Friday, April 15, 2011

All or Nothing

That's me! Either I am 100% onboard, rockin out 20 miles a week or I'm avoiding all physical activity and logging a big goose egg. I really need to figure out how to find a happy medium when life demands it.

But when things get crazy I tend to lose complete focus on myself, my nutrition, my training, and even my sleep. I'm not so good with balance.

I'm stressing out with the end of the semester coming up. There are lots of projects and papers due. I have to have my portfolio in tip-top shape for an inspection in two weeks. I'm getting ready to go out of town this weekend to support a friend of mine in the Boston Marathon. I'm super excited about it. But the timing is not ideal and I'm not sure how I'm gonna get everything done. Plus my Mom is driving down to stay with my kids and my dog while I'm away. I'm oh-so-grateful for this. But it does involve cleaning all the nooks and crannies. Much more so than if I were boarding the dog and dropping off the kids. And, oh yea....I haven't even filed my taxes yet!
On top of all that I'm dealing with some other issues that are demanding much more thought and energy than I can currently afford. And we might as well just mention that I'm sick with worry about my half marathon on May 7th.
I know everyone has their own struggles and worries. And mine likely pale in comparison to some. But that is why I haven't been around. I'm too busy stressing out about all these things that seem incredibly urgent each day. And neglecting things that I should be doing, even if they don't seem as urgent. I'm just not sure how to squeeze it all into 24 hours. Like I said, I need to work on balance.

But regardless of how these last two weeks have been, I am SO looking forward to Boston! I just know it will be an amazing experience to be right in the middle of such an incredible event. Plus a break from the craziness of my life will do me good. I hate leaving the kids. We always travel together. I homeschool them. We're pretty tight. I don't even remember the last time I was away from them for four whole days. But now that they are 13 and 14, I suppose I need to know what it feels like to actually have a little time for myself.

It will be a whirlwind of a trip. Here's a little breakdown of what it will look like:
I won't get into town until late Saturday night. Then I wake up bright and early Sunday to run the BAA 5k. Afterwards I'm going to a Team Brunch hosted by the American Liver Foundation with some friends. It will also be my first chance to check out the expo. Monday is the big day and I will be reporting bright and early to the water stop at mile marker 13.2 in Wellesey for my seven hour shift. At 3:00pm I will be frantically trying to get downtown to see my friend cross the finish line. That evening we'll be at the post race party at the House of Blues. Tuesday will be the only day I really have to do anything not race related. I had wanted to revisit the Boston Public Library to follow up on some leads I found there a few years ago about my family tree. But, realistically, I don't think I'll have enough time.

I promise to share all the details of my experience once I get home.

And sorry about the "Nothing" last week. I'm really shooting for "All" next week. And maybe someday I will learn how to balance the two.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Doggy Incident

The plan called for my long run to be on Friday this week instead of Saturday because of my scheduled 5k. But Friday it rained all day. One of those soakers that just never let up. And, to be honest, I wasn't feeling 8 miles that day anyway. I really like Sundays as my rest day. It works best for me. But I decided to make it up on Sunday, so that was the new plan.

I haven't been doing my runs very early because it is so cold here in the mornings. So I figured I would get out there around 10ish. But as the morning progressed I realized there was just so many other things I wanted to get done. It was cloudy and windy. I was totally looking for an out.

Then I logged into dailymile to see how everyone else was doing on their long runs. I saw that Nora over at Nora Does Grandma's gave me a shout-out on dailymile saying how inspiring I was to her. Awww I was gonna have to run that lousy eight. Besides, I'm kinda addicted to watching the little bars turn green as I add up my mileage for the week. I was at 15, but I wanted to be over 20. And today was the last day. So no more procrastination.

I begrudgingly got into my running clothes and headed to the trail.

About a mile and a half into my run is this big farm with a ginormous field. There are these two dogs that are always roaming around there. They usually leave me alone and watch me from a distance, but it still freaks me out a little. There is not a human in screaming distance, so I just imagine having to deal with rabbid, Pet Semetary-like monsters one of these days all by myself. (I think we've established my over-active imagination in The Scary Run post.) But, like I said, they will usually just perk up, take notice of me, and watch as I ever-so-calmly walk away. But inside is goes a little something like this:

Today I approach the clearing by the farm and hope, like I do everyday, that they are not there. Then I see these two black figures waaaaay in the distance running full-speed right at me. Oh my goodness! They are still pretty far off so I do a quick turnaround and slow things to a walk and move quickly and with purpose in the opposite direction of the attacking canines. I hear the jingling of their collars and the panting of their breath as they get closer and closer. I tried to remain calm. Stayed walking at a steady pace. And just looked straight ahead while I tried to mask my fear....'cause I hear they can sense such things. By now I am well away from "their" field, but they were still following me. I even heard one of them growl, but I didn't react. Straight ahead. Walk with purpose. Not afraid. Nice doggy. At one point they were so close that I felt the cold nose of one of them on my leg as he checked me out. Seriously too close for comfort. I was wearing my heart rate monitor and you should've seen that thing spike!

Finally, after a full five minutes, I couldn't hear them any more and I thought it was safe to turn around and look. They were both in the distance, pacing back and forth on the trail near their farm. It was as if they were warning me not to come back. I swung around quickly so I wouldn't catch their eye and just walked until I couldn't see them anymore. Then I ran back to the car, with only three miles logged on the Garmin. Boo!

After this Doggy Incident and The Scary Run, I'm just not feeling the love from my beloved trail anymore. But I decided that I would not be deterred and I would just drive to a different section of the trail and get my five miles in over there. Of course, then I had to go potty. There was a port-a-potty by my car. Its not like I've never used a port-a-potty before. But I live two miles away. It just wasn't happening.

Once I got home it started raining. Lovely. I waited a few hours and decided to get the rest of those miles in around the neighborhood. The bad thing about that, is that there is always a shortcut home. And around 3 1/2 miles I succumbed to the shortcut. My knee was bothering me and I've never had any pain in my knee before. I think it was just a little sore from yesterday's exposure to the hillyness of the forest preserve. But it was all the excuse I needed.

So I got in 7 miles of the 8 I was supposed to get in. But it certainly did not qualify as a long run. I'm bummed about that. But, it could've been worse. It could've been a zero.

The Bunny Dash 5k

I finally got my first race of the year in!

My son, Cory, got the first 5k of his life in. It was so much fun! He's 14 and has started to show interest in running. He joined me for some of my training these last two weeks and I decided to sign him up for this race with me. We had such a great day together!

The Results
Lets just get this out of the way. I stunk it up out there. I have excuses though. It took me 50:03 to cover the same real estate it took Cory to cover in 32:27. I would've been depressed by that if I wasn't so stinkin' proud of the boy. And he totally could've shaved a few minutes off that. When we were lining up for the start I stayed to the back by the 14 min/mile folks. I knew Cory was faster and I told him he could move up. But he said he wanted to stay with me. Once we got going I could tell I was holding him back, but he didn't say a word. He just looked over at me and smiled from time to time. Finally, I just told him he should go ahead and that I would see him at the finish. I really think if I hadn't said anything the boy would've stayed with me the whole time. He's such a good kid!

The Excuses
Firstly, you would think a race with the rather unassuming name of Bunny Dash would be a pretty simple walk in the park. And, coincidentally, it took place in a park. A forest preserve, to be exact. And it was beautiful. But there were LOTS of hills in this place. Not super big crazy hills. But the small rolling hills that never seem to end. I run mostly in my neighborhood or on a trail that is part of the Rails to Trails program. Its a program which repurposes old railroad tracks into running and cycling trails, which, of course, are flat. And straight. So I run on nothing but flat routes ALL the time. And these hills totally snuck up on me. My poor little calves were burning and my shins were even starting to hurt....which never happens to me. Total wake-up call. I need to find me some hilly terrain to train on.

Secondly, the last 5k I ran was about 20 pounds ago. I have packed on a significant amount of poundage since I ran the half last October. And I've been wondering why the heck this training has seemed so hard for me. I realized it just takes more effort to move the larger version of me, as opposed to the lighter version. Another wake-up call. I need to lesson the load for the poor tootsies to carry.

The Free Stuff
I'm a big fan of the free stuff. I don't know why, but it just makes me all giddy. Here's what we got:

There is a reusable grocery bag from Whole Foods that had some coupons in it as well as some bars by Clif, Raw Rev, and LaraBar. There were also FRS energy chews in there. And, of course, the shirt. I'm pretty sure Cory doesn't want a reusable grocery bag, so I get two. Even better! There was a lot of other stuff around that they were handing out too. Bagels, bananas, juice, cereal bars, and tons of LaraBars. I tried the cookie dough flavor for the first time. Yum! I'm so hooking myself up with more of those.

The Fun Stuff
There was this cute little photo op.

And a petting zoo. I almost got attacked by a llama!
But these little guys were cute:
And, of course, there was this guy!

Cory was not entirely amused by all of this. But he took great pleasure in making fun of me and my excitement. Here he is before the race started:
The After Party
This race started at 9am. Not bad. But we live 1 1/2 hours away. And I was doing a same-day packet pickup which started at 7:30am. So we left our house about 6:30am. This was way earlier than the boy likes to start his Saturdays. After the race we stopped at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Cory LOVES him some Five Guys. And since we don't have one by us, it was a no-brainer. Of course, I had to pass a little time shopping before Five Guys opened, which made me almost as giddy as the free stuff.

And while we were both feeling great and energized after the run, it quickly wore off during the drive home. He caught up on his beauty rest while I tried to think of the next run I should sign him up for.

A beautiful day. A gorgeous course. A well organized event. A proud Mommy Moment. And a couple swift kicks in the butt. I'd say a success all around.