Monday, July 23, 2012

How do you workout?

3.17m  Sometimes I must get creative....

With both of my boys at home with me today, I resigned my chance for a mother-of-the-year nomination and plugged them into the television.  With their minds being sucked in by Transformer Rescue Bots, I armed myself with a water bottle and hopped on the treadmill.  I did not run with music as I needed to hear if my children were going to abort their mission of watching TV and instead try to have their own version of WWE Smackdown.  My plan was to work out as long as their little attention spans and brotherly kindness would allow.

Both of my boys have grown up spending time in the stroller accompanying me on my runs.  They are both great kids, but there are two of them and one of me.  My oldest son is older than stroller age, but doesn’t ride his bike well enough to keep up when I'm pushing his little brother in the stroller.  So, if I’m able to divide and conquer I do.  Ususally, I run at night (often late) when my husband is home from work and my youngest son has gone to bed.  When none of the above options are available or feasible, I’m forced to get creative.

Days like today it would be very easy to just call it a wash and put off my workout until tomorrow.  Being part of the WISER Sister Study does not allow me to make that choice.  I’m currently in week 13 of 20 and required to run/workout a minimum of 300 minutes a week.  I’m made a commitment to them and I won’t break it.  This study, and the hope that someday I will be back in true pre-pregnancy shape, fuel my motivation to run.  Thank God for the study because my snail crawl, mega-slow-motion body changes aren’t very encouraging to keep going.

With 3.17 miles run and a 30-minute cross-training workout complete, I’d say today’s workout was a success.  The house still stands and there were no casualties, only a bruised arm from a bite when the boys had wrestled over a toy.  Whew, mission accomplished.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

ROCKSTAR Tour Stop in Seattle

13.1m  See Jane Run Half Marathon

After I rocked my run in Missoula, I made a tour stop in Seattle one week later and ran the See Jane Run Half Marathon. Running two races on back-to-back weekends was a new experience for me and I wasn't sure if I could pull off an encore performance because when it comes to running, I have no self-confidence.

I'm slow, envy all the fast, fit runners who pass me, and err on the easy side as to not push myself into an asthma attack. I've learned that running is as much of a mental battle as it is a physical one for me. I hear runners talk about "pushing through my legs" or "runner's high when I can run forever," but my lungs have never allowed me to experience this. Yet, I run anyway and love it!

Racing is a social event for me and a great excuse for a mini-vacation. Yes, I just called running 13.1 miles a vacation! Every race I run I dedicate to someone and every medal I earn I give to my oldest son, DD, who proudly displays it with all the others on a hook above his bed.

See Jane Run was inspiring because it was all women (except about six brave, or dumb, men depending on your view) who were all sizes, ages, and physical abilities. Everyone was friendly and smiling. My goals for this race were the same as all my races: start, finish, enjoy the journey, and do my best. But, I had a little voice inside me wondering if I could pull of another sub 2:30 performance....

The starting gun went off and I was still standing in the potty line with about 50 other women. Lovely. We all looked at each other and just shrugged our shoulders. No one moved out of line.  You can't exactly argue when Mother Nature calls.

One benefit of starting after the gun start: no crowds. Off I went knowing there were others behind me who were yet to start the race.

I ran, didn't let myself look at my watch for pace only distance, cranked up the recently downloaded tunes on my iPod, and smiled as I worked my way around Lake Union.

I'm lucky. I have asthma yet I'm a runner. I have generous family and friends who watch my kids so I can run. Every finish line I cross is a gift regardless of my time. So what was my finish time? 2:33:46. I'm ecstatic. For me that is another ROCKSTAR performance. Could I have done things differently and made up those three minutes to have a 2:30 finish? Probably, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

Speaking of the world, it was pretty well protected while I was gone.

It was a slow 3/4 mile walk uphill to my truck-- makes for a good calf stretch. When I'd parked there was a layer of fog/mist, but before I left it had burned off and this was my view:

A great ending to a great race.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


13.1m  Missoula Half Marathon

On Sunday, July 8th, I walked out of my hotel room at o'dark thirty having no idea when I returned a few hours later I'd be a rockstar.  Well, at least I'd feel like one.

Ready to run at 4 a.m.

It was my first time running the highly recommended Missoula half marathon.  My game plan was to run the whole thing and enjoy all the sights. My finish time was irrelevant; it was the medal I would give to my son for his collection that was my prize. The look of excitement when I hand him the medal makes me feel like I came in first place.

Despite wearing two watches that tracked every step of every mile down to my pace, heart rate, and exertion zone, I told myself I would not look at any of the data until after the race. And I didn't look until mile 10....

The starting gun went off and I trotted off with the rest of the herd of runners.  The sunrise was beautiful over a lake and through the distant trees.  A woman stopped to take a picture so I asked if she wanted to be in the picture. A few photos later, I was back on my way. I ran at a pace that felt challenging yet maintainable.
Mile 8

The mile markers came and went and I ran through every sprinkler I could. At mile 8 I saw Turtle Girl who snapped a quick picture of me then jumped in and paced me. She is an excellent coach and cheerleader extraordinaire. She told me I was doing amazing and had a fantastic pace. We chatted (visualize her talking and me grunting responses between my labored breath) and I told her my racing goal had always been to finish in 2:30, but my closest PR was 2:43. She told me if I kept up my pace I'd make it. So at mile 10, I looked at my Garmin and confirmed she was right.  What was holding me back? Nothing so I went for it.

Nothing is as surreal as running down the finisher chute with the crowd cheering you on like you are a rockstar.  I sprinted and crossed the finish line with an official time of 2:27:14 beating my former PR by 16 minutes! I'm still smiling as I write this!  I can't believe it! I gain something from every race. This one I got a new PR, but more than that I have great memories and some new friends who I met along the way.   I look forward to more races with them and others who I'll meet. Who wants to come with me to San Antonio or Vegas?
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My best finisher photo ever and it was FREE!


Friday, July 6, 2012

My Time To Run

I think of myself as pretty easy going, but on nights like tonight I have to second guess myself. Nights before races (or as I'm packing to travel to a race) I find myself obsessing over every detail to ensure everything is perfect down to the last emergency kit detail. (If you haven't had the pleasure of digging into my treasure bag o'kit I'll leave the surprises inside for a time that you do.) Now back to my obsessing....  As a participant in the WISER Sister study, I've been progressively running more minutes each week and have reached my 300 minutes per week mark which I must maintain for the duration of the study. Knowing that I have a big run Sunday, I opted to do cross training in order to "rest" my legs for the race. Well, I'm regretting that decision as I find myself using my arms to help me to and from a sitting position or navigating the stairs.  My cross training included lunges and they got the best of me. Waking is even tricky so this race may become comical. We all need to be able to laugh at ourselves, right? Tomorrow my cousin (we'll  call her Turtle Girl) and I will take a fun road trip to Montana where I swear everything is so inexpensive it felt like they paid me to visit last time!  It will be nice to run the race this time instead of playing cheerleader on the sidelines trying to calculate pace and distance in order to make it to he next cheer spot in time to see my friends run by. I remember it was a hot July day and I was pregnant...not a good combo. But, that is all behind me and this Sunday it will be my turn to run. And, I'll have Turtle Girl, one of the world's best cheerleaders, with me! More on Turtle Girl and an official update on the WISER Sister study soon....