Sunday, July 5, 2015

do call it a comeback

you can't call it a comeback, or can you?

I never ran my marathon last year, for reasons I'll get to in a little bit.  So this isn't a comeback to a Marathon, because I still haven't run one.  I have fallen hard off of the running wagon, so can it be a comeback to running? Maybe, I think only time will tell.

So last year I abandoned my goal of training for a Marathon.  It was the hardest decision I've had to make in a long time.  Some may scoff at that idea, stop training for a marathon - sure!  However, I did not like it one bit.

I had three very good reasons to stop.  1. My best friend was getting married Sept 2014 (I was in the wedding) 2.My running partner (RP), whom I was training with and running the marathon with,  was getting married Sept 2014 (the week after my BF) & 3. My sister was getting married the weekend after the Wineglass Marathon.  NEVER in my life have I had this many weddings in a year, let alone a 5 week timeframe.  When the Wineglass marathon offered deferrals to the following year (2015), RP suggested that we put it off a year and I very reluctantly agreed.

So yes, I am coming back to the training (which I never started last year) for the marathon, which is on the 4th of October this year.  This time, I am going to have to do it alone.  RP, in all of her adjusting to married life misplaced the email with the code to re-register.  So this time around I somehow need to find the drive I had last fall and reignite it.

So this is a comeback to running as I, a runner without an anchor (the race goal), floated lazily away from the really good habits I had established over the first four years of my running life. I have been averaging 0-6 miles per week for the past nine months or more.  I've had plenty of excuses - I started my first job in 13+ years in August, I have 3 kids with busy schedules, I want to spend time with my family, it's cold, it's raining, it's hot, etc...  At my most committed, I was getting out at least three times a week, but most of the time it was four times a week.  Then it didn't matter what else I had going on or even what it wS doing outside. I trained for half marathons and improved my times as I went.  I need to get back to that, I want to get back to that.

So here is my goal, run four times a week and prepare myself for the Wineglass Marathon and finally earn that 26.2 bumper sticker I've had my eye on.  Feel free to check back in with me on my progress- help keep me honest, okay?

I have 13 weeks until the Marathon, I will do this.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The story of the incredible *shrinking* towels

When we were married in 2000, we received numerous towels as gifts.  We got so many that we have not really had to buy another in these last 14 years.

Turns out these towels are pretty magical.

Over the years I have had lots of opportunities to dry off with these specific towels, and like any woman I'd perform the trick where you wrap the towel around your chest and tuck the end in to make a post bath coverup. 

And... over these years these same towels stopped stretching so far around me, eventually performing pretty poorly as a coverup. Clearly, the towels had shrunk, you know, with numerous washings of course.

We ended up with a couple of larger towels as gifts here and there and the incredible shrinking towel problem was far from my mind.  I had my luxurious, fluffy bath sheet to wrap around me.  It performed quite nicely, thank you very much.

Now once in a while, the bath sheet is in the wash and I have had to make do with a 'regular' towel.

This type of event is precisely what led me to discover the phenomenon of the "incredible growing bath towels".  These same towels that have sneakily gotten smaller and smaller over the years decided to switch things up and get bigger.  Big enough to wrap around me and perform their old duty as a post bath coverup.  Pure magic.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Enter the 10K

I have ran many races in my nearly four years of running.  My first year I got a little crazy and attempted to run one race per month.  That habit lasted from August to January as I realized I really did not feel the need to pay to run.  I was going to run anyway, plus I had signed up for my first half that May, so I changed my focus to training for the longer race.

In those years, I have ran countless 5Ks, one 15K, and four half marathons.  I had yet to do a 10K.  It's funny as most weekends over the years have included a 6 mile long run, if not longer!  So I have known that I could run the 6.2 miles of a 10K, I just hadn't ever completed one.

I was signed up for one this past December, but due to the snow and wintry conditions the organizers cancelled the distance but not the race.  By the time we showed up for the race they offered the option to do the 10K yet again but I was with other people and we had consigned ourselves to the 5K and left it at that (and boy was I glad -- that race was down on a bike path next the river in a valley, there was NOTHING to look at and it was one of the most boring races I have ever done.  So glad I did not double the distance I had to run!!!)

This absence of 10K appearances changed two weekends ago when I was in my hometown of Plymouth, Michigan to celebrate my Mom's 70th birthday.  We decided to make a girls weekend and do the St. Patricks Day race there all together; my mom, my two sisters, my cousin and myself. My oldest sister and my mom were planning on the 5K (it would have been Mom's first race); my cousin, my middle sister and I had planned on the 10K.  

Turns out the weather was against us AGAIN.  It was WICKEDLY cold.  Bitter.  I believe the windchill at race time was 5 degrees (or was it -5?).  I am a outdoor winter runner and all I can tell you is this: it was too cold even for me!

Well, I am not sure if I was crazy or determined, but I did it anyway. (as did my cousin and my sister signed up for the 10K).  I could not bear the thought of driving all the way up to MI and then not participating in the race, really how often am I going to get to run in my hometown? We ran straight from the park downtown into the neighborhood I grew up in and wove up and back on the streets I rode my bike on and past houses I used to babysit in!  

I finally completed a 10K, even if it was miserably cold!  I ran my first 10 K in 1:09:42, which was such a pleasant surprise.  Most of the time I think it is going to take me much longer to complete a race than it does.  I think it's a good habit of my brain to do this to me, as I am not stressing out about how long  it is taking and I am happy when I cross the finish.  I ran the whole distance which was as much about my sheer determination (I just don't like to walk during a race- I mentally have a terrible time restarting my run) as it is about my desire to stay warm.  I kept wanting to gently remind those around me that their bodies would be warmer if they continued to run, but I didn't.  I kept very quiet during this race, I think I had lots to reflect on as I finally ran on streets I know intimately.  So many memories flooded me as I crossed Ann Arbor trail on Evergreen (I walked to school in that general direction for 9 years of my schooling), and then crossing Main Street with cars stopped waiting for the runners to come through.  Finishing the race next to my beloved Penn Theatre and seeing my time a whole 10 minutes faster than I expected is a memory I won't soon forget.

I was so grateful that we stashed our coats and some fleece pants in my sister's car that we parked downtown.  I was so cold after I finished that I dashed into Panera hoping to wait for my sister and her friend there and warm up a bit.  It was so crowded that I decided to put on my extra clothes and walk the 5 or so blocks back to my mom's.  I was freezing but very glad I got out there and did it.

So I can now add a 10K to my running resume.  Chances are that 1:09:42 will remain my PR for the distance for quite some time considering my history for signing up for races.  I've got a bigger fish to fry.

pre race photo at my mom's house.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

new short(er) update

It's all gone!!!

Well, not really.

While I feel like it is all gone, most people's reactions have included the phrase "it's still pretty long",

On Friday I went to the Locks of Love event at my daughter's school and had the stylists in training (yep they were students... no, they weren't very good yet...  poor Ks hair!) cut 10 inches off of my hair.  I would not allow them to do anything else, preferring to trust my hair to a stylist trained in cutting curly hair.  

I had my Devacurl cut yesterday afternoon, and I will say this: it was indeed different.  First of all, the stylist cut my hair dry.  Then she washed it via the "no-poo" method.  She then put gel in my dripping wet hair (this was the part I could not seem to wrap my brain around on my own) and then gently squeezed the moisture out of my hair.  I got to sit under a hair dryer and watch the most insane video ever -- it was a product video showing a stylist creating the craziest hairstyles.  It was mesmerizing.  After my hair was dry, the stylist showed me how to finish styling my curls.  The picture above shows my hair the next day, and although I am not ready to commit to using $20/bottle no-poo, conditioner and gel (yes that is $60 total), I really like how my hair turned out.

But this blog is not about hair cutting techniques, it is about running.  And while the story of the cut is interesting to me, I bet you might be wondering about its effect on my running. Today I got up nice and early like I normally do and I went for a run with RP, and this morning I did not have to wrangle my hair.   

No ponytail-ing, no braiding, I just got up and went!

Ahhhhhhhh, the FREEDOM!!!  

I could really get used to this.

Friday, February 21, 2014

it's been a while...let me tell you about my hair.

Yes, yes - it's been a while since I posted.  I suppose there is lots to share, and I may get around to it or ... I may not.  Our desktop computer died and had to go in for service throwing off my momentum.

What, you may ask, has brought back my mojo?  My hair.

You see, I have rather long hair.  Noticeably long, and curly.  In fact it is the longest my hair has ever been (and the curly thing is a pretty new development) I am not sure why I grew it so long, I guess I got lazy to go to the salon and also was a touch curious how long I could grow it.

Having really long hair is a strange phenomenon.  Practical strangers begin to act possessive of it.  Acquaintances will give you unsolicited advice concerning it.  Some will tell you to never cut it, while others feel the need to tell you that you should cut it all off and donate it.  Everyone has an opinion.

Well, if you've paid attention to the title of the blog, you may have noticed that I intend to train for a  marathon this year.  This will require a bit of running.  I typically like to shower after I run, you know, out of consideration for the people around me.  That hair you see up there... it's a lot of work.  
Showering for me involves the delicate process of untangling my hair, washing it carefully, and then allowing to it air dry for a while... time time time!  And when I plan on spending more time out there running I will have less time to mess with my hair.

So today, I am cutting it off.

Now wait a minute!  I didn't say I was cutting it all off!  Calm down, friend.

There is a Locks of Love event at my daughter's school and I am heading there this afternoon to donate 10 inches of my hair to them.  My 12 y.o is donating her hair as well.  It should be a bit of a freeing experience.  (my 6 y.o. wants in on the action... we'll see if hers is long enough to donate)

So when you see me next, don't be too surprised to see less hair.  Feel free to even tell me my hair makes me look fast.  (that's the kind of compliment we runners just love.)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

inspiration #2

Last night I bumped into a friend I hadn't seen in a while.  She and I share a love of running so we began to catch each other up on our training and goals.

I shared with her that I was training for a my first marathon this fall and she also had her first planned for this fall..

While this exchange is nothing but ordinary, some history on this friend and you will see just how extraordinary it is and why she is another inspiration to me.

This friend, I will call her L, had a stroke just two and a half years ago (late summer of of '11).  L is not very old and the stroke took everyone by surprise - she had no risk factors.  It was a shock, and despite suffering initial one side paralysis, L's recovery was very good.

In fact within the year she was back to running and I bumped into her at the Air Force Half Marathon in September if 2012 (a little over a year past stoke at the time).  We ran together for many miles until she pulled away around mile 10 and ended up beating me!  We even have couple of very cool race pics together.

So when she told me last night that she was planning to run her first marathon last night, I was truly inspired.  She told me that she knew her time would not be great, but if she can survive a stroke and still run - she was happy with any time!

She is one awesome lady and I am blessed to know her.

So I am adding her to my list.  L you are amazing!

Friday, January 24, 2014

First time for everything

I had the most amazing thing happen the other day.

I touched my toes.

No big deal right?

Wrong!  My entire life I have been UNABLE to touch my toes!  Regardless if size, age, etc - I just couldn't bend that way.  (Okay- I could touch them, but I would have to bend my knees quite a bit, it was embarassing!)

But now I can!

What I am talking about here is standing straight up, bending over at the waist and being able to touch, nay GRAB my toes!!!

All I can figure is the difference is that I have been working out regularly and have strengthened nearly every part of me, including the ever evasive core,

So now as I head back to Yoga class for the first time in a long time, I am excited to bring my new ability with me.  I may just end up touching my toes- just for fun!