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. :)