Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Run to Feed the Hungry 2011

Happy holidays all! I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving last week - mine was great!

I signed up for my local Thanksgiving race - The Run to Feed the Hungry. Last year, the 5k at this annual race was my very first race ever, the first time I had run that far, and the first time I felt like a runner. This year, my friend Brandi once again agreed to run with me, but we opted for the 10k. Just like last year, I headed into the race not knowing for sure if we would be able to run the whole thing without walking - the furthest I have run since my half-marathon is 4 miles, although I have been doing that regularly. Brandi, whose husband is in the Air Force and is often gone for weeks at a time, has been running sporadically at best, and so going in we were both a bit uncertain as to how it would go.

To make things a bit more fun, I decided to make us a couple of Thanksgiving tutus for the run, marking my first race in a tutu. I see them all over on people's blogs, and they are always smiling, so I thought "Hey, why not?!" I spent Wednesday morning putting them together (during a "Gone With the Wind" marathon - "Miss Scarlett, I don't know nothin' bout birthin' no babies!") and was really pleased with how they came out.

For the first time in the 18 year history of this race, the morning was grey and rainy. Not just a little sprinkling, but rainy. We were wet before the race even started. But we stuck it out in our fabulous tutus and waited for the gun to go off. (I can't tell you how many whisperings I heard as we made our way through the crowd about how cute our skirts were, and people were constantly passing us as we ran and complimenting them. Totally boosts your self esteem despite the fact that you are sweaty and red!) 

The first mile or two I was cold and the water was running down my face, but soon I was warmed up and the rain felt like a blessing. We don't talk much when we run together, so we were both plugged into our music and just keeping pace together, checking in with a "How are you doing" and a nod every once in a while. I had loaded my iPhone with a mix that included the occasional Christmas song, (ones that were a great tempo for my running) and I was really pleased with the result when I hit shuffle. (*side note - when you run with music, do you ever wish everyone around you could hear it too, because you are sure that you would all break into song and dance like that parade scene from Ferris Bueller? No? Oh, me neither....)

I told Brandi about a half mile in that we would make it to mile 2 without walking, and then see how we were doing. When we got to 3 without trouble, I told her we were shooting for 4. (It was a big reverse for me to be the one in better running condition - I can't believe that I have become someone who encourages others in these situations!) At that point, she said she had never run that far before, and that was pulling her through. I said we'd get to 5 and check in again. By the time we hit the 5 mile marker, she said "We've got this!" I have to give her props - her body was killing her from about mile 2 on, and still she pushed on. We kept on running, and when we were pretty close to the finish, we kicked it up about 5 notches and just all-out ran for the finish line. When we came to a top on the other side, I thought I might puke, but I held it together. 

Overall, it was a great run, and I was thrilled with how we did. I love those days where you are able to show yourself that you are stronger than you think you are. And I found a new love of running in tutus - I am envisioning an array of colors for different runs. Fun! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fun Run, Pie, and New Shoes

My local Fleet Feet Sports has Tuesday fun runs every week, usually sponsored by some athletic gear company. This week, I was brave and signed up to join in the "fun." They start at 6 at night, and follow a 3 mile loop (which you can extend if you want.) I had to force myself to go tonight - I was really nervous about my speed and ability, about the fact that I was alone, and just about the unknown in general. But I went, and got there a few minutes late but just before they left.

Due to the fact that I was late, I missed the part where they tell you what the route is. This resulted in my having to keep someone in my sights at all times so that I could actually make it back to the store. It was hard, as the group I got caught following was running faster than my normal pace, but I pushed myself and managed to keep up and made it back to the store (fear of getting lost alone in the dark in the city is a great motivator!) Upon arrival back at the store, there were snacks and water and cider and, oh yeah, pumpkin pie. Mmmmhmmm. It was delicious!

There was also a raffle for some products - Mizuno was the sponsor tonight. They were raffling off hats, gloves, shirts, and shoes. Guess who won a pair of Mizuno running shoes? That's right - this girl! I got fitted at the store, they gave me options, watched me run, etc, and I walked away wearing a brand new pair of Mizuno Enigmas - $130 shoes for FREE! And let me tell you, I needed them! I have been wearing my previous pair for far too long - in fact, when I went to Fleet Feet last week and tried some on, one of the staff members put my old shoes in the toss pile by accident. Yup, they are that bad. But we don't have the money for new shoes, so I have been putting up with it (bad bad bad, I know.)

So my reward for making myself go to the run tonight despite my fears was a pair of much needed shoes. What a great night! I know what I am thankful for today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Am

I Am

I am strong
I am curvy
I am persistent
I am diligent
I am capable
I am pretty
I am smart
I am funny
 I am kind
I am a good friend
I am sweet
I am genuine
I am interesting
I am valuable
I am talented
I am caring
I am worthwhile
I am determined
I am important

Enough focusing on what I am not. 

What are you???

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happy Mail Day

I've been having a rough couple of days. Hubby's job is causing some issues for him, which in turn causes issues for me. Moods around here haven't been the greatest, and I am a worrier by nature so my thought patterns have been heavy. But each day I am afforded at least one ray of light to break up the grey. Yesterday the rays involved my kids. But the day before that, the biggest beam of light came in the mail. 

Remember when I won the Brita giveaway over at MizFit last week? Here it is! I was so excited to open the package. I asked my lovely assistant to help model the new merchandise. Note that she has inherited her father's goofiness. I had my camera on continuous shot and just told her to show off the box...


So here's the loot - a pretty purple filter pitcher, a filtered water bottle, and an extra filter. Yay!  

We live in the city. When we first moved here in March, I couldn't stand the water. It definitely has a taste. I've accustomed myself to it over time, so I was really interested in seeing what kind of a difference the filter would make. 

 Tap water


Filtered water... 


Honestly, there was really a difference in the taste with the filtered water. It was clean and smooth, and I was immediately struck by how far I had fallen from good pure water since getting used to the city version. 

So I now have a water bottle that I keep filled to take with me whenever I leave the house (which I also look forward to filling from a random water fountain to test its filtering skills) and a filtered pitcher which stays in the fridge for cold, clear, clean water all day long. If you live where the water is anything less than stellar, and especially if it is causing you to drink less water than you should, I highly recommend the Brita line. (And this is my own review and recommendation - Brita doesn't even know who I am, nor, I'm sure, do they care!)

In other business, I ran 4 miles this morning. It is COLD out there, and I need to step up my search for some winter bottoms for running. Now that I've used compression shorts, I can't go back to plain workout capris. But the compression capris and pants are so expensive! I'm on the hunt for a good deal. 

So, 3.5 miles Monday morning, 3 miles Monday night, and 4 miles this morning - things are adding up this week.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Endorphins please

I do not endorse strangling your children...but do know the feeling

I am crawling out of my skin. My day started going downhill around noon, and has only gathered velocity since then. I'm not going to go into details, but suffice to say today is one of those days where you can see why some people hide in the closet from their families, rocking back and forth and downing their secret stash of chocolate bars. At the very least it is making me consider having a secret stash of chocolate bars. And a closet big enough to hide in.

Instead, I am going to drive 20 minutes to my sister-in-law's and go for a run with her. A second run in one day is new for me. Night running - also new. Hopefully the activity, and the company, will calm my rolling blood and allow me to come home and sleep peacefully. And hopefully tomorrow morning things will be better.

Back on the road

I finally got out for a run this morning after over a week of not running. And it felt good. It wasn't the easiest run I've done, but it felt great just to know that I was doing it. At one point my mind flashed back to the alternate possibility, in which I would have been warm and cozy on my couch watching tv with my son, and rather than longing for that, I felt the way that I would have been down on myself for not getting my butt moving. In that instant, through the heavy breathing and sweating, I could actually feel that I made the right choice. I am still a little phlegmy from my cold, and running in my skirt is officially no longer a happy thing (my legs were bright pink and freezing by the time I got home) but overall it just felt good. 3.5 miles done this morning.

I went grocery shopping on Saturday (payday) and spent quite a chunk of change as we hadn't been able to grocery shop with the last paycheck, leaving our cupboards very bare by this weekend. I am now stocked with lots of fruits and vegetables, brown rice, steel cut oatmeal, and other things to help me have a successful couple of weeks. I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Listening to the tiny voice

In the past 2 1/2 weeks, I have only ran twice. And I've been stressing over it, big time. I've been sick since Sunday, the kind of sick where I would make it about a half mile if I was lucky before collapsing on the ground in a heap. On the levee by the river, I'm not sure anyone would check on me either. They might just figure I was homeless and leave me there. So I haven't been able to run the last several days, but the time before that I just wasn't running. Something about the combo of the pitch dark and cold didn't lure me out of the house (or my bed) for a while. I've been feeling major guilt and stress about it as I swear I am watching my thighs grow and my endurance decrease daily.

Last night as I was mentally freaking out over it, the tiniest voice in my head was trying to be heard over the shouts of disapproval and dissention. I had to forcibly quiet my mind in order to hear it. And what was it saying? "This isn't permanent. It isn't the end of everything you've worked toward. You can build it back up." Simple, I know, but amid the normal onslaught of "You're not good enough" "You are too chunky to run" "Only a worthless person would just not work out for two weeks" (all of which is thought by me, directed at me) it was a startling statement. It took me a bit by surprise. So I took a couple of calming breaths, and focused on those statements. Which are all true. As soon as I am able, I will head back out to run, and if my endurance has gone way down, I will start small and build it back up. I did it before, I can do it again. Two and a half weeks can't erase everything I've done - I won't be starting from scratch.

As I was reading blogs this morning, I was greeted with a couple of running challenges (thanks to (Just) Trying is for Little Girls for informing me of them.) So I signed up to add motivation. One is the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge over at Run To The Finish, where you get points for how active you are and the healthy choices you make, and points win you cool prizes. The other is the Healthy Thankful Blogger 5k over at A Journey to Thin. It also has a cool giveaway. I am not above being bribed to run. Go check them both out and sign up to add some more fuel to your fire of motivation.

Do you ever get caught up in feeling like your "off" days are the end of everything you've worked for? How do you bust out of that mentality?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Being sick, winning, and some pictures

I thought it wouldn't get me. I thought I was taking all the precautions necessary to beat it. But the odds were against me from the start. The miracle is that it didn't take me sooner. I've got it. The head cold that has been going around out there, and in here among my four children. I thought by hand washing and avoiding direct contact with their germy hands and faces that I could skip this go-round, but no such luck. It started as a runny nose and watery eyes and has progressed to thick mucus and a little congestion. Here's hoping I don't develop the dry cough that won't stop. Ugh. I'm downing water and taking my Zinc and just hoping it is over soon - I am on day 3 already.

In a happier vein, I am a winner! MizFit did a water drinking Brita challenge, and at the end had a super cool Brita prize pack to give away, and I won! I am really excited to get my pitcher and water bottle to help me get in my necessary water for the day. Good health really starts with hydration, something I am hard pressed to remember some days. So thanks, Miz!

Last night was Halloween, and I spent my day yesterday blowing my nose and finishing costumes, so I will leave you with some pictures of my little monsters.

 My punk rocker
 Athena the Greek goddess
 My little witch
 And the bat
Rock on! We need to work on his hard core attitude ;)