 and change on the timer. I knew I wouldn't make sub-30, but I had gone into the race expecting 31 and something since I knew the hills were going to be a factor. But when I crossed at 30:38 on my watch, I was very happy with the result.

I hung around for a while, talked to some of the other parents I saw, and got a breakfast taco. I wasn't sure where I'd come in, though, since I saw some pretty strong women in front of me, and I could only guess at their ages. I had to get home to make ice cream for last night's dinner club, though, so I left while they were still picking up the course. I didn't think anything more about it until this morning, when we picked up the paper and flipped through the results in the back of the sports section. Check that out! I placed second in my age group! Who knew?! I went online to check out the full results and saw that of 90 female entrants, I came in 24th overall, which is the first time I've come in the top third. I also came in 51st among all 146 finishers, so I barely missed top third there. So I'm pretty jazzed. Almost worth the headache I had later in the day from going out too fast and not re-hydrating enough! But mostly, I was pleased to have run hard and finished well.

Today is looking like a serious lazy day as far as family stuff goes. Hockey was postponed to Wednesday, so we really just have laundry and groceries to do. But I am going to try to hit the TM for some hills, just so I don't feel like a total slug.

Friday, April 24, 2009

No regrets

I may feel differently come Sunday morning, when the gun goes off and I'm not there, but for now, I'm not regretting my decision to skip the Oklahoma City Marathon. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, with a side trip to CA for a discovery session last week on top of the usual workweek in Colorado. Three time zones in three days made for a very tired Skatemom. And then there was supposed to be a campout for Cub Scouts last weekend, too, which, had it happened, would have certainly wiped me out. Forecasted rain put it on hold, though, which meant I got to enjoy more than one night in my own bed (always a good thing).

I am definitely a goal-oriented runner, though, I have discovered. Without a race or event or something significant looming in the distance, without a countdown of some kind, I lose my way. As much as I do enjoy the actual physical act of running, it becomes something I should do instead of something I get to do when don't have a race on the horizon. And it makes it easier for the lazy part of my brain to win when I don't have a race on the horizon. Not in a "I'm not going to run today" way, but in a "eh, 3 miles is plenty today," or in a "I don't need to do hill repeats on the TM today," kind of way. So I definitely am one of those who needs something to work toward. And without OKC, and with the verdict on NYC not slated to come down until mid-June, I was kind of floundering. Until now...

Until I decided to do the Boulder Bolder! I've been living and running in Boulder or Denver since November, so I'm definitely tuned in to the altitude effects (I'm not going to say that I'm used to it, because I still forget sometimes, and wonder why the heck I'm panting and heaving and gasping going up the stairs for the Monday meetings on the 3rd floor!!). This is not a race that I could sign up for another year and just fly in for the weekend to finish. I would be dying. But now, the situation is perfect for it. I have the opportunity to work a short week afterward, so the airfare and hotel is taken care of (I may have to spring for the extra night of hotel on my own since I'm coming in a day early, but no big deal), and my brother and his family may come down from the mountains to join me in the race. It's one of the biggest 10Ks in the country, and it ends at the CU stadium, so how awesome is that? So, yeah, I'm in! I. Cannot. Wait!

As you can see by my post from earlier this week, it's reinvigorated me. I have rediscovered how much fun it is to just take off on a path or trail and run. I haven't been taking my Garmin or my iPod, and only use my watch because I can't leave the OCD behind entirely! But I've not been worried about distance or pace or speed. I've been just running. And breathing. And enjoying the experience. Which I'm not sure I would be doing if I was at OKC this weekend. Not this year. It's still on the list, and I will get it done, just not this year. And that's OK.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I need to remember

when I feel sluggish and fat....
when I'm too tired to lace up and head out....
when I'd rather trudge on the TM instead of face the outdoors....
when it's easier to blame travel, work, kids, social obligations for a lack of motivation....

Remember how awesome it was to run outside along Boulder Creek today, with about 100 of my closest pals whizzing by on bicycles and on foot and on inline skates and on leashes. Remember how clean the air was, and how fresh the creek itself smelled, full of spring snowmelt and bubbling as I ran by. Remember how it was hot, but not unbearably so, so that I was sweating but not sweltering.

Remember how great and refreshed and re-invigorated I felt after only 40 minutes. The next time I want to make an excuse, or think that I've lost my mojo, I need to remember this feeling.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

crappy run

tried to run this morning. it did not go well. Stomach issues made me turn back toward home after 1.5 miles. It was way windy. I got chased by a wienie dog. Yeah, it was that kind of day.

In other news, I met a guy the other day who has run every day for more than 30 years. He's logged more than 60,000 miles in that time. I have two words for that: AWE. SOME. I think I ran every day in February a few years ago.

Yeah, I suck. dang.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Be Lionhearted

OK, so Becoming Ironman
is awesome, we knew that. He's Ironman and is training to do it again. He's driven, motivated, and motivating. He's participating in the Janus Charity Challenge and raising money for the American Heart Association. Click on the image below to read more about it. Then spread the word and support Chris, both in this great cause and in his journey toward IMWI '09!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Still here, still running

not much, but still hitting it every other day or so. Hard to muster up motivation when the end goal is no longer in sight, because it's not there any more. I'm hoping that I might be able to make a pretty big 10K at the end of May, but the logistics of it are still up in the air. If I can nail that down sometime soon, it might help with the get-up-and-go.

Still trying to do abs & pushups every day, but it's not always easy to remember, and when I do remember, it's not always easy to make it happen. But that's what I've got to do. I've got to make it happen. Even when I don't feel like it, or when I'm tired. That's when it counts the most.

I'm working on eating a little bit differently; that is to say, without a lot of processed stuff and without a lot of added sugars. It's tough, especially when you have to choose from what you find at the Corner Bakery or Starbucks for breakfast (but not the one downstairs from the hotel -- they're on my sh!tlist for bad customer service), and an almost as limited selection for lunch. Dinner is easier, since I can usually get a teriyaki bowl with brown rice and veggies or salmon with veggies. But the hardest part for me is staying away from the sugar. But I'm not making big swooping changes, just focusing on little decisions at every meal that add up in the end.

So, that's it from here. Still here, still running, still trying to make it happen. Some days it goes well, like today, when I banged out intervals on the treadmill, hitting 7.0 mph for 90+ seconds at a time. Some days, not so much. But the key is to keep on keeping on, right? That is all.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

Total change of pace from my last post. Easter is one of my favorite times of the year, and my favorite seasons for Mass. Everything is fresh and new again.

"This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad."

Here are a couple of folks in which I rejoice, for which I am glad, every second of every day:

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A little bit of a rant

OK, so I was off work today, which in consulting meant I squeezed 32 hours of work into three days instead of 40 into four. Which means I had to do a few hours of work today, but from the comfort of my couch instead of the hotel or the office in Boulder. Which is great, because it allowed me to watch the Rachael Ray show before my three hours' worth of con calls started.

***Rant beginning -- skip this installment if you're not interested in hearing me go off***

So, normally, I love Rachael Ray, and I think today I loved her a little more, for the one sensible thing she said while interviewing her main guest today. Her guest was the recently slender, Jenny Craig-ized Valerie Bertinelli. I get that Val (as she is referred to by "Rach") would want to flaunt her renewed body, as she has on the cover of People Magazine and in Jenny Craig ads. Hell, if I had a body like that, I'd parade around in a string bikini too. But what struck me as so unrealistic about the whole thing is how Bertinelli said she prepared for the photo shoot. She said she went back to eating only her "Jenny" food (which, if you look at the materials on their website, is probably an average of 1200-1300 calories) and working out four hours a day. The workouts she talked about were reasonable; she talked about old-school pushups and tricep dips and running, a lot of running. What is unrealistic is the volume of workout and the amount of calories she was taking in to sustain that.

I guess I could work out for four hours a day every day for a month if I didn't have a job and a family, or if I was being paid to be a diet-plan spokesperson, and it was my job to do that. But I'm not, and most people aren't, and it is just not a realistic approach to weight loss. Is there hard work involved? Absolutely, and I definitely want to give her props for putting in the work and getting some amazing results. Just don't tell us that anybody can look that good by doing the same thing. Because I don't have four hours to devote to exercise. And even if I did, I don't think I'd want to.

The other thing is that she talked about how she walks through the airport or the mall and is now content to just sniff the cinnabon aroma instead of having to eat one. As someone who used to go through Terminal D at LaGuardia twice a week where the Auntie Anne's pretzel smell permeated everywhere from the minute you got off the plane, I know of the temptation of the aroma. I quit having one every week after about a month, because, really, they're not as good as they smell. But trust me, I am not going to say that just the aroma is enough to satiate me forever. Because I'm not into denial -- that's the fastest way to a huge crash for me. Maybe it works for her. Good for her. That's just not realistic. But as for me, and for Rachael, who also very adamantly said that she was going to eat one of those cinnabons once in a while when she wanted to, it's not the way I want to live.

You know, this is the same sort of unrealistic expectations that people get from watching The Biggest Loser. I love that show, even though I just started watching it this season. It is incredibly motivating to me to be on the treadmill while I watch this show, because I sure as hell am not getting off that machine after half an hour when these big ol' fat people are cranking out monster mileages and monster amounts of calories. If they can do it, so can I. I don't want to be Joelle and start whining about what I can't do. So I watch it and eat up all the competitive drama intrinsic in it. It's very encouraging to see these people drop 5-6 to 10 or more pounds in a week and see how they have totally changed their bodies and their lives in their time on the ranch. But it is not realistic either. They have a very controlled diet (temptation challenges and rewards notwithstanding) and they work out with personal trainers controlling their routines for six hours a day. That is all that they have to do for their time on the ranch. And until I hit the lottery or become independently wealthy (still working on the action plan for that one...), I don't have the luxury of dropping my job and my family and going to a ranch and paying $2000 a week for 12 weeks to lose weight. So I have to fit it in with my life and my family and my job and my responsibilities in the REAL WORLD. Are there people who can post big drops like that in real life? Maybe, and if so, good for them. But I can tell you that I'm not one of them. And you're probably not either.

So, what's my point here? I'm not sure, except that these are unrealistic expectations that nobody in real life should be disappointed if they can't duplicate. For us real people, it should be OK to do the best we have with what we've got. We've got to make the right choices and do the right things more often than not. We've got to choose to smell the cinnabon more than we choose to eat it. And not feel like a failure if we don't lose 8 pounds in a week or if we're not on the cover of People in a swimsuit.

That is all. Rant over. You may now return to regularly-scheduled programming.

Monday, April 06, 2009


le sigh. Seem to have lost motivation to run anything longer than 5-6 miles now that I've taken OKC off the table. Spending a lot of time with my pal Grace Lazenby and all the iTrain workouts I've downloaded. So far I've liked all of them that I've tried, some more than others. So I've been focusing on hills on the TM along with some speed intervals. And still trying to do the ab work and pushups as often as I remember and force myself to do them. Still need to repeat the pushups week 1, though (again). Baby t-rex arms still have a long way to go. Making some progress with the situps, though, so that definitely feels good, esp. when I see a difference in how my clothes fit.

not much else going on. still traveling, still trying to keep things going on the homefront. not much different on the horizon for now. like I said, le sigh.

things should perk up around here soon enough. I hope so. It's kind of depressing right now. ugh.