Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Words for Wednesday

Most dreams die a slow death. They're conceived in a moment of passion, with the prospect of endless possibility, but often languish and are not pursued with the same heartfelt intensity as when first born. Slowly, subtly, a dream becomes elusive and ephemeral. People who've lost their own dreams become pessimists and cynics. They feel like the time and devotion spent on chasing their dreams were wasted. The emotional scars last forever.
Dean Karnazes

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guest Blogger: Volkswagon Blond

VWB is a posse member who runs with us in Twickory.   I adore her.  Her laugh makes me laugh.  Every time.  Here is Volkswagon Blond's Lemonade Stand:

After running my first ½ marathon in the fall of 2009, naturally the next step is to sign up for the Richmond Marathon.  I thought long and hard about this decision, over a year actually, and my mind was made up, this is the year I’m committing to running my first full marathon.

I’m not an easily discouraged individual, so once I set my mind to do something, I do it wholeheartedly.  

Up to this point in my the training, I’ve met each early morning 95% humidity run, each blister on my foot, each chaffed arm, and most recently a 13 mile run in a hurricane with a smile on my face.  I have tried hard not to let any factors outside of my control ruin this experience for me.  

Until the other day…

I set out to do my eight miles, as the training manual says to do, with no less enthusiasm than usual.  Except its 11:30 (I usually run at 5:30), and I didn’t sleep very good last night (no power=no a/c), and it’s really…well, hot.  No big deal, I’ve run in hot, humid weather all summer – let’s go.

Mile one…ugh….ok, this is just warming up, getting in my groove…

Mile two…am I warmed up or just plain hot..I can do this…one foot in front of the other…

Mile three…hydration beverage nearing empty (as am I)…

Mile four…practice the “mental training” I just read about…picture yourself at the end of your run…Ack….I see myself passed out in my front yard from heat….ok, that didn’t work…

Mile five…IF I can make it over this hill….I could turn left to head home…6 is pretty close…but wait…what is that…kids...cooler…stand…(birds singing, bells ringing) it’s a lemonade/water stand!!!  50¢ for a bottle?  Here’s a dollar, keep the change!  Thank you lemonade stand girls!!!

As I turned right to complete my 8, I smiled up at the bright sun in the beautiful blue sky and pictured myself finishing strong.  You thought you had me heat, but not today…

Friday, August 26, 2011

Yes, it Was Good For Me Too!

I had to post a quickie *muah*. Stop thinking like that!

I know I have said in the past I hate running, and I still do. In training for this Ironman I have put my run training last in order of priority. I HAD to get my swim technique dialed in, I had to gain my confidence back on my bike. After my ankle injury, and having to wear a brace on my left ankle, that's the side I prefer to clip into and out of my pedals on, I lost my balance and subsequently fell A LOT. I would look at my bike and she would fricking jump me, so I rode as little as possible. We needed to make peace, I am going to have to be with her for 112 miles. I want it to be like I am hanging with my best friend, not riding my ex-boyfriend. No awkwardness, just good times.

Running, she became my muse in reverse. Someone would say we had whatever distance we had to run on our training plan and I would cringe whether it 3 miles or 16. I'd rather be living in Caiina in Inferno for crying out loud! Toss me in that last circle of Hell because that's how I was feeling about running. What to do, what to do? I am breaking out in a cold sweat worrying about this.

I had my A-HA moment today. Last year I liked running way better then I do this year, why? Last year I focused only on my running. Was religious with my hill repeats and track workouts, had really worked hard with the 10k training team before MTT. Rarely missed a training run.

Duh, I need to get back to basics. Those basics were hills for me today. And as I ran up and down that hill 11 times like a honey badger, I felt better and better. My times reflect that too.

I will be training in reverse these next few weeks. Dialing my distances back a little, including hill repeats in my weekly workouts, and not missing a training run during the week. I am hoping by the end of a few weeks my little experiment will boost my running and my confidence. I am thinking it will. We'll see.

I want to be able to say, and truly mean it, when my husband looks at me when we're done running and asks, "My run was great today, how was it for you babe?"

"honey, it was good for me too!"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Words for Wednesday

For those who like that sort of thing, it's the sort of thing that they like.

~ Oscar Wilde

Monday, August 22, 2011

All Work & No Play makes g....

Ok, so lest you think I'm a total bore.  I did get out to work on Sunday Funday.  ... it's just that unlike every government official in the United States, I know how to balance things like a budget, er, I mean, work...

 Here I am, at WORK.  In the moment with my run, staying in my ZONE.
Focus and determination combine nicely with...
...a slight misunderstanding of when the photo was actually being snapped

and... here I am at PLAY.  In the moment with my MTT POSSE of Yellow SNOW!
Michelle, g., 3L, Kc, Kristi
Super Hero Formation has nothing on us.  We rock.
(why Yes Safety Nazi, we are running 5 across in the street.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Running and biking and tris oh my...and waking up at 4AM, oh why???

You know, there's something to be said for sleeping. I like it a lot. I like to go to sleep early, and sleep until I can't sleep anymore. My bed is such a warm, down filled place, all 600 thread count softness of it. I love my bed. When my alarm clock screams at me at 4AM and disturbs my bed bonding time, I get a little angry.

I have been angry since Friday morning, and why you might ask? Were there hammer moments involved here once again? Naturally, story of my life!

Let's rewind a little *insert wavy dream sequence lines here*

I convinced a straight up running friend of mine she wanted to do a triathlon with me. She lives in the City and trains in Central Park, how cool is that, and I told her she could bike train there too. Her girls swim at one of those nifty roof top pools in Manhattan, I told her to get herself some swim lessons and we'd do the Pink Power. This was back in January before I understood my Iron aspiration. She registered and we were going to pop her tri cherry. I was happy to bring her over to the dark side.

I registered for all of my races in January with my husband. We were trying to be proactive and plan ahead hahahahahaha, PHEW *wipes tears from her eyes*. If you know us, you'll understand why that is a truly stupid statement. We had planned to do IMFL, but I hadn't even looked at a training plan at that point and I had no idea the volume of training we'd be churning out at this point in a plan.

So my friend braves I-95 on a Friday afternoon and gets here by 10 o'clock at night. That was good, because I had a 16 mile run with MTT on Sunday. But our race was on Sunday so I decided to run with some friends from MTT on Friday morning at 5:15am, hence my first angry morning of bed separation anxiety.

My husband is a giver, did I ever mention that? After our run on Friday he promptly signed us up for the Tour de Lions century ride on Saturday. "You need to do a Century this year, no time like the present Dee". But I don't wanna do it yet, wahhhhhh, my plan only called for 40 miles on the bike on Saturday, not 100. And I ran a really horrible run on Friday. I got sick in the middle of Thursday night due to being a gall bladderless wonder now. I never know what's going to bother my stomach, it's like playing food roulette I told my favorite training partner ever, Heather. This time, the dirty culprit was cous cous and veggies with a piece of lean pork that I grilled. Hooray for being sick at 1:00AM and for getting sick during the run. But ever the optimist, I told myself I was running in the Ironman, and here I was sick to my stomach. Could I continue? Of course! I'm not going all of that way to not finish dammit. So this crappy training run would be practice for the big show. I managed to muddle through almost 14 miles of the 16. Better then nothing.

Saturday morning I was really nervous to say the least. But I was angry AGAIN my friends. I was roused out of my soft, nest of a bed at 4am, AGAIN to go ride in beautiful Ashland and Hanover. Check out this awesome foursome getting ready to roll out (a very special thank you and hat tip to our newly made MD friends for taking our photo. You guys were great!)

I learned more from my training once again. I need more nutrition when I ride. Eat the WHOLE uncrustable, stop worrying about the calories you're taking in, you're not the fat kid anymore. But I digress. Here I am at mile 60, still looking pretty good I'd have to say....

At mile 88 maybe, I realize I am going to bonk. REALLY???? I dragged my now incredibly sore butt out of bed for a bonk on my bike? Thankfully one of the women I was riding with saw me struggle and asked what we could do. I managed to gulp down a gel, slurp up some Gatorade and muddle on. We were lucky the end of the ride was all twists and turns through picturesque suburbia. No straightaways where you feeling like a greyhound chasing that mechanical bunny with a full head of steam. We somehow missed a turn or something and came up a few miles short, whatevs. I was done as was my rump, I got awfully intimate with my Glide on this ride at each rest stop, but unless I was riding my warm, fluffy bed all that way I was bound to be sore. Ok, enough of that imagery~

Ca-ching!! An (almost)Century in my Ironman mileage bank.

I told my friend I wasn't doing the tri with her after all. I told her my legs were too trashed to even think about it but I would go and cheer her on. That way I figured although I'd have to get up early-ish it wouldn't be 4AM early. Well guess what happened without an alarm clock? Yes, my traitor of an internal clock woke me up, then made me get out of bed. I tested my legs, stiff as hell and feeling awfully wooden. What is going on, why on earth am I putting my RTC tri suit on?? Body stop, GO BACK TO BED NOW. Stop betraying yourself, you DON'T WANT TO RACE TODAY!!! But the toothbrush was in my mouth, my ponytail going up, legs moving mechanically down the stairs. Coffee and breakfast I am thinking, my wonderful husband fixed my aero bars, put my race wheels on and loaded my bike on the car for me already. How could I not go? Off to the race, with two of my biggest fans (my daughters) in tow. They knew Mommy would race and they wanted to see.

I won't go through what happened next, but I did finish the race. It was painful, and hurt and I dry heaved at mile 2.5 on the run, but I did it, and actually finished nearly a minute faster then last year. And of course I am really upset that I didn't do better. If I didn't stop to get my legs underneath me again on the run, I would have done better. And if I were in the 20-24 year old age group I would have been in 3rd place as opposed to 15th out of 77 in my age group. And if wishes were horses beggars would ride.

In case you're wondering, my friend Caryn totally rocked her first triathlon. She finished in 1:28. Awesome time girl, you were looking great too. I need to add a picture of her after she finished. That post race high is still on her face.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pom Poms & Bobby Socks

It's August.  Not only that, it's LATE in August.  Do you know what this means?

This is my favorite part of MTT.  The really challenging running is about to start.  This is where the work is, and this is what we're all about.  I'm excited to say it... we're headed into the big miles my friends.  ISN'T THAT AWESOME?

~awkward pause~

(s'ok, my friends say that about me too)

The long hard runs are where you see what you're made of... and the nice thing about doing it with a group like MTT is that if you find you're lacking, all the energy and support of the runners around you can help carry you through on the tough days.  

And you want to talk about bonding moments?  Nothing brings runners together like running down Westham Parkway talking about Will Ferrel.  I once had a coach pass me & some friends on his way to whatever it is he was on his way to, overhear our SNL impersonations, and slow down to join us for a mile.  

I like a lot of cowbell when I'm running a marathon

Or if not Will Ferrel, what about those "remember that time" stories that we all save.  If you haven't been saving them, get with the program.  Those are the kinds of things that make people want to slow down and run with you.  Did I ever tell you about the time I ended up on the worst date ever? In a grave yard? With my co-worker's son?

No?  Well, if you want to hear it, you're just going to have to show up to the SNOW 20 miler in a few weeks.

But these super long runs aren't just about hanging with your peeps, recapping bad dates that happened 20odd years ago, and whining about the hills of Riverside Drive.  They're not about noting to eachother how the Lee Bridge is like a giant treadmill (or is that a dreadmill?) and how it seems to go forever. 

Yes, these things are entertaining and all, but everyone needs to try to remember that for some of us, some aspects of marathon training demand attention.

I'm super energetic sock girl!  I'm here to have fun! ...sure.

But, I'm also here to work.

If you've run a marathon before then you know what I'm talking about.  There's a lot of mental training that goes with running a marathon.  Particularly if you're going to be running it alone.  It's easy to get caught up in the "I can't hold this pace for another step" routine.  It's easy to get caught up in "I can't even walk another step, must less run another step".  

The way I like to see it...  These long runs are an opportunity to say to yourself, "Don't take no for an answer" and then test that resolve.

Sometimes that means I don't have the energy to carry the pom poms with me on the run.  My MTT Cheerleading bobby socks and two tone pleated skirt are being turned in for compression socks and a running skirt.  

This is me, publicly admitting that my plan is to be a little selfish in the next few weeks.  I have to look out for me.  So for the moment, if you see me out running on Sunday Funday, and I don't seem like 'my-SUPER FUN-self', take a moment and reflect on that thought.

I am being myself.  

It just happens that I'm internalizing and focusing on the moment while mentally preparing for the efforts that lie before me in November.

Ask yourself, What are you doing to mentally prepare you for 26.2?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Words for Wednesday

It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.
~Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Words for Wednesday

Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it.

~ Richard Whately

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Guest Blogger: Jenny "Silver"

Jenny, of MTT Silver is the author of the blog Small Beginnings.

So when g. emailed me about writing a guest post on this blog I was so excited, but nervous. First I couldn’t believe that she would want me, as I am a beginning runner with absolutely no experience, to write something. Then I started to think about how much I have to learn, how I love visiting this blog because I’m so curious about anything running related, whether it’s to check out the cute skirts they always wear or hear some good training advice.

So I was responding that I would love to write a post, and was sharing a little about my training. This month on the novice schedule the miles are starting to get higher and it’s kinda intimidating. Saturday we run 12 miles, for some reason I had thought it was 11. It’s only one extra mile, which really isn’t that much but it freaked me out a bit. Then I knew what I wanted to write about. Fear.

I think we as humans are so fearful. I am definitely guilty of it. Whenever I run a new distance there is a part of me that wonders if I will really make it? Will I be the one that collapses on Grove Avenue and they have to call someone to come pick me up?

But then I think back to a couple months ago, when I was training for the Monument Avenue 10k. I vividly remember thinking “I may not make it to 6.2 miles by April 2!” And then I remember running my first 10k on February 1st, 2 months before the race. And that race was simply amazing, I remember running across that finish line feeling like a million bucks. My mom and husband cheering for me, both amazed that I ran that much. The crowd, everything about that morning was almost surreal. And I did it. I made it.

So I say to myself “You didn’t think you could run that far and you did, so you can do this as well.” And every time I make it. Am I the fastest one on my team? No, I’m not. In fact I am one of the slower ones, but that’s okay. Because I’m doing this, I’m overcoming my fears.

I’ve learned that runners are not absent of fear. Before I became one I thought they were always confident and so sure of themselves. I know this isn’t true, and that’s okay. I think the key is not giving into fear. Not letting it rule your choices, because I think so many people miss out on so much because they are afraid to even try.

I am reminded of a quote by Henry Ford “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” It’s so true. If you believe that you can do something, and of course put in the time and effort and do what your coaches tell you to do, you will make it. Don Garber recently sent out an email about the Half Marathon training team that started this past Saturday. He said if you are doing all your runs now you will make it to the Marathon. I needed to hear that, because there was apart of me that secretly wanted to switch. Nobody would blame me, I’ve never run a half marathon before and so it would still be a challenge. But, I knew I would regret it. Because my real goal is the marathon.

I think overcoming fear will always be apart of training. Even if it’s 5 years from now when I’m a mom, and just worried about not having the time to train, or I am trying to set a new PR. But I don’t want to live my life by giving into it. I always think about what it will feel like to cross that finish line on November 12. That date has been in my calendar since April. I know the feeling of reaching that goal once, crossing that finish line and knowing I have defeated my fears is simply amazing, and I want it again. It’s worth the risk, the unknown and the doubts to say “yeah, I ran a marathon, yup that’s 26.2 miles.” 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Melting SNOW

Summer makes me cranky.

I mean, summertime makes me happy, and tan, and I love fresh summer produce, and long days....

But it ALSO makes me cranky.

I'm not the only one who suffers from cranky-summer running.  I don't want to mention any names, but I have a friend to whom I address running e-mails with "Dear Cranky & Hot".  True story.

The friend is hot.

But then again, it's freaking AUGUST in VIRGINIA.


Hot runners, hot under the collar, hot under the skirt... but that's getting off topic...

I've been out of the loop.  Off globe trotting, and miserable, and suffering through hot lonely runs.  But whew ~ I'm hearing stories from ALL DIRECTIONS.  Colors are FLYING, and tempers are flaring like unstable solar fields on the heliosphere.  I think I maybe just geeked out there for a minute...

I think though, that while the crankiness of summer running is a bit tricky to negotiate, I can get around some of the social ramifications by ...  running alone.

Ok.  That isn't going to happen.
I'm not going to become a hermit.
I talk WAY too much for that to ever occur.

Instead I think I will have better success if I simply try to remember an important detail.  Maybe, just maybe, I'm the one who is cranky.  Maybe it's NOT the people around me.  Perhaps they are simply mirroring my epic grump.

So when I interact with my friends, co-runners, people from other teams, Those People, the ones I will call ~ The Haters ~, the weirdo's who don't appreciate running in tall socks, and the non-runner in my life...  I will try to keep tabs on the idea that maybe, just maybe, it's not them.  It's me.

Of course, you know what that means, right?  It means I have to try EXTRA hard to show up with a good attitude, smile, embrace the moment and be in it even if I'm alone.  

I look forward to bringing that excellent smiling attitude to my return to MTT.  I look forward also to supported runs, SAGs with smiling faces, to MTT discussion boards, to hell repeats, to the Patrick Henry Half Marathon, to ... pish ~ no way am I running that... 3 half marathons in less than 30 days sounds like a punishment I don't deserve.

Of course, all that is assuming I ever make it back to VA.  So far in the last 7 days I've been about 3,780 miles... not including the 13.1 I ran on Sunday.  If things go to plan, I should see you in a week or so.

This weekend I'm sucking running another HOT rainy Half Marathon... the last one was in San Francisco, (which you can read a re-cap here), and this one is in Providence RI....  2 Half Marathons in 7 Days is proving to be a bigger test than I imagined.  My legs were still wasted when I got done with started my shake out run this morning.  So I did what any self respecting marathoner would do...

I jumped in my In-Laws pool fully clothed at 6am.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  It still seems like a good idea now, but then again, I'm a runner, and runners are weird.  

Respect The Distance.
Savor the run.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Words for Wednesday

The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.

~ Bill Watterson, in his comic strip Calvin and Hobbes