Saturday, April 24, 2010

Oh no!!!!

I'm becoming the person I always laughed at. You know, the kind of person who shakes if they don't get a daily run in. The one who HAS to go to the gym, no matter how little sleep they got, how much is on their calendar for the day, or that the gym is only open for another twenty minutes. You have to go. You have to get that run or weight lifting session in for the day for you to be a "complete" person. Yeah, I am officially that person. [Sigh] Where did I go wrong???

As you can image, getting the gym while trying to raise two small children is not as easy as one might think. The gym here that *does* offer child care---well, lets just say I'm too cheap. The childcare fee is $3 per hour per child, and the monthly membership fee is around $15. Not bad, but when you previously have lived somewhere where the childcare AND gym were free....well, old habits are hard to break. So to get a good "timed" run in, I wait for Joel to come home, and sprint out the door as soon as his boots hit the tile floor. Some days I strap Nathan into the stroller while Miles is in school, and hit the pavement, running around the various neighborhoods close to the house. But these are not my favorite runs for several reasons: 1) Nathan usually falls asleep, and if he takes a nap, bedtime is a pure nightmare, and 2) pushing a 30-pound child is hard work in itself, so running while pushing is even harder. I usually end up doing a brisk walk as compared to jogging, which kills my time. But I look at this workout as just that---a workout. I logged my cardio for the day, and that's all I can do, right?

Thursday of this week I took the day off. Pushing Nathan the day before just wore me out, and since I had a meeting that night, there would be no time at the end of the day to hit the gym before it closed. On Friday, I think Joel only saw a blur of color when he walked through the door---I was OUT OF THERE! Treadmill, wait! I hear you calling my name! I'm on my way! I felt human again getting out of the house and lacing up my sneakers for a run. I know understand it when people say it's a great way to clear your head. Especailly on the treadmill, you're not headed anywhere, so you don't have to think about which street to turn down that will lead you back to your house or car. So I logged my miles for the day, felt a little more human while sweating off this morning's coffee, and headed home a little less stressed and a lot more winded. But feeling better about my self and my health.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm a little spoiled

On my initial trip into Fleet Feet, my main objective was to buy some clothing that would allow my skin to breathe. I was sick and tired of coming home after a run and wringing out my cotton t-shirt and shorts, my sweat being trapped into those threads and feeling all.....ewwwww.

I left the store with a Brooks tank top and pair of capri running pants, a bit lighter in the wallet, but hopeful that I would feel a little cooler when returning from an afternoon run. That afternoon after the shopping spree I dressed in my new clothes and headed out in the BLAZING heat and off I went for an extended run. I arrived back home dripping with sweat, but still felt good and not like the clothes were sticking to my skin. YEAH!!! Mission accomplished.

Fast forward one month, and the weather has taken a step back, summer retreating for a few more weeks and spring sticking around a little bit longer. The days have been a little cooler, and thus the tank top I have is just not enough to keep me warm on these brisk days (and early mornings) that I run. Joel ran in the Seattle Marathon in later 2008, and the t-shirt he was given in his goody bag was a long sleeve, "breathable" t-shirt. I've hijacked this shirt for a few days since Joel's not wearing it, and LOVE IT! Joel and I were discussing the clothes and how much I love them, and he commented "It makes it so you'll never go back to cotton, right?" I shook my head agreeing with him. We're really spoiled that someone came up with this technology of super cool and breathable clothing. Thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Scientist. I love your invention.

Yes, I'm spolied. I love my clothing, I love my skin, and I love to stay cool. What are you going to do 'bout it?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New PR!!!

I had an awesome run today! Oh my goodness, I am ON TOP OF THE WORLD!!!! YIPPIEEEE!!!!!

My original plan was to strap Nathan into the stroller and take a quick walk/slow run around the neighborhood. Nathan had other plans that specifically did not call for any sort of stroller, but had an emphasis on the swings at the playground. In this tug of war---Nathan won. There are only so many battles a mom can fight in one week. So, off the playground we go, I'll run later....I hope.

Joel made it home close to 6 o'clock, and seeing that I was still dressed in my running top (I had switched out of my nice running capri pants into demin jeans), he assumed I had already gone for my run. When I told him what happened, he enthusiastically encouraged me to get out of the house, and I was happy to comply with that order. "Sir, yes, Sir!"

I don't normally run towards the end of the day since I am a morning person, and for some odd reason I was feeling unusually energetic for this time of day. I swipe my card at the nearest gym, sign up for a treadmill, and off I go! I am feeling good, really good, I mean, I have never felt this great before! I ran for 5 solid minutes at a 5.0 speed before I had to take a break to a swift walking pace. Five minutes! This was crazy, just crazy! But like my manta, I kept chugging along, "I think I can, I think I can...I think I make this a personal best....I think I can, I think I can..."

Stride after stride, step after step, that's all running is, and while it seems so hard, after awhile it can also seem so easy. I kept going on the treadmill, and when I looked down at my ipod to see how my pace was doing.... HOLY COW! I ran that mile in 9:51??? Oh man, I'm feeling pretty good! But I think I need to slow down just a bit before I find that wall and run straight into it.

The pace slows down, and I think that in order to record that new personal best time I want to end this run on a high now. At 1.25 miles I call it quits. I would rather cut it short and walk away from this run on a high, knowing that my speed has picked up, rather than keep running, and kill my time. It might be a mental thing, but for the moment, I am on top of the world knowing that I can run with a pace of 10:28. Now if I can only figure out how to keep this up for two more miles......

Saturday, April 17, 2010


In the Army life, there are a wide variety of acronyms that are used in daily life. Once at an event, we played a game where you had to use as many acronyms (in sentences) as you could---the person who used the most won a prize. I won with the following, "On Tuesday nights, I drive my POV to the CDC, and then head to the FRC where I have an FRG meeting, serving as a POC for this group. We get free childcare, so I don't have to use my GWOT hours. Then on Wednesday mornings we drive to MPC where I attend PWOC."

And in my new world, the running world, there are just as many acronyms to learn. For example, there is PR (personal record), HRM (heart rate monitor), RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevate), and LSD (long slow distance). But today's workout I added in a little XT---cross training.

A lot of what I have been reading for running and exercise in general talks about how cross training is beneficial to the athlete. Lift weights and doing other types of cardio, other than running, keeps one from getting too burned out too quickly. It makes sense to shake things up, give life a little variety and keep from getting bored---which can certainly happen if you run on the "never going to take me anywhere" treadmill.

So this morning I headed to the gym to see how I could shake things up. I started by doing some leg weights, which included hip adduction and abduction, leg extension, leg curl, and calf raises. Those five exercises took about 20-25 minutes, so I decided to jump on the elliptical machine for a warm up to the run. I worked on that for about 1 minute (remember, this was my warm up period), and then switched to the treadmill for my run.

I started off, I was feeling good...not great....but I've been at the gym for about 35 minutes at this point. I think, "Hmmm, is this the day I finally finish another 5k?"


What?? What was that??

"Oh, hello, Wall of Exhaustion. I was wondering when you going to show up today."

Looking at my ipod, I've only logged 0.67 miles of this run. Ok, no long run today. My legs, especially after those calf raises, just can't take too much more. So I ran until I hit 1 mile, and then crawled back to my car. No matter how hard I work, I'm just not to the point where I can run more than 2 miles. I'll get there....someday....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Whether depends on weather

Lately it seems that running and whether I run or not depends on the weather (and,of course, my schedule for the day). This area is known for mixed weather in April---you'll need a coat and gloves on Easter weekend, but three days later shorts and flipflops, only to pull the parka out again the next week. It's one time of the year that BOTH sets of clothes are in the closets and dressers. However, this year it seems that Spring teased us by coming for one week, and the next week Summer invited itself to the South a few months early. April has seen highs in the low to mid-80 degree range, and there were a few days in the 60s.

So off to the gym I headed last Saturday, around noon time. UGH! It was just as bad as running outside. I don't think the government has turned the heat off and the air on just yet. So even at the gym, the runs are a little bit shorter and slower than what I would like them to be. I now understand why runner are early risers and hitting the pavement while the rest of the world sleeps....the temperatures are a bit lower and more perfect for a quiet run, to clear you head without over heating your body.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Just do it

Of course, that is the slogan of Nike, whose shoes I wear every time I go out and hit the pavement (or the treadmill, depending on the weather). But sometimes it can also be your life motto, as it was mine today.

Today, I registered for my first 5k run. Now that I have officially spent money on the registration, I have something to train towards. The official name is the "Race Across the Spectrum:5k for Autism" and it happens to be in my hometown of Brentwood. Yippie! Close by with free room and board (as compared to staying in a hotel), and it benefits a cause that I am passionate about. Mom has already agreed to watch the two wild ones for that morning while I sweat it out in the park.

So, I've got the date and time. Now all I need are the days and time to train for this event. Here's hoping a wonderful and supportive husband can help me out.....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Road Runner

Beep Beep!

Most of my running has been on the road, or the walking trail and sidewalks in the neighborhoods around here. Several neighborhoods are harder than others for the fact that their sidewalks are old and not in good shape. When crossing the street, there seems to be no slope for the stroller to go down, so my running pace is slowed while I tilt the stroller up and over the bump in the road.

But lately I have been going to the gym (when Joel is off from work) and running on the treadmill. It is not as scenic, and watching the Pentagon Channel and CNN are not my choices to watch while running. But I have my ipod and run to the beat of the songs. The first time I went was because I wanted to see if I could pass the Army Physical Fitness Test run. For my age, I would need to complete a 2 mile run in 20:30. At first I thought, "Piece of cake! I mean, come on! Surely I can run this in 20 minutes!". Well, good news for the Army....I still can't do it! My time that day for the 2 mile was 22:50. Ugh! More than 2 minutes to cut off that time. In October when I turn 32, the time to beat will be 21:42. Hmmm, that is a little more doable, but I still want to run it in the 20:30 time. So, more training.

The good news is that the training (such as it is) works! When I started on March 10th, my pace was clocked at 14:55. Respectable, but I knew I could do better! 4 miles in 1 hour....that is pretty darn slow in my personal book. Some days are slower than others because I am having to push Nathan in a stroller. And on days when I am at the gym on the treadmill, I admit it is harder to slow down because you have to make the effort to program the machine to adjust to the pace.

I won't bore you with the details of 15 runs I've made over the past month or so, but I have noticed that my pace has slowly declined. For example---

Day 1-March 10-14:55 for 1.9 miles

Day 6-March 20-13:11 for 3.21 miles (5k!)

Day 9-March 27-12:44 for 3 miles

Day 11-March 30-11:20 for 2.01 miles (on the treadmill-trying to do the Army 2 miler PT test)

Day 12-April 1-13:53 for 2.23 miles (just to show you I can have an "off" day).

Day 15-April 6-11:06 for 1.8 miles

So, since starting I have dropped 3:49 off the pace of my mile! YIPPIE!! I am not a distance runner just yet. I can run fast, not long, but I know over time this will progress as well. And this is not a constant run either, but rather running and walking combined. So far I think like running on the treadmill for training purposes because of the speed it gives me, but outside because of the beautiful weather that we are having around here. Hmmm, decisions, decisions......

Monday, April 5, 2010

My new favorite store

I would love to give a big SHOUT OUT to my new favorite store---Fleet Feet of Nashville. I think I could go in there and spend oodles and oodles of money. It is my new favorite store! Of course, it helps that it is a drive away from me...if it were any closer, I think I would be broke.

The reason for my first visit started last month when the weather started heating up. It seems like overnight it went from a nice 60-degree something kind of afternoon to a HOT 70-something afternoon that was accompanied by our good friend, Mr. Humidity. When I returned home from a brisk walk/run, I sat down and tried to stop sweating for the first 10 minutes we were in the house. My cotton "Sorbonne, Paris" t-shirt cling to my skin the way Nathan used to cling to my leg when I would leave him. Peeling the shirt off just made me want to get sick. UGH! Gross! YUCK! There has to be something better than this!

Fleet Feet is located in Brentwood, not even 5 minutes from where my parents live. I grew up in Brentwood, though because of college and getting married, things have changed over the past 13 years. But this store is located in the same shopping center where my goes grocery shopping, and across from the church we have been members of for the past 30+ years. So how did I not know about it?? My friend Heidi, who now lives in Louisiana, told me about it when I mentioned I started running. She and her husband knew about it when they previously lived in this area.

Joel had visited the store earlier in the day, and he had a great experience getting his new running shoes. The sales clerk measured his foot while standing, and again when sitting, to see if there was any difference in size (it all has to do with your arches and whether or not they collapse when you sit vs. stand). He liked it, and so I was optomistic about my experience.

When I first walked it, I fell in love with the store and the sport of running! There were so many people in there, but also a lot of workers to help everyone! So much energy, it was AWESOME! I told the person who greeted me what I was looking for, and he showed me to the women's side of the store. I browsed, but could not exactly pick out what I needed. After a few minutes, Christi Beth found me, looking a little lost, which I was. I told her that when running, I needed a pocket to carry *at least* my cell phone and ipod in. But I also wanted something that would allow my skin to breathe, and I would not feel like I would be peeling it off my body when I returned from the run. Yeah, you should have seen her face when I told her it was a plain cotten t-shirt I was running in. Christi Beth picked out two tops that have pockets in the back, and that have a fabric that take sweat away from your body when working out. God bless the scientist that came up with this invention.

After trying on several pairs of pants, and two tops (in various sizes), I settled on a Brooks Running top and pair of capris. I paid for my purchases, and left A VERY HAPPY customer. I love Fleet Feet, and can't wait to return....after logging a few more (hundred) miles!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day One

April 1st. The day is here....finally!!! Ever since I found the notification about the "Walk to Afghanistan" several weeks ago, I have been anxious to get started!! I hated that we could not start THAT DAY, but I chalk that up to being raised in an inpatient society, where we need instant gratification. I hate waiting. (Welcome to the Army....hurry up and wait.)

But today is the offical start date. 1445 miles to log over the course of this next year. I am hoping that my running speeds can increase, maybe lose some weight, and have another activity to do with my husband, Mr. College Cross Country Runner/Marathone Runner/Army Makes You Run Until You Break-Runner.

Here's hoping for actually completing this walk.