Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Goal!

After watching The Biggest Loser this week and seeing Bob demonstrate his 'Scorpion Flip', I knew what I had to do. I HAVE to learn, own and rename this new move!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Purge-a-Palooza 2011

This weekend was a three day weekend and I took it as an opportunity to de-clutter my space. I've lived here for almost 12 years and I've acquired alot of crap during that time. There are some areas that I haven't spent much time cleaning in all 12 years like the attic, closets and cabinets. I started with those this weekend.
During this 'Great Clean' I discovered many things. I've been several different people in the last 12 years and one of them acquired these:

WTH? I thought my attic was creepy, now I know it is!

Going through closets and storage containers I found relics from my past and my past lives. I discovered pictures of old boyfriends that I kept for some reason or another. They weren't necessarily significant relationships, but I couldn't seem to throw out their pictures...until now. I found small picture portfolios that were carried in purses or wallets at some point. They were full of people that I've lost touch with but at one point they were important enough for me to carry them around in my purse. I don't have any pictures in my current purse or wallet. I don't even have a picture holder in my wallet. When did they stop including those in wallets? I wonder if I had children if I'd have their pictures in my purse. They used to sell pictures in 'wallet size' what do they call that size now? Small, 2x2? Do they make lockets anymore?! I took the pictures out and threw out the holders but kept most of the pictures. (None of them of old boyfriends) I guess I put alot of value on pictures and memories.

I found bib numbers from some of the first races that I ran. I found an award for making the Dean's list my first semester of college (it never happened again). I found keys I'd lost. I found paper work and warranties for items I purged in previous clean house events. I threw out old cotton shirts from races that weren't memorable or had crappy designs. I ditched anything I thought I could live without and found new or cleaner spaces for items that made the cut. In the end I realized that if my place burned down or was flooded out tomorrow, I shouldn't replace even half of the crap that I kept!

I'm not completely finished but I've managed to fill 12 garbage bags for donation to the National Kidney Foundation and I've filled my gargage bin. Getting really close to being able to put this place on the market and I'm getting excited about it. It's time for a new space.

P.S. Running streak is at 52 days with no end in sight!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cupid's Cup 5K

I've been thinking a lot about when I first started running. When I first started running I ran almost everyday, only short distances and when I wanted. I followed no training plan and didn't think about how to improve my running or what I ate and needed to eat to run. Ahhh, the good ol' days!

I'm somewhat running like that now except that I am trying to improve my form and my speed. While running the Cupid's Cup 5K this weekend I thought about how much my goals for races have changed since I first started running. Before my first 5K, my first race, I set a time goal for myself. Not a place goal for overall, for my age group or to beat anyone. I didn't know about placing or what it meant and I knew I wasn't a natural with a chance to place. But as time went on and I ran more races I started setting what I thought were realistic but challenging goals.
  1. Beat anyone wearing a costume.
  2. Beat anyone wearing the cotton t-shirt that came free with the race entry.
  3. Beat all kids under 12 years of age.
  4. Beat people with a bigger butt than mine.

This weekend during the Cupid's Cup 5K I thought about these goals. It was a big race so placing, even in my age group wasn't unrealistic. I also haven't really trained so I didn't set high expectations for this race. I'm just getting back into track workouts, I've only done 1 hill workout and haven't done any tempo runs. My time goal was 1) under 30 minutes if I was having a bad day, 2) under 27 if it was a decent day and 3) under 25 if it was a stellar day. I ran a 25:55, which I was pretty happy about.

Towards the end of the race, I thought about my other 4 goals. I don't think I was being fair when I set them.

  1. Beat anyone wearing a costume - Costumes can be fun and wearing one doesn't mean you're not fast. In my running club, members wear costumes all the time and they kick my butt! I didn't see a lot of costumes at CC 5K so not sure if anyone dressed up beat me. But if someone dressed as cupid and carrying a bow and arrows can run a fast 5K, I have to give them credit.
  2. Beat anyone wearing the cotton t-shirt that came with the race entry - I've learned this doesn't necessarily mean they're not taking the race seriously. They may be really close to the cause, they may be a sponsor, they may have a natural ability they weren't aware of. And didn't Lance Armstrong run his first marathon in a cotton t-shirt? For the CC 5K, the shirts were UGLY! I didn't see anyone wearing them and I don't blame them! So this was a win for me, this day.
  3. Beat all kids under 12 - Kids are annoying to run near. They run fast, then stop and walk, then speed up and pass you again, then stop and walk. It's annoying. They also drag their feet and whine and complain. Mostly I just don't want to lose to someone who's running a 3.1 mile fartlek! But a fartlek is an accepted running practice so who am I to judge? I got beat by a few smokin' fast kids but none that were around me!
  4. Beat people with a bigger butt than mine - I really shouldn't judge, but shouldn't I be faster than them?! I realized when I couldn't pass a few Kardashian-esk runners close to the end of the race that there may be something to their butt. Maybe it's fuel packed! Maybe it's loaded with energy and carbs and is something akin to a jet engine. The was not a win for me this race.

These goals may be petty and judgmental, but they are good motivators! I pushed pretty hard this weekend and managed a pretty good finish. I plan to use it as a base and plan to beat it by the end of the year. I've pulled some track workouts geared towards 5Ks off of and will start working on it next week. I'll pepper in some hill repeats and tempo runs. But mostly I'm going to run when I want, what I want and just enjoy being a runner.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Staying Vertical

Staying vertical has two meanings for this blog post. One, it was my overall goal for the Uwharrie 8 Mile and two, is my fighting a possible cold and not wanting to lay down and let it win.

Uwharrie was warmer this year than in years past. I think the temperature at the 8-mile, 9am start was in the high 30s, which is about twice what it has been the years I've run it. I was completely over dressed! I wore my warmest tights, my thickest running shirt and arm warmers underneath. Hat, gloves and a running jacket. I knew the running jacket was over the top and had planned to tie it around my waste if needed. I took it off within the first two miles. Then the gloves and then the arm warmers which were harder to manage than I'd thought they'd be.

Last year, my friends and I debated going because the trail had been compromised by ice/snow storms. This year we didn't even think twice though it has been very rainy. Last year we were pleasantly surprised to find the trail in good shape. This year the trail was soft, muddy and scary! I walked/hiked most of the first couple of miles. Even in the flatter sections that I've been able to run in the past! This trail is pretty rocky, rooty and covered in leaves on a good day. This day everything was glistening from the morning rain and the trail looked like a hard fall waiting for a victim. Part of my caution was because I know how much it hurts to fall and what a long recovery would mean. I was also tired and not sure I wasn't catching a cold. Running even short distances was getting me out of breath and I really didn't feel like myself.

My friend Jody and I usually run this race together. We spend the 8 miles catching up and laughing. This year, she was having a good year and I wasn't. For the most part, I kept in her sight, but the last mile, she took off and I finished about 5 minutes behind her. After walking/hiking the first couple of miles up what one runner near me called 'bat man's right ear' I ran down hill to the first aid stop at mile 2. This was the first real running stretch of the day. At this point I was leading about three ladies running behind me. The one running behind me (for about 5 miles), was a heavy breather and it sounded like I was being chased by Darth Vader. Though I offered to let her, Vader would not pass. Soon after the stop I saw a woman standing on the side of the trail. Vader yelled out "Big foot!" but used a girly, 'just kidding' type voice to cushion the blow of what would usually be considered an insult. I couldn't help thinking that this is why girls shouldn't do nicknames. Or at least they shouldn't do nicknames that have to be cushioned. Big foot giggled and said it was more fun to run with the group and fell in line with Vader and crew.

Vader started me wondering why we refer to 'Darth Vader' by his last name. It's not like there were multiple Darths in space. Like there was Darth Vader of the Death Star and Darth Smith of the Lively Star. There was only one Darth, yet we say 'Vader' and not 'Darth.' This lead to thinking about Eddie Izzard, the comedian who did a joke about the "Death Star Cantina" and who ran something like 60 marathons in 60 days for charity. There were many other random thoughts after this that helped me forget about Vader's annoying heavy breathing.

As I was saying, the trail had many muddy parts and I decided to walk those sections. Often you would see where people had slipped and it let you know to be more cautious. The mud was ankle deep in some sections and wide in some sections. Staying vertical became my mantra. There was only one time that I tripped and almost went down. I was able to hold myself up by bending way over causing a pulled hamstring. Luckily it wasn't bad enough to keep me from finishing. In the last mile I was obviously getting tired as I slipped more and turned ankles more. I remember from previous years that I rolled ankles a lot more during this race so I knew I hadn't run enough of the trail this year. At this point we were climbing back up or over 'bat man's left ear' as Vader's crew put it. I finished in my slowest time yet for this course, but being that I was tired and completely over dressed, I'm okay with it!

At the finish, I was handed my finisher's pottery. In year's past this has been something akin to a pottery metal with the Uwharrie symbol pressed into it. The winners received bigger pottery items like vases, bowls, plates, etc. This year all finisher's recieved a small pottery cup.

I found my friends after the race and we all agreed that the trail was awful and that it had been better last year. My friend Scott was at the finish as a spectator this year. A pulled calf muscle kept him from doing the 20 mile race so he was running support for a group of friends. He gave us a ride back to our car so that we wouldn't have to wait on the shuttle. This race is a point-to-point race and the shuttle system is pretty organized but it was nice to get a ride back with no waiting.

After changing at the outpost where we'd parked, Jody, Karen, Chloe and I went into downtown Albemarle to have lunch at a place called 'Off the Square.' Chloe had found this place online and we'd all okayed the menu the day before. The atmosphere was great with nice artwork along one wall. The opposite wall had exposed brick and the ceiling was made of the old style tile that you see in many old buildings. It was very ornate. I got the quiche of the day and the cheese grits. It was delicious! The service was a bit slow, but we all agreed we'd love to go back.

When I finally got home it was close to 4pm. I took a nap, but still ended up crashing at 8pm and sleeping for 13 hours! I felt wiped out! When I woke up I felt like I had a weird hangover and I was a bit worried that my daily running streak was in jeopardy. I managed to make it to the J for the early 10am yoga class and managed to run a mile on the upstairs track (1/12 of a mile long). The streak is alive and is 39 days long! It wasn't until much later that day and several caffeinated drinks later that I felt somewhat normal. Still monitoring myself for cold symptoms and still staying vertical!