running

I’m a runner?

Posted by on Nov 24, 2009 in running | 0 comments

I ran this weekend for the first time since Halloween, wanting to see if the sprained ligament in my ankle was going to hold up. As I trotted down the street, I realized that I never wrote about my second big race, and considering it was what motivated me to start running in the first place, I thought that it was worth mentioning.

It was on Halloween, and everyone was encouraged to dress up. I was surprised how many people took it seriously, dressed up as Superman, Rainbow Brite, Hagar the Horrible (complete with ax), an iPod…just to name a few. With the drizzly, foggy weather and the crazy costumes, it almost seemed surreal.

I am really glad that I snuck in a race before this one, because at least I knew a little more what to expect. I was still a little nervous, my fingers shaking as I pinned on my number and figured out how to attach the chip to my shoelaces.

Then, we were off, and even though I felt like I was running my normal pace, when we passed the one mile marker, the volunteer called out…8:54!

My head snapped around to see if he was joking, but it was the real deal. I had never run a mile in less than 10 minutes…ever…so I was pretty surprised. When I got to the two mile marker in 18:54, I knew I was in trouble. But I told myself that even if I ran the last stretch in 12 minutes, I would still beat my time from the last race.

I plodded on. I kept hearing my friend Amanda’s voice in my head, saying that it’s okay to walk, but I knew that if I stopped, I had serious doubts about my ability to start again.

Finally…the finish line. I made it across in 29:40, which was shocking…I beat my time by a minute and a half! I was tired, wet, and cold, so I grabbed my snack and headed home to take a nice hot shower.

Mission accomplished.

I feel like I have come such a long way from when I struggled with running three minute intervals. It’s actually an enjoyable break now, instead of a painful, icky experience. Plus, no one has asked me if I need a ride lately, so I must look a little more legit…

I’m a runner, I tell myself incredulously, as I headed up the driveway, done with my short run. My ankle made it, and I got through half a Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me episode…success.

Next year’s races…here I come…

— Post From My iPhone

The Race “Buzz”

Posted by on Oct 13, 2009 in running | 2 comments

Up to this point, running has been a solitary adventure for me. I have squeezed in my runs in the morning, after bedtime, at Cornerstone’s indoor track late at night…but never managed to run with anyone else. Mostly a logistical issue, partly a self-confidence worry of holding someone back.

So when I walked into Cornerstone’s athletic center last Saturday to check in for my very first race, I was a little taken aback by how noisy it was. The whole cross country team was there stretching and joking around, along with little groups of runners huddled everywhere, pinning on their numbers and layering on warm clothes.

I started to wish that I had dragged someone with me, but then I saw a few people that I knew which distracted me from the butterflies that were starting to beat a staccato rhythm in my stomach. It was kind of cool to hear all the different reasons why people were there. One professor had ran every year for the last 15 years, except for last year when he went to the Michigan – Notre Dame game, and wished he hadn’t…one of my former students was walking the race to get extra credit for her Jogging class…our babysitter was there, planning on “yogging” just for the fun of it…a girl that I went to college with was running her second 5K ever…everyone had their unique stories.

Then, we headed out to the starting line, eighty people strong, all with the same destination. The gun went off, and I watched all the speedy runners disappear into the distance as I settled into my pace. I kind of wished that there was someone else right around me…I passed a few people, but that’s it. It may have helped me to push a little harder right around mile two when I misread the clock in the middle of campus, thinking that it had been a half an hour already…whoops…

I finally rounded the last corner and headed towards the finish line. In the distance, I see a person standing there with a red coat. Odd…I think…it looks like Amanda’s red coat (a good friend of mine that we had dinner with the night before). As I got closer, I realized that it actually was Amanda, standing there with her daughter, Rori! She cheered wildly as I crossed the finish line, and took my picture as I stood there all sweaty. Come to find out that she skipped the 5K that she was plannng on running to come and cheer me on…how cool is that?

Such a great energy…and as I leaned over to catch my breath, I started to understand this whole running thing. See, I really just decided to train to run a 5K because it was something tangible to work towards…a goal to accomplish. I underestimated the excitement and frankly, the “buzz” that would go along with it. It was a great experience…and I am ready for the next one!

Reflections on a Run

Posted by on Sep 30, 2009 in running | 0 comments

Sunday afternoon…church over, groceries bought, baby fed, Lions winning…time for a run.

Lacing up my sneaks and shoving in my earphones (that are too big for my ears), I dash out the door. Time is a precious commodity around here, as is daylight, so it is now or never. My handy dandy Couch to 5K iPhone application tells me that I am supposed to run 25 minutes without stopping. Hmm…the longest run so far. I muster up a serious game face and start down the street..

As I get into a rhythm…four steps as I breathe in…four steps as I breathe out…my mind wanders back to the last time I ran on a regular basis. It was a little over 10 years ago, when I was playing soccer in college. While I was home for the summer, I would run around the neighborhood to get in shape for the fall season.

At the time, I was working two jobs – Aeropostale during the day and Abbott’s, the local frozen custard shop, at night. I went to the YMCA early in the morning to lift weights, and I would run in the afternoon in between jobs. I distinctly remember throwing on some soccer shorts and a t-shirt, firing up my portable CD player, and alternating between jogging and sprinting as I weaved my way through the neighborhood surrounding my parent’s house.

I flash back to the present, which is probably a good thing, because I need to focus on getting myself to the top of the long sloping hill leading up to my turnaround point. It doesn’t seem like much of an incline when I’m tooling along in my Odyssey, but to these legs, it feels like Mount Everest.

Things have definitely changed in the past ten years…

While I feel like I’m running to beat the band, I have a sneaking suspicion that to the casual observer, it may actually look like I’m trucking along at a fast walk. Sprinting has been relegated to miniscule bursts when I’m playing soccer in my women’s over-30 league and the last 100 feet before home. I still listen to music, but it thankfully isn’t reliant on whether or not the anti-skip mechanism works in my CD player.

But then, as I head back down the hill and start to cramp up, some of the similarities pop into my mind. I may possibly be wearing the same t-shirt. I listened to DC Talk back in college, and today I am listening to TobyMac – go figure. And no matter how good of shape you are in, there is always that point where your body starts begging you to stop.

It is at that point where you have to remember to focus on a point out in the distance, and not on the step right in front of you. It is the only way I make it back to our street…by making it to the next driveway…making it to the crosswalk…making it to our street sign. Every time I look down at my feet, I feel myself slowing down and losing my inner gusto. Instead, I look up and out and the minutes fly by.

I walk up the driveway to the house, waving to Parker who is peeking out the front door. Back to work…maybe not to dish out ice cream or sell clothes, but to serve dinner and fold clothes. Maybe not so different after all, huh? But when it feels like I have changed 20 poopy diapers in two hours or when my patience for whining has wore thin? I’ll have to remember that focus trick…to look out into the distance at the joys of being a parent instead of focusing on the day to day tasks that can drag me down.

Exercise…and philosophizing about life…how’s that for multitasking?

My Measurements…from 2004…

Posted by on Aug 29, 2009 in running | 2 comments

I ran across a slip of paper in the drawer of my vanity table the other day. Scribbled on it was my measurements from a bridesmaid dress alteration in 2004. At the time, I was pre-kid and post-Weight Watchers, and skinnier than I had ever been in my entire adult life…and pretty proud of it.


Yep, I am a proud Lifetime member at Weight Watchers. When I started to attend, I was a little skeptical about the whole thing, especially because I had never really gone on any sort of diet before. But, I had gained some “newlywed pounds”, and I knew that I had to do something before I started having kids. So…I lost 30 pounds, and after Madi and Parker were born, I got back down to my goal weight during the three months grace period they give you after having a baby so you can keep your Lifetime membership.


For some reason, keeping the Lifetime status was kind of a big deal for me. Maybe because I worked so hard to get it in the first place…maybe because I felt like if I stopped doing my monthly weigh-in, I would lose control over my weight again…I don’t know for sure.


What I do know is that Fiona turned three months old last week, and I am about 20 pounds away from my goal weight, so my five year streak of Lifetime membership is officially over. I guess that is what happens when you gain 50 pounds with each kid, starting at a higher starting weight each time.


I thought about starting to attend WW meetings again, but instead I have officially jumped on the running bandwagon. I am absolutely not a runner, but I am definitely a goal-oriented person, so training for a race seemed like a good fit. It sort of reminds of me when I took piano lessons in high school – I always focused more when I was gearing up for a competition.

So…I ordered up my “Couch Potato to 5K” iPhone application and hit the pavement. (Yep, they have an app for that too…) So far, it has gone okay, even though I can’t imagine myself running for 30 minutes straight at this point. We’ll see if I can hack it out until the race I am planning on running the end of October.

But you know, I have no visions of returning to my pre-pre-pre kid weight. Maybe that means I need to throw away my measurements from 2004 and stop obsessing about reaching my goal weight again. Honestly, I just want to get in some sort of shape that doesn’t resemble a blob, so I won’t be winded when I run around the yard with the kids. I want to be able to accept myself and my body as a Mom with toddlers that doesn’t have a whole lot of extra time, and be okay with what I can do.

Just one request…if you come across me running around my neighborhood? Refrain yourself from asking me if I need a ride…I’m really not going to pass out…I just look like it…

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