Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Of Gummi Bears & Dollar Bills

For my long run this past weekend, I chose to skip the group run and stay in my neighborhood.  There was talk of meeting at the top of some trailhead, carpooling to the start of the run, and needing special "trail shoes."  Far too many new things for this little "agoraphob."  Oh well.

My training plan called for 10 miles this week, and I have the perfect 10 mile route in my part of town.  It was the perfect "comfort run" - just what I needed to trick myself into running 10 miles.  If I start from the end of our driveway and head east (?) on Glisan, I just have to run 5 miles out and 5 back.  At the 5 mile mark is the high school my husband attended (and that his father taught at) as well as this huge playground he calls "Imagination Station."  I talked Daniel into grabbing me some gummi bears and water, and meeting me at the Imagination Station as an aid station.  There's nothing like the promise of gummi bears to make me shut my mouth and move my feet.  It also helped that there was a nice sunbreak as I left the driveway.  And that my husband commanded me to leave our property and not come back until I'd run 10 miles.

Yeah... I almost completely wimped out of this run.

But I have my husband to thank for not relenting to my whining, complaining, bargaining, yelling and general b!tchiness.  He seriously deserves a medal of some sort... or at least his own bag of gummi bears.

I'm glad I got out there. 

Once I started running there was that sunbreak I mentioned, and I really felt strong and got into enjoying the run almost immediately.  I approached the "big hill" that's about 2.5/3 miles in and did some good self-talk to coach myself up the hill.  I tried saying all sorts of aggressive things like, "I'm going to kick this hills @ss!" and "I'm going to make this hill my b****!"  But that only resulted in me giggling and losing my cadence.  So I just decided to keep saying, "I can do it, I can do it, I'm doing it!"   Much more my style.

I grabbed some gummi bears and a water bottle from Daniel at the halfway point and then set out for home.  As I was headed back down the "big hill" two things happened;

1.) I found a random dollar bill
2.) It started raining

I put the dollar bill in my pocket and tried to keep my head up and look awesome in the rain.  I always wonder what people think when they see me running through the rain.

What is that crazy lady doing?
Is she in trouble? 
Where's the fire?
Why does she run like a gerbil?
Wow - she's super awesome!

All speculation... it's quite possible no one even notices me shuffling along. 

When I was about 2 miles away from home, the polite drizzle transformed into this ridiculous - and I mean REDONKULUSS - downpour.  I got a text from my Mom asking how my day was going and managed to text back (while running) that I was running my ten miler in the rain.  I felt really cool.

As I approached a crosswalk, Daniel pulled up in the van and asked how I was doing.  Part of my complaint that morning had been that I didn't want to run in the rain.  By this point, however, I was so determined to finish out my ten miles that I didn't care about the rain anymore.

During my half-marathon training, I only did that 10-mile run once.  I actually ended up walking a significant portion of the last 4 miles, which was pretty discouraging at the time.  A little more experience - and some helpful coaching - had me in a different head space this time, and I was able to get through all ten miles feeling strong and accomplished. 

It's just going to get fun from here!  I believe I have one more 10 mile run, and then the miles start building...


I'm really going to need those group ones once we hit the 13+ mile runs... mostly because I'm a big chicken and will psyche myself out and come up with some awesome excuse NOT to run.  I'll just have to decide which sounds scarier; 

a) finding parking downtown
b) running 12+ miles ALONE...

Oh dear...

Monday, May 17, 2010

9 miles is the new 10...

At least that's what I'm saying after my long run last weekend!

I managed to brave the freeways and make it to another group run last Saturday.  Our small group of "the slow kids" did 9 miles together, I'm so proud of all of us.  As I fell into conversation with different people throughout the run, I discovered that many of them are training for the Portland Marathon as their first race.  Crazy!  Crazy brave!  After over a month of working with this Team Oregon coaching staff, I actually have a great deal of confidence that we'll make it to the start line AND the finish line.

Our run this last week started at Road Runner Sports out in Tualitin, and took us up the same crazy hill from a few weeks ago.  I felt really strong for the first 7 miles, and then started feeling my legs fatigue during the last two.  Fortunately, we all run slow enough together that I was able to maintain pace and not fall behind. 

At the halfway point we stopped at our first (well, my first) aid station.  Water, some green energy drink and RED VINES!!! 

What?? We get to eat CANDY out here?!?!  Let's run every day!

I'm going to start bringing gummi bears with me when I run, and giving myself a gummi bear for each mile.  This should prove to be both yummy and awesome.  I'll just have to figure out where to store them so they don't melt into a gooey-gummi-bear puddle.  That would be sad... and gross... and sticky.

In other news - I've recently decided to join my friend Cheree Hayes as an Arbonne consultant.  More news to come, but the short version is;

Cheree introduced me to Arbonne's stuff about 6-7 months ago.  All of their skin/body care products are vegan, and free from gnarly cancer-causing & hormone altering chemicals (which I have since learned are in ALL the products I was using before... bleh!).  They're made without all that junk because they're formulated in Switzerland, where they have better rules about what you can put in skin care products.  (I'm still grossing out every time I remember the episode of "Dirty Jobs" with Mike Rowe, where they followed the guys who pick up dead cows and take them to be "rendered" and turned into a goop that goes into beauty products.)

Anyways - I started using it, fell in love and talked with Cheree about the business opportunity available through Arbonne.  It's so exciting to have a way of contributing to our family income, still being able to stay home with Ethan, AND getting to use my favorite stuff (my shampoo smells like a smoothie!) that I've hardly been able to sleep at night. 

That's all.  I'll keep you guys posted!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

In which I kick a baby squirrel...

True story.

On my 8 mile run today I accidentally kicked a baby squirrel.  It was one of the saddest moments of my life.  But before I give you the details, let me back up a little bit.

I was dreading waking up "early" this morning (AKA - 7am on a weekend).  We usually wake up by then during the week anyway, but I still have leftover feelings of entitlement when it comes to sleeping in on weekends.  Even though I have a toddler.  Silly Mommy. 

Alarm goes off at 7am, Mommy grumbles and rolls over. 
Daddy says, "Don't skip your run."
Mommy, "I won't."
5 minutes elapse and the second alarm goes off.
Daddy says, "Don't make me say it..."

I'd previously told Daniel to help me get out of bed for runs at all costs.  Even if it means he has to flip on the lights, steal my blanket, and say, "Get up fatty - you have miles to run!"  He has had to do that routine only once so far.  Fortunately I remembered that I'd given him those specific instructions and so it was actually a really funny way to wake up.  Minus being stripped of cozy blankets.

Anyways - back to the real story...

I manage to get out the door after spending some quality time with Ethan (AKA - stalling by letting him drink the milk from my cereal bowl) and head towards Lake Oswego.  I was especially nervous about this drive, as every time I've headed towards Lake Oswego I end up getting horribly lost.  I had been very thorough in checking out the google-map directions, writing directions out turn-by-turn (including how far to drive before the next step), and studied the arial map of the surrounding four blocks to try and guess the best parking location.  I headed out the door with about 30 minutes until the run was supposed to start - not the best move on my part, as the google-directions predicted a 28 minute drive.

I made it within one mile of the park when I hit a road block.  Apparently today was some sort of Lake Run in Lake Oswego and their downtown was shut down to route traffic away from the park.  Oops.  Whoever planned our run this week must not have checked the local race calendars.  I was directed away from the main road and sat in a parking lot for a moment to problem solve.  I couldn't tell whether or not the park the Lake Run started from was the same park I was supposed to be held.  By the time I worked my way back to the main street (they had a detour) it was already 8:15.  I figured that even if I could work my way through the standstill traffic, find a parking spot and run to the field - everyone else would be long gone before I arrived.  So I decided to head back to my part of town and run my 8 miles at the Glendoveer Fitness Trail.

The weather was perfect for a run this morning!  Clear skies, a tiny little breeze and the sun shining down on a nicely shaded fitness trail.  I wasn't the only one out enjoying Glendoveer this morning.  It just so happens that I was passed by the same pair of speed-walking Grandmas not just once, not even just twice, but THREE times.  They were really booking it... or I was going slow.  Probably a combination of both.  In addition to some speed walking Grandmas there were also several families with kiddos in baby joggers, a handful of really serious looking soccer players, and two other women who were putting in at least 8 miles. 

What about the baby squirrel?  Well apparently there was a recent proliferation of baby squirrels at Glendoveer, because they were all over the path in this one spot.  Each time I passed I'd see one or two tiny little grey squirrels darting around in bushes, running into the path to stare me down, and then running back to hide.  On my second lap, one of the little guys was just chilling in the middle of the path.  They're all conditioned to expect you to feed them (thanks a lot well-meaning elderly people with bags of peanuts...) so they will actually run at you when they see you on the path.  I slowed down a bit as I approached and tried to guess which direction the squirrel was going.  Then he sort of spazzed out and darted DIRECTLY into my foot.  He just bounced off of it and ran off into the bush.  I felt bad - who wouldn't feel bad kicking a squirrel? - but also couldn't stifle a little giggle at the whole situation.  I'm sure I would have felt different if I'd killed him.  Hopefully he'll learn not to rush at people on the path.  Now if we can just talk those sweet older people out of hand feeding them!

Squirrel-kicking aside, my run was actually really great this morning.  8 miles is the longest I've run since I've been home from the half-marathon back in March.  I was a little nervous about turning out 8 miles today, especially when it meant doing the same loop four times, but I did it!  I really have no idea what my pace was as I've stopped keeping track and really don't care.  Thanks to Coach Patti from the Training Clinic, my focus has settled onto endurance rather than speed and I'm feeling really happy about that.  I may not be able to do a sub-9 minute mile in 2010, but I'm definitely going to finish 26.2 of my slow-pokey miles all in one shot in October. 

With my first fully completed training week under my belt, I'm headed into next week with the same goal; finish all my miles.  This will mean planning, doing, and not whining.  Maybe a little whining... but just a little.  :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Quick Update :)

I've put in all of my midweek miles this week!  For some reason, completing the entire schedule/plan for a week has eluded me until this week. I'm sure it's partly a busy/Mama-life, and partly a psychological thing.  Well I did it! 

2 miles on Monday
4 on Tuesday
2 on Wednesday
& 4 on Thursday.

Plus, I was able to get a core workout in (Monday) and an upper body workout (Thursday) this week as well. 

Tomorrow I'm scheduled to do 8 miles, and our group is meeting at a trail.  I'm not exactly sure how doing 8 miles for my first trail run is going to go - but it should be pretty entertaining for all of you out there in the blogosphere. 


Monday, May 3, 2010

Back in The Saddle... er... Treadmill?

I was finally able to get back to the gym this week after 6 full days of NO running at all.  For those of you who run, I know you can feel my pain.  Becca Sue not getting to run for a week is pretty similar to trying to talk a smoker into quitting cold turkey.  My poor husband can testify to the mood-lifting power of a good run and - inversely - the cranky-monster effect of NOT getting in a good run.  I receive no end of grace, patience and love from this poor man.  I love you honey!

Why the absence?  My toddler had some tooth restoration done on Friday which required him to receive general anesthesia.  In order for him to "go under" he had to be 100% healthy and cold free.  My little guy has a knack for picking up cold bugs at the gym nursery every four weeks or so, and it'd been over two months since the last time he was sick.  Whether it's science or superstition - I wasn't about to risk exposing him to a cold if it meant pushing his tooth restoration off another three months.  The poor kid inherited my rotten teeth and all of his top teeth had cavities.  I didn't believe it at first and we actually sought a second opinion.  That doctor showed me the cavities himself and I was horrified.  Ethan has been telling us his teeth hurt since Christmas and hasn't been using his front teeth to chew for the same amount of time.  We're completely stumped trying to explain what happened.  He doesn't eat sugary treats or candy, and he's only had juice maybe six times in his whole life.  We brush his teeth religiously each night.  The only explanation the dentist could give us was that some kids just have genetically weak enamel.  That makes sense based on my own dental history... but it doesn't make it any easier to let your kiddo get put under and worked on my strangers with sharp instruments.  I'm glad it's over.   And glad my little guy is feeling better.  He doesn't fight when we try to brush his teeth now, and he seems to be sleeping better.  Hopefully both of those changes will be permanent!

So there's a real life glimpse of what happens when Mom-responsibilities throw a wrench into the usual plan.  I could have asked my husband to watch Ethan in the evenings so I could get those miles in, but by the end of the day last week I just wanted to be home with  my guys.  At least I learned the importance of getting my miles in first thing in the morning so I can get on with my day without feeling "behind."  The Saturday long run was an alarm-clock issue technically.  Technically... but deep down I'm sure there was a part of me that felt defeated from being so "behind" and just wanted to wallow in my warm snuggly bed with my husband and toddler.  Yeah... probably that.

I received some great advice from my friend Janelle back when I was training for my half marathon.  She said that when you miss a run, forget about it.  Don't get caught in trying to "make it up" or beat yourself up for being "behind."  Just move on and get over it.  That advice would have served me well last week - and it'll serve me well this week. 

One two mile run down for the week... four more runs to go!