Thursday, April 20, 2006

Going on Holiday

I'm heading to Memphis this weekend to attend the wedding of one of Peter's friends. Reasons why I'm excited:

1) Graceland - Woo-hoo!
2) Memphis BBQ
3) I can actually enjoy just being a guest at a wedding and won't have to worry about pictures, speeches, weird hair-do's, watching my consumption of alcohol, etc (i.e. I'm not IN the wedding for once).

On the exercising front, I've decided to really start thinking two steps ahead (thanks to Habeela for sharing the great advice). I don't want to do this tri half a##. If I'm going to do it, I want to DO it! I've even started toying with the idea of running a half marathon next year. If you know me, you know this is a big deal. Ever since I began running almost three years ago I have been asked several times if I ever want to do a marathon. HA! I laughed. Nah, I'll just stick to my 3.1 miles, thank you very much. But I haven't really stuck to even those miles very well over the past three years. I am ashamed to say I have been an on again, off again runner. Shameful, I know. All of this is changing though. I knew I needed a shake-up in my routine, so I signed up for a triathlon. I wanted a little more of a challenge on the running front so I signed up and completed a 10k earlier this month (and ran the whole thing- yeah! - I'm still proud of it as you can see). For both of these events I was not and have not been alone. Beth is training for the tri with me and I had my sister and brother-in-law running the 10k. Having a partner to train with is motivating (and fun!!!) but I know that I won't always be so fortunate. I need to be prepared to train on my own (however, Peter, I still think you should start running with me - wink wink). I need to really incorporate running and training into my life. I need to think two steps ahead. It's not just about getting through the run, the swim, etc. It's about conquering a new challenge, being healthy, feeling good and knowing what I can do and what I will do next. So today, instead of going to lunch with co-workers, I strapped on my sneakers, pressed play, and ran 3.75 miles. I came back to work with a clear mind, sunned shoulders, happy legs (you know, the feeling that they've been worked and they are thanking you for it), and looking forward to the next run.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Where was I?

I have been pretty negligent on the blogging. Unfortunately I tend to have a one-track mind so I focus all my energies into one thing at a time. This week, when I realized that there are only 20 weeks left till the triathlon, I began to freak out about the biking aspect. I completely ignored it while I was focusing on the swimming bit (see what I mean about a one-track mind?) thinking that it would be no big deal. But then I started reading Holly's blog about a flat tire she got when she was riding home. A flat tire? Eek! I have no idea how I would fix a flat on a bike (I was going to say something about fixing a flat on cars but don't want to jinx myself). Then I started to think about my bike and it's current shape. Let's put it this way: I bought it two springs ago for $25 off of Craigslist. The bike was in OK condition, but it definitely needed an $80 tune-up to get it in great condition. I rode it to the pool yesterday and on my way back I stopped by the bike shop just to take a little 'peak'. Ok, my bike is a mammoth compared to those road bikes. The wheels are so clunky, the frame is heavy and it isn't the right size for me. So...I'm gonna buy a bike! Ahhh! That's how I feel. It'll be my biggest purchase in quite a while, but I'm super excited. My only hesitation is that I won't ride it enough after the triathlon to warrant buying it. But, I have to be positive and think that I'll have such a great time at the tri in August that I'll sign up for another one. Afterall, I am having a ton of fun training for it alone.

In swimming news, Beth and I decided last night to just swim and see how long we could swim for. I got into a somewhat trance as I pulled myself through the water, concentrating on my breathing (then remembering to kick!) that I didn't look at the clock until I finished 20 minutes later! I really could have gone longer too, I was just getting a little tired of the bubbles popping in my ear (Anyone ever use earplugs? How do they work?). I am so impressed at how far Beth and I have come. To think that two and a half months ago we got winded just swimming 20 meters!

I've run a few times since the10kk (I average about 2-3 runs a week). I can tell my running has improved just by the enjoyment factor. I've only gone once this week. I meant to run yesterday but, alas, I left my running shoes at home. I plan on getting up early for a run tomorrow morning before my dreaded telephone interviewing assignment for class.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I did it! Monument Avenue 10k

I couldn't sleep Friday night. I just wasn't tired. Was it because of the excitement of the 10k coming up? Perhaps. Even though I have been running for two years now, I had never run more than 5 miles at one time before. I think I managed to get a few hours of sleep in before the early 5:45 alarm sounded. My sister and I had a breakfast of oatmeal and I had a cup of hot tea. We talked about our goal for the morning race and both agreed that we would be happy finishing within an hour and fifteen minutes. Neither of us had trained as well as we should have. I had been doing long runs over the weekends, but never did above four miles. I accepted the fact that I would have to walk a half-mile at least. As long as I still made it under an hour and fifteen minutes...

David, my brother-in-law came to the house at 6:30 am and we left shortly after that. With a forecast of 70 degrees and high humidity, we all drank a lot of water on that hour drive to the event. We made it to the event, parked, found the restrooms, and made our way to the start line. The race, consisting of some 16,000 people, was well organized. My sister and I predicted that we could finish the race in 1 hour when we signed up for the event (yeah right! We laughed six weeks later) so we were in the H group wave start. David had a slower predicted time but he went ahead and started with us anyways. We were all anxious to just start running. When the H Group was let through, we were off!

The first mile was just spent getting around the slower people, some who were already walking and setting a pace for myself. There were tons of people on the sides cheering us on and local groups shouting at us that we could do it. There were even bands dispersed throughout the course to provide music and motivation. It was really fun. We lost David around mile 2, when we made an attempt to get through a particularly slow pack. I got water at the mile 2 mark. I felt pretty good at this point. The weather was starting to heat up but there was a nice breeze blowing towards us. I was forcing myself to go a little slower than normal so that I that I wouldn't burn out. There was a girl in a green shirt ahead of me that I used as a pace setter since she was going about my pace. At mile 2.5 (or what I thought was 2.5) I realized that I was over a third way done with the course and feeling pretty great. I entertained the thought that I might be able to run this whole thing, but rather than dwell on this I concentrated on my pace and just kept running.

At mile 3 the course just looped around the street so we were running in the opposite direction on Monument avenue. Another water stop, a lot of high fives between my sister and I. At 3.1 miles, still feeling pretty good, I was convinced I would be able to run the whole thing afterall. The problem with the last half of the course, however, was that we were running towards the sun. It was hot. Luckily, I had dressed appropriately for the event with a tank top and shorts and I even remembered my sunglasses (oh how much comfortable it is to run without having to squint the whole time!). However, I definitely started feeling myself slow down because of the heat. We passed a man being helped by paramedics around 3.7 reminded me to pay attention to my body and not push myself too hard. I passed mile 4, drank some water and Powerade, and mile 5 seemed to be near in the distance. I thought before I started the race that this is the point where I would need to walk. But I felt fine; hot, but doing ok so I kept running. There were more people cheering us on at this part of the course. A few saints were out with water hoses and I made it a point to be under them. I felt newly revived after being sprayed with cold water. I quickened my pace, just a little bit.

At mile 5 I was glad I only had another mile to run. I was starting to get tired, the heat was starting to get to me, but I had run that far so I didn't want to stop then. I let the crowds motivate me to make it to the end. My sister ran ahead of me and was lost in a sea of bouncing heads. "Are we there yet?" I thought. Ah, the yellow sign indicating mile 6 gleamed shortly in the distance. I passed it. Oh no! I still have another .2 miles!!! All along I knew it was 6.2 miles, but I had been telling people it was 6 miles just for simplicity sake. I think I fooled myself after a while that it was only 6 miles. My mistake! I kept running. At 6.1 miles, the finish line was just ahead of me. I started sprinting, surprised I still had the energy still left in me. I crossed the 1 hour 5 minutes and 19 seconds!!! I had well achieved my goal! I found my sister, who finished a minute ahead of me and gave her a big hug. We were proud of each other and ourselves for completing the event in under our goal time and for running the whole way. I still can't believe it. David came in well under his goal time too. We were a happy group.

Overall, I was impressed with the event, impressed with Kathy and David, and impressed with myself for my performance. I now know I can run 6.2 (don't forget the .2!) miles. It's a really good feeling.