Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I love winter!

Last night I suited up with my mitten/gloves (so that I can get fresh air on the digits when they get hot), my warm headband that isn't warm enough anymore, my headlamp that makes me look super cool, and my other multiple layers that hopefully make me comfortable enough to not realize how completely crazy running outdoors in a Michigan winter is.

My running path gets plowed, which is nice. Of course, that doesn't solve everything. There was about an inch of snow on the path last night which wasn't too much of a problem. Who am I kidding, I thought I was going to break my leg. Or die. I would be trotting along at a decent for me clip and then it would get all slippery. Not fun. And then a half mile from my turn around spot I rolled my ankle. It really didn't hurt too bad, but I pretty much said "screw it" and turned around and walked home.

I'm going to get some Yaktrax tomorrow night. Gazelle Sports is having a 15% off everything in the store sale from 5-8pm, which I think is very nice of them.

Has anyone else tried them? or another little something that helps keep you upright?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

NRR - but still amazing!

Today is the day I found the best blog out there. I don't know how I found it exactly, I think it may have been mentioned somewhere on Yahoo today. It doesn't matter, when you find perfection, you usually stumbled upon it.

This lady critiques Brian Williams tie choice daily and the way she describes them is amazing - but I'm sure she would have had a better word than amazing. Not to take anything away from her, but she is an English teacher, for crying out loud.

How does she do it?

I'm not willing to leave my friend Charlie Gibson. I just love the way he says "and I hope you had a good day." I really think he means it from his heart. But I am willing to flip over to Brian just to check out his tie so that I can better appreciate Nancy's delightful offerings.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I never thought I would see the day.

Do you remember when you were little and your mom made you wear a hat and you didn't want to because it was oh so uncool? I'm almost over that. I really have no need to impress anyone, so if I have to look silly sometimes, that's fine. But I couldn't carry that feeling all the way. At least not enough to wear a head lamp. I knew that things would be so much easier if I could see. I knew I wouldn't have to worry about stepping on a stick, having my feet come out from underneath me and breaking my leg. And there is also knowing that it might make me easier to see than just my blinky light. But I just couldn't make myself look like a miner. Couldn't do it.

Even with Terri talking about her's, still couldn't do it. I tried to tell myself that she is a pretty cool chick, and if she can get away with it, then I could too. But, nope, still couldn't do it.

But then I was at Meijer the other night and they had some cheapy LED headlamps. So I bought one along with Ashley's diet cat food (the handsome Steve thinks she is getting chunky, I say its just her fluffy fur).

I busted the light out last night and I am sold. Best $10 bucks I have ever spent in my life. I felt a little silly waiting to cross at the one corner I cross, but I got over it. I thought it would bop around a lot, but it stayed completely steady. I was worried it would annoy me, but I didn't even know it was there. I never even realized before how much I stressed out about stepping on some dog poo or slipping on wet leaves. And before last night, I never would have known that the two wooden bridges I cross are currently pretty icy. At least not until I crashed on my face. All I had to do with my third eye strapped to my head was run. It was great!

Moral of the story - I'm sold.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Drum roll, please..........

I am going to run the full Bayshore marathon in May. It took a lot of thought to get to this point. To turn away from the half so soon. After only one. What if I love the full and never to back?

I fell in love with the half. It was the most fun I've ever had. It is easy to train for. Whoa, whoa, whoa.....did I just say that? Let me make it clear that we all know that there was nothing "easy" about my training for the half this past summer. Nothing. It was hard. I don't think I ever cried, but still, it was very hard. Maybe I should rephrase that statement to say that with the half, training is easier to schedule.

I thought that I would spend the 9 weeks following the GR Half doing a couch to 5k plan and then figure something else out for a couple months and then start training for the Bayshore Half. Running isn't enough of a habit for me yet to just get out there and do it without something to work towards everyday. I need to know that if I skip a run, that I'll be paying for it come race day. I'm Catholic, guilt does amazing things for me.

Plus, all the love in my heart for running isn't going to keep me focused this winter. A planned schedule that will prepare me to move myself 26 miles on the other hand, that just might do it.

In other news - the handsome Steve just asked if I was going to mention the knee surgery he had on Friday. You should have seen me. I was in all of my Florence Nightingale glory. I made him is favorite snacks. I made sure he spent plenty of time on the couch. He made a little whimper, and I was jumping to see what I could get him. But by Saturday I realized he was in zero discomfort. Not only had he not busted out the Vicodin, he hadn't so much as needed an Advil. So then I had him walking all over the mall with me to see if they had an Avon kiosk (they didn't ). I also had him cleaning the ceiling fan in our foyer (not sure when it got that gross, definitely couldn't wait). By Sunday he got smart again and whined about it aching.

(Terri - I didn't forget that you tagged me, stay tuned)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Whatcha got there???

So, Gazelle Sports was nice enough to email me a $10 gift certificate for running the half two weeks ago and since I was pretty sure my right arch was going to fall off of my body in my old shoes...
You don't have to tell me! That is one sexy shoe!! I told the handsome Steve that I just might get hit on tomorrow morning when I bust these bad boys out for the first time.
Hey, it could happen...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Now what?

The Grand Rapids Half Marathon was just a small part of the big picture. The big picture? Being a runner.
The next step is to improve my running pace and to decrease my walking breaks. Those two things together should really drop my running pace. Or at least I sure hope it will.

I'm going to digress a bit and start a couch to 5k plan. Granted, it is kind of funny to be working towards a 5k when I just ran a half marathon. I think I needed to run the half first to prove to myself that I this is something I can do, now it is time to do work on the building blocks.

So, the next 9 weeks (or so) will be spent getting myself able to run a really solid 3 miles. I'm talking 10 minute miles. Or at least 11 minute miles. And then I will work on increasing the amount of miles I can do at that pace.

I also think that by running smaller amounts, my right shin will start doing better. I know that your bones need to get stronger when you start running, and maybe I started doing hour + runs before my shins were ready.

And since I'm only going to be running 20-30 minutes 3-4 times a week, I've got time for some other things. I'm talking a little Pilate's action. We'll see where all of this gets me, but that is the plan for right now.

I know a lot of other runners just did their fall races that they were working towards all summer, what are you going to do now?

Monday, October 27, 2008

13.1

My half marathon was probably the most fun I have ever had in my life!!

My sister, Jill, came in from Wisconsin to run the race with me. We've been running partners from afar. On Saturday night, instead of having heading to the race's pasta dinner, I had my own. I thought it would be better to have dinner with our fan club, than some strangers. My mom was there, my best friend Kate, my most supportive friend Jenny, and Steve and the kids. Plus, I wanted to guarantee we got to eat! When Jill did the Green Bay Half in May, they ran out! She got some salad and a soggy breadstick. Plenty this time!
That night we got to bed early and I slept like a rock. For some reason I wasn't nervous at all that night. I had worked so hard for so long, not a lot was going to happen at that point that could change the outcome.

I did the early start at 7am. Since I was doing the half, I really didn't have to worry about taking too long and needing the extra hour, I just knew that there was a pretty good chance I would be the slowest person there, and I didn't want the clean up truck on my butt for three hours. My sister was doing the 8am start so that we would have a chance at finishing together, so she and my mom were able to walk me to the starting line. At that point I didn't really start getting nervous, just that fast heart beat feeling right before something is going to happen. I was near the back of the pack and once we took off, the front of the pack was out of there. The large group I was with were walkers. Walkers that walk faster than I can run. Seriously, they were walking, I was running and I couldn't keep up. It isn't something that bothers me, if anything, I was kind of disappointed that I wasn't going to have anyone around me that I could talk to. Lucky for me I wasn't alone for long. I spent the first 9 miles with Karl. Karl and I didn't talk, we just kind of kept each other company. He even said something to me at the beginning that really got me through the miles. "Just keep going, we'll get there". Simple and obvious, but doesn't that usually describe the best things? Oh, and did I mention that Karl was 82? Or that he walked the half? Come on, you've seen them though, the older people that walk in the malls crazy fast? He was cool :)

I forgot my Nike+ Sportband, but I think that worked out for the best. For the entire race, I never knew what the time was. I also never had a point of wondering when the next mile marker was finally going to turn up. I was out there for a really long time, but the miles really flew by. I don't think I would do another one without time, but for my first one, it worked out for the best.

I never saw anybody I knew out on the course, the spectator areas were a little tricky to get to so I had told Steve to just have him and the kids at the finish line. I did have one friend pass me, though, and that definitely perked me up. My friend Nick was a guide for a blind runner, so it was cool when he wheeled up on his bike when they passed me. His guy was in the very front of the pack, so it didn't take them long to catch up with me. Once the main mass of runners caught up with me, I couldn't stop staring. It was so entertaining to just watch all of the runners zoom by me. And they were all so encouraging. Lots of very genuine words of encouragement. Once we were into the Kent Trails area, a bike trail through woods next to the river, a woman touched me on the shoulder when she passed, looked back at me and told me that I was doing great. I had another older guy that looked back at me after he said "good job". That's a good mental note. Someday when I'm more swift, I'll look back at the people trucking along after I say something. I had a lot of people say things to me, but those two people I remember so distinctly, and I remember how much it meant to me at the time.

My sister caught up with me at about 11 - 1/2 miles and then finished with me. I'm really glad that we got to finish together.

Probably the best part of the race was coming up to the finish line when I heard the kids screaming my name. Once we got up to them, Nathan ran right out onto the course, right up to us, super excited. He had something to tell me and it just couldn't wait. "Amy! We're taking you out to lunch!!"
And I wore my medal to the restaurant!

Friday, October 3, 2008

More hill talk

I was leaving work yesterday, waiting to turn onto the highway. If you time it just right, this particular wait can get up towards ten minutes, and I have impeccable timing. Anyway, while I was sitting there, I watched a man run up the entire giant hill. We have a name for this hill, but I can’t remember it. The Medical Hill? Michigan Hill? But if you know GR, you know what I’m saying. It goes up Michigan St, starting at Ottawa and all the way up to the hospitals. The name doesn’t matter, the point is that he ran up the whole darn thing. He slowed down a bit near the middle, but kept on going. I was amazed. I wanted to shout a good job, but he never would have heard me. I clapped a little though.

I personally don’t do hills. Would I be a stronger runner if I did? Maybe. But I might also be a grumpy runner too. I do gentle slopes, and right now, I’m good with that. I don’t even run down the hills, hurts my shins too much. Probably my biggest problem would be the honest to goodness MOUNTAIN in the last quarter mile of any run I do. I haven’t sat down on the path yet, but I will stand there for a while recovering. If it was a straight path and I could see if anyone was coming, I would be fine with sitting down for a bit, but it is as curvy as it is straight up. I don’t have a lot of pride, but I have a smidge.

Moral of the story – here’s my virtual high five to the man in the sassy green shorts yesterday. Nice work!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I keep learning new things

The other night I was sitting in a restaurant with Handsome Steve, his ex-wife and the three little ones….its how we roll :) Since the kids weren’t out numbering us and we were each able to just cover one kid, adult conversation could take place. Michelle brought up my running and said something along the lines of being impressed with how well I’ve stuck to it. I of course did that thing we all do and said “oh no, I haven’t stuck to it that well, I’ve missed some runs here and there….” And she said “no, I mean you’ve stuck to it, you’re still doing it.”

And she’s right.

I guess it is something we are all supposed to know. We all read it. It’s not just the race, but all the training we put into it before hand. This thing I’ve been doing is not about one day. Its about me becoming a runner. Its about all the times I’ve kept going when I wanted to go back home, and the times I’ve run in the rain. Its about all the icing of my shins and all the hobbling down the stairs first thing in the morning. – and for the latter, I swear that got better for a while, but I’m back to clutching the railing.

(I know what you are thinking, everyone needs to keep their boots on for just a little bit more)

I’ve stuck to this for 7 months. I have never stuck to ANYTHING longer than a week, maybe two before. But shuffling down the road? This I’ve been doing since March. And I didn’t even signup for the half marathon until August. I didn’t have someone showing up to my door everyday to run with me. I just kept putting on my shoes and hitting the bike path two doors down.

I don’t know why I didn’t quit. I can’t give some earth shattering bit of advice on how to keep at it. Maybe I just needed to finish something. Maybe my inner runner has been waiting to get out and get shuffling all along. Maybe I was just bored.

Ok, enough with the soul searching. Something else that has just clicked in my head that I’m sure everyone else already knew…the more water I drink in a given day, the better my run is that evening. If I only do coffee and diet coke at work, rest assured I will be contemplating laying down on the asphalt for a break or throwing myself in front of a car just so that they have to take me home. But if I tank bottle after bottle of water, I feel like a hundred bucks. I mentioned this to my sister yesterday and she said it is even better when she downs some Gatorade in the afternoon. I knew to hydrate during and after but before? All day? Who knew? And why didn’t you tell me?

Monday, September 15, 2008

New stuff

I hate to admit this, but I hate running with music. I guess it isn't really the music bothering me, it just doesn't do anything for me, so its more trouble than its worth. Maybe it is because I've always worked in an office with music (sometimes even good music of my choice) and I tune it out. Someone complains about how the radio station has played a particular song 4 times already, and I've don't even remember hearing the song once in my life.

So what can I do for the boredom? Its really never that bad, I have a lot of thoughts in my head at any given moment, plus we live in a very visually stimulating area. But I can still get a little sick of myself after a while. And since I run slow, my miles keep me out there much longer than if I was a speed demon.

I do love books....I love a good story....but I don't want to carry a big cd player either....hmmmm...what could I do????


That my friends is a little mp3 player that comes with an audio book loaded on it. I just order the one I want on my library's website, two days later they call to say they have it in, and I'm set for 11 (in this case) hours of listening enjoyment. Technology never ceases to amaze me!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Happy Rain

All day long at work I gazed out at the gray, cool sky and couldn't wait until I could get out and run. I'm sure a nice sunny day that is in the 60's would be just as nice, but it seems like this summer if it was sunny, then it was way to0 hot for me to be happy. I don't like to be hot. I feel icky, grimy, and slimy. I like it just a smidge on the cool side, and today was definitely that. I know come February when we haven't seen the sun for 4 months I'll read this and wonder what I was thinking, but today it was nice to not have the sun beating down on me.

Once I was able to head out around 7:30, things got even better, a nice cool rain was starting to drizzle. As I was walking down the driveway (to0 steep to happily skip down, you'll crack your head open) in the cool wet, but not humid air, I was smiling and making that "ahh" sound you make after a very crisp drink of Sprite. When I got to the path and started going, I think my excitement was making me run faster than I usually do. It wasn't even my typical shuffle, it was a solid run. As fun as it was, I forced myself to slow down to a pace that I knew I could keep up for a few miles. The rain felt so wonderful.

I ended up only doing 3; Handsome Steve had his heart set on watching monday night football with his friends and couldn't leave until I made it back. Apparently the mysterious "they" you always hear about frown on leaving small children home alone.

It was for the best though. By the time I was done with my 3, I could feel the faintest twinges in my shins. Nothing to be worried about I don't think. Earlier this summer when I was getting over the serious shin pain, the twinges would always be there at the end of my runs, so I may not have anything to really worry about. On the other hand, if Handsome Steve decided to run up to Meijer tomorrow and buy two family size bags of frozen peas, that wouldn't be the worst idea. Just sayin'....

On a family note, we picked up new shirts for the dirty little monkeys to wear to school pictures on Friday. We got Emma this adorable sweater vest with a white button up shirt.

Some people might not be able to pull off a sweater vest, but if anyone can, its definitely this little mug...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

running, running, running

Last night was my first real run that didn't involve way too much walking in about 3 weeks. And it was AWESOME!! I put Simon and Emma on their bikes and told them they could go as far ahead as they wanted, as long as they stayed on the same loop I was on. They thought that was the coolest thing ever and raced each other all over the place.
I had the biggest smile stuck on my face. One older lady even thought I was just smiling at the the kids and told me the kids were cute. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I was smiling at myself. She must have thought it was such a touching moment. oh well. It was great and I really realized what I was missing. I can't wait until I get out there tonight!
I didn't really set out for a planned distance, I just wanted to get out there. I ended up doing two miles, but with only two 30 second walks. I'm ok with that. I'm not really sure how fast I can ramp up to the distances I was doing 3 weeks ago. I don't want my ever present shin splints to get aggravated.....but I've got 8 weeks until the half marathon....ohh decisions. ok, I don't want to get silly..... how about 3 miles tonight, rest on Thursday, 2 miles on Friday, rest Saturday, and then 5 on Sunday. That sounds like an ok first week.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Update

When I started running in March, I was obsessed with all things running. I blogged about it, I read countless other running blogs, runnersworld.com discussions, books, magazines, you name it. I never found it boring, it never got old. And while I still love running, I think I overloaded on the extras. Throw in 3 weeks that went from hurt foot to sinus infections and strep throat to a hurt neck that wouldn't even let me comfortably walk, and I got a little depressed.

Right now the most important thing is to get back into my running routine. No more of the one or two mile jogs just to say I got out there.

The half marathon is in 8 weeks and as long as I start buckling down now, I should be able to enjoy the race. That is really my biggest goal. I want to have a good time and get a taste of what the marathon is going to be like.

I'm not beating myself up about falling off the wagon, for the most part it couldn't be avoided. But my foot doesn't snap and crackle anymore, I can breathe again, and no more piercing pain shooting from me neck, so its back to the trail. Stay tuned until tomorrow when I promise there will be a run report for run 1 of my homemade 8 week half marathon training plan.

WOO! Time to shuffle!! Cause that's what I do!!

Non running related side note: I'm gonna get hitched one year from yesterday. The venue I wanted can't be booked more than 365 days in advance and for summer Saturdays, it gets booked that first day you can. At least it made finally setting a date easy . Essentially, if I wanted to get married next summer, I had to buckle down and get it done.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I'm signed up!

Today I paid my dollars and am offically signed up for the half marathon. I guess that makes it real now, huh?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What do you think?

So it wouldn't kill me to lose a few pounds. This blog is never ever going to be called skinny girl running, but you know what I'm saying. And since this virtual running community has kept me going like I would never have been able to on my own, I joined a virtual weight loss community. The Daily Plate.com. One of my favorite friend Teresa has lost 46 pounds using it since January. There are forums to chit chat and ask questions on, and a log for everything you eat. You name it, they have it, including store brands. And you can pick your activities to log and based on your weight, they tell you how many calories you burned. So I pulled up running. There isn't just running, you also pick your pace. So look at the description for 10 minute miles (aka, miles I can't run)

Running - 6 mph:
Running at 6 miles per hour is considered by many to be at the low end of the fitness spectrum. A 6-mph running pace is equivalent to running a mile in 10 minutes. At this pace, it would take you over four and a half hours to finish a marathon.

LOW END?!?! Who writes this stuff?? I personally am pretty impressed with anyone that can bust out 10 a minute mile pace. Now I get that that pace isn't going to win any races, but its definitely something to be proud of.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm back.

I know its Wednesday and I’ve been back since Saturday night, but it took some serious recovery to get over the long week with 6 kids under 10. It got a little ugly, they almost took me down, but I won. We spent the first half of the trip at Lake Anna in Bumpass, Va. In case you couldn’t tell from the name of the town, there was no internet, no tv, and you had to drive a half hour just to buy food. If I stood on one leg, half way up the driveway and held my breath, I could almost get one bar on my cell phone. It was actually really nice to be so far away from the rest of the world. Every day was spent on the beach and the boat in the freakishly hot water. Lake Anna is a man made lake, something to do with the nuclear reactor, hence the hot tub water. I was diligent with the SPF but I still got a sexy cocoa butter tan.

The second half of the week was spent at our friends main house in Vienna, VA, just outside of D.C. Lots of museums and sight seeing. My uncle came down from Annapolis on Friday to have dinner with Steve and I (our only 3 hours without any kids, thanks Nana and Papa). Dinner with my favorite uncle was definitely a highlight of the trip.

Uncle Mike is a marathoner, like the real kind. As in Boston. He did two of them this spring, and then hurt his foot, so he’s been laying low on the miles since then. He met us at the entrance of the zoo all decked out in his Boston 2007 shirt, and bayshore marathon hat, coolest guy ever. I’m pretty sure. It was fun to talk to him about running.

I did run twice when we were at the Lake. One 3 mile and then a 7 mile. And then my right foot decided bending was going to be crazy painful, and my shin splints started creeping back. I took the rest of the week off to let everything feel better. I’m going to get back at it tonight. 5 miles. Woo!In other news, my sister and I have decided to do the half marathon in October. We aren’t quitting, I’m not changing my goal, we are just extending the training plan. May will be the finish, either the Bayshore in Traverse City, or the Green Bay race.

I'm slowly catching up with my Google reader, happy running.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

2 weeks later....

I didn't drop off the face of the earth. I haven't even been dreading running. I think I just don't have a lot to say for some reason. I have my first 10 mile run this weekend. Luckily, we are leaving for VA on Friday night to go to handsome Steve's friend's lake house. Hopefully the new environment will entertain me enough to not stress over the double digits. Not that I'm stressing, its just a new level for me.

14 weeks to marathon.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I got tagged!

Julie tagged me, so here are 6 random things about me!
1. I used to shoot target rifles and went to college on a full ride courtesy of it.
2. Steve and I live on sugar free Popsicles. We will even get up in the middle of the night to eat a bunch of them. Its 2am and I just ate 4!
3. The only foods I won't eat are anything that involve jerk seasoning and eel sushi.
4. My little Persian baby, Ashley, was a stray cat that I snatched.
5. I lived in Germany for a summer in high school. I can still hear the radio yelling "Guten morgan, Hessen!!!" every single morning.
6. My parents bought my first car at a garage sale and then told me to figure out how to drive it. My dad gave me a quick run through, but then I had to teach myself how to drive a stick.

I have to tag 6 people : Tanushree, Holly, Chris, Karen, Kitzzy, and Terri.
here are the rules:
  • link to the person who tagged you.
  • post the rules on your blog.
  • write six random things about yourself.
  • tag six people at the end of your post.
  • let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog
  • let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Great run!!

I had an awesome run last night! Seriously, it was the kind of run that made me think I might actually be a runner one of these days. It was going to be a 7 miler. I headed out towards the park, did the main loop and then since it was the blazing sun of 4pm, I did the creepy loop too. To get to the second loop you go down a path, through a little pathway and then you are completely surrounded by a wall of trees. Completely. It’s like there isn’t any other world except in this clearing. And being that I watch WAY too many Lifetime Channel movies, it really creeps me out. After I headed out of the loop and out of the park I kept going down the path along the road. I got all the way to the end of the path and then turned around to head back.

All this way, my only walk breaks were to get some water out of my bottle. They were short, and few. I’m pretty amazed at myself actually for walking as little as I did. Whenever I though I needed to walk I would pull my shoulders back and straighten up and also slow down. Typically at these times the nike+ had me at a 12:30 pace; I can comfortably keep a 13:30 pace. I would also pause the nike+ whenever I did walk, just so that my final count was completely the distance that I ran. So, back to when I said it was going to be 7….handsome Steve drove up behind me on his way home when I had just completed 6 miles of running. He offered me a lift. My feet were really hurting. I hopped in. Call me a quitter, but that was by far my best, most satisfying run to date. 14 weeks of 4 runs a week, and that was #1!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Progress

For the first time ever, and probably my hundredth attempt, I actually dragged my tookus out of bed to run before work this morning. I did come up with a million reasons not to get out there. Snooze button once. Eyebrow grooming. Hit the trail and came back for bug spray. In the end I had time for a mile and a half. Sad distance, I know. But I did it instead of snuggling in my warm, comfy bed. That's pretty huge for me!

After I hit the trail for a second time, I almost turned around a tenth of a mile down....without guilt. I heard the freakiest animal fight? just behind the first row of trees and growth. I heard turkey gobbling (we have a crazy amount of wild turkeys out here) and growling and snarling. Not like dog growling and snarling. And I don't think turkeys growl and snarl. I don't know who was attacking who. But it got worse and worse and then it stopped. I wanted so bad to turn around and go home before the winner got me, but I kept going. And lived to type about it :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Still trucking along...

I’m really starting to lean towards the half in October, and then do the full in May next year. First of all, it seems the most intelligent decision. Second, what if I hate the marathon, and never want to do it again? I would like my possible one and only try to be at my favorite place. The Bayshore Marathon is in May, so I think I’ll train for that one. If I don’t keel over and die after the half. Jill and I decided to keep training for the 26.2, and then on August 1st we’ll decide which to sign up for. So we’ll see. Thanks for everyone’s encouragement and support for both choices.

That being said, enough about my inability to make a decision simply. Last night I did 3 miles with my very own support group. Yup, I had no less than 10 mosquitoes on the back of my arms at any moment. Today I have the welts to prove it. I thought by taking the route that doesn’t go along the river I would be good. Silly me for thinking. I guess even at little Emma’s softball practice the kids were getting eating alive.

I haven’t mentioned our new virtual running group. If you need some teammates to cheer you on or call you out when you aren’t running, come on over to the dark side with us. www.virtualrunclub.com We even get a discount at Running Warehouse because we are official.

Lastly, due to peer pressure, I’m doing the hundred pushup challenge. Yesterday was day one. Monday was supposed to be, but after my initial test on Sunday, there was no pushups to be had the next day. But last night I cranked them out like a champ. Day 1 of 18 down! Seriously, you can all bust out some pushups 3 days a week for 6 weeks. Get started!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ramblings

I have ALWAYS been jealous of runners. You see them outside, doing their thing. Exerting their bodies. Destressing. And running in itself sure as heck doesn’t get you any fatter. Plus, when you get asked “so, what do you do for fun” runners have an answer. They run.

It may have started with my doctor that I’ve been going to for the past 16 years. Every appt includes him telling you when the next nearest marathon is and asking if you’re planning on it. The d├ęcor in the exam rooms and down the hall are posters from the marathons he has run in all over the country and pictures of him crossing the finish line. A requirement for his staff is taking part in the 5/3 River Bank Run every spring, either by walking the 5k, or running the 25k. It is a running office all the way around. Well, until you look at the patients in the waiting room. I think he only sees little kids and very old people. And me.

Every time he asks me if I ready to run the 26.2, I laugh, say of course not, and secretly wish I was. Lucky for my, this spring I thought it would be a good idea, and low and behold I had that though 7 months before the local marathon, not 2 weeks. I emailed little Jill, and she thought it was a killer idea too. Our plan was to follow the training plan, and then on 4th of July weekend, evaluate where we were, decide if our 26.2 goal was a little too lofty to begin with, and decide between the half and full marathon. At that point we would officially sign up.

And all logical signs point me to the half. We all know my sister ran the Green Bay half marathon after 8 weeks of running/training, and she ran it strong. 2:12, give or take a minute.

So now I’ve got a decision to make. And I’ll tell you the silly thing that is probably going to be the deal breaker. It’s called a HALF marathon. You mean you want me to completely change my life? I’m supposed to be out there running and sweating 4 days a week when I have NEVER stuck to any kind of activity longer than one week in my life? All for HALF of something?? Why can’t they call the 13.1 mile distance something else? The thirteenathon perhaps? There is nothing unimpressive about 13 miles. And if I could get my head around the fact that it is its own distance, and not half of something else, I probably wouldn’t even consider 26.2. I’m pretty sure with 17 more weeks of training, I could probably run a half in a time that I would be proud of. As it is, the marathon would be just to finish. And if I can run most of it, high five to me. In my mind, I see the full as such a huge, monstrous achievement. I’m not going to get an MBA anytime soon, but I could move my self 26.2 miles down the road. Without my car.

Then throw in Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt Judy’s. We’ll all be sitting there, Sarah will tell us how she did at the Chicago marathon, Uncle Mike will tell us which ones he ran in this year, and I’ll pipe up with my half. No, that’s not going to fly. I want to say that I ran a marathon too. I'm already the only chubby person in a family of the freakishly thin. I want to do what they do.

If you’re still with me after all that rambling, I’m not asking anyone to tell me that the half is the better decision. Or that it is something to be proud of, I know it is. But I’m going to do the full. And those are all the reasons why.
Next year I’m going to do all halves and work on times, and then the next year I’ll maybe throw in another full. This is all of course provided I don’t die at mile 18 in October or hate all things running.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Right knee got a little weird tonight

I planned on doing 3 miles tonight. I headed out nice and slow and steady. I was about a half a mile in when it felt like my knee was shaking, kind of like when you do all the pushups you can do. It was under my kneecap. Nothing major, I really had to concentrate on it to realize what I was even feeling. That moved on to a weird warm sensation under my knee. It was really never pain, but I still turned it around at the mile mark. This knee does randomly feel a little stiff, so we'll just see how things go. I iced it tonight. I don't plan anything crazy tomorrow night. Just 3, unless I feel like turning around early again.

Last week I posted a message on runnersworld.com checking for any slow runners in the GR area. Check out what I got:

Hi Amy! My name is Mike. This is our schedule: Mondays and Wednesday's we are at the Middle School. We start at 6pm and usually go until 7pm. Mondays we do mile repeats. Wednesdays we do quarter mile repeats. These are technically speed workouts but everyone runs at their own pace. Then on saturday morning, 8am we are at the park. Saturdays are our distance runs. We always have someone lay out a course to run and someone in a car to bring up water and gatorade. Our group has wide ranges of abilities. We've got some very fast elite runners and we've also got some very slow beginners. You will never be without someone to run with. If you have any more questions just email me

Sounds pretty cool, huh? I think I'm going to email him, and then show up next monday. EEk. Its a little scary for me, but not completely. The more contact I have with runners (blogs, rw.com discussions, my running store) the more I realize that they are a very welcoming and helpful community. I kind of excited.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The magic of owner's manuals

This morning I made the family their pancakes (with mini chocolate chips for the kids) ate two little silver dollars, and suited up for my run. I got to the corner, started up the nike+, and away I went. But my sportband wasn't doing anything. I started it over again. Still nothing. I flicked my sensor, tapped the sportband, nothing, nothing. Of course I have run plenty of miles these past few months without it, but today's miles weren't going to be like those miles. I turned around and went back to the pancake eating fam.

When I got home, I busted out the laptop to check the manual. APPARENTLY, you are supposed to push the button for three seconds to reset it (I had that part down already) but then you are supposed to hit it again for one second once you are ready to record. I have no idea how I got it to work Wednesday night, I must have just been hitting random buttons and got lucky.
By the time I got it figured out, it was too late to run. Steve was taking the boys to see the Hulk movie and had to head out and I was taking Emma to the squirt park.

After dinner the schedule and temperature allowed for me to hit it again. This time the sportband worked like a charm. Funny what the owner's manual will do for you. I had been looking forward to the run all day. Once I started going though, I was so disappointed. It was so hard. How did I forget that it was so hard. and no fun. and then it dawned on me that I shouldn't start the run going straight up an evil hill. Once I made it to the top, it was fun. And on the way down the other side, it was really fun! I ran to the park, around the main loop twice and then back again. 5.2 miles Oh yea!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

$59 = great new toy!

So I’m always reading about Chris’ Nike+. He makes it sound so cool. And then my sister sent me a gift card to my running store for my birthday. Throw in my running store having ONE Nike+ Sportband in, and you’ve got one pumped up Amy!! I was so crazy excited, that I was in my car about 10 minutes after the mail brought my gc to my office. Unfortunately, they didn’t have in the pouch to attach the sensor to my shoes, but they can get one from their Kalamazoo store and it will be here today. Of course, I didn’t let a silly little thing like not having something to attach the sensor to my shoes stop me. Oh no. I am an instant gratification kind of girl. I put that little sucker under my laces, tied them up real tight and away I went. The only problem was that I was super worried that it would pop out. Add the fact that the shoe I tied so tight was the foot I broke twice in two weeks in 7th grade and was feeling some pain and also the fact that I wanted to get home so fast to plug it in to see how it worked, and you’ve got Amy only doing 2.03 miles. It is what it is.

And my two cents on my new toy?? Awesome! Dead on! Or as dead on as I need it to be. In my car, as soon as I pass a particular mailbox, the odometer shows 1 mile. On my feet last night, when I pass the same mailbox, the sportband said 1 mile. And I haven’t even calibrated it yet! So cool.

If you are like me and only want an idea of your pace and a close measure of your distance, this thing is a bargain. And I love that I don’t have to go to a website to log my runs, fill everything out and all the extra work. I just plug the little doo hicky in to my trusty old laptop and I’m done. Again….so cool!!!

Check out the comment from Megan in the last post (I'll add her blog to my roll soon). She already did what I'm trying to do!!!!! I feel newly invigorated :) Cheesy, I know.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

4.5 miles. Woo!

4.5 miles is my furthest so far!! Not for running without walking, but for dragging my tookus.

I wasn’t going to run last night. Mondays are rest days. Although I think you are supposed to run on the weekend to deserve that rest day and I didn’t. But there was the nicest sprinkle going on that I wanted to run through so badly. I didn’t run this weekend because the weather alternated between EXCESSIVE humidity and heat or daily thunderstorms that knocked over trees and washed out roads. So, back to the sprinkle, it was calling out to me. It was telling me it would keep me cool and refreshed. It was telling me I didn’t really need to do the laundry. Since I’m such a sucker for ideas that sound good at the time, I suited up and hit the trail.

The park I run in is a mile and a half away, so I usually drive it. It sounds silly to drive such a short distance, but I’m still at a point where 3 miles is a common run for me, and the park is so nice to run in, I would rather do all 3 miles there. But last night I ran to the park for the first time and then did the main loop at the park and ran back. Even though I ran most of it, I did need to walk a little too. And let me tell you, I need to plan out my walks better than I did last night. The back and far side of the loop is right along the Grand River. I’m talking, its so close, even I could gently throw a rock into the water. The river is pretty high right now with all of the rain, and throw in the humidity, the mosquitoes were CRAZY!! And they love me. They don’t give me little bites, they suck all the blood they can get and give me welts. So when I wanted to walk so badly, I had to keep running. I can run faster than the little suckers, but not walk faster. Actually, now that I am thinking about it again, they probably helped me. I bet they gave me that little extra reason to push harder. I should write a book, My Training Partner is a Mosquito.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Trying to get a little faster.

Last night I got a little creative. For a mile and a half I would run at what I think was a ten minute pace for a little bit longer than I could comfortably sustain it, and then walk until I was recovered. I kept doing that until I felt like my running was starting to die down and then walked a half mile to finish up. I really like running faster. I feel like I’m picking my feet up a lot more, and its just more fun to be moving faster than walking. Wind in your face and all that. I know that it is going to be a very looonnnngggg time before I run at a 10 min pace all the time, but I would like to bring my regular pace down from the 14 minutes it is now to around 11-12. That seems like it would be a good time.

Tonight I'm going to run 3 miles, but I'm going to actually bring my timing watch with me so I can see how my miles look when I'm doing more than one. I'm not worried about my speed. Come on, I've even told you guys that I do 14 minute miles. I have no shame. But I would like to keep track of where I am, if for no other reason that to be able to celebrate when I get better.

Maybe I’m the only person that does this (maybe me saying that should be a good signal to just stop typing) but whenever I see someone running I always feel some kind of attachment to them. I think things like “that’s a good pace, I would like to do that” or “nice and sweaty, good job working hard” or “I wish I was running right now”. I’ve even been known to yell a “good job, good job” but only if they don’t have earphones in. I want to make sure they know I was giving the verbal high five and not calling them fat.
Also, when I see someone running at a nice slow pace, I want to stop my car and convince them to run with me sometime. The other night I passed an older lady doing the hills on the way to the park, and all I could think was “she looks like a good time, I could keep that pace up, I should stop” but that has to be a little freaky. Random girl stopping her car along side you running and trying to be friends. I’ll wait until I see someone at the park that runs nice and slow. That’s more approachable. If I can catch up :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Running related? no Crazy funny? oh yeah

I wasn't going to write anything to go with this. In my opinion, nothing I can write would be more entertaining than this shirt. But then Steve said that if I didn't explain it, then people would think he wears stuff like this around all the time. So here it is, his company's local office is having an open house on Friday. Steve has clients coming, so he has to go too. And they got him a giant shirt. He's thrilled.

Monday, June 2, 2008

3 miles - its mine now!

Ok, I FINALLY got over the worst and longest cold ever. I started perking up yesterday and woke up today feeling like a hundred bucks. I'm sure it didn't hurt me having today off. I had every intention of getting to the park around 9am, but handsome Steve showed up with 2 coffees after dropping Nathan at school. That gave me a pretty good excuse to just sit on the floor in front of the couch like I do and watch GMA. Of course, it also meant that I got to watch Steve look at me still sitting there at 8:30, in my robe, and ask with his hands in the air "aren't you going to work????" I think he thought I finally followed up on my threat to become a stay at home girlfriend :)

I ended up getting myself to the park at 1030. There were about 4 moms with their little kids, 2 older ladies with their dogs, and a very cranky, very stylish grandma that kept yelling at her frosting faced dog and little grand son. I did the main loop, easy and slow. I did the other loop, a bit faster and a bit less easy. At this point I had every intention of heading back to my car, but as I came back to the turn I decided to hit the main loop again.

3 MILES!!

Which is good, because I want to do 4 miles without walking on Saturday. I think the secret to this madness is goals. So I'll just keep making them. And hopefully meeting them also.

Sidenote. That 10k I mentioned. Its a 5k now. The reason? One of my most favorite, encouraging, and fabulous friends is going to run it with me. And I didn't want to get pushy and make her do the 10k. Mostly because I want to sneak in when she doesn't see me coming and talk her into doing working towards doing some long runs with me this summer. Plus she is possibly the most beautiful 4o-something (yeah, I said it) ever, so maybe people won't notice how goofy I look running. :)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

3 miles didn't happen and the hospital is on fire...

Soooo….3 miles without walking…..didn’t happen. I think it had something to do with not being able to breathe, and maybe the strep that started showing up today on top of my cold/flu. I did 2-1/2 miles total. Walked the first quarter, ran a half, walked a half, ran a half, walked a half, ran the last quarter really fast while yelling “big finish” with my arms in the air. I think my sister and Steve both think I’m completely off my rocker because I like to end my runs in that fashion. (I don’t do it if there are strangers around, you’re not reading the ramblings of a complete nutso).

When I got back to the house after that stellar performance, Steve and Marty were flipping between the 3 Detroit sports teams playing at once. I sat down with the laptop to check out some blogs and we started talking. Big talker Steve casually announced that he has no doubt he could run for 30 minutes without walking. I will say that he made it very clear it wouldn’t be a fast run at all, but that he could complete it. I personally don’t think he can. So I’m challenging you, big guy. On Monday (I took Monday off a few weeks ago, I think I forgot to tell you) morning we’re going to hit it and you can go as slow and gentle on the knee as you like. We can even go to Riverside Park so you can run in the grass beside the trail. Winner buys sushi buffet for lunch.

Not running related at all, but in case you didn’t know my office is right in downtown GR. And a helicopter just crashed into the hospital in front of us. And the flames are huge, the smoke is incredible. Apparently the fire is spreading fast. I imagine its got to be pretty hard to get to the top of a giant building to get the fire put out.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Little sister is in town

Jill drove in last night.

I have a ferocious cold. I'm sure its practically pneumonia. They could probably study my lungs right now to learn how someone can function on so little oxygen. I've also been known to be slightly dramatic.

But since my sister was in town, my very own running partner that runs longer and faster than I do, and does it 7 hours away, I really wanted to run with her. I figured I could do an easy 3 miles in my sickened state, or I could take advantage of her being here and possibly do one 10 minute mile. I know everyone is laughing right now because I am soooo funny. But I still wanted to at least feel what that pace feels like.

So speeding off we went. Within a tenth of a mile I was questioning my sanity. And gasping for my life. And wondering if I told Jill where I hid the key in the car so she can go for medical assistance. And she's just chattering away. Lisa this. Race that. Look at that cute bird. And she ran 13.1 miles like that a week and a half ago. What the heck???

It didn't last long. I made us slow down and decided to exchange the favor and show her what a 14 minute mile feels like. Yeah, I said it. 14 minute miles.

My running is what it is, a work in progress. I'm working on distance without walking right now, not speed. I figure speed will come. And if you haven't noticed my title.....I'm chubby. This crazy new hobby of mine doesn't come naturally. If you can't pat yourself on the back in your own blog, then where can ya? 2 months ago I couldn't run a block without walking and now I can do miles. Go me. Don't worry, I'm aware that its only 2 miles. Lets see if tonight is the night for 3 miles. Besides, I read on someones blog (please claim this, I don't remember who I stole if from) that running won't kill you, you'll pass out first. So crazy cold and all, I'll be out there tonight. I'll let you know tomorrow if I hit the 3 mile mark :)


Side note: My friend Super T has been buckling down and sweating to the oldies and since the beginning? of March she has lost 29 pounds. Go Teresa!!! I'm so proud!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

run, run, run

I have progressed from hoping to be able to run the first couple miles of my run and wondering if I can do it, to knowing that I'll be able to do it. Not to say that its not a little tricky and I still have goofy fantasies of curling up on the asphalt of the trail. But I know that I'm going to be able to do it without walking....at least for the first mile or two. Saying that, I just decided that today is going to be the day I hit three miles without a walk break. (I'll add an update later after I do it). My sister Jill is in town for a wedding, so we are going to do tonights run together.
I'm really digging the new park I've been running in. I realize that once I get up to really long runs, a one mile loop isn't going to be realistic but I've got plenty of time to figure that out. Especially since I think a break off trail turns it into a 2 mile loop. I think what I like about it the most is that Steve can come with me because it is such short route. He has to walk it, so on this loop we are never really that far apart and neither of us will have to wait very long for the other to catch up when we are done. Even though he's not right with me, its nice to have a partner out there. Especially the for high fives when I pass him :)
Speaking of the big goof ball. We had his 40th birthday party last night and it was a huge success. He had a great time, I had a great time, and I'm pretty sure that everybody that came had a great time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

5 weeks, 10k

$20 says I'm going to be running a 10k in 5 weeks. I was only going to sign up for the 5k. But then I glanced up at my training schedule (because everyone has it posted on the wall of their office, right?) and realized that race day will be my 3rd long run in a row 6 miles or more (6,6,7). So click, confirm, send and Amy's going to be dragging her tookus 6.2 miles. woowoo!!!

I also think that having shorter goals is going to make this summer go more smoothly, and help me from losing my focus again, like I did last week. These next 5 weeks are going to be going right along with the 30 week plan, but its an easier bite.

Does anyone else find that smaller goals that still point them towards the big goal make for an easier journey? What is your next small goal?



This horse farm's stretch of fences and pasture is my favorite part of my regular route

Oh, I just remembered, I wanted to mention my new place to run. There is a park about a mile and a half from our house that we just checked out last night. I know, I know, we've lived here for two months, and we just now dragged ourselves over to it. In my slight defense, its down the hilly section of the path, so I usually just try to tack on a few hills to the flat part, and not make a day of it. I haven't actually made it as far as the park. Anyway.....we loaded up the kids bikes (they're little, they can't do 3 miles to get there and back, and still have a good time on the park path) and headed out. And it is so cool! Part of the land was donated a couple three years ago, and the rest the township bought from a beef plant with money from a grant. The Grand River actually wraps around the east and north sides of the park. They left two silos, and turned one into some sort of observation deck. There is a great loop of bike path and I just went on mapmyrun.com to see if I could figure it out. The loop is a perfect mile! How great is that for timing stuff when I want to see where my pace is at? ok, ok....its 1.01 miles, but I may have been too generous on some bits of the path, so its close enough as far as I'm concerned. And seriously, I'm nowhere near any point where 5 seconds is going to make any kind of difference.

Monday, May 19, 2008

It really is going to be ok

I know I only mentioned my running, or lack there of, briefly in yesterday's post. Mainly because I didn't want to sound whiny with my zero interest in anything running. I kept wondering to myself how I could to from being completely excited and a little bit obsessed, to wanting nothing to do with it. And no, it wasn't my vacation, I started feeling this way about a week before that. Or maybe it was my vacation, and I was just putting my mind in vaca mode early. Regardless, I'm sitting in my office right now, and the only thing I want to do is go for a run. I keep day dreaming about my path, about my legs getting so tired. But instead I'm trying to get back into the work swing of things wondering where in the heck file R0054787F is. Seriously, I think a good 4.5 miles would be perfect. I would probably do 3 on the flat path, and then 1.5 on the hilly path. Can't you just about taste it? I can!!!

And back to that training group I was thinking about joining, but was too scared. I'm going to save that one for this winter. I think it will be good for me to have something more serious to keep me going through the Michigan winter. Right now though I am going to joing up with a regular ole running group. There isn't a coach, there aren't serious training plans, its just a Saturday morning run that starts at the zoo, and then an evening run some night during the week from Johnson Park. And there are even walkers in this group. It sounds very friendly, just a group of people running/walking together.

Moral of the story, I think I'm back on board, or at least in the process of climbing back on board. And its all going to be ok.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I stopped thinking I could become a runner, but I changed my mind and I'm back

My vacation was wonderful. Let me tell you what we did. Everyday we hit the beach at about 9:30 or so. The fruity drinks started flowing daily around one -ish. We would head in around 6 and then shower up and head for dinner around 8. And thats it. Everyday.

I read 3 books!

I leafed through countless magazines.

I took a lot of naps.

I saw dolphins.

I cooled down in the ocean.

And nobody said "Amy, can I have a snack."

And nobody called me up and said "I have a closing scheduled and its a foreclosed property so its special"

And I didn't have to think "dude, 100% percent of my work involves foreclosed properties, you aren't special"

And due to the very liberal application of SPF 50, I only got slightly crispy, and only on my back because out of sight, out of mind.


Check out a few pics...


Unfortunetly, I only took the before and after pictures of my crab leg dinner on my phone, so I can't share those with you, but here is Katrina and I before we had that fantastic seafood meal!!(I'm on the left)


And the view from our room. Horrible, I know :)




Katrina and Nicky and their giant beers...




The pirate ship that floated by every hour. At first it was just "hey, check it out, a pirate ship!!!" After the 4,529th time, it was "great, the pirate ship again, I'm sick of waving"



I came home wednesday and right away Steve said "gonna blog?!?!" and I said no. I didn't have an urge to run, to think about running, or to read about running. Same thing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Although I did go for a short run on Friday, it just took me awhile to get myself out there. Maybe the bug just loosened his bite on me for a while. I feel it coming back though. I'll be going for a nice run tonight. I'm looking forward to it. I think it is all going to be ok.


In other news, little sister ran the Celcom (?) Greenbay Half Marathon today!!! That's right, little Jill is seriously the coolest chick of the day!! I have her blog listed to the right, go ahead and pat her on the back!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The next 5 days...

So I just got home, and I'm watching Futurama while waiting for a load of laundry to do its thing. At 5:30a.m. tomorrow Steve will drop my tookus at the airport so that I can spend the next 5 days in Clearwater, Florida. It gets better, our hotel is on the beach.....a beach that has drink service. I know, it really isn't fun being me sometimes. :)

Seriously though, I've never been to Florida. I've never been on a girl trip. I've never had 5 days in a row that consisted of me drinking fruity drinks, reading my books and making sure I put on my sunscreen on a regular basis (I have Michigander that just came out of hibernation skin....not pretty). I'm charging up my mp3 player as we speak, and as soon as we get done here, I'll check Napster to see if there is anything new I'm needing. And I know what you're thinking, I'm not trying to skip around, I will be packing my running shoes and appropriate running bra. I'm not sure if out hotel has a workout room, but either way, I have nothing against a few new streets.

So, that being said, I'll be back Wednesday night or Thursday, rested and with some pictures!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Should I join a training group??

First off, my run tonight was 2 miles. I didn't run the entire thing. But I did work really hard on picking up my feet and transforming myself from a shuffler to a jogger. And I did sprint up my driveway when I was done. Seriously, that is a nasty driveway. Maybe I need to head out just a tiny bit earlier. I tend to do better when it is still somewhat light out. Maybe I just have more to look at and don't get bored? Regardless, I'm happy with what I did. Tomorrow is 3 miles. I'm going to try to do the first 2 miles without walking, and then walk to the driveway next to the horse farm, and then run to the path bridge that is roped off. I know, I know, none of this means anything to you, but it helps me to put my goals in writing.

Check out this training group. Its run by my running store (you know, the one that let me exchange my first pair of shoes after putting 3 weeks and 30 miles on them and lost the receipt). There is even a beginner group for the GR marathon/half marathon. Something like this certainly couldn't hurt me, but I'm too scared I think. Kind of like its only for real runners, not for shufflers like myself. It kicks off at the store on June 4th with a speaker. I'm thinking about going sock shopping that night, and then if I see even one other chubby girl (or guy....I'm open to anyone) that looks welcomed, then I'll just sign up at the store. I'll even have a month to get myself feeling more like a real runner. As in maybe I can run 5 miles without walking?!?! I just have visions of all the 100lb runners in their running bikinis on one side chatting and laughing and hugging and skipping, and then me on the other side.

I think I'm going to contradict myself with this next topic, but here it goes anyway. I really appreciate everyone giving my blog high fives for being able to run 2 miles straight. I know full well from reading everyone else's blogs that you are all well past me in terms of ability. I wouldn't be surprised if everyone else was even able to run 2 miles on the first day (it took me 6 weeks). But I also know that everyone was as excited for me as I was. Its kind of like we have a little club simply to pat everyone else on the back. I guess I'm just trying to say that I appreciate every single one of you that leaves encouraging comments and that asks me how things are going and acts impressed. If I was doing this all alone in my own little world, I would have stopped 5 and a half weeks ago. As it is.......24 weeks to marathon!!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

I crossed a hurdle!

WooHoo!!! So I had every intention of doing Chris’ challenge and adding 10% to my furthest run, but I tweaked it somewhat. I had decided to not really increase my mileage for 2-3 weeks or so, and just try to master the miles that I have. Until now, the furthest I could run before taking my first walk break was 1 mile. And I’ve only been able to do that about 3 or 4 times. (yeah, I really did say ONE mile, it is what it is). I think part of it was a mental thing. The one mile mark is at the very top of a hill. I’m so dead when I get to the top, I think my head says to my legs “high five, you hit the mile mark, you didn’t stop halfway up, go ahead, take a break”. And my legs of course are all for that idea. Back to my run last night. I was going to do 3 miles. And I was going to run 1.5 miles before I walked. I was going to tackle that hill and the mile marker even if it involved tears. Or at least I really really hoped I was going to. I have to report…..wait for it……………


I KILLED IT!! I DID 2 MILES WITHOUT WALKING!!!!!

That’s right, who’s the runner now?! I got to the 1.5 mark (the first cemetery driveway) and still felt good, so I turned around and kept running. And then I told myself that if I didn’t hit the 2 mile mark (the fire hydrant that is next to a mailbox) then the extra I ran past the 1.5 just didn’t count. So I made it!

Tuesday is a 2 mile day, hopefully I can do it again. Wednesday is 3 miles again, we’ll see how that goes, Thursday is 2 and then Saturday is 3. I think if I buckle down this week and I should be able to do the full 3 miles without walking next Saturday. But I’m not going to get ahead of myself. Today is a rest day and I’m going to enjoy it :)

On to much more exciting news, Julie had her marathon yesterday in Oregon. Her best case goal was 5 hours and she got 5:01. High Five! Ok, so yeah, there’s that little minute hanging on there. But isn’t it better to miss your best goal by a minute than to have come a minute under your next goal? She also did a cool thing to get through the miles by dedicating them to people. I got mile 5 :) (I won’t lie, I teared up when I read that, commercials with babies and puppies get me too). I just have to say “Girlfriend, you ran 26.2 miles. All on the same day. You get to put the little 26.2 stickers anywhere you want!”

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Hills....no not my guilty pleasure, the other hills

This week has been a crazy busy week. I work in the foreclosure business, but on the happier end of things, like when a first time home buyer gets a great deal on a house and can put their family in a better neighborhood than they would otherwise have been able to (nope, not a real estate office, or mortgages, we'll leave it at that). People are buying these foreclosures up like crazy all of a sudden. Plus with May 1st being the last day to file for homestead exemptions, this week was chaos. Moral of the story, I didn't run on Monday or Tuesday. And then Wednesday I had Nathan by myself while Steve went to do something with some friends. I would have put Nathan on his bike, but he wasn't feeling very good and I couldn't bring myself to make him go for a long bike ride to meet my goal. So I was all suited up when Steve got home at 10:30. Unfortunately, I had looked out the window and swear I saw someone out there. I know if I was running in the dark as saw something scary, I would never do it again, and that would really cramp my schedule. But don't worry, I didn't skip any runs, everything just got bumped a 2 days.

Of course Jill emailed me yesterday and asked if I just hadn't logged my runs on the website, or if I hadn't run. Deep down, she's a bully.

But apparently, everything worked out for the best. Maybe my poor shins needed that 3 day break. Two doors down from our house is the trail (its really a bike trail, but I don't bike, so I just call it the trail, its paved though....don't picture me being all tough jumping over tree limbs, I don't roll like that) and its at a corner, so I can go east and have a nice flat run, or I can go north up and down and up and down the rolling hills. Serious, these are crazy hills. One of the communities is even called "Mountainside".

I haven't don't the hills since my first week of this madness, so up and down I headed last night. You wouldn't believe how good I did. I wasn't even shuffling! I was picking my feet up, I had good speed, it was incredible. Maybe it was the fact that I knew I only had 2 miles on the docket, but I felt like a champ. Even going up hill. I planned my short walk breaks for the downhills because running uphill felt so good. I figured this might be the only time that running uphill was going to be a good time, so I worked it hard. I didn't even get excessively out of breath. Maybe I'm turning a corner?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Late Twenties

Its official. As of yesterday I can not longer associate myself with the mid twenties. I am knocking on 30's door :) Luckily I don't have a major problem with age, I think the fact that Steve is hitting the big 4-0 next month helps. At least at our house I'll always be a youngster :)

(I'm pretty sure that with that comment, and his fear of bats getting in his hair that I mentioned in the last post, I'm probably going to pay for it!)

It was about as perfect as birthday weekends go. Steve's parents sent me a Barnes and Noble gift card completely unexpected, so I bought some good beach reading for my trip in 2 weeks. Saturday we tried to go to my favorite restaurant for dinner, but they didn't have any reservations aval, so it was Johnny Carinos. As far as chain restaurants go, they are the tops! Wine, bread with olive oil to dip in, pasta, and tiramisu??? Sounds perfect to me!

I also got my hair cut yesterday. I'm talking crazy short. Shorter than I have ever had it before. I can still tuck it behind my ears, but that's about it. My hair is curly/wavy, and almost always messy, so I decided to get a new do' that works with the mess. I think it worked :)

I had two good runs this weekend. 2 on Saturday, 3 yesterday. Saturday was sunny and cool and gorgeous. But crazy windy. I finally decided to walk the way back since I was going into the wind. Still a good workout though. To demonstrate how windy it was, a 10ish year old boy got him and his bike knocked right over. If he had been younger or seemed hurt, I would have helped, but since he hopped right back up.....I laughed. I'll admit it. I still feel kind of guilty though.

I really need to take some pictures of my main route that I run. It is so beautiful in some spots. There is an incredible horse farm that has a huge pasture with old school wooden fences all over the place with random bits of flower patches all over. And then of course the high light of my run everyday.....wait for it.....AMWAY!!! Their plant and main offices are just a hop skip and a jump from my house. But no free samples, too many guards. Luckily though, they have a drinking fountain beside their baseball diamond. Simple thrills :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bats.....Past and Present

Today had 3 miles on the docket. It was a good three miles. I still can't run the whole thing, but every run I feel myself getting stronger, running longer, and running faster. This week I'm wrapping up the 4th week of this crazy running thing, and is about 3 and a half weeks longer than I have ever lasted at anything! I guess if you can't pat yourself on your back on your own blog, where can ya?? I should give a little bit of credit to the new shoes. These baby's are great. Much more fitted, but still comfy. I still can't believe that the store just took back the shoes after I ran in the for 3 weeks and didn't even have a receipt. (at some point I'll probably stop talking about it).

I like to run in the later evening, right when it is starting to get dark. The hot sun isn't out, and usually too cool for those girls to be running in their bikinis. Anyway, for the first time tonight I noticed all of the bats. Everywhere. They didn't really bother me that much, but did remind me of what is probably the funniest thing ever to happen to me.

When Steve moved into his old house, my helping involved holding doors open and pointing where I thought things went. Steve on the other hand carried couches, beds, dressers, etc. The poor thing was so tired he went to bed at 8:30 that first night. I was feeling great and stayed up to watch some random Lifetime movie (I love those!). About two minutes after Steve went upstairs, and I was sitting on the couch, a bat swooped right in front of my face. Never one to react calmly in situations like a bat trying to eat me, I ran (scrambled on my hands and knees) up the stairs screaming for Steve. He heard me and thought I was being killed. As soon as I got to the top of the stairs, he was just opening the bedroom door. Right as I get to the door, he sees the bat coming with me and slams the door right in my face. I throw my hands up, scream more, and run into the bathroom on the other side of the hall. We keep screaming to each other across the hall, and every time he sees the bat fly down the stairs (he is brave enough to peek out the door, me not so much), he yells at me to run to the bedroom. I can't though. Its too terrifying, so Steve runs to me in the bathroom. Finally he sees the bat fly away so we run, but halfway across the 5 feet we have to cross, he hits his knees. (later I asked him why he did that, he said he didn't want the bat to get in his hair....his short, normal man haircut) I have no problem leaving him behind, so first I try to give him a good shove, and then I just hop right over him. Seriously, like that leap frog game in elementary school. We make it to the bedroom, put clothes at the bottom of the door so the bat can't get in, go to bed. At 9pm. Good times.

The best part came the next day when we met a new neighbor. Levi came over and asked how our first night was. I told him simply that we had a bat. He said that they get bats sometimes, and they just open all the windows and turn the lights on, and the bat will fly right out. Then he asked what we did. I told him how we hid in the bedroom and went to sleep. Levi looked at me for a minute and then said "I guess that could work too". We never did find that bat.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Halfday of work, beautiful weather....what are the odds?

We are still a one car family until Wednesday, so with Steve having meetings today and needing to go to the office, he had to drop me off at work. I went to the front door of my building, and it was locked. Kind of weird, but whatever, I luckily had my keys with me. When I came in the main lobby, there was an alarm going off and I was a little bit worried that maybe I set it off when I came in the main door. I hit the elevator button, but when it opened, the lights were off. I'm not so much someone that is going to go up to the 5th floor in a dark elevator with a mystery alarm going off, alone. I strolled out to the alley to see if Mark was coming up yet, sure enough....that boy is nothing if not reliable. We decided we were brave enough to ride up a dark elevator together, luckily things went well. Unfortunately, it took the power company until 11am to decide to tell us that the power was going to be off all day on our couple blocks. Good times!!

At least I had most of a day at home in the peace and quiet. (for anyone remembering that I didn't have a car and that Steve was in a meeting....Nick, an attorney in my office, carted my tookus home). I had a very nice time sitting out in the back yard with my book. It was so warm and sunny with a gentle breeze. Perfect. I can't wait until our trees fill out and our yard to be surrounded by all of the thick trees.

While I was sitting there, enjoying the weather, I really started to want to hit the trail. It was a rest day, but since yesterday was my walk day and that didn't happen, I decided a quick mile and a half would be fine. Unfortunately, I was not aware that at 4pm the real runners of the area own my trail. I'm not kidding you, I bet I was passed by at least 30+ runners. A couple singles, and a few groups of 5-7. And of course the groups were all tall, blond, thin girls running in bikinis. Oooook. So maybe not bikinis. But sports bras and super short shorts are close enough. I don't know who else in Michigan is that golden tanned right now, but I suppose running down the road practically nude will do that to you. I shortened my quick outing to a mile and got myself home. I'm typically pretty confident in knowing that it is my trail as much as anyone elses, but I'm going to let them have the late afternoon/early evening all to themselves. I'll stick to my 7/8 pm ish. Silly me for trying to fix what isn't broken!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

jillybeanrunning.blogspot.com She's cool!

My sister, little Jill, finally got a blog going. The link is with my other running blogs I like. Hop to it and say hi!!

This morning I headed up to Gazelle right when they opened, thinking I was going to avoid the crowd that is always there. Not so much. How there were so many people there at 10:02, I have no idea. A nice guy named Eric helped me with my shoes and got me set up with the Mizuno Alchemy 7's. I'm much happier, they are much more fitted than my Brooks were. I had Simon with me to give him some special attention, and Eric thought I was part of the parent club. He told me all about his new baby, lack of sleep, etc. He was so nice and helpful, that I didn't have the heart to say that I'm not a parent and have never given birth.

I had 4 miles on the docket today. I really don't know how I can be at the point that 3 miles is a good time, is fun and something to look forward to, but 4 miles almost brought me to tears. If my mp3 player wasn't dead, I probably wouldn't have had my mind running away from me. All I could think of was wondering if Julie, who just did her 20 miler like a champ, ever had problems with 4 miles. And that maybe I'm not going to be a runner, ever. It was a discouraging run. I don't expect things to get easy, I just don't know when things are going to start being a little less difficult. If ever. We'll see. I'm still trucking and don't have any thoughts of quitting.

Enough with my pitty party. I've got some funny stuff too.

First off, last night was a total mess. First I picked up Simon and Emma. They thought that their mom was going to be picking them up and quickly proceeded to tears all the way to brother Nathan's school. I went to get him, and had to inform him that we weren't going to be going to some school swim party that we didn't know about. So he started crying. So I'm driving home with 3 crying kids. I walk in the door to a cranky Steve because I guess smoke had been billowing out of the oven when he was preheating it. So I cleaned the burned goo off the bottom of the oven and we put in the Little Cesar's pizza kits that we had bought (personal pizzas and bread sticks). And then smoke was billowing again and there were flames in the oven. Flames! The smoke was so bad we couldn't breathe or open our eyes. We were so fed up with everything that we decided to take the kids to McDonald's. But they didn't have any chicken nuggets. They ran out. Screw it, we went next door to the fancy pizza place. It was good. We all became a lot less cranky when we finally got to eat.

One more bit from my crazy life. We have reading material in our bathroom. Some people don't. We aren't classy like they are. In our bathroom, we have too choices. 1) The Non Runners Marathon Guide for Women, which I know that most of you know is not serious reading at all. Choice 2) Portal Application Development Using WebSphere Portlet Factory. 708 pages of fun. I've said it before, I'll say again.....getting to be with Steve, I'm the luckiest girl ever!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Gazelle Sports is the best running store EVER!!!

It was a night of high society entertainment last night. That’s right, it was the annual 3rd grade musical. 10 songs about earth day. Nathan had a part in the skit. I think his line was something like “you can’t throw your pop can in the trash, you need to recycle it!” After which Simon cheered and announced to everyone that could hear that Nathan had the best part. It was a good time had by all. Afterwards the kids’ mom, all the kids, and Steve and I went for ice cream.

In other news, I'm just not digging my shoes I got 3 weeks ago. I feel like the front half of my foot flops around too much. Unfortunately, the receipt is MIA. I'm positive I left it in the center console of Steve's car, but when he cleaned it out to sell it last week, it wasn't there. So I figured I would just have to make do with the shoes. Lucky for me, I had a light bulb click in my head last night and emailed the store's customer care. WooWoo!!! They said just bring in the shoes, and they will find something that works better for me. To not worry about the receipt. Yea! I am officially stating that I will only by running shoes and what nots at Gazelle Sports for the rest of my life. And I am adding their link to my list of links. It makes me want to jump around in a circle clapping!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

2 kids, 2 miles, and another crazy dog

Last night was kind of interesting. Since Steve was in Cleveland, and we have Emma (6) and Simon (8) on Tuesday nights, I put them on their bikes and did two miles with them. It went a lot like this:

Simon- I don't think this is my bike, it must be Nathans, its too big.
Amy- You need to check for the red tape! that means its Nathans! Can you ride it though? We don't really want to walk back to get yours.
Simon - nope, its too big
Amy - let me see here, maybe I can lower the seat.......Simon! its all the way down, everything is the same as on your bike!
Simon- oh....yeah.....you're right. ok, I'm good, lets go!!!

Amy- Emma, keep up with me (keep in mind I'm shuffling, not biking). Simon, slow down, Simon, stop. Simon, don't go down in the woods. Emma, come on....keep peddling! Emma, don't touch, you're allergic to dogs. I know he's cute and little, but you'll still get hives! Simon, wait right there.

and the best one.....

Simon-hey, Emma, do you know why you shouldn't eat dirt anymore?
Emma - (in shock, can't talk, arms out like "what the heck" and shaking her head)
Amy - why can't we eat dirt?
Simon - because its worm poop
Amy - no kidding????
Simon - yeah, I'm in second grade, we learn a lot of good stuff there.

And then on the way back, a giant black lab ran across the street, almost died, and then tried to play with the kids. I brought the dog back to the people, crossed the street, dog got loose, and ran across the street again. I again caught the dog and brought him back. Lady said "its nice to meet you, we're having trouble with our invisible fence". No kidding!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I ran like a champ today!!!

So I ran in the rain today. It was fun :) I also happened to run 3x further than I've run before without taking a walk break!!! We don't need to actually discuss how far that distance was before and what it is now, no need for embarrassment, but today was a HUGE improvement. The only thing that kept me running, was knowing that as soon as I stopped to walk for the first time, that my shins would be hurting. It was simply a matter of the exhaustion hurting less than I knew my shins would.

As soon as I passed the creepy blue house with the dogs that try to eat me, I knew I was doing good. As soon as I passed the street corner, I had the goofiest smile plastered on my face. This time, I was what was looking creepy on my street :)

Last night my short run went so horribly, I'm really happy I even headed out today. I think my main problem last night was my body fighting off Steve's cold. The first half was ok, but on my way back body aches were sinking in. With my back, and skin, shins and everything else hurting, I hobbled and cried the entire way back. The way back took me 3x as long as the first half. It wasn't pretty. Luckily it was dark. I would have been so embarrassed if people could see me and every car that passed me had to stop to see if I was going to die. Actually, it would have only been one car, I would have had them take me home.

Luckily, I think I must have finished fighting off his cold, because other that my right tonsil being the size of a cantaloupe, I'm feeling good.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Didn't quite run in the rain

I was pretty excited all day for my first run of the week tonight. Even with a walk the past two nights, things are still feeling better with my shin, so I was going to go for it. With Steve heading to McDonald's for a shake, I headed out in the drizzle for a short shuffle. Unfortunately, there is a woods that surrounds our house/yard completely. As soon as I made it to the road, I realized that the slight drizzle that I figured I could handle just fine, was actually coming down sideways. In sheets. And the sides of the road were flooded. So I turned my already soggy self around and hoped Steve got me a shake too. He did....Shamrock :)

Since I have almost nothing running related to say, or anything interesting in general, I'll ramble a little bit more.

If you haven't been to breakingthetape.com, you should check it out. I have a link with my links. Its not overly exciting, but it is a great place to track your runs. Its also where I got my little doo hickey to the right that lists my miles (I know, its been a sad week). It automatically updates on my blog when I enter a new run. Pretty cool, huh?

Another great new thing I've found is a new had soap from Softsoap. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about, the stuff that is usually the cheapest of all the hand soaps at the grocery store. About $2. I think the new one is called Spa Wrap. Its purple and near the bottom refers to essential oils. Seriously, I'm a little embarrassed about getting excited about a hand soap, but it lathers so nice and when you rinse its like you put on a light coat of the nicest lotion. So great. I'm going to buy some for the bathroom at work, hopefully nobody nicks it, but I won't blame them if they do. This stuff is crazy good. Go buy some.